DISCLAIMER: Any references to real-life places are coincidental and names have been changed.

January 1, 2008

Destruction was what the eye could only see. Flames feasting on the concrete buildings, bodies piling up by the hundreds, and mayhem shrouding the land of Japan. What could have been the cause for this? And why was this once peaceful land targeted by unknown forces?

Amidst the mayhem, there was one place of sanctuary, but it, too, was about to succumb to the destruction surrounding it. The grandeur of a faraway shrine in Kanagawa was slowly being engulfed by the flames, but there were four humans inside it. Three of them circled around an archaic symbol that spanned roughly 16 meters in diameter. In the middle of the symbol floated a young girl, her entire body enveloped by a magical white aura and her long golden hair being the only distortion. Her eyes were shut tight due to unconsciousness.

One of the figures started to walk away from the symbol. The figure was in the form a slender young girl with fair skin, about 10 years of age. Her clothing appeared to be pedestrian, as she wore a maroon off-the-shoulder shirt with a black ruffled skirt. Her black flat shoes could reflect the flames surrounding the shrine. She donned lavender hair that reached to her neck and her emerald eyes appeared to be disinterested as she raised her hands high in the air. A transparent protective barrier appeared above the trio's heads. With the task done, she sighed and leaned against a charred wooden pillar.

"You're seriously considering this? You don't care what happens to her?"

A teenage boy about 15 years of age was standing across the symbol. Like the young girl who put up the barrier, he, too, had fair skin. He wore a navy-blue shirt with incoherent symbols running around them. His silver jeans were tied with a black belt, his black sneakers were worn out and he wore a wristwatch on his right hand. His wisteria eyes were glaring at the person doing the ritual, but the glare was halved because of his midnight blue hair covering his right eye.

"You'll have to trust me on this. Her power will not be known, lest she were to awaken it. Even so, there is a very low probability of that happening."

An older man, possibly in his mid-40s, responded to the yelling teen. The older man's crimson eyes were like a spear entering anyone who came in contact with them. His usual fair skin was drenched by the white aura surrounding the floating girl. His dark gothic jacket and black-white pants were also drenched by the light. His brown boots appeared to be brand new.

"But what if she does awaken it?" the teenager yelled, clenching his fist. "What will we do then?!"

The older man gave the teenager a wry smile. "…We kill her. What else can we do?" he responded. His deep voice made it sound as if it were a legitimate threat. "The Anima inside her is strong, yes. Godlike, even. But the seal I'm about to place on the girl will ensure that it will never be released. And as I've said, if her power were to be known, we shall kill her. Don't tell me you're scared of fighting her, Murasaki?"

Some of the flaming wood crashed onto the barrier, but no damage was done to it. The boy named Murasaki sighed in defeat.

"…O-of course not. But you saw what happened…" Murasaki's voice trailed on, "The Anima went on a rampage and we barely got out alive. It was a miracle the girl was there, but…I still feel bad for her. She didn't know about this ordeal at all, and now…she's the holder of life or death."

The mysterious young girl stared at the two men, her emerald eyes showing a sense of worry. The older man chuckled softly as he raised his hands to eye level.

"Hmph. Murasaki, you are too soft," he mocked. "You shouldn't worry about her. She will continue living her normal life; she just won't have any recollection of what has happened or of the power inside her. In fact, she may consider this a dream. A nightmare. Yet, we will track her power. Once it has reached a certain amount, we will be cautious of her; and once she unlocks her power, we will stop her and her Anima."

Mursaki grunted softly and walked out of the symbol, approaching the girl who erected the barrier.

"…Fine, I'll oblige," he muttered to himself. Staring at the lavender-haired girl, he spoke aloud, "I trust you don't have any objections, Midori?"

The girl named Midori said nothing as she looked at the golden-haired girl, whose body lost its white luster, revealing her bare body.

The older man called out, "You know she rarely speaks, Murasaki. She only provides input when necessary. Now, let me proceed with the erasure of this girl's mind."

Mursaki turned around and bowed to the older man. "As you wish, Maebara," he replied. "Come on, Midori. Let's leave him be."

In an instant, Midori and Mursaki teleported out of the shrine. The barrier was still intact as the man named Maebara proceeded with the ritual. His hands started to absorb an ethereal energy.

"The transfer is complete," he said to himself semi-amused. "To think, the body of an innocent child could be a vessel for the possible goddess of destruction. Thankfully, I lowered the Anima's power, so she should be no threat in the future."

Maebara's mind flashed a fiery scene. In the middle of a street, he could see the golden-haired girl, struggling to get up, frightened at the man standing before her. Within a second of their glares meeting, she collapsed and the vision ended.

The ethereal energy slowly started to transfer from Maebara's hands into the girl's mind. The young girl almost regained consciousness, but the impact of the energy made her lose it in an instant. The energy dissipated and the ritual was fully complete. Maebara chuckled and shook his wrists. The destruction of the shrine became more rapid, with nearly every inch of the roof crashing onto the barrier.

"Now, to bring the entire land back to before this calamity happened," he uttered ominously. "Let it be known, young girl: We will be watching you every second of your life. Your life and your choices are our responsibility. Should you awaken your power, even in the slightest, you will perish."

Maebara breathed deeply and black energy protruded from his body, enveloping the shrine, but it didn't stop there. The entire land of Japan was enshrouded by it and time halted amidst the destruction. In an instant, Maebara and the young girl vanished into thin air and time seemingly reversed itself, repairing every inch of the destruction.

To the ones who were lucky enough to survive the calamity, their "heroics" and visions of reality would only be dreams. To the ones who perished, they would be able to live their lives anew.

Only four people know the truth of this fateful day. Will they meet again in the alternate future?