Looking around, I realized that the whispering breeze that brought me here was gone. The clearing a head was strangely quiet. Nothing stirred, not even a leaf or a blade of grass. it was midday, the loudest time in a forest like this, the chirping of thousands of birds were expected along with the high pitch drone of cicadas and crickets, but there was no sound at all. Only the loud thumping of my heart in my ear and the soft crunching of grass under my feet. However strange the silent stillness was, it was not the eerie, tension filled quiet before a violent storm, but rather the silent that is only found in a site so sacred that any noise or movement that disturbed it would be an act of blasphemy. It like the profound serenity found at a holy shrine, dignified and lofty without demanding it. It was a tranquillity that makes you think that time itself has stopped to honour it.

Carefully, I walked out of the canopy of the forest into the clearing. The sun was directly overhead, shinning brightly, casting a circle of shadow around the giant tree. I caught a movement in the right hand corner of my vision, wiping my head to the left, I saw a red oil skin umbrella appear on the fringe of the forest, my common sense told me that it is impossible to see a old fashion umbrella to simply appear, but the other part quickly told me that it was simply a spirit. As I watched, more and more umbrellas appeared silently around the edge of the clearing, and behind them other bigger spirits are starting to gather. All of them facing the direction of the giant tree.

Taking a few more tentative steps forward, until I was half way to the tree, a voice rang through the clearing, the voice was timeless and ageless and at the same time genderless, it was loud but gentle. There was one thing that was impossible to miss is that it was the voice of a person who held immense power in their hands and knows exactly how powerful they are. 'I have been waiting for you, Hotaru Takegawa.' I looked around searching for the direction of the voice, but the voice seems to come from every where in the clearing. Unsure of what to do, I headed towards the most likely place the giant trees. Once again the clearing have gone quiet, I could hear the soft crunch of grass under my foot painfully loud, not to mention the frantic hammering of my heart. Yes, I might have seen my share of magical being thanks to my time with Gin, but if the voice was anything to judge by, then nothing would ever been able to prepare me for the meeting with the mountain god.

Slowly, I approached the tree, stopping a few meters from its enormous trunk. The sunlight filtered through the leaves, creating an interesting play of light and shadows on the floor. Unsure of what to do, I stopped there for a
few moments, debating whether I should continue walking until I touched the trunk or if I should just stay where I am and wait respectfully for the mountain god to reveal himself.

I barely had time to step back when someone landed in front of me from the tree. Stumbling back in shock, I caught myself just as I was about to fall. Timidly, I peered at the person in front of me. But nothing, no matter how accustomed to the strange appearances of spirits, I was not prepared for the shock I was about to receive as he straightening himself.
"Nice to finally meet you, Hotaru."

Author Note: so so so so sorry for the long wait, Year 12 is super busy. sorry! Oh, and please review!