Disclaimer (1): This is a fan written work based on the works of J.K. Rowling. It might possibly also have some elements of a number of other works. There is no money being made from this, it is merely a work meant for the entertainment of myself and the masses. This is merely for fun, and no profit. I repeat: I am not making any money out of writing this.
Disclaimer (2): I also do not own anything that has to do with Juuni Kokki, Juuni Kokuki, Record of the Twelve Kingdoms, The Twelve Kingdoms. The only things that will probably be mine to claim are some of the names that will appear in the fic.
Warning: OCs OOCs Sues, and some crack. You have been warned.
Note 1: Post-DH Disclaimer (2) anime/novel Crossover
Legend: # denotes change of time, while "*" denotes change of scene/perception/POV/center of attention/small change in time
On the other side of the shoku, Kurai was met with the cheering of the soldiers of Tai as they had not only managed to hold the youma at bay, but had also managed to push them back. It was all thanks to the timely arrival of Gyousou and Kouri (Taiki), the return of the ruler of Tai got morale to sky rocket, they were viewed as a blessing sent from Heaven.
They did of course cheer even louder once Kurai made his appearance, it was with his arrival that they knew that the day was won, that victory was theirs, though they didn't know the extent of their victory, only that they had beat back impossible odds, and lived to tell about it.
Fuka and Kasumi were not paid any mind, but there were those in the Tai armies that knew them to be agents of Karasu no Kurai. Gyoubou was ecstatic when he found his friend back safe and sound, though the numerous bandages on his body was a little bit disturbing, since it was a well known fact that Kurai was really strong.
"What in the world happened to you? You're even worse off than some of the injured soldiers," Gyoubou said as he approached his friend, "Not that I'm not happy to see you…it's just…man…what did this much damage to you?"
"You try fighting a god, and we'll see how you look after it," Kurai said, "That is if you actually live to tell the tale."
"You f-fought one of the gods?" his exclamation got the attention of all those within hearing distance, "I know you've gone toe to toe with Tentei-sama, did you fight him again?"
"You really should lower your voice," Kurai said, "I didn't fight with him again, I actually helped the bastard."
"Only you would dare insult Tentei-sama," Gyoubou said, "Only you would dare, and would actually live to do it again, and again, and again."
"Well, someone's gotta show him some disrespect," Kurai reasoned, as he conjured a chair for himself to sit in, it was an action that surprised everyone around him, save for his servants, and his two other selves, the soldiers and even Gyoubou had never actually seen him perform such a feat of magic before.
"H-how did you do that?" Gyoubou asked the question that the others there wanted to ask, the feat also managed to catch the attention of Gyousou and Kouri.
"The same way I do everything else that I do," Kurai replied, "With magic of course."
Gyousou approached him, the crowd of soldiers parting for their king…
"Who are you?" Tai-o asked.
"I am Karasu no Kurai," he replied, "I have been the one responsible with the welfare of your country while you have been away. I was also the one responsible for making sure that Taiki lived, and that you would be able to join your people once again."
"Why?" Tai-o asked, "Why have you done such things?"
"Dunno," Kurai replied, "Must be my 'saving people thing'. Hehe, is that a bad thing?"
"I wouldn't say that," Tai-o said, "It's just not something anyone would normally do. What are you going to be doing now that I've returned to my kingdom?"
"Pack up and leave," Kurai said, and motioned, or fake motioned, his agents to go ahead and begin the deconstruction of their headquarters, as he planned on moving to Hou, and finally go on his next adventure, that being the search for his kirin. He also planned on kicking Ryuuki's ass as that particular kirin had yet to find a suitable ruler for his kingdom.
"Why?" Gyousou asked, curious, while Taiki stood slightly behind his friend and master, a man whom he had wished to be with for many a year but was unable to remember much about or of.
"Tai is not my place," Kurai said as he stood and vanished the chair having sufficiently rested, "I belong somewhere else, and still need to find someone precious to me, a task that I have been putting aside to aid in the restoration of peace in your country. I shall have my servants inform Kouko and Shushou of your return."
"Why is it that you speak so casually about those two rulers?" Tai-o asked, or demanded, depending on the perspective, Gyoubou intervened.
"Tai-o-sama, the reason why Kurai speaks so casually about them is that he is their friend," Gyoubou explained, "It may seem a little bit absurd, but that is the truth. He has good relations with the other nations as well, though he is closer to the kirin than to the emperors or kings."
"How in the world did you manage that?" Tai-o questioned Kurai who was preparing to summon up a shoku, since his headquarters had already been absorbed by Fuka and Kasumi, his servants were also waiting for him to summon the shoku that they may leave off to go on their next adventure.
"If one is capable of pissing Tentei off and living to tell the tale, then being friends of monarchs and kirin is a piece of cake," Kurai said before actually summoning the shoku, which his servants crossed into before he did, the last of his servants to pass through was Orochi, "I hope to see you again, once my quest to find my precious person is over…Gyoubou, until next time, and should you need me you know how to contact me."
"See you my friend," Gyoubou said.
"Stop," Gyousou commanded as he had many more questions to ask Kurai, he grew enraged when Kurai simply ignored his command and stepped through. It was only after Gyoubou managed to calm down the ruler that Gyousou's mind finally caught up with reality. He had witnessed a man summon up a shoku, and had heard tales of his deeds all over the world from his soldiers, and from the man that had been keeping the administrative infrastructure in working condition in his absence.
"No one commands Karasu no Kurai," Gyoubou stated, knowing that while it was a little bit disrespectful to his king, but it was still the truth, "Not even the gods."
"What is he?" Kouri asked, "There was something about him that scared me a little."
"He is…I'm not really sure," Gyoubou replied, "All I am sure off is that he is immortal, and stronger than any mortal that I have come across. He is able to tame youma just like any kirin, and can do many of the things that a kirin can do, but at the same time he loves battle and blood. He is very free spirited, and does as he pleases, but always makes time to help the helpless, or simply those in need of a helping hand."
"I see," Kouri said, "There was something else about him, but I can't seem to place my finger on it."
"That man has many secrets," Gyoubou told the Taiho, "I may be his friend, but even I am not aware of half of his secrets."
The Karasu Organization arrived a few miles away from the capital of the Kingdom of Hou, and once Kurai had sucked in most of his servants into himself, including Hyakko and Orochi, he set about rebuilding his organization's headquarters. The land of Hou was another anomaly in the world, since it didn't have a kirin chosen ruler governing it, but a mere regent. But the land had been getting better and better as if a kirin chosen ruler had been watching over them all this time, which in a sense Kurai was.
"So…now what do we do?" Kikai questioned Kurai as he sat on a stump just below his tree house, on either side of him sat his other two forms.
"I rest for a time," Kurai replied, "While the four of you go out into the world and find me a red headed and crimson eyed woman with amnesia, one with an aversion for meat and blood."
"So…we're basically going to do what you've been doing all this time for Tai," Kikai said, "Except this time, the missing kirin is yours."
"Precisely," Kurai said, "I shall send out my ravens in perhaps a month's time to contribute to the search as I need to rest most of myself, you four being the exceptions to that."
"We kind of figured that out," Eiko said.
"We'll do it, master," Fugen said.
"Hopefully we'll find her, and get some stability in our lives," Aiko said.
"Potters and their red heads," Kikai muttered, which Kurai heard since Fuka threw a pillow at him.
"I heard that," Kasumi said, it was a little unnerving, even though they were kind of used to it.
After their conversation the four generals, as that was how the ravens and Kurai's shirei viewed them as, packed up some stuff and went on their way, choosing to travel in pairs, Kikai with Eiko and Fugen with Aiko. They doubted that the search was going to be easy, which was why they opted to travel to the central continent and begin their search there since it was bigger than the four outer kingdoms, and the likelihood of their target being in the needle in the haystack place was greater.
Kurai didn't forget to send off messages to his ruler friends, and to Ryuuki, about the return of the Tai ruler and Taiho, as well as his changed address. Those were the only three ravens that he let fly, the rest remained within him, regaining the lost strength and energy that they had spent in their battle with all those youma, along with all the other exciting things that they had been doing for the past months to years, depending on the raven.
Shushou was glad that Tai was finally going to stabilize, and if Gyousou messed up, she had a friend she could coerce into convincing the Tai-o to mend his way, lest he end up on the receiving end of the bloody horn of Kurai. Tai was finally one less country to worry about.
Kouko was also delighted to know that stabilization in Tai was finally underway, with their ruler returned, and their Taiho back at full power as well. She just wondered when Kurai would be coming for another visit.
While the two female rulers that Kurai was kind of close to were delighted with the news and wished that he would visit, Ryuuki's was a different story as the letter he received was one with a clear threat, he was told to find the new Ryuu-o before he, Kurai , found his kirin OR ELSE. Ryuuki's imagination ran wild with thoughts of the different things that Kurai could do to him and get away with.
Which was why he became even more determined to find the right person for the job, even going so far as to venture out of the lands of the Twelve Kingdoms to find the rightful ruler of Ryuu, but of course Japan was a dead end.
He really hoped that he found the right person before his deadline since he really didn't want to know what the insane not-really-a-kirin could do to him or would do to him. He knew that Kurai had gone against a god, not Tentei, and won and saved the world from ending prematurely. He also really needed more shirei, his two bears were the only things standing between him and Kurai should he miss the deadline.
He walked and flew, floated and swam, around the lands of the Twelve Kingdoms until he nearly gave up. But due to not really taking care of himself due to his worry that he wouldn't find his king on time, he ended up passed out in front of the doorstep of what appeared to be a simple hovel out in the wastelands of Ryuu. The hovel didn't even look like it had seen any life for a very long time. Things looked a little grim for Ryuuki, as his shirei had no clue what to do with him, so they simply sat there staring at his downed body. They weren't stupid they just didn't know how to act in such a situation.
An hour passed before he was found in front of the dwelling by the dwelling's owner, it was an eleven year old messy black haired and green eyed child, who surprisingly had a scar above his left eye. He had a kind of athletic build, one built for speed, but looked out of place on an eleven year old.
Without really batting an eyelash, after dropping whatever he was carrying in surprise, he quickly walked to the unconscious kirin, and lifted up the surprisingly light man, the Shirei had sunk into the shadows when they sensed the youth's approach as not to startle a would be savior to their master.
The almost teenager brought Ryuuki into his home, laid him on the only bed inside, then began preparing for the care of an obviously not well man. In his current state, Ryuuki didn't look anything like a kirin, or an important person for that matter. Not that the boy would have treated him differently, he only did the things that were done to him back when he was found by whoever it was that had taken care of him.
"T-thank you for taking care of me," Ryuuki said, as he woke up from his semi-coma, it was his immediate reaction upon finding himself in a warm bed, underneath a roof with a young man tending to him.
"Think nothing of it," the boy said, "I am merely doing as I was taught to do by the man that raised me."
"Are you the only one living here?" Ryuuki asked while attempting to stand up.
"I am," he said.
"But…you're only a child, how have you survived all this time?" the kirin asked.
"The person that raised me took me in when I was just a baby, he claimed to have found me in what must have been a battlefield," the boy said, "He died just last year while traveling to Tai to try and help the people there. This was actually his home, it had been in his family for many years, and now it is my home. Even without many people living here, I don't mind, since I still visit the settlements nearby for food and such."
"I see," the kirin said, "How long have I been unconscious?"
"A week," the boy said, "I was starting to worry, since I'm really not that well versed when it comes to medicines, and I don't think I would have been able to carry you all the way to the nearest doctor's place."
"Thank you," the kirin repeated, "I mean it."
"Well since you're awake, would you mind answering some questions?" the boy asked.
"Go ahead," the kirin replied.
"Why were you out here on your own? People rarely ever pass by, and due to the steady decline that our country has been suffering from, even less think of leaving the settlements," the boy said.
"I have been looking for someone," Ryuuki said, "It is very important to me that I find the person I am searching for. I guess, in my search, I had forgotten to take care of myself…if only that man didn't send me that letter."
"That man? You have a deadline of some kind?" the boy asked.
"Yes," the kirin replied, "I have a deadline of sorts, the consequences of not finding the person I am searching for…are grave…"
"Who are you searching for?" the boy asked, "If you can't answer, I don't mind. I apologize for prying."
"It's ok," Ryuuki replied, "But I really can't answer that question. I don't even know the person I'm searching for. But when I find him or her, I shall know."
"Oh," the boy said, "Oh! I'm sorry for not introducing myself I'm Kaizoe, nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you, you can call me Ryu," Ryuuki said, not wanting to be treated differently by the one that had helped him live.
"It's nice to finally know your name," Kaizoe said, "Well, since you're awake, it's only a matter of days before you will be able to return to your search."
"I would guess so," Ryu said, "Is something the matter?" he asked as he sensed some form of inner conflict from his savior.
"Could I go with you…on this quest of yours…I'd like to see the world…" the boy said, hesitantly.
"I suppose," Ryu said, "But why would you like to come with me? Why me?"
"Because you are off to see the world," Kaizoe said, "Traveling alone must be lonely, so I want to keep you company…I've also been meaning to find a purpose for myself…the man that raised me is gone…and I'd like to do something…so that when I meet him next, I can say that the life he saved did something worth his efforts."
"Then it's is settled," Ryu said, "You can come with me, but you won't be able to take all of your things with you, we'll be traveling a lot, so pack only what you need, and what you cannot live without."
"Thank you, Ryu," Kaizoe said.
The ravens returned to their duties all over the world, and around the continent six months after Kurai intended them to soar the skies again. He didn't know why he had waited that long, but it was perhaps due to having expended more power and energy in his battle than he had expected. Fighting against Tentei just for kicks was one thing, but fighting against a foe to save the world was another thing entirely.
Most people had grown used to the lack of ravens being found everywhere that their re-emergence was not met with much rejoicing, save for those that knew of their source. The kingdom of Tai being the exception to the rule as the people welcomed the return of their saviors during the absence of their ruler.
Kurai was still viewed as many things, from savior to jester to trouble to plague. He was the most well known personality in all of the world. There wasn't an entity that didn't at least know his name, but of course, there were only a handful of people that knew what he actually looked like, which was why he could walk around without being harassed. Though there were some places that were aware of his general description.
He was walking around Kou to retrieve something from the capital, the kirin of the land had already been born, and Kurai didn't think that he should meddle in the political affairs of the kingdom of Kou. He wanted to retrieve the token that he had left with instructions.
When he got to where he had left the token, there was a cordon of guards around him, not letting anyone near enough to touch it, but only view it. It was only coincidental that Kurai had arrived at the place just as the Kou Taiho did. It was a surprise visit, the kirin had been told of the significance of the object from the being known as Karasu no Kurai, and wanted to see it with his own very eyes.
"Maybe I should just leave it…" Kurai said softly, then turned around without even looking at the thing, Kou had suffered a lot, but not to the extent of Tai, and he doubted that the people would appreciate his meddling, since he had already left them that token, the thing that the rule of their nation was to bring to him, once he or she was chosen.
"Excuse me," Kouki said as he jogged up to Kurai as he left the area.
"Yes?" Kurai said, not bothering to turn around, the new Kou Taiho was around five but due to training sounded and probably acted at least like a teenager, "What do you need?"
"Were you planning on stealing a national treasure?" the kirin innocently asked.
"I was not planning on stealing anything," he replied calmly, even as the guards prepared to engage him in case he decided to attack them to steal the object they were guarding.
"But I heard you," the kirin said, "You said that you should leave it, when you were looking in the treasure's direction."
"Whatever little kirin," Kurai said as he began to walk off again, "Go do your duty and find your master, I have other more pressing things to worry about."
As Kurai began to walk away the child kirin grabbed hold of his sleeve, halting his movement.
"Wait," the kirin said, "I believe you…but why don't you show me the respect I deserve? Are you not fearful of a reprisal from Heaven?"
"Heaven can go fuck itself for all I care," Kurai replied, "I have no business with you kirin, and should you decide that my personality is what you believe is worthy of becoming your master, you are sadly and sorely mistaken."
He then shook the kirin off of his arm, and walked further away. The soldiers seeing the disrespect shown to one of their country's highest officials, attacked, their reasoning being that the actions of Kurai had insulted not only the kirin and the country, but also Heaven.
"Go back to your duty," Kurai said, as he split himself into three, Kasumi and Fuka merging quickly with shadows so as to keep his identity secret, even fewer knew of Kasumi and Fuka, and fewer still knew of their being himself.
The two other forms which Kurai took on occasion leapt out of the side streets to engage the soldiers, knocking them all out, but not killing them, as much as he wished to taste some blood on his blades, there were far too many witnesses, and there was no real valid reason for any bloodshed.
"You are wasting precious lives kirin, every second you hesitate, every chance that you miss out, you sacrifice more lives of Kou," Kurai said partingly, "A Kingdom without a chosen ruler is destined for destruction, is destined for sorrow, despair, pain, loneliness, and hardships."
"That's enough!" Ryuuki's voice was suddenly heard in the area, he too had wanted to see this treasure which his friend had left behind in the county's capital. With him was the boy Kaizoe, the boy still not aware that his own friend was a kirin himself. Ryuuki's hair had turned a dirty brown due to not taking care of himself, and his shirei had yet to make an appearance as they did not want to startle or scare their master's friend, "Kasumi, Fuka, stand down. Karasu, you as well."
"I wasn't going to do anything," Kurai said, "They decided to attack me without provocation, I was merely walking away from some annoying brat that thinks that sightseeing is more important than his own country."
"You're one to talk," Ryuuki said, "You've just been wandering the world while…"
"You've said too much Ryu," Kurai said, "Even while away I have helped my country, even now I still help. I am still searching for her, how about you?"
"I have…not found that person yet," Ryuuki said, "But that does not mean that I have given up, or that I have abandoned my country. You have people that could search for her for you, while there would be those that would not believe that you are who you claim to be, you could still use your reputation to help."
"Let us not speak of this any longer," Kurai said, "I have determined that she is not here, and while I had originally wanted to take back what I had left, I see that it servers a different purpose from the one that I had intended it to."
"Eh? Who're you?" Kouki asked, turning to face Ryuuki.
"I am Ryu," Ryuuki replied, then introduced the young kirin to his companion, "And this is Kaizoe, my companion. He is traveling with me to find a purpose, while I search for an important person to me. I apologize, but I only came to see the treasure, and though I might seem a little disrespectful, Karasu has wasted enough of my time. I hope to see you again sometime, Kouki."
Kurai had already walked off, his other two bodies in tow, while Ryuuki had been speaking with the distracted kirin. All in all it was a rather productive day, Ryuuki had grown a backbone, and the new kirin had learned that life isn't all about fun, as he seemed to think that it was.
Ryuuki eventually managed to catch up with Kurai, as he wanted to speak with his fellow shapeshifter.
"What do you want?" Kurai asked, he had already reabsorbed Kasumi and Fuka.
"I wanted to introduce you to a new friend of mine," Ryuuki said, "He saved my life, since I was too focused on the possible consequences of not finding that person."
"Very well," Kurai said, and stopped walking, and also turned to face the youth, his face actually showed surprise at being faced with the boy, "Well, well, well…I am Karasu no Kurai, Ryu's friend. Who might you be?"
"I am Toukou Kaizoe, nice to meet you sir, though I don't think you're actions regarding the kirin were appropriate," he said.
"Interesting name you have," Kurai said, "If Tentei accepts the way I act, then who are you to dictate what is proper to me."
"Kurai, that's a bit harsh, isn't it?" Ryu said.
"Whatever," Kurai said, "I've been a bit stressed lately, my generals have yet to locate even a clue about her possible whereabouts, the only red head that sticks out cannot possibly be her, I've checked."
"Who are you looking for sir?" Kaizoe asked.
"I am looking for someone precious to me," Kurai replied, "That is all you need to know. But tell me, I am assuming that since you are traveling with Ryu, that you lived alone before meeting this hopeless excuse of a man."
"I've been living by myself for a year, or at least I was, before I met Ryu," Kaizoe said, "Why?"
"Your name sounds familiar," Kurai said, "Who was it that took care of you?"
"Why does it sound as if you know that I was adopted?" the boy asked.
"What's wrong Karasu?" Ryuuki asked.
"I've seen you before," Kurai said, "Or at least someone that looks like you…a long time ago. The name is also familiar, in the sense that I have met a man with the name Toukou. So tell me, your caretaker, what was his name?"
"It's a bit funny really," Kaizoe said, "But his name was Kyonshi."
"Well, well, well," Kurai said, "That is a very interesting bit of information."
"Why is that, sir?" Kaizoe asked.
"I've met that man before," Kurai said, "It seems that I am not the only anomaly in this world. Tentei will not be happy should he ever find out," he then spoke to Ryuuki, "Make sure that no one else knows of the identity of his caretaker. Tentei does not approve of meddling with his world, and it seem like one of those five has meddled one time too many. My existence can be forgiven, but for Toukou Kyonshi to have meddled with the world, I doubt that Tentei would be even a little bit merciful."
"What are you talking about? You knew Kyonshi-jii?" Kaizoe asked.
"I knew him," Kurai said, "That man is not dead, but where he is now, you may not follow. It was nice meeting you, Kaizoe. May fortune come your way."
"I hope you find this girl you're looking for," Kaizoe said, "I hope to see you again."
"When you have the time," Ryuuki said, "Could you send me a report on how the meddling is bad, or what has been affected, as well as in what way Kyonshi-sama has meddled with the world?"
"I'll send Karasu no Fuka to you, when I'm sure of my list," Kurai said as he walked away in the direction of Kei and Kou's border.