Disclaimer: I don't own Fushigi Yugi. Only Kumiko and Family. I also don't own Rei or Mishca. They belong to Lupi and Rosebane. Hoorah.
Lola: Ah, it's the end! This is so sad for me, you have no idea. I've been working on this piece for two whole years. This is depressing. Don't worry, there's a sequel. I'll have an authors note at the end. :'(
Shi jin No Miko
Chapter 21 – Revelations
The pain was near unbearable.
Kumiko felt as if a thousand white hot razor blades where digging into her skin, scraping across her body. She let out an agonizing scream as she felt the clothes from her body begin to tear.
Then suddenly the pain stopped. She folded her hands in silent prayer. She was still alive- and she knew what she needed to do.
"Kumiko!" Tasuki yelled as he saw the blast hit her full force. They had broken free from whatever had kept them still.
The white light cleared with a force that nearly knocked him over. Relief washed over him as he saw a figure, still standing where Kumiko had been.
This figure, however, did not look like Kumiko had only seconds before.
She was engulfed in a warm pink light that seemed to protect her entire body. Her beautiful ceremonial dress looked as if someone had to a huge blade to it and cut it into scraps. The beautiful colors now lay in shreds about her frame. Long ribbons that had once been in her hair now encircled her arms. Most unusual of all was her hair – it seemed to have grown and blew in wisps about her. Her eyes were closed- her face peaceful and determined.
She opened her eyes and looked at the four gods before her.
"This needs to stop!" She cried, as loud as she could, "this bloodshed is pointless! Silent voices in the heavens above look down on the country they love, the one they gave their lives for! And for what? So the fighting can continue? I strive to be my best for these worlds, so they may finally find peace," she could feel her voice falter. "I will give anything…what must I do?"
A bright light enveloped the four gods as the changed form and floated down to her. Kumiko could feel her heart pound in her ears. She felt sick.
"Shi jin no Miko," they spoke simultaneously, "you have proven your loyalty and made sacrifice to make safe these countries for which you fight. You will be granted four wishes, in turn. Choose wisely."
A thousand thoughts ran through Kumiko's head. She felt like it was ages she sat there, thinking through her choices and deciding on which four things to wish.
"My first wish," she said, her voice carrying through the destroyed rubble, "is that you, the four gods, as well as your countries will never go to war again. There has been too much pain and destruction for that."
"It will be done," the four gods spoke.
"My second," she said, "is that a piece of you can remain in your priestesses so that they can receive your guidance and can come back to help this world if ever need be."
"It will be done," they spoke again.
"My third wish is that when this is when this is all over, those who died to save their countries or were murdered in the process shall regain their life again. Return them as they were before they came…can it be done?"
"It can, and it shall."
Kumiko nodded. "My fourth wish….I…I wish…" she stopped. She felt embarrassed asking. A large part of her felt foolish for wishing it, since somehow she knew the gods would not grant it.
"You needn't speak it out loud," they told her.
"You mean…you can read my thoughts?" She asked.
"And…will you grant it?" She asked tentatively.
She smiled. Hopefully, this last wish would ease the pain of losing all of the amazing friends she had made the passed few months.
Each of the four gods began to emanate radiant light- then suddenly they disappeared. The light traveled to each priestess, hitting them square in the chest. Kumiko felt a strong urge fill her as she was engulfed in the light. She could feel a warm feeling in her chest. She gasped for air and once she had gotten over the initial shock of the sensation, looked around for Tai Itsukun.
She walked calmly over to her and kneeled. "Tai Itsukun…" she began, "why am I…still alive?"
Tai Itsukun smiled grandly and bid her to stand up. "You are alive because you were strong enough to live."
"When I told you of your abiding rules as the Shi Jin no Miko, I told you that you must give up your life. And so you have." She smiled cleverly as she said this.
Kumiko blinked. "But you said I was going to break into a million gazillion pieces and disappear!"
Tai Itsukun nodded. "Yes…if you were to have failed in summoning and convincing the gods, you would have. The duress the gods can bring is very serious…we are lucky that you succeeded."
"So…I'm not going to die?" Kumiko asked tentatively.
"Not today. You can go home now," she said with a warm smile.
Kumiko was overjoyed. She was alive! She was going to stay alive! She was going home! She threw her arms around Tai Itsukun, thanking her profusely.
"I don't know who I was before I came here," she said quietly, "but I am so glad that she's gone now. That was never who I wanted to be…and I'm so glad that this journey has made me who I am. Thank you so much!"
Tai Itsukun shook her head. "No, thank you Kumiko. It was nothing I did to help you grow. All the things you did were you growing with the help of your friends. But now you must hurry. Get your things and say goodbye – you all must go soon. Now that your task is completed, it will only be a matter of time before you start to feel the strain of being in a world that's not your own."
Kumiko nodded and rushed off to collect everything. Everyone else had left, leaving Tai Itsukun standing in the rubble of the once beautiful courtyard.
She smiled to herself, waved her hand and returned it to what it once was.
"Oh gods," she spoke softly in prayer, "thank you for your gratitude."
She turned to look back at Kumiko running down the corridor. "And thank you, Shi jin no Miko."
Kumiko packed her bags quickly. The room she had been staying in at Mt. Taikyoku was incredibly messy. She felt guilty for not cleaning it. She looked into the mirror at herself. Her once beautiful ceremonial dress was in shreds, but somehow it looked the more elegant. Her hair was stripped of it's ribbons and ornaments and hung simply to her shoulders.
She grinned at herself. For once, she thought she actually looked good as she was.
She quickly took it off and lay it on the bed and put on her own clothes. It felt good to wear pants again.
There was a knock at her door.
"Come in!" She called, finishing packing everything up.
Tasuki peeked his head in the door and said, "Are you nearly ready? You're the only one left, except Miaka. She's crying on the floor."
Kumiko giggled at the thought and bid him to come in. "I'm almost done," she said, "just making sure I'm not forgetting anything."
"Any way you could stuff me in that bag?" He mumbled.
She laughed. "Not likely. But that would be great." She turned to him seriously and grabbed his hands. "Tasuki, I will see you again. I promise that."
"How can you be sure?" He asked skeptically.
"Because I am," she said, "there's no way any of this can keep us apart. What we have is real right?"
"Then not even the gods can stop us."
"I'm so glad that you're alive," he said, pulling her into a hug. "I was so scared of losing you." He smiled and added as an afterthought, "I should have known that you would have been strong enough to live through something like that."
"Yeah yeah, alright," she said, smiling up at him. "you can stop buttering me up now." She kissed him lightly. "Is that what you wanted?"
He grinned at her. "Not quite." He leaned down and kissed her fully. Kumiko could feel her mind go dizzy and she pulled herself closer to him.
"For god's sakes can you go TEN MINUTES without doing that?"
The two of them looked annoyingly at the door. Mischa stood there looking somewhere between disgusted and aggravated.
"What do you want Mischa?" Tasuki asked.
"It's time to go," she said seriously. "C'mon Kumiko."
The two of them sighed simultaneously (which led to more complaining from Mischa) and they made their way down to the Kyoto temple.
Everyone waited, including the Seiryuu senshi, who now seemed to have no desire to cause any mischief. Even Nakago stood there, looking slightly discontent, but not unhappy.
"It is now time for the Priestesses to go home!" Tai Itsukun called in a loud voice for all to hear. "We are thankful that all of them survived this trip they have made and are now going home."
Miaka wailed loudly. She was comforted, surprisingly, by Yui. The sniffling Miaka was held in her friend's arms, who shook her head in embarrassment. It seems that all had been forgiven and forgotten.
Kumiko said goodbye to all of her guardians, hugging each one of them tightly and thanking them profusely. She stopped at Tasuki and grabbed his hand.
"Thank you for everything," She whispered. "I love you."
"I love you too," he said, surprised that the words had come to him so easily.
"Priestess, gather," Tai Itsukun instructed. Kumiko looked painfully at Tasuki and squeezed his hand once last time. Then she went to join the rest of the priestesses around Tai Itsukun.
"All of you, grab hands," She said. They did as instructed, standing in a circle around Tai Itsukun. She began to chant softly in a tongue none of them understood. A warm light began to envelop them and soon the five girls were pulled backwards in a sickening motion back into the world that was their own.
It had been an entire week.
A whole week since she had returned.
Somehow, the pain of coming home did not cease since she had first left. She had never felt this way when she first went into the book, so why was she so homesick for a place that wasn't her home. She missed Tasuki endlessly. Everything reminded him of her. Yet she hadn't cried. She had promised him in a way that she wouldn't, so she hadn't. More often than not, she found herself smiling when she thought of him.
Now it was her last night at home before she went back to Seikoro Prepatory School for Young Females. God, how she hated that school. All of her bags were packed and now she sat on the couch watching Tv. How dull.
"Kumiko!" She heard her mother call her from her bedroom.
She groaned. "Coming," she said, standing from her comfortable position on the couch.
She went to her mother's bedroom door. Her mother lay in bed looking as miserable as ever. The floor was scattered with beer cans, pizza boxes, used tissues and romance movies.
It stung Kumiko to even look at her mother. She was a brilliant mind – an intelligent scientist working for a drug company – it had been nearly half a year since she'd taken a sabbatical from work. Kumiko had no idea how they were going to survive much longer if her mother kept spending so frivolously.
"Kumiko, getme another beer," she instructed, slurring her speech slightly.
Kumiko looked down at the ground, then back up at her mother. She was terrified of her, but too angry to care. "No."
"What was that?" Her mother asked, her tone growing sharp.
"I said 'No'," Kumiko said forcefully. She knew that before she had entered the book she would have never talked to her mother this way. But then again, this was not her mother. Not really.
"Why you ingrateful-"
"Mom, listen to yourself!" Kumiko interrupted suddenly, "and look at what you've been doing the past few months! Is this what dad would have wanted us to become? I've been home from school for a whole week and you haven't paid any attention to me!" her tone softened, "look, I miss dad as much as you do, but he's still here. He's with you and me, right now. And you know how much it hurts him to see our family fall to pieces. So please mom…you need to stop. It's time to get out of this depressive state. They need you at work! I need you…as a mother." Somehow, talking to her mother was a hell of a lot easier than talking to four very powerful gods that could bring her instant death.
Her mother stared at her for a long moment and began to cry. Kumiko went to her bed and comforted her. "Kumiko," she sobbed, "I'm so sorry! I know, I know…this is never what Tasami would have wanted. I'm sorry….i'm so sorry…"
Kumiko held her mother in her arms and smiled slightly to herself. She had reached her mother, finally. She looked up, somehow knowing her father was right there watching them. She could feel him with her.
'Thanks dad…I couldn't have done it without you…'
"Genrou, welcome home!" Kouji yelled exhuberantly as Tasuki rode up to their headquarters.
Tasuki said nothing, but instead looked miserable.
He missed her a hell of a lot. More than that. He needed to get back to life.
"How was it?" Kouji said, helping Tasuki off his horse.
Again, he said nothing.
"Genrou ol' buddy, what's wrong?"
He sighed. "It's over. It's all over. She's gone. They had to leave. Everything is back to normal and I hate it."
"You love her."
Kouji raised his eyebrows. "Man, what'd she do to you? Come on, come inside and have a drink. We've been waiting for you!" The other men cheered.
"Yeah, in a minute. I've gotta get all my stuff back in my room. I'll join you soon." He left, dragging his bag behind him.
Kouji shook his head. "Man, he's miserable."
Tasuki made his way to his room and set his stuff down by his bed. He sat down on it and grumbled to himself. 'Dammit Kumiko!' he cursed to himself 'I can't just go back to life! I can't do this without you!' He side and ripped open the bag and dumped out a few things in it. His empty sake jug fell to the ground (it had been empty for a long time now) along with a piece of paper.
The picked it up with trembling hands and opened it. He smiled at her untidy handwriting. She had obviously written it quickly (that or she had awful handwriting)
My dearest Tasuki,
Well, here we are. I'm gone, and I've left you with lots of pain I guess. I never meant it. I cannot put to words how much I've needed you these past few months - you've changed my life in so many ways, and I'm so glad. This journey was hell, and I never would have made it without you by my side. Even from the very beginning, when you set my hair on fire. It was fun arguing with you, as much as it was being with you. You exhilarate me in so many ways.
I look back on my life before meeting you, and I wonder how in the world I ever lived without someone like you in my life. You taught me how to live in the moment, and how to be myself without fear. You took away my fears without laughing at me. And for that, I thank you. Most of all, you cared about me, more than anyone has cared about me in my live (well, except for perhaps, my parents). You never let me down, and you never let go of me. You were my savior.
I know none of this is probably helping you. In fact, I bet it hurts for you to read this, so I'm going to stop talking like that. I hope you don't forget me when I'm gone, but I want you to be happy. I know what loss feels like, and I know that it hurts a lot at first. But after awhile, the pain begins to numb and you move on. After my father died, I was raw with pain. It hurt a lot. I swore that I would never feel better, yet I lived on. And then I met you. Some day, you too will move on, and meet someone else. I swear, she better be a damn good woman or I'll find a way to come back from the grave and haunt her. And whoever she is, you better treat her well. Somehow, I don't want that. I want to be with you always. Damn this priestess stuff.
So go on and start the healing. Go on and have a drink. Just make sure that you don't throw up on any trees.
I love you so much. Wherever I am now, I still love you. I'm still here with you, watching you right now. Behave yourself ! (kidding)
Tasuki had a hard time controlling his emotions as he read. He let tears roll down his cheeks. He folded the letter and put it in a small box of belongings by his bed. He wiped the tears from his eyes and shook his head. Somehow, he knew Kumiko wouldn't mind them. He reached for his neck and found the necklace she gave him. He felt the smooth engraving on the back.
What was important was that she was alive. And he knew that she had been right. They would see each other again.
"Hey Kouji!" He called, standing up and yelling out the door.
"Yeah boss?" He heard Kouji call back.
"Get me a drink!"
Fin. It's the end. This is so hard for me, you have no idea. This is the longest piece I've ever written. 201 pages and 73,310 words. That's a lot for me.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way. Firstly, the fans and readers. Man, where I would I be without you guys. Thanks so much. Next, I need to thank Rose bane and Lupine Eyes for allowing me Rei and Mischa, along with being my Betas and giving me help and suggestions the entire time. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you. And of course, this story would not exist without Yuu Watase, so of course, she's amazing and I thank her. I feel like I'm winning an Oscar.
Thank you so much for sticking with it the entire way. I love you all!
It may be a bit before I start Shi jin no Aku. First, I need to be a healthy way into both Bright and Beautiful (which has just picked up into overdrive) and First Kiss (It's getting there..) I've already written and planned a bit of it, but it needs some more developing. ; ) I know you've been left with a lot of questions. Leave them in reviews (wink wink) and I promise, they'll be answered in Shi jin no Aku.
Lots of love,