"You like cherry blossoms?"
"Yes! They're so pretty!"
"Do you know why they're pink?"
"Because they are?"
"No…underneath every cherry tree is a corpse and the tree feeds on the blood, turning the petals from white to pink."
"Is that why this one is so large and beautiful? Because of all the people that were killed and fed to it?"
Yes…that was the answer, but looking down at the seemingly innocent face…why ruin innocence?
"Aren't you supposed to kill me now? That's what Mother always said, anyone that catches the Sakurazukamori at work has to be killed."
"Since you aim to one day be the Sakurazukamori, you must learn three things my dear. One, to truly inherit your role you must kill me. Two, you can never truly love without consequences. Three, anyone that catches the Sakurazukamori at work must be killed."
"Even Fuuma or Kotori?"
"Of course, they’re not the Sakurazukamori are they?"
The pale hand shook, rules were rules right?
"It's okay Nii-san, I don't mind; just don’t kill Kotori-chan okay?"
Amber eyes closed as the hand posed to strike. There was slight gasping sound followed shortly by the smell of blood.
"Nii-san...why?" Honey brown eyes rested on his older brother who had stabbed himself in his arm.
"Never mind, go run and play somewhere else."
"I want to stay with you and kill demons."
"Damnit Fuuma, I said NO!" Why was he getting all worked up for? That was not part of his training, he was trained to separate emotions from his body so he didn't feel anything. And yet he had broken the rule of the Sakurazukamori; he didn't kill his brother, maybe he was just getting soft.
"Hello my dear, how was the job? HOW DID YOU GET THAT MARK? YOU'RE
GETTING SLOPPY! Come with me, I'll teach you a lesson."
The sun was setting and Fuuma for his part was getting tired, playing with the animals in the forest was only entertaining for so long. He wondered if his sister was up from her nap and if his brother was done with work, this was boring.
"Aw look at the little boy all alone, he'll make a nice dinner he will."
Honey brown eyes widened at the demon behind of him. In his panic he picked up a stick and raised it like a sword. "I'M A MASTER SWORD FIGHTER YOU KNOW!"
As the oni moved closer he raised the stick as a shield between him and the oni's mouth. He closed his eyes ready to become the oni's dinner. Next thing he knew he smelled...blood? Was he in the demon's stomach along with other innocent children? Why didn't it hurt? Didn't getting eaten alive hurt? Opening his eyes he saw the demon's head rolling on the ground, he looked up and saw…his brother…covered in blood, both the red of human and black of demon.
"NII-SAN!" The seven-year-old ran over and clung to his brother's leg. "I was so scared I was going to be eaten!"
"Well you weren't, you know better than to play out here. Let's go."
"Can I get a ride?"
Amber eyes rolled slightly before allowing the child to get a piggy back ride home.
"Why are you covered in blood Nii-san?"
"You cut an oni's head off, see what you look like."
"There's human blood here too…did Mother punish you for not killing me?"
"Never you mind."
"That means she did."
"Drop it Fuuma." Stubborn as always, Fuuma hoped when he reached his brother's age he
wasn't this stubborn.
When they arrived home they found their mother gone; as usual. The house also smelled of blood and...burnt…flesh? Is that what he was smelling? "Nii-san what did—"
"Never mind, go to bed, your sister is waiting for your company."
The seven-year-old pouted at his fourteen-year-old brother before scampering upstairs to join his three-year-old sister in bed. They didn't have much money so they had to share a room and there were only two beds in the room, but it was okay because they were a family right?
Later on the teenager joined his siblings in the bedroom, covering the two children with a blanket before landing on his own bed, exhausted, in his blood-stained clothes. Their mother would be gone for awhile but that didn’t bother him, it was a breath of fresh air. Plus it gave his body time to heal; as strong as his magical powers were, even he took time to heal from burns. "One day I will leave this place and," He paused as he got up and picked up the bear his sister slept with, "I hope you two will do the same."