YES! Oh yes, who has been wetting themselves for this sequel? I have!
B l i n d i n g O e d i p u s
Emptiness again left alone again
Left to question all that's happened...
And no one cares and no one cries
All that's left is the will to die...
Try... try to hold on what's left inside...
Empty (And this emptiness I'm left with)
Reaching (Has me reaching for a reason)
Lonely(This loneliness consuming)
searching (I'm searching for the answers)
Will you do the same? ...
Try to find peace
'Will to Die' - Deftones
She had such a beautiful mother. Her eyes followed the pale hand holding the turtle-shell comb as it flowed effortless through her satin hair. She watched the regal woman sitting at the mirror skillfully part her shining tendrils into a lovely array. What a classic beauty her mother was. A pair of eyes darker than hers caught her staring and smiled warmly at her before delicate hands lifted her into a warm lap. Peeking into the mirror with her, she studied her own reflection in it. Fair, youthful skin, caramel colored eyes and chocolate hair, and a set of rosy hued cheeks that seemed to charm the most callous of hearts. Feeling a soft kiss press against one of said cheeks, her mother gently held her little body closer. "What a pair we make." She whispered tenderly catching her eyes in the mirror.
A muffled voice came into her world, fuzzing the images around her.
It came again, this time accompanied by an incessant nudging of her shoulder.
She moaned and rolled away, shrugging the offending nuisance off.
"Kaa-san, wake up." The voice insisted.
By now, her wonderful dreamland had already drained and faded away, inviting in the horror of the morning in its absence. Fuu made an irritated noise and turned back, reluctantly opening her eyes to find another set of gray ones peering intrusively into hers. Well, if he was able bodied enough to shove his face obnoxiously into hers then there obviously had been no catastrophe great enough to merit her getting up. "Mm, g'way." She slurred trying to roll back into her previous position only to be restrained by little but firm hands gripping her shoulder.
"No, get up." The young voice insisted.
Fuu groaned, but after a moment of vengeful wishing, unwillingly obeyed, twisting onto her side and bringing herself up on her elbow. "What is it, Jin?"
"You're awake so now you gotta get up!" The little boy chirped logically, springing back to give her enough room to do as he said.
Giving him a scathing frown, she swung her legs over the side of the bed and hoisted herself to her feet. She yawned and stretched, feeling her joints open with a resounding 'pop!' The tousled haired youth quickly darted over to a nearby chair, snatching off his mother's kimono and eagerly bringing it to her.
Casually taking the yukata, she let it slide down her arms and began to tie it appropriately. Stepping over to her vanity she picked up the set of chopsticks strewn over the tabletop. Her hand effortlessly twisted her hair up with the skill that only came from years of practice before pushing the twin ornaments through.
Eagerly grabbing her hand, Jin all but dragged her to the cabin door, thrusting it open and ignoring her annoyed moan as the daylight dashed into her eyes. His hands were the normal small hands of any eight-year-old boy but she could already feel the beginning of calluses and the dirt that only stuck so resiliently to the toughest of skins. It scratched and sweated against her sensitive skin but like his father, Jin often brushed off her protests as womanish banter.
Strolling onto the deck she could already see the rest of the crew up and working the ship, Shinsuke arrogantly barking out orders as the men fought not to pop him one in the mouth. Where was Mugen? Her eyes skimmed the rest of the liner but could find no trace of the pirate. She knew she threatened it a lot, but if Jin had gotten her up before Mugen then she really was going to through him over the boat this time.
The little boy seemed to read her thoughts and pointed urgently up to the mast. "Tou-san's rigging the sails."
Fuu followed his finger and sure enough there he was, wrapping one rope around the other into schematic knots apparently only he knew how to tie. "Of course he is.." she sighed. "Do we have any tea left?" She inquired groggily.
Jin appeared to consider it for a moment before nodding enthusiastically. "I think so!"
"Do you think you could get me a cup, then?" She asked, coming to sit on one of the lower crates next to the wall.
"Okay!" He yipped, dashing over for the steps that led to the lower barracks.
"And tell your brother to leave the men alone!" She called cupping a delicate hand to her mouth.
"Okay!" He hollered back.
Leaning her elbow against the top of the ledge, Fuu looked out into the ocean she once loved. That was, until she found out she'd be living on it. Now the salt saturated sea air did nothing but make her want to vomit, and the constant lulling and rocking of the boat actually did make her vomit on many occasions. It wasn't her decision or choice, but choices weren't exactly something she had in abundance these days.
Mugen was a pirate at heart, it's what he knew, it's what he was good at. She should have known that's what he would inevitably be lead back to. Not even a month after the twins were born did he sneak back to her in the night with the simple command to get up and get the boys ready immediately. Too groggy and confused to argue she did as he said and let him lead her in the pitch black of midnight to a large marooned ship. At first she thought he was trying to take her to Ryuukyuu and had an outright fit, shoving the kids into his arms and storming off. If he wanted to completely throw his own life away then he was welcome to it, she'd let him do enough of that with her own lately.
But he quickly yanked her back and pulled her onto the boat telling her to shut up for once and listen to him. She didn't stop yelling until he promised that he wasn't taking her to the criminal island. It wasn't until a few days later that she found out it was actually a ship he had stolen and was now their new home.
Naturally she wasn't all too thrilled with this life plan either but compared to being forced to live on a land of murders and fugitives, it didn't look quite as bad. Of course she wasn't stupid enough to think he'd simply made off with this ship to become a world-renowned fisherman. No, when they did make a stop at Ryuukyuu, much to her outrage, and she saw him talking to and looking over a handful of dark, brutish men she knew. She just knew.
Gradually the handful became several, and the several became a whole crew. Most were Ryuukyuu-jin, willing to do anything to get off that Gods forsaken island. But there were a select few that Mugen had picked up that were Japanese, mostly the second or third sons of poorer families who would inherit nothing and hadn't much left to do with their lives. And Mugen was indeed a smooth talker. A talent she didn't even know he possessed until she heard him in person coercing a few women into joining their ship.
Because robbing, pillaging and drinking wasn't enough. You didn't have a happy crew until you could promise them women. This time all were Ryuukyuu-jin; she supposed it was easier that way. Most were prostitutes from brothels and bordellos and would willingly saw off their own leg for a way out. Though she wondered if they knew they were escaping from one whorehouse only to step into another.
These women were not women to be friends with. These women were not women to chat about clothes, hair, and girlish things with. These women were long since hardened and fierce and Fuu had no place with them, nor them with her. She didn't have much of a place with anyone on this ship. No, she was not meant for a life on a boat. Not meant for a pirate's life.
And a pirate's life it was. It seemed that all they did was loot one ship after the next, and when they weren't doing that, they were down below planning to do just that. And she had to give it to him. Mugen was good at it.
When it came to making an honest living, chasing girls, and any intelligent conversation whatsoever, he was an idiot. But when it came to this. This he was the expert. It never ceased to amaze Fuu with the depth and tedious detail he took each heist. Every corner was always covered. He knew where the target would be at every hour of every day, he knew the exact and most perfect moment to strike, he knew back up plans should anything go wrong, and how to scramble and where to meet should they ever have to separate. Every man had his job and Mugen made sure he knew it. It was like she said. Every angle was covered until the whole scheme went into motion like some morbid, grotesque machine of violence and bloodshed. It was like clockwork.
If there was anything Mugen knew, it was how to run a ship. Everyone and everything around them revolved around him. He knew how to keep that specific and delicate balance of contentment and intimidation in his men, and he kept it well. No one dared to question him or step out of line, but they weren't so miserable that they would ever consider mutiny.
Fuu hated the sea. She hated this wretched ship and its horrible people. She hated this life. When the kids were old enough, around three or four, she had wanted to go back to Nagasaki. She wanted to try again. He was a moron if he thought she was just going to let it go. But he said no all the same. She screamed, she threw things, she threatened, and still he outright refused.
That didn't stop her though. Every time they came to dock she would have a new plan to take off. Have a new system set up of how to get away. And she did. Every single time. All four hundred and thirty two tries in the past eight years. And all failed. It never mattered how far she got, how well she hid, he always dragged her back. He always found her and dragged her back to that wretched boat. And all four hundred and thirty two times she had to watch her precious land grow smaller and smaller as the sea swallowed her whole.
The jerk thought throwing shiny, pretty, womanish trinkets at her would make it all better. Or maybe he just did it to get her to sleep with him again. Either way it didn't matter because she spat on it and threw it disgustedly back into his face. Some things were harder to throw than others. No one threw away priceless silk kimonos with gold and silver patterns away without kicking themselves just a little later on. But she was glad she did it. All that jewelry, all those robes and knickknacks were tainted anyway.
And so it was a joyous day when he finally began taking other women to his bed. Or rather taking them down in the barracks because she would have his balls for earrings if he ever soiled her mattress with one of those 'questionable' women. She couldn't say she cared or wasn't a little bit relieved. The more work the other females did the less work she had to do to fend him off. The way Fuu saw it, if they wanted to pick up the extra slack, let them at it.
Since then, things grew no better between them. Rather it worsened in some ways. As the days went by she had to sit back and watch the twins become more and more like their father. The two flaunted their complete disrespect and disregard for their mother like a proud crown. Even Jin who had always been so eager for her favor could not always fight off the peer pressure.
When they were younger she tried to educate them the best she could and teach them to read and write. Every day was a struggle just to get them to sit down, let alone sit down and pay attention. Their eyes would constantly wander and be lured by the wonderful fun their father and shipmates were having on deck. The various temptations of wrestling matches, drinking, game playing, swimming, and rope swinging were simply too much for them and they would eventually struggle their ways out of her firm hold and make a dash to join the others. Mugen was, of course, no help at all and brushed off her attempts at schooling them almost as easily as they did.
Jin was always the last to thrash away from her. At least he had the decency to look somewhat guilty when he would run away from her lessons. One day she barred the cabin door shut with her table and vanity and was determined to not let them grow up to be total shameful idiots. For a while it appeared she would actually make some leeway, that is, until Mugen thrust open the door with enough gusto to drive her pretty mirror to the ground, shattering it into thousands of unrecognizable pieces. He haughtily announced that they were going swimming and before she could blink both boys were out the door and she was left with the shattered remains of a broken vanity to pick up.
That was the day she gave up, the day she conceded defeat. They never even so much as made it to learning a single hiragana character, let alone reading or writing it. And she stopped trying. They were his children now.
Unlike Jin, Shinsuke very openly favored his father over her, often treating her with such blatant disrespect that even Mugen would reprimand him for it. She remembered one day the twins had stolen his sword for play and ended up loosing it in the ocean. Mugen had given them such a thrashing that they both came wailing to her for repentance. She remembered how they clung to the hem of her robes, their dirty faces wet with a flood of tears as they wailed about what their father had done as though she would do something about it.
As Fuu remembered she simply shook them off and went back to her room. Hmph, she'd tried, she'd given them their chance and they'd picked their path, they'd chosen their beds, and they would have to lie in it. They obviously wanted to be just like him, so why should she interfere?
Shinsuke was a little brat and she would say so to his face, but Jin, Jin was the one she couldn't quite figure out. While his behavior was just as horrid as his brother's he would, from time to time, look up at her with a preening gaze as if desperately searching her for approval. One time, when Mugen had taken them on their first raid, Jin came back with tales of all the grown men he'd taken down and how the plan more than likely would have fallen through without him. While she was fairly positive a good ninety percent of his stories were fabricated, she was a bit disturbed by the way he would look at her while in the midst of a particularly gory detail; as though he were silently asking her if she was proud of him.
But what was there to be proud of? They were only children and already they were being taught to pillage and plunder innocent people with no remorse. They were learning the basest rules of barbarians and animals with which they would grow up by. They were growing to be people she was fastly becoming ashamed to know, let alone have given life to. Nonetheless, as he prattled on she listened to his tales and brushed her hair in the new vanity Mugen had gotten her from where she didn't even want to know about.
Had anyone told her ten years ago that this is what her life would become, that this would be what she was reduced to, she would have been outrageously insulted, and probably flung whatever she had been holding at the time straight at their head. She hoped Kami was shielding her mother's eyes from this. Her own wandered over the sun reflecting off the blue ocean, idly curious as to exactly how far they really were from Nagasaki.
Glancing away from the sight she saw a cup of something being shoved in her face. Leaning away she took it from the pudgy fingers clasped around it and took a delicate sip. It was cold. She thanked him before laying back and gently swirling the tea around the sides.
Fuu felt him brusquely climb into her lap, yelping as his knees dug painfully into her thighs. Jin laid his elbows on the ledge and propped his chin up, watching the flow of the waves with her.
At least the pirate's life agreed with somebody, she thought grudgingly. Her children ran around like wild things, without a care in the world for anything or anyone. It reminded her how she had been feeling the exact opposite when Mugen had gotten the men to join them. She'd been scared out of her mind, just waiting for one of the filthy bandits to pounce on her when she wandered away from him. That was why she was especially clingy those first few months.
It took her a while to realize that none of them were that stupid or suicidal as to approach their captain's woman. Apparently the captain himself had made that undeniably clear at some point or another. Slowly she began to relax around them, not feeling their perverted eyes roving over her, and was even more comfortable when they'd finally gotten other women to throw their sexual frustrations at.
And evidently, the women had a few sexual frustrations of their own. She'd noticed one in particular had been giving Mugen quite a bit of attention. Her name was Yousha or something like that. But she could on more than once occasion be seen blatantly flirting with him, fluttering her lashes coyly, giving him that lascivious smirk she'd come to associate with the Ryuukyuu-jin. Yousha was a tiger of a woman. Strong, proud, and vicious, with untamed brown hair and deep dark eyes. Fuu had never really spoken to her, or any of them for that matter, but she could tell that Yousha harbored a crude aversion to her that she could see in none of the other women.
Every now and then she could feel her glaring daggers at her back, particularly when Mugen would approach her or visa versa. Apparently she kept delusions of grandeur, probably of becoming queen of this ship. When Fuu finally left she would gladly turn the title over to her, but until then the woman had better keep her furious eyes back in her head. She would have been worried, Yousha was a powerful woman that could do some serious damage to her, but Mugen would never turn her away. Fuu knew all she had to do was tell him who had slighted her and he would personally swing them over board by their hair. On Ryuukyuu she had no doubt that Yousha would have made a dead woman of her by now, but on this ship the law was in her hand. Mugen may control the boat, but she controlled the bed. And that was where the real power lay, and she would have no problem asking him to stop to pick up crew replacements. "Has your father told you when we're going to stop next?" She asked in a bored tone.
Jin shook his head negatively. "Nope, he's been in the sails all morning."
Well, baboon-face was getting more clever each day. Now he'd stopped telling the plan to his children so they couldn't tell her and now she had no idea when or how to map out her next plan of leave. Brushing the boy off her lap she strolled irritatedly over to the mast, thrusting her fists on her hips as she looked up at him. "Hey! Mugen!" She hollered, funneling her hands around her mouth. She watched as he looked down at her, rigging the last of the ropes. "I need to talk to you!" She called again.
He rolled his eyes but leaped down anyway, swinging around the flagstaff. The death-defying jump would've had any normal person screaming in fright, but she knew him better than that by now. The bronze skinned man landed on his feet with a heavy thud in front of her. "What?"
"When's our next dock?" She inquired, tapping her foot a little annoyed with this stupid game.
Mugen grinned lazily, running his eyes over her with suspicion. "What do you care?"
Fuu glared at him and crossed her arms over her chest. "Stop being a jerk and just tell me."
He snorted and leaned back against the mast. "Nothing comes free, ya know. We're on the bartering system here. What're you gonna give me if I tell you?" He leered, his gaze taking on a more perverse hue.
She let out an exasperated sound and abruptly about faced. "Forget it." She groused.
Laughing, he took her roughly by the arms, turning her around and shoving her back against the mast. "My price too high?" He jeered, chuckling as he pushed himself against her.
Exactly, she thought. But the words didn't come from her and they both turned to see Shinsuke looking up at them, his little face twisted in disgust.
Jin was on the other side of him appearing more confused that outright repulsed. "Tou-san, what're you doing to Kaa-san?"
Mugen only laughed and ground himself against Fuu lecherously. "Wanna see?"
"Oh you're disgusting!" She snapped heaving him away from her before pushing herself past him indignantly.
"I was only kidding!" He called out to her but it was hard to take him seriously when he was still laughing at her.
Fuu ignored him and the heckling she was sure she heard coming from Yousha and the other women as she stormed back to her room, slamming the door behind her. "Filthy, stupid, idiot, ugly, jerk!" She hissed under her breath kicking the side of her bed furiously only to jolt back, hopping at the pain now ripping through her abused foot.
Plopping down miserably she lifted her ankle into her lap to examine the damage. Her toes just looked red and the nail on her big toe was torn deep at the edge. Well, at least she hadn't been angry enough to break it all together. She sighed pitifully, finding little comfort in the scurrying around her midsection. After another moment of the familiar pitter-patter of tiny feet a petite furry head popped out of her robes with a chirpy 'eep!' Smiling at the welcome distraction she held the small animal against her chest, petting it lovingly.
She was glad her precious squirrel friend had lived as long as he did. She wasn't sure how long squirrels were supposed to live but she could tell her tiny companion was getting old. He wasn't as fast as he once was and didn't come out of his safe hiding places as much anymore, and he was a bit chubbier than his normally lean self. It was nice to have something to remind her of home, especially when she was as far from it as she could get. Sometimes she felt like Momo-san was the only thing that didn't make her feel totally alien and alone in this place.
Kissing his furry head she let him scamper back into the folds of her kimono as she hoisted herself up and onto her bed. It used to be their bed, but she often refused to let him sleep in it anymore and simply began claiming it as hers. In the earlier days on the boat they all used to sleep in here, her, Mugen, Shinsuke and Jin. Perhaps not so much Shinsuke and Jin. Mugen had kicked them out when they started walking and talking and sent them to sleep in the bunkers with the other men so that they could have some privacy since she thought it was too gross to sleep with him when the children were so close.
Rolling onto her back she stared at the ceiling, mapping out the little characters the cracks and knots in the wood made. He obviously wasn't going to tell her when or where they were docking next, so she would simply have to start figuring things out earlier. They never came to the same peer twice in one year, it was best to mix things up to avoid the law. It was just a matter of process of elimination now. Crossing out where they'd already been and finding out where they hadn't. Fuu nodded confidently to herself. Those creeps could laugh all they want now, because someday she wasn't going to be around to hear it anymore.
Well beginnings are usually short mainly because you can't get to anything juicy before you set up the story. So lets see, its eight years later so the kids would be eight, Fuu would be twenty three, and Mugen would be twenty seven. What does everybody think of the set up so far?
The Deni Pie