七魂伝
The Legend of The Seven Souls.

Shichikon Den: Introduction, Explanation and Disclaimer

I've dotted and darted about a bit with characters from various FY sources for the writing of this story. Some of them are only present in the manga and some in the additional FY novels written by Nishizaki Megumi alongside Watase Yuu's artwork and guidance. In the event of anyone not being familiar with some of them, I've done my best to include sufficient explanation in the story about their roles and who they are. For the most part, I hope the story itself wil make that clear. In case of any gaps, however, I've also included info as I've gone along, as a "footnote" if you like to the chapters where they first appear. Obviously this means this story does contain spoilers for the manga, anime and some of the novels. Sorry about that!

Obviously the title is a rip of the style used by Nishizaki Megumi for the thirteen FY novels (lol). Shichi meaning seven (does any fan of FY not know that already, though? Doubtful!), kon (the onyomi for tamashii "soul or spirit") and den (for "legend"). It's a bit tacky. But I sort of had to do it. Sorry about that, too.

This is, in some respects, totally not the FY story I thought I was going to be writing. In fact, if you saw some of the discarded FY gabble still on my pen drive, you'd probably wonder how I got from that to this. I certainly do...I've not written a FY fic before, although I've written a lot of Tenchi Muyo stuff and things for other fandoms that aren't posted on FFnet. So in a way it's a first for me and in a way it's not. Hopefully there's not too much, if any, OOC'ness. Guess we'll see as time goes on.

This story has the ambitious intention of being a FY fiction without the involvement of any of the four Miko OR the introduction of a new Miko...(At least, Miaka may appear in flashback, and her name will certainly be mentioned. But I thought it would be refreshing to not have Miaka as the central character. Consequently, there's probably not going to be much, if any Tamahome, either. Really, Tamahome to me is like one of those good things you can have too much of...if you know what I mean :) I don't dislike Miaka or Tamahome...but I'd just like to give them a break. If any of the characters can be said to be "central" to this story, it's probably Tasuki - although Chichiri has a fairly significant role also. And in essence, it's really a story about the Suzaku Seishi left in the Shijin Tenchishou world.

At times the tale also might be a bit dark (I say might, I mean will, absolutely and definitely beyond all doubt will be dark!) but this is what comes of writing a story when your actual favourite character is dead and buried under Hokkan's mountain snow (sniff, sniff, sob etc). Resurrecting a character is only excuseable if you have a really, really good plotline explanation for doing it...so at the start of this story, four of the Suzaku Shichi Seishi are dead. (Including Nuriko...waah...) In the end, though, it's not actually a story about dark, nasty, sad stuff. It's the opposite, really - well, hopefully that will all come clear as the story progresses. I don't want to give away spoilers, particularly since my endings have a habit of writing themselves anyhow. I may yet end up at a completely different point than the one I think I'm aiming for.

This story is set after the conclusion of volume 18 of the manga/OVA 2 of the television series. It may also involve vague reference to events in the novels, but as I've said, hopefully the story will explain those bits. I'm only including them because characters need backstory from time to time and I wanted to keep it within known boundaries where I could. I haven't read all of the Gaiden books, and I haven't got to the end of Sanbou Den yet (Kanji takes time...lol...), so I may still be out on a few things. But I've done my best. This is fanfiction, after all, right?

As a general rule, all names involved in my story are the Japanese versions of the character names, so Tasuki is Kou Shun'u, Chichiri is Ri Hou Jun, etc. This is just because it's easier for me to remember them in Japanese than it is in Chinese. Also, locations may have adopted their Japanese names - ie Reikaku-zan, Taikyoku-zan, Taichi-ike, Yukigase-mura, Seisen-mura etc. The exception being country names, because for some reason I like "Kounan" better than "Kounan-koku" or (to quote Chiriko) "Kounan-oukoku". So for simplicity's sake, that's what I've done. I won't pretend that English versions of the place names may not have crept in as well, just for variety's sake!! (A word of warning - I have major left and right issues, so if for some reason Chichiri suddenly has a wounded right eye or Tasuki wings on his left arm, please blink and ignore the error for me, okay? I've tried to get it fixed in my mind, but since it took me a week or two to get it into my head that Kutou is east and Sairou is west..I don't hold out a whole lot of hope for my brain coping too well. Even now I have absolutely no idea which foot Chiriko's symbol is on...shame on me :S)

Although I really hate Chichiri saying "you know" all the time, "no da" doesn't translate well. So I've compromised and done it from time to time...nobody kill me!

Ok. I promise the long boring geek stuff is out of the way now. Story from hereon in...

Fushigi Yuugi belongs to Watase Yuu and not me, usual legal regs etc apply ;)

Synopsis

One world. Four Gods. Twenty eight mansions of the stellar sky.

As Tasuki and Chichiri return to Kounan after their battle against Tenkou, neither of them can imagine that for them, the trouble is only just beginning. First, a blast from the past has turned up at Reikaku-zan, and Tasuki is horrified to discover that Kouji has made a girl welcome in the heart of his mountain stronghold. Anzu is determined that this time she won't let the fiery bandit escape - but Tasuki is still recovering from the discovery that he's not as strong as he thought in his resolve against the opposite sex. With the memory of Miaka's assault still fresh in his mind, he is both confused and dismayed that Anzu does not seem willing to take "no" for an answer!

Meanwhile, Chichiri's sharp senses have detected the life force of Nuriko, one of the dead Seishi who was meant to have been reborn after the battle with Tenkou. Nuriko's signal is strong but inconsistant, and when an attempt to reach Taikyoku-zan almost results in both him and Tasuki getting killed, he realises that something much more sinister is afoot. Then Tasuki's home village is set ablaze, and Chichiri realises how serious things truly are. Somehow the very world that they've sworn to protect is rising up against them - sending either a warning or a cry for help as it struggles to regain its lost sense of balance.

For the stars that guard the heavens over Kounan now number one less than they did before.

And unless the chosen of Suzaku can find a solution, their world might cease to exist completely, too...

SHICHIKON DEN
A Fushigi Yuugi Fanfiction
by
VRAIEESPRIT

Prologue

Taikyoku-zan

"Yuuki Miaka and Sukunami Taka."

Amid the bright, mystical landscape of Taikyoku-zan, an old woman cast her gaze up at the big, glimmering mirror before her, a pensive, thoughtful look in her eyes. "You've cheated fate - with the blessing of Suzaku and the luck only love can bring you - you've succeeded in bringing together your lives into one world. Now there is no doubt - Sukunami Taka is a man of both worlds, and there is no longer any risk of him disappearing."

She turned, casting her beady gaze on her companions as she eyed each one of them in turn.

"Chichiri and Tasuki have already been returned to Kounan." She said softly. "And now...now it's your turn. All of you. Time for you to leave this place and find your new lives. Each of you will be reborn, as befits a warrior of Suzaku."

She spread her hands, and a hazy glow bathed the landscape, engulfing each of the four spirits in its warm, comforting grasp. As she watched, they slowly faded and disappeared from view, until there was nothing left on Taikyoku-zan of the seven Celestial Warriors of Suzaku.

The woman sighed, suddenly tired.

"The legend is concluded." She murmured. "Nyan Nyan, this world is at peace. At last, the four beast Gods have been called, and the evil of the demon Tenkou no longer plagues this place. Everything...everything is as it should be. Everything can begin again."

The small girl at her right hand glanced up, vivid braids of hair bouncing in an imaginary wind as she nodded her head.

"All well." She murmured. "All a happy ending, for all the Suzaku."

"A happy ending." The woman smiled, amusement flickering in her eyes. "I suppose that's fitting, for a Priestess who chose to defy fate and a Celestial Warrior who decided to abandon the mould he was cast into, don't you think?"

Before Nyan Nyan could respond, however, there was a sudden juddering of the ground beneath them, and flickers of strange red light began to glitter across the horizon, dancing in and out of focus as they formed a net-like weave across the landscape. Despite herself, the old woman's eyes opened wide with alarm and confusion, spreading out her hand to touch the delicate fibres, but they repelled her fingers, and at the sudden burning sensation she drew back.

"This can't be..." She breathed, even as she heard Nyan Nyan let out a startled yell. She turned, just in time to see the diminuitive goddess fade and disappear in a flash of light, and a second tremor rocked the mountain as the scarlet web became more and more vivid in the sky.

The woman muttered a curse, trying to cast a spell to disperse it, but it was to no avail, simply absorbing her power into itself as it grew in strength and dominance over the Taikyoku-zan terrain. Across the ground, the giant mirror in which she had observed so many events shuddered and cracked from side to side, the glass splintering out across the ground in sharp, glittering shards of energy.

"No." The woman's eyes opened wide with horror as she understood the meaning of what was happening. "It can't be...not after so much...so much preparation, so much care...are you saying...that the tie to this world...can't be broken after all? Are you saying..."

But she did not finish her sentence, for in a spasm of bright light, she too was swallowed up into the depths of the mountain as the Taikyoku-zan landscape became barren and dark once again.

Across the palace wall, where the seven constellations of Suzaku had hung on the south wall, a crack began to run through the plaster, as chips of the paintwork crumbled and fell away. Slowly but surely the building's foundations began to give way as the south wall fell into ruins and rubble, dragging the other four walls down with it. The dessicated pieces of the constellations of the four gods littered the mountain landscape, seemingly tainted by blood as they reflected the crimson haze of the barrier that now covered all of the mountain in its glow.

Uppermost in the collapse, one constellation remained oddly intact, the glittering gems that had marked it's stars dead and cold against the colour of the stone. Had the old woman or her companion been there to see it, they would have known that this was the constellation that led the southern sky.

The sign of the ogre.

Tamahome.

-------------------

Sairou

There was barely a sound in the sick room, as the young girl knelt down beside the worn pile of fabrics and straw that made up the single makeshift bed the hut's one room contained. The figure lay silent, her eyes fluttered closed in her pale face, but the flush of her cheeks told her carer that the infection that plagued her had not abated over the course of the night.

Carefully the would-be nurse tore a strip from her skirt, folding it and dipping it into the pail of water she had just collected from the river that ran towards Sairou's capital city. It was cool and refreshing even to her touch, and as she placed the damp cloth across the patient's brow, the eyes opened, staring up in confusion. The girl smiled.

"Don't." She said, as the patient's lips parted as if to speak. "It's all right, Karin. I'm here, and I'll stay, this time. I only went to get fresh water, that's all."

"Anzu." The word was little more than a breath, but the girl heard it, and her smile widened.

"Yes, it's only me." She agreed gently. "Are you feeling a little better this morning, maybe? Does your chest still feel tight? I can try and beg some herbs from the sellers in the market again, if you think they'll help. They did the last time, so..."

"Anzu, stop it." The patient's voice was stronger this time, and Anzu frowned, shaking her head.

"You're the one who should do that." She objected. "Straining your voice will make you cough and then you'll be in pain again. Karin, just lie still, okay? I can take care of you, and I will. So you have nothing to worry about."

The older girl's lips flickered into a faint smile at this, and Anzu felt a thin hand slip out from beneath the makeshift bedcovers, sliding itself into her fingers and squeezing feebly.

"I saw...Raimon...last night." She whispered, and Anzu's eyes widened with surprise.

"Raimon?" She asked. "Karin, that was just your fever. You were really hot last night - you weren't even sure who I was some of the time. That's all."

Karin shook her head slightly from right to left.

"No. He was here." She murmured. "I felt his touch on my face...saw his smile. He was...real."

"Karin, Raimon is dead." Tears glittered on Anzu's lashes at this. "You know that. He died more than two years ago. I'm sorry, but you know that it's true."

"I think...he came...to get me." Karin coughed, the effort of speaking proving too much, and Anzu was immediately alert, alarm flickering in her dark eyes.

"Karin, stop it! You're going to make yourself worse!"

"It's all...right." Karin managed to catch her breath, offering her sister another faint smile as the grip on her companion's hand tightened. "I can't fight...this fever...any longer. You...aren't getting...any sleep, looking after...me. Or food. You look...worn out. And...and if you go on...we'll both...be...in trouble."

"I'm not going to just abandon you, oneechan." Anzu protested. "You're the only family I have - what on earth do you think I'd do, just walk out the door and leave you behind?"

"I...I think Raimon...was a sign." Karin's eyes softened. "You know...what I mean."

Anzu closed her eyes as the tears spilled down her cheeks, and she shook her head, clasping her sister's hand tightly to her chest.

"No, you're wrong." She said fiercely. "You're not going to leave me behind, do you hear me? We're always together, and that's how it's going to be. We're a team - we've always been a team. In good times and in bad - and I'm not a weak little kid any more. I'm a grown woman and I know I can do something to get you medicine, or...or somewhere better to stay. Even a doctor, if I...if I try hard enough."

Karin's cheeks became shiny with her own tears as she registered the love in her companion's voice, and she sighed.

"It's all right." She murmured. "Stop crying, Anzu. Raimon will be there...waiting for me. I'm not scared of it...so don't you be, either."

"But Karin!" Anzu exclaimed. Karin lifted her fragile, pale fingers to touch her sister's cheek, and Anzu's heart ached as she registered the change in the body of the once lithe, active acrobat. Lack of food and money had stolen away little by little at her strength, as Anzu realised for the first time how often Karin had sacrificed her own meals to ensure her younger sister ate properly, and her tears continued to fall.

"I won't let it happen." She said chokily. "Don't you dare leave me all alone, Oneechan! Don't you dare go and leave me all alone!"

Karin was silent for a moment, and then she shook her head.

"I can't...help it." She admitted. "I'm sorry, imouto-chan. But I can't. I can't fight this...it's...it's too strong for me."

"Don't be stupid! Nothing is too strong for us to overcome!" Anzu protested, and Karin laughed faintly, sparking off a fresh cough in her chest.

"Stop it!" Anzu yelled. "Stop it, please, Oneechan, stop it! You're hurting yourself - please, stop it!"

"I can't stay with you this time." Karin's eyes flickered with regret. "I wish I could, but...I can't. And you...you have to...to believe in your own strength, not just mine. You have to...to make up your mind for yourself, because I...I won't...I won't be able to protect you or help you any more."

She shifted her head slightly, sending her younger sister a pensive look.

"You should go to Kounan." She suggested softly. "Or does your heart not pull that way any more, little sister?"

"My...heart?" Anzu faltered, then she shook her head. "How can I think of things like that when you're so ill as this!"

"I just want to know you have...someone to go to. That's all. Somewhere...safe." Karin said feebly. "Well? Will you...go to him?"

Anzu sat back on her heels, emotions swirling through her brain as she registered her sister's meaning. She swallowed hard, even as a face flickered through her mind.

"I...I want you to get well, oneechan." She murmured sadly. "That's what I want. And yes, I still love...I still feel that way. But...but...more than that, I want..."

She broke off, and Karin offered her a gentle smile.

"Then go to him." She murmured softly, brushing her sister's tears away as more fell. "You're strong enough now to do that, aren't you? To prove yourself and hold your own in any situation. Raimon will look after me, don't worry about that. But you...you should be in Kounan. You should f...follow your heart. You should have gone back a long time ago - maybe we both know that. But you stayed with me - because we were a team and you w...wanted us to be together. But now...if I'm not there...go to h...him. Follow your heart...and live well, for me."

With that the fingers slipped down against the bedcovers, and Karin's eyes fluttered closed. Anzu bit her lip, anguish wracking through her as she registered the slow, gentle ceasing of her sister's breathing until the rasping wheeze was no longer audible at all. For a moment, the room was completely silent, and Anzu was certain that time had stood still. Then, as she registered the peaceful smile on her sister's face, emotion wrenched through her anew and she flung herself on her sister's body, crying bitterly without knowing or caring if and when the tears would stop falling.

"Karin." She whispered. "Karin! You can't leave me...you can't leave me!"

But she knew in her heart that her sister's soul had already slipped away, and as she struggled to swallow her tears, she gazed around the chamber, half wondering in her dazed grief-state whether her sister's lover had indeed come to take her away.

"Karin." She choked, sweeping her sister's long dark hair back from her face. "Even now, you still loved him that much, didn't you? Enough not to be afraid when...when this..."

She broke off, struggling to her feet.

"I will do right by you." She murmured softly. "I will make sure you...you have a proper place to sleep, sister Karin. Even here in Sairou, I promise I'll do it - somehow. And then...and then..."

She bit her lip, as emotion threatened to overtake her anew.

"And then I'll go to Kounan." She whispered. "I'll go...I'll go to Reikaku-zan. And...after all this time, I...I'll find Genrou."


Characters from the "Gaiden" novels...
Anzu - Anzuis a fifteen year old circus performer who, along with her sister, is roped into doing Tenkou's bidding. She took over the Reikaku-zan bandits using the Genbu Shinzaho to control them, but in the end fell in love with Tasuki and swore that she'd train herself up to be able to be worthy of him. (Sanbou Den) (In my story, set 2 or so years on, Anzu is now about 17).

Karin: Anzu's elder sister, also a performer along with Anzu, but two years senior. In love with Raimon, even despite his death. (Sanbou Den)

Raimon: Karin's dead lover, who was originally wound up in Tenkou's plot involving the Shinzahou. (Sanbou Den )