Chapter 2: The tarot of the future.
Raijū had an excited smile on his face as he walked into the train station looking around for his young cousin. As he glanced around the area he spotted someone, a girl with black hair who looked very familiar to him sitting at a bench. His smile grew wider as he approached the bench and silently peered over the girl's shoulder to see what she was fiddling with.
It was those damn Tarot Cards, glittering silver and blue in the light. Asami looked lost, almost, as if she were thinking distantly of something that had happened to her. Most likely, something that had to do with those stupid cards of hers. Asami and her stupid cards, they always made the poor girl think about things too much.
Raijū frowned as he saw what she was had. He never did like those damn cards, but he got over it for his cousin's sake. Smiling gently he walked around and stared down at her, waiting for her to look up to speak to him. Sure he talked to her through text messages, but he hadn't seen her in a while and he couldn't help the small blush that appeared on his face from seeing his more mature looking cousin.
Asami tapped her forefinger on the deck of cards, looking down and kicking lightly at a small pebble with her foot, behind them, a silver-haired man headed into the train. After a few minutes, Raijū said...
"Hey um.... Asami." Asami glanced up at Raijū as he smiled again. Asami, our train's here. We better go get on it or we'll get left." Raijū said as he picked up his and Asami's bag and waited until she moved toward the train.
As they got on they settled in a car that at first seemed to have no one, but upon closer inspection revealed a silver-haired man was also in the car as well. Raijū Put the bags up as Asami sat down and after he got everything upright he sat in the seat opposite to hers.
"That guy looks weird. Don't you think?" Asami asked cheerfully, replacing her small frown with a slightly beaming smile. "Gray hair's pretty odd. Wonder if he dyes it." She was still fiddling with the Tarot Cards, effectively proving that she was obviously faking her cheery demeanor. Asami wouldn't admit it, but she had a habit of fiddling with things in her hands whenever she was nervous.
Raijū glanced over at the person she was talking about and then stared back at her as she fiddled with the cards.
"Yeah your right Asami-chan. I think its kinda cool though, y'know having grey hair while your still young looking. Raijū said as he continued to stare at his clearly nervous cousin. "Asami, if you keep doing that you'll destroy your cards. Why'd you bring those things anyway?" Raijū asked sounding slightly annoyed.
With that, Asami glared at him. "I can always get new ones y'know. These are getting pretty old. So old, in fact, that I bet they're not working right anymore." Raijū fidgeted, Asami usually never yelled at him. She must have been pretty agitated.
"And I brought them because I never leave anywhere without them. You know that." She cocked a single black eyebrow, frowning again.
"Anyway, gray hair is pretty cool huh, my friend Yuri was thinking about dying her hair gray for some cosplay show. I told her she was stupid."
Raijū was silent for a few minutes before he spoke again.
"I'm sorry Asami... I didn't mean to set you off. I just figured I'd ask one more time about these cards. I don't see why your angry at me about some cards that have no real use at all." Raijū paused as her glare turned soul piercing. I... uh.... Who was your friend going to be?" Raijū asked trying to get the heated glare off him.
Asami rolled her eyes. "Oh, Raijū, don't even get me started! These cards are perfect!" But she put them in her purse anyway, turned back to Raijū and said, "Soujiko or something from some Shin Megami Tensei game. I think she said something about cross-dressing pageants but I kinda shut her out right around there."
The silver-haired man looked around at the name 'Soujiko', but then turned back again, looking at a photo in his hands.
"Um... Okay." Raijū smiled.
As they passed time talking Raijū noticed that his cousin was staring at her purse where she had just recently put the tarot cards.
"Asami, if you wanna continue holding those cards you can. All I ask is why they matter? There not meant for playing with, so what use do they have?" Raijū asked trying to cheer his cousin up.
"Huh? What?" Asami looked up blinking wearily. She wasn't listening.
Raijū glanced over his shoulder at the ashen-haired man who was looking at a picture and then he glanced back at Asami. "Asami you've either been fiddling with those useless cards or you've been looking at that gray-haired guy. Whats up with you? Is there something bothering you? You know you can tell me anything, I'm here for you. Raijū said, his eyes full of concern for his younger cousin.
Asami pouted, "It's nothing. You'll just say I'm stupid anyway." And with that, Asami crossed her arms and glared out the window, watching the countryside speed by.
Raijū moved to sit between his cousin and the window looking her in her greenish grey eyes with dark green ones.
"Tell me Asami. I won't call stupid I promise. Tell me if there's something bothering you.
Asami bit her lip, obviously contemplating whether or not to tell Raijū.
"I used my Tarot Cards last night, asking what would happen when I came to Inaba and..." She bit her lip even harder. "I pulled the DEATH card, Raijū. DEATH."
Raijū frowned as he stared at his cousin in disbelief, but as he thought about it the memory of what happened in the blue room came back to him.
Yeah, so did I. Whats wrong with that?
"Raijū," Asami admonished. "DEATH. Y'know, death? The thing that makes you mortal?" She frowned, but there was a hint of amusement in her eyes. "Where have you been the past millennium?"
"Under a rock from the looks of it. Its just a card, what can it possible do?" Raijū asked slightly interested now.
Asami crossed her arms and fixed Raijū with a cold, callous glare. "Why do you care, s'not like you believe this stuff, anyway!" She was being a child, Asami knew, but it was the easiest way to get Raijū off her back.
"Then do a reading. I know thats what those cards are used for. I know you Asami, I know you better then anyone. You think I'm a nonbeliever, then make a believer right now." Raijū glanced over at the unsuspecting grey-haired stranger.
"Hey buddy! Yeah you, the guy with the grey hair, come here and let my cousin give you a tarot reading." Raijū asked as the grey haired fellow stared at him.
Souji Seta stared incredulously at the boy that had called him over, then over at his cousin. He was reminded vaguely of Margaret, the woman he had become friends with in the Velvet Room. Asami shot Raijū a green-eyed glare, full of slight shock and whole embarrassment,
"Raijū! Leave him alone!"
"C'mon sir, I'm sure you'll get a good reading." Raijū asked the grey-haired man ignoring his cousin.
Souji Seta shrugged, "Can't hurt to try. Sure." Though, in actuality, Souji was a little worried. After all, hadn't he gotten his fortune read before the murders? On this very train? This had to be more than coincidence.
Yes, this had to be fate.
"Thats a good sport." Raijū said sliding the mini table out for the cards to be layed on. "Go ahead Asami, read him his fortune." Raijū said anxiously.
Asami shot Raijū one last heated glare, stuck her hands in her purse and pulled out the Tarot Cards. She shuffled them, and laid three face-down on the train's mini-table.
She flipped the one on the far left over first.
"The Fool," She whispered, "In the reversed position. This means the return of a naive or callous person in your life." She flipped the one in the middle over this time, "The Devil, in the reversed position." She sighed. "This means a great, powerful change that shall come with the Fool." Finally, she ran her fingers along the card on the far right. "The Wheel Of Fortune, in the upright position. This means a great deal of drastic changes that shall occur in your life."
"Um... I don't think that was a proper reading Asami." Raijū said as Souji Seta chuckled.
Asami crossed her arms and pouted.
"Sorry about this man. I figured she'd be more ready to prove something, but I guess I was wrong or maybe its that time...." Raijū stopped in mid-sentence as he felt like danger was all around him.
Asami flushed, and kicked the mini table so it clanged into Raijū slightly. Souji chuckled.
"Ugh... I deserved that" Raijū cried out silently as the table struck him.
Souji looked at Asami with a calm smile and asked...
"Could you please give me a proper reading?"
Asami smiled back. If you looked closely, the gray-haired guy was kind of handsome. She ignored Raijū's groans and moans about the pain and the bruise he was going to get in the morning and asked the gray-haired guy politely,"By proper, what do you mean?"
Souji sat across from Asami not breaking eye contact as his kind smile only grew.
"I mean a reading that has heart, that has a soul and not one that was thrown together like it didn't matter." Souji said as he too ignored Raijū's groans of pain in the back ground.
"I see." Asami said.
"Can you please do this?" Souji asked, the smile not faltering.
Asami, who looked obviously uncomfortable with giving Souji a reading, glared angrily at Raijū before closing her eyes and slowly shuffling the cards. She took out the small, worn and frayed Tarot book from her purse as well, placing it in her lap.
"Celtic Cross, or Three Fates?" She asked Souji, still shuffling the cards.
Raijū rubbed his side as Souji spoke.
Asami broke the deck in half, bridged it, and placed nine cards face down in an elaborate, complex cross. She reached for the first card, face down on the white mini-table and flipped it over. On this card, two people hugged each other happily, but they were reversed.
"The Lovers, reversed. In this position, this card represents the atmosphere surrounding a central issue in your life. Or a central issue in a future problem. Usually it means happiness and blah, blah, blah but here, reversed..." Asami frowned. "It represents inner strife, the evolving of a shadow of sorts."
Souji frowned slightly at the word 'shadow'. Raijū perked up slightly, looking interested. He'd never seen Asami doing her Tarot reading before. This was interesting, intriguing, if you watched. Asami reached for the card next to the reversed Lovers,
"The Ace Of Cups, reversed. In this position, this card represents the single obstacle that stands in your way in the future. This represents an unexpected message, or the start of a new friendship or romance that is sure to end in tragedy." Asami smiled, beamed up at Souji. "Do you have someone you like in Inaba, mister?"
Souji glanced away, frowning. Asami giggled and reached for the card below that one. On this card, there was a lone man holding a single, elongated staff. Asami tilted her head,
"Oh, here's one I haven't seen in a while. The Page of Wands, reversed. In this position, it represents someone who will or has had a significant impact on your life. Reversed, this card represents a trickster who's betrayed you in the past."
There was a small smile that tugged at the corner of Souji's lips. Raijū looked at Souji interestedly, as if he were a neat little June bug on the sidewalk. Asami reached for the card below that one. On this card, there was a naked baby on a white horse, surrounded by sunlight.
"The Sun, in the upright position. In this position, it represents the foundation on which the future problem is based on. The Sun represents contentment. Maybe... you are too content with what you have?"
Asami reached for another card. Flipped it over, and smiled.
"Strength, reversed. Here, it represents a passing influence. It represents confusion, and a complete lack of preparedness of what's to come."
Souji tilted his head. Interesting, intriguing, this reading. Asami reached for another card.
"Nine Of Wands, reversed. Here, it represents your role or part in what's to come. A faltering will, delayed actions, efforts compromised by many saboteurs."
Asami looked up at Souji, and nodded to the three cards left.
"Should I stop? Or do you have a basic idea of what's to come?"
Souji looked down at the cards as if considering something as Raijū broke in.
"Um... thats kinda cool Asami."
"Oh, wow, looks like I made Raijū actually believe. You don't have to pretend y'know."
It was at that moment, when the intercom person's voice rang out,
"Attention all passengers, we will be arriving in Yasoinaba in five minutes."
Asami looked up at Souji,
"Oh geez, sorry mister, I guess we can't finish this, can we?"Little did she know, one of those cards, was the card of Death.
"Actually I still think that stuff is bogus, but it is cool to watch." Raijū said smirking
Ignoring Raijū Souji spoke up.
"Could you flip over just one more card please."
Asami nodded, and flipped over a single card. On this card, there was a skeletal man riding on a dragon, holding a large flag with a single, beautiful white rose on it.
"D-Death, in the upright position..." Asami voice shook, her skin paled. "In this position it represents the outcome of your fate..."
Asami let out a deep sigh, and forced down the tears. Him too, then? What would happen to them, in this backwash town? In this small Nowheresville?
Souji's expression hardened.
Raijū looked at Asami and Souji in sheer disbelief.
"You guys are turning emo over a card?"
Raijū! It's death! DEATH! You're the biggest bigot I've ever met!" Asami glared at him, strands of black hair falling across her face.
As the train came to a stop Souji stood and with a small wave at Asami and Raijū he exited the train.
"You're fretting over nothing. I got this card and I'm perfectly fine." Raijū said as he moved to get their things out of the compartment.
Asami stood as well, shooting Raijū a strange look. "You got this card too? What do you mean?"
She didn't believe, she couldn't, that Raijū would go get his fortune told in person, so what did he mean by that? Asami's green eyes hardened like chips of ice.
Raijū suddenly felt as if hell itself had been unleashed on him as he turned to face his cousin.
"I was in some room and this girl who looked sorta like you was there. She was about to ask me something when this bizarre old man pulled out a deck of those ridiculous cards. He laid three cards face down and my last card was the death." He sounded just as grim as you. Raijū said as he looked at her.
Asami brought the edge of her thumb to her mouth, tracing her lips. "Raijū, that has to be the biggest bullshit lie I've ever heard. Now, what REALLY happened?"
Thats the truth Asami! I'm sorry if I'm not as good as you at telling stories, but that really happened. Raijū said as he began to walk toward the exit of the train.
Asami rolled her eyes, and followed Raijū towards the exit of the train.
Raijū and Asami walked outside the station as the world them turned grey. Raijū looked over at his cousin to ask her if she noticed only to see that she too had been frozen with dreary grey surroundings.
"Do not be afraid, Child Of Man. She is alright." A women's voice said from a few feat in front of Raijū.
He glanced up too see a women with grey hair over her shoulders and heavy red eyes.
"You..., who are you...?" Raijū asked frightened.
"I am the goddess Izanami and I wish to give you a message. Things are not as the seem, there is a new more fierce evil approaching this rural town and you will need this in order to defend yourself from it." Izanami said as she hovered toward Raijū, placing a single hand on his head.
A few moments later Izanami faded away as the color returned to the world. Raijū's vision went black as he fell backwards leaving toward his subconscious.
Asami watched as Raijū fell, dropping all their things with a loud CLUNK. She jumped down to crouch beside him, to see if he was alright, and she noticed a rather large group of teenagers running towards them. Among those people, Asami picked out the silver-haired man they'd met on the train.
Author's Note: Pectus and I are really getting busy and her addiction to Adachi isn't helping us any. I'll try to pull her away and get her working with me. I'll see you guys soon.