Sanaek !gwSNAAKE5k 2010/07/12 (Mon) 06:16 No. 120341 ▼
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I find my curiosity getting the better of me. Were I to try and catch up to Parsee I’d surely be able to find a way out, but something tells me she won’t be straying too far from the village. I suppose there’s little risk in taking a little more time to spy and eavesdrop on these very strange people. I decide to follow the girl in white, and a thousand tiny spiders move through the cracks in the wall.
The next room over isn’t quite as poorly furnished as the rest of the ship. There is not a single cobweb to be found, and even the bed tucked back in the far corner has a mattress and sheets that look almost brand new. It’s almost as if this girl has been or plans on living here for a good long duration. Speaking of which, I find her sitting at a desk to my left. She sits idly, passing the time by doing nothing. Her body hardly moves; as if the life in her has simply gone without her knowledge. But as a cluster of spiders hiding in the shadows, my senses are very limited. I decide to take a chance.
My form returns to normal; as normal as a human body can be, and I sit back in one of the corners of the room watching her in silence. She neither moves nor speaks. She doesn’t even seem to be breathing as I sit deathly still.
No, she isn’t breathing. It isn’t something I just imagined, this girl is actually dead. I step up to her, careful not to make a sound in case I’m wrong in my assumption. I come up behind her and—
“You reek of blood,” she says suddenly, causing me to step back in surprise.
“Er, hi.” I say, unsure of myself. I could have sworn she was dead just now!
“I suppose you’re the girl Shou was looking for?” she turns around, looking at me with cold, dead eyes, “Nifty trick you have there, hiding in plain sight like that. How do you do it?”
“Even if you ask me that, I can’t explain it,” I say, perturbed by her nearly emotionless stare, but thankful she hasn’t outright attacked me, “It’s something like an innate ability or instinct.”
“Ah, I see,” she motions to a chair across from her, “Make yourself comfortable, if you want. It’s rare I meet a youkai that doesn’t want to suck my guts out.”
“So…” I see no reason not to sit, so I sit, “You live here?”
“Not so much live as I’ve become bound to this vessel. Couldn’t leave it if I wanted to. It does get a little lonely down here, so I’m afraid I’ll have you listen to me ramble on for a bit.” She smiles, “If you don’t mind, of course.”
“You know I have to ask,” I say, leaning back and trying not to focus on her eyes. The fact that she smiles with such dead eyes makes her expression far more frightening that in should be, but she does seem earnestly pleased to have company. Perhaps I’m worried over nothing. “but why is a ship buried so far underground?”
“Long story,” she laughs, “If you had a thousand years to blow I’d tell you everything, but here’s a short version: Ship crashed, cave-in, the end. It’s what caused the crash that would take a bit of time to explain, and…” she turns her head away, “Oh, look, the mutineer’s returned!”
“I’d rather you didn’t call me that,” says Shou, standing in the doorway. She pauses, looks to me with a scowl, and then turns back to the ghostly girl in white, “I forgot to mention that I’d be borrowing a few things from the stores. Some rope and various other accoutrements.”
“Go on, take!” The girl replies, “You’ve taken enough as it is, a little rope won’t be a bother.”
“…” Shou leaves in silence, her eyes turned to the ground shamefully.
“So yeah,” the girl returns her attention to me, “After the big boss lady got thrown in the brig for all eternity, there was a little… Disagreement amongst the crew. And the rest, as they say, is history. Can I offer you a drink? All I have is some old stagnant bilge water and maybe some fungus growing around the ship’s hull.”
“Er, no, I’m fine.” Is she trying to imply that she lives off of that? I find myself staring at her in disbelief.
“Hey, don’t give me that look! I’m trying to be polite here!” she pauses, turning back to her desk for a moment to shuffle some old papers around. For a moment her hand seems to go straight through the writing surface, but… “Oh right, names yeah? I bet you’re curious to know who I am.”
“Not particularly, but go ahead.” I say neither eager nor loathe to get introductions out of the way. Like many I’ve met down here I doubt I’ll ever see her past this initial meeting. I see no point to any of this, but then again I see no reason not to either.
“Alright, then!” she suddenly becomes lively, jumping to her feet and holding a hand to her chest as she takes a bow, “I am the captain of this ship, Murasa Minamitsu. Mitsu, Micchan, or Matilda is fine.”
“Indeed!” she smiles, taking her seat, “Though in all honesty I’d rather you didn’t take that little joke to heart. So if you don’t mind me asking, who is this woman who can so easily sneak undetected into my quarters, eh?”
“…Nue, huh.” She leans forward inquisitively, tenting her fingers, “I suppose you think that’s pretty funny, huh?”
“It’s no joke,” I say, “I’ve no given name, but that is what people once called me.”
“So you’re the great mythical nue, huh? I suppose I’ve no reason to disbelieve, but I really would’ve expected something more… like, you know.” She starts making odd sweeping movements with her hands and drawing shapes into the air.
“Head of a monkey, legs of a tiger, et cetera, et cetera?” I ask, remembering my described appearance in old human scrolls, “That was merely a projection; something a human believed they had witnessed. My real form was something far more frightening.”
“So now you’re a little girl,” she says plainly.
“It would seem that way, yes.”
“We’re all in the same boat here… Figuratively speaking, of course. We’re not literally in… or maybe we are? Well, whatever. Feel like busting out of underground prison?”
Ah, finally we’re getting somewhere! Interesting though that she would refer to this as a prison. Perhaps she knows something I am unaware of, or maybe her choice of words reflects only the nature of her being.
“That was my original intention, yes.”
“Well saddle up then!” she suddenly gains and loses enthusiasm, “…is what I’d like to say. Regrettably this ship is too damaged to move. But! Don’t you go and try to help or anything! I have Shou doing all the work as… atonement for her past moves against me. Funny how karma takes things in a circle, yeah? That girl needs my help more than ever, now.”
“You two don’t get along?” I ask.
“It’s more a conflict of interests rather than a personality conflict, but no. We don’t.” she smiles, “I do think I’ll get along with you, though.”
“Is that so…?” I’ve no clue where she plans on taking this conversation, but for it to turn personal out of the blue like that shows some mental instability on her part. Gathering from what she said, it would appear to me that Shou acted against her and that the conflict ended very poorly. I’m not entirely sure what to think, but I find it very likely that this woman had something to do with the crash. Perhaps it was purposeful as an act of retribution?
“And I know somebody that’s just gonna love you! …Not that she’s anywhere to be found in this world.”
“And who would that be…?”
“You’ll see~” Murasa giggles, “It’s been so long I’ve even forgotten what she looks like to be honest.”
“I know the feeling.”
“Then again, I don’t remember a lot of things. Like who I was before I died, why or how I died, what I had for breakfast this morning… Wait, ghosts don’t need to eat, do they?”
“Yeah, ghosts. Ghosts like me. Oh, it’s a myth that they don’t have any legs, just so you’re aware.”
Her true nature is evident to me. Though she seems friendly enough, she could very likely be putting on an act. Ghosts bound to sea-faring vessels are particularly dangerous entities, more so than your average run-of-the-mill evil spirit. Perhaps it would be wise of me to get while the getting’s good.
“I… think I should be going now,” I say, feeling an instinctual fearful reaction. The dead are one thing, but the walking dead frighten me like nothing else.
“Already?” she frowns, “And here I was hoping we could talk for a little while longer…”
Then she leans in close, “Oh, and pardon me for asking, but you wouldn’t happen to have a ladle or bucket on you, would you?”