Chapter Twenty-Five: Eda-Kimoto:

May 23rd, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Haruka waited in her darkened living room. She had just sent out another Hell Butterfly to spy on Anna. Tonight was perfect for the kill.

The old woman looked out the window when she heard a tapping noise. The butterfly just returned. The old woman smirked as she slowly opened the window. Her agent gently landed on her waiting finger. The butterfly made a soft whining noise before breaking down into ash. The old woman smiled at the results. Haruka created another Hell Butterfly and set out.

May 23rd, 2009, 9:00 p.m.

�The Eda-Kimoto clan had a long history,� Haruka said, �Sen and his fianc�e are our parents. Sen made a pact with a kitsune to save his beloved; that much is true. True every forty generations she picks a daughter�s soul to merge with. However, there is more to know about us.� The old woman looked through the various knives on the coffee table she brought with her tonight.

�Oh yes,� she went on, �We are a complicated family. Not many understand us; can�t or don�t want to, who can say? Many hate us, many fear us, few love us. They can say what they will about us; we will choose to exist.� Haruka selected her favorite knife. The moonlight reflected so well on the blade as it sang to her tonight.

�Ah yes,� she said, �We were pure at first. That�s how most darkness starts after all. Like I said, we are complicated. Everything was good with us in the beginning. Our ancestors used the kitsune to do good; innocent, no harm done. They healed their fellow villagers from illness and death, saved them from drought, kept everyone fed, and gave justice. The villagers were very grateful; they helped out our ancestors they were in great need. So what happened, you ask? They were dying too quickly.

�You see, in between generations, we are all given copies of that mighty kitsune. These copies are weaker than her and die too easily. Most of them died at twenty-eight because of it. We all tried in the past not to die off so quickly. We tried everything! You name it, we went for it. All results ended in failure.�

She broke into a small laugh. �How ironic; great healers and idols of the village that can�t even save themselves! Heh, that is so sad, wouldn�t you agree, Anna?�

Haruka looked out of the corner of her eye at her victim. The younger woman sat in the big black and gold chair near the window. Haruka had put knock-out dust in the Hell Butterfly and sent it to Kimoto Manor. Now, her grandmother held her still and silent telepathically in the chair. Anna stared on at her with hate in her eyes. Haruka ignored the look and kept talking.

�We struggled with our gift and curse,� she said to her granddaughter, �Death always stalked us. Sure, it was inevitable, but too soon for us. We wanted to live out the normal span of life. That was a struggle until the Meji era.� Haruka looked at the knife blade in the moonlight with a twisted smile on her face.

�It�s a funny story about the solution to keep us alive,� she went on, �Our ancestor, Touya, had fallen in love with this young woman named Arisu. He wanted to court her so badly. However, he was a shy boy. He couldn�t gather up the courage to even ask her out. So Touya decided to watch over and follow Arisu around. He watched his infatuation grow up into a beautiful young woman. Arisu had grown so beautiful that it caught the attention of other men in Kyoto, much to Touya�s displeasure. However, he still loved Arisu.

�One evening, Arisu was going home. Touya watched her walk up to her front door. It looked like a normal night once more. Suddenly, a strange man wandered over to the young woman. He tried to seduce Arisu, but she refused because she was to marry a nobleman in three nights and wanted to stay a virgin until then. This other man got angry and tried to rape Arisu. She fought back in vain. Touya couldn�t stomach his object of desire about to be violated. He had to do something before his beloved died.

�Touya summoned his kitsune to the rescue. The kitsune did the job too well; it killed both the would-be rapist and Arisu herself. When it had returned to its master, Touya raced over to Arisu�s dead body. He mourned in horror at what he had done. He didn�t mean to kill her, really, but then something strange happened.

�His kitsune had come back out on its own and started eating Arisu and the attacker�s souls. Touya was appalled at first.

��Konni, don�t!� he yelled. The kitsune didn�t listen; he just kept eating. Suddenly, an ecstatic feeling came over young Touya. You see, he was close to dying in three weeks. He could feel it all over his body in his heart and lungs. However, Touya was healthy as a normal twenty-year-old. He couldn�t grasp the situation at the time; I don�t think he ever could.

�By the time the kitsune had finished eating; Touya�s health went back to normal. It was then we all resorted to human souls for survival.� Haruka then noticed that Anna walked to talk now. She raised an eyebrow at her granddaughter.

�I�m sorry, what?� she asked a sweet mocking tone. Anna tried to open her mouth, but it was forced shut with Haruka�s powers. The old woman smirked as she decided to humor her granddaughter. Haruka slowly removed the hold over Anna�s mouth. The younger woman breathed out hard.

�So you decided that murder was the only way to survive?!?� Anna snapped. Haruka smiled and shook her head.

�Not always dearest,� she replied, �Since Touya�s discovery, we only took dying souls that wanted to die. Soon, our kitsune wanted more. How could we deny our beloved pets? So our hunts began. However, some of us were just disappointments, like your father.� Anna glared at her coldly.

�Papa was a good man!� she declared. Haruka snorted at her.

�Your father was a failure,� she argued, �I taught him the family�s witchcraft and beliefs. Did he learn it? He threw it all away in shame! When your father saw his brothers and I kill a woman for our kitsune, he ran off in the woods to vomit. Your father refused to kill anyone for his kitsune. He finally couldn�t take anymore of our proud family and ran away from home.� Her granddaughter sneered at her.

�Proud family?!?� she snapped, �You�re nothing but a bunch of murderers!� Haruka became angry and telepathically slapped Anna in the face. The younger woman yelped in pain.

�No!� the old hag snapped, �You don�t know anything! Your father blinded you from your true potential. He wouldn�t teach you witchcraft. Your father was scared of you because you inherited the kitsune instead of my more worthy grandchildren! You are a waste! How pathetic! You�re just like Iwao!�

�Don�t limp Kato-san into this fucking mess!� Anna yelled.

�Oh, but I must!� Haruka insisted, �Iwao�s grandmother is my grandmother�s cousin!� Anna�s eyes widened. The old woman smirked at her.

�Oh yes,� she went on, �My family took in many orphans and runaways in case we died before we made the kills. Mimiko was a pregnant teenage runaway when my great-great uncle found her. Instead of killing her like he had planned to do originally, my great-great uncle took the silly girl in. She was happy with her new family until she learned the truth. Yet, Mimiko stayed because of her daughter. When the daughter was twelve, she and her mother ran away from our home because of a man. Years later, Kato, my sister, and I were born. So yes, your father and Iwao are all bound into our blood, their choice or not!� Haruka held the silver snake decorated knife to her side.

�And now,� the old lady said, �You know about our family�s blood-stained curse. So, you must die as the sacrifice to my kitsune!� Anna tightly shut her eyes as her grandmother raised her knife high above her head.