Ketsueki sighed and put down his work to look out the window. It had been five years since his sister went insane and disappeared.
So much had happened since then, and Ketsueki had stopped wondering if Bara was even still alive. He was sure she was dead by now.
"Brother?" Ketsueki turned to see his other sister, Musume. "Kagami's here."
Ketsueki nodded and stood, glancing at something before leaving the room.
Musume looked down at what had caught her brother's attention, even if only for a moment.
A family portrait from long ago, the three siblings posed and smiling with their parents.
Musume reached forward to pick up the picture, eyes sad.
"I miss you, Sister," she said softly, before setting down the frame and walking out, preparing to prune the roses that Bara had been named after.
"Hey!" Kasai grabbed the shoulder of the first Igra participant she found. A man who looked terrified when he sa her face. "You look well informed. Tell me everything you know about the man called Shiki."
"Uh..." the man stammered.
"Idiot," Kasai growled. She grabbed the front of his shirt and shoved him against a wall. "Speak already! I'm in a bad mood today and you do NOT want to get in my bad books!"
"Okay, okay!" the man gasped. "Shiki is a very mysterious man, who no one knows very much about! He doesn't carry or collect tags, so no one thinks he's really interested in Igra. No one has survived his attacks before... you're the first! But it's known that he carries a katana and kills his victims quickly most of the time. Looks like he played around with you for a while, though."
"Is that really all you know?"
"Yes! I swear it is! I also swear that if I find anything more, I'll commute the information to you before anyone else!"
"Very good," Kasai dropped him. "You can leave now."
The man stumbled to his feet and ran off.
Mysterious, huh? Kasai stared at the wall, lost in thought. What an overstatement. He's as mysterious as I am cheerful. Whatever. I don't think I'll run into him any time soon, anyway.
She sighed and turned to walk off. Then froze.
"Those who delve into other's business are those who die early," Shiki said.
"And those who cross me are those who die slowly and painfully," Kasai retorted. "And that includes you."
"You're doing something that you'll regret."
"Like you care," Kasai glared, subconsciously baring her teeth. "What do you want?"
"I want you to mind your own business."
"Oh, trust me, I'd be all too happy to if everyone would just leave me alone."
They stood there for a few seconds, glaring.
Kasai had to look away first. She couldn't help it.
Those eyes... she thought irritably. Why did they have that effect on me?
She glanced back. Shiki was still there.
"You know," she said. "I would kill you, but that would be a waste of my time. I'm leaving."
She turned and left, seething inside.
Why am I so weak? she thought. I can't even handle a useless idiot!
She was muttering to herself the entire time as she headed back to her residence.
She slammed the door behind her.
"I am going to kill him someday," she muttered to herself. "I will rip him to shreds and bath the world in his blood!"
She stopped in her tracks. Those words... they were violent and insane, even for her.
She fell back against a wall, rubbing her head.
"What is going on with me..." she whispered. "Someone please help, someone just let me... oh gosh, I'm going insane again..."
She lifted a hand to her chest, feeling the deep scars through the thin material of her shirt.
"It's not like I haven't tried dying before..."
Kasai doubled over, arms pressing against her waist as she started sobbing.
She slid down and curled up, resting her head between her shoulders.
Kasai woke up with a stiff back, sore legs and a migraine.
She cussed, standing slowly and rubbing her back. Then the events of last night came back to her, putting her in an even worse mood.
"Curse this forsaken city," she muttered. "Curse it to the deepest pits of Hell, and just let disappear from this world, all memories and history..."
She mentally slapped herself for slipping back into being depressed. She was not going to do that again. No more clinic depression. No more suicide attempts.
But she needed to get her emotions out somehow...
I should be fine, just as long as I don't have to deal with any idiots today...
She picked up her knife and slid it under her jacket.
"Hey," a man's voice caused Kasai to whirl around and pull out her knife.
"Calm down, I'm not going to hurt you," the guy raised his hands. "I hear you bullied someone into information on Shiki."
"Yeah, so?" Kasai glared.
"Well, just to get a little closer to being safe from you, I'll share a little tidbit of information. Though he kills so many people, he never collects tags."
"I'm telling the truth."
"Well, I won't belive that until I actually see a corpse with all of it's tags," Kasai snapped before starting to turn, only to be stopped by the man's voice.
"That can be arranged. A bunch of Shiki's kills were found recently."
Kasai thought for a moment. "Take me there."
The man nodded and turned, gesturing for her to follow before walking. Kasai, wondering if it was a good idea, followed without releasing her knife.
Ten minutes later, they reached the site.
"Oh..." Kasai's voice sounded small, even to her. She doubled over, pressing a hand to her mouth and closing her eyes against the large amounts of blood. "This... this is impossible," she said, voice muffled. "N-no man can do this alone!"
"Not used to blood, eh? Well, as rumor has it, Shiki is almost always alone, so I don't see how anyone could have helped him."
Kasai just shook her head, squeezing her eyes tighter.
"Oh gosh... o-oh dear gosh..."
Straightening up but keeping her eyes closed, Kasai turned to leave.
"I thought you wanted to see the tags?" the man asked.
"No. I don't want to see... that any closer," Kasai whispered. "Thanks for... at least trying."
"No problem. But consider this a warning: Don't get on Shiki's bad side. Or you'll end up like these guys. And you're a long mile to pretty for that to be anything other than a waste."
"Shut up... I'm leaving."
With that, she slowly walked off, eventually opening her eyes as she kept seeing the bloodied corpses.
"S-so that's the strength of Shiki," she whispered to herself. "I can't believe it..."
He was just playing with me when we fought... so what am I going to do if I get into a duel with him again? There's no way I can win...