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Right there, I walked just behind Ihakasa. I stared intently at the jar containing the elixir, but just as I was about to push him down this turn with a cliff-like edge, I hesitated. I found myself nearly frozen there, watching Ihakasa walk away past the dangers. I stood there for a moment...
"Why couldn't I push him down?" I thought to myself. But before I could think about anything, I pulled myself away from where I stood and ran. When I was far away enough to no longer be tempted, I stopped and kept my back up against the wall. "That was too close." I said to myself as I let out sigh that seemed as if it carried away the evils with it as the air escaped my lungs. Guilt has finally struck me. It's true; I almost killed a person! Just how selfish am I? Looking out in the distance, the bright, blue color filled my eyes as I got the temptation out of my system. There, far away, I saw a figure of a person so small I could barely put a shape on it. Was that princess Sakuya? ...Does she know?
"Mokou? Mokou, where are you!"
It seems Ihakasa noticed I left. I answered to him in a nearly whimpering voice.
"I, I'm here!"
"What are you doing out there?"
"I.. looked down and got scared."
With that, I turned back ahead and ran out to him. That person before, was I imagining it? Ihakasa walked halfway back to come for me.
"I'm here Mokou. We have to walk this way to get back down. Once we're down, I'll walk you back home. I can tell you're very uncomfortable here."
Home... that word made me remembered my father. Just thinking about how depressed he was made me nearly cringe. It's too cruel... even after I went all this way, I couldn't even the slightest bit change anything. My entire trip here was in vain.
"It's okay. I'll find my own way back once we're down" I replied. That's right, I still couldn't let him know who I was. I know I'll be in trouble when I get back home, but at least I'll have the excuse that nobody else knows if I come home alone. Ihakasa smiled.
"You sure got guts, persisting to so far on your own." Seeing him smile like that made me feel glad. It was a good choice not to kill him, because if I did take the elixir, I would have remembered this event for the rest of my life, and I would never be able to get the image out of my mind.
"Let's go. Right past this turn here, we're only fifteen minutes away from being at the bottom. Be careful on it though, it's easy to loose your balance."
I smiled back with a hearty "Okay!"
When I come home, I think I'll find something else to cheer dad up and get Kaguya out of our lives once and for all. Just maybe if I tell him that even the Emperor wasn't able to wed her, he'll get over it in time. Just up ahead was that dangerous edge I nearly pushed Ihakasa off of. I didn't have any more ill thoughts, though, and easily watched him make it across and gesture for me to follow. Finally! Past this, I'll be able to get over my grudge. Today's events have already put me through a revelation. It was my turn to go across. It's only about five steps, but looking at the dangers below immediately pulled me back away in reflex. I felt a strange sensation, like the saliva watering in my mouth felt both wet and dry, but I swallowed it up and took my first step. Second. Third. This is it! I can make it across! At the forth step, it felt as if gravity shifted a little to the side. But I couldn't think. It's not that far away! Only two steps! I'll just jump and get it over with, and Ihakasa can help me up.
"Mokou, keep you balance!"
Before I could lose it any further, I jumped forward with all my might. But just as I did, the gravity felt like it shifted again and put my right ankle at an awkward position. Not even a fraction of a second later, I felt weightless. 'Danger!' I must get back up! I reached out my arm and jerked my upper body to the left to face the mountain again. Then I felt Ihakasa's fingers slip past through mine, and when I looked back up, I saw two people. There, up on the mountain's turn which was getting smaller and smaller, was Ihakasa kneeling down reaching for me, and the goddess Sakuya. I only had a couple seconds to think, but I knew there was no way I could survive now. I see... so she did see me nearly push him down. Ihakasa wasn't aware of her presence as he let out a final shout for me. I didn't know how painful it would be to fall to my death but it wasn't something I wanted to see. With the last second I had left, I tightly closed my eyes shut and covered my face with the robe's sleeve on my right arm. Everything is pitch black as I still felt weightless. I counted...
"Two.. three.. four.. five... six.... seven...." I paused for a moment. Why am I still falling? .."Open". I tried opening my eyes, but they wouldn't budge. My whole body won't move. Nothing but pitch black. I'm not dead. I'm definitely still alive. I can feel it! I forced my eyes to open. They still wouldn't budge, but this time, I felt the sense gravity coming back; I was lying down somewhere. "Open!!" I thought loudly, as I tried opening my eyes with all my might. This time, I saw light. But up above me wasn't a sky, but stalactites.
"Where am I?", I thought to myself for a moment, as I felt control coming back to my body. I got up, and saw a light coming from the end of a short tunnel, there was plant life outside. When I looked back at the stalagmites and rocks, I finally remembered. I fell asleep. Now I remember... It was raining outside, so I rushed to find someplace to get cover and went inside this cave. I see, I must have fallen asleep here. Strange... I've always had this dream, except I always ended up pushing Ihakasa off that cursed edge second thoughts. Then I'd always think to myself, "Just what would have happened if I had taken that other path, I wonder?". Well, it looks like today that's finally been answered. I found myself chuckling at the thought.
"It's a good thing I did push him off, then". I said that with a restrained sense of guilt in the back of my mind.
It wasn't raining anymore. I remember I had taken off my shirt to dry it off from the rain earlier. I was going to dry it off right then and there, but when I thought about it a second time, I remembered of the Bamboo Forest fire, and that interview that followed with Kaguya and that nosy Tengu. So I decided to wait and fell asleep here. I didn't have to worry about someone walking in on me or anything, this part of the forest is far too deep for ordinary humans to stray into. I put my shirt back on. It wasn't completely dry, but not nearly enough bother me. The air here was very misty and had a cool temperature. I took in a deep as I walked out. Looking far up ahead I noticed the smoke of the youkai mountain, still rising up, and couldn't help but remember my dream and the events that have long since past. I remembered- I did promise myself not too long ago that I'd make it to the top of that mountain and talk to Princess Iwanaga, the goddess of Immortality and apologize for what happened to Ihakasa.
There's not much time left today. It looks like the sun will be completely down in about four hours. I think I'll...
[ ] Go rescue some lost people.
[ ] See Keine.
[ ] Hunt troublesome youkai.
[ ] Travel Gensokyo for a bit.
[ ] write-in