It'd suck to be in Nushi's position. People expect him to have answers, but gasp, Ammy didn't answer! I hope it works out for him. I'll probably be introducing some new characters as not everything will take place in a village life. Nah, it's too boring to be talking about school life here. You probably noticed how the god's pronouns are capitalized in some dialogue and not in other people's. Well... It's how they're referred to as some actually viewed them as a friend and not as this almighty being.
And now I'll introduce why it's T-rated~
The Many Years of Okami
The Monkey triplets came to him in a dream. He saw all of them playing on their musical pipes, sprouting plants and the growth of each one ticked; dancing to its own rhythm of music. The high-pitched noise slowly phased to a lullaby for the tired man who held a physical form in this vision. However, it was, including his mind, were slowly lulled to sleep.
He would sleep, but the dramatic flash opened his half-closed lids. The first monkey collapsed and his brothers fell too like a domino effect. The fresh grass and the flowers brought to life slowly melted and shriveled into nothing but ashes. The world was engulfed by the grey paint, and a scream echoed – his own, as red eyes approached
The man woke with a start, sweat and fear visible on his face. He swiftly inspected the dark interior he slept in and his shoulders lowered as nothing seemed to glow a ghastly red. It was either the demons or his imagination playing tricks on him.
"It was just a dream." He told himself to remain confident. The smile dropped, though, when he thought of his two kids in the room next door.
His father instincts kicked in and he left the comfort of his own bed to check on his sons. The boys slept peacefully in their bed as if nothing ever happened to them. He hardly knew about the breathing patterns when it sounded ragged and alive. He assumed they were fast asleep and left them that way, closing the door and returned to his own room.
One of them woke from feigned sleep.
"Hey sis," A boy whispered, shaking his sibling. "Are you awake?"
"Doh! I am. I fooled him as much as you did." She grinned in the low light. Her dimples showed, but the smile was sarcastic. It faded as her headache came back.
"Aren't you feeling sick as if something bad had happened to our Patrons?"
Her twin shook his head. "I'm fine. Healthy really." He frowned. "Are you still upset about the Elder?"
"No," She snapped, but she looked guilty for her behavior. She sighed and amended her words: "She hears me, but nobody believes She's really a female. Dad doesn't know I'm a girl either. The Elder said-"
The light in the building turned on and the twins feigned sleep again. They didn't want to be caught by their father in their small talk. When the footsteps subsided and the light turned to darkness, they woke up again and eyed each other with fear and then relief.
"Screw what the elder said." The boy grumbled. "You should be known as the female Yearla."
"I think something's wrong with Sakigami."
The gathering was closed today much to the relief of the Yearlings. Today was the day to harvest crops to feed families and sell to the city miles away. Merchants often traveled to Kamiki Village to sell to the merchants in the big place.
The Brewer often harvested the rice for an alcoholic drink known as Sake. The adults loved to drink at the celebrations and since it rarely happened, they deeply took advantage of merrymaking. Kushi often came out in her working uniform with the barrel on her back and traveled to the waters outside the village. In spite of being the mother of the Wolf, she was still respected as the Brewer.
Nushi heard the excuses. He was still too young according to his mother's standard to try Sake. He grumbled a lot when he saw the adults drinking away and narrowed his brows at his father among them. His mother told him he enjoyed Sake and drunk it many times he often passed out. He almost thought it was funny, but Kushi looked so sad remembering Amaterasu he did not react for her sake.
It took him a moment to notice his father had disappeared. He prayed to his Matron Kushi was being assisted by him and not anything worse.
It was only an hour until Kushi returned and Susano carried the large barrel filled with sparkling water. She was smiling and so was her husband as everyone cheered them on – obviously ignoring the truth of Nushi coming from their love.
Susano dropped the barrel next to the rice. Kushi knelt down to tend to the rice crops, but Susano, still unable to speak, tapped her shoulder and pointed towards the hill. She nodded, and got up with his help. They instantly made it towards the hill where the Yearlings began their first quest. Nushi's stomach knotted up just remembering that.
Nushi managed to go up the hill to tag along with the others, but he was off in his world when he bumped into another boy a few years older than him. The boy raised a brow, but he radiated friendliness.
"What brings you here, Wolf-boy?" He asked.
"Yes, that's my name." Nobu grinned, hiccupping a bit. "You have to try this Sake. I'm finally old enough to try out the one your mother made and it's delicious."
Nushi nodded. He was well aware of Nobu's Year – a Sheep. Kasugami was the goddess of the mist and alcohol. Half the time, most of those Sheep grow up to be excellent hosts and hostesses for parties. Nobu was known to be one of the more tolerant of the Kamiki bunch.
"Why the long snout, kid?" The Sheep said. "I thought you were old enough to drink."
"I'm not." Nushi sighed, ignoring the Wolf joke. "At least you were able to keep that iron stomach to use as a kid."
He shrugged and looked towards the upper-half of the hill. "By Yomigami's beard! I should've known the others dug into the last of the Thunder Brew. I'll catch you later, Nushi."
Nobu already made a mad dash for the hill with his eyes filled with happiness. If Nushi didn't know any better, it looked like the older boy was moving in slow motion.
Nushi followed behind, but he moved at a slow pace on purpose. He didn't want to see the others teasing him, but he just wanted to pass the time until he was positive some miracle would happen. He itched for something, but he wasn't sure what – battle? Fighting? He lived in the village of peace and nothing seemed to be out of place. Yet – something felt wrong.
He reached the floor where the Konohana tree proudly stood. His mother was already making her way down and she gasped when she saw her son; hugging and whispering embarrassing nick-names were the attacks she used against him.
"Ah, Kuninushi." She murmured, rubbing his head. She lost the baby voice, but Nushi still cringed under embarrassment.
"Mother," He said bravely. "When will I be able to try the Thunder Brew?"
Kushi laughed and smiled as if he was joking. "When you're older," She said with a wink. "You're just like your Matron when it comes to Sake."
His face went sour with unhappiness for a second, but the expression morphed into a calm one. "Yes, okay." He gave in.
The Brewer made her way down the hill until she shrunk into a microscopic dot in the distance. Nushi nearly went back up towards the source of the party, but a scream ripped the air. Instincts kicked in and he charged back down. He expected to fight off some violator, but his expression changed to something mortified.
The village was empty on purpose, but it gave an eerie feeling as Nushi stumbled across it. All the trees and the thin cherry blossom trunks wilted to a dull purplish-brown color. The grass faded into cropped, yellow vegetation all across the land. Everything felt ominous, but fear crept upon Nushi as he only felt that and nothing divine.
He took notice of his mother after snapping out of his stunned behavior. She wept next to the Brewing House where she planted her fine rice crops. The crops' stems could barely hold themselves up. Everything lost life and already he felt his throat parched from thinking about the loss of the water in the river. Even the feeling he had around nature felt like a bond snapped. His mind went numb from the sudden change of pressure and he prevented from fainting painfully by kneeling on the dirt while his headache boomed.
"Mother?" He mumbled.
"Kushi?" The Elder echoed from the start of the mountain. Often, his eyes were closed or concealed by his grey beard, but it was unmistaken when his brown eyes were open with grief.
Kushi stuttered, but she couldn't say anything without breaking down.
Nushi approached his mother, his headache still there, but he was gentle to the one who raised him. He used sign language to remind her everything will be alright. Kushi smiled at her son with tears trickling down her cheeks.
"Nushi, what happened?" The Elder asked calmly.
Nushi scowled at the man who caused him pain, but feigned a smile without warmth. "Mr. Orange." He addressed quietly. "I-I'm not sure what had happened. I just know something bad had happened."
One of the men who followed dipped his head in disgust. "He's a Dog. He probably got mad and turned Her against us for not proving Sake to minors."
"But I didn't tell Her anything!" He defended. "I co-" He trailed off, remembering the lack of divine communion meant humiliation and possibly exile.
The group of men kept murmuring; doubt etched on their faces. Only the Elder remained quiet and lacked accusing eyes.
"It's not his fault," Kushi managed to whisper. "There must be something wrong with the Brush gods."
"Can't you ask Amaterasu what the heck is going on?" Someone asked.
Nushi was silent at all the bickering brought up. He noticed how his mother tried to defend him, but he was grateful for her attempt. All the yelling drained his ability to think until-
"Fools! You're all fools!"
Everyone went quiet as a voice rivaled theirs. A drunken man, still tipsy, slowly made his entrance into the scene. He looked tired and had a bruise on his forehead. In spite of his state, a fire burnt in his eyes and his mustache twitched.
Kushi was able to break the silencing barrier. "Susano?" She whispered, well astonished.
Susano's eyes softened at the sight of his wife, but hardened again towards the men. "You fools." He repeated his insult:
"You thought you could tarnish my face and family name. Are you all just chickens because my only son was chosen by Amaterasu? I should've seen it as a blessing, but nobody saw he had potential. I am to blame for not knowing either and for my behavior towards him.
How in Amaterasu's name did he cause this mess? Something like this – since I saw Shinshu Field was plagued too- was not a Yearling's power. The gods know better than to follow a destructive path because their favorites cried to them. He didn't cause this at all! I know her well enough to know she wouldn't punish anyone like this. Gods, if I know how Sei-An visualizes our Blessed ones. Just shut up and leave him alone."
He took a deep breath and passed out again from exhaustion. Everyone remained quiet, but most had a look of guilt on their faces.
Kushi and Nushi gawked at Susano's speech and his ability to speak again. He upright defended his son and spoke after fifteen years. It was progress in their story and they agreed to honor his courage. Nushi felt guilty for disliking his father when he noticed he did care for his son despite being a Dog. It was something he anticipated for years.
The Elder looked around and coughed innocently. "We have plenty of Yearlings who could communicate with the gods." He said. "Perhaps we need someone to travel around and see where everything went wrong. Amaterasu is the jill-of-all-trades, but only one god or more could master the power of trees and plants."
"The Hanagami." Nushi said. He felt nervous when the Elder turned his gaze upon him.
"Aren't they the ones who know how to control the harvest and such?"
The Elder rubbed his beard, clearly impressed by the boy. "Indeed. They might be in trouble as gods do struggle with the faith of Nippon. Who will speak out to find the Monkey Yearlings if they exist? They only exist if there were triplets born and that's seldom in this world."
"I guess we have to look." Nushi shrugged. "Who would go check?"
"Why not you?"
"What? Why me? I do not know anything about danger and I grew up here."
"Aren't you an all powerful Yearling?" One of the Yearlings asked.
"No." He grumbled. "I do not have anything."
The Yearling shrugged and ignored the rest of the conversation, but he quietly added: "If Amaterasu's your Matron then you could control nature."
"A splendid idea." The Elder agreed. "You know about nature and perhaps the gods will answer since your Amaterasu's."
"Fine. When do I leave?"
"When the next sun rises, but you'll need supplies and someone else to tag along."
Nobody volunteered until the high-pitched voice from the trials spoke up:
"I'll go with him! It'll be like an adventure with Furball, but with a human boy." Issun said.
"Don't you need to teach the ways of the gods though, Celestial Envoy?"
Issun grumbled. "Pff. I can act as an Envoy where ever this kid goes."
Nushi rolled his eyes as a Yearling approached him and pitied him with his expression. Lovely, he thought. He would be stuck with the bug.
"We're going to have so many adventures. We're going to fight monsters, meet pretty girls. I'm sure you can lose your vi—"
"Well, Kuninushi." The Elder quickly interrupted. "Your first starting point is Yakushi Village."