Prologue

"The new moon washed out the weeds,
The crescent moon planted new seeds.
The half-lidded moon rained tears of sadness,
The full moon disappeared in the madness.

The sun said aye,
The wind blew nigh,
The darkness stood by.

Until the day the little moon would swallow up the sky."

The young girl stopped for a second, her right foot on the verge of teetering over the ledge she was trailing.

"A—ahh—" A surprised cry escaped her lips as she lost her balance, falling left towards the pavement, but when she braced herself for the fall, she found herself caught and placed down gently by two warm arms.

"Still into pointless nursery rhymes?" The voice was disdainful, but teasingly so. His lips twitched as he prepared himself for the inevitable glomp.

"Miran-oniichan!" Her arms wrapped themselves eagerly around his neck, but then he found himself unprepared for the real welcome home present.

"A-Achoo…" She sneezed full blast straight onto his face, and he almost—almost—regretted being back.

"I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, I'm so sor—"

"Please try using one of those next time." He pointed to her pocket, where a pink handkerchief dangled, soggy from use. "Sick as always, I see." He sighed, sounding far more mature than his years.

"I'm only sick from missing you. You're always away for military training, and we never get to play anymore." She pouted, and he felt a twinge of guilt at those large pearly white, tear-stained eyes.

"Well, she's certainly perfected that look since last time," he muttered to himself. "Fine, but I have to leave by tonight. I'm going to be sent off to the east for—"

"Yipee!" She didn't hear the rest as she dragged him across the courtyard. This would be the last time they were going to be able to meet for quite some time, but the faster he's able to climb up the ranks, the sooner he would be able to change this rotten country for both their sakes. But seeing the sunlight streak her dark hair, he decided he was going to enjoy himself for today.