|Welcome to the Youkai Temple
Author: UnendingEmpire PM
Ever wonder what's going on at the Myouren Temple during everybody's downtime? Grab a seat and check out the wacky pre-Chistmas lives of the crew, as well as those Taoists living not so far away.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Humor/Friendship - Chapters: 10 - Words: 21,917 - Reviews: 17 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 8 - Updated: 10-10-12 - Published: 06-12-12 - id: 8210091
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
There's dark fluff in this chapter. Also, if the number of people combined between the Myouren Temple and the Dream Palace Mausoleum seems to keep changing, it's because I've suddenly became really bad at math and counting. If I'm doing the numbers right, it should be twelve. Lemme just name them all off below…
Nazrin, Ichirin, Murasa, Shou, Byakuren, Nue, Kyouko, Yoshika, Seiga, Tojiko, Mononobe, Toyosatomimi…
Yeah, twelve :D
Awesome. Now that I know how many people are there (for some retarded reason, I kept getting the impression over the last few chapters that there were 18 in all, wtf?) it should be lots easier to do this. This chapter focuses on Byakuren and Toyosatomimi, and also on Nue and Yoshika.
Christmas morning. Byakuren's eyes opened as she accepted that fact. Today was Christmas, and the Myouren Temple was still running as usual. Everybody else was out having Christmas with the Taoists, but Byakuren was still here. Yes, she was still here, alone. All alone, by herself, with nobody else there. Complete solitude…
"Has anybody seen Saint Toyosatomimi," Mononobe asked, watching everybody unwrap their presents and light up with joy. Yoshika seemed especially pleased with the coat that Nue had bought her, the shikaisen noted. All the gifts Saint Toyosatomimi bought were here under the tree, but the purchaser was nowhere to be seen. Mononobe had checked every corner of the Dream Palace Mausoleum, but there wasn't any sign of her.
Creak… The door seemed so much quieter when Toyosatomimi was here last. Maybe because Byakuren had insisted she don't visit. That was something the Saint couldn't comply with; she had to visit today specifically because Byakuren didn't want her to. Her Christmas gift was already with her; she'd gotten it the second she decided what would be best to get Byakuren. But nobody would ever find it, no matter how hard they looked. Indeed, the only person who would see the present was the Youchrist herself. Taking a few steps into the temple, Toyosatomimi kept her head low. She wanted to be careful; she'd heard…stories, about how Byakuren was rather different on Christmas than she was during any other day. Because of her power to hear the desires of a person, she knew just why that was. That was why she'd chosen this gift.
SLAM! The Saint barely had the time to dodge it; one of Murasa's anchors thrown right at her with all of Byakuren's eternally young might. She did, though, and just as she suspected, out from the shadows stepped the person responsible for nearly breaking Toyosatomimi's bones.
Byakuren. Only, she certainly didn't look like the bubbly Youchrist everybody loved. Her long gradient hair was a mess, and her expression was very much unlike what anybody would expect to see on her face. It was impossible to tell what it really was, though. Fear? Anger? Despair? A combination of the three? Whatever it was, she didn't look happy to see somebody else in her temple.
"Easy there," Toyosatomimi said softly, stepping up to where Byakuren would be able to see her; the lights were all off for whatever reason, so the only light was whatever the sun gave them. "It's only me, Byakuren."
"Go away," the Youchrist pleaded. "I told you to not come by."
"I need to deliver my Christmas present; nobody else would be able to do it for me."
"I'll get it tomorrow."
"You can't. It's something I can only give you today, or it will lose all of its value." Slowly walking up to Byakuren, the Saint continued "I knew exactly what to get you the second I started figuring out presents. With the ability to read a person's desires, yours was the strongest and the loudest in the entire Human Village. My present cost me nothing but the time it took to get here, weighs nothing, and I'm sure nobody else would be able to appreciate it's value like you would."
"I'll come by-"
"You can't. It's not a physical thing." Toyosatomimi no Miko and Byakuren Hijiri, inches away from each other. From here, the Saint could see that earlier, Byakuren was crying. Yes, she certainly needed this present. Toyosatomimi wrapped her arms around the Youchrist, and said "You aren't alone, Byakuren. You'll never be alone anymore."
"…" Tears. Tears of joy, mind, but lots of them regardless. "Thank you!" Byakuren hugged Toyosatomimi as tightly as she could, and joyously said "Thank you so much; I can't imagine how I can thank you enough. I never want to have to experience that again."
"It's no problem. If you don't mind my asking, though, why are you so afraid of being alone?"
"Do you know of a place called Hokkai?"
"I can't say I do, no."
"It was dark there. I couldn't see anything, and there wasn't anything to hear." Going on about the biggest dark patch in Byakuren's bright life, she said "People in the outside world were afraid of me, because I was a youkai, and they sealed me away there, so long ago. I spent so long in Hokkai, all by myself completely and entirely, kept alive only by my immortality. The first few days were okay, but after that, I began thinking thoughts. Dark thoughts, Toyosatomimi; frightening thoughts. I can't count the number of times I had wished in that place that I would just die forever, or how many times I wanted to break free and avenge myself against those people, who I felt were so ignorant and childish. I guess it left me a little unstable, and I always begin thinking those kinds of things when I'm alone completely. That's why I'm always with somebody; Christmas aside, I've always had somebody within my arm's reach after I was freed from Hokkai."
"That's a terrible fate. I can understand how that would change a person, but you don't have to be afraid of solitude any longer, Byakuren. This is my present; I'll be here with you. Today, and any time you need company. I'll always be around for you, Byakuren."
"Are you okay?"
"Thank you," Byakuren whispered. "Let's go back to the Mausoleum."
"Alright. We'll go back, together."
Dream Palace Mausoleum…
"I love it," Yoshika said happily, standing faithfully outside the Mausoleum wearing the coat Nue bought her. "Thank you so much, Nue!"
"Don't worry about it. I figured you must get cold out here, so I decided a coat would be a nice thing to buy." No way was Nue going to divulge the secret as to how she knew to buy a coat. That would end in disaster. "I also liked your present very much, Yoshika. Thanks a lot for the jacket." A black leather one; Nue was wearing right now. She'd always wanted a leather jacket, but was kind of embarrassed to tell anybody for some strange reason. "How did you know I wanted one?"
"I figured you'd look cool in black leather," Yoshika answered honestly. "And I think I was right."
"That means a lot, thanks." Looking out at the distance, Nue's eyes widened in surprise. "Well I'll be…" Cupping her hands around her mouth, Nue shouted "How'd you get Hijiri out of the temple? And where were you all this time?"
"I had something important to do," Toyosatomimi shouted back. "Far more important than anything related to any material possessions."
"Oh." Nue watched the two walk by, seeing just out the corner of her eye that the two were holding hands. Hijiri, you seductress! Looks like Toyosatomimi just couldn't resist you, huh? We Myouren folks sure do "seem to have a thing for dead folks."
"What about dead folks," Yoshika asked.
"A-Ah! Did I say that out loud?"
"Part of it."
"O-Oh…I see." Nue faced away from Yoshika, turning a ruby red at the face. "It's nothing, Yoshika; just me thinking out loud on accident. Just ignore it and pretend like it never happened; it was pretty insignificant as a thought, anyway."
"If you say so."
"Nah, I'm fine." Nue looked around at her surroundings. She knew she'd find a bit somewhere if she looked. There! Above the doors of the Mausoleum. Nue subtly moved her pitchfork to pick up what was hanging there, just as subtly pointing it straight up afterwards. Nue, ever the planning little fiend, looked up, and in pretend surprise, asked "Hey, isn't that mistletoe?"
"Huh?" Yoshika looked up as well, and behold, it was indeed. "I guess it is."
"Well, you can't really go about breaking Christmas traditions, so…" SMOOCH! One solid kiss, planted right on Yoshika's lips. "Merry Christmas."
"And a happy New Year," Yoshika said. "Oh, by the way."
"Murasa told me you cook at the Myouren Temple. Is that true?"
"!" Was that ghostly captain sabotaging her? Nue's cooking was horrendous at best; certainly not something that would be enjoyable to anybody in the least, especially the jiang shi with the bottomless iron stomach! Storming into the Mausoleum, Nue shouted "Murasa!"
"Whoops, that's my cue to go," the ghostly captain said, climbing out one of the windows of the Mausoleum. Looking down at Mononobe, she said "You're going to forever remember this as the day that Nue almost caught…Captain Murasa Minamitsu." Being Murasa, though, when she started to think she sounded cool, she couldn't stop herself. "Master of the seven seas; the bane of all opposing navies, the one and only. And she almost caught-" CHING! Murasa's neck now found itself between two prongs of a blue-tipped pitchfork. "Damn. She caught me. Oh, hey look, mistletoe."
"You should have stopped gloating," Mononobe said. "If your intention was to escape, you should have gotten right on it."
"Yeah I guess…hey there, Nue. How's your day been?"
Pulling her trusty pitchfork out of the wall (mistletoe included) and gripping Murasa by the sleeve of her shirt before she had the chance to run, Nue angrily asked "Are you trying to sabotage me or something?"
"Dunno what you're talking about."
"You told Yoshika that I cooked at the temple! You know there's a reason I'm not even allowed to step in the kitchen!"
"You'd better learn, then. Somebody like Yoshika? She's got quite an appetite, so the best way into her heart is through her stomach, Nue."
"…" Nue turned bright red. Did Murasa know or something? "And who did you plan on me learning from? You?"
"Not me. Byakuren." Murasa was head chef at the Myouren Temple, and she was great in the kitchen, but she faded in comparison to the dishes Byakuren was capable of creating on the rare occasions that she cooked. Much like how she'd just recently told Murasa that she intended to personally prepare a Christmas feast for everybody. Her stomach already was rumbling in anticipation. "Go find her, quickly now. She's got a Christmas feast for twelve to make, so I'll bet she's gotta start working at it soon."
"O-Oh! Yeah, sure!" Nue didn't want to thank Murasa, though; that would imply that she was right. Even though she probably was. Somebody with an appetite like Yoshika's? That jiang shi could probably eat the entire feast if everybody let her. The best route to her heart was certainly through her stomach. If Nue was going to thank Murasa, she'd need to confirm the ghostly sailor's theory first. For now, she needed to find Byakuren!
"You've already thanked me enough," Toyosatomimi said nervously, waving off Byakuren's continued thanks. "More than enough. Just consider it my apology for being so stubbornly against your point of view in the past."
"Apology accepted," Byakuren said happily. Christmas wasn't a day to dread any longer. She'd been so busy catching up with what everybody got, though, that the Youchrist hadn't even had time to open her own gifts just yet! She would do that after the feast; for now she had to prepare said feast. Twelve people was quite a few-
SLAM! "Hijiri," Nue panted. "Teach me to cook!"
"Huh? This is awfully sudden. But I don't see why not. Come along, we need to start now if we're going to make a Christmas feast for everybody; I've been warned that Yoshika has quite an appetite."
"I'll deal with her food if you just take care of the rest," Nue promised as the two started heading out of the room.
I should do a chapter starring Kyouko soon. Adorable lil' Kyouko-chan could make for either the cutest or funnies chapter in this entire fanfic (so far) so I need to do something with her. Maybe in a couple chapters, have a New Year's party at the Myouren Temple where everybody gets obscenely drunk except sober little Kyouko who keeps trying (and failing) to keep the temple cleaned up after eleven drunks.
I don't intend to have one starring Tojiko anytime soon, though; she's the least important Taoist and I know absolutely nothing about her, so she gets to keep the bench warm until I study up on the most irritating mid-boss.