The Shinzahou Chronicles
Introduction and Disclaimer
"Umare-ochita dake de wa otoko ni wa narenai – hontou no tsuyosa wa kitto ai kara hajimaru"
(Just being born doesn't make you a man – surely real strength begins with love)
Part three! Off to the West now - to Sairou, to claim the Shinzahou and relic belonging to Byakko.
I've been watching the hit stats and favourite story marks rising, and I'm really really glad people have come by to read this story arc of mine. If you like it, hate it or have a comment, please do leave me a review or send me a PM. I have no proof-reader, so I'm entirely reliant on reader feedback to tell me what I'm doing right or wrong!
And we're about to hit midpoint in the story arc – this story is fairly pivotal in many ways.
I really wanted to write something in Sairou, and I made up my mind a long time before I got to this point that it would be a major turning point of a trip, with Hikari facing the toughest challenge of her time in the book world so far. It's time to see how far the brat has come, I guess...lets just say that this story has some happy moments and some very not so happy moments...and leave it at that :)
There may be blood. . (Better cover Aoi's eyes, quick, before he throws up...)
I also wanted to do this because of all of the Shichi Seishi, Byakko's remain largely a blank slate. Aside from the trio who appear in the original manga, nothing is really known about the Byakko Shichi Seishi. So I've taken the liberty of doing some creative thinking, and this story will introduce one of them - the reincarnated warrior with the sign of "Toroki".
A quick caveat regarding Western geography - I've not been able to find the name of any Sairou towns, so I've made up my own.:) An additional caveat - all the new character/place names and meanings in this (and all my Yuugi) stories are based on Japanese Kanji readings, not Traditional Chinese readings, even though this is based in Ancient China. This is for the simple reason that I know absolutely no Chinese whatsoever, and I'm not even going to attempt it. My Japanese is somewhat better, so I'm sticking to that (although there may be the occasional moments of artistic licence. Gomen). Japanese was good enough for Watase Yuu and Nishizaki Megumi. It's good enough for me!
Despite the fact Seiryuu was originally raised in Sairou, not a lot is really known/told about it as a country or its people or anything else aside from the shrine and the little area we see with Tokaki, Subaru and Tatara. It can be assumed that by the time this story takes place, both Tokaki and Subaru have expired from old age. Whether or not they or Tatara have been reborn is uncertain. I wanted to keep Tatara out of it completely because of the way his spirit and Suzuno's travel off into oblivion together in the manga. And Tokaki and Subaru would have the same age constraints as the Suzaku/Seiryuu Seishi, if not worse.
But...Toroki is not the only Byakko Seishi who has a part to play in events - although she is the only one to be introduced in this story. (Yes, I decided she'd be a girl. Why not? Soi was. Subaru was. Inami was. Nuriko wanted to be, and Uruki was whenever he wanted to slaughter people. And heck, Namame was made of stone...I think that it's okay to have Toroki be a girl, right??) As for Toroki's power, that's entirely my own thinking. If anything has been said officially about Toroki or any of the other unmentioned Seishi, I've not been able to find it. (Hence any conflicts - accidental).
Byakko's Shinzahou is, of course, Suzuno's 'te-kagami', or hand-mirror.
The title of this one is Byakko no Yokan - Byakko's Premonition. If that isn't a clue to Toroki's latent stellar ability, I don't know what is...but it also has a darker meaning...a confirmation, in a sense, of the world Hikari first saw when she entered the Shijin Tenchishou. This story will, maybe, confirm that what Hikari saw was indeed the future of the book world. And that changing fate is more difficult than it might appear.
With all that said, Watase Yuu is the owner of FY and the characters, not me!! Any added characters (ie Hyoushin, Aoiketsu, Shishi, Jin, etc) are of my own creation, except for when they tie in with Watase Yuu's world – they are based on concepts and frameworks entirely unrelated to any other source. (This includes all reference/character biography/fleshing, background and detail given to the Byakko Seishi "Toroki" and "Amefuri" although the concept of Byakko Seishi belongs to Watase Yuu.)
My interpretation of Toroki and Amefuri are unique to me and are not to be duplicated in any other source without permission. 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.
(And the same goes for any other OCs I happen to have thrown into the mix!)
Volume Three: Byakko no Yokan
Ten Years Earlier
"Onii-chan! Onii-chan! Where are you, Onii-chan!"
The small girl scrambled over the rocky, dusty landscape, tears drying on her face in the hot desert sun as she struggled on with her quest. At only ten years old, it was hard going, as the terrain was rough even for an adult to negotiate, but despite this she soldiered on, her heart focused on only one objective in spite of the burning heat of the day. Her hair had long since lost its ribbons on the sharp, unforgiving branches of the few jagged trees which dared to grow in such barren surroundings, and her thick dark hair flowed loose around her face, tangled and knotted in the sharpness of the warm breeze.
"Onii-chan!" She exclaimed again, the landscape swaying and twisting before her gaze as an image flooded her senses and she cried out, sinking to the ground as she forced the pictures away. "Onii-chan, where are you! Onii-chan! I know you're here! Onii-chan!"
A sudden breeze at her right hand alerted her to the fact she had company, and she raised her gaze, blinking as she took in his features. His face was smudged and dirty from his trek into the desert, but it was not this nor the worn, or blood-flecked nature of his clothing that troubled her so much as the coldness in his dark eyes.
"Onii-chan." She whispered, holding out her hand, but he made no attempt to take it, merely staring at her as if he was not entirely sure who she was.
At length, the boy spoke.
"Myoume, what are you doing here?" He asked quietly, and fresh tears glittered on Myoume's lashes at the strange, strained note in his tones.
"Onii-chan." She whispered. "I came...I came to...to find you. Because...I was...I was scared."
"Scared?" This startled the older child, and Myoume was comforted by the faint flicker of anxiety in his expression. "Why? What's scared you? What's happened? Has someone blamed you...are you in trouble, because of...of what I did?"
"No." Myoume shook her head, reaching up to grasp her brother's dirty hands in her own scraped, dry ones. "No, Onii-chan. But I don't like it. I don't like it when you go away! I want you to come home. I want..."
"How can I?" The boy's eyes closed up again and he turned away, pulling back from her grasp. "I can't ever go home now, Myoume. You know I can't. Not after what's happened. I can never go back."
"But...but noone...it wasn't...you can't..." Myoume shook her head, grabbing the folds of her brother's ragged shirt as she pulled herself to her feet. "Onii-chan, people won't blame you. Not when they know...not when they understand..."
"I killed him." The boy's voice, strange and hard, cut across her protestations and a chill shot through Myoume's heart as he fixed her with a flat, emotionless gaze. "And I don't feel sorry that I did, Myoume. I'm glad I did it. I want to do it again. But killing him all the times in the world won't take away the truth. How can I go back? Even if you're right - even if they don't blame me...what else can I do? I can't face Mother...not now I know."
"Mother doesn't blame you either." Myoume whispered. "Please, Onii-chan...please, come home! I'm so frightened of what will happen if you don't!"
"Myoume..." The boy touched his fingers against her face briefly, shaking his head. "You're different, you know that. We're not the same...not any more. Not now we both know the truth. That man...what he did...if I go back, I'm going to constantly remind Mother of that fact, aren't I? I've probably done so since I was born, damn his soul to hell. And now I've killed him...now I've got blood on my hands, too - who would ever want me back, given that? I've shown my true colours."
He glanced down at his hands.
"I used my power to slay him." He whispered. "Because of that, I was able to kill him. And I felt...when he died...I felt..."
He sighed, eying his sister helplessly.
"It's over." He said sadly. "I will go away, somewhere, somehow. I don't know where, or what I'll do. Maybe I...maybe I'll die. I don't know. But I won't go home. I can't go home. I'm not the same person any more...I've changed inside. Everything...is different. For Mother's sake - for your sake...I won't ever go home."
"If you...if you go away, you...you won't be my brother any more." Tears flowed anew down Myoume's cheeks as she flung her arms around her brother, burying her head in his shoulder. "I don't want that - I don't want it! But if you go away, you won't be...you won't be Onii-chan any more! And...and I can't bear it...I can't bear it!"
"Why are you crying so hard, you idiot?" The boy disentangled himself from her embrace, holding her at arm's length as he gazed down into the dark seiran eyes that swam with grief. "Stop it...stop it, please. You know I can't go back...Myoume, please. Don't cry like that! You act as if I've done nothing wrong - as if I'm not evil. But I must be - I must be. Otherwise, why didn't I care, when he died? Why did I...why was I glad...when I killed him?"
"Because you were angry, and he made you suffer." Myoume whispered. "But it isn't too late. Onii-chan, if you go away...if you go..."
She swallowed hard, raising her gaze to his once more.
"I've seen it." She whispered. "Onii-chan, if you go now...you and I...we'll never be brother and sister again. And Byakko..."
"Forget Byakko!" Now the boy's tones were harsh, as he pushed her away, shaking his head. "I want nothing to do with Byakko or his stupid rules and regulations! Because of him, my mother was raped! Because of him, she had to give birth to me and raise me even though she suffered so much to do it! Because of Byakko, I'm a killer now. Because of Byakko, you're crying...Myoume...I don't care what Byakko does or doesn't want. I'm not going to be any part of his stupid game! I didn't choose this life - and I don't care!"
Myoume reeled back as if stung, shaking her head slowly.
"But...but..." She whispered, swallowing hard. Slowly she glanced down at her right hand, stretching out her fingers until she could see the faint glimmer of white against the tip of the index one.
"But I'm Toroki." She murmured. "And you..."
"I'm not anything of the sort." The boy snapped bitterly. "So you might as well not even say it. I'll never be him, and I'll never play by Byakko's rules. Never! Not now, and not ever!"
Myoume's eyes widened in dismay, and she shook her head.
"Even as you say that, Onii-chan, I can...I can see it." She said softly, gesturing towards her companion's throat, and the boy cursed, clapping his hand over the top of the glittering white character that blazed there.
"I won't ever be Amefuri." He said coldly. "Not ever."
Myoume bit her lip.
"So you want...us to be enemies?" She asked hesitantly. "Onii-chan - is that what you want?"
"Why the hell would it mean that?" Her brother demanded. "I told you - I'll go away. It has nothing to do with you."
"It has everything to do with me." The young girl shook her head. "Onii-chan, I saw it. I saw it! If you go away...if you go...one day, we will be enemies. One day, we...we will fight. And one...one of us...will...will die."
The boy's eyes widened at this, as all colour drained from his features.
"So now you see, you have to come home. You have to be Amefuri." Myoume was begging him now. "Because I can't fight my brother, Onii-chan. I can't fight my brother!"
For a moment, her companion was silent. Then, he drew a deep breath of air into his lungs, gritting his teeth as he brought himself under some element of control.
"If you believe I would ever hurt you, Myoume, then I guess you think the same as everyone else. That I'm a monster and that I'm not your brother anyway." He whispered.
"No!" Myoume's expression flooded with horror. "No, that isn't it! It isn't it at all!"
"Well, we all know that Toroki's sight doesn't lie." There was bitterness in the boy's tones, and he turned away from her, taking a few steps towards the arid mountain caves that lay to the west. "But if I don't see you again, little sister, your prophesy can never come true. Can it? I can never hurt someone I never see...can I?"
"Onii-chan..." Myoume sank back to the ground, as once more images flooded her vision. "Onii-chan, please! Onii-chan..."
She buried her head in her hands, fighting against the onslaught of frightening, vivid pictures that suddenly overwhelmed her body. By the time they were gone, she knew that she was once more alone in the desert wasteland, and her heart ached as she watched the breeze blow clouds of dust and sand across the desolate landscape.
"Onii-chan." She whispered. "Please...I don't want to fight you! Onii-chan...please...come home!"