Crane Wings on Windows
Chapter Thirteen —Dawn's Renewing Fount
NEW as of February 2015
The final edited chapter is done! From now on everything is new to everybody. I hope you all enjoy this chapter and what will be in store for next time! I have kept the old review here since I took the time to reply this person here.
Update Feb. 28, 2015: I fixed the surname problem in this chapter. It may seem weird he refers to "his family name" as Kazama when he is called that but look at chapter one for why this is so.
(Old) Reply to Review:
Stalianha: First off, thank-you for your loving review: it is much appreciated. Secondly, about your first question—yes, Hinata is a pure-blooded oni because it was not considered proper to have a half-blooded oni or a human in the service of royalty (in my story). Hinata's family was not without noble blood themselves but was less so than Hideo's family as in my mind Hinata's family subjugated themselves to Hideo's family for a debt owed. Funnily enough, Kazama is one of the first oni of his family to break tradition and have humans, half-blooded, and full oni in his service despite how much he begrudges them. This is mainly because Kazama is about efficiency.
As for the literature I use, it is not inspired by anything per say, but I do love myths and legends, as well as Greek mythology. Therefore, I weave a lot of my inspiration from those. However, the titles of books, and the myths themselves are all made up by me, including the parables if I do not state otherwise. If you enjoy some of my work in "fake literature", I suggest looking at old Chinese/Japanese myths as I get some ideas from them as well (and the books I mention throughout the fanfiction which are real works). You may want to also look into proverbs/wisdom sayings by these people as well. You will find many interesting stories from those alone. If you find any interesting enough to share, please do so with me and I may or may not add them in some way into my story.
"You were the brightest shade of sun I had ever seen,
Your skin was gilded with the gold of the richest kings
And like the dawn you woke the world inside of me;
You were the brightest shade of sun when I saw you.
And you will surely be the death of me
But how could I have known?"
"Like the Dawn," by The Oh Hellos
When Kazama reached his castle, it was morning. He had wandered the forests for a long while until Dawn came with her rose-red fingers stretching across the sky. He had stood by a stream and observed the world as it stood before him. He had tucked the letter in his kimono and had contemplated his course of action. When he was looking up at the sky he had found it to be a simple beauty he wished he could bask in for longer than he had. Though he had things to do, and important things at that, he took the hours he had spent in nature as a time to reflect and enjoy the majesty of the world. But time would not stop simply because he paused to look at what was before him every day.
As Kazama stepped through the door, Hozin was upon him, bowing deeply fluttering out apologies and nonsense that he did not have the time, or patience, to listen to.
"Where is Chizuru?"
Hozin looked up quickly and looked to the right, "She is on the upper balcony.. What she is doing, I do not know. Would you like me to get her, Lord Kazama?"
"No, I will meet her myself. Prepare breakfast for us and bring it to the balcony when it is ready."
Chizuru sighed scanning the treetops. Most of the memories she had from out here were not pleasant, but she could not help but feel peaceful when she looked at the trees from here. They swayed beautifully and had a magic to them that enchanted. She reached for her neck without thought, reflecting on the previous night's events. When Kazama had left, she went back to her room and fell into a fitful slumber. She did not want the bath Hozin had made, and had apologized when she woke up, as he took time to make it for her. She forwent breakfast mainly because it was too early for her to eat, and because she could not think of eating when Kazama's words flashed through her mind. How was she to trust herself when she did not know how to trust anything? She trusted everything as it was. It was not until she met Kazama and the killers of her parents that she found there were people she could not, or did not trust. She was still not sure how much she trusted Kazama. She trusted him to protect her from danger and harm. Yet could he protect her from himself? She rose up her hands and looked at them. Desperation took her as she looked at her hands that were beginning to shake. She closed her eyes and clutched her hands tightly.
Can I trust myself? Can I trust you…Kazama?
Though she wore a pink kimono with many flower motifs on the shoulders and sleeves, she felt hardly as cheerful.
Light footsteps made Chizuru flick her eyes behind her to see who was approaching. When she spotted Kazama, she quickly faced him and all but threw herself on the ground in front of him, keeping her eyes trained on the ground in front of her.
"Kazama, I have—" Kazama released an auditable sigh, "Save it."
Chizuru looked up at Kazama and closed her eyes in relief when Kazama motioned for her to sit beside him on one of the few chairs provided out on the balcony currently. There was also Kazama's couch but no one laid on that but him.
"What I am about to say needs to be heard in full. You will not interrupt me nor will you conceive preconceived notions about what I have to say. You said you want me to trust you: I trust you now that you will listen. When I have finished you may do what you wish, for I do not care enough to stop you."
Chizuru grew nervous but nonetheless nodded.
Kazama looked out at the treetops and let their peace envelop him before he spoke, "I have been in counsel with my father, Hideo Kazama, and have decided to acknowledge his advice, upon further review of the facts. As you know, you are to be my bride due to the foolishness of my mother. However, upon discussion with Hideo, I have come in possession of a letter that contains information written by my mother about the letter she personally delivered to me. This new letter has allowed for the termination of the previous letter; this new letter has been ascribed with my family clan's seal and has been acknowledged as honorable by the clan leader, making the seal of this letter valid. In the attempts of restoration of my family honor and oni pride, I am canceling our arranged marriage and giving you your complete freedom. You are not to go back as my servant unless you wish to nor will you be barred from my castle as a guest if you choose to stay willingly. I suggest you leave and never look back."
Kazama looked at Chizuru with a determined look. Though his general expression was neutral his eyes showed the urging for her to leave.
"Escape while you have the chance."
Chizuru took in the information quickly, and ran it through her head repeatedly. Amazingly she kept calm and levelheaded when she turned to give her reply. For once, she was allowed to make a decision for herself. No preconceived notions and no threats. She was allowed to freely do as she wished and she held her head high as she rose from her chair, facing Kazama.
She knew what she would do. Must do.
"First, I would like to thank-you for giving me my freedom. While I do not wish to become your servant again, I choose to stay here until I find more suitable accommodations, as I do not want to step on your good judgment. It is now that I would like to be frank with you, as a freeman, if I may be so bold."
Kazama smirked, his usual contempt on his face, waving sarcastically for her to speak her mind.
"I would like to go briefly into why I am choosing the option I am: for it is important for the both of us. Regarding yesterday, I wish to say that I am sorry I acted the way I did. I am cautious and timid by nature, and while I cannot understand your anger—I can understand your advice to trust myself. More often than not, I trust so easily that I have forgotten what it is like to build trust rather than to fully thrust it upon someone. I know that I do not have your trust completely, and I will be honest when I say you do not fully have mine. You do and say nasty, spiteful things that hurt me more than any sword ever could. In addition, what I said yesterday regarding your mother was foolish and spiteful, and for that, I apologize again. In regards to the marriage proposal, I am happy not for my sake, but for yours. You may not understand me when I speak this but, I am glad simply because I want you to marry someone whom you feel meets what you are looking for, rather than what your mother deems worthy of what you should have. As for the choice to stay here, I do so because I want to know how to trust and how to understand myself. You, better than anyone I know now, trusts themselves, their actions, and acts with decisiveness and quickness that I hope to one day have. In return, I hope that you will come to trust me, because that is all I have ever wanted from you, Kazama—your trust."
Chizuru bowed her head and closed her eyes, hands resting lightly in front of her. For once she felt that she could act as an adult, as a woman, and be proud. She did not stutter, she did not waver, and she did not back down. She told him what she thought in all honesty. He had said he appreciated honesty and thus she held nothing back that was pertinent. She was still unsure in her mind if she was making the right choice but she knew she needed to see for herself what she was capable of. She knew that Kazama could help her if he was willing to open up himself to her enough to allow a mutual sharing of one another.
Kazama was again faced with the feeling of respect for her willingness to place herself under his judgment. It was this side of Chizuru that he found he could acknowledge. Her quiet, timid nature was a part of her but she truly shined as an oni when she looked at him with passion, conviction, and determination. When her tongue lighted on him yesterday while walking to the market he felt true pleasure at her sharp tongue. Here her tone was professional and reserved but held quiet conviction.
Kazama closed his eyes, a slight smirk forming on his face.
"All I have to say in response is this: you are now a permanent guest. You still are allowed free access of my castle, and are allowed in the servant's quarters. You may work if you wish to keep yourself from being idle, but as I stated before: I am not going to entertain you all the time. I have other things to do that require my attention. As I have offered the option for you to stay, you will not be rushed nor persuaded to leave. If you deem it right to do so, then you will not be restrained, nor pushed, to stay. As you are my guest, I, by tradition, must tell some things to you of events happening in my castle. I am going to be entertaining guests the evening, most are simply merchants come to inform me of minor issues, but I require you make your presence known, as they are still to be regarded as important people. Now that breakfast has arrived, I will take my leave." Kazama rose as Hozin was setting down the food.
"Hozin, prepare a bath for me, and bring my breakfast to my chambers. Also, did you put all of the merchandise in my office?"
"I will be going through them this afternoon so if any of the guests come early, tell them to wait in the common room."
"Of course milord."
Kazama walked off without another glance at Chizuru or another word to Hozin. When he had left, Hozin sat down by Chizuru to get the short version of their conversation. When she explained it, Hozin smiled with relief, "I am glad to know you will be staying here with us. Moreover, you have been given your freedom. I hope that you will stay with us for a long time, Chizuru. I would sorely miss your company should you leave."
Chizuru smiled at Hozin as he got up to leave, informing her he had his duties to perform. When he left her smile faded. Whatever lie ahead was something Chizuru was not sure of, but she say a break in the clouds. It had been almost six months since she has been in this household and so much had, she realized, changed. Looking at her breakfast, Chizuru wondered what it would be like to spend the day with Kazama as neither his "bride" nor his "servant." She frowned, it would probably be the same.
When Chizuru had wandered the halls aimlessly for what seemed like an eternity, she had wound up at the library. Somehow or another she was always passing the library, but she had been keeping her distance from it these past few hours. However, she was overall curious as to what may be inside she hadn't looked at yet, and seeing as there was nothing else worth doing, she ventured inside, cautious above all else. She feared Kazama may be inside, fretting over what she would say if he was. She knew she was over-thinking her mind about Kazama. It wasn't as if he'd changed since the last few days she had met him. He was still the same. Yet, she did not know if she could face him right this moment.
To her silent relief, Kazama was not around. Chizuru shook her head when she remembered that it was because he was locked in his office sorting through his items he had bought. Since he run out last night, he did not have time to do it then, so he was doing it now. Setting Kazama aside in her mind she wove her way around the books, looking for a particular book. Finally settling she would never find it she sat on the window seat Kazama seemed to be fond of. Snuggling close to herself, she looked around the room, and took in the atmosphere of the library all over again. It felt like home here. It was quiet and despite the size, it felt cozy and warm. It radiated feelings of contentment and with the added smell of new and old books made Chizuru's senses tingle with remembered delight. The library was sectioned off quite simply. From the window-seat and forward were a table, some pillows, and small steps leading to enter the main library sections. The stairs themselves were only two and they were extremely long, spanning from the first column of books to the last, there being four altogether. Beyond the stairs were the books, in the four large shelves that went on for a long time it seemed. If, Chizuru thought, Kazama continued to buy and find more books he would have to expand it even more so. When she faced towards the doors the large book that had caught her attention the first time she walked in here caught her attention again. She wanted more than ever to hop down and look through it, but something always stopped her from doing so. It felt as if she had to be asked to look in it and that despite it being out in the open, it was the only book throbbing with an important air not able to be touched by her unless given permission. Hopping off the bench, she resisted the temptation of looking through the large book, and instead went back to her quest of finding the book she was looking for.
While Kazama had his library organized to perfection, Chizuru still lacked the patience to figure out exactly where he kept certain books of certain genres simply because they were more than one. She had been through the history section, but figured since it was not a true history, it would not be there. Then she thought of myths and legends and when she searched the section, she finally found where it would be: only to see it was missing. Placing her hands on her hips she huffed, annoyed at who could have taken it. It was always when one wanted to read something that it was never there to find.
"I am certain Lord Kazama has the book you are looking for." Chizuru turned, unsurprised to see Hozin smiling at her. It was towards dinnertime, and he was probably here to find her. "He came in here earlier to put the books he bought in their place, and as he was leaving I saw that he had removed that book and took it with him. If you want the book, you will have to find Lord Kazama. Also, as dinner is done, and our guests are here, I am required to get you."
Nodding politely, though mortified on the inside that Kazama had the book she wanted, she walked out of the room beside Hozin, curious as to why Kazama wanted that book now of all times.
"What is the significance of this book? Both of you sought it out like a cure for the plague. Is there something important inside of it?"
Chizuru shook her head, "Hardly, if you are not into tales. That book I was looking for had Isuda's Golden Oni in it. I am not sure why Kazama was looking for it, seeing as how he knew more about it than I did." When Hozin gave her a mildly confused look, not understanding, Chizuru clarified the situation for him. "Oh, right, we discussed the book on our way to the market, and I was curious now that I saw the story from his perspective, to read it again."
Hozin nodded when all became clear to him, and a soft smile appeared on his face aware of something Chizuru seemed oblivious too. When Chizuru inquired about it, Hozin feigned forgetfulness and said he had remembered something pleasant that brought a smile to his lips. She did not press him further as the dining room was not far from where they were.
When Chizuru took her seat, she looked at the guests and smiled to herself. It was some of the merchants from the market, as well as a man she did not see at the market, and she figured someone important for something else. Kazama looked at Chizuru and then at the man, "Chizuru, this is the village elder from the east. He has come to indulge me on the knowledge of our harvest. The merchants are here on other business."
With that, Kazama ignored Chizuru the rest of the time at the dinner table. Some of the merchants made small chatter with her, and she had a lovely conversation with the woman she had seen the hairpins from, and the man who had sold Kazama the Shinkokinshū book she had picked up towards the beginning of their day in the market. She wondered what they were here for; maybe, Chizuru contemplated, he desired to buy something else from them they may not have had on hand. Shrugging to herself, Chizuru excused herself when she had finished, and left to go back to the library.
She aimlessly looked for a different book to read, seeing as how she was not going to look for the Golden Oni. She was content to let him use it and then read it herself when he was done with it. Just as she sat down to read the book she had plucked from the history section, Kazama entered with a book in his hands. He looked at her with his usual blank stare, but something was off with it, as if he was contemplating something. Raising the book to her view, she knew instantly that it was the Golden Oni she had wanted to read earlier.
"You seek this book, correct." Chizuru was slightly annoyed that he never asked anything as a question, but that in and of itself did not annoy her so much as he was usually always right.
"Yes, I wanted to read it. However, Hozin told me you had picked it up so I decided to read something else."
Something was bugging Chizuru and so she spoke it before Kazama said something else, "How did you know I sought that book?"
Kazama lazily sat down by the table and rested his right arm on the table, perching it on his head, his usual gaze staring right through her, "You are easy to predict, and it was easy to surmise you wanted to read the book after I spoke to you about it. My question is whether I should be flattered or not."
Sighing, Chizuru sat across from him, setting the book she had beside the one he had, "I just wanted to read it now that I had gained a new perspective on it. You may take it as flattery but that wasn't my intention upon reading it."
Closing his eyes with a slight grin, he shrugged, "You are full of surprises today."
Chizuru was taken aback by what he said, and fidgeted. Kazama opened his eyes and kept the grin on his face, "Yet you are still the same as always. Do you think I like it when you cower before me? I was paying you a compliment, and you shrink into a pitiful mess."
"Annoying. Take the book and be done with it. Put the book back when you are done with it." Kazama's grin was gone, and his usual blankness had made its way to his face.
Bowing her head Chizuru sighed, before chancing a glance at Kazama who was rising from his seat.
"Why did you come here? If you knew I was here, did you just want to give me the book?"
Looping one hand through his kimono, Kazama turned slightly, "No, I did not. However, I do not feel in the mood to talk, as I have done my fair share today."
"Please, Kazama, I wish to know what it is you came here for." Bowing by the table, Chizuru closed her eyes, hoping he would listen. Why was she getting all worked up over something she did not even know what it was? She heard a tinkle and, puzzled, looked up to see Kazama extending something to her.
"I do not give out trinkets often, but I am inclined to do so to my guests, who, no matter whom they are, have come to stay in my castle. It is also known to me that your face the entire market was pitiful. You cannot hide anything properly, can you? Even humans are aware of your actions."
When Chizuru plucked the item from him, something like gratitude washed over her. As she studied the item in her hand, she smiled fondly, "This is different than the one I saw before, at the market."
Kazama stood to his full height and looked out the window, "She had more hairpins with her, and that one, I deemed, fit you more than the others."
She couldn't help but detect a sense of pride from him, as if he knew her so well. Staring at the hairpin with delight, she raised it so the light reflected off it. It was a silver hairpin, like most of the others, and dancing upon its head was a crane with its head sheltering another animal. When she examined it further she noted it was a wolf, whose mouth was open, ready to bite the crane's neck which she foolishly exposed to the beast.
"You expose your neck to wolves, and yet you do so willingly because you are foolish. You shelter beasts, thinking they will change, but a wolf will always be a wolf. Just because a wolf can be placid does not mean it stops being a wolf. That hairpin is a sign of your foolishness."
The words came quickly from Chizuru and she did not think before she spoke them, "That may be true, and I may be foolish, but I will continue to stick my neck out for people, for everyone. It may seem foolish, but my goal is not to change someone when I shelter him or her: it is to protect him or her. The crane bends its neck willingly to the wolf because it loves this wolf, and is willing to take the risk that the wolf will bite her head. To me, I see bravery, and courage, not of strength but of heart. The wolf, in and of itself represents grace, power, and cunning; loyalty to its clan and brethren. Yet, the crane extends her head to him because power, cunning, grace, and loyalty are nothing without patience, love, virtue, mercy, and wisdom. The crane is trust, and the wolf is self-dependence. Both without the other, though they themselves are different species, have an understanding. The wolf goes to bite the crane because it does not know how to extend love when it has so often extended hate. The crane does not know how to think with wit when it has, for so long, always extended love. Both, in many ways, are lost and it is only when they come together that they harmonize.
So, this hairpin may be a sign of my foolishness, but it is also a sign of my love, and my determination to understand someone's perspective which is far different from my own."
Chizuru started into Kazama's dark red pools and saw a wolf biting at its own heels, and she was sure Kazama saw a crane fluttering around as if trapped by an invisible cage. In short, both had come to an understanding that they were both in need of help, one realizing this, the other in denial. Yet, they both were confused as to how to receive the help they desired, because for so long both had relied upon themselves to pick themselves from the cold ground. While one gate was opening, many more were shut between them.
However, as Chizuru stuck the hairpin in her hair, something foreign told her that one day she would see Kazama on the other side. He, in turn, would see her.
And maybe then, something truly wonderful would happen.
There is a small reference to The Odyssey in the first paragraph of this chapter regarding Dawn. One example of this from The Odyssey is this: "When young Dawn with her rose-red fingers shone once more…" (II.1). It is an epithet that is used when talking about Dawn and I decided to use it for fun!
My final edited and re-vamped chapter is done! Expect a new one as soon as possible. It may not be for a week or so since I do have classes and I will be busy tomorrow. Considering on how quickly I get it written it may be done sooner than that. I will try to work on it some tomorrow if I can and tonight when I finish reading some more. I hope you guys look forward to what will be in store for Kazama and Chizuru!