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Intro Edit

Kado frowns slightly. "Tell you the truth 5x5... not that I don't understand, but what do you expect to do now? There are few ways of getting off Echo, none of them you can take without direct help from public authorities, which if you're trying to stay hidden, is not an option. And if you intend to stay on Echo... you cannot simply walk off on your own. Even in this side of the world, there are great dangers. The west has its violent storms, and the east, savage monsters and beasts. Few can survive on their own."

A faint voice stirs. "I do not know for certain... but he could seek aid from the Spirits." 5x5 can't believe what he's hearing, the faintly, ghostly voice of Kukyo.

5x5:...Kukyo...Is it you?

"...Yes. Though my time grows shorter with every minute of every hour. Soon the only thing I will be capable of is my own senses... detached once again from the world. But like Kado asked... what will you do with yourself now?"

5x5: I must rehabilitate myself. Wherever I go, It will make me a better man. I can learn a few things here. Maybe once I learn those things, I can do better at what I do and still maybe help others who fall short on their path. I have no intention on seeing you guys again. What will happen to me, I am not sure, but I will find my way and help others do the same.

"In that case... I believe if you want to find your path, the spirits might be able to help you. They are a secluded peoples to the north and south regions, but if you wish to avoid being discovered, you may decide to follow one to one of their secluded homes. They are numerous. ...In fact..."

5x5 feels a strange sensation pass by him, and something appears to cross his path, like a veil of heat.

5x5: *rubs the back of his neck* Hmm. I will go there. If that's where my path lies.

Suddenly the figure of a girl around his age materializes in front of him, dressed in simple but long white dress. He also can't help but notice she's levitating.

"Perfect timing... what say you help him out, White Mist?"

"I could take him... but I don't know if he would be strong enough to last in the Frontier. And if you wish to speak of me, at least say my formal name. It's Shiroi Kiri. ...Boy. If you would like to accopany me to my village, you may do so. But you will help me take supplies to the village. And you may not address me as White Mist. That is only for my family and..." She blushes slightly. "Engaged ones... to say." 5x5 notices she has gold-brown eyes, and thin blue decorative markings on her skin, which he wonders the purpose of. Her voice sound thin and wispy, giving her a slightly mysterious tone.

Kukyo chuckles. "So formal. Whatever, 'White'."

5x5: You treat me as if I have no form of training. I will do what you have asked.

Shiroi looks at him. "If that offends you, I apologize. Though I was not aware I said anything of the sort. I simply explained what would be expected of you. Nothing more."

5x5: Yes ma'am.

"Stop saying it."

5x5 gets a confused look. "Stop saying what?"

"Stop saying 'Yes ma'am'. You are neither my underling nor my superior. We address ourselves as equals, Jon. I told you to refer to me as Shiroi. Spirits do not live in castes or societal differentials. You are simply Jon, and I am simply Shiroi. There is no sir or ma'am. There is only ourselves." She turns, her dress billowing with the movement. "Come with me if you intend to go. Though if you can't keep up I will leave you behind." She stops levitating and starts walking to the other side of the building, the only sound she makes comes from the extremely light footsteps, barely registerable as faint taps.

Kado looks at 5x5. "I wish you wouldn't do this to them. We all take risks, no matter what path we follow. No matter if we follow our paths or not, our loved ones will always be put at harms way. I won't stop you from doing what you think you need to do 5x5, but I would strongly recommend you think long and hard... about if you're really willing to put everything you care about behind.... for something you may come to realize you already had.

...Trust me on this... one day you will look back... and you might regret the path you have taken. So..." Kado looks away. "Choose carefully what doors you wish to open... and which ones you close." He looks down towards Avalia.

"Because you won't get another chance."

Shiori stops at the far edge of the building, and looks back at 5x5. "Two doors, Jon. Once one opens, one will be closed forever. What door are you willing to leave behind?" She looks at Kado, seemingly interested in him, but quickly returns attention to 5x5.

5x5: Up to this point, really don't know what I want, but that body hanging down there tells you something. I could never be like that around the team. I have jeopardized them more than once, I ant let that happen anymore; besides I always wanted to live a life away from the M.C.C.P. A life I would be happy to have. I will miss them though. But it's time for me to go on my own and not behind my father. They fail to see we can start a new life here and not just become strangers in a strange land. This...Is what I truly want.

Shiori looks down on the streets. "Well, head to the north side of the city, the north market at the far end is where I will be waiting for you. I trust you don't need my assistance in that?"

Kado slowly sinks to the ground, leaning even more on the sword. "Fine... then go... I'm sorry to have wasted your time..." He says under his breath. "Just when I thought I could finally count on someone with ideals like mine..."

Kado silently begins to limp off, and slowly jumps off the building, once on the streets, he simply begins to slowly limp away.

I don't know what he thinks he's doing... he's thrown everything away...! Kado snarls to himself.

5x5: *watches Kado leave*I hope he truly understands, that im doing this for the others. I never truly had anything I could call my own, but know if I can do this, maybe I can. I know you don't see it that way, I cant force you too. Besides, a brothers are supportive of each others choices. *walks off toward the market*

When he arrives at the market, there is practically a mountain of large crates, and Shiori is standing next to them.

"We'll be taking all of these all the way back home." There looks to be well over twenty crates, some almost as big as he is.

5x5: *is shocked* Hooooolyyyy Craaaaaap. Well...here goes. *picks up a box and put it on his shoulder and picks up another box and puts it on his other shoulder and puts 2 more on each shoulder* Alright. Show the way.

 White Maiden of Mist Edit

Shiori looks over at the remaining ones. "I forgot." She suddenly vanishes with a pop, and all but one of the crates lift up and dematerialize. She appears, looking a bit fazed. She leans down and picks up the last crate, it of course being the smallest and lightest of them.

"I forgot beings of tangible bodies had to carry things around with just their arms."

5x5 wonders what all the crates have inside them.

5x5: There better not be rocks in here.

"No. It's your food, plus a little extra for the clan back home." She says simply.

5x5: doesn't mean there not rock.

"What are you?" She asks simply and literally out of nowhere. "Where are you from?" Before he can answer, she asks another question. "What do you like to do for a living?"

5x5: *is a bit caught of gaurd by the questions* Well, I'm a mytho. A mythologial creature, brought to existence through man's belief in stories of the creatures. I' a hybrid Mytho. I am a Variante-a symbiote version of a Shapeshifter, and a Nymph-a water spirit. That makes me an Abyssal. I was born in an agency, calle The Mythological Creature Containment Program. Or The M.C.C.P. I grew up there and I never truly called it a home, more like scientific boot-camp. As for what I do for a living...*looks down at the ground as he thinks* I really don't have a living...All I did was fight those who were just like me and contained them, only for them to be experimented on for the use o mankind...that felt more like fate...*clutches his fist*

"Interesting. I see your past pains you. The stories I heard from the Wandering Ones were true about Earth, humanity truly has turned their backs on compassion."

She walks through the north gate of the city, and 5x5 notices she doesn't seem concerned by the name M.C.C.P. at all.

5x5: What do we do now, Shiroi?

"We walk. It will take us many days to reach the edge of Frontier. After that, there is a minimum of three days from the border to the clan. We are in no hurry to get there, so we can get to know each other more. After all, it will be helpful for the both of us if you are familiar with your Patron." She mentions the term as if it was the most logical thing in the world, while 5x5 is slightly confused by her meaning.

5x5: *scratches his head slightly* Patron?

"It is a strict rule that any spirit that lets a non-spirit into our realms take responsibility of them. For simple visits, a Patron is not necessary, but the spirit must ensure the guest behaves. But in the event you decide to live with us, I must become your Patron. Patrons not only are responsible for the care and legal affairs of the non spirit, but much teach them to adapt to life as a being who dwells within our world. We mainly exist off the energy of the world, from the sun to geo thermal energy. Because you do not, we have to stock to account for it. Most villages do not have non spirits for this reason. There are a few clans that do allow non spirits to become members of the clans, mine included."

She looks at him with a playful smile. "So I guess to sum it up, I'm like your babysitter, or your teacher. ...Or maybe it's both?" She says this last part with a coy, playful tone.

5x5: Sounds like familiars or Zanpakto or somethin' like that.

"Whatever suits you. Not that I know what those are." He takes notice of the markings on her body, and wonders once again their purpose, noticing Kukyo and even the dark side of Kado had ones, though red and angular in nature, in comparison with Shiroi, and the girl spirit of Kado's. Getting a good look at them, he notices they seem to faintly shift and glow, and are not actually tattoos, but some kind of energy.

5x5: Not being rude, but what are these markings for? Do they mean something or do all spirts have them?

"Both. Spirit Brands are something we have at birth, though they start out grey and change based on the spirit. When they are adopted or come of age to a clan, their spirit brand takes on the clan style. The color represents the type of spirit, blue means a positive spirit, and negative spirits have red, and also typically shows during coming of age." She turns to 5x5 as she walks. "You'll have to get one yourself though."

5x5: To show that I'm with a Patron?

"The brand marks you as one of our own, and will allow you to enter our realm. There are other advantages to them, though those are the only ones you will likely be interested in at the moment."

5x5: *thinks for a moment* Hmmmmmm...Why not?

She looks back at the road. "It's something that you can do if you truly decide to be a part of our clan. But I won't let you make that choice yet."

5x5: Ok, I'm guessing it's for my own good.

They come to a stop after many hours of walking through the strange yet beautiful forests and swamps of Echo, many countless werelights dancing and floating through the air, sometimes changing colors in many countless tones and shades. The land itself seems to be full of life and energy, something he's never seen on Earth before. A small over hang catches his attention, with a cave deep below it with a nearby stream and glass clear pond.

Shiroi looks at 5x5. "We'll camp here." She walks into the cave, all the way into the back, where the many crates she had dissolved appear from thin air and lower onto the cave floor. She also summons forth a mattress with intricately woven knitted cover and sheets. She looks at 5x5. "I didn't expect company, so unless you want to sleep on the floor, you'll have to share my bed. ...If that is acceptable to you." She walks up to the edge of the cave and assembles stones into a circle, and begins gathering grasses.

"Do you know how to hunt?" She asks softly. "Or are you vegetarian?"

5x5: I can hunt. I can only eat chicken , turkey, and duck though.

She looks off into the distance, and suddenly disappears in a flash of light, the only thing he sees is a swiftly moving orb of light that screams off into the depths of the forest. After a minute, the light returns appearing much bigger, and slams into the ground next to the rocks and grass. Shiroi reappears, holding a perfectly prepared chicken, and starts a fire, starting to cook it.

"Found one." She says simply. 5x5 thinks about the strange girl, and gradually realizes that Shiori and Kukyo seemed to know each other.

5x5: Im curious on how you know Kukyo.

She narrows her eyes, as if remembering something not exactly pleasing. "I was one of her servants for a number of years. A personal attendant in fact..."

She finishes cooking his chicken, and breaks it up, and fashions a disk of metal out of the earth, and then washes it in the stream, before putting the legs on the plate and she offers it to him.

5x5:*takes the the plate* I'm guessing it wasnt the best years of your life. *eats part of the leg*

"It was painful being away from my people, but she eventually released me before the war with Earth." She looks into the fire. "A tri spirit... his struggles are far from over..."

5x5: Who's? Kado's?

"Yes... him. For him to have two other souls present within his one body... and for them to be a negative and a positive... if they were to both become Enlightened... the only future I see is Kado's destruction... either from the hand of an enemy, or to be torn apart and remade by the dual forces within him... he will become remade, but no longer himself, never the same again.

I don't see another future other than those for him." She says softly. "If he should overcome his enemies, it is doubtless that they will eventually consume him."

5x5: *doesn't know what to say* This is something he might to figure out himself, isn't it?

"It is often so for those of his kind. He is a Justice after all. You've seen it yourself, haven't you? An unrelenting desire to make right the wrongs in the world, though blinded to the path beyond it, am I right?"

5x5: Yes, but there is a Mytho hybrid called a Justice. But I know what you are talking about.

"No one person is meant to have a dual nature. No matter who they are, those opposite yet equal forces will eventually tear a person apart if they cannot learn to balance themselves. ...Unfortunately it is easier said that done for us spirits."

She suddenly tilts her head, an aura of obvious curiosity about her. "So what's a Justice in your world?" He can already feel the tide of questions coming again.

5x5: Well..It's a Maenad, a hybrid of a Trance Elf, a telepathic elf and a Fairy, who is also hybridized with an Angel, Messenger of God. Those Mythos are quite commonly rare to find, but the have a good array of abilities to fight of any threats of harm to them or others who are being oppressed or wronged and maintain peace to the innocent.

She looks at 5x5 with an interested look. "So then Jon, can you guess what kind of Spirit I am?"

5x5: Are you a Justice? Not the one I was talking about.

She smiles. "Nah. I'm not up for the violence and caped crusader life. I just like to enjoy nature and make other people happy. If I could talk something out with another tribe rather than fight, it would be much more worth it. I guess that's why I'm the ambassador for the clan. We don't really need them, as we keep to ourselves in the Spirit Realm, but you never know I guess."

5x5: Yea...I guess. I would've prefered to escape to Fantasy.

She seems to look up, and starts walking towards the bed. "We might as well rest. We have a long way to go, and we need to rest up as much as possible." She gets into the bed and covers herself up, and look up at him with an eye.

"So where will you sleep? I don't have an extra bed, unless you're willing to share it with me. I won't mind if that's what you would like." She indicates the other side of the bed, more than enough room for him.

5x5: Fine. I don't mind. Thank you. *gets on the other side of the bed*

Once she closes her eyes, she falls asleep relatively quickly, and begins to give off a very soft glow, almost soothing to watch, her Spirit Brand also begins to shimmer as well.

5x5: *looks at the glowing of her glow* Hmm. I wonder what happens tomorrow. *goes to sleep*

Later that morning, he feels something against himself, and realizes she had drifted over to his side and is now laying against him, her head just below his chin. He feels very warm and comfortable, despite the fact he knows the cave itself was freezing cold. When he tries to get up though, he feels as though something is gently but firmly keeping him down.

5x5: *smiles* Well, isn't this just adorable.

She eventually stirs, and he feels the strange pressure lift in segments, as though something had wrapped around his whole body like a massive invisible blanket, and she opens her eyes.

"Good morning..." She says in a quiet, sleepy voice. "Could you see them?"

5x5: *is wondering what was that he felt* See what?

She looks a tad bit disappointed. "I was hoping you would see them. We can't move any closer to the Frontier until you can see them on your own. I guess I'll have to train you." He suddenly feels the pressure again, and he slowly is lifted into the air, until he is halfway to the cave's roof, and he looks down at himself, but sees nothing.

"Focus intently, Jon. I won't let you down until you can at least notice something."

5x5: *sees some sort of energy wave coming from Shiroi* I think...I can see it

"Good. Though with your reaction time, against a hostile Spirit you would likely have been killed by now though. I'm glad you can at least focus in on it. You already have some spirituality then."

He is slowly let down, and the energy dissipates. He wonders just what it was that she was using though to do that.

5x5: *lands* How were you able to do that?

She gets up out of the bed slowly, and walks over to him silently, and then presses her hand against him, and something like a sharp zap goes through his body, and his vision is completely changed. She is still in front of him, but now appears not as solid, and is radiating soft waves of energy, which break apart into small spheres of energy, some of them wizzing back into her form, and some flying off into the enviornment. From her back eight long tendrils sprout, and one of them unwinds and reaches over and touches him, gently going against his arm and wraps around it, the sensation comes to him a minute later as a soft hugging sort of sensation. Her dress is different, broken up into eight points toward the end, shapped almost like tear drops. These eight pieces float about in an invisible wind, and he notices she isn't standing in this form, but merely floating, no sign of legs attaching her to the ground. 

In this form, he can clearly see the full extent of the Spirit Brand, it travels all the way from her right cheek and branches off to her chest, back, legs, and right arm, each fully intricate and delicate designs. On her chest, it accents her figure, while on the arm and legs they end at the elbow and knees, a circle connecting the upper and lower sections of her limbs.

The tendril on his arm slowly travels to his chest, and appears to enter it, he only registers it as a faint increase in energy, and he realizes after a minute that the tendril is putting some of her energy into him, and she slowly begins removing her hand from him, at first he almost loses sight of her, but after a minute of the tendril pouring energy into him, she begins to come back into focus, and only then does she remove the tendril from him, and he feels as though he had a full course meal.

"Can you still see me?" She says after a minute.

5x5: Yea...What was all that about?

"I quickly altered you with Spirit Energy. I broke down part of your soul's natural borders, so it would be more receptive to spiritual energy. The tendrils you saw... I believe there is a story about a faceless man that might help you understand them. There's no specific word, but 'Soul Hand' and 'Spirit Ripper' are two phases that could come close to describing them.

You have the sight for now, because I opened up your spiritual 'eyes'. However it will depend on you to learn how to see for yourself. There are many uses we have for them, including as I said, soul modification and manipulation of the environment. More powerful spirits don't need them though." Already, he is losing sight of her spiritual form, and her physical body slowly starts to appear instead.

"Which one do you prefer?" She says after a moment, when she completely comes into focus. 

5x5: I like either or, as long you stay you and you like the body you choose. I'll be fine with either.

She smiles. "I change my body depending on who I meet. Though it's usually a deviation of my usual form. I try to guess what forms will put people at ease when I reveal myself. I figured you might like this appearance."

5x5: I like them both because it's you.

She looks at him, and he starts to feel the sensation take hold of him and he is starting rise up again. "Focus as hard as you can on it. Try to push past your normal vision. Your mother was a Nymph. You already have the potential therefore to see much easier than most beings of mass. If you can't focus your vision, then I have an idea on how to train your mind to connect easier. Do not tell me that you see it unless you become able to see an actual outline."

He focuses, and after a minute is able to the waves, but no actual shape occurs in his vision.

5x5: I can see waves, but I don't see any shape.

"I would then try to clear your mind of any unnecessary thoughts, try focusing on something like water ripples gently ebbing away until they become smooth. Once your mind is still and focused, you might be able to see it." She looks up at him. "I only suggest this because like you told me, you have Nymph heritage. Perhaps that connection can help you still your mind."

5x5: Alright. *focuses on the stillness and vastness of water, he's starting to see the shape* I...I can see it.

She smiles. "How clearly?"

At first he says only just barely, but his eyes gradually seem to sharpen in on the form, and notes that it has wrapped itself under his arms, but the section wrapped around it appears to be much much larger, the width of a beach towel across, covering down to near his waist. The whole form is solid enough to have definition, but is transparent, much like how he had heard ghosts were. He naturally begins to follow the 'Soul Hand' towards her, but it becomes blurry and eventually disappears still a good few feet ahead of her.

5x5: I can see the 'Soul Hand', but I can't reach it. What should i do?

"Nothing. Seeing it is good enough for me. I assume you cannot see my actual spiritual being, which makes sense. The hand is a very low key spirit projection. I would understand if you had difficulty seeing past a certain point. You're doing better than I expected. I am a mid class spirit, so I'm using relatively low level energies to make it detectable towards your levels. I don't sense any mid tier spirits, which means you won't have to worry about Spirit Blades. But that's good enough for me."

She looks at him with a please smile. "Enough for now." She puts him down, and the tendril slips out of his vision, as he becomes too exhausted by the effort to keep focusing on it.

She looks at him for a moment. "I realize you haven't eaten, and I would rather not risk expending any more energy, as I have to lift a lot of crates, so unless you really are hungry, would you settle for me replacing energy you've lost practicing?" She directs a tendril at him, which becomes visible after a few feet, and he can tell it is brimming with extra energy than the last one.

5x5: *is exhausted* Sure. If it keeps me from being so tired. Nearly forgot about the crates.

After she gives him a quick boost in energy, she makes the bed and crates disappear, save for hers and 5x5's. "Let's be off then."

5x5: Alright. *carries 4 crates,2 on each shoulder and exits the cave. He looks at the sun* So bright...

They travel for a good while, and eventually 5x5 begins to notice it is gradually getting colder, and the forests appear to be slowly becoming deciduous and pine forests. Off in the distance whenever they reach a overlooking hill, he can faintly see a vast blur of white, and to the west of them he can see a different shade of blue than of the sky's. Near this off path of 'sky' is a series of tall mountains. As a gust of wind blows by, he can't help but remember the terrifying gale that had heavily damaged the CRAzy.

5x5: *is starting to feel cold* Are we half way to the Frontier?

"No. We passed into the Frontier an hour ago. We're just now seeing what most people think of when they mean The Frontier though. The white beyond is the snow of the North. Fortunately the village lies within the outer regions of the Frontier, so we won't have to travel much farther once we arrive at the borders of the snow and ice.

However, we won't make the trip today. There is a small community ahead that my clan is on good terms with. We will stay there."

5x5: Ok. So where do we drop of the crates while we stay there?

"We'll have to find out. Their storage rooms aren't always available."

5x5: Ok, so how much longer till we reach it?

She points to a distant opening in the trees ahead. "It's over there. Let's keep going." She doesn't wait for him, and starts walking.

5x5: *keeps walking* So hope there is no rocks in here.

Shirori looks back. "Why would I put rocks in there? I told you that's all food."

5x5: Just makin' sure. So what do spirits do around here?

She blinks. "Live off the land and build the community. We live simplistic lives. Depending on what kind of spirit we are depends what we do around the world, or worlds in some cases. Justices tend to not linger at home, they're always off fighting their battles. A spirit like myself, I don't care much for anything but my family, my neighbors, and the peace of the world. Though in times of great need, Tranquility spirits seek out the most grievous periods of unrest and attempt to soothe the peoples affected by them. Some of us were used in the wars to still the minds of the soldiers and let them focus on fighting... not their fears."

She smiles wearily. "I'm sorry if our lives just seem terribly boring... we really don't care for material things as much as other races. We more or less just care about the relationships we build around each other."

5x5: Tell you the truth, Man kind should be more like you guys. I'm tired of our urges and desries getting the best of us and the fact they only care about themselves instead of one another

Shiori looks at him. "...Tell you the truth Jon, we're not all rays of sunshine. While it's true most positives are generally not harmful, there are a few minor exceptions. And then there are Negatives."

5x5: Yea, I suppose. I want something better for humans and Myths, it's going to be hard. We tend to make the same mistakes all the time.

Suddenly, he feels a violent force rip him off the ground, the motion so powerful that he drops all of the crates. From about him, he can hear a steady vibration, as if a motor was on near him. But also something distrubing. Something throbs at a steady rythmn, almost... organic. He makes the mistake of looking up at the source, and the sight immediately tells him he'll have nightmares for weeks. A horrid face leers out at him, looking like a charred, burned mummy's face, rippling in shadow, with soul piercing red eyes and a jagged grin, all throughout its body red angular markings run along its body.

With a searing pain suddenly igniting his body as it pulls him through some thick 'barrier', and he can suddenly see the landscape is completely different, glowing white and abyssal black is the only colors that stand out, and the thing seems to literally drain everything of its light, and he can even feel it sucking away... at him.

Below him, Shiori appears in her full form, looking terrified. She begins swinging strange blade like extensions at it, and one of them finally manages to cut off the arm that grabbed him, not before the horrible beast sinks its jaws into 5x5's shoulder and tears it open, greedily devouring it, sending pain he couldn't begin to describe throughout his being. He falls down, and his vision becomes blurry, as a large shadow and a brilliant light begin to tear each other apart in battle.

5x5: OG CRAP! IT HURTS! DANG IT, SATAN! WHAT'S THE MATTER WITH YOU TEARIN'UP MY ARM! *can't see very well* Where'd you go, you sick man-eatin' bastard. This would neeeeeever had happened if I had a gnblade. So wish I had one right now, I'd shoot you SO hard.

He falls unconscious, the sounds of something terrifying screaming echoing into silence.

When he wakes up, he is almost immediately hugged by Shiori. "...Thank goodness. I thought you were completely devoured...!" 5x5 feels as though he cannot move his arm, and he looks to see his arm and shoulder completely bandaged. Around them are several elves, as well as a human or two.

5x5: Didn't tell me you got elves here. Sorry I blacked out. Did we make it?

"No, we're at the small town I told you about we would visit. ...You've been out for days. After I... ...kill... the spirit that attacked you... I ran to them as fast as I could. ...You were lucky. It didn't just bite your physical shoulder... it literally ate a part of your spirit. ...I've been mending you for a number of days, but these are slow healing wounds, even for a spirit like myself. I'm not trained in healing arts... or at least, I haven't been trained for something like this."

She hugs him tighter. "If you died because I wasn't paying attention to you then I don't know if I could live with myself..."

5x5: *hugs her back* Didn't mean to have you guys worry so much about me.

A elf with ash brown hair coughs. "I will be delivering my report to your father, Shiori. The Misuto clan will be glad to know you are returning home soon." He walks out without another word.

"The elves didn't come from here originally," Shiori explains. "They were originally from Earth, though they've lived here in Echo now for hundreds of years."

5x5 realizes he's never asked her about her family at all yet.

5x5: You have family? I never knew. But I guess I never asked.

"Yes. A father and mother. I have siblings, though they live throughout Echo. I'm the only one who remains at home with mother and father. Father is head of the clan, and I do diplomatic excursions should he request it."

5x5: Hm, pretty neat. *gets up* Is there anything else that needs to be done?

"Yes. Please lay back down. You will need to finish healing."

The elf returns, with a tall man with long silver hair and gold eyes like Shiroi, and carries an air of great authority. 5x5 cannot read his expression, but he knows the man is definitely reading 5x5, he can feel the man judging him based on his appearance, and possibly more. After a moment, he looks towards Shiroi.

The elf looks at the man. "Your father is here. We will leave the three of you be." The humans and elves all leave, and close the door behind them.

After a tense moment, he looks at Shiroi. "Is this the one you've been bringing home?"

She silently nods.

"I see."

He looks at 5x5. "Young man. Who are you?" He asks in a firm tone. Unlike Shiroi, who 5x5 can only really tell the power of when she's in spiritual form, the man practically radiates power.

5x5: My name is Jonothan "5x5" Waltz, former leader of Domino Squad from The M.C.C.P. Sor if it was too detailed or too under detailed.

He looks at Shiroi. "He has yet to find himself, yes?"

Shiroi briefly nods.

He looks at 5x5. "How long do you intend to stay with us, Jonothan Waltz?"

5x5: As long as it takes to find what my heart yearns for. And that is unity.

"Very well then. Shiori. Brand him."

"A-are you sure you want me to do it Father? He was severely injured by a Gluttony."

"After I heal him, yes." He walks over to 5x5. "Let this be a lesson young man. While many of us choose to use our powers with care, there are those who just like man are equally capable of using them for only their self gain. There are few things that are true to the desire for unity. Perhaps only heaven is the true and final place of unity. But until we join the maker, we must overlook the flaws of life and endure it. But I hope you come to understand what exactly it is you're looking for. Even if you believe you know what you want, always remember life is ever changing and can force you to reexamine even the most profound belief in your heart."

He puts a hand to 5x5's wound, and a sensation like a thousand needles jabbing him goes over him, until it becomes subdued and the limb feels briefly numb.

"Let it rest for a few hours. Shiroi. When he is finished mending after that time, I wish you to brand him. Then we will return home. You should have told me you were coming, Shiroi. Don't bring people to us unless you can guarantee their safety."

He walks out.

5x5:Well your father is a very dutiful man.

Shiroi looks at him. "I'm so sorry... he's right... I should have waited and asked for escorts... I put you at unnessisary risk..."

She hugs him again, crying.

5x5: Hey. It's not your fault. It was my decision. You warned me this was a treacherous world and I still dove in. *wipes Shiroi's tears of her face* It's not your fault. You did your part. I'll do whatever it takes to find my path in this world. Your father actually reminds me of my old man.

Shiroi stops crying, though her embrace remains tight. "...I'm...sleepy...I didn't sleep...at all..." She suddenly sounds weaker, and he can feel her trembling. "I'm...so...glad...you're ok..." She falls asleep in his arms.

5x5: *holds her* You deserve some rest. Get all the sleep you need. Serves me right for blacking out so easily.

A few hours later, her father comes in again, but silently watches her in his arms. The look in his eyes seems to soften a little when he looks at her. His gaze shifts toward 5x5, and the look hardens again. He clearly doesn't seem to like 5x5, or at the very least he doesn't appear to trust him. He eventually shifts his head in 5x5's direction and then leaves just as quietly as he had left.

5x5: Man...I'm getting sleepy too...*silently yawns*

A sudden rush of wind can be felt outside, and her father returns, wielding a sword. "...Boy. Do you have a weapon?"

5x5: No...*is excited* Oh.Oh. Is this part where I get my...Ok.Ok. Hold up. *closes his eyes* Ok, i'm ready.

Her father stretches his hands out, and to 5x5's amazement, something metal begins forming in his hand.

5x5: *is even more excited* Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!Oh my gosh!

5x5 watches as he makes a pair of gun blades that seem to radiate with some kind of light.

"You sound like Shiroi when we gave her first flute to her... in other words like a little girl. Take it, if you wish to prove yourself and protect Shiroi."

5x5: *is so happy* YAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!! OH GOD I ALWAYS WATED ONE.! *getd up and hugs Shiroi's father* I will protect you daughter with my life. *looks at his gunblades* Now dat I got deeeeez! *is still so giddy*

A massive black claw tears open the building wall, revealing a towering black monster that almost looks like... a dragon. Only with red markings and looking distinctly like it was made from shadows. On seeing him, it lets out a terrifying roar and attacks.

5x5: YAAAAAAAY. *voice shifts into something more sinister* My first victim. *jumps at the dragon and slices its neck twice, then maneuvers behind the dragon's neck and shoots at it from behind and finally lands behind the dragon.*

The wounds quickly heals, and the dragon simply turns around, and lets out a wave of pure negative energy from its maw.

"What pathetic energy... you have a weapon gifted by spirits, yet your power is so... puny... you should be ashamed to even be touching such a fine weapon!"

5x5: If I'm so unworthy, why don't you have one?

The dragon lets out a dark chuckle. The sky begins to darken, and seven large tendrils with blades on the end sprout from its side.

"I do.... and now I shall end your life and consume your soul." He plunges the swords with lightning fast speed, and at the last second an explosion of darkness knocks the swords away, and a woman emerges from the thick darkness. She turns and looks at 5x5, and his heart stops with disbelief at the sight of the person.

5x5:..Kukyo...

"How dare you?!" The dragon roars, but Kukyo simply looks in its direction and it freezes. "Begone." She says in a low tone, and it growls, before slowly fading away.

She looks back at 5x5. "Jon. How are you getting along with Shiroi?"

5x5: I'm getting along with her just fine. How have you been doing?

She gives him the ultimate 'really' expression. "Inside a sword. Can't get much duller than that. But I would like to say something to you... in private."

5x5: Sorry, I should've known. Ok, what is it you need to talk to me about?

Kukyo takes him off to the side, and then looks at him.

"What was your thoughts of Avalia? What did you think of her as?" Her tone is serious.

5x5: She was the only friend I had outside my family. She is strong, rather silent but she displayed her emotions when she wanted to. We were close and at one point I started developing feelings for her...but those went away.

She continues the look. "And why was that?" She asks simply.

5x5: My beliefs sort of separated us due to our separate opinions. Avalia believed what we we're doing to our kind was necessary to keep man safe. I believed Mythos weren't bad at all, just misunderstood. I had endangered my squad trying to reason with my kind, but every time I do...They only reached the point of hating everything. Harlem Squad would have to deal with the threat if I couldn't do it.

Kukyo sighs. "Yet despite those differences... Jon... she didn't stop loving you. In fact even up until your little performance you pulled... she still loved you. I could feel it. I can't sense positive emotions as well as negative ones... but it was because of those negative emotions I realized. You may have lost your feelings, but I don't doubt that she still has them... though it has transformed most likely into love tainted by grief and loss."

5x5: The reason why I did it, is because, I didn't want them to get hurt over what I believed in. I knew me 'dying' would hurt them on the inside, but atleast I know they don't have to die because I'm around.

Kukyo suddenly pulls him up next to her, and forces him to look her dead in the eye. "All I have to say to that is this, Jonothan, is that better not be the excuse I hear again. Shiroi would gladly die protecting you. Your family would gladly die protecting you. Not just because they might cover for your mistakes, but they would protect you regardless because they care for you. What do you want people to do? Let you die for a mistake? I will not forgive you if you hurt Shiroi like you did your family. You're not the first one she...."

She pauses. A depressed air comes about her.

5x5: I left them to start a new life and help those who need it. Shiroi is a part of that life. I will protect Shiroi with my life, the same way she did for me.

Kukyo lets him down with a sigh, though he finds he can't move still. She walks up to him, and embraces him. She says nothing, but he can almost feel something like desire coming from her. With her head next to his, she says in a low whisper, "I don't know what this feeling is... ...but it feels so good... ...but it hurts so much... ...take care of yourself 5x5. ...I'm afraid that even though I discovered this land and made it my sanctuary... I am no longer wanted here... this will likely be the last time you and I meet... though I will always keep an eye out for you.

Thank you for giving me the gift... maybe one day on my lonely travels I will find another who can look at me as I am... and not as just some monster or something to be used...."

She pulls away from 5x5 and begins walking away, but stops to look at him one last time. The red markings all over here seem different, almost purple in color and more graceful and less angled. As he looks at her, her eye turn amber colored, mix with flakes of gold, the two differences, along with her face and hair color, begin to remind him of Shiroi and her father, but also of the little girl spirit within Kado... and he can even vaguely remember Kado's face as having a similar quality to it.

She closes her eye and he catches a small glimpse of a smile, and her form begins to destabilize, as if little by little she is disappearing into the wind.

5x5: *reaches out to her but she disappears* You are no monster to me...Kukyo. *sits down next to Shiroi and thinks*

"...Jon... why is there a hole in the building...?" She whispers as she wakes up.

5x5: Dragon came in. Don't worry, it went away.

A fierce prickling sensation rises on the back of his neck, and he turns to see her father, seemingly shimmering. His eyes look at 5x5 with what could only be fierce disapproval.

"What were you thinking? That was no mere dragon. That was no run of the mill wyrm. That was a low-high tier Spirit. You could barely handle the attack of ONE Low Class Gluttony. If Kukyo had not come here, your very soul could have been easily devoured!"

5x5: Then I should've been given gunblades sooner. Atleast I did something. Where the heck were you?

Her father narrows his eyes. A blast suddenly sends him into a wall, but it is Shiroi, not her father who had done so.

"...Jon...please...do not speak against my father so... ...he is a Protection Spirit. His first thought was the secure the safety of the villagers and their homes. He would have helped you against it, if you had been patient instead of jumping in alone. ...Please don't fight..." Her voice is minced by hurt.

5x5:..My apologize...

Her father walks over to 5x5 and offers him a hand. "It is as my daughter said. I was attending to the rest of the village. Most of us Spirits, unless we are combat aligned, do not immediately engage an enemy. I should not be too harsh on you... it is in your nature to fight after all. You were born a soldier, not as one of us. I must set my own expectations back."

5x5: I maybe a soldier, but do admit; I should've done a better job.

"What's done is done. What we do is what we do. But in the future, please don't charge in head first. In the world of our affairs, those who charge in first are the ones who fail to live long. But those who linger too far behind can be picked off by wolves. Remember that balance is an important part of who we are. Not just spirits. But all races must learn to balance themselves. If they don't... they are prone to allowing their emotions rule their heart, when will should temper them. When the fall comes, they are not prepared and will lash out, and hurt others around them. Then begins a cycle you're very familiar with.

Take my hand. How is your arm?"

5x5: It's better. Alot better.

"I see. Rest until tonight, the village would like to treat you to a dinner."

5x5: Dinner? *hears his stomach sort of growling* That sounds great. Thanks.

Shiroi idly climbs into the bed, and just lays there. Outside there is a lowering afternoon sun shining in the window, a number of flowers can be seen outside, including some blue lilies. She appears to be looking out at the sun, giving her blue eyes a very light cast than normal.

5x5: *sits in the bed next to her* You okay?

"I'm thinking about them." 5x5 presses her for answers, but she remains silent. "Why don't you talk with my father? You need to get onto a better start with him."

5x5: *is unsure about it* Sure.

He walks outside of the building, to find her father sitting on the porch. He notices 5x5's approach and indicates a spot to set next to him.

"Don't be shy boy. The wolf only bites if you ignore its warning growl."

5x5: Same goes for a rattlesnake. Shiroi wants me to be acquainted with you and since I basically have no questions, you can start first.

"How is she, for one? I don't believe she would pass up any opportunity to be with one of her... guests."

5x5: So far, she's great. She's been showing me the ropes and everything. You must be real proud of her.

He closes his eyes. "...I am. ...But... you're not the first person she has tried to bring to us... ...Some of them died on the way... but the rest... ...took advantage of her. ...She loved them..." He closes his eyes.

"Shiroi was desolate each time it happened... she only wishes to bring happiness and peace to those she encounters. It tears her apart."

He looks at 5x5. "I thought you might want to know." He picks a soft blue lily and gives it to 5x5. "She likes blue. Blue anything really. My name is Kyōdaina. Attend to her, I don't like it when she is alone and thinking about the past."

5x5:*takes the lily* Me and her both.*goes back inside and sits next to Shiroi* Heard you like blue. *gives Shiroi the lily*

She slowly looks at 5x5, and takes the flower, slowly holding it in her hands. She then looks at 5x5 and leans against him, her body suddenly feeling quite warm to the touch, her Brand beginning to glow strongly.

"...Jon...?" She asks softly.

5x5: Yea? What is it you need, Shiroi?

"Don't leave me... I don't want to be alone again..."

5x5: *puts his hand on her shoulder* It's ok. I'm not going anywhere. You wont have to be alone anymore.

One of her Soul Hands forms a small blade of blue energy and points it at 5x5. "Trust me..." Shiroi sits up and looks at him. "Lie down and hold still."

5x5: *does what Shiroi tells him* Okay.

The blade quickly but carefully slides into his right cheek and begins carving into him, slowly moving down to his neck, and gradually moving down to his chest and there it splits, traveling to his right arm, both legs, and his back, all carving some sort of lines into him. When the blade reaches his right hand and both feet, they remove themselves from his body, and the blood that comes out of him quickly rises up and seem to become energy right before his eyes, taking on a white appearance, and then reenter his body at the cuts, and the Soul Hand loses its blade, but enters into the long elaborate wound and begins flowing through it, at the same time he hears an audible 'SNAP!' from near Shiori, who momentarily cries out, a stream of energy flowing out of her from her right side, which eventually subsides.

The Soul Arm travels through the length of the cut, and suddenly he feels the pain from the carving finally enter his body, as he sees a purple light begin glowing from the wound. He can feel the wound close at a supernatural rate, but the glowing remains, but eventually subdues until it appears as though it is a tattoo.

Shiroi gives him an apologetic look. "I-I'm sorry... that it hurt you..." She holds up a mirror, and shows him the result. "But now I've given you your spirit brand."

He notes that it isn't like hers or Kukyo's, but rather is a purple brand with both angles and gentle swirls, the complexity still amazing, even though he had felt her carve it, there are details he didn't expect to see. The color is very dull though, almost black, only the center shows any sign of purple.

5x5: Looks cool. *smiles as he rubs across his spirit brand* Atleast it was worth it, right?

"Yeah... unless of course you don't end up... nevermind..." She trails off.

5x5: *looks at Shiroi* I know...

She sniffs the air. "I smell food. It must be close to dinner." She looks at him with a small smile. "You haven't gotten much of a chance to bathe, have you?"

5x5: *smells under his arm and displays a look of disgust* No...no I have not

She smiles. "Don't worry. After dinner we can take care of that smell. There's a hot spring and a lake nearby."

5x5: Then a better eat quickly.

She shakes her head. "Take your time. We spirits rarely eat, as we lose very little energy in a day. That's why the majority of the food in the crates is for you."

5x5: Imma be stuffed as a pig then. If I had known that, I would've tried to eat sooner.

Shiroi takes his hand, and leads him outside where the community sits around a massive bonfire with tables stretching around the logs on which they sit, with a lot of appetizing food on them.

Kyōdaina waves them over to sit by him.

5x5: *sits next to him and looks at all the food* And asllthe majority of it is mine? *looks back at Shiroi*

She laughs. "No silly! Your food is still in the crates! This food is for the elves, humans, and you. Plus us, we haven't eaten in a while."

5x5: Oh ok, Thank goodness. Then I'll stick with the food in the crates. *goes over to where the crates and opens one. A sweet roll rolls out the crate* Ah snap, It's a sweet roll. Sweeeeeet. Totally. *eats the sweet roll while mildly laughing*

Shiroi and her father eat, but he notes they only really have one or two chicken legs before they finish. When she finishes, she eyes a particularly delicious looking cake, but her father tells her no and to wait for desert. She grumpily walks over to 5x5, a slight pout on her face.

5x5: *looks at her and rips of a part of his sweet roll and gives it to her* Wanna sweet roll? *is still eating on his first bite*

She quietly takes the piece and eats it. She then spots a decently thick stick and takes a knife out, and begins drilling a hole into the end.

5x5: You doing ok? *takes another bite of his sweet roll*

"Yes." She continues drilling the hole until the hole is a certain width across and deep, and she takes the other end and begins to carve something out of it. As she continues carving the stick, he notices it's starting to look a whole lot like a flute.

5x5: Are you makin' flute?

She nods. After drilling more holes, she lifts it up and peels the bark off, and then it strangely turns blue. She then hands it over to 5x5. "Here."

5x5: *looks at it* Never played an instrument before. *blows a note, then looks at it again* Thank you, but why give me this?

"I wanted to give you a gift. Something made with a personal touch. I make them and trade them with any mortal traders who happen to be in our area. My flutes are sought after by many."

5x5: *plays little tune* It sounds divine. Thanks again. What are we gonna be doing after we eat? *plays another tune*

"We'll go down to the lake nearby and wash. Father wouldn't approve of us being filthy on arriving to the village."

5x5: Ok. *smells himself again and displays a disgusted look on his face* We can't go right now?

She appears to blush faintly. "W-we can, if you want. I can show you the way...."

5x5: Lead the way. *is ready to follow Shiroi. Is still eating his sweet roll*

She leads him through some thick trees, and eventually they come to the edge of a rather large lake, a few crickets can be heard beginning to chirp. You coming in too?

5x5: *gazes at the lake* Preeeeetty...I'll go first. *goes behind a tree and takes of his clothes and puts them on a bush and enters the lake* Feels nice. You coming in too?

Her clothes suddenly dissolve, and before he can process the mental image, she dives straight at him and sends them both crashing into the water. When he opens his eyes underwater, she has a impish smile a mile wide.

5x5: *is abit caught of guard but he smiles back. Swims back up*

She pops up out of the water as well, still smiling with that impish look.

5x5: Heh, you have a weird way of saying 'yes'.

Her smile gets a bit softer. "Well I thought I would make your evening a bit more eventful."

5x5: *chuckles* Yea, tackling some dude in the lake naked can really change a guy's life.

She pauses and blushes, a thought coming to her mind. "S-sorry if that was... uncalled for..."

He notices that she's tensed up and anxious.

5x5: It's alright. I was just surprised that's all. You ok? You seem abit..tense. I know. It's because we're both naked in a lake isn't it?

She blushes again, and then closes the distance between them and embraces him, shaking as she does so. "All of the others... I wanted to be with them so badly... but one way or another... I was left all alone... either by death or leaving me behind and never coming back... so can you please... tell me what you think of me..." Shaking, she embraces him tighter, her head lowered, and her breath is rapid and shallow. "If...if you don't... it'll drive me insane... I need to know..."

5x5: I think....No, I know your kind, beautiful girl, who values the lives of others no matter who they are and who's had her heart crushed too many times. And it's about time that changed. *remembers Kukyo* cause she doesn't deserve that. *embraces her back*☁

 People of the North Edit

Shiroi and 5x5 eventually come out of the lake, and Shiroi simply repels the water off her body, then materializes new clothes, unfortunately she completely sprayed 5x5 in the process. Shiroi still looks breathless, almost looking at everything as if it were surreal.

5x5: *dries himself off with his own clothes and puts them on. Smells under his arms and nods pleasantly* Alot better. Do we get sleep now?

"Yes, we will. ...Are you interesting in sharing again?"

5x5: If it's alright with you.

As they return to the town, her father immediately looks their way. "You missed desert. What were you doing out there so long?"

5x5: My apologize. I need to take a bath, due to my unbearable smell. I didn't know where the lake was so she showed me and I tend to get paranoid when I'm in the dark of the woods so I asked if she could stay nearby until I finished. I washed really hard to get of that awful smell, now lucky me, I don't smell anymore.

While not pushing the issue, 5x5 senses that he likely isn't buying it. Regardless, her father walks off. "We leave tommorow morning at first light. Be ready to wake up early."

5x5: Yes sir...Wow, that reminds me of the times I used to lie to The Admin. on why I failed my missions.

Shiroi takes him to the building, which has been fixed by the townsfolk since the attack. Once inside, she turns and looks at him.

"I think it's time you knew the other benefit of gaining a Spirit Brand."

5x5: What else is there to know about it?

Shiori sighs. "Besides allowing you to visit the Spirit Realm and marking you as affiliated with us, they open the capability for a marked mortal to learn how to use spiritual powers. Soul Hands, Spirit Weapons, even Energy Tapping. ...The final capability of the Spirit Brand allows the mortal branded to evolve into a spiritual being. ...Put it another way, if you wanted to, you could truly become a spirit like us. Death... wouldn't be a threat to you."

5x5: Death comes to all.I have no fear dying, cause I know there's a place for me up there. *looks up into the skies* I can't keep living, Shiroi. Especially when I'm not meant too.

She gently hugs him. "...I know. Many of us serve him too... we are not immortal. Spirits can die just like anyone else. ...It's just a lot harder to do. A spirit can kill another spirit, and if we lose all of our energy or our will to exist... we do perish. But we don't have to worry about old age... not nearly as much as most. ...Though I do suppose it does happen... it's just not heard of happening frequently."

"...I won't push you... but I don't want to be alone after you're gone..." She hugs him tighter.

5x5: I won't be. For you, I will keep myself alive as long as possible so that wont happen. *hugs her back with one arm*

He feels her 'heartbeat' speed up at the touch.

"...I guess I'll have to keep Branding you every other month then... they only last for two months for non spirits. I could train you to use spirit power to greater efficiency, though you could only extend it so long before you crossed the border between spirit and mortal."

"I also guess I had better learn how to cook... I'm rather rusty at it..." She smiles faintly, before heading over to the bed.

5x5: I know how. It was a requirment back at The M.C.C.P. I can teach you how to if you want.

She looks up as he says this, halfway into the covers. "Will you?!" She cries with unexpected enthusiasm.

5x5: Yea ofcourse. You've been teaching me alot, o I think it's about time I teach you what I know.

Shiroi smiles, and slides all the way into the covers. "Thank you... I'd like that..." She rests her head on the pillow, staring up at him.

5x5: You sure will. I warn you it might get a bit messy. *gets in the bed next to Shiroi* Wait hold up. *gets out of bed right quick and gets on his knees and says his prayers*

She watches him for a moment, and closes her eyes, her mouth silently saying a few lines, though he can't tell what she's saying. When she finishes, she watches him pray through half opened eyes, a content smile on her face.

5x5: *finishes saying his prayers and get's back in bed* Goodnight, Shiroi.

She edges closer to him, lightly pressing against him as she adjusts herself. "Goodnight Jon..."

5x5: *holds her closer to his body*

Early the next morning, 5x5 tries to sleep in longer, but he starts feeling a sensation as though he was being watched, and carefully peeks to see Shiroi's father at the doorway. His arms are crossed, but he says nothing, still most likely aware 5x5 is awake.

5x5: *slowly sits up, his eyes are mildly blinking as he is still tired* It's not what it looks like...

Quietly her father replies, "I see the young man who Shiroi chose to love. If you were like the men who took advantage of her, well let me put it this way. You wouldn't be awake to be having this conversation with me. I was going to wake you up to head out. ...However she is resting so peacefully... ...You have one more hour, but then we must get ready to leave. Sleep or do whatever you wish. ...Besides... as much as I don't like it... she is old enough to make her own calls. She lives on her own... once they come of age, we must let them make their own paths. I still do not know if you truly are the man she has wanted for so long... but for now I will respect her decision. And good morning."

He leaves quietly.

5x5:...Man that guy reminds me of The Admin. so much...*looks at peacefully sleeping Shiroi* The last thing that I want is for you to be hurt the same way the others did. *strokes her hair back and looks at her a little while longer then ever so gently kisses her on her forehead. He gets on his knees and say his prayers and puts his clothes on*

She sleeps for at least twenty minutes, but then she eventually starts to stir, her arms extending as if seeking him out next to her. Eventually she completely stirs and sits up slightly, looking for him in the room. She relaxes though as soon as she sees him, though her eyes appear a bit unfocused, and take a moment to regain the usual clarity in her eyes.

"Morning..."

5x5: *turns around shirtless. He has a royal blue flower tattoo no the left side of his chest and 5set domino on his packs. He smiles as he looks at her* Morning. How did you sleep?

She rubs her eyes. "Fine... but why did you get up?" She lets out a tiny yawn.

5x5: We have get moving today. We're going to see people. The Wonderful people of the North. *smiles as he puts the rest of his clothes on*

She lets out a low moan and buries her head in her pillow, pulling the sheets back over herself. "...Ten more minutes..."

5x5: Come on, this can be the time I show you how to make breakfast.

"But I'm not hungry..." She whines, though he can tell she's lying.

5x5: You may be a spirit, but you still gotta eat. Come on, I promise it will be fun. And who doesn't like fun? F is for friends who do stuff together. U is for you and me. *pokes at Shiroi's side and is pointing at himsfelf, then does some bacflips and cartwheels* N is anyone at anytime at all, down here in th---h. Well you know what I mean.

She sits up again, still looking tired, and gives him a blank look. "...Did you eat Fool's Blood Mushrooms?"

5x5: No, but there is a thing called Spongebob. Hurry, If you wanna learn how to cook, but 1st, where's the kitchen?

She eventually slids out of the bed, and walks over to a side room. She looks back at 5x5. "I will be back. And try not to eat any more sponges." She enters the room and closes the door.

5x5: Spongebob isn't something you can eat, unless it's one of those Spongebob Ice-cream pops.

She comes out a few minutes later wearing a white tee shirt and white pants, the change in style catches him off guard. He also notes that the dress she wore before seemed to hide her figure, but wearing normal clothes, her figure is now much more defined than before.

"Do you like it? I tried to match the style of dress that is more commonly found on your home world."

5x5: *is amazed, his mouth is almost wide open.* You look...absolutely stunning, Shiroi.

She looks at him expectantly. "How about that breakfast then?"

5x5: *continues to look at Shiroi for abit longer until he snaps out of it* Oh yea sorry..uh, where's the kitchen?

She grabs his hand and guides him through the house until she leads him to a small room, though the kitchen couldn't possibly be called modern.

5x5: *looks around* Ok, let me get the stuff we need.

1 minute later

5x5: *puts pancake mix, carton of eggs, milk, a measuring cup, a large bowl, a ladle and griddle* Your first lesson, is to how to make the best breakfast food known to man. The Pancake. Here you have all the stuff you need to make them, I'm gonna help you while you do it. You ready?

"What is there to be afraid of?"

5x5: Burning yourself on accident for one. Ok, First you wanna put not alot but enough pancake mix in that bowl.

She proceeds to dump half the bag of mix into the bowl, the dust cloud blowing onto them.

"...I think I messed up."

5x5: No no, It's ok. That means more pancakes for us.*slightly smiles* Now you take 3 eggs an 2/4 cup of milk and put it in the bowl.

She places the three eggs directly onto the mix, and looks at the cups in confusion.

5x5: Oh that's my fault. Should've been more specific. *takes the eggs out of the mix* I mean like this. *takes one egg and cracks it on the table, then just opens it up and the yolk and egg fall into the mix and puts the shell in the trash* Now you try.

She lifts the two other eggs using her Soul Hands, and they crack open, dropping the contents into the mix, and throwing away the shells.

5x5: Good. Now carefully pour this much milk. *picks up a cup and shows her how much milk she needs to fill up the cup*

She does so without any trouble and pours it in, having an almost childlike curiosity about the whole affair.

5x5: Now...hold up. *gets a wooden sppon* Use this to stir. I'll plug in the griddle so it can pre-heat. *plugs the griddle in and sets temperature to 400 degrees *

She stirs the mix, though she seems very much confused as to what's going on.

5x5: *looks at the mix* Your doing good.*gets some sugar and puts some in the mix* Mix it until it looks smooth and cream, you might have stir a little bit faster though, Like*takes Shiroi's hand and and has it stirring the mix a little bit faster, making the mix more creamy looking* Like that.

She mixes it to his instructions, then when finished looks at him. "Is this... pancakes?" Indicating the creamy mix.

5x5: *smiles* no, its the mix. Speaking of hich. *gets a can of spray-cooking oil and sprays enough of it on the gridle* Now it's time to make pancakes. *gets the ladle* Take this ladle and scoop enough mix and pour it on the gridle. Once you do, do the same thing again but make sure you you do it on a nother part of the griddle. Dont pour it in the same place.

She does as he says, and occasionally somehow gets it on her dress, though she seems not to notice, until there are an even amount of poured sections of mix, though some quite large and others rather small.

5x5: Your doin' good. Now we take this spatula and flip them over, but wee need to let them sit for a minute or two. You also got some mix on your clothes, but anyway. How did you sleep last-night?

She looks over at him. "Fine... I still would have liked to be with you longer... it comforts me."

5x5: Tell you the truth...that comforts me too.

"...I'm glad. I wish the others you left behind could be at peace. ...Things have been unbalanced in the otherworld."

5x5: I sure hope so...They've probably gotten over me at this point. Hopefully things will be easier for them.

She sniffs, and flips the pancakes. She looks over at 5x5. "I meant there is a war going on. I can sense it."

5x5: What's happening? It isnt another Fantasy War is it?

"Potentially, it could mean the end of human civilization on Earth. Unless stopped, the ones known as Phoenix will unleash a force beyond reckoning." She sniffs, and flips the pancakes again.

"You've met one of them before. Two of them actually."

5x5: Yes, Kukyo and some evil-white chick named....White.

She shakes her head. "Actually three. Kado, Torrent, and yes, White. White is their leader."

5x5: I remember. Torrent was the purple guy who beat the crap out of me when I was...out of it.

"I am not sure why he did that. Phoenix members rarely ever show themselves."

5x5: I also bet they wouldn't give care about anyone else except themselves. So why would he just beat me and give me a lecture for being out of it? Why not just let me go about my business?

"I don't have an answer to that. He may have had his own personal reasons, I wouldn't know. But it brought you here. ...Am I burning this?" A faint smell of smoke can be detected.

5x5: ...Yea.*looks at Shiroi* I guess it did.*gets a plate* You can put the pancakes on this plate. After you get them all off the griddle, put more mix on it. *re-sprays the griddle*

Shiroi does so, then closes her eyes. "A storm is incoming in the next few days."

5x5: Does that mean we're gonna have to get moving then?

"It's mainly heavy rain and lightning. The winds will be below threat level. The windstorms you became aquainted with are the result of a Spirit fighting another Spirit... either that or one attacked you directly."

5x5: Whoa. That must be some hectic fighting. The fight s between a positive and a negative spirit,right?

"Usually. But sometimes two positives or two negatives have a quarrel with one another. It's not common. It seems odd to me that it would just be a fight. It would seem too convenient that would happen out of the blue. Spirits of this world do tend to pick up on outsiders easily, as well as their intent. A Justice could have easily come after you, or a Protection like my father. Some spirits even take it upon themselves to protect cities of their own free will. It was so with Japan sometimes. Sometimes they really did protect people from their shrines."

5x5: You can flip them now. Are their any other spirits besides Justice and Protection?

"Many. Tranquility, Wrath, Anger, Hate, Peace, Nature, Life, Death... possibly too many to count. They each play a role in the natural cycle of life. Unfortunately mankind on Earth failed to understand the role and blessing of the Spirits, so if they didn't fade the majority likely abandoned Earth to its fate. Though there still may be a few positives... the majority would be negatives that linger.

Didn't I tell you what I am?" She flips them.

5x5: Yes, you're a Tranquility.

"Yes. I'm glad you remembered that. We don't have any technology where we live, so cooking will be much more basic, you know that right?"

5x5: Yea, I do. That means more cooking classes for you then.

Kyōdaina walks in. "What is that smell?" He eyes Shiori's clothing and what they're doing. "Are you teaching her how to cook? Her mother will be thrilled."

5x5: Everyone deserves to know how to make pancakes. She's doing great so far, but I guess you already knew she would.

"Frankly I'm amazed she hasn't blown something up at this point. ...We gave up after a while and moved on to other matters."

5x5: Well atleast she's makin' up for that. The pancakes are ready. *gets chocolate syrup and whip-cream. He puts 3 pancakes on a separate plate and puts drizzles some chocolate on them and whip-cream, then finally puts a black cherry on top, then hands the plate to Shiroi and hands her a fork*

Kyodaina silently leaves and closes the door, as if something bothered him.

Shiroi eats the first one rather slowly, then she eats the second one with little trouble, and then completely devours the third.

"...Those were ama-z-zing! Thank you Jon!" She pauses, and before he can start eating his, she tackles him in a fierce hug.

5x5: *drops his pancakes* Aw dang, ma' cakes! *ties to reach but the hug prevents him from even reaching the floor. He finally gives up* Aw. *hugs Shiroi back* Your welcome.

She moans. "Why...do I have a buzz... in my head...?"

5x5: I think I poisoned you with sugar. Getting sugar high, I think.

She leans up against him, but the chair ends up tipping over and knocking them to the ground, and she smiles as she lands on top of him. "Planned it!" She giggles.

5x5: You know. You gotta be the most crazy and yet so adorable girl, I have ever known.

She lays down on top of him, smiling. "So what shall we do next?" She says in a playful tone.

5x5: We could just lay here or we can start packing up for the trip, unless that's already covered.

"Father already transported the crates. ...I'm rather bad at transportation..." She sulks for a moment.

"You should see my mother sometime! She's the most beautiful spirit in the North! ...I'm just an adorable flower..." She sulks again.

5x5: It happens to be that I like adorable. *smiles at Shiroi*

She gets off him, and levitates the pancakes off the ground, they glow golden for a second, before landing on the plate and returning to the table, looking as though they had never even fallen on the ground.

"I fixed your pancakes."

5x5: *is breathless as he gets up off the floor and looks at his plate of pancakes* Oh my God...*is making a really wide smile* Your the best! *kisses Shiroi's cheek and runs to his pancakes and immediately starts devouring them*

As soon as he finishes, Shiroi looks at him. "We need to practice you going into the spirit realm. Otherwise it will be uncomfortable adjusting when we get home."

5x5: Am I supposed to enter a certain way. Is it my posture? I mean I can fix that.

She looks at him with a faint smile. She suddenly shoves him, and his vision flares painfully into pure white and black as he suddenly feels disconnected from everything.

"Try and focus on me!" Shiroi's voice rings out, but it comes out garbled and he can barely understand it. He tries but the painful black and white does not go away, just endlessly swirling.

5x5: *is dizzy* Aw snap, Now I'm really out of it. Alright I'll try. *focuses and sees a faint image of Shiroi* I can see you, but my sight is starting to hurt.

He suddenly feels a tugging, but it fades as soon as Shiroi puts a hand on his shoulder in the real world and pulls him back.

"I should have guessed you would have some trouble. We'll try again in a few minutes, you'll probably want to catch your breath after that."

5x5: *rubs his eyes* Ah, so much flashing. That's what you meant by 'practice'.

"It's not easy, I would know. It takes time, even for natural born spirits to acclimate to their first time in the spirit realm."

5x5: Atleast we still have all the time in the world to practice before we get to the spirit realm.

Kyodaina walks in. "Get ready to leave in a few minutes. We leave soon. Boy. Have you ever been to the arctic circle before?"

5x5: Back on Earth, yea. The only thing that kept my mind off the blistering cold was those baby polar bears...and then that feeling went away when mama bear got involved.

"Well it's going to be as cold or worse, and not much to say in the way of animal life."

5x5: As long as there's nothing there trying to bite my ass off, Im ok. But I will need a big,big...really big jacket.

He holds up a really, really, really big jacket.

5x5: Wow, man. I swear you're like Santa Claus. *puts on the jacket and moves around abit only to fall back*

Kyodaina rolls his eyes in irritation. "You are something else..."

Shiroi giggles.

5x5: Spoken like a true, Samaritan. Can you get me up, please?

Shiroi helps him to his feet. "I think you need a smaller one Jon." She laughs.

5x5: He said it himself. It's gonna get cold where we're going. But yea you right, needs to be smaller.

He feels the material shrink to somewhere more appropriate to his size.

"We won't reach the Arctic for a while. We don't need that out right away."

5x5: Ok. *takes off the jacket* How will we be getting there?

"BY THE POWER OF.... walking." Shiroi giggles. Kyodaina looks at 5x5.

"You fed her sugar, didn't you?"

5x5: *looks away* Maybe...She's awake, isn't she?

"That's not the issue. ...The issue is... BLARG!" He yelps as Shiroi tackles him in a hug. "...She gets excessively hyper and high as a kite for days."

"Can I have a kite for my birthday?"

5x5: How 'bout water instead? Water can fix just about anything. *gets a spray bottle and begins spraying Shiroi with it" Bad,bad,bad Shiroi. Very bad. Get off your father like that.

She looks at 5x5 and gets a wicked smile. The bottle rips out of his hands and starts rapidly spraying him instead.

5x5: *his face is wet* My eyes...It burns...

Shiroi smiles. "Surrender!"

Kyodania sighs. "This is why we only let her have sugar on her birthday."

5x5: So she's glutton free or something?

"...Usually. SHIROI! DOWN!"

She quietly retreats to a corner and sits there wide eyed and stays there.

Kyodania sighs irritably. "...Don't say or do anything to her for five minutes. You'll encourage her to keep acting up. She needs to calm down." He walks out. "Be ready to go in ten minutes."

5x5: Can I atleast give her water to drink? That should wash some of that sugar away.

"Fine. Nothing else."

5x5: *gets a water bottle out the fridge and rolls it over to Shiroi* Drink up.

She reluctantly takes it and slowly drinks it, remaining silent the whole time.

5x5: *sits on the floor and thinks about all the past events from his childhood to where he sits now. He shakes his head slowly as it hurts to think about all the pain, as that has been all their was in his life*

She looks up at him. "Why are you sad...?

5x5: Im not sad...it just hurts.

"What does? What's making you hurt?"

5x5: *touches his head and is silent for a little while longer*...Nothing. It's nothing anymore... *gets up and leaves the kitchen*

She runs after him and grabs his arm. "Don't lie to me Jon! What's wrong? You don't have to hide your pain from me!"

5x5: Believe me Shiroi...I don't want to hide my pain..but I can't tell you neither...Last thing I want is...*touches his forehead again as it is causing him distraught* To...to...*runs off*

She chases after him, and after a short burst tackles him to the ground, and silently holds him down with her supernatural strength.

"...Jon. I've been living with my burdens for years. I've never gotten to share my feelings with anyone I cared about. They were taken or left me before I could ever feel my feelings shared in turn. I'm no longer alone now Jon. ...And neither are you. You can't ever move forward with your life if you run away. You said you'd be there for me, that I wouldn't have to be alone anymore. So let me be there for you, so you don't have to be either." She gently embraces him, and a wave of her tranquil spiritual energy flows into him, like a wave of soothing light.

"Let me help you." She says softly.

She could never understand. Forever doomed. Forever cursed.

5x5: All I have ever done was runaway...it was my only solution, when I messed things up for everyone...

No good. You are mad. Run, little boy. Run to your mommy...if she's there. Better off without anyone. No one that you can hold back.

5x5: I have been so alone ever since my mom died...and I wasnt really on good terms with the rest of my family...They wanted me to be.different but I could never unlearn what my mom taught me..she was all I had and all I ever needed...*is trying not to cry* Ever since she died alI never had a say in choosing my own life, but I didn't even know what to expect to do with it once I got it...Without her, I felt like everything I was doing was...wrong...

Hated you. You were different. There was no place for you.

5x5: *is trying hard not to cry* She had to leave me...

She left you. She did not want you. You mean nothing to her. She lied to you. You we're too weak. You are too weak.

She lifts him up and makes him face her. "Not everyone can be strong all the time Jon. There are many kinds of strengths, and many weaknesses in the world. Trying to change the world through discussion and understanding... not everyone can learn to see that way. What does violence even do for the world? All it does is breed more violence. Oppression only leads to more misery. You tried to change the world, but we're all just people. Everyone has their limits... we have to accept that. But that's what makes me like you Jon. You kept something important to you close to your heart, and never gave up, even when you failed. That isn't weakness. That's a strength that will never die.

I can't replace your mother Jon. I can't be her. Perhaps I can't understand what it was like for you. But if I don't try, that just makes me more of a failure for not being there for you. Jon, because you kept that important thing close to your heart, you were able to save a friend, you changed the heart of Kukyo, and ultimately she was free in the end, not out of violence, but because of your compassion. She may be dead Jon, but guess what? Your mother's love, what she taught you? It will never die. She is with you forever. And when you pass on... you'll get to see her again. And she'll be proud of you."

She smiles. "So until then Jon, continue to make her proud. Keep doing what you've always done. Fighting to change the world through compassion, not hate. You're not alone. You have her heart, and you have me. And not just me. You have the rest of us. Our people is one heart and mind. And yours as well."

Then why do you feel so distant from the world? Why does it feel like you were not guided by the hand of God?

5x5:..Okay

She embraces him softly, then in a softer voice says, "If you want to move on with your life Jon... you are going to have to face it. No more running. You can't learn to heal, you can't learn to live without first facing your pain and overcoming it. Life is hard. There will always be pain. But running and not letting others help you only makes you wallow deeper, it will only pull you further from happiness. Until the day we die, I won't abandon you."

You held out for help. They would not help you. Not even the Father would come to your aid. They all left you in the dark. Never to see again. You don't deserve happiness. They have doomed you. The girl knows nothing. She shall never know anything.

5x5: *humbly embraces Shiroi back, still trying not to cry*

"Look at me Jon. When the time comes that you must leave and join the Father in heaven... I've decided... that I will come with you. You won't be alone. I promise. I will gladly go with you. I would give up my eternal existence so that you could still be with me. But... you have to promise something to me."

Desperate.

5x5: *nods his head* Anything.

She seems to cautiously look at her father, who is busy talking with the town leader. She looks back at 5x5, and she grabs him, and suddenly countless miles pass before him, until they stop at a beach by the ocean.

"Here... he'll not be able to sense us here." She looks at 5x5, and her clothing disappears into mist. Her spirit brand glow much stronger than before, and at the same time as he is started by the change, he strangely is more drawn to the intricate brand's many weaving paths on her body, stretching from both cheeks down each side of her body and ending in graceful curls at her hands and feet, a beautiful woven network of light on her body.

"I want you to promise to make me yours. Sickness and health, times of plenty and times of misfortune. Mark me with your spirit brand, just as I will mark you with mine. ...I'm doing what your people would equivocate to giving you a ring of proposal. It is something I cannot lose, unlike a ring, and is a reminder and sign to all I will never leave you." She says in a firm, determined voice.

Do not believe. She does not understand.

5x5: How do I do that?

Fool! Dooming yourself!

"Place your hand on my body- whereever you feel the most comfortable doing, and touch my brand and channel your energy into mine. You must hold it steady until I am completely branded."

5x5: *puts his hand on the side of Shiroi's face and his brand starts to glow*

His brand extends down onto her cheek and begins to intertwine with hers, and she flinches as it burns her in a similar way that he had been when she applied his to his body. After several minutes, 5x5 becomes aware of her thoughts and emotions in his own head as his brand finishes intertwining with her.

That was not pain. It was desperacy. They would not have left her they had truly loved her.

5x5:..Your mind..so much...abandonment...

She knows nothing of such and you know it. It happens in Reality all the time. She is just as weak as you are.

5x5:..She is...

She timidly touches his cheek, her brand slowly spreading to wrap gracefully around his, her energy feeling like a soothing sleep, yet gives him a sharp buzz, as though he had just have five espressos. Thoughts of the past, her first love, which had died in her arms after she had failed to protect him, her withdrawal from other people afterwards, serving Kukyo in her dark palace and slowly opening her heart again, a second love, betrayal... death... disappearance... despair, all drift in her conciousness. She seems to brush the thoughts away, seemingly wanting to forget about the bad times and let a new chance at a new life into her heart.

5x5: *head starting to hurt as he is receiving her memories*

This is nothing. It happens all the time.

5x5: So does poverty.

They would have left her if they truly loved her.

He feels her mind slowly connecting with his, but she seems to stop just outside of his boundaries, nervous. She appears as though she is gathering herself. She then slowly reaches and connects with his mind, a soothing contrast of pooling tranquil energy.

5x5: *his mind is agitated even more as it begins to start hurting*

Memories of his childhood. In a room, one shadow monster and another a feminine water spirit are strangling each other. He's peaking into the room and looks horrified and confused at the two figures strangling each other. The water spirit stops and wraps her arm around him. He continues to look at the shadow monster who is staring at him with hatred and resentment. The water spirit takes him out the room and as he leves, he sees another shodow monster only it is the same age as he is. That monster is also staring at him with hatred and even more resentment.

I'm so sorry.... is that your family....?

5x5: *His eyes are wide with fear and has a scared and sad look on his face* ...Yes...

Hated you. She chose you over them and they hated you. They could never forgive you.

Shiroi embraces 5x5, not releasing her hand from his cheek, as the brand continues to wind around his in delicate swirls, her mind helps to comfort him from the memories with a gentle, reassuring touch, inviting him to take refuge within the quiet hum of her consciousness.

5x5: *embraces Shiroi sort of like how a child hugs its mother. His eyes are now wide with sadness*

As the bond finishes, she slides her hand from his cheek to the back of his head and softly runs her hand through his hair.

"I'm here for you," She says softly.

No one was ever there for you then. Why should anyone be there for you now? Their lying to you, Jonny.

5x5: *has more of a worried look on his face now mixed with the sadness of his eyes*

She pulls away slightly, and looks at him with a slight air of hurt. She points to the brand. "Jonothan Waltz. " She stresses his name out sharply. "A soul brand is a visible extension of one's soul. Within the brand I placed upon you I imbued my promise to never leave you. In sickness in health, times of wealth and times of poverty. In times of joy and times of grief. And I will keep that promise when we go together to the next life. That is the promise of my bond with you. ...Is that not enough for you?" She ends off with a low whisper of pain.

5x5: *tears start streaming down his face* I don't know...My whole life I felt stuck...l-like I had nowhere to go...L-like what ever I do didn't make any sense...I felt like I was lost in a fog...fog filled with people who continued walking...cause they knew what to do....L-like right now...I don't even know what brought me here...or why my life was so messed up...or why I try to help the other myths...everything feels so...blank now...when I look back...like I don't feel anything for my actions...I don't feel pain...I don't feel happiness...Just...stuck...*looks up into the skies*

He sees a giant hand descending from the clouds unto him and as he reaches for the hand it shatters into broken glass and falls all around 5x5. He looks back up into the clouds and sees he skies going dark. The broken glass become cracks in the earth and it gives away under 5x5. 5x5 falls into the darkness below him, catching the last glimpse of sunlight disappear. A giant-diseased looking hand comes from under 5x5 and grabs hold of him and pulls him into the darkness.

5x5: I believed...

God has abandoned you. Doomed I tell you. Doomed.

She grabs his face and makes him look her square in the eye. "Listen to me. When I first met you, I saw a person confused and unsure of where he wanted to take himself. Yet you immediately chose to follow me and start over. Jon. You tell me, is this starting over, or are you the one making the lies? You are the only one responsible for your actions. It is the same for anyone else. Your mother, your father, your brother, they all love you. We can help guide you, but you must be the one to steer your life.

The only one who has abandoned you is you. That's why you're stuck. If you want to finally move forward in your life, then stop blaming yourself for things you cannot control. Your mother's death was not your fault. Them breaking up was not your fault, and only you can accept that. Only you can take back your life. Stop abandoning yourself."

Hhmhm. She does not know what I know. Not even you know what I know and we share the same mind.

5x5: She's right...

No she's not.

5x5:What do you know? Your just a figment of my imagination.

I am, aren't I? It was nice mesiing your mind up, again.

5x5: *shakes his head* Bastard...

Shiroi looks at him. "We should get back before-"

"Before what?" Her father's voice rings across from behind them, either great anger or great irritation marring his voice.

5x5: It's not here fault. She was helping me..cope with some trauma I was feeling. She took me here to calm my mind. I can't say it will last forever, but it worked.

He walks over to them, and then he sees the new brand on 5x5's face, and then the one on Shiroi. His eyes widen, and his pupils narrow almost to slits. He looks towards 5x5.

"You didn't...."

5x5: *sighs* Yes. It is what you think it is this time. but you said it yourself, your daughter is old enough to make her own choices and I am no father or anything, but every father should support their children's decisions. What's the matter with that anyway?

His face seems violently pale. "...do you realize... ...do you even know... what the significance of what you've done is...?"

5x5: No, but judging by the look no your face, it seems bad.

He slowly closes his eyes. "...Come with me, Jonothan." He says slowly.

5x5:...Ugghh..Okay.*follows behind him*

He leads him only a short distance away, just outside earshot.

"...You need to know something. We all have our flaws. With spirits, we usually exist based around a basic principle... but because of that, we also have a... 'Fundamental Flaw'. Even I have my own flaw... paranoia. I need to ask you something. If you really are serious... no... the brand is proof of that..."

5x5: I'm just as flawed. I'm not sure if was thinking before I did it, but i know one thing. I did for Shiroi and I trust her with my life as she trust me with her life. *thinks a little bit* More or less.

He looks at 5x5. "Shiroi didn't act like she does now when you first met her, right? She was more... restrained... am I right?"

5x5: I don't know. She seems the same to me. The only time she seemed different was when I gave her pancakes. Why ? Is there a problem?

"...More or less... you. Shiroi is normally extremely emotionally reserved... however, she usually lacks any sense of 'pleasure' in her life as a result of being a Tranquility. ...It is very easy for a spirit such as her to become obsessive if not possessive of something that gives them a strong sense of pleasure. This behavior can lead to the spirit degrading into a Negative. ...For a long time, I've not seen her this happy. But... just be careful that if after you ever decide to become intimate with her... if she seems as though she gets... addicted... to something, I need you to make sure you avoid doing that thing that overstimulates her. ...I don't want to lose my daughter... not to something like a Negative."

I told you.

5x5: I see. Sort of like an overdose. I understand. i will do whatever I can to prevent that happening to her.

"...Thank you. ...I wish she had honored my wishes in her taking her time in this relationship... but it is not my place... I know though you are capable of being the man she deserves... just make sure that you are that man when it counts... I know you are capable of being stronger than your darkness." He places a hand on 5x5's shoulder, and he has a softer cast to his eyes. "And I promise that as her father I shall welcome you into my household as if you were of my own. Misgivings do not belong in the affairs of family."

5x5: *puts his hand on Kyandashia's wrist* I understand...I want to be that man you and Shiroi see in me. I can feel it inside of me.Last thing I want is to break her mending heart, because I wasn't being that man you see in me.

He walks back to Shiroi, who looks at 5x5 anxiously. "Are you alright?"

5x5: *slightly smiles* I'm fine. I can see you were probably worried.

Her father looks at them both. "I think it's time we headed out to home."

Shiroi blinks, and her clothes appear, changing into a long thick dress. "Jon needs better clothes."

5x5: that sounds like the bestest idea since the creation of SETI.

Shiroi makes a thick fur coat appear for 5x5, matching his size.

5x5: *wraps his arms around himself* Feels cozy. Thanks.

Her father closes his eyes, and they arrive back at the village. "Shall we head out then?"

Shiroi cheers. "Road trip!"

5x5: A road trip isn't a road trip unless we're driving. Which I highly doubt we are.

"What's 'driving?'" Shiroi asks, tilting her head to one side as she walks.

5x5: Something we're not going to be doing.

"Is it that bad?" She asks, confused.

5x5: Heck yea it would. Let's not worry about it anyways.☁

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