Topic: Eternal Blossom  (Read 3102 times)

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non-lolicon Ange fan

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Eternal Blossom
« on: November 10, 2010, 10:37:13 pm »
Hey everyone, I recently finished a one-shot story. I already posted it on fanfiction.net, but I'll post it here too so that I can get more feedback. Let me know what you think. This story is narrated from Yukari's perspective, and is listed as drama/friendship, but contains elements of a few other genres, hint hint. Enjoy.

***

People often ask me what my motivation in life is. For the longest time, I have been unable to directly answer that question. Even now, I feel very nervous just thinking about it, finally committing it to paper. I will attempt to explain where I get my motivation for life, but I need to lay an explanation down before I do that.

Here in Gensokyo, we don’t have that many people who chronicle what happens here for posterity. At last check, there are three people who do this: Akyu of the Hieda Clan, Aya Shameimaru, and Hatate Himekaidou. I know that Marisa Kirisame and Alice Margatroid have written their own grimoires, but they are, for the most part, not intended for mainstream reading, so they don’t count. Aya tends to sensationalize her writings, making them too unreliable, and Hatate just plagiarizes Aya’s articles. (And yet, her articles have nicer photographs.) Akyu, I adore her, yes, but what I am about to write is something too deeply personal for her to record properly. Normally, I am not want to express myself, but this is something I feel I should get off my chest, for I have gone on far too long without telling anyone. However, while this is something I would like to share with the populace, I am reluctant to share this story with my fellow Gensokyans. As such, I am printing this memoir in Modern English, as opposed to Japanese. (Or Nihongo, as the locals prefer to say.) Most people here on this isolated island know no language other than Pre-Imperial Japanese. I know a few of the older individuals have learned other tongues, including English, but that’s a risk I’ll just have to take. Anyways, I’ve rambled long enough.

So then, what is my motivation in life? What drives me to do the things that I do? I will give you a short answer and a long answer. You want the short answer? Here it is: I know the friendliest, kindest, most beautiful person you could ever have the pleasure of knowing. She is my favorite thing in all of creation. She is the reason I am here, and why I do the things that I do. I suppose by admitting this, the world will now know that I am, as they say in English, a “lesbian.” I have no qualms with this label. The love of my life is a woman like me, yes, but I can’t picture being in love with anyone else but her. She is my driving force. Before I met her, my life was directionless. I did things that I am now ashamed of, things that make me realize just how much I’ve changed for the better. But that’s the short answer. You probably want the long answer. I haven’t even mentioned who it is I love so much. Well, bear with me, and I shall tell you as best I can.

To make any sense of this romance, one must go back nearly a thousand years ago. It was during the Heian era, and while Gensokyo existed, it wasn’t like how it is now. There was no Boundary that separated Gensokyo from the outside world. Because of this, anyone could march in or out, human or youkai. Of course, there were humans who came to Gensokyo to exterminate the youkai. These humans had trained themselves in the art of magic so that they could oppose the youkai on a fair level. Also bear in mind, there was no spell card system, no, no rules period. Humans and youkai died on a daily basis. Gensokyo wasn’t like how it is now where everything is bloodless and done with beauty; back then, blood was shed, magic was an ugly thing to showcase, and the survivors had to struggle just to stay alive for another day.

This is where I came in. I was one of the more powerful youkai in Gensokyo. Since I was more powerful, I could afford to be cockier than the others. When humans tried to exterminate me, I wouldn’t retaliate, but rather, I would tease them by evading their attacks, and then by firing off some magical missiles back at them, but I wouldn’t aim directly at them. No, instead, I would aim my shots so that they grazed my targets. This frightened whatever humans were brave enough to try to slaughter me, and they would run off. But life wasn't all about scaring humans, for I also parleyed with other youkai, drank sake, watched the sun set over what is now called Youkai Mountain, many small joys that made me forget about the bloodshed and the hatred between the different races. It was in this hostile environment that I met her; like a miracle that showed itself in a sea of despair, well, despair for the unlucky ones.

And so on one particularly clear spring day, I decided to go cherry blossom viewing. Gensokyo was a part of Japan back then, and cherry blossom viewing, or sakura viewing, was a favorite pastime then and now. One must keep in mind, I looked quite different back then. Oh sure, I was still very tall compared to the human women, and had long yellow hair, and youkai-like purple eyes, but unlike now, I wasn’t wearing any Victorian dresses. This was obviously before I had gone to Europe, or even before the Victorian age. No, instead, I was wearing a yukata, one that matched my eyes in color with a red obi sash over the front. I was not wearing a hat of any sort, nor was I wearing ribbons like I normally do now. I was instead wearing hairpins that held my hair up, and a hairclip that held the back of my hair up in a sort of bun. And instead of high-heeled shoes, I was wearing geta sandals. As I flew around aimlessly, I noticed one rather large cherry blossom tree isolated from the others. It was much taller than the others, and was shedding many more blossoms than the other trees. However, that did not hold my attention for long, for what caught my attention was the young woman that sat up against the trunk of the tree.

She was most unusual. She sat entirely by herself, scribing something with an ink brush. Upon closer inspection, she was writing a haiku. She was unescorted, knew how to write poetry, and, well, she was very beautiful. Her eyes and hair were pitch-black, like that of most humans, and she wore a sky blue kimono robe, but something about her was just striking. I couldn't stand there just looking at her, I had to strike up a conversation with her. This was too good of an opportunity to miss. I sneaked up to her from behind the tree, appearing from her left side. I smiled and gently greeted, “Well hello there.”

She was startled, “Huh? Who’s there?!” She blurted out. She turned her head and saw me. Her face made a scowl, while I continued smiling. She said with a trembling voice, “Your eyes, that’s not an earthly color. You’re youkai!”

I asked her, “So what if I am?” This and my smile made her even more uneasy.

She replied, “Youkai eat humans!”

I chuckled and reassured her, “Oh, are you scared that I’m gonna eat you? Of course not! If I wanted to do that, I would have done so already.” She was still staring at me, but now, I think it was because I was making her surprised rather than scared. “I see that you’re writing haiku, but they’re all about the beauty of cherry blossoms. That’s rather clichéd, don’t you think? Why not write about something more unorthodox?”

The woman snapped, “What would a youkai know about poetry?!”

I then said, “You look like you’re about twenty years of age, no? I don’t know if that’s your exact age, but let’s say it is. If so, I have been alive for about ten times your hypothetical lifespan.” She started looking scared again. “Believe me, I know many things. I’ve seen more things than a single human ever has. And I also know that poetry need not just be about the pretty things in life.”

She was still uneasy, “What do you want from me?!”

I answered, “Oh, nothing much. I just wanted to get to know you. I suppose a proper greeting is in order.” I bowed my head, “I am Yukari Yakumo.”

The girl was still stunned. “Y-You're so civil. I almost feel obliged to introduce myself in kind.”

“Then why don't you?” I smiled.

She then finally stood up and bowed her head at me, “Yuyuko Saigyouji. I am from a village populated with humans. Where are you from?”

I answered, “I don't remember exactly where, just somewhere here in Gensokyo.”

“I see.” Yuyuko murmured. “I wonder, are there other youkai like you? Those that don't devour humans on sight?”

I flashed a smile and replied, “There are, in theory. There's really no reason why the more reasonable of humans and youkai can't get along, but I also know that that is too radical of a concept for humans to accept.”

She looked a little more at ease now, “You sure talk a lot for a youkai.”

I had to giggle. She was perceptive to have noticed that. “What can I say? I love words.” Unfortunately, I can't remember much else from that first encounter after that. We were talking for a few more minutes before we parted ways. Maybe I got bored and wanted to scare humans, or maybe she had something to tend to, but we parted ways. Aside from her initial shock, she seemed much kinder than any other human I had met. She was scared of me at first, but she didn't try to kill me nor did she curse my presence. Not only that, I actually enjoyed speaking to her. Her voice had a soft but clear tone to it that I felt was enjoyable to listen to.

Days passed as I drifted around Gensokyo, keeping my mind occupied, when sure enough, I decided to visit the large cherry blossom tree again during an afternoon. And to my surprise, she was there again, writing another haiku. I approached her from the front, “Hello there. Saigyouji-san was it?”

She looked up and smiled, “Yes. And you were . . . Yakumo-san, right?”

“Uh huh.” Now that she knew who I was, she was no longer scared of me. She really was the kindest human I had ever met. I don't remember if it was during our second encounter or shortly afterward, but she did tell me about who she was.

“I'm the daughter of a nobleman. I'm in an arranged marriage with the son of a fellow noble clan. We're set to be married in about a year and a half from now, when they deem us to be of 'appropriate age.'” She later said, “My family does know magic, but nothing like what youkai can practice, well, with one exception. I can do something no other human in Gensokyo can.”

“Really? What's that?”

Yuyuko answered in a low tone, “I can invite mortal souls to their death.”

I was confused by this. Invite mortal souls to their death? Did this mean what I thought it meant? I asked her, “Wait, do you mean you can-”

“-Yes. I can will a creature to death if I so desire.”

My vision of Yuyuko was irreversibly altered. Here was a woman that I didn't find to be extraordinary save for her background as a noble, and then she surprised me with this. Gensokyo does attract humans with extraordinary abilities, but this was the first I had heard of a human being able to do this. I asked her, “Have you used this ability on anyone?”

She replied, “Not on humans, but I have used it on some of the more barbaric youkai before.” She then glanced away and continued, “At first, I could manipulate spirits of the dead. Later, this ability grew more potent, until finally, I could will a spirit out of a person's body. It has come in handy during youkai attacks.” She then smiled, “Don't worry; I wouldn't think of doing that to you, Yakumo-san. You're not like the other youkai.”

“That's a relief.” I then changed the subject, “I see that you're writing haiku again. May I see it?” Her haiku is hard to properly translate into modern English, so I'll just say it was about how wind can stir leaves to move. “Now then, would you like to see a haiku I wrote?” I then showed her a haiku I had written, but she had an interesting reaction,

“I . . . I can't read this!”

I retorted, “Of course you can't! It's in Chinese!”

She then gasped, “Wait, you know Chinese!? But you're a wo- . . . oh, of course.”

I smiled, “I'm not tied to human customs. And thanks to my long lifespan, I have plenty of time to learn more than one language.”

“T-That's amazing, Yakumo-san!” You must remember than noblewomen in Japan of that time were not allowed to learn any language other than Japanese. The fact that I had written a poem in Chinese, the domain of noblemen, well, it surprised her, but in a good way. As for my haiku? It was about sweet, delicious sake.

The rest of that get-together was hazy, but the days after that had the strangest effect on me. In the past, when I woke up, the first things I thought were, “What am I gonna do today? What am I gonna wear? And what should I eat for breakfast?” Now, the first thing that came to mind was, “I wonder how Yuyuko is doing?” Why was I thinking about someone other than myself first? The one thing I looked forward to more than anything else was to get to the large cherry blossom tree, hope that Yuyuko was there, and then spend time with her. And when I did visit her, I was overjoyed. I had never met anyone before her who was so joyous to be around. I then remembered the time I showed her what many have come to know as my “trademark” ability. I had come to the tree again, to find her waiting. When I first looked at her, my face, by its own will, made a large automatic smile. I never remember anyone making me do that from merely looking at them. When I got to talking about my ability, I said, “Saigyouji-san, have you seen my most impressive feat of magic yet?”

“No, I haven't.” She replied in her pretty voice. (Sometimes, I would speak to her just to hear her voice.)

“Well then,” I spoke, “I can manipulate boundaries. Anything that has a boundary, I can control it.”

Yuyuko was confused, “Boundaries? What exactly do you mean?”

I happily replied, “Boundaries of just about anything. For instance, I can control the boundaries that separate here from there. Observe!” As I said this, I formed a gap beneath my feet. A purple slit with numerous eyes in its background swallowed me.

Yuyuko gasped, “Yakumo-san!”

Before she could say anything else, I emerged from the tree in a gap I made, “Looking for me?”

Yuyuko became startled, “Y-Yakumo-san, you scared me!”

I giggled. Hearing her say that in her sweet voice was just too much for me. “That's just the start of it, although that ability is the one I use the most. It really helps to conserve the strength in my legs.”

She laughed herself, “I can see why!”

The more time I spent with her, the more relaxed she became around me. It had been several months when we first met. One time, she told me something I didn't know about,

“Have you heard the legend about this tree?”

I was quite ignorant of many things back then, so I shook my head. She elaborated, “It's been said that this tree has become a youkai.”

I interrupted, “Wait, this tree is a youkai!?”

“Uh huh.”

“Wow. Even I have much to learn about Gensokyo.”

Yuyuko continued, “Well you see, I have a connection to this tree, which I will explain. A long time ago, a traveling poet came to Gensokyo. He had heard of all the legends of this being a land of illusions come to live. He came here, and everything he heard was true. His muse had inspired him like never before! So he wrote poem after poem about what he saw. He then found a cherry blossom tree, one larger and more beautiful than any other he had ever laid eyes on. The tranquility of the tree made him lethargic, and while at first, he was able to leave the tree, overtime, he found it harder and harder to escape its spell. The spell became so strong, his body became spent at one point. Many others have died here in the same manner. One of those people was my father.”

I gasped and covered my mouth. Not only was this tree dangerous, it had personally affected Yuyuko. It may have even had its spell on Yuyuko right then. After I had processed what she told me, I consoled her, “I'm terribly sorry, Saigyouji-san. I was not aware that this tree had claimed your father. In fact, if anything, we shouldn't even be here; it may kill us, too!”

Yuyuko shook her head, “That's not completely true. My father claimed that the tree only affected humans, not youkai. If you're here, you can protect me. You can use your boundary magic to whisk me away if I become enchanted. I have been coming here more often, after all. You haven't, by any chance, become entranced by the tree, have you?”

I don't believe I was. Sure, the tree was beautiful, but it wasn't making me feel too lazy to move. And granted, I was being enchanted in another way, but not by the tree. I told her, “I don't think so. I really only come here to visit you, not to be caught up in the serenity of this cherry blossom tree. Perhaps your father was right; this won't affect someone like me.”

Yuyuko sighed a sigh of relief, “That's good to hear, Yakumo-san.”

I was getting tired of her formal manner of addressing me. Youkai don't bother with formalities, and I was only doing it simply because humans were accustomed to it. I finally declared, “You don't have to address me as 'Yakumo-san.' 'Yukari' is fine with me.”

Her eyes widened, “R-Really? But, that would be rude of me, unless, you feel that comfortable around me.”

I grinned, “I do, Yuyuko.” I then gently held her hand between both of my hands. Doing so caused my heart rate to increase; the soft touch of her hand was invigorating. She blushed and left her mouth open. I blushed too, but I continued grinning and said, “You've been very good to me. I won't let anything bad happen to you.”

She glanced away, still blushing, “Y-yeah. I can say the same for you, Yukari.”

I can't remember the last moments of that occasion, but it was the first time I actually touched her. She didn't pull away my hand, so I could tell that she, a human, trusted me, a youkai. I didn't know exactly what to make of my attachment to her, other than she was all I could think about. I slept much less frequently than I normally do, wanting to meet her again. A few times, I did, but I was unsatisfied. I didn't just want to talk to her, I wanted to hold her. I wanted to tell her that everything was fine, that I would protect her. I also desired that she would do the same for me. One day, I did see her again by the tree, but this wasn't like the other times. She was on the ground, sobbing loudly. Her hands her obscuring her face. I became distraught, “Yuyuko! Yuyuko, what's wrong?”

She peeled away her hands but continued crying on the ground, “Yukari, do you remember when I said I was engaged to a nobleman? Today is the day of my wedding.”

I was in shock. The blood drained out of my head, turning my cheeks white. How could I forget something that important? I asked her, “If you're supposed to get married, then what are you doing here?”

She managed to say through her tears, “I'm here because I can never go back!” She started to sound hysterical, “I told my family and his family that I didn't want to become a wife, that I didn't care about being a proper woman, that I didn't care about coming from a privileged bloodline! Because . . . because . . . ” She stood up and looked me directly in the eye, “Because I'd rather be with you!”

Time stopped. My heart was pounding. My mind was gone. A human from a rich background gave up a comfortable life, . . . for me? I stammered, “Yuyuko, do you, do you mean?”

“Yes!” She snapped, while still crying, “You're the only person I know that makes me truly happy! I can be myself around you! I don't have to fear being judged for my power when I'm with you! I love everything about you, Yukari!” She then slowly walked up to me and embraced me. I could feel her leaning into my chest, stifling her tears, “Take me away from here. They're coming for me, but I don't want to go back. Take me away from them, and take me away from this tree before its curse claims me.”

I started crying myself right then. This was something I wanted very much, but at the same, I didn't want this at all. She shouldn't have to put herself through that. I held the back of her neck with my left hand, and felt her soft black hair with my right. I whispered to her through my own tears, “Hold tightly. I'm gonna take you to a place I have never taken a human to before.” With those words said, I formed a gap below us and transported ourselves away from the youkai tree.

We were now standing in front of a mansion. Yuyuko looked around in wonder. She was still sniffling, but she was calmer than before. Amid her random sniffles, she asked, “Where are we?”

I answered, “This is my home.”

She was amazed by what she saw; an ornate Oriental mansion waiting for its occupant to return. This isn't the same mansion I live in now, but it was good enough for me back then. Yuyuko asked, “Can I really stay here? I'm not imposing on you, am I?”

I replied, “Not at all! It would be an honor to have you here.”

I led her in through the tatami door. She was still amazed, “Woooooow! Your house is so beautiful!”

Even though I was still crying somewhat at this time, I managed to say, “Well, I did get the best youkai carpenters money can buy!”

She made a light chuckle; it was the first time I heard her laugh all day. A fairy flew past us, “Look! A fairy!”

I mentioned, “Yes. They help me around the house.” This was before I met Ran, so I had numerous youkai, usually fairies, to carry out tasks for me.

I led Yuyuko to the nearest kotatsu so that we could settle down, but before we sat ourselves, she observed, “You forgot to take your shoes off! And . . . me too.”

I looked and noticed that we both still had our sandals on inside the house. I blushed and said, “Uh, don't mind that. Youkai don't follow human customs, remember?”

We sat by the kotatsu. She murmured, “Thanks again for giving me shelter. I didn't know who else to turn to.”

I replied, “Think nothing of it.” I then added, “After all, you are my favorite person that I know.”

She looked away, “R-Really? You're not just saying that to make me happy, are you?”

“Of course not.” I answered. “When I learned about your power, I realized I took a risk every time I visited you, but I never felt like you were a threat to me, Yuyuko. You're peaceful, and honest, and gorgeous too.”

Yuyuko blurted out, “Thanks, but I feel like I don't deserve it. I made my family virtually disown me. I didn't tell them about you, but they said that it was not in my place to turn down the marriage like that.”

I reassured her, “Don't say that. You're more than deserving to stay here.” However, by that point, the excitement of that day had caught up to me, “Yuyuko, remember how I told you I spend most of my asleep?”

She said, “Uh hunh. You told me you usually were whenever you didn't visit me.”

I continued, “I feel very sapped right now. When I sleep, I sometimes sleep for days on end, but please know that I'm not going to neglect you. Should you need anything: food, water, a blanket, a change of clothes, or anything else, don't be afraid to ask the fairies.”

I stood up. Yuyuko pleaded, “You aren't going to bed right now, are you?”

I smiled, “Not right this second. There's something else I need to do first.” I walked up to her, held her face up with my hands, and lightly kissed her forehead, “I'll always be here for you, darling.” Despite my exhaustion, my body felt very energized by then, even though all I could think was sleep.

As I lumbered to my sleeping quarters, I heard Yuyuko tell me, “Pleasant dreams!” That was certainly an omen. I slept much more soundly than usual after that day.

Once I did finally wake up, I searched my mansion for her, “Yuyuko. Yuyuko.” I called out to her, but I received no answer. After searching for some time, a fairy presented a leaflet to me, “Hunh? What's this?” I examined the leaflet. It was in Yuyuko's handwriting:

Dearest Yukari Yakumo. I am afraid that I cannot stay at your house any longer. I remembered something my father told me about the youkai tree that I must tend to. Before I leave, I will leave you a token of my appreciation so that you'll have something to remember me by. Know that you are the one I love the most, no matter what may come. Yuyuko Saigyouji.

Just then, another fairy appeared. It presented me a small wooden box, not unlike the kind women keep their jewelry and other articles of beauty in. I opened it up. Inside was a small light brown hairclip with black kanji spelling out a message that can be liberally translated into English as “Eternal Blossom”.

My stomach sank after seeing that. I had a feeling that the tree had brought her there. I didn't know what to do for sure, but I knew I had to go back there. I told the fairies to leave Yuyuko's belongings somewhere safe while I got dressed to go out. I made a gap to take me to the cherry blossom tree. It was late winter, but the blossoms are in bloom at this time of year, but when I made it to the tree, it was completely dead. There was not a single blossom to be found anywhere; in fact, the tree had looked like it had been dead for years. I shouted, “Yuyuko! Yuyuko!” As I looked around, I finally saw the one thing I didn't want to see. “YUYUKO!” Her body had collapsed near the trunk of the tree. I felt her hand, but it was cold to the bone. I couldn't find any cuts on her form; perhaps she used her power on herself? But I saw that I had hope, for her body was not that decayed. If I was fast enough, I might be able to save her spiritual form.

This would mean I would have to travel to Higan, even though I wasn't dead yet, but I didn't think of the consequences right then. I teleported to the mouth of the Sanzu River, which I did know the location of. There was a boat resting on the shore, which was manned by a tall woman with short red pigtails and a blue-and-white dress. I recognized her as a shinigami, or god of death. I spoke sharply to her, “Not that long ago, a human woman passed away, tell me where you took her!”

The woman tried to diffuse my attitude, “Whoa, slow down there, lady. A lot of human women die; how do I know which one you're talking about?”

I described, “She's about as tall as me, has black eyes and hair, and was wearing a blue kimono when she died. Have you taken her?”

She said in a nonchalant tone, “Of course. I already took her to the Yama to be judged.”

I didn't even take the time to thank her; I just flew ahead down the river. I heard her shout, “Hey wait! You're not supposed to go to Higan! You're not dead yet!”

That didn't matter. I had to learn of Yuyuko's fate. I eventually appeared in one of the courts in Higan. There were a number of Yama judges sitting, apparently holding a congress. When I appeared in their court, they stood. One of them called out, “You, Yukari Yakumo, are not welcome! Leave at once!”

I ignored their command and stated, “Not too long ago, a human woman took her own life. What was her sentence?”

Another Yama commanded, “That is not for you to know, Yukari Yakumo. A hedonistic spirit such as yourself has no place here, especially not since your war against the Lunarian race. We will not say this a third time, leave immediately.”

My blood was boiling now. I held out my hands and fired danmaku bullets in such a way to not hit, but to get their attention. I exclaimed, “ENOUGH! Tell me what you did with Yuyuko, or I will personally test to see if you are as immortal as your race claims to be!”

A Yama woman floated down to where I was. She sported short green hair and a blue vest over a white shirt and a black skirt, as well as a blue-and-white. She held a judgment stick and spoke to me with her blue eyes focused, “I judged the one named Yuyuko Saigyouji. If I tell you her sentence, will you leave this place?”

There was a commotion amongst the other Yama. I answered, “Yes. That is all I came for. I know it's selfish of me to interrupt your session, but I will take my leave the moment you answer my question.”

The moment took in a deep breath, “We found that Yuyuko, despite having the power to invite souls to their death, never used this power for malicious use. Though she went against the will of her family toward the end of her mortal life, she never meant harm to anyone. She was a good, kind soul who sacrificed her life to permanently seal the Saigyou Ayakashi, so that others would not suffer as she and her father and others have. As such, we judged that she would reincarnate in spirit form in the Gensokyo netherworld, where she will reign as the next ghost princess. For this, however, she will not remember most of what transpired during her mortal life. That is all.”

I bowed and said, “Thank you, and I'm sorry for intruding.” I made a gap and teleported to the entrance of the Netherworld. The Gensokyo Netherworld can be accessed by a very long flight of stairs, but the stairs also cross through a barrier that separates the realm of the dead from the realm of the living. Luckily, I could bypass these barriers, and I thanked my luck as I flew up the long flight of stairs, anxious to see what had become of the most important person in my life. I managed to make it to the top and found myself in the Netherworld, a region covered in perpetual nightfall. I shouted, “Yuyuko! Yuyuko, where are you?”

I saw her standing not far from where I was. Her back was toward me, but she still had her blue kimono on. I couldn't believe my eyes. Was it really her? Did the Yama grant her another life? Would she recognize me? Would she love me? So many questions were flooding my mind. I slowly approached her. I was about one meter away from her when she turned around. I noticed her hair was no longer black, but now . . . was the color of cherry petals, and she looked at me with eyes no longer black, but again, pink as her hair is now. Somehow, I always knew if she could change the color of her eyes and hair, she'd go with pink. Aside from the color change, she looked exactly the same as she did before she had killed herself. She smiled at me and greeted, “How do you do? I'm Yuyuko Saigyouji.” That soft voice, that beautiful speaking voice that I could listen to forever. There was no mistaking it, it was definitely her.

But wait, why did she introduce herself to me? Had she really forgotten? I managed to stutter, “Don't you recognize me? Don't you remember all the things we did? The love we shared?”

She tilted her head, “Hmm? I don't know what you're referring to.”

No. This couldn't be right. We knew each other for nearly two years, and she got to live again, but she couldn't remember anything other than her name? This felt like a cruel joke by the Yama. By this point, I was desperately holding back tears, “It's me! Yukari Yakumo! Remember how you said you didn't care about being nobility anymore, you didn't care about loving a youkai woman of all things? That all you needed was my support? Doesn't anything about me seem familiar? Talk to me, Yuyuko!”

Then, she did the strangest thing; she looked like she was in deep thought. Then she finally answered me, in a voice much calmer than my own, “I'm afraid I don't remember any of that. It must've happened before I came back as a ghost, but I don't remember much from then.” Then she added, “But you seem so distraught though. I don't know what it is that's making you so sad, but you shouldn't let yourself get so caught up in such unnecessary excitement. Perhaps you just need to spend some time in the hotsprings?”

I became stunned. Water was forming in my vision, and my breaths had become sharper, “That's not what I wanted to hear at all, and yet, you're right. I should be glad that you came back in the first place.” Tears were now streaming down my face.

Yuyuko became flustered, “Oh dear! You're crying! I didn't upset you, did I?”

I tried to smile, even though my face and voice were trembling at this point, “No, not at all. It's just . . . I . . .”

I was too overwhelmed with emotion to speak. Right then, Yuyuko rested her hands on my shoulders. The soft, warm, reassuring feel of her hands soothed me somewhat. She recited with a gentle smile, “I don't remember you, but I'm guessing you're someone who was close to me when I was mortal, correct?” I nodded. “Well then, I can live forever now, in theory. If you stay alive a little longer, maybe we can learn to be friends again, okay?”

My smile became wider, “That sounds wonderful. I have a very long lifespan compared to that of humans, so maybe this isn't the end. It's just a temporary setback, huh?” I chuckled.

She chuckled back, “Maybe so!”

Yuyuko couldn't remember very much from her life as a human, but in a way, it was actually a blessing, for she couldn't remember the hardships she had endured, the loneliness she had suffered, and the stigma involving her power, and her act of committing suicide. All of that was rinsed away, and now she was free. The Yama weren't lying, she truly has received her gift. And from there, our relationship started anew. We learned about each other, we learned about our favorite things, and everything grew from there. Her personality was essentially the same as before, only now without the burdens of mortality. In time, she came to love me again, although it was about 150 years or so years before she finally realized it this time. Well luckily, we both have all the free time in the world, so in a way, we eventually got back to where we left off, and our relationship only further took off from there. Part of the fun we had, and still have, is trying to keep our true level of intimacy a secret from everyone else. Even after I took in Ran, took in Chen, acquainted myself with the Hakurei clan, and even after she took in the Konpaku family of half-ghosts, and expanded the Netherworld to include the very Saigyou Ayakashi that had caused her grief, we somehow kept our admiration of each other platonic on the surface. However, I do suspect that Ran may know the truth about us. If so, she hasn't said anything about it; perhaps she approves? Well in any case, that's as much as I want to write down on this subject. I don't know what I was hoping to accomplish by writing it down, but at least now there is a record of what really happened back then.

Ikari

  • I'm just so charismatic
  • It's turning into derp
  • LOOK AT ME
  • Nickname: Kalen
Re: Eternal Blossom
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2012, 04:21:16 am »
I read the whole story and I must say, I'll start by listing some pros and cons, since I consider it a nice way to know the strong and weak points of a story.

Pros

First of all, the vocabulary is what I noticed at first. It's perfect. It stays rich and captivating. You did a great job.

Then, the fact that the narrator was Yukari. I indeed felt like she was talking to the reader, sometime losing the track of her own letter by falling into details and memories; which is exactly what I expected from her. The way she speaks of her life in general at first, and then falls into specific and clear moments once she meets Yuyuko also clearly defines how Yuyuko affected her.

Finally, you respected a lot of canon elements, such as Yuyuko's hair and eye color being darker and the legend of the Saigyouji tree, giving us a clear explanation of the tree and its effect. (Although it's somewhat strange that Yukari never heard of it; she often ''brags'' about knowing more things than most humans.)


Cons

Yuyuko's personality was, during her time as a human, a bit too different from her personality as a ghost. One may suppose she changed through the following hundreds of years and it would be an acceptable theory, but it takes away the feeling that it truly is Yuyuko. I would have pictured her as a bit more... unique. She was rather average in the story and somewhat plain.

I think the story was a bit too quick at time. We go from meeting, to Yukari realising her love (which was well done, especially when she realises her selfish way of life was now aimed toward Yuyuko), then the love declaration, then the suicide. I think you should have added a bit more between Yukari realising her love and when Yuyuko declares her own affection toward Yukari. (Especially since it's supposed to be a year and a few months long). And finally, I think it would have been fitting to lampshade a bit Yuyuko's suicide. Now what the reader sees is; ''Yuyuko says she loves Yukari, she is taken to her house, kills herself, forgets her.'' It reduces some of the emotional shock the reader should have upon realising that Yuyuko forgot about Yukari.

Finally, Yuyuko's vocabulary was a bit more average, not very fitting to her noblewoman character.


In conclusion, I liked the story, and the cons did not impede my appreciation, but are rather things I think could improve the quality of the story, which is already very good. It gives an interesting view on Yuyuko's past as well, and her relationship with Yukari. Thank you for sharing such a nice story!~
 

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