The Hidden Village of Toono, 8.30 a.m.
The Training Arena
Rikuo, who had found himself awaken in the village of Toono just a few moments ago, was standing in front of some Toono youkai. Every youkai there was introducing themselves to the Nura clan's third heir.
"Nice to meet you. I'm Awashima the Amanojaku. Itaku couldn't stop blabbering about being in charge of your training, you know.", Awashima said. He was in his male form.
"Shut up!", Itaku replied, slightly embarrassed.
"I'm Dohiko, a futacchi. Feel free to ask me anything you don't understand around here.", Dohiko said to Rikuo.
"I'm Reira, the yuki-onna. And the little one here is Yukari, the zashiki warashi.", Reira continued.
Rikuo tilted his head and spotted Reira and Yukari. Reira gave him a warm, welcoming smile. Rikuo awkwardly smiled back at her. But when he moved his gaze towards Yukari, he could sense a murderous aura around the zashiki warashi. She was showing a frightening face, enough to scare the hell out of people. Rikuo couldn't help but feel a little uneasy.
"Rikuo? What's wrong?", Reira asked, breaking the tense.
"Oh, um …nothing. I guess I spaced out a little – I'm fine, really…", Rikuo replied to her. He got a feeling that Yukari didn't like him very much.
"Well then, now that we have introduced ourselves, let's get back to work. Rikuo, come with me. I'll bring you to the Namahage brothers. They know what to do with you.", Itaku suddenly said.
"Okayy, see you guys later! Gotta do my daily chores for now. See you later, newcomer!", Awashima said as he walked into the forest behind the arena. Dohiko the futacchi followed him afterwards.
"We'll take our leave as well. See you later, Itaku, Rikuo. Come, Yukari.", Reira said as she left the arena together with Yukari.
"Sure. See you guys around.", Rikuo replied.
As Reira and Yukari walked, Rikuo felt the uneasy feeling once again. He looked at Yukari and was surprised when he realized that Yukari was giving him a glare of horror as she left the arena along with Reira.
"Rikuo, what are you doing? We're leaving!", Itaku said in an impatience tone.
"I'm coming!", Rikuo replied. He then left the arena, together with Itaku. As he ran through the forest, he couldn't stop thinking about Yukari. He needed to know why Yukari gave him such a hateful glare earlier…
Rikuo was squatting beside the river, with a piece of cloth in his hands, and a pile of more clothes beside him.
Doing the laundry, such a troublesome job… I wonder how Tsurara always makes it look so easy to do... Rikuo thought as he washed the cloth in the river.
Itaku, who had brought Rikuo to the Namahage brothers, left just moments ago. The Namahage had given Rikuo a big basket full of clothes to wash in the river. The amount clothes were so crazy that his hands started to hurt from washing them for hours.
When he was soaking the clothes into the river, he spotted several lilies floating on the water. However, those flowers suddenly disappeared when he tried to pick them.
"Hmm, that's strange. I wonder if it was just my imagination…?", Rikuo said to himself, wondering where the flowers had gone.
Then, he heard somebody giggled behind a rock.
"Who is it? Show yourself!", Rikuo said, looking around his surroundings.
He heard a few steps coming out from behind the same stone. He was surprised when he saw the person coming out from behind the stone,
"Yukari? What are you doing here?"
But Yukari didn't say anything. She stared at Rikuo for a moment, then turned her body and ran away.
"H-Hey! Wait! I won't hurt you!", Rikuo yelled. But the zashiki warashi had disappeared into the forest.
"I wonder what was that about…", Rikuo said when he thought about Yukari's actions earlier that day.
At that time, Rikuo was relaxing in a hot spring underneath the waterfall, which he had known about from Amezo. He felt like he was going to die from fatigue after finishing all those chores, so he decided to go there and enjoy his rest.
A few minutes later, Rikuo got up and left the hot spring. He got dressed and went back to his bed. But as he was trying to sleep, suddenly he felt a pressure on his chest. He opened his eyes and was shocked when he found Yukari was sitting on top of him.
"Poor you, onii-chan.", Yukari suddenly said. She stared deep into Rikuo's eyes, which made him slightly uncomfortable.
"Because…you are going to DIE.", Yukari continued. She gave a pressure on the last word, which was noticed by Rikuo.
"What do you mean…?", Rikuo asked in surprise.
But Yukari didn't answer his question. She then got up and walked away from Rikuo.
"Because onii-chan is so mean…that's why he is going to die…", Yukari said as she left Rikuo, who was confused by her actions.
The next day, Rikuo caught a cold.
It was strange, since he was in his youkai form all the time since his arrival at Toono. A youkai catching a cold was a phenomenon that was never heard of before. And Rikuo was totally embarrassed by that fact.
"How come a youkai could catch a cold? You're such a lame, Rikuo!", Awashima said when he visited Rikuo. He and Dohiko had brought some fruits for Rikuo to eat.
"Well, sorry for that. I never plan on catching a cold. The cold is the one who catches me.", Rikuo replied in sarcasm.
"Hey, don't take it seriously, dude. I was just joking."
"And your joke wasn't funny AT ALL."
"Okay, okay. I'll shut up.", Awashima admitted his defeat.
"By the way," Rikuo said, "What's up with Yukari?"
"Yukari? What's wrong with her? She seems fine to me.", Dohiko replied.
"Last night, Yukari paid me a visit."
"Eh?", Awashima lifted an eyebrow.
"Yeah. She literally sits on my chest. I almost die of heart attack when I saw her last night.", answered Rikuo.
"Did she say anything to you?"
"She said, 'Poor you, onii-chan.'. And when I asked why, she simply said, 'Because you're going to die.' Oh yeah, she also said something like 'Because onii-chan is so mean…that's why he is going to die…'. I wonder what's wrong with her."
Suddenly, both Awashima and Dohiko tensed up.
"You sure that's what she said to you?", Awashima asked Rikuo with a serious face.
"A hundred percent."
"I'll go talk to Reira about this. You coming, Dohiko?"
"Nah, I will accompany Rikuo for a while here. I've got nothing to do anyway.", Dohiko answered.
"Fine then. See you guys around. And Rikuo – "
"What is it?"
"…watch your mouth from now on. Yukari could be very dangerous, you know.", Awashima gave Rikuo a warning.
"Dangerous?", Rikuo asked in confusion.
"Yep. Try not to get killed, okay?", Awashima said as he waved his hands and left the place.
"O-Oi! Wait! What was that about?!"
"Don't mind it. Just enjoy your rest. Dohiko, I'll leave him to you.", Awashima replied before he disappeared into the forest.
"Geez, I wonder what's up with him. Suddenly being so mysterious like that. Right, Dohiko?", Rikuo said when Awashima left them.
"Eh? Yeah, probably…", Dohiko answered awkwardly.
"Probably? You know something about this, don't you? Tell me everything you know, Dohiko!", Rikuo said to Dohiko.
"I'll tell you…but you must promise me one thing."
"Promise me that you will never, ever, try to talk to Yukari about this. She gets really sensitive when it comes to this.", Dohiko answered with a serious expression.
"Fine, I won't say anything. Just spit it out."
"Take a look at this.", Dohiko said as he pulled out a photo from his sleeve. Rikuo could see some familiar faces in that picture, such as Itaku, Awashima, Reira and Dohiko.
"This picture was taken 3 years ago. See that guy over there? He was called Shinji. He was a fellow Toono youkai... and someone Yukari considered like her own brother."
So, how is it? Is the first chapter good enough for you? I bet this is the first time Yukari being featured in a fanfic, I'm just saying.
Hope you guys enjoy this story, and don't forget to leave a review. Let me know what you think. :)