For fic challenge 7 from the Mostly Lucky Star Forum. Tsukasa makes someone mad
Short but I at last exercised my little bit I wanted to share what could possibly be hidden at the shrine tended to by the Hiiragi family and their secret miko lives as part of it. Would've been part of my feature for the holiday challenge(6) had I participated but with more of a New Year theme. This I think still worked out.
T - Some mild mentions of gore and rape.
What It Takes
Her voice was hollow, yet promised retribution if the one spoken to did not turn around. Halt what she was doing before any of this mess could no longer be undone… if it could be at all.
The short lavender haired girl did so, but made sure to hold the large scroll securely to her chest as she turned around. A hint of tears threatening her otherwise resolute expression as she met her sister's eyes.
Between them was but a starry chasm beneath the ripples of their footsteps. An ethereal surface reflecting a night sky meadow below, and the darkness of mankind's heart above. But only the ripples traversed the gap as did their words.
"It's too late onee-chan, this is the only way."
"No it is not. It won't do anything Tsukasa… h-how could you think it would – how could you!" Damn, the steel in her voice had left, leaving behind only her emotional state. Lost and in disbelief, so much for her acting the elder sister. What kind of nightmare had led to this?
There was blood. Blood dripping down the steps. Steps that led to the shrine altar. The shrine she, along with her family took care of. Worse yet were the two bodies hoisted up by rope and placed on display. Their abdomen's cut away and unfolded, revealing to the flies a buffet to feast upon two distinct main dishes that were slightly different. The organs of sexual procreation; one female, one male.
Bile emptied from her stomach upon recognizing her mother and father.
And as terrible as the scene was before her now… the sight wasn't much different than the tragedy that occurred only a month ago…
A crash came from beyond and to the side of the shrine. Were the ones responsible for this still here? Forcing a stone marker up from the ground as an impromptu weapon, she began making a large circle around the front of the building, all the while on alert for the slightest movement. Instead she found the storehouse doors wide open, her sister Matsuri leaning against the frame in a clear daze.
The brown haired girl struggled to get her into focus and tried to stand before being gently guided back to the ground. Finally recognizing her, Matsuri calmed and sagged with a hand to the back of her skull.
"Matsuri. Wh-What happened?"
"In-, Tsukasa was here right? I could've sworn…behind me… she asked where scroll was-"
Scroll? What did this have to do with what happened? Then cold dread washed over her. "Which scroll? Which scroll Matsuri!"
Her sister's head continued to swim and replied sleepily. From her broken and drawn out speech, it was possible she had suffered a concussion. "…big… had torii printed … on."
Looking toward the cabinet that hung on the wall beside the rack holding the few other scrolls, she noticed an empty hook in the line of keys for the shrine grounds.
"She took the key didn't she…"
"Yeah…told her to put back…tried get dad…quit bugging me, before she must have smacked me."
"So you don't kno-" she cut herself off, aware that her sister had yet not seen the front of the shrine. "…stay here. Whatever you do stay right here! Got that Matsuri!"
"…no problemo…" Her sister managed a thumbs up, proceeding to sag completely to her side on the ground.
So that was it. She would have to go after Tsukasa on her own… It sounded so strange, Tsukasa of everyone. Surely she took the loss the hardest, none could blame her for that. However…
She tried as hard as she could to recall everything that she could about their various rituals and their corresponding scrolls that were used for the tradition as she tied up her set of miko priestess robes. No not the usual ceremonies open to the public that were hardly worth the time or effort, nothing more than a spectacle to generate more donations and walking the ignorant through the process of prayer. These had to do with the very real practice of their religion, done far from the eyes of those who may misjudge what the true ancient teachings were compared to the more modern laughable attempts.
…what was Tsukasa trying to do by inciting one of them? Could she really have done that to mother and father? For what outlandish reason? From what Matsuri mentioned it sounded like the spirit resurrection scroll was what had been taken, and with the particular key missing, it meant she was headed for the true altar of their shrine. Down beneath.
Walking out of the storehouse and to one of the other unassuming outbuildings near the back of the grounds confirmed this. The double doors were left ajar and the large padlock cast aside. In the setting sun, all was mockingly tranquil while the open maw of darkness past those doors beckoned. Though she should have called for medical help for her sister Matsuri before proceeding, the state of the shrine tonight was not the business of authorities, this was strictly a family matter.
Steeling herself, she entered and immediately began descending the countless stairs. The air becoming ever more chilling the deeper she progressed, steady and as even as a pace she could without hurrying else risk death by a painful fall to the bottom. At last the narrow passage way opened on all sides, large torii gates taking the place of stone and stretching high above. Each accompanied by an invisible pressure when passed under with the distinct feeling of a light breeze, though none existed down here.
Dressed as she was in her traditional robes and containing the blood of her ancestors, the gates let her pass through into a realm where timelessness reigned.
"…you really had to take it this far."
"It was required, it says so right in here."
Tsukasa's downtrodden look was the same, but there was such a lack of remorse in her features. As if unconcerned for what had been done just a mere hour ago. That calm was really starting to piss off the older sister, forcing her next words to snap forth. "But why mother and father!"
"B-Because, I need Ka-"
"-It won't bring Kagami back!"
For a moment the words echoed about the chamber and by ripples on the floor. The glow from the stars below quivering ever the slightest.
"…you're wrong. You're wrong!"
"She was raped and murdered by sick, terrible people; not by demons. Nor was her soul bound or spirited away. This. Won't. Work! You've only made it worse!"
"Shut up Inori! Just! Shut up!" The youngest screamed, a wave of the mysterious water's surface rising in response to crash down around her elder sister.
Against Inori's outstretched hand however, the weight was almost nothing as it spilled around her, managing only to soak the hem of the miko garb. "So you'd sacrifice our entire family thinking you can bring her back?"
"Wouldn't you!" Tsukasa cried, driving a point. "That's what family does for each other, even if it's just a tiny chance… Am I wrong?"
"No! But you don't- how does this make it any better!"
Seeing an opening, the plum haired woman unleashed her own attempt to throw her youngest sister off balance. The lance of air sparking with stardust as it raced forward, whipping Tsukasa in a violent gust of wind that almost blew her away from the altar.
But Tsukasa was not quite so weak willed. "It will be better! Onee-chan is all that matters!" Again water gathered into a wave, but instead of sweeping forward this time, it kept its position forming a barrier between them. Then to Inori's amazement, it froze solid… How could she, that was a trait only Kagami could produce!
Tsukasa's sad yet triumphant smile shone through. "Don't you see Inori? Onee-chan knows it, she's here with us! "
"This…this can't be." But the lavender haired girl was no longer bothering with her, turning to unroll the ancient script and carry out the ritual. Inori couldn't let her, there was no telling what an improper resurrection would do. From demons to the undead, spirits cursed and re-awoken from peace, any could take the place of their dear loved sister. The ice couldn't be taken as actual proof of her presence calling out, and so Inori chalked it up to them being twins that Tsukasa may have gained Kagami's half. Either way, Matsuri's fire would have been best to counter this barrier.
On the other side, Tsukasa raised one still bloodied hand, "Blood of mother…" and then the other. "Blood of father, together they made a child named Kagami… and me. The two of us can't be separated." She clasped both stained hands over the scroll.
"STOP! Tsukasa don't do this!" Inori tried calling out one last time, trying again and again to shear into the ice wall with blasts of air. "You do this and you erase mother and father's soul!"
That garnered the little sister's attention, if but for a second. "…but if it's for Onee-chan, I will…" She pressed both hands down onto the scroll, setting it aglow.
Now Inori realized what she was doing. True Tsukasa had brought with her the required blood of their parents, the source of Kagami's body, but without an actual body there was nothing in which for the soul to reside…except that the younger twin was intending herself to also be part of the sacrifice.
It didn't matter whether Tsukasa had done these terrible things or not. Inori was not about to let another one of her family be lost, her as the elder sister could not allow it. Bracing herself, condensed air forced itself under her feet and then was unleashed to propel her body over the sharp crystalline wall. With remarkable speed she fell, bringing forth another lance of air, diving with its projection ever quicker to reach Tsukasa before it was too late.
There was a crash of wind and ice, debris shattering outward from where the alter lay as the pieces skipped and faded across the water. The ripples racing back and forth as a light permeated from below in the stars themselves.
For a moment everything again froze.
Time itself suspending the mist and remaining mass of ice in midair, cloaking the sisters within. The eldest seemingly embracing the youngest with the look of adoration held between them. Light flooded the chamber and the ripples resumed once the brightness peaked, though this time radiating inward toward the two. There was but silence and then the dimming darkness.
Blinking open her eyes, she found Tsukasa eagerly checking her over though there was no need. She felt fine… except for the odd sensation of a lack of hair weighing down her head.
The twin responded with a bright smile, as well as great big tears of happiness. "Welcome back, Kagami-onee-chan!"
Though it was her throat rattling, Inori was pretty sure yet not sure at the same time, that it wasn't her who was screaming.
A/N: Went through three different story concepts for this challenge and couldn't really decide on any of them to do as a shorter piece and none of them felt very original. Thus I did something a touch more random writing wise and just developed it as I went along. I'm pleased with it, though it isn't really the best it could be.
Much of it is simply what it seems, especially the little miko-power fight I threw in there – sort of a pocket dimension like which Yuki Nagato would tend to fight in, and just as spectacular. To clarify, Inori basically inadvertently got Kagami's soul stuck into her when trying to get Tsukasa away. Messing up what would've otherwise been a fine situation of both twins sharing one body, silly Inori. Oh and for continuality sake, guess since Kagami ended up summoned back anyway that this means she really was murdered by a demon or something. Don't expect an expansion though, Tsukasa having killed their parents really does put a damper on that thought, maybe a prequel for what would've been the holiday version.
Two pieces of music helped me greatly to write this all up last night. Born Of Ash and Starvation from Two Steps From Hell. Both should be found on youtube and listened to in that order. Starvation especially since that inspired the short battle sequence.