Chapter 2: Hatsuga-hime’s Bad Day
All I can see around me is darkness.
But that’s all I’ve been able to see around me for a long time.
How strange, I feel like I just “saw” someone just recently, but that shouldn’t be possible.
The impression was a woman and ice and blue… no. It may have just been a dream.
Because I can’t see anything or hear anything, or even feel anything, there’s nothing to do but to just stand here. Or sit here. I’m not sure which it is that I’m doing.
“I-I-I-I-I am so terribly sorry!”
I wonder if I’m hallucinating. I thought I just heard an energetic young woman’s voice.
I want to say something, but I’m scared I’ll bite my tongue so I don’t.
“Nai Asano-san, your misfortunes have been entirely our fault, and we are so sorry!”
Although the woman continues talking, I feel like our conversation isn’t progressing.
I wish I could tell her, “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“…Ah! I see… that’s right. Um… ahem. I am one of the goddesses of Daiwa, Hatsuga-hime, goddess of growth. By the way, because this is a special place made by a goddess, I made it so our words can be transmitted through telepathy.”
I pretend not to hear her, “What was the point of my dogeza…” in an attempt to preserve her sense of nobility.
“I understand. If you’ll pardon me, Hatsuga-hime, I don’t really understand the situation. Would you mind telling me where I am?”
I try thinking the words I want to say. It’s been a long time … I wonder if my words aren’t a little stiff. Well, this much should be okay when in front of a goddess, as she claims to be.
“…Ah! That’s right… Um, let’s see… this is the gods’ realm of the world called Daiwa. When you died on Earth, we brought you here to make reparations for our mistakes.”
… I … died?
I can’t think of anything to confirm this, but being able to “hear” the voice of this “goddess” … I can’t think of any reason to disbelieve her right now.
“…Could you tell me, how old was I when I died?”
“33 years of age and 3 months, give or take.”
“… Um, Nai Asano-san?”
“… No, it’s nothing.”
I wonder what my friends and family felt. Sorrow … and relief? Thirty-three … how long they must have had to watch my pitiful state.
“I see. So I died. Then, what does a goddess from another world wish from me, and what is this ‘mistake’ you mentioned?”
“…Ah! That’s right! We are so very sorry! To tell the truth, there was a god from Daiwa who went on a rampage in your world! One of your ancestors, um… Minamoto-san? … defeated him so soundly that he dematerialized from Earth.”
Minamoto… Minamoto no Yorimitsu?
“Ah, yes, that’s what he called himself in your world.”
So there was that kind of setting… Somehow it doesn’t feel real, so I only had that kind of idle thought.
“He fled back to Daiwa, but the blow your ancestor dealt him was so good that if Minamoto-san had killed him in Daiwa, he would have slain a god. But Gyoshoku, that’s his name in Daiwa, survived because part of himself was back in Daiwa. He harbored a horrible grudge, both against Minamoto-san and Abe-san, who divined where he was.”
Abe-san… Abe no Seimei, I suppose.
“When Gyoshoku had recovered enough, he went back to Earth to rob the descendents of Minamoto-san and Abe-san of the power that flows through their lineage. And the descendent that held those powers happened to be you. It seems like you would have been a Hero of a superior grade if Gyoshoku hadn’t intervened.”
How strange. I knew of our lineage to Minamoto no Yorimitsu, but I was unaware of my relation to Abe no Seimei.
As for being a “Hero”… That kind of thing only exists in fiction and legends now on Earth, so none of what she’s saying feels real.
“Ah, by the way, you also held the power of Nasu no Yoichi and he took that, too. I’ll just return these three, okay?”
Hm? Eh? Somehow, I feel like she just slid something else in there about my lineage… or rather, is it something she can return so easily?
Setting aside whether I believe her or not, some pretty outlandish things were just said.
All of a sudden, a … “warm” feeling spread over my body. Just like the words that I can “hear”, it doesn’t feel like I’m actually experiencing the sensation – physically.
All the same, there is something there.
It startles me after being unable to experience anything in so long. The conversation was already over-stimulating enough, and this sensation makes my mind go blank for a moment.
“Koraaaa-! You shitty bastard, who the hell do you think you are, ahn?! Putting your filthy hands on Nai-sama!”
“Kyaaaaa-! Owowowowowowow! Stop pecking me, stop pecking meeee!!!”
A delinquent-sounding young man’s voice suddenly tears through my head and Hatsuga-hime shrieks, startling me out of my stupor.
I wonder what is going on.
Although I can “hear” the words that are being said, no other sounds are being transmitted so I can’t confirm any of my suspicions as to what is occurring.
With that kind of dialogue I do have some ideas, though.
“Nooo-! I’m being attacked by a big, black bird! Owowowowow! Someone, help!”
“Take THAT and THAT and THAT!”
… Oh dear.
“Um… excuse me. Bird-san? Although I’m not sure what’s going on, would it be possible to settle things peacefully?”
“…What-!? Nai-sama! Nai-sama, you can see me? You can hear? Can this be true?!”
“No, I’m sorry, that is…”
“Mou… this is a space made by the great goddess, me, so Nai Asano-san can ‘hear’ our words while here, at least. Although this is the best I can do…”
“…Don’t lie! What kind of goddess is so easily beat up by a yatagarasu!?”
Oh! The delinquent-sounding bird was a yatagarasu, was he?
I’m a bit sad that I can’t see such a rare creature. Even if you say it’s just a large, three-legged crow, it’s still something I’d like to see with my own eyes.
“Aaaah! If you just, ow, let me… explain!”
Yatagarasu-san finally calmed down enough for Hatsuga-hime to continue her explanation.
“Mou… as I was saying, I returned the lineage abilities, “Mighty Demon Slayer”, “Divine Archer”, and “Noble Sorcerer” to Nai-san. There are a lot of reasons behind that… Well, there was a huge war up here in Tenkoku, the heavens of Daiwa. Because abilities from heroes on Earth are so potent, Gyoshoku became extremely strong, so it took all of the gods and goddesses of Daiwa to fight him. I mean, there are only six of us total, so it was tough you know?”
“Hmph. Gyoshoku. He’s a demonic god. What would he be able to do with ‘Mighty Demon Slayer’?”
Yatagarasu-san doesn’t sound convinced with what Hatsuga-hime said.
“He couldn’t do anything with it, but he stole that one out of spite, since it was what enabled Minamoto-san to defeat him when he was Shuten Douji. Mou! Don’t interrupt, I’ll forget all the important things… Anyway, having all the powerful magic from ‘Noble Sorcerer’ combined with the ability to cause anything you fire off to follow exactly the trajectory you imagine from ‘Divine Archer’, just those two were too much! Daiwa would have been ruined if he could use anything from ‘Mighty Demon Slayer’!”
“Then tell me, how did Nai-sama inherit ‘Noble Sorcerer’ and ‘Divine Archer’? There was nothing about that from the lineages drawn up.”
“Hmph! As if human records would be enough! Do you think they kept tabs on every illegitimate son and daughter? It’s not unreasonable that the descendents of allies would intermingle. And didn’t I tell you not to interrupt me? Mou!”
Yatagarasu-san seems very familiar with this world, and with me. I wonder where he knows me from.
He’s mumbling, “Well, I’ll agree that Nai-sama holds Seimei-sama’s powers.”
Really, I wonder what he is.
“ANYWAY, like I was saying, we were able to defeat Gyoshoku after 300 years of war, but the war on the world below left Daiwa in shambles and us gods in this kind of weak, useless state. But we were able to recover Nai-san’s abilities, at least. But then we found out that Gyoshoku, realizing the power that Nai-san had, then robbed her of her senses to increase the power of his demonized generals…”
“… What. Did you say…? You… you gods allowed Shuten Douji to sneak over to Earth to run rampant, didn’t stop him from going BACK to steal all of Nai-sama’s hero abilities, and then let him come back a THIRD TIME to steal everything… everything from Nai-sama!?”
“KYAAAAAA! I-I’m so soooooooooorry!”
“Mukuro. Mukuro, nyaa. Moshimoshi?”
A large crow sat in the branches of a cedar tree in the back garden of the Asano family’s mansion, watching the funeral proceedings for Nai Asano.
He stirred as a calico cat with two tails circled the base.
“What is it, Fuku? Leave me alone.”
The crow turned its face away from the cat.
“Nai Asano has died, nyaa. You should return to the Tsuchimikado. Actually, you should have done that a long time ago, when Nai-sama lost her powers 28 years ago. Haaa… they should have turned her over to the Tsuchimikado a long time ago, nyaa, then maybe all these misfortunes may not have happened…”
“Shut up, tubby! What do you know about Nai-sama’s misfortunes?!”
If anyone had been paying any attention, they would have seen a large crow angrily mobbing a hissing calico cat.
“Hissss! Fine, I said my part, nyaa! Pull yourself together! We now serve Seimei-sama’s line, the Tsuchimikado, so hurry and come back, nyaa!”
The calico cat, with its fur ruffled all over, bounded away over the wall of the garden.
“… I’m not going back until Nai-sama’s soul gets on the Wheel of Fate.”
Mumbling to nobody in particular, the large crow with three legs sulkily settled back down on the ground.
Just when he had bowed his head to mumble a prayer for the deceased, IT happened.
“… Gone. Gone! GONE?!”
The crow panicked, taking to the air and flying this way and that in confusion.
This can’t be-! Right under his watch, Nai-sama’s soul had disappeared from this world!
Where, where was it!? Why wasn’t he watching more closely?!
Just when he had almost gone crazy from his frantic search, he felt a familiar power peeking through the dimensions.
“Seimei-sama… EEEEH! There’s only one thing to do!”
And the divine crow forced himself between the cracks of the world.
<A/n: Umu. I didn’t realize the first chapter was that depressing… Well, it only goes uphill from there… Oh, and rest assured, this is not going to be a Nai pov only story, un. >