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Backstory

        “Kiku!”

        “Sisters!”

        The four youkai maidens wrapped one another in a tight embrace. In the past, Kiku had witnessed her sisters’ capture by the evil Onmyōji of Douma’s Youkai Binding-jutsu and subsequent confinement in captivity with her own eyes. Kiku had never thought the four of them could reunite. Disregarding her own will, she conceded to the evil Onmyōji’s orders as this was the only way to ensure her sisters' survival. She had been obeying the evil Onmyōji’s orders to keep her three sisters alive the whole time, doing things against her will... Now, their wish had finally come true: they were released from pain.

        “They can finally reunite one another again...” Fubuki wiped the tears from her cheeks with the back of her hand.

        “Fubuki, you should be happy for them! Reunion between long-separated family is always a joyous occasion!” Natsuaki smiled and gave a pat on Fubuki’s shoulder.

        “Master is a man of his word. He had promised to let them reunite, and so this was always expected,” said Akikane with a shrug.

        “Akikane, is that what you would call looking at things in hindsight?” Natsuaki teased.

        Akikane pretended that he was going to hit him, while Natsuaki hurried to behind Fubuki, yelping, “Help, Fubuki! Akikane is picking on me!”

        “Enough, you two. Kiku and her sisters are still here. Fighting in front of company is rude,” criticized Fubuki with a helpless sigh.

        Kiku approached the Onmyō practitioners with her sisters, expressing their gratitude with a bow.

        “We shall never forget your great kindness. How should we repay you?”

        The Great Onmyōji gestured to the youkai maidens that they did not need to bow. “That would be unnecessary. I only ask that you live a peaceful life, and no longer cause harm to a single person anymore. That is how best to repay me.”

        As the sun went down, the silhouettes of Kiku and her sisters gradually faded in the far-off distance, before finally disappearing completely from the view of those Onmyō practitioners. After they had finished the commission, they began journeying back to the shrine, and leisurely walked back to their home. Shigeharu had been staying beside the Great Onmyōji along the way.

        “I think... I understand why Master asked us to accompany you in this trip.”

        “You do?”

        Right. Master wants us to know that there is no absolute good or absolute evil in the world. Also, there is no clear line between right and wrong.”

        The Great Onmyōji stayed silent, replying only with a smile. Shigeharu shook his master’s hand, asked, “Am I wrong?”

        Who can judge if one is kind or evil? We need more courage to forgive than to hate. You must remember that everything happens for a reason.” With his wide palm, the Great Onmyōji gently patted Shigeharu’s head.

        “Shigeharu is putting on a show again! You useless idiot!” Natsuaki teased at him.

        “I... I’m not!” Shigeharu yelled as he ran towards his seniors.

        The Great Onmyōji looked at his disciples with a smile on his face. Suddenly, he sensed a dull pain on his chest; he only managed to alleviate the pain after pressing hard on it. The Great Onmyōji had a sense of sudden foreboding...

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