She did not know when it started, but she knew that she had loved her Waka for a very long time. It might be when she began to take care of him. It was not love back then. It was more likely affection. The little boy was an adorable one, notwithstanding how mischievous he had been. She was always one of his usual victims for his pranks. But that was what make her fond of him. The whole household seemed to be more lively with his presence.
For Tsurara, it was at first her duty to watch out for him. Then it grew on her as an completely common nature to protect and care for him, to be always faithful to him. The boy had been so fragile that her motherly instinct just kicked in, especially when he lost his father. He had cried for months. His mother was also grieving, and Tsurara was the one who hugged him and comforted him everytime the night fell and the boy just remembered about his father again. It was heartbreaking to see him in misery. However, the boy finally found his smile back again when he was used to the absence of someone dear to him a long time later. The household soon returned to normal too, for the young master's sake. She was very glad at how thing turned out, though still sad that the boy lost his father at such a young age. At that time, she had promised to herself that she would stay by his side forever and protect him for eternity.
As she stayed beside him and observed his good sides, she became to like him more and more. The boy was kind, much kinder than any human, though he was not fully one. And as she noticed him growing older, she couldn't help but notice that he had become more like a man. A young man, but his spirit was full of determination. And she could never deny that his night form also had an affect on her. The youkai was deadly handsome, and as a girl with no romantic experience, she fell for his cool attitude. Though he seemed cold, she knew fully well that he still cared so much about others. And that was what made him a wonderful leader.
At first, she did not use to this new Rikuo. The Rikuo she knew was a kind human boy who she thought he would need her protection. But when he started to protect her, she knew that he had grown up and did not need her anymore. Yet she still held onto him. She would follow him and scarify anything for his sake.
However, while she accepted that her feeling towards her master had changed, she faced another problem. The problem named Ienage Kana. She knew she was jealous of how close she and her master was. Sometimes she almost lost it and wanted nothing more than freezing the human girl. But she knew the girl was important to Rikuo, and the fact hurt. She did not know his feeling, but his action towards Kana only made her heart broken gradually. She could only pretend that nothing was out of place, for she knew that he did not consider much about his own action when he was 12. He was still young about the matter then. Hence, she still played the part of a faithful subordinate.
She loved her Rikuo, both of his day and night. The night was cool and handsome, as well as powerful. But his day also strong in his own way. The day was kinder, but could be strong-willed just like the night. Moreover, Tsurara was reminded that they were the same person when she saw flash of them mixing together. There were times when the day was just terrified and deadly, especially when his eyes shone with unforgiving looks. And there were also times when the night's eyes would be gentle as his lips curled into a kind smile, different from his usual smirks. The knowledge only made her fall deeper. She knew that her Waka was strange in many people's eyes, and they thought lightly of him as a leader for his human side. But couldn't they see that while his youkai's side was strong to fight for the clan, we still needed his kindness to rule? A leader with strength and compassion, how could they ask for more? Tsurara was very angry for her master everytime she saw him underestimated by his subordinates, and the promise to protect him grew stronger though she knew it was unnecessary.
She continued to love him, but the feeling was so bittersweet, knowing he might treat her as only someone exchanged Sakazuki with him. Oh how she envied the human girl. She was protected more carefully by her master. She knew she was silly for focusing on such things 'cause the girl was human and more fragile than a youkai. But a girl, no matter youkai or not, needed to feel protected, especially by her loved one. Her heart kept being crushed by his action, but she knew she could only respect what he decided to do.
The moon was full today. It sat highly in the night sky as stars twinkling around the magnificent white ball. Everything was bashed in its silver light, including the Sakura tree in the middle of the garden and the figure sitting quietly on a branch. The sight was breathtaking as the pink petals kept falling and scattering with the wind, dyeing the scenery with a shade of pink and silver light. The wind seemed to get stronger, yet the figure was still silently observing the sky. The youkai was also breathtaking as his sharp wine red eyes calmly looked at the moon. He did not have his usual smirk, but Tsurara knew he was content for his gaze was soft and his brows were relaxed. And it was true as there was nothing for him to worry about at the moment. He had defeated Nue three years ago, and the world had returned to normal. His friends accepted who he was and all his clan members also looked up to him. He had won the obstacles of his life, and now he was their respectful Sandaime.
Standing still and looking at her beloved master, Tsurara did not know if she should disturb him or not. After all, the scene was too perfect, and he was in his own world, his own privacy. The Sakura tree was his favorite place. Even the Supreme Commander did not usually came out here for he knew his grandson found tranquility here. Moreover, Tsurara was happy enough with watching him, just like she always did.
Nevertheless, the wind stated to blow stronger and the temperature dropped. Worrying for her master's health, she slowly approached the tree. Looking up at him, she yelled out, but only enough for him to hear. "Rikuo-sama!"
Immediately, he broke his contact with the moon and turned to her. His eyes was glittered with something gentle, something warmed her heart. A little shiver went through her as she caught his stare. Her heart beat faster, but she did not want to hope too much. Quickly, she talked again, trying to hide her soul-deep feeling, "Rikuo-sama, it's getting colder, you should go inside".
"Aa, Tsurara. It's okay. I'll go in after a moment." His deep voice rumbled. He did not tear his eyes away from her. In fact, they continued staring at each other until Tsurara had to force her eyes away from his and hide her blush.
At that moment, she swore she heard him chuckle slightly, but was not sure for a sudden strong wind passed by.
Fighting the urge to run and hide in the comfort of her room, she looked back up at him. He was staring at her the whole time. "De-demo, it's nearly midnight, a-and you have school tomorrow, Rikuo-sama."
Suddenly, the youkai disappeared from the branch he was sitting on and appeared right in front of her. Startled, she took a step back on instinct and unfortunately lost her balance. She closed her eyes as she waited for the pain. Right before her impact with the ground, however, a strong arm quickly circled her waist and stopped her from falling before pulling her up. Opening her eyes, she was met with pools of red wine. Her master was hugging her. And even though she knew it was to protect her, her heart skipped a beat as she wished it was for a different reason.
"Careful, Tsurara." He smirked, and she felt both fascinated with his face and his nearness, as well as annoyed with the tone of teasing in his eyes. Using her kimono's sleeves to cover part of her face, she managed to mumble out a small thank you.
There was a question nagging at the back of her head. Normally, she would ignore it. But today she suddenly had the nerve to ask him, "Rikuo-sama?" She started, and one of his brows went up indicating he was listening. Pulling in a deep breath, she continued, "why do you protect me?" As soon as the question was out, she regreted it immediately. But she still held her ears to listen for his reply.
Rikuo's eyes widened, and she knew he was surprised with her question. But he quickly found his composure back. "I protect you because you are a part of my Hyakki Yakou, and for you have exchanged Sakazuki with me."
Now she truly cursed herself. Why couldn't she shut her mouth? If she hadn't voiced the question out, maybe some parts of her heart would have been intact. Now she felt hollow, and disappointment consumed her. A silly part of her had thought that all the times he protected her or saved her from the danger had been special with a deeper meaning in his part. And his reply had killed her hope.
There was another question, but she did not dare to ask anymore. She was scared of the reply she would receive if she ask the other question. One disappointment was enough, she did not need more.
Fighting back the urge to cry, she quickly turned her head away and got out of his embrace. Her face was downcast as she hoped to hide her pain. "Thank you, Rikuo-sama, for your reply. It's my honor to be able to exchange Sakazuki with you. Well, it's getting late, I think I'll go back to my room. Good night, Rikuo-sama." And she ran without waiting for him to speak anything.