Tokyo Babylon † A Day in the Life, annex 2
2,000 years ago
There was another scream, and Sumeragi Genji ducked out of pure reflexive habit. It was a good thing, too; a blade - broken, possibly part of a katana - came flying from the kitchen, embedding itself into the wall above his head. Cursing softly under his breath, Genji ran for the door.
He left behind him a weary, amazing man - the emperor of Japan, suffeirng from the demon's ire as well, but still hanging on to his duties as the ruler of the mightiest country in the world. He had called Genji in to give him a solemn and frightening charge.
Find the demon and stop it before it ruined all of Japan.
Genji was a powerful onmyouji, it was true; he'd had the gift for it all his life, and he personally guessed that one or both of his parents had, too. But since he'd been the only survivor of a barbarian raid on his village, an infant, he would never know. There were no records.
Wiping sweat from his brow, Genji removed an ofuda and looked at it, shaking his head and breathing very carefully. He could feel a wave of that selfish, powerful evil wash across him, almost moving like reflection of sun on glass, but Genji steeled himself until it passed. This was getting more dangerous; he was sure - somehow, instinctively sure - that the demon had the ability to simply flood the entire country with this horror, but for some reason, it was taking its time instead.
There was a possibility that the being was doing it because it was bored; or perhaps because it didn't want everything to end too quickly. No humans left alive meant no playthings, and if this were the case, then Genji had a chance. Gritting his teeth and stuffing his ofuda back into his kimono quickly, he stormed through the door and nearly collided with a woman coming the other way.
Genji stopped as if he'd hit a wall. "Sakurazukamori," he hissed at her, slipping his hand back into his robe as if to grab for a weapon.
The woman - petite, beautiful, stunningly elegant - smiled at him. Not that she ever did anything else. "Now, Sumeragi-san," she chirped lightly, her voice somehow both rich and playful at once. "I'm not here to attack you - "
"For once," Genji muttered, but she continued as if he hadn't spoken.
"Nor to try to seduce you again - stubborn that you are," she said, and touched his chin. Genji leapt back as if her touch had burned. His eyes - green, unusual if not unheard of in this land - narrowed, communicating things he probably would not allow himself to say; and she laughed.
"Silly Sumeragi," she said, smiling and walked past him. "Perhaps once I have won my case with the emperor, he will let me have you anyway. Such a pretty thing..."
She laughed again, as if she were only teasing and didn't mean what she said. And to be honest, Genji wasn't sure if she did.
Everything about the Sakurazukamori was so... cool. So cold, so controlled, so above everything that went on around her. And she used onmyoujitsu to kill.
Genji had trouble explaning exactly why this was as wrong as he felt it was. He knew it was, and would have willingly died to defend the belief, but his view was very unusual and even somewhat unpopular. Of course one used magic to kill - it was the best defensive/offensive weapon in existence. Why wouldn't anyone want to do so?
"Because it's wrong," Genji muttered to himself, turning to leave once more and ignoring the Sakurazukamori. But he couldn't resist a parting comment.
"You're too late, anyway," he said to her, looking at her. "He's already guaranteed me the position - if I can do away with the demon on the mountain."
The Sakurazukamori stared at him. "What?" she said, quietly, for once not smiling.
"You heard me," Genji said, and walked out before she could say anything else. He had exaggerated a little, but not much; he knew if he could defeat the demon - which he was already planning to fight, anyway - the Emperor would certainly give him the position of chief onmyouji. And if that happened...
Well. Things would change around here. No more assassins of onmyouji - that would never be allowed again, at least if he had his way. But all this daydreaming was for later; for now, Genji had other things to do.
The demon was on the mountain, for the simple reason that it was easier to see. He loved the chaos he created, and as he sat observing his kingdom - HIS kingdom - he smiled at the carnage. Lifting one hand, he pointed at the city below and simply moved his arm from one end of the horizon to the other, as if decrying a line of real estate. Nothing visible came from his hand, but the result was obvious immediately.
Every one within the range of that finger went completely mad.
For almost half an hour this went on, until the demon grew tired of it and with a wave of his hand, cut the power off. Then he had fun watching them scramble and try to make up for what they'd done, watching them find the bodies of their loved ones they'd killed, watching them simply lean against any available surface and wonder why they were going crazy and if the gods had abandoned them.
Smiling, the demon licked his lips. He had had this city as his own for a long time, but only recently had decided he was tired of waiting for the End - for that end which was not to come for another two thousand years, and even then, might not arrive if the Kamui chose to save his people. No, the demon - known as Kyouran because of the frenzy, fury, and madness he caused - wanted to play now.
And who was there to stop him? Japan's onmyouji were nothing. China would not help; and no other brand of magic in all the world had an effect on his particular kind of evil. There was no one to stand against him, no one in his way; and if he brought the apocalypse early, then so be it. Kyouran would not be caged.
The few who had tried to approach him were long dead. No one else dared, or so he thought; and so it was for this reason that the discovery of a young, slender, male human climbing his hill to meet him was somewhat unexpected.
Kyouran let him come. It was something to do. It was only as the young man approached that Kyouran recognized the thin, subtle play of power surrounding this man. Narrowing his eyes, Kyouran ran through the mental list he'd made of all the magic-users in Japan, and almost immediately came up with an answer.
"Sumeragi," he said, displeased, and waited for the boy to come.
Genji came. He had paced himself, careful not to end up tired at the end of his climb; it had taken four hours, but he was still breathing normally. Standing at the edge of the plain the demon had claimed as its own, Genji stood, the wind ruffling the strands of hair that had come loose from his ponytail. Silent, he looked.
A demon lord looked back. It was huge - almost twice his height - roughly human-shaped, with strange, leathery skin and cloven hooves. And it was definitely male; clearly unconcerned with its nakedness, the demon lounged, absurd manhood coiled in its lap, and watched him. It seemed to be waiting for him to do something.
Genji bowed. "Akuma-sama," he addressed it politely as he could, more aware than ever of the glory that came with this evil thing, and almost sorry that he'd have to destroy it.
The mouth in the demon's stomach yawned. "Sumeragi," it said, and then let the mouth in its face do the rest of the speaking. "I killed your parents," it informed him casually, and Genji blinked.
A moment passed; Genji could feel himself getting distracted, could FEEL it trying to distract him, and knew that it wasn't trying hard enough. It didn't know it needed to - and if he was wise, he wouldn't give it the chance to realize it's mistake.
Genji dropped his gaze. "You... what?" he said, letting more anger than he felt creep into his tone because it was expected, and using the opportunity to slide some ofuda into his hands from his sleeves. "But... why?"
The demon was beginning to look uninterested in him; the stomach-mouth yawned again. "Because they were dangerous to me," the demon said, looking away as if bored. "And I suppose you are, too - although I respect you for the courage and will it took to bring you here. Tell me, Sumeragi: would you prefer a quick death? Or a slower, mad one - to enjoy the sufferings of your fellow man down below?"
Genji flinched. "What kind of a choice is that?" he said, clutching the ofuda and hoping desperately that he could move fast enough.
"A fair one, Sumeragi," answered the demon, unconcerned as its stomach-mouth began to lick the flesh around it as if cleaning. "And the only one anyone is going to get -and I only offer it to you because you are here, and I am bored. I can promise you this, Sumeragi, onmyouji: if you let me take your mind, you won't know when you die. That is the glory of madness."
And for a moment, Genji swayed on his feet. He could feel the raw power of this being, not overwhelming him only because it wasn't trying to, and nearly fell. It sounded so seductive - so sweet. To simply slip into madness and never even know the pain of death. To....
No. Genji looked up, without the willpower to hide his determination now, but at least standing on his own feet by his own choice.
"I'm afraid I can't do that, Akuma-sama," Genji said quietly, and closed his eyes. "I'm afraid I only have one choice before me - and it's not something you can give." And knowing that he was probably going to die, he summoned all the power he could, all the power he'd been carefully and slowly gathering since the emperor gave him his mission, and flung it at the demon.
Kyouran had not expected it. Such power from a human! He almost did not move in time to avoid being burned; almost. With a lithe speed that belayed his size, Kyouran leapt over and to the side, aiming for a spot just behind the Sumeragi so as to surprise him when he landed. But Kyouran was in for a surprise. He stopped, inches above the ground, frozen in place as he felt the edges of a binding spell he'd not known was there come at him from all sides.
Genji knew the demon would have plenty of time to move, and it was hard to stay steady, knowing that that much mass, that much EVIL was coming at him. But stay still, he did; the blast of power he'd sent pretty much destroyed the throne of the beast, and, as he'd hoped, the monster flew around and tried to come down behind him.
Crossing his arms and clenching his fists as if around invisible ropes at his sides, Genji leaned forward, braced himself, and pulled.
"HA!" he shouted, managing to pull his hands around as far as his chest; and then the demon started fighting back.
A horrible roar, the combination of nightmare sounds and wild beasts, ripped through the air and shook the earth, blasting Genji's back with white-hot heat and covering him with spittle. It tried to get to him, both with claws and power, straining against the extra walls Genji had put between him and the monster, but it could not; teeth bared and buffetting as if in a strong wind, Genji held his stance and pulled more tightly. His fists were now even with one another, his arms uncrossed.
Kyouran roared, thrashed, cracked the earth beneath and around him, but could not hit the Sumeragi with his power. Desperate, he tried to incite other humans to come to his aid, but this was futile; anyone else was miles away, and too concerned with their own problems to want to obey him.
Such was the burden of a being who worked through selfishness.
Desperate, he reached for the Sumeragi one last time, straining; and then, the human unleased his final spell.
Genji knew at that moment that he could not do it.
He did not have the power necessary to destroy this creature. No one did that now lived, and Genji could not help but wish he'd been one of the Seals of heaven that was prophesied to come from his own line. Then he'd have the power; but as things stood, he did not, and this left him only one choice.
He could not destroy it; so, he had to hide it.
Roaring almost as loud as the creature at his back, Genji wrenched his arms further apart, straining his muscles and voice so hard that he was sore and hoarse for the next two weeks. White power exploded around him, eclipsing them both in its light, and with the last force of will he could muster, Genji sealed it away.
There was an explosion of sound, heard as far away as Kyoto; the monster suddenly disappeared, sucked into the earth to be buried alive, and sealed by Genji's own power. It disappeared; Genji held his stance for a moment longer, making sure his trickery had worked, making sure that this creature would STAY where it was for as long as forever, if possible.
It was done.
Genji relaxed, exhausted; he fell forward onto his hands, the skin blistering slightly where the monster's spittle had touched him, and gasped for air. It was done; he did not even have to look to know that the chaos down below had eased. That sanity had finally returned to Japan.
Genji could not return to the palace for two days. It took him that long to drag himself off the mountain and to a place with medical aid, for though he was not dying, he was hurt; and even then, he was not entirely surprised to discover upon his return that he had been made officially the overseer of all magic in Japan.
The Sakurazukamori was nowhere to be found; and with this, for now, Genji would have to be content.
He did not spare a thought for the demon in the mountain; it would never be freed so long as the earth stayed strong, and even if it did, there was nothing he could do to stop it. He would not have the power to face it again, not now that it knew his tricks; and he could only pray that if it ever were released, it would be in a time when there were men who could face such a creature.
He was sure that if it ever came back, next time... it would not be playing.
2,000 years later
The Tamagochi Blue Steel construction company had taken a great deal of pride in winning the bid to work on this land. Belonging to the emperor's estate, this particular foothill overlooked Tokyo with a glorious view, standing just high enough above the city that a jeep was necessary to reach the place. It guaranteed privacy and a sense of "special."
And of course, building the guest home here was costing a fortune.
The workers of Blue Steel were extremely pleased with winning the bid since they didn't have much to do. The ground had been tested - it was solid bedrock all through this area, and since the building would not require a basement, this made their job all the easier. In fact, there were no problems at all until the third day.
The men who actually saw it happen had trouble describing it because the moment after it came, they were completely distracted. They were digging, working on laying the foundation, plumbing and electricity for the house, when suddenly there was a large, muted whump underneath their feet; and suddenly, a puff of red smoke - it was red, everyone was positive on this point - shot up from the earth and dissipated into the air.
At least, presumably it dissipated; no sooner had the men looked at it when they found other things considerably more interesting.
There were fifteen fist-fights that day; two people abandoned the dig altogether, and twenty-two attempted to carry off valuable equipment when they left. All of these workers were tried and true, dependable, well-known and mature; none could give an explanation for their behavior.
The foreman opted not to report the weirdness. It just seemed better for such things to be kept quiet.
And far off, freed finally after two millennia of bondage, the demon Kyouran watched and planned its revenge.
(to chapter seven | notes | back to TB fanfiction)