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Kaiya Uchiha
Kaiya Uchiha
Vagabond (E-rank)
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Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 0

Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency Empty Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency

Fri Apr 19, 2024 4:36 am
One hand was painted red, one arm was carrying the weight of a chipped sword, and two eyes were staring down death itself, and there was nothing She could tell her legs to convince them to move an inch. she was locked in place. Not by a jutsu, not by some trap, but by sheer and utter terror. she couldn’t move; but- 

“Scared little girl?”  

The giant had a surprisingly skinny voice, and She would have laughed at the weirdness of the thin voice coming out of such a burly figure, if death itself wasn’t trapped in her lungs, so all she could do was whimper with fright and stumble back. 

“Don’t worry tiny,” the kyuketsuki scoffs. “I’ll kill you and feast on you really quick. I’m really generous like that." The creature grins and then he’s moving again; knees bent in a weird running formation and fingertips touching the grass below and he’s off. 

She barely has breath between two blinks before she is without much thinking, throwing himself under the arm swung at him to slice off her head and rolling back onto her feet a couple of steps away from the kyuketsuki. 

He doesn’t even get the chance to calm her stammering heart down however, before a shadow falls over him again and pain blooms like burning stakes across her chest. Gasping she stumbles back; arm circling her torn open chest and eyes wide and swimming in tears. 

She was going to die. 

She was going to die, wasn’t she? 

Not a moment longer and he’s again getting slammed with twice her weight across her chest and, she hears something snap, and then she’s flying headfirst into the nearest tree in the area. She has barely any reason or logic left in her brains at this point, the pain having washed it all away, but thankfully... Maybe it’s instinct? She finds himself without thinking, swinging her body around and just in time protecting her skull with the back end of her right shoulder.  

Gagging at the momentary throb of pain that writhes through her flesh, she is up and running again long before her mind has even caught up to her body. Survival instincts mixed with sheer and utter fear coursing through her veins and it’s all the red-eyed girl can do to keep a lid on her emotions as she runs and screams at the top of her lungs for someone, for anyone to please come and save her. Her sister is the only name tumbling out of her mouth as she zigzags through the tall shadowy trees. But- “Anybody!” she once screams; blood and tears spilling down her face.  “Somebody! Please!” 

She doesn't know for how long she runs; she only knows that she’s running away from the safety of the trees and away from the monster, and it both terrifies her and makes her want to run for all of eternity. 

She doesn’t stop until she can’t hear the chill-inducing laughter of the kyuketsuki anymore, and only then does she crumble under a tree and shakes with such lack of control that she almost drops the sword she was carrying. She doesn’t care. She doesn’t care because she knows she’s going to die, and no one will come to save her. Since she was bleeding, of course the kyuketsuki would be able to find her and – and – and she was going to die. 

Grabbing at her hair with both fists, she tugs and chews her lips raw as waves of tears spill down her bruised cheeks. “I can’t do this!” She mumbles; her voice stuttering in her throat and face is so tinted of ashen gray it makes the blood stand out stark against her skin. “I’m going to die. I’m going to die, and I can’t do anything. Oh God. Why did I even run away,” she said with her ramblings not even above a whisper anymore, sounding both thick and terrifyingly thin. “Is this karma? Am I going to die because I lived and everyone else suffered and-” 

Burying her head in her knees, her shoulders shake, and her clammed-up lips are barely holding back a sob. A roar is heard in the distance and She’s whole-body freezes. Holding her breath; eyes staring at her legs, she listens. The roar, it’s drawing nearer and- 

This... This was it. It was all over. she – she was going to die by the hands of some monstrous kyuketsuki. Fuck revenge at this point; she hadn’t even made an hour without being tracked down, how pathetic was that. How sad. Another roar. This one is much closer. Tears started flowing all over again and damn it. How pathetic. A roar. She flinches. At least she was going to reunite with her sister and brothers.

‘Don’t you ever give up,’ a voice echoed through her mind. It was as if an electric current suddenly jolted into every nerve in her body and sent it ablaze. “Ariya, is that you!” She screamed as her gaze shifted frantically around. ‘Don’t you ever give up.’ Clenching her fists and gritting her teeth, she tried to steady her erratic breathing. Raising a shaky arm to her eyes, she rubbed away the wetness as best as she could and took a deep and steading breath.  

There was only one kyuketsuki. It didn’t look all that powerful and she’d never been too weak. She was going to kill these kyuketsuki, avenge her family and make her sister proud so, how could she lose here? This was her story, wasn’t it? Her mission. Her life. What kind of hero died in the prologue? 

She grins; teeth coated with dirt and flecks of blood. “Yeah, I’ll be fine. But-” Here she rises back up to her feet, using the tree as a support, knowing the shallow cuts running diagonally from her hip and up to her right shoulder are making her vision blurry, she tries her hardest to blink away the dizziness and sharpen her senses. The kyuketsuki is still drawing near. He was close now. Too close. 

She finally takes the time to look over her injuries; they are painful, but her amateur, chaotic movements had allowed the wounds to be shallow at best, and with another steadying breath, she finally circles her hand around her sword hilt and drags it to her side. Balancing the sword between her palms she shifts on her feet. The only thing she hadn’t let himself look at was her ear. she knew that - shaking her head, she banished that thought to the back of her mind. Some of it was still there, that’s all she could focus on right now, so she could do this. 

So, her legs move this time, and she is running. Not away from the danger, but towards it. Towards the kyuketsuki who’d promised her death. Still, no amount of diluted bravery was going to make him confront a lunatic kyuketsuki head on, so with a determined glint in her eyes, she crouches down low and pushes off the ground with all her might; hanging in the air for less than a split second, before she descends down on a treetop, pulling herself behind its shadows to await her hunter.  

The kyuketsuki doesn’t disappoint, showing up just a second after she had disappeared in the leaves. “I can smell you angel,” he whistles. “Come out so I can drain you of the rest of your blood!” 

She doesn’t want to, she's scared, and she can’t hide that fact from herself. Not when her body is still vibrating with barely contained terror and her sword is clinking to its hilt because of her shaking hand, and yet, the kyuketsuki is almost directly below her. She doesn’t want to, but then her sister's warm smile flashes through her head and it slowly morphs into the mutilated corpse of the girl she once knew. Teeth clenching to the point of creaking, the grieving girl drops down from the sky, sword swinging down in a sharp motion and mouth drawn into a sneer of hatred.  

Reckless for sure, but when she brought down the sharp side of her trusted blade at the kyuketsuki’s neck, all she could see was red. Red blood, red rage, red vengeance.  The kyuketsuki screams and it almost tears her ear drops apart. The girl is quick to swallow down the bile swimming in her throat as she shuts all her senses down and jams the sword even further into the kyuketsuki’s neck. 

“Cut,” she hisses; tears are already leaking from both corners of her eyes. “Cut! Damn it! Please cut.” But it doesn’t and again, she’s gripped by the scruff of her neck and flung headfirst into a tree. It’s all she can do to grapple for her sword and thankfully drag it out of the beast’s neck but that costs her focus, and she slams harshly into the tree. The world tilts out of view for a second and then comes back. 

Chopping someone’s neck halfway did make their aim and strength slightly off. She doesn’t have enough time to contemplate that fact however, not when claws are darting for her face, and she blinks in panic; swinging herself behind the tree and ducking with a scream as barks fly everywhere. The tree is now completely ruined and a heap of debris.

“Think you can take me brat!” 

“I can and I will!” she screams at the top of her lungs; her eyes as wide as two dinner plates. “Please don’t kill me!” she follows that declaration up with; throwing herself again out of the way. her speed being the only thing saving her uncertain and highly unguaranteed life now. “Please kyuketsuki-san! Please!” 

Why did she even think she could do this? Running behind another tree, she climbs as high as she can. Only to jump into another one when it too was torn in half. Her only chance was gone, so what could she possibly do now? 

 ‘Don’t you ever give up,’ a voice echoed through her mind once again.

“I know!” she screams. She was going to die. Pausing on top of a branch, she stares at the terrifying being below her.  “If I’m going to die anyways,” she mutters; tears still have not stopped falling. “Then I have nothing left to lose.” 

Blinking down at her sword her lips draw into a thin line and she tries to pull out all the flecks of bravery left in her barren soul and concentrate. “Listen,” Ariya had said before she passed. “Never forget to listen. If you do, you will be able to predict their moves long before they do them.” 

‘Listen.’  

Closing her eyes she does what she’d been doing all these days. But better. More concentrated. More focused. It was as if anything and everything in the entire world had just vanished and she was only left with her own erratic breathing and the wheezing sound of the kyuketsuki. She could hear him. Hear his blood thirsty thoughts. Hear his body movement, his heartbeat, his toes curling and uncurling. She could hear everything. Dropping down from the tree, she lands gently on the ground; eyes still closed, her sword pointing at the beast’s chest.  

“Let’s finish this.” 

The monster laughs and charges, but she is ready for him this time. It was as if she knew what the kyuketsuki was going to do, before he did it and she acted. Sliding out the way of the grab, she brought her arms down and sliced at the arm. It wasn’t fully cut off, but the kyuketsuki mustn't have expected it, because it howled and drew back. She didn’t let it, closing the gap between them quickly and swinging her sword outward.  

It barely missed the kyuketsuki by an inch. She swings again. This time catching the monster on the flank. She’s movements are slowing down with each swing; blood loss making her more and more sluggish, but she had this. She could do this and finally she- 

“Enough of this!” The kyuketsuki growls, and suddenly it is as if the air itself is vibrating with tension. The girl pales. No, it couldn’t be. Power surges through the giant and with a cruel tilt of his lips; something she is barely able to catch as her eyes fling open in horror, the kyuketsuki forms hand signs and shouts. 

“Demonic Hell Viewing!” 

The whole world shifts in one breath. From one blink to the next, her vision is covered in horrors she’d never laid eyes on before. Dead corpses, mutilated bodies, flesh of rotten humans. She wretches. Clamping a hand over her nose and her eyes tear up. What was this? What was going on? How... How could any of this be real, and the dead…they looked so familiar.

“Interesting,” he hears; the man’s whispering voice breaking him out of his momentary stupor. “So, this is your biggest nightmare, little child.” 

She doesn’t know what to say. “Where,” she stutters; frantically looking around, trying her hardest not to gaze upon the corpses strewed at her feet. “Where are you?” All the confidence she had so desperately accumulated in her brief moment of bravery had suddenly forsaken her; falling out of her pockets as fear slowly began to drown her all over again. “Where are you?” she screams; backing away from the hideous sight in front of her and stumbling upon a puddle. A red puddle. When her eyes finally fall onto the floor. They moved. The corpses. The dead, they – she wanted to scream, cry, maybe curl up and hide in a corner till someone finally came to save her.

The corpses, the too familiar corpses of people...people she knew.  “Please,” she muttered; taking a clumsy step back, hands still shakingly holding onto her sword as bodies came to. “Please stop. Please.”  From the very corner of her eye, she could see her. Ariya, she could see her. But...how could it be her. She watched her body lay lifeless as they threw her out.

“Please.” The pleading in her voice being drowned out by the groans and echoing suffering all around her. Drowned out by the foul stench of the dead, and she couldn’t help it. Couldn’t help the tears that streamed down her bloody cheeks as if to add a New Testament to her suffering. “I can’t... I – I can’t fight you...please Ariya.” 

Nothing that came out of her mouth seemed to resonate with her and in a split second she was upon her; arms slashing wide and mouth gnawing for the taste of her flesh. Yelping, she stumbled back even further, only to scream out as she jumped away from the man who’d come up behind him; one hand abandoning his sword to press against the deep cut inflicted on him by - “brother?” The words don’t come out louder than a whisper, but they come out nonetheless, breathless and unsure and her uncertainty making the man laugh even harder, the white-haired teen tries her best not to cry. 

She couldn’t see the man, couldn’t see anything outside of the horrible vision in front of her eyes, but she could hear him, hear him loud and clear. “Stop this!” She screams; eyes still refusing to rest on the young boy charging at her. Jumping into the air, she tries to put some distance between the animated corpses and herself, but – something is in her way, because with a harsh gasp she finds herself colliding against a tree truck. A tree trunk she can’t see with her eyes. 

Illusion. This was all an illusion wasn't it, but how could illusions hurt anyone? How could the man make her dead family hurt her? How? 

Her brother attacks again; this time flanked on either side by Ariya and another brother, making her poor attempt to avoid head on confrontation impossible. She takes the hits; as non-vitally as possible, but she takes them. Gasping, the girl crumbles to the ground, wounds bleeding as very real injuries pile up to make even the ability to stand on two feet impossible. 

The man is still laughing again, and she could feel the agonizing desperation of hopelessness crawling itself into all corners of her mind. She couldn’t win this. That was obvious. How had she for even a second thought…no, she dares not go there. Clenching sweaty palms around his sword even firmer, the blonde teen took a deep steading breath and tried to keep his eyes on every illusion in front of him. 

‘Don’t you dare give up,’ Ariya had said that to her. Had said it over and over again, and Ariya...she always looked out for her, even in death, so...there must be a trick to all this, right? How could illusions hurt her? How had she yet to see the man? How? In hindsight, it should have been obvious, but she honestly didn’t care about hindsight or other such bullshits. If she survived this, she was going to become as strong as she could to gain revenge upon her suffering and her sister's death.

For now, she knew. It was so obvious when she took real time to think about it. 

The man, he was hiding behind the illusions, wasn’t he? That’s why the attacks were only coming from one direction. He was playing with her mind and while she was distracted, the man would strike her down. It was so obvious now and yet...just because she knew now didn’t mean she could fight it. Just because she knew didn’t mean he could suddenly fight a full-fledged man with jutsu’s this powerful, and she was already bleeding all over the place.  

She could honestly die here, today, right here and now. She could die. Or she could not. She doesn’t know where the idea strikes her, but between running away from deadly illusions and trying to keeps her vital organs from spilling out of her body, a brief moment of past event suddenly flares up behind her eyes, and her almost faceplants at the jarring memory; barely stopping herself from halting in her run, but she remembers. 

It was probably one of the most pleasant memories she had of her sister. Swallowing down the bitter emotions that suddenly snuck up on her, she came to a screeching halt and whirled her body around to face her assailants.  

Ariya might be gone now, but…Affirming her stance, spreading her feet apart and taking a deep breath, she closed her eyes. Ariya might be gone, but what she taught her, it was still there and she just needed to time it right. Just right. 

“I see you’ve stopped running!” The man’s voice was drawing near and with it the animated-illusionary corpses. “Good, it’s time to die!” 

‘No,’  she thought; eyes still firmly closed as she tried to listen for every movement, every tense muscle, every heartbeat. ‘No, it’s not over yet.’  

And with that she let the burning feeling dancing through his veins buzz all across her skin and sparkle into something dangerous, heaving a giant crackling nightmare of fire-y thunder across her entire body and the man illusions didn’t have a chance to get out of her personal space before the fire surrounding her body like a shield snapped at their feet; burning them up and making the man hiding behind them scream in agony. 

Her eyes snap open and she manages to witness the giant of a man stumbling back away from him; burned flesh healing up slowly, but the shock in his face lingering.  

Dropping down to her own knees, she heaves a choking breath; blood trickling down her chin as rivers of red paint the ground under her scarlet. “Damn it,” she hisses; arms coming up to her chest futilely to stave of the blood loss, but how could she stop all that blood, how could she – Her vision begins to darken and her knows without a shadow of a doubt that if she loses consciousness here, she might never wake up again, so she shakes it of as feebly as she can; coughing painfully the whole time. 

The man seems to have gathered himself in that little time it took for her to not die, and the teen finds herself cursing the unfair ability of healing. How was that right, she could have won if, if life had just been fair? The monster probably realized it too, because he started to laugh again. Her body was still stuttering to a stop every other step, but the malicious glee that had been burning so fierce in the beast’s heart had again been rekindled. “You did well, brat,” he smirks; she can barely keep him in sight. “But it’s too bad that your body wasn’t designed to be better-” 

There is no more room for words after that, and the man advances on her. She was ashamed to say that tears started to fall again. She was scared, terrified. This was her final moment and she didn’t want it to be. Didn’t want to die like this. Not before she’d done everything she’d promised herself to do. Not before she avenged her sister, not before – and yet... This was it. Still; gripping her sword tighter, she raises her head high. Her body is still shaking something fierce and her eyes are too blurry from being abused with tears and her nose is stuffy from the snot dripping down her face, but – for everyone that ever believed in her, even a little – she was going to keep her head high. She wasn’t going to die a coward. Never. 

The man must have seen something in her face because he grins and nods down at her, and maybe that should have been enough, and, it is, so she breathes and puffs out her chest. It was goodbye- 

Or she thought it was but in the next second; just as the arm was about to strike her down, another body collided with the man, feet first and the giant of a monster flew away with that single blow to where the eyes couldn’t see. Jumping once and then twice to steady himself, another man came to a stop in front of her, his back turned.  

“I’m sorry I’m late, kid.” 

“Huh?”  

It was an older man who turned around to stare at her with the blankest of expressions. His left eye is shadowed in blood, his lip is busted, and his uniform is torn in several places. “I was held up,” his senpai says. “The rest of those damn Kyuketsuki were giving me some trouble, I apologize for not having made it to you in time.” 

“I-'' She doesn’t even know if he is sobbing or laughing or doing a mix of both, because someone was here to save her. Whoever he was, he was here, and he wasn’t going to let her die.

“You’re the one who attacked the rest of those monsters! I’m sorry I couldn't make it that far! I’m so sorry!” She screamed as tears fell down her face. Each word is wretched out of her lungs in a chaotic wave of emotional instability but whatever she must have spluttered must have had some semblance of coherency because the eyes facing him soften at the corners and the blankness of the man’s expression eases up a bit. 

“I believe you. Now get yourself together. I didn’t have the chance to defeat all of them before I figured you were in trouble, so get running on this path and you’ll find a village there. Somewhere safe that can treat you, now hurry,” he ordered. 

She nods. “Okay.” Before stumbling back to her feet to take off in the direction he pointed at. She knew he could handle this kyuketsuki if he was able to handle the rest of them, so there was no point in looking back. She needed to make haste towards this village before she succumbed to the blood loss. Dropping the sword, she ventured forth on the path until a clear view came into her gaze of the gates.




It wasn’t long before her blood-soaked rags she wore came stumbling upon the outer walls of this village. Her body ached, her muscles spasmed before they went completely numb. Knees so tired they buckled from the abuse they took. Flying to the ground, she hit the floor with mild impact, but what she could feel, it still hurt. Raising her head, she screamed out for someone to help her. She crawled as much as she could but she didn’t make it far. Her lungs were sore, but she still screamed out for someone, anyone to help her as she lay battered and bruised near the entryway of the gate.

“Someone…anyone…please help me.” Her voice went from monument to almost a soft whisper as she pathetically crawled. If she were to die here, at least she would not be dying in that cage.

WC: 4,166
Sakoshi Kurosawa
Sakoshi Kurosawa
Vagabond (C-Rank)
Vagabond (C-Rank)
Stat Page : Stat Page
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Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 500

Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency Empty Re: Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency

Sat Apr 20, 2024 7:52 pm
Most of this job was pretty easy. He read some minds and felt some semblance of power even when he didn't have much. It was entertaining the backstories that some of these people had going for them before they reached the gates. Murderers, miscreants, thieves, and folks from many walks of life came to the village of Tsukigakure, and he was the very first impression the town made on the people. That being said, there wasn't much to this job that caused Sakoshi to think all that hard. His abilities made his job more accessible, so it was a matter of sitting around all day, waiting for someone to come to the gates. 

Today, however, that would change when he saw a rather haggard-looking young woman running up to the gates. She was running up to the gates and Sakoshi was put on edge, but when he saw the state of her condition and that there was nobody following her, he realized that this was a time for aiding the needy, rather than protecting the village. When he got to her side, his sixth sense began to fire off. There were names of the Uchiha clan that ran through his mind, some even familiar to him. He realized that someone within the village was related to this young woman, but it was a matter of figuring out who the names belonged to. 

He pushed the idea of playing match maker later on, for now he had to focus on aiding the woman in getting some help. He scanned the horizons and he saw a man that he felt was going to be perfect for this job as a matter of fact. Kagusutchi, otherwise known to only a few as Kutari Uchiha. He was just so coincidentally walking along the gates when the woman approached. 

He waved to him, calling out that there was an Uchiha in need of aid, to which Kagu was quick to run to the woman's side. 

WC: 330
TWC: 330
Kutari Uchiha
Kutari Uchiha
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Vagabond (D-Rank)
Stat Page : Stat Page
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Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 500

Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency Empty Re: Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency

Mon Apr 22, 2024 5:04 pm
Sakoshi wasn't usually one to panic, but there was certainly a concern etched onto his features at that moment. He called over to the wandering Uchiha, calling for him to run to his aid, which Kagu would do immediately. He swiftly ran through the gates to the outer side and saw the young woman lying on the floor. He knew that he wasn't going to be much help as he didn't know any medical techniques that would help the woman, but he did know that there was plenty of Uchiha within the district that would know just what to do in this situation. 

"I'll take it and her from here. I know the exact people that will be able to help her. Thank you, Sakoshi." Kagu said as he picked the woman up and carried her to the Uchiha district. The travel through the village was a swift one, as Kagu was pushing his body to its limits to get her to the district safely. He decided to take to the rooftops to avoid running into anyone on the way. He sprinted up the wall, connecting his feet via his chakra as he did so. Leaping from one rooftop to the next, he checked to make sure the woman was breathing, which she was, for now.

He arrived at the Uchiha district within a few minutes of receiving the woman's body from the front gates, and he began to yell out to the women in the makeshift hospital that they had formed for their members. They opened the front doors and allowed Kagu into the building. They guided him through the building and showed him the area that he could let the woman lie down. He lowered her body gently into a bed roll that was on the floor, putting her head gently down on a pillow.

The women asked for Kagu to step back and allow them to do their jobs, so he did. He walked to the corner of the room and waited for the women to stabilize the woman, and he continued to wait until they had finished about an hour later. The sun was beginning to set by the time the women had left her to heal on her own, and it was the same time that Sakoshi came walking through the doors. The two spoke for a few minutes, Kagu informing Sakoshi just what was happening with her health, and Sakoshi explaining that she is closely related to some of the Uchiha in the village. 

Kagu was interested with this information and the two decided that they would sit in the room, waiting for her to awaken so they could make sure that she was alright. A few hours had passed and both Sakoshi and Kagu had fallen asleep, leaning on the wall behind them as they sat on the floor.

WC: 477
Kaiya Uchiha
Kaiya Uchiha
Vagabond (E-rank)
Stat Page : Stat Page
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Clan Specialty : Genjutsu
Village : Vagabonds
Ryo : 0

Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency Empty Re: Surviving the Apparition of Malevolency

Tue Apr 23, 2024 4:58 am
Numb. A feeling she knew all too well has enveloped her entire being as she lies broken, bloody, and bruised on the roughly made road of jagged rocks that led to the tower’s walls. Speckles of cloud-like particles started to consume her visions as she helplessly lay dormant. However, through the aura of haziness, she can see a figure coming towards her. She wondered if it was a friend or foe. Were they coming for rescue or for revenge? What did it matter, it is not like she will be able to run in her current state if they wish to inflict harm upon her. Death would be relief and a sweet escape with her in her current state.

Through her blurred-like eyes, she could make out the physical properties of the individual as he rushed to her side. He had tattoos in the shape of a strange design that she has never seen before. Perhaps her vision was just botched but she continued to study him. His hair was long and is intertwined within itself. It was such a unique type of hairstyle that she has never seen before. His clothing seemed to come off an animal. Maybe he is a hunter for his home?

It didn’t matter now did it.

As her gaze shifted towards the top of the walls, she saw the world in slow motion. Better yet, she thought saw the monster that will take her life come towards her. However, he seemed to evaporate into thin air. Has she started hallucinating now? Maybe, but it doesn't matter. Looking up, she saw the bright celestial body disappear from the sky. "Interesting," was all she could mumble before pain exploded over her body and everything went black.

-The In Between-

Bright light flashes and she finds herself in a new area. Listening to the noise that surrounded her, she always found the sound of rustling leaves. A sentimental gentle swishing conjured emotions of happier times during the changing seasons. A warm breeze wafted lazily through the trees, stirring the intoxicating scents through the air while she strolled along the edge of a secluded pond. The water sparkled with incandescent reflections from a deep sunset that painted the horizon with pastel swirls of light pinks and burnt oranges.

Casting an appreciative glance about the beautiful landscape, she had the familiar sense that she had been here before but could not recall an exact time when she could have afforded such a pleasure. The mossy banks provided a cool, soft place to settle in addition to being just as aesthetically pleasing while the forest behind her gave her a feeling of comfortable solitude. She was alone, though she did not feel alone.

A feeling as if she were waiting for someone kept absently pulling her attention in different directions. Her eyes searched the forest that surrounded the lake for any sign of her friends/comrades, but it wasn't their presence she felt.

"Kaiya."

She jerked to the sound of someone's voice. A strange voice. A voice she didn't entirely recognize for it sounded like more than one.

"Kaiya."

She turned the other way in absolute confusion. Who was this ‘Kaiya’ person they are calling out for? It sounded as if the two voices melded into one. For a moment, she thought she might have recognized at least one of the voices, but the small sound of a child deterred her presumptions. It was the urgency in the child's voice that compelled her to stand and search her surroundings more diligently. She began walking briskly along the embankment in a vain attempt at finding whoever was calling for her.

"Kaiya."

She halted dead in her tracks. This voice was different. She turned suddenly to determine its location as it echoed from the forest and bounced off the water to confuse her. The voice wasn't so much a cry as there was need that strained in the strange combination. Regardless, someone needed her help, and she was desperately trying to figure out where they were.

"Where are you?" she called in alarm towards the wilderness. Hearing the voice as if it came from the water, she felt compelled to bend over the embankment. Surely, it was no water god attempting to play a trick on her as she peered hard at her own reflection.

Suddenly, shadows appeared next to her reflection.

Now all she could hear were quick, ragged exhalations and marveled at the realization that it was her chest that was heaving. Placing her hand upon her forehead and feeling the cold beads of sweat that had formed, she wondered at her sudden trepidation. Something or someone was calling for her, but she could not imagine who or what. The reflection in the water had been dark and indistinct. When she turned to see who was behind her, the figure vanished, and the identity of this individual remained a mystery.

"Kaiya," was the last time she heard that voice as she jerked and fell into the water. The last voice was still a combination, but as she heard the name called, she was certain she caught the familiar voice of her sister, Ariya.

Now in the water, she began sinking into the dark abyss that consumed the depths below. Struggling, her arms moved frantically as she tried to swim up, but it felt as if something was dragging her down. Was she getting dragged to hell? Was it because she didn't believe in some imaginary deity who has let people suffer for eternity? So be it. Closing her eyes, she let her body be taken by the current that was pulling her under.

She was drowning, sinking deeper with every struggle and the light from the sun was dimming – blackness was swallowing her. Black and blues obscuring the eyes as she felt like her lungs would burst from being so full of water, her heart halting and starting in agonizing pulls. This had not been how she thought she would die – this had always been one of her greatest fears. Still looking up, she could see the rippling silhouettes of a few figures. Who were they? She couldn’t quite place it until she focused on the one. It was Ariya, but the others? No. It couldn’t be. It was her brothers. Had they pushed her into the water to be sent to hell? Were they mad at her for still being alive when they had died? She couldn't swim, she was seemingly paralyzed in the water...had her body already sunk to the bottom? Into the sticky blackness that had consumed her like some foul disease – it was rather hot down here and it hurt...wasn't drowning supposed to be peaceful?

“Kaiya, it is not your time.”

A faint light appears to her, seemingly coming from nothing. Growing, the white light rapidly descended upon her, obliterating all her senses and blinding her. Shutting her eyes, she felt numb, but something was different. She could breathe for the first time she started her pivot towards the bottom of this lake.

-From the Afterlife to Sanctuary-

Eyes springing to life, she has awakened. Her optics shifting around, she noticed that she was not in the exact spot where she fell but rather in a strange room. Trying to move, she soon found out that was impossible. It feels like she has been tied with heavy chains, restricting any sort of movement. However, she knew her internal organs still have to be functioning because she is breathing, and all the while she is paralyzed, she could hear her faint heartbeat in her ears.

Focusing on the things that occupied the room, she noticed it was some sort of medical room by the supplies that inhabited it. While never being in one, she has seen a few in passing by looking through building windows. But why is she here? She figured she was as good as dead, but maybe that man came to her rescue. Yes, the man that came to her at the front of the gates. But what of the one in the forest? Did he manage to kill that demon or was it still out there looking for her, to try and drain the rest of her blood from her body.

A shiver ran down her spine at the thought.

She gasped at the feeling! She could slowly start feeling sensation come back in her body. She still aches all over, but it was bearable. So, she wasn’t paralyzed after all. She slowly lifted up her arm as tings of discomfort spread from her shoulder down to the palm of her hands. She winces that notion while she flexes her fingers inward and outward. Even with those feelings, she slowly smiles at the thought of still being alive as she staggers to rise from her bed. Sitting up, she starts to remember her past when she never smiled, and she was just broken emotionally. Soon, she felt a tear slip from her eye as she began to remember her past.

She remembered when she watched from her place behind Ariya as she stood in front of her sibling's make-shift grave. She watched with a frown as Ariya continued to shed tears and hold onto herself, mourning the loss of their older brother who took care of them because their parents never did. Holding her hands close to her, she wondered why she didn't feel a deep ache in her chest at the sight. All she could feel was the wetness on her skin that didn't come from her eyes. Shouldn't she feel devastated? Lost? Overcome with emotion that she too should be shedding tears for her brother who had helped her since the day she was born?

She wondered if there was something wrong with her because she didn't feel that as she took in the view before her. No. What she felt was something deeper. Uglier. She didn't want to feel this way. She felt... weird, for even feeling a smidge of it. She hated herself for being able to feel this before she could experience what the feeling of joy was. Has she ever felt joy? Does she even know what joy is?

She wanted to cry then. She wanted to feel something. Anything remotely close to grief. Because if she felt grief then, then, it would mean she cared about him… wouldn't it? Why? Why is she feeling this way towards her sister? Why can't she cry? Why is it so hard to show emotion?! When she feels Ariya's arms wrap around her the weird feeling in her chest becomes harder because she feels Ariya's grief in her hair and no matter how hard she wills her own eyes, they just won't produce tears. Why can Ariya cry but she can't? Is it because she was closer to their brother than her? Is that why she is crying?

She remembers that horrible feeling in her chest. The thought of Ariya being closer to her brother felt weird and she didn't like it. She thinks she didn't like it. She wondered if her brother was disappointed in her. She remembers when she frowned when she realizes she can't bring herself to care.

Then that one day, she felt it. The grief and the tears that came with it. Those tears wouldn't stop falling. She couldn't bring herself to stop them even if she wanted to. For the first time in years, she freely allowed the tears to drip from her eyes and onto the ground. The pain in her chest. The pain in her heart. It hurt.

Ariya.

Her sister, Ariya. Her brothers. Her beautiful and strong siblings succumbed to the darkness they had withstood against for years. They deserved to have seen the end of their long lives but now they are gone…

She remembered that sob that ripped through her throat and she crushed her hands to her chest desperately holding the hairpin that once belonged to her sister. She held the hairpin as though she could hold onto her sister's memories, the feelings, everything. If only for a moment… she could keep them with her. Everything that day came crashing into her at once. Anger. Hate. Despair. Shock. Remorse. Grief.

She remembered her eyes widened in realization. Grief? Grief was a word associated with sadness. Was she sad? Her hand touched her cheek and tears continued to fall. Is this what feeling sad felt like? She remembered her sister had said that every person is shaped by the different experiences they face, whether it is painful or cheerful every experience is marked on a person's soul.

Remembering her childhood was never what she took joy in. She felt nothing involving anything to do with how she was raised and treated. It took her years to understand what she went through wasn't her fault nor was there anything she could have done to escape it. Maybe it will take her longer to associate anger and resentment to those long cold memories. But even she couldn't deny it was what helped make her escape from the Kyuketsuki Manor. She had no emotional ties with anyone. She knows what it feels like to lose someone you love but the words and actions needed to assure them that their world hasn't ended just wouldn't come to her.

At least, that's what she believed.

Now in present time, she looks down in her lap and sees her sister's hairpin placed in the crevice of her legs. It was placed in the back pocket of her rags as she made her escape and she figured that she had lost it. But it was there. Whoever changed her out of her bloody clothes and into these much more comfortable and cleaner ones must have found it and put it there.

She leaned forward, clutching the hairpin into her hand and placing it near her chest. It was the last remnant of her beloved sister close to her. This pain and all the feelings that came with it. The agonizing pain in her chest soon burned and the tears flowed faster. Like water desperately trying to put out the flames. She should hate this feeling but, with these feelings, she didn't feel like a puppet that would twist and turn and obey the one pulling the strings. Obey the orders she never refused.

No. She felt human. She felt human and these tears, this pain she felt was her finally allowing herself to acknowledge the emotions she locked away and refused to name. Butterflies may not be as important as bees, but they will help a flower grow until that flower is ready to face the sun alone. To bloom and become the beautiful flower within. This is what she should have felt when her brother died, and they buried him. At least, with him, they were able to bury her and lay her to rest but Ariya...

Another sob ripped through her throat.

“I'm sorry, Akihiko. I’m sorry Ariya,” she said through the tears that clouded her vision.

Was this mourning? Was she finally able after all these years to shed tears for the one she loves? Was mourning this painful? Would this pain ever go away? The aching pain in her chest, she didn't feel this way when Akihiko died. She didn't feel like her world was taken from her. She didn't- she didn't feel anything!

“Ariya. I wanted- I wanted to go home together. Ariya…” She squeezed her eyes shut but the tears slipped through, and they wouldn't stop. She didn't want them to stop. There's no stopping these overflowing emotions as she silently cried on her bed.

Turning her tear-filled eyes upwards, she finally noticed that there were two individuals sitting against the wall. However, something was strange going on with her vision, it was like she could see a glowing essence inside of them. Perhaps, her eyes were deceiving her again. But she couldn’t tell if they were sleeping or not, but she recognized one of them thanks to the dim hue that lights radiated. It was the man from the gate. He must have brought her here to help her. She sniffled at the thought as she has no good memory of people other than her siblings taking care of her.

“Si-,” her voice splits off due to the ache in her chest from the wounds she experienced and the sobbing session she had, but still, she pushes through it. Her raspy voice speaks out, “sir. Sir! Are you awake?” She yells out hoping to get his attention. “A-are you the one that helped me and brought me here?” She questioned concerningly before waiting patiently for an answer back. But little did she know that due to all the anguish she suddenly felt, a singular tomoe was circulating with in her eyes.

WC: 2,811
TWC: 6,977
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