Filth as far as my eyes can see. The smell of booze and smoke is etched into wooden frames. Roaring laughter and heated arguments mixed and mingled at the card table. Poor thing probably withstand more beatings than all of us here combined. Under that distracting noise were the hush whispers of plots and schemes. Hands being shaken under the tables, no doubt those same hands swing at each other when said deals go wrong. In that bar of debauchery, is I, a nameless amanjakou trying to make my very first spellcard. I hadn’t even taken a sip from the glass, I saw nothing worth taking from it. A perfect place to make something beautiful and I mean that wholeheartedly. It’s a shame though that the card is still blank white…
Such is the issue when I can see, hear, and speak no good. As I imagine something beautiful, a warm feeling spread around my eyes. My ears flush red as I hear someone give a compliment to the bartender. My cheek burns as I remain silent. Considering where the bar is under, it’s not surprising that some of the yokai here are so nice. Still ugly though and worst, they’re distracting! I reach inside my coat to touch the ‘lure’. Caressing it, I manage to calm down, a toothy grin grows on my face. These guys are in for a surprise and oh I can’t wait!
If only I had enough time though… Focusing on the spellcard, a shape begins to form, something beautiful. Alas, I lose focus from the heat on my face. I grab the shot glass and down the whole thing, maybe if I get myself drunk I can focus…
I shout at the bear yokai, “Hey, Bartender! Another round!” A firm hand grabs my shoulder.
Bang! Bang! Bang! A spear hits the wooden floor. It echoes through the bar, cutting arguments short and turning laughter into mere whimpers. Those chugging choke on the alcohol content. Anyone smoking snuffs their pipes and sets them out of sight. The majority of the customers look away as if that’ll keep them anonymous.
Now silent, Tomamarou Shou speaks, “Water for everyone please.” She asks her tone even.
With a slumped shoulder, the bear walks into the back to retrieve some jugs. Avoiding to see her face, I look down and see the mouse Yokai staring back at me with a smug grin. What was her name again? Her dousing rods were poking my ‘lure’ which lead to everyone’s eyes on me. I try to turn in my seat but her hand gripping my shoulder tightens. Not wanting to push her buttons any further, I grab the lure. I made sure to go as slow as possible so I could see the patron's expressions. Dread, confusion, anger, and oh so many more ugly emotions!
I whip the stolen good! A collective gasp fills in the room as they see a leather bag. At a slug pace, I open the bag and grab the rim. Yanking down, another gasp, but this time mixed with erupting yelps. A gut instinct told me that their eyes wouldn’t dare blink. It’s another bag. The mouse girl giggles at the scene around her, now pointing her dowsing rods at the bag.
Shou, however, isn’t as patient. Her hand tightens on my shoulder as if telling me to get on with it. That’s understandable, but I wish I could drag it out a bit further. I grab the rim of the second bag and by digging my finger deeper the third one as well. Yanking down, all hell broke loose. Bishamonten's Pagoda shines for all to despair. Some were hurling accusations at me for being a snitch. The drunkards weep on each other shoulders for what’s to come. More delusional yokai clasp their hands and other appendages together in prayer, begging for mercy. No god will answer though, this I know. I cackle at the sight before me, I did this! The little amanojaku did this! Oh, the mice girl was laughing too, I guess.
PLOCK! PLOCK! PLOCK! The vibration from the spear shakes the wooden floor. All is silent again. Shou grabs the treasure and looks it over to see if anything was tampered with. The bartender finally returns with the jugs and begins pouring water for everyone. Satisfied, the avatar of Bishamonten sets her belongings on the counter and grabs four shot glasses.
She walks towards where the gamblers are playing. Shou place one shot glass on each table.
“I want all with the highest chips in each table to drink.” She says,
The gambling winners look down at the shot glass, before looking across their tables to each other. One shrugs in defeat and drinks the water, the others following soon after. All eyes were back on her.
“Good! Now grab all the chips and show it to Master Byakuren.” Their eyes bug out as their fellow players sigh in relief for their bad luck.
She returns to the counter and grabs some more shot glasses. Along the counter, the drunkards try their best to look sober as Shou approaches. She looks over their shoulders to see how many shots glasses were near them. One of the drinkers has their head resting on the table with their arms holding it up. Grabbing the drunk’s shoulder up, Shou sees that they are hiding small stacks of shot glasses underneath.
She places the water down in front of the drunk. “Back upstairs and report to Master Byakuren.”
“I-I’m not the drunk! I swear!” In the drunk’s defense, they did seem to be a heavy drinker.
“Excellent, she will be pleased to hear this,” Shou says, before going where the smokers were.
The yokai at the smoking table were more dignified or at least hid their emotions better. One table in particular, however, was in a silent panic. A smoker couldn’t hold out much for longer before breathing in the smoke from their pipe.
“Are you joking?” She stood high and tall over the poor fool.
The smoker threw the pipe away as the others jumped away from it as if it were infected.
“Do you mock me?” Shou leans in closer to the fool’s face.
“M-MMPH!” They shake their head.
“I was imagining it then?” I swear I could see some veins in her hand bulging.
The fool rigorously nods.
“Okay then.” She sets the glass shot down with a heavy slam, “Take a sip.”
Other compatriots stare in horror while grinning like a child getting a new toy. The fool grabs the glass and lifts it to their mouth. Her tiger eyes bare down on their neck. Smoke begins to leak from their lips as they try to sip. Some of the water spills on their clothes. The poor fool couldn’t hold out and coughed out the smoke underneath their shoulder.
Shou stands up straight, “I’m insulted and disappointed that you lied to me. Upstairs for you.” She says.
With everyone who drank the shot glasses now gone, the avatar of Bishamonten claps her hands. “Everyone else! Grab a drink and get this place clean!” The masses grumble in defeat drinking their water before heading upstairs to grab the cleaning equipment.
“And you.” She stands right beside me. “While I am grateful you led me here.”
My ears flush red from her gratitude; you weren’t supposed to thank me…
“You still stole Bishamonten’s Pagoda and as such must still be punished.” She says, “Do you have anything to say about yourself.”
I turn from my seat and look up to her. My face begins to flush a deep red.
“I had this whole planned out where I would challenge you to a danmaku duel,” I admit, why are good things so beautiful? “But I got no spellcards.”
Throughout all amanojaku, not even I am immune to it. From the amanojaku who wanted to shake Gensokyo’s order. To the amanojaku that killed and replaced a young bride from way back in time. We see something good and want to take it for ourselves.
Thus beauty is good. And I want her attention to myself. _________________________________
That was a nice scene setup! I hope we get plenty of continuation of this smitten oni sap in the days to come.
Shou being presented as austere is always a refreshing change. She's so often the butt of a joke or the cutesy clutz that we forget how high her position generally is. Basically, serious Shou is better, fight me.
Hey guys, I made a mistake by not explaining what I was planning!
'What is Beauty?' is going to be a series where each chapter revolves around a random yokai in Gensokyo and we get to see what they consider as beautiful. For the first chapter, I got amanojaku so I wrote a chapter and for the second chapter, I now got Wa Nyudo.
What I'm hoping is to find a touhou character that would go well with what the yokai believe is beauty.
I can’t help but wonder if fate itself is protecting that soul. It’s not often anyone refuses the Beautiful Stalker of Hell and if they did, it didn’t last for long. This is different though, this guy is good. The spirit managed to evade capture multiple times and there’s no sign of him slowing down. It got to a point where I and other nameless Wa Nyudos were given the order to go back to hell to assist. We manage to cut off all the key roads for the spirit to use, herding it away from the outside and deeper into hell itself. The problem with our method is that it is time-consuming. On any other day, that would be fine, but it wasn’t those days. Worse, today is the anniversary of Yomotsu Hisami working under Master Nippaku!
“Over there! Theirs the escapee!” Yomotsu Hisami roars.
Many demons were caught off guard by how shrill her voice had gotten. I can only assume the worst as we close the distance to her. The rocky roads, however, were not made for ox wheels going at high speeds forcing us to slow down. We could fly, but a Wa Nyudo could only go faster if we were touching the ground. Damned if we do; damned if we don’t.
“Sharp left!” She yells over yonder.
It appears that the spirit is aware of our weakness as well! The holes in the road became steep and plentiful. With no choice left, we took to the air now stuck at a less desirable speed. From my new position and keen eyes I can see Yomotsu and the sight is not pretty. Her master-design lavender dress made for the special occasion is now dirty and scorched for running hours in hell. Her long black hair is a tangle-up mess with more hair.
The Wa Nyudo next to me gasped, “Makeup! Makeup!” He utters in horror.
I was so focused on her expensive dress and once luscious hair I didn’t notice the bigger issue. Her magical makeup is running! Claws pierces through her silk gloves and heels. Her breasts sag with each step she takes. Along her face, patches of fur grew out giving her some pitiful sideburns. I wondered why a god as powerful as Izanagi would run from a pack of Shikome, but after seeing Yomotsu’s face, I no longer need to ponder on that.
“Some anniversary, huh?” The same Wa Nyudo speaks to me.
“Mmm.” I have no desire to speak to this loudmouth.
“Say, what should we pray for?” He keeps talking anyway, “A quick end of this chase or a more dramatic end?”
What is this fool going on about? “I’ll pray for Miss. Yomotsu being the one to catch this spirit.” I answer hoping this will satisfy him.
I can feel his grin behind me “Oh that’s horrible! Honestly, I would pray for Master Nippaku.” My answer wasn’t enough.
“Can you imagine if they had sex with the lights on?” No sense of self-preservation in this one.
An ear-piercing shriek echoes through hell. If I didn’t know any better, I would believe that it shook the stalactite above all of us. Yomotsu leaps thousands of kilometers ahead, closing the distance between her and the soul escapee.
The idiot whispers to me, “S-She didn’t hear me, did she?” he asks.
“Can you pray for me too?”
I smirk, “No.”
After our little ‘chat’ I began to realize why this man decided to talk all of a sudden. We’re making no progress in getting closer to the spirit. The only reason we haven’t lost distance is because of our leader’s efficient pathing through the air. It left me time to ruminate in my thoughts. Why did answer the way I did? I could have just said to chase to end short, but instead, I gave a completely different answer. The quicker this farce of a chase ends the better for everyone involved. I guess Yomotsu's non-stop innocent excitement of this anniversary rubbed off on me. Her infatuation near borderline fetish for Master Nippaku is common knowledge among co-workers.
We eventually converge on Yomotsu’s path, but she remains far ahead with the spirit.
“Hey,” The fool speaks again, but his voice is cautious. “Are these grapes on the ground?”
I looked down to confirm what he was seeing and to my shock they were. “How did these end up here?”
Sticking my tongue out, I manage to grab a few and bring it back to my mouth. I bite into the fruit unsure what to expect.
“So!? What does it taste like!?” Desperation seeps out of the fool’s voice
I knew I caught the grape and chewed on it, but its remains were missing along with the sweet flavor. Perhaps it’s been so long since I had grapes that I had forgotten the taste? The Wa Nyudo grabs a bunch of grapes with his tongue and chews. I can feel his despair without looking. He tries again, again and again!
“Ignore it, they’re all fake!” I shout, my patience with this man finally snapping. “We’re slowing down because of you!”
He grabs another bunch, “I-I can’t!” He says. “It’s been centuries since I’ve tasted my favorite food!”
This must be the spirit’s handiwork, I can’t think of anyone else responsible. Our speed gradually lowers as everyone else gets further ahead. I must abandon this one if I want to keep up, but the ground is as unsteady as his mental fortitude! Wait a minute, what if the grapes aren’t the only thing fake? I look back down at the ground and scrutinize the details on this shabby road. We’ve been deceived! All of the potholes and slumps have similar diameters and radiuses with little deviation! Even the distance between them is the same! Hesitant, I slowly lower back to the ground, bracing for impact. At last, favor is upon us! The road is still not the best, but nowhere near as bad as what my eyes were telling me.
With my speed increasing, I zoom past the other Wa Nyudo and begin catching up with the others. Something is wrong though, despite being aware that my eyes are being tricked. My very being is screaming for me to get back to the air! I tried my best to stay under control, but I couldn’t hold out and return to the air. I made another attempt to land again, but unfortunately, I lasted shorter than my first time. It’s all beginning together now.
This spirit’s ability is not a mere illusion; it’s the ability to play with our instincts! The fact that I only saw my group and Yomotsu throughout this whole chase confirms it for me. If an evil spirit were to get near the escapee, it would throw ‘salt’ scaring it off. An oni? Just throw some ‘soybeans’ and they would keel over in pain. This would also explain why no other Shikomes were giving chase, they're eating the ‘grapes’ all over the ground! That would leave Yomotsu as the odd one out though, how is she resisting this powerful ability?
If Yomotsu is like the rest of us, her instinct should have gotten to her now, but the last I saw her, there was no sign of fatigue. Something is pushing her some sort of higher cause must be pushing her. Is it, is it loyalty? Any other scenario I can come up with doesn’t answer how she lasted this long. With all possibilities eliminated, only the impossibility stands.
…Mistress Yomotsu, please forgive me for the unsavory view I had of you! I lived the life of a monk who was never loyal to all the gods he swore to! It’s because of this that only now, after decades of working under you, that I found the beauty deep within you! If I had shown a fraction of such devotion, perhaps I would be living a different life. Now is not the time to lament though, now is the time to be better!
The flames of my ox-wheel burn brighter than they ever had in my whole life. I slam my body against the road, the touch of my wheel on the ground left a trail of molten lava. My mouth is a furnace with something burning inside. Before I knew it, I’d not only caught up with my group but surpassed them as I heard the shock in their voices. My soul still screams for me to get back into the air, but this time will be different. If Mistress Yomotsu is experiencing what I am, that could be why her magic makeup began running. She’s reaching her limit! If she falls for the temptation of those fake grapes, then that soul is as good as free!
Smoke leaks through my teeth, and my tongue dries up like a desert. I feel a burning light glowing in my mouth. Through the corner of my eye, I can see them, the escapee and Mistress Yomotsu! Now or never! I bounce the ox-wheel into the air and face towards them, opening my mouth. A beam of concentration heat hits the ground and travels up. The spirit stops in its tracks as the beam passes him. Before it could pass over the molten line; a wall of lava spews out blocking the way. Yomotsu manages to grab the soul and slams it against the lava wall. We did it.
My body is sore from the intense magic I fired, but it was worth it.
She pushes him further in, “You pitiful excuse of a soul!” Yomotsu shouts with her shrill voice. “I’m late to the anniversary dinner because of you!”
Pulling him out, she throws him against the floor and stomps with all she has. The ground quakes with each stomp; I almost feel bad for the escapee. Too bad I don’t care though kekekeke! Truthfully speaking; after seeing it and experiencing it for the first time in my demonic life. I can’t help but gravitate to the idea that true beauty is devoting yourself to another being.
I look up at the lava wall and wonder to myself.
‘I wonder if I can my make a spell card out of this…’
Art by sugarshoot10
The next chapter will be... Hone onna! A woman that has passed away but persist through sheer love alone!
‘Remember to wrap the kimono right side over left; you have a new life now.’ I repeat to myself as I dress up.
‘See no love! Hear no love! Speak no love!’ I clap my hand against my face, ‘You got this!’
Using my tombstone as leverage, I pull myself up and brush the dirt off my pink floral kimono. Okay, time to go back home! Love must be so worried about me! I stopped before I took a single step. Darn, this is tough. I lay back down to rethink my strategy. Ughh… I’m a great-grandmother in her 70’s, not a young maiden going to the festival for the first time! I do have to admit though, that it feels wonderful to feel young again. I can jump again! How long has it been since I’ve done that!? Love will be so surprised when he sees- I flip myself over to eat the dirt.
Not thinking sounds nice right now. There was the sound of footsteps in the distance, but I paid no attention. I simply wish for the dirt to claim my soul. The footsteps came closer until they stopped near me. I can feel a shoe poking at my ribs, checking to see if I was alive I assume. The mysterious person stops their prodding and crouches down judging from the sound of dirt moving. Without any prompting, they flipped me over like I was a rolled-up carpet! Our eyes lock at each other, she seems surprised at first but quickly turns to amusement.
“Don’t mind me dear~” She says as she rifles my sleeves. “I’m relieving you of your earthly belongings~”
I sigh, “I didn’t know times were this tough for people to resort to robbing the dead.” She stops to look at me with a blank face.
“You can sell my kimono if you wish, stranger, but I’m not sure who would buy it nor how much it could go for.” I continue.
The blue grave robber didn’t seem to be impressed by the donation and stood back up. Now that I get a better look at her, the first thought that comes to my mind is blue. Her hair is blue, her dress is blue and so is her eyes! I’m a little disappointed that her socks or shoes weren’t blue. The white vest does go well with the black shoes.
“Well, aren’t you a generous person?” She speaks, crossing her arms. “I assume you were used to this in your previous life?”
I nod, unsure of why her demeanor changed, “I don’t mean to boast, but…” My bony chest swells in pride. “I was the oldest child of my family, I helped care for my grandparents and my siblings. I took care of all my neighbor's pets, that’s how I first met my Love. We got married and had kids, I took care of the house and made food while he worked. My siblings got married and they had kids who I helped raise. Then we found out that my youngest brother had a child outside of the marriage who I also helped raise; such a sweet baby she was. I hope she’s doing well. My parents were getting old around this time so I helped take care of them as well. Then my children married and-“
She clutches my shoulders, “Cease.” The blue woman says.
Rubbing her temples, she mumbles, “Your flesh is rotting off your bone but I bet you look better than when you were alive.”
The blue woman takes a deep breath in and breathes out, “My name is Kaku Saiga,” She extends a hand to me. “Do you still wish to be called by your past name?”
I shake my head, “Onna Hona will be fine, Miss Kaku, I wish to move on from my human life.” I grab her hand and stand up.
Tapping my exposed jaw, an idea pops into my skull, “Although maybe I should visit Love one last time. He should know that I’m doing fine.”
“No, no; he’s a grown man, he’ll be fine.” Kaku begins pulling in the direction opposite of the village. “There’s a reason why your soul turned into a bone woman, Dear Onna, and I am happy to help.” She says.
If I had an eyebrow, I would be raising it right now, “Oh? And why is it that I couldn’t move on yet?” I ask.
“It’s obvious that you’ve led an unbalanced life!” She clasps both her hands on mine, “Since you were young, you had to care for others; but what about yourself?”
That doesn’t seem right, “I feel like I’ve done a good job in self-caring though.” I say.
“Oh really?” She asks, “Such as?”
“Well let’s see, I eat whenever I get the chance. Showered regularly and taken multiple naps throughout the day.” I list off from my bony fingers, but Kaku remains unimpressed. “Oh! I also visited Eientei on a weekly base!”
“Let me guess, did the doctor tell you that you needed to stop overworking?” She cocks her to the side.
My jaw goes slack, “Y-yes she did, how did you know!?” She must be some kind of mind reader!
“By being an astute Taoist,” She says with a deadpan tone. “Regardless, that alone is not enough to achieve balance.”
“But what else is there to do?” I ask, “I thought I did well enough considering I came back without any grudges.”
“But you did come back with desires. You’re a woman with unfinished business.” Miss Kaku states.
“What if I desire to see my Beloved?”
She eyes me with suspicion, “Depends, what is your reason for seeing him again?”
I couldn’t look at her directly, “He… He could be sad right now.”
“Ms. Onna, if your reason for seeing your husband is to not have rapture-inducing love-making that ends with him dead!” She steps closer to me, still holding my hand. “We’re not going there.”
“I-I don’t want to kill him, also did you say we!?” What is wrong with this woman!?
“Do not let trivial things such as ‘taboos’ hold you back, Ms, Onna.” She says, “They only exist to stop girls like us from having fun!”
I need to keep this woman and my youngest brother away from each other!
“A-Alright, alright, we’re not heading back home!” I say
With my free hand, I run it down my neck bone, the sound of bones clacking together sounds nice. I stop as my eyes look at the trees at the end of the graveyard. Looking at the wood, I recall a time as I child when I begged my parents to let me run through the Magical Forest for only a moment. To no one’s surprise, they forbid me from doing that.
"I’m thinking of what you’re thinking.” Miss Kaku says, looking in the same direction as me. “This would make a nice start for a taboo-breaking spree.”
We walk across the graveyard; I look back behind at my tombstone and the road leading to the village. Seiga gently tugs me forward, wordlessly telling me to look forward. We stop at the edge of the graveyard; I’ve never been this close to the trees before. She lets go of my bony hand and stands at my side, waiting.
“I want to see you do it, I want to see you break your first taboo!” She exclaims in excitement.
With trepidation, I take a step forward by a centimeter. Next another step, then another and another! I’m standing in front of the forest! I turn my head to Seiga, who has been following me; her grin grows bigger as she looks at me. Perhaps it was my misshapen smile that caused that. Letting go of my worries, I ran through the Magical Forest.
It’s been so long since I had felt like a child. A time when I had some leisure, where I could leave my responsibilities behind and not a single thought would cross my head. My raspy cackles and Seiga’s echo throughout the forest, if anyone heard us, they would no doubt believe that witches were nearby. Everything around me feels like a blur and the thoughts of my Love nestle in the back of my mind for the first time since I became a Hone Onna. I eventually caught my foot on a root sticking out of a tree, and a bit of my rotten flesh flew off as I hit the dirt. I roll around the dirt, making a mess of my kimono. Seiga removes her hairpin to join in; getting her dress all dirty and her neatly bundled up became a shamble. We eventually stop; I look up at the starry night. At the corner of my eye, Seiga faces away from me and into the dark woods.
“…Thank you for helping me, Kaku,” I say, looking back at the stars.
A low chuckle leaves her lips, “I only came because I knew I was going to have fun, Onna.” She admits.
“Even so, thank you, I never thought I would make this much progress under a night.”
“Still thinking about him?” She asks
I nod, “Yes, but it feels light; like I can think about him and then resume doing what I wanted to do.”
“That’s good to hear. You’re getting closer to a balanced existence then.”
It’s beautiful, this feeling of… letting go.
Art by blast-7
The next yokai in the entry is the... Yasha! Beings with two different origin stories in Hindu and Buddhism!
At first, they were kind nature spirits who protect the trees and earth in Hindu mythology.
In Buddhism, they were demons who attacked travelers and were later converted as Buddhists, serving as soldiers in Bishamonten's army.
I wonder how they ended up with such a different origin.
I walk back to my home as Hijiri Byakuren follows me. It's an odd feeling seeing a human you first met a couple of centuries ago. Our first meeting outside of Gensokyo wasn’t pretty and nor was it pretty here too.
“Tell me, Yasha.” She says, seeming determined to understand my simple mind. “What drove you to attack that human?”
“It’s been a while since I last saw one,” I shrug, “I wanted to see if killing felt any different now.”
Hijiri remains silent, probably thinking what I’m thinking and who could blame her? Even I don’t know what to do with myself and she’s the one that caused it. My nose flares; things were so simple back then, makes me wish there was a way to go back.
“Hey, Monk,” I call out, “Shouldn’t you be dead now or what?”
“If I was still human, yes I wouldn’t be here.” She says.
If she was still human? I stopped to look at her, and despite being three heads taller than her, she didn’t back down. The way she’s looking at me is different, I can still remember how shifty they were back then. Now though? I’m close to blowing a casket on this thing, She doesn’t look ashamed, but at the same time, she knew what she did. If she had the chance to turn back the time, she would have refused it.
“You mean to tell me, it wasn’t a human saving one another, but a yokai!?” My teeth grind against each other.
“You are correct,” She takes a step forward, “I’m striving for co-existence between man and yokai.”
“And what about the other time?!” There’s no way this is the same person right? Was a yokai the true reason I ended up by my lonesome? “You’ve been using some kind of dark magic this entire time?”
Oh, I don’t like the look on her face. Confusion is written all over it!
She finally looks away, “I’m sorry, but if we met before I’m afraid I don’t remember.” She says.
That’s it! I closed the distance to grab her head, but at that moment she became a blur. History repeats itself, and I’m the fool that helped prove it. Like before, she dodges my grab and counters by grabbing my arm. Her muscles grew bigger under her wavy dress, I felt my limb ready to pop off its socket. Next thing I know, I’m in the air before crashing down with a heavy thud. I hate this woman so much. After pushing myself up, I noticed that Hijiri remained in the exact spot she threw me. Her stance changes to a more combative one, but it’s clear that she isn’t going to fight seriously. I’m not eager to be thrown around like a child’s doll, so I spat in her direction and continued my way back home.
“Wait!” She calls out.
“Forget it! I’m still not joining you and your hoodwinked followers!”
She continues following me; must be a slow day at her temple.
“You were in a group of other Yashas weren’t you.” About time you remember. “There at the temple near the village, I’m sure they’ll be pleased to see you again.”
“Those idiots are still following you? Even after they found out about your lie?” I ask.
“They didn’t take it well, many yokai that found out felt betrayed and used by me,” Hijiri says, I can hear a pinch of guilt in her breath. “By their grace, however, they and my closest allies helped unseal me.”
“So they forgave you, and what’s that about being unsealed?” This woman has luck itself on her side.
“Humans found out as well and had me sealed.” She says.
I don’t know if I should laugh or get angry, “Oh that’s rich. You threw me and the boys around like dolls while looking scared pissless.” I grind my teeth. “But some humans somehow managed to beat you?”
“If it soothes your pride; I surrendered to prevent any unnecessary bloodshed.” She says.
The conversation ends there, but she remains stubborn to follow me home. So I continue wandering around, hoping some man-eating plant will distract her or better yet another outsider to save. I’m going to have to prepare myself when those fairies see me back home. Maybe playing some danmaku would get them off my back?
“If it’s alright to ask, what have you done since the last time we met?” Hijiri asks.
“After I and the boys went our way, I wondered about the lands,” I answer, maybe she’ll leave faster if I indulge her. “Killing wasn’t as fun as it used to be so I just scared anyone on the road before moving again.”
I continue. “One day, I found some other yashas, but they were different.”
Hijiri speaks, “How so?”
“They were more interested in protecting the trees and earth itself; even helped out some humans in danger,” I explain. “One of them was close to kicking it though.”
“Hmm, Yasha more concerned about nature? They sound more like Yashas from Hinduism.” She comments, “What happens then?”
“I was close to kicking it too by that time. Not many humans were that afraid of the Yashas anymore.” It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth saying that. “With the both of our time low; we merged, he gets to protect his tree, and I get to fight.”
“Ah, I see now; that’s why you’ve been going circles,” She says, “You don’t want me near the tree.”
I sigh, stopping in my tracks, “You’re right, but now for the right reason.” I turn to her. “Can you leave now? I answered your question a while ago.”
She stares at me with a stoic expression. I couldn’t make heads or tails on what she was thinking. Without a word, her feet left the ground as she floated up.
“I will, but before I go; the Myouren Temple welcomes you with open arms.” She says, “I’m sure your brothers will be surprised by how much you’ve changed.”
My tongue clicked when I heard that word. Changed? You’re one to talk; what happens to that fear in your eyes? Where did it go?
“I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you.”
Hijiri shrugs, “Perhaps, but I’ll still do it anyway.” She says smiling. “Also, please don’t attack any more humans!”
“If attacking them causes you to show up; I will never do it again.”
An amused smile spreads across her lips as she flies in the opposite direction. I finally start my walk back home. Who would have thought I see her again? Thinking back on my life, I realize how many ups and downs I’ve been through. How many times I laughed with my old boys and how lonely when they left. I found myself lost before finding a place to call home with those tree-hugging yashas. Then we left said home to Gensokyo and made friends with other tree spirits in the new home.
That’s the beauty of life, I guess.
art by ZeeW001
I got stuck on this chapter; hopefully I can catch up.
The next yokai is... Oi no bakenomo! A tsukumogami that haunts wooden backpacks called oi. Buddhist would use these bags for long journeys.