Author Topic: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu  (Read 34753 times)

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Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« on: July 15, 2009, 05:56:48 PM »
Taking an alternate route on telling Yama of Xanadu with zero references to any usual take on Shikieiki.

This time, rival Akyu in order to counter the sales of Remilia's biography written by Aya from Bunbunmaru publications, decide to establish her own stand here, with Hieda House Books ordering the first biography of Yama of Xanadu.

How will this fare?

I wonder.
(don't mind me, I just like writing fanwank, I really hardly give any damn if anyone reads this but if you do, thanks. I love you for it.)

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2009, 05:58:05 PM »
(Prologue)


?I admit that when you asked me for this correspondence interview I am rather disturbed, mostly because of I don?t have the time for such leisurely prying into other people?s lives and the sheer injustice of wasting the time I am given for the execution of my job as a Yama; and also partially because I am very reluctant to tell you something I have since long chosen to forget about.?


?It wasn?t that I don?t enjoy my past, everyone benefits from having a little history in their lives, mine is no different from those that I choose to judge. Everyone must walk to reach somewhere, and in my case, I have walked a very different path. However, I admire and applaud your courage to know and understand deeper, despite it being motivated on political and competitive grounds between you and a fellow writer of chronicles who has recently just done something to outdone your previous works.?


?What was her name? Aya Syameimaru, a Tengu if I recall correctly. Oh, she is? I must have been blessed with great memory, since I tend not to remember those who have stains in their personalities too unsightly to see. I do however, appreciation your notion of writing to me and actually waiting for a proper reply; thus, without any prejudice of whether this may turn out good or bad, I shall give you permission and my time to talk about my past.?


?Are you ready? Oh, yes, some tea would be great, thank you.?


The Yama sat herself comfortably on the squared pillow on the tatami floor. Her grace was that so ladylike one cannot help but envy her poise; even from one such as myself, whom have been raised in the old ways. I picked up my quill pen, and dabbed it with ink, it has been sometime since I last felt the intense desire to write a detailed chronicle. It was nearly 2 lifetimes ago, back when I wasn?t known as Hieda no Akyu, but a personality of the Hieda.


She sipped her tea gently, waiting for me to be ready, it felt good that someone as busy as she is, is willing to share her account with me. As much as this is motivated by rivalry between me and Aya who recently produced her work on Remilia Scarlet the vampire, this is more to a personal inquiry as well on my part.


I placed my pen down on the scroll, and the first drops of ink began to paint the first letters? she began to speak and I listened intently.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #2 on: July 15, 2009, 06:14:44 PM »
(Chapter 1)

Contrary to many human myths, a Yama is by no means human, nor began life as one. A Yama is not a species of youkai, or divinity, or creature that belongs in nature. A Yama has a class of their own, and a small community of no more than one hundred from each generation of around 600 year cycles born to the ?separated world? between life and death, rebirth and reincarnation; called The Higan.


Does that sound too deep?


I reckon that it did. I should explain some terms first. Firstly, the Separated World exists between the border of life and death, and life any and all communities; there are females, as there are males of the Yamas. We have schools, and a town, as well as an office for the handling of private, public, political, judiciary, judgment, monetary issues of our community.


The Yama Judges are us, Yama candidates and townsmen, retired, and soon to be promoted, as well as Yama in training, all live together in this place, which is very small compared with places like Gensokyo. We are approximately the size a tad bit bigger than the human village in Gensokyo. Our houses are all very modest, save for the office and the schools which train the candidates for their future job which is all destined.


There is a time period for all things, just as there are strict rules that every Yama is must obey and are trained since the day they are born to do so. Every Yama is a born Good Samaritan, we are smart, objective, rule-abiding, no-nonsense, zero tolerant to cruelty and insubordination among our social castes and levels community. We do not engage in sex, or any form of pleasure, in this world I came from, there is none.


There are no desires, rather, one is slated to become a Yama since birth, marriage is but a process between two families and childbirth is but an effect where they copulate to bear a new child. Yes, we are unique like that, and therefore our population is always controlled. There will always be no more than 3 generations at any one time, from the post-holders, current Judges; to the Yama/Judge in training and teachers; to the newly born Yamas, yet to be subjected to intense ?Judgment? discipline. Strange as it may sound, we also do not take joy in such a system, we just live in it.


However, let me clarify one thing, to become a Judge is usually not a matter of personal freedom. Those that don?t become a Judges become teachers to the Yama training school, or workers for the office of handling Yama community matters as mentioned before. There are also builders, as there are growers, farmers, harvesters, cooks, but the only missing ones are luxury positions such as maids. After all, what is the use of a maid when every Yama makes their ends meet and settles all their personal tasks themselves? Also, to add to this, is that all the other positions are taken by the older Yamas that retired from their tasks as Judges, taken as a leisurely contribution to community.


In essence, Yamas are the most self-sufficient beings to have ever existed. Our community is heavily governed by strict laws against theft (failure which results in death for both the enforcer and rule-breakers), laziness (which results in double the work), irresponsible behavior (which includes community service) and such. Yes, I realized we are quite grim, but that is how our world goes around.


As one can immediately notice, the way of our society is almost the same as our abilities, the ability to see things in black and white, right or wrong. We absolve no crimes based on personal evidences, age difference, or even influence, unlike the human world. Our law is not slated for discussions, or review, they are what they are for the eons that passed and will continue to be. And that, is how a human like me is born to this world.


What? You assumed I was a Yama? Oh, I am sorry, it has been an oversight, I would have expected you to notice our slight difference in skin color. Yamas have a predominantly redder tone of skin, and yes, like me, they have green hair or white. I was born human, enough to be said, but enough with the word play, I should begin somewhere where it is more of a story.




++++


Should I begin this way?


Once upon a time, in a land sandwiched between two realities of life and death, heaven and hell; there existed a Yama by the name of Shiki Yamaxanadu, and no, it is not me but rather, my father.


His name is written as ?Shiki?*, and was one of the most renowned Yamas in the Higan world. He holds a perfect record of judgment, and has some 400,000 souls under his belt in his lifetime?s work. All of which accurate, and to make things more special; back then, my father?s time did not see the trend of using Black and White Mirrors.


試鬼 = Shiki (written differently in Japanese)


To date, it has been exactly 150 years since the rise of the Mirrors era, where a large number if not all Yamas engaged in the position began to rely on the Mirrors to judge the sins of the souls sent to them in their jurisdiction. As you probably know, in the incident sometime before, I am one of those who refuse to rely on it completely.


As much accuracy as it may provide, the mirror is a soulless construct of a Yama who is plagued by his own morality, and choose rather to embrace the functional suitability of ignorance instead. In a way, this Mirror era was brought on by such intentions as ?I don?t want to take responsibility of the soul that I judge?. That alone, despite Yama strict laws governing the importance of personal accountability of each judge is to their souls, is itself a wrong notion, but given the green light instead because of need or necessity.


I can begin by describing how it works.


The Mirror of Black and White, is a special tool, of sorts. It can determine the events through a slideshow of memories, which itself reviews in an instant to determine the sins of the soul that had lived. For example, if I were to use it on one of the fairies here now, I can see the time of its birth, what it has done to live, what sort of things it has committed itself to whether it be taking care of nature, or spend its days loitering around the forests and the lake up until the moment of its death. After a short moment, barely a minute long for something as short a lifespan as a fairy, I can clearly see all events, and make my own judgments or allow the mirror to make that judgment.


The problem here is simple; the judgment of the mirror is quick, easy to do. It takes only a second for the flash of ?Guilty? or ?Innocent? to be shown on the surface of the mirror in bolded letters. If I follow it, then it will be carried out and the person whom came before my judgment throne shall be thrown in hell, or ascend to heaven or move on to reincarnate. However, the judgment mirror carried one flaw; it judges each action on its own, individual and without any hint of connectivity.


Imagine a scenario, where a father sacrifices his own heart, which is compatible with his son?s own to save him. If so, the father who sacrificed cannot live, and thus will die. In this, the mirror will give an uncaring slam of ?Guilty by Suicide? which is a deadly sin that will mean the enduring of 50,000 years in the sixth level of hell.


 In my view, it was the most noble act of fatherhood I will ever encounter yet, for a father so dedicated with volition to save his child, he will sacrifice his life for his son, disregarding what judgments he might face before me.


He disregarded his life for his child, because he knows that there is nothing more important that preserving the valuable life of his flesh and blood. If it were up to me, I would weigh this nobility and grant his ascend to heaven, because it is a sin committed out of absolute sacrifice out of love.


However, the mechanical coldness precision of the mirror will only disregard all that, because it won?t understand the nobility, or the heart of the father who chose to ignore his own fate, for the sake of his loved son. In essence, I am a Yama that makes the choices of judgment of my own.


In words of a wise Yama, ?Those who seek judgment, and those who give, are forever bounded by a cycle of fate which every man, woman, or child of Yamas must endure.? Yes, these words mean everything to my being, because it is I who is the carrier of my father?s legacy.


My father was the greatest of Yamas, and that is no undeserving credit because of his achievements. However, at the time of his greatest days, I was not yet his child. You see, my father was special and so am I.


In between the realms of life and death, Yamas are normally permitted one visit each lifetime to see the world, and given a period of exactly 99 days to find their grounds of justice. They will inhabit in each different era, a different civilization, culture, society, cohabiting as a member of the society.


Have you ever had a time where you meet a stranger who is particularly heroic? Like a citizen, only strangely devoid of emotions, the sort who seems to be on silent guard of his neighborhood? Well, my father was on his training ground as a Yama in the year of 1949, in Tokyo.


It was there, he met my mother. Yes, my mother is human.


In other words, I am a Halfling.


In the year of 1949, my father began his excursion of 99 days to stand as the Yama candidate, through a special training ground reserved for him. His best friend Yoshi of the Gojima-Shingen clan has been stationed at the same city, different district. Having a friend on training grounds is a good thing, as Yamas are pretty much alien to the world when they first arrived, with only some common sense in the world and very indifferent towards learning situations.


Most of them become lawyers; many failed because their sense of justice is too much and cannot be bribed. Some became policemen, also failing in part as they are normally incorruptible by money or drugs and such, their duties that require them to cross the lines of good and bad often scars their memories. Some became army men, serving in the military only to have fallen out because they cannot accept the cruelty of war as a means of justice. In other words, a Yama cannot be entangled to a duty that requires them to not think about their position in the grand scale of things, such as war; and their personal justice at stake.


Hence, most of them complete their training early, using no more than 50 or so days before deciding ultimately they have seen enough, the human cruelty is unbearable, and that humans have no honor or justice capable of becoming the same as they and will willingly turn their backs on a friend in need.


In my father?s case, the first day was the worst day of all. He was stationed as an identity of a marketer, doomed to become a scapegoat of slowly reawakening Japan after the world war, and having to listen to a boss that is without ethics and morals.


His job then comprised of three things, he must market the ideas of his boss to his clients. His company then deals with the idea of buying lands from farmers for greater ?purposeful? uses; such as starting up major factories that will pollute the land and the livelihood of the local people. Their main stretch is to use their influence and my father?s sweet talk to convince innocent villagers into giving up their plots of land for a small sum of money which at the time, many of them needed.


They are also offered alternate plots they will never see before they reach there, which is normally quite far away up till the other end of Japan. However, in order to make way for a Tokyo that is highly advanced, economically challenging as a competitor in the market, as well as a future city, such methods are needed. One thing however, occurs on the histories never written before.


That history consists of much violence. Villagers living on the edges of Tokyo sometimes refuse to give up their ancestral homes to the expanding of the cities, for highways or something else. These villagers are beaten up, or sometimes silenced by the backhands of the Yakuza, which exists to fund the dark side of the business illegitimately through such dirty tactics. Sometimes, the beating up can be so bad that entire families are forced out of their houses after being burned to the ground.


Townsmen are sometime involved, their houses are in the wrong place at the wrong district, and thus have to be evicted to high rise buildings set up without a hint of overall importance to their original places. Hospitals are sometimes evicted of their patients because the need for expansion. You see, Japan was then facing a high moving, power hungry expansion which are leftover notions from the war they have lost. Imperialism was still rife, naturally, the need to expand and control is still active, and the sufferers of such activities are naturally, the people themselves.


In the summer of 1949, approaching the 20th day of his training, my father felt that enough was enough, he was ready to quit his training, and go back to the Higan. It was here, as he placed his resignation form on the table of his uncaring boss who was counting his stocks and greens, that he met Secretary Eiki Masuyama.


She is beautiful, she had the green oval eyes that shone like windows to a clear sunny day, with the green meadows blowing in the wind and soft gentle sunlight warm to the touch. She had this flair with her long hair, tied in a ponytail that is neatly combed and lips that are just a bit pout, softly lined with thin lipstick that accentuates her natural beauty. Fairest skin my father has ever laid eyes on, he used to say to me.


She had this scent of lavender, smoothly flowing into the air around the office, the perfume she wears is just as soft as her now smiling face that captured my father?s heart. A Yama has no need for emotions, only the moral stand that he takes, strong and unwavering. Yet, at this moment, my father felt every inclining emotion in his steeped mind rising to the call of nature, it wasn?t the need for food or survival, it wasn?t his own justice but something called love.


You see, Yamas don?t fall in love. They never do, breeding was for the sole purpose of maintaining the ideal number of citizens in Higan, one family, one offspring (not even a child), some even go to the extent of dealing the number of days a Yama will live after retirement.


To us, we are all compartmentalized into small parts, we have our daily schedules and our daily quota, we have set personalities and set duties that we must all do. There is nothing that teaches in the Yama world, about ?love? and especially not one between human and Yama.


So the moment the boss turned his head to face my father, my father somehow instinctively pulled back the letter. It wasn?t something that he felt conflicted to do, the job he has is immoral, it is not a job for the Yama heart. It isn?t honorable to evict hapless villagers from their homes, just as it wasn?t okay to beat old people into submission. However, at that very moment as she lifted her eyes to meet my father?s own two gold ones, his heart almost stopped, a sense of embarrassment, maybe?


Yamas have no need for embarrassment, we never do anything to embarrass ourselves, except maybe when we are young and tend to make a couple of mistakes. At that very moment, my father stuttered a reply.


?I?no, the plan for the ninth section project is ready, we are waiting for your orders and the yakuza.? My father replied, obvious to the fact it hurt his heart when he said this. About 400 villagers will lose their homes tomorrow, their farms swept aside by a large national corporation aiming to start their power plant there. These people will face homelessness for a temporary amount of time, before forced to move into Tokyo?s many high rise apartments, with zero maintenance and losing their family grounds.


?It took a month, what took you so long?? His boss asked, obviously steaming.


?We need to give the villagers one month notice, as required by law, sir.? My father bowed and replied.


?Tsk, such stupid laws, it is not like we haven?t prepared the new places for them to stay already. Ok, be gone.? My boss dismissed him and turned back to the secretary.


?So? Where are the two papers you wanted me to sign??


?These, sir, thank you very much.? Secretary Eiki replied.


?Ok, there we go, now you too, hold all my calls until 5pm.? He chided.


?Yes, sir.? It was obvious that the boss did not feel a thing towards Eiki at all, nor did he cared to look up from his pile of cash lying on the table, currently being counted diligently.


My father kept the door open, and she walked through, bowing a bit.


Not usually one to dilly-dally, as are all Yama, my father immediately asked her to pause in her steps. There was no one around, the office is having its lunchtime break, and like all good employees, they move out of the office building to evade the stale air during this time.


?What is your name, Ms. Secretary?? My father asked.


?Not Secretary that is for sure, I am Eiki, Masuyama is my name, here is my card.? She diligently pulled out a card from her breast pocket, and placed it in my father?s hand.


My father did not even try to pull his, he is just a lackey, and his namecard is on temporary processing since forever. (They call it cost control.)


?Thank you, I am Shiki Ya- Yamatashi? My father faked his name, Yamaxanadu was what he wanted to say, it is just an unusual name, I am sure you agree.


?I was wondering, have you had lunch yet?? My father followed.


?Oh?dear me, look at the time, no, I haven?t.?


?Shall we go for a quick one?? My father offered, smiling slightly, his human skin layer almost breaking due to the unusual strain placed on his cheeks. This was the first time he has ever smiled in his life, and it felt good.



++++++



?Oh my, this is so romantic!? Akyu said, her hands placed on her cheeks flushed red.


The last bits were so detailed narrated even the pump of her heart went up by several beats, and her blood was all flushed on her face making these rosy red glow patches that really accentuate her cute innocent beauty.


?I was merely telling the old news, he used to love telling me about it, I am glad I was raised a somewhat human way. Much like the Gojima-Shingen clan and the Ryoshikazehana clan, we may be the only families of Yamas that raises our child with human tendencies.? Shikieiki replied, she sipped her tea gently and kept her eyes closed.


?Don?t the Yama often have to deal with moral grounds of judgment, if you are not raised in the human morals how can you judge them?? Akyu asked, she put down her brush, indicating that this is out of the record.


?You don?t really need that, after all, what is pretty much our inherent abilities are to see things in black and white, sin is sin, whether it is good sin or bad sin however; is personal judgment. Some of us are capable of personal judgment, some of us prefer not to, I don?t wish to point fingers of course.?


?I see. So how do you feel about the ones who don?t??


?We are just doing our jobs, isn?t that the human response?? Shikieiki smiled. Although she inherits the name of her father and mother?s name, written different somewhat; it is also true that she did not just inherit that but the straightforwardness of their personality as well.


?Shall we take a break?? Akyu asked, pouring more tea into her cup.


?I have some time, I suppose we can.?


?I am worried about this chronicle, if I am taking your time too much, you may ask me to stop.? Akyu said, an apologetic tone in her voice as she said this.


?I have already made prior arrangements, a replacement Yama is currently in my place, so worry not.?


?Who is it??


?My father of course, he said he wanted the opportunity to do his job again, so I said yes. The council also has no problems with a pro volunteering for the post for a short time. As for Komachi however, she will be having hell to deal with.? Shikieiki laughed, perhaps to the thought that Komachi, famed for her laziness will be subjected to the care of a Yama who is possibly much stricter than Shikieiki ever was. Perhaps after this, she would value her job evermore, thanks to the prospect that Shikieiki will be on holiday and her father will be there to do her job.


?I wonder would she come beg for you to go back?? Akyu laughed, and so did Shikieiki.


?I am almost certain she would be knocking on your door now.?


True enough, a knock was heard.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 06:32:53 PM by Asphyxiated-Fairy »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2009, 02:44:43 PM »

Chapter 2



?Eiki-sama! Eiki-sama!!? The voice called. The voice came from beyond the pale colored paper door adorned with brown-beige colored flower patterns depicting an autumn scene; six girl servants of the Hieda household, three on each side slid the door open from the other end slowly.


?Komachi, what happened to your manners when entering someone?s home?? Shikieiki chided, promptly holding on to her very famed ?Kyan Stick?; a nickname given to how whenever she uses it, someone is bound to yell out ?Kyan!? in pain. The proper name for the stick of course, is a Yama Judgment Panel, used to dictate when thrown into the courtroom, whether a person is guilty or innocent. The panel is inscribed on both sides, one says ?Shan? meaning ?Innocent? and on the opposite side, ?Zhui? meaning Guilty or Sin.


?I am sorry, Eiki-sama, I just?just can?t stand it anymore, your father has been breathing down my neck since this whole afternoon, I can?t even get a break.? Komachi complained, her hand placed on her well endowed chest as she heaved up and down, panting desperately and looking entirely flushed.


?Oh?? I have no doubt you were taking your usual 5 HOUR NAP this afternoon before Father and I changed shifts, surely that was enough?? Shikieiki looks ready to blow, a hint of anger now dressed in face hidden so shoddily behind a faked smile as her eyebrows twitched while hearing Komachi.


?But, Eiki-sama, I am not slacking off, I delivered 2 boats of them this morning!? Komachi shamelessly said.


The next moment was quite a blur, Shikieiki rushed forward, and like a swordmaster wielding her favorite blade in action, the ?Kyan Stick? slammed down between Komachi?s red double ponytailed tresses and provoked an instant ?Kyan!? as loudly as she could.


The servants looked dismayed, even amused somewhat, as she held her hands to her head and rolled on the ground. ?OWWWW?why did you do that for??

?ONLY TWO BOATS?!? Shikieiki breathed out a silent reply filled with anger within, ?MY FATHER WOULD HAVE DONE IN 50 BY NOW IF YOU HAD CARRIED THEM OVER THIS MORNING, RIGHT NOW HE MUST BE SITTING IN THE THRONE, WAITING, WITH NOTHING TO DO AND POSSIBLY WRITING A LETTER ON MY BEHALF TO THE COUNCIL NEGOTIATING YOUR PUNISHMENT AND YOUR FIRING FROM THIS JOB!!? Shikieiki spared no mercy, her words pierced into the ears of everyone and everyone that heard her could tell why she is the Yama and no one else is.


?But?I??


?When I count to 3, if you are still here and whining, I assure you Father would be having your head on display before the Council tomorrow first thing in the morning and Uncle Gojima-Shingen would be parading your personal belongings in the town for all to see? and you know the customs, once a Shinigami gets that treatment, they will never EVER get employed again.? Shikieiki smiled menacingly, she hadn?t felt this energetic for a long time and certainly something about telling this story to Akyu has to do with it.



?Aye!? Komachi replied, and quickly picked up her scythe and rushed out, not even bothering to say goodbye. Clearly, the threat has worked, but relationships may sour in the next few days for the two.


?Was that okay? What if she decided to rebel against you once all this is over and done with?? Akyu asked her interviewee, now seated again, calm as before as though nothing has happened a minute ago.


?What is there to complain about?? Shikieiki sipped her tea, ?If it wasn?t because of me, she wouldn?t have had a job, if it wasn?t because of my leniency, she would have lost that job as well? now is a better time than any to reform that lazy attitude of hers that I cannot or should not have allowed in the first place. I had human emotions back then?I wish I didn?t now.?


?To have human emotions makes all of us, even when we are not humans; greater.? Akyu said in reply.


?Yes, it does, but some can do without don?t you think??


?I suppose, now, how shall we begin once more??


?I can resume the part where they fell in love, my father and my mother, and how she came to pass.?


?I am sorry to hear that.? Akyu gave her condolences.


?We all die, as a Yama, I know that best. We learn to accept that death is an involuntary demand, yet we must never forget, that in the passing of death, life becomes stronger.? The Yama commented, her eyes began to float, as though she is entering a trance, and thus, the story takes off again.



+++++



On the eve of January 1950, my father has dated my mother for almost a good month, he has proposed to her, and surprisingly, without questions over to the many awkward moments when she asked what he did when he was younger; she agreed to the marriage.


They were bound for the ceremony in March, and this was when, despite all attempts to hide this from the other Yamas, his best friend has discovered the relationship. The friend was none other than Yoshi of the Gojima-Shingen, or Yoshigo which my father calls him.


Yoshigo, like my father, came from a long line of prideful and honor driven Yama families, having histories stretching back as long as the Qing Dynasty and the Jimmu Kingdom. To him, nothing matters more in the name of honor than friendship, so when he did confront my father about this secret relationship, he was furious that my father has sought to hide such things from him.


?How could you, Shiki! I trusted you and even your bride to be trusted you to uphold the law of our people, you went?no, of all people, it was you. I had expected it to be the Saiyama House or the Ikusamashi House to adopt such things?but no, it was you.? His anger was beyond the charts, my father has never seen his best friend so angry before.


Not surprising, consider my father, whom against all things considered, took his leap of faith into marrying a human woman despite already having a proposed wife to be, or fianc? in the Higan community, a girl who came to be my auntie today, married to Yoshigo much later.


The girl in question is beautiful, she had this light fluffy long hair that is to her waist in length, and eyes that are as golden as the most beautiful Yama irises, like a perpetual doll, she is almost like a statue carved in the finest marble in beauty. In fact, some say she was too good for Yoshigo or my father, she was better off marrying into huge families like the Saiyama or Ikusamashi, where they own particular posts in the grand Council halls.


The girl?s name was Sakihime, her family name is a relatively unknown one that even I failed to record unfortunately. Sakihime was proposed to by many men, but she chose my father, the one who did not propose to her instead. To say she was of any less beautiful than my mother, would be a lie, because like all Yama, I am raised to look at the inner beauty.


She has that quality, being the kindest among the Yama I know and often resulting in error of judgment during her reign in Gensokyo. Yes, here. You may not believe it since you probably aren?t very familiar with the Yama before me as we have, in fact never introduced ourselves until much later to the Gensokyo residents nor do they carry knowledge of our people until now as I speak to you.


Sakihime, the woman as a Yama, was an utter failure, she has pardoned criminals because she could not bear to send them to hell, she has denied her own logic when it was clear as day the person was a fiend in disguise. She has pardoned people as cruel as serial killers and rapists, because she thinks in the next life, they would be much better people if they are given a chance to be forgiven.


In her records, it is the exact opposite of my father or Yoshigo?s resume. Yoshigo has made a few blunders, but my father, the 400,000 I told you before, was never wrong by Yama standards. Sakihime was a beautiful soul, too kind to be a Yama and too cruel to not be one, for she is fated, to fall in love with a man who doesn?t see her as a lover.


In that year, when Yoshigo was confronting my father, the only reply he had was ?If this was true love, how can I deny it? Sakihime-san has never loved me, she only loved my being, only because I am who I am, efficient, strong, and silent?but I have found love where I know impossible.? Father said this to him in a tone of as-a-matter-of-factly.


?Why a human, why those creatures that the Yama has never approved of?? Yoshigo asked again.


?Because she is human, that is why I see her beauty, a Yama can never replace that feeling because we don?t feel love or hurt, we do what we must. But when I laid eyes on her, I felt I don?t just do what I must but also what I can for the sake of keeping her.?


?Then would you turn your back on me, your best friend, on good advice?? Yoshigo asked one last time.


?If you have something to say, say it.?


?This is not right, I am reporting this to the Council on your behalf because you failed to do so. The reason you try to hide this is clear, even you feel shame and embarrassment if we are to expose this to the people, and your reputation, your father?s legacy would be shunned because of this misstep, I advice against it." He paused for a moment, before taking a breath and continued, "If you turn back now, I will not report this, playing my role as best friend, and our relationship of our two families will sail smoothly until the end.? Yoshigo said. Despite sounding menacing as I did earlier to Komachi, the words meant a lot in Yama community.


What Yoshigo offered was an unconditional reach of friendship, something unusual for a Yama, and it was one that required him to share secrets, which again, is a sort of taboo in Yama community. When a Yama attempts large secrets like these, they are submitted to a tribunal.


This tribunal is called The Vertical Three, where behind 3 concealed judgment panels sat each a senior Judge, a retired Yama from judging human souls and goes on to become Judges of right and wrong for the community of Yamas. They alone have enough political power to veto any choice in anything, including for example, the firing of Komachi or me, at brush point. A simple order from them, and entire families can be evicted from their homes, married couples can be disengaged of their connections, even saying red is yellow is not a crime.


In fact, they are pretty much the ?3 Gods? of Yama community, and wields absolute power. This council, the entire council in this case, is ran by many hands, and only these 3 wields the most power. However, as terms may concide, a human once said ?Absolute power corrupts absolutely?. This does not apply to the Tribunal of the Vertical Three, which are so perfect in their judgment that before they ascend to become judges, they are removed of all their memories, names and even personality, through a stringently supervised and painful process called ?Ascension?.


In an Ascension, all Yamas who are willingly allowing themselves to become tools of the community with none of their personalities? existences being kept must also be the ones who are most experienced. They are cold, and perfect, nearly extinct in today?s society of the Yama people, and wields unfathomable will for the Ascension process is one of extreme pain.


Due the process itself that causes a pain so powerful in order to remove all their personality; it is sometimes not surprising at all if it shocks them to death, and cruelly, they will be listed as ?occupational deaths? and forgotten. Families whom have ?Ascenders? among them are often families marred by sadness when they failed to ascend, and thus died in duty, and are normally considered to be ?not fit for work?. However, back on this scene right now, is my father, at the argument table with Yoshigo.


?Yoshigo, I don?t want to spoil our bonds as friends together, what you are saying now might as well be murdering and separating our good friendship.? My father said.


?I have no choice, regrettably, you know the rules and so do I. If the council somehow agrees, I will have no problems with it, in fact, to make this fairer, I will join you. I will try to love a human woman, and marry her than my Yama fianc?.? Yoshigo suddenly replied.


?You think this is a game? This is serious matter here, Yoshigo!? My father was irked.


?No, what I am saying is quite simply the acknowledgement of truth, because we are friends, this is the last resort, I expect the both of us to be expelled out of Higan once this is revealed.? Yoshigo answered.


?I may be expelled, but why you??


?I will also be the person to represent you, it is my current job as the counselor of the court.? Yoshigo answered sternly. With this said, it is clear that even Yoshigo has no confidence if he can at all convince the Yama Tribunal of the Vertical Three to listen to my father's plea.


It was at this point, my father, probably because he was too busy with my mother?s courting, snapped to attention.


?But?Yoshigo, just a week ago you are a worker at the same company I work for! You were said to be on a training camp I heard?but??


?Things change in one week, I was recalled back into Higan due to my father?s passing. I am to replace him as a member of the counselors, and because of that, I am more shocked than ever to learn you have committed a huge taboo among our ranks. However, as a friend, I am eager to help you nonetheless, I ask that you let me help you.? Yoshigo's father is a counselor at the court, a lawyer in Yama court is often a post of intense pressure and responsibility, many of them die early of stress; Yoshigo's father was not exempted it seems.


?No.? My father answered in a willful tone, his answer is set in stone and in his eyes, Yoshigo could see no decision to take a step back on his answer.


?What?!? Yoshigo was taken aback.


?I will represent myself.?


?You are insane! No Yama represents himself before the Tribunal.? Yoshigo retorted.


?I will be the first.?


?You are in training for a Yama, remember the 3 rules, No Attachments, No Sin, No Affairs.?


?I have committed none of them, my Attachment is with the company as assigned, as with the human image, I am still a Yama in training to be a judge; I have committed no Sin by falling in love, and I am not having an Affair, this is proper relationship.? My father answered. However, as he said this, I can imagine his legs shaking, yes, even Yamas have fear.


No man or Yama has ever stood before the Tribunal and represented themselves, the Tribunal only hears from the counselors, who went through strict selection methods and training to represent the ordered and the prosecuted; in the case of Yoshigo, he is only temporary until they found a more senior Yama to replace his father.


They are like lawyers, only they speak in a manner that is neither ?corrupt? nor does ?with particular support of either side? which lands them in a neutralized position that earn them any points from the Tribunal. In history, there have been numerous accounts where a Yama sought to represent them, all of them failed in their appeal and are normally executed. The ones who allowed the counselors to represent them are sometimes pardoned, sometimes compounded, but never executed.


What my father has committed has blurred the lines of all three primary rules of training regime, which are grounds for death.


?Then, so be it, I am sorry it has come to this.? Yoshigo said, turning around now. As he looked back, he opened his mouth as though to speak something.


?What is it?? My father asked.


?I don?t know?it is a feeling, I somehow believe you will win our little wager.?


?It isn?t little if I lost, I am prepared to die anyway, you have your job to do.? My father said to Yoshigo, his eyes somewhat distant now as he turned back himself. With this, Yoshigo entered a different realm, facing a wall in the room they were talking in; he returned to Higan through a parallel expansion, or a portal.


As for my father, he had to go back, his apartment would need some warming up before my mother can come over for dinner.


It was their first at home dinner date.


What a day it has been.


++++++


The time was nearly 9pm, it has been a romantic dinner, they talked about so many things, and now with sake in hand, it feels like time seemed to stop.


They looked at each other in the eyes, the feeling is somewhat distant, yet a warmth was between the two.


?Yama-kun (my mother has taken to call him that), I don?t know?why does it always feel like you have something hidden from me?? My mother said, she is still Eiki Masuyama, and like any other woman, it is not strange for her to have a woman?s intuition that allows her to detect those faint little signals her man has.


?Eiki?can I call you that??


?I never objected.? My mother smiled an answer.


?I have a terrible secret, that I want you to know?but once you do, you may change your mind about me, but I do love you?it is just that you will not love me anymore.? My father admitted.


?That will never happen! I love you too?didn?t we already swear to get married, why is all this now all of a sudden??


?What if I tell you I am not human?? My father blurted out.


For a while, it looked like a wall of awkward silence has appeared between them, made of air, solid as metal and concrete, blocking them from even understanding each other. Breaths were taken and stares were made, but not one ounce of understanding was passed in between.


?What are you saying Yama-kun??


?I am?something else?would you believe if I tell you there is no such person as a Yamatashi Shiki??


????


?My real name is Shiki Yamaxanadu, and what you are seeing?is my human alter-ego which is on this realm. I replaced the true Yamatashi as him in this world through an exchange of special contract, which allows me to replace his life for a temporary set amount of time. That time is coming to an end in another month or so. I am a Yama, yes, the sort that you heard from folklore, who judges the souls ferried from the Sanzu River and decide if they are to be sent to hell or up to heaven.?


?This is not funny anymore?Yama-kun.? My mother cringed, clearly she felt this must have been an unfunny prank. Her eyes wide, and sweat seemed to form on her temples, even the wine seemed to have almost stopped as it travelled down her throat in suspended animation.


The eyes of my father slowly revealed a golden hue, glowing brightly and piercing into my mother?s own two eyes. Those are not eyes belonging to a Japanese person, not at all. His skin slowly transformed, like flakes falling off, cracks formed where the surface of the skin is like broken glass, spreading quickly all over even across his shirt and pants.


It was as though my father was a reflection in a mirror, now broken, and the spreads of damage forms in the cracks as they revealed what is behind that concealed mirage on the mirror. What my mother saw?was a man, whose skin is redder than the wine she is drinking lighted by the pale fluorescent overhead lamp, and with a bush of beard attached to his chin that resembled a pencil brush. His face was no different from the Yamatashi he portrayed, only with a stronger jaw line, and eyes deeper set than the human form he took and his hair was the only single biggest difference, entirely green in form.


?Yama-kun?you?? My mother gasped, at everything she has seen until now.


?Now do you believe me??


?I don?t know what to say??


?I do love you.? My father took the first strike.


?I??


?If you don?t, then there is no worries? we can just go our separate ways, like before, and you will never see me again? this is who I am, I am not human, and perhaps one day, if fate has us be, I will be the person who will judge your soul when you come before the throne, and by then?let there be fate written as well, that you have not sinned beyond pardon.? My father answered.


?I am surprised?is that all you have to say?? My mother suddenly sprang up.


?I??


?I am not a woman who will simply wait?you?you hid this from me all along, you think I don?t love you or trust you enough to keep a secret? I do?but this?this is outrageous, how can you not try to even tell me?why now? Is it because your time here is done? Is that how it is, after coming this far with me, even telling me of future plans on how we will have children?and all?just now?that dinner?was it all a lie?? My mother began to weep, her sobs silent, but her eyes, strong as ever and clear as day, stared right back as she said this to my father.


?I never meant to lie?Eiki?I do care for you, it is just, I am about on trial for a crime of loving a human woman, if you want to now, declare your distance from me, then you won?t be involved?and only I will go and answer for my errors.? My father said in reply.


After all, he was going to protect my mother because he loved her, there is not a problem right there. It is just that like all humans, they must protect themselves, this wasn?t my mother?s fault, to have her involved now is a bigger sin than ever.


Of course, my father understood, without him actually saying anything at first when they just met, this would have never happened. It was all his errors, if anything, he can still now force represent for Eiki, my mother, and thus leave her out of this and all responsibilities.


?No. I am coming with you.?


This was the answer that could change his and her life.


They say love is blind, and that blood runs thicker than water.


This is the one line that changed everything in Higan.
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2009, 11:22:51 AM »
Chapter 2 (second part)

In Higan, time can slow down to entire stops, and even then, in a world where time and space is a smack between two walls of reality and parallel universes, time itself is often questioned if it mattered to exist at all. We, the Yama live long, and because we all have duties, we often cared little for time. Our quota is satisfied within the day, always, except for myself in easy going Gensokyo, everyone else is doing their job very efficiently. At the end of the day, it all comes down to whether one can accept their position as a Yama and uphold a different set of mind, we don?t think time is important as there is no headline to rush or train to catch. There is only duty, and that is what we do best.


Just like the Vertical Three, despite losing all that they were before they ascended, including the recognition of their families as maybe a father or mother; a sister or a brother; a son or a daughter, they never lose sight of their objectives. Each day, there is something bound for them to handle, an orderly society is just as chaotic to the perfectly organized mind capable of complete memorization of each and every passage in a book. That I must remind you, is not any book, it is the Yama Laws and Bounded Rules of Conduct book. It weights a total of 217kg by human standards, bolted to the floor of the Yama High Council Tribunal Executive Room, which doubles as their private resting room. Complete with some 20,000 pages or more, the rules of conduct spread over to any of the 37,000 possible scenarios with each an appropriate punishment, reward, remuneration, compensation all weighed and calculated, with exact numbers all ready for extraction.


This book is never read by normal Yamas as it is near pointless, there are just too much data, accumulated from one Yama Tribunal to another. Each generation of the Tribunal, with each Vertical Three that passed contributing something to it makes it an ever growing grimoire of extreme weight. Its pages alone are the size of a human in general, and I am not exaggerating when I say turning one page needs quite some strength as the papers are made of thickened papyrus, along with rice and paper mache all mixed together to get an everlasting book.


Each of the Yama Ascenders, have memorized each and every detail of this book and knows exactly what to do even with all the nonsense one can bring in here. Joking with the Yama Ascenders can result in severe punishment too, if one is to even bother to try. Normally, no one sees the face of the Ascenders, but today, facing my father?s case, they see it.


Yes, on the end of January, the 99th day of training period for Yama candidates have ended, and thus he was recalled back to Higan. He left a note on my mother?s dressing table, depicting that he loved her very much, and that now he must go back and face trial for this love. In the letter, he explained everything, in such detail as he has never before in a letter over 6 pages long. At the time when my mother read the details, he was already in Higan, and standing before the Tribunal; as promised, Yoshigo was there, standing beside him in the hall.


The hall is like the Yama court of any district Yama, with large pillars each standing as tall as 30 feet high. A looming foreboding ceiling seemed to crush intense pressure down to those standing before the representation hall, and under each pillar stands a scribe of the Yama Judges, representing the Jury. They are debaters, ultimately, they too are useless as only the counselor gets to speak on their behalf. If, in a case where the counselor disagrees with them, all their methods would go useless although such cases are rare since the counselors normally are neutral.


In my father?s case, Yoshigo is the counselor, and being a friend, despite his cold attitude, he is ready to sacrifice his position for my father?s acquittal. In a way, within the days he has reported the case to the court, he has been thinking much about the situation, ?what should he do as a friend??


What can he do?


Surely he would not deny to help Shiki, my father, they grew up together, they were friends all along, no need to cut the string right now. Yoshigo wanted some day to have his family move in with the Yamaxanadu house, and together, they will be taking over a district of Higan as one of the large houses capable of challenging the glorious families of the high courts. They can finally be recognized for their lineage and there is much glory to be claimed in that.


He wanted my father to defend himself against accusations of having an affair, he can deny everything and all will be fine, at best when he is found guilty even, he would have the dignity of still becoming a Yama. He can become a prisoner for a short time but death won?t be an option, because at least he didn?t go out and say ?I want to be with a human woman, I want her to become my wife.?


Nonetheless, as the court slid to an open, with gongs and long chants being heart as my father walked through the great doors, covered in red light all over from eerie lamp carrying guardsmen who are guiding him to the center where a great chair stood. The chair came with four tall barricades surrounding it to prevent the one prosecuted from escaping, and that prosecuted is my father.


My father sat down, legs trembling, eyes wide but calm still on the surface from the body up.


?The court shall now begin the hearing of Shiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, his accused crime, for loving a human woman and intending to cause a deregulation in Yama behavior as instructed by the community law.? By deregulation, that means intending to cause mass confusion, which is nothing surprising consider this might as well be the first time a Yama has fallen for a human. The Verticals all sat above a throne, looking tall and mighty and wearing their golden white judgment uniforms, each with a hat where a huge triangular plateau of sorts stood in the center, saying ?Great Judge? and below inscribed their names before they become Ascenders. Once ascended, they will not keep their original names, but simply be known as Verticals.


?Prosecuted One, Shiki of the Yamaxanadu, what have you to plead??


?Not guilty.? My father answered sternly.


?Very well, Yoshi of the Gojima Shingen, what is his special condition?? The Vertical asked, the one sitting most left seemed to stare into Yoshigo?s eyes and melted his very being.


Yoshigo grabbed a breath and answered, ?He wish to represent himself.? This undoubtedly shocked the jury, no Yama has ever represented himself before the great court; even the Verticals? eyebrows seemed to twitch a little and that is a big reaction by itself consider they are expressionless all the time.


?This is blasphemy, do you intend to mock the court?? One of Verticals asked, the one sitting in the center looked down on my father from his throne.


?No, I represent myself because I know I have done nothing wrong. The court has always honored the honorable, and I am an honorable Yama who followed his heart and mind, my justice is uncompromised and thus, I am confident of my position.?


Already the court is aflame with comments, whispers among the Jury began to boil to a symphony of chattering noises, with the Vertical slamming down his palm on the desk, the crowd was silenced immediately, turning their attention to the Vertical.


?We, the Vertical have heard all and everything, we have a specific law for this measure numbered 19477, the law against romantic interest with a human being. You have been found at least guilty of that without possible mention of a trial, do you still wish to maintain your position in addition to the accusations of 17890, 14589, 23078 of numbered rules of conduct?? The Vertical asked, of what those numbers mean, even my father didn?t know in detail.


?I know my way is the right way, and I plead not guilty to all.? My father answered back.


?Shiki, I think this is going overboard?you?? Yoshigo said whispering.


?This or I am sent to hell? I don?t mind getting evicted out of Higan if I can live my life in peace with Eiki.? My father smiled.


?We heard that.? The Vertical reminded, they discussed among them for a moment. Then, slowly, they turned their heads and said, ?Shiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, why do you persist, no Yama has ever fallen in love with a human, this is the greatest taboo of our society and you know it.? The voice was neutral, and it belonged to the rightmost Vertical, whom is the look of a wise old man with long white beard and even whiter hair.


?I have come to a conclusion, your honorable one, I realized that it is not Yamas cannot fall in love, but rather we are told not to because it will affect our judgment. Yet?it is without doubt even without love amongst us, the wrong conclusion can still be made? I realized it is not love that affects the judgmental mind; but self. I have done no wrong in loving that woman and I know it therefore to be true.?


?Such blatancy!? One of the Jury yelled out loud, but one stare from the Vertical on the leftmost left him silent, holding his judgment panel in his hand, trembling.


?Then do you understand in order to protect the Yama community from your patterns of thought, we have the power to eject you from our coven? You will never be welcomed to Higan, and you shall never return to being a Yama again? a stray Yama, left in the human world, with nowhere to go, and when you finally die?you will be judged as all humans are, bringing great shame to your family before and after you.? The center Vertical said.


?I understand, but permission to speak freely, your honorable one.? My father requested, a simple nod was given.


?It is not because of the heart that we judge of man capable of doing evil, it is because like my father before me, and the father of his father, we all follow our hearts and mind. I am sure it wasn?t because of his problem with the judged that he would pardon a soul or condemn the soul. I was sure because of the judgment was the right one that he would choose to send the soul to heaven or to hell. I judged myself just an hour ago, and the sin in the Mirror, reflected upon me, was clear of it.? What my father meant was clear, he went before the Great Hall?s giant judgment mirror, and stood before it uttering his name.


The judgment of oneself is never done, because almost all of them know that they will never sin, so this might as well be a first.


?The judgment mirror only serves as a doorway to self exploration, Shiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, it serves not a purpose of implying your own judgment is clear of all wrongdoing.?


?Still?your honorable one, the Book?that book which you base your judgment on, serves as a guideline, just like our lessons in the human world. Without an experience to learn from, whereforth comes judgment of right and wrong? I urge you?no I beg you your honorable one, to see at least this much.? My father pleaded.


The Verticals looked at each other, for a moment, they seemed to do nothing but trade glances. However, the next, they all moved to have a recess. This is very unusual, as courts normally proceed for days long without rest to ensure that even the most stubborn Yama prosecuted will be judged properly.
Recesses only happen if even the Verticals have reached the limits of their stamina, and that has never happened too many times.


?Shiki? I think?I think you did it!? Yoshigo whom have been silent all this time because he is not representing anyone today in this court suddenly blurted out as the Verticals clearly left the room. The Jury around all began to move to one segment of the annexed room and leaving only two guards to keep the prosecutor in sight. They will have much to discuss indeed.


?No, not yet, I anticipated a tough uphill battle to have the court open their eyes to a new possibility that is not set in stone, and I know that is what it is going to be. To expect a victory by simply blurting out a plea of such pathetic degree? even this recess right now might as well be a call for simple accusation.? My father implied that the time out was simply a game, a game to make the prosecuted think twice, as normally when Yamas have left the room, they will listen for any tales they might blurt out because of their own insecurities, even Yamas too have that fear I suppose.


?No, I believe you can do it.?


?But if I survive this, then you will have to be kicked out of court too??


?That is small matter, if you are acquitted it means you are right and the Book is wrong, it also means there is room for exploration, and I am willing to explore that road with you. You have to teach me however, I am not accustomed to human women.? Yoshigo said, he was joking of course, but his face showed nothing. Much like any Yama, they don?t smile, never at all in fact, but to tell a joke? That is like the sky falling down, and pigs have learned to fly overnight.


My father however, learned to smile from a woman, and because of that, he did in fact laugh a little at Yoshigo?s tone.



+++++



The recess lasted over half an hour, and when the Verticals returned, they looked tired.


?Court will now resume.? One of the Verticals announced.


?Shiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, we of the Tribunal have resorted to the Book, and within the last half an hour, we have went through each and every rule regarding this matter. Surprising as it may sound, there is indeed a passage we may have misinterpreted.? The Vertical, the wise old man on the left said.

?Knowing this, it means even the Tribunal have been humbled, that which the effect is that this court proceeding immediately be dissolved because there is an error even at the earliest stage of accusation. As according to the Book, which as earlier commented, is indeed a guideline of absolution, without a guideline or a rule, there is no accusation of right or wrong. We of the Verticals, have no judgment of any worthy reputable base on the subject of a being open to relationships which may or may not affect the efficiency of judgments. To add, in regards of that, we also have no law on the censorship of mutual feelings between a female host or a male host of the Yama clan or with any other species of humanoid life form. Therefore? with effect immediately??


What was being said was simple, despite the extensive 30,000 plus of details on every potential situation, no one has yet to explore the region of mutual feelings between male and female counterparts. Or rather, if there were, it wasn?t recorded, and knowing such things, a Vertical cannot pass judgment without references to such crimes not recorded if at all a crime in the first place.


?Your honorable one!? My father called out, interrupting the Vertical.


?Yes??


?The book is not wrong, this has been a true taboo, but you??


?No, it was wrong, the three of us have discussed extensively in that last recess, and we have explored every possible scenario where we can place you under a charge of obstructing the proceedings of justice and absolution of law and conduct; however, we found none, but in fact found that there is no law regarding the first accusation, and hence, all other formerly accused crimes were rejected because they each follow on to one another.? The rightmost Vertical said.


???


?To continue, The Tribunal will grant unlimited time and extension to the Yama candidate and soon to be Yama by pardon of the Tribunal Order, Shiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, infinite time to explore this region of unexplored possibility of crime and regulation. Shiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, you are therefore ordered to run as many trials and test of human character as you wish in order to return a report of most extensive law and detail research on this matter, entitled ?love and the progress of judgment?. Your services would be most appreciated.? The leftmost Vertical said, and as if by some miracle even, it looked he gave a slight smile behind that bushy white beard.


With that, they adjourned the court, with Yoshigo flabbergasted despite believing there could be a possibility this will be the turn out of the issue.


As the jury left, many were left pondering if the judgment is right, but were left speechless as speaking against a Tribunal Order is more or less death inviting. Of course, people have done it before, and more often than not that is what the Tribunal is used for; treason or attempted sedition.


My father almost jumped in joy, but controlled himself as he walked out the court. It looked like a great day ahead, it was easier than he had expected. He expected a month long excursion, where he would have to prove himself or the such, but no, there was no proceeding to be mentioned either, it was a quick argument of words and it was done. He was acquitted of charges and pardoned of his issues.


Whatever the case may be now, he is now able to return to earth, to continue his relationship with my mother.



++++++

Deep inside an alcove, where a large catacomb of mystery filled tunnels and passages with candles burning in every section of the walls to provide barely enough light in this windless path; are two figures.The two figures are waiting, and more than 3 minutes later, silent footsteps appeared.The ?clop clop clop? of the shoes hitting the solid dirt floor came closer, and from it, the foot connected to the image of three Yamas.

?How was it?? One of the figures asked. It had a deep throated voice, as though hidden behind a bass or a diaphragm, the sound muffled by a strange silent bass.


?As proceeded, but this choice is a bad idea nonetheless.? ?The ascension has had its little game, whatever that passed was not recorded, and the Jury will be left to question their Vertical?s decision.? Another of the dark figures answered.


?We, the Verticals, do not endorse this, we are the Guardians of Absolute Justice, this experiment you wanted done is done with much risk.?


?The nation of the Yama community has long been risk adverse, to allow a breath of fresh air should encourage the writing of new additions into that old Book of Laws. As the writers, we must be both prude and be guided sometimes by the heart.? The figures introduced themselves, both Yamas obviously, and more so?the actual Writers of the Book.


They smiled, and from which this expression, long thought to be forgotten, was placed plainly on their faces as they see the Verticals move into the chamber, where beyond the tunnel, are 3 beds. It seems it is time for a much needed rest, until the next case comes along.The wise old one, the Vertical that sat to left corner earlier, looked back at the Writers, whom bade him goodbye, and gave a disapproving glare.


He turned to one of his peers, a younger Yama, with stoic features and a mole under his right eye and said, ?Why do we choose half-breeds as our writers anyway? Don?t these things become troublesome when they reach puberty, why not a proper Yama with education of the Yama Book of Laws?? The old one asked.


?Because the Book says so, our ancestors have observed this law, and sent one family in every 4 generations to become ?human?, and thus we will follow suit. I am surprised, do you not know?? The younger one answered, obviously aware of the situation.


?I had thought they were more?prude, like choosing Yamas because it is more correct a choice. The families, as I know, are never revealed, even to us, the Vertical Three.? The old one replied.


Another one, overhearing the conversation, said, ?Our roles are just, as per Yama law, it is not right to question the process of the selection of Writers, we will uphold them as long as we remain the Verticals to the people, it is time to rest, we have many new orders tomorrow. Good night.? He greeted, and dropped onto his bed, almost falling asleep within the count to three. Another remarkable demonstration of absolute Yama discipline there is that the Verticals can go to sleep as fast as they can wake when necessary or stay awake for long periods of time, sometimes even weeks.


The chamber fell quiet, and the other two followed and entered into slumber. A huge cloud hung overhead the old wise one, and as much as he pretended he can forget about it, his sleepless thoughts now hung heavily on his heart.The Writers have manipulated justice, he cannot sit around and watch it unfold into some greater threat.He must stop the Yamaxanadu boy.


« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 11:31:01 AM by Asphyxiated-Fairy »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 11:26:10 AM »
Chapter 3


It was raining back in the realm for the humans that are always busy about like bees, but on this kind of weather, people are usually silent.


Not surprising of course, the beads of water that slowly slide down the windows; the soaking wet umbrellas and the uniformed sound of drops in the drains and puddles all seem to dampen the spirit. To my father however, this is a happy time, to be pardoned so easily, almost too easily of his crimes against the Yama community; it is a miracle.


The house he is living in at current is none other than the small apartment belonging to the small personality he takes image of, Yamatashi the worker for the immoral firm of removing people from their homes. ?For the greater good? the motto of the company is, frankly, there is no greater good he can see, but rather the lack of it that drives him to feel guilt not normally felt by his kind.


There she was, waiting for him in the rain; that familiar smile, warm and opening, awaiting the small fraction of happiness that will descend.


?I am back.?


?Welcome home.? Two simple exchanges, just a matter of words, before they embrace each other.


?I was afraid you would have been gone??


?I know?I didn?t think you would be here?you could have waited the whole night, maybe days??


?I will have no regrets if I did.? She answered.


They say often that love stories have sad endings that make it even more endearing, but what can you say when it is two people who are from different worlds. Would this moment last? My father often wondered, and right, that question lingers in his mind like a worm, feeding upon him.

?I am back now?and I am free??


Normally, people would have been happy, but as he said this, he felt an uneasy feeling, a sort of worry maybe.


?I see you are happy now?Shiki.? A voice emerged from behind him.


It was Yoshigo, standing in the rain, with a white colored umbrella and a dull green woolen trench coat, the cold is abnormal, but he looked like he was ready for the arctic snow.


?Yoshigo, meet?Eiki, Eiki?this is the friend who helped me, he is Yoshigo.?


?Yoshigo Shingen, pleased to meet you Ms. Eiki, or should I say future Ms. Yamaxanadu.? Yoshigo bowed slightly to show his respect.


Eiki, my mother looked at him, and asked, ?Are you a Yama too??


?Very perceptive, that is correct. I am Shiki?s partner-in-crime, and the reason I am here is to uphold our deal.?


?What deal is that?? My father looked uneasy, will she get offended if he said it out?


?According to our agreement, if Shiki is free from his charges, I will come upon the land of humans and take upon me the burden of understanding humans and a human wife. I will be looking around soon enough for a human partner, just to sample the taste so evidently suggested and recommended by Shiki himself.? Yoshigo explained without restraint.


?You think this is a game? Yama-kun? Explain this to me!? My mother was angry alright, this wasn?t exactly the situation one would be placed in, especially not when relationships are at stake.


?No, Eiki, I didn?t, this was all his idea actually, I had wanted us to live together, and be happy together, not one moment did I think of this as some sort of game.? My father defended himself.


However, the flame was set, and my mother, despite nodding, seemed to not trust his words.


?Ms. Eiki, I assure you, this is exactly as he says and I am not defending him out of my position. I owe him nothing and this is my end of the bargain as I was in human terms, his lawyer. As we do not wish to border on the terms of monetary exchange or any forms of barter trading, we have decided to do this together.?


?What exactly happened?? My mother asked. Yoshigo simply nodded, ?Please, this is no place to talk of issues like these, we should go in, and I will explain it all.?



+++++



Indeed, he did explain, and my mother listened intently. True, she is a trustworthy woman, and this is a more than trustworthy man to believe in his words, despite all the strange circumstances may portray a very different image being so.


?You are saying this is all a test then, your elders have asked you to conduct a test of relationships among our two races so to record the potentials or the need for a new measure of law in your rulebooks?? My mother asked.


?Yes, that is a simplified version of it, I applaud your ability to understand it so quickly.? Yoshigo is almost bordering on insulting my mother?s intelligence. I always hated him for that, he is a good teacher, but also the worst one possible.


My mother simply turned away, facing now my father. ?Yama-kun, if this is a test, then when will you leave me again??


?When time ends, and that is not going to be soon, or much later.? My father seemed to quote from a book.


?Now? if you will excuse me, I believe I have a fianc? to find in this sudden ejection.? Yoshigo said, lifting his body up from the armchair, he headed for the door.


?I am sorry I dragged you into this, Yoshigo.? My father mentioned.


?Too late for that, we Yama adapt quickly. If you really want to compensate me, then help me understand humans, and why are they so difficult to deal with.? Yoshigo mentioned.


?Should you know that by now, after the 99 days of training??


?It was cut short remember? I have only been in the human realm for 20 days.? Yoshigo looked back and said.


?Let me then, I may know some friends who can help you.? It was my mother that offered this.


?Your huge offer is one hard to not accept, thank you, Ms. Eiki.? Yoshigo said, and promptly left the room.


?You are welcome.? My mother smiled, true that she is kindest soul out there.



+++++++



At about the same time, outside in the rain, where a stirring blast of cold wind blowing south is coming over; a large portal opened in the human realm behind an alley.

?Yamaxanadu? so this is where you are hiding? Why would you choose such a place to be?? The female voice said. The figure walked out of the portal and she was evidently beautiful, with pink luscious lips to match the cute oval gold eyes matching the lovely waist length green hair of pure verdant green.

?I have heard you wanted to marry a human woman, I can?t allow that?we have rules you know?? The woman said. As she finished, she erupted into green light, and from it, her shape and looks changed.


++++++
(some time after)

It was nearly 2 weeks now, and Yoshigo after being ?fired? from his position as a counselor and a Yama has been wandering from place to place, working as a reporter for a news firm, he has become quite his own icon at the firm. His reports are often accurate, and very in depth, customary of the writings of a Yama, completely attention-to-detail in each and every article, even regarding a missing kitten of an old lady. His co-workers have come to like him, but joked much about his too serious attitude that is getting him nowhere, but many of the ladies around the market area seem to think so otherwise.


At this time, he met a woman, her name is Aki Shinguji, and she was beautiful as well as worked for the firm as a co-writer of articles.


She has came as a host of new recruits two weeks ago like Yoshigo, and took an interest in Yoshigo?s cold character, believing he is an alien of some sorts thanks to the articles about rife government cover-ups that are very popular to be printed these days in tabloids. Of course, it is not that this newspaper itself is a tabloid of no mentionable worth, it is just a part of the package, every news firm does it anyway.


Her interest made her approach him, and through strange wordings of sorts, she discovered this man is indeed not quite human.


This night, something happened that would change the view of hers forever.


Yoshigo had to return to Higan, his mother seemed to have wanted to see him, a letter from a Higan messenger in the shape of an anonymous male from out of town has arrived to his doorstep this morning. The man has been waiting for the whole night, patiently so that when Yoshigo opened the door of his rented apartment, he would see the mysterious shrouded figure that quickly disappeared in smoke; leaving nothing but a letter behind in a dark green envelope sealed with Higan Yama ink, which is blood red and made of Higan flowers crushed and mashed.


?This is?? He picked it up, and there she was, the woman tailing him the two weeks before, hidden behind a corner of the small apartment hallway, staring at a distance.


Yoshigo acted cool, and promptly took the letter inside, locked the door behind him. He saw the woman, and he can recognize her. He is being stalked? why is that a colleague at his workplace is stalking him? This makes no sense.


Why should a colleague stalk him was simple, the woman is obsessed with Yoshigo, ever since she started working there, this woman, Aki has been looking at him with the eyes of a stalker, possibly a lovesick puppy of sorts. He noticed, but paid no attention, if this was the proof his training has paid off paving the way to his part of the Yama experiment as ordered by the Verticals, then it should be fine. He thought of it as hitting two birds with one stone, but at current, to realize the woman has been there, possibly since an unknown time this morning waiting for him to open the door and retrieve the letter from the messenger of Higan is a troublesome premise.


What if she knows he is not human? He cannot fail this task of experimenting with human contact, if he is found out, he must return to the Higan for punishment. As he dressed for work, a long sleeved shirt and draped over a brown trench coat suitable for rainy and cold weather; he worried in his head but did not allow his face to show.


He expected the woman to be standing outside now, possibly still waiting for his appearance.


As he pushed open the door, he saw no one from the corner of his eye. ?Strange?? Did he mistake the shadow of another resident for that woman?


?Looking for me?? The voice came, and it came from behind the other side of the door, which swings right. There, as he turned his head, the woman was clear in view, dressed in her work outfit, she was the beauty who attended to the co-writing of tabloids, Aki.


?Good morning, how can I help you?? Yoshigo tried to act cool, but his forehead broke out a sweat unwillingly.


?Show me who you are?Yoshi of the Gojima-Shingen.? This confirmed his fears, and he jumped back. How, how did she know? He never told a soul, could this be Eiki?s friend? Maybe a person who knows his friend, Shiki?


?Don?t you remember my face anymore? Yoshi-sama? You attended my marriage arrangement, and you yourself praised how beautiful I looked although such sentiments are useless in Yama cases.?


?Yes?I do?? But Yoshigo has no idea, he was just playing along, maybe he can silently call for help or something once she is out of sight; it is not that he needed to, but it is a crime to assault a human in Yama code of law.


?No, you don?t. Oh?might as well. Let?s go back in shall we?? Aki pushed him inside.




++++++



Inside, Yoshigo looked a while, trying to piece his memory of ever meeting this Aki before 2 weeks ago, surely there must be some mistake. However, she knows his real name, something fishy is there, but he cannot quite place his finger on what is it.


?Who are you, Aki of the tabloid section?? Yoshigo figured he should ask.


?You really have no idea? Isn?t my name obvious enough?? Shinguji? the name can be noted as a high class name, possibly royal in origin. Aki? not exactly a proud name, almost everyone has an ?aki? in there names, it was a popular character in Kanji writing.


?No??


?Sakihime! Oh you!? With that, Aki spun about, and from a glow of green light which caused the walls to tremble slightly, her true form appeared from within.


?Sakihime-sama! You!? Yoshigo exclaimed, another Yama right before his eyes, he should have smelled something different about her.


?Yes, me, I have come to earth for the second time, in case you have forgotten, I too am sent here to train since six months ago. I have yet to be given a position, but for now, I have much problem with what has happened between you and Yamaxanadu-dono.?


?That?is a secret, we are on an order by the Tribunal that is all I can reveal.? There is of course, no secret, the Jury would have spread rumors already on the hearing by now, and two weeks down the road everyone would have already knew what exactly happened. Surely, Sakihime herself could not have been unaware of the truth.


?Are you sure? Cause according to data I have scoured for, you are supposed to be on the counselor panel right about now, what are you doing on Earth?? Sakihime rebutted; Yoshigo was left speechless.


?I am ordered as supervisor of Shiki, what he does is risky and I cannot allow him to do the task himself.?


?Then what sort of task is it that you cannot let it in on me??


?STOP playing games, Sakihime-sama, you know this is none of your business? don?t you have to attend the meeting for young recruits before being sent to their respective places and districts?? Yoshigo tried to shift her focus a bit.


?Says the person who isn?t in Higan, I may be kind, but I am not stupid Yoshigo, I heard rumors, that Shiki has dumped me for a woman here on earth. This is a joke right?? Obviously at this point, it was clear who was the victim of all this. Shiki has been irresponsible? Or is it that the message was not relayed to her for fear of hurting her feelings? Don?t Yamas normally get this sort of thing settled through and through?


?Listen, Sakihime-sama, this is as far as you go, our orders are absolute, there is a reason we are here and there is a reason you should return to Higan, you cannot be here; you have a duty to accomplish. Please, before we all suffer unnecessarily at the hands of the Verticals, you must return to Higan.? Yoshigo tried to persuade her, and she did looked somewhat pathetic now, something was so wrong yet she knows nothing.


?It is true isn?t it? I am deserted, a fianc?, a runaway future husband?and he chose the woman over me!? I suppose you can say that even Yamas felt a little jealousy, this feeling right now must have felt that way. Although Sakihime and Yoshigo both did not show their expressions, not a smile nor a wink; one can almost certainly feel the pressure in the room, a familiar feeling of betrayal of trust. For Sakihime herself, such a feeling has hurt her once, and it is paining her now more than ever.

?Where is she?? Sakihime followed.


Yoshigo could feel the pinch now, this is troublesome matter, he cannot reveal this to Sakihime.


?By order of the Tribunal, I order you to return to Higan, Sakihime, do not force my hand. I have no intention to forcefully transfer you by ordering the Monochrome Guards.


The Monochrome Guards or Hei Bai Wu Chang in Chinese folklore, are the Guards of Hell tasked with the duty of leading spirits to hell like the Shinigami like Komachi which we employ to guide them to our thrones for judgment. However, they are also very different from the Shinigami in Higan. When summoned in Higan, they are the highest form of enforcers, capable of holding Yamas whom have yet to become judges down if they are troublemakers, or silence evil spirits with their loud howls that scare even the iron willed. The Monochrome Guards wear tall hats bearing Chinese characters (normally their names) and wears long robes which cover their entire bodies in solid black and the other white. They carry seals on their right hands, and sticks with pieces of cloth in their left hands. They have no features, but only a mouth with a snarl and a long tongue which is blood red in color and sticks out as long as to the middle of their chests and is sharply-tipped. Because Hell has its own special Yama that handles affairs of purgatory and each level of Hell on its own, the Monochrome Guards which are hardier than any Shinigami, they are responsible for bringing souls from any level of hell up or down as their duties there, and hence is resistant to fire, and is absolute in their tasks.


In desperate times, the Monochrome Guards also defend Higan from any insurgencies and are literally indestructible. Acts of corruption among highest of officials for example, can be subdued by the Monochrome Guards of Hell and Yamas like me must listen to them if they appear in Higan. In this case, Yoshigo is not joking when he is asking for the Monochrome Guards. Under their direct involvement, even if Sakihime resists, she will be taken back to Higan and forever be bounded to never get out of there ever again.


?You wouldn?t do that, Yoshigo, I know you too well.? Sakihime tried her luck.


?Don?t test me, I have told you what I needed to say and what you are authorized to know, if you do not leave now?trouble will not be just with the Monochrome Guards.? Yoshigo took it one step further.


With this, Sakihime, sensing her victory is at stake, moved out of the house, and disappeared into a portal.? Perhaps she has given up and gone back to Higan?? Yoshigo thought,  and closed the door. If only he hasn?t done that.



+++++++



Shiki, my father is in another part of the city, and here is also where his office is, where he works at thus far under the unscrupulous man who evicts the people from their homes.


He looked up, and there she was, Sakihime, the woman who came to him many years ago looking for a marriage arrangement. She was his fianc?, and here she is, in a place she shouldn?t be. The same questions flowed past my father?s head, ?why is she here??, ?doesn?t she have to go back to Higan and attend her position of duty??, etc. However, currently, something feels strange, Eiki is standing next to him and this woman, whose eyes are gold and skin is red as blood on soil, with green hair reaching down smoothly down her back to her waist; looks to be very angry indeed.


?Sakihime-sama!? My father blurted out.


?So it was true, I tried to ask Yoshigo?he wouldn?t confirm it, and this? this is why you have avoided me these many years??


?I have a special reason.?


?You fell in love with a lesser being.? Sakihime says, voice full of spite for my mother.


?Yes, I did?and you never did with me, if this is jealousy I sense from you, you should know better. Our relationship was an agreement, nothing more and nothing less? I have found something much, much more. If you are asking me why I stand here with her now, I can only say it is a part of the test of the Verticals.? My father answered.


?This is blasphemy! Surely you cannot imagine the Yama community to allow this!?


?With the Verticals at my side, I am free to do so as I wish. I am not here to argue with you, there is a reason why I am here, and that reason is what I will strive for. If you stop me, then we have every right to forcefully remove you and have you back in Higan.? Faced with such spite from left and right, even Sakihime can feel anger, and right now she is feeling the sting so badly tears are beginning to gather in her eyes.


?Yama-kun! How could you do this? She is woman for God sakes, stop this!? My mother suddenly interjected; bumping my father out of the way, she reached for Sakihime?s hands and grabbed them. You can say even when I listened to my father?s narration of this, I am surprised. Just a moment ago, it was Sakihime who commented her being a ?lesser being?; I take that as a larger insult than any to any species but my mother was clear on her grounds.

She pulled out a handkerchief and gave it to Sakihime, whom although hesitating, took it and began to wipe her eyes. She was hurt, and she was surprised? how can this be? A human woman who would pity a Yama whom have lost control of her emotions? Something as petty as an arrangement of marriage, there was nothing to lose control of her emotions over and yet she did?and this human woman is showing her the sort of respect a Yama would give to a fellow Yama?


Aren?t these the same species that constantly crave destruction? Aren?t they the rude and barbaric beings that constantly clamor for all the wrong happiness? How can this be?


?I?? Sakihime was speechless.


?Please? don?t say anything, come in and sit, we have much clouds to disperse between us.? My mother smiled and offered.


The rain kept on falling outside the apartment, and time seemed to freeze.



+++++++

Info:

The Guards of Hell
   Hēi B?i W? Ch?ng (黑白无常) - the guards of Hell who are tasked to lead the spirits of the dead to the Underworld after death. The White Guard and the Black Guard are in charge of evil and good spirits respectively. They are worshipped in some Chinese temples and are colloquially referred to as "D? Y? B?" (大爷伯) and "?r Y? B?" (二爷伯), which means "Great Grand-Elder" and "Second Grand Elder" respectively.


Yama Ink:
Ink used only to write official orders, are considered sacred and normally employed only by the highest levels of officials in Yama community.


18 levels of hell:
As depicted, the deeper one sins in their lifetimes, the deeper the hell they shall be going.


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♛ Apher-Forte

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2009, 07:05:47 AM »


   
I thought I should make it clearer this way: :V
Order of Hierarchy:
Hell: (by office not including various residents in Hell, including the Satori/Oni kind)

Verticals (Highest order)
^
Hell Judge (Senior Yama)

^
Monochrome Guards
^
Torturers (Responsible for torture of souls)



Higan:

Vertical Three
^
Elder Yama (Formerly from Hell & Retired Gov. Officials)<- Guards of Hell/Monochrome Guards
^
Senior Yama (Hell Districts Judges)<- Guards of Hell/Monochrome Guards
^
Yamas (Judges) [Shikieiki] [Sakihime (*current)]
^
Junior Yama (Judges/In training 99 days) [Yoshi & Shiki] + Shinigami (Higan only) [Komachi]
^
Juniors (training) [First Years]
^
Yama children/retired/not employed
[/]
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 07:11:34 AM by Asphyxiated-Fairy »
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♛ Apher-Forte

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  • *
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2009, 10:01:29 AM »
Chapter 4

_____


In the world of the Yama people and their community, morals meant everything to us, the method of teaching one?s children is all morally based in fact.


I grew up with those distinctive black and white teachings hammered into my mind. I was told that stealing is bad, and that is robbing another?s person wealth, and even dignity of oneself. I was told that the simple thought of skin contact is an illicit thought, that one should keep their distance where possible. The thought of humans around me were doing so freely, without abiding to a code of conduct is one that I cannot accept, at all.


It was the year of 1965, and I was born on this year to my mother, whom is a healthy 45 year old woman who waited patiently for my father?s work to end. My father became the Yama of District South of Vietnam. He was placed there approximately 12 years ago, 1952 January after he was promoted from Junior Judge or Apprentice to a proper District Judge.


I must stress however, it was no easy time and job. To date, despite the invention of the Black and White Judgment Mirrors, and the ease of using them to lighten the load of Judgment duties, the number of souls waiting to be judged at the Sanzu, coupled with those already in Higan is staggering. Today?s population according to informers or the trainees in the real world in their 99 days of training, is some 6 billion humans.


Can you imagine the workload of several hundred of Yamas to handle such staggering numbers?


In the year of 1500s or the 1600s of considerable older history, during times of kings and wars and chaos, the average Yama has to see through the souls of 4000 people a day in order to satisfy the numbers queing up for reincarnation. As it is protocol that one soul may be judged at one time, the average time for a soul to walk into the judgment hall is 2 minutes, 5 minutes to at least judge one soul, hear what they have to say, and end the session for the next immediately.


That if we shorten to approximately 10 minutes, is 144 souls a day. As you can tell, we are almost always severely backlogged. Over 100,000 souls sat waiting, lonesome, cold, vengeful, under the watchful eye of the Shinigamis and the Sanzu river guardians, normally in dashed robes and the Shinigami which are like the traffic police and agents of travelling the Sanzu river to the other side, which is where the Higan is.


As a Judge, my father was diligent, not only did he refused to use Judgment Mirrors, he proposed a rule to ban it outright for it is unfair to the souls. He has saved many, many souls from wrongful condemnation in other districts by writing protest and grievance forms which carry a lot of meaning in the Yama Council daily as he reviewed what other district Judges are doing. Yes, it is a bit of pseudo-bossing about, but his actions are warranted because since the Judgment Mirrors began their use, they were abused greatly even by the so called incorruptible Yama people.


Naturally, with this, he was on a fast track to promotion and notice. The Verticals that judged him before, were left with an impression that he should step back from all of this snooping about, but he couldn?t care less. Like his father before him, and like Sakihime herself, he believed the heart is where the judgment really lies. If one cannot understand the motive of the soul, where art the true justice be found?


It took 12 years, and when he has finally returned to the Earth, thanks to the disparity of our time in Higan and the difference of time progress in the human world, my mother is a middle aged woman of 45 whom waited many years, nearly 20 if I might add.


My father married her, with an official ceremony blessed by the Council, thanks to his notable work and administered by Sakihime and Yoshigo, whom are both slated for marriage as well although there is really no existent feeling between the both of them; it was a manner of duty to continue the lineage of both families. Oh and about Sakihime and my mother?s conversation that night? Let?s just say she calmed down and accepted her defeat, because even she knows my father sees nothing in her.


Soon after, I was born, and on October, when the leaves are down and the smell of autumn wafted the air in graceful softness; our family moved to the region of Kyuushu, where it is directly next to a gateway of Higan past an old train station.


My father did not see me when I was born from my mother?s womb, but he was there to hold me first before anyone else did (other than the human doctor). Originally, I was scheduled to born in Higan, as like all other Yama children the process should have been overseen by an elder Yama and a woman of the Yama clan. However, I was administered to be born in the human realm, and my father was happy, believing this is solely the prize of diligent work. Of course, I must stress, we Yamas don?t have prizes for hardwork; as a pseudonym once said, ?the hard work is the prize itself, and the journey is the reward.?


He named me after himself, Shiki, and added my mother?s name to back. As a child I was very happy to have the honor of inheriting names. Only certain families in the Yama community that are most prestige are reserved to carry names of their forefathers, in a sense, I am happy to be that.


I grow up normally, and by age 4 I can speak fluently and was considered a young prodigy by human standards thanks to my Yama blood. Thanking in part to my mother?s Kyoto blood, I am fair, and inherited only the rosy glow of my skin from my father along with his greenish hair. My mother insisted to blend in, and I was indeed the youngest child to get a hair-dye at 3 when the neighbors asked about it. I had black hair at this point, but my eyes were the distinctive blue that is unlike the both of my parents.

At age 5 I was taken back to Higan, my mother stayed back on earth. Of course, it wasn?t easy saying goodbye, but mothers are strong beings, they can hold back the strongest tides of tears, and she did hold hers well.


At the event of separation, I cried for her, but my father was resolute. Most Yama children say goodbye to their parent at age 3 or 4, considerably younger, and was ready to be subjected to intense Yama discipline.


In a sense, I simply stalled for as long as I can.


It was now 1973, and in Higan, that time did not matter much. My father left us again, after he has seen me complete my first year in Higan?s prestige Yama school, I was left to my own defense. True, we do not harbor human kindness, but we the children are also capable of competition, and competition was fierce.


What to compete for; State seats, those are the prizes. The highest scoring Yama children are awarded an audience with the elder of the Yama clans, the old judges of ages past, and judged within to be capable of becoming the judges of hell or not.


If you are lucky, one can go to the judgment room of the Enma level, yes, become the Enma, that is a post everyone wants. Imagine, enjoying the privilege of being a hell judge, instead of a district judge. One is given a much bigger home, one is given the luxury of almost all the time in the world, one is given the power to decide what levels of torture a soul deserves, one even commands respect from even the highest of the echelons.


When you are a hell judge, you get special treatment, even though the Yama don?t mention it, the small community I learned from knows that beneath the calm of the water, there lays a magnificent beast that struggles to rise above all others, standing tall, wavering its massive tail to swipe down the opponents and command them to step behind it.


Such was one of the children I know, I would not mention his name, but when he was struggling so hard that he literally died of exhaustion, I knew then there was no point to fight for something so dastardly difficult.


I knew, that it was pointless to join the fray, let them chew among themselves, I would not want to die. Already it was taboo enough the stares they give me, a child born from the blood of a human mother and a Yama father, I am no better than the dogs or bugs, or a maggot.


To them, I am a mere shadow, so I don?t make moves. Father has once and again asked me why I struggle so little, I have only my own opinion that I formed when I was 8 years old to tell him: ?They who do are eaten by the swarm they build, I shall await as the wise swallow, and swallow the last of the tyranny that is the mantis.?


My father agreed, and sort of left me to be, he didn?t need to be wise and advise me, he knew I was an exceptional child. Behind the veiled rooms of the faculty, the woman who runs the office that handles the scores given to the Yama children in private and a private ceremony for their ascension as each year passes to the next level of studies knows well enough. She knows me, she knows I am not ordinary child. I am not the Yama that is smartest, I am the one who can smile when needed be, I am the child who has the eyes of liquid blue, and from it reflect a true mirror image of sin and justice. I know my right from my wrong, and I know what to fight for is the true meaning of my work in the future.


You see, it is not strange that every child fights for their future career, but I know better, I knew that there will be chances later on, everyone has to prove themselves, not get the position simply because of grades.


When the day comes, I shall stand tall. That day came in 1982, it was my final day at the lines of study.


I am finally able to return to earth and see my mother, my birth mother whom I have lost contact for so long. It is my time to return to earth and take my training. I am a junior judge now, and my life has been pure and great.


I am the chosen electorate in 1980, the class president of sorts, whom have the power to order some students around, and I become the advisor of the student affairs board. I have proven myself above the Yama children who struggled to become officials, and higher posts they strive for have become theirs, but mine? I am a mere district judge, I am slated to be one, but I can make choices entirely my own in this age and time.


I am? what the children call, ?old fashioned workhorse?. Words can indeed be hurtful, but I stayed strong for the sake of my father, whom has by now ascended to legendary status, his feat of the 400,000 souls have been achieved quite recently and he was ready to call it done, he was ready to retire.


With me, we went on the summer of 1982 into the Verticals? chamber of judgment, to handle my father?s resignation as Yama and retirement. Honorable discharge would be the term but like all ranks, it is just another term for it.


?Shiki-dono, are you sure about this?? The Vertical, a young man about 45 years of age, clearly an early ascension that is undeserving and unwise for the post, spoke out loudly.


?Yes, I have done what I wanted to achieve, I want to spend the rest of my time with my family.? My father said, standing beside me, he held my hands tightly like he would all the time when I was younger, he gave me the confidence to walk ahead, and chase my target, my goal to the last drop of my will. His grip calmed me, before the Verticals I heard so much and all the horror tales of them beheading even the Yama elders for their wrongdoings, his voice kept me from trembling.


In his presence, I knew I can do everything.


?And? you know that you are a legend to us all, Shiki-dono, we need you? the Yama needed you.? Another Vertical, a tall and dark one, with skin as red as hellfire, clearly a mark of a hell judge who is about a hundred years older than the youngster sitting next to him said.


?Shienji-sama, I know more than that it is the people who view me as a legend, as myself, I am just like anyone of them out there, I have a life I wish to pursue, and I have a dream to go for.?


?What good are dreams if they don?t service the Yama cause?? The young one asked, a very communist view indeed, to the Yama, this would have been the perfect attitude for the ascension process. A personality that equals to none, a person who does not care for himself but for the greater good. Only some truly composed Yama can achieved that, and I have never understood how they could. I suppose it is only reasonable, because I am human, at least I believe I am.


?Then so be it, I grant you that request; on your daughter?s behalf, I shall appoint her however, to a different place. I believe I have that choice do I?? The much older Vertical spoke, sitting to the left, he looked like he was about to pierce my head and mind with his stare.


?W-What?? My father was somewhat taken aback.


?I believe in equal exchange, you came to us asking us to release you from duty because the Affairs Department demanded that you stay for a few more years, you were afraid that your wife may have been deceased after this long of your due service? of course, we wanted to have a small bargain ourselves as well.? The older one said, the third one to the far right just remained silent.


?But?have I not given to the community enough??


?Yes you have, but this is my special request, I hope you understand that a Vertical?s request is one of utmost rewarding, in return, I shall grant you the luxury of many generations won?t be able to afford, all I ask is to test your daughter in the field that truly matters.? When he said this, I am almost certain he harbored some private intent, but I also know Ascenders don?t have any feeling of private desires, this confused me greatly.


?Little Shikieiki, daughter to Judge Shiki, do you have something to say against this?? The judge turned to ask me quite suddenly.


?I?I am honored to accept your proposal, sire.?


?Shiki?? My father looked at me, rather surprised.


?I am your daughter, father, I have survived against the odds more than once, more than ten times, even hundreds if not more have come for me, talked down to me, and yet I have raised my head above drowning swarms of voices against me, against you? I have grown my wings, and they are hardened now, father? please?? I made the resolve to stand, and I smiled back to him. Father knew, that he cannot protect me forever, he may love me much, but he won?t use protection as a reason to hinder me.


I know that for a fact, and I looked back at the Vertical with eyes full of resolve.


?I see you have eyes of your father, Shikieiki of the Yamaxanadu clan, then with this, you shall receive a letter by tonight on your station, when you depart for earth, that is where you shall go. Show the letter to the men who will carry your wagon to the place.? The Vertical said, as always, the stern face really hardly could twitch even when talking, as he finished, he left the room.


To my side, I noticed that in fact Uncle Yoshigo was there, in the shadows. To this day, he has remained a district judge, perhaps in a desperate attempt to share the burden with Sakihime, he was in Gensokyo for a long time.


Today, however, he took some time off to see me.


?My my? look at how Shikieiki-chan has grown? she is all woman now.? Yoshigo said, his voice these days carry human emotions, happiness, sadness can be detected on him. They say spending too much time in a presence of a woman pollutes minds, but then again, there is no reason to keep one too sterile now should they? I always questioned this, and in him I sought the inspiration I need to keep smiling for those people I know and care for.


?Don?t tease me, uncle.? I said in reply.


?Oh but you have, you have graduated, I watched you since young, and I knew you were such a good student.? He took a pause and patted my head, ?To see you graduate, it makes me proud because I have no daughter, to me, you are like my daughter too.?


His words are indeed filled with kindness, not the usual coldness one would expect from Yama people.


My father looked a bit distraught however, he looked worried.


?Father, please calm yourself, I am sure the Verticals have no malicious intent, they must have designed a training fit for a person of my level of intelligence instead of the run of the mill 99 days training!? I said, smiling a bit.


?I suppose, but when they ask for something it is normally not easy to cope with, did you notice how silent the third of the Verticals, Seisenhou-sama is? He usually is the one to talk.?


?You are making sound like they are ganging up against me, what good could they possibly gain from that?? I jeered, we are walking out of the hall as we spoke.


?Nothing I suppose, but yet, I fear a challenging training time awaits you, one that would have you struggle at the edge of your humanity, your morals will be crushed, and your heart will hurt, and your mind be tortured? humans are capable of cruel things, and there exist work crueler than even the torturing of souls in the endless levels of hell down below.? My father said, he has been to hell before, he has seen how things work.


More so, I feared now because whenever he says something, more often than not, it can be rather scarily true.


Yet, the thought of being able to see my mother was an lightening feeling, I feel wafty already, being able to see my mother again? what would her reaction be? To see the daughter that left her since she was four, now a grown up woman, (despite my rather petite size), now standing before her?


Would she be so happy that she would shed tears?


?I am sure your mother must be waiting to see you.? My father said, offering some dosage of comfort now instead.


Tonight, the ferryman shall take me to the other realm.

I shall not fail against the tides of fate.


I shall stand taller than all and everyone else.


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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2009, 07:55:49 PM »
Chapter 5

(a fateful meeting...begins here)


At the station, which doubles as my dormitory during my study period, a letter sat waiting for me in the dark, across the table, the envelope gleams in white.


I felt a small tremble shaking into my hands, I am sure this would be of no surprise, it should be a difficult assignment, a preacher maybe? Preaching lies to the children of those who think just by believing they can be pardoned of all their sins. A drug lord?s lackey perhaps? Doomed to see the works of the devil delivered to each and every addict, dooming them further to a broken life, shattered by the substances they would kill to inhale, even just for a moment?s joy.


The tingling sensation I felt coming from my hands, trembling a bit still as I opened the envelope won?t stop. I felt a magnitude of fear as though I have never felt it before, the hairs on the back of my neck and the small ones lined on my arms, all stood, goosebumps grew as I read the first sentence.


?To Shikieiki of the Yamaxanadu Clan,


Congratulations, you have completed your training at the Yama academy of prefectural  two, your scores have been most satisfactory, and with result, granted permission to access the training of district judges. Your responsibilities have already been stated in the previous admission letter, thus, your immediate action would be to meet the Shinigami ferryman whom shall be your partner in the upcoming employment as a district judge. Your services are most valued, and once more, be aware of the three laws of the Yama people, I look forward to your performance at the end of your training and your feedback.


The Vice-chancellor of the Academy
(Signed)?


As I read this, I find it strange that the letter unlike my peers, has no location, there was no time stating when the ferryman will meet me, my yet to be unveiled partner to be; nor was there anything on who I shall become or take position as!


I frantically looked inside the envelope, turning the page to the back in order to see if there was any letterings there or the sort.


In the dark, I had not been able to see it, but there it was, with whatever a glimpse of candlelight which I quickly lit, I found it, letters within the folds of the envelope. They were folded back behind a black sealing tape of sorts, and barely visible.


I proceeded to tear out the envelope slowly, opening the edges first to uncover the first line of text.


?Shikieiki, if you are reading this, then it means you have passed the first stage of the secrecy test. Know that your location has already been informed to your father, but it is false information. The reason is simple, your mission as of now, is to be trained under the direct regime of the Verticals, the three of us, will judge your performance personally.


Before you, outside your window now as, standing there in the opposite side of the street, is your future ferrywoman, she will be your delegated partner, and in this mission, a special permission has been granted that you execute your training with her as your associate. Note that she will be your only means of communicating with us, and that all you say, or hear, will be passed to her in the highest of security and privacy when it comes to official training matters. She will be our eyes and ears, and because of that, we expect you to perform fruitfully.


Your location of training is in Iran, at the borders, your position is a military doctor. Your permissions and knowledge will be given to you by your partner, once the pill scroll of memories is consumed, you will assume the identity of this once deceased person and execute his duties.


At the end of your training which is 99 days in total, we would expect to see a detailed report of what your training has in effect to you.


Be wary, Shikieiki, for that in time you will realize that this mission is no ordinary task, and that much hardship await you. If you forfeit this and relay this letter back to us through the ferrywoman, I shall not blame you, as no one deserves this sort of torment even under the regiment of our supervision. However, if you succeed in making it back alive and well, I shall grant you what is in fact, the greatest luxury of all. As for what it is, I shall not mention now.


Signed, Shienji Housousokan, Vertical of the First.?




++++++


For a while, I just stood there, gazing at the letter under the light of the flickering candle, my shape trembling casting shadows over the wall that seems just as well dancing in a strange excitement. Is it excitement I felt? Or fear?  I feared what was to be done, this sounds like nothing my peers have all referred to. I know I was to be different because of our talk earlier in the day with Shienji-sama in the Vertical Judgment Hall, but this is a new level of fear.


Awe even, I wondered what was it? I felt the fear rose up my spine because it is a doctor, in a war zone, doctors are saints. How hard can it be? I can be in an easy position! I can save lives, people who need help are normally the most honest, all they want is to live, and I have that option.


I will grant them all that I am? I even have a partner to help me!


What surprise! I was indeed looking forward to it.


I ran to the window of my 3rd floor station, and down I look to the other side of the street, and there she was, standing under the pole of a paper lantern, waving back at me.


I didn?t get a good look at her face, and she was dressed in the white shinigami-fuku which resembles what is normally won by those who will behead a person who has committed seppuku. It has a huge V-neck design that opens down to the bottom of her navel, normally won inside is a whiter or completely black piece along with a sarashi to complete modesty?s sake. At this far however, I am certain that I saw her without it, both of them, the white inner vest and even a sarashi.


Under the poor light, her cleavage seemed to cast shadows over the lower half of her body, I was stricken almost immediately by envy of sorts, despite usually not being able to feel such things. I had a feeling this is also the night I hit puberty, quite lately to be said.


In the poor light, I closed my door, and headed to the stairs, I am eager to meet her despite my mind lingering on those huge well-endowed bosoms that seem to transcend dimensions of feminine beauty to absolutely lewdness because of how she left them barely concealed for all to see.


There she was, standing there, waving again, this time with a clear smile.


She had two ponytails by the side of her head, and was quite tall, perhaps around 6 feet, with shoulders broad as a fitting degree for a woman of her stature. She had a glistening white smile that showed much innocence despite her exposure levels of her body?which my mind ashamedly lingered back to rather pathetically. She had eyes that almost seemed to glow with light from the paper lantern above our heads, and her voice was one of a grown woman. She sounded coarse, complete with an southernish accent layered over it in a booming volume.


?Ah?hi! You must be Shikieiki Yamaxanadu-sama! Nice to meet ya! How ya do?!? She said loudly, grabbing my hands with both her own, I can immediately feel her warmth of character and body temperature passing through, and smelling the smell of alcohol normally associated with shinigami ferrymen.

?Yes? indeed I am. Your name is??? I realized the letter did not state who she is.


?I am Komachi, Onozuka Komachi, you can call me Komachi, drop the honorifics. We are partners now, friends good friends!? She smiled widely in a massive grin that seemed to spread across to either side of her face to the ears. All this time as she held my hand, like a giggling little girl excited over an adult handing over pocket money, she shook them up and down, jiggling her massive upper endowment that made me stare.


?Yah~~~da~~! Shikieiki you are so ecchi! I didn?t know you are swung that way?! Ahahahah!? She laughed out a replied, still carrying a grin wider than her face can seem to handle.


I broke out a sweat, and in cued panic even, I swung her hand away and held myself, ?Ah no! NOOOOOO, this is not what you think it is? it is just?.lewd? why are you dressed like that? Where is your full uniform?? I am almost certainly convinced she didn?t do it on purpose, I have only seconds to realize I was so dumb in thinking that.


?I pawned it!? She replied, and a sudden burst of anger came to my head drowning out my embarrassment.


?YOU WHAT?!?


?I pawned it, it was for good sake, I have some left, want some? This is the stuff from the Oni region breweries, it is hard to get here you know!? She looked so optimistic, entirely believing there was nothing wrong with her walking out of Shinigami community area down to the dangerous Old Hell area where Onis used to live in with the Satori, and where the entry funnel of souls are that erupts from the Underworld Palace is. It is said all sorts of misfits and youkai gather at the Underworld Palace, and around there, surrounds some of the most ferocious creatures ever known to humankind. They say they harbor dastardly plans to conquer mankind above ground, and even have the power to destroy entire mountains and such. To the Yama, that is like the cowboy town, no rules apart from kill or be killed.


For a mere Shinigami to walk openly there, going to an Oni brewery, pawning her inner vest for sake! WHAT?! What is the meaning of this? Aren?t I on a special mission where a special partner will be assigned to me to report to the Verticals? She doesn?t look like a special partner, she hell as well don?t act like one! My mind flushed over with all sorts of questions, but there standing above was the hint of anger that exploded from out of my mouth as my words came out from them.


?What were you THINKING? Are you NUTS? Just because of sake, you pawned what is rightfully a property of the Shinigami clan for something that trivial? And only one bottle of sake at that?! Have you no sense of duty? That uniform is your pride, it is your clan?s pride! It is your honor, not some pawnable thing you can just throw away like that for a sudden desire to fulfill your drinking wants!? I chided, I never believed I could lecture this way, consider I spent my school years and academic periods in utter silence, or sometimes feign ignorance to avoid trouble. This girl? this shinigami? she just drove me off the ledge like she was a natural at it. I only learned in due time that it is all a part of her nature.


What she said however, was quite unremorseful to be said the least.


?Awwww? don?t be such a prick, look, I can understand if you don?t like that, but fact is, we are gonna go to a place totally hot as hell, bullets flying everywhere I heard, and although we can?t die by them, we sure ain?t gonna wear these duds out there when we land. We won?t have any use for them, plus? I am still dressed, it is not like I am walking naked now am I? There is no law that states I cannot show a little of these?? She placed her arms under her bosom, and juggled it, wobbling the two bulges of feminine endowment of plenty before me? I could feel the steam from within my head struggling to get out like an exploding geyser blocked by a block of granite.


?You?you have no idea what is honor do you??


?And don?t you know how to relax, Shikieiki??


?Oh by shame, since when did I give you the right to call names by first names basis?!? I yelled.


?Oh, so you wanna be all high and mighty now? Well, we only just met, Miss Pouty Lips, and I can tell I don?t like you very much!? She took a chug from her sake bottle, and threw her head back to swallow down the alcoholic liquid after she finished.


I turned around, I am convinced she isn?t the one, I wanted to go down to the office, and request for an audience, I need a change of partners? no way in hell am I gonna mix with this woman?


?Hey, where are you going??


?It is not your business anymore, shinigami Komachi Onozuka, I am doing this alone!? I know, that usually they do it alone anyway, my father was like that, Uncle Yoshigo did the same, so did Aunt Sakihime, they all did it alone. I don?t see some frail minded shinigami to tag along, and if I was required to, I am sure as hell not going to have her around. She doesn?t even look like an shinigami.


She is tall, beautiful, skin smooth as buttered cream, scotch colored, hair so beautiful and smooth as silk with a bit of mess between the ponytails, she looks inappropriate, acts to friendly with strangers and worse still? she seem to have not a sense of discipline. None of these features she carries are the sort that normally apply to the solemn Shinigamis, they are silent, and often carry this deadly stare of a wizened man or woman, and here she is, some beautiful young greenhorn that looked like she couldn?t care less of her duty.  I cannot possibly be assigned with her; surely there must be a mistake somewhere! Surely? I can request for someone more responsible and compatible.


?You can?t! I am told to come here and fetch you to the human world, as it is, you are late already!? She protested, and began walking to chase up behind me quickly.


I walked still, ignoring her cries of protest and reasons.


Suddenly, without warning, her strong grip took me by surprise, and like a mantis snapping on to her prey, she wouldn?t let go. I was surprised, such a womanly feature, despite tall, she is slender and a body like that of a model, perfect by all standards; she had the strength that almost rivals my father?s strong grip.


?Oh! UNHAND ME THIS INSTANT, KOMACHI ONOZUKA!? I yelled at her, eyes of mine full of anger, only to see hers was not filled with anything like that at all? in fact, she looked forgiving somehow.


?No, until you calm down, I won?t let you go. ?


?I am quite calm until you decide to grab me, let go this instant!? I yelled a reply again.


?Well, if you ain?t gonna do it willingly, then?? With one forceful push, she pushed the sake bottle to my lips, and with a chug, a whole load of alcohol like that I never tasted before and loathed it from a distance came swimming down my throat.


Due to my position, I couldn?t help but swallow it, and like a whale would to open its mouth in water to feed, I felt the burning hot and cold sensation travel down my insides.


I was? drinking! MY LORD! I am drinking, can you believe what just happened? A Yama does not drink, those are desires owned by the lesser Shinigami group, or Oni, but a Yama does not drink, it affects judgment calls, it toys with emotions and embarrass people after one goes drunk, and here I am chugging it down.


?WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!? I shouted, anger to the max now, it is hitting the barometer point where it read ?I am about to punish you so bad you are going to wish you are dead!?


?Well, I dare you to try, in case you wonder, I am assigned to you and that is final?that old man in the office told me you are a nice little girl so I went along with it? they didn?t tell me you just putting a front and down beneath you just some whiny brat who can?t wait to sit their asses on a goddamn judge throne like the rest of those good for nothing graduates?I should have known better than expect a good something to turn out, heck, I thought I?d make a new friend for once who ain?t an Oni, a Satori or a ghost, bloody nuts!? She pushed a finger onto my collar and said, her complaints are indeed very valid of course, I mean, I did get angry rather quickly didn?t I?


I have never gotten than angry before, why did I do that? Am I not usually calm, is it because I am going out there soon, back to my place, earth, a home I was born to that I am overly excited and allowed it to swim to my head? What was I thinking, she can do whatever the hell she wants with that uniform and it be no business of mine! She gets punished if she is found out, but I don?t have to be responsible for her! What was I getting all worked up about?


I took a few deep breaths, and with them I calmed myself.


I bowed slowly, very gently down before her.


?Ah?Komachi-san?I?you are right, I dunno what got into me, maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it is just me being excited?I got mad at you for no reason, I am sorry?I??


?Hey, no problem, Eiki-san?? She changed her direct calling to include honorifics now, except now she is calling my mother?s maiden name instead with affixes?which is strange, was my name that hard to call out entirely? ?Look, I think we got off on the wrong foot, and I am sorry too?I had a bit to drink and frankly, it has been one helluva day, I just spent five hours walking from here and Sanzu River earlier in the day down to the office where they told me some old man is waiting for me at the lobby? shit was weird as no Shinigami gets called out on a lazy day like today, Sunday to an office before?? She paused and pointed to the direction from which she must have came from.


?That there, the Shinigami Affairs Department, they say they have some sort of work for me, so I went there?and I was half asleep they ask me to don on my best uniform so I did? it was damn hot walking all the way there? 2 hours later I decided that waiting for you until you came back was just wayyyyyy too wasting of good time so I went down to old hell, walkin? too. I was tired you know, when I came back here, and sitting there drinking the stuff, I thought?.how could I be this unlucky you know? I just ferried them souls, I am not here to do all this training and stuff?I mean what sort of Yama needs me to be a partner? I never done nothing serious enough to do that.? She went on and told her side of the tale. As much as it is, she seemed lazy, but then again, what is there to look forward to for Shinigami? They never get promotions, their whole lives are ruled over by the Yama council, the offices that handle their affairs are run by Yama people, and frankly, they are like second class citizens.


Of course, anyone would get depressed right away if they were born into a family of Shinigamis, but for her, to stand before me, granted some strange task right now she probably has no idea of what is the content in general detail; must be hard to accept.


?Look?I?I have a feeling that we both are unsatisfied with things you know, but I don?t think you are a bad person. You may not seem to be a responsible one though?in my opinion at least, I think we can iron those quirks out and we can succeed together?maybe if we are lucky you can become my ferrywoman, and we will have a nice place to share our work with!? I said in reply, forcing a smile at her.


?Oh?that is a good start?I suppose it is okay?I mean, you know us, we Shinigami ain?t going nowhere nice like you guys do, in fact, I don?t think I ever been to the earth before, have you been there? They say your mother is a human, dat?s true too?? She asked, like an excited child she wore an inquiring look full of innocence. I could tell at least by some degree of human instinct she is a kind and good person, and that perhaps, just perhaps, I can rely on her after all.


?Good?look, whatever the case, you say we are late, we should get going.? I said.


?Sure, this way, my boat should be nearby.? She said, drinking from the bottle again. Although I don?t like her doing that, at least it seemed we must allow each other some space to breath. I haven?t ever made a friend before since I came here so it was one lonely childhood, I guess father was right when he said I needed to see thing differently and learn to accept them. I decided already I have to accept this mission from the Verticals, there is no reason to assume establishing relationships with a future Shinigami who could be working for me is not one of the agendas is there?


I understood, after a moment?s thinking, that not all is what it seems.


One must indeed be prepared in both states of mind. To expect the expected, and the unexpected; that is the key to success.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 08:02:46 PM by 名無の妖精さん »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #9 on: August 26, 2009, 02:04:54 PM »
Chapter 6


_________



The boat was parked beside a dock at the edge of the Sanzu River, where it connects to the other part that is the Shinigami township, and further beyond, the exit to the human world. In between here and the upper zone which is the realm where all the district judges must go to attend to their courtrooms and matters is a small restaurant of sorts, operated by a shinigami. ?Gramps? they call him, even us Yama addressed him as so, an old Shinigami who is well over 300 years old and manages the little lot, selling alcohol, and snacks to the ones who are about to depart.


Souls don?t normally eat, but then again, they do feel hunger from the residual senses of the human body. Sudden death ones that didn?t understand they are already dead are especially violent because of their hollow stomachs, and this man is here to provide that service, for free to the lost souls. As one might say, it is no longer a business since the time when people no longer carry with them offerings to the dead realm.


In the old days before I, or even my father, families used to bury their dead with some coins or burn paper offerings in the shape of coins marked with the hollow square in the center of the papier-m?ch? coin made of old newspapers dyed in gold or yellow paint. Inside the coins are normally incantations, or wordings that translate to Shinigami currency made in human hands. These days, such things are forgotten, and the old ways of writing these small incantations are lost to the younger generation. These days, the trend would be to bury the body with smallish rites that appease the soul but don?t help them pass easily to the next world.


In the past, they normally carry with them those paper coins, knowing they will have to pay the ferryman the fee to transport them to the Higan and the judgment rooms, and knowing this will be the last friend they will ever make on the way there. These days, paper money serves as an extravagant currency that is used by the dead souls to purchase certain luxuries, like clothing for example. Some who are lucky even get houses and cars and such, but those are useless as no one drives in the dead realm, nor are they able to access it, houses are even worse, known to be completed burned by the time they were here due to the high heat around the edges of the Underworld. Plus, as it is, no souls are supposed to have anymore luxuries in this place, when one is dead, one is detached from material desires, and the very thought itself to have them is a sin on its own.


I was amazed at the place myself, I have never been here. Most of my days were spent on school grounds, and when I am not, I would be in the library and offices, handling matters totally on voluntary basis.


To see this shady side of the river, where a man stood standing, still naked, quivering with confusion; a soul who is dead but may not know he is dead yet? I felt a distant sense of strange alienation. It was as though I was trapped in a world very foreign to me.


?Where are you taking me? Where am I?? The man asked, quivering lips shaking and trembling.

?The halls?? the Shinigami responsible for him said in reply, solemn and without answering at all to his fear or confusion. This is what most shinigami are like, cold and without much of a response, which is why my initial impression of Komachi was very different.


?Calm down, stranger?? I walked up to him and said, he seemed ashamed a girl is looking at him, standing naked in the open; he probably was like that since he was dead. ?You are not alone here, where you are going to, there are a lot of people like you, you must stay calm, and all shall be over soon?the pain, the hurt, the confusion you had when you are alive, will be gone.?


?Am?am?I dead?? He asked, bright one this soul is.


?Yes, unfortunately, I am sorry to inform you?you are slated for judgment, and if you have not sinned and lived a life of virtue, you shall be rewarded handsomely? do not fear, and accept what is coming soon.? I said in answer.


?I?I?? He trembled, fear spread in his eyes, ?I ? I still have so much to do?I didn?t tell my daughter?she?she is waiting for me to pick her up at school!?


?I am afraid with death, so does relations with others get cut, from here on, it would in the best of your interest to reflect on your life, and prepare your reasons. Judgment shall be given fair and without prejudice or corruption. May peace be with you, stranger??


His eyes looked teary now; he wanted to go home, to life where he belonged at one point. No one understands death more than us do, we who are surrounded by it, and live within the world of those who pass through life and emerged here?


I quickly picked up my pace and stepped onto the boat, tied to the side of the dock with a single rope. It was a beaten one, water markings spread across all over, the wood was somewhat damp, and a musk was prevalent. I could tell Komachi did not like to keep her boat clean for the passengers, or that she cared enough to do that. I tossed aside what seemed to be a book of scriptures, normally carried along in the boat for those who are repenting if convinced that they are dead.


As I sat down, my mind drifted back to that man?s words. The ghost who became just now, trembling with his words lifted out of his mouth as though his lips were just doing what they think is right; speaking without thinking? his eyes was filled with sadness as I left him, the shinigami pulled him along.


I wondered about his daughter, he must have been involved in an accident, maybe in a car, or a bus. He may have been hurt so badly he did not even knew what hit him. In life, one knows that there are one too many ways to die, some realize death at the moment they feel life seeped out of one?s veins, some never saw it coming, others walk away with fear, others accepted it.


I wondered how his family must have felt, such a poor creature? doomed to not say goodbye to his kin. If only he had a chance to go back and say goodbye, even as a ghost, it would mean something for him, but no; we cannot let him do that. The Monochrome Guards made sure of that, their smaller counterparts would come for them; they would guide them to their rightful place of belonging.


I wondered sometimes how exactly all this fits in.


?Eiki-san, are you alright?? Komachi asked as she lifted the rope off the docks, and pulled it inwards, oar in one hand placed to the right of the boat.


?Ah?? Ah, yes, I am?I am fine.?


?Was it that ghost earlier?? She seemed to notice and asked.


?Yes?I am afraid I let my emotion swam up again?I promised father that I would have a personality of stone, it seemed I am not very fitted for the actual job despite being cold to my fellow peers before?perhaps I am easily affected by words, I am not a very good candidate am I?? I answered, eyes looking away for a moment.


?It is fine really, I mean, it is good you feel something, I think I would like that you feel something more about them you know? I mean?I am not doing your job of judging, but sometimes, people die for reasons, I think you gotta feel the emotions they feel, their reasons to understand how to best judge them.? Komachi gave me some advice, I am almost inclined to agree, except I felt a bit of a disdain instead, wondering what a shinigami like her is lecturing me about my job?


?Would this take long? The journey?I mean?? I asked, changing the subject.


?Nope, we would be there in 10 seconds?? She smiled, and then from her eyes as she turned to look at the distance of the Sanzu River?I saw them glowing bright red.


It felt like for a moment, I grew wings or something, it felt like I was travelling without actually moving, my being warped forward in intense speed. Everything around me blurred, wind seemed to become nothing and the water seemed to be at a standstill, my entire being seemed to become like an arrow, piercing into air at such speed that I cannot see where I am going.


?We are here!? All of sudden, just like that, I was snapped out of my journey, and Komachi smiled down to my confused self, looking like she has just completed something.


It was indeed real. Beyond the shore is another dock, where what looked like millions upon millions of souls gathered there, looking bewildered, lining up in endless lines and columns that will each take them to another endless line of shinigami ferrymen, doing their work to ferry them from one shore to the next. Their moans, their groans, their desires, their voices of confusion filled the air in an endless emporium of voices and noise in purgatory. It is almost like as though I was standing among them even though I am clearly a few hundred meters away from them, from the other part of this shore where I am now about to meet the two gatekeepers of this side of the shore.


Two great beings, each around 9 feet tall came forward, carrying massive weapons which are their halberds. One had the face of a horse, but a torso of a man; the other had the face of a bull, a fierce snarl lined its face as if to show his discontent. They were both dressed in tattered loincloth, and their bodies resemble giant sculpted statues, complete with muscular frames unachievable by man, arms each as large as a normal person and fingernails that are sharp and piercing. They looked down to us two.


?Hey guys, how?s it going?? Komachi greeted casually, grinning, not at all feeling the pressure that these two guards are giving her.


?We are the guards of the Sanzu exit, what business do you have here?? One of them with the bull?s head answered, it has a human voice, loud, and scarily baritone.


?I am Candidate Yamaxanadu, these are my papers.? I handed one of them of my small envelope, which they took between their fingers that seemed as large as my head. Indeed, with these two around, no soul can try to break past and get back to earth, I am fully convinced that unless they never came here in the first place by not following the guiding voice; there are no such things as spirits that escaped from this side of the shore.


?Hmm?the papers?, it says here you are with a partner, is it her?? I shown them the letter of the academy, not the other one that is the envelope itself, naturally, they asked.


?Yes. She is Shinigami Onozuka.?


?Yes, we know, she is quite notorious here?she once tried to ferry a soul across this gate, and she stuck a carrot up my nose.? The horse headed said, looking at Komachi rather angrily.


?She what?!? I looked at Komachi, snarling at her, my face clearly asked ?what the hell did you do to these good men?!? She looked away, whistling the typical ?I didn?t do a thing? tune.


?I guess they must have decided to punish her to send her up there?damn humans are bags of dirt out there? I heard things.? The bull headed one folded the letter delicately with his surprisingly dexterous fingers and placed it into the envelope. He bent slightly and passed the envelope back to me and gave me what seemed like a stern smile?forced on his face and partially blocked by his large smile.


?I apologize for my partner?s behalf, I had not known?I would listen to your full story and punish her if at all necessary, but I hope you would forgive her little prank, she didn?t know any better?? I said, my voice a bit of a tremble inside.


?No, it is okay, we don?t treat everything like it was the end of the world here, you should go, you are already late. Good luck, kiddo.? They turned, and snapped back into silent guard by the sides of the Sanzu exit. Halberds in hand, their stared into a distance, quiet and unmoving. From where I am standing it looked like they are large unmoving statues situated next to the gate, but I know, they are just doing their job. As I walked up front, one of them looked at me and said; almost whisperingly so, ?Be careful, the mind is a fragile thing that easily breaks.? A moment of worry must have dressed my face, but I shrugged it off and walked on.


I gave Komachi a nod, and she followed me into the gate.


?Don?t cause any more of this?that is very irresponsible behavior?Komachi.? I said as I felt the light engulf me and instantly, I could tell I am merging into the real world, the human world.


Komachi must have said something, but I no longer hear anything else.




+++++++++



When I opened my eyes, I found myself standing in front of a battered room, and in front of me is a mirror. Broken, and situated inside a cabinet, which is made of wood, and the soft smell of rot that encircles the wet furniture about made it clear this would not be a happy journey, I expected as much.


I turned my head to face the window, momentarily not noticing the short breaths I was taking as the view seeped into me. This place, this room, would be what I would soon have to call home, it would be my heaven, my refuge, the madness comes and I shall hide myself here. I know I sounded cowardly but when I tell you what I saw, there is no amount of courage that can bring me to stand steady if were not Komachi there holding me by my shoulders.

I still remember her words, she said to me softly by my ears, ?Be steady, for this will be where our wills are put to the test.?


What had I done to deserve this? Was it because I was human? Maybe because I am not as good as I should be in my studies, whatever the case I have no business being placed this madness. The pain that seeped into my mind, the blood that covered the floor, the hurt that echoes in the people?s voices.


I didn?t wait, my first thought was the young man, barely 20 years of age at best, sleeping with a rifle next to his best or rather just lying there choking desperately for filtered air through his hole ridden lungs, which are clearly bullet wounds from a high caliber weapon. He grabbed his sheets, his blood flowed to his cheeks and onto the pillow he laid on, the bed posts trembling to his shaking, he is going into cardiac arrest from the pain!


I rushed outwards, catching Komachi with me, my head filled with implanted knowledge of a medic, capable of handling many wounds and execute surgery on the most desperate of diseases? or so I thought. I know the procedures: ?give him stabilizers, calm him; anesthesia on the local wounds, but not too deep to keep his lungs functional, painkillers to douse the pain as I dig out the bullets; sterilize and then blood transfusion. If needed be he needs to stay alive with adrenaline.


?Komachi, get me that needle, 30ccl of stabilizers now!? I readied myself, putting on the plastic gloves and hearing faintly the voice of Komachi amid the screams of horrible pain surrounding me. In my line of vision now, all I can see was saving this man?s life. I must.


Stabbing him with the syringe, I injected the pure clear liquid dosage of stabilizer drug into him, prompting a ?ooooh? sound from him, but it wasn?t pleasure, rather, just a reaction. To him, the needle must have felt like a bullet smashing deep into his arteries, the liquid reminiscent of the drilling one feels as the bullet chases into the skin of the organ and into the organs itself, destroying every precious function of the rightfully gracious organs of the body.


I found myself praying, I don?t know to whom, the feeling was not one of familiarity with me. Remarked above my head is an empty Spartan wall, white washed with paint only so remaining because it was the base coat, mold grew from between layers of it. I prayed, and I prayed hard inside me, my hands trembling to keep stable, and I tried to stabilize the trembling as desperately as I pushed a small pincer designed for extracting bullets out of delicate areas with precise movements, careful not to cause anymore damage by moving too much.


One came out, followed by another as I pushed into the fleshy red wound and opened it slightly to the side; this eases tension on the flesh, the nerves connected to it would better receive treatment if the wound is not infected.


Short of time, the man begin to go into seizure again, foaming with blood in his mouth as every breath become a terrible pain to take. He did not open his eyes, he was afraid to stare death in the eyes?if only he knows there is one here now, taking medicines from cupboards to help him stay alive. His hands fidgeted, I quickened mine so to extract the bullets faster.


I was worried, my heart jumped with every moment of thoughts, as though a million of them were passing into my mind at exact untimed intervals, they each had a voice and no sane mind would find the right moment to listen to one when a thousand of them sounded together in unison like white noise, the horrible pain in my mind rose further.


I hadn?t notice, but the man had so many scars on his face, so young?.yet so lost it seems as the scars well indicate he is no greenhorn on the battlefields. Young men like him I would soon learn to know, are at war with an enemy that is not their own since as young as ten. They didn?t understand what war meant, what it was for, they just know they have to fight it because that is just what they are meant to do.


In war, all is fair and right, there is no wrong side, every reason is a justification, every one killed means one has to avenge them. Their brothers fall, then the son of the brother will take their place; if they fall, even the women of the family must strap themselves to the riveting violence that spreads endlessly in chaotic fire. If at all?when the family has all but ended, they are not even given proper burial?because in war, no one really cares when you are dead. There are too many people dying, too many suffering currently? if one were to dig graves, one may dig a hundred a day, but a thousand corpses would come in at every hour.


I saw in his eyes, soon faded with life?s pulling force, open slowly. Like a scared child, in the frame of a fully grown male; he whispered to me in Arab, ?Please?tell my son, his father had served the nation well, he fought?for the heroes, and died as one.? I realized at this point I understood what he said, the memories of me learning this language falsely came to me through the implantation in purpose for this training of the Yama candidates surfaced to my mind.


?No, stay alive! STAY ALIVE, you won?t die like this?and there!? I pulled out the last bullet with a yanking force, admittedly not the best method or strategy to keep a dying man from feeling pain; but it was necessary. I looked into his eyes, and tried to force a wry smile??the last bullet is out?please, you must live, don?t tell me to say things to your son, I don?t know him and he doesn?t know me?tell him yourself!?


?I?I?can?t?go??.on?.? He choked out a whispered reply, hands shifting to the side of his bed, he grabbed into his pockets of his tattered clothing and pulled out a green cloth. ?The flag?is yours?? He handed me whatever he pulled out, and all was silent as his hands stopped trembling entirely. There he was, the man I tried to save, the man we both tried to save; dead as a doornail. Hanging by the threads of his ?flag?, my eyes begin to pour out salty liquid, tears as they would call? would be something much more painful than any open wounds, for these would wound the very mind and heart. However one builds the walls of even greater than fortified castles in one?s mind, these streams that line the face are like the catapults armed with fiery balls?breaking each segment one by one?until one is driven out of sanity?s grasp.


I grabbed his wounded and scarred hands, full of blood, most likely his own? and then I felt it slip away, the grip of his, losing strength?dying. His eyes faded away, the soul left the body as I see it?he looked at our direction and at mine, I looked into his eyes.


Like an understanding stranger, his eyes glazed over with false tears of a soul, there was a momentary long stare that seemed to long for the warmth of a person next to him, but for that moment passed and a great light appeared near to him?the gateway.


The same way we came through on the other side of purgatory, the waiting room we called it, opened. He looked at me one last time, and left for it. He didn?t feel any confusion, as though he was sure he is heading to his maker, so sure that all his worries seemed to flutter into nothing. The weight of his dead hands now trembled, not with his, but mine as I grasped until the sore black of coagulating blood began to form about my grip.


?Let it go, Shikieiki?let it go?he is dead?you know that.? Komachi placed her hand on my shoulder.


I didn?t feel it now, the hot tears that streamed down my face.


Already?one dead, in my hands, I could have saved him, he could have lived?


?NO, WHY DID YOU LET GO SO EASILY YOU FOOL! TO LIVE IS THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL!!? I slammed my fists down his chest, like an angry and disappointed child, I grabbed at his sleeve, and attempted to jolt him awake, abandoning all logic?


It wasn?t that I feel so much hurt, but the fact I know his name, his face? the implanted memories inside me synchronized with my being slowly? and slowly it seeped into me, like a powerful drug I began to understand dramatically all that has happened?


This was a man who once told me I could be a better person? a better person he said? if I didn?t go to war, I would become a better person.


This was the man whom I once called a friend?


This was the man I knew as a friend, who was once my only family in the orphanage?


This was a man I once know as Ahmed, and I am his best friend? I always was.


I looked down on my two hands, and realized that they are covered with now darkened blood, caked upon the dryness of my skin?I realized? that I am a female doctor, working alone in this ward that was once a greater place, a great hospital at the borders of two nations at war.


I realized?that I am wrong, there was nothing easy about the training, it wasn?t saving lives, but preventing them from slipping away.


That was my justice, and I had just failed it.


?Let it go?? I heard the voice like a murmur over my ears, yet not understanding it somehow?


The night falls as I closed my eyes tightly shut.




+++++++++

Writer's note:

Loss, as they say, is one wide term, but the small losses that accumulate is what gives us the scars of humanity's grace. - a quote by a wise man I learned from the horrors of war.


There will be another chapter of how Shiki adapts to life as a woman doctor in a war torn border between Iran and Iraq under Saddam's pressuring regime, so look forward to it. (note, the place's name are imagined, as in the zone, and people are too, except for Saddam.)
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2009, 07:35:07 PM »
Chapter 7


I woke up to the sound of something solidly breaking the silence, like glass, the shattering of them fell loudly to concrete floors, resonated ever so fully by rapid gunfire at a distance. Near or far, it didn’t matter, I just felt an intense sense of urgency, the need to know and ascertain it with my human eyes what caused it.


I rose rapidly, raising my body off the bed quick as I can as I rushed to nearest glass panel and stared out. There at a distance, around 2kms off flat sandy landscape, a fire broke and plumes of smoke rose like a phoenix off the fiery dread that burned under it. Only it was no majestic sight, but the sight of mine quickly adjusted to a pair of what possibly may be mother and child, running for their lives as the heavy sound of bombardiers quickly came to my attention. I turned my eyes, and above, two giant birds of war flew across the landscape, military grade aircrafts carrying devastating weapons that may as well destroy the lives of those that lay beneath its sight.


Mechanically, no man of any sound mind should build such machines, but then mankind had the urge no other animal on earth has, the urge for unreasonable violence, unintended force that can snowball into a full-scale war, and all from something as small a quarrel between what agreements to sign and which to reject in favor of something else. Rejections are what often leads to those ends that simply don’t meet, and result in great conflict.


I saw as the pair of mother and child ran for cover, carefully shielding her son as the bombardment off a distance blew up debris of abominable size and terrible craters in its wake; and then something caught my eyes elsewhere. A soldier came charging for the woman and child, and I found myself yelling out to them despite knowing they won’t hear me over the distance between us and the noise of the aircraft’s circling about above.


I know they won’t, yet in my desperation, I must have reached out to Komachi and begged for her to do something…something hopeless. She awoke, and understanding nothing or everything at once perhaps, she looked at me blankly, and shook her head, placing a firm grip upon my shoulders that her fingers seemed to dig into my skin. I shouted, I cried even for them to respond, look here!!


The woman I now ascertain, is carrying what appears to be a weapon, at this distance it was a blur even for my perfect eyesight. She rushed for the soldier, pushing her child aside, she is aiming for the body of the bulky man with a bushy and unkempt beard and a turban on his head.


I saw as she stabbed at his direction, only as moments before the blade even came close to contact, a hail of gunfire blasted off from the automatic weapon of the soldier, and crashing defeat dawned upon that woman as she crashed downwards to the sandy path. I saw next what would well be a sin unnecessary by any account, the boy…


He turned to run, of course he would…, the man took aim, like a hunter killing for food, the bullets scattered from the barrel into the air, quicker than one’s blinking eye, the boy splattered raw red liquid from his back. Like a ragged doll, he collapsed down to the floor, disappearing before my eyes, and the man like a calmed mad man, happily trudged along and kicked at the boy, making sure he is dead.


I didn’t realize it but Komachi shook me awake from a trance like state, I was biting into my lips, the horrid incident shook me badly, I was crying again. What a terrible morning…the pain that grips my heart so loudly it cracked my soul, a million pieces now lay asunder under my footsteps even…



++++++



My white doctor’s coat was stained with blood, and dirt as well. The walls are as barren as they were the night before, the body that laid there in the bed was gone. A staff handling overnight care must have cleared it; Ahmed’s body must have been cremated by now, or thrown off a dirt pit dug somewhere near the hospital.


After all, fuel is expensive, rather one would supply the fuel to the military than actually use it for burning. There is almost certainly I thought, no rites. I shook my head in despair, looking at Komachi with a forlorn face that was struck and stuck with a hint of depressive anger.


“Why…why here? Why are we here…of all places?” I asked, like a confused child, I didn’t understand what it meant to be, I accepted my assignment here, thinking I can handle it with my cool logic.


The peers never told me they are expected to learn this sort of madness from scratch, from facing the realities of life and death, to the terrible madness that is war…to the memories of first and foremost; losing a dear friend since childhood. Although it was certain this friend was not a friend of mine, the memories of the woman I took the form of was very clear, like a mirror reflecting off cool unmoving images floating about a morning lake, I can see every single image of our time spent together.


I could feel the intense memories burned into my soul, they never told me it would be like this. Is it so because I am half human, that I have emotions which should be buried under a tombstone heavier than the heaviest rocks? I don’t know, but everything that transpired within the last 18 hours were so vivid that I had no time to come to terms with myself or what I have become.


Everything was so confusing, the constant sound of gunfire in the distance, ringing long into the dead cold night…, the voice of people screaming in pain, the shouting of soldiers as they entered another state of killing frenzy…it was all so incredibly vivid, yet so fake. Like a fragment off a glass panel, where once was the reflection of myself, I found myself denying everything because I could not come to terms with it anymore than I can understand the violence that occurs because it has to.


Who ordered these killings? I don’t know, nor do the soldiers do. Since old times, men have walked the battlefields carrying arms and killing men who serve lords they don’t even know or seen before, and the same goes for the enemies. Women, children, elders, and young men alike, dragged into a violence not spurred by them but constantly drwoned over by the overtones of anti-whatever the enemy preaches; only served to fuel the fire of hatred.


Across the landscape, I found myself staring at the cold room, this is ward 6, and I have been here since yesterday. I don’t even know why I am here anymore, but the cold silence reminded me that I am human now, fully so, capable of feeling the pain in every way.


My mind drifted about, looking into the various memories of the pass week of this woman I have taken form of. I looked at my hands, tanned skin as an Arabian woman should have, and I stared at myself in the mirror. My black sash of clothing looked tattered and unclean, from the smell of it I probably last had a shower nearly 3 days ago. My white lab coat wrinkled and dirty, some caked blood from yesterday off Ahmed’s choking covered bits on the side pocket, and my face a weary look as tired as I can mention it, black rings decorated the bags of my eyes and wrinkles of not age, but stress lined on top of my forehead.


I found myself touching my black hair, which is caked with filth and oil, tied in a messy bundle, my eyes a hazel brown, black under the shadows of the cold surroundings. Komachi herself looked as she probably was, a hair that is of slight reddish hue, much like her original color and bund up hair. She had these bluish Persian eyes that did not seemed to match her slightly paler skin compared with mine. On the plus side, she definitely retained her size, if not more of a slender woman while mine was visibly the same petite shape I had as myself. I am glad that however, I retained the aspects of my normal being at least, sanity is not yet at its edge yet because of that. Imagine having a body entirely different from yours, feeling yourself piloting a machine or a shell made of flesh surely does not feel the least bit enlightening if not made a hundred times more difficult.


However, my feeling of gladness stopped short as I stared at the gaping wound on my wrist. Memories came back to me, or rather revealed to me that weeks ago, unable to stand the depression caused by war any further, the woman I inhabit, whose name is Majid, attempted committing suicide. A huge sin by any account, and was rescued at the last moment by one of her nurses. The nurses seeing the loss of morale as of late weeks after Majid attempted suicide soon left the premises and returned home, or rather, rushed out of the borders.


The towns surrounding the inner parts of the nation are actually a whole lot more peaceful, if not under a cloud of calamity as they witness the deaths of their brothers and sisters fighting a war they possibly will never win.


I became aware that I didn’t know what the war is about, it certainly didn’t appeal to me to go and seek out the exact reasons, after all… is there somebody out there alive who actually knows? The reasons have blurred long ago, and frankly, I felt it was better I did not know anyway. Komachi looked at me with a serious look, clearly still only half awake, she understood the intensity of the situation. She peeked behind a curtain, which separates my office from the other ward, filled with doctors, and nurses, and then a hell lot more patients all eagerly awaiting medicine and treatment. Thoughts floated into my mind as I understood that the shortage of drugs despite being so close to the next town and neighboring allied nations were very real, and at current, even the shortage of water becomes extremely problematic for the maintenance of proper hygiene in bacterial sensitive areas here.


The operation room is washed by hand, in place of sterilizers, only supplies of soapy water were used. Where bandages once were, it was considered a potential possibility to save up used bandages and wash them in sterilizing alcohol and drying them later for the reuse. We are at the edges of the desperation, and any time now, we are at threat of a missed bombing location or raiding.


According to reliable informers, the army has tried to protect this place by actually not sending any troops here. However, that fragile protection offered is not enough if at all effective. The call for violence is way too great.


The apparent beaten down appearance is caused, as my mind ‘recalled’ the event nearly a month ago by rebels, seeking to raid the medical supplies government soldiers so desperately needed and supplied a week before. The raid saw over 40 patients die in pain and lack of supplies, even food was denied by the raiders, having taken truck loads of bottled water supplied by humanitarian aiders, and then some.


Six hundred over people died the following day it seems, over the town area as raiders arrived en mass by daybreak to enter a raiding frenzy, stopped only short by the late arrival of the army which is blamed mostly for the conflict. Many lost their families, and more so screamed to avenge their brothers and sisters, and their fathers as well; holding dead sons in their arms, cried the same curse as those younger men.


Revenge will only cause more revenge, and the avengers die for those who are avenged, just as well as the victims of the avengers will avenge the dead on their part. The violent circle sparked only more by the reputable leader, a man they called Saddam, eagerly stoking the fire that burns the fuel of hatred and conflict still from all this violence.


However, whatever the case, I hear from the side of my head a voice of duty, I have a job as a doctor here, which I almost forget in my seemingly messed state of mind since yesterday.


“Komachi, what or rather, who are you?” I asked, because she must have turned into another person too.


“Apparently my name is Sheila al-Hamur, I don’t know why but yes, it seems I am wanted here in this state for supplying medicine for the enemy.”

“Very barbaric indeed, I understand they seem to have no forethoughts for women here, we are an apparent secondary tier of state dwellers with no rights. It seems if I recall from this person Majid whom I am taking form of, you were rescued by me. You are an orphan, from the distant town of Muhiddi. You were chased out of the village for harboring a soldier from the Iraq side despite opposing opinions of your father. Your father attempted to kill you to save his own skin, which you told me before I kept you around as a nurse.


“Indeed, I have, frankly I have no idea this is what I agreed to. I am beginning to regret what I did to those guards back in purgatory’s exit.” Komachi gave a sad smile.


“We should get to work, no time to slack about anymore.”


“I need my morning drink!”


“I am hungry and thirsty too, but the patients come first, we must give consideration for them.” I answered, putting on a wry smile.


“No, I mean some alcohol, some sake!”


“Komachi!” I chided her, “You should think about where you are, we are not in Higan anymore, you are now a nurse hiding in supposed exile, and I am a doctor working to save lives of victims of war.”


“Sigh…I understand…it is…just strange you know, one day ago I was relaxing by the River, and today…”


“I know, I don’t feel comfortable too…I promised to finish this, but if our lives come under threat, there should be reason enough to revoke my promise to the Vertical, and close my side of the deal early.” I straightened myself, washing my face from a blue pail filled with murky water, likely a bit of grease and soap.


I pulled aside the curtain that separates my room from the ward itself, and to my eyes revealed were some of my peers, silent men with no smiles on their faces. “Ah, Majid, you are awake…you fainted last night at Ahmed’s bed, are you okay?” A man of around 30 years of age, Suman came forward and asked.


He had this unkempt face, spiky stubs lined his face to his chin, and from his eyes of dark blue one can tell his is an mixed heritage, and had this soft voice akin to a young boy totally not fitting his tall stature. He looked about 6 foot 5, with broad shoulders and wore a lab coat, indicating he is too a doctor at this facility. His eyes are soft, and I know or at least the woman whom I inhabit knew him to be a kind man who risks his life for what he believes is right.


“Majid?” He waited for a reply as I came to my senses, smiling back at him.


“I am fine…really…I am just a bit distraught…we grew up together you know?” I answered.


“I know, you told me many times, I wish we were so close, and I wish we understood each other better… I mean, Ahmed and I of course.” I recalled him too being of like a brother to Ahmed, he is the one who usually goes to town and sees his mother, and Ahmed at one point did to since Suman’s mother is a caring soul who cared for Ahmed like a second son.


When Ahmed’s teacher got killed, it drove him to avenge him on the battlefields, all apparent from the cloth left behind at the massacre. After all, it was just another camp, set up temporarily to evade the sandstorm that whipped past the borders which happens often. Ahmed’s teacher is an army man too, serving the Iranian army himself, he believed that the way to peace can be paved by speeches. Truth to be said, naïve really, but then not wrong.


Ahmed among all his students, believed his teacher’s words as though they were law in his mind, and when the terrible Iraqi soldiers came and raided the place where his apparent camp was, situated in a nearly abandoned town at the edge of the borders; he was gunned down for being suspected to harbor refugees which are apparently what the soldiers were after. Of course, everyone is a refugee, no one had a picture to refer to, but the real refugees were found a few days later, and in the war torn state of affairs, nobody could care if it were war crime and wrongful murder. ‘Collateral Damage’ is an acceptable currency in the mental state of things in motion, and turmoil only served as a wet blanket over the issue and before long people forget about him.


Ahmed didn’t, his students didn’t. Forming a military wing was easy, weapons are easy to take, warehouses all over stocks them up and raiding one is easy as 123. The problem comes in the form when these thoughts are taken into practice. “We will exact revenge on the fascists!” they called his name, because he was a peaceful advocate, that they shall use violence to spread his words.


Campaigns were launched, small groups gathered and men from all over came over to join the cause of Ahmed’s little regime. A manner of speaking of course, but no less real than the very real agenda they sought to execute. A number of men were hunted down by their riders, riding behind camelback, they understood the makings of guerilla warfare even in open grounds, and sought out silent preachers of anti-government factions and joined them in arms. They preached the same message, ‘the government is evil’ and ‘those who live for Islam will live for God, and welcomed into His country with the virgins awaiting them.’


Like all their followers, the God’s country bit was not the thing most vivid in their mind; it was the thought that there can be salvation, revenge… for their lost brothers and sisters that mattered the most. Among the members there, the new leader, a young man about the same age as Ahmed, called Mahmud, was a fanatic. He saw his sister raped by burly men from the government, and then his mother, slit on the throat by the blades of those who sworn to protect him. His countrymen, murdering his family in cold cruelty. Nothing was more of an awakening jolt to reality than that memory.


They say two dogs licking each other’s wounds will only infect it deeper, scarring it more.


That was true with Ahmed and Mahmud, salvation to them, comes in the form of destruction. Something the government placed there, whether it be a facility of surveillance or a guard post, would mean certain short means were achieved once taken out. Their movements expanded, and Ahmed was kind enough as a friend to have Majid, the woman whom I have become now to write down his memoirs. Of course, he didn’t know because Majid didn’t want him to do that, I would not, because it is meaningless.


Revenge brings more revenge, and with obedience it means defeat. As a militia observing no particular law of conduct, Ahmed build his name, but also his wall around Majid. It was in his darkest days, that Majid shone to him like sunlight would from an open window into his dark heart. Tainted, only to be saved; Ahmed felt safe with Majid and proposed to her, however, he meant only to marry her and not to give up on what he believed was the path to his salvation.


A month  ago, or at least around that part, Ahmed made love to Majid after she took his name, and right now… I realized I am pregnant with his child. I looked at the desk from which my office is viewable from a slightly opened curtain across the ward room…and noticed the green bandana with Islamic writings in Jawi engraved across in black. That bandana was Ahmed last know legacy… it was should have been his wife saving him, it was should have been the lover’s final goodbye, instead, it was I who did it and failed.


I began to tremble again, grapping the part of my chest where my heart is, the thumping beneath it rapidly increasing as my mind wandered around yesterday’s events. I saw him choke blood, I tried to save him…I failed. Would she, the real Majid have done better? Would she have somehow managed to convince him to not die?


I didn’t know what to think, I was at a loss of words, and emotions flooded me. I know all too well such misguided things are needless in our Yama training, but yet, as I inhabit this body, I felt myself synchronized so much with the human shell I inhabit I no longer seem to restrict myself to logic and cold precise thinking.


Komachi looked at me for a while, probably wondering why am I here, grabbing my heaving chest with a look of intense hatred dressed all across. “Are you alright?” She asked, I hardly could utter an answer, not even a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’, and I wasn’t sure which to say.


I have heard of much confusion when peers transfer into bodies of living people, they normally are the sort of people who are about to die; or people who have no urge to struggle any further… it makes it easy for Yama candidates to inhabit them, because it is these men and women whom have the bleakest view of their world around them. If anything, it helps the Yama to understand what in society, what in the human world would push a fellow human to such states of mind that they no longer care if they sin or not.


Sometimes…there are those who are bonded so deeply with their human host they become overly emotional, and it takes great discipline to distance their minds from going any deeper. The human mind is strong after all, and not even Yamas can withstand the ongoing tidal waves of emotions that wash upon the shore of the mind. There has been cases where I heard the suicidal intent was so intense and deep that even a perfectly logical Yama would go so far as to follow the order of the human mind.


The Yama candidate, being young mostly, would go as far as killing oneself, causing a sin to happen to the human body, and the Yama to be sent back to Higan for disciplinary action; traditionally being the chosen remedy for just about any problem of course. I don’t agree with the methods, even today, it is my belief weakness should not get punished, but rather to remedy it with hopes and understanding and listening to what they have to say. Many memoirs have been written by an old Yama I know, whom retired to become a book writer, writing the experiences of these ‘invalid’ Yama candidates however few there may be.


I came as I thought of all this, a conclusion or what seemed to be the conclusion to myself: ‘I was sent here to be tested, there was only one reason, they want to test me for how human I am, and disqualify me entirely from becoming a judge.’ Of course, I would learn much later there is a deeper plot than that, however, at the current state, I feared for what I would have done.


Would I soon be guided by Majid’s own thoughts instead? What if I do? What if I decided to pick up a gun, or strap myself to some homemade explosives and walk to the enemy’s doorstep? Even when there are no real enemies, even when the enemy is the government, working however slowly they are going at to better improve the lives of the war torn and citizens of their nation!


A fool I was to ponder on the lost moments.


I was lost, and for God knows how long, I just stood there, thinking about this.


Nearby, an old man coughed, breaking the silence of my mind.


He looked at me in the eyes, and for a while, I swear this is very likely a Yama in disguise, for those eyes, are blue as crystal, clear and without doubt, almost like a doll’s own. Beneath the wrinkled dark skin and face, under the whiter than white hair and beard, I saw whom I would call to become my teacher. Suman turned to him, and walked to take his medicine in my place, I was glad at least he responded while I still carried a blank look on my face. Strangely so, I seemed very disorientated, it could be because I had only about 12 hours of actual sleep not awakened by sounds of bombardment in these 3 days.


A strange fate entangles to those whom are sent to earth indeed.



« Last Edit: August 28, 2009, 07:46:19 PM by 名無の妖精さん »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #11 on: August 30, 2009, 08:18:12 PM »
I'm having some trouble breathing after reading this. The life experiences of what can accurately be described as a living embodiment of law itself are almost too much for me. Oh, man. The RUSH. I think the best solution to everything right now is more Yama. Make it happen. I'll love you forever if you do.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2009, 10:03:17 AM »
Thanks Mobius. I am relieved to at least have one comment after what seemed like ages...
I will do what I can, a sinister plan is in progress!

coming right up.



Chapter 8


His voice was a cackle, a dry huffy tone that represented his age more accurately than I can place it.


“Young woman, are you going to get me some medicine or should I force myself up from this bed and walk there with my lack of legs?” He sarcastically called out, it was indeed time for Mr. Hamid to take his medicine.


Mr. Hamid is a resident here at this war torn hospital for the past 2 years. Since he has lost his family in an attack by the army clashing with the rebels that the teacher of Ahmed, Suman himself led back then, he has been here.


I personally, or rather Majid personally sealed up his bloodied stumps of legs, indicators of the madness that brewed about in this side of the border, and proof that he had struggled long and hard to crawl his way under the burning sun and hot sand below him to here, so that he may at least die in a hospital. His blood loss was tremendous, I recalled from Majid’s memories; had he not the will of a giant, he would have been gone, but he refused to be sedated, opting to see every movement as Majid’s hands guided over his stumps of what remained of his legs, sealing them with precise medical treatment.


In grouchy mood, Mr. Hamid tends to call sarcasm to his aid, and in this case it has worked with Suman, assistant doctor of the hospital.


As he took his medicine, he gave me a look with his eyes, clearly showing displeasure at my lack of attendance. In the memories of Majid, I saw that despite what has been done for him, he is one of the many that eyes women as objects in this country, which is both the social norm and the culture here. I didn’t take to kindly the way he looked at me, but I was not about to give in to my human emotions, which are strong at every point and turn as I took the body and mind of a woman who feels strongly towards many things.


“Majid…are you okay? You keep spacing out since yesterday!” Suman called out from behind me, having finished his task at the moment, he looked at me and put his hand on my shoulders, giving me a jolt back to reality.


“I know Ahmed’s death came hard on you, I also know you carry his child, more than ever, as a friend of Ahmed, I want you to know I am behind you. If there is anything that you need, do not hesitate to call on me, we can work something out. My mother thinks highly of you, and she believes you won’t be one of those people who will take revenge to a faceless enemy’s doorstep…you won’t , won’t you?” He was of course referring to the trend that a few hundred women at one go strapped themselves to bombs and started bombing civilians in public areas for revenge.


I shook my head, there was of course no way I can do that. I am not allowed to die in this body, and I certainly am not allowed to let it be come to harm.



I turned to Komachi, whom despite supposedly being my nurse, is now crossing her legs down by my office, relaxing. So much for her earlier image, I had imagined she probably is a bit experience with deaths and all, and that is why she remained so calm thus far, as it is however; she is too calm.


As it is, I saw no patients needing treatment right now, this is of course a good thing and I felt at ease with it. It means no one is getting hurt, no one is getting killed and that is good by all accounts. However, my face starts to change when this one man walked in, I knew the shivering coming from my body, I know how it felt like trouble.


It felt the same when I was attending to Ahmed, it felt the same when I am faced down by the other candidates for being half-human. Something always brews in the midst when this feeling comes along. I know now why the morning had been so noisy, with the shattering of glass in a far distance and gunfire in the air.


The man in question is limping, but his face tells a few thousand words. This is a typical example of a Molotov victim, burned by fuel in a bottle, from the head onwards down to the toes. It is another miracle why he survived, I saw to my horror now…however, he is not the only one.


A woman and a child, not unlike the earlier pair I saw murdered in cold blood, followed by two men, one has a bloody gash opened on the chest and the other an arm missing all limping their way towards me. It is hard being the only proper hospital here in the middle of the border, it is even harder to know you are here and you can’t leave.


The people all cried in Arab, ‘please…save me!’ they say. I worked, and I must.


The day has begun, a normal day in the fields of battle.


I realized however, what is the use of healing them when they will all simply die again?


The thought would have paralyzed me.


This is but the first day.



+++++++++


(Gensokyo, Hieda House Residence.)


Akyu sat cross legged on the cushion, and commented as she noted the last bits in her scroll. Legend does have it if there is anyone more skilled with a brush and some ink, they can never beat Akyu at it; indeed she is fast. Akyu wrote every word as Shikieiki told her story.


“It must have been very hard for you to feel such distraught conditions at your training, would you say that is how it shaped your character?” Akyu asked.


“Yes, in many ways. I learned that reason is never enough, violence is a solution to a means, it is a catharsis that demands to be fulfilled in both feeling, and frustration. People cling to certain beliefs, just as we Yama claim to uphold the standards of non-bias, we also uphold moral conflicts of judgment. How do you separate the judgment? That comes with experience to best judge the condition around you.” Shikieiki explained carefully, allowing her tale to be interrupted for a moment.



+++++++



I rushed quickly, bringing the badly burned man to the bed immediately. As he laid down however, I was unable to spare enough time before he simply gave up, his heart stopped beating.


Bringing the adrenaline immediately on hand, I injected him desperately, using it to stimulate a powerful break of heartbeat. I heard it, just as I managed to attach the eons old heart rate monitor to his chest. I plied open his dead skin, so badly burned it begins to melt now and cut off his clothing that are no more than mere strands attached to his badly burnt skin. I had to fix him, and fix him indeed I must be quick.


As his smoke filled lungs release and compress, processing whatever air is still held inside, he begins to look dire, a bit of hope flowed back into him as he concentrated to my words, ‘breathe, breathe deeply, as best as you can, don’t give up, you can live still. Allah is with you, Allah will decide when you must die, and it is not today!’ I mended him slowly, using my power as a human doctor I began to wrap him in anti-infection bandages I was saving for a rainy day which Komachi pulled out from the emergency supply cabinet.


Suman, the only other doctor, probably the night staff too handled the man with the arm missing. Roughly so, natural, consider he was a field medic, less than a doctor and men with amputated arms in the field have to hold it until they get back to med-camps. At current, he is just not with that sort of power or in any range to look for one. With a prop that once was a book holder for the holy book of Quran, he heaved the amputated left side of the body, dressing a cast which is reused twice due to limited supplies, he proceeds to disinfect the lower part which the bloody stump is situated. The man that he is attending to prayed hard in a mumbling hail of Quranic verses, trembling ever so slightly as he feels his life weakening due to blood loss.


At current, judging by the condition, we are fresh out of sterilizing alcohol, reusing them from the basin of the collected ones. We have resorted to reusing bandages and washing them for re-use again once the patients have healed. We have also resorted to not using anesthetics, which means that whatever we have done thus far, the pain is very vivid to be said in gruesome detail. I didn’t like what it means for this to happen, but then, who am I to judge what goes around anymore?


This hospital has been abandoned, last I recall from Majid’s memories, Suman being here only reinforced that truth. He abandoned his work as a field medic for the official Iranian army to work for me, because he knows I and Ahmed are technically married without rites; which is a sin in the customs but when war is going on, no one really cares.


In a way, the war has brought freedom to the land. The people who clamored under government pressure before have today rose to aid them, patriotism certainly plays a part but people are free to choose their paths. United, the people stands against an enemy they can pin a face on, a very different face that was painted in their historic or rather generic face of enemies. Of course, the Westerners, as they like to call them are always the perpetrator of all things wrong. However, the enemy this time is one who is their own, his name is Saddam.


Things change when you have a war to fight, and so do the people. They become more violent, more receptive to responses and calls for them to fight, they answer to preachers who preached peace, which will come after their enemy has fallen before them. In these times, people whom have fallen from the line of war, become scapegoats fuelling the tide of madness, the fury is born with every fallen brother, and then some.


That being a factor, this hospital was abandoned because it is too close to the war zone. However, that was my idea to keep it open. The director of the hospital has left 2 years ago, refusing to be bombed to hell by enemies flying over our heads. He rather work in the demilitarized zone which is halfway across town. Left with no options, and all the papers the director fled with to the inner parts of town, the hospital has become a beacon of light, a lighthouse which has no longer the power to keep shining itself in the storm.


That storm is the warzone, with oncoming months after the director has left and most of the staff has fled for safety along with the once residential surroundings and their inhabitants to the inner parts of town; the hospital is the only remaining hope for those who are still fighting nearby.


Nearby, is another encampment, stocked to the brim with salvaged weapons and handled by guerilla warriors, a group which once comprised of Majid’s unofficial husband, whom has become the important figurehead leading against the border wars for the guerilla soldiers, and also against the guerillas of their side, the Iraqi side.


These men, are exposed to danger, and so are the soldiers that guard the borders in a nearby army base, which unfortunately has been marked as the ‘gates’ which can be used to funnel enemy attacks into the barricaded inner town earlier mentioned. That can only mean one thing: soldiers are sent there to die. They cannot return, the borders must be guarded jealously to prevent enemies from entering, and if they fail, no one will remember them.


That is why I or Majid resolved to keep this hospital running. A truly noble cause, to save those abandoned by their fellow men, to save those without hope of being saved… if there is another truly as noble soul about, then he or she must be a saint; at current, there are none. The war has consumed all logic, all reverence, to the undeserving icons of faith, rather than the stars on the ground that shone as bright as a beacon of hope in the stormy seas of furious weather.


However, as it is, hopes are only dashed by the strong oncoming wave of insecurity from all the violence beyond the walls of the ward, and being there is only one left not yet raided by the rebels or whoever else; hope is bleak. The constant sound of gunfire rattled outside, not too far away possibly around 6 or 7 kilometers away is a building being cleaned out from the inside. Probably an old business building used as a barricade for a once bustling trades area of the town as a whole before people moved away from it. The sounds of the walls crumbling, evident of bombing activities by either side, is evidence the violence is moving closer.


My hands kept working, ensuring the child’s safety first by wrapping up his wounds and sterilizing the wounds. I had to use some needles stored underneath the emergency supply rack where Komachi earlier pulled out the bandages from, and sew up a gaping wound at the sides of the rib.


The boy winced and clenched his teeth, but made no otherwise unsightly noises. A truly strong boy, much stronger than the wailing mother, whom I just realized to be blind and panicking so. She is probably hit at close distance by a powerful explosive, which doubles as a flash bomb, blinding her eyes due to the sudden glow of light beyond human acceptable receptive senses can handle.


Sedating them quickly, especially the mother, I hauled her with whatever little human strength I can spare to a bed, allowing her to rest. She is lightly injured, but the sudden plunge to absolute blackness must have made her panic. I confirmed with the little Arabian boy if it was his mother that is now in my care. He simply nodded, giving no additional care and walked to a chair at the side, holding his wound which is just recently sealed hastily by my hands with clean bandages. It seems he has stopped bleeding, which is a good sign. I have yet to seen a human this tough yet, even in Majid’s memories. This boy is remarkably strong, able, and very calm. It was almost as if he was born grinding a silver bullet between his teeth.


The man with the stump of an arm too calmed down, and watched as his anesthetic arm being wrapped up. He was expressionless now, looking at the missing limb he once had. He looked empty even, as though his reason to live has just disappeared. The other man, like the boy whom had a gash on his body somewhere was being taken care of by Komachi, she didn’t smile or anything, but looked at him emptily.


The man was not exactly thankful however, I know. I have seen men like these, they prefer the male doctor to touch their flesh, a woman doing it hurts his pride in more ways than one. However, due to the lack of options as he can see with his own two eyes now, he must have accepted the care and help reluctantly.


Peace returned, an hour has passed since they walked in. The day seems discriminatingly long, as though it were drawn out now that lunchtime hours seems a distant dream. However, even then…lunch, is a foreign word today, like the week that passed before I took Majid’s body.


We, this hospital has been cut off from all sides of suppliers. No one ventures here except for those who are fighting or are fighters for a certain cause. The suppliers have barricaded them inside their shops in inner town areas. I and Komachi have been left alone with Suman here, possibly with a nurse who cares for the night cases, whom I have yet to meet thus far. We are an abandoned facility, and thus our food supply comes from the cans and cans of stored food.


Corn being the staple thus far, cans and cans of corn stored when the hospital still had regular supplies. Nothing works in the kitchen except for the microwave, and it has been like this for the past week.


The patients here have very little choice. If only the drugs can be eaten some of them would wonder, and yet…they can’t. Dire situations are so deep set now it seemed it won’t be 99 days before I will have to move out of here, or possibly have to give up forcibly.


Just then, like a miracle, the old man Hamid called for me. I approached him silently.


“Shikieiki….it is me…” He sounded to me in a whisper, and my eyes widened.


“How…”


“It is I, Shienji Housousokan the Vertical… remember?” Old man Hamid continued in his cackle of a voice.


“What…what happened? Sir…did you possess this man?”


“Something is going on underground, Shikieiki-kun, I hope you don’t mind me calling you so casually so…”


“Of course not, Sir. However, what has transpired during this time?” I asked, I am desperate for answers.


“To be perfectly honest with you, you were in the dark on this…but plans have been brewing since last term of the Verticals to execute a change of ministry matters since that young man released his post to me…something was at play from the very beginning, and feigning a fake Ascension I managed to become one of the Verticals…in truth, I am not one, and will never be… I am an employee of the Anti-Corruption Agency…and I have dire news.” Old man Hamid said, and his eyes are all serious.


“Please…continue.”


“There are eyes and ears everywhere since this plan has been put into motion…we at the Agency suspected that one of the Verticals, namely the old man Seisenhou-sama; may directly be responsible.”


“What do they plan to do?” I asked.


“You…you are the target, they want the Yamaxanadu family trialed for crimes your family did not commit. All this… this training exercise you agreed to, is a method to taken to a place which is not your original place of training at all…it is so that they cannot come so easily.” The old man answered.


“I don’t understand, what is all this…?”


“Seisenhou had a high regard for his fellow Yama people, and since your father’s success story as a judge, he has been rather jealous or frustrated that he did not take a wife whom is Yama*. In case you wonder, Seisenhou once belonged to Sakihime’s family, he is the indirect father to Sakihime, whom is born out of wedlock in the earlier years before Yama administration cracked down on the acts which allowed the Ascenders to transpire certain laws of Yama society… including offering special treatments to their families, which happened often earlier in the old days when your father is in service.” The old man explained.


“He is jealous that my father took my mother’s hand in marriage?” I questioned, I must say, I am hard-pressed to believe any of this at all, how can Yama people be jealous of something so trivial?


“It is no trivial matter as that, for beyond the books and what they teach you, Yama society is governed by powerful laws, laws that are believe it or not, written by Halflings like yourself.” The answer as he revealed it, shocked me in more ways than one…and I must say, as I stood there, my mouth agape in a stupefied look, I didn’t know that a gun was aimed at my head from a distance, a soldier of the Iraqi side…eager to take me out.


Everything seems mad…


Everything is strange, too strange for words now to explain.




---------


A sinister plan in the making since the last term of Vertical Three, the supposed incorruptible beings of the Yama society? What has transpired? Why is Shiki being targeted? The story continues.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2009, 05:25:32 AM by 名無の妖精さん »
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Mobius

Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2009, 02:16:42 PM »
I eat intrigue for breakfast, and I'd say this qualifies as a three-course meal.

Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2009, 04:06:45 PM »
Oh, believe me, Mobius ain't the only one followin' this fic.

This is the best Shikieiki ever. And combined with Shikieiki's (and your) wonderful narrative, not to mention the historical setting (I knew I was in for something awesome when you mentioned 1980's Iran) and how well you got into her head...

This is the best Shikieiki fic ever.

Also, I'm jealous as hell of your update speed. Keep up the amazin' work.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2009, 04:55:16 PM »
Chapter 9


_______


“Everything that I am about to tell you, must be kept a secret, including that shinigami that followed you here… she is outside of the plan, I really have no idea how she got through with this; we at the Agency had no plans to include her in sending you here, somehow…I don’t know how, she made it here by provincial answer, and I was force to sign an agreement for her to be here.” Mr Hamid, the old man now possessed by the Vertical said.


“First things first, how is it that you Sir, managed to enter this man’s body? Don’t they know you are here?”


“A Vertical has many different accesses, all I have to do is to ask the guards to let me through the gates, and I will be here on my own accord. However, I had to keep them silent by offering a special something of course. However, as it is, it won’t be long before Seisenhou finds out about this, I am feigning ignorance currently by being present in my private quarters for meditation, as stated on my activities program today. Hopefully, with any luck, there will be well over a day left on Earth time for us to make amendments.” Mr. Hamid smiled somewhat, that wrinkled face seemed to frown however, thanks to all the loose flaps.


“Alright…whatever the case, can you walk?” I asked, I knew he couldn’t of course.


“Does it look like I can?” Mr. Hamid smiled, with a bit of sarcasm perhaps. At this point, it was clear that the Vertical possessing him was indeed no Vertical by nature, he smiles too much.


“I will get a wheelchair, we will talk inside my office.”


“Good idea.”



+++++++++


Inside my office, with its barren walls and empty frames, cabinets that smells like rotten wood laced over with wet green mold as its paint; I felt I was entangled in a web of absolute strangeness, like a scaffold of sorts put before my eyes, blinding me desperately from finding a light.


“Your father was really great, 400,000 souls in just ONE career, no one in Yama history has ever done that many in those short years. Not only was it impossible, the souls of those men, whom sometimes goes in by the packs are all in their rightful place!” Mr. Hamid praised, looking through the glassless window overlooking the empty sandy horizon.


“Indeed, I respect him for what he did…but this…plan…?”


“In essence, Seisenhou is a jealous man, he lost his pride once for making exceptions, and when he did, it drove him to work harder. So he did… and it was sooner or later he became a vertical, however, with it, he refused to accept the loss of his pride.” Mr. Hamid paused, and continued after a sigh, “He revolted against the system, a system designed by Halflings like yourself, designed to uphold balance between the races of human and Yama alike. He didn’t like the idea that Yama people are somehow to him at least, under the ‘oppression’ of the human race, he didn’t like how because he tried to give priority to his family that he was punished, under such Halfling designed laws.”


“What did he do actually?” I asked, curious now.


“He committed a crime...let's just say that was the case, he abused power. There was once a long time before, he had a friend, a Yama too whom became a judge quite young at the age of 17. At the time, he was a senior judge, but he fathered the child with a Yama woman who provided him care when he was later down and out. That woman, is a criminal of the Yama community, she murdered a fellow Yama out of emotional discontent…”


“Emotional discontent?” I am intrigued, at this point, no Yama has ever done such a thing, and those who did are certainly not living old enough to witness what happens after.


“Her child, Seisenhou's son has died because a violent Oni wanted his robes, probably out of spur of moment type interests as all Oni kind does. One cannot help but pity the poor Yama boy, he wandered a bit too far to the bad side of old hell. What happened after was this: the woman was driven crazy for the loss of that child, or rather, emotionally disturbed. Seisenhou didn't know at this point...not yet about the death of his son.”


“Something happened with the other Yama?”


“Yes, the other Yama, the friend of Seisenhou whom is a young judge just about to go into his 7th year in judgment service to the community, had attempted to take the hands of the woman, whom is left lonely because Seisenhou is a Hell Judge. As you know, Hell Judges take very little holidays, if at all, their terms are normally much longer, and they never go back to Higan after being drafted for service. The woman, heartbroken during that time after the child died and lonesome perhaps, agreed. She married without consent of divorce from Seisenhou, whom is married already to the woman beforehand, and fathered the child that died.”


He paused for a moment, looking back to me this time instead of the window.


“News finally reached his ears, this infuriated him greatly. Abandoning his post, he rushed furiously back to Higan to drag the poor lad, a so-called friend of his out into the open. Contrary to Yama people not having emotions, his was not really one of them. He suppressed his emotions, but not without them. A brawl was started almost immediately, and in the interest of protecting her lover, the woman rushed, armed with a knife she was holding from cooking in the kitchen a moment ago. She rushed with murderous intent, intending to kill Seisenhou, which I believe was the case; but instead, with a twist of fate perhaps, her blade was buried into her lover’s body, killing him by stabbing the younger Yama into the heart, and through the chest in one clean move.” Mr. Hamid sighed, placing his hands over his eyes.


“Even today, as I was witnessing that…”


“Wait…you saw it happen?”


“Yes, I was young then, I wasn’t even a judge, and your father was my colleague, at least in class.” He looked back to the window, adjusting his seat for a moment on the wheelchair, and continued, “I was sure it was one of those lover’s things, female Yama tend to be emotional while the male is not so much, naturally when things happen, they just…get pinned with the crime. Seisenhou however, used his position as a Hell Judge to pardon the crimes of the woman he ‘married’, despite the courts of affairs judging it be ‘divorced’. The case quickly got an uproar, until words spread even to the Verticals then and decided punishment by crossing the lines of power abuse is needed for Seisenhou’s actions. Naturally, that was done, and all this while, he hid the woman in his private grounds, which according to Yama Law, none of any district, position, Vertical included may force him to say where it is. The woman escaped punishment for murder through his position.”


“What happened after?” I asked, this tale is most intriguing indeed, come to think of it, there are much fewer female judges that ever reached the pinnacle of their careers as judges, rather, they take office positions and other bureaucratic duties in Higan community. Those that become judges are normally not as steadfast as the male counterparts, which have both higher productivity and also sterner actions and judgment, which is what Yama judges should be thanks to the heavy suppression of emotional involvement. I understood at that time, as I thought through why Aunt Sakihime faced so much controversy for her then position as a judge here in Gensokyo.


“He was exiled, for a period of time. As you know, Yama people can live for a very long time, but most of us choose to be euthanized so the next generation can carry forward our ambitions graciously at their pace and discretion; while Seisenhou is old, he denied such things. He was whisked away by his family, the Saiyama House; for hurting the name and reputation of the family.” He paused for a while, “You see, by then, he had nothing left. He was left alone, and had to move out of the Higan community. So he exiled to old hell, a place he knows all too well. The first place he went to was to see where his son was murdered. With vengeance in his mind, he sought out that Oni, whom again, by some twist of fate, was harassing his wife.”


“What did he do?”


“Onis have many kinds, some are very strong, so strong they can move mountains; some however, are weaklings, subspecies from the Great Oni kind, are nothing more than glorified imps using their stronger significant sibling species to aid their malicious intent, such as bullying other species like the Satori to submit to their wants and needs and sexual desires. Very violent they are, not to mention disgusting. With that, I believe it’s sufficed to say he has silenced the murderer with his own hands, forever. Soon after, he started living together with that woman in the chaotic lands of Old Hell, she didn’t live long however, 10 years down and she committed suicide due to trauma from the murdered child and the fact they are staying just a few roads down from where he was murdered only made the hurt much more evident and traumatic for her to bear… “


“A Yama…murdering outside of Higan community, that is critical breach of Law!” I said, I am shocked, such a person can still become a Vertical?


“Laws are whispered things, young Shikieiki-kun, there are many layers of laws, some can be excluded so long as no one says a word about it.” He looked at me, eyes completely serious to show the importance of his words, expecting me perhaps to highlight the words ‘layers of law’. “In the shadows, at least, even Yama people are not incorruptible, we only choose to abide because it is much more logical and convenient in the long run to do so, but given a chance for violence, we probably are no better than the human souls beyond the Sanzu river……”


“I still find this hard to believe…” I said, the story just seems surreal, coming from a Yama.


“I felt the same, but when I was inducted into judgment training, I quickly learned that there is not so much as black and white, but dark grays and whiter grays that exist in the Higan and the human world…it is the working dosage of law that keeps the people happy and safe, but when a crack forms, the waters shall spill out from the crack like a mad river over a broken dam.”


He paused, yet again, it seems he was dry, and I handed him some water in a metal cup; to which he drank from it heartily.


“There is more though…you know that he must have finished his sentence of exile, which is 100 years, and he waited patiently in Old Hell. By then, a resident messenger between Higan, Old Hell, New Hell, and Makai the mysterious land beyond all the connected lands to Higan; came with a message for him.” He looked at the cup, gripped tightly in his wrinkled old hands. “It was a message from Shinki, the ruler and creator of the realm of Makai, the land itself which is a sealed dimension she has made from her massive powers beyond Yama expectations. But then…90 years out of loneliness there in Old Hell, must have changed him a lot…”


“Let me guess, she wanted him to join her in that foreign land.”


“Yes, quite correct, at the time, there was a distressing war as the downsizing of Hell above ground, to the below ground part as demons and Onis are fighting for their turf. She took advantage of this mess and sought out powerful allies to join her own forces, so to guarantee the safety of her Makai dimension, as well as the safety of a mysterious land so that the chaos from Hell’s struggles and brawls would not spillover to the mysterious land, which she sought to protect.”


“Did he accept?”


“For a while, yes, but then his time was up, he was ordered by the Higan to return and serve the community. Being a Hell Judge has its advantages I suppose, one gains a lot of favors and trust, even from the ones who decided you need to be punished for power abuse. He was reinstated as a district judge, but quickly thanks to his connections, he was given a chance to ascend. Now take note however, to ascent is more of a voluntary business, he had nothing to lose that is why he went ahead with it. However…of all things, he skipped erasure of his memories, somehow…I really don’t know how.” Mr. Hamid finally revealed the grand closure of things.


“How did you do it yourself?” I asked, curious somewhat as to how one can fake a strict process of ascension.


“For me, it was easy, because this is a private investigation, I merely have to use our powers and argument with anti-corruption, and we can move in with the plan. The younger Vertical before I took his place heard me out rather nicely, and claimed that he would like to assist in this investigation. Using his blockade of information from the bureaus, and then some ties of his, he was able to convince the Ascension Yamas, whom are all old men working in a specific department to give in to my private inquest. I took his place soon after.” He explained carefully.


“Then perhaps it is the old men you mentioned who are in cahoots with them.” I answered.


“Not that simple, those old men don’t help people, I checked out all their alibis, and they matched. That investigation ended there, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Seisenhou went through a meditation of one week, fasting, destroying all his final desires, and went through the sermon of 50 long hours. He then finally took the concoction that removes memories as it does to the souls awaiting reincarnation, followed by a powerful ritual which seals all his inner emotions into the deepest recesses of his mind and heart. Nothing was changed, as it has always been since the dawn of the Yama Laws and conduction of those laws.” Mr. Hamid by now looked out the window, and with a frantic eye, began to look as far as he could, straining with his left hand placed over his eyes to see through the blinding hot landscape of white cooked sand.


“Oh no…” He uttered lightly.


“What is it?”


“They are coming…the rebels. I knew it was only a matter of time…but it seemed earlier…than expected.”


“This hospital? They are going to raid here? They can’t! We have patients here, we need the supplies and we barely have any left!”


“Do you think they care, Shikieiki-kun? These men are bloodthirsty tyrants in sheep skin, eager to cause violence and harm at the drop of a coin. They don’t care for the welfare of others, or the point to raiding a semi-empty hospital ward abandoned for well over months ago…these men want to see people still loyal to the government in their country to die, and they will do things to make that happen.”


“Then we must warn the patients…I can seal up the front door…” I answered hastily, not realizing my naiveté for uttering such a hapless suggestion.


“It is no use, these men have guns and the doors are made of glass panels and steel frames, shoot the glass and they are down for good. We should quickly leave through the backdoor now, as quick as we can, bring that boy doctor Suman and the shinigami along, I will explain to them later, and…leave me, this man is fated to die here in this hospital but you are not.”


“ARE YOU TELLING ME TO ABANDON YOU HERE? I have to carry you!”


“No, you can’t, perhaps you haven’t realized Majid had a terminal illness, she has cancer and tuberculosis, it won’t be long before she dies too, but fate is written for this man as are the hospital’s patients unfortunate enough to be here…they are meant to die in the raid. We can’t defeat them, and so you must leave. I can take another man’s body later, but for now…please…” With that, Mr. Hamid silenced, and closed his eyes.


I shook him, like a violent person shaking an old fool, I shook him until I heard in response, Arab…


It was no longer the Vertical inside, rather…it was now Mr. Hamid, complete with his grumpiness and he immediately opened his mouth blasting foul Arabian insults at me.


“What in bloody hell are you doing?” In Arab, that is a lot of hurt in word form, “You tryin’ to shake me until I die from injuries to the neck?” The man pointed and yelled.


I however, was desperate, if not all, at least him and the boy who came with his mother…


They must live!


“Mr. Hamid, I know this sounds crazy, but you have got to hold yourself to my back…we have to get out of the hospital. NOW.” I said, my voice amplifying to almost a shout, scaring the poor old fool and turning his mood bewildered, as is angry at the same time. My voice also apparently attracted Komachi’s attention outside.


“Someone seems to be near the main entrance…” She said, as she walked in.


“Oh no…”


“Trouble?” Komachi almost seemed to be aware of the situation right away.


“Grab the boy, we have to go…I can’t explain now…and Suman, bring him…tell him we must leave, something bad is going to happen.” I said, my voice now frantic and unclear, I almost felt a bit of choking from the panic I am experiencing.


“We can’t leave them here!”


“Are you running away, doctor? Where the hell do you think you are going?” The old man butted in, I really cannot feel much sympathy right now but without remorse, I heaved him up my back.


“Mr. Hamid, I need you to silence yourself right now, and hold on tightly with your hands to my back…don’t ask questions, I will explain later…and Komachi!” I yelled out her real name instead, which bewildered Mr. Hamid somewhat.


“I am staying to fight, a few bandits can’t hurt us…”


“You forgot, while human, we can’t use our abilities…we need to use our wits, my wits are telling me we should go. Some people are fated to die…these people are.”


“Then what about the boy? Are you taking him only because his mother is blind and will be a burden?”


“They are both sedated, it is impossible to wake them, if we are lucky, the bandits might leave them alone thinking they are already dead on the hospital beds….we can’t do anything here…” I argued, even I am amazed at what stray words I am composing into sentences now, and I sounded cruel, uncaring…unlike my normal self.


I loathed it, this being that is me…so riled by emotions…so riled by self preservation…I wish I could stay, but I must leave…because I need to live.


“You have some explaining to do…Shikieiki-san.” She said in perfect Japanese, it seems as long as we know our origins, using the language of our choice is not impossible at least. All the better, lest there are ears that are listening to us in Arab only.


I grabbed a bag, containing inside some bandages and some painkillers, and with my right hand, I held on to Mr. Hamid’s right arm, clasping tightly onto him.


“Where are we going?” He asked.


“Anywhere but here…” I answered, I kicked the door open, and left my white lab coat behind. No need for uniforms now, I have an idea where to go, but first we need to find a place to hide.


“I got the kid…”


“Where are you taking me? What about mommy?!” The boy shook off the grip of Komachi and stood his ground.


“I am afraid, mommy is too tired to move…we have to get out…quick.” I answered, as simply as I can; not without an ounce of truth I hope. Indeed living life is getting a one way ticket to lie as much as I like, I really hope this won’t become a habit.


“No, I am staying!” The kid rebelled.


“Catch him!” I shouted to Komachi.


With one swell swoop, Komachi swiped down the kid by the legs, and with a chop to the back of his neck, accurately so, he fainted. Heaving slightly, Komachi slung him to her right shoulder, and followed me quickly to the other ward, using door connecting doors, the wards are an easy way to stealth our way out of the hospital from the emergency exit.


“If I recall…from this woman’s memories…the emergency staircases are crashed now, we won’t be able to use that to escape…” Komachi said suddenly. The woman she inhabited must have been there a few times.


“What do you propose?”


“The kitchen, we can use the delivery chute, it still works…but only one person at a time.” Komachi suggested.


“You first, then the kid…then old man here…”


“I am not old!” The old man protested as he heard this, surprising how much denial every human carries in their minds.


We took a right turn by the last ward, leading down to a stripped corridor devoid of tiles and chairs, two piles of rubble from the broken ceiling above lay asunder by the sides. We made careful steps, and heard some, the main staircase ahead of us….they are here!


“Quick!”


“Yeah.” I shuffled with Mr. Hamid to the side, and entered the storage room, which is completely dark.


Just as I did, the sound of the rushing footsteps rushed by me and Komachi…they are heading to the wards.


I heard them chant, “Government pigs! They are useless, see one, kill one!” in street Kurdish tongue, a rather rude sort of way.


“They are Kurds?” Komachi asked.


“Must be foreigners, they import a lot of help these days…I heard the government rushed in reinforcements from all over the Middle East.”


“Even the rebels it seems…”


“Illegal entries…possibly. SHHH….” I suddenly realized we need to shut up.


The footsteps drowned out, and slowly I looked outside, from the strips of the semi-ajar door I peeked.


“They are gone…”


“Kitchen is just ahead!” Komachi said, and promptly rushed out.


I followed.


Frankly, I never think that just one day on Earth carries so much excitement… do all humans live lives as exciting as this…or as life threatening as this?


I wondered, as I shifted my feet quickly.


I had only moments to remember, that I just left Suman in the ward, who was attending to the blind mother alone...


"SHIT!" I cursed.


My mind began to panic... "Wait! We...forgot Suman!"


"It is too late now!" Komachi said, in a hushed voice.


"I...I...."


How the hell did I make a mistake so elementary....so HUMAN?!


I bit my lips, and blood came out from the seams my teeth cut upon the soft flesh. Curses!




_____

The excitement begins...really quickly...what lies in store for Shikieiki and Komachi?
« Last Edit: September 04, 2009, 05:04:48 PM by 名無の妖精さん »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2009, 04:57:30 PM »
I realized I made a small mistake:

Ahmed's teacher: Suman, rebel leader.

Suman: current hospital staff...left for dead?!

different person, same name.
sorry guys, didn't think of a better naming.
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2009, 08:49:18 AM »
Chapter 10:
__________


Camel riding is by no means a transport method worthy of calling it comfortable, every single step of the camel feels like a thrust to the bottom of my hips, threatening to dislocate them along with my lower back. The camel had a skin fabricated harness, tied with rough ropes at the side and had two straps which act as hangers for my feet. Strapping myself into them, I was told by Komachi this should feel exactly like riding a horse, which I have never done before nor know how to do it.


Komachi made excellent progress with teaching me however, holding my reigns, she rushed the camel along the sandy path onwards to the inner city areas. Up ahead, not one soul lurked under the sun and the hot sand, and we progressed forward regardless of how scorching hot the weather is.


The bump of the camel hump which I sat against in the middle of two of them made sure I was awake, despite suddenly feeling like my body weighed a ton. Against me, facing the camel’s back as a look out is old Hamid, staring into a distance as though he is enjoying the leisurely camel ride. However, take note we are not at all travelling at a leisurely pace, it is just that this is as fast as the optimal speed of the camel will go, and any faster will only tire it before it reaches the destination.


Komachi seemed very skilled, the kid at her back held on tight to the back of the harness and looked at me with cold hard eyes. The sort of eyes a child would have if someone, especially someone who clearly is capable of saving lives left his mother behind at the mercy of the merciless rebels.


I felt a pang of guilt, I cannot tell if I have sinned. Of course, I rather just not judge… but then…


However, I returned my vision to the town coming up before us. At a distance, hazy black shapes in robes that cover the body and the face entirely, armed with guns looked at us in the horizon. I felt they are going to open fire any time, and like a citizen I am, I waved my hands at them. They didn’t respond, instead, their guns steady over their shoulders, they took aim.


Halting our steps from getting any closer, the seconds ticked by slowly as we looked at the guardians of the town circuit.


One of them came forward, gun aimed steadily, while riding freehandedly and skillfully on a camel; and asked, “Who are you?”


“Doctor of the that abandoned hospital, we need access to medical facilities…” I said, as neutrally as I can.


“Who do you side with?” The question came as expected.


“Iran, I am against the tyrant Saddam.”


“Do not utter his name again!” The man yelled from behind a shrouded veil that covers up till his eyes. He looked seriously angry, and very dastardly unwilling to give way, but then he lowered his weapon.


“You don’t look too modest, was there not enough time to dress yourself properly or are you a whore?” He asked rudely of me, noticing that my lab coat was left open and that my pants are torn in some places. I quickly hid my body, understanding his statement and eyeing Komachi to do the same.


She followed, and we both went inside, surprisingly easy considering we were not wrapping our heads.


“Wait!” One of the guards called.


“Use this.” He handed me a scaffold, about arms width. “I understand…” I had think it was too easy, in the end, you wrap up or you go.


“The rebels would be heading this way, you men better watch out.” Komachi warned the hooded men in covered veils. “We will…” One of them answered, and returned to guard duty.


The truth is… this inner city has been targeted by rebels, being the nearest supply depot, it is no surprise. A military camp belonging to foreign partners, namely Afghan foot soldiers exist nearby, making it a delectable choice to raid for weapons and supplies. A proper hospital is inside the city, housing some 2000 patients, which is well over the capacity. There is a large marketplace where all the men gather are doing trade and also a place where all the men gather to pray, but not women as there is a separate place for women to pray.


Along the southern side, a dilapidated building serves as the local militia’s outpost, working for the army of the nation as extras. Of course, it is not surprising that these overwhelming men without any ranks or order would band together, they are facing a common enemy after all. They say when human minds band together, great things happen, there has been nothing of the sort thus far in the time I am on Earth, and barely a day at that.


We marched across the town section, heading down to a hall where the homeless people gathered. This is a place set up by humanitarian foreign aid groups, which consists of largely white-skinned westerners and some Asians. I looked around a bit, carefully scanning if there are any potential targets that may know who we are. I recalled I once harbored a foreign aid worker at the hospital, and caused quite a furor as the man was not supposed to be there in the hospital meant for the locals only; yet another expression of selfishness in the human race I suppose.


A woman, whose name I recall is Betsy instantly rushed to me, as she recognized me even though my face was concealed by the scaffold by the man at the guard post. “Majid!” She yelled, “You…you are here?!” She asked in fluent Arab.


“I had to run, my hospital is raided… I knew it was just a matter of time, I just didn’t think it would be today.” I answered in Arab.


“Then we have to shelter you, we also need your help, our aid camps are running short of doctors… and this… she is…?” She pointed to Komachi, or rather the woman Komachi inhabits.


“She is my assistant…Ko…Komachi…”


“That doesn’t sound very Arab…or Iranian, or Muslim…” Betsy uttered.


“It is not, it is the name she used, it is to conceal her identity.” In all honesty however, I am just lying to make it easier for our communication later on. Betsy looked at Komachi suspiciously, but as Komachi hauled the boy with the injury earlier down, his coughing up blood from his lips make it clear there is no time for meaningless questions.


“Bring the child in the camp, he needs to rest… have you wrapped up the wound?” Betsy turned to ask me, serious eyes of green stared back at me with a hollow feel inside.


“I did, it seem the camel ride may have opened it… and all the running about too, to get away from the rebels in the hospital.” I answered honestly.


“No, it is okay, we will do it properly this time… meanwhile…are you alright?” Betsy asked, inspecting my torn clothes.


“Yeah, I am…it…it is just it was a bit hectic since this morning…” I smiled weakly, remembering so far in the morning.


“Terrrible country to live in huh? I understand… let’s get you check out and cleaned up, after a short rest, we could really use your hand at the refugee camps.” Betsy smiled back and proceeded with Komachi into the camp, where medical supplies like fresh bandages, painkillers are abundant.


“Thank you…” I uttered to her back, betting that she didn’t hear it though.


The camp for the showers is a bit further to the back of the refugee area, where a host of other homeless persons with their starving children are sitting along a narrow path with eyes begging for compassion are… it seemed so hurtful to me, like a sting to my heart as I looked at them, yet, as a doctor, there is nothing much I can do without any money or clothing on me that I can spare.


I began to think… is this how hell is?


What be real hell? What does it look like? Can anything be worse than this?




+++++


(somewhere far away)


“We have her…”


“Take the shot.”


“Roger.”


A muffled shot was fired, like a ‘Pew’ which was heard, but coming out from a muffler-installed handgun, that is lethal. The bullet that flew so fast the eyes cannot even catch it drilled itself into the body of the woman, a simple office worker, fighting for her daily bread as she walks back home pass a lonesome park at an odd hour of the day.


This woman, Sakami, didn’t think much how today would end, or begun for that matter. She wakes up every day, at the same time, same empty room in the same horrid apartment she has been living in since 6 years ago since she took the dead end office job at a local sub-letting company.


She hasn’t calculated the odds that she will die, she has been alive thus far, why should she die today? It is silly to even worry about death, when the same life she has been living in this dastardly grey and black city filled with concrete walls and office blocks in Japan has been nothing more than a façade. Truth to be said, it didn’t feel like she was living at all, she felt like a drone, working day in and day out. Going to the office in the morning, leaving after work hours at 5pm on the dot, going to the local market to shop for the day’s dinner, before returning to cramped apartment and taking a bath in her 4 feet wide bathtub which can accommodate her only if she folded up her legs tightly… and then sleep. When she wakes up in the morning, she will dress herself in her office wear, and iron out her skirt of dark blue, before putting on her dark blue company-issued tie and heading to work as she always do.


She has been alone during lunch time, she has been alone throughout high school, she has been alone today. She hasn’t made new enemies, and she didn’t make any new friends… she had wished to die two days ago when a sudden bout of depression came to her like a tidal wave sparked off by an undersea earthquake. However, she didn’t, she let go of the knife she was going to slice her wrist with, remembering the face of her mother, and father… who left her when she was little…


“Mum…I am sorry…” she uttered, holding her hand close now, in the lonely park where no one ever walks past except her… her shortcut route to her apartment; she held tight to her wound, pressing it until a stream of blood spurted outwards from the gaping hole.


“I…”


She didn’t finish, and eyes whitening out into nothing as she rolled them back, she didn’t know death would be so peaceful… so sudden. Is this karma? She asked to no one, expecting no answer… who shot her…? Who did she offend?


Maybe she was just unlucky…


She had always been…


Maybe grandma would be there, at the river… waiting.


She smiled…



+++++++



(same place, a bit further away)


“Pay up.” A man said into the phone, it was an old DoCoMo, clamshell in design, black sleek, with scratches all over and a black shortened antenna. His breath reeked of stale smoke, and face lined with stubs of a poorly shaven beard that was there only this morning.


“Is she dead?”


“Hell yeah she is… what else do you want me to do? Shoot her a few more times?” The man yelled back an annoyed answer.


He hasn’t expected some client to be this stupid.


“Did something glow in her body?” The client asked.


“What?” The man is annoyed now, what glow? What madness is this?


“A glow, green light, lower half of the waist, there should be a green light.” The client spoke, the voice muffled by a voice changer of sorts.


“This better be worth the million you offered.”


“I will make it worth your while, just check for me, and then check your account on your phone.” The client answered, clearing his concerns over the matter.


“Alright….”


With heavy steps, he walked in his leather black shoes to the corpse of the woman laying in the center of the park’s path, rolling her over, he checked her pulse by the neck with a gloved hand, placing his index and middle finger near the artery in the neck.


“She’s dead.” The man answered into the phone. “No green light…”


“Bastard…! She escaped!” The client fired back.


“What did you just call me?” The man assumed hastily.


“No, not you… the woman… the green light, not there?” The client asked one more time, urgency in his voice.


“No…there is a blinking of blue from her cellphone however, is that the one? In her left pocket.” The man said.


“No, nevermind…check your account in the next five minutes, the amount has been transferred…” The client said.


“Okay…good doing business with you.” The man was about to snap his phone shut…when suddenly the voice of the client sounded clearly over the phone as the receiver end moved away from his ears. “Whatever you do, don’t take the left park road. That’s all.”


The phone was off, no recorded number, no record of the conversation ever passed.


“Hmmff…” The man huffed, giving no care to the last sentence, the left path is the only logical choice, it is the path that is not directly across the street from the police booth.


He waltzed onto the path, making sure no one sees him as he turned back to the path.


[BAM!!]


Like a thunder strike, he didn’t knew what hit him, only the pain was so real it didn’t make any sense for it to be fake incident…


A truck just ran him over from his sides…


‘Don’t take the left path…’ the client said.


The man cursed… fuck… it wasn’t supposed to end this way!


He… it was supposed to be an easy job… maybe the only one he will ever have to do… that money… it could save his life… his kids…it was all…


ARRGGHHHHH


Death was as sudden as the snap of the neck, as his head fell headfirst onto the road, after flipping several circles in the air by the powerful slam of the truck that sent him flying well over a few meters away from the front of the grille and shaving his face against the rough surface of the street with full force.


Death… is without mercy.



+++++



“Damn it… we failed, she anticipated us, and escaped. Where is the last known location of the target?” A voice spoke from the dark. A bespectacled imp of a man began to crouch over his papers, checking out the sheets for any known data that may have been missed the first time… papers from Higan, delivered by messenger spirits that no one understands or even can see…


Booming and cracking from the chamber below a observatory deck, eyeing the stars above is a man’s voice, seemingly shouting but in such low baritone that nothing discernable can be heard by the human ears. It took a while, before the shouting turned into a whisper, but then raised once more to form a distinctly human voice.


“What happened?”


“The assassin killed a decoy, our plans were for naught.” The voice in the dark observatory floor, covered by the shadow of the tall panel of a pillar obscuring the source of moonlight spoke with a clear voice to answer the question.


“Shikieiki Yamaxanadu, how did she find out?” The voice from below asked.


“I believe she had a helper, and I have a feeling it is that young Vertical we recently accepted…”


“How did you confirm that?”


“His alibi of meditation was checked out, spies reported there is no one inside the chambers during the said time he said that he will be there; instead, a spy report also reported there was a Yama nearing the gate, despite well over the training acceptance time.” The voice above answered.


“What can we do?”


“Once we have her location, we can have her done in, just like normal. However, our cover-up story would have to be different. Yama if I recall what you told me, do not die with the host bodies, so we must make it look like she deliberately killed the host while she inhabits it.” The voice answered.


“Do so…”


“Sir!” The imp, previously crouching over a pile of papers looked up and called out to his master.


“What?”


“We found her, she is in Iran…”


“Good work, have the spy spirits follow her, I will set up new pawns to hunt her down.”


“Yes, Sir!” The imp returned to his work, he picked up a phone, which has no batteries installed but is still working with a blinking light and number: 54596. He dialed the number and waited, before cackling into the receiver some indiscernible mutterings that only his kind can understand.


“Call Yasir, our favorite assassin… I am sure he will prove much more worthy than that trash we have to employ in Japan. No matter, he is dead now anyway, a sin is a sin, killers must be trialed as such.” The man smiled, emerging now from the shadow as he took slight steps.


He had red skin, redder than any Yama, eyes that are green and slight blue inside the irises, and a hair as green as any Yama, except behind his head, are horns.


“The real power wielders have to trim their surroundings… just like me, an Oni and a Yama can never be allowed to exist, so here… is where we shall build our empire, on Earth.” He gazed faraway into the mountains, where a canvas of black rolling hills under the starry skies above this night greeted him, as though welcoming him, the winds blowing their branches to make them sway like waving hands worshipping his arrival here.


“Old man, Seisenhou… are you still there?” The man asked.


“I am…” The voice below answered, this time calm and collected.


“I am only covering my own ass, if you want to keep yours from being caught, you better have plan B ready.”


“It is a shame your mouth is so filthy, otherwise, I would have admitted you a special place in Yama society.” The voice rebutted.


“Shame? Your society is a shame, a shame because there are filths like you who think so highly of your stupid race. I thought you should know, I didn’t just get out of the Yama community, I didn’t just destroy that wall of soldiers and the Monochromes you sent after me… I ate them… delicious… sin is in fact the most delicious flesh of all…” The man said threateningly.


“Not one word more… you Halfbreed! If it wasn’t because I seek to purify the inner workings of Yama community, I wouldn’t have to rely on necessary evil like yours, consider it a privilege…”


“Our deal is a deal, the dismissal from your pardon means I can finally put my Yama-trafficking operation to full use… and a new generation of my ‘halfbreed’ brethren will be born… That is what I desire, and I will do all in my power to achieve it.” The man answered.


“I am glad we have an understanding…”


The voice then silenced, along with the hum that was evident with the machine being on earlier.


The man smiled… humans are very resourceful creatures indeed, to make something so… unique.


An inter-world, inter-dimension communication device made out of tubes and electrodes generating electric waves completely opposing each other at standard radio transmission waves… what genius… Thomas Edison should be proud he made this before he died… although no one was there to sign his greatest creation… a device to talk to the dead…


If only they knew… that death is not yet the end.



+++++





A conspiracy with another kind of halfbreed? What madness is this?!
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2009, 02:22:30 PM »
I took a shower, it was a long one that helped get rid of the sweat on my body for the past 4 days, which was the last time I had a shower or anything to wash with. I had naturally dry skin, and was blessed with a zit-free condition, which otherwise would have clogged up my face by now had the oil on my face been left there a moment longer. My hair was caked with filth, sand and dust, not the most flattering for a doctor… and my feet is almost scaly and scarred from my grinding with my poorly made shoes, which are really just two pieces of fabric tied to a string.


I had a feeling this should be a moment of relief, and then I heard from not too far away, where the entry to the female bathrooms are, a door swinging open loudly with creaks.


I peeked out from the side of my cubicle, carefully making sure I wasn’t too obvious.


Komachi is there, looking for me obviously as she turned my way.


“Shikieiki-san, I don’t know what to say… I think this is a bad idea, someone out there just now said the rebels have broke through the defense line of the guard post, and some of them are heading this way.” Komachi said, urgency in her voice tells me she is not lying about what she heard outside.


“What could they possibly want?” I asked behind the cubicle, careful to conceal my small naked frame, for modesty’s sake.


“I don’t know, the camels maybe?”


“Too small… they are looking for someone, or something… could it be us?”


“The old man!” Komachi suddenly suggested. Old Hamid is still outside in the camps, probably getting cared for.


I quickly rushed out, pulling a towel, I dried myself without regards to Komachi looking and dressed quickly, not even bothering to dry my hair.


“We have to find him, if he is the host for the Vertical, we may know something…”



+++++++



(In the camps)


“Unhand me, woman…I need no care for this small wound… and I need to go!” Old Hamid protested against Betsy’s hand, and slapped it off his right arm with his left hand rudely.


“Old man, I know you are hurt, you are going to need treatment, if not the wound will…”


“Gangrene? I know that already! That is not my concern, I am going to die soon anyway, but I rather you spend the medicine which is so hard to get on those young men there looking for treatment first!”


“A noble thought, but no.” Betsy attempted again, only to be shoved away this time.


“Look, Mister, I am getting tired of all this, you either let me treat you or you get out of this camp!”


“Perfect idea, let’s get on with that!” Hamid smiled sarcastically.


“I… I care about you, you were on Majid’s back just now… I figured you must be some important person or patient to her… please…” Betsy said, eyes now looking at Hamid’s stubbornly wrinkled face.


“I know you do, but you must understand, those young man are valid men capable of saving this country more than an old fool without legs like me can, you have better luck if you help them than me… I swear, I can feel death closing in on me, no amount of optimism from you or Majid will save me from old age, I am sure you understand that…” Hamid refuted.


“I…”


“He is right you know?” I called out, placing a hand on Betsy’s shoulders without her noticing.


“Majid… have you freshen up? ...Oh my, your hair is still wet.” I was in the process of tying up and bundling up my hair into a suitable cover, so that I don’t look immodest before the other patients, whom are all Muslim.


“I have… look, Mr. Hamid here is different… he has been like this for some time now, I haven’t treated him much because he is healthy as a bull, and when he says he is dying, it is also true… at current, his kidneys are failing and so is his liver, given a week or two more he will probably die from that or succumb to old age… I don’t like admitting it, but he is beyond help from us foreign aid workers or local doctors… we don’t have replacement organs, or an operation theater with the right equipments to help him either.” I said, my eyes looking forlorn now as I stared into Betsy’s widened eyes…


“How can…” Betsy tried, but stopped, she understood it more than I do. This camp from the day it has opened has received a fair share of dead bodies, capable young men and women, dying before their time, opened wounds and all sorts of things… bullets especially being among them the highest number of death-causers.


“Leave me with him, I need to talk to him alone…”


“Okay…” Betsy stood up, and walked silently to the camp’s canvas curtain, which opened and led to another camp that acts as the foreign aid supply office and storage room, complete with steady supplies of bandages, medicine and the sorts.


“Old man, have you…”


“The Vertical? Yes, and you did something unnecessary Shikieiki-kun, I recalled I told you to abandon him… because you took him along our plan of escape have been spoiled to the unseen enemy… they now know where you are.” Hamid or rather, the Vertical inside him answered sternly.


“I am sorry… it is just that… I couldn’t leave you alone…”


“You left that boy to die, that Suman, the doctor…” Hamid paused, “Was that a better part of your judgment? If so, I would have declared you failed your training and understanding what exactly is important and what is not.”


I felt a sting of sadness, and anger, and humiliation stabbing me in the heart, I felt my tears gathering under my eyes and I really wanted to cry.


“Enough with that however, what’s done is done… just don’t repeat it again. I need you to hear me out, abandon this body in this camp, and go to the Afghan fighter’s base… there you will find a route that leads to the back of the control room, which is also the contact center for the military base about 30 kilometers from here.” Hamid began giving instructions.


“What then?” I asked.


“Contact a man called Yasir, he is a helper in this case investigation, and my subordinate in Higan, currently he is on his way to the demilitarized zone on the Afghan base side, which is to the North of this camp site. He would be there in an hour, he will take you to the military camp where a plane is waiting for you to cross the borders of the middle east and rendezvous off the borders of India. We will meet again in New Delhi.” Hamid closed his eyes, and went to sleep almost immediately, indicating the Vertical has left him.


“So…?” Komachi behind me asked.


“I think we should follow what he said…”


“What about the boy?”


“I don’t know…”


I walked out of the camp, looking about, I saw two soldiers coming my way, militia no doubt with their rag tag wears and a turban on their head indicating their distinctive Turkish Arabian heritage; and on their shoulders slung a Kalashnikov rifle each, complete with a pouch likely containing the clips and magazines for the guns.


“Ah… gentlemen, I need your help.” I sounded.


“Doctor, what do you need?” They are surprisingly friendly, and judging by their voices they aren’t from around here, more Kazakhstani as I recognized the colloquial tone and accent.


“A man inside, an informer of reliable source, said that there are raiders in the city, and they are coming here… the military has not been informed yet and it would be dangerous to allow them this close to the city limits… please… can you relay this message to your commander?” I said in earnest.


“Who do you side with, who is this man?” The taller one of the militants asked suspiciously.


“That doesn’t matter, I side with Iran and I am against that beast, I have this old patient inside who gave me this detail, I don’t know how much I can rely on the detail either but it is better safe than sorry.” I sounded as desperate as I can.


“This… alright, we will relay the message.” The shorter one said, earning a slap on the shoulder from the taller one that had a look on his face that says: ‘what are you doing?’


“Thank you, you will be saving these helpless women and children, you will be doing Allah a great deed.”


“Indeed we will be.” The shorter one answered, and rushed the other direction quickly to the offices, which their captain likely is in.


“Now we go.” I proceeded to run, despite barely freshening up, the sweat began to pour again from the heat above our heads, we must reach the back of the demilitarized zone quickly.



+++++




(Somewhere not too far away, a dusty road heading to the city)


“I heard you the first time.” A man yelled into the cell phone, which is really a large chunky brick sized long antennae fitted radio, attached to the jeep which is rolling furiously down the road with the roof down, if there was one to begin with. The dust flew onto his sunglasses, hitting the formerly there windscreen which had scratch marks so bad it didn’t look like he could see through them to see the road ahead at all if it wasn’t because it was a clear sunny day like any other day in these barren landscapes.


“Good, do her in, Yasir.” The voice said, and off in a buzz it was gone and the blue screen flicked off along with the red light. Yasir, the man driving and heading into town now threw the radio on to the passenger seat, disregarding it now as he looked ahead.


“Damn fools… always stirring up trouble!” Being an Oni, it is no easy feat to leave the old parts of Hell that he was living comfortably in the old days and come to the human realm to fit in and escape the duties of slavery in old Hell, now completely dominated by the sheer forces of a woman they revered for ‘making’ a world called Makai within Old Hell’s formerly large district.


It was only days after he realized his family was no more, claimed by the sheer destructive armies of that woman, who led incredible powerful forces that overwhelmed in both numbers and individual strengths, demons that overpower the Oni don’t exist, this woman created them with pure thought! How scathing a memory indeed!  To reap the efforts maintained by many generations of Onis under the guide of the old Devas of the Four Heavenly Mountains so readily as if it were her own… that woman… that traitor to the demonic race… an anomaly so powerful no one could put a stop to her devilish plans pulled the carpet under the furniture, and destabilized all that it was.


If it wasn’t because of her, he didn’t have to run… to run here, changing his name… changing his identity… laying low and playing on both sides, he found some place finally to belong to… and now… it is at risk again because of those red-skinned bastards and their ‘Perfect Law’ and some such nonsense which they regard themselves with.


He signed on as a spy for the exiled member of the Oni race, or rather, a Halfling that now lives on Earth like him, because it was befitting that Oni-kind, no matter how distinct their species and families are, are always born as blood brothers and sisters, they are united, and to separate means offending the great four Devas, which is a crime punishable by death. If only he had been careful to not trust that man, the Halfling, it would have been much easier to enjoy life on Earth.


Of course, his movements are watched, but then… he finally landed a big role, and now he is ordered to assassinate a girl… a girl from a Halfbreed family, human and Yama, and the reward is huge: Seven hundred gold bullions, enough to buy his way to a new life… away from all this mess. There is enough to buy his own island, maybe one of the many along the Turks and Calcos Islands regions, and start a family there with a human woman.


Maybe he will open his place, and invite his exiled Oni brothers and sisters to join him, a reserved paradise where they can wine and dine all day, as it was before the great teardown of Hell in that blood spilling war that raged. Onis have the right to freedom, and peace, their lifestyle has been like that, and when it was tainted by blood, they had to do something. That something saw him lost his only sister, a young Oni by the name of Suika, who came from the mountains when she was young…


It is strange, how he missed her, if only he didn’t leave her to battle the armies… and then run when there was no victory or a chance at that in sight. If only… if only he went back home… she is dead now, probably… He gritted his teeth, grinding the molars as he stepped onto the accelerator of the old hunk of metal, and rushed forward at full speed.


“Once the kid is gone, that Halfling… I will have my peace…”


He lit his cigarette clamped in his lips a while ago, which had a wet tip thanks to his saliva on the cottoned end, and puffed deeply.


Someone has got to do it.




+++++++



(The camp area for the Afghan troops)


The men marched, under the sun, they were shooting at dead targets in a distance, and some of them were practicing the ancient art of Taekwondo, which is a Korean martial art greatly enjoyed in Afghanistan. Kicks and punches were landed, and the man grimaced under the pain but returned the kick back to their opponents in systemized training techniques and sessions.


A commander aside the lines shouted in English and Pashtu to the men, bare-chested surprisingly and had them perform push-ups as they finished their kicking. “500 more to go!” He shouted.


They proceeded to do just that, slapping down to the hard ground and began pushing against gravity, releasing and repeating in quick reps to finish the absurd number of demanded exercises.


“What are you doing here, woman?”


I was startled, a young man, approximately 30 years of age and about, in a grey robe carrying a gun which is aimed at me asked me from a safe distance.


“I am a doctor… I….”


“This one is?” He pointed the gun to Komachi.


“My nurse… we are here on an appointment, his name is Yasir… we…”


“Okay, that way, pass the showers, Yasir is waiting.”


“Oh…ah… thanks…”


“No need to thank me.” He marched off the other direction, and without questions I moved too to the direction he pointed, and quickly so.


There behind the grey block of a building where the showers are, I saw a beaten up old jeep, rattling and ready in the waiting. A man sat inside it, smoking, black sunglasses and robe and all with a rather dirty beard that probably has been hiding his chin for months.


He looked my way and shouted, “Shikieiki?”


I nodded, and confirming it otherwise, I walked upwards.


“Get in.”


I did so, and so did Komachi, we didn’t know the exact details, but he seemed sure as he started the car and we are on our way.


“Where are we going?” Komachi asked.


“Somewhere far, he said he will see you in India right? Then we are going into a place where air travel exists, have your tickets ready.”


“We don’t have any…” I said, worrying a bit.


“That is why I am here… here!” He shoved an envelope into my hands and I opened it quickly. Inside, are two pieces of paper, one with my name, or rather Majid’s full name and a picture attached by paper clips onto the dog-ear-tagged sides, and another with Komachi’s details on it.


“This is…”


“Your travel papers, once you are in India, no one would recognize you…”


“Who are you?” Komachi asked, like a sharp knife, it seemed to stir him a bit.


“I work for him, that is all you need to know, no further questions.” He looked away and continued to drive.


I looked downwards to my feet, I felt an unsteady pang inside me, like as though I been lead for some unknown reason into some kind of plot. It wasn’t so clearly at first, but right now, as though Majid within me is speaking to me directly, I feel the urge to get out of the vehicle, nonetheless, I kept myself seated…



++++++



(Japan, elsewhere)


“Yasir has rendezvoused with her.” The man, with green hair and beige colored horns resembling giant antlers that poked from the sides of his head spoke to a device that looked like a giant radio.


It is about 3 feet in length and height, with electric wires plugged in from behind supplying it with plenty of energy, and electric magnets opposing each other in locked position and what seemed to be mini-sized satellite dishes planted to the back of them glowing brightly. A miasma of sorts formed between the mini-satellite dishes, and tubes which are made of thickened glass with electrodes fitted inside them are humming silently as the glow grew stronger.


This is the greatest of Thomas Edison’s creations, or rather, he and a man named Nikola Tesla collaborative work. Thomas at the time was a rival with Tesla, but then he had a great dream. He dreamed one night that he would make a machine that will let him talk to his dead ancestors, in order to provide him with more insight into his knowledge, enough so that he could make ever better things with what he has right now. ‘The father of inventions’ as a title was simply no enough, even though he has it, he knew Tesla was above him, Tesla was simply a better inventor, a greater man by all accounts and he is jealous.


However, where he already strode, Thomas will not set foot onto, instead, he proposed to Tesla his wildest dream.


A machine, capable of relaying communication, messages to the unseen world, a parallel, a universe… yes, a powerful voice that goes beyond space and time… a telephone to talk to the dead. Tesla was fascinated, of course he would, Thomas counted on it because he knew Tesla better than anyone else.


He knew he is a dedicated inventor, a crazed scientist who will do anything to make things happen. So he made blueprints, combining the intelligence of electric technology which gave the human race the first light bulb to the first electric operated machine, and then with the perfection of Tesla’s electrodes which are designed to withstand enough counter current to shock an elephant into roast; they succeeded after a few hundred tries.


However, before they can ever get the voices to speak to them again, it was decried by scientists, people whom they thought to be allies to their cause and God-believers, whom are enemies. “Nonsense!” one side says; the other cried “You should not disturb the dead!” and so… the greatest invention was lost to man, long before it had the chance to unveil itself.


Years later, it was silent again, and Thomas has died. The greatest tale of electrical engineering never got to the starting lane, and Tesla later, wrote in his journal before he died in 1943, ‘it was the greatest of my work… if anyone found it ever… do not use it… for it would bring the worse of things to happen.”


When it popped up finally in a museum scrap display, one man purchased the thing after doing some research, and that man… is none other than the one now speaking to the voice at the other side.


From beyond the whitish blue glow that resembled a star floating in the middle of the room, charged by electrodes and air burning from the heated electric passing into it; a voice and even a face now appeared. It was like a fuzzy mirror, a face of an old man, with a beard looked back at him.


“Don’t let her go this time, we stop her before she reaches the air field.”


“Of course…” The Oni Halfling answered.


“What about that young one?”


“They abandoned the old fart he possessed at the camp site, looks like they are careless.” The Oni answered.


“Too bad…”


“Now… about the payment…”


“When the job is done.” The voice from the fuzzy mirror image answered, and promptly disappeared.


“Damn old man… I need my permission… we are already late by 2 shipments…” He is of course, referring to the new batch of humans which he is trafficking to Thailand and Myanmar, children mostly, to be enslaved by rich men and perverts… they are good business, but even the Yama are against him, and they have sent guards to chase him before, forcing him to move his operations once and again…


This is supposed to be easier than he anticipated, it wasn’t so however; and he is frustrated.


“No matter… soon… it would all be over.”


Of course, the first prize… rather than the permit, would be to eradicate the upper echelons of Yama community… a pack of lions without the dominant male is just a bunch of females unable to cope with their appetite and self importance, which will lead to their crumbling. A crumbled Yama society would be a great prize to have… and once that is done, a new world order will begin, a world order which not only he will rule, but ruled by Oni-kind.


They took Old Hell from him, and the Yama took his dignity with them, they will pay back, double the times of the offences they have done unto him.


“If not so… then I am not worthy to return to the arms of my Brethren… they whom have been exiled, I will restore them their rightful places, and purge the old demon world of the impurities that has changed its face!”


He clenched his fist, as he remembered the woman who created Makai… the disciple she had… the evil ghost… the Yama… and most of all… those unsightly weaklings who now permeate the once great lands of the Oni kind.


The Satori… the Tsuchigumo, the Underworld dwellers… the Oni were once a great and glorified race… Father had told him so, and their glory were taken by the ganging up of small fries like those… such shame cannot left be unattended… when the day the Oni rise again, there shall be blood!



_________


With that:
New characters have been shown...
An Oni mixed with Yama kind, a forbidden existence beyond humans and Yama?

An Oni that lives as a human... Yasir, so claimed brother of Suika Ibuki?

The Oni exile, the shrinking of Hell... history which piles up and causes today's happening... or so it seems, moving beyond purifying the Yama race from human halflings... to making new allies cum enemies in the wrong places... will the Yama and Shikieiki survive the entailing storm?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 02:25:39 PM by 名無の妖精さん »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #19 on: September 18, 2009, 08:44:19 AM »
This chapter, we take a break from the Shikieiki and Komachi's adventures in Middle East... (sort of)
and we take a look at why the recent mention of Suika, Onis and Yama and why they have this law against interspecies marriage and creation of children, despite being able to create perfectly healthy children...


They say our ancestor's sins lead often to our world today, our cultures and heritages are the accumulated image of the past and in this present, we live in their image. The future, will draw inspiration from our generation and the past before us... but what if... there is no inspiration? What if the ugliness required the reset button to be pushed? One that will wipe all the sediments of the past into nothing, and form a new era?


What if... Makai wasn't created on a whim?


What if... it were all related to why the Books of Law were written by Halflings? What if... Shikieki is wanted because of that... because of this break of tradition?


What would you do, if you were facing the world of which you never seen before? Welcome, to the Chronicles of Makai: Shinki's tale.





Interlude: The Hundred Years War of Hell and Makai's Creation
_______________________________________________




(Somewhere in Makai)

The woman had white silver hair, tied in a side ponytail to her left with a string holder, which has red balls attached to each end. She wore black under her primarily red and white dress, complete with a shawl that is about upper-arm length covering up till the center of her chest, hiding her womanly charms adequately with the modesty a queen should fittingly have.


She has a unique charm about her. Long, slender, graceful; like the swan upon a lake, she slowly drifted about in the magical air of Makai, a world spawned from her genius, and her dreams, her hopes all within… It was many years ago, but quite so recent to her as the memories simply do not fade, she remembers every past, every face, every soul… The eyes that stared at the monumental structure revealing itself from the light of the surroundings slowly surfacing to the day’s brightening above, belonged to a woman called Shinki, the creator of this world.


Here, in this chamber, she regards the endless, timeless, wonders of the past… a world where chaos was the order of the day, behind a malignant rampancy of violence, subdued reason and melodrama capable of breaking even the strongest of wills into impending anger, fueling its source as it grows like a malignant tumor it once was… until she came along. She, is the catalyst of the blame, the target of many, the hated among the Oni-kind… and their other allies.


Even the Shinigami does not regard her with high respect, despite what she has done. She has turned chaos into order, a world beautifully ripped out, replaced with a beauty unlike any other… like which the garden she stands now gazing over the downward spiral from the roofs of the skies above, densely thick in dark thunderous lightning clouds that are brewing with intense emotions. This… is the spiral of her past, this is her work… her legacy.


Not even her daughter is allowed in here, a place where only she has access to… a sealed dimension within a dimension, a history book hidden from the face of all others with eyes… and ears. From the pillar of huddled bodies, there is the screaming agony of each body, bound eternally to the downward spiraling structure akin to that of a giant stalactite with a near impossible width of nearly 300 or so kilometers wide top where the clouds gather, reaching beyond it to unseen heights… this, is a piece of living history… her mercy and her cruelty in the form of an altar for the defeated.


The Oni Pillar.


In the old times, she alone raised her voice against the tyrants, led by immorality, led by greed, led by carnal pleasures of chaos… Their descent meant everyone else living in Hell has to suffer… demon, souls, humans, Shinigamis, and most of all Yamas and other miscellaneous species and races, she had to put a stop to it.


The Oni Pillar is the effect of her cause, her work here, is encased in thousands upon thousands of Oni soldiers, Oni villagers, raiders, warriors, generals, into a living statue. They each hold the weight of the stone set in their form of the downward spiral. It has spikes randomly poking out, each as wide as tens of feet to mere centimeters, strong and sturdy and sharp. The weight is tremendous, and only the sort like the Oni can hold it with their combined great strength. The weight grows every single year, increasing by micrograms only, so as to lessen the torture that is necessary to refine the morals and aspects of society of the Oni… in a lesson that they best understood; as it is, the very method from which they inherited but long forgotten from the Original Four Heavenly Devas.


To them, especially so…that was their heritage, their culture spawned from a well of magical energy from a powerful God that created the heavens and the earth, and hell from which they dwell, casting upon them the four primary energies of the beginning and molding them into the form of four female Oni, ‘The Mothers’ and gave them the name Four Heavenly Devas, each standing atop a great mountain and holding the four corners of Hell in place on top of the human realm on their shoulders.


At the time, it was a great place, so vast was Hell that the mere mention of the human realm dwarfs in comparison to the great landscape of Oni kind, growing ever more, multiplying into every edge of Hell until there simply is an impossible number. Hell is not just inhabited by them, it is inhabited by many. Many more, the Satori, the demons, the ghosts, the Shinigami, they all found as aspect of life and evolved here as they did… That was the case, the Oni found the land, and the rest joined in.


However, above all, the Oni kind has massive strength, and numbers… so much that they overpowered the other inhabitant species with their brute force, and until one that chaos remains… Hell crumbled under a reign of oppression, poverty, and most of all, the breaking of a once lawful system… engaged by a friendly race, the Yamas.


It all began… with one murder, a Yama, who has been murdered because of a drunken brawl.


Normally, drunken brawls occur, but the Onis were smart enough to only kill their own… when the line was crossed, words were spoken, and whispers were heard. Keen to contain their errors, Oni kind strived to build a wall about the matter, and swept it under the carpet but a revolution has already begun. Brutality and oppression was the Oni kind’s only action, since they know little else.


In the heart of the matter, was the beginning of a voice that took hundreds of years in the making… the voice of the demon, Shinki, the queen… Indeed, few were as strong as she, armed with so much magic her making would simply be call ‘godly’ had not she is forever a demon, and nothing more… even the devil was said to fear her for her might, for her powers compare to that of his greatest nemesis.


And so, the words took on the snowball effect, each passing year only gathered more and more momentum and snow, until the giant ball which form after it has picked up enough anger, hate, and desperation for freedom saw the coming together of hundreds of species, races; brothers in arms against a common foe, the Oni.


With the voice behind her back, Shinki rode the momentum of the war that sparked and lasted a hundred years. Billions were dead, millions more plunged into hellfire, even more died at the brutality of the great Oni kind, with strength that can match even the titans that roam the far edges of Hell despite their pint size in comparison with those woeful creatures that disguise themselves as unmoving rocks and mountains.


The Oni were strong, barbaric… but one thing they aren’t… they aren’t diplomatic… or smart for the matter. With great determination, and with each small victory, the demons pushed forward, while the strategists of the Yama kind quickly rounded up the Oni warriors into death pits and corners, overshadowing their great numbers and strengths with wit and quick thinking. Shinki’s magic overwhelmed the land, creating even more magic, until she herself was the living embodiment of magic itself.


With such great power, she revolutionized Hell. A hundred years passed since the war began, and when it was finally over, the Oni is a dispersed race, defeated, dethroned from their own greed and zero accountability ways of violence, oppression, brutality that struck fear in all the other races before. Those that aided Shinki understood her vision, her vision to create a peaceful cohabitable Hell, a place for the Yama, the Higan, where they no longer need to fear the violent trespassing Oni; a place for the Satori, the Underground Palace, which houses the once exiled nobles of the Satori clan by the Oni; a place for the Makai people, so that they may grow their crops in peace, and live in peace without the fear of the drunken Oni. It was a vision that needed determination, and cruelty… to force the Oni to understand their ancestor’s vision, the Mothers that stood on the mountains holding the four corners of Hell above their shoulders… that weight which the strong must bear to understand…


Millions of Oni were captured, encased with magic and a seal that can last through eternity if needed be; to be placed upon the Oni Pillar, cunningly constructed by the titans whose dead comrades become the mortar that binds them to the pillar itself valiantly. Imagine that, a race so great they sacrificed the dead comrades to be used as a the constructive material for the Oni Pillar, only so will the weight be enough burden to the Oni so strong. Indeed… this was a sight that once where there is chaos, is ruled by order now…


With more magic, Shinki erected the new world from ground zero, a burning world filled with loss of lives and bitter victory won after a hundred years: Makai. A new world, for everyone, where there is the vastness of endless landscapes, as great as Hell, but more beautiful… with purple and orange clouds of evening hue, endless horizons of mountains and earthly looking meadows of purplish grass. Magic which feeds the races and species of incorporeal and ethereal alike living alongside each other, free from the grasp of oppression of the once great Oni.


Like a leader, Shinki took her seat as Queen of the Makai, overseeing the landscapes as she would… and returned finally to her daughter, whom perhaps became instead her greatest loss.


For in her absence, her daughter, or rather, her adopted child… became a recluse, tied to her books and dolls that she refuses to see even her mother, believing Shinki to have abandoned her in favor of bloodshed. She left soon after, becoming just another page in Shinki’s ever widening book of chronicles, encircling hell and beyond, and beyond age and time.


Today, in this chamber, where a sealed dimension exists within it, Shinki gazes at the agonizing beauty that is the Oni Pillar, with its insufferable faces and bodies huddled in an attempt to hold the Pillar from falling down and crushing the dimension itself, destroying all of them in one go.


The idea behind it, was to let the Oni know what pride the Mountain Devas took in their role as Onis, they who support the skies they rest under, they whom are the birth of Hell itself. Last she had heard in recent years one of them has fled her duties, one whom claim to be strongest, and lives now in Gensokyo, it means to Shinki one thing: the Oni are not a responsible race at all.


However, the concept is the same: to make them forcefully understand the notion that in order to do that, it is not oppression that is key, rather harmony and peace that is so hardly fought for and won upon the eve of victory.


It is that such fragility of peace and harmony, in ever chaotic hell that people, the races that dwell here treasures. For in harmony and peace, comes development, comes nature, and comes life… for chaos that the Oni wrought has only destroyed it over and over again, and Shinki’s vision was to turn this chaos into that moment that all can treasure. She gazes at them, and walked closer, immediately open to her ears are the curses from thousands upon thousands of those huddled bodies, male and female alike.


“Witch” “Devil” “Whore” “Evil” “Dictator” “Harlot”


She has heard them all… no matter how, she only regards them with eyes of peace, and forgiveness, she knows she is not wrong. However, she understood, if it was meant to be a way of life for the Oni, they certainly aren’t wrong, but nowhere right either for their ways.


“When one day you see why I done what I have done… the skies will stop falling… and you all be free again.”


She only heard insults in reply.


She thought to herself…


If only such rage and will to live can be translated into a message of peace, she wouldn’t have to do this to the Oni kind, sealing them in this dangerous one way dimension where only she can enter…


If only…


“Alice…where are you? Why did you not return…? Mother… I… I need you to tell me if I am right…” Shinki whispered to herself, a drop of tear circling the underneath of her eyes.


Slowly, she walked gracefully, with her wings behind her in a slight droop from her downed emotions trailing behind her. She turned the way of the door, where a demon stood waiting at a gateway that passes into the Makai which everyone knows to exist.


“Luize…”


“Yes, my lady?”


“You aren’t supposed to see this.”


“I don’t have to, I already know it exist, as it is, I am not seeing anything with these closed eyes…”


“Good…” Shinki muttered, and promptly walked out.


The key to this world is Luize, whom loyal as it is since her first day born, or made from Shinki’s power of creation, has never opened her eyes to see the world around her.


The Demon Key, if she should fall to the hands of those who chose chaos over order…


The whole of Makai, Higan, Underworld, Netherworld, Gensokyo, will fall into chaos, and such chaos will forever be because by then, she would no longer exist.


With that, Luize closed the gateway.


Silence followed, as the long walk to Makai’s Grand Palace is quite a journey, even by flight. The vast landscapes will do well to ease the heavy feeling hanging about Shinki’s mind now as she took to the air with her six black and red veined wings.


Truly, only the queen knows the pain of the time that passed.


++++++++


(Yasir’s Jeep, moments before he saw Shikieiki)



“Sister… brothers… I will save you, but first, I need the hostage… the one they hunt, the half human, half Yama girl, is the catalyst… I promise I will deliver you freedom from that accursed dimension of the Oni Pillar.”


He rubbed his hands, eyes determined, writing down his will on paper using a semi dried pen.


“The Yama won’t understand how important she is… kill her? No, killing is too easy to do, I will negotiate for my access… once there… this can finally be used…”


He produced a packed ball in a clothed package, which is hidden inside his pocket.


It was glowing in dark blue hue, to the human eye, it looked like a precious priceless black pearl, but it is more to marble sort that glows by polishing; however, it is neither… this… is the fragment of the Third Deva, a piece of her heart, standing atop the Mountain of North.


It was great risk that he obtained it in the span of the Hundred Year war in the old days of Hell, and effort paid off for he finally scrapped off through the stone structure outer body of the Deva herself, which he dug into and found the ‘true body’ of the Deva herself within.


A mere girl… whom he awaken from her millions of years of slumber.



Her name is Suika, named by him. Yasir adopted her as his sister, and let her join his clan, the Ibuki, which only he alone survived from being pulled to the Pillar for eternal imprisoning. From her, he obtained a fragment from her, a piece of her heart… the most powerful part, which can be the fulcrum of destruction of the Pillar.


It will awaken the dimension…


With it, it would destroy this world and the rest… resurrecting the once wondrous free world of the Oni to their rightful places.


“They dare purge us from our own lands! This will be the price they pay…”


He laughed silently to himself.




+++++








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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #20 on: October 06, 2009, 04:03:24 PM »
Chapter 12.


------


Sand came flying into my face, some entered my eyes, more somehow found their way into my lips and into my mouth? it is clear to see I am not used to weather here, or traveling in such ill advised wear as a lab coat, white shirt, and jeans.


To be frank, even with the wrap up near my eyes, the sash has proven itself useless. However, more desperate things are worrying me at the moment, as it was revealed to me a moment ago we are heading an entirely different direction.



++++++++


(some moments ago)


?Psshhh? don?t say anything?, but I think we are being kidnapped? this is not our ally.? Komachi whispered to me by the ear.


?How can you be sure??


?Gut feeling.? She answered, a vague answer if at all being one.


?I don?t have time for games??


?Don?t trust anyone, remember what that Yama said??


?He specifically told us to approach a man in a car, whose name is Yasir? to go an airstrip where a plane is waiting to take us out of Iran and off to India??


?Not that simple, the airstrip, from what the locals told me earlier is the other direction, not where we are headed now, and I don?t know where he is taking us?? Komachi said, whisperingly so.


?Then what should we do?? I am impressed yet again by how aware Komachi is to the situation and here I was, naively believing we are being led by a reliable confidant.


?At the count of three, push his chair forward, he should break hard and fast, we get off, I will distance us from him??


?But you can?t? no wait? what is your ability??


?Like all Shinigami, my powers are to shorten the length of traveling time from crossing the Sanzu River, distance manipulation is a skill inherited from one generation to another?.so??


?But you can?t because? you are now?? I said.


?Shinigami has been known to approach the real world to collect souls of the dead before, as some are stranded here after missing the path to nirvana, I can do that too? it is not like it is my first day on the job.? I suddenly feel more confident that I can trust this girl whom I met just over a day ago, who sold her uniform to get some sake? despite it all, she seemed well informed, and a sense of self loathe at my inexperience seemed to linger in my head desperately.


However, I had to focus.



++++



Komachi lifted her fingers, to her ring finger first fell down, indicating countdown has begun. The middle came down slowly, and then the index before the both of us kicked against the driver?s seat from behind. Had Yasir been careless? To slip us in so easily and to be behind him? What if I were to stab him?


However, none of that matters as I gritted my teeth which were forced shut by the impact that came next. The car swerved, and like two bags of potatoes we were swung sideways with incredible force as we tumbled off the side of the jeep, bodies rolling into and on sand several times as we stirred up a storm on the way.


The car kept on spinning, losing whatever already non-existent grip it had on the dry sand and tumbled to an extent. As we stared from the blurred sand and dust swirling about before us under the midday sun, the jeep took to the air in vertical fashion, and off did it dry tumbled to the ground with a loud crash that sees it stop all possible movement.


Like a smashed vase, the pieces of metal that once were a part of the jeep flew out, flying in all directions at dangerous velocities as it pierced through the blind sand and hitting our direction. Komachi picked herself up and took my arms, pulling me up as we parted away to a distance. Yasir must be dead now. I feel ashamed to have caused a death so mercilessly. However, somewhere in the back of my mind, I feel flustered more so, because his death would mean I have committed a crime.

From the debris, the silence around us now became only audible the next other human like voice came from the sand itself. It resonated in the windy chaste, and from it, a shadow became visible.


?Tsk? have my tail been leaked?? He spoke, Yasir, the man who was supposed to take us to an airport, so that we can get away safely without being hurt or seen by unseen enemies within our society?


?Who are you?!? I demanded loudly, putting up a brave front despite feeling my desperation soar.


?Who I am does not matter, who you are, is Shikieiki Yamaxanadu the halfbreed, my orders are simply to bring you to my client. Resist me and you shall die!? Yasir threatened, his face still hidden by the cloud of dust separating us from him.


?I will ask you one more time, who are you and who sent you?? I asked again, determined to get an answer that I know won?t be given lightly.


?Fine, my name is Yasir?but that is only a front, I am Izo Ibuki, Oni of the Ibuki Clan which your putrid lawmakers community have banished.? I stood agape, ?Oni?; didn?t they all die out?


?Answer me, Oni of the Ibuki Clan, what measures of hand has the Oni dealt with to answer to such lowly tasks as kidnapping a trainee Yama?? Komachi questioned, her voice was filled with girth, not an ounce of hesitation in it, making me quiver as I listened to her booming tone.


?Do not mock me, Shinigami. I can tear your head out of your lewd feminine body like a terrible bug should I wish, I am a Higher Oni that the likes of you cannot face without calling upon your superiors, or the Monochrome Guards. Too bad for you, while on Earth, you cannot summon their services without an elder?s approval.? The Oni boomed back, he took a few more steps and from the dust that parted, it was clear to us he is not lying about himself.


He had skin as blue as the deep sea, and he stood bold, bare-chested with a muscular build like that of a giant. To add to it he is about 8 feet tall, a hair white as platinum shine, and eyes bulging with two grotesque tusks extending out from the sides of his cheek that made his snarl all the more horrifying. This is the Oni? the kind of creature that once roamed freely in Hell, so fearsome they are every other race and species of youkai and Yama alike are subjected to their terrible grasp and their corrupted powers.


Their strength are legendary, capable of matching to several hundred men in each one of them, and when they drink, their appetites can drink dry entire rivers. They have elements of fire, sometimes lightning and thunder, and sometimes stone and even molten lava. Their species are such powerful oppressors the other minor species just had to gang up and put them to sleep? or at least, that is what was thought. The fact that he stood there now was made clear to me one fact, not all of them are asleep.


?Do you want to test that out?? Komachi challenged, I quickly pulled her ears to mine in response as I flustered even more.


?What are you doing?!?


?Don?t worry, he won?t even see this coming? Higher Onis are stupid.?


?I heard that, Shinigami, and now you have angered me?? He took one step, then two, and then a hail of others as he rushed for us, arms raised to attack.


?See?? The next moment I was stunned as I witnessed what may well to be a stranger happening than ever.


Like a butterfly matured and erupting from its pupae, Komachi seemed to lean forward, grasping her hand in a fashion as though she is holding an invisible staff, and from her body, exploded a glow of light just as the Oni slammed its arms downwards to her.


A flashing blind moment, and from her exploded such great light I was blinded. I took several steps back, blown away by the intense wind generating from Komachi?s surrounding like a powerful sudden storm. There, I saw with my own two eyes the Komachi?s true form, her poorly dressed self in half her supposed uniform, armed with her wrinkly looking scythe came out like said butterfly, and spread her wings like so.


For a while, time seemed to freeze, and she popping out there and then swung her scythe with such intense force it cut through the chest of the Oni that attacked, prompting the Oni to take several steps back as its reared its ugly face to see clear what had transpired a flash moment before.


There she stood, majestic it seems, with her weapon held ready to strike. One hand placed firmly grasping the bottom of the staff to the wielding long scythe, and another holding the handle on the middle jutting out like a sore thumb. The scythe glowed with magnificent energy, powerful, and raw as though it were made of energy itself. The bladed tip has blood dripping of it, Oni blood that stinks of alcohol and something else.


Her eyes looked serious, glowing with anticipation as she stared back at the Oni, who clearly now is very angry indeed.


?Now you gone and done it? I haven?t had a good fight in years? I hope you ready for this.? With one hand opened, he grasped the air, forming magic before his palms and holding it as though some kind of staff is there for him to handle.

With two eyes glowing red, his power flowed into it, and formed a great hammer the length of his arms, and a hammer head itself the size of his torso. Truly, the Oni uses the heaviest weapons, and this one no different. ?ONI NO HIMITSUOUGI! KAITENZAN!? He yelled at the top of his lungs, and charged the hammer he had with fearsome power of electric.


Then like a comet crashing down, the hammer struck clear ground before him, sending sparks of electric into the air like watery light spears spraying from the abyss to the heavens above. The shock on the ground spread its shockwaves across, making me lose my balance as I looked for a foothold that isn?t there.


Then, a pillar of sand, towering like a giant tornado storm, came twisting at us.


I opened my mouth to yell, perhaps to ask Komachi to escape, but she? she charged right in.


?You are not very smart? did you know charging the electric you can generate into the air full of dust and sand will only cause bad things to happen?? I last heard her yell out.


Without warning, a sudden explosion happened as she pulled out a small packet from her side pocket just beneath and inside her clothes directly under her breasts. The bag was opened, cut to be precise; and with immediate effect twirled black smoking dust that is dark as black pearls that covered the air in suspended animation.


?Those are?? The Oni stuttered, seemingly knowing what they are.


?Am I glad the traders are such honest men, my shinigami fuku is worth for more than a few bottles of sake, so they gave me this as compensation?? Komachi smiled, and chanted something under her breath. ?Oni Gunpowder!?


As though it suddenly appeared; her hands slipped out a small vertical tube pipe, a lady-use tobacco pipe which is already lit somehow. With one spark, the ?Gunpowder? lit with furious glow, and exploded into a flurry of explosions as the Oni looked in despair, desperately he ran for cover but it was too late, as his body is fully consumed by the powerful flame which erupted in thin air, burning through the dust and oxygen swirling in the air of dust that the Oni himself created.


Komachi jumped away, throwing her pipe there and then and rushing for me, her eyes glowing in bluish light.


?Close your eyes? or you will get dizzy!? She shouted, I followed her commands promptly and felt almost immediately my body was shifting into a thousand places at once.


The next moment was like a blur, for I saw that Komachi took just one step, but the ground before her seemed to shrink in absolute blur, moving at such speeds that none can even match as even the skies above seemed to fade into a distance unseen.


Blue became white, bland sand color surfaces turned into white. There was none left but blinding light as I felt her hands grasp my back and carted me in her arms like a prince carrying his lady love. The instant was fleeting as I opened my eyes I was at the town once more.


?The town!? I gasped a reply, still confused by what happened.


?I can shrink the distance between one location and another, as long I can see it or have seen it there is nowhere I can?t go in an instant.? Komachi explained, and she let me down to the ground safely before continuing. ?We must approach that nurse you saw earlier, Betsy? is her name? Ask her where the actual airport is? we may still be able to rendezvous with them with the Oni now gone??


?What happened to the Oni?? I asked.


?Oni Gunpowder, I blew him up badly by spreading it all over his body? it would burn quite a bit, and I am sure he must be scratching that fire off him carefully or he might peel his own skin off? haha?? She explained.


?What is Oni Gunpowder??? I had an idea though.


?Dried grinded leaves from the Oni Tobacco Plant, when filtered enough times they become literal explosives in a bag, and smoked by only the most hardcore smokers in all of Higan and Hell. It is rare, and the shopkeeper gave me some as compensation for the value of my shinigami fuku which I sold to him for sake. I hope you aren?t going to whine about this are you?? Komachi looked, her eyes almost dot-like looking for an ounce of sympathy in me.


?No? no, not that, I am glad? you saved us, no way we can beat an Oni alone?? I answered, smiling.


?You?re welcome, now come, we should go before they catch up with us.?


We headed into the town area, back to the camp which we came from.


We got to find that nurse called Betsy.



++++++



?WHAT?!? The man yelled into the phone, his hair almost standing in anger as the things in the room seemed to shift in his energy that rose off his body like a flowing vortex wind.


?What do you mean you lost them?? The man asked again, softer this time as he reigned in his voice filled with anger.


[?We have visual confirmation, that Oni has failed his task.?] The phone replied, voices that are almost too buzzed out to be audible save for the most sensitive ears and concentrated listeners.


?You get the fool to contact me immediately.?


[?He?s already on the line, sir.?]


?Put him through.? He gritted his teeth.


Seconds of silence seemed to pass in awkwardness, as he waited for the beep that signaled the phone line has been jacked to the right person. The beep came, and off his voice went in the receiver loudly.


?What in fucking hell do you think you are doing?! You lost them?! I thought you are best at your job!? The man yelled into the phone.


?Whoah, have some mercy here, I just have a third degree burn from Oni Gunpowder and this can?t be helped. These bastards are a bit more resourceful than I expected.? The Oni on the other line replied.


?I don?t care how, or what methods you use? you stop them from getting out of the country, the assassination team has already confirmed their flight path there? once they get away, we are dead.? The man warned.


?Don?t rush me, remember, this is mutual benefit, if I fail, you fail. Piss me off by a bit and I just might desert you to bite the bullet.? The Oni threatened, not a bit of remorse for his client in his voice.


?You wouldn?t dare??


?Oh yes, I sure as hell would? I have better things to do than picking off dead skin on my body? Had I not used my ability in the nick of time, I would have been burned alive. Let?s just say I am just as pissed as you are, and you do good not to make me any more pissed than I already am.? The Oni spoke, voice clearly indicating he wants this conversation to be over as soon as possible.


?Alright? quickly.? The man slammed down the phone.


He bit his thumb?s nail, and tore it apart from his human fingers. It angered him, the pain helped sort his thoughts as he walked about the room, with a giant screen before him now which hung a face he recognizes all too familiarly staring back blankly at him.


?Well, Judge, we seemed to ran into some troubles.?


?I tolerate no failure, this is one of them, the next time you fail I am calling the executive order on you and we will shut down your business there in the human realm. Don?t make me do it?? The face stared back, the Vertical who didn?t like halfbreeds very much only looked blank, but behind his mind, his thoughts are in a state of calculation, working his way to a probable answer and route that he can take to get the greatest result.


Then slowly, the screen buzzed out. The device that helped the man contact figures in another dimension hummed to silence, once more resembling an out of place device that seemed abandoned by time, with its numerous tubes slowly turning to a dull white before fading out in total into the darkness around the room.


The man paced out the room, fist held in anger.


?Damn it, Yamaxanadu? why do you have to force me into a corner!?? The man yelled.


His heritage may be at the end if he fails his duty. Despite his plans, his team has failed once in Japan, and now in Iran as well? such is the impossible sum of events that make him frustrate visibly.


He put on his coat, and walked out the room.


He needs fresh air.


Desperately needed fresh air.



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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2009, 05:02:12 PM »
Words cannot describe how Godly this fanfic is...

Apparently, Thomas the Tank Engine isn't one to take crap from anyone.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2009, 06:19:03 PM »
How about the word awesome?
I'll come up with an evil scheme later. First, it's time to build a giant robot!

You can't have a good evil scheme without a giant robot!

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #23 on: October 10, 2009, 07:21:13 PM »
How about the word awesome?
Meh, I was thinking of something more awesome than the word awesome.

Something that conveys "epic and awesome" into one word.

Apparently, Thomas the Tank Engine isn't one to take crap from anyone.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #24 on: October 12, 2009, 07:39:20 PM »
Oh hey guys, love you all for reading this.


Short chapter this round, like really short...

sorry about that.


Chapter 13:

-----



“Betsy… Betsy! Where are you?” I yelled, the camp only had people looking back at her blankly, waltzing around with a girl who is not only immodestly dressed, but looked entirely non-mid-eastern in skin color. Considering how deep this part of the inner city is with the Pashtun speaking community and Arab region, it is only that strange because tourists are not welcomed here.


“Yes…?” Betsy, the nurse working for the foreign aid group answered.


She was standing behind me, I didn’t manage to see her before, but it was clear now she appeared from behind another camp set about the aiding camps.


“Betsy… you have got to help me…” I pleaded.


“Yes… what…? What is it… calm down, what happened?”


“Someone wants me dead, that is why I fled from the Hospital… whoever it is, he is now chasing me, I have to get out of here…” I paused, “I must know where the military airstrip is.”


“It is due North East, I don’t think you should go there…” Betsy said in reply.


“Why?”


“I don’t think it is a good idea, the military operates the place for one thing, to go there might as well be putting a sign of ‘I am trespassing, please shoot on sight’ sign on your head.” Betsy answered, she looked over to Komachi, standing a head taller than she is, immodestly dressed for this part of the world with her shinigami fuku half exposing her chest in a large V-opening thanks to her selling the inner piece for sake before.


“Who is she?” Betsy asked, looking at the strange looking foreign woman, “she looks Japanese.”


“Konnichiwa.” Komachi jokingly answered back, smiling widely. Betsy, being foreign, said ‘hi’ back in return, waving a bit.


“A friend…”


“Let me guess, it is on a need to know basis, your eyes are telling me that…” Betsy grinned a bit. She understood the situation a bit it seems, after all, no way a Japanese person can suddenly appear in this part of the Arab speaking world so easily.


“Whatever happens, tell no one you are with me, we never met today… don’t worry, once I am out of the country, I will be safe… I will return soon enough.”


She smiled, and threw me a set of keys from her pocket.


“My truck is off the sides of the water pump, don’t thrash it too hard okay?” She said.


“Thank you… but…”


“Don’t worry, I don’t use it anyway, batteries may have died though. I hope it is not but it is least I can help.” Betsy answered, and turned away, giving us the signal to go. She never saw us here, her eyes seemed to say to the both of us, and we ran. We ran as hard as we could to the water pump, we couldn’t use Komachi’s ability because she clearly doesn’t know how to get there.


Somewhere along the way, we heard cars, many of them approaching.


It was clear to the both of us who the cars belong to.



++++++



(Same place)


“This is our target, don’t let her get away from us, dead or alive, we must take her down.” A commander said, giving a nod and a ‘get going’ sign with his thumbs pointed up; his men moved forward, each one armed with a black gun reflecting the sunlight above their heads.


They all wore the same thing, with only the commander wearing a lot less gear. They have guns, large toys designed for causing maximum damage. Some carried large radios, some wore extra armor, whatever it was, they clearly are not here on holidays.


Like a storming troupe, they dashed quickly into each camp, pointing their firepower at the citizens. None of them fired, only looking for the face they wanted to see behind their goggles, aiming carefully and turning every face until they seem them. There are some 30 camps filled with people, it is hardly an easy task.


Then… they heard it, the sputter of engine noise.


“The water pump sir, a suspicious vehicle has just moved.”


“Stop it!” The commander barked.


The men rushed for it, guns aimed over their shoulders and ahead, as they approached the cars, they snapped the trigger downwards, shooting raw bullets at their direction.


However, the bullets only grazed, they were off rather fast and the truck had a solid back, clearly made to last the toughest conditions.



++++++



(Same time)


“Komachi… are you alright behind there?” I yelled, hoping that she may have heard me in this ridiculous noise the vehicle makes. She sits behind the cargo, becoming my eyes to my back as I tore through the dusty way for north east. The way to it however, is all sand and more sand, no roads readily available save for halfway there. This makes driving entirely infeasible, with nothing to guide us save for a small compass with markers hardly able to read in our bumpy conditions, and a needle that looked to be pointing in the wrong direction.


I must make my way to the airstrip at all costs.


“I think I am gonna be sick!” Komachi yelled back.


Hands ready on her scythe, it isn’t clear what she can do with its limited length, but she stood ready within the white truck’s curtained platform behind the cargo area. It is naturally so of course, that she can even stand there, she has more than her fair share of years standing on rocking boats crossing the Sanzu River, which at times can be rather turbulent.


“I am making a dash, if you see them chasing, give me a notice!”


“K’” She answered.


Time is running short, if our whoever is there meeting us, then we have to be there on time, or they might abandon us.


“Brace for impact!” Komachi suddenly yelled, I didn’t know what she meant. ‘Brace for impact’ is something you say when you have something equally sized ready to ram you.


I was too busy keeping my eyes on the lack of roads, checking the compass stuck to the windscreen, I checked our position. I didn’t notice it, but from the mirrors, two sand colored armored trucks were giving chase, the noise was so intense from my rickety old van it didn’t make much difference as they chased us, I hardly noticed it thanks to their camouflage color which makes this all the more worse.


“I am going to cut them down!” Komachi said, I looked behind, “No!” I tried to yell back to her, hands keeping steady on the wheel. In my memories, floated pieces of information of how to drive, thanking to memories from Majid whom I possessed; however, memories also surfaced I was the worst student to ever got out of driving school, not that they care of course.


However, I was too late, my yell reached no one, from behind me, I saw Komachi zoomed out suddenly like a phase of an illusion, becoming blurry lines as she appeared suddenly on top of one of the trucks behind us, there were 3 of them.


I prayed hard, and kept on driving, maxing the engine’s capacity for any speed I can push out of the few liters of fuel I have.  I wondered who I was praying to anyhow… my face suddenly floated my father’s face, perhaps… I should have just been the weakling, and choose a safer if not easier path… what was I thinking then when I took on the Yama’s mission…?


Then, I remembered, it was all a plan to keep me from dying in the first place.


I gritted my teeth harder, and pushed the engine for that extra speed beyond 80km/h.


+++++

Komachi raised her scythe, standing like a person riding a feisty horse drawn chariot riding in the sand, she swiftly brought down the scythe to the window, smashing it and killing the passenger within.


She then reeled, pulled the scythe out and noticing the passenger’s soul was attached to it. This is how she usually has to work with souls who escaped the Sanzu’s path, often for selfish reasons or sometimes involuntarily so being guided by unfinished desires to complete unfinished tasks when they were alive.


The soul looked at itself, eyes wide and scared as it looked at the scythe attaching to its chest.


“Wha-“ Komachi gave it an intense stare, and swung it away, she had no time to care right now; she has to stop them all.


The car is still moving, which means the other side is the driver, the person she must kill to stop the vehicle dead.


From the sides of her eyes, she can the humans raising their guns, the passenger on the left side rolled down the barricaded window, which had a seal attached to it, it said Navy Seals on top.


She saw the gun barrel pointing out, and aimed at her. It doesn’t take a genius to guess what it is, and with quick agility, she let down her scythe and slammed it down to the truck’s armored hood, breaking it easily with her shinigami strength, which is another attribute.


She heard the gun shots, the bullets grazing her nearly as she lied down and hung closely to the hood of the car on one side, her fingernails deeply clung onto the steel roof as it swerved and turned, trying to overthrow her.


If only these fools know, throwing her off is useless, she needs only use her ability to shorten the distance between her step and the place she wants to be, which is on top of them. She regretted not being able to get inside however, but if she could, it would make things a whole lot easier.


The bullets continued firing, then, among the noise using her keen sense of hearing, she heard a familiar click. Using just as her guess, she jumped on the idea that the gun must be empty, and with that, immediately jumped up and phased herself to the other truck to her right, driving haphazardly.


“She’s gone!” the soldier inside the car said.


“Careful!” The driver screamed, but it was too late, the rolled down window did the trick.


Like a powerful sledgehammer, Komachi’s scythe reached down and found its target as it cleanly pierces through their gears and armor, and into the skin before reaching the flesh inside. Like that, she hauled her scythe back, which again, tore the soul of the person she killed with it mercilessly.


Off to the driver’s side, the driver looked, and pissed himself in his military patterned pants.


He could have swore he saw some whitish thing that looked like the soul being pulled out by that scythe that just pierced the gunner!


“What the fuck?!” He yelled, trying to maintain his cool as he felt about his warmth wetness slowly drenching through to his legs disgustingly.


It wasn’t sure whether it was his complaint for his wetting, or the fear now coursing through his veins intensely.


“Got another one!” Komachi happily announced.



++++++++



“Komachi… come back here…”


I could feel a pang of guilt as the mirror of the car showed what she did.


I always know Shinigamis are happy go lucky people, I just didn’t they can take lives so easily.


These people are alive and the raw pain of having their souls ripped out of their body must be mortifying.


How would one feel that way? She had an idea, they taught this sort of thing in the Yama schools. It was said to resemble the feeling of having a thousand arm sized spikes suddenly pushed through your skin and injecting electric into it, then comparatively speaking, it resembled like having your limbs sawn off and a bludgeon sized weapon stabbed into your stomach and drilling it with speeds of up to 400 turns per minute, cleanly blending your innards into a filthy nasty mixture of pain and horrendous unmentionables.


That was the text at least, to feel it like the two soldiers that Komachi has just taken down must be a whole other story. I gripped the wheel as tightly as I possibly could… I could see it, up north, a helicopter seems to be landing.


Komachi has to come back, once she does, it would all be easier, we can straight away zoom there without disturbances any further… no more killing!


I shouted, suddenly finding that below the seat hanging limply and loose is a horn like instrument with a handle and trigger for an on off button, it looked like a microphone jacked to the top side of the car.


This car is white, with red cross insignia to the side of the flapping curtains behind, meaning that it is without doubt this truck is used for transporting medical goods, or at least water. The announcing device is there so to announce their arrival with aids for the needy, naturally, it can be used to call Komachi back.


“Komachi, I see it…! COME BACK HERE!!” I yelled into the microphone.


I could hear my voice clearly in the riveting noise and dirt covered sandy path.


Then, suddenly, like the wind, she appeared back in the back of truck.


“Shikieiki-san, where?”


“Front, I am jumping of the truck, catch me and transport us there!”


“On the count of three!” She replied sharply.


“Three!!” I skipped the other two, taking a leap of faith, I hoped to dear whoever watching us from afar, Yama or God, or Buddha, that I won’t kill this host for doing this involuntary act of saving myself.


I opened the door, and jumped to the sides.


For a flash moment, I felt time seemed to have stopped.


Sand seemed to float like rain drops suspended in mid-air.


I felt myself floating… moments only before as the sand is inches away from my face.


“Shit…”


I cursed.


I never cursed before in my life.



----


Oh ho, Komachi demonstrates her specialty as a shinigami ala SHUNPO style?

More likely than you think and no, it is not a Bleach crossover. I thought I have her play cool a bit until Shikieiki who can't seem to get adjusted learns her cool bits.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 08:37:45 PM by Asphyxiated-Fairy »
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Alfred F. Jones

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #25 on: November 07, 2009, 07:39:30 PM »
Oh ho, Komachi demonstrates her specialty as a shinigami ala SHUNPO style?

I just chalked it up to manipulation of distance, and now I am in pain thinking of the above suggestion. Damn you, A-F!

Also bumping because you should get working on this again. Shikieiki demands it.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #26 on: December 08, 2009, 08:07:21 AM »
I will try to write it up, I lost inspiration lately because of drawing all the lalaland peoples.

don't want to abruptly do something not expected of my standards.
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #27 on: December 17, 2009, 11:51:29 AM »
(Sorry for the hiatus, I suppose I lost a lot of inspiration indeed, this chapter is really really late, forgive me.)


Chapter 14:
________




“She just what?! The man with the horns at the back of his head and hair as green as a Yama yelled into a phone receiver. He wanted this, to be a part of the operation but nowhere near it, but he didn’t expect this to be so difficult.


“She jumped, and then she disappeared!” The soldier responsible for establishing contact with their client spoke.


“They are heading to the airport, get there now!!” The man yelled back.


“Dammit!!” With intense force, he slammed down the receiver.


“My patience is running short, you Halfling…” A voice boomed behind him, and yet again, the face of a familiar looking Yama gazed back with a flare in his eyes from beyond the blurry and hazy screen of black and white.


“The matter will be sorted out.”


“Dial for the airport there, tell them there is a terrorist attempting to escape, and SHE is not a Pashtun speaking Arab!” The man yelled to a small and wrinkly looking technician sitting by a screen-filled table mounted to the wall.


“Yessir!” Quickly, his fingers worked miracles of the operator kind, connecting the wires to the right circuit board and managing to get a call through directly.


“Do it quick!”


“Hello… please get me management please!” The skinny looking technician, who is likely not human spoke in Arab to the receiver.



+++++



“Shikieiki-san, this is necessary, please discard this body… we have to do something about this.” We eyed at the airstrip, there is a cargo plane waiting, a large bulky grey bodied and winged metal bird sitting ready to take off at the edge.


“I can’t, she will die if I leave her here…”


“She will die even worst a death if we keep bringing her along… I know Yamas have a better physical health and limit but human bodies just can’t take this sort of travelling with my powers… check yourself and see!”


In truth, I had felt it long since the first time, a nausea like feeling slowly building up in my chest. It felt like a balloon was blown up inside, and the air pushing against my lungs made it hard to breathe. It wasn’t the chase that caused the heart rates, rather the lack of breath. Though my inner self felt nothing, the human I inhabited felt everything from the faster than sound travel of Komachi’s ‘shortening of distances’.


“How much more can I take?” I asked.


“I reckon human bodies can take around 10G* of force without collapsing… what I did just now was way beyond 40G, it is side effects of my power. While souls are immaterial and cannot be harmed by such physical driven values, humans can’t take this sort of punishment!” Komachi explained.


We rushed forward, heading to the airplane by foot, we cannot use the shortening again on such short ventures.


A man stood at the entry, where a ladder extended downwards.


He had a bushy beard in black and wore a military costume complete with camouflage marks. He had on a pair of black sunglasses and a turban on top of his head, indicating his Arabian heritage. He looked at me, crippling my way with Komachi’s support as I went as fast as I can follow Komachi’s seemingly endless stamina.


“Shikieiki Yamaxanadu?” The man asked.


“Yes…it is I!” I answered, my voice a choking gasp as I suddenly realized the dryness in my throat.


“Get in, quickly!”


The man rushed inside, and I heard the engines roaring to life.


The cargo bay at the back, reserved for a car perhaps shut off, and nowhere near are the people chasing us in the last two trucks with fake Navy Seals logo attached to the sides of the doors and windows. It is comforting to know, that I can be safe now. Lest of all… there is never such a thing.


Just as I went above the third step, I heard sirens blaring.


“What now?” Komachi looked and asked to no one in particular.


“Police?!”


They halted, but we kept on moving, and half a second later they came close enough and opened the doors with guns pointed.


“STOP! AIR PORT SECURITY, YOU ARE TO HALT YOUR STEPS, WE HAVE RECEIVED REPORTS OF AN UNCONFIRMED SOURCE OF A TERRORIST ATTEMPTING TO USE OUR AIRWAYS FOR MALICIOUS ACTIVITY!” The policeman with the gun aimed at me paused, “STATE YOUR IDENTITY AND PURPOSE!”


“I am a doctor, my name is…” I tried to answer, but I stopped, or rather, was stopped dead.


It was so sudden but I heard it, from afar, the clear sound of gunfire, and fractions of a moment later, a bullet pierced me through my chest!


“A sniper….?” I mumbled, my eyes blurred.


“GET OUT OF THERE!” I heard Komachi yell to me, and with effect, she reached her hands through my body as though she was immaterial and pulled at my arm.


Like her from before when she left her human shell, light glowed in all directions as the puzzled policemen covered their eyes and tried to run, one even yelled “She’s gonna blow!!” as he ran backwards to the car, hoping to take cover.


But it was no explosion, it was me, my inner Yama being pulled out like a nail on a floorboard by a crowbar.


Light filled the air, and great thunderous energy ruptured across the airstrip as I slipped myself in with Komachi during the confusion.


“LOCK THE BLOODY DOOR!” The pilot, the man with the turban yelled from the cockpit.


Like a panicking soul, I got hold of the great door, made of some fibrous material on one side and steel on the other and slammed it airtight, hearing a non familiar ‘hissssssssss’ as the air from the pressurized door lock seeped out and sealed us inside the cockpit.


“Don’t worry, this plane is bulletproof, it has taken us past some of the worst war zones in the world.” Another man whom I suddenly only realized standing behind us said.


“Who are you?”


“I told you I would meet you again right?”


“Vertical Shienji-sama?!” Komachi and I both blurted out.


One surprise after another, I don’t know how much I can take this.



++++++


“She what?! AHHHHHHHHHHRRGHHH!!” With all but the lack of any grace, the half-yama, half-oni slammed the phone shut.


It wasn’t the frustration of not getting it, rather, he failed again.


“That, was a disappointment so great I find the lack of words in the Yama vocabulary to describe it.” The face behind him commented, sarcasm was detected in his tone of words.


“No, enough is enough, if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.”


“I am glad we have an agreement.” It was clear that in his eyes, the employer of his deeds is furious.


“Take care of this place while I am gone.” The Halfling said to his skinny operator assistant, receiving a bland and uncaring ‘yessssss’ in reply.



+++++


(In the skies)


I found myself dressed in my usual Yama attire once more, my cotton and wool thick long sleeved uniform which is in blue and adorned with yellow and gold buttons as well as two shoulder pads lined with white and filled with black polished lacquer typical to the Yama costume. I wore a blue pleated skirt with pronounced folds, and with it two white lined pockets along the sides of the hips. My long feminine legs unlike the battle hardened Majid whom have died whilst I inhabited her body earlier by gunfire, are draped in tight and modesty preserving thigh socks. On my feet were the standard issue of black working shoes, strapped to the side with two woven strings, a white socks which are worn to give comfort to the feet folded halfway down just above the ankles.


I had not felt a breath fresher than the cabin air I now breathe, my body is light, without the inhibitions of the very fragile human body. It felt strange, foreign even, now that I have returned even barely after 24 hours since inhabiting my short-lived host, who gave me plenty of knowledge in the workings of the human world, and of course, a taste of the human sorrow.


I eyed Komachi, now slumping her shoulders tiredly, she seemed exhausted from all the hopping about. Though she maintained her form up until the moment we ascended off the airport with the enemy far below us, we are sure to have much trouble with the landing in whatever place we want to be.


“Wheeewww….” Komachi sighed, and then sat herself down to the floor instead of the seat, laying on all fours and like melted butter, became one with the floor as she went to a sleeping position.


“Komachi! You are being uncouth, you shouldn’t sleep in a guest’s presence.”


“Shikieiki-san, we are the guests now.” Komachi reminded me.


The man who is really the Vertical has found me, and in this plane of all places.


I reckoned that the camp must be gone now, or that the old man whom he took possession of must have died or something…


“Did he…?” I began, unsure of whether I wanted to be sure of that old man, and like reading my mind, the Vertical said, “Yes, he succumbed to his heart, he is old, that much activity probably was the last straw.”


“Damn…”


“I know, see, the value of human lives are so fragile it doesn’t make sense to preserve them.” The man who has an eye blind, clearly so with a replaced eyeball which is made of glass replied, “It is however this fragility that makes them all the more caring over their sincere efforts at making something out of nothing.”


“Did he die peacefully?”


“He slept and never woke.”


“I am glad…then.” Truth is, I am neither glad nor condemning it. Yamas live such long lives, myself soon to be included that life of the humans resemble a passing season of cherry blossoms, blooming only in Spring, but then losing its beauty almost immediately as the end of spring came to a flourished end.


“The truth is, we are not going to India… we are going to Japan where they sought to hunt you down.” The man said, eyeing from the side and standing to the cargo bay, where some boxes lay asunder on the floor of metal.


“Home…?” My eyes brightened up, it was a welcome notion… it means I can finally see my mother again. I felt elated inside.


“Be wary, it is not a holiday we are taking, I have sources confirming the culprit who ordered for your assassination here and there is in Japan now, we are closer to the heart of the enemy although we have no concrete proof.” He paused, “But, rest assured, that Japan is a land with mythical epics living among the quiet and the war torn. There, I will do my best to contact our helper, the sovereign name of justice: The Kirin.”


“The Kirin!?” I shuddered, I heard of its legends before,… the horse that is too a dragon, a half breed made into a God by its own right, a Kami representing the highest order of heavens, the balance of black and white, justice’s sword. It had a unicorn like horn protruding out of its head, and had eyes as black as polished marble, with a voice so powerful that its roar can shake the heavens and scare even the toughest of the Oni to succumb and kneel. It has skin that is like scales above a horse’s body, red and black and hooves that is lit with fire, where it goes the clouds follow and it has a spiritual presence equal to that of several hundred Kami and outranks them. The Kirin is like the supreme judge of the Yama, only way outranking and much more powerful in nature and totally uncompromising. It was said that those who met the Kirin will be judged, and if they have sinned needlessly, or atrociously, the Kirin can straight send them to the deepest pits of hell by his sovereignty.


In retrospect, a Kirin is nothing more than a half-breed, but it was said that when the Heavenly Gods visited the land to the Great East, they saw this creature which hunted a man around for 3 straight days without rest. They asked the creature what it has done, and the half dragon half horse replied, “This man has killed his own wife and child, all in effort to escape the responsibility of ignorant fatherhood for his sinful approach towards life, he then sold their bodies to people he didn’t know for money, which he used to gamble and led him today to be a beggar! Tell me, does such an inhuman beast deserve still to be a human? I shall chase him to hell and back if I need to!”


His justice was untainted, so great it was that the Gods invited the Bodhisattvas above in their silent meditation to break their silence, and descended downwards to bring the Kirin above to the heavens. A true justice is needed in the realm of heaven, and thus, it was with this the Kirin was born.


“You say it as though it is a bad thing, Shikieiki-kun” The Vertical answered from the man with the glass eye.


“It is not bad, it is just… I am terribly curious, why move such a large piece in this? The Kirin is a God, how are we supposed to get it down from the heavens and what are we going to tell it? It judges its own justice, but this is…”


“A terrible crime has thus far been in progress, Shikieiki-kun, like it or not it is… in motion. A Yama senior is plotting a crime of motivated by purely racial discrimination, or rather, mixed blood discrimination… if there is a harsher reality of a crime unseen this has got to be it… I am sure the Kirin would take our side, and more so because it won’t tolerate such crimes… with its help, we can enter the Higan safely while successfully apprehending our enemy, Vertical Seisenhou in his own turf.” The Vertical paused, “While I have no qualms about apprehending those who obstruct justice, as a member of the investigation team, I cannot also freely allow these people to do as they wish.”


“But what you are saying is that you will bring Vertical Seisenhou to justice in the cruelest possible way, the Kirin gives no compromises, and in a way, it is like our superior, it would tear Seisenhou limb from limb before sending him to hell…it would be a first!”I paused, “Is there really a need to use such heavy-handed methods?”


“Shikieiki-kun, remember one thing, and this one thing only… while it may be him trying to murder you through other people’s hands, it is murder nonetheless. Remember rule no.1 of the Yama continuity and community laws, no one Yama is allowed to take advantage of any being to execute deeds that involve murder, and any such inhumane acts.” The Vertical turned and said, eye staring into mine’s own.


“Vertical…Seisenhou is…” Then, the name Sakihime came to mind, isn’t she Seisenhou’s daughter born out of wedlock? “Doesn’t he have a daughter? Aunt Sakihime, what does she have to say about this, we should consult her…she is a senior after all, surely we cannot take away her family with such decisions among ourselves…”


“Shikieiki-kun, are you pitying your enemies?” The Vertical walked close, and held my wrist forcefully with a steady grip.


“I…I…”


“Do not see what is the cruelty yet to be committed, see what is true to yourself and the community.” The man chided me, “Before you answer for your own self, it is important to let others help you… someone seeks to erase you from this existence, and I am sure no sane person should allow themselves to be erased that way.”


“Nonetheless, she has to choose right?” Komachi, lying on the floor now, suddenly blurted out, “ultimately, it is her who has to make the choice.”


“Once the Kirin heard of what has transpired, it would be without doubt that it would seek out the Vertical and impale him.” The Vertical said, “I am afraid the truth is undeniable, much less able to be hidden.”


“I mentioned no such thing, truth is important for this, and all I ask is that you let Shikieiki decide if the Kirin should do her justice.” Komachi said in reply.


“Then I shall…, remember, the Kirin can detect lies, lie once and you Shikieiki, will too be a sinner in its eyes.” The Vertical warned, and like a tired soul, the man whom he possessed with a glass eye flopped down to the seating mounted by the wall, and went to sleep. It wasn’t hard seeing that he certainly must have been tired.


I pondered to myself silently, wondering to what depths now have this sudden transpiring set of events taken impact on my being. Here I am, in my Yama form, my uniform which felt like a distant image I have not seen for ages.


“Thinking of something?” Komachi asked, instead of falling asleep, she is awake now, standing next to me gazing at the cargo hold.


“You seemed pretty calm, why are you so calm Komachi?”


“In the place where I came from, things happen very frequently, you have got to learn to let things go or you will be buried in a cloud of hate, regret, anger and such… it is really not very pleasant if you are like that.” Komachi smiled, her face now hidden beneath a magazine, cooly shading her away from the permeating light through the plane’s multilayered windows, and she reclined once more, seemingly asleep the instant she hit the cold metallic surface.



++++++



There was a momentary silence, the air seemed to hum to life and the pressure began to change as my ears popped. Contrary to the difference in nature, a Yama is as much a human when on the human realm; easily subjected to damage from bullets, knives, and even endemic viruses that may roam as freely. Comparatively speaking, in Yama society, even the air we breath is regulated, so to speak, and such tightly strung controls ensures that our children, and our children's children are prime quality environments to live in.


I can see we are still above the clouds, and it was evident that I must have fallen asleep from all the excitement throughout the day. I opened the windows to my side, and pressed my face to the side of the windows  and tried to ascertain to what heights we may have climbed while I was out.


“60,000 feet, and the weather is fine, and very cold.” The Vertical said, a certain general in form now and looked at the hangar bay, as though expecting something to happen soon enough; Komachi rose from her slumber, wiped her eyes and looked at the hangar as well.


“We will jump here, grab those and strap to your backs firmly, make sure every belt is tied.” The general pointed to some bags that looked very much like backpacks, except with more belts, a string with a red pulley, and what appears to be a bulged top of yellow and black synthetic garment designed to withstand the test of weather.


“Are those…?” I asked, vaguely recalling a certain image of people jumping off from the skies, in Majid’s learned mind at least, “Parachutes?”


“Why yes, how did you know?”


“Coincidence.” I answered.


“We can’t land, not when our faces have been pasted across the airport and the news probably by now have assumed I to have kidnapped you and is now transporting you illegally to Japan. Their best assumption from our pilot’s course is their national airport which we are due to land for refuel. Assuming all is correct, they will apprehend the plane at that site, but if we escape now, we can go in silently while their focus is elsewhere.” The general explained.


“Where exactly are we?”


“Off the coast of Asahikawa, at the very top in fact, they will not suspect us parachuting off here and landing.” The general said, and pressed a button. “Go on, get ready, 2 minutes ETA.”


I and Komachi quickly strapped ourselves to those things, and I had to dig whatever course of memories regarding these things and explained to Komachi, whom have obviously never seen these before. Unlike the Yama, there has never been a case of exclusive possession of human bodies by Shinigamis, and that made sure there was no system that allowed the Shinigamis to obtain human knowledge after being relieved of their human shells. I had to admit however, it felt good to be useful again, or at least by this standard, I felt like I have done something in return for a Shinigami that has literally rescued me from certain death due to my many inefficiencies.


I looked at the general again, his face was a wide smile. He has done this before, and he enjoys it. I just hoped in my dear heart, that given Yamas, Shinigamis and humans can’t fly, this is not an act against nature that will destroy us in the process.



++++++


“1, 2, 3!!” The general shouted against the loud rush of rapid air that came in from the hangar bay door. I wasn’t sure if there was indeed a pilot left, but it seems we have been designated to let him off be on his own, the man with the turban who played a part in getting us out of the Iranian airport.


I had not even noticed, it has been well over 6 or 7 hours already, my body rested well in the long slumber over that time. We were surprisingly not apprehended whilst flying, but at this state it was not impossible still. Perhaps news spread of us being ‘held hostage’ may have worked in our favor and there was no apprehension mid-air by strike forces, or perhaps we were not valuable enough.


I have however, no doubt we are being watched by man-made marvels of eyes in the skies now, something they call ‘satellites’ which can see things on each and every corner of the world, to the densest jungles and even close to one’s home.


Nonetheless, it was time, and with one jumping step, I pulled a very squeamish Komachi still stubbornly holding to the hangar bay door level in false hopes of gaining whatever balance she can have as she too leaped off the edge.


A loud scream, hers, and mine which was a hail of excitement really as we all fall into the rushing upstream air. Passing by clouds in the night starry skies as our weighted bodies become like bricks flying through the air, breaking barriers of air, and gaining speed as we fell.


“When I say pull the red pulley, you pull!!” The general yelled at the top of his lungs.


“When?”


“When I say so!!” I could barely hear it, but it seemed sound advice to hear from an experienced person, could this have been the reason why he assumed the identity of a military man?


I doubt I would find that out now, but I focused, and held close to Komachi’s hands as her closed eyes slowly began to open. The air rushed on us mercilessly, and the fall now, would land us in the mountains… hopefully in the cover of the early set night, we can move freely away from any undue attention.



+++++



{Somewhere else}


The television fizzled slightly, poor reception in the rain made sure that listening to the news comes packaged with radio noise and poor selection of images, choppy as well as fuzzy without any hint of getting better. There was a table, in this café, where the people gathered not-so-cozily before the television as the man, with skin redder than usual staring from a distance behind the huddled crowd at the television news report.


The lady in the television was refined, having blond hair not-typical to the Japanese race, dyed obviously. She wore a red blazer and white shirt under, completed with a tie in bold scarlet, and some pens pocketed inside her breast pocket, her face looking, and clearly reading off a panel off screen where words directed what she should say to the world as they watched in anticipation.


Her voice is clear however, in Japanese wise. The reddish skinned man appreciated the fact that despite being no-longer resembling her race, her language of her families and heritage remained, and that is always a good sign.


“General Borduk Vaseiklovic, former USSR compliant who later resumed his career in the military field by joining the Ad Hoc force of the Iranian Ground to Air military combat team in 1989 surprisingly in a turn of puzzling decisions approached what appears to be a female nurse, and a female doctor once serving the near and now abandoned provincial hospital in the Iranian border yesterday evening, which was the scenario enacted by experts who analyzed the scene of the shootout that happened in the military airstrip earlier this day at 12.57pm local time…”


“While it was unclear what role the female doctor and female nurse may have played, an inclusive report submitted by on scene witnesses described a probe force that approached a military subsidized and foreign aid groups supported refugee camp in the local Iranian province with weapons armed and ready. The ordeal for the refugees lasted an agonizing 10 minutes or so, and the probe force was seen to have driven off chasing what was suspected and later confirmed to be the aid group vehicle for transporting urgent supplies from camp sites across the war-ridden borders driven by the female doctor. Her identity is confirmed as Dr. Majid who abandoned her family in the sake of running the hospital in the dangerous borders earlier 5 years ago in a noble attempt to save lives. It was also unclear to what motives she may have had in following the general’s orders and attempted to take flight illegally.”


“A landmark event transpired later, with the remainders of the probe force, still not confirmed of their affiliation at the current time of this exclusive report, which saw the probe force confirmed a shootout with airport security as eyewitnesses to the death of the female doctor Majid.”


“Majid’s body was said to have ‘flashed with bright light’ when the explosion happened, experts claim to suspect the carrying of ‘flashbangs’ which are standard non-lethal fluorescent explosives which create bright blinding light to secure passages or distract enemies in the event of battle or infiltrations were used by Majid prior to her death. Some believed she may have done so to secure the general for a take off in the military aircraft which is also bulletproof.”


“There is believed to be an accurate report sustaining that there are about another 5 people within the aircraft, all apparent hostages of the general, not including the pilot which is yet to be identified along with the other 5 hostages. A late report came in on the flight course, and it seems to have identified intentions of surrendering in Narita airport local time today at 7.01pm after flying for a sustained 6 hours and more. Could this mean that the general has given up on taking the hostages for terrifying activities yet to be explained of their motives? We at CNN Japan will keep you up to date as the news comes in. Kobayakawa, CNN Japan.”


The news was flashed with images of the plane taking off, and a footage showing the dead body of the nurse as well as the involved doctor, whom had a hole and a lot of blood flowing off the right chest. The man with reddish skin, smiled and looked away. He must go now, the hospital will be the long awaited event to come, a day when he can tell the truth to her daughter.


“Shikieiki, I am sorry I had to do this… but it was all… for the best.”


Outside, the rain splattered, and the man seemed to merge into the shadows as he drove slowly in the quiet town roads, wet with rain and hummed to himself a lullaby he recalled when he was younger.



++++



“Pull now!” With instinct, and upon hearing the command, we pulled the red string and a large chute opened behind us in a whoosh. Our speed was instantly halted, and as we seemed to float in the air in this insecurity, our hearts calmed, and before long it was clear we now have stability and the air halted coming straight into our faces.


“This is…”


“Amazing isn’t it? Human marvels are quite the idea, to touch the realm of gods, and simulate as though they fall from the heavens.” The general replied, now clearly speaking loudly instead of having to yell as before when the noise from the wind blocked all forms of contact.


The night around us was good enough to keep us concealed, and as we approached, the land came up and before us was the flat ground of what appears to be a plantation. The field was wide, layered with sprouts of vegetables and such, and it was easy to identify our landing spot, where a set of lights stood brightly lit in a corner of a large tree.


There is someone standing next to it, and perhaps this someone is the ally said to be welcoming us.


“Okay, pull the other one and prepare to ground in.” The general did so himself, and the chute behind him spread into a “U” shape as it blasted away by the up wind. He himself free-fallen down and rolled downwards to the field, which is quite wet and filled with softened soil and mud.


As he rolled, he kept his face covered, and with almost immediate spun-around action, he regained his footing and kneeled on one knee while hands keeping to the ground, dipped in mud as he looked up to his ally at a far corner, still unmoving. He gave a thumbs up sign from this distance, though I hardly could see it.


I did the same, and with immediate descent I felt myself fall.


Then, just as suddenly, I felt myself scooped from behind, Komachi, having regained her wits from seeing land, grabbed me from behind and boldly let go of her chute which she clung to.


Our chutes collided in mid air, forming a wide yellow and black umbrella awning as it floated on, soon to be draped over us if we don’t get out of the way. A whoosh later, as before Komachi shortened our distance between where we are and where the ground is, and with a wet ‘slop’ of a sound, we landed. I lamented if I could the sudden realization that my white socks are now covered with mud and it slipped in comfortably and coldly so into my tights, dirtying it without mercy; but seeing Komachi reel from the realization of it covering parts of her long robe like uniform made me thankful that I had something shorter to wear and lesser destructive at the weather’s mercy.


Still, the dirt was yucky, the smell permeating my nose now represented all the things I really hate the human world for thus far, despite a mere 30 hours in it.

“There is our driver.” The general pointed, and lend us a hand as he pulled us up, and we went for the car.”


“Where are we going now?”


“To see someone you have been dying to see…”



I felt a sense of dread, could this be…?



++++++++


The trees and muddy landscape followed a distant passing, their faint sounds swaying in the night’s wind made peace in my mind. It has a sense of strangely beautiful melody of its own. There was a small road, leading into the town of Asahikawa. Right about now, with the time being roughly 7.10pm local time, the plane must have landed in Narita airport, with possibly a few hundred men, armed to the teeth with various specified weapons waiting for its arrival.


There must be a communicator at the scene, to negotiate terms and conditions for release of hostages perhaps, little do they know they are long gone.


We traveled at this distant path for a time now, but I felt in no hurry to disturb the journey. The person whom I am to see, is someone who I ‘wanted’ to see for some time now, I wondered who it could be, yet as it seems, I don’t want to know.


“Would you like to know the person whom you wanted to see?”


“I only know so many people in my life really, I can guess.”


“Your mother…” The general sighed, and then followed, “I am sorry I wasn’t able to prevent it, I was with you at the time, and despite my precautions in securing her in another hospital, the ones who are at work behind the scenes is more cunning that I expected.”


“What… what happened?” My sense of dread was confirmed, and I almost felt terrified.



------

One plan thwarted after another, with the onset of danger, a dastard truth lies behind... including Shikieiki's human mother?
« Last Edit: December 17, 2009, 11:53:40 AM by Asphyxiated-F »
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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #28 on: December 17, 2009, 11:00:50 PM »
Oh snap.  Seems like a lotta stuff is gonna happen.

Apparently, Thomas the Tank Engine isn't one to take crap from anyone.

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Re: Touhou Another Origins: The Yama of Xanadu
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2010, 07:25:35 AM »
Chapter 15
________



Many things happened within the last few moments and frankly it was a bit much for me even. To be honest with you, what I been through is no small matter back in my schooling days. Yama school employs a meritocracy reward system, to spur the growth of high potential graduates, as well as high expectations in general being met. I have tons of work, each of them varied, some of which are so strange the very complex nature of writing a few thousand words essay containing the illustrations of ancient history and ?personal interpretation? of what happened despite not being there myself at the time of happening of said event; is well beyond me. Yet, as it seems, I have never failed a work, or an assignment, and when I graduated from Yama school I came out in flying colors.


The time I am on earth, now a meager 35 hours at best since the entering, and then subsequently the leaving of Majid?s body hours ago in the Iranian border military airstrip, which still left a heavily morbid and regretful feel upon my heart and mind as I thought about it; has changed me a lot. I felt I am getting weary, weary of the things I am sent to do that I don?t even know what I am to achieve.


One word clearly however, beats all the others down; like an iron fist ramming full speed to the processing center of my brain: ?mother?. The word came from the lips of the general, eyes solemn as he stares back at mine. It felt like the secrets that he has held has all welled up, locked inside those stern unfaltering pupils that whisper wisdom to a child like myself.


Who is my mother? I asked often. I was a mere child, I remember that my father took me from the Earth after I was born to him after a mere 3 years. I was still just a child, but in Yama school I was raised to become the Yama I am today. I am filled with justice, strong in will and decisive; nearly emotionless, and will soon be laying judgment upon men?s souls without taint of corruption.


Of all the things that I am, one thing I am not. I am yet a filial child to my mother, and I cannot say why except blame it upon my father who took me from her arms. You cannot have love for a person you never know, it is when you realize however, it is a person you should have known that changes the importance of the person in your mind and perception.


In my heart of hearts, I yearned, with each passing year in Higan to come back and see my mother again. I often pieced together scenarios on our reunion, if she, an unknown face to me but clearly myself resembling some of hers, would embrace me, and whisper to my ear how she missed me in between sobs and whimpers. Or if she would come close, and slap me in the face, saying, ?what took you so long?? as all impatient humans would. I hoped the first was true, but the premise now finally becomes true.


Moments before, whilst in the car traveling along muddy roads and under the torrential rain that came down from above beating against the metal roof of the car in rural Japanese plantations; the general whispered to me her name: Eiki.


I who inherited her name, and my father?s of course; is now finally able to see her. Yet a sense of dread followed, ?I wasn?t able to protect her?I am sorry, Shikieiki-kun? What does she look like now? Broken? Disabled? Deaf? Mute? I don?t know, I wished not to think of it, but my mind being analytically programmed by my education, begin to think of how I should respond to all these scenarios.


I was sort of glad to know myself however, still remembering how to communicate using standard sign language, which is a curriculum imported into the Yama schooling grounds earlier in my years. I was the only one who took the class, which was awkward, but it should come in handy should my mother be deaf and mute. To add, if she was blind I can use probably talk to her, and hope that in my voice, she can see my face, or at least imagine it in her mind?s eye. I cursed myself for thinking such things, I cursed more when I realize what she could be now.


?What happened to her??


?At approximately 9pm yesterday, local time wise, after I have departed from where she is, I had her hidden in a manor belonging to a late Yama that once lived here. This Yama became rather famous, I am sure you know Heikashouji-dono whom when in his training became an overnight millionaire after having sealed a deal with an oil merchant from overseas here in Japan. A sin, yes, but the man had his fortunes well funneled into these workings and legally they still belong to the man he possessed then, Amano?


?And???


?Amano is a friend who may well be the only human who is alive that knows there exist Yamas in this human world. He knows for a fact because he uniquely shared consciousness with Heikashouji-dono while being possessed, a first in any known documentation. Because of that, he is associated with what I call ?a contingency route? which I myself operated from within the Agency I work for to investigate Seisenhou. Naturally, as an ally on earth, this person works in our favor.? The general explained in detail.


?What has my mother got to do with all this then??


?She is the second person to know the existence of the Yama kind.?


?Ah?? I choked.


?A warrant was sent out to apprehend the false charges for knowing the existence of the Yama. While that may indeed be a danger, it is of no crime as countless others have been left with a glow of ?knowing something other than themselves existed? in this world. Your mother may share a bond of marrying your father, but that was settled long ago, and it was granted that she being the mother to a Halfling as yourself, has special permission to enter Higan or even leave it as she wishes, while carrying the knowledge of stellar beings that existed in alternate realms. Of course, in cases where she does mention of your father and the Yama, people will probably regard it as crazy talk. Nonetheless, in the event to silence all current known humans who are registered as ?aware? of the Yama existence, Seisenhou has brought upon special orders that makes sure all of them are dead.? The Vertical explained. I dreaded ever more, does that mean my mother has been the victim of an assassination attempt.


?But how does he do that? Doesn?t he too answer to the Yama community?!? I struck out, my hands digging into the leather seating, digging into its crevices as I pushed against it to get closer so that my face is now almost inches away from the general.


?According to the current Yama law, a Yama has the right to declare that a human knowing the existence of the community to be a threat, in answer to this threat, an induction can be used to bring the person to the order of judgment before the person?s stipulated time of death.? The general paused, ?Though knowing itself is no large threat, but your mother carries a secret, SHE knows the hiding place of the key to the Forsaken Palace, given to Shiki, your father when he attained the trust of the last great Vertical who retired. I now take his place in the seat of Judgment.?


?How did?? And? what is the Forbidden Palace??


?In essence, your father loved your mother a lot, and revealed too much to be said the least out of emotional responsibility perhaps. In the process, she found out about the key, knowing your father, she quickly got him to tell her where the key lies, a secret place which even I or the Agency does not know. Because she knows how dangerous the key is to fall into the wrong hands; as the Forbidden Palace is the other name to the dreaded place in Old Hell, where today stands the monumental Oni Pillar, a remnant of a once blood soaked past of Hell, before the time and existence of Higan today.?


?The Oni Pillar?? My eyes widened.


?The Oni Pillar is a sacred place, guarded by a demonic queen of queens, Shinki whom created from the remaining old magic of the old, old world of Hell, Makai, or to some Hokkai. Makai?s existence revolves around her, she is the creator and mother to the beings that exist there, and she also holds the sole entry power with her magnificent magic to enter and leave the Forbidden Palace or Oni Pillar dimension which is behind her great mansion that stands watch above Makai?s great sullen plains. Shinki is able to enter and leave quite simply because she is the one who kept watch the Oni Pillar from potential threats of freeing the Oni.?


?I am sort of lost? what is all this Oni Pillar legend??


?You read of it before, just the Sunday condensed version in Yama school. It is called the Great War of Higan.? The general paused, scoffing a bit to himself as though finding something funny within the gravely mood. ?That version is inaccurate, the correct name should be something like The Great War of Hell, Makai and eventually, the Creation of Higan through Makai.?


?Huh?.? I am amazed yet once more by the things I have not known, though my mind wandered on my mother, as the general seemed all too keen to explain the history I know so little of my kind and the history of Higan that my mother seemed lesser important at this point.


?Hell has existed long before, they have so many names for it the mere mention of the names would substantiate a small dictionary in various languages. Purgatory, Inferno, The Burning World, Eternal Darkness, Endless Visage of Loneliness, Hell being the most common. Hell?s history dwarfs that of Higan?s 800 years or less existence.?


?Makai came earlier before Higan. I am sure you know of this, which is how the chapter concerning the Oni?s departure from Hell, and the war which made the Oni know of their place, and eventually leading to the creation of Higan.?


?Yes, yes, I do.?


?Well, the truth is, a great war that lasted well over 200 years was fought, and both sides, one is the stronger and brutal Oni kind, that oppressed the residents of Old Hell with an iron will, and the other are the combined forces of all known residents of Old Hell, from demons, to Satoris, to the Yamas. Our combined forces in essence, finally drove the Oni to a corner, and in a few more years, won the war outright.? The general continued, I felt the car move to grinding stop.


?Ah, we are here.?


?The house of Amano, that person you spoke of?? I looked out the window, the blinding rain now pouring down so heavily my vision is limited to about 4 feet before me in the total darkness.


?Yes, rush inside, here is an umbrella, the light over there. He pointed to the house with the light flickering, causing shadows to be thrown about as the thunderous skies above roared fiercely.


I did so, and so did Komachi as I dragged her along under our umbrella into the humble wooden house. Strange, that I should think someone who knows of the Yama?s existence here on earth should be settling in such a humble village home, a wooden one no less.


+++


We sat here, waiting for our host, or at least until the general has finished his whispering business with the old man in a simple shirt, buttoned only to the two uppermost slots, and a simple pair of khaki pants that seemed so out of place for a man with such a stern face. It seems I have the luck with the opposite sex, I mused at myself. Since coming to earth, I have had to deal with male terrorists, male raiders, male army men, male pursuers eager to kill me and the woman I possessed and eventually did, and also male generals that are helping me out to seek something I had not expected to find.


Here however, the tea in my hand, the warm steam slightly wafted over my nose, cold from the outside rain and the wind; I felt warmed, and welcomed. Yet, as I know it, this peace will not last, as I am pretty certain the general said my mother is here in this house I now sat in, waiting for me.


My heart trembled, I didn?t feel ready at all, despite all the time that passed. I felt so foreign, such is perhaps the irony of a child that hasn?t exactly seen the eyes of her mother for so long. I longed for her touch, but dreaded if she would acknowledge the sudden span of growth that have widened the berth between us as mother and child, would she even see me?


?Come, after you have done your reunion with her, it is time to separate again, you have all the time you need?? The old man whispered to me, I had not noticed he was standing next to me now, with his face brightly lit under the warm glowing light of his standing lamp situated next to the couch I sat on.


?Okay?? I answered, my voice meek.


The room that opened before me, a few doors away down a wooden corridor that reminds me of the moldy edges of the Sanzu River and its banks of bleached rocks, and the footsteps I made resonated ever so furiously until it grew out of sync as I walked nearer. My mother, long harbored feelings, so far? so distant? yet so much yearning.


?Mother??


I paused, and a breath was taken as slowly as I possibly can as I lifted my head up to look at the bed which I can see a shadow resting on.


?You?? A voice replied from the dark, ?Chiki??



++++


No one other than my mother calls me that, I knew now as I heard it in her voice so clearly the strum of my heart, like a guitar rumbled quietly into me.


When I was really young, possibly when I was being taken away, my mother tried to hold on to me from my father as he took me to Higan. In that moment when tears drowned my mother?s sorrowful voice, full of kind understanding yet conflicting angst as she lets go of her one and only child to enter a realm unknown to her and beyond; she called my name, in between sobs. The tears that entered her lips made her say ?Shikieiki? as just ?Shiki? and it sounded like ?Chiki?.


Just as now, her voice is clearly dampened with tears.


?Oh?Oh, it is really you? My daughter?my lovely daughter? come, come closer? I can?t??


I dreaded, but took five giant steps edging to her bed, and rushed forward as I embraced her human skin like no other human could, as a daughter, I could read into her. I could see now, under the poor light of the thunder flashing outside, the scar spread across her face like a terrible palm, spread like tree roots over her eyes.


Her voice was a trembling whisper, barely audible had not one leaned close enough to hear. Her eyes or where they were formally, now a large hand like scar, spread into 4 fingers open like a palm that centered on her nose ridge, and a thumb that looked to have sharp nails slashing up her forehead from between her brows. Her eyes were clearly burned away, the eye sockets visible under the blood red scar that seemed fused to her entire face, rippling veins that seemed to pulse in ugly revulsion as I looked, observing in dread.


Her face is swollen; signs of clear abuse, maybe a direct attack to her once beautiful face as I recall it. In the midst of scars, I remembered that she is now a grown woman, in her forties, perhaps, age has taken quite a toll on her as age did not gracefully  passed her as she waited for my father and myself to finally come home. To sit beyond the hallway, just looking, gazing into the warm fields of gold just beyond the window, hoping for some miracle that I would just appear over the short horizon; and finally walk towards her, embrace and rekindle my own mother.


In truth, the sadness that boils within me is that I don?t even know how she looked like anymore. Where her face has once been the memory imprinted in my mind, age and then the scar changed so much that now my vision of her in my mind has itself blurred beyond recognition.


There, and then, I held her close, so close I could feel her breathe warmly wetting the sides of my neck, as her human imperfections, the bumps on her skin, her wrinkles, everything seemed to me under this poor light as I held her close, revealed to me in minute detail.


I sobbed, my voice choking as I forced out once more from the depths of my throat a meek ?mother??; Lord, I have missed her so, yearned for her so. I have never had so much filling me inside that my tears, human as any emotion, filled up from the lids of my eyes and rushed out like a broken dam.


I hugged so close I swear my heart was crushing into hers, transverse beyond the walls of flesh that separates us physically, and linking intimately as mother and child finally meet after all this time apart.


?Mother? I am so sorry? I never meant to leave you? I wished, I wished for us to be together, all those years? so I yearned, but I could not come back? forgive me, for I have been? the worst daughter?? I cried.


?No, no, Shiki? it is all okay, I loved you all the same, when your father told me he is different, I know I was setting myself up for an abnormal life, and I know, with this secret, I have a great life. I have a great daughter, a daughter who is both the judge of men?s souls, and also a great daughter who cares? as long as you are alive, as I am now? I am happy.? In between sobs, her voice did not tremble anymore, it seemed she has steadied herself from her rush of emotion as she refused to let go of me, her head placed softly over my shoulders as she took breaths next to my ear.


?I missed you so much??

?So did I, my child? so did I? but fate has it that when we finally meet? I have so much to tell.?


?Is it all true? That you? you hold the secret that will jeopardize the entire human and Yama race??


?Yes.?


It was all I needed to hear, and from the distant thundering skies, a stroke of terror drained the blood from my face.


For there I saw, the very thing that was clear as day that she pulled out.


A key.


?No??


?Yes? it is what you think it is??


Then, from behind me, the general appeared, breaking the silence that stood between me and my mother as she lets go of her embrace.


?All that thus far have happened, have happened for a reason. The world?s fate, now lies in your hands, Shikieiki Yamaxanadu.?



+++++



In truth, I wanted not to leave her again, but when my mother drifted back to sleep, her weakened body on the bed as it seems to consume her with its massive scented sheets; I felt myself losing grip of the reality around me. I wanted to be there, not letting her go this time as I finally fulfill what could have been a dream I had for so long throughout my time in the Yama community.


Yet, as it seems, that can wait, for the world after all, had the importance at hand. Failing which to quickly deliver the key to the Kirin, which is our current plan now, might result in catastrophic unleashing of a race I have long misunderstood to be just another race of youkai.


The Oni, a legend so fierce it had to be disguised, even among those who fought for their generations? freedoms. The Oni are such fearsome tyrannous beings the mere mention of their names stifles those who have survived the old wars.


The reformation of Makai, given birth by the death of Old Hell, all left historical landmarks representing the war that happened, and something our ancestors tried to bury with their graves. In this silence, a falsified peace, came a ringing awakening call, something that damned me in this world, as I was unwillingly thrusted into the fate that my forefathers have sewn.


How did my father came to be involved in this? How did my mother ultimately ended up having a key, a literal key in the shape of a chrome shelled, bronze colored tip iron key with a square placed at the back. How did it all become this way, the journey must now be done, and I must, as ordered, travel to the place where the Kirin is supposed to be, or at least the shrine which serves as its home on the Earthly Realm.


__________

Well, with meeting her mother, Shikieiki's resolve has been strengthened, will her dramatic inclusion now take her beyond the hidden paths of Hell?
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