Spike watched the Redtail fly back into to the Bebop. He wouldn’t have cared as much if Sakura wasn’t with Faye. Why did he care period? Why?

Spike shook his head. Why worry over them for? It was pointless for Faye. But for Sakura…. Oh, Sakura…

Bah! Why bother? The cowboy headed to bed with no more concerns.

Within in minutes, Spike was out like a light. But soon, the past would find him.

*Dream starts*

Spike awoke to darkness. He looked around. Nothing and no one was in sight. All there was black. There was no sense of direction either. Nor time. Where was this place? Hell?

Then, there came a trumpet blare. Spike jerked his head. Where was it? The cowboy trailed the sound hastily.

The trumpets led Spike to a glass wall. A bright light shone through it. The cowboy walked closer to the wall. An image formed. Spike saw a great field of green. Cherry trees were in full bloom. The weather was perfect. Spike had one word for this place. Heaven.

Then he saw a crowd of angels near the ivory gates. Most of them were women and children. They were watching for something. Spike eyed them hard. What were they looking at, him? Iie. They couldn’t see him. “They don’t know I exist.” Spike thought. Then, what were these angels looking at?

Soon, forty white horses rode up to the gates. The riders looked to be soldiers. Were they going to war?

One of the horses and riders stepped forward. The rider looked like a colonel dressed for war. He looked really serious. “Troops!” the angel called out. “We must take out the devils in Purgatory! Fight for honor! Fight for love! And fight for your families!” The other soldiers cheered. The crowd watched on. Then the soldier angels rode out. The crowd kept watching.

The soldiers rode through the emerald grove path. It was so quiet. So quiet…. Too quiet….

“Poppa!!!” a voice called. Spike looked along the lush greenery with the soldiers. A small girl was running along the side with them. She was running hard and fast. Spike’s eyes grew big. “Sakura?” he thought. It was true! Sakura was the small girl running along with them.

“Poppa!” Sakura yelled again. One of the angel soldiers smiled. He looked so handsome.

“Sakura-chan,” the angel began. “What are you doing here?” The small tenshi-chi stopped. “I came to say Sayonara!” she cried out. The other soldiers frowned. “Sakura-chan,” the lovely angel said. “You’re not supported to be here!” “I don’t care!!!” Sakura yelled. “I just want to see you!” Silence passed.

“Sama,” her father’s fellow soldier cut in. Sakura’s daddy turned to him. “Hai?” he asked. “She can’t stay here!” the 2nd soldier whispered. “I know,” the poppa whispered. He turned to Sakura. She stood still and tall.

“Sakura-chan,” the soldier said in commanding tone. “Go home!” “Wait!” the small tenshi-chi yelled. Then she held out her tiny wrist and began unhooking a bracelet. It was a pink jade bracelet shaped into butterflies. The sun’s light danced upon it.

Sakura held up her slender arm. And with all of her strength, she chucked her bracelet at her poppa. “TAKE IT!!!” the tenshi-chi yelled. Her father caught it in hand and nodded with a smile. Sakura bowed and ran off.

Spike couldn’t explain it, but he felt warm inside from watching that moment with Sakura and her father. He watched on as the soldiers continued their path.

Then, the light grew bright white. Spike was near-blinded. A time-lapse was taking place. Really fast too.

Soon, the light cleared. The field was now wheat gold with cherry blossom trees, This was Purgatory.

Something caught Spike. If a war was here, then where’s the battle? It was so…. serene.

Spike suddenly paused. He heard something. Horse hooves. It could only mean one thing. Battle was starting.

Spike looked behind him. The angel shoulders were rushing forward to battle. They were ready to attack. The cowboy looked ahead. Another army was approaching. They were as dark as night. Te army had no horses, just their weapons. Gabriel rode forward with his horse. “ATTACK!!!” he yelled. Then the battle began.

Spike watched the countless bloodbath for hours. The soldiers were dropping like flies on both sides. But as the cowboy watched, he noticed something. Sakura’s father was still fighting. He had his bow and arrow in hand and was fighting away. “I must make it back to Sakura!” he thought as he kept shooting. Spike respected him with no understanding to it.

Then within the bushes, a child yokai hid slyly. He had a blowgun to his lips. The target was Sakura’s poppa. “This will be a great shot!” the yokai thought.

The he drew in a deep breath and blew a dart out of the blowgun as hard as he could. The poison dart sailed fast and hard. Spike watched closely numb.

Finally, the dart struck its target. The poison dart struck Sakura’s father in the back of his left shoulder. The angel gasped out in pain. Spike watched in silent pain as he touched his own shoulder. Two other angel soldiers rushed to Sakura’s papa.

“My lord!” they called in unison. They grabbed him and held him. One of them saw the cause. “Pull it out!” Sakura’s father yelled. “But my lord,” the 1st soldier began. “Pulling the dart out will cause even greater harm than good!” “I don’t care!” Sakura’s daddy yelled. “Pull the dart out, damnit!!!” “Okay…” the soldier said reluctantly. The other one held him still. The first soldier pulled the dart out with great force. Sakura’s father gasped out in pain. He began sinking to his knees. The other soldier picked him up. “It’s the poison!” he exclaimed. “Don’t worry about me!” Sakura papa exclaimed. “Let’s just attack those bastards!” “But my lord!” the angel soldiers exclaimed yelled. “I’ll be fine!” Sakura’s dad yelled “Let’s just go!!!” And there all three of them rushed back to the fights.

The war dragged on. Spike watched on fascinated. He also caught onto something. Sakura’s father was getting weaker and weaker. The poison was slowly draining his life away. His breath grew labored. The angel slowly grew dizzy. He was growing numb. And his battle wounds were adding more to the damage. His comrades were telling him to stop and rest. But he refused and kept battling. It was all a matter of time…

By sunrise the next morning, the fighting abated. 2,000 corpses lay everywhere. The wheat gold fields were stained dark red with the blood of both sides. The only thing that remained constant was the cherry trees.

The battle nurses began treating the injured. Sakura’s daddy lie on the ground dying. A fifteen-year-old angel nurse rushed to him. The soldier couldn’t see anything anymore. He reached up and felt the girl’s face. The nurse grew nervous. Sakura’s father smiled. “What a sweet face!” he whispered out. The nurse covered his mouth. “Don’t talk!” she snapped. “Save your strength!” The girl began her work.

“Sweetheart,” Sakura’s daddy said. The nurse paused. “Hai?” she asked. “Take my heart…. out…..” he managed to say. The nurse grew panicky.

“My lord!” she exclaimed. “That would be worse!” “I…. don’t…. care…..” Sakura’s father forced himself to say. “You must…” He coughed hard. The poison had gotten to his vocal chords. It had eaten at his lungs too. Soon, Sakura’s papa would drown in his fluid.

The nurse caught on to why. “You sure you want to do that?” she asked. “Ha…. i…” Sakura’s father managed to say. He hacked and wheezed again. The angel nurse tighten. “Okay! I’ll do it!” she said. Sakura’s poppa smiled. “Ar…. iga… to…” he forced out. The nurse lightly covered his lips. “Easy now.” she whispered. The soldier had lost his voice.

The angel nurse gathered three other nurses to help her. She gave them explicit instructions. Spike tried hard to listen. But it like listening to a TV on mute. Only without a remote.

Then the main nurse took out her dragger and cut into the soldier’s chest. She separated the arties and veins from the heart. Two of the nurses cleaned the poison out of it the best they could. They repeated the process with his soul. Unfortunately, ninety-eight of his soul was lost to the poison.

“My lady,” one of the nurses said. “His soul is too poisoned to do this.” “We can’t clean it either.” the other one said. The main nurse stood up. “Then we’ll break up his soul and take the non-contaminated parts out.” she said. The other two grew shocked. “But sama!” they exclaimed. “That’s never been done!” “But we must!” she exclaimed. Silence came and went. “All right, we’ll try it.” the second one said. The main nurse nodded.

She turned to the fourth nurse. He stood in deep thought. The nurse was a tall strong boy. The main nurse eyed him. “Can you break his soul?” she asked him. The male nurse said nothing. He just stood forward and took out an arrow. The nurse stabbed it right into the soldier’s soul. The soul began to break. The other three nurses watched closely. The soul broken into small pieces. The poisoned pieces became ash but the clean ones remained.

The head nurse quickly gathered the pieces before they flew away. She put them and the heart in her cherry blossom scented scarf and tied it tight enough so the knot had to be cut. She looked up and said: “Arigato guys.” “Doshimate.” the nurses replied. Then they went away.

The main nurse angel was left all alone. She looked at the soldier’s body. He looked ever so peaceful. The nurse swallowed hard. “I shall not fail you!” she thought. Then the nurse left the battlefield.

The nurse walked down to the creek. The scenery was tranquil and green. Except for the stream of life, everything was quiet. Spike kept watching with interest.

The nurse said a quiet prayer. So quiet that it was deaf to Spike’s ears. Then the nurse paused and took out the wrapped goods. She quickly dropped them in the water. The angel nurse watched the soldier’s heart and shards of his soul float away.

*End of Dream*

Spike awoke in a pool of cold sweat. He was panting hard. This was growing even stranger each day. His shoulder pains, the odd dreams, the feelings for Sakura… None of this added up. What the hell was all of this? Who is Amadeus? Spike felt as if he might choke from all of these questions. He had to find the truth before he loses his mind.

Look Hard Cowboy….