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LoP: Yomiko Nishihara

Lair of the Past

Page 2

*Still night time. After Shi returns from the Ryutachi palace. Her father is speaking with her again.*
Shi was kneeling before her father again.
     "Excellent, Shi. You have done a superb job at the Ryutachi palace."
     "Thank you, father."
     "Now our honor is restored and we can resume leadership of the family."
Shi's stepmother sat quietly behind her father with a fan to her face. However, Shi could tell that there was a smile behind that fan.
     "Father, if I may..."
     "Hm? Oh, yes, Shi. You may take your leave. Your mother wishes to discuss something with me."
Shi bowed and left the room.
*Two nights after the Ryutachi burning. Shi is on her balcony (the one in her room, third floor). It is night time. This is the Youko burning.*
Two nights after the Ryutachi burning, Shi was leaning on her balcony looking at the garden below. There was a knock on her door.
     "Come in."
Akira entered the room and strolled over by Shi.
     "I have the information you wanted."
     "Seventeen have died. Sixty five injured. Forty eight percent of the Ryutachi palace has been damaged. They have begun rebuilding, but the work is slow."
     "What of the one named Arashi?"
     "Alive, but that's all I could gather."
Shi stood up. "Thank you, Akira."
Akira nodded. "You seem worried."
     "I am. Something is amiss. I do not trust my stepmother."
     "Neither do I. We must monitor her closely."
     "Yes, but- Do you smell smoke?"
Akira sniffed the air. "Get down."
He shoved Shi onto the floor. A bottle stuffed with a burning cloth sailed over their heads and crashed into the opposite wall. The liquid in the bottle spread the flames quickly.
     "Let's go, Shi." he grabbed Shi's wrist and dragged her through the door. Shi quickly glanced through a window and caught a glimpse of.... Arashi?
In the hallway, it was chaos. Other fires had started in different areas of the palace. The smoke was growing thick and servants and family members were franticly running.
     "Father!" Shi cried and tried to break free of Akira.
     "Shi, stop. I'm sure he's fine."
     "No. Something isn't right."
     "Okay. I'll trust your judgement, let's go."
They raced toward the master chambers, but the doors were locked shut. Using both their strengths, they burst through the doors. Shi's stepmother stood over her father, a bloody dagger in her hands. There was a pool of blood that continued to grow. Shi stared horrified.
Akira stood in front of Shi. "Shi! Don't lose it now. Not yet."
Shi nodded, still wide eyed. She turned her eyes to her stepmother.
     "Why have you done this? All of this? What do you hope to gain?"
Shi's stepmother laughed.
     "You are all bakas. Do you realize what power you posses? If my son had become leader, he would've joined both houses and conquer all  of Japan, Korea, and China! But of course, my son was led astray by that damn Minako. Well, no matter. I have found an even greater power. So I have no need for either of your houses, nor do I need you uniting."
     "Power? Is that all you seek? Do you fear us so much that you would destroy us?"
     "You are but a young kit. I wouldn't expect you to comprehend."
Shi stared down at her father and clenched her fists.
     "But father, you killed father.... I'll never forgive you."
Shi's stepmother laughed again.
     "And what do you plan to do, kit?"
Shi lunged at her, her eyes blazing red and her hands turning into claws.
     "Shi, no!" Akira called out.
A dark figure crashed through the roof and swept Shi's stepmother away.
     "Ha ha ha. Die Shi, and with it your clan."
Shi stared angrily after her stepmother who faded into the night. It was Akira who snapped her out of her rage.
    "Shi, we got to get out of her!"
The fire had spread to the room and the floor above them began to crack. Shi nodded her head and quickly paid her last respects to her father.
     "Let's go, Akira."
As they ran to the door, the floor above them collapsed.
     "Shi! Look out!"
The burning wreckage fell on top of them and Shi slipped into darkness.
*Shi regains conciousness hours later.*
When Shi awoke the sun was almost at it's peak. Shi sat up and stared at the damage around her. The once grand palace was now a black, charred heap of junk.
     "Akira?" Shi called out.
She struggled to stand up. Shi franticly searched the wreckage, but couldn't find any trace of him. With a heavy heart, Shi salvaged what she could: a broken tea set; clothing; a hand mirror that belonged to her mother; and the Youko family records. These few belongings she wrapped up in a sack she found. Shi heard voices approaching and quickly leaped into the shadows to hide. Two strangers appeared and started poking through her once beloved home.
     "The Ryutachis really burnt this place. There's nothing to salvage."
The other stranger nodded.
     "Unlike the Ryutachi palace. We found a bundle of goodies there."
     "I was told that the survivors were shout full of arrows as they fled."
     "I knew there were some shady dealings in both clans.
Not being able to find anything, the two strangers walked off.
*Couple hours later*
Shi sat in the hollow of a tree. She had lost her family, her father, and Akira. She thought of the Ryutachi burning, Hitomi, and the golden eyed Ryutachi. Shi couldn't let it bother her yet, she had to form a plan.
Shi chaged out of her burnt kimono and into the ninja outfit she managed to salvage. Shi twitched her ears and looked at her tails. If she wanted to blend in, she would have to hide them.
The Inari temple. They had prayer beads to hide her appearance. Shi got up and put on a kimono robe over her first outfit. Slinging her sac over her shoulder, Shi jumped out of the tree. On her way to the temple Shi picked up (stole) a rice hat to cover her ears for the remainder of the journey.
*Shi arrives at the Inari Temple.*
Upon arriving at the temple, Shi was greeted with silence. That was odd since the young mikos, Miyoko and Minami, always ran out to greet her. Shi passed through the gate and already she had a sick feeling in her stomach. Walking up the steps she noticed that the temple door was slightly slid open. Shi paused, afraid of what she would find. Shi held her breath and slid the door open.
Miyoko, Minami, everyone in the shrine laid sprawled on the blood soaked floor. The walls were splattered with blood and the room smelled of dead flesh. It was a massacre. Shi leaned against the door, her hand over her mouth. The Youko family was being wiped out. Who? Who would do this? As Shi thought, she came to two conclusions, her stepmother and the Ryutachis. It was either one or the other.
If the Youkos were being targeted, Shi had to find them. The Youkos were spread thoughout Japan and many did not correspond with the main house.
As Shi's eyes wandered, she spotted some prayer beads. Shi piced it up and wrapped it around her left wrist. Immediately, her fox ears and tails were concealed.
*An hour or so later*
Shi lit the temple on fire. There were too many bodies. The temple would serve as a mass funeral pyre. She watched the smoke rise to the heavens. We are servants of Inari, Shi thought. Our lives are overseen by him.
Shi turned and left the temple to burn.
*Summary of Akira (just a background for Akira)*
Shi's cousin, Akira, was taken in by her father. Akira's father was the older brother of Shi's mother. Akira has two younger sisters and brothers. Akira's family left the main house after the death of Shi's mother. Akira remained because Shi needed someone now that her mother was gone. They studied together, trained together, and were virtualy inseperable. A few years after completing their training, Shi's father remarried a woman with a son, Daisetsu. Shi, Akira, and Daisetsu were all the same age. Immediately, Akira and Shi disliked Daisetsu, and vice versa. From then on, they were forced to work with Daisetsu. In the following years, there is strife between the Youkos and the Ryutachis which ultimately led to both houses being burned down. Akira did not die in the fire as Shi believed. Instead, he has become Rokujo's doll that contains Akira's dormant soul. In the modern day, Akira has remerged as a waka-gashira of a clan yakuza. Akira and Shi (now Yomiko) are reunited under certain curcumstances. However, since Akira's soul is dormant, he has no memory of her and nearly kills Yomiko. With Yomiko's help, his soul awakens, his memories are revived, and he is free of Rokujo. Akira plans to start anew and attempts to escape the yakuza. As fate would have it, Akira is gunned down and dies in Yomiko's arms. Akira arrives in the afterlife, is greeted by the ancestral leader of the Takahashis.... (more 'bout that later).
*summary of events after Shi leaves the temple*
     After Shi leaves the burning temple, she travels to the town where Akira's family has taken residence. Upon arrival, Shi finds the town ablaze and the villagers slaughtere. Wondering who would do such a thing, Shi travels to other villages where Youkos have taken residence. At each town Shi finds the same results. Unknown to her, it was actually the work of the scorpion demon, Rokujo, to get rid of all the Youkos. Also unknown to her, a demon hunter had been following her and thought Shi was the cause of the massacres. The demon hunter confronts her and a battle ensues ending in Shi's defeat and is sealed. One hundred years later a boy and girl (Azul and Crystal) arrive at the spot where Shi was sealed. Crystal dares Azul to prove his courage by breaking the seal. When the seal is broken Crystal freaks and runs away leaving an unconcious Azul. Shi emerges from the cave and spots him. When he comes to, Shi decides to take him under her wing. She trains him in the mountains for a couple of weeks before he's allowed to visit his village. Everyone had presumed Azul dead and Crystal is overjoyed to see him. Azul stays in the village instead of returning to the mountains where Shi awaits. Time passes~~ Azul and Crystal are married and when Crystal is pregnant, Shi visits Azul at night saying she will take the kid as her apprentice in his place. Azul reluctantly agrees and when his son is born, he is given to Shi who disappears from the area.
*Azul's son is named Fujimaro. As Shi's student Fujimaro travels with her and is her favorite student amongst all the others. Just a random event*
"Put out the fire, Fujimaro. We're going to the next town."
     The brown haired blue eyed 7 year old did as he was told and bigan kicking dirt into the flames.
"Where are we boing next, sensei?" the young boy asked.
"Wherever fate leads us. Now pick up your things and let's go."
The boy picked up his sack and hurried after Shi.
"Sensei? Will we always be like this? Traveling?"
"I doubt it'll be always."
"I like traveling." he decided for himself, "because you're my sensei."
He grasped Shi's hand and began skipping alongside her. Shi smiled fondly at Fujimaro. Will they always be like this? Traveling together? No, said a voice in the back of her head. All mortals wither and die. Shi shook her head, she would find a way.
"Sensei?" Fujimaro interupted her thoughts. "Your brow is knited. Are you worried about something?"
Shi relaxed. "No Fujimaro." she said picking him up. "I was just thinking. You needn't worry."
The boy nodded and grinned. "Hai!"
Shi smiled and put him down.  "Last one to that post in the road has to catch lunch!" Shi teased and took off.
"Sensei!" the boy wailed. "That's cheating!" and he chased after a laughing Shi.

Lair of the Past
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