This is a story that happened a long time ago, about one girl and her life. It takes place in the hot Arabian regions of sand dunes, camels, tropics, and – most importantly – love...

A simple yet intricate melody rang through the busy air of the village, followed by the jingles of many tiny bells in the dry, desert wind. The extraordinary sounds caught the attention of the people bustling about and people slowly stopped in their tracks, dropping their tasks for a moment's time. It was hard not to have their attention diverted by such a rare and mesmerizing spectacle.

"Are they travelling performers?"

"Seems likely," one woman murmured in awe. "I've never seen them around here before."

"What a beautiful looking dancer."

"The lute player is quite handsome, as well. They seem exotic, I doubt they could be natives."

"Perhaps gypsies."

Throngs of people gathered about the scene: a beautiful dancer girl and her handsome companion. It was an odd sight, one which they did not get the chance to witness everyday. It was hard to keep their eyes from watching so intently when they all had business to attend to; the lull of the gentle lute, as they watched the girl twirl about, was captivating and rich in contrast to the dull lives of the villagers.

Here, you will find the story of your not-so-typical girl. A young girl named Amu Hinamori.

They marvelled at her glamorous movements. They were bewitched by the swish of her foreign rosy hair, whilst the musician enchanted them with his own strange navy locks and enrapturing tune. The duo were mysterious and unheard of in their parts, it was a wonder who they were; where they could have come from.

"That flower birthmark on her chest is so... different."

"Come to think of it, I have never seen such tattoos on anyone. It's quite dazzling, really." Another odd sight for them to gaze upon...

Why was she not-so-typical, you may ask? Because she had a magnificent yet mystical flower blooming on her chest. To those who had no knowledge, it was just a striking mark on the stunning girl; but for others, who were more familiar about such a legend, knew that it was the mark of the devil and his borrowed heart...

"Aye, yer preposterous ways of thinking will have ye all killed on the spot!" A surly old woman spat, grumbling as she picked up a large basket of herbs and waddled through the clusters of townsfolk. She pushed her way through the crowd, avoiding the sight of the alien performers. "Know nothing do we about who they are, let 'lone what they come for in our part of the parish."

Some of them looked at the old woman skeptically – she always had seemed quite batty to them. Still, she was considered one of the elders in the village and there were a few who saw truth in what she had said. They were squeamish, standing at the edges of the crowd; very much afraid yet very much drawn by their own curiosity.

"It's true, the dancer isn't to be trusted. Don't you know? It's a rumour apparently, but that 'flower' is the mark of having a devil's heart!" One man whispered quite audibly for the rest to hear. In an instant, a thick buzz ran amongst the people.

"Nonsense! A-A devil's heart? That isn't possible." A lady next to the man said with disgust, the man nodded gravely.

"Yes, unfortunately it is. Such people trade their hearts with the devil, just so they can lengthen their life. It's revolting. The mark on the dancer's chest, that is the signatures of those cursed by one, carved into their skin right over their heart," the man seethed. The new drone of voices made the old woman look back once more. Her eyes narrowed, the wrinkles around them furrowing. She watched the crowd thin around the dancer, the mass of people creeping away.

"Aye, t'is a phenomenon that you rarely hear of. Only the worst of the worst – those of grime, filth and sorcery – would sell their souls for the verve of breath. Accept they do not that their time does come! Wretched animals without soul." The people watched her shuffle away with peculiar quiet but as her retreating back disappeared around the corner, voices started up again.

So you see, dear friendly readers, her chest is engraved with an mark – a blackened, blooming flower. Although people of her kind were rare, those with a devil's heart were formally known as "Akuma no Hana": a "Demon's Flower".

"So, that witch worships the devil?"

"Doesn't that mean she has the power to curse us?"

"She must have swindled that musician, as well," another careened. "If we don't be careful, we'll become bewitched by her, also."

With that, the streak of unpleasant murmurs swept through the crowds of the townsfolk and they hurried away as fast as they could from the dancing girl. Their once mesmerized selves now avoided the girl at all costs, like a disease. Like a plague. Like the people had seen the devil in flesh.

But those who looked down on those of her type, which was more than often, called her an "Akuma no Ko": a "Demon's Child". And thus, our great story and this vast journey now begins...

...::::~ Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ ~::::..