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Dancing In The Dark

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Along his travels, Korekiyo had come across so many interesting men and women alike, elders, children, those of heavier disposition, those who were light as a feather might be, those who enjoyed swimming, those who didn't, those who ran, those who crawled. The beauty of humanity had etched itself unto his eyes for as long as he could remember, starting from the fateful moment his sister had called him over to read a book based on myths around the world that shared certain similarities, despite the huge distance between the cultures. The mere idea of culture being similar, yet so far away... You could say it had driven him near insane with curiosity.

But along the way, something happened. The more his interest grew and the older his frail body grew, she grew so sick... It almost crushed his heart just thinking about her, his poor, dear sister, withering away on a hospital bed that had no business in containing her beautifully frail frame. He had so often wanted to grab her head and rest it on his lap, guide her outside by himself, take and protect her from the world that had done her so unjustly, yet his self preservation had prevented such. The world couldn't understand the pure, uncontrollable love he felt for her, how she had so lovingly smiled at him every day he came to visit.

That's why he was almost ready to jump out the window when one day he came to find that she had not awoken that day. She had peacefully passed away overnight, without ever even thinking of him and /HIS/ feelings. His very own sister had left this world and him without ever telling him, and she'd been so healthy the night prior, he could remember her face when he left, how she had waved her hand weakly. There was no indication that this woman, his beautiful sister, would be dead the next morning.

Living had lost it's luster.

Yet, he kept doing it. Perhaps it was some form of ironic self bondage to this realm, but he'd kept on living without her, his travels around Japan continuing as normal. Yet, one visit... One visit had been special. He'd heard her then. She was so happy in the realm of the dead, yet she had one wish, one sad tale that kept him awake for days after hearing it.

She was lonely.

She, his dear sister, was lonely. He had contemplated taking his life then and there to join her so that she would not be as alone, but she had soon whispered into his ear so sweetly, the smell of fresh blossoms leaving near his nose whenever she came close. She wanted more company than just him. One hundred sweet and beautiful women of fitting stature and personality, before he could come and join her in the world of the dead for a danse macabre.

Who was he to deny her wishes, he thought.

Japan was a large country. Traveling around was already Shinguuji's passion, so to feed his sister's wishes while on the study of humanity seemed like combining a hobby and his personal duty. He was unsure which was which, yet he fulfilled both to the fullest. He made notes of foreign ways, drowned a sweet farmer girl, dined with local elders, choked a local banker's wife, and most of all, appreciated humanity's beauty as life drained from it's face. He had come to realize that humanity was at it's most beautiful when it was losing all the luster. A dead face was much prettier than that of a living person's.

He had experimented a little. One time he hacked off someone's arm before killing them. The other, he had tortured them more thoroughly. He had experimented, tested around, danced with death as he made fun of humanity's woes in face of beauty. After the fiftieth murder, he had decided on his preferred method to be simple and clean. Torture had it's own fancy, as was bounding the victims, but making a calling card by being overly gory would just attract attention from the police. And he would not be stopped before he reached those 100 handmaidens his sister wished for.

This one would be number 97.

The town was a sweet little one, somewhere in northern Japan. He didn't bother with remembering directions whenever he traveled, and he had often visited the same villages multiple times. The best recorders of lore visited the same place multiple places to hear differing opinions and stories over a vast amount of time. Here, in this small village, he had found the perfect candidate.

A sweet miko. He didn't know her name, and she didn't know his name. They had talked a few times under the guise of Shinguuji charting out the history of the shrine and the town in general, but in truth, his observations had been on how she acted. She was a sweet and shy girl, the type one could almost call ideal to be a housewife in today's culture. So, an essentially perfect companion for her sister.

The next few visits had been spent in determining what would be the perfect way to murder her. He had considered using the environment of the shrine to engineer something that seemed like an accident, but the shrine was in too popular a spot for him to be able to do so in private without risk. Therefore, bringing his own weapon was essential. He had decided upon a simple knife, easy to hide and use. A plan formulated in his head, and all that was needed was for the execution to come. And one summer night, it happened.

Korekiyo pushed the shrine's door open. He'd already agreed to this meeting yesterday, so the miko had been expecting for him to come. She had poured them both a cup of tea, with Shinguuji bowing and removing his hat, laying it on the table. Yet, he did not seat himself. As the miko turned her back and headed to get something to eat, his silent steps led him to stand right behind her, wrapping one arm around the mouth while the other kept her by the waist. The motion was quick and professional. He'd strangled people before, although this time the intent was not to kill, but to simply knock out. He should've prepared a rag for this, but his planning had not gone that far. After some minutes of struggling, the miko fell limp.

The rest was much easier. He dragged her to the main shrine and laid her to sit against a fold. While his bandages should already protect the knife handle from any pesky hand prints, he still unfolded a glove from one of his pockets and put it on before then drawing the knife. With one single stroke, he cut a deep gash into the throat. That should be enough, but for good measure, he laid a few more slices along her wrists. This should be enough to give an image of suicide... Hopefully. He'd been careful in leaving no evidence, so he should not be in danger, but convincing others of her suicide would be much more convenient. He placed the knife into her hand, standing up and quietly walking back to the table with the tea.

This would look suspicious. He grabbed the cut set for him and drank it away, carefully removing the cup from the scene by chucking it far away from the outside. The cup set for her he drank half empty and then left there. Enough to help the suicide theory, at least. Or it'd be considered unimportant, both fit him fine. He took his hat and swept the shrine one more time, making sure he left no evidence of his presence. Thus, he took his hat, and left the shrine and the dying/dead miko to her fate.

And so, the 97th servant entered the world of the dead, for the company of her sister. Just three more killings, just three more dirty bags of beauty, and he'd be able to end this useless life and join her in heaven, and earn his much needed reward, the thing he had worked for so hard, the one thing that mattered...

Her love.