“Papa!” the little Hanyo cried out happily, running down the hill. Just as she was reaching the bottom where her father stood, she tripped, her father managing to catch her just before she could hit the ground.
Her father laughed and lifted her onto his shoulders, “What am I going to do with you?”
The girl giggled and hugged him around the neck. “Did you get rid of the bad demons Papa?” she asked excitedly. She loved to hear stories about her father’s feats. But her favourite story of all was of how he’d met her mother.
Her father, who was a priest, had gotten a call from a village being plagued by demons, and he answered almost instantly. On his way to the village, he passed through a forest, where he saw a group of tiger demons attacking a woman. He’d easily used his holy sword to defeat them. Her mother, who hadn’t had any idea of what the group had been doing, believed that her father had killed her family out o cold blood.
She had attacked him without thinking properly, and he had instantly defended himself. They had fought for a long time, neither able to defeat the other. After a while they had both gotten very tired, but neither of them had chanced a rest. Then, for the first time, her mother noticed the woman who was cowering next to a tree. She examined her, and when she saw the state the woman was in, she understood. She managed to convince her father that it was all a misunderstanding, and they both ceased their attacks. Her mother had followed him after that, and not long after they fell in love.
“Karin!” a demon woman called out from the top of the hill.
The little girl jumped off of her father’s shoulders and ran the rest of the way. “Mama! Look! Papa’s home!” she smiled and pulled on the woman’s kimono.
Her mother smiled lovingly at her husband and extended her arms to embrace him. “I assume it all went smoothly then?” she asked.
“Of course,” the man let out a hearty laugh. “It always does.”
“Well come on, dinner’s ready,” the woman laughed and ruffled Karin’s hair. “Are you hungry?”
“YES!” Karin laughed as well. “I’ll race you!” she called out as she began to run. “Haha! I win!” she called back at her parents as she slid the doors of the shrine open. The second she stepped inside, someone grabbed her. Her eyes widened in fear as she struggled. “Mama! Papa!” she cried.
“Karin?!” her father called out and ran into the shrine to come face to face with a group of demon slayers. “What do you want?” he shouted at them.
Her mother came running in behind him. Shock crossed her face as she registered what was going on. There could be only one reason these people had come to the shrine. They wanted her. But for what, she had no idea. “Let go of my daughter!” she hissed and attacked the man who was holding Karin. He cursed and let her go.
“Mama!” Karin ran into her arms.
The lead slayer then stepped forward. “We have had reports that a cat demon has been running wild around here,” he explained. “And now, seeing your wife attack one of my men has made up my mind,” he explained to the priest.
“She’s a tiger demon, not a cat. And my wife would never attack anybody unless they were threatening our child,” he told the slayer unemotionally, pulling his sword from his sheath, getting ready to defend his family if need be.
Karin’s mother bent down to her level so she could whisper in her ear, “Karin, be a good girl and hide. And don’t come out until we come and get you... or if you don’t hear any more noise.”
“Huh? Why mama?” Karin looked at her confused.
Her mother smiled sadly and hugged her tightly. “Promise me?”
Still confused, Karin hugged her back and then nodded, “Yes.”
“Now go,” her mother whispered urgently, pushing her towards the door. Karin did as she was told and ran to hide. After that, all she could hear was crashing noises and yelling and after a while a scream pierced the air. Karin covered her ears with her hands and curled up into a ball.
Without meaning to, she fell asleep, and when she woke up everything was quiet. She crawled out of her hiding place and ran back to her shrine. What she saw there made her freeze in disbelief. “Mama... papa...” she tried shakily. She ran over to the bodies and dropped to her knees. “Mama! Papa! Wake up!” she cried, trying to shake them. When neither of them responded her eyes stared blankly ahead.
Even the sound of running feat, crashing, and her name being called didn’t faze her. Hands tried to grab her, to take her away from the bloody scene. She screamed and tried to struggle, grabbing her father’s sword. Suddenly someone was talking to her in a soothing voice, “Don’t worry, we’re here to help. It’ll be ok.”
“Mama?” Karin tried. Then she fainted.
~5 years later~
Karin had become inverted over the years. She rarely spoke, and never showed any emotion on her face. Ever since her parents had been killed when she was 6, it was like she had died herself, and only her body remained. “Karin,” a village woman smiled and urged her over.
“Hello,” Karin nodded unemotionally.
The woman’s smile turned to a look of worry. “I need you to do me a favour,” she smiled again after a second. Karin nodded and she continued. “I’m making a new medicine, but I need an herb from the forest. The thing is, I sprained my ankle the other day,” she explained. “Would you be a dear and see if you could find this?” she handed Karin a slate which had a painting of a purple-ish green plant on it.
Karin turned without answering and made her way into the woods. She searched for what seemed like forever, but she still couldn’t find the herb she was looking for. A rustling in the bush across from her made her freeze. “Well, well,” a demon licked his lips as he walked out from behind the bush. “A half-breed is it?” he examined Karin. “Never tasted one of them before.”
Karin took a step back, but tripped on a vine in the process. “Get away!” she cried as the demon took a step closer.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” it chuckled. “The fun’s just beginning,” he smiled a toothy grin as he reached for Karin.
She squeezed her eyes shut and waited to feel him grabbing her. But when nothing happened, she opened one eye to see an arrow sticking out of the demon’s back as it was lying still on the ground. A boy jumped down from a tree and landed in front of Karin. He looked about 13 years old, had long black hair, and when he looked at her, she could see his eyes were the colour of a topaz. “Are you ok?” he offered her his hand.
“Y-yes,” she nodded as she grabbed it.
He looked her over to make sure she really was. “You have to be more careful, demons are everywhere. And if you can’t fight, you’re a goner,” he told her. “I’m Kenichi by the way.”
“Karin,” she smiled for the first time in years. “Thank you for saving me.”
“No problem,” he smiled back. “It’s getting dark, you better get home.”
Karin looked around for the first time, realising that she had no idea where she was. “I’m lost,” she looked down at her feet.
“Don’t worry,” Kenichi smiled. “I’ll take you home. I assume you live in the village on the other side of the wood?”
“Yes,” Karin nodded. “Thank you again.”
When they got back to the village, the villagers ran up to her, a couple of the woman pulling her into their arms. “I’m sorry,” Karin told them.
“Don’t be! You’re safe,” the woman who had sent her into the forest in the first place shook her head. “I had no idea there was a demon living there attacking people. We just heard the news.”
“It’s ok,” Karin smiled, earning a few shocked gasps from the group. “Kenichi saved me,” she pointed to the boy.
A man walked up to him and bowed, “We can never thank you enough.”
Kenichi looked a little uncomfortable with all the attention he was getting. “It was nothing really. I have to be going.”
Karin pushed through the group to get to him. “Will I see you again?” she asked. She really wanted to be friends with the boy. Not only was he the first Hanyo she’d ever met, but he was also the only person who had made her smile.
“Sure,” he nodded.
Hope it's ok! I also hope it's ok that I added how Karin met Kenichi XD