Chapter 9 – Hidden secrets (part 2)
Tokiya Mikagami’s motorbike made a screeching brake at Misayate Street. Umi Haruna held on tightly to him to prevent herself from falling off from her seat. She opened her crystal-blue eyes. Her sharp face straightened at the wreckage lay before her. Blood, dust, sand and bit of concrete ground surrounded them. In the midst of it was a badly damaged mountain bike.
Umi got out of her seat and run towards it with Tokiya following after her. “It’s Fuko’s bike.” She surveyed the entire area. “What happened? Did she got into a fight or something?”
“Guess so,” Taking her hand. “Let’s check it out.”
They walked around the area a couple of times. Umi was wishing that they could find Fuko while Tokiya was keeping a sharp look out for enemy. There was fervour coldness in the air. Hush coldness lurking all around him A very uncomfortable coldness.
“Tokiya, are you cold?”
“Huh?” Tokiya turning around. He sees Umi standing next to her, concern was written all over her face.
“You are shaking all over. What is it?”
“It’s nothing.” He looked away. I mustn’t let my thoughts be shown so clearly.
“Tokiya, look!” Umi pointed at a pile of chalky fragments. Tokiya bent down and took up an object, which is shaped like a rib. There were other pieces similar to it. It looks like it is meant to hold something. He then placed the rib object on his arm. It can’t be! He automatically placed the fragments together like jigsaw puzzle. That’s Fujin! Destroyed? How? His eyes circled the entire area. Is she?
“Daijoubu, Tokiya,” said Umi. “I’m sure that Fuko will be alright.”
“I hope so. Raiha is going to be very worried when he finds out about this. Hey, how do you know Fujin?”
“Fuko showed it to me, remember?”
“Oh, yeah, right.”
Umi sighed in annoyance. “What are you thinking of? You told me about the Hokage, the moudoughs, Mori Kougan… I know everybody’s story though I don’t know about yours about Ensui… but you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to…”
“Uh,” replied Tokiya bluntly.
“So, what do we do now?”
“We…” His greyish-green eyes suddenly darted to one side. Grabbing Umi’s waist, they leaped away. An invisible flow of energy ramped across them, smashing the Fujin fragments and into the rubbish dump. Tokiya opened his eyes, trying to sense the attacker. Umi was behind him, holding his arm. A slow dreary clap caught their attention.
Mayonaka walked towards them, expressionless grey eyes and hair was tied neatly behind with silk ribbon. Swinging on his hips, was a glossy brown belt, attached to it was a black-lacquered scabbard with a braided hilt. Tokiya got up. Umi released her hold on Tokiya, as she watched him holding Ensui with both hands. She looked at his opponent, who held out the scabbard sideways, one hand on the scabbard and other the hilt. Slowly, he pulled out his sword, reflecting an even ray of light into Tokiya’s eyes. Umi marvelled at the sight of the immaculate sword.
It’s real Japanese sword. It looked like it has been never used at all. But yet, I sense that his sword has taken many lives before. Please let Tokiya be safe. I don’t know why I’m feeling this way. I’m feeling something inside me. A sense of excitement? How can be I excited at a time like this? I should be worried and praying for his safety… yet, there’s unknown sensation inside me. What is it? Is it because of him? Who is he? What does he want with Tokiya? Please let Tokiya win. Doushite? Why is there a part of me that wants him to win? This is all wrong. How could I feel this way? Then, why do I feel that I know him? Who’s he? Have we met before?
Mayonaka cast his eyes at Umi, frosty and hard. Startled, she took a few steps backwards. A nefarious glow heightened within her mortal soul. Her jaw stiffened at the warm it produced. Mayonaka turned his eyes at Tokiya; he gave a sly grin. Tokiya gave a dagger look in return. Umi waited with an unexpected expectation. A bead of sweat rolled from the sides of her cheek and dropped onto the ground, the assault begins.
A strip of light zoomed past each other. Its impact caused a draught to blow against Umi, loosening her plaited hair into free-flowing locks. Her chest heaved up and down with enthusiasm for the outcome. Feverish desire lingered on her tongue. Both Tokiya and Mayonaka stood motionless on the ground, relaxed and self-possessed.
A fine-drawn line surfaced on Mayonaka’s silk ribbon. It broke; setting his tied dark hair free. The sliver streaks glimmered under the evening sun. Another fine-drawn line surfaced on Tokiya’s shirt, exposing his chest to the cool evening breeze. Then, they turned and faced each other.
“Your fighting style is just like Meguri Koyoza,” remarked Mayonaka, placing his sword back into the scabbard. “It’s natural for the student to follow after the master. But only a few will ever surpass the master.”
“You know about him?” asked Tokiya, dumbfounded.
“Of course, I do. I know everything about you. Even about your sister, Mifuyu Mikagami. She was murdered by him, wasn’t she? It has been for 14 years, Mikagami and you still haven’t had your revenge. Seems like Meguri Koyoza is having a better time than you.”
“What do you know about him?” Tokiya’s voice changed into a harsh winter wind.
“Nothing much, except that he’s living in Hokkaido peacefully after the SODOM incident.” Mayonaka positioned himself sideways, his right hand just above the hilt. “But I’m not here to tell you all of this. So, let’s continue the fight, shall we?”
Battousai style! Oh no! Tokiya will have a major disadvantage since Mayonaka knows about his fighting style. Nani? How do I know his name?
should be surprised, Umi Haruna. I know everything about you as well. Including
your brother, Itsuki Haruna. Every night, you pray for his safety, hoping that
he might returned to you some day.
is this? You are talking to me. But how? She sees
the 2 men, standing completely still like stagnant water. But you are over there…
is my ability. I can telepathy to anyone I’m pleased. You may be too young to
remember but we have met before.
had? When? Where?
I said earlier, that’s not the reason why I’m here.
Umi stared bluntly at Mayonaka, trying her utmost best to recall but she couldn’t. Why doesn’t she remember him? Who is he? Does he play an important role in her past? Or maybe does he know what happened to Itsuki.
Though Tokiya’s position was like a solid rock, he felt his hands quivering. His thoughts seemed to have strayed after what that arrogant moron had told him. Who is he? How does he know Meguri Koyoza? Why is he so interested in his past? On the other hand, he could be lying so that he could lose his concentration.
thinking over what I had said. Really, Mikagami. You shouldn’t lose your
concentration just like that.
you are not going to make the first move, then I will.
Mayonaka accelerated forwards, his speed monstrous. Tokiya could barely make out his move or even breathe. Following his gut instincts, he block’s Mayonaka’s sword with a plain stroke of luck. At the corner of his eye, he sees Mayonaka’s scabbard coming from behind. It jabbed a lethal blow on his side, knocking him down. Mayonaka spin to the other side, while placing his sword back into the scabbard once more.
“Tokiya!” cried Umi, running towards him but a sharp edge of a sword showed up in front of her neck, barely touching the skin.
“Stay out of this, woman,” said Mayonka, poised and emotionless.
Petrified Umi wisely obeyed him. He used his sword to distract Tokiya while he used the scabbard to hit him. If it was the reverse, he could have kill Tokiya. But that seem not to be his true intention.
“Did you hear what I have said? Your style is too much like Meguri Koyoza…” removing the sword away from Umi, he turned around and was greeted by water creature. Mayonaka simply twirl his sword like a spinning fan, slicing the creature bit by bit until it reduced into tiny droplets of water.
broke up the creature by breaking the complex structure into plain water
molecules. Since he knows everything about Mikagami, there’s a possibility
that he knows about Ensui as well. Argh!! Why is it that I understand all of
this? I don’t even how to fight!
“It’s a disgrace to see the great power of Ensui has been reduced to the skills of a novice.” Tokiya was totally peeved by his insult. “That maudough that entraps Ensui is like a pair of clutches to the man who has the ability to walk. The more he uses it, the weaker he becomes. Therefore, somebody will have to take his clutches away.”
Mayonaka stabbed his sword into the ground and swings it forward. Pixie ice creatures materialised and scattered themselves around Tokiya, who wedged Ensui at them. They all avoided his blows and some penetrated into his body. He felt his body crystallising within him. Tiny pricks of pain inflicted his internal organs. Tokiya bit his lip while he cleanly sliced one careless pixie ice creature. It shrieked at first, then its sliced off limbs begin to reappear. It gave a cheeky grin and spat on Ensui, which instantly hissed. Vapour was coming from of it. Tokiya quickly examined the damage - Ensui was partially melted. Greyish green eyes narrowed at the sight.
The pixie ice creatures sneered and did a little war dance around Tokiya, who was feeling very pissed off. I have enough of this. Holding Ensui in front of him, he focused his thoughts. Water vapour released from Ensui, the pixie ice creatures stopped their dance and gazed upon the vapour. A crackling sound echoed in their ears. Bit by bit at first then the sound swarm in. One by one, the pixie creatures screamed as it felt its body solidifying. Its limbs are hardening. Ironically, Ensui was freezing the pixie ice creatures. Soon, they fell to the ground, smashing into tiny glass-like bits.
Tokiya crumbled to the ground. He was freezing inside and he could no longer withstand the prickling pain.
“Tokiya!” cried Umi. Mayonaka grabbed her arm tightly like an eagle’s claw on its prey. She struggled in his grasp.
“Stay out of it.”
“Let me go!” Umi used her other free hand and slapped him. Mayonaka touched his cheek. He smiled at her. Then he pulled her closer to him.
“Normally, I’ll never a woman hit me but you can be an exception. Itsuki Haruna should have told you this before he left.”
“Let me go, you jerk!” She tired to slap him again but he caught her hand and held on it.
“Don’t you know why he left you? Because he wanted to prevent you from knowing who the real Umi is. He didn’t want you to know your heritage. You are one of us, Umi Haruna. You are a direct descendant of the Akatsuki clan.”
Hogosya stood on in front of the thin, shrivelled red tree with violet asymmetrical leaves his sliver armoured hand touching the bark. Purplish flames circulate from his fingers and into the bark. A spine-chilling scream travelled with the flame. The violet leaves lengthened themselves into full bloom. Red and purple flames ejected from the roots upwards, incinerating the tree to ashes.
“It is done,” he said, watching the produced smoke dying off. “Nichi Hato.”
“Hai, Hogosya-sama,” responded the greyish-blue dove.
“Give me your report on the current situation.”
“Kaze Yousei has captured Fuko Kirisawa. She is being locked up at the dungeon. Shiroka has taken the soul of Kurenai from Kurei. He is very much alive, unfortunately. Mayonaka-senpai is fighting with Tokiya Mikagami as we speak. Umi Haruna is with him.”
“Kaze Yousei has not obtained Fujin?”
“No, he has already but he decided to let Fuko Kirisawa live.”
“That arrogant being. How is Shiroka?”
“She’s resting at her chamber. She is in a bad mood now. If you would forgive me, she doesn’t seem to appreciate the help you gave her during her fight with Kurei.”
“That can’t be help. One has been completed. Lady Yogen wants the rest to be done as soon as possible. Tell Kaze Yousei to fasten his pace. He’s slacking.”
“Wakarimashita. (I understand)”
Shiroka poked a stick into the brick-red ashes, her russet cloak wrapped around her weary body. She drank a cup of wine with one gulp. It tastes almost like blood. With a sudden temper, the cup was thrown into the ashes. White flames consumed it.
“Shiroka-senpai,” greeted Suna Arashi, placing another cup of wine next to her.
Shiroka glared at her, she frowned at Suna Arashi who was covered heavily by a dark maize cloak. Suna Arashi lowered her eyes. Without a word, Shiroka tore the cloak from her. Pale fingers caressed the thin-lined wounds on Suna’s tanned back.
“Who did this to you?”
“Kaze Yousei.” Suna Arashi looked away, waiting for another beating.
“He will pay for this.”
Suna stared at her in shock. This is the first time she heard Shiroka said this. She never said something like this to anyone at all, much less than someone insignificant as her.
“Though you may be the lowest-level ninja, you do not deserve to be treated like this. I’ll make you stronger.”
“Kaze Yousei’s days are ending and the Akatsuki Clan need a reliable person to replace him and I believe that you would fit that position nicely.”
“Sonnai! I can’t advance to his level so easily. I lost to Fuko Kirisawa.”
“I’ll need to rest before my next fight. With the time that I have, I shall train you. I trust that you’ll not disappoint me.”
Suna knelt before her, tears of gratitude streamed down her face. “Arigatou gozaimasu.”
Kurei stared at the ceiling, smelling the herbal incense that Kagero had placed on a table. His whole body felt numb extremely exhausted after the battle with Shiroka. He was too exhausted to sleep. Inside him, emptiness gnawed at his heart. A burning flame had died out. A love had been lost. He turned to the thin wispy violet smoke of the incense and gazed at them. The smokes twisted and turned into glimpses of Kurenai. Her face, her lips, her body, her touch, her smiles, her tears…
The door slowly opened and Kagero walked in. By her side was Neon.
"Neon?" Kurei's face twisted. His body slumped back to the bed. "What are you doing here? I thought I told you to leave."
"I'm your wife, Kurei, not those Uruha members that you can order about." Eyes turned misty. "As your wife, I wouldn't want out child to grow up without having a father."
Kurei's lips parted to talk back but paused at the fear stamped in her eyes. His hand reached out and fondled one side of her cheeks. She cupped his hand and held it tightly.
"Sorry to break the mood here but there is something important that we have to discuss," Kagero, looking very solemn. "It's about Shiroka. She is your sister, Kurei."
"Preposterous! How can mother have another child? How did you know?" Kurei burst out.
"You passed out before you could see your face. At first, I thought that she was Reina but she told me her identity. There is a possibility that she could be telling the truth."
"But," Neon objected. "But there can be many people who looked like each other. For instance, Yanagi look similar like Mifuyu Mikagami."
"400 years of immorality can teach you a lot on human behaviour. Shiroka is not lying."
Kurei shook his head in disbelief. "Then, how was mother able to hide it? She was being watched."
Kagero nodded her head. "Shiroka said that Reina choose you over her. It could be possible that you and Shiroka were separated during birth. Shiroka remained hidden while your birth was announced."
"If what you say is true, then who took care of Shiroka?"
"Who else? The Akatsuki clan."
"Are you saying that mother has something to do with the Akatsuki clan?" Kurei's voice stinted with accusation.
"Mother was a Hokage. She will never do such a thing!"
"There are many things that we do not know. It's up to us that we find out what they are now before we get another setback. This feud must end or else someone will end up dead."
The prisoner came awake, easing out of the drug-induced like sleep that has kept her paralysed almost from the time that she had been taken. She lay on a sleeping mat in a darkened room. She sat up slowly and adjusted to the dark, the dangling of the chains rang around her. Rubbing her eyes, she slowly moved her aching body to a certain distance. Another dangling, her body was still, unable to continue further, she looked around and try to make out the dimensions of her jail. She reached out experimentally and touched the wall and floor. It was nothing more than cold stone. She could also feel the unwelcome chill of the metal chains on her arms and legs. At a corner of the mat was a tray with bread and water. Feeling a bit hungry, she drank the water and ate the bread. There was an explanatory reason for the presence of food. They wanted her alive. If not, she would be dead by now. But why?
Crawling to a wall behind her, she heaved herself up and examined her situation. Not good for someone who is chained up in a dungeon, especially when Fujin is gone for forever. She slumped onto the sleeping mat, lowered her head and wrapped her arms around her knees; sorrow and frustration lumped up inside her. The atmosphere was very quiet. She could breathe the sound of her own breathing. Then, the air seemed to call out for her name.
"Kaze Yousei…" She spit the name like it was poison.
"My my, you are getting good."
"Who can't recognise your stench."
"You don't to be a sore loser. It is obvious that you can't be the winner. For sportsmanship, I did let you have a chance."
"What else do you want?" Bitter rage swelled in the words. "You took Fujin. What else do you want from me?"
"Well… since you could control Fujin, I guess that you could be vital for something else."
"I won't spoil the fun yet. Instead, why we share our hearts to each other? We may not have the time to do it again. Why the long face? All right, then why cannot we do this? I ask your question, you answer mine."
"Fine whatever." Fuko 's face screwed.
"Great. My question, how did you find Fujin?"
"I didn't find it. It was given to me. My question, are you a spirit or what?"
"No, I was a human being like you. Born way back before you were born. Born as an Akatsuki. My turn, why did you use Fujin?"
"To become stronger to kick scum like you. How did you become like this?"
"Jealousy kill me. My rivals were afraid of me because I would control hundreds of wind spirits. So, one night, they ganged up on me like a pack of hungry wolves. I killed them all but I had internal injuries. I was dying but I wanted to live. So, I combined myself with the spirits into this formless being. Without having the need to eat, drink or breathe. My turn."
"What was it like to lose Fujin?"
Fuko snapped and run towards to the voice, crying out in rage. The chains held her back. Kaze Yousei laughed in amusement. A cold wind swept Fuko back to the walls.
"Losing your temper already? Really Fuko. That's the time we have now. I have to be somewhere else before Nichi Hato comes after me. Bye."
Fuko gnashed her teeth to mocking laughter that keeps on ringing in the stone walls of the dungeon. Somehow, she had a foreboding of what her captives had planned for her.
"Lair!" screamed Umi, struggling to free herself.
"Itsuki should have told you this but I'll do him the favour. Your mother was an Akatsuki. She married your father when she was 19. However, your father's relatives are not pleased with the marriage because her ways are different from them. You should know if you could remember the smiles that they tried to hide from you while they pretend to comfort your father. Fortunately, her powers are passed on you and your brother. You couldn't remember using it because you were too young. But Itsuki knows about it and even more after what your father has told him before he passed away. He knew that you wouldn't be safe living with the relatives. So, he sent you to Tokyo while he sets off to learn more about us."
"You are lying!"
"It's true. Every word I said is true. Let's recall an incident. When you were around 4 or 5, you were bullied. You cried as you watched the bullies walked along the riverside, their faces gloating. Your eyes stared at the river, you wanted something bad to happen. Somehow, the bullies fell into the river and nearly drowned. Recall the look on your sweet little face, you were smiling. You were enjoying it. Savouring each moment as much as you are now watching Mikagami and I."
"Let me go!"
"Deny all you want. The real Umi will appear and I'll be the one who will wake her up. Don't bother about your boyfriend. He will freeze from the inside." Mayonaka deliberately let her go.
Umi ran towards the lying Tokiya and held him close. Frost had covered his skin and he is shaking with the intense cold.
don't die." She held him even tighter. What
can I do? What can I do to save him? I don't want him to die.
you want him to live, Umi Haruna?
said that? Who are you?
have been watching you since the day you were born. We will get to meet each
other. If you wish to save him, Umi, open your mind and heart to me. Concentrate
your thoughts onto him.
She closed her eyes. Steam raised from the frost covered Tokiya. His eyes fluttered.
Hogosya's attention turned onto the shapeless water tree that glowed sapphire blue light into all directions. Bubbles danced about in the water. The water starts to form into another shape. The green coiled tree glowed emerald light, its vines waved like tentacles and plucked out the hanging fruits and threw them onto the ground. The ruby juice spread out into a shape. Hogosya observed the two shapes merged into a shape of a man. His long flowing hair fell upon his shoulders with thick locks.
"Two birds with one stone."
A mini typhoon appeared next to a milky white tree. Some of its sliver leaves broke away and fall quite slowly. Turning over in the air and dropped noiselessly at the roots.
"Kaze Yousei, you are late."
Mayonaka relished his inner pleasure as the two lovers embraced each other. Peacock blue wisps gathered around him, he mumbled a couple of words, his grey eyes turned whitish. Tokiya saw it and held out Ensui. Umi stood behind, not knowing what to do next. Mayonaka shot out thin strands of the wisps towards the couple. Tokiya created an ice barrier to block it. The wisps snarled, trying to penetrate, pushing him back.
Haruna, touch Ensui and you will be send to a safe place. There will be people
there who will be able to answer the questions that you have.
Umi, not knowing what she was doing, stepped forward and touch Ensui. The ore of Ensui shined. Cobalt-blue light engulfed the couple. Mayonaka covered his arm that was protecting his eyes from the blinding light. He stared at the spot where the couple has vanished.
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