Chapter Three Daughter of Kamui
Author Notice: This chapter has been slightly revised. Nothing has changed in this chapter except the interaction between Monk Sen and Janis. As for the rest of the story, I've only reworded the sentences a bit. Also, I decided to merge this chapter with chapter four as well since chapter four was only four pages long. I hope you enjoy. Please leave a review of what you thought.
The attack came so fast, it was nearly impossible for Janis to dodge. As the giant weapon plummeted towards her, she jumped out of the way, landing ungracefully on her stomach.
Janis grimaced in slight pain, and again crawled out of the feral monster's path, but she eventually found herself backed into the lofty tree on Kagome's property, just a few feet away from the shed the monster had appeared from. "No way … this can't be real!" In the beginning, she assumed this was nothing but a stunt, pulled by some tricksters, but as she looked around briefly, there were no others about.
A spark overhead caught her attention, and baffled, she glanced up. A strange spiral of ember twisted and turned above her, and out of the core, a pillar of fire fell upon the Cyclops, burning its flesh.
Her mouth opened in surprise, and she couldn't help but back further into the tree behind her. That didn't just happen, did it? How? As she questioned her thoughts, she noticed that the inert monster that had tried to kill her moments before was now a charred corpse, lying upon the shrine grounds unmoving. With a gulp, Janis hesitantly stepped forward, hoping it wouldn't wake up and attack her again.
Before she could get within a foot or two of it, the monster instantly turned to ash and was carried away by a sudden wind. However, in place of the monster, stood a tall figure wearing a mask. This dark figure stood before her, with long reddish hair, probably a part of the disguise, and was cloaked in dark blue robes, with eyes staring at her chillingly.
Unsure of this person and how he had appeared out of nowhere, Janis sidled her way around the tree, though she kept her eyes on the lean figure standing before her.
Looking the young girl up and down, he accessed the scrapes on her legs and arms. "You seem to be injured…"
"Uh … what?"
With his palm outstretched, a bright green light emanated from his hand and shot towards Janis, who had stilled and closed her eyes for what she assumed was a deadly blow. However, there was no pain and instead she felt a warm tingling sensation enveloped itself around her.
She opened her eyes and inspected her injuries, only to gasp when there were none. But how did that happen? "No way! The pain … it's gone?!"
"I'm glad it's not serious … Daughter of Kamui," he voiced, and at the mentioning of daughter, Janis blinked. "Then again … you're just an ordinary human now. Even a demon as weak as that one is deadly to you."
With irritation, Janis planted her hands firmly onto her waist; she was already well in front of the tree. "Hey! Just a minute! What are you saying? Demon? What do you mean?"
"You just saw one," he replied nonchalantly.
Janis narrowed her eyes, remembering the ugly, frightening monster moments ago. "I-I guess … but this is still a dream, right?" How could demons exist? That was just impossible. And this weird guy, who was he? Someone must have been pranking her.
"No, you were not dreaming. You were attacked by a demon, and I rescued you." It was as simple as that.
After everything she'd gone through lately, she felt a headache form. First, she gets transferred without future notice from her father and the next thing she knows, and secondly, she's attacked for simply helping out and old woman. As of right now, she was saved by someone wearing a strange costume who just so happened to save her from a demon. Her life was certainly taking an interesting turn these days.
"How can this even be possible?" Janis asked. "Just who are you?"
"People call me Monk Sen."
Janis pondered. So this guy was a monk? Did monks still exist? What was up with his outfit? "A monk? So … are you a Japanese exorcist?"
For a second, he mused over her question. "Someone who vanquishes demons. I guess you can call me that."
"I see. I still can't believe any of this is real," Still a little hesitant of her rescuer, Janis took a couple steps towards him, though she made sure to keep some respectable distance between herself and the strange monk with mysterious powers. "Anyways, thanks for rescuing me."
"Why did you come to this Shrine?"
"Why?" She questioned. "I came to visit a friend." Yet she never expected the Higurashi's to keep a strange looking monster locked in their shed or for any of this … strangeness to unravel upon her visit.
He stepped back, displaying the wrecked entry way into the well house. "Kagome Higurashi is not here, and she hasn't taken ill either."
At his words, Janis couldn't help but cant her head. What? Kagome wasn't sick? And she wasn't home? So, she was skipping? But she didn't seem like that type of girl at all, but then again, Janis didn't know Kagome that well, so who was she to judge?
As he passively watched her, noticing her obvious confusion, Monk Sen stepped further away from the well house. "Kagome is waiting for you on the other side, so is you fate, daughter of Kamui."
The well? Daughter of Kamui? What did that even mean? But before she could question him and get her answers, Monk Sen unexpectedly disappeared from her line of sight, leaving Janis to stare at the spot in disbelief.
He simply disappeared. Turning this way and that, she could not find the monk anywhere on the shrine grounds, and she looked back towards the well house in front of her. Higurashi was beyond the well?
Approaching it, she stepped through the entry way, she took note of the remaining splintered wood within, and entered the darkness of the well house. It took her a few moments to adjust to the darkness, and she squinted over the railings. There was something down there, most likely the well Monk Sen spoke of. With her hands grasping onto the railings for support, Janis carefully made her way around the other side of the well house until she was greeted by the creaking old steps.
This was a little frightening, and yet, it was somehow thrilling. This was quite possibly the most adventurous she'd been in years, and it was a little refreshing. Eventually she stood before the well, looking down into its depths, but not seeing anything but more darkness. Below, she saw remains of skeletons, and a horrid feeling washed over her, though she tried to ignore it.
"I have to go in there? How creepy. But Monk Sen said Kagome is waiting on the other side." What did that mean? Kagome wasn't at the bottom, and there was no way a well could just transport you to some random place. "So, if I enter the well, I can see Kagome?"
Janis pondered to herself. What could it hurt, jumping into a dark well that supposedly led to her friend? Propping her leg over the rim, she sat upon the edge, her eyes still peering down into its darkest depths. "I guess I can give it a shot, after all, this has to be a dream." And if it was a dream, there was no way she could get hurt if she hit the bottom. Normally when she experienced dreams, where she, as the protagonist, fell from incredible heights, she always woke up before impact. With that thought in mind, she leapt off the edge and into the abyss below.
Unfortunately, the well was no mere illusion and nor was it a dream, because the moment she jumped, she hit quite hard, but she guessed she should have expected something like that to happen. "Ow! I knew it!" She grumbled, before picking herself up from the hard soil while inspecting her scraped knee. "He lied to me!" Not only was this not a dream, but Janis had expected something magical to happen, and when it didn't, it left her a bit frustrated. Maybe she was going crazy?
Perturbed by this, Janis glanced at the remnants of bones scattered along her feet before grimacing. Looking around, she realized she had fallen quite a ways down into the drafty well. Stone walls encased the small space she stood within, and she squinted through the darkness in search of something to pull herself out. Now what would she do? Considering that she had intruded upon Kagome's family's property, she couldn't very well call out for help. What would her mom or grandfather think if they found her down in their well?
Immediately her eyes fell upon an old wooden ladder lying innocently against the wall, with cobwebs forming around the base and up the length. Though, upon seeing this, Janis was stumped. A ladder? Why it was there, she had no idea, but it seemed durable enough to hold her weight. Thankfully, climbing it wasn't an issue, and as soon as she grasped the rim of the well, she heaved her elbows upon the wooden surface and released a sigh. Appearing out of nowhere, a white masked face suddenly startled her, and she nearly fell back with a start. Fortunately, she steadied herself just in time. "M-Monk Sen?!"
Hovering over the well and leaning in towards her, mere inches away from her face to be exact, Monk Sen regarded her, though it was impossible to see what sort of expression he wore. "I almost forgot. I'll have to give you something from that world in order to allow you passage through."
Recollecting herself, Janis couldn't help but stare at him with curiosity. "Eh?" Before she could ask what he was saying, the monk drew closer to her, and shocked, Janis closed her eyes. There was a brief moment when she felt him place something into her hair, mingled with the sound of her heart thumping deafeningly in her ears.
Opening her eyes, she was about to ask him why he had placed something into her hair, but she was suddenly and once again baffled when he placed two fingers upon her forehead. Before she knew what to expect, he flicked her forehead, and the sheer force of his strength made her lose her grip of the well. A scream escaped her when she found herself falling back into the well, only this time, the ladder was well out of her reach.
Monk Sen's face, still peering over the edge, suddenly disappeared, and the well house she had been in moments before, vanished in a swirl of blue lights which wrapped around her. She was falling, but not falling. It was more like she was floating by as bright lights zipped past her, and this new light embraced her warmly.
Eventually, the colors disappeared, and Janis found herself back inside the well, staring up at the blue sky gaping. The well had powers? But, how was that possible? At first, she wasn't able to successfully get to the other side because she thought it was a trick, but then Monk Sen…
Janis felt her head for anything Monk Sen might have placed in her hair, and when she felt something like metal above her right ear, she pulled the said object out and examined it. "Oh, how beautiful!" What she held in her palm was a pink butterfly hairpin, and it was lovely but exotic. Did this help her pass through the well?
Noticing a thicket of vines protruding from the top of the encasement, Janis climbed all the way to the rim and settled herself onto the grass beside it. From her seated position, she looked around, and instantly she realized she was no longer inside the well house, but instead she was in a forest. "Where am I? I was in that Shinto Shrine just a few minutes ago, but now … it looks like I'm in a completely different world."
Pulling herself up from the ground, Janis dusted her gray shirt before looking around the area. Everything was certainly different, but as she looked farther past the trees, she noticed a tall lofty tree straight ahead, and she recognized it as the one belonging to Kagome's family. If she ran that way, maybe she would come across Kagome.
Pushing branches away, Janis hurriedly ran towards the giant shrub. Birds chirped and sang, and butterflies fluttered around the flowers nearby. Perhaps there were people who could help her out, and maybe she'd get some information about her whereabouts.
After trudging through the thick forest, Janis finally stood in a small clearing, and it was there that she stood before the massive tree. Of course, her reason for stopping wasn't only because of its size, but because of a certain, familiar monk that stood waiting, and watching.
"So, you came," Monk Sen voiced. "I've been waiting for you."
How on earth did he get here so fast? Then again, Janis supposed there was no reason to question him since he had this strange ability to teleport anywhere within a short span of seconds. So here she was beyond the well, and she was curious as to why it was so important for her to be in this world. She wanted to ask him, but before she could, he suddenly continued.
"This is not your world. This is the world your people call the Feudal Era. And though it seems you have yet to come into any danger, I'll tell you this. Demons still exist."
This was the Feudal Era? As in the Sengoku Jidai? Ancient Japan? The Warring States Era? Janis couldn't believe her ears. Was what he was saying actually true? So instead of transporting her to a different world, she actually went back in time? How many years ago was that? Over 500? If only she had paid a little more attention in Japanese history.
"How can that be?" Janis inquired. "So, Kagome's well is capable of transporting others back in time?" How was that possible? Did anyone else know about this?
Monk Sen nodded. "Only few know of the well's powers, but the powers stem because of the Sacred Jewel and the fate surrounding the Higurashi girl you've become acquainted with," He explained.
"Her fate?" Sacred Jewel?
"In time, you will come to understand her burdens, and you will also come to learn of your fate as well, Daughter of Kamui."
There it was again. Daughter of Kamui. What was a Kamui anyway? For some reason, Janis couldn't help but find the situation somewhat familiar to her, and yet, she couldn't wrap her finger around it. "You keep saying I'm the Daughter of Kamui. What is that supposed to mean?"
"In time, I will explain, but our time in this world will soon be cut short," Monk Sen replied, offering a bow of apology to her. "You must understand, you are no longer in the world you once knew. In this world, danger lurks at every corner, and you will not be absent from the dangers either. In this era, demons exist, so it would be wise to learn to defend yourself when the situation arises."
Demons? As in Youkai? So, they really existed? But Monk Sen also mentioned something about her fate belonging to this world, and Janis wanted to know exactly what he meant by that. "You mentioned something about my fate. Why am I connected to this world?"
"In time, I will do my best to explain. Now is not the time, however," He replied before pulling out two small pieces of paper in the shape of humans. With a flick of his wrist, the papers fell onto the ground at his feet, and to Janis's surprise, they distorted and grew before her very eyes.
Two giant light brown clay giants, quite round in appearance, stood before her. On either side of their head were small horns protruding outwards, their large round eyes almost unseeing and atop their mouths were papers, each written in a different Kanji, of which Janis didn't understand.
"These are Shikioni, and they are yours, for now. Use them to protect yourself from the dangers of this world. However, I will only give these two you for a short amount of time, and by then, I hope you have learned how to protect yourself in battle."
Battle? So, there was really no escaping this, was there? For some reason, she didn't feel like she had a say in all of this, but yet, she wasn't really wanting to escape it. If she simply left and went back through the well, she was sure he would possibly bring her back, despite her protests. In a way, it was kind of thrilling, being in a world beyond her imagination and actually about to experience something that only happens in books or on television.
Realizing she seemed to accept this strange turn of events, Monk Sen was pleased, knowing the girl would prevail during the hardships of this world. Somehow, he knew she would survive and she would fulfill her fate beautifully. "Remember, you must learn to protect yourself. I won't always come to your aid, Daughter of Kamui. We will meet again shortly, for now, why don't you head off to that village," He pointed down a random path.
As Janis looked off in the direction he pointed, she couldn't quite see anything, and looking back, she realized Monk Sen was nowhere in sight. He up and vanished again; why wasn't that surprising? Sighing, she glanced at the Shikioni before her, still and as solid as rock. "Well, you heard Monk Sen. Let's go and find Kagome."
As she began her walk through the woods, following the path he'd shown her, she couldn't help but sweat drop as she heard the loud stomps of her protective guardians behind her. The sound was annoying, and a little too loud for her liking, but she couldn't just tell them to stop; after all, if she wanted to get through this, she needed their protection.
Would it be weird if she spoke to them? Did they know how to communicate? Janis wasn't sure. For some reason, the idea of talking with them made her feel awkward, as if she were talking to a pencil or a wall. Perhaps she was overthinking things.
Not long during her trek, she saw smoke in the distance, and the path became more profound as she reached a stretch of land, where the trees aligned almost perfectly before her. Up ahead, she saw a small village with multiple rice patties and fields throughout the area. Many peasants were going about their chores, oblivious as Janis walked through with her two guardians.
It was as if De Ja Vu was happening. Why did this seem familiar? She definitely saw this before, but where? Was it on television? From a book? Why couldn't she remember?
Shortly after arriving near the entrance of the village where the huts were sitting before her, made from wood with large rocks placed upon the roofs, she saw a tall man up ahead, and she waved at him, hoping to catch his attention. "Excuse me!"
The young man, with dark brown hair pulled up in a topknot, the front of his head clearly shaved, looked back at her confusedly. He was dressed in a dark brown Kimono top with dark green trousers, wearing straw sandals upon his dirtied feet; it was the fashion amongst all peasantry life, she assumed.
"Can you help me?" Janis asked, walking towards him more briskly, her two guardians following loudly behind her to match her pace.
The sight of this startled him, believing the woman was a demon and the giants behind her as well, he took off back into the village very quickly. A frightened cry resounded from his throat and it alerted the other villagers of Janis's presence, and they pointed at her questionably.
What the heck? Why did he just run from her? All in all, Janis was completely flabbergasted. What was wrong with him? The sight of everyone pointing at her from a distance truly perturbed her. Such a rude welcoming. "That was rude running away from me like that!" She fumed. Then again, as she glanced over her shoulder, she figured it was the guardians that might have frightened that man.
With a sigh, Janis kept her head held high, despite the stares of the villagers nearby. She followed the sight the peasant man had fled, and arrived within the village not long after. Her strides slowed as a result of the awkward tension around her. There were many eyes looking at her now, children gawking and mothers and fathers holding their children behind them in obvious fear.
Janis wanted to tell them she wasn't anyone to be suspicious of, but she refrained from saying anything. It was clearly obvious they didn't trust her, after all, she was foreign looking and she wasn't exactly wearing a kimono like everyone else. However, as Janis looked on, her eyes shifting around her curiously at all the huts, she realized most of the villager's eyes were focused on the two beings behind her, and they didn't move at all, not even bothered by the gossip.
Well, she was definitely in the Feudal Era, that much was certain. Janis wondered if she should explain herself to the people, but she somehow doubted they would believe she traveled back in time. With her luck, they'd probably burn her at the steak, or do whatever it was ancient Japanese did to protect themselves.
It wasn't long since her surprising entrance into the village that a short elderly woman approached her from the crowd now surrounding her, steading herself with a large bow as she walked. This elderly woman had a black patch over her eye, her long graying hair pulled back in a low ponytail, and she was dressed in red and white priestess clothes.
Behind the old woman, she saw the same man from before that had ran from her, and Janis had a suspicion he had ratted her out, then again, Janis hadn't done anything to arouse suspicion. However, she couldn't help but pointedly glare at him.
"Certainly, the garb ye wears is passing strange," The old woman replied, her frail eyes scrutinizing Janis's appearance interestedly. Unlike the other villagers, who looked at Janis fearfully and suspiciously, the old woman on the other hand looked at her with mild curiosity, and yet there was almost a welcoming vibe during the interaction. "And ye hair such a color…"
Well her hair was very different from Japanese. Blonde was more of a color which derived overseas, so it was obvious she didn't blend in with the people.
The old woman continued on, despite Janis's silence. "When first I met Kagome, I thought she was strange too."
Her blue eyes widened at the name. Kagome? So, this old woman knew her? This was great news! Approaching her now with more confidence than before, Janis couldn't help but smile at the old priestess. "Kagome? Did you just say Kagome?" Who would have thought she would stumble upon someone so quickly that knew of her friend? "Do you know her?"
A smile instantly made its way on the old woman's face. So, it seemed her assumptions were correct from the start. It seemed this young woman was indeed somehow connected to Kagome. "Oh ho! Just as I thought! Be ye a friend of Kagome's, then?" She should have known the strange similarity they seemed to share. When she saw the young girl nod enthusiastically, she beckoned her inside her small hut.
Following her inside, Janis turned back to her two giant guardians before shaking her head no. "You two stay put. Don't go causing any trouble," She replied, hoping they understood her. Turning back inside, she saw the old woman seated in the center of the room, and Janis joined her, seated across from her.
The hut was quite small, and as Janis looked around curiously, she saw jars and a couple small chests within the room, herbs of some kind hanging by a string on the ceiling to dry and a bow and quiver lying against the wall. There was a small cabinet which housed the old woman's futon as well, and bucket here and there containing water and the other radishes.
Realizing she'd been looking too long, Janis turned back to the old woman in front of her. "I take it Kagome isn't here?"
The old woman nodded. "Be ye correct. Kagome and her friends have been on a journey for a two days now. I expect their arrival back sometime soon."
How long was soon, exactly? "I see. To be honest, I'm not sure why I'm here in the first place, but I need to find Kagome as soon as possible." Kagome definitely had some explaining to do, and since she was in this world as well, she was hoping Kagome could inform her more of this world.
The old priestess noticed the blue-eyed child's discomfort, but she tried her best to make her stay in the village as comfortable as she could. "What is ye name child?"
"Janis. Janis Grace," She replied. "So … are you a priestess of this … village?"
The old woman nodded. "Yes, and ye may refer to me as Kaede, young one. Tell me, I am most curious of where ye come from? Do ye come from To-kee-yo as well?"
Janis nodded, however that's where she was transferred now, but originally, she was not from there. "Actually, I was born in the states," When the old woman seemed confused by her words, she went on. "I lived in America for a good portion of my life, but since I'm always moving around, I recently began living in Tokyo. I attend the same school as Kagome."
There was a silent pause as Kaede fumbled over the foreign words, but she nodded, understanding for the most part that Janis was indeed friends with Kagome. "So ye are from Ame-ri-ka?" She asked, and Janis nodded. "So ye have traveled through the bone eaters well just as Kagome. It is indeed rather interesting. For what purpose, I am not sure."
"I'm not sure either," The blonde replied, scratching her cheek somewhat flustered. "I was told by Monk Sen that my fate rested beyond the well, just as Kagome's, however, he hasn't explained why that was."
How strange. The young girl seemed truthful in her words, and by her expression, she seemed somewhat bothered by all this, but Kaede remained silent, taking in the situation at hand. If the girl's fate rested her, then surely it made sense the well brought her back in time, just like Kagome. Kaede couldn't help but curiously wonder what this young girl's fate could be, but with time, she was sure she'd learn.
"Do ye plan to venture out in search of Kagome and her friends then?"
Janis looked up at this, her eyes blinking at the thought. Well, it was her intention from the start. "Yes."
"I see. I would ask ye to stay here and wait until their return, however, I sense ye are somewhat impatient to seek them out. I will not stop ye, however, this world is indeed quite threatening, especially considering Kagome explained there were no demons in her era," Kaede replied.
That was true. But so far, Janis has yet to stumble upon such a creature, and for that, she was glad. How terrifying were the creatures of this world? "Monk Sen told me to use the Shikioni to protect myself until I'm capable of defending myself. There's a lesson he wants me to learn, so I think I'll be fine for the time being. Do you happen to know where Kagome and her friends went off?"
Hearing this, the old woman couldn't help but smile. The girl was definitely brave, just like Kagome. "Very well. Before they left, Kagome said she sensed a demonic aura near Mikage Creek. It's a marsh just south of the village."
"Mikage Creek?" Janis asked. Demonic aura? So, Kagome could sense that kind of stuff? That was certainly interesting. Maybe that was one of the things that tied the Higurashi girl to this era.
"It is a two-day journey. Ye will come across two bridges south of this village. Cross them and ye should arrive at the marsh. Be ye warned, demons thrive in those muddy waters, so use extra precaution, child," Lady Kaede warned.
Taking note of this, Janis stood up and offered a polite tilt of her head to the seated old woman. "Thank you. I'll head out now."
"Be careful, child."
Pushing back the flap to the old lady's hut, Janis stepped outside, noticing her two Shikioni standing beside the hut, their heads turned suddenly in her direction. Three small children were surrounding the giant dolls, tapping its arms and legs curiously before looking back at Janis.
Janis smiled warmly at the children, and at this, two of the boys ran off fearfully while a small little girl remained, looking back up at her somewhat confused. "Hi there. What's your name?"
"Kasumi," The child replied, and as Janis bent down to greet her, the child's fingers caught hold gently of her blonde hair. "Your hair is as bright as the sun!"
Janis fiddled with her tresses, and nodded to the child. "It sure is. Where I come from, there are many people with the same color, some with red hair as well."
Amazement shone itself within her large brown eyes. "Truly?" She asked, and at Janis's nod, she went on. "Are you friends of Kagome?"
Again, Janis nodded. "Yes. I'm actually about to head out in search of her now with these two lugs here," She motioned towards her two guardians. "So, you two ready to head out?"
To her absolute surprise, the Shikioni held their hands to their heads in the form of a salute to Janis, and it was also to her surprise, she heard their voices protrude from their clay bodies.
The girl almost fell back in surprise. "You can both talk? Well why didn't you do that earlier?" She asked, her eyebrows arched as she squinted her eyes at them. To her disappointment, they said nothing else, and she sighed. Maybe talking to these guys on her journey would be less awkward than she first thought. "Well let's go find Kagome. I'm tired of standing around already."
Waving goodbye to the small child, she eventually made her way south of the village, ignoring the constant stares of the villagers who continued looking her way. Janis was sure Lady Kaede would explain the situation to them, and perhaps, if she returned to the village, they might treat her a little better.
Eventually the village disappeared in the distance behind her, her sights headed south before her. A good half an hour had already gone by, and as she stumbled down the uneven path, she couldn't help but groan.
"My feet hurt…" Was it really going to take two days to reach Mikage Creek? Was it even worth traveling that far out in hopes of finding Kagome and her friends? What if she got there and she didn't find them at all? No, she had to think positive about all this. A familiar rumbling sound escaped her stomach, and she held her abdomen achingly. "I'm hungry…"
"We're sorry mistress."
"We're sorry mistress."
The last thing she needed right now was the constant apologies from the giant dolls following behind her, and what was up with them calling her their mistress?
Despite this, she only sighed, trying her hardest to ignore her hunger. In two days, she was sure she'd reach the marsh, and hopefully come across Kagome and her friends. By then, she was hoping she'd find all the answers as to why she was here, that including what Kagome's fate in this entire mess was as well. Never had she imagined her trip to Tokyo, Japan would result in her sudden transfer some 500 years or so into the past.