Disclaimer: I do not own Rurouni Kenshin

A/N: Well, this is the sequel to B4 the Dawn! w00t!

The Color Black-Red

Sequel to Before The Dawn

The color black-red. Black and red. Even the name I've learned to fear. They terrify me with just the things they seem to say. Black-red is the color of death and destruction. Black-red is the color of London the night Jack The Ripper roams. Black is the sky, while red is the moon and the blood strewn upon now still blankets. Am I to die? Only he knows. He who took my strength. He who is my murderer. I am no ghost, yet I know he will come for me. And I will die. There is one who could save me, but he will not come. Now the one clothed in black-red will come, his red cloak sweeping along behind him, his body swathed in black. With that mask. The piercing blood red eyes, seeking me out through the darkness.

I have been running. Running away. I wandered around this forest, lost, my eyes searching for a welcome light. I ran till all hope left me. But I ran on, until I collapsed. Then, through the trees, I saw something. Far off, light shone through a group of thick evergreen trees. Getting up, I raced toward the light. I was panting and sweat was rolling down my forehead, and I was ready to fall down again. But I kept running. My eyes were tearing and the dress I wore – now a skimpy, shredded shadow of what it once was – was dirtied but I was there. I tore through the trees and into the clearing beyond. I gasped and ran toward the broken, dirt cottage. A dim light came from the broken window. I raced in, and looked around. It was empty, and I walked in a little further, to the shadow in one corner.

I gasped and retched emptily. Two skeletons leaned against the wall; flesh rotten, clothes torn and falling apart. What was left of their hair was matted with blood. "I… I…" My eyes widened and I stepped backward, tripping over something hard and bony. A knife glinted in the dark. I whirled around. "W-who is there?" I stammered. I backed up and hit the wall. "I k-know you are here!"

Suddenly, a voice as dry as the two skeletons, whispered, "They were never safe, and neither are you." A knife came down next to my ear and pinned the wall behind me.

I screamed and started running for the door. The knife whizzed past me and pinned the door shut, wedging itself in the lock.

The presence had moved, and the knife was gone from the door. I knew it was impossible to open. I knew I would never get out of here alive. "Never safe!" cackled the voice. It brought the knife down and this time I felt searing pain in my arm. "Never safe!"

The house began to burn, as if out of nowhere. The presence was gone and so was the knife that was embedded in my upper arm. The pain raged and the smoke burned my eyes. Blood dripped down my arm and hit the floor, staining the floor with a tragedy of a girl who couldn't even protect herself. I curled up on the floor, my arms around my knees, and cried. I would never get to see my love again, nor my family.

My eyes snapped open. What was I doing? I was not a child anymore! I took a deep breath and stood up, clutching my injured arm to me. I blinked away the tears and looked at the roaring fire. Suddenly, the feeling of cold, cold fingers wrapped around my body.

"Hush now. Close your eyes, and be calm."

I shut my eyes tight and suddenly the heat was gone. I felt cool ground beneath my and breath on my ear.

"You are never alone. Do not worry so much."

Then everything was quiet. I opened my eyes and looked around. I could no longer see the fire. I was set in the middle of the woods, clutching my bleeding arm. Who had taken me here? Not someone living, obviously. Just like that spirit who attacked me, another spirit had saved me. "Duomo … arigato," I murmured into the wind. I closed my eyes and fell upon the grass, fast asleep.

Hours later, I stared up at the sky, my vision clouded with worry and soot. As I stared through a mass of the thick evergreen trees that dominated this forest, I hear a voice. "Fool," it says. Then, through flash of light that erupted, blinding me for a moment, I saw the sky turn to a seething mass of black-red. I screamed. The pain of my arm heightened and blood covered the grass. Then quick as lightning I was in someone's arms and they had covered my mouth. As soon as they uncovered my mouth I yelled, "Put me down!"

"Quiet," a man's voice whispered dryly in my ear.

"Put me down!" I yelled again, struggling pointlessly. "Put me down this instant, you beast!"

"Fine." Roughly he set me down. I looked at my surrounding and found the forest was but a speck on the horizon. By now light was rising. The man frowned and said, "I said I would help try to get you back. Did you not believe me?"

It took all my self-control not to jump into the man's arms. Instead, I bowed low and murmured, "Shinomori-sama."

"Hai." His ice blue eyes, much like the ones of his son, Aoshi, glowered at me. "Again in trouble?"

I flushed. "Hai, Shinomori-sama."

There was a sudden sound in the distance. His eyes flashed. "Come! We are not safe yet! Can you ride a horse, child?" He looked at me with disdain.

"Hai, Shinomori-sama." I resisted the urge to do something nasty. He summoned two beautiful mares out of the darkness.

Recognizing the white mare as my own, I cried out her name. "Shura!" I ran to her and hugged her.

"Again proving that you are a child. There is no time for reunions, small one." Shinomori Yoichi, a lord of my kingdom, was definitely not known for his kindness. Cold and seemingly unfeeling, the lord undoubtedly had some secret plans for this kingdom. He mounted his horse and motioned me up as well. "You are putting yourself in danger. Hurry!"

That was probably the longest speech of his life. I brushed away my disrespectful thought and mounted Shura. He set out and, struggling to keep up with him, I yelled, "Where are we going?"

He slowed so that he could be next to me and hissed, "Do you want every villain in the county to know you're here, child?"

So I kept quiet and we rode on; where, I had no idea. On the journey, I had more time to think. I wondered endlessly. Finally, my thoughts came to my love. Would he have moved on? Would he still love me? Or has he found love in another's arms? I could not stand that. For most of the journey we rode across a barren wasteland, very different from the forest where Shinomori-san had found me. Finally, we reached a village. My eyes lit up, recognizing it. "Shiro!" This place, on the other hand, was lush and had many trees.

"Yes, Kamiya-san, Shiro. Make yourself at home. Do you remember where your cabin is?"

"I do, Shinomori-sama." I nodded, thinking, Is my love here?

"Good." He looked at my expression. "Do you…have another question?"

"Yes, sir…um…is Himura-san here?" I blushed at the question.

"Hmph. Perhaps. Why, child? He is a grand warrior and you are… nothing," Shinomori said cruelly.

I sat undaunted by his words. "I…well…we…are…"

"Spit it out!" He spat.

"Before I was captured he was courting me," I murmured.

"You are in love?" Shinomori snorted.

"Hai, sir." Or were, as it may be.

"Why would I know about a warrior and a child's love life?" he snarled.

"Well, sir…he is famous…and I am, young, true, but my powers…many people have heard of our engagement."

"Sou ka. Himura will be out later, so if you just go to your cabin and change, you can come to sit outside the Conference Hall. But do not enter. I do not need my warriors ogling you when they should be listening to me." He got off his horse. "Now go."


A/N: This is the first chapter of the sequel to Before The Dawn! Yay! Okay, guys, I'm just letting you know that this will be very different - much more serious - than Before The Dawn.

Review please!

P.S. Before I had 'ogling you when etc,' I had 'goggling at you etc.' What the hell is goggling? LOL!