Disclaimer: Sadly I don't own F.Y. But I wish I owned Chichiri! Hehe! I do own Kouran and Sutashi, though Kouran is loosely based on a character named 'Kouran' from Chichiri's Graphic Novel. I did a bit of my own stuff, this is not a self insertion fic!
Time frame: Miaka has just returned to the book from her own world. Yui is just becoming the priestess for Seriyuu and everyone is still very much alive. This story of the Mysterious play begins with a single women standing in the mists of a great battle…I am going along with the story line but I am also arranging the order to suit my characters.
I been working on this for 10 years and its finally done. I hope you all like it reviews make me very happy! I just had a friend edit the first chapter so its been up dated a bit.
Looking around my surroundings men were falling to the ground reminding me of leaves in the fall, brightly colored splashes of bright red contrasting with the green of the grass below. Making me think of happier times in my life, when it wasn't about the sheer number of men I killed. One after another they fall before me, wounded or dying, breathing their last breath of air or screaming to be released of their pain. I'm sure at one point in my life I was afraid to kill, now as sad as it seems killing has become second nature. The only way I know how to survive in this cruel world.
While I was born a daughter, I was raised more like a son. Sure, mom dressed me up in dresses and began to teach me to cook but my father started teaching me to use a sword and fight when I was 6. I never understood it, but he told me someday I would; never being one to argue I simply did all I could to master my skills. Now that I look back, a grown woman of 21 years of age, I realize why he taught me what he did; I could not be more grateful for it. I have been in this war for 4 years now slowly becoming a soulless murderer. I fear sometimes there is no goodness left inside of me. The only goodness left is the little fraction of dread and hesitation occurring when I raise my sword to take yet another life. Its times like these that make me wonder how much more of this life I can take.
Commanding a small army, I'll tell you, is no small task for being a woman. In addition, at 21, a woman should be married with a family, me raise a family? What kind of mother would I be? After all I've seen and done. At the age of 15 I saved a women from being attacked in an alley and our soon to be General, Nakago, saw me and told me my fighting skill were extraordinary. He believed I would be a vital asset in the upcoming war. Of course my parents didn't want me to be taken away to be in the military, but what could they do? In this culture, when you were asked by the Genera, l you did what you were told.
I spent my first weeks in the company of the other men at the palace, learning all I could from the others there; some tried to beat me in combat, most failed. Sometimes, you can get away with more, being a woman; guys tend to let their guard down for a pretty face. Not that I am beautiful or anything. I have long hair down to my waist, its light blue with shades of lavender, and it's always too much of a burden for me to handle, as other woman do. It's so long that it cannot be bundled up underneath my helmet, thus I resort to looping it up in pigtail buns. At the very least it keeps it from falling on my face. My eyes are pale blue, people tell me they look just like the sky, 'Innocent looking' they'd say. I am anything but innocent. By the time I was 17, I had fought more men than I had talked to, and I killed a fair amount as well. I tell myself, "I did it to survive, to save my country," as if to give me an excuse for killing, but in my heart, I know I'm just a cold hearted murderer. It's something I just say in order to keep my sanity, not to mention also to humor Nakago.
None the less, I became the only female warrior in the entire army. Though my skills excelled, I can't say that I was enjoying my time in the company of armed perverts. Then to my delight, after a year of attention only a prostitute would enjoy, I heard of another warrior who thankfully was a women, apparently she would challenge men to fights for free sake. So I went to meet her and after little convincing I bought her to be second in command for my small army of about 50 or so men.
'Sutashi' was her name, but we quickly became friends and I had the honor of knowing her as 'Suta'. Suta never really talked about her past, even when I found her she didn't say much of how she learned her skills, only that she once had a Master, who this person was I had no idea, all I know is the girl could definitely fight, and words could not express my gratitude in having a companion to suffer the ongoing harassment of the other soldiers.
We quickly became a pair not to be crossed with on the fields of war. With my skills and Sutashi's lust for fighting, not a soul would dare to challenge us. Where I would have mercy, Sutashi wouldn't hesitate to kill. Perhaps that was another thing that brought on extra attention to her. Strength and skills aside, she was a beautiful woman. Her wild and untamed dark blue hair that spiraled down to her shoulders and her eyes an earthly shade of green encircling yellow rings around her pupils. Men were easily fooled by her pretty face, and thought she had an excellent sense of humor. I think most of her humor came from the fact that she was constantly sneaking into our supply of sake.
But now is not the time for reminiscing, one could easily die here if caught off guard, and I am every one's target.
"The chores of being a girl." I sighed out loud with a grin.
I fought my way through the siege of soldiers coming at me. Sadly, they never had a prayer. They fought bravely, but faster than they could comprehend; we had them running. The army of our arch enemy, Konan, was now in full retreat. I was covered in their blood once more. The funny thing about blood is that it is something you can never wash off, no matter how hard you try. It leaves a permanent stain somewhere beneath the skin that just never seems to go away. I can't help but think the people that I kill have families waiting for them to come home. It's my duty to my country and a way to protect those I love, but in doing so the price I pay is I. As a result, killing has become all that I know and all that I am, consuming both my past and my future with its wretchedness.
Sutashi slammed her hand on my back and broke me from my thoughts.
"Kouran, isn't it great? We won! Look at those dogs run with their tails between their legs!" she laughed with pride. I continued to stare at the bleeding men lying before my feet. Only minutes ago they had homes to go to, families waiting for them. Now they were nothing but fertilizer for the grass, and angry ghosts roaming the nether realms.
"I 'm covered in blood," stating the obvious, I was getting tired of these endless battles. "Why don't we wash off in that pond we passed earlier - I'm not in the mood for peeping toms," I said, slapping her back just as hard as she had hit mine. Men are such ridiculous perverts, and I was in no mood to deal with them, as usual. All I could think about was the battles yet to come, there would be more even bloodshed ahead. I am so sick of blood, I feel like I am drowning in it. I really shouldn't have any emotions while fighting; they only get in the way of distracting you from defending yourself. It's so hard to stop thinking and just slash the person apart and walk away like it was all in a day's work. And there is blood, there's always so much blood…
"Hey, you ok?" Sutashi snapped me back from my thoughts once again.
"Yeah, I am fine," I mumbled, removing my clothes and getting into the water. As we bathed in the cool waters, the blood ran off our skin and hair, turning the water a shade of murderous red. "Don't you ever get sick of this?" I asked in search of understanding.
"Eh," she shrugged, "sometimes, but only because of the all the wasted lives, but I do like to kick some ass!" she boasted. "We are warriors defending our country and honor right? But above all, we get free Sake! That's always an extra bonus!" She spoke humorously and splashed around in the water.
"Kouran, come on. Let's get out, the water is freezing!" She glared at me with a sigh, "Man, you sure are out of it tonight. Let's go back and try to get some sleep."
"Yeah, I think I need sleep," I said, my thoughts once again drifting. What's wrong with me? I let my thoughts drift in the middle of a battle today! That could have been fatal! And now I'm zoning out while Sutashi's talking to me. Perhaps some sleep will do me well, I reassured myself, as we wondered through the woods back to our campsite full of low lives. I went to bed and tossed and turned or hours until finally I fell asleep that was, thankfully, dreamless for once.
Shortly after the sun had risen, we received word the Celestial Warriors of Suzaku were coming. They were the most powerful warriors that our southern enemies in Konan possessed. The four countries that make up our world are each governed by a single God. We, the followers of Seiryuu, serve the Great Dragon. We are forever battling with our enemies in the southern country of Konan. They serve the Red Phoenix, who is ever burning red with fire, a symbol of rebirth. Then there is Genbu, the guardian of the North, who resides deep within the Mountains of Hokkan. Genbu is a blackened serpent tortoise; he represents the element of earth. Byakko, the white tiger, is the guardian of the West Country Sairou. The greatest of metals are known to come from there; they are also known to have the best swords and weapons out of all four countries.
First thing in the morning, Sutashi and I were ordered to clear out a small enemy camp not more than 8 miles away. With the assistance of 20 of our men we ventured out onto the battle grounds and eased our way through hidden paths that only we knew. After only three hours our mighty little army of men were reduced to nothing more than whining scum. Sutashi and I were on the verge of killing them ourselves after the agonizing hour and a half of "Are we there yet?", "I'm hungry", "How do crabs have sex?", and" Hey nice ass!" How do crabs have sex?
"Ok, are guys really supposed to complain like this? Do they ever shut up?" I asked, completely fed up with our men and their crabs. They were supposed to be warriors. Yet they were pissing and moaning like teething babies.
"I haven't a clue, but if they don't shut up I think I might seriously hurt them," Sutashi replied with great annoyance. I could tell by her voice that she was getting very aggravated…no…aggravated doesn't cut it. More like pissed off. Pissing off Sutashi was not a smart thing for any man or anyone, for that matter, to do.
"Let's lose them. We could head off into the woods, saying we have to go pee or something", I said, starting to get excited about the idea of actually escaping these pathetic soldiers and their pathetic pick up lines for at least a few minutes.
"Do you even have to ask?" she exclaimed, with a ray of new hope shining in her eyes.
"Hey Kenai," I called out," We're going to go in the woods and don't any of you dare try to follow us!" Kenai was our usual second in command when we had other things to do.
"I bet they have to piss again," grumbled a man who was rolling his eyes.
"Those two are always stopping for one thing or another," said another man scratching himself.
"Hey, watch it!" I warned. "You've been crying for your mothers for the past three hours! I believe I have the right to not soil my armor and smell like your foul asses!"
Sutashi and I quickly ran off into the woods until we found ourselves in a small clearing.
"We're finally free of those idiots!" I said with a smile.
"I know. Men! Who needs them?" Sutashi added. We were quickly silenced by the nearing sound of voices. Two men were heading in our direction.
"Chichiri, I thought you said this way would be faster! It's taken 3 whole days! I don't want to walk anymore." A fiery red headed man complained.
"Tasuki, get up! You tell me you want to fight in this battle and then you complain the whole trip! I am tired to, but you only think about yourself. You are so lazy." yelled Chichiri, shaking his tired little friend. Guessing by his appearance, I'd say he was some sort of monk. His hair was spiky and blue with a straw hat strapped to his back. In his right hand he carried a monk staff, but other than that seemed completely unarmed. All that Tasuki had was a fan... strange.
"I am sorry Chichiri, but I am so tired! I'm in great need of sake at this point" Tasuki whined.
"What am I going to do with you? Get up! We're on the verge of a great battle, no da!" the monk urged. He was trying desperately to drag Tasuki onward but stopped suddenly. I wondered if these were the warriors of Suzaku we had been forewarned about. In a hushed tone I crouched down closer to Sutashi's ear and whispered, "I believe they may be the warriors of Suzaku!"
"No way, those guys don't look very strong. Look at the weapons! A staff and a fan! Ooooh, scary," She mocked in response to my suggestion.
"Yeah, look at the weapons Sutashi. They wouldn't do much damage unless you had power like the kind certain Celestial Warriors have. Do you get what I am saying?" I replied.
"Oh. Yeah," She nodded her head stupidly.
"Let's get them now while they're not suspecting anything," I prepared myself for battle.
We leaped out from behind the trees. I held my sword above my head, with every intention of slamming it down on Chichiri's head. With swift gestures he jerked his head towards us and mumbled some spell I could not understand. Before I could get within 2 feet of him an unseen force threw both me and Suta flying back to the trees. We sat there dumbstruck, clueless as to what we should do next. The monk and his companion approached us. Chichiri just stared, and his fiery friend gave us a wicked grin. We should have known better than to attack our enemy not knowing what they were capable of doing. We were way out of our league here, as neither of us was currently in any possession of such great power.
"What are two little girls doing playing with swords in the woods?" Tasuki mocked us.
"What the hell was that?" Sutashi screamed at Tasuki. "You should be crumbled in the grass like the lousy turds you are!"
"You kill me? I think not, you crazy Bitch!" Tasuki screamed back with the exact same intensity as hers. This was ridiculous.
"This is all you're doing." I glared at the smiling monk. For the first time I studied his face, and noticed that it wasn't his face that was smiling, but a mask. I could not help but wonder what he was trying to conceal by wearing such a thing.
"We are warriors of Suzaku, you really should be more careful when you attack strangers in the woods, no da?" he answered quietly. He kept staring at me through that smiling mask of his. What the hell was that about?
Trying once again to get close to the monk and his friend I was bounced off as if by an invisible wall.
"What's going on?" I stated, confused and holding my hand out as if I could touch the wall. This was not covered in training. I could not believe this; I really don't think there was any sort of protocol or procedure for not being able to smite my enemy. I looked at Sutashi, who had already plopped down in front of the man she had previously been trying to murder. She pulled out a bottle of Sake which she always seemed to find ways to stash in her armor and dangled the bottle in his face grinning maliciously at him. He was obviously jealous of her chugging down the bottle of fluids he'd been craving, but really none of this was getting anything accomplished.
"You're drinking at a time like this? What in the name of Seiryuu is wrong with you?" I screamed, thinking this had to be some sort of bad dream or something.
"What? It calms me down!" She said stubbornly.
"Oh, I'll calm you down! What in the world are you thinking? We're standing before two Suzaku warriors we're apparently unable to attack, AND YOU'RE SITTING THERE DRINKING?"
"Well, what do you want me to do? I seem to be incapable of murdering anyone at the moment," the only excuse she could offer for her pitiful alcoholic behavior. "Someone else can go kill their self-centered greedy-"
"What do you mean by self-centered and greedy?" Chichiri quickly interrupted, "Our country has been feeding your country, clothing your people, building homes, offering to send our own troops to help your country. But your emperor has been selfishly keeping all our charity for himself instead of giving it to his people. You are the self-centered greedy ones, no da?"
"Why the hell would I believe such blasphemy?" I challenged, glaring them down with the look of malice that I had learned so well from Suta. I was not about to believe that I had been destroying lives and slaughtering strangers for so many years for nothing. Granted that the Emperor was a crazed sex fiend, surrounded by concubines, I refused to believe he was even less of a man than I had thought him to be.
"Your Emperor is a selfish man! No da," Chichiri exclaimed, Then added, "I can prove it all if you like, no da?"
" Riiight," I rolled my eyes in disbelief. "Chichiri, is it?"
"If you can prove the things you say are true," I thought for moment, "I will join you in your fight to defend your country."
"What! What the hell are you thinking, Kouran!" Sutashi's eyes looked as though they would pop out of their sockets. "Here we are standing before two Suzaku warriors on the eve of one of the largest battles of the war, and YOU'RE MAKING DEALS WITH THE ENEMY?"
I rolled my eyes, she may be a drunk, but she had a point. This may be an act of betrayal, but something in me was curious to know that I was fighting for a real cause.
Chichiri flinched as though he were suddenly stunned. I heard him mumble something under his breath, but he made no effort to explain why. My attention went back to focus on Sutashi, who was fuming with anger. Too bad we already ate breakfast; I could have fried an egg on her head by the look of it.
"What have we got to lose? We know our emperor wouldn't do that to his people," I said, hoping she would understand. She gave me a reluctant nod that told me she understood.
"It's agreed then, let's head to Emperors palace in Kutou and I'll show you all the proof you need." Chichiri confidently instructed.
"How do we know you won't try to attack the palace once inside?" I asked suspiciously.
"You have my word as a monk and a warrior; we will not attack the palace." He assured me.
"Alright," I don't know why the hell I trusted him; my instincts told me there was nothing to fear. Sutashi didn't seem quite as confident, but that didn't matter. I was the one dealing the cards here.
"How in the name of Seiryuu are we supposed to get all the way to the palace and back before the battle?" Suta charged them, trying to figure out what else these two were capable of.
"Like this, no da" Chichiri took off the mantle he wore over his shoulder and set it on the ground. 'What the hell is he doing' I thought as I looked at him stupidly, 'Damn I hope this doesn't blow up in my face.'
"And that's going to do…what?" Sutashi said, asking the million dollar question. She looked as confused as I was.
"It will transport us into the palace." He said in a cheery voice, "Come Stand on it you'll see, no da." As instructed, we reluctantly stood on his robe. It was as if we'd only blinked and opened our eyes to see that we were standing in the Emperor's throne room.
"Neat trick," Sutashi whispered with true astonishment, "You even hide us out of view! Hey can you get us into the royal brewery? I need to restock." she giggled excitedly. Still shocked by my own surroundings, a group of old men in rich silk robes walked into the room. Leading the group was the man I recognized to be one of the council members, by the way he was so richly dressed, I assumed he was the one in charge of our countries funds… call it a hunch.
"Your Greatness," the richly robed council member spoke. There was a hint of fear in his voice as he continued," I regret to inform you that our funds are becoming more and more limited with this war. The people are starting to flee; there is a lack of food-"
"You dare come to interrupt my day with such petty issues!" My Emperor spat back at him. "The people's problems are not my own, and I will not stand to hear such ridiculous complaints! If they are so unhappy with what I have given them then shut them up, permanently! The way we always deal with weak complainers. Leave! And bother me no more with your stupidity; I have more pressing matters to deal with." The man had become pale, his face saddened. He turned away and left more distressed then when he came. I felt bad for the poor sucker. "Hong Lei, come forth," the emperor called, there was a sick grin on his face, "round up some of the village women, dress them appropriately and deliver them to our troops. I want our warriors well taken care of."
"Yes, your Excellency." his loyal servant bowed and was about to leave when the Emperor said, "Hong Lie" and the servant immediately halted, "make sure they're young and well endowed." The emperor laughed horribly.
My blood began to boil. My hands in fists from terrible rage, all I could think of was the hundreds of ways in which I would like to see those two die. Sutashi was beyond the point of just thinking of the ways, as if instinctively I knew what she was about to do. In a matter of seconds Suta unsheathed her sword and went to charge after the emperor and his servant. However, I was ready, and yanked her back into our little hiding place. To think! Of all the men I could have stopped her from killing, I choose those two! Men like them are not worthy of air! They do not deserve to live! And how many lives had I destroyed for them without any just cause except to feed their sick, malicious desires. Everything I fought and stood for is now gone. Everything I've done for my country and loved ones was in vane!
"That will do, Chichiri." I choked, my head down in shame with all that I have realized in this moment, "You win, from this moment on my loyalty lies with Konan."
Still shaking with the rage boiling within her, Suta picked her moment when I was not paying attention enough to hold her back.
"I will not leave until I have his blood on my sword!" she roared and with one last drastic attempt, she leaped up and charged straight for the bastard emperors' throat. Tasuki and I caught her within 15 feet of the thrown, silent and deadly as she was; no one else seemed to have noticed. Thank Seiryuu! Chichiri quickly sprawled out his cloak and just as before, we instantly found ourselves right where we had met.
It's funny how life surprises us all with its changes. One moment I was fighting for my country, killing because I was asked to, doing this all in the name of the Emperor, to save those I loved. The next moment my word and all I stood for had crumbled to my feet; I have become a traitor. We all just sat there silently taking in the truths that we had just over heard when a dreadful sound reached our ears. Our men were coming for us.
"Damn! Where the hell do those two bitches go? What kind of Army puts bitches in charge of 50 men anyway?" one man complained.
"Those whores need a good lesson and I think it's time we gave one to them" replied another, whose life I quickly decided was going to end in the near future.
"HAH! With those two hell cats? You'll need more men to hold them down! You underestimate their strength!" said the third man, in his attempt to be rational.
"Well count me in! I haven't gotten laid in ages! Those bitches have it coming to them!" cheered the first man.
"Me too! Serves them right! They should know better, an army is no place for a woman to be, unless she's there for horizontal refreshment!" said the soon to be dead second.
"This ought to be good" said the third, now licking his lips. They turned back towards camp to spread the word. How dare they! I thought it was bad enough when I saw the Emperor give the orders to have innocent women raped and battered by these idiots. It sounded even worse when we were the target. I felt sick to my stomach, and pissed beyond all hatred.
"I think I've heard enough for today," I spoke out loud as if without a soul. I looked at Suta, and with a happy grin she knew without words what I told her to do. Those men were dead where they stood. She walked off in their direction, grinning maliciously from ear to ear. I didn't need to see her to know what happened to those three men. All you could hear was the quick swish of a blade and the screams that followed, which were quickly silenced. It would have been a haunting sound had I not been so happy to hear it.
Suta quickly returned within minutes. Her armor streaked with red, wiping her face as if she was just relieved of a heavy burden.
"What do you believe in now Kouran?" Sutashi asked me as if I had just committed some horrible act of blasphemy. It wasn't my fault that I believed in my country and did what I was commanded to do; I did what any soldier would do. What was done, though wrong as it may have been, was done; irreversible as my previous actions may have been.
"I don't know right now." I sighed miserably. This was a lot to swallow in one day, our emperor lied to us and we killed in his name for nothing. Such a terrible waste! I felt like vomiting, except for the fact that there was nothing in my stomach to swallow. Food was getting tight in our country; no doubt it was due to the emperor. THAT FAT BASTARD!
It killed me to think that one day my destiny would catch up with me, and I'd have to return to him once more. But at least with this final act before that time comes, I might make amends for all the wrong I've done. I now had an oath to fulfill.
"A deal is a deal, you will have my sword." I spoke as a woman of her word, though somehow I knew that this would not end happily. "But before we go, I'd like to speak to my family, they live close by. They'd be more than glad to put us up for the night." No one had any complaints, especially Tasuki, who was still complaining about his aching feet. Without argument, we started the journey to my humble home. I remembered it in my heart through all the hard times I had endured during the constant training and wars. I hadn't seen it since I left. 'Will they recognize me?' I wondered anxiously. I couldn't wait to see those loving faces that were once more familiar to me.
It was nightfall by the time we reached the house of my childhood. I stood before it, taking in every moment and consuming its entire simple splendor. Yet, something was amiss. It didn't feel right for some reason. I looked at the others to see if maybe they could sense it too. Trying my best not to change my composure, I tried to think of pleasant things. I had been looking forward to this moment all night. Now here I was, and it isn't how I pictured it. I pushed myself to shake these feeling off, but the feeling of dread was almost overwhelming. Taking a deep breath as I approached the front door, I reached for the handle and gently shoved it open.
I smelled it the instant I walked into the door. Death was in my home, it dominated the rooms of the house. Panic swelled within me as I tried to make sense of it all.
"MOM? DAD?" my voice cracked with concern as I called out for my parents. I stumbled through the house towards their room. The house looked untouched, but that smell! That god-awful aroma was everywhere. Why?
The others were following cautiously behind me, on full alert for anything that might jump out from the dark deadness in my childhood home. The feeling of death was growing stronger with every step I took towards my parent's room. Dread, panic, horror, like I'd never known were fighting for control over my nerves. They won. I gave in and darted the last few feet to the door and yanked it open.
The overpowering odors of blood cause me to gag. I stared at the room. The bed was blanketed with blood which had at some point even spilled on the floor. Those cowards! whoever they were! They never gave my parents a chance to defend themselves! The killers murdered them while they slept. Perhaps this way they may have, at least, went without pain and suffering.
The others were as silent as my parents; their heads hung low in sorrow for me. Tears began to pour from my pale eyes; I never thought it would be like this. Why would someone do this? It must be because of me. Yes, it's my fault; I wasn't here to protect them. If I had been like any other girl, I'd be in their warm embraces right now. I gave a pitiful look to Suta, having such a bond like ours; she instantly knew its meaning.
"I'll help you." she said quietly, and walked out of the room mumbling something that sounded like, "It stinks in here anyways."
The others followed her out, and left me alone to mourn as they prepared two empty graves. I walked to my mother's side, like my father's, her face was pale and her eyes were closed. They have only been dead for a few short hours which made me believe they already knew of my betrayal, news spreads quickly when the army is involved and spies could be everywhere.
"I'm so sorry! I was too late to save you". My knees gave out and I fell before my mother's side and cried more than I have ever cried in my life. I must have cried myself to sleep; when I woke my hands were holding the blood stained sheets. Chichiri was standing a safe distance behind me, but I could sense him there.
He came beside me and said "We need to get out of here, they might come back." I knew he was right I told the others to leave I would be down in a minute. I needed to say goodbye. They respected me and told me they would wait outside. I gently went up to my mother and removed her necklace that has been in the family for generations, I placed it around my neck. I kissed her on the forehead as I did to my father and I vowed to fight for good. "I will never be taken advantage of again. I will save Kutoh! I love you; I hope someday you will be proud of me." I said, tears of pain filling my eyes and my words as Chichiri assisted me in wrapping them up in sheets. We first raised my mother's body, and carefully carried her to the two graves that were freshly prepared for her and my father. I never thought I'd have to bury them like this. I thought I'd at least get to embrace them both just one last time. How unfair that I should be robbed of them like this. As we walked out the front door and headed onwards to the grave site, Suta and Tasuki soberly walked in and picked up my father and joined us as we laid my parents in their graves. Chichiri prayed over them as we covered them with dirt and stones.
The others looked almost as miserable as I did.
"We need to burn the house." I said with great melancholy, "I want no one robbing it".
"I'll do it," Tasuky quickly volunteered, "Watch this!" He said, preparing to impress us all with another trick. "Rekka Shinnn!" He yelled as threw the steel fan back and a burst of flames engulfed my home. Chichiri again uttered prayers over the burning home I once knew so well. I felt overwhelming gratitude to him for that. So much had occurred in so little time. I lost my country, I lost my reasons, and worst of all, I lost my parents. With obvious reason, no matter how hard I tried I couldn't hold back my suffering. I lost my balance and toppled over in tears of mourning. Knowing the fires would draw attention, Suta tried to convince me to get up and leave. I knew it would be wise, but I could not go, not yet. I wanted to stay close to the one true thing; I had left in this world which was now crumbling to the ground with everything else in my life. Finally as the fires roared upwards and stretched its hot flames into the stars, Chichiri finally picked me up and threw me over his shoulder. Punching and kicking, struggling to stay near my burning home, he carried me away. The others solemnly followed beside us.
It was not till we were a safe distance away, with the fires long out of sight, I felt drained of all my strength.
"I'll never fight for Kutoh again," I vowed, knowing such an idea was not possible. More empty promises from an empty girl. I just wish that it were only true. The ugly truth is, some day they will come for me. They will hunt me down, destroying all they come across to find me and drag me back to the land I have now betrayed.
"We can head back to Konan right away. The journey will take about 4 days, which will give you time to rest yourself spiritually, no da" said Chichiri.
"Thank you," I was truly grateful for his patience and understanding. I felt like I could relax for once, and breathe freely without worry-a feeling I'm sure would not last long. But I seldom get a moment's peace to just sit and reflect. "I need to get myself cleaned up, I know a place not far from here, if you'll excuse me, I'll be right back."
No one argued, after all the hell I just went through, how could they? I walked to where I once spent time with my father as a young girl. We'd go fishing and swimming in this very pond every day. The very thought of my father weighed heavily on my mind, this was a hurt that would linger for many days to come. Staring into the calm waters, I just wanted to cleanse myself of this horrible day as was my usual preference after being covered in blood. Quickly I undressed and slipped into the crystal waters, letting the soothing water wash the blood and tears away. I finally let myself relax and swim around freely, without concern. Without warning I felt a chill roll up my spine. Instantly I whipped around to face the person who had the nerve to invade my privacy. For a moment I saw nothing, but a ridiculous laughter filled the air. I'd know that stupid laugh anywhere, Tomo.
"Why, if it isn't little Kouran, all alone and naked. Looks like you found your parents a bit too late!" he said joyously. Tomo was one of the seven Celestial Warriors of Seiryuu. He was famous for his use of black magic and deceiving weak minded men into madness with his illusions. I had met him only once before. He would always tell me that I would one day join him and the warriors and realize my true power, but there's no way I'm joining them, not now, not today of all days. I glared at him as he continued, "Don't worry little Kouran, I made sure you're parents paid the price for your betrayal! Must run in the family eh?"
"Talk ill of my parents and naked or clothed your dead where you stand!" I meant it too, though my armor and weapons were out of reach on the shore. That freakish bastard killed my parents! The rage in me surged through my soul, gnawing away all rational thought and sanity. It was then that my true power revealed itself to him as I was suddenly engulfed in a turquoise light. The tail symbol appeared on my right thigh.
"So it's true you share your brother's power!" Tomo cackled out loud with delight. "It doesn't matter what your betrayal is! If your brother dies you have no choice but to fight for Seiryuu!"
I continued to fume with rage. But before I could leap at him and rip him to shreds with my bare hands, he vanished before my eyes. Damn it all! I've betrayed my country, and now myself! The rage turned to helpless frustration and misery as the light faded. There was nothing I could do now, the emperor will know what I am soon and there is no way that I can avenge my parents without severely pissing off Seiryuu himself...This just had to happen now, didn't it! Damn the Gods! What the hell did I do to deserve this day, oh yes, I'm a murderous traitor that must be it.
Having had my one moment of undeserved peace and privacy completely destroyed, I waded through the waters to the shore. Quickly, I dressed myself and rejoined the others as if nothing had ever occurred. Even Suta, my only friend, had no idea that I was hiding such a hideous secret. Should my brother die before me, his powers would transfer unto me; I too would become a Celestial Warrior. I would be obligated to fight for the country I had just condemned. Even now, the power has made its mark upon me. Every time I've felt the rage in me over come all sense of rationality and every time I had no way out, my brother's power would take over and come to my aid. This was what my father had been training me for all the time I had shared with him.
Having been drained of any further desire to consciously breathe air, I took the path I often found Sutashi on when all else had gone wrong- drinking myself to oblivion. Plopping myself down on the ground next to her, I dug through our things until I found the bottle that would relieve me of my sorrows. In a desperate attempt to drown myself in it, I gagged on the over powering taste of alcohol. In moments the numbing sensation and the buzzing in my head erased all consciousness of my miserable situation. By the time Suta tried to stop me, I was far away in a drunken stupor.
"I think you've had enough Kouran," Suta chuckled at me as I could no longer keep my balance while sitting. With great difficulty, she wrestled the bottle from my hands.
"We have a long ways to go tomorrow, no da?" Chichiri thoughtfully reminded me, "You're not going to be feeling too well in the morning."
"ShhhShhsshh," I slurred stupidly, "Teh nite is yung." Good God, I was drunk.
"Are you sure you're alright Kouran?" Chichiri continued with concern in his tone. Tasuki and Suta were far too busy pointing and laughing at me as they shared a couple drinks themselves.
"Meee? I am grrret!" I slurred as I winked and tried to give him a thumbs up. Strangely it was a lot harder than it should have been. I laughed it off and fell over onto the soft grass. Somehow I don't think I felt a thing.
"Just how many of those have you had?" he continued, unsure he wanted to hear the true answer.
"Heheh, uuh…. Dunno" I really wasn't sure, nor did I really care. All that mattered was the blissful drunken numbness that had sweetly relieved me of the pain in my chest for the night.
"Yeah, it's probably time we cut you off. If you keep this up we won't have any left for the rest of the trip!" Tasuki roared as he looked at the empty canisters. Amused as he was by my stupidity, he was serious about his sake.
"U Liv me 'lone, .. u .. red hed!" I hissed back at him, that'll teach him. I pushed myself up and tried to stand and stomp my feet at him. Unfortunately, it didn't work out how I wanted either. By the time I managed to stand up and tried to stomp my foot, I tripped over myself and toppled over. The others went into hysterical laughter, whether Chichiri was laughing or not, I couldn't tell, but he was the only one assisting me. He helped me over to a tree next to our camp fire and leaned me up against it, safely sitting down.
"Gt 'way frem me!" I yelled and shoved him away; after all he'd done for me. He quietly sat down by the fire next to me. I must have been a pitiful sight to see so drunk and have to have someone take care of me. Much worse we were warriors, and I realized how embarrassing this was for me. I broke down and behaved so childishly in front of strangers. Sobering up, I sat and stared at the fire for some time, reliving my nightmare of watching my family home go up in smoke, and my beloved parents being buried. The weight in my chest returned and overflowed my head with tears of remorse. Without truly realizing it, hot tears streamed down my face as I glared at the hateful fire.
"Some warrior I turned out to be!" I sobbed and lightly slurred out loud, "I've abandoned my country, 'n neglected my parents… It's all my fault! Had I ben there I could hve saved thm!"
"Getting drunk won't make anything better for you," Chichiri returned his gaze to my display of wretched and pathetic weakness.
"What the hell would you know about it? You don't know what it's like to lose everything you had and stood for!" I screamed, not caring if I woke up the others who had now comfortably passed out on the grass, sake in hand. How dare he tell me what the hell would make any of this better! "You don't know a damn thing about it!" I raged on. Then he did something I didn't expect. He did not yell or try to take a swing at me; instead he then removed the smiling mask he wore. He revealed the scar lacing over his left eye that he'd never see through again. I couldn't help but stare at him dumb founded by his actions, and his admirably handsome face, even with the scar. The look in his eye and the expression on his face held an expression of deep remorse and inner pain.
"I was once engaged to the most beautiful woman, I had ever known. I loved her more than life. Her name was the same as yours…" he paused for a moment, as he relived his story while allowing me to hear, "those were happy times for everyone. I spent a lot of time hanging out with my best friend Hiko, we did everything together. Then one day I saw him kissing my beautiful bride to be. I was filled with jealousy and hatred. I thought, 'how could they betray me like that?' I could not stand it after I had caught them she left me she said she was not pure because she had kissed another. I thought he had taken her from me forever. That night in the pouring rain, I went after him. Great floods were coming but all I could think about was revenge. Hiko and I fought until he went over the edge of the riverbank that were standing on, I grabbed him and held on with all I could, but a log from a tree came and struck me in the face hitting my eye. Everything went red, and then I saw nothing. When I screamed for Hiko blood and water filled my mouth and I could do nothing. It was soon after I learned that everyone from my village was killed including my beloved and my family. So you see, Kouran, I too know your pain and suffering, now you know mine." He finished, carefully placing the mask over his face.
I couldn't find words to respond to his story, but I found strength to accept the things that had happened in this miserable day. Feeling miserable for behaving so badly, and still feeling the loss of everything, I let the tears fall as they may. They were something I knew I couldn't hold onto forever. Chichiri put a comforting hand on my shoulder; he knew what I was feeling. I turned and buried my face in his shoulder.
"Go ahead," he said, "let it all out, tomorrow is on its way and our journey is just beginning. You'll need your strength no da." He let me cry, and stroked my hair until I fell asleep there in his arms. Through his kindness and understanding, I found my only true source of comfort and found peace in the serenity of sleep.