Footsteps echoing through an empty hallway. A hallway as empty as my heart. The manor that Gein rented for our temporary stay here is comfortable, true, but it leaves one feeling unsettled. A sense of evil seems to perpetrate the house, making one wonder: who exactly were the previous owners and what evil deeds were committed here so many decades ago? The house has a tragic past, of that I am certain. But no matter its history, the manor serves our purposes. It is adequate.
Gein. Inui Banjin. Mumyoi. Otowa Hyouko. Kujiranami. And myself. We do not have much in common and more often than once we have had our... misunderstandings. But still we are willing to place our trust in each other for our common goal, the utter and total destruction Himura Battousai; for the time being anyway. Some of my fellow mates regard me with much suspicion, some with respect. But it is an unspoken agreement among all of them that I am the one to be most wary of if they fear a betrayal. Their fears and suspicions are unfounded however, for I have no intention of betraying them. If anything, I am the most determined among them all toexterminate the man we all hate, the self-proclaimed "Rurouni" who is trying to turn over a new leaf.
What a joke. Everyone knows that beneath that kind gentle exterior of his lies a cold-blooded killer who is just waiting to emerge. His friends, his family try to ignore the existence of the killer from Bakumatsu times, but time and again, he has reverted to that dark part of his nature.
I know that he is trying to make amends for all the deaths that he has been responsible for. Is the guilt of killing my sister eating away at him day by day? No matter what he does, he can never atone for his sin. He killed an innocent woman who could not defend herself against a beast like him. He took away all meaning for my very existence, he murdered the only person that I have ever loved, my sister, Yukishiro Tomoe. The guilt that he feels can never equal the emptiness and loneliness inside of me now that my sis is gone.
In a way, I envy him. He has moved beyond the ghosts of the past which
have tried to snare him in their unrelenting grasp and found people who
could care for him. I, however will remain trapped by the delicate web
of love that my sis has spun around me. I can never forget the love which
she lavished upon me and thus can never truly be free from the past until
I have avenged her death.
Sanosuke, Kaoru, Yahiko and Megumi. These are the new friends he has. His new family who are willing to forgive him for all of his past sins. But some sins can never be forgotten. And the hatred I have for him will burn on forever.
A crack of thunder.
I move over to the open window. Dark clouds are gathering swiftly outside. In no time, there will be a downpour. The dried and withered leaves outside are rustling noisily as they dance about in a crazy whirlwind fashion. The wind is howling like a wild animal tonight. Mournful and sorrowful. Is it grieving for my sister as well?
Stormy weather and an empty house. Perfect. Time to sink into my private little hell of darkness and despair. You aren't the only one who has to do penance for your sins, Battousai. I am just as responsible for the death of my sister as you are. I should never have left her at your mercy. I should have taken her back home when I found her. Then none of this would have happened. We both wouldn't be plagued by memories of her lying bloodied in the cold white snow. And I would still be living happily with her in Edo.
Over the years, avenging my sister's death has become my lifeline. In
Shanghai, when I was among the littered corpses and sure I was going to
die, the only thing that kept me going on was the thought of revenge. Do
you know why revenge has become so important to me, Battousai? Because
that is the only way which I could, the only way in which I knew
how to repay her for
everything that she has done for me. It is the only way in which I could atone for my sin of not being there when she needed me most. Now do you understand, Battousai? Now do you know why I went through so much just to take revenge on you?
My sister haunts me. Every night in my dreams, I see her beautiful smiling face. She is beckoning to me and the scent of plum blossoms lingers in the air. As always, I run to her, but just before I reach her, her smile fades to reveal a silent scream and blood spurts out from the gash you cut into her body. She is pleading and crying out to me. And though I can never hear what she's saying, I understand what she wants to tell me. Blood will have blood. She wants you dead. That is evident from the cross-shaped scar that still remains on your left cheek. And whatever my sis wants, I will give to her.
Oh sis... I-I miss you so much. I try to pretend that you're still with me and talk to you, but the truth is unconcealable. You're dead and you're no longer with me any more. Nothing I can do will bring you back, not even exacting the cruel revenge which I have planned for the man who ended your life. I may be the biggest mafia boss in Shanghai yet, but underneath it all lies a young child who is longing for his long deceased sister. I am pathetic.
Angry with myself for sinking into this abyss of depression, I strike the wall before me. The bones in my fist shatter with a sickening cracking sound. Pain overwhelms my entire being and I fall to the floor clutching my injured hand. The white of my bone is just visible among my bloodied hand. The scent of blood fills my senses, and gingerly, I lick at the amber substance coating my flesh. The metallic taste of blood is one that I dislike, but am still fascinated by.
Staggering to my feet, I reach the window just as the thunderclouds release their fury upon the land. Big fat droplets of water slide down the window pane taking all the dirt and grime on the pane along with it.
I push open the window with my uninjured hand and let the rain into
the room. It washes over me, soaking me to the bone. If only my pain and
loneliness could be washed away by the rain.
Gein walked into the room just as Enishi pushed open the window. Frowning, he skidded to a halt and watched as Enishi lifted his face to the rain. A look of longing desire was etched across the young man's features. Enishi seemed oblivious to his presence and appeared to be caught up in his own private thoughts.
With a start, the white-haired man turned around slowly. He stared at Gein for an instant as if he was unsure of who he was before recognition dawned into those sapphire blue eyes of his.
"Gein. You're back."
"The final stage of preparation is beginning already."
Oh? Was that his only answer? Gein stared at him. Though he was physically present, Enishi seemed miles away. As Gein looked closely at him, he realised that Enishi's hand was bleeding.
"Enishi! Your hand?"
Enishi stared absentmindedly at the wound and licked it.
"It's nothing serious. Please Gein, leave me. I wish to be alone."
Nodding, Gein exited the room. He wasn't sure, but in that moment that Enishi had turned around, he had seen a side of Enishi that he had never seen before. The look of vulnerability on Enishi's face had reminded him of that of a young child.