Extra Seishi of the Four Gods
Okay so... in chatting with an rp partner, we ended up discovering that we had been a part of the same fandoms some 10+ years ago. She ran a website that hosted some of my old fics... which made me drag out some old dvds that I'd saved my webpages on... and lo and behold, I found these old fics hanging around still and decided heck why not bring them back. So here they are, a trip down memory lane! These were written in the late 90's and early 2000's when I went by too many psudonyms to remember. I actually forgot who I was until I physically saw the fics listed and went 'oh crap I remember those!'. Ahh memories.
Be warned... these were my first attempts at writing and are likely riddled with grammar, spelling and other noted errors. I've read through them, blushed furiously that I used to write like this, and decided to put them up anyway as-is with no revisions. So please enjoy, but don't bother correcting or whining, they shall be ignored!
Standard disclaimer: These characters were dreamed up by Watase Yuu, and I take no credit for their creation.
This fanfic was done as a joint effort rpg between: Marek VII, Chichiri DA, Chang Lin, and Ou Kouran.
Warning: This fic contains mild lemon scenes, bisexual relationships, and violence. You have been warned.
"I am Chang Lin, and I do not know where I was born. I was raised by Nakago of the Seiryuu Seven, and know nothing of my family. "But something has been happening lately, something I do not understand. You see, there is a symbol that sometimes appears on my neck, and it means Suzaku..."
"But something has been happening lately, something I do not understand. You see, there is a symbol that sometimes appears on my neck, and it means Suzaku..."
His head was throbbing again with the dull aching pain that so often was the onset of one of the frighteningly painful migraines he'd been having for some time now. He sighed and shifted positions on the mattress, laying back onto his backside to get more comfortable, as if that were possible on such a lumpy pad of stuffed straw.
He closed his eye slowly, letting himself try to relax. It was always easier if he did so, so he let his mind flow back to the past... back to when everything had started... he wondered, was Boushin-sama still alive? Or had he been caught? What had happened to the young prince?
"Chichiri-san! Take Boushin and go!" Houki screamed at the top of her lungs as she shoved the young prince into the Seishi's arms. "Get away quickly before they catch you!" The desperate look in her eyes bore into his soul and he took a hesitant back. "Houki-sama! What about you?" He screamed back at her over the roar of the fires raging on the roof of the building. "Come with us!" She shoved him further down the hall, running to escape the falling timbers. "GO! I have to stay here!" Her eyes held tears of pain. "Take care of my baby for me." And with that, Chichiri nodded grimly and teleported away from the palace with the prince. He reappeared outside of the nearby forest on the fringes of Konan country. He couldn't manage any further than that. His ki had been stretched to the extreme limit with trying to defend the palace and maintain the perimeter to keep the royal family safe. His ki was all but drained, and he'd have to go the rest of the way on foot. He quickly began running through the forest aware someone with strong ki was running after him. Unfortunately he was so intent on what was behind him, he didn't realize the truth until it was too late.
"Houki-sama! What about you?" He screamed back at her over the roar of the fires raging on the roof of the building. "Come with us!"
She shoved him further down the hall, running to escape the falling timbers. "GO! I have to stay here!" Her eyes held tears of pain. "Take care of my baby for me." And with that, Chichiri nodded grimly and teleported away from the palace with the prince.
He reappeared outside of the nearby forest on the fringes of Konan country. He couldn't manage any further than that. His ki had been stretched to the extreme limit with trying to defend the palace and maintain the perimeter to keep the royal family safe. His ki was all but drained, and he'd have to go the rest of the way on foot.
He quickly began running through the forest aware someone with strong ki was running after him. Unfortunately he was so intent on what was behind him, he didn't realize the truth until it was too late.
With a scream of pain, he fell to the ground as his back smoldered from the remains of a ki blast. He groaned and clutched the young prince protectively to his chest as he glanced furtively up. He wasn't prepared for the sight that awaited him however. Surrounding him in a circle in the clearing, were all of the Seiryuu Seishi. He caught his breath in horror as he heard a low chuckle. "Well well well... The Suzaku Seishi are as sloppy as ever." Gritting his teeth, he knew what he had to do. Whispering into the princes ear, Chichiri used the last part of his ki to shield the prince and make him invisible. The prince obeyed instantly, Chichiri always having been the closest person other than his mother to him, and he ran off before any of the Seiryuu could act. Chichiri hoped and prayed to Suzaku that the prince would escape. A stinging pain struck him in the back of the head as he found himself lifted up by a strong muscular arm of Ashitare, to find himself face to face with Nakago himself. "So," Sneered the Shogun. "Call back the prince now and we'll save you some trouble." Chichiri gazed back evenly, his mask having fallen off somewhere along the way. "Go to hell." he hissed viciously, startling the Shogun. But this made the blonde only smile more after recovering...
Surrounding him in a circle in the clearing, were all of the Seiryuu Seishi. He caught his breath in horror as he heard a low chuckle. "Well well well... The Suzaku Seishi are as sloppy as ever." Gritting his teeth, he knew what he had to do. Whispering into the princes ear, Chichiri used the last part of his ki to shield the prince and make him invisible.
The prince obeyed instantly, Chichiri always having been the closest person other than his mother to him, and he ran off before any of the Seiryuu could act. Chichiri hoped and prayed to Suzaku that the prince would escape.
A stinging pain struck him in the back of the head as he found himself lifted up by a strong muscular arm of Ashitare, to find himself face to face with Nakago himself. "So," Sneered the Shogun. "Call back the prince now and we'll save you some trouble."
Chichiri gazed back evenly, his mask having fallen off somewhere along the way. "Go to hell." he hissed viciously, startling the Shogun. But this made the blonde only smile more after recovering...
He hadn't remembered much after that... they'd tortured him to no ends... he'd tried hard to block out the memory, but something that painful was hard to forget. He had wondered at first why they hadn't killed him, but later on he discovered why. They enjoyed keeping him to play with, or at least Nakago did anyway.
Chichiri sighed and traced on of his numerous scars lining his skin. They'd stopped after a while, virtually forgetting about him. He wasn't even sure how many years had passed by now. He only knew that he'd failed in his duty.
He often found himself wondering if Tasuki had made it. The invasion by Kutou had been severe, many villages had been totally immolated.
Chichiri sat up slowly and slowly limped over to where his water dish was. He cupped a hand and drank, managing to wet his parched lips. They only fed him once a week, and he'd had to learn how to adapt on his own in order to stay alive. The forms of "adapting" were things that he swore he'd never let be known outside of the cell, it had been too severe. He sighed and lay down on the mattress again, wondering if he'd just end up dying here never seeing the sunlight again. That was something he'd longed to see for ages... though he wasn't too old, he'd been imprisoned for enough time to make him look three times his natural age. He was very pale, dirty, wan, thin, his hair had grown out far past his waist scraggly and matted, despite how often he managed to hack some off with whatever he could, and the only thing that had kept him going, was his soul, burning bright and fierce for survival...
Boushin had been running for so long, he'd been alone even longer. One of his hands was cut and bleeding from where he'd fallen a ways back, he'd cut it on a rock. But he had to do what Chichiri said, but where was Chichiri? Boushin suddenly tripped and fell again, bursting into tears. His cries echoed over the forest, alerting a very watchful someone who'd been looking for him. Nakago approached the small boy, at first with all the intent of killing him. Until, that is, Nakago sensed the ki of a Suzaku Seishi. Hotohori. "Hmmm..." he nodded briefly. Boushin simply cried and shook his head. Mommy had found him, and then Uncle Chichiri had left their home leaving Mommy behind. "She's not here?" Nakago continued. "You want to come with me then?" Nakago awaited no reply, only turned and began walking, carrying Boushin with him.
Boushin suddenly tripped and fell again, bursting into tears. His cries echoed over the forest, alerting a very watchful someone who'd been looking for him.
Nakago approached the small boy, at first with all the intent of killing him. Until, that is, Nakago sensed the ki of a Suzaku Seishi. Hotohori. "Hmmm..." he nodded briefly.Wouldn't it be amusing to turn Hotohori's son against him? "Poor little guy." Nakago said evilly, picking up Boushin and hugging him. "Where's your mommy?"
Boushin simply cried and shook his head. Mommy had found him, and then Uncle Chichiri had left their home leaving Mommy behind.
"She's not here?" Nakago continued. "You want to come with me then?" Nakago awaited no reply, only turned and began walking, carrying Boushin with him.
Hotohori had witnessed the attack on the Konan palace, and had been enraged that he was unable to do anything. He'd raged for so long, his spirit finally becoming bitter and dark from his anger. It had been then that Suzaku appeared to him, telling Hotohori he was about to break one of the most sacred rules of the gods. He was going to allow Hotohori to go back, to save his son. It was this that Hotohori remembered when he appeared in the palace, this he remembered when he killed the few Kutou soldiers that were still there, and this he remembered when he found both Houki and Boushin missing. "Your highness," the shaking counselors told him shaken from both the attack and the sudden reappearance of their dead emperor. "Mistress Houki ordered one of the Seishi, Chichiri, to escape with Boushin. Not too long after that, we have heard Chichiri to be captured by the Kutou." Hotohori didn't hear anymore, as he ran out of the palace and grabbed a horse quickly. He was like a man possessed; he had to find his son, wife and friend!
Hotohori had witnessed the attack on the Konan palace, and had been enraged that he was unable to do anything. He'd raged for so long, his spirit finally becoming bitter and dark from his anger. It had been then that Suzaku appeared to him, telling Hotohori he was about to break one of the most sacred rules of the gods. He was going to allow Hotohori to go back, to save his son. It was this that Hotohori remembered when he appeared in the palace, this he remembered when he killed the few Kutou soldiers that were still there, and this he remembered when he found both Houki and Boushin missing.
"Your highness," the shaking counselors told him shaken from both the attack and the sudden reappearance of their dead emperor. "Mistress Houki ordered one of the Seishi, Chichiri, to escape with Boushin. Not too long after that, we have heard Chichiri to be captured by the Kutou."
Hotohori didn't hear anymore, as he ran out of the palace and grabbed a horse quickly. He was like a man possessed; he had to find his son, wife and friend!
It had been incredibly hard to bear.
Nuriko had watched all that had happened from his ghostly home, and he was mad that he couldn't do anything. After he saw Chichiri treated badly at the hands of Nakago and that four-legged flea bag….. It was the fact that Ashitare was there at all that really pissed Nuriko off. How dare that bad excuse for a werewolf still be alive after what he had done to him!
He paced backwards and forwards. Waiting was so difficult…. Almost as bad as actually going through what his friends were themselves.
Another ghost came up next to him. A gentle hand was placed on his shoulder. "We have permission Nuriko-sama. We can go and help him. If we are successful then we can gain our life back."
Nuriko smirked and looked really happy. "Can I mess with Ashitare before I'm human again?"
The woman laughed at Nuriko. "I suppose but we need to help Hou...I mean Chichiri first."
"Ah...I get it. Don't worry girl, we shall help him. I don't want him there longer than necessary anyway." Nuriko placed an arm around the girl. "Shall we go cause some trouble Amefuri?"
"We shall Nuriko-sama."
Boushin sat in the room Nakago had left him in, eating hungrily the food that was set before him. He was confused, he knew he'd been somewhere once before, a place like this. Nakago had called it a palace. "So," a voice said to him, and the child looked up to see Nakago enter. "Do you have a name?" "..." was Boushin's only reply. He couldn't... remember! He'd known a few minutes ago! "Well..." Nakago looked like he was in deep thought. "How about Chang Lin?" The child, Chang Lin, nodded seriously. Nakago smiled when he realized just how well the poison had worked on the young boy. The child didn't even remember his own name! "Chang Lin, as I will call you," Nakago knelt down to the boy's height, or near it at least. "I found you, near a roadside." he said. "You mother... I'm afraid she was... dying." Nakago acted saddened. "But she told me to take care of you." He paused and looked at Boushin. "I'm so sorry." "You're going to be... my father?" the little boy said, crying a little. He ran to Nakago and hugged him, Nakago hugged him back a little. "I guess it's that way." Nakago nodded, frowning slightly as he always did. "Now, Chang Lin," Nakago let go of the boy as a few servants walked into the room. "They're going to give you a bath and change your clothes. I will be back later." Nakago turned to leave, catching the eye of another Seiryuu Seishi, Soi. He smirked at her, letting her know it had worked. The prince Boushin was no more. Chang Lin was happily playing later with the same women who had bathed him and given him new clothes. He didn't like the bath much though. One of the women suddenly looked sad, and when the others were preoccupied with something, she leaned over Chang Lin. "This was with your clothes, little one." she said, opening her hand. In it lay a small locket. "There's a picture in from, a little painting, of your mommy. Don't let anyone else see it, okay?" Chang Lin nodded fiercely. "Kay kay."
"So," a voice said to him, and the child looked up to see Nakago enter. "Do you have a name?"
"..." was Boushin's only reply. He couldn't... remember! He'd known a few minutes ago!
"Well..." Nakago looked like he was in deep thought. "How about Chang Lin?"
The child, Chang Lin, nodded seriously.
Nakago smiled when he realized just how well the poison had worked on the young boy. The child didn't even remember his own name!
"Chang Lin, as I will call you," Nakago knelt down to the boy's height, or near it at least. "I found you, near a roadside." he said. "You mother... I'm afraid she was... dying." Nakago acted saddened. "But she told me to take care of you." He paused and looked at Boushin. "I'm so sorry."
"You're going to be... my father?" the little boy said, crying a little. He ran to Nakago and hugged him, Nakago hugged him back a little.No crying, Chang Lin thought angrily. Mommy wouldn't want me to cry... I don't think she would at least.
"I guess it's that way." Nakago nodded, frowning slightly as he always did. "Now, Chang Lin," Nakago let go of the boy as a few servants walked into the room. "They're going to give you a bath and change your clothes. I will be back later." Nakago turned to leave, catching the eye of another Seiryuu Seishi, Soi. He smirked at her, letting her know it had worked. The prince Boushin was no more.
Chang Lin was happily playing later with the same women who had bathed him and given him new clothes. He didn't like the bath much though.
One of the women suddenly looked sad, and when the others were preoccupied with something, she leaned over Chang Lin. "This was with your clothes, little one." she said, opening her hand. In it lay a small locket. "There's a picture in from, a little painting, of your mommy. Don't let anyone else see it, okay?"
Chang Lin nodded fiercely. "Kay kay."
They arrived in Kutou within seconds of their conversation. They glanced furtively around for signs of anyone noticing their arrival, and when they were sure the coast was clear, Amefuri messed with the minds of the Seishi still awake, putting them to sleep so they wouldn't suspect anything. Nuriko added his own touch to Ashitare...smirking as he did so.
They quickly stole through the palace, finding their way down to the dungeons, and fighting whatever guards they encountered. They finally arrived at Chichiri's cell. Nuriko, never being a subtle person, burst his way right through the door, Amefuri saying that she would deal with the guards as Nuriko got him out.
Chichiri had been dreaming again... he'd been sitting by a beautiful tall waterfall, staring out across some gorgeous mountains, feeling the breeze of freedom wet his face. He smiled pleasantly, remembering the feel of the cool wind on his face...
However, he was awoken abruptly and startlingly by an explosionary noise from outside his cell. He sat halfway up, alarmed, and saw his door splinter into shreds.
"Ohayo Gozaimasu. Sorry for making you wait so long for a free ticket out." Nuriko called as he came in. He built his ki and with his bracelet punched the door out and then grabbed Chichiri and headed for the outside.
Chichiri blinked as the dust settled, and nearly caught his breath in shock as Nuriko grabbed him before he had time to say anything, and they were outside of the palace quicker than he could think.
"Sorry for doing it this way Chichiri, but it's a lot faster this way." Nuriko caught up with Amefuri as he and Chichiri reached the outer gate. They smiled at each other as suddenly they were human and not ghosts anymore. Nuriko set Chichiri down. "Nice job Kouran!" Nuriko called out as he went about hugging a tree and being silly cause he could feel and be human once again.
When Nuriko set him down, Chichiri winced as he landed on his bad leg, and stared in shock at the dead Seishi, who didn't look so dead anymore. He wiped some dirt from his face, and looked up with his eye looking hollow and managed to speak in a throaty whisper that his ruined throat allowed. "Nuriko..." He coughed feeling dizzy by all of the sudden action, and leaned against a tree, his shackled hands limp in his lap.
Nuriko stopped being a ditz and looked at Chichiri. "Oh, gomen gomen Chichiri-sama." Nuriko walked over to Chichiri and carefully broke the shackles off his wrists.
Chichiri managed a tired smile as Nuriko broke the shackles for him, and he slowly rubbed his wrists, which were bony and thin like the rest of him with malnourishment.
Nuriko looked at her friend in sympathy. He then turned toward Amefuri. "Can you heal anything here?"
"Hai." Amefuri stepped forward and placed her left hand on Chichiri's side. A white light glowed around them. She healed as much as she could...although it didn't seem to be as much as she would of liked. His internal injuries were gone, and some of his outer. The scars remained where they were. She slumped as she tired herself out. Quietly and kindly she asked "Houjun, daijobu?" Her voice took on it's past sound...becoming that of who she was before. Ou Kouran, Chichiri's fiancée.
Chichiri then realized there was someone else there... he looked over and saw the woman kneel down, and something in his mind tickled as a familiar memory from long ago trickled into his mind. She lifted a hand and healed what little wounds were still existent, which wasn't much. Most of them had long since healed over, and were now permanent. When she'd finished, he looked slowly up at her as her voice triggered a memory. Then...he saw her face...
His breath caught in his ruined throat in a strangled sob and he felt tears begin to well up in disbelief. "Iie..." He rasped softly. "Impossible..." He lifted a shaking hand towards her, and took her hand. Disbelief flickering in his eye.
Kouran took his hand and placed it against her cheek even more closer. She sighed as she felt his touch. Tears filled her eyes as she remembered what had happened years ago. She felt so sorry for not explaining everything first, for simply letting him go with no real explanation. "Houjun, don't disbelieve. It is me. Kouran." Suddenly she burst into tears. "Gomen nasai Houjun. Sumimasen. I never should have done what I did. I felt like I had betrayed you and I did the only thing I could. I let you go." Her tears feel as her words came out choked. "It never loved Hikou. He loved me. He said he wanted one thing from me before I was yours and he kissed me. I never kissed him back, but I felt like I had betrayed you. Gomen." She dropped her hands from his hand and placed them beside her.
"I know I can't ask you to forgive me, and everything else. I can't ask you take me back, since it has been so long. I'm here because I am a descendent of the Byakko Seishi Amefuri. I found this out after my death. When Nuriko wanted to come to help you, I asked if I could as well. I did and to my surprise I was granted my life back as well. I am now here to help on the side of the Suzaku. Since the Byakko Seishi have already been used and called so long ago. I'm afraid I'm not as powerful as my ancestor, but I'm pretty good. While Nuriko and the others were dead they got to know me. I know that you have the best friends you ever could of found in the Suzaku Seishi. I'm glad you were not totally alone." Nuriko placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Chichiri-san, she came to realize she was wrong in what she did way too late. But she's here now to help. Kouran-san is a truly nice person. I understand why she has always been in your heart. As she talked about you when the other Seishi and myself were there her face lit up. She still loves you Chichiri-san."
"I would have you take me back, but I won't ask that of you. Instead all I ask is that you forgive me for the past and allow me to be a friend." Her tears still fell softly as she waited for his answer, hoping he didn't hate her so much as to not allow her to at least be a friend.
Tears spilled down his cheek as he gripped her hand as tightly as he could manage in his weakened condition. How could he possibly tell her how overwhelming his feeling was right now for her? How could he possibly show her how much he'd longed to see her, to touch her, to hear her once more... A rare smile tickled his face and he smiled at her warmly, every amount of passion, grief, love, and hope shining in his eye brightly. He leaned forward and brought his lips to hers gently, breathing in her sweet fragrance and managed to rasp out, "I know. Hikou... told me."
Kouran's tears turned to tears of happiness. "How?" She asked softly. "How...did Hikou...tell you?" Kouran help his hand to her heart. It beat wildly as she knew he remembered her and he apparently loved her still. "Houjun, Hikou died the same day I did. He disappeared for a while up there but he returned so many days after. He never spoke about where he went." Kouran then pressed his hand to her lips, kissing the thin hand against her soft lips. With her free hand she pulled her bag over toward her and brought out some food that was gratefully packed into it for when they became human. She took some bread and water and lifted it to his lips. She knew he needed nourishment, but too much would make him sick. She kept it simple. Knowing her love needed something. "Eat. You need your strength."
He smiled as he felt her gentle heart flutter rapidly beneath his hand. She was a simple bird... so fragile and pristine. He strained to speak to tell her the truth. "Hikou... resurrected by Tenkou... he fought me... again... and then he told me... the truth of... what happened..." He couldn't go on, it hurt too much to talk, and even as she pushed food to his lips, he felt his consciousness slip and his eye rolled back as he passed out, still a sweet smile on his lips.
Nuriko caught Chichiri and placed his head in her lap. "Give him a little bit of water and he'll be fine. Let him rest for now." Kouran nodded and held him gently. Nuriko looked around at their location. "We should get moving. It's better to get away from Kutou as soon as possible. I'll carry Chichiri. You make sure you clear our path."
"Got it." Kouran went about clearing their stuff, after forcing a little water past Chichiri's throat and then watched as Nuriko picked him up gently and walked on ahead of her. Kouran hoped things got better. She wanted to talk and catch up with Chichiri, but she knew she had to wait until he was better. She followed Nuriko, toward Konan Country.
Chichiri slowly regained consciousness some hours later, aware of being jostled slightly. He opened his eye and the first thing he saw was Nuriko's chest, since his head was leaning against it limply. He slowly lifted his head and looked around, feeling fuzzy in the head. Then he remembered vaguely what had happened, and looked desperately around for Kouran.
Kouran say Chichiri lift his head and walked into his line of vision. She gave him a smile. "Welcome back Love. I hope you feel alright."
"Don't move so much Chichiri-san. I can hold you cause your light, but I'll drop you if you can't hold still." Nuriko said.
Kouran laughed softly. "Nuriko-sama, you shouldn't joke so easily. We are still in enemy territory."
Chichiri smiled at that, feeling their light hearted jokes improve his spirit and give him more strength as they got further and further away from his past prison. "Da..." was all he could manage to say, smiling lopsidedly.
Kouran smiled back at Chichiri. She quickly kissed his cheek and then walked on. "We'll soon be out of Kutou. Since it isn't that far from the boarder, ne, Nuriko-sama?" Nuriko shook his head. "We can rest then and let you gain your strength Houjun and then allow you to tell us what happened. If you wish to that is."
He unconsciously shivered at that. Of course they'd want to know, but it wasn't a pleasant experience relating what had happened... he'd lived through it, that was more than enough. He nodded however, knowing that things must be brought out into the open. Suddenly, a thought occurred to him. "Boushin-sama...where is he?"
"No one knows Chichiri-san. Most of use were dead when it happened. We do know he's alive and all. At least those that were dead never saw him there with us. Hotohori-sama has returned to the living as well. He got really steamed when everyone was after Boushin. But no one knows what's going on." Nuriko frowned slightly and couldn't finish what he wanted to. Kouran finished for him.
"Houki, it appears, was killed. She was up there just moments before we left."
Chichiri felt tears well up in his eye for the loss of the Empress. She'd been a kind, caring person who'd loved her husband and son dearly, and while he'd worked in the palace, he'd become attached to her as a dear friend. He felt something inside of him hold himself responsible... he should have forced her to come with him...
Kouran saw Chichiri's face grow to look as if he was the cause. She shook her head lightly and took his hand as they walked. "It wasn't your fault love. She told us to tell you that. She gave you enough time to get away. To help Boushin-sama. She's glad that she was able to get you out. She regrets nothing and wishes you not to be guilty about the whole thing. As she said you might feel that way."
He heard her words and nodded to himself slightly realizing they were right. He had asked her to come, and she'd refused. He'd at least managed to save Boushin, so he'd not failed his duty, and he felt a great relief in his chest. He closed his eye and prayed that Boushin was alright, he only wanted the best for Hotohori's son. He felt responsible for him now, seeing he'd never had a son of his own. "I must... find him." He rasped.
Nuriko looked at Chichiri. "We'll do that. First we have to get you better. At least so you can walk again and all that without passing out. Maybe we can get Hotohori to help us as well." Nuriko gave Chichiri a smile. "It'd be good to have the group slightly together ne?" Kouran smiled as she watched the young man talk, joke, and smile with Chichiri.
He managed a low chuckle, but winced since it hurt too much and cost him too much energy to move much. He needed to regain some energy. He hadn't eaten in about a week, and the little bit of water he'd managed to salvage hadn't done much good for him. He knew he'd recover, but right now he felt like shit.
Kouran offered him some more bread and water. They continued on...Nuriko seemed to show no end to his strength. They hoped they reached Konan soon...and an inn where they could stay and have Chichiri rest up.
He gratefully took the small chunk of bread and the bit of water, and began to slowly eat and drink it. He knew if he ate or drank too much, he'd get sick since he wasn't used to it. So he took his time, wondering at how good it tasted to his dulled senses. Having to find his own food and water in a prison had left him blocking out his taste buds in order to survive, and eating something he could enjoy was a wonderful break. Once he'd finished, he sighed softly, feeling for the first time in a long while, a feeling of satisfaction in his stomach and mind.
They walked on, Nuriko telling little light jokes to them as they exited the city of Kutou and entered Konan. They walked on to the first inn they came to and then put in for two rooms. Kouran insisted on staying with Chichiri as he healed. Nuriko nodded a goodbye after he placed Chichiri in his room and then went off to get food for himself and Kouran...along with something for Chichiri.
"How do you feel right now Houjun?" Kouran asked as she sat on the edge of the bed and started to clean his hands, face, and legs. Nuriko had placed Chichiri in a pair of shorts that he had on him as she was getting water to take care of things.
He smiled gently up at her as she gently started cleaning him. Her face was so beautiful... he couldn't stop looking at her. His eye sparkled up at her with a special gleam, and he could feel her soft fingers rubbing out the dirt on his arms and legs, and he knew things would all start being better for him at last. "A bit better." He managed in a hoarse voice. It still hurt to talk, but he felt himself bursting with things he wanted to say to her, to tell her.
Kouran smiled at him softly. She knew he wanted to talk and knew that if she tried her own trick now, she wouldn't be able to use it again for a week. It took a lot of concentration and a lot of skill. Talking via the mind also had to come from two willing people. She didn't know if he would be willing to talk via mind. As she continued taking care of him she tried talking to him via his mind. Houjun, if you want to talk, use your mind. I can hear you, but only for a little bit.
Chichiri's eye widened as her mind connected with his. He hadn't realized that she was capable of such actions. He smiled warmly back at her. That would help me quite a deal no da. He immediately linked his own ki into hers to keep the channel open. This way, he could connect with her faster next time once his own ki was recovered. Then, he did exactly what he'd been wanting to do for a very long time. He channeled all of his emotions into her mind, letting her know EXACTLY how he felt about her.
Kouran was taken aback by the emotions that filled her mind. He loved her, had longed to be with her, had been torn between so much and not able to do it. Tears filled her eyes and she suddenly rushed into his arms. She didn't do it so that it would hurt him, but rather slowly and carefully. She placed her head on his chest and let all her feelings of the past years fill his mind. EVERTHING she had wished could have happened instead of what had. She blushed as her mind revealed some pretty censored things but she didn't close her mind off. She wanted him to know that he had always been in her mind and heart...and that he always would be.
He gasped in slight shock as her feelings shot right back at him, and he was overwhelmed by it all...he felt his face burning bright red as certain thoughts flew into his mind from hers. He forced enough energy to move his arm to embrace her to his chest weakly. Things were perfect now... he felt so... warm... he closed his eye feeling peace flow into him as he held her. Eventually, he drifted half off into unconsciousness, completely exhausted.
Kouran sighed and rested against him as he semi-slept. She let her power slowly end, knowing that she could tap it again since he had helped her. She slowly drifted off herself...a bright white light glowing around the both of them. Little did she know her power was working on making it so he could eat normally again and slowly gain his strength. The light slowly died and Kouran sighed...resting against the man of her heart.
He drifted off into a dream where he was sitting in a field of wild sunflowers, with a willow tree standing sentry as the only thing tall around. He lay down in the flowers, their stalks going far over his head, hiding him from sight and he lay there enjoying the soft breeze.
Kouran watched as her dream became joined with her love's. She smiled and snuck up behind him. She watched him for a while as she watched him. She then giggled softly and pounced on him, kissing his face as she did. She then stopped and looked him in the eye. She rested on top of him, a grin on her face.
"Did I scare you Houjun?" she asked in an adventurous tone. She giggled as she watched him.
He eeped as suddenly a figure leapt on him and he coughed up some grass. He grinned up at her, eyes sparkling as he kissed her back gently. He ran a hand through her hair gently. "You enjoy this don't you no da?" He winked at her and tweaked her nose playfully.
"I love this a lot." She smiled and giggled as he tweaked her nose. "I love you a lot as well." She smiled semi-seductively at him and then wrapped her arms around him as she leaned closer to him and kissed his lips ever so lightly...then kissing him with all her heart.
He kissed her back fully, rolling over so that he was on top of her and gazed longingly down at her with love shimmering in his two eyes. He smiled and kissed her neck seductively. "I would hope... things work out well for us my love." He murmured running his hands through her hair and kissing her on her cheek then her lips with all the passion and emotion he could possibly bestow.
Kouran sighed, happy that her love was with her, holding her, keeping her close. His lips touched her neck and cheek. Her lips turned red from his passionate kisses. She wondered how much he wanted from her. She would gladly give herself to him, her heart crying to be his, in every way. She kissed him back with just as much passion as he showed her. Her heart sweeling with the happiness she felt being with him.
He smiled and stared down at her with a light reflecting in his eyes. "How i've waited for this day... Kouran... I love you more than I've ever loved anything in my heart and soul." He kissed her hand gently and swept her up into his arms as he stood and smiled down at her. "Kouran... my love... will you spend your life with me?" He asked simply, his heart pounding fiercely in his chest.
Kouran looked at Chichiri with tear filled eyes. Her heart beat wildly as she heard words she never thought she would hear again. The tears fell as she suddenly rained kisses all over his face and answered in a voice full of love..."Houjun, of course I will be yours forever. I always have been and always will be. My life is your life, and I would gladly spend every minute of the life I have left with you."She pressed closer to him and held him close. Her heart was full of joy and love. She them showed him her heart and soul in the one way a woman could...leaving him no doubt of her answer and her choice.
He felt a joy in his heart fill him entirely full of happiness. Everything would be perfect now. He kissed her passionately back, wishing that this weren't a dream, but real. When he woke up, would she remember the dream? Or was this only in his mind? He'd been forced to dream in order to keep his hopes up while in the prison. 8 years of being locked up was a long time, especially after so many years, they forgot about him entirely, and stopped feeding him. He smiled and buried his face in her hair. "More joy is in my soul than you can imagine."
Kouran slowly opened her eyes. She blinked and looked up from her place on top of Houjun. She blushed deep red as her dream came back to her full force. She also realized that she had fallen a sleep on top of Houjun in only her undergarment. She blushed an even deeper red and placed her head back on Houjun's chest, listening to his heart beat as she lay there. She hoped what she had dreamed had been real, in a way. For she would love to say she was his again, outside of the dreamscape.
The dream was fading like melting sugar... it left a wonderful feeling inside, but it was over. His eye flittered slightly, and he opened it to see Kouran looking down at him from on top of him. He tried to manage a smile and re established the mental convection since his voice was no good. Do you know what I dreamed about the whole time I was kept prisoner these 8 years? His eye sparkled up at her. Kouran looked at him and shook her head. No. I'd be honored if you told me though. Before you say anything though, I want you to know I love you. With all my heart He smiled wider, all of his love and the dream he'd had flowing into his mind. I love you... that's what kept me going... He reached up his hand carefully to her porcelain face and touched her cheek. Wo Ai Ni. The thought of being with you, the thought of living with you... I wanted to die so many times, so I could be with you, but I knew you wouldn't like that. So I dreamt of what life would have been like with you A tear trickled down his cheek and hit the pillow.
Kouran's dark purple eyes grew darker as tears filled them and spilled over. Her heart was filled to bursting that the dream they had had was one they had shared. He really did want her to marry him...he wanted her in his life. Her memory and the idea of them being together had kept him going. She buried her face into his chest and got as close as she could with him in his weak state. She thanked the gods for bring them together once again. I am yours Houjun my love. And when we are together as you always dreamed of...I shall prove it to you as I did in my dream, only this time...it shall be for real.
He smiled and closed his eye, feeling her breathing against him and wishing that he had the strength to hug her back. He knew it would be weeks before he was able to do even minor things, and months before he began to look normal again. But he didn't care... just being with her was more than enough. It was a dream he'd never believed he'd have in life, only in death. Kouran... I'm so sorry that you had to go through all of that... I promise... we'll be happy like we should have back when we were teenagers
I don't want things to go back to the past. I want things to go forward from here. Forward and onward with you. For now and forever.
He smiled tenderly up at her, tears trickling down his wan cheek. He felt a fountain of joy well up in his heart as he gazed up at her. He opened his mind to her again, to flow all of the emotions he'd experienced while held prisoner. The desperation, the helplessness, the despair, then the images of her lighting his life, giving him joy to make it through the day, to defeat what infections he'd gotten, and the illnesses. The hope of her beautiful face, keeping him alive. He wanted her to know how much she meant to him, in every way.
Kouran felt everything. The sadness, loneliness, despair, everything. It was a tidal wave crashing over her. Her smiled warmly as she came to realize exactly how much she meant to him. She loved him. Very, very much and she knew he knew that. She let her mind and feelings go as well. All the feelings she had felt since they had been parted flowed to him. Her pain at not explaining what had happened, her pain at not being with him, the sadness of watching him from afar and not being able to tell him, and finally the joy of being reunited and forever bound to him, along the anticipation of being his forever. Her tears mingled with his chest. She watched them as they rolled off and fell to the bed. She simply remained laying against him, hoping he'd be able to eat as soon as Nuriko brought the food up.
Hotohori was forced to stop for the night at an inn. He entered the building and the first thing he saw as he looked around was Nuriko.
The young emperor of Konan was much changed. For some reason, his hair, which used to be long and luxuriant, was now cut to his shoulders. His red and white clothing was streaked with dirt, and the marks of tears. "Nuriko..." he said, his voice sounding like he was ready to cry.
Nuriko looked at the man who had called his name. If he didn't know better he'd have never have known who it was. "Heika-sama?" Nuriko looked at the newly looking Emperor. His beautiful hair was really short and he was filthy, something he had never let happen in the past. "Is it really you? What happened to you?"
Hotohori shook his head, too distraught to answer Nuriko's questions about himself.
"Boushin! What happened to my son!" Hotohori yelled, the power of his ki strengthened by his anger, which was nearly overwhelming. His ki was so strong that he glowed with a bright red aura.
Nuriko looked at Hotohori-sama and blinked. "Hotohori-sama, calm down. Boushin-sama is alive. That is the good news. You mustn't let your anger cloud your mind Hoto-sama. You are our heika. You have to keep your head. Besides, if you don't calm down and act like the Heika we all know and call Seishi tomodachi...I'll do to you what I have done to Flame boy...and knock you into the wall to knock some since into you." Nuriko blinked slightly at his own words, slightly shocked. Gomen Hoto-sama, but I have to do something should you not calm down." Hotohori forced himself to remember his imperial ways and sighed.
"It has been eight years since I was in the Konan palace." Hotohori said in a calm, forced voice. "I have been trying to figure out a way to get into the Kutou palace and kill them for what they did!" Tears began to fall as he spoke, and he buried his face in his hands.
"I.. went out to find... Boushin as soon as I could..." he wept as he spoke. "I... heard him crying... but that stopped out in the forest suddenly... then I heard Nakago's... laughter..."
Hotohori fell to his knees in anger as a feeling of hopelessness settled it's grip over his heart. He didn't notice the few strands of his recently cut again hair as they fell over his face, but he was at a point where nothing mattered. Not his country, nor his people. Only his desire for revenge.
"K'so!" Kouji swore under his breath as he crept through the bushes. "Why am I always the one doing this?" He lay down on his stomach as he watched the group of travelers laughing over a fire drinking it up. He raised his small dagger to his lips and flicked the light of the fire to a specific position, and seconds later he heard a low whistle of a nightingale, and prepared for his attack.
The bandits were happily lounging around after ransacking, and Kouji yawned and plopped next to his friend. "So, now what o honorable leader?"
Tasuki smacked him across the head. "Aho. Stop patronizing me."
Kouji grinned and shrugged leaning back. "I'm serious Genrou. What now?"
Tasuki sighed and leaned back, staring up at the stars. It had been 8 years since the battles had ceased, and since his fellow Seishi had vanished. He sighed and stared at the constellations that made up the Suzaku quadrant. 'Where is Chichiri right now? How is Miaka and Taka doing...?' he thought to himself. He knew Chichiri wasn't dead, since he could feel the link to the other Seishi if it had been severed.
He closed his eyes and sighed. Ever since the wars had ended and the palace had been destroyed, Konan had been in a mess. Mt. Leikaku had been immolated as well, and the majority of the bandits left were the ones here in the clearing with him.
"Ne, Genrou." Kouji said softly in his ear so the others couldn't hear. "We gotta find something to do, or we'll go nuts and starve. We can't keep this up."
Tasuki sighed quietly. "I know... I know..." And with that he turned over and fell asleep.
Tasuki woke up and stretched after snoozing for a while. It was dark out, and most of the bandits had fallen asleep or passed out from the booze. Tasuki groaned as his rush was wearing off, and decided to walk into the town he knew was nearby to get some more sake to warm him up. He stood up and stepped over the other sleeping bandits, and a hand hit his shoulder. "Oi, where ya going?"
"Ta get some sake aho. Wanna come?"
Kouji shrugged. "Sure I guess."
The two headed into town, and found the nearest inn with a bar, and headed in, plopped themselves down at a table, and waited casually.
Tasuki didn't notice, but Kouji glanced over and saw two people arguing to the side who he thought were familiar... he glanced at Tasuki. "Oi... Genrou?"
"Aint' that two o yer Seishi friends o'er there?"
Tasuki frowned and turned his head, and promptly fell out of his chair in shock. "SHIT!" he screamed.
"Nakago, come on already!" Chang Lin jeered the older man.
Now a boy of fourteen years, Chang Lin rarely cared about the past. At least, when Nakago was around. He acted like he didn't care, when in reality, he felt something was missing. He and Nakago were going to go hunting for a while, and Chang Lin wasn't too happy. He didn't like to kill animals, and wanted to get it over with fast. Both were riding horses, and Chang Lin's was eager to go. "Gettin' old, Nakago?" Chang Lin teased. "Too old to run or hunt?"
"What did you say?" Nakago demanded of the boy, riding up next to him. Nakago glared at Chang Lin, the boy he'd raised for so long. Nakago wasn't a good father, but he knew he was all Chang Lin had. And because of that, he could do whatever he pleased. "Chang Lin, I expect to see you hunt today."
"Do I have to?" the boy whined, sighing and nodding his head as he followed Nakago to the forest where they would hunt. As they rode, Chang Lin became more aware of the surroundings; it felt like he'd been here before. "Nakago..." he said softly. "Tell me again how you found me."
"*Sigh* Chang Lin, I hate discussing that!" Nakago said sharply. "But if you must know, I was out hunting, and I heard you crying." Nakago was falsifying nearly everything after this point. "You were so little and helpless, and your mother was with you. But the poor woman was dying." Nakago shook his head. "She asked me to care for you, and said your father was dead. So I took you and raised you as my own son."
"Oh..." Chang Lin nodded, wishing he didn't have his doubts about the story. It seemed too perfect. There has to be more to my past than that! Chang Lin thought. He'd been having strange dreams lately, dreams of the story Nakago had told him about his finding of Chang Lin. But in the dreams, when ever Chang Lin looked back to se his mother, she wasn't there.
Nakago paid no attention to the boy as he spotted a bird flying overhead. He'd been carrying a bow and a quiver of arrows, and quickly drew, aimed, and fired. He brought the bird down easily. "Next kill is yours, Chang Lin."
Nuriko stopped talking and all that as she heard a familiar foul mouthed bandit. He looked up and noted that Tasuki-san was indeed there. He grinned brightly and walked over to him. "Tassssuki-chan. Ohayo Gozaimasu!" Nuriko placed an arm over his shoulder casually and grinned. "How is my favorite flame-haired-foul-mouthed-fanged-bandit boy? I've missed my little baka punching bag. You have been behaving and the like haven't you? Oh, and look it's Hotohori-sama and Chichiri-san is upstairs recuperating." Nuriko smirked and gave Tasuki a hug, and not a too gentle one at that cause he was beginning to want to hit the Emperor and that wasn't wise. But bugging Tasuki, aw now that was allowed.
Tasuki's eyes bulged out as he screamed in protest as Nuriko hugged him not too gently. "ACKKK NURIKO! *INGDEAD?" He gasped for air, in shock, struggling to breath.
Hotohori had walked over hearing Nuriko's exclamations over the Seishi named Tasuki. He frowned as he realized what a sight he must be, so different from the oh-so-proper emperor he usually was. "Tasuki!" Hotohori hurried over to where the bandit and Nuriko stood. Briefly, he wondered if the bandit would even recognize him.
Tasuki's eyes bulged even more as he saw some man who looked frighteningly familiar heading towards him as he wiggled in Nuriko's arms. Why... why did that guy look familiar... As he got closer though, Tasuki's eyes bulged. "H...Hei...ka..." He gaped. Without further ado, Tasuki wiggled out of Nuriko's grip and leapt up onto the table brandishing his tessen. "Who the f* are you? Imposters!"
Kouji sipped his sake calmly ignoring his partner, and watching the scene with an amused glance.
Hotohori resisted the urge to draw his sword, glaring at the red-headed bandit with the foul mouth. "Tasuki, what is the meaning of that accusation!" Hotohori demanded, slipping back into the attitude of the emperor. "I suggest you watch your tongue."
Tasuki snarled at the impudent kid with the sword. "Shut the hell up kid, you have no idea who you're dealing with!" He brandished the tessen in front of him. "What's the f*ing idea of impersonating a dead Seishi, huh?"
"I," Hotohori fumed. "Am Hotohori, also called Saihitei, emperor of Konan. You, are the Suzaku Seishi Tasuki, also known as Genrou." Hotohori frowned as he said this. "We met after your group of bandits ambushed us and we were captured. We also helped you gain the leadership of the bandit group. After awhile, you decided to come with us!" Hotohori was very insulted, and the symbol on his neck glowed red suddenly.
Tasuki was about to snap a question out as to how the emperor knew such things, when the symbol on the guy's neck began to glow with a crimson light, and Tasuki's eyes widened in surprise, and his hand slowly lowered. "Holy shit... it is you..." He slowly stepped off the table, and peered at the emperor in surprise. "How... you died ten years ago! How can you be alive here?"
"Well.." he said, relaxing now that Tasuki believed him. "I was revived by Suzaku himself. You... have to tell me, Tasuki." Hotohori seemed sad again, and he tugged on a strand of his short hair. "Do you... have any idea of what happened to Boushin?"
Tasuki scratched his head. "Suzaku huh? Figures." He frowned at the mention of Boushin. "Boushin? Yer kid?" His eyes turned sad. "No... there was an invasion here about 8 years ago... Eiyo was invaded and most of it burned... I heard a rumor that Chichiri was there, I was fighting in the ranks, but I heard that he escaped with Boushin-sama, but then he was captured and killed." Tasuki looked suddenly upset. "I never heard anything else."
"Well," Hotohori looked sad. "Chichiri isn't dead. he is upstairs right now." Hotohori looked angry at everything. "I was revived 8 years ago!" he said. "A few days after the invasion. I have not been back in Eiyo since then." Hotohori looked angrier. "There must be a way to regain full control; we barely have any now!" Perhaps then, he thought, I can get my revenge and kill the ones who have taken both wife and son from me!
"WHAT?" Tasuki screamed, and lit up the stairs as quick as he could, bounding up them two by two. Chichiri was alive! After all these years, where had he been? Tasuki skidded to a halt as he realized he didn't know which door or room he was in.
Hotohori hurried after Tasuki, wishing to speak to Chichiri as well. As far as he knew, Chichiri was the last one to be with his son. "Tasuki, wait up!" Hotohori called after him.
Kouji finished his sake calmly, then stood up and sighed. "Well Nuriko-san, perhaps we should follow them?" He headed up the stairs after them.
Tasuki ran up and down the hall, pounding on the doors screaming Chichiri's name out, and several people stuck their heads out and snapped back at him for being obnoxious, and he just snarled at them.
Hotohori followed Tasuki, apologizing to the disturbed patrons. He wanted to yell at Tasuki to stop, but didn't know of any other way to get their goal accomplished without having to drag the bandit by the ear back to Nuriko. "Sorry... Sorry." Hotohori bowed to each of them and apologized over and over.
"Sheesh, the red head is a brat, but his girlfriend is nice. Cute too!" Hotohori heard someone remark. "Even if she does have short hair!"
Tasuki scowled, and then noticed only one of the doors hadn't been opened, so he knocked on it, and then opened it. He saw a woman lying on top of someone... His jaw fell open however when he saw who that person was. "HOLY SHIT." Tasuki bellowed. "Chichiri? What the hell happened to you? You look like a f*ing skeleton!" Tasuki ran to the bedside, staring at the woman with some apprehension, but looking down at the monk. "Che..."
"Sorry." Hotohori was insulted at being taken for a woman yet again. He followed Tasuki, and was shocked to see Chichiri. "Chichiri!" he shouted, then saw the woman. "Umm...?"
Chichiri heard a noise, and he turned his head slightly to the side to see Tasuki and someone who looked slightly like Hotohori come bursting into the room. He smiled slightly at seeing his fellow Seishi friend, though he couldn't figure out who the other man was. "Tasuki..." He rasped through his ruined throat. "Good... to see you... again no da."
"Chichiri!" Hotohori ran over to the Seishi, his good friend. "It is me, Hotohori." he assured him, happy to see Chichiri again, and angry at the ones who'd done this to him.
Chichiri's eye widened in slight surprise. "Heika..." He rasped softly, a smile spreading across his pale face. "Why..." He swallowed. It hurt too much to talk like this. He sighed, though his chi was drained, in order to talk to them he had to use it. How can you be alive? He mentally spoke to the two of them, opening his mind to any who were in the area.
"Chichiri..." Hotohori spoke to his friend. "I was revived by Suzaku, eight years ago. I haven't been in Konan since, and I haven't been able to find anyone either. What did they do to you, Chichiri?" Hotohori looked like he wanted to collapse due to extreme emotional exertion, but forced himself to be strong for Chichiri's sake.
Tasuki nearly jumped out of his skin when Chichiri spoke mentally. "Ack!" He yelped at them, surprised. "Shit, when did ya learn that?" He glanced worriedly at the monk however. "Yeah, what the hell happened to you? I haven't seen ya fer like, 8 years."
Chichiri closed his eye tiredly. Ah. I see... He thought in response to Hotohori's words. I'm fine...just weak and a bit underfed. he lied to make them feel better. I was imprisoned in Kutou for 8 years... He involuntarily shivered as he said that. You don't want to know what that was like... He felt his ki that he'd managed to regain sliding away quicker than he'd anticipated.
Chichiri... Hotohori thought this and spoke it aloud. "You have suffered much, I can tell." He clenched his fists in anger, but his voice remained calm. "I hate to sound... uncaring." Hotohori said, his voice never betraying the rage he felt. "But we... must return to Konan as soon as we can. Perhaps we can find someone to heal you there."
Tasuki gritted his teeth as he heard Chichiri's words. "The hell... 8 f*ing years? No wonder you look like a walking skeleton!" He screamed angrily. "What'd they do to you? starve you or something? Why couldn't you get out? You should have like called me or something!"
Chichiri felt warmed by their concern. It had been a long time since he'd felt that from anyone, and it felt like he was being thawed out from being incased in ice. Iie... I'm not injured... I'm simply malnourished and... weak... and rest and food is the only thing that will help me at this point no da. He thought at them. He turned to Tasuki and looked at him seriously. You don't want to know, trust me. He sighed. Lets' just say they had fun with me.
"Those...Those..." Hotohori couldn't bear to finish, slamming his fist into the open palm of his other hand. "They're no better than...AUGH!" Hotohori was still unable to finish. He'd only been this angry once before, that was when he'd gotten himself killed. He slammed his hand into the wall and walked to the doorway, shaking his head in anger.
Chichiri felt Hotohori's rage overwhelm the room and he sighed quietly and rasped out, "Hotohori-sama, daijoubu... calm down no da." He wanted to sit up to comfort the emperor, but he couldn't even lift his head.
"How can I calm down!" Hotohori shouted, slamming a hand into the doorframe, accidentally cutting it on a sharp edge so that it bled. He didn't appear to notice. "I've lost my wife, son, perhaps even my entire kingdom!" He raged, slamming the wall again with his already injured hand. "How can I calm down" Hotohori tried his best to shut his mind off from Tasuki and Chichiri.
Chichiri winced as the strong emotions from Hotohori flooded his mind and made him extremely dizzy. He struggled to keep conscious, but he couldn't maintain the link mentally anymore and sagged back limply on the table breathing hard.
Hotohori saw Chichiri's reaction to his emotions and grew angrier. He slammed his hand into the wall again, blood from the cut flying and hitting his face. He hit once more, then fell to his knees in anger. He was angry at himself now, he knew he'd hurt Chichiri. He ~knew~ it would have been different if he hadn't died, he could have saved his family. And his friends wouldn't be in this situation now. He rose slowly, shaking his head. "Forgive me." Hotohori's voice was choked with emotions. "This is... all my fault." He started to walk away from them, tears falling from his eyes.
Chichiri felt tears welling up in his eye as he saw Hotohori beating up on himself, holding himself responsible for the actions of others. He gathered what little strength he had left to speak harshly in his raspy voice. "Hotohori-sama, it's not your fault. There's nothing you could have done. If it's anyone's fault it's my own for not being more cautions around Boushin-sama." He couldn't' force any more words out of himself any more, and he sagged limply back on the table, gasping for air.
Tasuki grabbed Hotohori's arm in warning, whipping the emperor around and slamming him against the wall fiercely, shaking him while doing so. "Stop it! Stop it right now!" He hissed. "You're indulging yourself in being a martyr! It wasn't your fault! You should have been reborn after the Tenkou incident, so what happened? Huh? You're beating yourself up on account that you weren't there! Don't you realize Chichiri WAS! You're making him feel like it's his fault!" Hotohori was startled by Tasuki's reaction and looked at him in shock a moment. He then lowered his eyes and nodded.
"I am..." he stammered. "I am... sorry..." he shook his head. "It wasn't your fault Chichiri... I am just... angry." Hotohori closed his eyes and let his tears subside. "I... do not know... what I can do..." Hotohori said softly. "... Or who to blame... Everyone in Konan must think I'm dead... and then there's the Kutou empire...I do not know what to do!" Hotohori exclaimed, shaking his head.
Chichiri sighed quietly, his voice had given out completely, but tears were sliding down his cheek in respect for Hotohori's pain. If it hadn't been for Kouran... he'd be entirely alone just like him...
Hotohori wished with all of his being his son could be with him right now, and the red symbol on his neck flared a brighter red than before. This was different than any other time; it hurt for some reason. Hotohori tilted his head back and gave a cry of pain, a wave of his ki surging from him. It disappeared suddenly, and he gasped for breath. "What.. the hell... was that...?" he gasped.