I do not own Fate Stay Night, Tsukihime or Kara no Kyoukai. They belong to Nasu Kinoko and TYPE-MOON.
FACT 06 – LAST DAYS OF THE NANAYA
Characters: Kiri Nanaya, Makihisa Tohno (Tsukihime), Shiki Ryougi (Kara no Kyoukai)
The sound of steel clashing echoed through the room. Inside the large dojo, two figures, one large and one small, exchanged swift strikes, then quickly backed away, only to repeat the process over and over.
The large figure was a black-haired adult man, early thirties, but looking much older due to the age lines and the permanent frown on his face. For maneuverability purposes, he wasn't wearing the traditional loose kimono, but a fitter, black version. His weapon of choice was a short tanto blade in opposition to his opponent's long katana, yet its length didn't seem to hinder his skills in the slightest. In fact, along with his impressive agility, it was giving him the edge so far.
The small figure was a young girl, no older than thirteen, who could be easily mistaken for a boy due to her haircut. Clad in a gray kendo kimono, she clearly didn't have as much experience as her opponent, but knew enough to put up a fight. Still, even armed with the longer katana, it was an uphill battle for her.
Sparks flew every time their blades came in contact. Even if it was only a sparring session, most onlookers would swear they were going for real blood.
Not that the impression would be entirely wrong though. For these two duelers were born killers in the most literal sense. Deadly skills had been ingrained in their very genes, passed down their lineages for generations. A fact that very few knew about Kiri Nanaya, the head of the Nanaya clan, and Shiki Ryougi, the heiress of the Ryougi clan.
One wrong step of Shiki was all Kiri needed to set the battle. In a split second, he dodged her sword, ducked below his opponent's waistline and slid on the wooden floor. With a quick sweep, Kiri made Shiki lose her footing and she fell on her rear. Instinctively she lifted her sword to defend herself while on the floor, but it was too late: Kiri already had his blade's edge on her neck before she knew it.
From her position, Shiki wouldn't be able to angle her sword towards her opponent before he cut her jugular. The sparring was over.
"You got me," she sighed, slightly disappointed, lowering her weapon as a sign of defeat.
With a nod, Kiri wordlessly took the blade off her neck and offered a hand to help her up, which she accepted. As a finish ritual, they bowed to each other and then turned towards the other person in the room, who had been watching the entire spar silently.
"How do you judge Shiki's abilities, Nanaya?" asked the stern-faced, middle-aged man, arms crossed and his posture unfaltering.
"Your daughter's skills are commendable, Ryougi-san," Kiri answered in business tone. "She has great potential as a swordswoman and in a few years she might be ready to succeed the family."
Mr. Ryougi nodded in approval, his expression always stern. Then he turned to his daughter. "Shiki, you lost your balance on the last step. Remember: always keep your weight equally distributed on your feet."
"Yes, father," Shiki nodded evenly, doing her best to hide her annoyance with her father. She hated when he kept pointing out her mistakes and patronizing her. Gee, give it a break, can't he?
Hours later, Kiri and Mr. Ryougi were talking along the wooden porch of the Ryougi mansion, overlooking the Japanese-styled garden. Akitaka had taken Shiki to school about an hour ago, so it was just the two of them.
"I appreciate that you have come all the way from Nagano to train my daughter, Nanaya." Mr. Ryougi said, in his ever stern voice, keeping his face forward as he walked.
"Think nothing of it, Ryougi-san," Kiri replied while walking, not maintaining visual contact either. "Now that my family is retired of the hunting business, we'll need all the support we can get from the other families."
Despite the fact that the Demon Hunter Organization was composed of four main families in Japan, they actually maintained very little contact with each other. The Asagami had left the organization generations ago, becoming interbred with demons themselves. The Fujou were on the verge of collapse with their only heiress terminally ill. Only the Nanaya and the Ryougi still kept some degree of relationship. Even so, interaction between the two clans was very sporadic, since that the Nanaya chose to live in a secluded mansion in the Nagano mountains, while the Ryougi lived in the bursting city of Mifune.
Still, the head of the Ryougi wanted only the best for his daughter and future leader of the clan. That was why he had requested that Kiri Nanaya, considered the organization's best fighter, gave Shiki some lessons in swordsmanship. A request that Kiri had accepted without much fuss. The only odd thing about it was that the lessons should be with real swords, instead of wooden ones. Apparently, the use of real blades even in training was a tradition in the Ryougi clan (the argument was that it made the user's mind sharper).
"So you finally retired, uh? I wonder why though. You, the Nanaya, were always the best in that field than any of us."
"It's as you said once, such ability is no longer necessary in modern days. Demons are not much of a threat nowadays, so it was about time we found a new path."
"Is that so?" The older man though was a little skeptical about it. The demon threat had been dwindling for many centuries by then, that being the reason the Ryougi had left the business in first place. The Nanaya, however, had stubbornly refused to abandon their long-ingrained tradition. They continued to hunt down the remaining half-demons for many years and didn't seem willing to stop anytime soon. But why now? Of all the times, why now did the family's head finally decide to hang up the shoes? "But is it the only reason?"
Kiri remained in silent for several moments, as if pondering what (or whether) he should say.
"There is another reason, actually," the head of the Nanaya decided to tell. There was no harm in letting the Ryougi know about it. "I wish for a different life for my son."
It was the truth. Kiri couldn't exactly explain why, but it was. And ironically, as far as he remembered, he had never wanted to be a father to begin with. A child was something he had always deemed unnecessary and that would only weight him down in his assassin career. Even when his wife had gotten pregnant, he didn't give it much thought and intended to leave the raising up to his wife.
Of course, until he actually saw the newborn baby. Kiri couldn't understand it even now, but the moment he saw his son... it was as if his entire world had been turned upside down. He had felt a strong urge to protect that child, to change his own ways, and... to make sure that boy would not follow the same path as his. It was said that the apple never fell far from the tree. Well, Kiri was determined to prove that saying wrong.
"So the rumors that you had a child are true, I take it?" Mr. Ryougi looked at his fellow clan leader for the first time in the talk.
"Yes, Shiki's turned eight not long ago. My wife gave him the same name as your daughter, but written with the kanji of 'resolve' and 'honor'. I hope you don't mind."
Mr. Ryougi raised an eyebrow at the prospect of the heirs of both families bearing the same name, but shrugged it off. Even if the pronounce was the same, the writing was different and the children were still of opposite sexes.
It was not like the children would have anything else in common besides the name anyway.
The chilling wind cut through the mountain forest, while the full moon shone beautifully in the dark sky. This was the kind of scenery that foretold another tranquil night in the lonely Nagano mountains.
Except that it was not going to remain tranquil for long. And neither it was lonely, considering the group of people gathering at the foothill, hidden under the canopy of the trees.
Such group certainly didn't consist of eccentric tourists doing a night hiking. The balaclava masks, the protection vests and, most important, the heavy weaponry they carried were a dead giveaway of their intentions. They were an assault group, whose target lay a few miles up the mountain.
One of the masked men strayed from the group and headed towards a nearby limousine, parked among the black vans.
"Makihisa-dono," the man knocked on the limo's window. "All preparations are done. Shall we start?"
Inside the car, a scrawny, middle-aged man in an expensive suit seemed deep in thought until the masked man's report. At first sight, he just looked like a feeble, anemic old man. But appearances could be deceiving, as anyone who knew him would testify. For this man was no one else than Makihisa Tohno, the head of the wealthy Tohno clan and possessor of the demon blood.
That was the night Makihisa had been waiting for a long time. The night when he would settle the score of a war that had been happening for many generations. The night when the Half-Demons would give a grievous blow at their long-standing enemies, the Demon Hunters.
That particular night hadn't been chosen at random. Intel had told Makihisa that the head of the Nanaya clan had traveled to Mifune City, and that he would be arriving late that night. That was the perfect opportunity: the Nanaya would be defenseless in their isolated mansion and, by the time Kiri returned, his entire family would be slaughtered, leaving only him to be dealt with. That was a move he would never see coming, being deceived by that false promise of truce.
A truce. Makihisa scoffed at the word. What a joke. As if the Tohno would actually agree to such a ridiculous proposal. As if generations of slaughter on both sides could simply be forgiven and forgotten just because Kiri wanted to 'retire' of the business. No, as long as Kiri Nanaya existed, Makihisa's own family, his own kind would never be truly safe.
And that was what he was going to do that night. To ensure that his arch-nemesis wouldn't exist anymore.
Stepping out of the car, Makihisa inspected the assault team he had hired. A group armed to the teeth like this should be more than enough to take the Nanaya out, but he wasn't so sure about Kiri. The prodigy assassin wasn't someone who should be underestimated, so to make sure his objective would be met, he decided to use his secret weapon.
"We will enforce this operation," he announced to the team leader and then knocked on the limo's passenger window. "Let's go."
On the passenger's seat sat a large and very muscular man, apparently oblivious to the older man's order. However, Makihisa knew that the man had heard him.
For Kouma Kishima had as much reasons to kill Kiri Nanaya as he had.
"A human can only murder once in their lives."
"Only once, grandfather?"
"Yes, a lifetime has room for only one murder. This one is always the most important decision. After this, the humans who have committed massacres can no longer die a human death."
The dying words of her grandfather echoed through Shiki Ryougi's mind while she stoically watched the large flames of the funeral pyre. Together with her stood her father, her mother, her older brother, her caretaker Akitaka and a few family representatives she had never seen before.
And inside the pyre were the remains of the unfortunate Nanaya clan members, who had been killed by unknown assailants days ago. Scratch 'killed', 'butchered' sounded more accurate. The entire family had been torn to pieces in the woods outside their mansion. The authorities had found headless, armless and legless bodies scattered everywhere, the whole glade turned into a pool of blood. The only body that seemed in better condition was that of the family's head Kiri, and even so it was bloodied, full of cuts and burns. Therefore Kiri's body was the only one they could be sure of being fully cremated in the pyre. If someone was missing, they wouldn't be able to tell.
Regardless so, this definitely didn't qualify as 'dying a human death' in Shiki's book.
The Ryougi clan carried a secret trait. A powerful skill that was passed on from one generation to another, and whoever inherited that skill would be the next head of family. But as a collateral effect, that genetic trait also caused the possessor to develop murderous impulses. So, in order to prevent the family's head from becoming a mindless killer, the Ryougi had to ensure their heirs understood the responsibility of murder.
And that was why Shiki took her grandfather's teachings to heart. As the Ryougi heiress, she could feel the killing impulses even now, but she should never give in to them. This was the most important principle she followed: the difference between murder and massacre. When a person murders another, they put on a scale their emotion towards the victim and their human dignity, and then throw one away. That way, they pay the price of murder and carry the sin's weight for the rest of their lives. A massacre, on the other hand, bears no scale, no price. The killer kills, but doesn't carry the sin's weight. They no longer have the common dignity of men, thus they are no longer humans. So when they die, they don't die as humans. That was the core of her grandfather's teachings.
Her father had once told her that the Nanaya also developed such killing impulses. It was what made them so good at their demon hunting business. She was even told that the Nanaya and the Ryougi shared a common ancestor, that being the reason the impulse thing was like a shared curse. That also was the reason the Ryougi had arranged the funeral: with the entire family dead, the remains had gone to the nearest related people, who happened to be them.
That made Shiki wonder then: to die like this, did Kiri and the Nanaya commit massacres? Were they no longer deserving of dying as humans?
"Farewell, Shiki. I will not wish you a peaceful life, for people like us cannot hope for one. But at least I can wish you a peaceful death."
She remembered her grandfather's last words. Was Kiri's death peaceful? Or was it full of grief? From what she could see, the answer was obvious.
And what about whoever was responsible for the Nanaya's death? Were they shouldering the weight of their sin right now, or were they destined to die in the same way?
For such a question Shiki probably would never know the answer. So she continued to watch the morbid flames with emotionless eyes.
A/N: I wish I knew the names of Shiki Ryougi's parents, but never found them :(
Sometime in 1992.