. . . Nope, I still suck at summaries. Anyway, I'm back with a new story, since I've all but given up on Akatsuki Puppies. And thanks for those who are still faving and watching Akatsuki Puppies. I really appreciate the support even though it's been forever since I updated. Well, this is an original story that I've had sitting around and decided to finally upload at least something. Although, I'm still not sure if this is the best place to upload it since it's not based off of anything. Emiko is an OC by my friend Ashley; Saiyeru, Hanako, and belong to me.


Chapter 1:

~Do You Remember?~

I kneeled gently before the worn, tired-looking grave and placed several lavenders and white tulips in front of it. I closed my eyes, put my hands together, and began praying. This was my older brother, Yatsura's, grave. Our father died in war when Yatsura was 7 and Mother was still pregnant with me. She died while giving birth to me, so Yatsura had to care for me. But 2 years ago, when I was 7, some thieves attacked our house. Yatsura hid me so I wouldn't get hurt, but the thieves killed him to make sure he didn't tell the authorities. So now, I visit his grave every day to pray and tell him how I'm doing.

I was only half-way done when I heard a twig snap. Assuming whatever it was wasn't a threat, I continued praying. All the villagers know never to disturb someone who's praying for a lost loved one. Besides, all the villagers were busy repairing everything after a recent, devastating earthquake. After a few moments, I bowed my head and turned a little to see who had come. It was my friends, Emiko Hinomura and Hanako Oridake.

Emiko had very dark, navy blue hair, which looked black until light shined on it, a round, childish face, and light blue eyes. She was always the playful and adventurous one. Hanako, however, seemed almost completely opposite to her. He had dark black hair that when to the base of his neck, stormy grey eyes, and he usually bore a passive, uninterested, or irritated look. He always just sat back and watched when we played games and only on rare occasions did he laugh or joke with us. Emiko would try to get him to lighten up, but to little avail.

"It's about time we found you. Are you done yet?" he asked in his normal annoyed tone.

I pouted slightly and asked, "Must you always be so rude, Hanako-kun?"

He simply huffed and turned he head away. Emiko rolled her eyes at him, and then looked at me.

"You know how he is, Saiyeru. Now let's get going. Mr. Toki offered to make us some lunch today," she said, motioning for me to follow. I sighed and stood up.

Emiko and Hanako had become like replacement parents for me since I couldn't take care of myself, and they were orphaned as well. So now I've ended up having to follow them nearly everywhere. Also, because I was the youngest, by about a year and a half, give or take, I was often bossed around and such.

But they mean well, I thought to myself. They're always there for me. And Hanako's always so moody, but I know he cares. I smiled at this and bounded up the hill towards them, my crystal green eyes shining and my dark, forest green hair blowing around my face in the light summer wind.

"Okay, let's go," I said, grinning. They nodded and I followed them down the winding path to the village.

We've all lived in the tiny, century old village of Makurai since we were born. Many of the residents there avoided us because of some superstition, but we never bothered to find out about it. "It doesn't matter what they think. We're fine with just the three of us. We don't need anyone else." Hanako had said to me one day, after I asked him why people disliked us.

We continued walking, ignoring the murmuring villagers as we passed. Soon, a small little building appeared on the side of the road with a small sign hanging from the door that said 'TOKI'S DINNER RESTAURANT'.

Mr. Toki was a nice, elderly man who befriended us a little bit before Yatsura's death. He was just about the only villager who didn't treat us like a plague. He always offered to make us something to eat and his food was the best!

We pushed open the door, making the little bell above us ring. Mr. Toki looked up from a book he was reading and smiled.

"Ah, hello you three. Always right on time, eh?" he greeted. I smiled and waved at him.

"Hey, Mr. Toki. How's business going?" Emiko asked casually.

"Oh, the usual," he answered just as casually as he brought out onigiri for us.

Hanako simply gave him a small nod and took a seat near a window to stare at the sky. That was another odd thing about Hanako; he was always looking at the sky. He seemed so attracted to it, especially when it was cloudy, or windy, or a when storm was coming. Sometimes, he became so transfixed on a storm cloud that he would follow it as it blew away, so Emiko and I had to drag him back.

Then, in a partially hesitant tone, Hanako asked us, "Hey . . . Do you remember when Yatsura would take us to the strawberry fields?"

We both looked at him curiously as we sat at the table, wondering why he would suddenly bring that up. It was rare for Hanako to strike up a conversation out of nowhere.

"Yeah, I remember. We'd spend nearly hours trying to see who could find the best strawberries." I said, glancing out the window as well and noticing that a small section of the field was visible in the distance.

"Oh, and then we'd start making pies and cakes from that old recipe book," Emiko added.

Hanako nodded a bit. "They always tasted great. It took us forever to learn how to make it right, though."

"Mine always tasted the worst," Emiko said, laughing. "But remember how sometimes, when we would camp out at night, Yatsura would show us all the constellations?"

"Right, and we got so confused trying to figure out which stars fit the right constellation. I still like how he used read us books on gods and their powers. Remember?" I asked them.

Emiko chuckled. "Yeah, your favorite was always Haniyasu-Hiko and Haniyasu-Hime, the Earth God and Goddess."

I nodded again. "And yours was Shio-Zuchi, the Water God." I turned and looked at Hanako, who had a small smile on his face. "Your favorite was Izangi, the Sky God," I added with a grin.

I had never noticed it before, but our favorite gods matched our personalities. I loved to be around nature and plants, Emiko loved to be around lakes, rivers, and sea creatures, and Hanako loved the sky and wind and anything that could fly.

"You know, I think I remember where we last left it. It'd be nice to read it again," Emiko said.

"Then let's go get it," Hanako said.

We finished off the onigiri, thanked Mr. Toki, and left the restaurant in the direction of my old house. I didn't stay there anymore; I just switched between staying with Emiko and Hanako. No one had ever moved in after I left so we were free to return as we wanted.

Emiko reached into a small birdhouse hanging on the large old tree in the front yard and pulled out a key. She shoved it into the doorknob and had to struggle slightly to open the rusted lock. Eventually, she did get it unlocked and pushed it open. Nothing had really changed much, save for a few cobwebs here and there and an eerie silence.

We swiftly walked through the abandoned house, wanting to grab the book and leave. None of us had ever felt comfortable coming back in since Yatsura died, so we wanted to get out as soon as possible.

"I think it's down here . . ." I mumbled, squinting through the dim light as I peered down a flight of stairs.

We cautiously began stepping down the creaky steps towards the basement, feeling against the walls to make sure we didn't bump into anything. Fortunately, my hand brushed over a light switch so we could finally see.

Hanako walked over to a bookshelf sitting in the corner and pulled out three books, sweeping the dust from the covers.

I think these are it," he said, opening one and flipping through the pages to make sure.

"Good, now let's go. All these spider webs are creeping me out!" Emiko complained, glancing around warily to make sure nothing was crawling on her.

"I don't mind the spiders," I said as I idly brushed a bit of dust from the wall. "It's just the strange silence that's getting to me."

"That is true. You can't even hear any of the songbirds outside," Hanako muttered as he followed Emiko up the stairs. I quickly shut off the light and ran after them.

Once we were back outside, we decided to sit under the large, leafy tree in the park and read the books. We started with the one that covered all the gods and goddesses, their powers, and their life stories called 'Tales of Japanese Deities'. Just by reading the first few sentences, we were able to recall over half the stories, and our favorite ones word for word. When we had finished that one, I reached to pick up the next one but stopped.

"What is it?" Emiko asked, tilting her head.

"I don't know. I've never seen this once before," I responded, grabbing the ancient looking text. It had a dark red leather cover, tied closed with a silk white ribbon, the words 'Four Elements of Life' written in fancy gold cursive, and four strange symbols written in crimson, sapphire, jade, and silver ink.

"How long have we had this book? It looks older than Makurai," Emiko commented, carefully turning the tattered pages. I shrugged and turned back to the first page, then began reading it aloud,

"Long ago, on the brightest of days and the darkest of nights,
Four powerful forces were at war with each other.
Raging forest fires and volcanoes sprang up and set blaze to the lands,
Tsunamis washed away everything in their path and whirlpools opened in the seas,
Earthquakes shook the ground and animals and humans fled in fear,
Violent tornados and hurricanes swept away everything in its reach.
These four elements, known as Fire, Water, Earth, and Wind,
Were wreaking havoc to determine which of them was the strongest.
There was only one way to stop them, and only four who could do it.
But before I begin this story
Let those who read this passage know
That what is stated here is not a simple fairy tale,
For it is prophesized that the elements will soon be at war again.
The descendants of these four heroes must join together
and end the battle before it's too late."