Characters and situation depicted here belongs to either Akira Toriyama or Studio CLAMP.
< > : Thought
<# #> : Inhuman thoughts
A painter would have loved this Spring day, the warm light coming from the mid-afternoon sun illuminating even the thickest, deepest part of the forest. Had he found a place high enough to look over the treetops, he would have been delighted to see the perfect symmetry of the white-capped mountain which stood in the background. A poet might have described with flourish of language the breeze that made everything gently sway. Such people, had they been here, might have done all this. Unfortunately for the quiet landscape, such people weren't present. There were instead two human (?) beings who seemed to do everything they could to destroy the illusion with yells and sonic booms. To think they just were sparring...
That morning, Goku had been contemplating whether or not he was going to go bug Vegeta until this one was willing enough to fight, which he knew would take a strikingly short time. It'd been six months since Majin Buu had been defeated and nothing had happened since. To put it short, he was bored. The one thing keeping him from flying over to Satan City was that Bulma had asked him not to. She found her husband hard enough to keep in one place and did not particularly care for disturbance. Trying to teach the mighty prince the differences between being the Head of Capsule Corp. and the King of Vegitasei wasn't an easy task.
The relief came for Goku when Chichi told her family she wanted everyone out for the day. She was going to clean the house from top to bottom and wanted nobody in the way. This meant that Gohan could spend the day with Videl, and it meant Goten and his father could go train together, which was the next best thing.
They'd been going at it for a few hours now when Son Goku called for an alt and flew down toward a river. "Let's stop for a while, son, I'm getting hungry."
"But dad, mom told us she didn't want to see us before tonight. What are we going to eat here ? Shouldn't we go to the city to get ourselves something ?" said Goten as he landed beside his father.
Goku began to strip off his clothes. "Naa. Why don't you gather some wood and light a fire. I'm sure I can find fish in that river".
Eyeing the closest small tree, Goten began to walk toward it. "Sure !"
"And try to find some dead wood before chopping down a tree or some branch. And if you do so, do it cleanly."
Sighing, Goten turned away from his unsuspecting victim and took off. "Yes dad."
An hour later, he was by himself. His father had thought it a good idea to take a digestive nap. Like any eight-year old kid, Goten didn't think this idea all that great.
"Remember", had said Goku right before he left, "your mother wants us to be back by the end of the day. Don't be late or she'll yell at us, again."
And, like any eight-year old kid, Goten had been completely honest when he answered. "Don't worry, dad, I'll pay attention to time"
To be honest, Goten didn't really understand his mother. There were less than a dozen things, people really, who could hurt him. That was in the entire world, and these people were friends. And since his speed would have allowed him to fly around the globe in less than an hour, he tended not to worry about lateness.
It's about an hour later, while jumping in rhythm with a rabbit he'd been chasing around, that he stumbled upon it. He had wandered in an area covered with blooming cherry trees when his attention got caught. From the corner of an eye he thought he'd seen a faint glimmer coming from a particularly large tree. It stood alone in a small patch of grass on the top of a hill, its delicate, falling blossoms the striking image of grace. He was fascinated.
Forgetting the rabbit that took its chance to flee, he slowly walked up to it. Nothing seemed wrong, now that he really looked at it, but yet...
As he got nearer, he couldn't pinpoint what made that particular cherry tree so peculiar. He sensed something that reminded him, in nature, of the Ki he was so used feeling within himself, his father or any martial artist with a bit of training. It was weird because it felt as if many normal people's energies were gathered in a single place like his father's Genkidama did, except that the place was this tree.
For some reason, it made him feel cold.
He was about five meters from it when he began to feel a pulsation, growing stronger by the second. Goten stopped for an instant.
" It's weird. " He thought outloud. " It's very weak, but it's weird. "
Curiosity took over and he got closer. Finally, he stood at arm length from the tree. The pulse had grown stable and it was as if he was listening, his head on a chest, to a heartbeat. Tentatively, he began to raise his hand. He stopped short and decided for caution. The very earth shook for an instant as he powered up to the first stage of Super Sayajin.
Again, he raised his hand toward the trunk. And touched it.
SonGoku was loudly snoring beside the river when a feeling of power suddenly awakened him. Shaking off his sleepiness, he took off into the sky. He recognized Goten's power and was worried because he didn't perceive anybody beside him. And if his son was just experimenting, he had to be sure he was cautious. It wouldn't do if the youngest of the Son family accidentally destroyed the planet because of a poorly aimed Ki blast.
An instant later, his son's presence completely disappeared.
Levitating over where last he had felt Goten, he could see nothing below him. Nothing but an old, rotten to the core trunk on the barren top of a hill.
When she was eleven years old, Moemi Shinazaki had a dream in which she saw her cousin Suzuko disappear in a huge ball of fire. She couldn't forget that dream when she woke up. Two days later, said cousin died because of a gas plant explosion.
She was now twenty one and she never had stopped having those dreams, from time to time, but never like those she had lately. They were awful and all involved the sacrifice of people to a huge cherry tree. She had to talk to somebody about them, but she didn't know whom. Finding someone was one of the reasons she was heading to Shinjuku subway station. It might also be why she hadn't noticed the tall, handsome man wearing shades who'd been following since she'd left her home. Or, more likely, it was because of who the man was.
Seichiro Sakurazuka was the head of the Sakurazukamori clan, defenders of the Cherry Tree Hill and feared killers for the very few who knew of the clan. As a matter of fact, he was the Sakurazukamori clan by himself, and one of the two greatest masters of Onmyujutsu, an Oriental kind of magic. The prey he was stalking now had become bothersome and so, he had decided her death.
He had followed her for while to know if he'd need to kill other people, but the young fool hadn't spoke of her dream to anybody, yet, and he didn't intend in letting her do so. He prepared to make his move.
Something suddenly went wrong.
It took him a few seconds to realize it was coming from the Tree. Not wasting a moment, he instantly began to run at top speed, making the people who caught a glimpse of him wondering if they hadn't hallucinations. Seichiro was usually much more cautious, but he couldn't allow anything to happen to the Tree, and what he felt was very wrong.
"Damn, has Subaru decided to go after it? I thought he didn't want to go near there anymore". With that, he pushed himself further, trying to gain seconds that could prove precious.
One young woman never knew how close she had come to death and continued to the subway station. Too bad the use of this XYZ mark she heard of proved fruitless...
SonGoten had been expecting many things, from an attack to the tree falling down over him. The blinding light that flared the instant he touched the trunk, followed by the sensation of falling into a dark pit wasn't one of them.
He immediately tried to stop his fall. But the Bukujutsu didn't seem to work and he could feel nothing within his grasp. For a long time, he braced himself for impact, increasing his strength. He didn't notice that none of the usual lightshow was around him, that he couldn't have seen his hand had it been mere centimeters from his eyes.
With no transitions, he found himself standing.
Everything was dark around him, with no more light than there would be at night, under a moonless sky. A great shadow loomed before him. Everything felt cold and threatening. And worst of all, he could hear, coming from no direction, or all directions at once, the cries of pain of a child.
The shadow grew more and more threatening, the cries were joined by others from men, women and children. And Goten was sure of it, the reason behind it all was this darkness in front of him. He began to gather his might. For an instant, the shadow seemed to cower in front of the growing star that was before it. But here was its domain, here it was almighty, and its hunger would not be denied. As a mater of fact, this one would sate it well. It began to surround its prey, ready to engulf him.
The rage that was his birthright was the only thing keeping the young boy's fears at bay. But when he saw the shadows creeping closer, when he heard the cries getting louder, he finally let go. With a wordless scream, a fury that could shatter a star was unleashed.
Seichiro was entering the park when the end of the world came about.
This was his first thought when he saw, when he felt the flash coming from were his Tree stood. It took a few moments for his sight to come back to him. It allowed him to witness the last of the wave of power dissipating armlessly into the sky.
"I wish good luck to anything that's in its path".
Despite his attempted irony, he couldn't hide from himself that he had been -No- that he was frightened by what had just occurred. He realized he wasn't the only one. As he got up - When had he thrown himself to the ground ? - he noticed birds and small animals that usually lived in the park flee from it in panic. He heard a young mother crying as she tried to soothe her screaming baby. Shaking like a leaf, she seemed unable to move from were she knelt. He saw a salaryman that seemed in complete shock under the tree beside which he'd been resting. On the street he could see from were he was, people were slowly getting out of cars. They'd been caught in the biggest car crash he'd ever seen.
Shaking himself, he began to slowly walk toward the place his Tree stood, a turmoil of emotions clouding his thoughts. He felt some relief when he got there. The only damage the Cherry Tree had withstood was the destruction of a few of its furthest branches. Beside the Tree lay a little boy who couldn't be older than ten, facing the sky. His hair was indescribably spiky and wild and he was clad in a weird red outfit. He was unconscious.
End of Prologue.