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A note from Kazushi Tetsuo

Welcome back! Thank you again for continuing this journey with me, enjoy!

[Only a few moments after departure.]


 

“Come on, guys hurry up!” Yama shouts.

 

[Running in the forefront he leads the group West towards the Land of Rock, to the Western Village(西部里/Seibuto). Guiding them through the lush forest and mountainous ranges that separate the West and Central Village(中央里/Chuoto). Along with Aori and the “Ryukyu Twins.” They embark on their arduous journey, alone, and without instruction, utterly unaware of the full dangers that lie outside the Land of Sword; and on the continent entirely.]

 

“Guys, slow down...I think we’re far enough.” Ryukyuka pants.

 

Yama shouts.

 

No! We can’t. We aren’t far enough yet.”

“We don’t know where the Shinobi could be hiding.”

 

Running out of breath, Ryukyuka cries.

 

“N-no...s-seriously…”

 

[Hearing the strain and lightness in her voice, Ryukyuko stops to support his sister. Ryukyuka has been very active since she was a child. However, she has always been slightly more cumbersome than her peers. Her appetite is boundless, and because of this, she has developed an abnormal strength. Yet, she lacks stamina and endurance.]

 

“Hold on, Yama!” he shouts.

 

Clenching his hand in vexation, Yama decides to stop against his better judgment.

 

Fine...just a few minutes guys.”

“We finally made it out!" He exclaims.

“I don’t want to die out here.”

 

[The children sit behind a large collapsed tree, after running for miles, their sandals break, and the skin on their feet began to raw. They decide to rest under the tree to recuperate their strength. Ryukyuko is holding his sister as she slowly regains her breath, comforting her, and rubbing her back.]

 

"There, there, sis."

"Just relax... and breathe."

 

Aori and Yama move a cautious distance away from the twins to check the perimeter. Aori feels as if Yama is in pain from having separated from Kidan and Naname, she stops.

 

“Are you okay? Yama…” she asks sincerely.

 

Yama is quiet.

 

“Y-yeah...I’m fine...”

 

Yama suddenly feels a solid thump in his heart, and he clenches his chest.

 

“Y-Yama! What’s wrong?!” Aori shouts.

 

“N-nothing, I’m fine.”

 

“You’re not fine!” she pouts.

 

Aori tries to grab Yama by the arm, but she is deflected. Yama immediately turns his head to the direction they came from.

 

Wait...someone’s coming!

 

Sensing the urgency in his voice, Aori quickly begins running back to the twins. Yama follows suit after brushing off the uneasy feeling in his chest. They soon rendezvous at the tree.

 

“Guys! Are you okay?!” Yama shouts.

 

Appearing confused, Ryukyuko replies.

“Yeah, we’re fi-”

 

[Everything goes dark.]


[A feeling of Deja Vu strikes Yama as he finds himself awake in a space of darkness. Seeing nothing, but a silhouette of something in front of him that appears to look like a reflection of himself.]

 

Hello, Yama.”

 

Bewildered and lost, Yama asks.

 

“H-hello? Who are you?”

"W-where am I?"

 

The silhouette replies.

 

“I am one with you, and you are one with me.”

 

Still confused and slightly worried Yama replies.

 

“H-huh? S-so you’re...me?” He pauses.

“Am I...dead? Oh my god is this Hell?!”

 

The silhouette replies in a chuckled tone.

 

“No, you are not.”

 

“Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mukō.”

 

Yama replies.

 

“Mukō?”

 

“Who are you?? What’re you doing in my head?!”

 

Mukō replies.

 

“I am one of both Demon & Goddess.”

 

Both?! Is that even possible?!” Yama asks, interested.

 

“It appears so. However, that’s beside the point.” Mukō states.

 

“When I fell from Heaven and landed in on your glorious speech."

 

"I was dumbfounded and filled with ardor.”

“It reminded me..."

 

"Of my younger, extinct, self.”

 

Embarrassed, Yama replies.

 

“Y-you heard that huh…”

 

Mukō reaches out his hand.

 

“From the moment I laid eyes on you, I felt something.” He pauses.

 

“The fiery ambition that burns in your eyes is that which resonates with mine.” 

“It gave me a feeling; I once thought unfamiliar.”

 

Yama arrogantly interrupts.

 

“ ”Resonates with yours?”  What ambition do you have?”

“All others' wishes heed mine. No one else shall unite this continent but me.”

 

“Your ambition does not! Align with mine.” He strengthens his voice.

 

“Those who do not follow me! Are against me!!

 

Mukō chortles at the spectacle and retorts.

 

“I knew I was right about you!”

“Your sheer amount of hubris is astounding!!”

 

“We’re more alike than you know Minamoto Yama.”

 

“However, this little gathering isn’t about you. This is about me.

 

Yama stares at the silhouette disgruntled and aggravated. Mukō immediately to stares back deeply, into Yama's eyes with intensity.

 

“I have come to declare my mission to claim Heaven and Hell as my own.”

 

“And to profess my love for you.”

 

Addled, Yama blinks a few times.

 

Love?”

 

“You’re here to profess your love for me?”

 

“I don’t even know who you are!”

 

Mukō replies.

 

“Nevertheless."

 

"That old feeling I felt in my spirit when I heard you speak.”

 

“It was love.

“In my moment of weakness, I fell in love."

 

Immediately after Muko uttered those words, the veil of the silhouette was released. And Yama could finally see who he was talking to. Their eyes connect, as Mukō is staring at him.

 

Yama is stunned.

 

[Having never seen such a beautiful creature before. Yama is left tongue-tied at the sight of Mukō’s long, snow-white hair, with a trim of Heaven's gold. And eyes red like the brightest roses in a field of purpled-aster, that sat below arctic-stained eyebrows and lashes. Skin pale, however with a touch of warmth, with two small horns residing on his forehead.]

 

Yama had never seen anything so fragile and so alluring in his life. His heart skips a beat.

 

”L-love...”

“C-claim Heaven & Hell?”

 

Mukō crawls towards Yama and places the palm of his hand on Yama's right cheek. Speaking in a soft and sensual tone.

 

“Don’t worry..."

 

"I’m not looking for a response…”

 

“I’m just telling you the truth, and I’m not going anywhere...” He smirks at Yama as he attempts to interrupt. Mukō looks up towards the ceiling-less space.

 

"Wai-" Yama attempts.

 

But, I think it’s time for you to wake up.”

 

[Mukō finishes with a full smile and closed eyes.]


[Yama instantly wakes up drenched in water, enclosed in a cell. He then looks around the room and spots Aori and the Ryukyu Twins.]

 

The first guard speaks.

 

“Wake up!”

“The Sonmyō is coming!!”

 

[Dazed from the abrupt awakening Yama grabs everyone together and puts them behind him. All he can see are the dirty metal bars holding them in the raggedy cell and a pile of shit and piss in the far-left corner of the room. Aori moves up next to him. Loud, and slow footsteps can be heard coming from a distance. The anticipation and worry the children felt in their hearts, was worse than being in the cell itself. No one has no idea where they are, and everyone is frightened. Around the corner, a man can be seen dressed in a brown yukata. With a black hat and veil covering his face. He removes the mask and stares at the children. Yama looking back at him sees the slightly wrinkled face of an older man with sandy skin almost like his own.]

 

Rubbing his short beard, the man speaks.

 

Do you know where you are?

 

No one speaks.

 

“You’re in jail.”

 

“And you’re going to die. Unless you can give me one reason why I should spare your life.”

 

Yama clenches his fist, and remains silent.

 

“You’re not going to say, anything, boy?

 

Aori gets ready to stand up in rebuttal, but Yama stops her. He gets up and laughs.

 

Spare me?”

Please.”

 

“I don’t need your mercy.”

 

Yama fixes his stance to guard Aori as creates a defensive scowl on his face.

 

“Now tell me where we are!”

 

The man looks at Yama intrigued and laughs.

 

Hahaha! Brats got spunk!”

“Alright…”

 

“I’m the Great Sonmyō of the West.”

 

Yama lowers his scowl, and his eyes widen.

 

“This is the Land of Rock.” He says proudly.

 

Yama shouts.

 

“T-THE LAND OF ROCK!?”

 

In a cheerful tone, Yama shouts.

 

“Guys! We made it!!”

 

No one cheers along with him.

 

“Don’t interrupt brat!”

“Tell me now...what is your name?”

 

Yama replies.

 

“I’m Minamoto Yama.”

“This is... Aogiri Aori.” 

 

“And they are the Ryukyu Twins, Ryukyuko and Ryukyuka Ryuoji.” He says, pointing to them in order.

 

“But, you never answered my other question.”

“Who are you.”

 

The man smirks.

 

“Is this how you speak to all adults?”

 

Yama replies.

 

“Just the ones that kidnap me.”

 

The man laughs.

 

Haha! I told you!”

“I’m the Great Sonmyō of the West.”

The Unmovable Tsuchiyo Itama.”

 

Yama retorts.

 

“You didn’t say all that before!”

 

Itama shrugs off the comment.

 

“Tell me, boy, what were you doing out so late in the woods.”

“Don’t you know how dangerous it is at night for anyone in this world?”

 

Yama replies, snarkingly.

 

“Tell me why... all 4 lands attacked my orphanage?"

 

Itama gets a little agitated at the growing disrespect portrayed by Yama.

 

“Tell me now! Boy!!”

 

Giving in, Yama replies.

 

Tch, we escaped from our wretched Mother at the orphanage we lived at.”

“A Southern Shinobi killed her, so we figured it was the perfect chance to leave…”

 

“To make a better life for ourselves…”

 

Itama looks Yama in his eyes.

 

“We left so that we can get stronger and change this barbaric world.”

 

“To make it safe for anyone to be in the woods at night!”

“To make it so that no other child has to live how I lived.”

 

[Knowing better than to reveal his ambitious plan for continental domination, Yama leaves it at that, in an attempt to portray some innocence; and, ignite sympathy within his capturer's heart.]

 

Itama found himself in awe. Looking deep into Yama’s eyes, he saw the wind to extinguish all wars.

 

He saw zephyrs of peace.

 

Smirking, Itama kneels face-to-face with Yama.

 

“Open the gate.” The jail cell opens.

 

“Yama, was it?”

“I’ve decided..."

 

“I won’t kill you today.”

“In fact...I will take you in as my own.”

 

Impelled by Itama's words, Yama looks back to Aori and the twins on alert. He replies.

 

Take us in? As in... slaves?

 

Yama takes a slight step back.

 

Itama laughs at his response.

 

Hahaha, no, I will take you in as my family.

 

Itama opens his arms with sincerity encouraging the children to run into them. Hearing these words, Yama is rushed with emotion.

 

A tear falls down his left cheek.

“F-family?”

 

Sensing the sincerity in his voice, Yama walks to Itama and falls into his arms. Seeing this, the other children begin to cry and follow suit. Holding them in his arms and feeling the children emptying their sorrow and struggles through their tears. The only thing he can say is.

 

“It’s okay now. It’s okay.”

 

Itama pats their heads and squeezes them tighter, closer together. The children are bawling in his arms, Yama begins to scream.

 

“Why..."

 

"Why!!”

 

Aori cries harder, rubbing her eyes, triggering Ryukyuka to cry even harder than that. Snot begins to run down their noses. Itama pushes the kids away.

 

“Wipe those tears. You are now the children of the Sonmyō.”

 

“Stand strong.”

 

“This is the world of Shinobi!” He says firmly.

 

“Show no others your weakness.”

 

Sniffling, Yama and the other children wipe their tears.

 

“Come along now.”

“You will begin your new lives tomorrow.”

 

[Yama smiles and grabs Aori with his left hand and the twins with his right. As they take their first steps together, to enter on their and Yama's grand journey of conquest. Feeling genuine emotions from Itama, Yama blindly follows him head forth, new to this thing called family, Yama and the children take a dive into the unknown.]

His story begins here.


[Around the same time as their capture, towards the Northeast, after splitting up with Yama and the rest. Kidan approaches Naname before they go their separate ways.]

 

"Naname, wait up."

 

She turns around and stares unbothered.

 

"I need to know something..." He pauses shyly.

 

"Please, tell me you'll come back to us."

 

"That you'll always know where to return to, where your true loyalty lies."

 

Irked, Naname replies.

 

"Kidan."

 

"I serve no man."

 

"My loyalty lies with me and me only." She says firmly.

 

"Yama has yet to deem himself worthy. He thinks just because he's had it hard, and that he's strong, that he has the right to rule over the land?"

 

"Please."

 

"The world doesn't need arrogant brats like that as it's ruler. The world needs someone calm and collected, who rules with passion and respect." She pauses.

 

"Until Yama can show me who he can be, I will be moving towards my own ambition alone."

 

"Shouldn't you be worried about Ranmari anyways?" She says snidely.

 

Aggravated, Kidan replies.

 

"Not Worthy? You think he's not worthy?! You of all people know how kind, compassionate, and selfless Yama can be. How can you say that?!"

"How can you turn your back on him, on all of us?!"

 

"How can you even bring up Ranmari! When you know how I feel about leaving her."

 

Naname ignores his comments and retorts blankly.

 

"As I said before until Yama proves he is worthy of and to me."

"I will be moving alone."

 

She turns around and waves her hand in the air.

 

"Stay safe, Kidan may we meet again."

 

Upset at her abrupt departure, Kidan shouts.

 

"Are you just going to walk away?!"

"We're not done!!"

 

Naname continues to walk.

 

[Before Kidan takes off after her, he feels a bizarre chill run down his spine. A pressure can be felt hanging in the air, weighing down on Kidan, causing him to go feral. Feeling like he's being watched from every angle, Kidan turns away from Naname and runs North in a frenzy. Oblivious to what has happened behind her, Naname continues to head East, on her path. With plans of following her dream, and with no regard to her past, she leaves behind Yama and friends who she spent nearly her entire life with. To obtain even higher power than her own or what Yama could achieve.]

 

Alone.

 

 

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A note from Kazushi Tetsuo

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About the author

Kazushi Tetsuo

Bio: writing...

please check out my work!

manga adaption coming soon!

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