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Literature
The Sakura's Spell Chapter 6: First Kiss of Autumn
You watched the leaves change before your eyes, a gentle breeze rustling the branches, stirring up the grass. A small gust blew your choppy hair, warm and relaxing. You closed your eyes.
Deep down your insides were in turmoil. Instinct screamed, feet twitching with urgency. However images of the other day flashed through your mind; the yell, the crunch of bone, splatter of blood on wood.
You opened your eyes, exhaling. There wasn't anything you could do. Not if you valued your life. For now, you had to do obey, despite every fiber of your being resisting.
Yet even then...
The man walked across the grounds, geta clacking on stone path. His slim figure was (shrouded) covered in a cotton yukata with a black and white geometric pattern, fringes flapping in the warm breeze.
The days would only get cooler.
His reddish-brown hair gently hung in his eyes, sweeping his elbow up to brush them aside, staring off into the distance. His usually scowling face was still, almost appearing sad.
A pang
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Literature
The Sakura's Spell~ Chapter Five: Signs of Change
A semi-high pitched drone filled the air, waking up covered in a film of sweat.
"Ugh." You sighed, every part of you hot.
Standing, you exited the room determined to find the source of your headache.
Thankfully no one else was around, the house mostly empty. It was somewhat unsettling, though. Was Kuro around? The cook perhaps? The only sound to be heard was the droning in the still air.
Stepping out on the veranda a gentle breeze ruffled your hair, somewhat refreshing as you spot the sound.
A brown bug an inch or two in length rested on the trunk of a tree.
"Cicada."
Everything seemed still, frozen in time, motionless from the spell the cicada had cast. A tear dribbled down your cheek, collapsing to your knees. You were numb yet everything felt real. The tops of the trees were decorated with newly changed colors, the bright hues signaling your doom.
No matter how hard you had tried in the past, no matter how strong you thought you were, it was autumn. Things were changing. Yet you wer
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Literature
The Sakura's Spell~ Chapter Four: Master
You gripped your head, a strong pain at the back of your skull.
Ugh...
Your eyes fluttered open, rich orange light flooding the room, a long rectangular shard of light decorating the tatami mats. Wait...what?
Your body became rigid, suddenly alert. Images of your escape came flooding back, the pain at the back of your head growing stronger. Your eyes slowly took in the room around you. Brown-green mats covered the floor, thin paper shoji [1] closed, glowing from the afternoon sun.
Moving to stand you felt resistance, feet bound together with crude rope. Fear crept into your throat.
This wasn't the Mistress' place...so where were you?
You exhaled deeply, trying to calm down, moving to sit on your knees.
Your eyes snapped open at the sound of the door, light momentarily blinding you until it was shut again.
You instantly recognized the man as he strode into the room, wearing a black and white yukata[2], red-brown hair glowing in the sun.
He sat down on the red cushion
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Literature
The Sakura's Spell~ Chapter Three: Working Girl
The smell of freshly cooked food awoke you. The other girls groggily stood up, the door being unlocked. The Mistress stood in the doorway, leopard print hugging her body. For a traditional establishment she seemed to love modern fashion. You all followed her to the kitchen, the other shift ready for sleep.
There were plates set up on the long wooden table. A bowl of rice with egg, glass of water, and a small pill. Not just 'a' pill, it was no doubt THE pill. And the mere thought of taking it made you sick. The others dug in without a word, even after the Mistress disappeared down the hall. The silence grated on your eardrums. Didn't they have any thoughts? You were about to ask when a girl pointed to a sign across the table on the wall. It was in Japanese so you couldn't read it but had a feeling this might be the not quite unspoken rule.
"Come." A girl of authority spoke to you. You slowly stood up, following her out of the kitchen.
"You are foreigner. This is traditi
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Literature
The Sakura's Spell~ Chapter Two: Red Lit Nights
You awoke, eyes fluttering, the cracked ceiling bland in the dim lighting. What time was it? You went to rub your head when you felt resistance, your hands held captive behind your back by rope. You panicked, your clothes ripped and torn, a few buttons on your shirt missing.
A woman walked into the room with a towel underarm. A younger girl followed her, tugging at the rope, it slipping to the floor. The older woman held your chin, frowning.
"You're a piece of work." She scowled, helping you stand. Your eyes widened, nothing seeming familiar. Where am I? She led you down a narrow corridor, nudging you into a tiled room. Steam rose from the bath, other ladies bowing at the entrance of the woman.
She was maybe in her forties, her face caked in makeup. She might even be pretty if she didn't wear any. She must be in charge here. The kneeling girls quickly moved to your side, undressing you.
"H-hey! What do you think you're doing?" They ignored you, tugging off your tight
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Literature
The Sakura's Spell~ Part Two: Hidden Past
"Hey!" A deep voice called from within the darkness, "Okiru! [1]"
Your eyes snapped open revealing a man a few inches away, frowning.
"Huh?" You glanced around, five other gentlemen standing a little ways back in the private room, staring.
"Where am I?"
"That's enough questions. Hand over your money."
Your hands shook as you dug into your purse, loud music pumping through the walls. You must be in a VIP room in the upstairs club. Am I alone here? The men stood on the black carpet, wearing slacks and polished shoes. Your stomach grew queasy as you began to understand the situation.
"What?! A measly $300?"
You tried backing up further on the velvet couch, the angry man stuffing the bills into his pocket. What is this, some gang? Two of the others talked among themselves, their muscular arms crossed. What did I do wrong? Where's my friend?
A different man with a wart near his chin stepped forward, "You wirr have to pay your tab."
"H-how much?"
He shoved a
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Literature
2p! Yakuza Japan X Reader~The Sakura's Spell
(Available on Wattpad under Neeka_Freed)
Chapter One: Arrival
Neon lights decorated the bustling city. Engraved into it were subways, parks, and food of every kind ranging from five star restaurants to stands and vending machines. You were ecstatic. Your friend invited you to stay a whole week with her in her fancy loft, though that wasn't what you were excited about. This was Tokyo! You craved for the mix of modern and traditional, the street food of dango [1] and takoyaki [2], trying on kimonos while exploring the streets. Not to mention relaxing in an onsen [3], drinking green tea while snacking on sweet bread.
A woman with curled brown hair waved at you ecstatically, grinning from ear to ear. You rushed across the airport platform dropping your luggage to the ground so you could wrap her in a hug.
"_!" she squealed, "I'm so happy you could make it! How was your flight?"
"It was okay." You smiled.
"Well we have no time to lose! I know you're probably tired but I thought we could at
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Literature
Vampire Hetalia X Reader: Precision Academy
                                                                        
(If you want the story is uploaded on Wattpad as well, by Neeka_Freed under the same title.)
CHAPTER ONE 
Your breaths were shallow as you gasped for air, running down the dark hallway. He's coming. He's coming. He's coming! A maniacal laugh floated down the hall echoing in your ears. No! Stay away! The beast with red eyes hunted you, tracking your every movement. Your heart beat faster than it ever has before, threatening to burst out of your chest. The school was a maze of dark hallways, heavy footsteps treading after you.
"Where are you going? Are you scared? Don't worry. You can become one with me!"
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You watched the leaves change before your eyes, a gentle breeze rustling the branches, stirring up the grass. A small gust blew your choppy hair, warm and relaxing. You closed your eyes.

Deep down your insides were in turmoil. Instinct screamed, feet twitching with urgency. However images of the other day flashed through your mind; the yell, the crunch of bone, splatter of blood on wood.

You opened your eyes, exhaling. There wasn't anything you could do. Not if you valued your life. For now, you had to do obey, despite every fiber of your being resisting.

Yet even then...

The man walked across the grounds, geta clacking on stone path. His slim figure was (shrouded) covered in a cotton yukata with a black and white geometric pattern, fringes flapping in the warm breeze.

The days would only get cooler.

His reddish-brown hair gently hung in his eyes, sweeping his elbow up to brush them aside, staring off into the distance. His usually scowling face was still, almost appearing sad.

A pang in your chest grabbed your attention, Kuro pausing to admire the garden.

Just what was troubling him?

It was so odd to see him this way.

As much as you did or didn't like to admit you were seeing more of him as of late. He would stray out of his room at different times during the day, occasionally going for a midnight stroll.

Just what was on his mind?

You turned, stepping inside the house.

It was nothing you should concern yourself with...there wasn't anything you, of all people, could do.

     "There you are!"

You jumped at the voice as you entered the kitchen.

"Eh!"

Dishes piled up high into the sink, a man crossing his arms.

"After this the bathroom needs cleaning, veranda needs to be swept, linens to be washed..."

You tuned him out, overwhelmed by the long list.

"Got it?"

He turned on his heel, giving a cold stare as he left.

What's his problem?

Sighing, you got down to work, still busy as the sky was tinged with purple and black, the last rays of sunlight fading on the horizon.

"Phew."

You were exhausted, every part of your body aching.

"Finally..."

You longed for your bed, a makeshift futon and lumpy pillow. Right now, that sounded heavenly.

Skipping the shower you plopped down face first into the pillow, falling asleep before having a chance to change out of your work clothes.

***

Morning came all too soon, with the door being thrust open as a wake up call.

You rubbed your shoulder, muscles sore from yesterday.

You seemed to be getting more work lately.

"It's morning, how are there this many dishes?!"

"Oh well, it can't be helped."

You rolled up your sleeves, fingers dipping into the warm bubbly water.

How did it come to this?

The memory of flying in the plane over to this country seemed so long ago.

Just how long has it been?

You were starting to lose track of time, the summer season fading into the first kiss of autumn.

In a few weeks things would get cold and the trees would drop their radiant leaves.

You bit your lip, hands stopping in the soapy water.

What am I doing? A tear leaked from your eye.

Is this really alright?

Not a day would pass when you wouldn't feel that inner turmoil. You hated that a part of you had given up. Had it...?

"Not now."

You pushed the feelings aside, scrubbing the dishes. Trying to keep your mind occupied, you thought about the task at hand or hummed your favorite songs. Even that would bring a bittersweet taste to your lips. The memory of what once was.

    "There you are." A man spoke.

You turned, wiping your hands on your apron.

"The laundry needs to be dried."

He handed you the overflowing basket, threatening to topple you over.

Stepping off the veranda you crossed the lawn barefoot. There was no need to wear those uncomfortable shoes, anyway.

The white cloth hung lifelessly, the air void of any breeze.

"It's so hot..."

Summer was still holding on until the last moment...

"Heh, we're so similar, aren't we?"

   "Similar to who?"

You reeled back at the voice, tipping over the basket of clean clothes.

Kuro's red eyes stared unforgivably back at you.

"K-k"-

"Look at what you've done. Being such low class one would think you would be used to this sort of work."

Why was he here?

"Well? Aren't you going to pick it up?"

"Oh, right!"

You bent over, kneeling in the grass. Your heart beat faster every time your eyes met his.

"Hey Kuro...are you"-

Standing, he was nowhere to be found.

***

Your arms moved forward and back, scrubbing the bathroom floor. Well, you weren't sure whether they'd call this the bathroom, it didn't exactly have a toilet. The stiff brush ran over the grimy tiles, sleeves rolled up to your elbows. You rinsed the brush in the bucket, scrubbing some more.

It was another hard day...

'Heh, we're so similar, aren't we?'

That's right. No matter how much work they piled on or how they treated you, you couldn't give up. Not now. The police surely knew you were missing. Besides, you had a friend and family waiting for your return.

The door opened, revealing a familiar face. Though no matter how many times you saw it shivers ran down your spine.

"_." Kuro spoke your name in a flat tone.

"...What do you want?"

"Excuse me?"

"You must have a lot of free time on your hands if you have come to watch me scrub floors."

"Tch."

"Really...perhaps it would've been better to be a red district girl, after all.."

"Uh!"

THUNK!

The bucket of water was knocked over, dirty water covering the floor, some splashed up onto your clothes.

"Egh..! Do you think this is some game?!" You stood, yelling.

His face showed slight surprise.

"Is that all I am to you, entertainment?!"

His face returned to his trademark scowl, "Remember who you are talking to, girl"-

"I know very well who you are, a coward!"

"Eh!"

"A spineless coward more interested in the suffering of others than his own duties."

"Don't act as though you know!"

"I know enough. You're the head of the family so you have your responsibilities. So why are you here, making more trouble for me?!"

"How dare you! The head of the family demands respect"-

"Ha! Respect is not a given, it is earned. And you have done nothing to earn my respect. You enslave women, murder...how is that worthy of respect?!"

You were panting, eyes welled up with tears of frustration.

He was silent a moment, holding back.

"Very well. Ever since you arrived you've been interested in the way we work, correct; sneaking when you shouldn't be? I'll have you witness the wrath of the family head first hand."

His red eyes blazed, freezing you where you stood.

"Men!"

Less than mere seconds several appeared before him.

"Take her away."

"Yes, sir!"

They entered the room, lifting you up, dragging you out of the room.

"Wait! Let go of me!"

Looking back you saw Kuro enter the doorway, his face softening for the slightest of moments.

What the...?

WHUMP!

They tossed you into a room, the door forcefully closing behind.

"No!" Your fist fell on the door, slowly growing lighter, "No...you can't..."

The tears fell freely in the blue-black darkness of the room, your crying the only audible sound.


A semi-high pitched drone filled the air, waking up covered in a film of sweat.

"Ugh." You sighed, every part of you hot.

Standing, you exited the room determined to find the source of your headache.

Thankfully no one else was around, the house mostly empty. It was somewhat unsettling, though. Was Kuro around? The cook perhaps? The only sound to be heard was the droning in the still air.

Stepping out on the veranda a gentle breeze ruffled your hair, somewhat refreshing as you spot the sound.

A brown bug an inch or two in length rested on the trunk of a tree.

"Cicada."

Everything seemed still, frozen in time, motionless from the spell the cicada had cast. A tear dribbled down your cheek, collapsing to your knees. You were numb yet everything felt real. The tops of the trees were decorated with newly changed colors, the bright hues signaling your doom.

No matter how hard you had tried in the past, no matter how strong you thought you were, it was autumn. Things were changing. Yet you weren't. You were still you, a captive. A hostage in the countryside of Japan. The Yakuza's maid.

You clenched your jaw, teeth aching.

"I cannot allow this to happen..."

Treetops dipped in red like old blood. No one was aware of your situation. Where you were. Who you are. Just who are you? You knew you wouldn't allow this to happen yet...it has. It has happened without you realizing, causing you suffering.

Your cries turned into sobs, echoing over the courtyard, bees going about their business. Birds singing to one another. All unaware of your pain.

Was this to be your fate? A maid for the rest of your life?

No, dammit...

You had dreams, hopes, wishes. Everyone does. You were not about to allow him to take them from you.

'Him.'

Kuro Honda.

Mafia boss. Head of the family. A man of power, a man that could easily take your life.

The thing is, life is fleeting, so fleeting, just like the seasons. Soon the autumnal chill would be here, one that would comfort his grave.

When you pictured the man in your mind, that red-eyed, glossy-haired man with the scowl...you didn't feel hate. You were beyond angry at this point, dulled by your rage. All you wanted now was to get rid of what kept you here. Him.

"Yes, of course..."

Why hadn't you realized before? It wouldn't be easy. He had his men around him constantly.

Where was he now, I wonder?

You were numb to everything, to common sense pushed back in your brain. You had to end this. Killing was...something you never thought you could do. Or ever would do. Even now you don't consider it killing. You're just getting him out of the way. He of all people should understand, right? He does this for a living.

He is coarse, malicious. There may be a day when he never smiles again, if it hasn't already come.

You were drawn back into the present, raised voices drawing your attention. You suddenly felt the pain of the wooden floor on your knees, the refreshing coolness from your tears. Wiping them away with the back of your hand you stood, re-entering the house.

What was deserted minutes ago was bustling, or so it felt.

You peered around a corner, watching a line of men in black suits enter a room. They all wore still expressions. Curious, you followed the procession, sneaking around to the now closed doors.

Murmurs escaped through the walls, deciphering the shadows of the men.

"...this is a grave offense towards..."

"....I have come to apologize, in ritual..."

You could only pick up pieces of their conversation.

You thrust your finger through the paper in the wall, creating a small hole.

Peering through you grasped the scene.

A man sat cross-legged in the center before the head, Kuro, sweat resting on his forehead. Kuro however was calm and collected, appearing like a yukata clothed statue.

"He has come before everyone today to show his penance towards the head..." A man to your right spoke, slightly out of sight, "by means of Yubitsume[1]."

Yubitsume?

The man in question bowed, his palms flat against the floor, his forehead kissing the tatami mat. 

Kuro nodded, waving his hand for the man to lift his head.

Kuro's eyes were lit with something...different. You couldn't quite place it. This was far more serious than the other gatherings, even though they rarely spoke. This time it gave off a certain feeling...you could only watch on through the jagged hole at the somber scene.

The man removed his shirt, revealing his intricate tattoos. They were incredible. So detailed, done in entirely in black ink save for a red flower on his right shoulder.

"This man, our brother, has never acted in a reproachable manner against us until this day. Thus," the speaker paused for dramatic affect, strange stirring sounds coming from out of sight, "it will be the little finger on his left hand."

A man clothed in black blocked the view, kneeling next to the man in trouble.

"Move..." You whispered, trying to peer around his large form.

"...Oyabun, I offer you my most sincere apologies this day."

Kuro nodded slowly, holding his head high with an air of supreme authority.

Something bright shined in your eyes, followed by a sickening crunch.

"Agh..." The man gasped, obviously holding back more pain.

What happened? Did they really...?

The man who had done the deed wrapped the dismembered tip in a white towel, blood splattering the pristine cloth. He bowed before laying the finger at Kuro's feet.

With a clear shot of the poor soul, you could now see the makeshift cutting board and knife, blood speckled on both, the man's hand wrapped in cloth, blood trickling down to his elbow.

You covered your mouth with a hand. What had he done to deserve this?

The ensemble quickly stood, including the guilty, all bowing before Kuro. Quick on your feet you hid behind a corner, watching as they opened the door, leaving in single file down the hall.

You couldn't help but feel your anger grow hot.

The man makes a mistake and his finger is cut off? That's medieval! Why do they still practice such rituals? It's barbaric.

Momentarily not paying attention to your surroundings, the doors opened once again, Kuro flanked by two men. His eyes instantly met yours, red and haunting.

You clutched the wall, slowly slinking back.

"You have seen first hand how we do things here. Let this be a lesson for you."

He turned, walking down the hall towards you. You flinched, thinking he reprimand or scold you. Peering an eye open you caught the last glimpse of him as he rounded the corner, gone from sight.


[1]: The cutting off of one's finger, a form of apology. Upon first offense the tip of the offender's left pinky finger is given to the Oyabun. This can sometimes be carried out by an under boss if he wishes to save a member of his own gang from retaliation.

You gripped your head, a strong pain at the back of your skull.

Ugh...

Your eyes fluttered open, rich orange light flooding the room, a long rectangular shard of light decorating the tatami mats. Wait...what?

Your body became rigid, suddenly alert. Images of your escape came flooding back, the pain at the back of your head growing stronger. Your eyes slowly took in the room around you. Brown-green mats covered the floor, thin paper shoji [1] closed, glowing from the afternoon sun.

Moving to stand you felt resistance, feet bound together with crude rope. Fear crept into your throat.

This wasn't the Mistress' place...so where were you?

You exhaled deeply, trying to calm down, moving to sit on your knees.

Your eyes snapped open at the sound of the door, light momentarily blinding you until it was shut again.

You instantly recognized the man as he strode into the room, wearing a black and white yukata[2], red-brown hair glowing in the sun.

He sat down on the red cushion facing you, bowing slightly. Usually a term of respect, you knew he was doing it more out of honor or habit than any respect he held for you.

"Konnichiwa."

His voice was low and cold, a permanent scowl on his face.

There was only the two of you in the small room but you could see two shadowy figures outside of the doors on standby.

He followed your gaze then met your eyes with his, red and haunting.

"Welcome. I am sure you remember me from our past encounter though allow me to formally introduce myself. My name is Kuro Honda, your new master."

You cringed at the word, his lips going still for a moment.

"Your behavior is quite amusing. However it is also taxing; from day one you have caused not only me trouble but the Mistress as well."

He held up a hand to silence you despite your speechlessness, "I have worked everything out with her. You shall work here, as a maid."

"Here?"

You looked around the room, disappointed at the lack of windows.

"You aren't very observant, are you? Notice the absence of the city's natural drum?"

You straightened at the realization of his words, hearing nothing but the sounds of birds chirping.

"This is outside of Tokyo on private land owned by me. It is near impossible for you to escape though it would be entertaining to see you try. Doesn't mean I won't punish you afterwards. You will work here to pay off your tab of $70,000 yen, or in American terms, the seven hundred. However, you caused me and my men trouble, your tab increasing to $12 million yen."

12 million?! There was no way you could pay that off!

He blankly watched as the news sunk in, your hands forming into fists.

"I realize this is very upsetting for you. Yet I do not condone any acts of misbehaving. We work differently here and won't hesitate to reprimand any non-compliant actions."

His words were unfeeling and technical, panic spreading across your chest.

What could you do? You were back in the hands of the Yakuza.

"I appreciate your understanding. You begin work tomorrow."

"...doing what, exactly?"

He stared incredulously at you for a brief moment, "I thought I made it perfectly clear but allow me to further explain the situation. You failed to pay your tab thus were to work at the Mistress' establishment. Failing to do so, you will work here as a maid of this house. This includes cleaning all the rooms, gardening, and offering assistance to the cook when required."

His words bounced around in your head, nothing seeming real.

"As in any household there are rules. You may not leave the house unless going to work in the garden. You must be in your room by 10 PM unless your chores do not allow it. No talking with anyone unless you have been asked a question."

The rules were strict and binding. He seemed to speed along, bored with his own recitation.

"You must refer to the older men as Kyodai, the younger group as Shatei."

"Kyodia...Shatei?"

"Big brothers and little brothers."

You didn't realize how technical it was...and felt it would only grow more so.

"You greet them out of respect but do not speak to them otherwise unless instructed to do so." He saw your blank expression.

"Or refer to them as Kobun [3]. In terms of the natural hierarchy you are the lowest of the low."

His eyes narrowed, "You are insignificant. You will go about your day speaking to no one doing what is asked. I want to see your results, not you personally."

He stood up, one of the men opening the door.

He turned his head back, red eyes glowing, "Piece of advice...stay out of my sight and you might just live a long life."

The room went silent, him and his men gone, left only with your thoughts and rope tied around your feet. 




[1]= Japanese sliding doors, made with paper and wood panels

[2]= Traditional Japanese clothing. The difference between yukata and kimono is that the yukata is made of cloth and worn in the summer months, whereas kimono is traditionally made of silk/silk-like materials.

[3]= Subordinates

Hint: Kuro Honda is the family boss and the men his subordinates/ underlings. Other minor characters will come into play, such as first lieutenant, the law adviser and accountants making up part of the administration, and so on.

A thing to remember is that the Yakuza works as a business.  In this particular group/branch they are clearly involved in human trafficking. Business hasn't been well for Kuro who had to resort to price extortion at bars under his control. They also invest in legit businesses/stock, which recently hasn't been kind towards the head of the family. 

(Technical boring stuff, I know :P

Note: Do you all enjoy the music at the beginning of each chapter, not care, or don't like it? I'm thinking of switching to photos or something else maybe. Or just give the band name (Yoshida Brothers) and let the reader listen if they choose to. 




                                       PART TWO: Medio
The thin door was thrust open, an older man standing before you. He got to one knee, cutting your ankles free from the yellowed rope. There was a pile of blue clothes folded neatly in a closet, including a pair of Geta [1] resting on top.

The man waited outside while you changed, fumbling with the unfamiliar parts.

The hell with it...

You opened the door, the tall man giving you a sideways glance before leading you through the house.

Everything was so...different. Despite your lack of knowledge you could tell this was a traditional styled house. The halls were long and narrow, bare save for some paintings on the walls. Exiting the hallway you saw a room much like the others with a touch of modern. There was a low, coffee table with a glass top, books resting in neat piles. Four green, ornate cushions sat on each side.

The doors were open, letting in a gentle morning summer breeze. You were led through the veranda, a stone path winding through a miniature garden. The path led away from the garden to another area of the back yard, gray stones wet with dew.

The plants were beautiful though you didn't know their names, the male escort ushering you along. A weird feeling resided in the pit of your stomach. You were cautious yet also very curious. Just as Kuro had said, you were a long ways from the city. Not a neon light to be seen. You bit your lip, determined to find out exactly how far you were.

"Here." The man grunted, returning your attention.

A pile of white clothes were at your feet in a basket, soaking wet.

Following the direction of the man's finger, you saw a thick cord strung between two trees. Taking a small box of clothespins you stepped outside, walking across the damp grass. Setting the basket down you began your day of chores, hanging up the newly washed clothes to dry. The fabric was cotton, yukatas needing to be washed after being worn in hot summer days.

"Uh..." You held up a pair of white briefs, quickly hanging them up.

"Amerikano Aho[2]!"

You looked up, a man yelling at you in the distance from the veranda. Your hair stood on end as he stomped across the grounds, something waving in his hands. The man wore an apron, stained with blood and other marks. Could he be the cook?

He thrust his hand towards you, revealing the wooden pair of shoes.

"Oh..."

I completely forgot!

You were so busy trying to take everything in you went outside barefoot. Dirt stuck to the soles of your feet, stepping into the shoes.

"Baka[3]..." The man trailed off, walking back towards the house.

You took a moment to take it all in. Today was day one of being a maid for Kuro. Though more like a house servant; he didn't want anything to do with you. The house itself was fairly large, several other buildings nearby. One was smaller, like a storage room. They were all made of wood and light roofing, sitting on stilts up off the ground.

After successfully hanging up the sopping linens you carried the basket back towards the veranda, slipping out of your geta. You peered around the corner looking for the man who had woken you so you would have further instructions. But there wasn't a person in sight.

You sighed, setting the basket down by your feet. Just what was going on?

You hated the fact that you were doing laundry instead of escaping. Yet you were smart; you had to get a better sense of how they worked. You'd find their weakness and exploit it, making your escape. An image of Kuro flashed before your mind.

Medium heigth, soft feathery hair...and those eyes. Those imploring, deep, red eyes.

You shook your head.

Focus, _!

You turned at the sound of footsteps, a group of men rounding the corner from your right. They were in conversation then stopped upon seeing you, forming a straight line. You moved against the wall, bowing slightly.

"Urk"-

A strong hand gripped your hair at the back of your head, shoving it against the tatami flooring.

"You bow when they walk past."

You recognized the voice as Kuro's, the men stopping.

"You shall properly pay these men your respect."

His fingers entangled in your hair, blood rushing to your face from being pressed against the floor.

"K-kob"-

"Louder." He demanded.

"K-kobun!"

"...Very well."

At these words he lets go, lifting your face, the blood flowing normally. He gave a disappointed, disgusted look before leaving, the men wordlessly filing past you.

***

Cool water splashed up onto your arms, filling a pot under the sink. The kitchen was more modern, a metal sink and gas stove/oven sat pressed against the sides of the room, a wooden table sitting in the center covered in ingredients for tonight's dinner.

You scooped some rice out of a large bag on the floor using a small bowl, pouring it into the pot. Today's meal would be easy. Or that's what the cook had said before running off without another word. There were still lines on your face from earlier today, slightly red.

You had gotten better at controlling your temper. Though you wanted to punch him in the face that would certainly get you killed. This wasn't some pant-sagging neighborhood gang. This was the Mafia. If you threatened or hurt the head of the family you wouldn't have a quick and easy death.

You shuddered, quickly turning off the faucet, placing the pot of rice on the stove.

"Move."

You jumped at the voice, quickly stepping aside as the cook re-entered the room carrying a basket of fresh food.

"Fish?" You asked, noticing the smell.

You casually peered over his shoulder as he opened the lid, long slender bodies nestled inside.

"Unagi [4] Eel."

"Eel?!"

Why would anyone want to eat that?

Thankfully they were already dead, the man getting out a cutting board. You flinched at the glint of the knife, him placing it on the wooden board.

"Here." He pushed at your back, scooting you towards the stove.

You stirred the rice, peeking back occasionally to watch as he began cutting up the eel into strips. The pieces were about 1-2 inches wide and several inches long. He put another pot on the stove, beginning to steam the meat.

"Hey!" He yelled, making you jump. He slapped the spoon out of your hand, turning the burner off.

The rice wasn't burnt, so what's his problem?

"Shoo, shoo."

"But-hey, wait"-

He shoved you out of the kitchen, running back and forth from pot to table.

Fine, didn't want to smell like fish anyway...

You looked back one last time before turning around. What would you do know? Would Kuro get upset with you? It wasn't your fault, the cook kicked you out.

You crept away from the kitchen, entering the maze of halls. Were you going the right way? They all looked the same! You were about to give up when you realized you had never been in this part of the house before, a single room at the end of the hall.

A dead end.

Two granite pedestals sat on each side of a wide door, gold woven inside the paneling to create a picture of the moon. It was gorgeous, unaware of your feet inching closer to get a better look. It was simple yet so entirely captivating-

"What are you doing?"

"Agh!" You gasped, falling onto your bottom.

"Well? Must I ask again what you were doing outside my room?" Kuro asked, standing in the doorway, half of the golden moon on each side of him.

 "I-I got lost?"

He stared at you for a few minutes with that trademark scowl before sighing.

"Come with me."

"Huh?"

"Did I stutter? I believe I ordered you to follow me."

You gulped, standing up.

"Are you Americans always this noisy? I heard you stomping around the house all day."

Hey it's not my fault most of these doors are made of wood and paper!

"Here. There's a change of clothes waiting, place your dirty ones in the basket."

"Uh..."

"Problem?" He turned to face you, his eyes cold.

"N-no! Perfect, thank you."

"Really, you must learn these things on your own. It is not my job to teach the fundamentals of hygiene."

He turned on his heel, leaving you alone in the bathroom. But it wasn't like any bathroom you've seen before.

Where's the shower? The toilet?

A silver drain was in the middle of the cracked, tiled floor, a bathtub of sorts on the opposite wall from the door.

"Just what have I gotten myself into?"

You shut the door behind you, stepping into the small room. It was the most modern room of the house as far as you could tell but that didn't ease you any.

A small wooden stool sat low to the ground, several wooden buckets lined against the tub. On the rim of the tub (circular shaped with a wooden cover) sat a plain bar of soap. On the wall was a silver nozzle, water dripping off the twisting cord.

"Let's get this over with."

Peering into the round tub you saw signs of life (slimy and green), placing the cover back on. You were not about to get in a bath with algae chunks floating around.

Sighing, you disrobed, sitting down on the small stool. You tried not to think of anyone else using it.

With a few turns the water came on, pouring out of the nozzle at a carefree speed.

A garden hose would have better pressure...

Inhaling, you moved the wand over your body, lukewarm water wetting your hair. Droplets streamed down your face, enjoying the cooling affect over your body. You lathered the soap between your hands, then sat it down, deciding it best not to use directly on your body. Time seemed to slow slightly as you watched the bubbles disappear down the drain.

You could hear signs of life through the wall, birds chirping as evening came, light filling the room from a small window most likely used for letting steam out.

_, what are you doing?

You bit your lip. You couldn't allow yourself to become nonchalant about all of this. You still had a home waiting for you. Your friend waiting for you. You were not about to abandon them because of a mere man. That fiery, fighter attitude you had repressed was what got you out of the last mess. It could surely get you out of this one.

You simply had to be more cunning than Kuro.

"I will get out of here."

--------



[1]:  Traditional Japanese footwear, comes in a variety of types depending on gender, style, and purpose i.e graduation ceremonies, maiko/geisha, and weather.

[2]: Ass

[3]: Idiot

[4]: Steamed eel mixed with sweet soy sauce

The smell of freshly cooked food awoke you. The other girls groggily stood up, the door being unlocked. The Mistress stood in the doorway, leopard print hugging her body. For a traditional establishment she seemed to love modern fashion. You all followed her to the kitchen, the other shift ready for sleep.

There were plates set up on the long wooden table. A bowl of rice with egg, glass of water, and a small pill. Not just 'a' pill, it was no doubt THE pill. And the mere thought of taking it made you sick. The others dug in without a word, even after the Mistress disappeared down the hall. The silence grated on your eardrums. Didn't they have any thoughts? You were about to ask when a girl pointed to a sign across the table on the wall. It was in Japanese so you couldn't read it but had a feeling this might be the not quite unspoken rule.

"Come." A girl of authority spoke to you. You slowly stood up, following her out of the kitchen.

"You are foreigner. This is traditional establishment. You will serve drinks when requested." She spoke in broken English.

That would explain why all the clientele was Japanese; this place wasn't open to foreigners. You shivered. Being the only American you knew your popularity among the men is existent. You also know it's only a matter of time before you move beyond just serving drinks in a swanky outfit.

For the time being though you were glad you were the sit down/drink with variety. However you had no idea how long the Mistress would allow you to 'adjust'. A day? You couldn't see it being any longer than that.

Impending doom made your stomach queasy. You were led back into the makeshift bedroom, the other girls already fast asleep. The door was shut and locked, leaving you in cool darkness. You walked over bodies into the bathroom, shutting the door behind you. Slowly slipping the object out of your shirt. The glint of the knife shone brightly.

Your hands shook with anticipation. Were you really going to do this? There was a lump in your throat that you couldn't swallow, brow sweating. You gripped the handle tighter, palm covered in a thin layer of sweat.

When they come to get me I'll...

You couldn't. Even if you reasoned it was self-defense there was no way you could kill someone. If they were simply injured that might not guarantee your freedom. Your reflection stared back at you, horrid under cheap fluorescent lighting. You had to do something. Yet you refused to become a murderer.

Raising the knife, your arm shaking, you prepared to swing.

SHINK!

***

Ribbons of (color) hair littered the bathroom floor. You had chopped it all off, sawing in random places. You were going to ensure no one would choose you. Your hair was now a messy bob, jutting out in strange places. You felt slightly better but looking at your reflection you knew this wasn't enough.

However you knew this alone would help. Sure you didn't know the consequences for this but you were willing to try anything. Now was a big question...keep the knife on you or hide it?

The bathroom was small, not many good hiding places. A rack for towels, the drawers attached to the bottom of the sink...there was nowhere that it wouldn't be found. You looked over the folds of your clothing. The knife was one used for cooking, a good size. It wouldn't be easy to hide nor avoid accidentally stabbing yourself.

You HAD to keep it on you, you decided. Today was the day. The day that you fought back.


PART TWO: Figure of Smoke

The man in the black and white Yukata strode down the hall, flanked by silent men in suits. He paused, voices seeping through a thin door.

"Do you know how much one woman in this profession makes? That's $100 per time with a girl that age. What does that tell you?" He recognized the voice instantly as the Mistress. He slid the door slightly open, watching the scene unfold.

Blank expressions from henchmen.

"That we lost money!!Find her!"

The men quickly scrambled.

"My my; I see you have your hands full."

"Oh! Oyabun{1}." The Mistress jumped slightly, surprised.

"I couldn't help but overhear one of your girls gave you the slip."

She began to sweat nervously, stammering for an explanation.

"I'm willing to help you out. I'll add some of my kobun {2} as guards and take care of the girl myself."

"R-really?" Her eyes widened in disbelief.

"I appreciate your willingness to work with us so it's only fair."

The man left as quickly as he appeared, leaving the woman in shock.

***

"We've looked everywhere for her boss!"

"I knew that one was going to be a handful." The Mistress sighed, taking a drag of her pipe. "Keep searching! She couldn't have gotten far!"

"Yes Ma'am!"

You exhaled, slinking down against the wall. However, you couldn't relax just yet. The Mistress had sent reinforcements to find you. Tch. They could easily find someone else, so why me? You were less than 40 ft away from the end of the Red Light District. If you could make it that far, you could make it back to your friend. The troubling part was you'd have to exit through the main gate which meant people would see you. You awaited in the shadows, hoping to find a suitable target.

Your hand grabbed the collar of the man's shirt yanking him into the alley.

***

You briskly headed for the exit, eyes cast down low to hide your face, turning the collar of his shirt up against your neck. This better work. You were glad he was around your size, the clothing a little loose but better than you expected.

People strolled by in the warm night, the air filled with an intensity only known to you, hands sweating. To everyone else it was a typical summer night, red lanterns casting their ominous light, cigarette butts littering the cement. Your stomach was filled with swarming wasps, dread threatening to take over you any moment. You clenched your fist, determined to get out of here.

Despite wanting to run full speed you took a normal pace; otherwise you'd be captured immediately. You could feel eyes scanning the street, the Mistress' henchmen scouring the area. The entrance/exit was close, so close you could almost taste the freedom. A wave of relief washed over you as stepped a foot outside on free soil. However you couldn't be so relieved yet; you still had good reason to be cautious.

Footsteps slapped the cement, people paying you no attention as they went about their lives, not even acknowledging your presence. You were grateful for this, falling in line, following the masses away from certain death. There wasn't a single cloud in the sky, neon lights outshining the stars.

It was hot. Too hot. True, Tokyo can get humid but your blood boiled for another reason. You weren't simply going to wait in captivity to entertain men; no, you were going to make it back home. Your heart raced, telling you to call the police but that wouldn't help any. Besides, you had heard mixed reviews about the police and how they treated tourists. Usually it would be deemed the travelers fault for not paying better attention to their surroundings.

You had also hoped your friend contacted them since your disappearance from the pub. A pang started in your chest, momentarily stopping. Fighting back tears you moved on, hoping to get as far from that place as possible. Thing was, you weren't exactly sure where you were. How far were you from the pub? From the apartment?

Someone bumped into your shoulder, signaling for you to keep moving. It didn't matter. Once you put enough distance between you and those people you would ask for directions. Yet, perhaps being paranoid, you felt eyes on you. No matter where you turned or how fast you walked the eyes never left you, boring into your back.

Egh! Get away from me!

You stopped running, breathless. The buildings around you were unfamiliar, comprised of mostly houses. Just where were you? Taking a few steps forward you noticed the figure. It was tall, dark, standing still in front of you. You couldn't make out a face or gender...though it appeared hazy, or made of smoke. You took a step back, rushing around the corner.

"OOF!"

Something hard hit your stomach, knocking the wind out of you. Everything was saturated in hot, darkness.

{1}=Yakuza family head

{2}=Subordinate's of the family head


You awoke, eyes fluttering, the cracked ceiling bland in the dim lighting. What time was it? You went to rub your head when you felt resistance, your hands held captive behind your back by rope. You panicked, your clothes ripped and torn, a few buttons on your shirt missing.

A woman walked into the room with a towel underarm. A younger girl followed her, tugging at the rope, it slipping to the floor. The older woman held your chin, frowning.

"You're a piece of work." She scowled, helping you stand. Your eyes widened, nothing seeming familiar. Where am I? She led you down a narrow corridor, nudging you into a tiled room. Steam rose from the bath, other ladies bowing at the entrance of the woman.

She was maybe in her forties, her face caked in makeup. She might even be pretty if she didn't wear any. She must be in charge here. The kneeling girls quickly moved to your side, undressing you.

"H-hey! What do you think you're doing?" They ignored you, tugging off your tights and blouse.

You pushed them back, standing against the wall trembling.

The older woman sighed, "Where do you think you are?"

You stopped to think, the sounds of voices and womanly laughter filling your ears. Oh no.

"You pick up quick." She handed the towel to the younger girl before turning back to you, "Now that you know the situation I'll give you some advice. Fighting it won't do anything. Though some men seem to like that but you'll end up getting a black eye or worse if you try it."

You slumped to the ground on all fours, your breathing shallow. The two woman tugged off more of your clothing, hot tears streaming down your face. You cursed yourself, eyes shut tight. A hand rested on your back gently.

"Hm?" You glanced up through tears to see the young girl smiling at you, trying her best to console you.

You gave in, your lifeless body controlled by the women. They eased you into the tub, scrubbing your back, one washing your (h/c) hair. One gently grabbed a foot clipping your toenails, a bucket of water pouring over your head. They lifted your ragdoll body out of the tub, drying you off. One applied scentless lotion to your body, another blow drying your hair.

Your mind was blank, submissively doing as they silently instructed. All the previous fight in you was gone, leaving you an empty husk. Shit. More tears streamed down your face, the young girl effortlessly wiping them away.

"Tears won't solve this. Please don't fight it." She begged, "I'm Ayako. What's your name?"

"..._." You managed to get out.

"That's such a pretty name. Please, for me, don't fight. The last girl who tried that never woke up again." Her eyes pleaded, creating conflicting emotions inside you.

"I can't promise. It's human nature to want to be free."

"That may be true, yet there's been slavery since bible times. If you don't cause trouble, the Mistress will treat you nicely. You'll have a place to sleep, nice food three times a day and all the jewelry and clothes you could wish for."

You could tell she wasn't lying. At the same time you hated her; hated the fact she tried to get you to go down silently. Why should I go down quietly? What would doing what I'm told do for me?

"You'll live." She said as if reading your thoughts.

You looked away, the other women done dressing you, a flimsy silk robe hugging your frame. Your heart began racing again, questions flowing through your head. Am I starting now? What's going to happen to me? Your hands shook, forming into fists.

"Follow me please." Ayako instructed, helping you to stand, "Don't worry, the Mistress is understanding towards newbies. Today you will just be pouring men drinks. Think you can handle that?"

She led you to a much smaller room, another girl waiting.

"I'll leave you here with Nami, alright? She'll be doing your makeup." She placed a hand on your shoulder before leaving.

You stared at the new woman, her holding the back of a chair. You slowly sat down, her spinning it to face the mirror. She rummaged through the table's drawers, bringing out cases of makeup. Soft sponges spread the foundation around, her fingers delicately blending the liquid. The brushes tickled your eyelids, her breaths warm on your face. Her eyes were full of intent. Whether she spoke English or not she didn't say a word, working quickly in the bright lighting.

She finally stepped back, smiling, allowing you to look at your reflection. It caught you off guard. Purple dusted over your eyelids, a splash of red on your lips. You looked like a completely different person. The door opened, standing to follow yet another girl. The traditional style building made you curious and uncomfortable as you crept nearer to your fate. Is this really happening? Am I really going to give in...?

You passed by an open window looking out into the street lit by bright red lanterns and bulbs, lonely men strolling the streets, laughing with their each other. You passed other girls in the hall who glanced you over before offering a slight smile. Panic sunk in, sweat forming at your hairline. Relax _, you're just serving them. Determined you followed your guide. You wouldn't give in just like that. After today, before you had to do anything else, you would escape.

Your eyes scanned the halls, looking for windows, counting the male guards, seeing if they had weapons or not, how many paces it was from the makeup room to the window. This was the only way you could keep your sanity. You grinned, happy at your new game. And you would play it effortlessly.

The guide opened a door revealing the kitchen. Why am I here? An older woman wearing an apron nodded, telling you to come inside. Even she wore makeup, her hands busy stirring something boiling in a pot. She jerked her head at a curtain behind her. You walked towards the blue sheet passing shelves of produce and pots.

Inside was a small tray with a bottle of sake and several cups. She quickly followed you, instructing you through silence how to properly serve the drinks. You watched intently. She pushed the tray towards you, letting you practice. Miraculously you passed in one try. She handed you fresh sake, letting a girl lead you to yet another room.

You froze outside, the outlines of laughing men seen through the thin door. The girl opened the door, the men smiling. She said some things in Japanese, as if explaining the situation. She winked at them before ushering you in the room shutting the door behind you.

You gulped. Their eyes were on you, the room silent. You shakily began to move, successfully pouring one a drink.

"You're a new girl huh?" One said making you jump slightly. The man was a corporate man, in his thirties, smiling at you. You nodded before turning your attention back to the drinks. You moved on to the next man when he spoke.

"Got a name?"

"..._."

"What a nice name." An older man behind you said. You tried smiling, hoping you could pour the drinks and get out of there.

"Now now," the youngest of them said, "There's no need to be so shy. We don't bite." The rest of them chuckled at his joke. Crap, I can't do this! You tried to keep your breathing regular, your body burning.

The man kept talking, "How long have you been working here sweety?"

You avoided eye contact moving on to the next man, "Just a few hours."

"Is that right?" The oldest asked, taking a drink.

"May I have some more?" You began refilling the cup.

"Say _, they treating you alright?" The youngest asked, a sheepish look on his face. You merely nodded, heading for the door.

"Wait, miss!" One of them called.

You faked a smile, "I'll be right back with more sake."

You hurriedly left the room, feeling as if you were about to puke. You reached the kitchen, sighing heavily. The cook saw you, handed you another bottle and shooed you out the door. I don't think I can do this...How many more hours until sunrise?

The men smiled when they saw you, one of their ties cast on the floor, the group relaxing enjoying each other's conversation. You refilled all their cups when one accidentally tipped over, spilling the drink. You panicked, the customer's crotch soaked. You moved to wipe it with a rag then froze, pink spreading across your face.

"Haha! You're so cute, _." The young man cooed, looking you over.

The eldest spoke up, "Don't worry about him. He's had worse happen." The group laughed except the one who scowled.

"I'm Hideo. It means excellent male."

One laughed, "Yeah, he makes excellent fool of himself." He laughed, "I'm Jiro."

"I'm Masato." The oldest said, smiling.

You nodded respectfully, handing Hideo a rag. They were all close, as if a family or had known each other a long time.

"Still though," Jiro began, "You don't seem like the other foreign women we see here."

Something snapped inside you, your eye twitching.

"Is that right?" You smiled, "What, because all foreign women are submissive, spineless creatures, or because I'm not a slut?"

They were taken aback, silence filling the room. Hideo laughed, the others looking at him.

"Who knew whores could be so funny! Man, I really wished it wasn't your first day. The Mistress has a strict policy about her new girls. Though, I suppose if I paid enough she'd revoke the rule for me." He grinned mischievously.

"Hideo!" The eldest whispered in slight shock, "That's no way to treat our hostess."

He merely rolled his eyes, drinking his sake.

"You must forget him." Jiro said apologetically, "We all love the Mistress' place and come here often to enjoy some female company. You see, none of us are married and get quite lonely. We like to come here for things other than the typical entertainment too."

You thought about what he said. Was it true? You could easily see them all as being single, but maybe people came for conversation like he said. If that was all, you wouldn't have to be so on guard the whole time.

"Pffbt! Do you honestly believe these old fools? No wonder they're single."

"So are you Hideo."

"I may be single but that doesn't mean I don't have my share of girls. I only came here because you two dragged me along." He stated, sipping his drink despondently.

Tonight was indeed going to be a long night. The rest of your 'shift' was serving more gentlemen until you grew weary. You didn't even have the strength to remove your makeup as you slumped into the futon. Despite making it through the night warm tears flowed over your cheeks, a reminder that you were in deed prisoner.




PART TWO: Dismal Night

The air was warm and stale. You rubbed your eyes, slowly sitting up. Looking around the dark room you noticed several other sleeping bodies. A queasiness filled your stomach. The room was crowded, barely any walkway between the women sleeping on the floor. You entered the attached bathroom, flipping the light-switch.

You instantly shut your eyes until they adjusted to the white lighting. The scene was dismal. Shampoos and soap sat on the edge of the tub, water dripping. The cabinet was filled with old towels and robes, thin yellow slippers stacked on top of one another. Time seemed non-existent as you scuffled toward the sink.

The porcelain was cracked, corners of the mirror rusty. Your reflection uneasily stared back. Makeup smeared across your eyelids, pink staining the edges of your mouth. Your teeth ached, feeling the oncoming tears. Looking away you began rummaging through the drawers. Hair brushes, a tub of cotton balls, nail polish remover with a peeling label, lotion, q tips, and dental hygiene products.

You tugged on a drawer but it didn't budge. Was it locked?

"Uhhh..."

You jumped, a woman rubbing her eyes coming into the bathroom.

"Sorry. Did I wake you?" You asked, not even sure she spoke English.

She shook her head side to side.

"..."

You decided to try opening the drawer again but to no avail.

The girl spoke up, pointing, "Locked."

"Why?"

"Razors."

"..." That word sunk in. Would the girls here really try to kill themselves?

She broke into your thoughts, "Mistress wants girls comfortable. Comfortable girls, happy clients."

"..." Again, you didn't know how to respond.

"If girls don't fight, get presents. Jewelry, clothes. Money."

That might be enough to appease them, but not me.

With nothing to be done you followed the woman back to the room, waiting until you adjusted to the darkness before climbing under the blanket. Was this really alright? None of the girls here ever smiled unless they were on duty. It was obvious why. They claimed if they were good they would receive presents. However you knew none of these women had a choice. It was their job to make sure you didn't come up with any ideas-possibly risking them as well.

You didn't want to endanger them but sure as hell weren't going to stay here. Everyone has a choice. You had chosen to fight a long time ago and would accept the outcome. Even if it was death. Your mind wandered back to the locked drawer of razor blades. Tears pricked at your eyes, quickly brushing them away. You were crushed that they would resort to that. If you were going to die, you would do so trying to live.

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Neeka-Freed
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I am a writer that enjoys creating fan-fiction as well as my own visual novels. I love plants and being alone, though enjoy interacting in small doses. I hope to create my own visual novel studio one day.
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dev-moon Featured By Owner 2 days ago
Thank you for the :+fav: on "SAKURA_Brushes" :cherryblossom: 
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TFW by merurupururin  
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thank you by vafiehya  for the watch! Hug
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