"King's pawn to E5"
Kanako could barely keep herself from growling in frustration as she placed the markers on the sandy makeshift terrain map of Gensoukyo's new environs. It was idiocy. Pure idiocy. On both sides of the battlefield.
Her head snapped up as she heard the door open. But it was only Suwako. A pity. She'd been hopeing for a tengu so she could yell at them.
"Sanae's asleep," Suwako said quietly. Kanako nodded her approval. Their current wind priestess, named after her ancestor, was far too young to be involved in this war. The very fact that Suwako's sleep suggestion had worked proved that.
Kanako looked down at the board again. The Lunarians' main rabbit army seemed to be surrounding Eientei, while their other deployments seemed to be haphazard. They'd set up a command post in the small section of hills between where the two forests met, and there was another group heading towards the Scarlet Devil Mansion. Kanako couldn't make heads or tails of their movements past that. It was utterly ridiculous. A concentrated effort by any force outside of Eientei could sweep the whole Lunarian army.
Sadly, no one seemed to be taking advantage of that weakness. As a military commander this annoyed Kanako to no end.
Suwako moved to the opposite end of the map and looked down. "I don't know why you're focusing so much on this. If we go out there the Lunarians will banish us back here within minutes. Gods aren't allowed to interfere unless their worshipers ask them to."
"And our worshipers are arrogant youkai who barely have the ability to ask for a cup of sugar, much less for help in a fight," Kanako finished bitterly. She snorted and looked up. "Still I know of a way around this. But I can't do it."
Suwako looked surprised, then smirked at her. "Another thing you can't do Kanako? How'd you handle being a god without me around?"
Kanako laughed. "I can't go because I'm not an native god. You know you don't have to follow as many rules as I do Suwako." Suwako shrugged and smiled. "Besides you aren't going to be fighting anyway."
Kanako pointed at the nearest Lunarian in Kappa territory. "I think it's time the Lunarians learned why the Mishaguji were sealed."
Suwako's smile faded in shock. "Wait you want me to let those loose? You know they aren't easy to control right? It takes a lot of effort. Especially if they're in a real fight."
"Don't free them all. Just a few to attack the Lunarians. They should beat each other up and you can finish off the winner. Treat it as a short range guided attack," Kanako said. "If you do this right and clear out the kappa territory you might be able to get a band of fighters together to start the counter attack."
Sawako looked down at the map again. "Hm... Might be possible. I won't be in much danger either way, and it'll cause disruption even if it fails. But what will you be doing while I do all the work?"
Kanako looked down at the single marker advancing towards the Great Tengu's lodge. "I think there might be a few people who have faith in us and who aren't too stubborn to call."
Suwako looked at Kanako questioningly, but the war god held her peace. She knew better then to rely entirely on one person.
Suwako finally shrugged and started towards the door. "Well if I'm going to summon those curse gods for real I'd better have the stuff I need to seal them back on hand. I'll keep you informed Kanako."
"Thanks Suwako," Kanako replied.
When the elder goddess was gone, Kanako carefully removed her helmet from its resting place and put it on. It still fit as perfectly as it did when it was first altered for her. She was glad she'd insisted on keeping her hair short, to better wear it.
She briefly stretched to shift the weight of her armor to all the proper spots, then sat down again and began to meditate.
There were some that might call upon her. And when they did...
The Lunarians would learn the price for ruining the nation she had helped build.
The waiting had become interminable to Maribel.
The four had been staying in Mayohiga, sleeping during the day, and alternating between practice and resting at night. Fortunately Renko had learned a spell to help reset their internal clocks, so the sudden shift in sleep patterns wouldn't make them groggy.
Which meant Mary had only had to deal with the constant gnawing in her stomach as her mind flip flopped between her sorrow over the loss of her family, and her fear of battle.
Currently she was trying to read a book to keep her mind off things. It was some fairy tale about a blue dove and a princess. She couldn't say how it ended, because she'd been rereading the same page over and over again. But it was better then thinking about reality.
Ran was doing math problems. Renko had wandered over to see what the kitsune was solving, but quickly retreated when she saw the variables in play. The fox hadn't been joking about her mathematical skill.
After that Renko had gone back to pouring over her spellbooks. Occasionally she'd do some basic astronomy, or polish the hakkero with a sense of wonder. But mostly, Renko went over her books like a grad student studying for their Masters tests.
Chen just napped. Apparently nekomata kept a lot of cat traits. Maribel felt a little jealous, but it was still calming to see the childish figure curled up in a ball sleeping.
She tried once again to get back to her reading. She'd gotten to the part about how the demon of the north sea was struck down...
Maribel froze when she felt the air suddenly change. Somehow she knew. "They're here."
Ran looked up from her equations and scowled. "You're right. It's time to go. Chen!"
The nekomata looked like she was going to argue with her master for a moment, then she rubbed against the three before running out into Gensoukyo proper. "Be careful!" she cried as she left.
"You too," Renko and Maribel called after her. Ran simply closed her eyes and sent something mentally. Then the fox woman looked over at them.
"Are you ready?" she said simply.
Maribel nodded. She didn't need to bring weapons.
Beside her Renko slipped the mini-hakkero under her hat and nodded. With the magical reactor she could cast all her spells without needing a wand or potion to work with, despite not being a youkai magician.
Ran nodded. "Alright. Let's go."
Maribel allowed Ran to make the portal, even though the kitsune's false boundary manipulation was starting to look inefficient to her. The three stepped through, into a forest clearing resounding with frog croaks and insect sounds. Maribel looked around to gather her bearings.
"Should we really be out in the open like this?" she asked.
"Yeah, it seems like we shouldn't give up cover so easily," Renko said.
Ran nodded. "Anyone who's a threat to me won't be stopped by trees. And hiding in the forest would allow us to be separated and ambushed. Our enemy knows where we are. Let's force him to come to us."
The butterflies returned to Maribel's stomach. "So we wait?"
"Yes. Just a little longer..." Ran said with a dark smile. "Then we get our revenge."
The butterflies faded away as heat rose in her body. "Right." Maribel looked out at the forest.
It was time to make the Lunarians pay.
Lord Tenshou frowned as his first steps on earth were greeted by a hungry mosquito. Fortunately his wards activated and incinerated the insect before the unclean thing could bite him, but it was still insulting.
As he looked around his main transport site his mood improved. Everyone had made it there via the teleportation devices, and the youkai hunters were spreading out already. In fact by the time he finished his inspection only his personal guard was left.
He stood there for a few more moments before realizing Jiyuwan wasn't present, and thus he'd have to ask for a report. Silently he cursed the old warrior's strange sense of honor. It was a waste forcing the swordsman to try to kill the entire tengu nation, but the man had questioned every single move Lord Tenshou had made. And at some point that questioning would become evident, destroying Lord Tenshou's entire political base.
Still there were others who still served him. And unlike Jiyuwan they were still loyal to him instead of some fantasy idea of personal honor. Sadly none were quite as skilled, but they would do fine.
"Lady Nashina, how is the assault progressing?" he asked.
The silver haired woman turned away from the machinery she'd been fiddling with and bowed to him. "All goes according to your plans my Lord. We've encountered no resistance so far, though I imagine our strikes at the youkai strongholds will soon change that."
He nodded appreciatively to her. "Has there been any sign of movement from the tengu or the Yakumo?"
"No my Lord. But it's still early." Nashina looked like she was about to say something more, then bit her lip.
Lord Tenshou looked around. Seeing everyone nearby was either totally loyal to his scheme or occupied he motioned to the woman. "You have a question. Please ask. I would not wish my most important ally to be distracted by personal worries."
Nashina blinked in surprise then sighed. "Thank you my lord." She lowered her voice so that no one could overhear. "Lord Tenshou, you said that the Yakumo was behind all this, but she's dead. I was there when we killed her, and we made sure her soul was taken away. I can understand some of her power leaking out, but to actually return, whole in body and soul..." She shook her head. "Even ignoring the fact that such an act would destroy her reincarnation's soul, how is it even possible?"
He bristled at the question at first, but he rapidly calmed himself. Nashina was simply seeking guidance, not questioning his judgment.
Lord Tenshou placed his hand on the woman's shoulder. "It confused me as well, when my powers first revealed I would be fighting the Yakumo again. But I'm certain now. Think about it. Her power was so immense you had to spend the entire incident keeping her in check, even after she was dead."
"No I am quite certain. Yukari Yakumo will return to life here, at this very spot." Lord Tenshou allowed himself to smile grimly. "And here I will have the joy of killing her again. It is, inevitable. Even if none of my other plans succeed, Yukari Yakumo will die on this, the night of her rebirth."
The dragon twitched.
His prey was interested in something below now. Interested, but not totally engrossed in it.
It was not yet the time to strike.
But that time would be soon.
Oisha moved through the field carefully. The crisp air of Autumn had caused the flowers here to wilt and the grass to die, but it was still fairly high here out in the rolling fields where no villager would dare go harvest. Almost anything could be hiding in the grass.
In fact a lot of things were hiding in that grass. The constant noise of crickets, mice and other small creatures assaulted her ears. The earth truly was a hectic and dirty place. She was half tempted to just set the field ablaze to shut the noise up, but that would draw too many attackers to her at once. Just because she was one of the best fighters of the moon didn't mean she was invincible. She was certain no youkai was her equal in magic, but forty or fifty youkai might end up getting a lucky shot in.
Of course right now there was no sign of any of those youkai. She had been certain that a lone human wandering around would get swarmed by the bloodthirsty monsters but so far all she'd seen was-
Oisha shrieked as a purple thing leaped out at her from the bushes! As she leaped back she tossed a energy blast at the creature purely out of reflex. The blindingly bright energy bolt whined across the space before hitting the creature with a meaty smack.
It let out a strangely high pitched scream as the blast sent it backwards.
Oisha stood there for a moment as surprise, then embarrassment washed over her. Here she was thinking herself to be a great magical warrior, and some random youkai had managed to sneak up on her. She resolved to be more careful before flying over to she what she'd killed.
The youkai looked nothing like what she'd expected. It was humanoid. Some might even say it was cute, though the blood ruined that a bit. Even more surprisingly it was alive. The feminine figure in purple and blue whimpered as Oisha approached it. When it tried to hide an ugly umbrella from her she realized it must be a karakasa.
"Well," she muttered to herself, "not an impressive first kill, but it's best to finish it off." The youkai's mismatched eyes grew wider at that, and it began trying to crawl away, sobbing as it's movements disturbed the wound on it's stomach. Oisha raised her hands to finish the matter.
There was a sickening crack and pain ripped through her body. Her mind realized she had been sent flying mere seconds before she crashed into the ground. This time however the shield devices did their job and the impact was muted. She held out an arm to stop the rolling, allowing her magical and technological wards to soak the energy. Then she jumped to her feet, ignoring the pain in her side.
Standing about thirty feet away (she'd been launched that far!) was another youkai. It was also in the form of a human female carrying an umbrella, but this one had green hair, and a red checkered dress and vest. The youkai was smiling, standing in the field as if it owned the place.
"You Lunarians are very rude. First you wake me from my nap, then you break my umbrella." The youkai held up the bent item before casting it aside. "I think I'll have to kill you a bit for that."
Oisha was about to snap something back in response, when the creature looked her in the eyes. The youkai's dark green eyes radiated power. Pure unadulterated power. And a crushing sense of history.
For the first time in her long long life, Oisha felt humbled by another's age.
She snapped out of it the moment the youkai raised its hand and began summoning its attack. "I see you aren't small fry. Unfortunately for you no impure being can match the power of a Lunarian!" She began calling up her own spell.
"Hmph. Big words for a human," the youkai said. "Know that Kazami Yuuka is the one who will take your life this day." The youkai's spell completed and Oisha was blinded and deafened as an explosion of Rainbow light raced towards her. "Master Spark!"
The lunarian tossed up her hands and a black and grey tear in space appeared to shield her. "Dimensional Rift!"
The earth trembled as the two spells clashed.
This is, unsurprisingly, a continuation of the New World Series, and the final installment in the set. I encourage readers to start with the first 'book' in the series. I've finally got enough together of this one to feel safe posting it, so don't worry about long delays. I hope you all enjoy the conclusion.