A/N: So this is going to come to an end soon. I've had a lot of fun writing this and I hope you all enjoy it to the end. (:
ALSO, one of my friends is trying to get her name out there on a site called IMVU and I'd love it if you guys would check her out. She develops on there and makes badges, as well as DPs, banners, and you could probably ask her about modeling. She also has a deviantArt account—she uses the same screen name, MasukiaMaru, on both sites.
Katsuye felt her mistress' Chaos spread throughout the village. If it weren't for the protection talisman she carried, Katsuye would have fallen under her mistress' spell alongside the villagers. However her mind felt unhinged since the ruckus outside began. She paced endlessly, unable to quell her fears. I've been discovered, she thought, and they plan to run me through! The Gods and Goddesses of the village would not show her mercy. She would be finished.
Eventually she tried finding solace in the fetal position, but found none. Instead Katsuye's claustrophobia increased tenfold. She had never liked small or enclosed spaces. Usually she could tolerate them if there was an exit, an open window or door perhaps, or if it was penetrable. Not this time.
"I stole a hut and now the owner is going to come find me," she murmured. "He's big and strong and he'll slice me in two…" She choked on several sobs before her mind no longer felt unhinged and her mistress' anger receded. Euphoric, Katsuye nearly screamed praise and thanks to her Goddess but fear of being discovered silenced her cries before they began. An hour passed before she sat up and prayed for divine revelation.
When Suiren woke she felt strange, like she wasn't completely there. When she sat up it was as if Suiren wasn't in control of her arms or lower extremities. Her neck craned upwards to lock eyes with Takushiki, but not by her command. "Master Takushiki," she breathed, finding some control with her words, "what happened?"
"I was about to ask you the same." Takushiki's expression was firm but his eyes betrayed his composure. Suiren unwillingly smirked at his poorly hid confoundedness. "Suiren, I urge you to tell me what is going through your mind. I have never seen a God use powers that oppose their others."
"You mean the chaos outside?" The word, Suiren noticed, felt slippery on her tongue. Chaos. Was that something she should feel proud of? Her rationale ebbed and she decided that yes, she did like that word. It rolled nicely off her lips. "I can only guess where it came from, but I can't share."
"Can't or won't?"
Suiren grimaced. "Won't."
Takushiki offered her his hand. After visibly hesitating, Suiren took his hand and let him pull her up. When she tried pulling away he didn't let her go. "Why so hasty, Suiren?"
"Let me go," she whispered. When Takushiki grabbed her other hand, gripping them both tight, she spoke louder: "Release me, Takushiki. I don't wish to stay here." Her control; it slipped—each word felt more and more like a threat.
"Only when you tell me why you are cursing the villagers."
"How do you not see something is wrong?!" Suiren tried screaming, but what came out was: "For fun, obviously." Suiren grinned a maniacal, lopsided grin. "I don't want peace anymore when I can have chaos. It's more fun. The villagers think ill of me and don't respect me as they should; they don't fear gods. I want to change that."
"There are five of us. How do you plan to change anything when five others will stop you?" Takushiki's grip tightened painfully but Suiren didn't flinch. "I could make you leave here."
"And I could destroy the village."
"And you would do that?"
Suiren's resolve finally broke through. She looked horrified. "No! Master Takushiki I—I wouldn't!" Her mind was unhinged again. This was madness. She wasn't like that; she wouldn't think of destroying the village unless something truly terrible happened. "Master Takushiki I don't know what's going on but I didn't say that." Whatever was inside of her, controlling her, had receded. Otherwise she would've sealed her fate with her answer. Suiren was on the verge of hysterics when Takushiki released her, making her completely and utterly alone.
I'm still here, a voice purred. If it weren't for Suiren's pride she would've been reduced to little more than a sobbing mass.
"Suiren, calm yourself," Takushiki said evenly. "Fuuka is waiting at your shrine. I want you to go there and stay with her. She will help you calm your nerves. I must convene with the others so we may come to a decision."
"About what?" She hoped her voice wasn't as timid as it sounded.
"You'll find out. Now go, but do not forget to release your hold on the villagers you've cursed into sleep."
Suiren didn't argue. She felt weak. Her legs wobbled and her vision refused to focus properly. When Suiren crossed the room she, having put about ten feet between her and Takushiki, teleported to her shrine to meet with Fuuka. Once she departed Takushiki sighed. "It's as I feared," he murmured. Utusho's suggestion had been a wise one. They had to banish Suiren if not execute her outright.
The other Gods would not accept this.
It is unfortunate, but it is too bad.
Fuuka smiled when she saw Suiren. She wanted to grimace at how different Suiren looked. In a short period of time Suiren had aged considerably. Large bags formed under her eyes. Her skin paled drastically. She couldn't walk straight and Fuuka sympathized greatly when she saw how hard it became for Suiren to do basic stretches with her. Usually it calmed their nerves, but not now.
"How about meditation?" Fuuka suggested a half hour after they began. It was still dark out and the sun wouldn't rise for a long while. "It may do you good."
"I will try," Suiren said and collapsed onto her bottom. Fuuka chuckled and plopped onto her butt as well, but her fall was cushioned by a puff of air. "Fuuka, surely even you need sleep." To be honest Suiren only wanted Fuuka gone. As time droned on Suiren felt her patience dissipate rapidly.
"Nonsense. I could go all night!"
Suiren wanted to beat Fuuka's cheery demeanor right out of her.
They sat cross-legged on the floor. Both Goddesses closed their eyes; Fuuka hummed while Suiren opted for silence. The tension between Suiren's eyes grew more and more until her weariness took over and she succumbed to sleep. Somehow she didn't fall over so Fuuka let her be and continued with her meditation.
Katsuye trembled. Exhaustion settled over her but she couldn't allow her mind rest. "I must stay focused," she breathed, "for my Goddess. My Goddess Neikan."
With every passing minute Katsuye slowed her breathing and opened her mind. She willed Neikan to speak with her and give knowledge of their progress.
I'm here, foolish girl.
Katsuye smiled. "Goddess," she murmured, "I am humbled for you to speak to me."
And you will be dead if I am to fail. You clearly did wrong; I needed a body suitable for one such as I.
"But Goddess, I found you one! I delivered you to the Goddess Suiren's shrine. How have I failed you?"
Her peaceful nature still fights against me. I could easily overpower her if it weren't for her powers combating mine. Chaos and Peace cannot mix. If it weren't for my ability to corrupt her mind with thoughts of paranoia I would be sealed within her. I will not be known as the Caged Goddess any longer!
"But Goddess, if you can corrupt her mind then there is no problem, is there not? You are doing so well!"
I cannot absorb the rest of her energy unless I corrupt her more. Give her mind a true reason to break; as of now, she still has resolve. I cannot use much more of my power on her either. Tell me Katsuye: What use is her body if it's permanently damaged?
"Can't you fix it? Surely someone such as you has the power. And I thought you didn't need a new body—only the energy to recreate yours."
I will mold her body into my own, child. But at this rate her energy will be spent up before I can absorb it. Her body's poor health shows the toll our clashing powers have taken. I require you to break her resolve.
"Yes Goddess, anything you ask!"
I believe Takushiki is catching onto me. I will be shocked if he or any of the other gods haven't. Because of this, and your foolish mistake, you must send Suiren into a shock so awful that I can consume her with fear and insanity. Do you understand?
"Yes Goddess, of course I do. I will think of a plan and carry it out immediately."
It is in your best interest to not fail me again Katsuye. I hope you know that.
"I wouldn't dream of failing you."
A scornful laugh resounded in Katsuye's mind before the connection severed itself. Katsuye crumpled into a heap, her being exhausted to its very core, and fell into blissful sleep as her body recovered from the strenuous act of communicating telepathically with Neikan. She would have a very, very long day ahead of her when she woke up.
As the sun slowly rose and all of the villagers were finally at ease—and those who had been cursed awoke—five of the six gods of the village convened within Takushiki's temple.
"Master Takushiki, don't you think it's unwise to leave Suiren alone? I thought you wanted me to stay with her until you came to a decision."
"But Master Takushiki said that we would all speak—including Suiren—about what's going on. Unless something happened to change his mind…" Utusho eyed Takushiki, followed by the others. Takushiki sighed heavily with exasperation. This was not easy news to break.
"I have come to discover something troubling. The Suiren we once knew is gone, or at the very least disappearing." Staring down four different looks of apprehension made Takushiki want to sigh again, yet he continued with: "The disturbance I felt—her powers changing—it's all because Suiren is sharing a body with someone else. Or rather, her energy is mixing with someone else's."
The air grew heavy, and not from Fuuka's doing.
"I sensed it when the energy first merged with Suiren and it has been hiding within her. I've felt it coming like waves; it'll flow sometimes and others it will ebb. I can only guess that Utusho sensed this too when he said he couldn't tell if her life was fading or not, despite how Kagen—and Utusho and I, just by looking at her—could tell she was dying."
"How is that even possible?" Kagen cried, outraged. "She's a Goddess! She shouldn't be able to die."
"Kagen," Utusho drawled, his voice slow and even, "I don't think you realize that our physical bodies represent how our spirit is. We're practically spirits in the sense that we run off energy—pure, raw energy that we manipulate to personify ourselves. I'm guessing whoever is within Suiren is absorbing her energy. Can you imagine how powerful that would make another being? Not to forget, you were the one who sensed she was in poor health."
"I know I was! Look, can't we just rip whatever's inside of her out and teach the thing a lesson? Suiren's family and we can't just let it go on."
"Kagen's right." Shuuchi nodded with respect towards the hot headed fire god. "We cannot let this creature destroy Suiren. If one of us was in her place, she'd fight for us."
"Enough." Even Takushiki sounded weary. "I don't know if we can split the two. If we tried it may destroy Suiren. Therefore, we must banish her at the very least. We will fix the balance ourselves, but we will not allow an evil being to take the place of Suiren. If we do then we would only cause harm to our home."
"I say we execute her."
Utusho had never received a darker glare from Kagen in his life. Still, it didn't bother him much.
"I'm the God of Life, Kagen. While I understand it's considered precious it is something that's fleeting. It won't stay forever. Gods aren't immune to its end either."
"Enough. Kagen, Utusho—enough." Fuuka turned to Takushiki, her expression a mixture of sorrow and pain. "Can't we try? Suiren has a will. She could recover. I—"
"It's either we banish her or execute her. We have no other choice."
"Then we execute," Shuuchi said firmly. "Suiren would never forgive us if we allowed someone to absorb her fully. But Master, how do you suppose we go about this?"
Takushiki stared thoughtfully at the ceiling before returning his gaze to the others. "The five of us combined can turn her energy into something else—turn her into a gem, like the one we have signifying our covenant with the village. She will no longer be any threat to the village."
Kagen gritted his teeth. He was absolutely livid and the others were wary of the spontaneous combustion that sometimes followed Kagen's outbursts of rage. "When do we do it, and are we even going to tell her? Or do you want to let her die confused and betrayed?"
"We do it when the sun sets tonight. For now, save up your energy. We will need all we have for the events to come."