A/N: First I want to say that I'm terribly sorry because of the lack of update. I'm so sorry for making all of my readers waited for so long! All I can say is that I was having a major writer-block and became lazy to make an update. But after a long time, I saw reviews, alerts, and favorites in my mail that pumped me up to write again! I love you all so much guys, thanks for pumped up my spirit.
Special thanks to my beta-reader: Kur0Kishi, who still willing to spare his time to read and beta my story even after I made him wait for so long. I love you.
This chapter has been beta-ed by him. So enjoy~
The night was late and time passed heedlessly as Rikuo stood still, frozen as if a yuki onna had used her strongest attack on him. His brown eyes starred unnerringly at the sakura tree, occasionally flicking to follow stray pink floating petals in the air as if they contained the answers he wanted. And he was. Though exactly what he was trying to discover about that scene he was watching was questionable. Slowly stepping forward on sandalled feet, his fingers brushed against the rough bark. The scene felt familiar yet strangely forbidden and obscure. Memories fluttered tantalisingly out of reach.
"That person with black hair… the one that boy… that I called father… that was Dad, wasn't it?" he mumbled uncertainly. Why? Why did a memory of his father appear…when he touched that tree? Rikuo looked up at the tree.
'Is this tree…a key to my memory?' Truth to be told, he actually couldn't remember much about his father. He couldn't remember much about the times he spent with his father, what they usually did together, or even how he treated him until he…died. Did they play under this very tree?
All Rikuo could remember was some vague pieces like a faceless smile and a slender body clad in a loose male kimono but… apart from that…
…It was all blank.
All his memories about his father was gone, as if someone had flittingly stolen it all away.
'it is hazy but… the last I remember was that day…' Rikuo thought. 'The day that father died.' That day, most people from Nura Clan said they found him with Rihan's dead body, unconcious. He was brought back home immediately but when he was told that his father has passed away, he could only stared blankly and say
'Who's father?' Everyone had starred him in blank shock when he had uttered those blashphemous words. Nonetheless, they kept asking him about his father for nearly a full day, trying to discover a clue, any clue, about why the Third Heir couldn't remember his father or the culprit. It was a sad hour when they inevitably reached the same conclusion:
'The Third must have lost his memories because of the shock,' Rikuo remembered what Kurotabou said. 'I.. cant blame him. Not when he saw his own father die in front of his eyes.' It was certainly a possibility, considering that the incident had happened about 8 years ago, when he was at the young age of 5.
"Is that really the truth?" Rikuo stared at the sakura tree with dissatisfaction churning in his torso, a burning restlessness that refused to be quenched. There was something that rung untrue about the whole debacle, a sense of false realism so to speak
He clenched his fist and decided that he was done dilly dallying.
'If my memory truly disappeared on that day, then that day must be the key that will bring back my memories of father,' Rikuo thought fiercely. 'If I could remember what happened that day…I might regain my memories back.' He looked at the tree with determined eyes before he walked near to it.
He slowly stretched out his arm again to touch the tree and concentrated fiercely when he felt rough bark under his skin, unintentionally releasing a phenomenal amount of osore.
As soon as his osore was 'unintentionally' released, a strange shaped pentacle (which Rikuo sweared he didn't see before) light up on the ground. The sakura tree was in the middle of the pentacle as its center, which meant Rikuo was currently standing on one side of the pentacle right now.
"!" Rikuo gasped as he suddenly felt an amount of enormous energy and bright light came from the pentacle, he reflexively used his free hand to defend his face and eyes from the light.
One word spoken by a soft but firm female voice. A burst of strange rainbow coloured energy exploded out of the tree and blasted Rikuo away from the sakura tree before Rikuo's brain had even finished processing that one word. Caught off guard, all the kimono clad boy could do was receive the hit and brace himself as he hit the wooden wall of the house hard enough to create an impression of his body on the cracked wood. Sliding off the wall to his knees, the Heir to the Nura group barely managed to keep his balance as he groaned at the pain from his back.
Gingerly he sat down with his injured back against on the wall.
From his spot all he could do was watch through squinted eyes, as the pentacle's red glow gradually dimmed until it vanished completely with a low hum. Just like that, the night was silent again, as if nothing extraordinary had happened, leaving Rikuo dumb-founded.
Yura stared with concern at the still but breathing body of Tsurara, who laid quietly on the bed. It wasn't the first time Tsurara had lost conciusness like that. In fact it happened with a disturbing frequency, at least two or three times a month. And Yura knew what was the reason something like this happened.
'This always happens after she uses it…' She sighed in her heart. 'She already knows what will happen… yet why must she be so reckless?' Yura grumbled in the silence of her mind.
It wasn't like she won't ever wake up again, but it was rather disturbing to see the usually bright, energetic and cheerful girl lie in bed like that, pale and lifeless. It just seemed so wrong.
Yura rationally knew that Tsurarar would wake up eventually. She might wake up tomorrow, if she was lucky, but it could also take up to a week or two. No one really knew. But the disquiet in her heart at seeing the sleeping Tsurara was not so easy to calm.
"There's no point in worrying. Just wait patiently." Yura turned her head to the source of the voice, her brother, Ryuuji, who was sitting near the door, chewing his customary blade of grass and looking extremely relaxed. Yura suppressed the urge to roll her eyes. It was a close thing.
"Look who's talking… Sheesh…" she replied tiredly. "The exact same person who had been pacing around the room and glaring at the wall for the past few hours. Serious much?" Yura felt her brother's sharp glare land on her back, but she paid it no attention.
He's probably nervous and worried, too. Moron. Yura sighed in frustation before she turned again to Tsurara with concerned eyes.
Tsurara… her other beloved childhood friend aside from Mamiru. They had known each other since they were both six years old and were each other's best friend as well as foremost rival in all things competitive. Generally speaking, the competition in question usually involved youkais. Though Tsurara, kind-hearted as she was, refused to kill any of them and she usually let youkai go after doing her 'purifying'.
Then again, it wasn't a miko's job to kill youkai anyway.
But if Tsurara had gone on rampage, that must mean that something had happened. Something bad enough to warrant her childhood friend using that.
Yura frowned before she sighed, tired of all the restless swirling thoughts inside her head. Maybe she could catch some fresh air outside for a moment…
"Hey, nii-chan―" Yura stopped mid sentence when she noticed her brother's slack figure leaning on the wall, with his eyes closed and a steady breath. Yura blinked. She slowly moved closer to her brother and waved her hand in front of her brother's face, getting no response she snorted as she realized that her brother had fallen asleep.
"Geez, acting all cool when you were actually tired…" Yura muttered lowly. She shook her head in exasperation. Well, she supposed it was only normal, he HAD been pacing nervously around the compound for the better part of the day after all. Yura silently stood up and opened the door, carefully so as to not make sounds that would disturb the room's sleeping occupants, and tiptoed out.
Her brother would be more than enough to handle it if something happenned. It wouldn't hurt if she relaxed for a moment.
Yura strolled around the compound of the japanese style house, admiring the house's distinctive design and it's garden that was filled with various decorative plants with such focus to the exclusion of all other external issues. When she arrived at the garden's side where the Sakura Tree resided, she found Rikuo who was standing in front of the tree with serious and tense face, staring at it hard as if something would come out from it.
The HECK was he doing?
Probably realizing Yura's presence, Rikuo turned his head and blinked innocently.
Yura facepalmed and sweatdropped.
After a few tense moments during which an excited Rikuo tried to explain what had happened to a disbelieving Yura, both of the teens sat idly on the wooden floor, staring blankly at the magnificently blooming sakura tree in front of them. The night's breeze blew softly, scattering the sakura petals at them. Yura took a petal that stuck on her nose and stared at it.
"…So, you saw a fragment of your lost memories when you touched the tree?" Yura asked again, wanting confirmation about what she had just heard. Rikuo nodded.
"Yeah, but the second time I tried to touch it, a pentacle showed up and… rejected me," he said with a sigh. "That pentacle… it looked like an onmyouji's seal, though rather than trapping youkai, it… rejected. If you know what I mean." Yura stared at him, then stared at the sakura tree.
"I don't know much of this," Yura said slowly. "But about that pentacle… Omyoujis like me and nii-chan usually use summoned familliars. Mikos on the other hand use seals and ceremonies to activate their abilities. That pentacle sounds like something Tsurara would use. So… maybe you should ask her about it."
Rikuo frowned and looked at her.
"Speaking of which… how is she?" Rikuo asked, his voice full of concern. Yura glanced at him.
"Still unconcious, but she's fine," she answered calmly. Rikuo stared at her, before he nodded and averted his gaze back at the sakura tree. There was a moment of silence, before Rikuo asked again.
"Keikain-san, how long have you known Tsurara?" Yura raised her eyebrows at the random question.
"Around 7 years. Why?"
"Do you know… much about her?" Rikuo asked, his voice just above whisper. Yura stayed silent, staring at him for a moment before she sighed.
"I won't and can't tell you about why she went berserk," Yura said, making Rikuo hang his head a little. "What I can say… is that she has no father, or to be more accurate, Tsurara is actually an orphan." Rikuo lifted his head with his eyes widened.
"Orphan?" Yura nodded sadly.
"Her mother died, around… four years ago? As for her father, I've never met him," Yura said. "Her father is probably already gone, where, I do not know, maybe he has passed on, I'm not sure if Tsurara has seen or even knows about him." Rikuo raised his eyebrows then gazed blankly at the tree.
'So Tsurara is fatherless like me. Even worse, she doesn't have a mother either, not like Kaa-san who is as healthy as ever.' He realized that the slight yet cheerful girl was far stronger then he believed he was. He didn't know what he would do if he lost even his mother. Then again, anyone would be, being an orphan in a pretty young age was not an easy thing to bear. Rikuo had always lived in a lively mansion, so much so that he couldn't even picture out how it would be to live alone.
"Well anyway…" Yura stood up. "I suggest you just don't try too hard, lost memories sometimes came back by itself at certain times." Rikuo smiled bitterly, knowing it would not. Not in his case, especially since it has already been 8 years and his memories still refused to cooperate.
"Thanks for the concern. I'll try not to," Rikuo said, waving his hand dismissingly at her. Yura spared him a glance before she walked away, probably to go back to Tsurara's room, leaving Rikuo all alone again.
Rikuo took a sip of his tea. Even if Yura had told him not to try too hard, his curiousity about his Father burned relentlessly. He gazed determinedly at the Sakura tree.
He would discover the secret key of his memories and its connection to the tree. He would recover those lost memories, no matter what.
Wakana was walking in the corridor of the Main House, carrying a bucket full of laundry with her. Since most of the helpful youkai in the Main House were currently out, because Karasu-Tengu forced them to search for Rikuo, she had to do all the laundry all by herself. Although, she had to admit, it wasn't too much of a burden since she liked to keep her hands busy.
'Karasu-Tengu is too overprotective…' Wakana giggled when she remembered the time when Karasu-Tengu had flown around the house in panic in order to search for Rikuo like a chicken with its head cut off. His resemblance to said chicken maid the metaphor even funnier and the young lady of the house giggled harder. Even her, Rikuo's mother, hadn't react so badly over something like that. Rikuo was already 13 years old and Wakana trusted that he could take care of himself. It wasn't like Rikuo was any normal human, after all.
When a sakura petal landed in front of her, she stopped and turned her head, facing the Nura's sakura tree in front of her. The night breeze blew softly, fluttering Wakana's brown locks a bit.
Sakura… Those pink petals… Those beautifully blooming flowers… Tainted by the blood of 'that day' memory.
"Rihan-sama…" Wakana gazed sadly at the sakura tree. Sakura reminded her of 'that day', when 'that incident' occurred. The unfortunate incident that happened because of their carelessness… resulting Rihan's death, and those children's trauma.
Rikuo… "He has become much like you…" Wakana smiled. "He's still oblivious about that day's details, but he seems like he never gave up to know." Wakana's eyes softened. She stood there silently in front of the sakura tree.
"I hope that Rikuo could just forget about 'that day'…" she whispered to herself.
That bitter memory, of a sad and sorrowful truth they tried to keep away from him. "For his sake… and that child's sake…"
H-how's that? I hope its good enough to satisfy you. Don't mind with the cliff-hanger, do you?
For an apology, I'll accept a request to make a one-shot story. Just one story okay? I'll choose from the reviews. Say what kind of story you want me to do, pairings or not.
Thanks to all Alerters, Reviewers, and Favoriters.
I love you guys so much.
See you next time~