Ghost Slayers Ayashi: The Yukiatsu Ryudo Chronicles
Story 1: The Immortal Ayashi
Prologue: The Man Who Never Aged
(DISCLAIMER: No, I do not own Ghost Slayers Ayashi because it belongs to Bones and Sho Aikawa as well as Bandai and Aniplex. So, enjoy the show!)
The Other World... a place that became more of a realm that can purify one's soul and spirit... or so I thought. After the battle between me and Susano, I returned to that place to be purified from the poison that I had endured. My return to the earthly world had been a troubled one after I woke from a long sleep in Maejima Temple. I was youthful in my appearance as I didn't have the age of a forty-year-old ronin. I felt strange as I even saw that the temple turned into something malevolent. I was kept prisoner in a place where those who lost their mental capacity have been put away. I was trapped in a mental hospital as I saw that I was in a new century that revered the presence of evolving materials called technology. I was trapped in the twenty-first century as I was severely confined alone in a cell with only a bed and a walk-in bathroom that had a shower in it. I was deemed mentally insane by those who call themselves psychiatrists, or shrinks, who specialized into "taking care of the mentally ill."
I was dressed only in a white robe complete with pajamas and slippers. In this place, I had no friends to comfort me; no Abi, no Hozaburo, no Genbatsu, no Saizo, no Atl, and especially... no Kumoshichi. There was no one here except the orderlies who specialized in abusing the patients in this terrible place. I never aged after being immortal as I became despondent and full of loneliness. It wasn't long until I saw the knob on the door turning to open up the door. I felt fear drenching me as I saw the door open up. To my surprise, I saw a woman appear as she was carrying a strange bag along with a clipboard. Who was she? Was she another orderly or was she someone else? Once again, I was backed against the wall near my bed as I was scared out of my mind. I was in a terrible situation as I felt my heart twisting up in a knot in my chest. I was afraid of something other than going back to the Other World as I was staring at the foreign woman with blond hair and medical clothes. What was I supposed to do? Am I to be trapped in this madhouse for many years more? To my own shock, I was shivering as I was all huddled up in the heavy towel-like robe that did little warmth to my body. Earlier, my bedclothes were stripped due to the fact that I was in need of some clean ones, but they had not come to me for the past few days. I was chilled to the bone in this lonely cold room as I was feeling uneasy due to some illness. Even the doctor noticed that I was feeling ill at ease in this dark, uncaring room that housed me for a long time.
"You know, you shouldn't be afraid of me," she said as she opened up her bag full of medical tools.
"Stay away..., I beg of you...," I said with fear in my voice.
"Don't worry, I'm not one of those abusive orderlies who harm the other patients. The director of this facility told me all about you. He says that you don't grow old or age despite the fact that you were put here for decades. There's also a rumor that you have a name, but you shook it off the moment you were tossed in this facility."
"My name is... Yukiatsu Ryudo..., but not anymore. I shook that name off ever since I was put away here in this insane asylum."
"Yukiatsu Ryudo, huh? Very well, Mr. Ryudo, I'm gonna be examining you in order to see that if you're fit to re-enter society."
My whole body trembled as I was scared of the woman doctor who dug out a thermometer and stethoscope in order to examine me. I stayed still as I watched her inch closer to me and put the thermometer into my mouth. I was having my temperature taken as I had had that strange device with a digital reading that read whatever heat I had on my body. The standard body temperature was 98.6 degrees as it was normal while the deadly one was up to 106 degrees. I was patiently waiting for the verdict as I heard the thermometer beep while the doctor took it out of my mouth. There was concern in the woman doctor's eyes as she saw the reading that was drawn out of me.
"So..., what's the verdict?" I asked.
"Yukiatsu," she said. "You're gonna have to stay in bed for a brief while."
"I've endured the cold for far too long."
"It seems that you have a temperature of 102.4 so far. By the way, when was the last time that you received clean bedclothes? It seems to me that you have none on your bed since two days ago."
"Are you kidding me? The orderlies come in here and strip my bed of my bedclothes and they hardly ever come by to bring me some new ones. They only do it when the director tells them to."
The doctor continued to examine me as she was about to listen to my heart with the stethoscope that she had in her hands. The sound of my heartbeat was unsteady as it was racing with such trouble. I was a wreck as I was brought down with a terrible cold. After examining me, the doctor put her stethoscope back into her medical bag as she later helped me up onto the chair that was next to the bed that had no sheets or blankets. It wasn't long until I saw the orderlies return with some clean bedclothes. The bed was being made as it was ready to sleep in after the orderlies left my room. Somehow, I could have swore that one of them might have been familiar, but it was all in my head. I was all alone in this mental institution that catered only to the insane. No, I was sane, but I was put here because I had no right to exist in the outside world. I was trapped in a mental prison that catered to my own making as I had no one to talk to... except for that doctor.
"You look as if you had been here for more than just a long time, Yukiatsu," she said.
"I'm tired," I answered as I got up from my chair and climbed into bed.
"The director told me that you were not completely insane. Looks like that someone put here because you were different. He's even considering about checking you out of this place and into somewhere that you can function as a normal person."
"No!" I covered myself in my blankets. "I don't deserve to leave this place! My place is here! Can't you see that?"
"Yukiatsu..., don't you ever want to step out into the open and see that you're ready to enter normal society? Do you want to be someone more daring than that in this insane asylum?"
"Ma'am..., I have nothing to live for but staying in this cold, dark place that will always keep me prisoner."
"We'll have to discuss this some other time. Right now, you need to get some rest."
I curled up in my bed as I was about to fall asleep. I was caught in the fever's grip as I was shaking from the cold that abused me for so long. As for the good doctor, she began to record the vitals that she took from me while writing them down on the clipboard. She was concerned for me as she later left the room to report the progress that was made. I was in the newly made-up bed that I was in as I began to shake with an ill turn in my fevered body. I was fast asleep as I began to dream about the rest of the Ayashi as well as the Other World. I have begun to ask myself that if the Ayashi were immortal like me, then they would seek me out and find me. Anyway, they would all be passing on by then. I looked at the splendor of the Other World as it had white koi swimming everywhere. I was happy when I was walking into the landscape of the place that I once ran from... until I heard a familiar voice call out to me from beyond.
"Yukiatsu," it said to me.
"Who are you?" I asked frantically.
"Don't you know who I am? I've been with you the whole time when you purified yourself in the Other World."
"Kumoshichi..., is that you? Where are you? Answer me!"
"Yukiatsu, that doctor wants to help you flee this insane asylum that kept you a prisoner for quite a long time. You know that this isn't your answer for being put away for the rest of your life over and over again. Sometimes, you have to find a way to keep your sanity. Being kept here is extremely unhealthy for both the mind and the body."
"Shichiji, this is my prison. I cannot break free."
"That doctor is willing to bring you out into the open. You should put your trust in those who are willing to help you get out of this place, don't you agree?"
"You need to fight for what you have, Yukiatsu. It is your destiny."
I woke up from a long sleep as I was in a different bed. Where was I? Why am I in a nice building other than the insane asylum? I got up as I walked towards a window where it showed an outside view of a strange clock near a river. Where am I in this place? What am I going to do in this age of technological mastery? I had to take Kumoshichi's advice to heart, no matter what consequences that are in store for me. My name was... Yukiatsu Ryudo and I am an Ayashi. I had to adapt in this world, no matter the consequences that were made for me.