heres the new chapter, these should be coming out quick for a while since i still have the spine f the original to tempt fate's plot to work with, but i hope you like it
"so, what's this village like?" Sora asked nonchalantly as he scowled out of the opposite window to the man driving the car. The man smiled warmly at him, causing Sora to retreat deeper in the opposite direction.
"well, I've never been here either. But I did ask Seshin about it." The man paused, trying to remember something. Sora started to grow impatient and looked over to the man.
"yeah? Do you plan on telling me what he said? You'll start to catch flies if you just sit there with your mouth open like that." He retorted snidely.
"he said that the village was surrounded on all sides by thick momi fur tree forests. The village is relatively small, only about 1300 people in total. It's very religious and traditional. In fact, they still bury their dead as opposed to cremating them." he looked towards Sora who was still sulking in the corner. "cheer up, there's a school there so I'm sure you can meet people your age."
"hooray. I don't know what I would have done if there wasn't a school." He said unenthusiastically. "I take it there aren't any clubs or movie theatres or good restaurants?" the man smiled tepidly.
"dad and I would always try to catch a movie or something when he was home." Sora looked away regrettably. The man grabbed his shoulder sympathetically.
"I wish I could do more to ease your grief. But even though sotoba doesn't have anything like that I'm sure the people are lovely. And on that note, were here." The man gestured for Sora to get out of the car. Sora reluctantly obliged and stepped out of the car and on to the sidewalk below. He squinted as the harsh sunlight hit him with its full force. And within seconds had to wipe his brow.
"damn, its hot as hell!" Sora exclaimed as the sweat started to sting his eyes. "I think the rubber on my shoes is melting to the pavement!" the man chuckled.
"well come with me, I'll take you up to the temple steps." The man motioned for Sora to come forward.
The two walked up the long flight of steps as the sun hit their backs. Sora had to be careful and walk slowly, lest one of the cracks in the aging stone trip him up. He slowed to look closely at the sun baked rock the steps were carved from and wondered just how long they had been there. A hundred years? A thousand? It was something trivial, but it helped put his mind at ease. As he approached the gates, a strange feeling overtook him.
"this…feels...wrong…. it's like I'm not meant to be here. No…I'm sure it's just my nerves..." he hesitated at the gate as the man gestured him to come forward.
"Sora come on, you'll need to come inside" Sora could feel a fearful feeling rise in his chest.
"no…I'm….im fine right here. I don't think I'm supposed to come in." the man knocked on the gates as Sora began fiddling with a rubber band in his pocket, spinning it on his finger. It was all he could think to do to alleviate the tension.
"oh please Sora, don't be nervous. It's a temple. They welcome anyone in." Sora gave him a hesitant look.
"that's not quite it…. it's almost like I…can't…go in" Sora looked around nervously.
"don't be silly, of course you can come in" Sora looked towards the sound of a new voice and saw a man with white hair grey eyes and rimless glasses walking out of the temple gateway.
"and you are?" Sora asked boldly as he sized up the man.
"Sora, this is Seshin muroi. He's your cousin, and of course, the man who is taking you in." Sora gave him a closer look as he studied the details of the man's face and the robes he was wearing.
"yes, this man is correct. I'm from your father's side of the family, though he and I have only met once or twice." Sora looked into his eyes as he spoke.
"we have the same eyes. Though I thought only dad and I had this hazel grey color. But the white hair, definitely different from mine." Sora pointed to his own hair, which was a particularly dark brown." Seshin smiled warmly.
"listen, why don't you come with me, I'm sure the man who drove you here needs to head back." The two shook hands and thanked each other. Sora followed Seshin into the inner portion of the temple. He didn't understand everything at first, the symbols and alters that peppered the area seemed utterly alien to him.
"...that bad feeling went away as soon as Seshin told me to come in…I just wanted to…." Sora stared off defiantly in the other direction…." say thanks…. I'm sure that this is as awkward for you as it is for me. I know it's gotta be a huge burden to take in a total stranger. Especially in light of what happened…what did happen though, it's been two months since that horrible day and I still can't piece together what was going on…strange voices. That…sickness…and dad…he killed mom and tried to kill me. I've only just stopped crying, but I still have so many questions." Sora sat down as he wrestled with his thoughts. Seshin stopped dead in his tracks and spoke in a serious tone.
"I'd like to hear about it from you personally, but I understand that you'd probably rather forget about it. Don't worry about me pressing you, just remember that I'm always willing to listen." He gave Sora a sad smile. Sora returned one.
"I appreciate it…we've only just met, but for some reason I'm getting good vibes from this guy" Seshin took him around the temple, showing him the area and how to move around efficiently in it. After a few minutes dragging Sora around the temple grounds he led him to a small room on the edge of the property directly adjacent to the main gate. He opened the door and Sora peered into a small room with one dusty window facing the forest. In the corner lay a futon and sitting on top was a small container with a few rice balls sitting in it. Sora stepped inside. "well, this is your room. If you want any other amenities you'll have to let me know, the temple might have spare chairs and desks."
"thanks again, and for the food especially…so…what now? Do you want me working for the temple or do you have some other plan? My only condition is that I refuse to take a vow of chastity." He retorted sarcastically. Seshin gave him a quick laugh.
"nothing like that. The high school starts enrolling in a few days. that's where you're going. You're a senior right?" Sora's eyes darted away as a sad thought passed through his mind.
"yeah…I'll be 18 in September…" he said somberly.
"what's wrong?" Seshin said with audible concern.
"it's just…I won't be seeing any of my friends again… I never really thought about that until now…but I don't know anyone here….my misfortune just won't end." He sighed as he stared off blankly.
"is it hard for you to make them?" Seshin sat down next to him.
"not really…I'd say I meet new people just fine…but…I plan on leaving here in a year or two to go to university like I was originally going to do, so I don't know if I should make new friends. I'd have to abandon them soon." Seshin thought for a moment.
"but you'll still be here for a while, and that's a lot of time to grind away. You only get so much in this life, and it's not like you won't ever lose friends even if you don't lose them here, so I'd say it's in your best interest to make them anyway." Sora gave him a perplexed look.
"fair enough…but forming a whole new social circle is such a drag." He stretched his arms and yawned loudly. "so…now what? Do I just sit here for a few days until school starts?"
"no, actually I'll show you around the village." The two got up from the sunny bench they had been relaxing on and Seshin walked him to the bottom of the temple steps. "here, this is my minibike" Sora gave him a dreadful stare.
'both of us on this thing?" Seshin recoiled as Sora stared daggers aa him.
"sorry, the temple car is being used right now" he smiled tepidly as he mounted the scooter. Sora hopped on behind him and grabbed his shoulders. Seshin moved the kickstand and powered the engine. It roared to life and the two took off through the main road of the village. Sora eyed everything he could, making careful note of where all the key shops and buildings were located. "and up on our right is oogowa's liquor store" Seshin shouted over the wind of the drive. "past that is the library, you'll probably need to come here to study, the records building is over here" Seshin said as he drove further down the road.
"so this is the metro area of sotoba? There really isn't much here at all. I only saw two restaurants, and one was a bar…. I can't go into it. No shops more elaborate than a general store, so I doubt I could get anything specific. They probably don't even carry name brand snacks. Hell, the roads aren't even paved." Sora let out a defeated sigh.
"yeah, I know there isn't much, but try not to let it bother you, there are still things you can do here. There's a video store just past this area here" Seshin pointed to an abandoned lot.
"a lot of good that will do me without a tv." Sora snapped back.
"now were reaching the end of sotoba's commercial area. The only things left to see are coming up." Sora looked to the side and saw a row of greenhouses. There were a few men in uniforms moving trees and shrubs around. "that's the Shimizu nursery. Generally, any plants and landscape materials we use come from there, and from yasumori construction. That was the big lumber yard we passed on our way out of the temple"
"fascinating" Sora yawned.
"anyway sotoba only has three main roads, the village itself is shaped like the tip of a harpoon, and the temple is visible from basically anywhere so don't worry about getting lost" Seshin shouted over the roar of the engine. They drove for several more minutes before approaching a large building with a teal green roof and crumbling white paint on the walls. Seshin parked the minibike there. "and this is the Ozaki clinic. If you ever get hurt this is the place, you'll go. The doctor and I are good friends so I promise he'll treat you well." Sora decided to speak up at this point.
"huh…just be sure to tell him I'm terrified of needles…maybe this doctor would know about the illness I had…" He shuddered as he remembered that horrible experience.
"I'll be sure to do so." Seshin smiled as he wiped the sweat from his brow. "anyway I'll drop you off at the temple, talk to my mother or father if you need anything." Seshin said as he started the engine back up.
"mother and father? How old ARE you Seshin? And why weren't they listed as some of my next of kin?" Sora asked quietly.
"I'm 32, and as for that, I'm not sure. When you get back feel free to explore the village on your own. Just be polite and don't do anything you shouldn't." Sora nodded knowingly.
"so how long until school starts back up?" he asked as Seshin walked him back up the steps to his room.
"three days, we already have a uniform in your size, the caseworker that sent you to me also shipped us some clothes for you to wear besides the ones you've got on now." Seshin pointed to the black hoodie and jeans Sora was wearing.
"Seshin…before you head out…I have to ask something. Why did you take me in? I would have just been a ward of the state for a few months at best." Seshin looked seriously at him.
"I know what it's like to be truly alone. Or to feel like you are at the very least. I wouldn't let someone else feel like that if I could help it." Sora and Seshin locked eyes for a moment.
"interesting reason…" Sora thought sadly.
three days later
Sora woke up in a daze. Ever since the day of the fire he'd been feeling this gnawing hunger that didn't seem to satisfy very easily. He could feel himself thinking about it on occasion and he thought it might be making him weak, not that he'd been particularly strong to begin with, but something about eating felt…. incomplete. he brushed off the feeling as a wave of anxiety replaced it. "today's the day…" he thought hesitantly as he reached for the uniform neatly folded at the foot of his bed. He looked out of the window to see a bright morning sun gently shining in. "I used to love the sight of a morning sunrise…. but for some reason the sun just gives me a headache these days" he carefully slipped the uniform on and grabbed the bag of books Seshin had provide him the night before. He cracked his knuckles and stepped outside. He waved a quick goodbye to the temple patrons he'd been able to grow at least a little bit familiar with, and set out down the long flight of steps that led to the village below. He eyed the villagers nervously as he walked by. He could hear them talking about him, they said all manner of things, but the general tone of the discussion was a curious one. There was the occasional snide comment from some crotchety old man, to which Sora made it known he'd heard, but otherwise he simply let them to their own devices, paying them no attention. After a while he approached a sign.
"sotoba gateway bus stop"
Standing under it were two people that looked to be about Sora's age, or maybe a year younger. One was a boy with messy purple hair who was standing in the opposite direction of the other. A girl with pink pigtails and red hair bows. Sora could smell the perfume on her before they even noticed him walking up. The girl turned her head and looked at him, her eyes seemed to light up for a brief moment as the boy did the same. Sora hitched his bag. And looked them both over.
"this is the bus that goes to the high school right? …what's with these two, they weren't talking when I got up here and that girl with the pigtails won't stop staring at me…" Sora asked tepidly. His eyes darted from one two the other. Until the boy nodded. Sora gave him a knowing stare.
"there's no sign of it yet though" the girl replied, Sora noticed her glance back to the boy.
"huh…" he replied nonchalantly. "neither of them seem like they want to talk, so I guess it's just me and my thoughts for a while longer." Sora yawned loudly and began to lean against the pole the sign was nailed to. He gave both of them a once over before nodding off to sleep. He awoke several minutes later as the roar of an engine approached them. He glanced in its direction before his eyes locked with the girl. "has she been staring at me this whole time?" "is that one ours?" Sora asked quietly. The boy nodded and all three stepped inside. The boy with the purple hair walked all the way to the back of the bus while Sora and the girl stayed up front. Sora picked a seat across from hers and once again tried to nod off to sleep.
"so…you're the new boy at the temple right?" Sora could hear the voice of the girl nervously calling out to him across the aisle of the bus. He opened his eyes slowly and glanced at her.
"yeah, why?" he asked lazily.
"where are you from?" she asked boldly with a high and mighty look on her face.
"such a sudden change in her demeanor…Tokyo" she practically leapt into the seat he was in. he actually had to scoot closer to the window just to avoid one of her heels from poking his leg. The smile on her face stretched from ear to ear and he could see the stars in her eyes.
"really?! Oh please, you have to tell me what the big city is like! You just HAVE TO!" she inched closer.
"what the hell is wrong with this girl? Well, what do you want to know?" Sora asked hesitantly as he shirked beneath her, trying to find an opening to squirm away. His efforts were futile, she had him pinned.
"EVERYTHING!" the other students were starting to look over at them, all except for the boy with purple hair. She inched ever closer to him, as if she were studying every detail of his face.
"you're not in my personal space or anything…that's not weird…. you're gonna have to narrow it down" he strained to say as she started to squeeze his shoulders. He could feel her nails digging in under his uniform. "you're hurting me." He said as he reached a hand out to push her back. Almost as soon as she started, she backed off hiding the red on her face.
"I'm sorry. I just got a bit carried away" she said regrettably as she faced the other direction. "well, I guess to start with. Did you ever go to clubs? What were they like?" Sora smiled politely as she turned to face him once again.
"yeah I've snuck in once or twice with friends, it's not too hard as long as you bribe the right bouncer. I'd say that dancing is pretty fun if you have the right people, they play all the latest music and things like that too…that's actually where I was when I came home late a few days before the fire…"
"something wrong? You looked sad."
"nothing, just a fond memory…. what's your name anyway?" she smiled devilishly as Sora asked.
"megumi shimizu, you?" he laughed tepidly.
"this chick's a complete basketcase…Sora muroi…. your family owns that greenhouse right?" a dreadful look crept across her face.
"bleggg, don't remind me…that stuff is SO lame…so anyway, Sora. Why on earth would you leave such a glamorous big city life to move to this rat hole village?" the resentment in her voice was palpable.
"It wasn't really glamorous…I don't care much about the latest trends or anything…but it wasn't my choice. I liked it in the city…" he shook off a depressing thought.
"even still, was it because your parents had work or something here?" he looked away nervously.
"I'd rather not go into it…" he spat. She looked at him curiously but decided to drop the subject.
"so…were there lots of shops in the city? Like clothing stores?" her eyes lit up again.
"yeah I guess. But being the guy I am I never really went into them. I kinda just bought whatever was close to the entrance." She looked disappointed.
"I see…I've always wanted to see laforet myself, they always keep changing the exterior." Sora pitied her a bit.
"one thing I do miss especially are all the restaurants and places to eat. This entire village has two, whereas there were at least 12 on my apartment block alone." Sora started to salivate at the memory. "the convenience store here doesn't even have any good snacks." She nodded.
"this whole village sucks" megumi spat.
"yeah… I'm losing hope by the second…she really is strange." Sora looked at her and couldn't help but laugh. It was the first time he'd genuinely laughed since his parents died.
please be sure to review and everything like that, hope you enjoyed the chapter