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 She was alone. Alone on a cliff at the edge of a forest, and she couldnít have felt worse. She let all her feelings shift into the darkness like the clouds she gazed upward at. The sun had recently set, the moon and stars shielded with vast clouds. Sighing, Coshi looked down over the edge of the cliff. It was a long way down; evident that anyone who fell down there would be lucky to live. Gazing upward once again, she perceived what seemed to be a star as darkness fell. That could be no star - she could make out clouds behind it. Coshiís eyes narrowed, assuming the twinkling object was some sort of low-flying aircraft.

 It moved. Coshi blinked as it shot across the sky in a large circle overhead. That was no aircraft. The glittering objectís circles became smaller as the object became closer - swirling down through the air toward the very cliff upon which she stood. It was aiming for her - like a vulture circling its prey. Unable to move or speak, Coshi simply gaped awkwardly at the mysterious object. Finally, the object spun downward and dropped before her feet. Clouds shifted and spilled moonlight upon the glittering object. It appeared to be some sort of crystal.

 Intrigued, Coshi lifted the crystal uncertainly in attempt to answer all the questions flaring through her mind. However, the moment her touch concealed it, a rush of force knocked her to her knees and the crystal tumbling over the cliffís edge. Gasping for breath and clutching her burning pendant, energy continued to spread through her from head to tail. Coshi locked her anxious eyes upon her trembling palms as her whole body changed and rainbow fur spread over her. The energy faded. Coshi breathed hard, not knowing what just happened to her. Swallowing, she examined herself and realized what she had become.

 Coshi looked down upon herself. Furry. Her new fox-like rainbow tail had a white tip to it, too. Her hands and face were rainbow-coloured, but her chin area was white. She then felt around her head, along her velvety rabbit ears. Barely able to resist panic, Coshi trembled as her mind raced over what to do. She was a furry.

 The first thought that struck her was the crystal. It did this to her, so maybe it could change her back. Desperately wondering where it had gone, she searched around her and then peered over the cliff. The crystal resting upon a feeble branch reflected the moonlight and caught her attention. Still trembling anxiously, Coshi impulsively extended her right hand as far as it would allow to obtain the crystal. It was too far. As she began to move farther off the cliff head-first, loose pebbles tumbled from beneath her as her feet quickly scrambled for support and managed to hang just barely from a rock at the very edge of the cliff. Coshi hung off the edge by her toes, amazed at her luck.

 Again, her determination of reaching the crystal prevailed all other impulses. Sighing heavily, she continued to reach as far her arms would stretch - now closer to the crystal than before. Clouds shifted. The feeble branch swayed in the wind. Coshiís face misted with sweat. The branch didnít look like it could take much more. Coshiís toes were all that protected her from gravity. She reached as far as she could, and managed to brush a finger by it. Just a little more... CRACK. That canít be good. The feeble branch snapped and the crystal tumbled to the cliffís bottom, shrouded in darkness. Coshi had never been more frustrated in her life. CRACK. What now?! The rock her toes clung to began to break. NO... Petrified, she felt the unstable rock slice and slide slowly towards the edge. NO!!! Coshiís toes let go in panic, the crumbled stone falling into the darkness with her. She screamed, the sound fading as she neared the bottom. CLUNK. Unconscious, Coshi slept painfully until something else decided to wake her up...

 

 Whatís that...? Stunned that she had lived, her vision quickly focused upon a small white cat with blue-tipped ears and paws with a shiny object held between its jaws, which was pawing at her cheek. The crystal. Dazed, Coshi blinked and asked no one in particular where she was. To her surprise, the cat quickly spat the crystal to the ground and replied casually.

 "What Iíd like to know," said the cat, "is where you came from."

 Coshiís eyes widened and she blinked again. "Pardon?"

 "You heard me," said the cat, "where did you come from?"

 "I..." Coshi hesitated. Shaking her head slightly and asking what was she was itching to know, she asked in a quite clueless tone, "did you just... speak?"

 "No, I yodeled," mocked the cat, and tilted its head. It didnít want to repeat its question, but Coshi saw in its eyes what it still wanted to know.

 "I fell off this cliff," began Coshi, and her eyes searched for the cliff. The cat wondered what she was talking about. It was evident that Coshi was not where she had fallen. Where was she?

 "I donít get it... there was a cliff right here."

 "Thereís no cliff here, and there never was. Trust me, I live here. I would know. And according to my knowledge, you came tumbling out from the sky and landed in this very spot."

 Coshi remained silent, lost and confused. The cat paused before remembering the polite thing to do.

 "Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. Iím Nikkou. You are?"

 "Er..." Coshi hesitated. Restless, her flicking tail reminded her that she was no longer a yoshi. So why not call herself something new? The first name that popped into her head seemed to whisper into her mind like fate. She accepted this as her new name, "Sarina."

 The kitten seemed very interested in her pendant. After a few moments' pause, Rina finally burst out what was on her mind.

 "Thatís the thing that brought me here, you know. Why do you keep staring at my pendant, and whatís with the crystal?"

 Nikkou smiled. "Is it? Oh, but your pendant is the key to this crystalís powers. Knowing that it brought you here would explain a lot."

 "W, what?"

 "This crystal has been searching for you for much time. I think I know who you really are now. You canít fool me. Youíre the winged warrior!"

 "Iím what?" Rina flinched. "Do I look like a warrior to you?! And winged, at that?!"

 "Looks can be deceiving," replied Nikkou persistently, "Youíve been sent from the heavens to save our land from Kirenthia!"

 "Save... from... what are you talking about?!" Rina was beyond confused now. Her head spun.

 "You... youíve got to be...!" Nikkou stammered uncertainly, "no one else has a pendant like this!"

 Sarina shook her head. "My mother gave it to me. Youíve got it all wrong. Itís just a necklace, nothing special."

 Nikkou fell silent for a moment. "Then... the crystal didnít circle above and fall to your feet...?"

 Sarina stared at Nikkou. She seemed to have read her mind. "Well, yes, actually... it did..."

 Nikkou exploded with joy. "You are the warrior! Rina, you donít know it yet, but fate has planned it all out for you. Youíve got to help us! Valiriís taken over neko village... no one can stop her. Youíve got to!"

 Rina winced. "Wait a sec! Slow down there, I donít understand anything thatís just happened! Do you have any idea what happened to me before I woke up and found you? Iím no warrior, I donít even like fighting! Youíve got the wrong girl."

 But Nikkou wasnít listening. Grinning playfully and grasping the crystal with her feline fangs, she swiftly departed without a word and scampered over a hill, north to a field of boulders.

 "Wait!" cried Rina, chasing her in sudden realization, "I need to turn back into a yoshi!"