I'm a bit late, but at least you're getting it before you're up in the morning. Now, it's time for me to get some sleep.
[X] Ask Miko for help.
The words slip from my lips, and I feel heard for the first time.
“Who am I?”
Like paper carried upon air, they float from my grasp and fly away. But that woman hears them. She definitely hears them. I don't have to worry about that, I can just tell.
Miko nods slowly. “I'm not sure, but we'll find out.” She nears me, taking my hand gently. It's... surprisingly soft. I haven't touched anyone else since... well, since I woke up here, on that first day. It feels like it's been an eternity, even though it was only yesterday, and I'm drained just thinking about it.
The woman seems to understand my desire to rest without me saying anything, and before I know it, we're somewhere else, and I'm being guided into bed. I vaguely remember passing through something, but my head can't quite grasp it, and doesn't seem to want to. Once I'm settled in, she takes a seat next to me.
“You really are interesting, you know.” Miko tells me. I shake my head a little. I don't get what is so interesting about someone like me, but she continues on anyway. “I think you're the first, actually. The others have had to have been put down, but among the Ayakashi, you're reasonable enough. If we forgive that little incident last night, at least.”
Suddenly I'm off the deep end again. Just when I was starting to put things together about myself, this woman says something completely incomprehensible. “A... Ayakashi?” I feel like I've heard that before... That's right. Earlier, Nitori, that Kappa, had talked to me about it. People and Youkai were changing into Ayakashi. Some kind of monster.
“But... but I'm not a monster.” My protest is weak, and something deep within me sinks when I hear it. Like something's not right.
Miko shakes her head. “It was hard to notice, but all Ayakashi have one unusual Desire among theirs. It's a single one I can't understand, and I could hardly even call it a desire, but there it is. Your body is definitely less like a monster than what we'd seen of ones before you... but perhaps you're a new model, or maybe an old one? Whatever it is, you have that one, telltale desire all the same.”
I don't even get it. What's all this about desires, and what does that have to do with me being a monster? My head pounds, pleading for answers that I hardly even have to bring to my lips. It feels almost like she's known from the beginning that I wanted to know more about myself, so Miko already understands. Her words only seem to reinforce it.
“The desire to Obey. It's quite clear that whatever is creating Ayakashi is doing it for a purpose, for someone's gain, because all these rampaging monsters have an 'Obedience' in them, like something was supposed to command them, but isn't yet.” Miko explains. “It is why you struggled to raise a hand to me, even when you were so inherently upset – as long as I know it's there, I can exploit it.”
The thought alone sends bubbles of rage popping in my head. Like I'm not supposed to listen to her, like this woman is a betrayer and a snake who used me. But I fight it back. She has answers, and I need answers more than anything. That rage that boils... is that related? Because the wrong person is taking advantage of that desire withing me? If so, who is the 'intended' target... and just what am I? The words struggle to leave my mouth, but this time I can force them out. “...I don't understand. What does it mean, that I'm an Ayakashi? Who am I supposed to be listening to, with that desire you're talking about?”
Her tan hair shakes a little. “If I knew who it was, I wouldn't have had to guess at the purpose for it. But it's not likely anyone I know. As for what it means... You were not originally you. You've been transfigured, and I'm not sure the depths of what was changed within you.” I almost have to fight back the urge to cringe when it sinks in. Is my memory gone because it didn't exist in the first place? Am I really two days old?
One thing is out of question, at this point, though. This is why Reimu attacked me so suddenly. She thought I was an Ayakashi, which, though I don't want to believe it, looks likely, and at the very least I seem to be one to residents who know how to tell the difference. “Then... who was I?”
Another shake, as her head waves the question off. “I only know what you are, not who you were.” Miko smiles a little. “But I can at least try and help you become what you want to be. Just, no more incidents like that, alright? The way of Tao provides power, but how you use that power is up to you, so I don't want it in the hands of someone bad.”
...That's right, she mentioned something from yesterday. Some kind of incident. “...Um, what do you mean by that? Did I do something wrong?”
Miko's face actually changes, scrunching up unpleasantly. “...Don't try and play innocent. You know exactly what you did.” ...It doesn't really matter what she says, I definitely don't know anything. Rather than try and convince her, I just sit there, confused. She tried to be nice to me, but... at the same time, she calls me a monster and says that I've done something horrible. I don't really know how to feel about her. She's all over the place, sending the most mixed messages I've had since I got here.
But really, she's probably my only hope. So I just wait.
The woman stands and leaves after scrutinizing me for a while, and I'm left alone, the light slowly dimming. ...I'm pretty exhausted from this whole ordeal, so I might as well take a nap.
The world around me glimmers and dances. The fires in the sky reflect off the crystal-clear pool, causing the world above and below to burn as I spin slowly between. It's not often I get out like this, into the wondrous nature that was made here.
These moments are when I truly feel alive, that soaring feeling within my heart. My job is wonderful and fulfilling, but it doesn't quite compare. Perhaps it's because of how much time I spend at it – these sights and sensations might not be as meaningful if they were not points of light within my world.
So, I'm grateful.
I'm grateful that I was born, I'm grateful that She made me.
The joy within my heart never ends, even if the hardening of my heart never ceases. Every time I come out to these wondrous landscapes, I feel like I'm less human than before, that a little more of this demonic world carries with me wherever I go.
And I fall in love.
Perhaps that's being too dramatic for someone who's life is restrained within the reflection of silver, but it's how I feel, in this moment. A moment for me, that will never leave, no matter what happens. No matter what I might forget. I'll definitely never lose sight of this dream-like day.
Isn't that right? After all, here I am.
I leap from bed with a startled cry. What the hell was that all about? The dreams I have are getting increasingly nonsensical, and that ending was somewhat terrifying. Like I was looking on a memory, and the memory looked back upon me. That kind of thing just isn't okay. Let's decide never to do that again.
Staggering out of the strange bed – just where exactly did she take me? I was too caught up to really focus, earlier – I stumble toward a mirror, sat upon a dresser with a bowl of water beneath it. Taking the time to wash my face, since what else would that be for, I examine my reflection and flinch away a little.
It's kind of unpleasant to look at me. Not like I'm hideous or anything, I just look bad after rough sleep like that, and this sort of instinctive aversion crops up, so I tear myself away rather quickly. There's so much that had happened earlier, that it's hard to process, even now. Rather than trying to sort out everything and come to some kind of real truth, though, I need food. Humans have to eat, after all – well, I suppose a monster might need to eat, too.
Before I can go any further, a voice rings out across the room. Standing in the door is roughly who I expect to see – the woman from before, the, uh, ears person...
Ears person speaks up again, making sure I'm paying attention. “Well, at least you're up. Even if it's the early morning hours, now.” If it's that early, then why is she even awake? Does Ears even sleep, or is that something someone like her doesn't do anymore?
“...I'm really kind of hungry, sorry. We never really got around to that job I was trying to look for, and if I don't have money for food...” I don't even get to finish my thought.
“You'll cause another scene, right.” Ears starts turning off to go get something.
[ ] Follow Miko
– [ ] Question Miko
– [ ] Get some food
[ ] Wait for Miko.
– [ ] Explore the hall outside.
– [ ] Search the room.