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Prologue: Memories & Misgivings Edit

Light.

A blinding light, reminiscent of the first few moments of a newborn's life... but somehow different.

For however brief the few moments that he experienced it were, it had seemed like an eternity. But it was soon over, and he found himself alone again.

There had been a precious few who have had the misfortune to experience the sensation he was now felt. However, their ultimate fates were all entwined. They were a part of one another.

He was them, and they were he.

Had he been able to remember much, he would have immediately known where he was. He would have been able to discern where he was going, but such was not the case.

He shook his head groggily, trying desperately to clear his thoughts, to get some kind of indication of who he was, and what he was doing there on that lonely rooftop that night.

Somewhere, deep inside his subconscious, a spark formed. The spark gave way to a larger one, and another one, even larger. Eventually, the spark had grown into a flame, allowing access to hidden memories.

Few memories had escaped before the flame died. Mostly it was a jumble, an inane patchwork of several events. Remembrance of some sort of training. Yes. That’s it. He was starting to remember.

He was a martial artist. That much was certain. He could feel himself throwing punches and kicks at foes twice, sometimes three times as skilled as he was. Another memory flooded into his mind. It was brief, but he could catch a glimpse of a face in his mind.

The face was female, that much was certain. Lavender hair both flowing down beyond her shoulders, and cut above her neck. The two images were the same, if not for different hairstyles.

Piercing brown eyes and a fair, sleek complexion. To him, the face was beautiful, even though he had trouble admitting such a thing, even in his mind.

He tried desperately to remember more, clenching his fists and banging them against his head in frustration. Then something else came.

Akane. A name. HER name. For some unexplainable reason, the name meant nothing, and everything. What was certain, however, was that somehow, deep inside his person, he knew he loved her.

He managed to open his eyes. Though it was dark, it was hard to keep them open for too long, as if the night were blinding him. After his eyes adjusted, he started to try and get a bearing of where he was, hoping for more memories.

He was on a rooftop. Where, he had no clue. Below him on the ground, several forms seemed to call out at him. He knew what they were immediately.

The soccer field was foremost in sight. The goal posts on either side standing in a fashion that he could envision with his eyes closed. An outdoor basketball court a little further in the distance, but still discernable from his viewpoint. A certain hesitation befell him as he spied the swimming pool.

Without warning, another memory came into his mind. Another person. A martial artist, wearing a red Chinese-style shirt with wooden ties, wearing an unmistakable pigtail. Although the martial artist was female, he felt no feelings toward her. She was beautiful to say the least, but he felt no better of her than he was of himself.

Then it hit him. That WAS he. The thought came out of nowhere, catching him off guard. He shook his head. That couldn’t be right, he was a man. Wasn’t he?

Yes. He could distinctly remember being a man, from the jumble of memories he had received earlier. Yes. He was a man.

And a woman. He was both, he realized, after he received another jumble of memories. Memories including a long valley, with hundreds of small spring-like pools. Bamboo poles stuck out of them like a pincushion. He gasped as he recalled his curse.

He ran further along the rooftop, until he reached a structure near the front entrance. A closer examination revealed it to be a clock of rather large proportions. As he perched himself on top of it, he noticed something.

It felt like a part of him at first, even if a little alien, but the unmistakable form of a blood red cloak fluttering in the wind around him was surprising, to say the least. Looking himself over, he discovered several things of difference. His hands were molded into deformed claw-like appendages, and several chains decorated his body like a sadistic Christmas tree.

He was on the verge of panic after this development, went another patchwork of memories invaded his mind. Unlike the other memories, which he had tried to pull out, this one just seemed to come in, uninvited. He involuntarily gasped as the memory ran itself through in his mind.

---

“Do you love her?”, the Darkness asked.

“Yes. Of course.”

“You would like to see her again, I assume,” it asked again.

A moment's hesitation. No more. “Yes.”

The Darkness laughed. A dark, bone-chilling laugh that struck him to his very core.

“Then go, my Hellspawn!”, it cried as it revealed its true form.

The scream would have shattered eardrums for miles around. The demon seemed to derive pleasure from it, stretching its lips to form a wide, toothy smile as it continued to laugh.

---

Deep in the Nerima night, a thundering roar erupted across the sky, and a lone figure screamed in anguish against fate's cruel hand.

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