The Shinzahou Chronicles
Introduction and Disclaimer

"Mamoritai hito ga ireba chizu wa iranai."
(You don't need a map if there's someone you want to protect)
Chichiri: Aoi Jiyuu, Shiroi Nozomi

Well, congratulations to anyone who's got so far as this. You deserve a cookie :) Or maybe even two - I guess it depends if it's Nuriko doing the cooking...

Being that it's set in the future of Eikouden, this story has a lot of OC potential. This has never been an issue for me writing - I've written future-set fics before and introduced OCs as and when they're necessary without anyone setting fire to me about any of them. However I know for readers it can be a mixed blessing. So there is something of a balance between old and new in this sequence. Boushin, Hikari, Tasuki, Chichiri, Anzu, Kouji, Aidou are all originals. Shishi, Jin, Hyoushin, Aoiketsu, Kintsusei, Kikei - all OCs. But as I've said before, I think I'm usually too cruel to my characters to marysue them. I guess we'll find out as time goes on.

This story is what you might term the "Seiryuu" story, except that it's not going to take place, much, in Kutou. There's good reason for that - I don't want Hikari going to the East just at the moment ;) So instead, Seiryuu no Shinzahou is in the north - in Hokkan. And this is my second reason for writing it this way - at long last, I have a reason to include Amiboshi and Suboshi in something I write! It's an interesting premise, the twins' existances and whether Suboshi would have ever really left his brother's side after his death. I also wanted to give Amiboshi a semblance of family, as I have with Tasuki and Chichiri (whose families are very diversely different from one another, but still strong units).

Amiboshi's wife is Shin Touka. I've not read Ryuusei Den all the way through yet, but I did cheat and read the end. I know this girl Touka is a friend of Amiboshi and Suboshi's, and that she's particularly fond of Amiboshi. Since her role in the novel seems to end with her swearing to live and wishing for him to live so they can meet again...I thought I'd grant that wish. And since Amiboshi is the only surviving Seishi for Seiryuu, it seems logical for him to have it - after all, the Seiryuu Seishi, if any were reborn, would indeed be as young probably as the Suzaku children and that's not good at all. So yes. Seiryuu no Shinzahou is located in the northern lands. The question is...who will reach it first?

Someone asked me if Aoiketsu was a reborn Seiryuu Seishi. No. :) LOL :) I thought I'd made that clear - he's too old to be any of them reborn. Time to guess again!

This part is called "Seiryuu no Teki." Translated it means either "Seiryuu's Enemy" or "Enemy of Seiryuu". I like the ambiguity - is it that Hikari and company are setting themselves up to be Seiryuu's enemies by going after the Shinzahou? Or is it an enemy representing Seiryuu who's now striking at Hikari and companions? Take your pick...I really don't mind...

With all that said, legal blah blah applies as ever, and FY belongs to Watase Yuu :) All non-FY characters created by me (ie, Aoiketsu, Hyoushin, Miramu, etc) are my copyright by basic definition although they connect into the world of Watase Yuu's creation. Even so, they're still not to be duplicated without permission elsewhere.

The Meihi tribe, their language and appearance are entirely of my creation also, and ditto goes for them in terms of fan-fiction re-production.


第二巻:青龍の敵
Volume Two: Seiryuu No Teki

"The Shinzahou is in the hands of two Seiryuu Seishi, both before and beyond the grave."

With the advice of Taiitsukun still ringing in their ears, Hikari, along with her Seishi guardians are all ready to make for the North Country, in search of Seiryuu no Miko's blessed Shinzahou – the teardrop earring from the summoning ceremony. However, nothing is as simple as it seems, and when the travel party is gate-crashed by Tasuki's impetuous daughter Shishi and her friend Jin, Hikari is sure that things couldn't get any worse.

As they reach the snowy borderlands, she seems to have been proven right, as an argument causes her to fall into the hands of the very people they seek – the guardians of Seiryuu'sShinzahou. And it's not long before Hikari realises that Suboshi really doesn't plan on letting death get in the way of revenge against the Suzaku Warriors he hated so badly so many years before!

Meanwhile, Kintsusei of Kutou has sent his Meihi bodyguard with a party of soldiers into the snowy mountains looking for clues as to the whereabouts of Yui-sama's treasure. With the garbled advice of the spirit of the flame to follow, the Emperor is becoming desperate, especially when he realises Suzaku's men also have an interest in the treasure's whereabouts. On the advice of the opportunistic KikeiKintsusei is persuaded to send another agent into the battle – an assassin from the West who seems keen to face the challenge of Suzaku'sShichi Seishi.

And there is very little he won't stoop to in order to succeed…

Prologue

Hokkan
Makan-mura

"That's everything, Papa. And I tied it really tight, so it won't come loose again."

The small boy heaved the last of the bales onto the pile, turning to send his companion a triumphant smile. His small features were smudged with sweat and dirt from his labours, his simple, farm attire similarly decorated, but the man laughed, resting a gentle hand on the boy's shoulder as he nodded his head.

"You're learning fast." He murmured. "Run inside now, all right? Tell your mother that it won't be much longer, and that if she wants to begin the evening meal, it would be a good time to do so. I have to go check on the animals before I come in - it's going to be another cold night and I want to be sure the barn is secured properly."

"Yes, Papa." The boy nodded his head, offering another wide grin, then turning to hurry towards the house, finding new energy at the thought of a hot meal, and his father watched him go, a low chuckle escaping his throat as he remembered the day's excursions. Tending the fields with his eldest child generally meant everything took twice as long and yet, with the enthusiasm and determination in the young boy's eyes, the man knew he didn't have the heart to tell him so.

"After all, one day this farm will be yours to run and work, and it's hard work, so it's good to be keen." He reflected. "In the meantime..."

He cast a brief, cursitory glance around at his surroundings, satisfied that everything was in its proper place, and he left the storehouse, fastening the chain on the door securely as he crossed the chilled earth towards the small barn which, at night, housed the few sheep the farm kept. Because of the harsh climate, keeping livestock had never been easy, but with the demand for wool and meat, he had persevered, and at length his efforts had borne fruit.

The animals had made their way inside of their own accord, bleating and complaining about the weather as they nudged and pushed up against one another, and the man hummed a faint melody under his breath as he moved from stall to stall, ensuring that there was enough clean straw for them to be safe and comfortable during the cold night.

As he prepared to leave the animals to their own devices, something caught his gaze from the final outbuilding the farm boasted and he frowned, biting his lip as he registered what the flickering, glowing flares of energy meant. Casting a worried glance back towards the house, although in his heart he knew that it was unlikely any of his growing family would pay any attention to strange lights when there was food to be got on the table and a fire to stoke for the evening ahead, he hurried across the land, fastening the gate behind him almost automatically as he felt something flicker inside of his heart.

"Shunkaku?" He murmured, but there was no response, and as he pushed against the door of the third building, he found it was still locked fast. Fumbling at his belt for the right key, he slid it into the lock, pushing back the door and stepping inside as he realised that his instinct had been right - and that the azure light he had observed had indeed been coming from the far wall of this ancient, stone building.

The man frowned, shaking his head as he crossed the cold hard floor, reaching a tentative hand out towards the back wall as he ran his fingers over a slight, almost invisible gap in the stone. When he had first come to live on this farm, the man he had come to call Father had used this building a lot for storage and other farm tasks, but since the man's death, it had been used but little. Even the children kept away from it, and the man knew that he was the only one who ever still came here.

He pushed hard against the stone, watching as it slid back to reveal a small compartment. His father had kept the takings from market in this small, safe place, but now there was no money inside...only something which, to the farmer, was both infinitely more precious and less welcome on his farm. Atop a layer of soft, fire-charred blue fabric, as if cushioned in its resting place lay a small, black box. And it was from within this box that something had begun to hum and glitter with strange blue light.

"The Shinzahou." He murmured, picking up the box and pushing open the lid as he gazed down at the single teardrop earring that lay inside. "Yui-sama...but in all the time it's been here, hidden on my farm - why does it glimmer so now? Since it came to me...since Shunkaku and I...I don't understand. Does it mean danger? Is something wrong, or is it the opposite? As if it isn't hard enough, concealing this from my family. If Touka knew...if she realised that I hadn't completely forsaken my Seiryuu routes, she'd be upset. And I don't want that...she never wanted me to follow Seiryuu in the first place. If she knew the treasure was here...but..."

He brushed his fingers against the earring's glistening teardrop, and as he did so, he felt a prickle of energy dance across his skin as the talisman's light faded and died into nothing at all. For a moment he gazed at it, as if trying to interpret what it had meant. Then he sighed, pushing the lid firmly back on the casket as he replaced the treasure back in its hiding place. As an afterthought, he re-adjusted the fabric that it rested on, flickers of memory flaring in his heart as he touched the soft-woven Eastern fabric. Charred and torn as it was, it was the only physical tie he still had to his old life, and as he touched the clothes that he had arrived in Hokkan wearing, a sad smile touched his lips.

"Shunkaku, are you here?" He murmured. "Yui-sama's earring is calling to us...does this mean that we're being needed by Seiryuu once again?"

There was no answer, but a breeze flickered around the inside of the barn, teasing at the man's long queue of sandy hair and he nodded.

"I suppose some destinies can't be avoided forever." He said resignedly. "Whatever force chose for us to be the ones to have this...I suppose...there's nothing else we can do, is there, little brother?"

Carefully he closed the partition once more, pausing for a moment to just stare at the hiding place thoughtfully.

"Papa? Papa, where are you? Mother wants you to gather wood for the fire!" A voice from outside startled him from his reverie, and he turned, moving towards the doorway as he stepped back out into the darkening farmland. His son stared at him, confusion in his gaze, and he offered the boy a smile.

"I was just making sure everything was properly locked." He said softly. "Firewood? Are you going to help me?"

"Mother says I'm not allowed to touch the axe." The boy looked sad. "But I can help you carry it, can't I? Can I, Papa? Then I'll be helping!"

"Of course." The farmer ruffled the child's hair affectionately. "Then let's go, shall we? We mustn't let the fire go out - I think it's going to be another cold night."

"Do you think it'll snow, Papa?"

"Maybe. Over the mountains, almost certainly." The farmer nodded his head. "But perhaps here too. So lets take plenty back with us, okay? And then, this evening, we can all sit around it and I'll play my flute for you. All right?"

"All right." The boy's eyes lit up and he grinned, nodding his head. "I'm with you, Papa. With two of us, we'll get lots of wood and our fire will never go out!"

As they made their way to the back of the estate, where a largeish pile of logs were stacked up waiting to be cut for firewood, the farmer felt a flicker of breeze against his cheek once again, and he pursed his lips, resisting the urge to turn around. He didn't have to look, after all, to know that another's eyes were on him, and that his brother had heard his words.

"Whatever it takes to protect Yui-sama's treasure, Koutaku-nii" The voice seemed to echo out of nothing, but the farmer knew it was only a whisper teasing through his thoughts. "Our duty is to protect it...whatever it takes."