She could always remember clearly. Those words that would ring loudly in her mind, like the temple bells that rang every hour. She didn't have to close her eyes to remember; neither did she have to keep her eyes open. It would always ring…and ring; like a curse that will never leave her. She didn't have a choice; if she did…she would still end up as she is. It is fate, it is destiny…that's what all of them say. It is an honour, it is a privilege…being locked in a room from dawn to dusk; to only set eyes onto a grand courtyard, a privy, a spacious room and tall concrete walls. However it was always the words that she could clearly remember… each and every syllable. It was always said in her grandmother's voice, old, slow and croaky,
My Shizuru… my… How beautiful you have grown.
She would always settle with grace and give a small nod…it was always the same words.
How have you been doing?
She would give a smile, as pleasant as it can be.
I have something for you.
She would look as interested as possible… what else could she expect? It was always the same things her grandmother brought. When her grandmother would leave as happily as she came, she would hear the same solemn words echo through her head… it could never change.
It would never change…
My mistress is Fujino Shizuru… the only heir to the great Fujino clan and the last that will ever carry down that name. The Fujino clan was located off Edo, residing deep within the depths of greenery that was just an eye away from the shogun's castle. However now with only my mistress, she lives quietly in one of the quarters in the shogun's castle. I don't know what happened to her clan…but I heard that an unexpected plague swept through. I've never really seen her, but the guards that have escorted from the Fujino main house said she was stunning. Sadly they said she never took a step out of her quarters after that; the servants of the castle brought her everything. That explains why I never really seen her…
Nevertheless, I always have is my lucky days and I finally was able to meet this striking lady. (Indeed she is absolutely gorgeous; sadly I only had a glimpse of her before she slid swiftly into the kago) I had to escort her through the valley that runs deep but in the end fortunately to the safe route to our capital Kyoto. I was given this task for my mistress was to be sent, by order of the shogun, to Kyoto. I didn't want to question my superior so I kept my mouth shut; after all, respect is needed since I am the first battalion commander…more of a captain actually.
Pardon me, I am Tate Yuuichi.
I was told to be discreet about my escort and only to be able to bring only a small group of my men to guard my mistress; so I picked out my five best men. A few days before our journey, I was told through her servant that she preferred to ride on a horse. However, I immediately disagreed to her preference. I sent a message to my mistress that she was to be carried in a kago and not ride openly on horse back…after all I needed to be discreet about her journey to Kyoto; I was told too. The escort would take approximately a week if we left in the morning, we would arrive just before nightfall in Kyoto on the last day.
Everything was perfect…it was perfect that I purely forget about the most important thing…
I shouldn't be laughing right now.
Before entering Kyoto, there Yamashiro Basin is surrounded by three mountains, Higashiyama, Kitayama and Nishiyama. Unfortunately I simply forgot about the gods that resided in the respective mountains. Sadly here I am trembling, frightened about what may happen. This is the fourth day of our escort of my mistress to Kyoto and I pray and plead that nothing terrible happens…My knees are buckling and so are my men…
Tate Yuuichi, captain of the first battalion strode uncomfortably on the soft soil of the quiet valley. The long katana matched with a shorter one moved with his nervous legs, the soft clatter of the sheaths could be heard clearly with the others as his men flanked the lone kago in the middle. His short gamboge coloured hair stuck messily to his forehead like his neatly cut brown sideburns did down the sides of his face. Scanning the surroundings with his dark brown eyes, he clicked his tongue uncertainly. The tall trees that rose to the dying sky light of purple blocked out all possible light that penetrated through the thick canopy as they progressed further. Feeling a drop of perspiration roll off his chin, Yuuichi gulped nervously. It was unexpectedly very humid in the mountains, especially in spring; his thick cotton yakata covered over with a heavy metal breast plate just made it even hotter. Quickly turning his head back, Yuuichi mustered up all his strength to sound as confident as he could; this façade he was wearing wasn't that strong after all,
"My mistress, how are you feeling?"
The two kago bearers looked as nervous as Yuuichi did, however their fatigue overwhelmed the emotion. Carrying a 'big wooden box' for a long period of time was indeed very tiring; however they were trained to carry such enclosed sedans. As the clatter of sheaths could be heard and the heavy clink of armour ensure, a strong sweet yet distinctive voice cut the terrible noise of metal.
"My my, is the captain that worried about how I feel?"
There was a certain tease to it, and Yuuichi fell simply into it. Faltering slightly in his steps, he choked as a small blush crept up his cheeks. Yet he was sure that he heard laughter from the kago. Recovering quickly, brown eyes focused back onto the dense surroundings, making his words seem strain but all together true.
"Yes my mistress. I have to make sure that you are comfortable in your journey to Kyoto. I do not wish for my mistress to feel any discomfort."
"Ah? Is that so?"
As he and his men noticed the darkness slowly engulf them, their pace slowed down. Taking out their paper lanterns, one by one they lit them and Yuuichi did the same. Brightening the area around them, his men walked closer to the wooden elaborated kago. Yuuichi narrowed his eyes at the path ahead and strained his ears to hear further from his mistress; however the loud chirps of the insects deafened everything else. Surprisingly, his mistress's voice was able to clearly cut above the droning of the crickets.
"Then would you tell me… Why are you so nervous?"
Dark brown eyes widened as he himself heard his men hold their breaths, now the rapid beating of his heart was the only drumming he could hear in his ears. Her question prolonged the silence and fear that grew as they continued slowly through the mountain.
"Captain…the silence isn't really making me feel any more comfortable."
Yuuichi knees buckled as he continued, his mouth tightened as his arms trembled and feet become unstable. Dropping back to walk next to the kago, Yuuichi could feel the strong aura that his mistress gave off…it overwhelmed him…she simply had more confidence than he even had to start with. Hearing the wooden screen crack open, his dark brown eyes briefly saw the pale peach-orange colour of his mistress's hand before his eyes quickly averted back to the surroundings. The gods that dwell in these mountains weren't to be played with; however for his mistress to not worry, he had to be stronger. Unconsciously slowing his pace with the others, he titled slightly to the side in order for his mistress to hear him clearly,
"I'm sorry for the silence but…"
Yuuichi knew his mind had total control over his body, however now at this very moment; tables seem to have turned for he couldn't move a muscle. Twitching awkwardly, he notice the rest of them, even the kago bearers couldn't move. All in all stopping dead at their tracks. The droning of the crickets seemed to have died down to silence and the rustling a small breeze could be heard not too far away. The coming of stillness engulfed them quickly, the captain felt rooted, stunned, and vulnerable and exposed to nature. He could hear to chattering of his my men's teeth and the shivering that echoed off the long weapons they carried. Strangely, calm breathing was all he heard from wooden sedan.
A breeze seemed to have blown through the forest by the spring winds as the candles in the paper lanterns flickered, the wind taunting to blow them out. The flame grew small, the light dimmed and the captain's breathing picked up. Feeling a streak of perspiration run down his chest, Yuuichi felt his lungs constrict and his feet start to go numb. His hands were tingling with a terrifying sensation and a haze seemed to have swept through his mind…everything seem to go into a blur. To his brown eyes, the trees appeared to grow and expand and his world became even smaller; his men became agitated.
Pitch black swarmed over them in a spilt second and in a click Yuuichi was able to swiftly back towards the kago. So did the other four men, the rustle of the blown out lanterns could be heard as they instantly dropped it to the floor. Hands immediately at the hilt of his sword, Yuuichi felt himself shrink; from the darkness an irresistible force was felt pushing him down. Staring him down to the dirt of the earth and cutting him clean from every bone his had…to be felt ripped apart; Yuuichi daringly unsheathed his long katana. Hearing the sharp metal come clean from its security, his men followed suit. Her breathing was still calm… Insanity.
There and then he felt it shoot down him…before the trembling of the kago bearers was overwhelmed by the dominating silence, Yuuichi felt it. In the pitch dark, there he sensed the growing hatred and the surge of anger circle him. Taking an uncertain step back towards the kago, the captain was certain that he heard his mistress mutter something unintelligible. Sending his chest aching and eyes to the verge of uncontrollable tears, Yuuichi heard a cry of frustration,
Loud, low and husky…
A wisp of white flashed before his eyes and by the time he blinked Yuuichi felt shot down by a harsh stare of a single golden-yellow eye. Bending down to a defensive stance in front of the wooden sedan, the captain sensed his men become more restless, the more unaware they had become to the coming threat that lurked in the darkness. Before he had to chance to call out to gather his men in proper position, the shrill cry of a kago bearer made him stare straight into the eye of a god…no, a demon.
Yuuichi knew that the hiss of the sword was meant to be heard in battle, but in this he heard none. A wave of impact slammed against his head and the captain knew he heard himself scream. The surge of pain ran from his head down to his toes, the tingling sensation of fear and horror gripped every corner of his soul…he felt his body being stripped. Not for long did he hear the same from his men, the agony and the terror…yet in the midst of disorder and dismay, not a single scream or cry came from the wooden elaborated kago…Insanity.
Mentally slapping himself back to this reality of space and time, Yuuichi fastened his hold firmly onto his sword. He didn't now what previously attacked him, but now he willingly wanted to now what his miscalculations have caused. Swiftly regaining his position, his eyes darted to the surroundings, his pulse quickening and his breathing becoming irregular. Out of the blue, raising his weapon instinctively, Yuuichi was unaware that he deflected something fast and solid. Quickly bringing his eyes to the dirty ground where the object noisily lodged itself, the captain gasped in bewilderment,
His men shouted, loud and strangled. By the time the first battalion captain could fully analyze the weapon, his head was forcefully thrown back by a tough strike that landed on the side of his face. Soon he realised the weapon wedged on the ground gone. Tasting the copper swirl in his mouth, he fumbled in shock and loosely gasped onto his sword. His men backed further to the centre, the bearers had their faces as pale as Yuuichi thought his face would be…sucked dry from blood.
It was a person…no…a demon.
It was swift and agile, deft and lethal. Its actions were quick and painful, powerful and smashing. It moved so fast that Yuuichi could only see a dark haze that move so quickly. Pulling himself back up into position, he watched, teeth clattering and knees buckling…he wished he could be as silent as his mistress is…Insanity.
The breeze picked up and at that moment, he was able to see dark viridian in such darkness and the same golden-yellow eye that stared him down earlier. Then everything became a blur…it was always a blur… The impact was great or his worn out body couldn't take the pressure, for he instantly fell back, hitting hard against the wooden sedan and landing harshly on the dirt. This sent his men and the kago bearers to his side, yet he didn't hear a single word from his calm mistress. Yuuichi considered himself lucky as he was able moved his foot just in time before the sharp blade lodged itself into the ground. No wonder it disappeared…a plain chain was hooked onto the ended of the handle…the chain tightened and linked to its owner… a demon.
No…shouldn't it be a god and not a demon? The captain bit his lip as his men rushed around him… what had he done wrong? There was a spark or were his eyes playing on him…a wisp a flame could be seen dancing elegantly in midair just a metre away. It was mesmerizing…endearing. Yet the same low, husky voice cleared such thoughts out of Yuuichi, for the fear and terror crawled back onto him,
"Bastards, you all once again dared to set your filthy feet onto this sacred land."
The flame grew as the demon spoke, brightening the dense forest, clearing off the darkness…yet it didn't clear the face full of anger that Yuuichi couldn't dare to see.
There an lean individual kneeled with a leg propped up ready to attack, hand fastened tightly to the chain that linked to the sickle. She was dressed simply in a midnight blue yukata that matched the colour of her long hair and a pair of rusty coloured pants; ends securely tied down to her legs. Her feet were bare and dirty…but she seemed to not care one bit if it was sore or not. Her viridian eyes stared heartlessly down at Yuuichi, her mouth pressed into a frown…she was definitely unhappy. The rays of the flame danced on her slightly tanned face, she was startling however the anger that she carried was more astonishing. The first battalion captain didn't notice what she sat on until the flame grew a little brighter. At the sight he backed up instantly, his hands aimlessly searching for his sword. His men seemed to have seen the same thing for they jerked back in shock, hands shaking and swords clattering noisily.
A gigantic white wolf stood menacingly in front of their escort, the thick white fur bristled smoothly with the wind and Yuuichi could sense the strong muscles that rippled underneath it. The lean female that kneeled comfortably on the huge creature glowered at them. Hastily breathing, Yuuichi felt it again…this time he saw it clearly. The single golden-yellow eye stared intently at him, carrying the same hatred and anger. The wolf having the other eye either taken or injured wore a simply black patch to cover it. If it didn't, Yuuichi would have two fearsome eyes strangling him to a near-death-experience…one was enough, he didn't want the other. At once it struck him; Yuuichi gasped loudly, words coming out incoherently,
"Pray…I beg…Oh, gods!"
"Really… Praying now doesn't actually help."
His men dropped to their knees instantly, the kago bearers teared in fright and Yuuichi whimpered in fear...his mistress was still, her breathing cool and collected…Insanity.
His dark brown eyes focused onto another individual that came up elegantly beside the furious girl on the fur of white. Her short orange hair matched the colour of the flame that flickered in the air, and her eyes had the tint of mauve that showed innocence but a strong sense of annoyance. Her amber coloured yukata glistened like the sun that Yuuichi vividly remembered before entering the dark forest… It somehow brought hope…yet the dark viridian just countered it. Her voice was sweet yet melancholic and her pearl pink skin made her even heartier…The more you looked at her the more in love you fall for her…and the captain gladly did so. Sadly the fur ball that the red-head sat on battled head on with the uncertain gaze Yuuichi gave off… it was more terrifying than the golden-yellow eye.
More of a fox than a wolf… more like a cat than a fox…A huge cat…just a bit smaller than the white mammal. However both creatures were still bigger than average. Huge red prayer beads hung around the cat's neck and the crimson eyes that bit back Yuuichi dark brown ones were as fiery. The soft black fur rushed with the small breeze that came on its arrival; matching the darkness…the captain did have a tough time depicting its humongous size. All in all, in this confusion, terror and anger, the captain gazed over the midnight blue and muttered something he simple couldn't resist,
"Why you insolent…!"
A lone spark was instantly sent springing towards the midnight blue.
The lean individual growled as she flicked the ash away from her palm, restlessly settling down from her stand up, her hands strained onto the chain. However her viridian that carried anger just grew even more intense. The fur on both of the creatures seemed to stand, their claws were out and fangs clearly gleaming under the distinct glow… it made Yuuichi start to tremble again. Yet the red-head was the only one as clam as his mistress could be…Insanity.
"You should mind your mouth too. It isn't nice to call someone a demon, though she may act like one."
The last few words were done away in a whisper but Yuuichi swore he saw those eye brows above harsh viridian twitch in frustration. This time really wasn't a time to play. The midnight blue yanked on the chain, swiftly bringing the sickle back into her grasp. Eyeing the young captain from her perch, she narrowed her eyes. Biting her lower lip, she brought her dark gaze to her companion beside her,
"Sometimes you're too kind."
The red-head stuck her tongue out,
"Sometimes you're purely mean! He's just on an escort. You don't need to get all…"
The feline below her hissed, bringing the red-head's mauve eyes back onto Yuuichi…and soon the same actions was too done by the wolf and the rider. Unfortunately, little did the captain notice that both pair of eyes of mauve and viridian eyed the wooden kago behind him and his men. The silent sedan…Insanity.
Yuuichi clenched his teeth together…did she just talk to the cat?
"I knew there was something wrong with this escort."
Watching the midnight blue step up, Yuuichi grasped onto his sword as his men followed his actions; stumbling slightly as he got back onto his feet. She was going to attack, they all knew it…they all needed to know when. However her low rough voice cut them clear,
"Daring to take the route through Yamashiro basin…"
Yuuichi tightened his hold as he heard the kago bearers fidget.
"Where does your escort lead you to?"
Yuuichi spun around quickly, one of his men answered absentmindedly…fear must have really erased all their defences. Hissing back at his man in disappointment, he could feel a surge of power build behind him… It somehow became colder…a small chill kicked in and the air became still. Twisting back to face the intense gaze of anger, the captain felt a wave of shivers run down his body. The viridian gaze became so lifeless…
The red-head pulled closer to the midnight blue, her soft sweet voice sounded as if trying to keep the anger at bay, however it wasn't as successful as Yuuichi thought it would be. He swore that she was really a demon for that voice was as heartless and cold,
"Sometimes you can't always be so nice and kind to them…especially when…"
"But we are…"
The captain felt the cool stillness in the air shatter…then and there he heard it again filled with brimming rage,
Loud, low and husky,
It was matched equally with the sweet melancholic voice, yet this time it was louder,
I vow to Izanagi that a demon, no, two demons have literally come out of hell to ambush us, and are now willing to kill us all. Especially the demon with those viridian eyes that sting with anger and hatred…I have no idea what kind of demon she is but she rides a huge white wolf like the full moon. Her companion is just as frightening…that small flame she controls is more of a taboo than being out of supernatural. The huge feline she rides shares the same anger as those lifeless viridian. Eyes of demons are not to be looked at, but she certainly forced my comrades and I to look at her, even my captain shivered in terror.
The blue-haired demon asked our escort a question that I thought would willing ensure our safety out her grasp…yet I realised my foul mouth was not suppose to answer it…I guessed that she must really be the one to take me to hell…for all those horrible atrocities I have done as a samurai. I have sinned. I heard my captain hiss at my impatience, but before I knew it, both demons lunged towards our direction, yelling names that seem to bring a sinister miasma over my eyes.
There was a familiar ring to it…especially the one: Duran.
My aim as a guard is to protect the mistress, her safety was my first priority, but the silence she issues makes me think that my life is more important than hers…How could she be so calm and collected when a attack is being thrown onto her escort by two terrifying demons. Izanami must have sent them from hell…and the gods of these mountains have either not heard our prayers of help or are not willingly to interfere to help us…This really must be my death day.
Everything happening now is a blur. A whirl of white can be seen hopping from spot to spot attacking randomly at my comrades who try to fend the huge creature off; dark crimson eyes lunge openly at us, its huge claws making scratches on the ground bigger than barrow wheels tracks…The kago bearers are running off in fright. From the darkness it is a horror sight to see. Sparks from beautiful hands of that of the red-head sorceress aims particularly at my captain. He is shouting desperately in denial of going to Kyoto…Why is he lying at this time? Doesn't it make it even worse? Yet I have realised that the midnight blue was nowhere to been seen when she was the first to initiate the attack. I stay near the wooden kago, where my mistress sits quietly…she must have guessed from the horrible racquet that we are under attack. However I guess she doesn't show her fear since she is the last Fujino…they were calm and collected people…but in this demonic chaos it just isn't right to be this composed.
Before I know it, the air around me turns cold and I can clearly see the hot vapour from my nose…my nostrils are getting dry and I'm shivering. In the loud commotion, I hear my captain shout at me. By the time I could make out his words, a strumming sensation runs up my spine and a forceful kick in my chest sends me flying away from my mistress's sedan. I taste copper…It hurts a lot, a lot…I think broken my ribs…I look up to see what had hit me…
Midnight blue lands deftly in front of the kago.
Then I scream.
Yuuichi rolled backwards, quickly coming back up into a defensive stance to fend off the next burning flame from the red-head. His eyes widened as the sight happening and ran despite thinking, he shouted and trembled involuntarily,
"My mistress! RUN!"
The captain dropped to his knees as he watched the midnight blue roughly open the wooden screen, in hand with a sickle ready to kill. He cried out loudly as his sword fell heavily to the ground,
His ears picked up the sweet melancholic voice softly sound out behind him, it beared so much guilt,
However, Yuuichi just let his jaw drop as he saw the dark viridian eyes kiss softly with the crimson eyes of his mistress. Time just seemed to have stopped.
The sickle stopped.
Yuuichi shared a sigh of relief with the red-head when that simple sight was painted. Biting down on his lower lip, he reached for his sword but was swiftly kicked down by the black feline that came back next to the red-head.
"You are not going to interfere; it's a rare sight to see her share a moment with a dirty being."
The captain raised his brows…Dirty being? What is that suppose to mean?
Not wanting to put up a fight, Yuuichi silently acknowledged his men to cease their attack; the white wolf stopped not to far from its rider. The captain looked up and watched the two in silence…the atmosphere seem to become a little bit warmer than before… Insanity. Looking away in humiliation, he heard the red-head beside him chuckle slightly…what is so funny at a time like this? Glancing up, Yuuichi struggled briefly and let his jaw drop once again…This couldn't be happening after all that anger the midnight blue carried.
"It's a rare sight isn't it Mikoto?"
It was definitely surprising…no…unusual, to see how close their faces would go. By every gain of sand that dropped down the hour glass, the closer the viridian and crimson would go…such attraction was rare. How in the high heaven was his mistress able to calm such a frenzy? The captain smirked…maybe after all they would go out alive…Not until Yuuichi heard the same man that cried out 'Kyoto', however this time it carried more anger that fear and a piercing sound that shot through the atmosphere,
"GET AWAY FROM HER!"
Yuuichi could see his mistress immediately pull back into the kago as the dark viridian yell out aloud in pain. Clutching her right arm, the midnight blue stumbled slightly before releasing her loose hold on her sickle. Twisting his head in vain to get facts right, he saw his man struggling to keep standing, bow in hand and another arrow being prepared to let loose. By the time he shouted to stop the plain idiot from shooting, he felt the strong aura of the red-head leave to land behind the man and disarm him as quickly as the black feline did to him. Yuuichi smiled…Thank you.
The strong pressure on the young captain left as quickly as it came. Before his dark brown eyes, he saw the white wolf land swiftly beside its rider. Gasping as he saw the midnight blue jump skillfully onto the creature…they were leaving… Yuuichi quickly pulled his body up, reaching for his sword he ran forward,
"Don't question, you're lucky she's leaving."
Yuuichi tightening his jaw as he saw the black feline rush in front of him with the red-head on and pointing down on him, fire ready to fly. Dropping his sword to the ground and raising his hands, the captain watched as the huge cat disappeared in a bound. Yet his eyes were able to catch the leave of the midnight blue on the white wolf. It lasted in a blink but to his surprise, his dark brown eyes landed onto the lean individual issuing soft words to his mistress, before leaving promptly like her companion did.
In an instant, the atmosphere returned to its humid state and the darkness engulfed them…the bright flame which brightened the battle was now long gone. Quickly returning back to his mistress's side like the rest of his men did except for the plain idiot, Yuuichi knelt down before looking up to meet the crimson. Carefully picking out the correct words, the captain choked,
"Are you hurt my mistress?"
"And why would you think that I would be hurt?"
Yuuichi simply just stared at the crimson that showed no more than mirth…Insanity.
To Izanagi I pray, I'm sure Mai and Mikoto would laugh at me when we get back, but did you purposely put a spell on me when those crimson eyes met mine? Did you purposely bring her out here just to meet me?
I'm in dead trouble but I couldn't help myself in writing a new story. I still have 'Comply to the nature of love' to finish and a lot more. But being such a ShizNat fan, I really couldn't help it. So here I go trying out, sadly I'm not used to using all those 'san', 'sama' and Shizuru's famous 'Ara ara', so I didn't use it but if you all reviewers prefer it...I would gladly put it in(just drop me a message). Well... Hope you all enjoy this new story I have written set in an Alternate Universe...With love to Juliet and Denise. Cheers! - J-crusader