The doors burst open savagely, breaking into many sharp wood pieces as the ram of ice broke through them. Before the nezumi could react, they were flooded by cold water, which quickly froze, encasing most of them in ice. Except for one, holding on for dear life on the ceiling. She saw the arrival of a strange creature, an Aven similar to a penguin. Looking around, the rat took her for distracted, and let go, ready to stab her with a dagger, only for the bird to turn to the left and let her fall on hard ice, breaking her nose violently.
“Wow my friend, there is no need for violence” she said, calmly, “Tell me where the Aven is.”
“A-aven?” she said meekly, whimpering still from the pain.
Maramawhā rose a column of water to the Nezumi’s face, and just as she gasped in panic it was filled with healing energy, regenerating the broken mess of a snout into a proper muzzle.
“He has black feathers, probably blue eyes, should look like a cormorant overall. I know you have him here somewhere.”
“I can’t allow you to take him, they’ll rip me to shreds!”
“Well, they’ll certainly rip you to shreds if they find out about this mess regardless. But if you help me, I can scratch your back and give you something in return. So basically the result is the same either way, but you at least get something out of it with me.”
The nezumi sighed, and motioned for her to follow. Maramawhā did so, and both climbed the stairs into an attic of sorts, full of grain and stolen treasures. In the middle of it was a cage, where a young kawau rested, arms around the knees and face buried between them. The cormorant-like Aven looked to be in a rather sorry state, his feathers tattered and filfthy, and many parts of his back and arms were plucked and bloody. He was naked, alone and in misery, and Maramawhā’s heart felt heavier than ever before.
“Here, have your reward” she said to the nezumi, handling her horsetail-like herbs and seeds, “If you eat these, you’ll grow in size and heal. No one will ever be able to harm you again.”
“You’re just bullshiting me, aren’t ya?” the rat spat.
Suddenly, footsteps and ramble could be heard from downstairs. The rat shrugged, and ate the herbs. She began to grow large, until she was about three meters tall, and the attic’s floor began to crack under her weight. Suffice to say, she was quite impressed and marvelled, admiring the raw power of her now massive paws and claws.
“Oh, yes, I feel invicible! Bird, if you go through that door over there, you’ll end up in a reservoir. Not much, but I figure you can use it to escape. Now, excuse me while I have to rat bones to crack.”
Maramawhā nodded, and took out a small bottle. Dissolving a powder on it, she drank, and with a surge of power she punched the cage, destroying the wooden bars and setting the other Aven free.
“W-, what’s going on?” said the kawau, meekly and clearly having just woken up.
“No time to explain, just cling on while I take us out of here.”
Maramawhā placed the child on her shoulders, the youngster almost loosing his grip when he realised who was rescuing him.
“Y-your a hoiho!”
“Yes. But please try to cling on.”
The adolescent did so, though Maramawhā knew he was just one step away from passing out again, sobbing on her back and tears falling on her nape. She rushed through the attic until she reached the door, which lead to stairs downwards. She could feel the water in the bottom, and with a deep breath she willed it to surface, erupting violently as a geiser-like column that took them upwards fast, much to the younger Aven’s gasping surprise.
Using the last ounce of her superstrength, Maramawhā punched the ceiling, breaking it and exposing the late afternoon clear sky. She willed the water column into a waterspout, which contracted like a spring and then released the tension, keeping them aloft.
“It feels like flying” the younger Aven said.
“Yeah, it does.”
The jump ended, and the waterspout was connected to the swampy waters of the Takenuma. Maramawhā willed it forward, and the column of water carried them fastly across the swamp, far from the nezumi gang stronghold, until they reached an isolated hammock, shielded by tall bamboo. Slowly, the waterspout lowered until the hoiho could walk out of it, and then it disbanded. Softly, Maramawhā laid her fellow Aven on the grass, and grabbed her bag, taking out a reed skirt.
“Here, have some clothes.”
The realisation that he was naked dawned on the younger Aven, hastily covering himself with his tattered wings and putting the skirt on as quickly as possible. Maramawhā couldn’t help herself but giggle, and handed him a bottle of water.
“T-thank you for rescuing me” said the young Aven, a trace of fear lingering in his voice.
“No problem. What’s your name?”
“Well, Panahihou, can you tell me how you ended up here? I take it you know we’re not in Matahouroa anymore.”
Panahihou looked down, looking as if he was about to cry, but before Maramawhā could comfort him, he raised his hand, a silent plea for her to wait.
“The Parekareka, they caught me and tried to kill me. Then I felt something weird inside me, as if it was some sort of explosion, and instead of dying I ended up here. Or maybe I died, this place feels almost like death to me. This was an year ago, I think.”
“Panahihou, you’re not dead, you’re in another world. There are countless universes, countless planes of existence. We’re both from Matahouroa, and you ended up in another world, Kamigawa. Do you know why?”
“Because we’re planeswalkers. Every once in a while, some are born with a spark inside, a spark that lets them travel between worlds. Panahihou, you’re one of the rare few that was born with a spark, and so am I.”
Panahihou processed this information rather well, but it’s implications were quickly realised, and anger and resentment began to fester.
“So you mean all this time I could’ve run away from these rats!? And from my uncle!?”
“Yes, you could had. We planeswalkers unfortunately are very rare, so we have to discover our talents alone. But the past is now gone, Panahihou. You’re free to choose your own path, you’re free to explore the multiverse, and make up for the time you lost.”
Panahihou was still angry, but the promises of freedom began to ressonate with his heart. For so long he had been a slave, so the prospect for being unschackled almost seemed alien to him. He took a sip from the bottle, and quickly began to feel stronger and healthier, the wounds regenerating and his heart beating faster. Even if this seemed too good to be true, he just had to try.
“How do I travel between worlds?”
“Do you know how to use magic? If so, just use the mana of this plane, and you’ll figure the rest out. Once you leave, you’ll find yourself in the Blind Eternities, a place of chaos beyond compare, but once you make the jump you’ll be able to go anywhere you’ll want to go.”
Wasting no time, Panahihou rose up and took a deep breath, channeling the mana of the sorrounding Takenuma. Darkness began to engulf him, swirling about in whirlpools, whirpools that touched something within him, a vortex that began to pull him outwards. Ecstactic, Panahihou began to feel a void inside, a hunger that began to draw from everywhere around him, mana from all over Kamigawa focusing and spreading the darkness, the vortex spinning and spinning faster. Soon, he felt himself being pulled outside, the chaotic darkness beginning to touch a far vaster one. Glimpses of the Eternities flashed on his mind, and Panahihou knew that what Maramawhā said was true.
“Thank you for freeing me” he said, before he and the darkness vanished from Kamigawa.
Smiling, and with a tear of pride running down her face, Maramawhā sipped from her own bottle.