Rumors of a nameless hero pervaded on the surface of the moon. Surprisingly enough, though rather rare they were not unheard of.
Many heroes from both the Japanese and Greek legends were larger than life, gifted beyond belief which they used to accomplish deeds so great and/or terrible that they remained in the people's mind for countless generations.
But beyond the list of heroic deeds were also terrible flaws. Hubris, greed, wrath, betrayal, lust, not even peerless heroes were immune to such folly.
And so even if respected heroes would always be welcome on the pure and pristine city of the moon, they were given the privilege of hiding their names so that people won't judge.
This system seems very silly and full of holes, a heinous travesty in security.
But only 'pure' creatures such as mythical heroes, deities, and Lunar Rabbits could have survived entering the city. So it has worked for many years.
Tai, uncaring of the small wave of excitement surrounding him, was in the Lunar Library.
If the Voile was the most fantastic library he had ever seen, then this one surpassed all fantasies.
The shelves were carved from priceless adamantine, shining crimson like rubies in the bright, soft light of floating stars. The floating stars seemed to possess some measure of intellect as they played above the air like fairies, and they played childishly with the amused Tai. The books themselves look like normal books, but none of them were yellowed, they were apparently all indestructible, and the texts themselves seemed to pop out like a hologram in front of him. The pictures seemed to be moving and interactive, and he found that he could fully immerse himself in the mini-movies if he willed himself into the scenes depicted by the books.
The floor was a dazzling silver sheet, with the smoothest, most cleanly cut jewels embedded to create a portrait of the Greek Olympians in all their glory. Above Tai's head was a painting akin to the works of Michelangelo's frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, except it showed an innumerable army of the 10 million gods, with the most prominent Japanese deities leading the army.
Tsukuyomi and Amaterasu wore beautiful Japanese clothing that showed their respective celestial territories, the moon and the sun each.
Inari held a two-tailed white fox in his/her arms and wearing a shrine priest/priestess set of garments. It was hard to tell considering the deity looked so androgynous.
Susanoo held a sword in one hand, and his clothing was the most magical. The robes seemed to be made of rain clouds, and his headpiece seemed to be a bolt of lightning coiled around his forehead like a crown.
Their decorations seem to show that the library itself was dedicated to both pantheons, and it showed.
Books seemed to extend endlessly from above, below, left, right, front, and behind Tai. The shelves and the lights extended for miles upon miles. Some spatial magic was clearly at work, since the library itself was no larger than a medium-sized library on the Earth.
It seemed that Athena believed that knowledge itself was pure and should not be held accountable of its human scholars, so there are also countless books of any and every language on any and every subject.
The newer additions looked like the glass shards that Eirin used, with the edges more rounded. They reminded Tai of electronic tablets from the Earth. They housed only one book, but the book was beyond anything the Earth was capable of. The texts seemed to simply communicate better than regular text, the movies were longer and more detailed that when Tai 'dove in', it looked like a whole world he could explore. Amusingly enough, it also had a music function, and countless soft and relaxing music could accompany his reading as Tai relaxed.
The library was practically his home for two weeks. It was very enlightening.
From what Tai understood during his readings of the Lunar Capital, the city seemed to be ruled together by the Shinto and Greek pantheons together. During the end of the Age of Gods, the Shinto pantheon seemed divided on whether to exist together with the rapidly technologically progressing humans or to retreat to a purer moon, where the flawless and kind Lunar Rabbits lived. A schism occurred, but in the end, the Earth faction parted relatively amicably with the Moon faction.
Or so the books read. Tai noted that the book was written by Tsukuyomi, the strongest voice for the move to the moon, where he would reign as the most superior.
The Lunar Rabbits, as it was in their nature, easily accepted their new neighbors, and provided the faith and worship that nourished the pantheon. Their purer wishes and more innocent desires, such as an easy birth and the better fortune of their neighbors delighted the Shinto gods, and they gradually grew to love their new worshippers. Eventually, alongside this greater fondness grew greater disdain for their former worshippers.
The humans of the Earth grew more in technology and innovation, but their tendency towards bloodshed and hubris also rose. It came to the point that the 'religion' of technology has greatly overshadowed the Earth deities, and even if the Moon deities felt that their foolish decision could only be blamed on themselves, they could not help but resent the humans for betraying their brethren.
A prejudice gradually grew on the moon as more and more deities and heroes learned to disdain humans, and the word 'impure' became synonymous with the race.
When World War I neared the Earth, the Greek pantheon experienced their own troubles. Their influence in their city-states turned nation was growing weaker with the advent of Christianity. Their worshippers grew less and less, though they could maintain some measure of power by relying on the Greek monarchy and their divine right to rule. By 1924 though, via referendum Greece abolished the monarchy, and with that decision tolled the end of the Greek faith in the pantheon. Mt. Olympus held a meeting before finally deciding with a heavy heart. They came to the Shinto pantheon and asked to move to the moon.
The Shinto pantheon hesitated, but, due to the urgings of the kind-hearted Otohime and her legendary hero and husband, Urashima Hoori Taro, they accepted the Greek Olympians into the moon.
It was a joyful union as both sides co-existed peacefully, due to the efforts of the Jewel of the Moon, Otohime, and her kind-hearted and loving husband, Taro…
"Umm, Hero-sama?" A shy but lovely voice called out.
Tai closed the ten books on Lunar history he was reading simultaneously to look at the voice.
The Lunar Rabbit, Shiro, was one of the apprentice librarians of Tenjin, the Shinto deity of scholarship. She was one of many students that managed the massive library. She was also the one who helped Tai the most during his stay.
"Hero-sama seems to be a very scholarly hero. Could you in fact be Wani Kishi-sama?" Shiro guessed hopefully.
Tai smiled at her gently.
"I am afraid not. Good luck next time."
Shiro slumped down, but smiled at him kindly.
It seemed to have become a game among the various Lunar Rabbits he encountered to guess his name. Therese's guess before did not seem to offend him, so Tai was apparently one of the rare nameless heroes who hid his name not out of shame, but because it amused him.
In fact, from what he read so far from the Lunar periodicals, he might be the only one to feel that way.
He started the game on a whim, but apparently the female Lunar Rabbits were taking it very seriously. His lack of shame on the revelation of his history allowed them to eliminate many heroes of legend that might have held something shameful to reveal, though it did in fact make guessing his name that much more difficult.
"Hero-sama seems to be an intellectual hero, Shiro feels. Hero-sama shows that he could read ten books at the same time, but Shiro feels that he could read more if only the desk was bigger," Shiro praised, very impressed.
Indeed, to gather as much information on the Lunar Capital, Tai was reading many books simultaneously, mostly history books in order to corroborate, verify, or disprove information. The sheer love of knowledge in this library seemed to ignore if whether or not a book was already obsolete.
Tai could respect that. In fact, he respected that kind of love very much. He felt the same way about knowledge after all. Even if the knowledge was outdated, the formerly flawed perceptions of the historians of the time were as revealing as the accurate ones.
It seemed that his love for reading has greatly impressed the librarians. Tai shrugged. It was how he always learned.
Shiro could not help but feel a childish sense of worship well up in her as she beheld Tai. She was a shameless bookworm in all sense of the word. She held a personal library in her small but comfortable tree-house, and all 500 books in it were read cover to cover multiple times. The day she was received as Tenjin-sama's students was the happiest day of her whole life as she became one of the caretakers and guardians of what might be the greatest repository of knowledge in existence. Her love for learning and reading was so great that she could boast being able to read four books at the same time, a feat that impressed Tenjin-sama. Even now, she could brag that she has read thousands upon thousands of books.
But Hero-sama easily outstripped her. He came in one day as the famed current nameless hero, visiting from Earth. She helped him tour the library, appreciating a hero who seemed to like and acknowledge the greatness of reading.
Hero-sama blew all her expectations out of the water.
Even if the books were optimized by Tenjin-sama and Athena-sama to help facilitate learning, most Lunar Rabbits could only boast being able to read two books simultaneously. Even so, Hero-sama took ten books without a worry and opened them all on the table. It filled every space of the ebony table, and she watched with wide eyes as he seemed to blur, spending barely a second reading, or more like glancing, through the ten books before turning their pages. He went through ten books in an average of 10 minutes.
He was also very neat. He would take the books and put them back himself, which Shiro remembered with a flush. She meant to help him, but she was still dazed by what she saw.
He kept taking ten books at a time and spent that much time reading through them. Shiro, curiosity pushing past her usual timidity, stopped him for a few moments as she questioned him on the books he read, wondering how much he retained.
He remembered everything perfectly.
He would recite to her word for word the content in the books. She could name a random page number, a random paragraph, she could even get him to give her a combined summary of related information between two or more books in an instant. He also seemed to be extremely well-learned, and she spent a few hours debating critically about various historical information. She even found herself asking him information on some topics and details she didn't know. That was certainly something to boast about, as it showed the he must have read far, far more than she has in her long lifetime.
The fact that he allowed her that much of his time made her blush. When she frantically apologized for wasting his time and taking away his focus on his reading, he chuckled and told her that learning and teaching were never things to apologize for.
That kind of scholarly ability, and the soft and gentle kindness he seemed to exude... Shiro was sure she was crushing, and crushing deeply. Even if she did not know his name, this man was a scholar of the highest caliber, she was sure of it.
Tai left the library, done for the day. He has read nearly 2000 books on Lunarian history, which he found sufficient for his purposes. Unbeknownst to Shiro, Tai was not merely reading ten books at a time, but simultaneously activating the interactive scenes he watched, sometimes creating some sort of nightmarish amalgam of historical scenes. With mental agility and acuity that defied belief, he grasped every nook and cranny of the advanced Lunarian books and gained all of its information.
He proceeded to then read thousands of books on his own interests. He had a much firmer understanding on Lunarian society, technology, sciences, politics, magic, and more importantly for him, the Lunarian sites to see.
The Lunar Capital seemed to possess a surprisingly rich tourism industry among earthbound deities and heroes.
From what Tai read from the books, heroes of the Japanese and Greek legends were allowed to visit from their respective underworlds. Since many deities of death had to stay on Earth to manage their areas, heroes could only visit the Lunar Capital for as long as those deities allowed them. Heroes were usually allowed to leave for half a year to visit and enjoy the Lunar Capital. When they did, it is up to their discretion to reveal their names or not. No matter the case, those same heroes were treated like rock stars by the starry-eyed Lunar Rabbits.
Tai saw one hero just then, drinking and boisterously regaling the giggling female Lunar Rabbits about his adventures with the Argonauts. The real Jason that Therese accused him of it seemed. The man paused in his stories as he saluted him, and Tai waved back with a smile as the group left.
Heroes tended to see the visits as a vacation away from 'paradise,' especially since the Lunar Capital was a mixture of Shinto and Greek cultures. They also seemed to have an implied policy of leaving other heroes alone unless they wished to join each other for some sort of merriment.
From what Tai understood of Lunarian society, most of the people who lived permanently on the capital were gods, demigods, or Lunar Rabbits, with heroes and earthbound deities visiting often. If a person passing by did not have rabbit ears, then their clothes determined whether or not they are gods or demigods.
Gods seemed to favor conservative clothing, unless they were a god or goddess of fertility and/or love. He saw Aphrodite once in the center of a plaza modeling her own clothing line to a crowd of Lunar Rabbits. To put it politely, it did not leave much to the imagination.
Demigods tended to have a history of heroism, so many of them wore beautiful and magical armor. They also carried sheathed weaponry, which no one seemed to mind. As far as everyone was concerned, that was just a fashion statement for the demigods. Even now, he watched a visiting Heracles with his bow and arrows, wearing a tight set of bronzed adamantine armor as he sipped some ramen from Inari's Ramen Stands.
Heroes were very easy to spot. They had the traditional clothes of a spirit being judged in the underworlds. Greek heroes wore white togas and laurel wreaths, and Japanese heroes wore white kimonos. More importantly, a hero visiting tended to be surrounded by Lunar Rabbits, admiring them or attempting to talk to them. While a Greek hero usually enjoyed the attention, a Japanese hero usually was more sedate, calmly telling tales of their adventures and such.
Tai wore his traditional clothes and his bright red hard hat.
Even with such a glaring difference, the people around him acted like he might be a visiting hero.
This phenomenon, Tai knew. It was a… Little trick he learned.
Tai wandered the city with more surety to his step. He visited various stalls, buying some of the most perfectly cooked and prepared stall foods he ever had the pleasure of eating. The stands themselves were made with either wood that could be mistaken for gold or ebony. What would normally be cheap cloth that would cover tabletops on Earth were some of the most exquisite gossamer cloths he had ever seen woven.
From what he understood of the city, they seemed to reflect the Earth and then… For a lack of a better term, optimized. With gods and goddesses being more present and active on the surface, and magic being openly practiced, they could create feats of engineering, architecture, production, and technology that surpassed the Earth's for centuries.
The Lunar deities seemed to regard technology as a blameless creation of humanity. While humanity grew more 'impure' as their level of technology progressed, they felt that it was an inherent failing in humans and blamed them. Technology then was freely pursued by the more intellectual deities.
Tai bought a Lunarian-level laptop for the outrageous price of only 20, 000 Yen. It was shaped like a regular laptop, but all the essential Earth features of a laptop were optimized to the extreme. The thin laptop was unbreakable, the shatter-proof screen was both 3D and a touch-screen, the keyboard could be activated and then made into a 3D interactive hologram, the resolution of its images made them look more real than even the real things, the memory capacity was measured in thousands of petabytes….
Tai essentially bought a laptop that surpassed even supercomputers owned by governments. It also has the Lunarian trademark of an endless energy source. Tai marveled at how such a supremely powerful piece of electronics was used as a mundane source of entertainment for denizens of the Lunar Capital.
Even so, Tai saw then the flaw of Lunarian technology.
He supposed it was expected.
After all, in the end, they were only gods.
Tai carefully placed his new laptop in his bag. He discovered that the once potato chip bag transformed into a magical bag with space expansions placed in the inside. It also seemed to make objects featherweight.
Tai wondered at the extremely strange economy put into place in the Lunarian Capital.
In order to create their utopian society, the deities endeavored to appease their beloved new worshippers. The best materials with the best skills, various consumer goods were introduced and sold to the Lunar Rabbits, mirroring the prices on Earth. In such a way, the currency of Earth is much more valuable on the Lunar Capital, Tai thought.
The amazing quality of their goods made it so that consumerism could not be cycled on its own. Potato bags that turned into magic bags, indestructible laptops, endlessly powered lights, fashionable clothing that could be used as the greatest armor, their lives as consumer goods were too long to properly simulate an economy.
So the gods allowed their own goods to be offered to them as sacrifice.
Tai compared it to the gods paying for their own faith.
It seemed to work, and the Lunar Capital has a stable economy. Still…
Tai mused as he walked, and when he returned back to this surroundings, he found himself in his new destination.
The Museum of the 10 Million Kami, overseen by the famed guardian, Watatsuki no Toyohime.
Tai entered the museum, hoping to arrive on Toyohime lecturing on Lunarian history.
From all his readings, he had one question that the historical books did not seem to be covering. When he read it, he felt that it was hidden not because of fear but because of sorrow.
How did Urashima Hoori Taro and Otohime die?
Tai felt her more than he saw her. Indeed, Toyohime was there. How lucky for him.
Tai found her on the second floor, inside a marble classroom. She sat in front of a small class of child Lunar Rabbits. She had a happy smile on her face as she taught the class about the moon's history.
"…And so Tsukuyomi-sama lead the tired kami on the sacred palanquin of the Sumiyoshi trio. Wanting to find a purer world, we settled on the moon where we met you all~ The cute and lovely bunnies on the moon~" Toyohime giggled, looking at the children fondly. The children squealed and cheered as they climbed on top of the lunar princess. She laughed as she caught the boy that reached her head, her hat in his hands. She gently took it from him and placed it on his head as the children joyfully giggled.
Tai watched with a smile on his face. It was a pretty sweet scene.
"And the rabbits welcomed us, and loved us as their own. And so we embraced you all like so~" She hugged the rabbit boy, "And we grew and learned and lived together for all these years~ And then Otohime-sama and Taro-niisama…" She paused, before cheerfully continuing, "The beloved husband and wife dynamic duo~ They welcomed more friends for all of us, and Athena-chan and Aphrodite-chan began to bring a lot of things for us to enjoy~"
The children cheered. It seemed like a very relaxed lesson, though Tai noted in his mind that quick second of sorrow.
It seemed like Otohime and Urashima Taro were two beloved members of the moon. Tai read about them being lost two decades after the union of the Shinto and Greek pantheons. The exact details were not listed in the books, so perhaps the grief for their loss prevented the records. Perhaps for now?
Tai felt that the immortal bodies and lives of deities inhibited them as much as it helped them. Their bodies would never tire and die, and while that may be good at times, it made emotions harder to forget and lose. It was his working theory that immortals bore grudges longer because the emotions felt as fresh to them as the time it was inspired in them. It took an extraordinary change of thought or event to change an immortal's mind.
Ironically enough, in this case time is not an immortal's ally. Time will not heal such emotional wounds as easily as it would for the mortal humans or even youkai.
Tai thought this explained Fujiwara no Mokou's feelings towards Kaguya. She took an elixir of immortality to pursue her vengeance forever. Sadly, it worked.
Tai resurfaced from his thoughts as Watatsuki no Toyohime dismissed the class. The children waved their goodbyes, and she waved back energetically.
Tai entered her Realm.
Watatsuki no Toyohime sighed as she felt her smile drop. She wanted to relax a bit with some of the cute rabbit children, but thinking about Otohime-sama and Taro-niisama…
Toyohime shook her head and stood up to pick a peach. As she made to rise, she finally noticed.
She instantly entered a Lunarian combat stance as her eyes flashed, turning as sharp as daggers. In that instant, she analyzed the situation as only a Lunarian guardian could. When she fully grasped the situation, she calmed down, before sheepishly smiling at the bemused Tai.
Tai raised his hands in surrender as he thought about the situation.
How interesting. So this was the famed Guardian of the Upper Sea. The oldest sister of the Watatsuki Sanjin.
"I'm sorry for that. I've been on alert for a while, and Lady Ya- I mean…I was relaxing and didn't notice you," Toyohime apologized.
Tai shook his head, smiling at her.
"It's fine, it's fine. I'm sorry for surprising you Toyohime-sama. I wish I could introduce myself, but-"
"Ah yes, you are the nameless hero, correct~? Ufufufu, how mean of you to tease the Inaba so~"
"They make the most adorable blush when I do so, I cannot help it."
"I know, right?! I tried telling Yorihime that, but she is such a serious person. Honestly, as her older sister I worry for her~"
The two quickly broke the ice, chatting amicably.
Tai was only glad she did not notice what he did.
The two found themselves seated in front of each other. Toyohime graciously offered Tai some tea as they ate some of the peaches.
"Well Hero-san, I am wondering why an esteemed one such as you entered this museum? Are you here for some wise counsel?" Toyohime asked curiously. She was not a stranger to a hero's tendency to ask the gods for counsel in how to proceed with their quests, though she did find it strange that a dead hero would need more wisdom.
It was not unheard of, even dead heroes have some questions left unanswered, but it rarely happened anymore.
"I have been reading some of the books of the Lunar Library, and I must say beforehand, you have some of the greatest collections of knowledge I have ever had the fortune to see," Tai praised. Toyohime smiled and accepted it gracefully.
"Indeed, Tenjin-dono and Athena-chan love books, and we understand that the journey to enlightenment is a long journey that needs all the knowledge it can receive. We take great pride in our library for being able to teach even a god or goddess of wisdom something they did not know."
"Your pride is well-earned. I must ask though, I read through your history books, but I did not see much elaboration on what happened during 1945. It was a strange break in such detailed accounts of history…" Tai trailed off.
As soon as Tai mentioned the date, Toyohime's smile dropped. Her eyes once again showed a great sense of sadness as she stared into space.
Tai waited patiently, sipping his tea. Toyohime's silence was encouraging. If she did not want to speak about it, she could have changed the subject instead, or simply asked not to talk about it. The fact that she seemed to be thinking about it and was not denying him immediately raised the chances of her speaking about the events.
From what Tai understood from the very limited accounts, Urashima Taro died 1945. It did not even state where, how, or why he died. With his death, a heartbroken Otohime soon followed him. Their marriage was one of the strongest in all of history, and everyone on the moon agreed that they were practically soul-mates.
With their deaths, tensions between the Greek and Shinto pantheons gradually increased. Competition about influence grew, until the two pantheons almost went to war.
Ironically enough, the lunar landing of the 'impure' kept the peace. The threat of the 'impure' invading on the sacred capital united the two enough to fight back the common enemy.
The period of fighting that followed could be considered the unofficial Second Lunar War. The First Lunar War occurred more than a thousand years ago and it was against the youkai. The unofficial second was against their former worshippers, the humans.
What saved the humans at the time was what caused the lunar deities to disdain and later hate them in the first place. Their 'impurity' made sure that they were not killed on the moon as it would 'taint' the Pure Lands. The Lunar Rabbits of the newly created Defense Corps were then sent to the Earth for brief periods of time to sabotage the space programs that threatened to invade them.
Such tales would be for another time.
At any rate, though they united against the 'impure,' relations between the Shinto and the Greek pantheons worsened after the death of the two most beloved deities of the moon. The kindness and gentleness that could pacify storms were what allowed the two to co-exist as brothers and sisters. With them gone, gods reverted to what they always fought about in history.
"I don't blame Tenjin-dono for being unable to chronicle that time well. We all lost something irreplaceable that year."
Toyohime became silent, looking into her cup of tea.
"Why do you want to know Hero-san?"
"…I suppose I am upset. Urashima Taro-sama and Otohime-sama were the two Beloved Jewels of the Moon, and their love story is legendary even now. Their deaths were a great tragedy of history, but I found it upsetting how the tragedy was hidden away. Even if it tears apart the heart, history should be recorded so that people could learn from their pasts to forge a path to their better future," Tai said softly, "After all…"
Toyohime blinked at Tai, her eyes slightly tearing before from the memories. Those words…
"I've become who I am today because I've learned from my past so that I can make a better future. After all…"
"Nothing will change tomorrow if nothing was understood yesterday."
Toyohime's eyes widened as she looked at Tai.
Tai tilted his head to the side, wondering what caused that reaction.
Toyohime shook her head, and smiled shakily at Tai.
"How strange to hear that again… You know, you actually remind me of him… "She noted absent-mindedly.
Tai blinked, confused.
Toyohime took a deep breath before continuing.
"Urashima Hoori Taro-niisama moved to the moon to follow Otohime-sama, who followed Ryujin-sama, who grew tired of the impure Earth. Taro-niisama's love for Otohime-sama was as strong then as it was the day he…It remained the strongest we've ever seen, and was enough for him to abandon his descendants for her. Ryujin-sama instructed him a trick that would allow him to cleanly break away from his village, and so the legend of Taro-niisama aging and dying allowed the world to forget him and move on."
"Otohime-sama, touched and saddened by his sacrifice, devoted her entire being to him. They were a constant love story, always so passionate, intimate, and committed to each other…" Toyohime cupped her cheek, smiling dreamily at those memories.
Tai listened intently.
"Taro-niisama was a gentle, kind man. Even when he fished and hunted, he loved all life and life rewarded him with its love. He never took more than he needed, and whatever he needed the Earth readily provided. Even as the impure humans grew more and more savage, Taro-niisama continued to love them. His sorrow over the impure was respected, and I even understood. In the end, despite the flaws of the impure, one time we thought we understood them and cherished them. Their betrayal hurt, and continued to hurt us even now," Toyohime sighed.
"Otohime-sama was a beautiful, kind woman. She could hear the truth of all people, and her heart was boundless with its love. She embodied the gentle and pure seas that provided and nourished life just as much as Ryujin-sama embodied its storms and rage. She was so peaceful, and her earnest wish was for everyone to live together in harmony. I think Otohime-sama was the only one who fully understood Taro-niisama's pain, and she bore it with him over the years."
"If tragedy and heartbreak could teach a heart love, then love was something they mastered. They were some of the best kinds of people to ever live. Otohime-sama might not have been the most beautiful goddess in looks, but she was certainly the most beautiful in soul. And Taro-niisama was everything we ever loved in humanity and more. Honestly, I felt at times that maybe humanity began to become impure because Taro-niisama took all of their best traits," Toyohime giggled.
Toyohime's mirth faded quickly.
"That's why we won't forgive humanity. That's why the impure will never be accepted by the pure. In August 6, 1945, humanity bared their ugliest and most tainted weapon and dropped it in our former lands. Taro-niisama, in all of his wonderful kindness and love, returned to the Earth to help the emperor, to save as much of the Japanese possible. He came there with advice, divinely given to him by Otohime-sama," Her fist tightened audibly as her voice steadily rose.
"They rejected him! They thought him fake! They took his kindness and spat on it, declared it a weakness in a time of war! And Taro-niisama, so far away from the Pure Lands, he selflessly continued to fight for the ungrateful impure! He tried to warn the people of Nagasaki, and they refused to believe him! And until that cruel weapon fell again, they continued to deny him!"
Toyohime cried at this point, her face grimacing as she unleashed her bitterness towards humanity.
"In the end, Taro-niisama tried to shield the impure with his body. And that was when we learned a cruel truth."
"The Pure Lands have made us weak against humanity's taint. All their flaws, ugliness, sins, they would overcome everything we were."
Toyohime laughed hollowly.
"That day, without their knowledge, humanity killed a god."
Tai waited patiently as Toyohime collected herself. He offered her a handkerchief that she accepted gratefully, dabbing her eyes.
"I do hope you forgive me for raising my voice," A calmer Toyohime apologized.
"Do not think much of it," Tai calmly replied. As much as it pained him to see the woman weep with such sadness, he restrained himself. After all, he truly wanted to learn more.
There was something about Urashima Taro and Otohime's story that seemed important…
"His loss was devastating, even more so for Otohime-sama. Otohime-sama lost all will to live with Taro-niisama, and even with Ryujin-sama's best efforts, she began to fade before us. We all watched with our new friends, the Olympians, as our most beloved Otohime died a terrible death."
"That is the lost account of 1945," Toyohime finished. She took a deep breath and slightly slumped down on her chair. She felt tired, yet strangely relived. A small burden seemed to have been lifted as she talked about it.
Toyohime was particularly devastated by their loss, as was Yorihime. After all, besides Yagokoro-sama, they were closest to Otohime. They practically looked up to her as another sister, and she loved them like one as well. And Toyohime had a huge crush on Urashima Taro. Toyohime felt that Yorihime probably felt the same then.
Urashima Taro was one of the last humans they ever respected, and he showed that he was the best of them. He was a man that inspired the best in people, and a man who loved others more than he ever loved himself. He was not a hard man to love, and love him Toyohime and Yorihime did. Even when they also married in the future, a part of their hearts remained with him.
She felt that his loss was what allowed her to take on the role of Guardian of the Lunar Capital. It was a way to protect their beloved lands, and also a way for her to take some measure of vengeance against the impure.
Tai looked at her as she slightly slumped with relief. He was able to read some of her thoughts on her face. For a goddess, she was very expressive. Or perhaps…
Perhaps. He gained what he wanted, so he should stop soon.
"Thank you for enlightening me Toyohime-sama. I am glad to have learned much from you, though I hope you can one day forgive me for making you go through such an ordeal," Tai apologized.
Toyohime smiled at him weakly.
"Please, do not feel as if you should be blamed. As one of the overseers of this museum, I must be ready to answer anyone's desire to learn about history. After all, nothing will change tomorrow if nothing was understood yesterday, yes?" She smiled a little more strongly.
Tai smiled back, and Toyohime felt an instance of… Something. Something that's been gone for so long. Too fast to catch, a little instant too quickly for even a goddess to feel.
They parted as new friends, and Tai quickly left the museum.
So. That explained much.
He looked around the city. Pure, happy, utopian. Almost like a heaven.
Within these pure souls lie a deeply buried seed of prejudice. Learned? Honed? It didn't matter.
Tai understood enough to see one thing clearly from these pure Lunarians.
Tai frowned sadly.
If probability dictated that if something can happen, it will happen, then it seemed that if it already happened, then it will happen again.
And even after learning from yesterday…
Tomorrow does not have to change.
"How have your businesses been?"
"We have been overtaking the Shinto over the past decade. Our products have grown steadily superior, and our modernistic style seems to appeal to the Lunar Rabbits."
"This roundabout way of awing our worshippers shames me. Back then, we could have simply appeared and it would be enough to inspire the people…"
"Enough. Such complaints of a far gone age will lead to nothing. This is simply the way of the world now, and we must accept that."
"When have you ever been able to preach wisdom so calmly, brother? I believed before that that was your daughter's domain."
"Can we not continue with our usual sniping? I have a fashion show tomorrow, and I have to choose the right dress!"
"Everything for vanity eh? Clothes that essentially are no different except for their appearance? At least my steel can be used for something important."
"Oh, like what? Hang over the mantle? Your 'art' no longer has a place in a time for peace."
"Sigh. Why does this always happen when we gather? If we're going to waste time ripping into each other again, I'm going out to run."
"I'll race you. I've been bored lately, hunting the same beasts for Demeter. The sport of the hunt can't be had with such easy marks."
"H-Hey now, we haven't finished talking about business yet!"
"What, there's more? What else could we possibly talk about?"
"How about the rumors that the Shinto have been called down by an oracle?!"
"Actually, I think they call them shrine priests or maidens…"
"Who the hell cares?!"
"Ah, there is the stormy brother I've always known."
"*Facepalm* Just another day in the family. Dammit, I'm not dealing with you all sober."
"Hey D, hit me up too. Yeah, thanks."
"Sigh. And we wonder why we lost our faith…"
"What was that Persephone?"
"….I feel stupid."
"That is new to you?"
"Watch it, I am not afraid to open the door and throw you into space."
"*Crunch* *Munch* *Drink* Hmm… I like my food having some consistency as I chew. These paste-like astronaut food is not good enough."
A window is rolled open, releasing a lot of the air in the shuttle into space. Uncaring, the figure threw the box out. The careless motion had force that seemed unlikely coming from such a dainty arm. Nevertheless, the box flew away into the depths of space like a comet. The window was closed again.
No one minded the low oxygen levels. None of them needed to breathe after all.
"Oi, don't throw them away! Even if they're disgusting, they're collectibles!"
"Food is meant to be eaten. Disgusting food should just be thrown away. *Crunch*"
"Damn gourmet, I don't care, stuff is stuff and I love stuff!"
"Ahahaha, she said something~! She didn't snore that time~! Ahahaha!"
"…Well, it's not surprising. We all miss our Herald."
"Onii-chan…I'm bored oniichan…"
"Who the hell misses him?! I don't miss him one bit! I'm not worried! He should be thankful that I have enough free time to look for him, the stupid Herald! Hmph!"
"…Goth tsun-tsun? It's not really working…"
"You yellow sheep fetishist, shut up!"
Slaps and kicks sounded.
"Not in the ship! Not close to the controls- Ahhhhh! You broke the lever! YOU HURT MY BABY!"
A third set of slaps and kicks entered the fray. Girlish screams somehow mixed with eldritch and abominable roars.
"…*Crunch* *Munch* Did we stop moving?"
"What~? We stopped~? Make it move again~! Entertain me, teehee~"
"…Sigh. They broke the shuttle. I'll be back with more materials."
"Alright. *Munch* Here milady, I shall present a shadow puppet show about the Herald and how he conquered Arkham…"
A sleeping figure turned. She whispered Rithy once more as she hugged a small doll in the vague shape of a person.
The Dreamer slept, chasing after the back of their beloved Herald.