Chapter Five

Satori looked from side to side, trying to make heads or tails of the situation that was currently unfolding around her. A light descended quite literally from the roof of the cave and the whole festival was suddenly going quiet. She looked to her sister, opening her third eye and saw nothing but fear – the very same fear that she was feeling at the sight of whoever it was. Her two normal eyes lifted to the ceiling and pain shot through them, forcing her to avert her gaze, her hands clutching in agony. But she still had one eye open and it was forced to see, to look straight at the whiteness. Satori's expression changed to confusion, because there was no pain when she looked into the heart of the strange light. Instead there were a mixture of emotions. Calm and tranquility flowed from whatever, or whoever, was the source but the tranquility was emptiness and the calm was control, a dominance imposed by a higher will. Layered in between these emotions Satori could sense a harsh and forceful heart, twisting and moulding everyone before it into one image.

"Why do you fight amongst yourselves like this?" it asked, "it saddens me to find you children of the former hell engaging in such foolishness. Why do you do this when every day you suffer at the hands of the evil spirits that live in this underground? Don't we have enough problems from the outside to be tearing ourselves apart from within?"

Satori frowned. This woman had a lot of nerve to tell a gathering of such powerful youkai not to settle their own disputes or have fun, and yet she seemed to be doing just that. What was she doing? Why were they not taking issue with her words? Koishi's thoughts told her that she was thinking the same thing.

"This cannot continue", the woman in the light was saying, "I can end this foolish conflict between youkai and spirits. I can make us the true masters of this new home. We can truly forget the surface and have a destiny that we can call our very own! All I ask is that you bow before me."

The two sisters remained silent but they agreed on one thing – it was silly to ask such strong people to bow no matter who she was. Shock and disbelief ran through them when they found that they were wrong and most of the youkai gathered at the feast had fallen to their knees in front of the slowly-descending light. Some stared, their faces frozen into blank masks. Unable to restrain her bewilderment Satori rose to her feet and began waving her hands in front of their faces, trying to slap them to their senses. The entire situation was completely wrong. No one in the world should have this kind of power.

"I see one of us has not yet understood all the good my offer can do. She moves amongst and strikes at you. Amethyst child, will you not reconsider?"

The light dimmed. The sisters looked up and saw a woman with white hair and blue eyes looking down at them. She wore a simple blue dress and two white wings sprouted from her back, outstretched to slow her descent. Immediately the two felt the emotions that had come from the light intensify and focus directly on them. The emptiness magnified until it became a void that consumed everything in its path. Koishi dropped to the ground, clutching her third eye and forehead and twitching madly.

"Stop this!" Satori yelled, "you're killing her!"

"I ask you once more, amethyst child. Will you not reconsider my offer?"

"Ri-ridiculous. You haven't given us anything. You've only taken from these people. They were strong before, they didn't need to serve you to protect themselves. Look at them!" she gestured towards the kneeling youkai with their vacant expressions, "yes our life was hard before. Yes we had to face danger, but at least we could be happy. We had fear but we also had hope!"

"I did not take away anything that was important to them", replied the angelic woman, "I set them on the path to a brighter future. A clean, forever shining world."

"Shouldn't people be able to choose whether they want that world or not? If it's so good then why did you have to dominate their hearts to convince them?!"

The angelic woman recoiled. From her expression Satori felt as if she had struck her. The chill that had filled the cavern before abated and Koishi began to pick herself up, staring at her with undisguised horror. Satori felt it too, an iron spike being withdrawn from her mind as the angelic woman's composure broke.

"You..." she began. Her face hardened, "you are a satori. One who can read hearts. No wonder you saw the truth about my powers...and you were able to resist them. You're stronger than I thought."

Her wings beat hard, propelling her above the gathering once again. Satori and Koishi felt a prickling sensation on the back of their necks as gathered magical power rushed past them. The light was beginning to gather again, this time around the angelic woman's hands. Thin traces of light appeared around her wrists, forming into some kind of pattern. The air rushed about her, whistling in their ears.

"No, sis! Run!" yelled Koishi and she tugged at her sister's arm. Even a child could see that this situation was incredibly dangerous.

Satori looked at her, confused, but only for a moment. The two of them hurtled towards the houses and their tight alleyways, disappearing into the night as the magical blast exploded behind them. A large cloud of dust choked the air. The enthralled youkai stayed where they were, unmoved by the sudden explosion that had just hit the entrance to the festival grounds. The angelic woman surveyed the scene with a satisfied look on her face. Even if they survived they were alone, without aid, and would not have the chance to develop their powers enough to seriously challenge her.

Because she was going to kill them first.

"My first command to my loyal and faithful allies. Find them! I don't care about bringing them back alive, kill them if you find them!"

The bound youkai rose. There was an instant of silence where her words hung in the air, and then each one rushed to do her bidding. So what if that satori knew of her powers? The hearts of these wretches were now hers to command and she would turn this former hell into a place of light and beauty befitting heaven itself. These would be the first of many faithful and she would need strong and dependable vassals to lead them.

The angelic woman looked around, remembering that there had been two oni amongst the revelers. She had heard stories of their kind and knew that they would be powerful allies. However when she finally remembered where they had been standing there was nothing there. Nothing but ash and smoke.