Yukitaka and the Lamentable Day.

"Father, when is Yuki-san coming to visit?"

"Calm yourself Shippo, he'll be here shortly."

Shippo bound happily to the den's opening. He gazed up at the cloudless sky, delighted that he and his older cousin could play together on a beautiful, sunny day. He watched the grass-covered field anxiously, waiting to see Yukitaka's form in the distance. A flock of blackbirds flew overhead, though not happily as one would expect. They fled in fear. Shippo's father sensed the approaching danger. He commanded Shippo to get to the back of the den. Shippo obeyed, and ran to his mother's side. His mother shielded him with her body as a bolt of lightning struck the den's opening. His father was thrown back, hitting the dirt wall behind him. He got on his feet; ready to fight the demons threatening his family.

"Run!" He hollered.

He took a battle stance in his true fox form, and prepared to fight the two thunder demons. Shippo was carried in his mother's arms as she fled from the den, running from the battle. Shippo heard his father cry out in agony, followed by a clap of thunder. His mother held back her tears and ran to save herself and her son. She smothered Shippo's fearful cries with her chest, hoping that the demons would not hear them. Shippo felt his mother go rigid as a bolt of lightning struck her spine. She fell to the ground and threw Shippo away from her. He ran back to her arms, but she pushed him away.

"Go," she whispered.

Shippo ran into the forest, and heard the horrible laugh of the Thunder Brothers behind him. The echoes of thunder muffled his cries.

Yukitaka smelled the scent of blood on the air. He ran toward he den as fast as he could. The green field he had visited weeks before was burnt and dead, with craters covering it's once grassy surface. He ran to the den in panic. The den's entrance was covered in blood. A blood-spattered mass was left at the opening. Yukitaka was sickened when he recognized the figure as his beloved uncle. He had been skinned.

He ran toward another body he saw a few yards away. His aunt was lying in the dirt, blood pouring from the gaping hole in her back. Yukitaka howled in agony and slammed his fists into the dirt. He cried over his slaughtered kin.

Questions began to form through the grief-stricken haze in his mind.

"Who did this? Why? Why wasn't I here for them! My Aunt… Uncle… Shippo…. Shippo?'

Yukitaka stopped his crying at once and lowered his head to the ground, hoping to catch the sent of his little cousin. From where his aunt lay, he could smell Shippo's scent. He followed it into the woods. He ran through the forest, the branches bending at his will. He prayed over and over that his adored Shippo-chan was still alive. Shippo's scent ended at a shallow stream.

'Good boy Shippo-chan. You covered your scent so that they couldn't find you.'

Yukitaka looked down the stream. Shippo's scent was slightly old, so he had probably traveled downstream a distance by then.

'I'll burry my aunt and uncle first. They deserve a proper burial. Then I promise I'll find you Shippo-chan, no matter what.'