By Ben Da Mad/Sentinel 28A
AUTHOR'S NOTES: I've been getting too serious lately. Time for some fun. Plus no one's R&Red Stand Your Ground. I can take a hint, folks.
Today's joke may fall flat if you haven't seen Azumanga Daioh. If you haven't, go and watch it! It's good stuff!
THE EMPEROR'S JAPANESE TRANSLATION DEPARTMENT:
Tatami– straw mats used as cushions inside Japanese homes.
Hanyou– half-demon. What Inuyasha is.
Miko–shrine maiden. What Kagome and Kikyo are.
Taijiya–demon hunter. Sango's chosen profession.
Shoji–rice paper. Used for a variety of purposes, including walls.
Geisha–female entertainers. Contrary to popular belief, geisha are not prostitutes.
Baka–fool. Pretty much the worst thing you can call a Japanese person.
SCROLL ONE: THE DAY OF TWO KAGURAS
Naraku sat crosslegged on a tatami mat, gazing out over the surrounding, barren landscape. Here in his castle, he was safe behind his barrier, which his enemies could not yet break. He finished his tea, thinking of his various enemies.
The hanyou Inuyasha, who was headstrong and stupid, but had Japan's most powerful sword and a growing knowledge of how to use it.
The miko Kagome, who was neither headstrong nor stupid, and whose power was also growing.
The cursed monk Miroku, who, if he did not succeed in killing Naraku, would make sure his children would.
The taijiya Sango, who Naraku had betrayed and used, whose brother he had claimed for his own, a woman who burned for vengeance.
Inuyasha's brother Sesshoumaru, who hated Naraku not for the Shikon Jewel, nor for a curse, but simply because Naraku had dared interfere in his personal business.
And the most dangerous of all, the undead miko Kikyo, for whom Naraku both burned with lust and loathed beyond imagining.
He set aside the teacup and rang a small bell. It was time to start yet another sinister plot, for Naraku was evil and that's what evil people do. The bell would summon Kagura, the wind demoness whose heart Naraku owned. He knew she hated him, but as long as he had that heart, she was powerless to resist him. Naraku smiled, for he knew how to channel Kagura's hatred towards his enemies.
Naraku heard footsteps approaching, and idly wondered why Kagura was being so heavy-footed today. Normally, even he could barely hear the whisper of her passage, for the wind only makes noise when it is angry. His smile broadened, for apparently Kagura was quite angry at the summons, by the thump-thump of feet against wood. The shoji rice-paper wall slid open, not enough to cause damage, but a tad impolitely for Naraku's taste. He waited for a moment, then stood and turned, his kimono rustling slightly as he did so. His eyes were narrowed in annoyance as he prepared to give Kagura a reminder of just who was in charge around the castle. Then his eyes widened and his mouth dropped open.
The person who stood there was shorter than the Kagura he knew, and her hair was a shade lighter. Instead of being gathered into an attractive bow as a lady of high class and society would be, it was cut short in ragged chops, framing the woman's–girl, really–face. Instead of Kagura's pink and white kimono, she wore some sort of strange uniform similar to that Naraku had seen Kagome wear, except this one was more of a lavender color, and stopped short of her knees, unlike the green outfit Kagome wore that stopped midway up her thighs and occasionally even shorter. Yes, Naraku had noticed. A half-demon he may be, but he's still a male half-demon. This girl's skin was also tanned a brown deeper than anyone Naraku had seen; it was certainly not the pale skin Kagura favored.
"Who are you?" Naraku hissed, wondering how this person got past his barrier, and if somehow Kagome had gathered reinforcements from her strange time.
"Oh, man, I am being impolite. Sorry." The girl bowed. "My name is Kagura."
"You are not Kagura!" Naraku thundered.
The girl straightened up. "Yes, I am! I think I know my own name, thank you!"
Naraku stomped forward and seized the girl by the shoulders. "What have you done with my Kagura, and how did you get in this temple!"
"Ow! Let go of me!" the other Kagura protested. "I just woke up a few minutes ago, and here I was! I heard the sound of a bell, and since it was the first sound I'd heard, I came here!"
"Liar!" Naraku began to shake her. "Tell me, or I'll flay the flesh from your bones!"
The girl decided that reason was not going to get her out of this, so she drove her knee directly upwards into Naraku's crotch, propelled by muscles honed by years of track and swim team practice. Naraku instantly let go and collapsed to the ground, moaning, hands gripped tightly over crushed testicles. Like I said, a half demon he may be, but he's still a male half demon. The other Kagura looked down at him. "I told you to let go of me, jerk. Not even Mr. Kimura touches me." She debated briefly about delivering a kick to the man's face, but he was kind of cute, in a bishonen way. Instead, she turned on one tennis-shoed foot and left the room, still looking for a way out.
Naraku, trying to fight down the blinding pain emanating from his groin, resolved then and there to find and kill Kagome. If she was anything like the similarly-dressed girl he had just met, she was a greater threat than even Inuyasha.
Several miles and 400 years away, the teenagers of Miss Yukari Tanizaki's class stared at the girl–woman, really–who sat at Kagura's desk. Her skin was pale, her hair done up in a style that had been popular among high-class samurai and geisha a century before, and her pink-striped kimono was definitely out of place among the black uniforms of the boys and skirted uniforms of the girls. They looked away hastily as the woman returned their stares with a pair of nasty-looking red eyes. Collectively, they decided that she must be an observer of Miss Yukari's class, and therefore probably not part of the class, even if she was sitting in Kagura's desk.
This, of course, did not stop Tomo Takino, who got up from her desk and walked purposefully towards the woman in the kimono. She slapped one hand down on the desk. "Hey there!"
Kagura the Wind Demoness raised one eyebrow. "What do you want?"
A more thoughtful teenaged girl might have taken Kagura's icy tone as an invitation to apologize profusely and leave, but common sense was not a pair of words most associated with Tomo Takino. "Just wanted to know who you are, that's all."
"My name is Kagura," the wind demoness replied with steel in her voice.
"Kagura!" Tomo abruptly laughed, a sound remarkably like fingernails across a chalkboard. "You're not Kagura! Kagura's shorter than you, younger than you, and has tan lines! Kagura! Ha, that's funny!"
This Kagura's eyes flared with rage, for Tomo had hit on two sore spots in the space of a half-second: age (Kagura was ageless, but you never ask a woman her age) and tan lines (despite her best efforts, Kagura burned, not tanned). Tomo was good at upsetting people like that.
Kagura rose from her counterpart's desk and looked down on Tomo with an expression of complete anger. "You dare make fun of the wind!" Kagura withdrew two fans from her belt. "For that, you shall die a fool's–"
"Baka?" Tomo interrupted. She closed her eyes and stuck her tongue out, dancing in front of an increasingly enraged Kagura. "Baka! Baka! Baka!"
"Who's a baka?" The door slid open with a slam, admitting Miss Yukari Tanizaki–who, as usual, was late because she had partied all night and overslept. She took three steps towards her desk before the synapses in her brain fired enough for her to realize that all was not normal, even in her class. She leveled a finger at Kagura. "Who the hell are you?"
Kagura slapped Tomo aside with a sweep of the fans. "I am Kagura, Demoness of the Wind!"
Yukari was silent for a moment, then burst into laughter. "Kagura! You're not Kagura! Kagura's shorter than you, younger than you, and has tan lines–"
No one could explain, not even Chiyo Mihama the child prodigy, why the school building they went to had been suddenly leveled by the strongest lateral wind ever measured in Japan.