A gentle breeze whistled along the mountain path along Kannagi Mountain, bringing with it the cold touch of winter. The season was just starting, but as the days and nights were not yet cold to point where protection from the freezing cold was necessary; it was still wise to be careful, for snow had fallen from the sky at least twice already. It wasn't so bad in Kamiari Village since it had received a light snow; but Kannagi Mountain had received the worst of it, as its snow covered pathways and patches of black ice here and there proved that it was most perilous to cross over the mountain in this kind of weather.

It was for this reason that Shino had exercised caution on her trip, for she had to deliver a letter to someone in Tsukikaze Village from Azuki in Kamiari Village. Azuki had wanted to check up with a fellow shopkeeper in the neighboring village, so she needed someone to take deliver the letter; Shino had nothing to do, so she agreed to be the one to deliver it.

After having told Izuna and Shizune that she was going and to relate her message to Gen-An, she left the village behind her; making her way towards Kannagi Mountain. She simply had to cross the mountain and then the hard part was done; yet she would have to take the mountain path again.

It had been a day since then, and so far, Shino was making little progress as she went. The snow and ice had made it much difficult to cross the mountain, but she had no other path to take; it was either the mountain or wait until the snow had melted, and Azuki couldn't wait for the latter to pass.

She had already made several detours when snow that had piled up into impassable had blocked her path. She had managed to quickly find the way back to the path the first time, but with each detour she made, it was taking longer and longer to find the path; soon she would be lost and would have to find somewhere to take shelter for the night.

She had just taken another detour right as the sun was starting to set beneath the horizon; her only light source was that, and it was diminishing as night was about to fall over the mountain. Right now, she was trying to find the path again; gazing around so as to find something familiar that would be recognizable as the way back or part of it.

She was starting to wonder if it was such a good idea to make the journey alone when she came to a huge, snowy clearing with a wall of the mountain on the right and a huge cliff at her left and front.

"Just great…" she sighed as she closed her eyes and pointed her head towards the ground while placing her hand on her forehead. "One little detour and I end up lost." She turned around and picked her head up while walking back to the entrance of the clearing. "Well, time to head back…if I can get back." she added with a bit of fatigue at the second part of her sentence.

Just as she was about to leave the clearing, a large Steel Boar sauntered into the entrance, growling as it laid its eyes upon her. It seemed that it had picked up her scent and was following her along her detour; obviously it looked upon her as an intruder…and a meal.

As the beast inched towards Shino very slowly, the latter of the two sighed again as she reached back behind her to a pouch at her waist; opening it and pulling a kunai out from within. "And now it'll be even longer…oh well, best to make this as short as possible." she spoke as she got into a defensive position.

Time passed between the two of them as they stared each other down for the initial phase of the fight. Both combatants stared each other down, each waiting for the other to make the first move.

The Steel Boar snorted and took the initiative, charging at Shino just as she jumped in the air to her right; dodging the boar's charge as it skidded to a halt and fell over. As its body made contact with the ground, Shino landed gracefully; putting enough distance between her and the beast. Her landing itself was elegant, but the moment her feet touched the ground she suddenly cried out as she slipped and fell backwards on a large patch of black ice she hadn't noticed before.

It was an unfortunate act of carelessness on her part, for the impact her head made with the ice sent a wave of pain through her; making her dizzy as her vision blurred. She winced and moaned in pain as she slowly raised herself to a sitting position; rubbing the back of her head to make the pain go away while feeling for blood.

While she was lucky that her head had suffered only a slight concussion, she was not so lucky as to notice that the boar was up and at it again; charging right for her once more. It was too late for her to try and dodge the beast, so she did the only thing she could think of. She quickly stood up as fast as she could and stuck her kunai out, holding the handle with both hands gripped around the hilt. It was a stupid move, but it was the only one she could make; with some difficulty, for her feet continued to slip in all directions as she struggled to stand on the ice.

Undeterred by her sudden desperation, the boar plowed onward towards her; not believing that it could be stopped by something as mere as this. That was its mistake leading to its downfall and death.

It collided head on with the kunai; its head driving itself into it as the blade made itself go deep into its thick skull. It had died in an instant, but its body still hadn't stopped skidding; pushing Shino back as she struggled to keep her balance on the slick ice.

Finally it was all over; the boar's body had slowed down and stopped, leaving Shino holding her kunai as she inhaled and exhaled deeply; catching her breath. When she had fully recovered from almost fatal injury, she stood upright and looked in the direction of the sun; it was falling fast.

"Great…Just Great." she sighed; fatigued from the battle. "Now I've no choice but to find somewhere to spend the night. I just hope that this boar didn't have any family…if not then I'll stay in its den."

She turned back to her kunai and tried to pull it out from the boar's head, but it wouldn't budge; it was in too deep. She sighed again and rested for a bit to gather all of her remaining strength to pull the kunai out. Minutes later, she scowled as she used what strength she had left to yank it out. Within seconds, she was successful…

…only to become startled as she lost her balance on the edge of the cliff. She cried out as she teetered on the slippery edge, hoping to regain her balance. She looked back to see how high she was; her eyes widened in fear when she couldn't see the bottom.

Her plan of regaining her balance eventually became all for naught; she had no room on the ledge for her to maneuver around.

A piece of the edge beneath her broke away, causing her to start to fall to her death. In a last effort to save herself, she grabbed hold of the boar's head to try and pull herself up. It didn't work as she had planned for the boar's corpse suddenly went with her; slamming into her, causing her to lose her grip and fall back.

She screamed as she fell, her head pointing towards the ground as she spiraled towards the bottom. When all hope seemed lost and certain death seemed highly likely, one last idea came to her.

In an instant, she gripped her kunai with both hands and thrust it through the surface of the rocky wall; smashing it in, causing cracks and tears formed in it as she skidded to a halt while one of her hands lost its grip on the hilt, stopping herself from falling and saving herself from her death.

She breathed a sigh of relief and looked down to see how far she was up; to her shock, she still couldn't see the bottom. Acrophobia welled up within her as she looked up to see if the wall was scalable. She was lucky that it was.

As she reached her free hand up to the nearest rock jutting out from the wall, her other hand began to slip on the hilt; evidently her hands had started sweating from holding onto her kunai as tight as she could, causing her to lose her grip on it.

Her free arm was suddenly pushed away as the kunai began to break free from within the wall; giving her more cause to be scared. She looked down again as an expression of pure terror formed on her face; she began to sweat as she looked back up and shot her arm up towards the rock she had tried to reach for.

It broke as her hand gripped it with all the strength she could muster, causing the kunai to slip free even more.

"Don't fall, don't fall, don't fall, don't fall, don't fall…" her mind repeated fearfully as she lost her grip even more. The wind began to pick up fiercely now as she struggled to hang on for dear life.

She was about to shoot her arm back up and reach for another rock, but as she did her hand slipped off the hilt of the kunai as it fell out from the wall.

As the wind died down, Shino's frightened screams could be heard above the other sounds of the mountain, as they were the last that anyone would hear from her…

It had seemed like hours passed before finally Shino groggily woke up; her eyes struggling to open as her body lied limp in the snow. As the blur slowly cleared from them, the question that came to her mind was whether or not she was alive. The ringing in her ears slowly went away, letting her hear her own heartbeat while the blur was just clearing up.

She was alive; a blessing she was most grateful for. In her mind, she mentally thanked the gods that she survived the fall; landing in a huge pile of snow. When she got back to Kamiari Village, she'd have to embrace Izuna and Shizune in a group hug; although whether or not she'd tell them what had happened was entirely up to how worried they were for her.

As she staggered to her feet, she nearly fell into the snow again as bits of it gave way underneath her. As she stood on top of the huge snow pile, she looked around at her surroundings; gazing upon the wall where she had fallen from. As she looked up, she could see that the wall and cliff at the top were around five times higher than Mugen Castle. While gazing up at it, acrophobia rose up within her a second time; making her avert her gaze to look elsewhere.

However, that one look up had told her something which she had worried about for all day. It was dark out; night had already fallen over the mountain.

Shino felt that it must have been hours- perhaps days- that she had been unconscious. She had no idea what time or day it was. Now she was not only lost in the mountain; she was lost in the track of time without any way to even tell it.

She now looked upon the huge rocky walls that had surrounded the little clearing she now found herself in; turning around to see what looked like a broken bridge at what seemed to be the entrance to it.

She jumped in the air and landed on the ground; stumbling a bit as she discovered that one of her legs was hurt in the fall. It wasn't too bad, but the pain still made her wince. She didn't have anything that she could use to heal her leg; not even a simple Light of Healing or some bandages to wrap around it.

She limped over to the ledge where the broken bridge was and looked down at the other side, seeing what was left of it as broken planks hung from a lone rope; a couple of them broke away from it and fell to another small clearing.

"Guess there's no going this way." she said as she turned around and limped around the pile of snow she had landed in. There was another path; one that had no bridge or gap to cross, but had been a simple walkway. This wasn't the path she was looking for to Tsukikaze Village, but she hoped it would be the path that would take her to it or perhaps some shelter for the night.

Suddenly while she was limping along it, a huge body crashed to the ground a short distance in front of her. The impact had given her a small scare as she stumbled backwards, but she quickly recovered from it and made her way towards the body.

It was the corpse of the Steel Boar she had killed; it must have fallen from the top of the cliff and hurtled towards the ground. But something was wrong; she had killed it when it ran into her kunai, yet now the corpse looked like it had been recently half eaten by something.

"What could have done this?" Shino asked herself as she eyed the missing limbs, the ripped up belly, and half of what was left of the head. No known creature could have done something like that or made huge bites into its food.

She had seen disgusting sights before, but this one made her feel sick to her stomach. Nauseous, she covered her mouth and stumbled over to another spot away from the corpse. She got down on her hands and knees and vomited; inhaling and exhaling deeply as the mere sight of the desecrated corpse sent chills down her spine.

It was then that she suddenly realized something; her kunai was missing. She mentally cursed her forgetfulness and turned back to the mound of snow. She limped towards it and tried to search for at least something that was part of her kunai; she was successful at first when she saw something sticking out of the snow, but when she pulled the object out she saw that it was just the hilt of her now broken kunai.

It wasn't turning out as she had hoped or going as she had planned; she was lost, hurt, and now defenseless without a single weapon for protection on her. She hoped that there was a way out of this chasm or that someone would come along and find her; though for the latter, she'd have to make herself seen and heard by whoever was passing by the chasm. For the moment, she would just have to go around the corner of the wall and see what was around it.

Tossing the hilt aside somewhere, she limped around the wall; closing her eyes as she sighed. It was when she opened them that she became amazed at the sight before her.

There, across and ahead of her, was a huge monastery of cyclopean masonry. The building was magnificent in that of itself; the pillars that held up the cover of the large porch and stairs were carved from the very rocky wall of the mountain, the building blocks of the foundation were not of the mountain but had been placed to cover up the entirety of whatever sized hole had been dug in to make rooms for the building, and the appearance of it gave off a sense of beauty.

The building was in ruins; showing its decrepit ancientness in all the splendor that could be found to appreciate old ruins such as these. As Shino gazed upon what was left of a once fantastic building, she could not help but feel the feeling that an explorer or a folklorist would get when in the presence of buildings such as this one; but at the same time, a strange sense of dread grew within her.

This old building wasn't fashioned by humans or the gods, but something else altogether. Shino knew not what, but whatever it was, it was long gone now.

Now grateful for the shelter and hoping that it was as empty as she had hoped it would be, she limped onward towards the monastery, passing a few more old ruins; ones that were made by human hands, but had been utterly destroyed to the point where only the blocks and wood that had made up the bottom as well as part of the ground floor could be seen.

It was these ruins that she ignored, for they had no roof; the main monastery building was her only hope for this night.

Limping up towards it, she could see more details of the building; broken windows that had been installed by human hands as well as huge, wooden double doors that still seemed to be in use. The walls were a shade of deep black that had made it easy to stand out in the sun and it fit the moonlight quite nicely.

As Shino limped up the steps- having a hard time at it with her wounded leg- she tripped over a couple of them and cried out; stumbling forward and very nearly falling, but she had managed to place both her hands on the wall to stop herself. She managed to right herself by gently pushing herself back while limping forward a couple of steps. When that was done, she limped over to the doors and grabbed one of the knobs; pushing the door that the knob was a part open.

Limping inside, Shino was awestruck at the size and beauty of the interior of the building. "Wow…" she could not help but utter at the immense detail that could describe the very place.

The interior was old and decrepit just like the exterior; however, it looked more like it could be found in a foreign shrine- or temples, churches, cathedrals, and the like as she had heard from Shizune that they also went by these names. There were all sorts of foreign decorations scattered all over the place- some broken and some not- that Shino couldn't name; they were all around the foyer where she now stood. She figured that she'd tell Shizune about this place and ask what these decorations were called.

Seeing that most of the place was sealed off by rocks that had collapsed, Shino limped towards a nearby door. She saw a sign next to it that read 'Cellar' on it; that wasn't where she wanted to go. Instead, she limped up a nearby staircase and found another door; slightly ajar, almost as if it were sending a sort of 'enter if you dare' invitation. She shuddered at the genius loci, but pulled the door open nonetheless; finding another staircase on the other side.

"Great," she thought as she sighed and limped up them, "more stairs."

At the top of them, she found a small room with just a spiral staircase leading up to another door. She slapped her face in exasperation, irritated that there were more stairs for her to go up; her leg just couldn't handle anymore stairs. But she refused to complain, heading up them as they creaked unsteadily underneath her; it seemed like they would break and she would fall to the floor from them.

After what seemed like around half an hour, Shino finally made it to the top; panting as she had a tough time getting up with her leg being injured. As she was about to reach for the knob of the door, the wooden steps underneath her gave way. She screamed as she fell; grabbing onto another step that was sturdier than the rest and holding onto it with one hand.

She felt her hand slip as she couldn't hold on any longer, but she luckily managed to grab hold of it with her other hand and pull herself up.

Not wanting to think about the stairs anymore, Shino grabbed the door knob and pulled the door open; limping inside to find some kind of room on the other side.

The room was a decent sized room, filled with a nightstand, a bookshelf, a desk, a chest, a few bureaus, and some shelves. Shino had seen many other pieces of furniture like them at a small trading festival at Suirei Town.

There were scrolls and talismans on the desk, shelves, and nightstand; all of which Shino had read and used on her adventures with Izuna. The bookshelf was filled with foreign books Shino had never read before, but she had heard about all of them from Shizune; they were filled with folklore, myths, legends, and the like. Evidently the person who was staying in this room had a love for that kind of stuff.

Seeing as how there might have been some interesting stuff in the room, Shino could not help herself as she limped to the chest and took a peek inside. The moonlight coming in from the dirty window- which wasn't broken like the others outside- shone on a few objects inside the chest. Her curiosity grew as she opened the chest, revealing the items that lay within.

She first took out a bas-relief in the image of some sort of creature with the head of an octopus- a foreign type of fish she learned about from Shizune- and long, narrow wings on some sort of humanoid body. The word inscribed at the bottom of the bas-relief said 'Cthulhu' on it. It appeared that this was some sort of demon or god from a foreign land. Either way, Shino could only shudder at the appearance of what the statuette represented; she guessed that it would be a lot scarier if she saw the thing up close, but it wouldn't be that scary if it wasn't as big as she thought it was.

The next item was an amulet of some strange design with what looked like a winged hound crouching down pictured on it. A skull had been engraved on the bottom of it along with an inscription the likes of which Shino never read before.

Placing both the bas-relief and the amulet back, Shino then took out a third item; a black mirror of an odd shape which she could not really describe too well. The mirror was covered with strange pictures; all of which she had never seen before, but they did look sort of like hieroglyphics. Like the bas-relief, this object also instilled fear into her, but more so on a somewhat greater level; she didn't even want to look at it anymore, as she felt like she was looking inside it.

With nothing else of interest in the chest- there literally wasn't as the three items were all that was in it- Shino put them all back in the chest and closed it; then making her way over to the bureaus near the corner of the room.

She opened all three of them before taking anything out, letting her eyes skim the titles of each book she was now gazing upon; Necronomican, Liber Ivonis,Cthäat Aquadingen, Cultes des Goules, De Vermis Mysteriis, Dhol Chants, Pnakotic Manuscripts, and finally Unaussprechlichen Kulten.

All of these were books that Shino had never even read or heard of. They all seemed to be quite mysterious books from foreign lands. When she looked through each one, she could tell that they were from foreign lands from the languages that each of them were in. As she was looking through all of them, she could not help but feel nervous at what these books seemed to speak of, or even suggest.

After replacing them back in the bureaus, Shino turned away to see if there was anything else in the room. As she looked all over, her eyes finally came upon a foreign bed right by a window, next to some sort of foreign object resting on the window sill. Walking over, she examined the strange object first, noting how long it was and that it had two pieces of glass on each end; one small and one bigger than the other.

Seeing as how it couldn't have been really important, Shino turned her attention to the bed. She placed her hand on it and moved it along the sheets. Dust spread out into the air, making her cough and sneeze a few times; she couldn't help being allergic to dust.

"Well, it might not be the most comfortable bed, or perhaps the cleanest one," she said as she picked up the pillow and tried to fluff it, causing more dust to fly all over as she couched and sneezed again, "but it'll do for tonight."

As she sat on the bed and began to lie down, she winced in pain as she lifted her wounded leg up onto the bed. When she was on the bed, she finally relaxed and turned her head out to look out the window; from how high the window was, she could see the stars above a small plateau across from the monastery.

Having given up on fluffing the pillow, Shino put it back where it was and put her head down on it; realizing that something was hidden in it. She sat up and pulled it in front of her; searching for an opening in it. She found one moments later and pulled a book out from between a couple of small cushions inside.

She opened the book and found that it was in a language she could understand; it was a journal that belonged to someone who was most likely someone who had lived here in the past. The writing looked to be very old, proving that it was written a long, long, time ago; how long ago, Shino had no idea. Most of the entries weren't of any real importance, but there was one which Shino had found which she now read:

"March 17:

While exploring the mountain for herbs, I came across this monastic building of unknown origin. I went inside and found the place empty; abandoned by whoever had crafted it. Seeing as how this would be a great place to live, I made several maps of the place before returning to my makeshift camp for the night to study the maps."

The entry seemed to be the start of how the tenant came to live in the monastery; the next one being about the placement of where he or she wanted each piece of furniture.

She then came upon an entry that talked about hiring builders to restore the building and then servants to work at the place, but the one after that was of some interest to her:

"April 8:

I went to Tsukikaze Village to find some people skilled in restoring buildings, but when I brought up the subject of the monastery, they all made the sign of Shuuchi, the God of Earth in this land. They told me to let the monastery be and not disturb what was there. I didn't understand what they meant, as they clearly said no more since they didn't want to speak of the matter. I have no other choice but to go beyond the village and seek the workmen I need."

There were more entries after this one, but most of them spoke of how he had finally hired some able-bodied men to work on the restoration of the monastery; even going as far as building a couple of new buildings. Among the entries about the workmen and the restoration, there was one entry about how a huge cave system was found in what was the cellar of the monastery.

From then on, there were entries about the history of the monastery; how a group of religious worshippers of Shuuchi had discovered the monastery, along with something in the cave. Beginning to revere it as a god more powerful than Shuuchi, they eventually established a cult of worship for their new deity. This cult, as it had been called the Followers of the Terra Sator, had kidnapped many people living in the villages neighboring the mountain; using them as sacrifices to awaken their deity from dormancy so that it could take back its place as the creator of the planet. Their plan was thwarted when Shuuchi discovered their activities and took vengeance on them, punishing them for their evil deeds by burying them within an avalanche; burying them in the mountain.

The one thing he couldn't destroy or bury was the exterior of the monastery itself, so he left it standing and made a new law stating that those who would use the monastery as a place of worship were to be punished. However, from her visit to it, Shino could tell that a small bit of the interior had survived as well.

With all the entries about the history finished, the author of the journal went on, speaking about gaining an audience with Shuuchi and inquiring for permission to use it as a simple home and to explore the cave system. After much reluctance, Shuuchi agreed on the condition that the author was to not worship what his former worshippers had. After the deal was sealed, the god had given the author caution to be careful in the cave system; for untold dangers could have lurked within it.

The final entries focused on the exploration of the cave, coming to a colossal door at the end of it, and the opening of the it. The author wrote of how many servants had died there, but without mention what it was that they had died of. The last entry written spoke of how the author was not going down without a fight against what had been released. The author elected to going down to the cave system alone; whereas the rest of the servants had fled.

Now trembling in fear, Shino's whole body shook as she put the journal on the nightstand next to the bed and put the pillow back behind her. She put her head down on it again and remained awake with her arms outstretched, unable to sleep as she thought of what sort of thing- be it beast, demon, or the whatnot- the author could have found within the cave system…

Only a few hours later was Shino jolted awake, gasping for breath while covered in perspiration. Her eyes were wide with fright as an expression of great terror came to her face.

She was now recovering from the most horrible nightmare she had ever had.

Images had flashed through her mind as she slept; images of great caves under the surface of the planet, of mysterious beings that worshipped some sort of deity, of many horrible, unspeakable acts committed by strange men in even stranger garb, and of terror in the form of madness and insanity itself.

It had become horrible to the point where she could take it no longer and sought refuge in being awake; it was too much for her to dream of. The worst part of all of it was that it seemed so vivid…so real

Her leg had started hurting again as she swung both of them over the side of the bed while forcing herself into a sitting position; however, she ignored the pain, instead wanting to focus on what had caused her so much terror.

"I-I-It w-was just a-a nightm-mare…" she stammered as she assured herself that it was over and no more. "Just a-a nightmare…"

She inhaled and exhaled deeply as she stood up, her whole body trembling in fear. She couldn't read the books or the journal to take her mind off of her nightmare; they would only make her more and more afraid. Instead, opting to take a short walk, she walked to the door and went out the room. Down the damaged stairs she went, coming down to the staircase at the bottom; making her way down them as well as the next staircase.

What guided her to the door which led to the cellar she did not know; maybe it was just to make sure that it was indeed just a nightmare, or maybe it was to see what it was that Shuuchi's former worshippers had converted to worshipping for herself. Whatever being the reason, she still went down the stairs which led to the cellar. Reason screamed at her to not continue down and to just leave the monastery; leaving what was meant to be alone well enough alone.

Once in the cellar, she found the hole that the workmen had found and stood in front of it for what seemed like hours to her. She stood there, gazing upon the hole as if waiting for some sort of horror to come out from under the floor through that hole.

When nothing came out, she swallowed a lump in her throat and slowly descended to the vast subterranean cavern that lay underneath.

She limped onward, silent and endlessly, heading through a colossal door and eventually coming to a great pit that spanned what would probably have been the total distance of three large villages put together.

On the edge of that bottomless abyss she stood, gazing down at it from where she stood. The height of the cliff she was now on made her disorientated to the point where she began to sway dizzily; unable to handle the sheer height of how far up she was, due to recently acquiring acrophobia.

She put her hand on her forehead and inhaled and exhaled deeply, closing her eyes for a few minutes so that she could adjust herself to the height of the cliff.

It was when she opened her eyes and looked down to see the horror that was now coming up from within the pit.

As big as the door itself, the thing that rose up was a colossal mass of amorphous darkness with thousands of arachnid like legs protruding from the main body as was the number of mouths that were open; crying out for sacrifice and to escape from its prison…

Of her flight to escape the monastery and the terrible thing that lay underneath it, Shino couldn't remember much; only very little. She remembered screaming as she limped back through the caverns as fast as she could; up into the monastery cellar, up the stairs, and out the front door of the monastery without looking back.

She had been running on her bad leg, hurting it even more as she stumbled blindly over the edge of where the bridge had once been; falling unconscious as she tumbled down the little hilly chasm.

She had ended up on the outskirts of Tsukikaze Village where a traveler had found her badly bruised all over from her fall down the mountain. He had taken her to the village where she had began recovering from her injuries till another traveler- this one a merchant making a deliver to Kamiari Village and passing through Tsukikaze Village en route- recognized her as Izuna's closet friend and chose to bring her with him.

Once in Kamiari Village, the merchant found Izuna with Shizune- whom he had not known at the time but had been confused as to how she looked similar to Shino- and wanted to pull the former of the two over to him so he could speak to her.

Even when both had come over, the latter had asked about Shino, saying that she was her sister when the merchant had mentioned her. Hard to explain in words, the merchant just ushered them over to his wagon where they both cried out Shino's name when they saw her battered form lying in it.

Gently taking her out of the wagon, both girls had brought her back to the house they were now living in and brought her up to her bed where they cared for her till she had physically recovered from her injuries.

When she awoke from her unconsciousness, she had constantly kept screamed in terror till Izuna and Shizune got her back to her senses by gently shaking her and calling out her name to her repeatedly.

After calming her down enough despite her still shaking from fright, they both explained all they had heard from the merchant and that they were taking care of her till she got better. When they finished, they both hugged her, crying about how worried they were for her.

From then on, Shino no longer wanted to be alone or go through Kannagi Mountain ever again. She alone had seen what it was that resided in those caverns underneath the monastery and had survived to tell the tale; which she never related to anyone- not even Izuna or Shizune- for the mere thought of it had become a source for fears she had now developed.

Once she had asked Shuuchi of his former followers whom had formed the cult, but he couldn't provide her with any more details other than the ones she had learned of in the journal. She had made sure to lie to him about having just seen it from the cliff top; but while he was suspicious about her real reason for asking, he just let the matter drop for good.

She continued to have nightmares of it each night, the same nightmares playing in her mind as she slept over and over again.

She knew that it was not madness she was suffering from, but from the reality that she had learned of within the pages of that worn journal as well as the sight of what it was that lay within the caverns underneath the monastery.

Since then, there was only one question on her mind that had no answer, for she knew that not even the gods could answer it; if something such as that could exist, what else was there that was like it?

I've worked hard on this one-shot, and I have to say that it came out the way I had envisioned it. This was the longest one-shot I've worked on; I'm impressed with its progress. I hope you enjoy reading it as I enjoyed typing it.

As this Izuna: The Unemployed Ninja story is a crossover story with the Cthulhu Mythos, I've included a lot of Cthulhu Mythos arcane literature, a few objects from the Cthulhu Mythos, a new Cthulhu Mythos Elder God, and a Cthulhu Mythos-esque backstory to make this finely crafted story partly inspired by some of H.P. Lovecraft's stories. The last part of the story was inspired by Robert E. Howard's The Black Stone and H.P. Lovecraft's Dagon.

Disclaimer: I don't own the Cthulhu Mythos arcane literature or the few Cthulhu Mythos objects I included in this story.

Here's a list of the owners of the arcane literature:

The Necronomican, Pnakotic Manuscripts- H.P. Lovecraft

Liber Ivonis (I believe this is Latin for the Book of Eibon)- Clark Ashton Smith

Cthäat Aquadingen- Brian Lumley

Cultes des Goules, De Vermis Mysteriis- Robert Bloch

Dhol Chants- H.P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald (If you read The Horror In The Carnival, my Castlevania- Cthulhu Mythos crossover, then you'll recall that I said that H.P. Lovecraft ghostwrote The Horror in the Museum for Hazel Heald. If you haven't read it, then you know now.)

Unaussprechlichen Kulten- Robert E. Howard

Here's the short list of the few Cthulhu Mythos objects and their owners:

The bas-relief that looked like Cthulhu- H.P. Lovecraft

The little amulet with the winged hound pictured on it with the skull embedded on it- H.P. Lovecraft (from his short story The Hound, in case any of you were wondering.)

The Black Mirror (not the game [yes, there's a video game series called Black Mirror], the object from a short story called The Black Mirror) - John Glasby (he's the author of the short story, The Black Mirror.)

I don't own Izuna: The Unemployed Ninja. It's owned by Success (the developers who made the first game) and Ninja Studio (the developers who made the second game). I don't know why both companies own the small franchise; I was looking on Wikipedia to find out who made the series, and it said that both developers made the games (in the order above).