Author-chan's notes: Hey everyone! A-chan here with the third chapter to this fic. Please enjoy!
(Chapter Three: The Army)
"That was boring," I yawned, looking down at the two samurai at my feet. The first had been shredded beyond recognition, while the second was nothing more that a soulless shell.
"Was it necessary for them to die?" Kanna asked crouching down to peer into the face of her victim.
"What do you mean, Kanna?" I asked, raising an eyebrow, "Don't tell me you're feeling regret."
"I am Nothingness, Kagura," Kanna murmured, stroking her mirror absentmindedly, "But still, was it necessary for them to die? We could have left them alone."
"We could have, couldn't we?" I answered, "But what fun is that?"
"Did you have fun, Kagura, killing these men?" Kanna asked, "Perhaps you are more like Naraku than you thought."
"I am nothing like him!" I snarled, snapping open my fan. How dare she! I'll teach her to think that I am like Naraku!
"Are you going to attack me, Kagura?" Kanna asked. Damn her, she's so calm. Even though I am a hair's breath away from slicing off her head with my powers she still hasn't moved from her spot by that shell of a samurai.
"I am nothing like Naraku," I hissed, my eyes narrowing, "And don't you forget it!"
"Then stop acting like him," Kanna chastised me, looking up into my eyes. I felt my heart freeze inside of me, the heart I had regained after Naraku's death. Kanna's eyes…they were bottomless, soulless, and saw strait through me.
Did those samurai have to die?
I…I don't know anymore.
Kagura lowered her fan, confusion flitting across her features. Kagura, your emotions are so easy to read. Did she feel regret for killing that samurai?
Did I feel regret?
I looked down again at the samurai whose soul I had stolen. His face was forever frozen in terror, and his soul continued to cry out within the confines of my mirror.
I was free of Naraku, but the souls in my mirror were not free of me. And even if I were to free all the souls in my mirror, where would they go? Some, like the samurai before me, still had their bodies resting somewhere, waiting for the soul's return. The others though…their bodies had been destroyed. Some, their families believed them to be truly dead and buried or cremated them. Others had their bodies eaten by youkai or wild animals. And the rest had their bodies had been killed off so that even if the soul were to return there, they would die instantly.
Did I regret killing this samurai? I didn't enjoy killing him. I only killed him because Kagura suggested it. There was no other reason.
Did I feel regret? Can Nothingness fell regret?
My mirror hums beneath my fingertips. I can still hear the screaming, and I feel nothing except indifference.
We left the bodies of the samurai where they were, not giving them a second glance. I pulled a feather from my hair and enlarged it so that both Kanna and I could ride. The wind rushed around us, playing with our hair. We had not a worry.
Then, we caught a glimpse of the army.
Third Person POV
The army was waiting. They weren't waiting for the enemy force to show up, but rather two of their own that had gone to fetch water. To be more precise, it was the commander of the group that was waiting for his men. The rest of the group couldn't care less.
"Where are those two?" the disgruntled leader grumbled, "If those fools do not come back within the hour, I'll make them wish they were never born!"
An hour passed, but still no word. Talk of the missing samurai began to filter down through the troops. Legends of the youkai of the forest began to spread. Demons and ghosts became real to these warriors, and unease flew about. Finally, the commander had enough, and had another team go out and look for the missing duo.
The search party was successful. They returned with the corpses.
POV of the commander of the army, Kawakami Tsuyoi
All around me, the men whispered in fear. They had seen the bodies, the bodies of the two men I had sent out to get water. The first had been covered with wounds, as if a hundred swords had slashed him at once. We had to be very careful when we moved him into his grave. If we moved him the wrong way, it almost seemed that his entire corpse would fall apart. Even then, no matter what we did, we couldn't help but get his blood all over our armor and clothing. That wasn't that terrible; we've all had blood on our persons before. But the fact that it was the blood of our own…
The second man we found dead didn't have as many wounds. In fact, he had no wounds at all. It was as if the life simply fled from his body, leaving nothing but an empty shell.
After the burial of the two, the men in the camp whispered that it was youkai that had done this. The youkai of the forest were angry with us. For what reason, we could only fathom. But the men said we were cursed, that none of us would leave the forest alive. We would all either be slaughtered by youkai or the approaching enemy. Visions of blood coated fields, and mangled carcasses spread throughout the camp. The worst were the stories of lifeless corpses still lying in bed without a scratch on them, the souls having fled the bodies in pure terror. The men were afraid. Some tried to desert; others already had. If men continued to desert out cause, then our force would be so small that we really would all be killed by the enemy.
But I couldn't stop all the men from leaving, no matter what I did. Cowards they were. But then again they were just infantrymen, not proper samurai. The small group that remained, the true samurai that followed our codes of bravery and honor, were not enough to defeat our enemy. But we were prepared to die for out lord, our honor, and for bravery.
Then we saw something in the air.
Perhaps it was a sign from heaven…
Kagura and I soared above the small human army. Judging by the number of tents, I could tell there originally had been more men than the scant few that were left. My mirror hummed. It sensed…fear. Irrational, overwhelming, human fear clung tightly to the small camp. Something had scared the men there so badly that they had fled the moment they could.
Part of me wondered if we, my "sister" and I, had caused it, this fear.
My mirror hummed again and I knew.
We had caused it. The samurai within my mirror all but screamed that this was so.
I stroked my mirror gently as if to calm the angry soul contained within it.
If it could have, the samurai's soul would have bitten off my hand.
What a small, pitiful army that was! Did their lord know that they were going to get slaughtered by whatever attacked them? Although those men did look well trained, they would loose to the superior numbers of any enemy army!
It was sad, really. Those humans down there could die in an instant, blown away like feathers in the wind.
It was a pity, yes. But it was no concern of mine.
"Kanna," I said out loud.
"Hai?" she answered, still looking down at the men below us.
My elder sister said nothing as I turned the feather carrying us with a small nudge from my mind. The wind carried us away from the army. Then, as if in a trance, I looked backwards.
That army looked rather pitiful down there with its small numbers. The crimson banners of the small army fluttered in the wind, somehow looking as sad and mournful as the army's leader.
The leader who was looking strait at us…
POV of the commander of the army, Kawakami Tsuyoi
The strange white mass in the sky began to flutter away from us, heading off in a direction unknown. I did not know if that was a good sign or not.
I wondered if any of the remaining men saw the large feather. Likely they did not. If they had, they would be making motions to the sky by now.
I sighed and looked back to the retreating feather. Suddenly, it dipped down a bit and I discovered something.
There was someone riding on it! Two people, it looked like. It was far away, but when I squinted, I could tell that they were female, one being so small she had to be nothing more than a child. I was fully staring now. Women…ascending to the sky…they had to be Tennyo…Heavenly maidens! And then…and then…
One of them turned back to look at me. It was the taller one, the older one. I couldn't see her face, but I could feel her eyes on me.
And I felt fear. Tennyo were magical and powerful. To earn the wrath of one…Who knew the consequences?
…But what if the Tennyo was not looking at me with hate, but with kindness?
Could I be so blessed?
Slowly, the maidens disappeared from sight, and I was allowed to breathe again.
I looked down to the ground. Even if the Tennyo pitied me, there was nothing she could do. Without strong numbers, this army was doomed. We will die by our enemies' hands. There was a time when I did not care if I lived or died as long as I held on to my honor. That time had been but a short moment ago.
…But now a Tennyo has looked upon me and I do not wish to die just yet.
Samurai:literally "One who serves"; the warrior class in Japan, equivalent to European knights
Youkai:"Demon"; not an actual translation, but as close as one can get in English; youkai refers to any non-human being that is magical in nature, many youkai are evil, but not all are
Tennyo:"Heavenly Maidens"; in Eastern myth, the Tennyo weave the tapestry of the night sky and are said to be stunningly beautiful; Tennyo come to Earth to bathe, and according to legend, to trap one on Earth, you would have to steal their feathered robe so that they wouldn't be able to rise back into heaven
Author-chan's notes: Obviously the description of the Tennyo above is a very shortened version. I'm sure plenty of people out there are very familiar with the Tennyo myth, especially those who have seen the second Inuyasha movie or have seen/read the anime/manga The Legend of Ceres.
Well, I hope to see everyone in chapter 4!