Disclaimer: Flame of Recca, sadly, (though possibly for the benefit of us all) does not fall under my jurisdiction.
This is a purely fictional and original work. Although Joker's identity remains unknown to both Neon and Raiha until after the UBS, for the purpose of this story, they somehow know each other
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(Ahem) Formalities aside…on with the ficcy!
Elba- The Curse of the Mysterious Isle
The bird flew, its wings outstretched, skimming over green (alright, not that green) fields (actually a garden, but no one said it was a clever bird), searching for a place to build its humble abode. It found a desirable spot among the branches and intertwining twigs of a great tree (considering its size, taking a human head for a tree was an acceptable mistake). Chirping happily to no one in particular (isn't that what birds usually do?) it began its quest for sticks and other tidbits that could aid the construction of its nest. Wait till I show that Brownie, it thought smugly, if that was possible.
At that moment, the boy chose to wake from his deep slumber, releasing a massive yawn that caused the poor bird to have a heart attack and return to the underworld years before its time. Brushing feathers, sticks and other miscellaneous items from his hair, he yawned once again.
Aye, Koganei was bored. That would actually be an understatement, but avoiding the unnecessary eloquence, let's put it this way; 'he had never felt this bored before in his entire life.' You get the idea.
Searching around for something to occupy his overactive mind with, his gaze fell upon what he had originally taken to be four sticks and bundle of thread. Up close he identified them as fishing rods. He grinned. Fishing was fun. Now all he had to do was find three companions. And he already knew whom to ask.
Gathering up the rods, and whistling happily (evilly was more like it) to himself, he went off in search for a certain trio of Uruha Jyushinshuu.
A steaming hot, delicious (only to the misguided, few knew of the toxins this dish possessed despite its friendly exterior) meal lay on the table in front of the two Uruha assassins. One, a certain mild-mannered, courteous purple haired ninja, the other a rasta-braided punk. They glanced at the meal, each other and the cook in question. The silence held for a long time, before the ninja cleared his throat and began:
'You don't expect us to eat this…this…' Raiha's mind groped around for a word that could adequately convey his message without necessarily upsetting the red-haired musician's mood.
'Crap,' Joker finished, who was well known for his honesty.
'Highly inedible, yet visually pleasing meal,' Raiha corrected, putting a great emphasis on the latter half of his sentence.
Neon's energetic smile faded away into an unpleasant scowl that marred the musician's usually attractive face. 'You don't like it,' she said quietly, the air around her quivering with suppressed rage.
'No, that's not it…' Raiha began, becoming aware of the throbbing temple and clenched fists.
'You forgot the teeth,' Joker added, flashing a winning smile as he cleverly ducked under the table before Neon chose to decapitate him along with Raiha.
Koganei found his unsuspecting victims in the courtyard, seated around a picnic bench. All right, more like carrying out their respective activities around the bench. Joker was hiding under the bench, while Neon jumped up and down on an unidentifiable blob that Koganei suspected was once a certain purple-haired ninja. The food on the table was enough to let even Noroi deduce what had just happened. He sighed.
'Oi! Koganei!' Joker waved cheerily from his awkward position under the bench.
Koganei knelt down so he would reach Joker's level. He flashed a broad grin at the rasta braided punk, and asked, 'Why did you insult Neon's food, Joker? You know she does it only for you.'
Joker glared at him, and carefully extracted himself from under the table. Neon somersaulted gracefully off the blob (which glooped away in depression as it began the tedious task of regeneration), bounced off Joker's shoulders (who fell flat on his face with an 'oof') and landed in front of Koganei with her hands elegantly poised on her hips. 'Hello, Koganei. May I ask what you're doing here?' she said, with obvious distaste for having been interrupted during her 'important task'.
'Nothing much, Neon, just passing by. I wanted to know if you guys would like to go fishing with me.' Neon's scowl deepened. 'Neon-san can cook what we catch too!' He patted the packet of chips in his pocket for reassurance.
The scowl was instantly replaced by a beautiful smile. 'I knew it,' she said happily, 'I knew there were people appreciated good cooking!' She ruffled Koganei's hair and shot a dirty look at the blob who had successfully regained its original form. Raiha looked at a bird flying in the distance.
Anyways, for fear of being pummeled/decapitated/mutilated (in general, bashed up) by Neon, a very disgruntled Joker and Raiha accompanied the duo on their 'merry expedition' (though Joker kept mumbling about how it would be better to rely on Raiha's culinary skills; it took one glare from Neon to silence him).
'I must say you're well prepared in spite of just randomly deciding to go fishing,' Joker commented as he surveyed the boat. It wasn't anything special, but extremely well equipped. A large box of bait and hooks lay on the base. It was professionally rigged, and could cover good distance in barely any time. This is what prompted the crazy foursome to sail right to the center of the lake.
'You guys have realized we're right next to Elba.' Raiha pointed towards the dark island that was visible a few feet away from their boat. Even though it was only 4.00 p. m, an icy fog shrouded the island from view.
'Elba? What's that?' asked Koganei, who wasn't too familiar with the geography of that particular spot. Raiha's eyes widened.
'You don't know about Elba?' he asked with mock surprise.
Joker continued the narration from hereon. 'Elba…the isle of the ghosts. It was once an executing ground during the time of the Hokage…'
'Prisoners and mutineers of war…they were beheaded on this island and the headless corpses were cast into the sea. The soil is still stained with the blood of the victims…and the water still echoes cries of the dead…' An icy wind blew over the boat, giving Raiha's haunting voice a more eerie effect.
'The land is cursed, and no one dares to set foot on it for fear of invoking the wrath of the dead…they say at night…when storm clouds gather…the ghosts rise from the water, crawling over one another, screaming for vengeance and seeking the blood of any living thing that sets foot on the island!' Joker finished dramatically. 'We must leave, and leave now, before they realize we're here!'
'The ghosts go after the women and children, you know…especially the women,' Raiha added. 'They get lonely, being only men on that island.'
'They do nothing of the sort because it's just a bedtime story!' Neon screeched, causing the duo to shut up. 'Now, FISH!'
Expertly casting their rods into the water (Joker 'accidentally' used too much force and sent his rod flying into the lake), they waited for a bite. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Night had fallen.
'Aargh!' Koganei yelled in frustration, his rod falling into the river with a silent 'plop!' 'There's no way I can do this!'
'Patience is the key,' Raiha replied. 'Hey! I've got a bite!' He began to tug on his rod but to no avail. 'It seems like it's stuck in the riverbed. Maybe I should…'
'NO!' came the unanimous reply. Raiha winced and resumed pulling.
'It's a corpse,' he mumbled, after minutes of fruitless yanking. 'We've disturbed the slumber of a dead soul, and now we'll have to pay…'
Neon glared at him, and he continued to tug.
'I need help,' he grunted. Joker grabbed the rod.
'Heave…heave…' they muttered. Finally, after hours of pulling (I won't elaborate) Joker decided to use his madougu and they yanked the fish on board. Up flew an anchor (that probably belonged to some long-sunk boat) that promptly punched a hole through the wooden base of the boat. The four of them stared at the large gap between the planks, and suddenly became aware of the gallons of water that were filling up the entire boat.
'Geronimo,' Joker mumbled as the boat capsized.
'Joker, I am going to kill you!' Neon screamed, bobbing up and down in the water. Her dress/skirt had filled up with water and she currently resembled a lilac umbrella.
'I told you we should've let it go…' Raiha muttered. 'And Joker, please get off me.'
Joker grinned weakly, and whispered something only Raiha could hear. The ninja shot a strange look at him and smirked.
Koganei blubbered around for a while before managing to grab Neon's buoyant outfit. She screamed in surprise. 'Kaoru, don't ever do that again!'
'Admit it…you thought it was a corpse,' Raiha said accusingly.
'There's no such thing as ghosts!' she screamed. Joker opened his mouth to continue the debate, but was interrupted.
'Uh…guys…we have a problem,' said Koganei, pointing at the now cloud infested skies. Not just any clouds. Dark storm clouds. Lightning flashed menacingly across the dark night sky. The quartet gulped nervously.
'Swim to that island, then,' Neon ordered, gesturing towards Elba.
'We can't!' Joker wailed.
'It's haunted!' Raiha cried out.
It was almost impossible to reach the shore; the riverbed was overgrown with weeds that continuously got entangled with Koganei's shoes, Neon's toes, Raiha's katana and (unfortunately) Joker's hair. By the time they reached the island, Koganei and Neon had green feet, while Joker resembled the Creature of the Swamp with seaweed entangled in his rasta braids (because I like Raiha, his katana doesn't get weed-infested).
'This place…it's creepy,' Koganei murmured. 'This island is completely…deserted…like some demonic aura is keeping all living things away…'
'We've disturbed a graveyard, and now we must pay with our lives,' Joker insisted.
'Don't tell me you believe in those fairy stories! There's probably…no one here…' Although she would never admit it, Neon was creeped out herself. 'Sure, it's a bit intimidating…with that big forest and all…'
'Hey, look over there.' Raiha pointed towards a wooden sign that read 'Go Away' in drippy, red letters. 'I guess they don't want us around, neh?'
'That sign is written in blood extracted from the ground…' Joker whispered. Neon's temple throbbed once again, and she boxed the rasta-braided punk, resulting in the formation of a very large bump on his head.
'It's obviously just some joke Kurei-sama is playing on random passers-by to keep them away, baka!' Neon yelled. 'Stop behaving like such a child!'
'N-Neon…Raiha…l-look…' Koganei stuttered, his voice trembling with fear. 'A-Above the s-sign…' He pointed.
The trio looked at what he was pointing at. Neon screamed in surprise.
'C-Corpses…!' Joker gasped, staring at the three suspended bodies that swung from the branch of an oak tree. The bodies had been reduced to bones centuries ago, and were clad in very outdated samurai armor. Most of it had rusted and the ornamental work had faded away with time. But most frightening of all was…
'T-They have no heads!'
Neon shrieked, and grabbed Joker's arm. Koganei was rooted to the spot in fear. Even Joker, who was usually so arrogant couldn't stop his knees from wobbling like jelly.
'It was only a story…me and Raiha invented…to scare Neon and avoid fishing…' he confessed, 'but now…I think what we said was true…'
Raiha stared in disbelief at the three around him, who within moments had regressed back to four year olds. Sure, three corpses on a tree was a bit…creepy…but, all the same…
'There has to be a rational explanation behind all of this,' he said, with as much calm he could muster. It wasn't much, but they seemed to relax.
'Heh…I knew that.' Neon muttered.
They walked on. While Joker resumed his regular composure and was teasing Neon about the whole arm grabbing incident, Koganei still seemed a bit scared. Raiha, as collected as he appeared, was secretly wishing he'd never agreed to this stupid trip. Finally, they confronted another sign, similar to the previous one. A grinning skull was nailed to the top-centre of the wooden plank. Spidery cracks ran across its forehead where the nail had been driven in. So much for respect for the dead. This one read:
'What part of 'Go Away' did you not understand?'
'If this is someone's idea of a joke, it's so not funny,' Koganei muttered. Neon screamed again.
'The eyes!' she shrieked, once again clinging on to Joker. Sure enough, the hollow eyes of the skull now housed an evil, blue flame that flickered momentarily before dying out again. A raspy voice echoed through the forest:
'You'll regret disturbing the spirits that haunt this isle…'
Above, a gigantic branch that sprawled eastwards of the majestic tree mysteriously snapped, and fell with absolute disregard for its own dignity on top of the quartet with a loud 'crash!'
End of Chapter One
The spirits are displeased…the Uruha quartet has been cursed…Will they survive? (doi) Will they escape this haunted island? Is the suspense killing you (obviously not)? Find out in part two of Elba: The Curse of the Mysterious Isle...