A/N: I've always wanted to write one of these types of stories. They always seemed fun to write, and now that I've started one I can truthfully say they really are fun. Anyway, back to the story: this will follow the storyline of Okami, but it'll probably diverge from the game's storyline at some point. What point would that be? read to find out ;)
Reviews are very much appreciated!
Disclaimer: I don't own Okami or any of its characters. (Sadly.)
Chapter 1: Shinryu
I blinked and rubbed my eyes, leaning back into my chair as its joints creaked and moaned its old age. Another chapter of In Absentia Luci finished, I thought, and breathed a sigh of relief as I clicked the 'save' button on Wordpad. With the latest chapter done I closed my eyes, trying to stop the familiar burning sensation that came from staring at the monitor too long. I still had more work to do: a twenty-five page biography for AP English - which I should have done first, I thought, letting out a mental groan; five worksheets full of calculus computations, and several questions on the anatomical structure of the skin.
I grimaced as the computer finished blaring What I've Done by Linkin Park and cued up Girlfriend by Avril Lavigne. "I swear, this song is going to kill someone one day," I muttered, shuddering, and switched the song to Hikari by Utada Hikaru. As the upbeat music began to play, I stood up, stretching my legs and arms. My muscles fought to work, which wasn't surprising; I'd been sitting in the same position for over an hour.
What I really needed now was a snack -- and with a low rumble my stomach agreed. Bouncing down the stairs, I made my way past the dining room the kitchen, shooting a cursory glance at the notes stuck on the door. I could already tell what they would say: Out working, be back late. That's how things always were; if ever I saw my parents, it'd be at night. Shaking myself out of my thoughts, I turned on the television and opened the freezer, pulling out a tray of Bagel Bites.
"... In other news, several wolves have been found dead, their corpses mangled, just outside the woods. Specialists are attributing the cause of death to an unknown disease, but police are warning people to stay away from any and all of our lupine friends in the event that this disease is a threat to humans," came the voice of Shawn Fenn, the main anchor of the six-o-clock news. I looked over at the TV, only mildly interested. Yep, the white table and smiling man greeted me while I read the statement the police had issued and the words scrolled across the bottom of the screen.
Disease, huh? I wouldn't want to get that. Then again, maybe I could get out of that biography project... I sighed and popped the tray into the oven, setting the timer for five minutes before heading back up to my room. I looked over at my computer, still playing Hikari, then at my Playstation 2 and the game box sitting atop it. I'd only recently bought a copy of Okami on the advice of a few friends -- and I was loving every minute of the game so far. I picked up the controller and turned the console on. The biography could wait an hour or three. The title screen popped up and I grinned; I couldn't name all the characters revolving around the logo yet, but I was willing to bet that in the next two hours I'd know their names by heart.
It was when I'd moved the cursor to 'Continue' when I heard the odd knocking on the door. I blinked and set down the controller down reluctantly. No one knocked on our door -- at least, not at night, for we did have the occasional wandering salesman. Wondering who it could be, I stepped gingerly down the stairs and looked through the peephole set into the door. No one. I turned to walk back upstairs when the odd knock came again, this time louder. Frowning, I looked out a nearby window. There was no one in the street, no movement in the bushes, no suspicious cars parked -- whoever was knocking was doing a good job of keeping hidden. "Then why are they knocking on my door?" I asked no one in particular, irritated. This was a waste of time; there was no point in staying down here if someone was playing a prank on me.
I had made it halfway up the stairs when a deep, almost serpentine voice hissed, "Hello there, Shinryu..."
I leapt down the stairs and looked down the hallway to find a stranger, his head and body hidden within a cloak, staring in my direction. The light from the moon had vanished, hidden behind storm clouds as lightning danced gaily from cloud to cloud.
Sheet lightning, a part of my brain said, but I wasn't listening to it, too shocked to find an intruder in the house. He hadn't even tripped the alarms. Finding my voice, I yelled, "Who the hell are you and what are you doing in my house?!" I took a step backward and groped blindly for some sort of weapon. The stranger took a few steps toward me; with each step, thunder sounded and lightning flashed, illuminating his large, odd silhouette and making this mysterious intruder even more frightening.
"Really, Shinryu, did you believe you could escape our master?" hissed the voice again. My hands snagged on the butt of an umbrella. I brought it up and held the dull, metallic pointed end at the stranger, my arms shaking as I did so.
"Let's get a few things straight here, bub," I said slowly, trying to stay calm, "One: my name's not Shinryu. Two: this is my house. Three: and I would like you to kindly leave before I call the police. Got it?" I finished, my threat made into a desperate plea by the tremors in my voice. The stranger didn't move; instead, two golden slits resembling eyes glinted in the darkness of its hood. Then another pair appeared. And another, and another; soon sixteen shining golden eyes were glaring at me. I gulped, the umbrella clattering to the floor from my limp hand. He's not human...?!
"Foolish Shinryu!" roared the stranger, and in that instant the hood fell away to reveal eight giant serpentine heads floating in what appeared to be thin air. "You'll pay for your insolence!"
I stood, rooted to the spot, as one of the eight heads lunged at me, mouth gaping. Run, you idiot!screamed my mind, but my body refused to listen. It was only when the head was mere feet away from me that I realized it was probably going to kill me.
"AHHHHH!" I screamed, and dove toward the stairs, clinging to the steps as the great scaly neck rocketed past where I had been standing seconds before. "Oh God, oh God," I moaned, scrambling up the rest of the stairs with several nervous looks at the golden scales of the intruder's -monster's - neck. There was a monster in my house. The fact hit me like a sack of bricks to the face, and in an instant I was up and running toward my room. "Someone, anyone, pick up," I prayed, fumbling with my cell phone and picking a random number out of my speed dial.
"Hello, this is Papa John's -"
With a loud curse I hung up and looked over the numbers in my phone book. Dad! I hit the 'Send' button -- only to receive a busy tone. Of all the times to be calling someone else...!
"Shinryu!" roared the monster, and I jumped, dropping my cell phone on the carpet. "Come here, Shinryu," grated the terrible voice, and I looked out the window.
Oh, hell! I backed away as one large golden eye peered back at me. I was trapped in my own house by a monster, I was probably going to be eaten alive, and the last thing I'd heard was an employee from Papa John's. Great. Weren't these situations supposed to end with some sort of heroic, valiant death or something? I wondered.
"Bring him here," growled another voice, this one far more sinister and demanding. "I wish to have the privilege of torturing him before killing him myself."
"Master," acknowledged what seemed to be the monster's voice, and that terrible eye lowered itself from my window. Cautiously I approached the window and looked out. The monster was nowhere in sight, and nothing seemed to be amiss.
Until the fabric that held the world together ripped, exposing a very, very lage portal. I stared at it in amazement. This thing was defying all the laws of space and time; it might even be defying the laws of physics. I barely had any time to realize that I was being sucked in until I was flying out the window and into the portal's gaping maw. The last thing I saw was the monster's laughing mouth before everything went black.
"...ryu. Great Shinryu!"
Hmmm? I yawned, opening my eyes. Huh. Guess I fell asleep or something, I thought. That was some crazy dream.
"Great Shinryu, I entreat thee: listen to me, the spirit of rebirth, Naissen!"
Oh, for the love of God, my name's not Shinryu, I said -- or rather, attempted to say. My sentence simply came out as a feral growl.I blinked. What's wrong with my voice? I looked around and stared in shock. There was no way this was normal -- where was my room? Or the trees outside my room? Or the objects that I really, really liked inside my room?! And why, oh why was the sky a mix of purples, blacks, and greens?! I got up, a little irked that I was suddenly so close to the ground, even at my full height. What, did I grow shorter or something? It was only when I looked down at the puddle in front of me that I saw the truth.
I was a wolf. A black wolf with azure markings not unlike Amaterasu's, but a wolf nevertheless. That does it, I thought, looking at one jet black paw. I'm definitely still dreaming. Yup. Can't wait to wake from this one.
"Shinryu," called the voice again, and this time I looked up. A wizened old man stood in front of me, leaning on a cane. His gray hair was mussed, and his beard came down to his chest. The creaking of his joints echoed loudly in my ear as he hobbled forward.
"Ah, it is truly good to see you again," said the old man.
Again? I cocked my head to one side. There was no way I'd met this old geezer before -- he was five, no, six times my seventeen years!
"The High Overlord of darkness, has ruled that Nippon must be destroyed -"
Wait a sec. Nippon? As in, the game Okami's Nippon?! I looked past Naissen to see Sakuya's tree -- and Sakuya herself as she sent the reflector to wake Amaterasu up. I really needed to stop playing video games for a while. Or maybe it was the Bagel Bites causing my strange dreams. I gave a mental shrug and tuned my ears back to the old man's explanation.
" - As the origin of all that is good and mother to us all, Amaterasu, has just been reincarnated by my dear friend Sakuya, so have you been reborn."
Uh, what? I haven't even died yet, and I'd rather keep it that way, thank you very much, I thought.
"Please, Shinryu, help Amaterasu in her task to defeat the dreaded Orochi of eight heads -"
Eight heads? Oh, jeez, not that monster again. I never wanted to see him again in my lifetime. Or was it dreamtime in dreams?
"-and surely she shall help you in your endeavors to defeat Verel. Go, Shinryu!" cried Naissen, even as a bright white light enveloped him. I closed my eyes, trying to block the harsh rays out, when all at once it vanished. I opened my eyes to find Naissen gone and a slight weight upon my back. I twisted and turned my furry head, moving my body in tandem in order to try and get a glimpse of what was on my back. I stopped moving as the object finally came into view. It was a scythe, its gleaming silver blade silently begging to be used.
Huh. I guess this is supposed to be my weapon or something? Come to think of it, how does Ammy use her weapons anyway? I sat on my haunches, trying to figure this out, when a blob of white caught my eye. I turned to see Amaterasu, her brilliant white coat shining even in the midst of the chaos that was the world, and a glowing green speck that I assumed was Issun. Issun had apparently finished talking, for he promptly vanished from view -- into Ammy's fur, no doubt -- while Amaterasu herself approached the gate that I knew would take her to the River of the Heavens.
And I still hadn't woken from this dream. Oh well. When Ammy had vanished through the Spirit Gate I walked over to it, looking at the portal that glowed brightly compared to the darkened horizon. Might as well follow her. I took a few steps forward -- only to be thrown back by a blast of stinging energy, landing on my back a few feet away. What the hell?! I complained silently, getting to my feet. Ammy got through. Why can't I? Giving a mental shrug, I sat on the ground. At least out here I wouldn't have to fight.
As soon as I'd finished that thought two Green Imps dropped from the boughs of Sakuya's tree, cackling evilly.
Oh, hell. Getting up, I maneuvered into what I thought had been Ammy's fighting stance and prepared for battle.
A/N: Haha, left you hanging there. What'd you think? Good? Bad? Review and tell me!