"I know not of what weapons World War III will be fought with, but I do know World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones!" –Albert Einstein

"Life can be only understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards." –Soren Kierkegaard

Sometime during the 21st century mankind had become a much higher populated than beyond normal rates. It's not clear exactly what happened, but the growing need for Petroleum all over the world by the year 2021 had become what is now known as the catalyst for the fall of man.

With the need of fuel becoming much more urgent and the failure of alternate fuel sources, most large area nations such as Russia and China had practically become dry nations.

In the early 21st century China and many nations by it became more developed and the growing need for fuel was plunging its economy into a hole. The same happened for Russia, but things did in fact get better. It was rumored that Russia had in fact found a new source of fuel just deep beneath Siberia.

The fuel supplies itself had already been considered more than enough to fill the needs of the United States, Europe, and Russia. These being the only countries with the required energy, life began to move on. By the time summer began in 2021, China had entered a massive depression.

Russia who was now given the option to help refused for reasons in which we do not know. The records then state that in an attempt to save the falling economy China invaded Russia to get the needed supplies to survive. This one event alone caused an event we know as the four day Hyper War.

In just those four simple days the hyper war as it has been called, a massive battle on the air, land, seas, and even through space raged on. Despite popular belief, not one nuke was fired by either nation. From here, we believe that Russia was the first nation to fall.

In a flash of severe combat, billions died. Stocks fell, and the free world as we once knew it had become a home field for the next age of mankind. It took no longer than ten years for a massive famine to destroy a majority of mankind.

In just ten years millions of years of human history were wiped clear.

In just ten years ninety seven percent of the population fell.

In just ten years the Planet Earth had been permanently defaced.

From here, those who had survived the war and famine learned from their mistakes. Now that all form of society had been rewritten, those who learned banned technology.

Nobody else remembers what happened. It's now been over 121 years since the day the world almost ended. But given that mankind knows of its fate, some still continue to fight. It's something I'll do if it means ending this chaos before it starts again.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Rei sat on the flat bed rock with a tiny scroll by her side as she looked off into the field. It was a bright day today. This was the first real sunny day she had actually seen in the past month since lately she had been on the night watch. It wasn't that easy yet at the same time it wasn't hard. Mostly it depended on how things turned out during the night. For example it could go one way and it ends up raining, you get wet, and then maybe you get the flu or a cold the next day—it happens all the time.

Option two, you spend the whole night sitting in one spot until you fall asleep or you are relieved of duty. Finally there was the exciting option where you think things are going to be fine then BAM you're stuck in the middle of a fight trying to battle your way through hundreds of soldiers bent on ripping you to bits—yeah it sucks.

The wheat field shimmered as some of the morning wind form the north began to blow inwards towards it. Rei brushed her blonde hair aside to get it out of her eyes as the wind continued to sway it. The sun caught in with the dew in the field thus giving it a nice shining glow. As the wind kept blowing, Rei had caught the attention of a small withering rose not too far away form her. It was the first one she'd seen in a while, so naturally it compelled her to stand and go look at it.

She quickly put the scroll down with the vile of ink before once again pushing her hair away and placing her steel Katana beside it. As she crawled towards it, the first petal fell onto the ground before blowing away. The rose looked like it had not been able to collect any of the morning dew. In return its petals began to wither away just like everything else before it did. Staring closed onto it, Rei quickly noticed blood haddried up and collected on the interior of the flower. She didn't have anytime to pull it out or touch it because a loud voice in the distance greeted her.

"Re-i-i-i-i-i-na!" the quite familiar voice shouted out.

"Don't call me that!" Rei yelled back.

A young man about her age jumped down from the rocky cliffs above her before making an easy landing on the ground. Rei stood up before grabbing her stuff from off the ground by him. The man was her earliest childhood friend Shugo Ybarra.

"I've been able to catch some fish. This one's a whopper!" Shugo exclaimed as he pulled off the leather bag from his back.

"I haven't eaten anything this morning!" Rei said as she held her hands together.

Shugo sat down before looking around the area for his supplies he had set up the night before. Their tent was only twenty feet away in the middle of a small patch of grass. Rei quickly walked up around the bed rock to grab some of the logs set up by the tent for a fire.

"Need some help?" Shugo asked as he reached his hand through the bag.

"You got the fish, I'll start the fire. It's how we do things now." Rei replied as she collected a small bundle of firewood.

"You can relax for one day. It's really no big deal to me; I just try to do my best for friends." Shugo had a little smirk on his face before rubbing his head and focusing back on the bag. "So what have you been working on here?"

Rei walked back towards him with the bundle of wood before looking down towards the scroll. She laughed once.

"Oh that? I was thinking about writing a poem." Rei said as she placed the first few log in the center of the bed rock.

"About what I might ask?" Shugo asked as he put the first fish onto a stick.

"I don't know. See that over there?" Rei pointed towards the blood stained rose she found earlier. "It kind of makes me wonder when I look at it."

"What's wrong with it? It's just a withering rose."

"No, it's not that," Rei followed that up with a grunt as she set up a few stones around the fire place, "there's blood on it."

"Blood? How did that get there?"

"I really don't know. It's a mystery of nature—like why is the sky blue? What are clouds?"

"Come to think of it I really don't know. I heard once that a long time ago we had the ability to go to the moon. Also, we had the knowledge of the universe at our fingertips. Everything we knew or had learned in the past just vanished after a little war."

"For everything to vanish like that it sure didn't sound little. But what do you mean by having the knowledge of the universe?" Rei asked as she struck two rocks together.

"I don't know exactly." Shugo sprinkled some grass under the logs before going back to impale another fish. "I've heard that humans before us could fly. They had weapons that could destroy entire continents in a matter of seconds."

"No they didn't."

"You disagree? When did they teach you about the past?"

Rei was silent for a few seconds before striking the two rocks together with great results. A small fire started so the two could finally enjoy some fish for breakfast. Shugo was kind of cocky for a young man, but it was just his calling. It was just him!

"I was thinking about the rose for a second. How exactly did the blood get there?" Rei asked again.

"I don't know! I asked you that because I didn't know myself." Shugo replied.

"You think it's an omen?"

"A what?"

"An omen. It's a dark sign from above. A foretelling. You know, what if this is a sign?"

"Something that is beautiful will be covered with blood. Well, I don't know if that's it. Maybe it could be something a little more…um…What's a good term…" Shugo thought for a second.

"I don't know."

"Then why do we worry about it?"

"I don't know Shugo." Rei said with a nod.

She picked up the scroll before opening the vile of ink and picking up a piece of tall grass just a couple feet away. Shugo started to cook the fish as Rei got started on writing.

"What have you thought of?" Shugo asked.

"I'll never tell!" Rei said with a little innocent smirk. "You can wait until it's done!"

"Fine by me."

Blood Stained Rose

Written by JT Keebaugh

Rei sat back next to the morning fire with a piece of hay in her mouth as she looked up at the hazy sky. Shugo had eaten doubles this morning because of his lacking supplies back at the temple. He was sitting on his back picking out food from his teeth before pouring a pinch of salt on them to kill the bacteria. Rei looked at him just as he let out a huge belch that made her flinch.

"Excuse me!" Shugo exclaimed.

"Won't all that extra food just make you fat?" Rei asked.

"It doesn't worry me none. I do enough work around the place as it is. Come to think of it, we really need to get moving if we plan to get back in time. You've got night watch tomorrow."

"Tell me about it." Rei said with a grunt.

Chapter one

"On the road back home"

"You don't always have to think of it as a bad thing. Look on the bright side… You get more free time!" Shugo exclaimed.

"No I don't." Rei said back.

"Um." Shugo crossed his arms behind his head. "You'll get some extra time to think about what to put in your poems."

"There's no light for me to write."

"Well, then I can't help you. You're out of luck!"

"I wish it wasn't this way." Rei did the same as him with her arms before looking up at the sun. "What if we didn't head back to the temple?"

"Then I think that we would be beaten, raped, slaughtered, and then burnt away the very second an enemy clan jumps us." Shugo replied.

"But what if there was no clan war going on right now?"

"We've got to have a clan war. It's our obligation of life. We need to thin out the population in an orderly fashioned way. We do the same for animals, so we should do the same for each other."

"I really hope I never have to kill any of my friends." Rei said as she tried to walk closer to Shugo. "I just wish that mankind can just get along and flourish."

"We already tried that. You're supposed to be a samurai like me and not fear death. I don't fear death."

"Neither do I! The temple is pretty close…"

"I kind of feel like sitting down for just a few minutes. This road is insanity! How do they really expect people to walk back and forth on them, honestly?" Shugo asked.

"Why really complain, we've done it many times before."

"You might not, but I kind of wish we had some horses to use. Or maybe one of those automobiles I've heard about. Vroom! Vroom!"

Shugo ran ahead, so Rei quickly caught up with him. He continued making car sounds from child hood memories when his parents would tell him of how things used to be. Rei stretched her arms out before making plane noises and chasing Shugo as he ran.

"Ra-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat! I got you!" Rei exclaimed as she chased him.

"Oh, I should have known you would be… the…" Shugo gasped before rolling over to the side of the road.

"Ah-ha! I know when you're playing possum!"

"That was amusing." Shugo said as he tried to stand up.

"Where does it state when you grow up that you really can't imagine any more?"

"I didn't even know that was a rule. In fact, where are these rules about how you're supposed to behave when you grow up?"

"No rules in sight! I guess it's ok."

"I guess… But don't tell Hideo-Ni we did that. He'd probably make us commit seppuku so we don't feel disgraced or something."

"What a weird imagination you have!" Rei exclaimed.

Imagine all the people
Living for today
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do

The old style temple was not something that was built just recently after the war, but it was actually owned by a religious sect some thousands of years ago. It was a long time ago, that's the most they knew about it. In fact not really anybody knew much of what happened because almost everything that once was used as record before the Hyper War had vanished in the pillars of fire caused by the very many war machines. The old temple was surrounded by a rather large dojo and several houses where most of the clan was trained.

Rei stepped in first before letting out a breath of air from the long walk. She had actually broken a sweat this time, which was a bit out of the ordinary because she was used to walking further—maybe the heat, oh well. Shugo stepped in next with his bags still packed. A few of the clan members walked by but didn't even give the two any attention whatsoever. Rei took a good look around at the area before lifting her bags and continuing the trek in.

"It's good to be home." Rei said as she walked forwards.

"Hey Reina, how are you going to handle night watch now?" Shugo asked as he caught up with her.

"Stop calling me that!"

"Ok, Rei—how are you going to handle night watch now? You've got a day schedule going."

"I'll just stay up all night, you wanna' stay up with me? I could use some company."

"Uh, well…" Shugo said with a little smirk before wiping it away to nod. "I don't think I'll be up that late. I'm still day watch."

"Whatever works for you? I'm going back to my room; I'm going to spend some of my time working on this poem."

"Uh, ok." Shugo said before making a left turn. "See you later Reina."

Once again Rei's eyes lit up with anger, but she really didn't want to bother with arguing. Reina was her given birth name, so she really didn't mind it too much. But somehow she always found the name Rei a much more fitting name for her. After getting towards the center of the shrine in front of the temple, she dropped her bags down to the ground before kneeling in front of the statue in the center of a fountain. It was of the shrine founder Hideo-Jin-Ichi. He had died just 25 years ago as the clan entered the war to gain control over the rest of Japan. Rei said her vows before standing up and picking the bags up. Her katana dropped back on the ground, so she only sighed before preparing to put her stuff back down.

"Let me get that for you." A young male said as he walked towards her.

"Hideo-San!" Rei exclaimed after looking at the man's face.

The man was the grandson of the founder, Hideo-Jin-San—the third. Hideo-San picked up her katana and slid the scabbard through the loop hole on her GI belt before tightening it in.

"I haven't seen you around in a while." Hideo-San said as he backed up. "When did you get back, Rei-chan?"

"Just now. Is Hideo-Ni still in the temple?" Rei asked.

"Hai!" Hideo-San responded.

"I am stuck on Night Watch again. It's going to be boring this time around."

"I'm on Night Watch too! That gives us more time to bond, you know?"

The two started to walk away from the fountain before making their way back into one of the houses. Hideo-San took some of the bags off of Rei's back before setting them up on his own. Rei could finally stretch her arms again after carrying the bags for well over seven miles. After looking at her upper arms, she could already see a little muscle growing in place—not much, but a decent amount.

"What all have you been doing out there?" Hideo-San asked before moving the bag again.

"We just head out, check the area, and then come back. It's been kind of fun seeing the valley again." Rei said as some of the pain went away.

"Make any discoveries? No, I said that wrong. Anything odd out there?"

"Hm," Rei thought of the rose she saw, but ignored it, "no, not really."

"I see! What's Shugo been up to? Last time I saw him was right after we got done training with Ukiah. How long ago was that?"

"I don't know. I think it was three years ago…"

Rei walked towards the first house on the right before sliding the door open. The room still looked just like it was the day she left it. After stepping in, Hideo-San walked over to one of the walls before finally setting down the stuff.

"Thanks for the help." Rei said as she sat everything down. "Do you want to go somewhere or something?" Smooth one.

"Maybe later." Hideo-San said as he stepped for the door. "My father is still at the temple if you want to meet him."

"I guess."

"Oh Rei-chan," Hideo-San said before turning his head to look at her, "next time when valley patrol comes around, if you want to."

"Yes?" Rei asked as Hideo-San seemed to stutter.

"There's a place further out beyond the valley. It's called the Cosmos Cradle of Japan… If you ever feel like visiting it, we can go. I just needed somebody to go with."

"What's the Cosmos Cradle?"

"It's the birth place of the universe. Everybody knows that! Rumor has it that we had weapons that could destroy entire countries or cities and when they were tested, there were three main areas where the energy refused to die with the spirits."

"Wow." Rei said as she shifted her hair aside. "I've never heard this! What exactly is inside the cradle?"

"Pure energy from the universe. I'll have to show you it some time."

"Will do!" Rei said before bowing down quickly.

A/N- I'm reposting this as a final farewell, I don't think I'll be doing much on FP with the controversy surrounding Kakera. Anyways, it's been good. If you're just reading this, then do stick around for this amazing tale. THis is my best story, highest review, most read, and I really do hope those now reading it enjoy.

-Justin Travis "Darket" Keebaugh of Revolution-Zero, former member of AKA Meteor Infinity and Limitbreaker Crew