Chapter Three: Tsukuyomi's Kin
Waka's gut twists at the sight of the Celestials, passed out on the rock. He can see their luminous blood trickle out onto the stone. The memory of that cursed night so many years ago on the Ark of Yamato nearly makes his stomach heave.
"Whaddya suppose those Celestials are doing up here?" Issun asks. It's obvious to Waka that the Poncle doesn't know what happened. "Weren't they all killed by Yami?"
Or maybe he does.
"Je sais pas," Waka lies, worrying that the Celestials might recognise his golden hair, a trait of the Moon Tribe. Surely, they won't recognise him, specifically, if they're still alive. "Why don't we go ask them?"
Issun's glow turns red as he bounces towards the two Celestials, who still haven't moved. "That's your bright plan, you half-baked prophet? How're we goin' to ask someone somethin' when they're dead?"
"Non, they're not dead," Waka answers, following him. They can't be dead.
Issun continues bouncing. How could he jump so high, when he was barely an inch tall? "You're sure? They sure lookdead to me."
They're not dead because they can't be. It's all his fault all his fault all his fault— "I'm positive. Look, you can see them breathing." Dear Amaterasu, he can see them breathing.
"You're right! Well, we should probably take 'em down to where Ammy—" Issun stops mid-bounce. "Ammy! We have to go see her!"
"Oui, but we can't just leave these two up here by themselves."
"Well, howdya suggest we bring them with us? In case you've forgotten, I'm too small to be too much help. And I doubt you'd be able to carry 'em both."
He knows the Poncle is right. "Well, why don't I bring one down and you stay here with the other?" Issun won't bye in on his plan, unless— "I'm sure a great swordsman like you can handle that, non?" Waka lays the sarcasm down thick and smirks at the results.
The light turns red. "Whaddya insinuating?! That's it! Just you watch! I'll be the best guard there ever was!"
Waka takes a break half-way down the mountain, breath short. The Celestial, a young woman, stirs.
"Wh-where...am I?" she asks, eyes foggy and voice thick from unconsciousness. She jolts up into a sitting position before slumping with a groan. "Mother Amaterasu...!"
Waka helps the young woman lie back down. "Be careful. Amaterasu is fine." Or, at least, he hopes so. "What happened?"
"You're accent...did you visit Mother Amaterasu's court often? You seem familiar."
Waka shakes his head quickly, hoping she can't tell the difference. "Non, I didn't. You must be mistaken. What happened to you?"
The Celestial's eyes flutter closed. "All I can remember...red eyes...Mother Amaterasu saying something about—about a monster—" Waka realizes that the woman is crying. "She didn't come back, did she? A woman—at least, she looked like a woman—took all of us Chiefs to the throne room and...Oh, Amaterasu! Is Shishi all right?"
"Is Shishi the other Celestial, the young man?"
The Celestial nods, eyes wide open again with hope. "Yes. Is he all right?" She pauses, lips pursed. "Oh, where are my manners? My name's Shisa."
Waka remembers vaguely Amaterasu, when she was still at her full power and had resided on the celestial Plain, calling one of the two monstrous beasts in her court Shisa. Could it be...?
"I believe he's fine. Do you know why there were two komainus at the summit?" Waka holds back any French words he can. Maybe she won't recognise him.
Shisa smiles weakly. "That was me and Shishi. We protect Mother Amaterasu." She stops, looking confused. "Why?"
He still doesn't understand why they would attack them. "No reason."
Amaterasu wakes up to dry grass and black eyes. Chibiterasu looks up at his mother hopefully, tail wagging.
But Amaterasu can't remember him, can't remember any of it.
"Mother Amaterasu!" she hears coming from behind her. She whirls around to find herself in the embrace of a Celestial. She barks as she remembers Shisa. But why can't she remember anything past leaving...to do what? "I was worried."
A man walks behind Shisa, and something deep in the back of her head makes Amaterasu growl at him. That blond hair...
"What's wrong, ma chèrie?" the man asks, hurt crossing his features. "It's me, Waka!"
Amaterasu loosens herself from the embrace of Shisa, hackles raised. His blond hair reminds her of something, but she can't put her finger—claw—on it. Why can't she talk?
Amaterasu simply growls at his face, which grows paler and paler the longer she snarls.
Waka's eyes grow wide. "You—you don't remember me?"
Another warning growl, and Waka takes this is confirmation of the horrible truth.
Chibiterasu, on the other hand, seems completely transfixed on Waka, eyes growing wider by the second. Why did the man-that-Mother-doesn't-like look like Kurow?
Waka catches the gaze of Chibiterasu, but turns away, ashamed. Another life he had ended.
"Hey, furball, you're awake!" says a voice coming from the mountain. A speck of light follows Shishi. Amaterasu knows that it couldn't have been him...so, the light? It looks awfully like a bug..."You okay, Ammy?"
The light lands on her muzzle, and she can see a tiny face in the glow. The beetle-helmet obscures most of his hair, but she can see it's black. Despite the high-pitched voice, she can tell it's distinctly masculine. Amaterasu growls deeper.
"Hey, take it easy, furball! It's me, Issun!"
But he does not find any warm recognition in her lupine gaze. Issun, for once, is at a loss for words.
Amaterasu looks around, gaze stopping on Chibiterasu, Issun and Waka. How could she not remember so many?