Mitsuko treaded carefully on the path towards the nursery. The trees rose up to the clouds, stretching out their leafy canopy over the large area of the forest. No sun came through; it always remained dark in here. The hairs on Mitsuko's neck were prickling and her heart pounded in her chest but there was nothing to be afraid of here. Her clan owned this forest and only members of the clan could enter it. Why should she be afraid? She shook her head, hoping that the sudden movement would make her feel less awkward in such a familiar place.
The wind picked up and stopped her in her tracks. She covered her face as dead leaves from last year blew up into the wind. Some leaves and twigs got caught in her long black hair but she didn't try to pick them out, she didn't notice them weighing down her hair. She was too busy staring at the pile of rocks a little ways off the road when the wind had died down.
She hadn't even noticed she had come near it until now; this pile of large rocks sitting in the middle of a large forest with flat ground. Rocks couldn't be found anywhere nearby the forest, it was geographically set as so. Mitsuko couldn't help to not be curious. When she was younger, she would often come out here and sit on the rocks to think or just relax. Occasionally, she would hear a faint whisper in the wind and she would talk to it, not able to understand what it would say in reply. But, now that she has grown up, she just sits and listens.
She adjusted the pack over her shoulder. The fawns could wait awhile longer for her. Mitsuko climbed up the small hill of rocks and sat down on the very top boulder. She felt bigger now compared to when she would sit there as a child. The ground was much closer and she didn't feel like a queen anymore, just the girl that looked after the nursery in the Northern part of the forest. She closed her eyes and began to think of all the possible reasons why the rocks were here, as she had always done when she would visit this place.
Maybe it was the ruins of an old house? She shook her head. Who would spend the time to take apart a house and set all of the pieces in a nice pile in the forest rather than using it to make a new house? Could it be that the pile of rubble was some kind of shrine? Why weren't there any candles or names written? She felt the urge to get up off the rock and look around but she resisted. Something was watching her every move, waiting to catch her off guard.
An eerie feeling swept through her body when the last idea that she could ever think of came to mind. What if, this pile of rocks that she was sitting on so calmly... What if it was a burial ground for someone stripped of all humane honors? Someone just killed and tossed into a hole and covered with boulders. She shivered and sat up straight, opening her eyes. Could that be why? She had never thought of that one before.
How then could she hear the faint whisper in the wind when she sat on the rocks and nowhere else in the forest? There was a secret to this pile of rubble. Ignorant of the forest watching her, she leaped off the rocks and sat her pack down on the ground by the road. Now at sixteen years of age, she was strong enough to lift the stones and unearth the mystery that is the pile of rocks.
Standing before it, she stretched her arms out and up, warming up to lifting the boulders. She decided this will be her project that no one knew about. Every day that she comes out to feed the fawns, she shall pick up and move a couple of stones. As much as she wanted to throw all the rocks out of the hole, she couldn't. It would take more than a day and her absence would be suspicious. She had to get back before noon and had completed the known task at hand.
The rocks were heavy but Mitsuko focused her energy on each rock, somehow making it lighter by a little amount. She had moved five large rocks as big as her teen-age torso before she decided to complete her chore and head on home in time for lunch. Tomorrow, she shall come back and work on the pile again. She was determined to find the voice of the faint whisper.