Pika318: So after my first NuraMago fic, this time I am going to write a collection of one shots or drabbles about any random idea that comes to me regarding the NuraMago fandom. I did the same thing for the -man fandom as well. I hope you enjoy the first story!
Disclaimer: Nurarihyon no Mago belongs to Shiibashi-sensei.
Chapter 1: Origins
Lessons have already ended at Ukiyoe Middle School. And as usual, the members of the Kiyo Cross Squad gathered in their club room, ready for another lesson or adventure about youkai.
Or at least that was what it is meant to be.
Kiyotsugu, the leader of the Kiyo Cross Squad, struggled to control his temper as he saw the scene in front of him. Torii and Maki, using their mobile phones. Shima, playing around with his soccer ball. Kana and Rikuo, doing homework. Oikawa and Kurata, nowhere to be seen.
Can't they be more enthusiastic?
But he held his tongue. It was understandable, ever since the club was formed, the only major experience they had with youkai was during their trip to Kyoto, and yet, they only saw the aftermath and not the youkai themselves, it wasn't much of an achievement at all. Of course they'll lose their enthusiasm sooner or later with such dismal results. To make things worse, Yura, his most enthusiastic (?) member, had returned to Kyoto. He had to be patient, and build up their passion for youkai once more.
Firstly, he would need to perk their interest by expanding their knowledge.
"Everyone, listen up." Thankfully, all of them stopped what they were doing when they heard his voice. He still had some authority, it seems. "Lately, I've been thinking that I have been doing some things wrong."
"Yeah, like dragging us on useless trips." Maki interrupted.
"No, I don't mean that." Kiyotsugu said as he took the insult in his stride. As long as he worked patiently, such remarks like that would not be made in the future. "I was referring to how we kept hunting for youkai without working on our knowledge of them. After all, knowledge is power, and as long as we possess sufficient knowledge about different types of youkai, we would be able to know where to find them, and handle them when they appear, so…none of us will be in any danger." He had added the last part as an afterthought, because he knew the girls simply didn't like what they were doing right now because of the danger involved.
"So what are you getting at?" Maki asked, impatient.
"My point is, considering how little we know about youkai right now, I have a research assignment for all of you!" Kiyotsugu declared.
"Great…" "What…" "Troublesome…" were some of the replies Kiyotsugu heard, but he ignored them all to continue with his assignment announcement.
"So the thing is, all of you are to go back and research on…" Kiyotsugu paused intentionally for suspense. "…the origin of youkai!"
"Huh?" "Why must we do something like that?"
"Well…that's because…" Kiyotsugu started to explain, but it was not heard by a certain Third Heir of the Nura Gumi, because he was deep in thought.
Interesting. Now that I think about it, even though I'm leading all of them, and even exchanged Sakazuki with a number of my family members, I don't really know much about them at all, much less their origins. This could be a good chance to ask…
Amongst all the protests, Kiyotsugu suddenly heard the line he had been hoping to hear.
"I think it's interesting." It was Rikuo who said it.
"Oh! I knew I can count on you, Nura-kun!" Kiyotsugu said as imaginary tears streamed down his face. Then Kana, who was sitting next to Rikuo said,
"Well, if Rikuo-kun is okay with it, then me too…I guess I can give the assignment a try."
"Ienaga-kun…" Kiyotsugu turned to her as well, touched.
"If Kana says it's fine, then sure…" Eventually Maki and Torii agreed as well. Shiima agreed as well of course, since he didn't want to be left behind.
And therefore, finding out the origins of youkai had become the main task for the Kiyo Cross Squad.
"Young Master wants to know where we came from?" Nato Kozo asked.
Rikuo was currently surrounded by Nato Kozo as well as several small youkai in the back garden.
"Yes, it's for an assignment. And I want to know more about all of you as well."
"Well, if Young Master put it that way, ehehe…" Nato Kozo said as it scratched it's head, flattered that their Young Master was interested in them, even though they are small and aren't very helpful.
"Well, for me, I used to be just normal Natto. Then I was simply left some place and forgotten, and after many many many years, I gained a soul and youki, which resulted in who I am today." Natto Kozo explained.
"That's…really sad." Rikuo commented. He couldn't imagine how food could just be left someplace and forgotten. Unless they were offerings to the spirits.
"I'm not sure if it's sad or not, since we don't really have a mind of our own until we become youkai, which means that we don't remember all those years clearly. Ah, Tofu Kozo is the same as me." Natto Kozo said, referring to the one eyed youkai with the bamboo hat.
"Okay." Rikuo said as he took down notes.
"Me me, I want to tell Young Master where I came from as well!" Kamaosa said as it jumped up and down. Kamaosa is one of the more common types of youkai found in the house.
"Sure." Rikuo said, smiling, even though he already knew what type of youkai Kamaosa was.
"I used to be a bottle, but my previous family treasured me very much and I was used for a hundred years. After that, I gained a soul and became a Tsukumogami. And well, the family threw me out soon after because I was playing quite some pranks on them, and that was how I came to the Nura Gumi. A lot of the others in the kitchen are Tsukumogami as well, like Nirigama and Chokuboron." Kamaosa told its story as well.
"So was it helpful?" Natto Kozo asked after Rikuo finished his writing.
"Yes, it was very informative, thank you."
"Ah, it was nothing…"
"An assignment?" Tsurara asked as Rikuo told her about what happened at the club meeting.
"Yeah, Kiyotsugu wanted us to research on the origins of various types of youkai."
"Che, that human sure is troublesome."
"Um…Tsurara, calm down, please." Rikuo said nervously as he caught a glimpse of a darker side of Tsurara. "I'm fine with it, since it gives me a chance to know more about all of you."
Know more about all of you…know more…you…Rikuo-sama wants to know more about me?
"Ehehe…Rikuo-sama, we still have so many years to know each other better, why the rush…ehehe…"
"Erhm, Tsurara?" Rikuo got even more nervous now seeing her sudden change in behavior. "I just wanted to know where you came from…" he said, trying to clarify whatever Tsurara might be misunderstanding.
Tsurara instantly snapped out of her daydream hearing that. "Oh, is that it? Let me think…my mother, Setsura said something about this before." Tsurara said as she tried to recall what was said to her once. After a short while, she turned to Rikuo again.
"Oh yes, she said something about having to travel to a mountain with Thousand Year Snow at its peak. Then with the blessings of the mountain god there, the snow is infused with youki and after many days of constant attention, a Yuki-onna will be formed, which would be me."
"So, does that mean all Yuki-onna like Tsurara would be female?"
"Well, yes. I haven't seen a male snow youkai yet." Tsurara replied.
"That's really surprising."
"It is? Why?"
"Well, since you look so much like a human, I thought Yuki-onna would have children just like how humans do, with a normal pregnancy and everything." Rikuo said, explaining his thoughts.
"Eh? I don't think it works that way, Rikuo-sama."
"Then…hypothetically…if you have a child with a human, do you think you would have a normal human pregnancy and give birth normally? Since you resemble a human so much."
Unbeknownst to Rikuo, Tsurara had already lost him by then, because she was lost in her own thoughts.
Have a child with a human…child with a human….a human…a child with Rikuo-sama?
The instant she thought that, she turned very red and she could feel her temperature rise, which could be fatal for Yuki-onna.
"Rikuo-sama, you idiot!" Tsurara shouted as she ran off to find a way to lower her internal temperature, leaving a very confused Rikuo behind.
"Huh? I said 'hypothetically', right? Why did she take it so seriously?"
"How we originated?" Aotabou and Kurotabou asked as Rikuo stopped them just as they returned back from their regular patrolling.
"Yeah, do you think you can tell me?" Rikuo asked.
"I guess I'm okay with it. It's not a good story though." Aotabou said, agreeing. He always found it hard to refuse Rikuo's requests, since he doted on their Third Heir so much. And so he started telling his story.
"I used to be human, a warrior monk, and because of that, I killed a lot of people. By committing that many sins, I was about to be executed when I met a holy man. He said that if I continued to kill people, I would become a monster. And in order to prevent that from happening, I would have to save one person for every sin I committed."
"You used to be human?" Rikuo asked in surprise. He never knew that, but then again, he never knew a lot about any of his family. In fact, he was surprised that he had never thought of knowing them better, it was rather embarrassing, considering he was their leader.
"Yeah, I was. So in order to remain human, I decided to live for the sake of helping people, and eventually, children who lost their homes and parents to the war had gathered around me. And just as I was on the brink to becoming human again, a group of bandits attacked the temple where the children and I were staying. In order to protect them, I became a youkai."
An uncomfortable silence passed between Aotabou and Rikuo before Rikuo said, "I'm sorry…for making you remember such painful things."
"Huh? No, it's fine. It happened so long ago. And I'm really happy in the Nura Gumi…Look, I didn't tell you this story to make you feel bad, so cheer up okay?" Aotabou said, feeling guilty that he had upset their leader.
"Aotabou, you idiot." Kurotabou said. How could Aotabou forget that their Young Master was actually a very sensitive and considerate person?
"Kurotabou." Rikuo warned gently, causing the black haired monk to bite his tongue before he could blame Aotabou any further.
"Thank you Aotabou, for telling me." Rikuo said, smiling, reassuring Aotabou that he wasn't upset at all.
"Ah Rikuo-sama knows already, but I originated from children's tales." Kurotabou said, reminding Rikuo of his origin.
"If Young Master knows already, why the heck did you even say it again?" Aotabou asked, with a bit of irritation in his voice.
"To preserve my screen time of course."
"What the hell? You're really too narcissistic…"
"Both of you, stop fighting…" Rikuo almost pleaded as he watched both of them quarrel. Sometimes he wondered if they fought in order to deepen their relationship.
"Hmm, I'm not really sure, but from our appearance and species, I would suspect that our ancestry can be traced back to both the crows and the Tengu." Karasu Tengu said as he answered Rikuo's question of their origin.
"I see. Then how were you born?" Rikuo asked.
"Born? Ah, we're still birds after all, so naturally, we're born from eggs. Kuromaru, Tosakamaru and Sasami all hatched from eggs. And since Kuromaru hatched first, he's the oldest."
"Ah okay…then, actually…is there any reason why you shrunk? I mean Kuromaru and the rest are human sized and you're this small…" Rikuo said, finally asking the question that had been bothering him the whole time.
"It's old age, Young Master, although there are some things that can accelerate the process…" Karasu Tengu answered, a dark haunted look on his face.
Rikuo decided against asking him about the "some things".
"Shoei, where did you come from?" Rikuo asked as he found the tall youkai.
"Why the sudden interest?" Shoei asked, wondering why their Third Heir asked such an innocent question out of the blue.
"Ah, it's for a research assignment."
"Oh I see. I'm not really that clear, but dad didn't talk too much about it, but I know that all my ancestors were all animal youkai. So I guess that I was born because my father mated with an ape."
"Huh really? Just any ape? Then how did Hihi-jiisan even know where to find you?"
"I'm not really sure about that…I guess I'll find out when I get older?" Shoei answered, sounding very uncertain.
"I'm sorry for confusing you…" Rikuo said, feeling apologetic. Sometimes he forgets that Shoei wasn't that much older than him.
"Ah, it's fine. I hoped it helped you. Good luck with your assignment."
"It really helped, thanks a lot."
"Hmm…I'm not that sure…I guess we originate from turtles or fish or something." Kappa answered, while enjoying the cool waters of the pond in the Nura Gumi's yard. "But you know, with all the humans talking about Kappa, we could have easily originated from various human tales as well."
"But I thought it's because Kappa exist, that why humans talk about them."
"Well, with well known youkai like us, you can never be sure, just like that…Chicken and Egg theory. But I'm really annoyed by some of their stories."
"Like how we impregnate human women and make them have ugly babies such that the babies will have to get buried, or we eat livers from people who drown. It's not like we're all like the Kyoto youkai! Eating liver is so gross, cucumbers definitely would taste a lot better than that. Why are humans so mean…"
"Erhm…you could think of it as a way of gathering 'fear', if it makes you feel any better. And it does stop children from falling into the river, so it's all good." Rikuo said, trying to comfort Kappa.
"If you put it that way…then I guess I can accept that. To answer your question though, I always suspected that some types of Kappa are actually a manifestation of babies who get thrown into rivers. Which may be why I look like this."
"A…child?" Rikuo guessed.
"Yeah. Don't you think that just might be it?"
"I guess. Thanks for the information."
"You're welcome." Kappa replied cheerfully.
"Basically, when we want to have offspring, we turn into our bird form and find a mate, which would result in a baby youkai." Zen replied.
"Ah I see, similar to Shoei-kun then."
"Yeah. The amazing thing is that even if we do have offspring with normal animals, the resulting offspring would still be a pure breed youkai. It's very different from mating with humans."
"True…" Rikuo replied.
Zen turned to Rikuo, who was still writing down some notes.
"By the way, Rikuo, aren't you a bit too young to be asking about the birds and the bees? I may be a youkai, but I've seen enough humans to know that it's still too early for you. Unless you're actually thinking of…"
Rikuo stopped writing the instant he realized what Zen was hinting at.
"It's not like that at all!" Rikuo shouted in protest. "This is just for a research assignment."
"Oh really?" Zen asked. Rikuo didn't like the fact that he still heard suspicion in Zen's voice.
"Really! Why in the world would I think of having kids when I'm still in middle school, sheesh…"
"Hmm…true, you probably don't even have a girl you like…" Just as Zen said that, he noticed the faint blush on Rikuo's face.
"Wait…don't tell me you actually have a girl you like." Zen said in disbelief. As expected from their Third Heir, he really makes good progress.
"It's really none of your business, Zen." Rikuo finally sad before he ran off, escaping the embarrassing line of questioning.
"Ah, keeping secrets from me like that, he's really all grown up now, isn't he?" Zen said, smiling as he watched Rikuo's retreating back.
"Our origins?" Kejorou asked.
"Yeah, it's for a research assignment."
"Was it given to you by that youkai fanatic friend of yours?"
"Um…if you mean Kiyotsugu-kun, then yes." Rikuo answered.
"Well, if you really want to know…I used to be human, then something happened, and I became a youkai." Kejorou answered.
"Something…happened?" Rikuo asked, confused by the vague answer.
"I'm not very sure myself as well, Rikuo-sama." Kejorou said, seeming to dismiss his question before she glanced at Kubinashi, who had not said anything since Rikuo asked them the question. He looked kind of pale, in Rikuo's opinion.
"Kubinashi, are you okay?" Rikuo asked worriedly.
Kubinashi seemed to snap out of something as Rikuo asked his question. Then he answered, "I used to be human, like Kejorou. The way I became a youkai is similar to Gyuuki-sama, so why don't you just ask him instead?" then he simply walked off. And given Kubinashi's usually respectful nature, instead of thinking that Kubinashi was rude, to Rikuo, it just seemed like he was running away.
Did I…just ask something that I shouldn't?
"I'm sorry about Kubinashi, but he…also has things he doesn't want to talk about, but you don't have to feel bad about it, Rikuo-sama. Then…I'll take my leave." Kejorou said before she hurriedly went in the direction where Kubinashi had walked off too.
"I really…don't know a lot about my family at all, don't I?" Rikuo said to himself, sighing in regret.
Well, time for the last one.
Rikuo thought as he searched the mansion, looking for his grandfather. Eventually, Rikuo found him relaxing along the corridor just outside his room.
"Jii-san." Rikuo called out to his grandfather, Nurarihyon.
"Ah, Rikuo, what is it?"
"It's for an assignment…so can you tell me where you came from? Like how you were born or something?"
Nurarihyon looked surprised at the question, but said nothing else. A long silence passed between them and it was getting to the point that Rikuo got worried that he had asked about something he shouldn't again.
"Erhm…is it something you can't talk about?" Rikuo asked cautiously.
"Huh? No, that's not it. Even if you asked me about my origins, I never really thought about it, so it became rather difficult for me to give you an answer." Nurarihyon answered, reassuring his grandson that he didn't do anything wrong.
"Oh I see…how about…does Jii-san have any parents?"
"Now that you mention it…I do have an impression that I probably had a father or something. Maybe I was created from his youki?" Nurarihyon answered, tilting his head as he tried to recall something very far back in the past.
"So, I guess it's something like Yuki-onna…so…does that mean that there are only male Nurarihyon?" Rikuo concluded.
"Hmm…maybe…but honestly, I have not seen any other Nurarihyon besides Rihan and yourself, and both of you are of mixed blood. But you know, since your grandmother and mother had Rihan and you in normal pregnancies, I could have been born normally too, but I'm really not sure about that."
"Really? There may be only male Nurarihyon huh? That's too bad, I really would have liked a daughter." Rikuo commented in a rather disappointed tone of voice.
Nurarihyon simply stared at Rikuo in surprise. Even though his grandson had already reached a legal adult age of a youkai, he was still 13 in human years, isn't it a bit too early to be thinking about children…
Rikuo, noticing Nurarihyon's surprised stare, simply said in response, "I was just kidding Jii-san, you don't have to take me so seriously…haha…don't give me that look as if I'm going to suddenly drag a girl over and say I want to marry her, I'm too young for that."
"That's true." Nurarihyon said, finally looking away after hearing Rikuo's reply. Seriously, what was he so worried about, it's not as if Rikuo resembled Rihan in his dating habits.
"Wow! As expected of Nura-kun! It's so detailed. Where did you get all your information from?" Kiyotsugu said in awe as he flipped through Rikuo's notes.
It was a few days after Kiyotsugu had given them all the assignments and they were now showing him the fruits of their labour.
"Well, books and the internet, and stuff…" Rikuo answered vaguely.
"And you even covered most of the major types, food, item, nature, animal and human. Well, there are a lot more than that, but this is enough to get us started. You're such a life saver!" Kiyotsugu said. The rest had tried their best, but were only able to give basic examples and descriptions, nowhere near as detailed as this.
"Where do you think he got all that info?" Maki whispered to Torii and Kana.
"Huh? Didn't Rikuo-kun say books and the internet?" Kana answered.
"Didn't we go to his house before? He has no computer in his house!" Maki said.
"He could have gone to the library you know." Torii reasoned.
"Well, that's true."
"Then again, he's really soo hardworking, Nura-kun that is." Shima commented.
No wonder Oikawa-san seems to like him.
"Ah! You even have Nurarihyon in here! The Supreme Commander of the youkai huh…" Kiyotsugu said dreamily.
It's me now though.
Rikuo thought, smiling awkwardly. He had never really thought about how much of a fan boy Kiyotsugu was. But now that he saw the full extent of his admiration, it was kind of scary.
I hope he never finds out.
"But now that I think about it, you used to say that you were the grandson of Nurarihyon. And that you lived in a house full of youkai. You know, in grade school." Kiyotsugu said, recalling the distant memory.
Rikuo froze, but quickly composed himself.
"Errr…that was just a childhood fantasy, Kiyotsugu-kun. You don't have to care about that…ehehe"
"But really, you already liked youkai at that time, and seeing how I like youkai now, I really feel bad about calling you a liar last time." Kiyotsugu confessed.
"Yeah, we said the same thing too. We're sorry." Kana said, feeling guilty. Torii, Maki and Shima nodded in response.
Rikuo wanted to tell them that he had already forgiven them a long time ago, but he was interrupted by Kiyotsugu.
"But after that incident in the bus, I started believing in youkai and even now, I really want to find the youkai who saved us that day, which is why I started this club. I think everyone feels the same way too right?" Kiyotsugu asked.
Everyone except Rikuo nodded. Torii wanted to find the black haired monk who saved her in order to thank him. Kana wanted to see the mysterious youkai who helped her again and again. Shima just wanted to support Kiyotsugu's decision. Maki just went along with the flow.
Kiyotsugu felt touched. Maybe there was hope for this club after all. "Thank you for your support, everyone!" he shouted happily.
And another session of the meeting of the Kiyo Cross Squad ended peacefully.
Pika318: This was really a long chapter. But it would probably be the longest chapter in this series simply because of the huge number of characters that appeared, so I had to account for all of them. It was meant to be a light hearted story, but somehow, some depressing elements managed to sneak in…haha. Please review if you like it!