Opened Feelings

Disclaimer: I don't own Samurai Shodown. Nor any of the characters themselves. Only the respective company, SNK Playmore does. Galford X Nakoruru pairing, including a first-ever Shizumaru X Rimururu pairing. In the meantime, Read & Review and please, no flames!

Deep in the Ainu village, a young priestess along with her childhood friend and her sister strolled off into the forest.

The very exact forest, which was once devastated by the dark forces of the corrupted priest, Amakusa, and then later, Mizuki. Before their time came upon them, there were a few more dark forces roaming around the countryside and nearly destroyed all of nature itself. The first was the insane and sadistic Yunfei. His soul became so corrupt that he went on a killing spree until his very own students, Enja and Suija sealed him inside a boulder; long before he was vanquished afterwards. As if that wasn't enough, there came Zankuro. A heartless samurai without any remorse whatsoever. During his presence, he killed an orphan's parents and was later defeated at the hands of not only Haohmaru, but also the same child that murdered his family: Shizumaru.

Along the way, one of the priestess' friends spoke. "This forest looks more beautiful, than it was last time."

"Indeed it is, Manari." She makes a deep breath and looks up at the sky with a warm smile on her face. "As long as nature and I exists, there will no longer be anymore battles."

"Sister…" says Rimururu, quietly.

"Huh? What's the matter, Rimururu? You look so…pale," thought Nakoruru

She replied secretly. "Who me? I…Uh…Nothing. Nothing to be worried about."

"That's the least of my concern." Later, she feels her heart beating very strangely as she feels that someone is nearby. "Ah!"

"Nakoruru, what's wrong?" Manari asked.

"I can feel…something…warm. But, who is it?" Before long, she sank to her knees and her heartbeat begins to beat even faster. "I've never felt anything quite like this. What's…this…feeling? It's so…so…"

"Soft?" says a new voice.

As Nakoruru hears that familiar voice, she gasped. "No! It can't be! It's can't possibly be him. Is it?" She gradually stood herself up and slowly turned her head around to see a young man with blonde hair, while donning a blue samurai outfit and his companion, Poppy with its children at his side. "Galford-san?"

"You were expecting maybe, Ukyo?" he laughed to himself as Rimururu and Manari both felt very insulted at his remark.

"Wh-What are you doing, here?" she asked him, shyly.

He responded. "I was going to do some training here with Poppy and his boys until I saw you and your friends. So, I'd figured that I would stop by for a change."

"You don't have to see me, here. After all, I'm a priestess and it's my duty to protect this forest and-"

Just as she was about to finish her sentence, Galford interrupts her. "And also sacrificing yourself to protect it."

"What?" shouted Manari and Rimururu in unison.

"Galford-san! Why did you say that? I had no choice! Whether to let this evil spread across the land or-"

Again, he interjected her. Except that he grabs her by the shirt. "Giving up your life to protect everyone and everything that you care about! Including myself!"

Manari and Rimururu stepped forth and confronted her with a look of concern on their faces.

"Nakoruru, is this true?"

"Why didn't you tell us in the first place?"

Galford explained to them. "She was afraid of hurting you, because of what happened during Mizuki's rampage. If she hadn't told you sooner, you wouldn't have taken out your frustration on her."

"Galford-san…" said Nakoruru with her cheeks blushing with a hint of redness on them.

Later on, he releases his hold from her shirt. "Now look, Nakoruru. You can't just devote yourself to the goddess herself. The reason as to why is that you're devoted to everybody in your homeland. The same thing goes to your friends and to myself. But if you still refuse to believe in me or anyone else, then you're just plain old selfish."

"How can you say something like that in-front of my sister?" yelled Rimururu.

"I'm just trying to help her out. Not that it really matters." As he looks down on the ground, his complexion changed. "But, I kind of feel sorry for myself, when Nakoruru sacrificed herself in order to restore this land. If it was me, she would be more than just a priestess. In short, after I've avenged my father's death, I've given up on her."

Galford's companion, Poppy and it puppies squealed sadly to him about Nakoruru's sacrifice and his short-lived relationship.

Nakoruru, on the other hand, refused to believe him. "That's not true!"

As he looked up, he sees her acting in a cheerful mood.

"Nakoruru?" says Manari in confusion.

"I know that deep down inside of you that you're a proud man who's willing to learn from his mistakes, no matter how difficult it may be. Although, if you hadn't stopped me from restoring this forest by sacrificing myself, I would've returned my feelings to you or to get to know you more. And I believe, that you're someone who doesn't hesitate to draw its weapon." While Galford and Nakoruru's friends stood there in bewilderment, she continued. "You should know that a true samurai should never betray his emotions whenever danger is upon him or her. If you're willing to help others such as myself, you have to believe in yourself and in your friends, just as much as I do. So, please. Don't submit yourself to something that's already been done. If you let yourself be dragged into the darkness, than we wouldn't have known each other longer."

After listening to Nakoruru's speech, Galford made a small laugh. "Thank you, Nakoruru. You know for some reason, I keep getting myself blind without any explanation. At first I was weak, but now I'm feeling better and stronger than I was before."

Poppy barked happily.

"I'm so glad for you, Galford-san." Then, she felt something very strange from inside and falls on one knee. "Ah! Not again!"

"Sister, what's the matter?" Rimururu asked.

As Galford looks on in shock, he feels that something is definitely not right with her as he begins to feel a dark presence. "Oh, no!"

"What's wrong with her?" Manari urged.

"I can sense something. Something dark and shallow." While he was busy explaining about the way Nakoruru is feeling, she falls to the ground and lays unconscious.

"Sister! Sister, talk to me! Say something!"

Both Rimururu and Manari tried shaking her body but came up with nothing as she's rendered out-cold.

Galford bent down and checks her pulse to see, if she's suffered any trauma or anything else. "Hmm. It seems to me that she's fainted. Whatever caused her to be like this must've been from the inside."

"What do you think it is?" Rimururu asked.

"I'm not sure. But, we need to take her back to the Ainu village, as quickly as possible."

For the past few hours, Galford and Nakoruru's friends carried the unconscious Nakoruru back to her homeland. As they found some shelter in a nearby temple, they carefully placed her on the floor and discuss about the way Nakoruru has been acting.

"Galford, any idea as to why she wasn't herself?" Manari questioned.

"It's probably has to do with that dark ego of hers. In other words, Rera."

Rimururu gasped in surprise. "How can she…?"

He answered. "I don't know how or why she's in her body. But truth be told, she's trying to possess her in any way possible, when she refuses to kill anyone."

"What happens, if she's successful? Then, what?" thought Manari.

"That's a good question, Manari. However, only time will tell."

Suddenly, they hear a loud thump and then, some loud noises. Apparently, these sudden actions are coming from the outside.

Galford and Rimururu inform Manari to look after Nakoruru, while they exit out of the temple and investigate the source of the problem. As they did, they spot some familiar people. One was a black-haired pony tailed man with black eyes, while wearing a white samurai outfit and holding a samurai sword. The other had the same features, only with red hair, blue eyes and carrying an umbrella as a katana when its unsheathed.

"C'mon, kid. Surely, you've had some kicks before, but this is ridiculous!"

"Hey, look! I'm trying! But, I just can't do it!"

"Humph! Speak for yourself!"

"What's going on around here?" says a new voice.

"Huh? Oh, it's you, Galford. Me and Shizumaru were doing some training and somehow, he hasn't had the chance of defeating me."

"Why on earth would you allow something like that, Haohmaru?" he wondered.

"I was just playing with him, really. See?" He began rubbing his head until he shoved him down. "What I'd tell you? Light as a feather."

"Look who's talking, mister" says the young lad. But as he turns his head the other way, he sees a young girl staring right back at him. By glancing at her cute figure, his cheeks were tinted red. He was also left speechless.

When Haohmaru sees that Shizumaru is looking at somebody, he cloaks him at the back of his head. "Hmm? Hey, pay attention!"

"Ow! You didn't have to do that. I was just noticing of how cute that girl is" he answered.

"Cute girl?" As he looked back, he recognizes the person that Shizumaru was staring at. "Oh, her. That's Rimururu. She is Nakoruru's sister."

Shizumaru smiled as he got back to his feet. "Is that right? So, if she's here, than where's Nakoruru?"

"She…fainted" Galford responded to them.

"What?" shouted Haohmaru and Shizumaru in unison.

"We were talking to each other until something had occurred to her. Galford believes that Rera is starting to take over her body again" Rimururu confessed.

Haohmaru narrowed his eyes. "I see. No doubt about it."

"Rera?" wondered Shizumaru.

By stroking his chin, Haohmaru answered. "Now, how do you put it into terms? Oh, yes. She is Nakoruru's…demon."

"You're kidding me?" cried Shizumaru.

He continued. "I'm not joking. The difference between them is that she has a wolf, while Nakoruru has an eagle. But, there's more. She also has a thing for bloodlust and has a knack of manipulation."

"You mean that she's a lot like Zankuro?"

"Shizumaru! You can't compare the priestess with that sick old man! Besides, it's highly unlikely that Nakoruru would never…"

Before Galford could even finish, there was a huge purple light that shined the whole temple and later, a scream had filled up the place. They all turned around to see the temple shining in a bright purple form and then, the doors were opened and out came Manari, running from out of the temple with fear in her eyes. What's worse, is that she has a few gashes on her clothes and on her face.

"My god! Manari, what's happened to you?" Rimururu urged.

"Your sister. She's…not…the…same." With her last ounce of strength, she collapsed and leaves everybody in a state of shock.

"This is bad. This is very bad" Galford shakes his head in shame.

"You don't suppose that Nakoruru has really…" As Shizumaru was about to answer, Haohmaru interjected him.

"Don't even think of going there. Trust me, I know. There's no mistaken it. Rera has taken control of Nakoruru's body."

After he revealed his answer to them, they witness a horrific sight when they see someone coming out. But, this person was much different than the last time they saw Nakoruru. Her skin was dark tanned, her once fabled blue hair was now dark brown and her eyes were also no longer blue like her hair as they become dark purple. In addition to that, her clothing had changed from red into purple as she makes a sickening laugh.

"Nakoruru, is that you?" Galford asks to her.

The young woman spoke. "I'm finally free. The Nakoruru you once knew is gone."

"Great! Now, what do we do?" Shizumaru requested.

"In order to get through to Nakoruru, we'll have to fight her" insisted Haohmaru, as he begins to draw his blade.

"No! You can't fight my only sister!" Rimururu pleaded until Galford came in and stopped her.

"Shut up, Rimururu! That's not your sister, anymore!"

"But, what about Manari?"

"Take her to a safer place other than here. We cannot allow to see any more casualties. If we do that, than we'd be a disgrace to nature herself" says Shizumaru to her.

"Shizumaru. Okay. But, please be careful!" After that, she carries the wounded Manari to another cabin and thankfully, heal her injuries from the devastating attack that Rera had inflicted, who has now taken control of Nakoruru.

As they see her leave, Shizumaru, Haohmaru and Galford have now drawn their blades.

"Think, she'll be alright?"

"I'm certain that she will. Now, let's take care of some business."

"I agree. But just to let you know that we don't want to kill her. We just need to free her. That way, I'll tell Nakoruru of how much I care about her" Galford narrowed his eyes with determination and courage as the confrontation between him, his colleagues and Rera begins.

The dark girl chuckled with pleasure. "Then, try and take your best shot at me while you still can!"

"I hate to break this to you, but I don't do truth or dare! So, come on!" yelled Galford, as he, along with Haohmaru and Shizumaru bolt at the same time.

Rera also charged at them as she blocked every attack from the impending trio. She first blocked Shizumaru's, than Haohmaru's and now Galford's. The friction between each of their blades are causing some heavy and serious sparks.

"Damn! She's good. A little too good, if you ask me."

"Don't underestimate her, Shizumaru. There's still some good in her. I can just tell."

"For once, he's right. Nakoruru, don't you remember who I am? It's me, Galford. I'm your friend."

Unfortunately, she didn't respond to him as she grunted with displeasure. Knowing that the good side of Nakoruru is starting to either pick up or be swallowed by her dark self. She continues to cut him down, by swinging her blade back and forth. Whereas Galford however, he kept on blocking all of her attacks for quite some time. That is, until he didn't see the oncoming swipe on his arm and later, another one right to his face. The blood began to trickle down on his face as he wipes some of it off and struggles his way to free her mind and soul from Rera.

"Galford!" Before Shizumaru could help, Haohmaru stopped him.

"Wait. I think, I'm getting the picture."

"You do? What's the solution?"

"It's quite clear to me that Galford is trying to tell Nakoruru that he admires her. He wasn't able to tell her the first time, because he wasn't open-minded. After all, a true warrior's strength comes from one thing and one thing alone: love. So, tell me. Is that why you were looking at Rimururu all of a sudden?" He said, raising his eyebrow at him.

Shizumaru's cheeks were slightly reddish as he turned his head away from him in embarrassment. "That's not true! I was looking at something else. And so what if, I was looking at her? There's no way that a demon like me would have any feelings to her."

"Actually, he does" Haohmaru made a slight grin on his face.

"Yeah, right. I would never consider myself to be loved by Rimururu!" shouted Shizumaru with anger in his eyes.

"I'll tell you what. I'll assist Galford, while you go and help out Rimururu with Manari. But whatever you do, don't do anything stupid" Haohmaru warned him.

"Don't worry, I won't." After that, he runs down to the path to where Rimururu went off to. With him gone, Haohmaru tries to catch up with Galford and his duel against Rera.

"Nakoruru, snap out of it! Don't you know, what you're doing? You're hurting me, your friends and nature with it!" urged Galford to her.

"Who cares! I just want everything to be gone and soon, you'll be joining them in the afterlife!"

During the conflict, she kicks him in the ribs and punches him in the face, causing him to fall down. But as he got back up, she stabs him right in the chest.

Galford feels the pressure of her blade, beginning to go into his heart. Just as he was about to be finished, Haohmaru jumps in and elbowed her in the face. As a result, she removed the blade from Galford's chest that's already starting to bleed out.

He sank down to his knees and clutched his wounded chest, as he looks on to see Haohmaru putting up a decent fight against Rera. Then, he feels that his wound is becoming more worse at every second as he breathes very heavily. "Why? Why did she do that to me?" By removing his hand from his wounded chest and looking at it, it's now smeared with blood. "Ah! I can't…hold out!" After a short while, he starts coughing up some blood that's coming from out of his mouth.

Meanwhile at a nearby cabin, Rimururu was healing Manari from her injuries that bestow on her. The Maiden of Light had a look of sorrow on her face as she closes up the cuts on her body that her sister did, when Rera took control of her body earlier. As she looks at Manari, she sees that she's starting to open her eyes.

"Ugh…Rimururu. Are you alright? Where's Nakoruru?"

"Take it easy, Manari. I'm fine. You should rest for a while. But the question remains, why did my sister attack you?" told Rimururu.

"Look, I'm sorry. I didn't know what happened. At first, she was okay and then when she got back up, something just crept up from inside of her" says Manari.

"You mean Rera?" said a new voice.

As both girls turned around to see who said it, it was Shizumaru. He didn't had any scratches on his body or on his clothes as he has a look of concern on his face.

"Shizumaru? Why are you here? Aren't you supposed to be helping Haohmaru and Galford out?"

He answered. "I was. But, he told me to look after you two since he informed me that Galford couldn't get through to Nakoruru."

"Wait a minute. Is it possible that he's in love with my sister?" Rimururu asked.

"I think, it's possible. Not the least of which that I would have some for you, of course."

She raised her eyebrow at him, as she looks completely confused. "Hmm? Shizumaru, you're acting a bid odd. Is there something wrong with you?"

By staring at her cute face, his cheeks were pure red. His hands were nervously shaking and his forehead began to sweat, while his teeth were chattering.

"I-It's…It's nothing, really. It's just that, I…" He still begins to mutter, as she begins to lean closer to him.

"Well?"

"I…I…I mean, how Nakoruru did got taken over by Rera, anyways?" he said.

Manari, now healed from her injuries, slowly responds to both of them. "Maybe, I can answer that for you. It was when, me, Nakoruru and Rimururu met Galford at the forest."

(Begin Flashback)

"After we saw her not feeling well, we took her inside the temple. From there, we began talking about why Nakoruru wasn't herself. Then, we heard something from outside and that's when we saw you and Haohmaru doing some training. I never would've thought that a samurai like him would train a young boy like yourself. While you were all outside, I saw her getting back up. And that's when the unthinkable occurred."

"Ah, my head. Manari? Where is everyone?"

"Oh, they're having a chit-chat with Haohmaru and Shizumaru outside."

"About what?"

"It's not important. Besides, what happened to you back at the forest?"

"Listen, when I was feeling my heartbeat, I felt something dark and horrible. It was awful. But still, I'm fine."

"No, you're not. Here, let me help you." As Manari reached out her hand and tries to place it on Nakoruru's shoulder, she pulled it away from her.

"I told you, I'm…" That's when trouble starts to kick in, when she feels a dark power coming from inside her body. As she did, the dark power itself began to take its toll on the young priestess. "Oh, no…AAARRRGGGHHH!" During her screaming, her whole body was filled with dark purple and so were her eyes.

"What's going on?" Manari was feeling very afraid that a sudden transformation was about to take place right in-front of her.

Nakoruru's voice was starting to become very dark until she screamed once more, before it went away. "Stay away from me! I can't control…UUURRRGGGHHH!" Before long, Nakoruru had disappeared until the bright purple light went away and replaced by someone else, as she collapsed to the floor.

"Nakoruru?"

Then, she hears a disturbing and yet, sickening voice coming from her. As the young maiden stood up and whirled around to see her, she has an evil grin upon her face while still laughing. Not to mention, her once fabled pure blue eyes have now become light purple, along with her clothing including her skin being darkly tanned. "Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sorry, but Nakoruru is absent right now. Mind if I, leave a message for you?"

"Oh, my god!"

(End Flashback)

"And that's when she attacked you. That explains why that demon is controlling her. But, how do we free her?" Shizumaru offered.

This took Rimururu some time to think it over and then, her eyes had lit up. "Wait a second! Of course! Why didn't I think of it, earlier? Galford's confession to my sister!"

Manari frowned. "Please don't tell me that Galford has a thing for the priestess?"

"Well, duh! In order for my sister to return back to normal, Galford has to tell her that he loves her. I know that it sounds silly but, it's the only way for my sister to be free."

"True but, why on earth would he want to do that?" asks Shizumaru.

Rimururu continued. "It's because he wants to believe in her and she wants to believe in him."

"You mean that we also have to believe in ourselves?" added Manari.

"That's right."

"Now, why didn't I think of that?" As Shizumaru smacked his forehead with laughter, there was a loud scream that nearly echoed throughout the village. They recognized that voice from somewhere and as he was about to leave, Rimururu stopped him. "That sounded like Galford! C'mon, he needs our help!"

"Wait! What about Manari?"

"Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Let's head out there and rescue Nakoruru. Please."

"We'll do our best. C'mon, Rimururu. Let's free your sister or else, we'll never see her again." When he left, Rimururu's cheeks were tinted red as her heartbeat begins to beat slowly.

"What's come over him? Is he acting like Galford or different? Then, why…" Before she could proceed any further, Shizumaru called out to her.

"Hey! Are you coming or you're just going to stand there all day?"

She pouted. "I AM coming! You don't have to overdo it, you know that?"

Elsewhere, Haohmaru and Galford are still struggling against Rera. The dark maiden has seemingly stacked the odds against them. Even though that she was outnumbered, she wasn't outmatched by them.

"Crap, this is nuts! Hey, how are you holding out?"

"I…I don't…know." He once again coughs up more blood from his mouth, as he's still clutching his wounded chest while only standing on one knee. Poppy, barked sadly of seeing his master becoming heavily injured in this battle between himself and Rera.

"Uh? Oh, man! You don't look too good! You better get out of here, while you still can!" Haohmaru insisted.

"In that case, allow me to fulfill that duty for him." Then, she makes a loud whistle to call out her faithful wolf. "Go, finish him off!" The seething wolf growled with anger, as it bolts its way towards Galford and was about to strike him down, until someone slashed him from across its side. Therefore, preventing it from damaging Galford. Rera was very disappointed that he's still standing.

"Damn it! Who did that?"

"That was me!" says the young lad. He revealed himself to her, as he was holding a small blade while holding onto a small umbrella with some backup behind him.

"Shizumaru! Good…timing…kid!" called Galford, while still clutching his heavy wound.

"This is completely absurd! Take care of them, while I finish off Galford by myself!" Before she could move any closer, Haohmaru stops her in her tracks.

"Not until you beat me first!"

As the Rera's pet charges its way towards Shizumaru and the others, he blocks the wolf's fangs with his blade and shoves the beast down before landing on its feet.

But instead of charging at him again, it goes right after an un-armed citizen: Manari. She felt very scared that she's helpless against the wolf.

Luckily, Rimururu was able to shove the beast down with her mystic ice powers from the floating ice crystal known as Konril and rescued her. That only angered it more as it goes after the one that hit him. By the time that it did, Shizumaru manages to push Rimururu away, just as that wolf sinks its teeth right into his shoulder. He screams in sheer pain as he feels the pressure from the wolf's teeth being driven into his wound and refuses to let go.

Rimururu felt anguished of seeing Shizumaru sacrificing himself to save her. By looking at the struggle between Haohmaru against her possessed sister and the wolf hurting Shizumaru, Rimururu conjured up enough strength from Konril (her floating ice crystal companion) and created a mystical ice hammer to put the hurt on the wolf by slamming it on its back hard. The wolf whelped in pain, as it releases its hold on Shizumaru's shoulder, begins to run away from its master and drifted off into the wilderness.

Rera felt disgusted that her escort has abandoned her in the midst of her battle. "Curses! You'll pay for that with your life!"

Meanwhile, Shizumaru is partially wounded from the wolf's bite as he groans in pain while the blood is trickling down from his shoulder. Manari and Rimururu start to aid him and possibly heal his wound.

"Oh, dear. How horrible."

"Shizumaru! Are you okay? Say something!"

He groaned. "I'll be…fine. I'm just wondering if you're alright, Rimururu. To think that I would let that beast…have its main course on a cute girl…like yourself." He then removed his hand from his wounded shoulder to reveal a small portion of blood on his hand and as he looks over it, he sighed. "I mean, what's the point? No matter who I am or how old I get, I'm still and always will be a demon."

Rimururu felt irritated of his annoying belief about him being a demon inside of himself. So, she backslapped his hand and stares him right in the face. "Don't you ever say that! You never were a demon, Shizumaru! You've always been a good-hearted person, instead of just becoming as a monster. Can't you see? Haohmaru has treated you as if you were his son and him, being your father."

Shizumaru became perplexed of what she's trying to say to him as she continues on.

"In-spite that you've had doubts of acting and accepting as a demon, you've learned to become a good demon. Because, you've seen of what's right and what's not. And if it wasn't for Haohmaru, you wouldn't be as the person that saved me from that wolf earlier. So please, don't feel so down. I appreciate your concern about yourself and…me." She plants a small kiss on his cheek, which made him red.

"U-Uh, T-Thanks, Rimururu. You know, I hadn't notice that I was acting like such a nice guy. Although, I appreciate of having him around when it comes to being an ally." He feels his wound was getting more serious as it continues to slither down on his arm and clothes.

"Shizumaru!" Upon seeing that his wound is worsening, she calls forth her magic strength from her ice-crystal comrade, Konril and performs a healing ability on him. With her hands glowing in an icy form, it spreads on his wounded shoulder as the ice begins to close up the gap that Rera's pet had did to him. After a few minutes, his shoulder was covered with ice and looks up at her with a faint smile.

"Thanks. Now all that's left is for Galford to free your sister. And from the looks of it, it's not looking too good."

As they look to see on what's happening, Galford is slowly inches away of having his life taken away by the one person that stabbed him and controlling Nakoruru's body: Rera.

"Oh, dear. Galford can't hold on much longer and Haohmaru is still struggling against Rera. Isn't there something that we can do?" asked Manari.

"There's nothing we can do, Manari, except watch" grumbled Shizumaru.

"Then, allow me to witness your friend's most glorious demise!" Rera took the advantage of the fight, by head-butting on Haohmaru's chest and later, slashing his cheek until she begins to seek out her prey. Galford was left completely defenseless against Rera, when she stabbed him in the chest and also his face and arm. His companion, Poppy tries to intervene, but Rera shoves him down by tossing the young pup against the tree with one hand and focuses on eliminating her enemy.

As he believes that might be over for him, he closes his eyes and turns away from her while holding on to his wounded chest that's already stained his clothes. "Crap! It can't…end…like this."

Manari, Rimururu and Shizumaru turned the other way and closed their eyes as well. Just when Rera is about to slain him, she hears a loud voice coming from inside of her mind and as a result, her body had frozen.

"NO! Galford-san!"

"What's…going on? I can't…move my body!" muttered Rera.

As everyone opened their eyes, they can see that she has stood still like a statue and trying to move an inch closer to Galford.

"Hey, look! She's stopped. But, how?" wondered Manari.

"It's my sister! She's fighting Rera from the inside!" Rimururu admitted.

"Let's hope that she can get rid of it. If not, only Galford can" added Shizumaru.

"Be careful, Galford" says Haohmaru.

Upon seeing that Rera hasn't moved yet, he reluctantly got up and still clutching his wound. He walks slowly towards her with a small smile on his face. He later halted at the spot, stood in-front of her and then, he begins to commit his confession to her while Rera is trying to fend off the priestess from her mind. "Nakoruru. Can you…hear me? I guess, you…can't since you're awfully busy with Rera." Still heavily bruised, he pressed forward. "I've been hiding my feelings from you after what Mizuki had done to your precious forest and…if anything were to happen to you, I'd protect you from here on out. But, when you told me about what you did…to save your forest by praying to mother nature and not feel…sorry for myself, I felt an impact on my heart for so long. This is why, that I've been wanting…to say these words for a very long time. That I…I…I love you!"

(Inside Nakoruru's Mind)

"Hey, what the hell are you doing?" Rera shouts, as she tries to stab Nakoruru.

"Saving…my…loved one! Now, get out and stay out!" With that, she uses Rera's own sword and stabs her right in the chest, where her heart is.

Rera screamed in pain, as she was dissolved into sand and disappeared.

Then, as Nakoruru made a sigh of relief, she heard a strong message. "I love you!"

When she recognized that voice, it was Galford's. But by the time she heard it, a bright light came in and blinded her.

As luck would have it, Rera's body began to glow as he continued. "I want to be with you…Nakoruru!"

After that, Rera suddenly screamed from the startling confession that Galford had said and then, she disappeared until her features had changed. Her hair and eyes had returned back to pure blue. Her clothing went back from purple to red. She started to breathe slowly, before she looked up at him with a look of bewilderment on her face. "Galford-san!"

"Nakoruru…" Unfortunately, much to his dismay, he collapsed due to the sudden injury that he received from Rera. Everybody was in a complete shock that Galford had not only confessed his feelings to her, but he also ran out of strength.

The only person who was more shocked than anyone was Nakoruru. Her eyes were filled with fear and sadness, while many tears flowed down on her pretty face. She runs to his side and examines the wound that he had when she was taken over by Rera. She picked him up by wrapping her arms around his lower back and cried. "Galford-san…No! I…I…I love you."

"Just great. It came from bad to worse" thought Haohmaru, shaking his head in disbelief.

"I don't believe this. First, he finally confessed to her and now, this happens" cried Shizumaru.

"Sister…" Like Nakoruru, Rimururu also began to cry as she nestles her head against Shizumaru's chest, where it enabled him to throw his arms around her.

Manari stood there in silence, as she felt surprised that her close friend, Nakoruru was able to confess her love to Galford. But was also saddened of Galford's demise.

As Nakoruru looked at Galford's face, she realized that there was something that she must do. By clasping her hands in a form of a prayer, she utilizes one of her special techniques and perhaps, save Galford's life: "Shirikoro Kamui Nomi."

"What the?" shouted Haohmaru.

"No way! She didn't!" Manari protested.

"Did what?" said Shizumaru, while Rimururu looks on to see what's happening between her sister and Galford.

She became very startled by recognizing that technique. "My goodness! She's trying to revive him!"

Kneeling at Galford's side and making a solemn prayer, a huge blue pillar with swirling winds of healing energy surrounds onto Galford. Everyone stood there in awe, as they witness that Nakoruru is trying to heal him by performing one of her special abilities. Then, during the healing process, the wound that Galford had sustained began to slowly disappear including his cuts on his arm and face. Shortly after that, the pillar had vanished and escaped Galford's body.

Nakoruru begins to peak and wonder, if her ability had worked on him. Sensing that she has saved him too late, she once again cries to herself and buries her face with her hands.

During her time of sorrow, Galford was beginning to move his fingers and moans quietly as he starts getting back up. He then scratches his head and was able to open his blue eyes as he stares at Nakoruru, crying. Before long, his companion, Poppy comes in and stroked him. He patted his fellow pup on the head and later, replies to her. "Hey, easy boy. Nakoruru? What's wrong?"

When she heard those words coming from someone, she stopped crying and removed her hands from her face. Her vision was a bit blurry, due to her sadness until she wiped the tears from her precious blue eyes. But as she did and made her vision clear, she gasped to see who's standing in-front of her. "G-Galford-san? Is that…really you?"

"The one and only." He finished his sentence by smiling at her.

Nakoruru's face was filled with joy and relief that her technique on him had actually worked. She later threw her arms around his waist and looks deep into his eyes, while her eyes were sparkling with happiness. "Galford-san! I'm so…I'm so happy that you're still here. You had me scared all this time. I didn't want to…hurt you."

"It's okay, Nakoruru." Then, he noticed that the wound on his chest was gone. "Huh? My chest! It's been healed! Nakoruru, you saved me! How can I ever repay you?"

Glancing at his handsome face, she turned away slightly with a hint of redness on her cheeks until she went back to him. "It was nothing. Um…Galford-san?" She clasps her hands with his and answered. "I understand that you want to be at my side and I appreciate that. Therefore as of today, I hereby making you as my personal guardian. And another thing…I love you."

"I love you too, Nakoruru." As he pulls her closer to him, she stepped on her tippy toes and then, she pressed her lips against his. Galford deepened it, as Nakoruru moaned when Galford entered her mouth with his tongue.

All of Nakoruru and Galford's friends are very relieved that not only Nakoruru is back to her old self, but she also restored Galford's life in the process with her special healing technique.

Haohmaru took a deep breath and gazed at the newly found couple. "Well, now. This just got a whole lot more interesting."

"Aw, that is so sweet" says Manari.

"It feels like that their burden has been lifted. How lucky for them."

"Don't forget about us, Shizumaru. We have a lot to do with each other" She snuggled her head against his shoulder as his cheeks are becoming more reddish, when he first caught a glimpse of her. After that, she smooches him right on his cheek; as Shizumaru becomes slightly embarrassed of having a relationship with Rimururu.

"Oh, boy. How did I drag myself into this?"

Many days has past, since Nakoruru's alter-ego, Rera was vanquished when Nakoruru freed her mind and body when she witnessed Galford's severe injury.

In the midst of the Ainu village itself, Rimururu and Shizumaru are now a couple since he nearly sacrificed himself to save her from Rera's pet wolf and she returned the favor when she used her ice powers from Konril and even nursed Shizumaru back to his old self. They're starting to get along with each other, as Haohmaru and Manari keep a close eye on them.

As for Nakoruru and Galford, they're spending their lives together inside the forest as they look at the calm blue lake and the sky in the sun shining brightly below them.

"Galford-san…"

"Nakoruru…"

As he embraces her with his warmth, he replies. "I'm honored of becoming your guardian and I'll do whatever it takes to protect you and mother nature with it."

"That's good to hear, Galford-san. By the way, I want to apologize."

Galford blinked his eyes in confusion. "Why and for what purpose?"

She pressed forward with her statement. "For almost forgetting about you, because I kept on believing in mother nature and the forest with it. But thanks to you, I understand that I can put my faith in my friends and the villagers of the Ainu village. And as for you, Galford-san, you're the one true person that I can truly depend on from here on out. I just want you to know that I still love you."

"And I love you too, Nakoruru."

After that, they share the same feeling once more, only it was more blissful. With Galford as Nakoruru's personal new guardian and lover, she and him became a formidable team. And from that point on, their love for each other has blossomed.