Am I only the second person to write Alichino? Shock! Horror!
Well. All us Alichino fans know that Shurei-sama isn't quite finished with it, despite her three-year 'break'. Bugger on TokyoPop for lisencing it, now SakuraCrisis won't scanlate it anymore But Alichino being only three volumes long so far means that a number of things haven't been looked into
We know that Enju is one of Tsugiri's most important people, because he's basically the only family he's ever known. Family. Now... how about another special person...? Travels with Ryoko has obviously brought the two closer by the end of volume three. - This'll be a bit of a continuance, a further look into certain relationships... and a dive into the mythology behind Alichino.
Have fun with it
I changed my penname this story. Hee. I like the new one better.
One little note about some translations- the word 'kusabi' literally means wedge, which is sort of an awkward word to work with, but in context, it seems to be used in a more 'talisman' or 'relic' sort of way; sort of used as a support. But leaning towards the talisman, I'm going to use the nice, generic word Key because it's so convenient and important-sounding. I've read it translated in different ways, and Sakura-Crisis (bless them. I love you guys!) uses 'Bond' which I found a little awkward. Let me know if you have any better ideas, but I think Key works pretty good. It gets the point across.
Duchess Nire, formerly known as COSE
with the crew I'm sending out to inspect
The pitch near that crossing; they'll prod the dead
Who gasp for air, but to you they'll show respect.
Calcabrina" he then said,
"Step forward! And you as well Cagnazzo!
Barbariccia, I'm putting you at the head
Of this crew.
You can take Draghignazzo,
Libicocco, tusky Ciriatto, and Graffiacane too –
Throw in Farfarello and crazy Rubicante also.
Take a good
look around the boiling glue;
When you reach the bridge linking den to den
Make sure you've safely delivered these two."
"O Master, I
don't like the look of these ten
Demons" I said. "Let's get out of here
While we still can. Why do we need an escort when
You know the way?…"
-Dante Alighieri, Canto XXI
Solemn figures emerged from the gloom in two lines, stepping in time to an unheard music. They were well hidden in the darkness with which they marched, though the head of each line held a lantern aloft, suspended from a pole that shimmered faintly in the flame. The fire's low radiance flickered off the faces of the cowled figures revealing flashes of malice contained in the inhuman slit-pupiled irises.
The faint light danced off some relic in the distance… the ruined form of a cross, thirty feet long. It was suspended by fine ropes that stretched away from where they held it, and into darkness. Though… also supported by the ropes, bound to the cross, was a person. He hung limp, ropes keeping him upright, his pale, lifeless skin silver in the firelight.
One of the cowled figures stepped forward, lantern in hand, and pulled down his hood. Malevolence shone on his face as he set one of the ropes alight, the flame crawling up its length, tasting the air ahead of it before leaping to the defaced relic. The one bound to it did not move, his copper hair lifting gently with the heat.
His face was familiar…
There was just darkness, but for the light of the moon's sliver filtering through the dirty window of the room. The vision had faded, bringing Tsugiri back to the reality of the cheap, unkempt inn room. He shivered from the chill air flowing from the windowpane, feeling himself damp from head to bare feet with a cold sweat and threw back the covers. That dream was different than the others. The others were more like things that had happened in the past. This one had never happened.
Tsugiri made to stand and change out of his night-things and into something more dry, and realized that he wasn't alone in the room.
'The innkeeper woke me up to get you to be quiet,' Ryoko stated as though impartial. 'I keep telling you not to sleep on an empty stomach.'
'How long have you been…?' Tsugiri started.
'I think a better question would be how long have you been. When the innkeeper woke me, he said you'd been making a raucous for fifteen minutes. I watched you for about twenty after that. You wouldn't wake.'
Tsugiri shifted onto his side and pulled the covers over himself again. He could change in the morning…
'Right. Well, see you in the morning. Try to be quiet.' He stood and started out the door. He paused there, as if to say something more, but didn't and left, closing the door behind him.
Did he sound hurt? Or was it Tsugiri's imagination? He had gone even more cold and distant than usual since the fateful final end of Matsurika, and it all wasn't over yet. Tsugiri got the terrible feeling that those events would be repeated with himself… and Enju.
Enju was all he should be thinking about right now. Even though it was a trap, no doubt, for some higher Alichino to take his soul, that wouldn't be enough to keep him from Enju. These games would come to an end, Tsugiri decided.
It wouldn't end, Ryoko knew this. It was to be war between them; the Alichino against the Key and his allies, and it may be a loosing fight... Tsugiri was still strangely detached, and it worried Ryoko. He seemed to be doing this to prove a point, and though he did speak of saving Enju, it seemed like a goal coincidental with the goal Tsugiri had his mind on. What exactly that was, Ryoko wasn't sure, but he would find out.
Yes, yes, short chapter, but the last few paragraphs really took a long time for some reason... so I decided to make some way to end it.