To Live My Life

By nightelfcrawler

Warnings: None

Okay so... in chatting with an rp partner, we ended up discovering that we had been a part of the same fandoms some 10+ years ago. She ran a website that hosted some of my old fics... which made me drag out some old dvds that I'd saved my webpages on... and lo and behold, I found these old fics hanging around still and decided heck why not bring them back. So here they are, a trip down memory lane! These were written in the late 90's and early 2000's when I went by too many psudonyms to remember. I actually forgot who I was until I physically saw the fics listed and went 'oh crap I remember those!'. Ahh memories.

Be warned... these were my first attempts at writing and are likely riddled with grammar, spelling and other noted errors. I've read through them, blushed furiously that I used to write like this, and decided to put them up anyway as-is with no revisions. So please enjoy, but don't bother correcting or whining, they shall be ignored!

Standard disclaimer: These characters aren't mine they're created by the wonderful Watase Yuu, although I wish they were, Houjun-chan is such a hottie! So don't sue me, I need o-ka-ne right now...

Miaka was happy.

Things couldn't be better for her at any moment in time.

Not only had they found yet another Seishi in the most unusual of ways, but they had gathered an inner fire. Something linked them all together, and bonded them in some way that created a warm pocket of hope around Miaka's heart.

And then there was Tamahome.

The minute they had laid eyes upon each other those few days ago, the instant that had summoned her heart to life, she knew that there would be no doubt in her heart, or his, ever again.

They were meant for each other. That was simply that.

There could be no discussion either way, she knew. She had known from the beginning, from the very first day they had met. She had never believed in love at first sight until that day.

However, this was after all a story book land, and dreams really could come true.

She opened her eyes and stared at the canopy above her, a strange light in her eyes. No matter how much she missed home, she felt herself unwilling to return if it meant being separated from Tamahome. As much as she wanted to go home, to find Yui, to see her Okaasan and Oniisan, if that meant that she had to leave him behind…..

She bit her lip in consternation. It would of course be fate that would put her in this situation.

Either that, or bad luck.

She shoved the covers aside and slid out of the soft silk sheets, almost giggling with joy over such luxury. Hotohori was certainly very generous to allow them to stay in the palace. Of course, she chided herself, you're Suzaku no Miko, basically a higher position that the Emperor himself. It would be scandalous to not treat her like some sort of Queen. She slid on her robe quickly, then pushed the heavy wooden door open, letting the frigid burst of nighttime air waft in, causing her to shiver and draw the robe closer before silently sliding out into the hallway. Tamahome better not be asleep, she thought. The moon was out full tonight, casting a silvery glow upon the garden as she walked quickly in the direction of Tamahome's room. As she scurried silently along the wooden boards, she gazed out at the peaceful pond that lay still as a mirror, reflecting the ornate Chinese rooftops.

It seemed so hard to believe that she was here sometimes. Part of that was due to the fact that no one would believe her if she told them what had happened.

She smiled to herself and fairly skipped through the halls, in a lighthearted mood. She felt her heart soaring higher than the clouds tracing the pale moon in the night sky. Of course she promptly tripped on her robe shortly afterwards.

As she was trying to regain what little dignity she had remaining, her eyes fell on the pagoda in the center of the garden. She hadn't expected anyone to be awake this hour of the night. Actually, she shouldn't be either technically. However, she could see a dark shape of a person leaning on the railing, their back turned to her, gazing out at the garden.

Standing back up and brushing herself off, she slowly walked over towards the pagoda, peering in the dim light to see who it was. As she drew nearer, she recognized the figure to be the newest Seishi who had joined them just a few days ago. Smiling, she walked over into the pagoda. "Hi Chichiri! You can't sleep either?"

Usually Miaka wasn't the observant type, but something about the way the Seishi was standing, how he suddenly gripped the handrail tightly, made her realize she'd startled him. "Ahh, gomen nasai Chichiri! I didn't mean to scare you. I'd thought that you'd heard me and all, well I mean, I think the whole palace probably heard me and….." She continued rambling merrily on, not really paying attention to what she said until she noticed that he was half turned away from her, his face turned aside. She hesitated. "Ara….Chichiri daijoubu?" She reached out a hand worriedly, but stopped midway uncertainly at seeing his shoulders tense up. She lowered her hand back down, bit her lip and looked down at the water feeling like she was intruding. "Ano…..I'll leave you alone. Ja ne." She turned to go, feeling guilty for bothering him, and started to walk off when she heard his voice speaking in a low tone.

"Iie….daijoubu Miaka."

She turned her head back and stopped uncertainly.

He half turned his head in the shadows and nodded gently. "I was just doing some thinking no da."

She turned back and rejoined him at the railing, letting her gaze fall to the still water. "Whatcha thinking about?"

"Just looking at the stars and wondering what we have awaiting us no da."

She drew her gaze up to the sky and let her eyes wander over the unfamiliar night sky. "I don't recognize any of them….it's different from my world. Though you usually can't see the stars at all there, the lights of the city are too bright."

He nodded and made a soft sound of agreement, then tilted his head back to the sky as well. "Did you know that each Seishi has a constellation no da?"

She gazed up at the sky nodding. "Yeah, I remember Hotohori mentioning something about constellations…." Where's Tamahome's? She thought to herself.

Chichiri lifted an arm, as if reading her thoughts and pointed at a pattern of stars. "That's Tamahome's constellation no da."

She slid her gaze along where he was sighting and squinted. "Where? I don't see it….."

He took her arm and guided it along the pattern of stars carefully. "Follow the brightest one up no da."

She tried to sight it, but ended up getting lost in the many different bright stars. "Mou…I can't see it…there's too many of them….how can you pick them out!" She glanced over at him in frustration, and here eyes widened in slight shock and astonishment as she caught sight of his face.

He sensed her silence, and turned his head, his good eye meeting hers. She bit her lip and looked away, trying to find words to apologize when he interrupted her. "I spend a lot of time wandering no da." She glanced up hesitantly to see him gazing back at the sky again. "One can pick up a lot from gazing at the night sky before going to sleep no da." She bit her lip and turned her eyes back out to the garden. "Have you always been a wanderer Chichiri?"

She instantly regretted the question the minute it was out, as he flinched very slightly and his hand gripped the railing slightly tighter.

"Ahhh…gomen gomen!" She wanted to throttle herself for being so blunt and nosy.

"Iie…daijoubu." He glanced over at her with a small smile, which Miaka realized, despite the smiling face he wore on the outside, a true smile was worth much more. "No, I wasn't always a wanderer no da, but the majority of my adult life I have been no da."

She nodded silently, and propped her elbows on the railing. "So you know a lot about the stars and stuff?"


She glanced furtively at him, and noticed a sadness etched in his face that ran deep into his soul, but he obviously did a good job of masking it from ordinary life. She wanted to ask….she wanted to know…ever since that first time she'd seen him without his mask, her curiosity had been tweaked, but she knew better than to pry into other people's business. When she was serious anyway. So instead, she leaned over the railing and closed her eyes, breathing in the cool air and letting the breeze blow her loose hair around.

She was wide awake now, and no matter what she did, she knew she wouldn't be able to sleep tonight…..and it was late in the night….or possibly it was morning by now. She sighed and leaned back, glancing up at the stars again, trying to pick out Tamahome's constellation, and once again failing. Then a thought occurred in her mind. "Ne, Chichiri?"


She looked over at him, and he turned his head to meet her eyes. She still wasn't accustomed to seeing the harsh scar on his face, but she at least was able to ignore it when she talked to him. "How did you know to come and save me? You know, I hadn't thought about it till now, but you must have been watching us, right?"

A small smile played on his lips in the pale moonlight. He closed his eye for a minute before speaking. "Hai….I was watching you for some time actually no da."

She frowned. "How long?"

He opened his eye and caught her gaze. "Well….I sensed when you arrived in the world, and stayed at Taiitsukun's for a bit with her while she was watching you, so I could learn a bit more about you no da."

Her mouth dropped open. "Since I got here? That long? Why didn't you come sooner then?"

He shrugged. "There are some things that aren't meant to be interrupted no da."

Miaka frowned before she caught what he was saying. She then blushed and laughed nervously. "Ah…..sokka." She fiddled with her fingers for some time, wanting to ask him a question that had been bothering her for some time, but not sure how to approach it.

He saw her nervousness, and spoke softly. "What is it Miaka-chan?"

She looked up and saw the kindness on his face, and felt her apprehension fade. She smiled up at him and posed the question. "Ano…Chichiri….when I get my three wishes…..when I summon Suzaku…" She shuffled a bit. "Is it possible for me and Tamahome to be together?" She looked hopefully up at him.

He shook his head in uncertainty. "I'm not sure no da. Theoretically, Suzaku would be able to grant any wish you requested no da. However, there would be a problem of adjusting to one world no da. If he went back with you to your world, it would be a different land for him, strange and frightening no doubt no da. And if you stayed here…."

"…..I would miss my world."

He nodded.

She sighed heavily. "I don't know what to do…..I love him…..I can't stand the thought of being separated from him again….but….." She trailed off hopelessly.

She felt a weight on her shoulder and looked up to see Chichiri's hand resting comfortingly there. He smiled warmly down at her. "Daijoubu no da. If you two are strong and devoted, I'm sure something will work out no da."

She suddenly felt a strong warmth creep up into her heart, and she smiled back at him. "Hai! Of course you're right!" She then stood upright and smiled broadly. "I'm going to go visit Tamahome now…..I…." Her words were cut short by a sudden movement from his hand. It was frozen in a hushing position, so she quickly silenced herself and looked up at him questioningly.

He stayed perfectly still, a concentrated look on his face, then suddenly snatched his mask up and took her by the arm. "Hayaku…" She half ran after him as he dashed down the corridor, letting go of her arm and sprinting in the direction of the residential guest rooms.

She followed him as best as she could, he was a quick runner, and she was breathing hard by the time he skidded around the corner into Tamahome's room. She broke in and ran right into him and Nuriko who were standing in Tama's room looking around warily. "The ceiling!" cried Chichiri, and he put a quick hand up and light lit up the ceiling as a form of someone dropped to the ground revealed by Chichiri's magic.

"Kisama!" cried Tamahome as he lept towards the intruder, who deftly lept away and vanished before the eye could blink over the rooftops.

"Come back here!" Nuriko ran out in his nightgown and tore part of the railing off as Miaka tried to get her bearings, and she watched as he threw it at the departing figure, but only made a new wall decoration instead. "Ooooooo, he broke the waaaaaallll." Nuriko whined. Miaka sweatdropped as Tamahome whapped him a hard one.

She crept into the room tentatively, seeing Hotohori with his drawn sword wearing a frown. "Tamahome…." She ventured, and stepped forward to his awaiting arms. He hugged her to him and smiled. "It's ok Miaka…everything's gonna be ok."

She buried her face in his chest, feeling his warmth, feeling safe there. "Yokatta….."

Hotohori's voice came to her ears. "What did he want Tamahome?"

Tamahome frowned and seemed to think for some time, and Miaka looked up at him worriedly. "He said…that if I went to Kutou…..they wouldn't destroy any more villages…" His voice trailed off into an uncomfortable silence. "Hotohori-sama….." Tamahome spoke finally, "Villages were attacked?"

Miaka felt an overwhelming sense of dread fill her heart as she listened to the emperor tell them what had happened that day. Something cold clutched at her heart, dark and forbidding. There was something wrong….very wrong.

Darkness….hopelessness….never ending sorrow…..

Miaka sat within herself and cried, her small form hugging her legs to her chest, her head buried within, letting loose her tears of misery.

How could he?

How could he possibly forget her…do the things he did?



The tears wouldn't stop. Not for her, not for anyone.

They would never stop. Never.


Mitsukake merely tugged tighter on the bandages without so much as glancing at the red-haired bandit. "You're strong to have made it this far. A little extra pain now won't kill you."

"Mou…." Tasuki glared briefly at the healer, then glanced away out towards the window. "Kuso…..what now?" His eyes were sad…..not for that idiot who'd beat the crap out of him, but for Miaka, a broken girl….she must be going through hell, he thought.

"All we can do is wait."

Tasuki glanced over at the healer with a frown. "But what if he comes for her? I mean, you said that that drug he was under wiped the memory? So he doesn't remember any of you guys or anything?"

Mitsukake said nothing, but simply gathered his herbs and bandages and stood up heading for the door. On his way out, the door opened and Chichiri walked in, nodded briefly to Mitsukake as the healer left, then shut the door as he entered. He walked over and took a seat next to Tasuki's bed without a word, sitting there in silence for several minutes before Tasuki grinned lopsidedly at him. "Oi, so what's up?"

The monk frowned briefly. "How are you doing no da?"

He shrugged. "Eh, could be worse."

Chichiri's eyebrow rose.

Tasuki just grunted in dismissal of the point they both new to be false. "How is she doing?"

Chichiri sighed quietly and shook his head dismally. "Not well…she's locked the door to her room and refuses to answer to anyone…." He removed his mask and rubbed his eye tiredly. It was red rimmed and weary, showing the lack of sleep the monk had been getting.

Tasuki sighed and leaned back wincing in pain from the wounds that he'd received. "Damn it. Why can't he heal me right now?"

"Be grateful you're still alive after that no da."

"Yeah yeah….." Tasuki grimaced. He knew how lucky he was…he'd lied before when he had said he'd had worse. Truth was, brawls among the bandits usually only ended up in bruises or scrapes. Tasuki had only been through something similar to this once, and that had been something he'd care not to remember fully. "You should get some sleep. Yer looking horrible ya know that?"

Chichiri nodded slightly. "Hai….haven't been able to sleep much no da….."

Something about the way the monk said that sent chills down Tasuki's spine. There was hidden meaning in his words. "Oi…..whadda ya mean?"

Chichiri didn't meet his eyes directly. "I've been…..seeing things that disturb me…"

"Like what? Whadda ya mean?" Tasuki frowned, his fangs protruding worriedly as he scowled. "What, can you see the future or somethin?"

Chichiri didn't respond, and that was enough to clue the bandit in. "Kuso….you're not kiddin…" He trailed off aware that it couldn't be good news if he was in such a bad condition. "Oi….wanna talk about it?"

Chichiri shook his head. "I'd rather not, if you know what I mean no da."

Tasuki, thickheaded as he was, frowned. "Huh? Not really…."

Chichiri sighed. "Lets just say, if I told you what I saw, you might or might not try to change how and if they happen…..and that might make things worse no da."

He nodded slowly, understanding it. "Yeah, guess you're right."

They sat in silence for some time, each buried in their own thoughts. Finally, Tasuki broke the silence. "Chichiri….you know magic right?"

The monk looked up. "Hai…."

Tasuki thought hard, something new to him, and then spoke. "Could it be possible, I mean, given that the drug that was used isn't something Mitsukake can treat medically, then could another method be used?"

Chichiri frowned slightly. "What are you getting at no da?"

"Well, if he can't use his healing powers to bring back Tamahomes' memory, could you try something magical to do it?"

He shook his head. "No…there's no spell I could use that would-"

"No, I mean, couldn't you like go inside his mind and try to talk to him or something? Or find the wall that's holding his memory back?"

The monk drew up short in thought, his brows furrowed together. "I…..think I see what you mean…" he started slowly, "…but it would require many different things to be in place first…"


"Like, Tamahome would have to be restrained and subdued…I couldn't enter his mind if he was fully aware and rejecting me no da. And also, I'd need some time. There would be a lot of things to try and find out…..I've never done something like that before, so not only would it be a new experience that could prove fatal if one mistake is made, but I wouldn't be sure of what I was doing no da."

"But you could do it?"


"Theoretically…." Sighed Tasuki….."Damn…..why can't anything be cut and dry anymore?"

Chichiri shook his head. "But the chances of an opportunity like that arriving are slim no da."

"You're optimistic aren't you?"

He sighed. "I'm realistic."

"Same thing." They sat in silence some more, then Chichiri rose from the chair and slid his mask back on. "I'd better let you rest now Tasuki. Sleep well no da."

"Yeah…" Tasuki closed his eyes and leaned back on the pillow. "You get rest too. You look like shit." Chichiri turned and smiled faintly before exiting quietly, leaving the bandit to his rest.

Hotohori was seated in his room, staring in the mirror as he frequently liked to do, but this day it brought him no pleasure to gaze at his reflection when so many things weighed down his mind. It brought worry lines to his beautiful flawless face, and that set him in a depressed mood.

He turned back and stood up, walking over to the window to gaze out at the never ending down pour of torrential rain and gloomy weather. It fit his mood. Hopelessness and unhappiness were what rained down on Konan this day.

He sighed, then drew a thin cloak on and stepped outside, heading towards Miaka's room. He had to cheer her up somehow…..after all, with this new twist, she was the one suffering the most from the incident. With everything that was happening, his own discomfort, and the land's loss came absolutely last when it came to her happiness. Nothing else mattered if the Miko suffered.

He arrived at her door and knocked gently, then pushed it open. She was laying there, not moving, curled up in a small ball under the covers. He had been worried that she might try something desperate…..and he had rightly been able to judge that since she had tried to commit suicide…

He sat himself next to her on the bed, and ran a hand through her hair gently. He loved the way that it slid through his hands, but today he could only feel tenderness for her, and he laid a hand on her back feeling her breathing unsteadily as small sobs struck her. He lay down his head beside her own, and closed his eyes, wondering what he in his lofty position could possibly do to battle this potential threat. It was nothing he'd been trained against, that was for sure….what good was an emperor's power if he couldn't combat the most obvious of evils?

He was aware of her stirring after some time, and he opened his eyes and found himself gazing into her deep brown ones. They seemed surprised at first, then they softened to gratitude and some small happiness. "Good morning Miko-sama."

She smiled a sad smile, filled with her woe and suffering. Something had aged her, matured her. She seemed to show a feeling in her eyes of someone who had endured the harshest pain, and lived through it. This saddened him completely, and he found himself wanting to comfort her, to be there for her…..

"Good morning Hotohori…" her soft voice answered.

He smiled and slowly sat up in the chair. "How are you doing?"

Her smile faded as she sat up, clutching the blankets to her. "Did….you stay here all night?"

He merely smiled sadly at her and took her hand in his own squeezing it tightly to comfort her.

She allowed him to do this, being quiet and slightly withdrawn, then suddenly speaking loudly and startling him. "Hotohori…." Her eyes lifted to meet his own, and he saw a hidden sadness mingled with acceptance. "I was thinking about….your offer…."

He nearly drew back in surprise, his heart beginning to beat a wild cadence in his ribs.

"….and," she continued softly, "I wouldn't mind accepting."

He sat there stunned for a minute, digesting what she had just said….she would accept….she would be his Empress! He smiled tenderly down at her, knowing that she could just be trying to rid herself of the pain this way. "That warms my heart Miaka…demo, perhaps you should give some time to think about it before you truly decide."

She nodded slightly, understanding what he was saying. "It's just that I…"

She trailed off as they both heard the sound of running feet coming towards them, then the door burst open and a guard fell to one knee bowing his head. "Heika! There is an intruder in the palace!"

"Nani?" Hotohori lept to his feet in alarm. "Have you any idea who it is?" he barked out commandingly.

"H-hai heika…'s the Suzaku Shichiseishi Tamahome."

Miaka's eyes widened in alarm and fear, and she clutched the blankets to her tightly. Hotohori stood up and as Miaka got out of her bed and put a robe on, he grabbed her arm and half ran down the corridor to another room, despite her protests, and threw her inside the room. "Stay here Miko-sama!" And with that he closed the heavy bars despite her cries of protest, and locked them. "You shall be safer here! Please stay there!" And then he ran off to his chambers in haste, leaving her pounding on the door, her cries unheard..

As he entered his chambers, he snatched up his sword and began walking steadfastly, purposely towards the grounds of the palace where he could now sense the danger. As he walked, a growing fire kindled his inner heart, enraged it, and his ki began to flare dangerously. The guards heading towards the courtyard rapidly made way for the emperor, sensing his dangerous mood and fearing it quite suddenly.

All the others were gathered there…..Nuriko stood warily, unsure about what to do, but on the defensive. Chichiri was with Tasuki, who was leaning on his crutch as a support, a dangerous look in his eyes. Chiriko and Mitsukake watched the figure in the center warily, not sure of how to respond. The emperor walked purposely down the stairs into the pouring rain, his ki flaring strongly about him, and causing all the others to look back.

"TAMAHOME!" Hotohori's voice rang out strong and dangerous in the stormy air, and Tamahome smirked slightly at the sight of him.

"Suzaku no Miko wa….doko." came Tamahome's voice, low and dangerous, laced with the evil that penetrated his mind.

Hotohori's eyes narrowed in anger and he threw a sword across the stones to Tamahome. It slid across the rainy ground to land directly at the ex-Seishi's feet. "I will not let you have her. You have hurt her!" His voice was dangerous. "And I shall not forgive you!"

Lightning lit up the sky brilliantly, and thunder drowned out the sound of the rain pattering on the ground, as Tamahome smiled slowly, malice and hatred on his face. "Then you shall die." He picked up the sword, then threw the scabbard far from him and rid himself of his cloak as well, gripping the sword tightly with both hands.

Hotohori crouched low to the ground, his ki filling the square with his anger, his eyes narrowed and filled with a rage for redemption.

Then with one quick move, the battle begun, as Tamahome lept forward with a bloodcurdling battle cry, and Hotohori parried with the speed of an eagle. The two combatants danced around each other skillfully, each throwing a blow, and deflecting one. The other Seishi watched, their breaths held and hopes stilled.

"Kuso….." Tasuki said in a low voice. "We have to stop them!"

"That's impossible…..the emperor's ki is far to strong….and Tamahome has no power to protect him…the won't stop until one is dead." Nuriko's voice sounded grim.

Again and again, the swords struck, sharp clangs echoing through the courtyard. Then, everyone's attention and breaths were held in place as Tamahome gave a final cry of attack, leaping into the air with his sword raised. Everyone knew instantaneously, as the emperor raised his sword level to the Seishi, what was about to happen.


The cry echoed painfully across the yard, and for a brief instant, Tamahome's eyes raised to see a figure running towards them, arm outstretched, and fear on her face. However, that instant was enough.

Silence stilled everything around them as Hotohori's sword slid it's way home into the depths of Tamahome's chest. Time froze to reflect the dedication in Hotohori's eyes, the surprise in Tamahome's, the horrified looks in the Seishi's, and the terrified, lost and frightened look in Miaka's. Then, time returned to normal, sound devoid in the area as Tamahome fell to the ground with a large thump and a groan of pain as Hotohori remained frozen, a look of disbelief on his face, his hands shaking in sudden realization of what he'd done. Then, the sword clattered to the ground as his face wore a look of fear, horror, and incredulation.

With a loud sob, Miaka lept forward to her beloved's side, tears streaming down her cheeks and her face a mask of terror at losing him. "TAMAHOME! TAMAHOMEEEEEE!"

The others watched, spellbound in shock as his eyes slid open, and he weakly reached for his sword whispering, " Miko….kurousu!"

Their breaths took a sharp intake as she put the sword in his hands and positioned his arms above her with the dagger raised. "Kill me. If it will make you happy….that's all that matters to me." Tears spilled down her cheeks. "All I want…is for you to be happy….Wo…Ai…Ni…" A tear trickled down her cheek and dropped onto his face.

Nuriko started forward, to stop him, but Hotohori threw out a hand with a commanding voice. "Matte!"

They all watched, a spark of hope flickering in their eyes, hoping, wishing that Tamahome would break out of the shell he'd been held captive in…..

It didn't happen

Like the speed of lightning, the dagger came down flashing towards Miaka's chest, right above the heart, and only was it deflected at the very last moment by the quick movements of Chichiri who had raised a barrier around Miaka barely in time to save her life.

Tamahome gave a grunt of rage, and tried again, but it had no effect, and Miaka knelt there with a stunned look of incredulation on her face, tears streaming down her cheeks onto his chest which was slowly leaking it's life fluid. Tamahome gave a howl of anger, and threw the dagger aside quickly and tried to reach up to choke her instead, but Hotohori had pulled Miaka away from him, and was holding her protectively, a look of distrust on his face.

Mitsukake looked unsure of what to do. His heart told him to help Tamahome, however, he wasn't sure of the ethics of the whole thing. He took a step forward tentatively, a question on his face.

Hotohori put a hand up however to stop him. "Iie."

"Hotohori-sama, we can't let him die."

"We shall not. However, he will heal slowly through our healers." His eyes narrowed. "That way we know he will not escape and try something."

Tamahome was laying down and staring blankly up at the sky, a look of anguish and failure on his face. Hotohori slowly walked over to him and stared down at him. "I will not kill you. I have sworn my loyalty to Suzaku no Miko, and deserve it or not, she loves you. Therefore, you shall remain alive for her sake." He turned away, leading Miaka by the shoulders gently, leaving the others to deal with it.

They stood uncertainly, then slowly departed themselves as the guards took Tamahome with them to the healers and the detention facility. Chiriko and Chichiri accompanied Tasuki back to his room, neither saying a word the entire time, each thinking similar thoughts. Nuriko left by himself, and Mitsukake wandered off back to his room with Tama-neko.

Each person's souls were filled with dread and uncertainty as to what the future would hold.