Disclaimer: I do not own Fushigi Yugi or any of the characters in it (but I wouldn't mind owning a certain blue haired monk…yum)
"Naa Chichiri! How much longer until the next town? I'm starvin'!"
Chichiri sighed as his companion complained. They had been on the road now since early this morning and they had yet to come across any form of civilization. His stomach growled indicating that it agreed with the flaming haired senshi.
"I don't know no da, I haven't visited these parts before no da."
Tasuki sighed and fiddled with his necklace. "You know, we could have just stayed in that last town we were in. It seemed nice…it had a bar…"
"I know Tasuki, and we would have except for the fact that you got into a fight with some of its residents over that card game, remember?"
Tasuki inclined his head in thought. "Oh yeah, I had forgotten about that Chiri'. I would've kicked all their asses if you hadn't pulled me away."
Chichiri turned and gave his friend a frown.
"Do you also remember that you were about to be run through by six swords no da?"
"Feh, they were no match for my tessen," he gloated as he patted the weapon strung onto his back. "Really Chichiri, you worry too much."
Chichiri shook his head and continued on down the dirt road. He gazed around their surroundings but found nothing familiar. Blue mountains loomed ahead and yellow fields stretched out behind them. The mid-afternoon sun beat down on them from above and Chichiri fanned himself with his kasa trying to find some relief from the small breeze it made. Tama-neko meowed from his seat within the front fold of his kesa. Chichiri smiled and fanned the small cat that had decided to accompany them on their journey.
"I know no da, it's hot."
Tama purred at his soothing voice and closed his eyes to enjoy a short nap.
"Are ya talking to that cat again?" inquired Tasuki as he managed to catch up with Chichiri's stride.
"Yes, he provides a good listener unlike some people no da."
Tasuki grinned knowing all too well that Chichiri was only teasing and meant no insult. His fangs glinted in the strong rays of the sun and he wiped his brow with a sleeve of his jacket.
"Man it's hot. If it wasn't for the trees and shit I would have thought we were in a desert or somethin'." He reached down and unclipped the water gourd from his belt and swished it around a few times before opening it and putting it to his lips. A small dribble of water drained from the gourd and ceased, enticing another groan from Tasuki.
"Dammit! We're out of water," he growled as he turned the gourd over and watched a single drop of water fall from it to the dusty ground. It fizzled where it hit and was gone in a second. "Just our freakin' luck, and not a goddamn lake to be seen."
"Ano, maybe there's one up ahead. No need to get upset just yet," Chichiri said, trying to calm down his friend. "Complaining about it will only make you hotter and more thirsty."
"Feh, I guess you're right."
A bug droned from underneath a pine tree and a soft cry from a faraway bird vibrated through the still air. Perhaps five minutes passed before Tasuki groaned again.
"I'm fuckin' thirsty. Where the hell's the lake?"
Chichiri sweatdropped and continued along.
"Hey! Are you listening? Shit…doesn't it ever rain in this damn place?" Tasuki growled at nothing in particular.
"I guess not Tasuki no d…" Chichiri was cut off as he felt a small drop of water hit the top of his head. "Nani?" He glanced at the sky and suddenly noticed that gray clouds had formed. Another raindrop fell and hit his cheek. He smiled and turned to Tasuki,
"I think you got your wish no da. Look it's raining."
"Are ya joking or somethin'? What do you mean it's raining?" Tasuki asked. He looked at the sky and noticed the clouds. "Kick ass! It is raining!"
"Told you no da. At least the heat will let up a little."
"About fucking time too!" Tasuki grinned.
The drizzling continued but soon the small gray clouds formed into threatening black ones. Chichiri glanced up at the sky with worry at the approaching storm. They had gotten to the base of the first mountain when the clouds open up and let loose buckets of rain. The pair had taken to the trees for some shelter from the wind and turrets of water.
"Ne Tasuki? Have you ever heard that rainwater is said to be the tears of spirits no da?"
"Uh uh, but if it is I guess they're really sad or something cause it's pouring like a bitch right now."
The forest grew thicker and soon Chichiri found that they had left the main path behind and now were walking along a small trail banked by a steep slope on one side. Rivers of mud formed and made the path slippery and the increasing wind made it difficult to see. Chichiri clutched his kasa onto his head with one hand and protectively held onto Tama-neko with the other. He could feel Tasuki close behind him, using the monk as a shield against the storm. Tree branches cracked overhead and were whipped away by the wind. Larger limbs fell into the deepening muck and were carried away by the rivers of water. Chichiri sidestepped those obstacles and continued blindly along the path.
"Be careful Tasuki no da! It's getting very slippery no da!" He warned back to the younger senshi as they slowly climbed an embankment in the road. Tasuki grumbled a reply but suddenly lost his footing on the road and began to tumble back. Chichiri felt the tug in his kesa and barely had time to brace himself before the two fell down the hill in a mixture of blue, swearing, and mud. They landed in a not so elegant pile at the bottom with Tama-neko perched on top.
Chichiri managed to untangle himself from Tasuki before falling back exhausted against the ground. Tasuki sat up sputtering, as he had fallen face first into the mud. His hair stuck up in odd brightly coloured designs, a sharp contrast to the dark forest and pouring rain. A drenched Tama pitifully cried against being out in such weather and pawed at Chichiri's side wanting to get back into the safeness of his cloak. When his prodding didn't get a reaction Tama began to yowl, his white fur now a muddy brown and clinging to his body making him appear like a drowned rat. Tasuki crawled over to his prone companion and gently shook him.
"Na, Chichiri? You okay?"
Chichiri groaned and slowly sat up with Tasuki's help. He ran his hand through his hair then grimaced in pain.
"Itai no da. I think I hit my head during our fall." Chichiri looked up the hill searching for what he had collided with and noticed something glinting in the downpour. "Ano Tasuki? Isn't that your tessen up there?"
"What?!?" Tasuki swiveled his head to see where Chichiri was looking and snarled in outrage. "Goddammit! Now we have to go back up there! Che…you gonna be able to make it Chiri'?"
He nodded and got shakily to his feet. Tama continued to rub against his leg and Chichiri picked him up and placed him back in the warmth of his kesa before following Tasuki back up the mud covered hill.
They managed to reach the top this time without incident and continued along the path, cautious of the slick bank and large boulders edging it. After another hour of withstanding the gale Chichiri realized he was on the verge of collapse.
"Tasuki we need to find shelter!" he called back to the other senshi, who was lagging more and more behind.
"Where the fuck are we gonna find that!" Tasuki managed to yell back over the wind. "All there is, is forest and mud!" Chichiri racked his brains trying to think up something to help them. He was too weak at the moment to use his magic to aid them or even to transport them to another location. Tasuki suddenly yelped and Chichiri turned around to see that he had fallen down in the mud again. Curses rang out through the storm but a low rumbling started to drown them out. Chichiri shook his head trying to clear it of the noise, not knowing where it was coming from. His feet slid in the mud as he tried to make his way along the path to help Tasuki. His hands scraped along the embankment and the rough stones cut into his flesh sending small rivulets of blood to mix with the rain. The rumbling got louder and Chichiri glanced around trying to find its source. He looked up the embankment and what he saw froze the blood in his veins. The rain had loosened the soil and boulders from the top of the embankment and now they were smashing down it in a frenzy of mud and water and heading right for Tasuki.
"TASUKI!!!" Chichiri screamed as he tried to get his feet to move over the slipperiness of the path. His warning was soaked up by the pounding wind.
Tasuki faintly heard the scream and looked up to see Chichiri running for him as if all hell broke loose.
"What the…" he muttered as his gaze absentmindedly flickered over his shoulder. His eyes grew wide as he finally spotted what had made his friend so frightened, the rockslide filled his view as it came right at him.