*a scene many years after Fujimaro. Shi's student is Eijiro, Fujimaro's grandson.*
Eijiro walked into the hut with a scroll in his hand.
"What is it, Eijiro?" Shi asked without looking up from her writings. He placed the scroll on her desk.
"A messenger came to me while I wasn in town and told me to give this to you."
Shi set her brush aside and picked up the scroll. She broke the seal and began reading. Eijiro watched Shi anxiously.
Her brows were knitted in her worried fashion. Shi put the scroll down and stood up.
"It's Fujimaro." she whispered.
Shi nodded. "Come, we're leaving immediately." Shi walked out of the hut with Eijiro trailing behind.
"Sensei, it's a five day ride. How will we get there in time? It's not humanly possible."
Shi pulled back her left sleeve to reveal a set of prayer beads around her wrist.
"You forgot on thing, Eijiro." Shi said, taking the bracelet off. "I am not human."
There was a flash and swirls of smoke. When Eijiro's vision cleared, a giant fox demon stood in Shi's place.
"Get on my back, Eijiro. Hayaku!"
Eijiro scrambled onto Shi's back, avoiding her sharp spines. Shi lay low to the ground then leaped into the air. I'm
coming Fujimaro, Shi thought. Just wait for me. Please wait for me.
*Shi arrived at Fujimaro's days before he passes away. This is her final good bye at his grave*
Eijiro and Shi stiood before the grave marker on a windy hill. It had been three days since Fujimaro's passing. It was
hard to believe the boy she had raised was dead and gone.
"Fujimaro," Shi spoke. "This is my last visit. I dobt the next time I come here all will still be the same. Sayanora
and farewell." Shi turned and began her descent down the hill. Eijiro lingered a few moments before following.
*Modern day Japan. Yomiko (formerly known as Shi) is at the Ryutachi clinic just reminising.*
The sun was setting, basking the Ryutachi clinic in an orange glow. Yomiko sat atop the balcony railing, her backy leaning
against a pillar. She watched Akinori down in the courtyard trying to run away from ChiHiro. Yomiko smiled amusingly, remembering
her past students, Fujimaro, Eijiro, Benjiro. Benjiro's sister Nyoko, had been her student for only a short while before quitting.
Akinori's sister, Hiromi, was also Yomiko's student. However, Hiromi left to study under someone else. Where was she now?
Yomiko sighed and let her eyes wander to the darkening horizon. Guilt, regret, happiness. Yomiko felt all of these as she
let her mind go into the past.
*Modern day Japan. This takes place after Yomiko frees Akira of Rokujo's possesion. Now they are fleeing from Rokujo's
castle. (oh and Akira is part of the Yakuza also and leads a fraction of it in Rokujo's stead)*
"Hayaku, Shi!" Akira called behind him.
Yomiko grinned with mixed feelings. She had her cousin back. Not just physicaly, but his soul had finally awakened from
its centuries slumber. She was deliriously happy, but her heart was also gripped with fear. Abandoning the Yakuza and escaping
Rokujo meant death, and that's what Akira was doing.
The rain pelted their backs and in the sky hung a dark foreboding shadow. Amidst the thunder and wind, a cry echoed with
rage in the night.
"He is mine! Mine! My beautiful doll! If I cannot have him, no one shall!"
However, the fiery cry was barely audible to Akira and Yomiko.
Yomiko's ears pricked.
"Akira, be careful, this storm has us at a disadvantage."
Akira nodded his head. They ran, side by side, just like they had so many centuries ago.
*flashback of Shi/Yomiko and Akira in feudal Japan*
It was their third job, Akira's and Shi's. Unlike the last two jobs, the night was racked by storms. They had completed
their job successfuly, inflirtrating the household and exterminating the targets. However, they were spotted and the gaurds
gave chase. Arrows flew and Shi was struck twice, falling from the blows. Shi was loosing blood rapidly and she slipped into
*the flash back ends, returning to modern day Japan, Yomiko/Shi and Akira fleeing the castle*
Harsh sounds ruptured through the air and Yomiko watched, as if in slow motion, her cousin crumple to the ground. No
no no no no no no no NO! Something inside her, something dark and cruel, a burning rage welling up from the hidden shadows
in her heart. Yomiko felt the transformation begin. It was different from all the others because this time, she couldn't control
it. Her back arched, the prayer beads broke and shattedred on the ground. Deadly spines ripped through the back of her shirt.
Her fangs grew, long and sharp. Fur rippled over her body and in size Yomiko grew. Yomiko, now a fully transformed fox demon,
threw her head back and let out an inhuman roar. Her vision was suddenly sharp and it penetrated the storm's darkness. Her
hearing, more acute than ever before. Yomiko's red glowing eyes averted to the source of the invading sound. A group of gun
men, or were they Rokujo's dolls? It didn't matter. To the fox demon's uncontrolled mind it didn't matter.
The bloodthirsty demon bared its fangs and charged. It leaped onto them as they fled, shots rang and screams of
the doomed pierced the air. The screams subsided, but the rain could not wash away the red stains quick enough. The ground
had turned red, the rain only spreading it as it grew wildly. The demon lifted its head from the kills. It turned and slowly
padded toward Akira.
As it walked the demon began growing smaller. Claws turned to hands, the spines and fangs receded and the fur rippled
away just like the way it had come. Yomko was back in her human form, but most importantly she was herself.
Yomiko crawled to her cousin, a dozen bullet wounds bleeding the blood from her.
"Akira." Yomiko whispered, fearing the worst. She turned him over, his head resting her lap. Akira opened his eyes, registering
"Shi." he smiled faintly. "I'm sorry I wasn't there. Sorry for all the times you needed me, but I wasn't there. I was
never there, all those centuries, I left you alone."
Yomiko held Akira close to her.
"No, you never left me. You were there in my heart. But you are with me now and when the storm breaks I'll take you home."
Yomiko raised her hand to heal him, but Akira grasped her hand.
"No, it's better this way. I nearly killed you, Shi. I could never live with that. I'm sorry, but it seems I will have
to leave you again."
"What are you thinking?! I'm alive and you're here! You're here!"
"Your wounds are already healing. Do you know why you were named Shi? Why you were called death?"
Yomiko shook her head, fighting back tears.
"The youko blood flows strongest in you, Shi. Also within in you is the Youko, guardian of the Youko family. The Youko
brings death and destruction to all outsiders. Because he is in you, you were called Shi."
"That doesn't matter!" Yomiko burtst out. The tears now streamed down her face freely. "I won't lose you again! There's
still time, I can heal you! I can-!'
Akira kissed Yomiko's hand gently. "This is where fate has led us." he said, fading. It was their saying, one of the
things they spoke as they grew up together. The realization of what Akira was saying hit Yomiko full force. He was saying
"I was suppose to die that day. When the Youko household was burned, but instead I lived. My soul had fallen dormant
but my body was retrieved and controlled for many centuries."
Akira began to cough violently, blood spilling from his mouth.
"Akira!" Yomiko cried in alarm, but Akira only smiled his gentle smile. His last words were a struggle, "Fate ends here
He coughed violently again, his blood staining his chin and neck. He closed his eyes and exhaled deeply, in quiet resolve.
But he didn't inhale. He lay still in Yomiko's arms. Yomiko began sobbing and craddled her cousin close to her. "Yes," she
whispered to him. "This where fate has led us."
*The next day or some other. Yomiko brought Akira's body to the top of the Ryutachi mountain where he's placed on a funeral
Yomiko watched the smoke curl up toward the bright clear sky. The all too familiar feeling of grief and loss weighed
her heart. She knew Akira was with her mother and his family. She would probably never see him again, even his spirit because
he was going beyond. Yomiko was sure of it. Akira wasn't trapped between this world and the next like her family.
Yomiko stood wathcing the pyre burn, remembering events of a time long past. A twig snapped and Yomiko turned her head.
Akinori walked toward her, panting a little. He put a hand her shoulder.
"No, it's okay, Akinori. Thank you."
Akinori nodded his head. There were more noises behind him and they both turned. Arashi, Mel, Rei, ChiHiro, Jenni and
Lylith were making their way toward them.
Arashi was the first to speak.
"I... we" Arashi amended, nodding toward the others. "came to pay our respects and offer our condolonces."
Yomiko nodded. "Arigato, everyone. I am grateful."
ChiHiro stepped up toward Yomiko and looked up at her with big blue eyes.
"Remember to smile!" ChiHiro chirpped with a huge smile on her upbeat face. Yomiko couldn't do anything but laugh. A
genuine laugh. Everyone was at a lost at first, but they all soon joined in.
"That's ChiHiro, alright." Yomiko grinned. After settling down, but with small smiles, they walked down the mountain
together, a strange assortment of immortals and mortals.
*this scene takes place at the initial ending of Lair of the Past. after the defeat of Rokujo, and Akinori receiving
immortality, Yomiko decides it's time to leave because she hears rumors of a surviving youko and has to track down Hiromi*
Yomiko slung he back pack over her shoulder and surveyed the bookstore. Akinori was outside waiting by the motorcycle.
She was taking one last look when Arashi stepped through the front door.
"So you truly are leaving." she observed.
"Yup. There's another Youko out there and I'm going to find them. Plus, I have to track down Hiromi. Oh, before I forget,"
Yomiko handed the bookstore keys to Arashi, "make sure the others don't get in while I'm gone."
Arashi nodded her head. "Of course."
"Well, then I guess I'm finished here."
Fox and dragon bowed to each other, mortal enemies, old friends.
"Sayanora, Yomiko. I bid you safe journey."
They both straightened up and Yomiko walked past Arashi out the door. Arashi didn't turn to see her go. When Yomiko walked
out, everybody else was waiting with Akinori.
"Yomiko-san, we'll miss you." sniffed ChiHiro.
"Don't forget to write!" sang Mel.
"Be sure to come back." said Rei quietly.
"Don't get killed." was Lylith's advice.
"Bring back lots of souvenirs!" plotted Jenni, planning to sell them on Ebay.
"No worries. You all take care now." Yomiko jumped onto the motorcycle and Akinori into the side car. Akinori waved and
Yomiko drove off. Arashi walked out of the store and watched the two disappear down the slope, the roar of the motorcycle
growing fainter and fainter, when finally it was no longer heard.