~ Rising Paradise: ORIGINS ~
(Movie Version)

The Story of Ice and Rain

created & written by K-chan


Two years later...

A carriage pushed through the gates of a big city, crowded with tourists and citizens in the streets, and the driver pulled the horses to a stop just on the side of the street to avoid the barrage of people. A girl's head popped out the carriage window, all smiles as she viewed the city in awe. She closed her eyes and took a deep inhalation of the wonderful aroma nearby. "Reika-san! Is this really where you're from?!" she asked excitedly, retreating into the carriage.

A minute later, the door opened, and Reika descended to the ground with a familiar box in her arms, followed by the energetic, young girl hopping to the ground with their belongings on her back and in her embrace. She scurried here and there to take in the sights of the big city while the older girl just smiled. She turned to the driver and paid him, "Thank you for your kindness, sir." He nodded and whipped the reins for the horses to move on. She watched him disappear in the distance and then turned her attention back to her young companion, "Aiko! Be careful, or you might get lost!"

Aiko glanced back, waving a free hand for her to come over, "Reika-san! Hurry over here! There's something exciting going on!!" Reika sighed and did so, wondering why the crowd had pushed together at the edge of the road, leaving an empty space down the middle. She could hear instruments playing farther away, and the small parade came closer and closer. She caught the conversation around her, finding out that a nobleman was visiting the city, and she watched intently, for some reason holding her breath as the two sedans became clearer.

"Oh! There they are!" Aiko squeezed through the people to get a better look at the couple, who Reika immediately recognized. She continued to stare at the handsome man, leaning over to the woman in the other sedan. Her mind blurred to three years ago when at the age of eighteen, she was married into the Takemura family, being the wife of Tarou Takemura. Although her marriage to him was family bounded, she was content with it when it made her family proud and happy. After all, her family was just locally famous for the beautiful music and zither they created, and to be married into a noble family was well looked upon.

She was welcomed into the Takemura family with opened arms, and even greater joy echoed in the household when Reika was found to be carrying the Takemura's future. Sticking to old traditions and superstitions, they believed the child would be a boy and had high hopes for it. Tarou's older brother had married twice, but both wives only produced girls. And so, lots of pressure was put upon Reika for this child to be a boy. The seventh month came, but trouble hit them when Reika went into premature labor, eventually bearing a son who died hours later. The whole tragedy left the family in sour disposition with Reika, and they isolated themselves from her already depressed self. Even Tarou seemed to have avoided her, leaving her to think of herself as a cursed woman.

About three months after the miscarriage, Reika journeyed home to visit her family and solace with her loved ones. The carriage dropped her outside the gates of her home and drove off as she stood there, looking above the gateway at her family name. She smiled faintly at having returned home, but as she stepped through the gates, she crinkled her nose, sensing something was wrong. She stood still and looked around, sniffing something like blood in the air. Panicked, she rushed into the house and found the placed turned upside down. Running farther into the home, she gasped at the bodies of her parents lying in a pool of blood.

"TOU-SAN! KAA-SAN!!" she cried, throwing herself at them. She shook their bodies as if trying to wake them up from their sleep. The tears poured from her eyes, and her heart twisted in all directions, making her chest feel heavy and painful. She slowly lifted her head when she heard a quiet voice. She looked up through her tearful eyes and saw a blurry outline of someone crawling through the doorway.

"Ne-e-san..."

Reika quickly wiped her eyes and hurried to the dying girl, "Ayake! Please hold on!" The half-naked girl was severely beatened, dragging herself across the floor from her bedroom, and Reika knew what had happened to her little sister, which made her cry even harder. The cuts and bruises covered every part of her body, and the redness stained to youthful skin, flowing down to her bare legs. Reika held the girl tightly in her arms, knowing well that no help could be provided to save her, and that only made her emotions spin in anger, sorrow, and confusion.

"Nee-san..." she tried to smile, "I'm glad... to see you... again..." Her hand reached down beside her and grasped onto the handle of a guitar-like instrument. The body was a round, pear-shape with a short neck. Reika knew this was her sister's favorite instrument, the pipa, and accepted it when Ayake handed it to her. She noticed that there were only three strings on it instead of the usual four, but she didn't say anything. "Please... nee-san... can you play... for me..." Reika nodded and set her sister on the floor gently. She focused on the instrument, holding it properly in one hand, while the other struck the silk strings in a melodic sound.

Ayake smiled as the melody echoed in her ears, and she closed her eyes, sleeping peacefully forever. Reika continued to play, watching the last of her family member depart from her side, and the tears flowed endlessly that day, trickling down onto the instrument like the blood that would forever fall from her hands that moment on.

"Don't you think so, Reika-san?" Aiko asked, tugging on the older girl's sleeve.

"Hmm?" she blinked.

"Reika-san, are you all right?" she inquired, concern in her violet eyes. "You seem out of it since we got here. I asked you if you think that lady was pretty."

Reika looked elsewhere behind them, taking her mind off the man and parade, "An inn should be around here, somewhere. Let's go find it." She walked off, leaving a puzzled Aiko to watch her. There was definitely something wrong with her, but she decided not to pry since it was probably the city that brought back many memories.

Aiko took one last look at the procession still going on and sighed, "Memories... Something I don't have..." She turned away and followed Reika's trail.


That evening, Reika left the inn to visit her family home, which was still in ruins at the edge of the city. She stepped through the gates, triggering old memories, but noticed something quite different about the place. It seemed empty, and for the past two years would've been that way, but it appeared very clean and tidy, even the front yard had been cleared of weeds and the leaves were swept. She pushed the thought aside and entered the rundown house, only to stagger back in shock. Right before her eyes was an altar to her parents and sister.

The shock slowly subsided as she stood in front of the three, wooden tablets that had the names of her family who died. She cautiously reached for her father's tablet and held it securely in her hand, tracing the character of his name with her other hand. She suddenly spun around at a new presence, demanding, "Who's there?!"

The figure appeared in the doorway, not to happy with her presence either. "I should ask YOU that!" she said, "You're trespassing."

Reika fumed silently, putting her father's tablet back onto the altar, "I should punish you. You're the one trespassing!" She attack the woman with four darts, but the latter dodged it easily. Reika had a feeling she wasn't an ordinary person. The woman leapt over the table with a kick, which Reika blocked and then threw a series of flowing kicks and punches that the stranger immediately recognized.

"Wait!" she ordered, putting her hands up in defense to show her that she really meant for them to stop, "That technique you used... What relation do you have with the owner of this house?"

Reika remained in her attacking position, still keeping an eye on the woman, though curious as her sudden question. "He was my father," she informed. "Now tell me who YOU are."

"Really now? But Tsuruhara Genro only had one daughter, and she died with her parents!" the woman intentionally accused her of lying.

This assumption made Reika boiled over when it was completely false, "NO! He had two daughters! One was married off to the Takemuras! And I am that daughter! Tsuruhara Reika!"

She sighed and sat down on a stool, which caught Reika off guard. "Quite the fiesty little Reika I remember," she said, only puzzling the girl even more. "Now come sit down," she commanded, but Reika didn't budge from her spot. She laughed quietly, "I guess you should know who I am then. My name is Tsuruhara Marehi." Reika's eyes widened at the familiar name, and Marehi nodded, "Yes, I am your father's little sister... Your aunt."


Meanwhile, Aiko was in her room, very bored. She walked around the small space, not sure of what to do since Reika had told her not to wander off. She sat down in a chair and sighed, putting an elbow on the table. It was so much better traveling from place to place, so she hoped they didn't stay in this city too long. She was just use to such a wandering lifestyle, which took Reika and her across the land of Levendas. And someday, she would take a ship and crossed the seas to other new lands. The future was what she aimed for, but sometimes she couldn't help but think about the past, about a past she could never make of.

Aiko stood up and walked over to the window, opening the shutters to the darkening skies. She stared upwards to the skies and then down into the streets, still finding people about but not as much as before. She leaned against the window frame, sighing, and watched the people walk back and forth. Everyone had a past, even if it was bad or good, so she was like everyone else to and should have a past, but why couldn't she remember? Reika had told her not to think about it too much and that she would help her find out.

She didn't even know if she had siblings or not, and if she did, she hoped they were like Reika, so kind and caring. Reika had been the first person she saw and befriended when she woke up that very day. The older girl never told her what happened or how she had found her unconscious, but she never questioned her, thinking that if it was important then she would've said something. She closed her eyes and buried her head in her arms as several images flickered in her mind, only to confuse her even more. She couldn't take it anymore, so she got up and left the room, deciding to take a little walk around the area.

After a few minutes on the streets, the dark skies broke loose, and it began to rain. She covered her head, running beneath a small extension of a shoppe for shelter. She hugged herself from the coolness, watching others run for cover too. The rain continued to pour down heavily, and the sound of the plattering droplets echoed in her ears. Her eyes widened, staring straight ahead at the familiar sound, tinkling against metal, and the sudden redness flowed before her. Everything became red, the rain falling became the bloody color of death.

It was such a mystery to why she would always see red every time it rained. She wasn't afraid of such weather, but it brought so many dark images to her mind, like they were part of her memories, part of the dark past she wasn't sure if she wanted to know about. She shook her head, shivering from the frightening image and the coldness of the rain. She could feel her body faltering, wanting to cry out her frustration, but something held her up. The ground blurred as she closed her eyes, sensing a warm body against her. She looked up and saw the face of a handsome, young man smiling down at her.


TO BE CONTINUED...