Kida drew her Samurai sword. "Leave for the forest!" she shouted to the villagers. "They come for me, not you. But their poor-aimed bows and weak eyes might find a target in anyone."
The three government officials surrounded us. They didn't see me--one of them nearly walked through me--but they all had weapons drawn as they approached Kida. The two henchmen, Tashi and Kyoshi, had loaded crossbows. Minoru the leader had a sword.
"You are outnumbered," Minoru said. "Surrender your sword and follow me, and your life might possibly be spared. Otherwise, your loyal friends here will watch you die a violent and painful death. If any of them lift a hand to aid you, they and their families will be shot."
Kida smiled. "Behind you is the hand of man, but aligned with me is a power unfathomable. This power caused the fields you burned to regrow. This power made a house appear from thin air, and this power will defeat you."
I shook my head. "Don't say that, Kida," I said. "I can only make things. I can't use my imagination to kill people."
Kida knitted her brows. "At the very least, this power will protect me."
I grinned. First, though, I had to see if I could use my imagination to make things disappear. Closing my eyes, I imagined that Minoru's clothes disappeared and that he was standing there in his underwear. I heard someone laugh, and I grinned.
Minoru turned to glare at whoever had just laughed, then looked down at his embroidered underpants. His face turned red. "Fire your arrows!" he shouted at his henchmen.
The first two arrows were launched. One of them disappeared in midair, and Kida cut the second one in half with her sword. I quickly imagined that Tashi's and Kyoshi's quivers were empty.
"How many arrows did you bring?" Tashi asked.
Kyoshi's eyes were wide as he dropped his crossbow and ran. Tashi followed him. The villagers cheered, but Minoru scowled and lashed out at Kida with his sword. She looked at me desperately as she parried.
I smiled at her. "You've got this, Kida! It's a fair fight now!"
Kida held her form impeccably. She moved like water flowing, her sword meeting each of Minoru's blows. He struck at her head, then her stomach, then her neck, but nothing got through.
Then Kida took a step forward and aimed three quick blows at Minoru's head. He blocked all of them, then swung at Kida's chest. She dropped to the ground, used her legs to knock Minoru to the ground, and knelt atop him. She tossed his sword aside and held her own at his throat.
"You have no power," Kida whispered. "You may burn cities and destroy lives, but you hold no power over hope, or the human will to live. You cannot break them! And so long as I draw breath, I will strengthen the hope you try and fail to extinguish."
Kida took something from her pack. It looked like a thread or a wire, and she used it to tightly tie Minoru's hands together. "What is that?" he asked. "My hands are asleep."
"They are not asleep," Kida said. "They are dead. Never again will you hold anything, from a sword to a spoon. Never again will you burn and destroy. You are at the mercy of others, and I pray they treat you as you have treated them." She stood, still pointing her sword at him. "Begone from my sight. The day you seek me out is the day you die."
I grinned as Minoru ran away. My work here was done. Waving goodbye at Kida, I closed my eyes and willed myself back into my world.
When I got there, I was still trapped under my bookshelf, and Nick was still screaming.
I'd handle this myself.
M. J. Piazza is a Jesus-loving, dog-walking country girl who just so happens to write books.