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Kuro had not noticed the arrival of his brother and Tationy. Which certainly spoke volumes to the ability of Nao to distract him. He had no idea what he would say, not even as he stepped inside his home and allowed his eyes to fall upon Mikio.

There was no point in hiding his irritation as he crossed his arms and stared down his brother. “Has it been taken care of?” He asked.

“It has been.” His brother responded and Kuro took a moment to consider how he wanted to continue the conversation though Mikio was quick to add, “I thought I would have to destroy him, but he sacrificed himself and that girl…”

“What girl?”

Mikio subtly sighed, “I am sure you recall Bak mentioning that cupcake girl from the cake shop.”

“Of course I remember. The jokes about eating her cupcakes went on for months. What does this have to do with that creature sacrificing itself?”

“Love,” Mikio responded. “He chose the illusion of happiness with her and allowed himself to be sealed away because she was his queen. Emperor Miroku and Lady Ameya will no longer be a concern for Aslann.”

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“Oh,” Kuro responded. “I see she is just as troublesome as he always was.” A brief smile passed his brothers lips which caught Kuro off guard long enough to hinder him speaking further.

“Some things never change I suppose,” Mikio stated before quickly continuing, “His tainted Nakamaru blood allowed him to unlock Soti’s abilities. With him sealed away he should not pose any further obstacles.”

“What about her?”

“It is probably for the best. Had I simply sealed or destroyed him it is likely that she would have interfered. It would be easy for us to assume that Lady Ameya is nothing without Emperor Miroku, but the truth has always been that she could be just as dangerous. A sweet and innocent face can manipulate the hearts of weak men and the Ishi have enough enemies as of late.”

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Kuro breathed deeply as he considered his brothers words. He would not complain about Mikio dealing with both problems at once. Though there were concerns. Bak was unpredictable and an unknown lingered regarding how he would choose to respond to the little cupcake girl being sealed away.

“Tationy wishes to be the one to tell Bak,” Mikio stated. “I think she feels responsible. That sin of the demon queen was her blood….”

Kuro interrupted, “I doubt that is the only reason she wishes to be the one to address this matter. Bak was meant to be her child after all. I am sure you are already quite aware of that.”

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There was a noticeable change in his brother’s expression, “Is this really where you want to take this conversation?”

Kuro nodded his head once, “Yeah, it is.”

Silence seemed to happen a lot most days. Kuro was certain that it had nothing at all to do with a lack of topics to discuss. Where do you begin? Millions of years of holding things in, makes it difficult to approach any topic without heated words and torn emotions. He thought this moment would be about Rin and Tationy, but much to Kuro’s surprise it was about something else entirely.

“Congratulations. She is not very far along, but she is very pregnant.”

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Kuro nervously laughed to himself, “I knew it. She was protesting too much. It is not as though she would be having cravings or feeling any effects of it, but when something is true she always …”

Running his fingers through his hair he fell silent. His anger was building, “Fuck you Mikio. If you knew, why would you put her in danger?”

“I would never have allowed harm to come to her.”

“Oh, what about the baby?”

“Are you insinuating that I would allow harm to come to that child?”

“No, I am coming right out and saying it. Rin will do anything to have her…”

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Mikio interrupted him quickly, “You are right. Rin will, but I am not him and if you still have not realized that, then I have to wonder if you ever will.”

“He is within you,” Kuro snapped.

“Yeah….yeah he is. He is also in you, Kuro. Maybe it is time you and Rin have a long talk.”

“In me?” Kuro snorted, “Just because I am a son of Rin does not mean he and I share anything.”

There was no hesitation when his brother started to move, “You who is the first born son, has more in common than any other. Until you start to realize that, you will continue to be the same weak-hearted boy with fancy ideals.”

“Oh, there is Rin….” Kuro responded then stopped speaking suddenly when he realized his brother was still moving. Unable to hide his annoyance he snapped, “I did not give you permission to walk away from me.”

“I do not have the time to talk with you right now. If you think you are capable of preventing me from leaving, do so. Otherwise, I am walking away before I say something I regret,” Mikio stated.

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