Fushigi Yuugi Novel #4
(“The Legend of Shooting Star”)
Based on the comics by: Watase Yuu
Written by: Nishizaki Megumi
Chapter 6: Painful Partings
Shunkaku approached Toka, who had been waiting in the deserted marketplace.
“Where’s Kotoku?” Toka asked, as her eyes wandered around nervously.
“He told me to take you home.”
“Oh….” Toka said. “So the two of you made up, then?…”
“….Yeah.” Shunkaku lightly tapped on Toka’s back. “Come on. Let’s go back to camp. Tessoh must be worried about you.”
With a nudge from Shunkaku, Toka hurried with him along the path.
All the way back to camp, Shunkaku had been silent. When they reached the entrance to the mountains, he told her, “I won’t tell Tessoh that you were going there to see my brother. I’ll just tell him you were wandering around the town.”
Toka paused before she asked Shunkaku. “What are you gonna do from now on?”
“What?!” Toka stopped dead in her tracks and stared at her bandana’ed escort in disbelief.
“The misunderstanding with Aniki is cleared up, so we’re gonna live together from now on.”
“You can’t!….” Worry sounded in Toka’s voice. “Shunkaku, are you just gonna betray your friends now? You’ve been with them for three years, right? You can’t abandon them now; they’re about to start a revolution!”
Shunkaku nodded. “I hate to have to do this to everyone, but I’m sure that if I just talk to Tessoh about it, he’ll understand…”
“No he won’t. You’re Basara’s number one soldier. Are you saying you’re gonna just leave my Nii-chan after all he’s done for you?!”
“……Toka,” Shunkaku said quietly. “If you’re gonna ask me that, then why did you tell me you knew about my brother? Doesn’t that mean you were trying to bring us together?”
Toka felt trapped. The day she had first seen a boy who looked exactly like Shunkaku playing a flute, her heart had nearly stopped. At the gentle sound of the flute, all hate seemed to evaporate out of her body. Then she learned that the nice boy playing the flute was Shunkaku’s twin. Every time Toka had seen the poor boy who was desperately looking for his lost brother, her heart ached.
If I had just told him “you’re little brother is doing well”, Kotoku would have been overjoyed. But I couldn’t say that…Why do you have to be Shunkaku’s brother! Why? Why?….
But today, in front of Toka’s sad eyes, the twins had been reunited. Toka’s mind was torn. Am I really okay with letting Shunkaku go back to his brother?….No. I can’t let that happen.
Toka slowly shook her head. “Why don’t you two run off together after the revolution? If we’re gonna kill Nakago, we’ll need your power.”
“Nakago?!” Shunkaku’s eyes popped out.
“Nii-chan probably didn’t tell you, but the name of the Shogun that Basara is targeting is ‘Nakago’. He also happens to be a Seiryuu Seishi.”
Toka swiftly walked past Shunkaku, who was struck dumb. “So anyway, we need your weapon.” Toka suddenly frowned, noticing that the ryuuseisui were not in Shunkaku’s hands. He left his weapon behind…so he’s really gonna desert Basara?….
Suddenly Toka, though she was used to the mountain trails, tripped and skidded down the slope.
Shunkaku speedily caught her before she hit the ground.
“…..Are you okay?” He gently steadied the girl.
Their eyes met. For an instant, Toka could have sworn it was Kotoku holding her, and not Shunkaku.
The boy evaded her gaze.
“You really are….a nice guy, aren’t you….” Toka whispered. “Because you’re Kotoku’s brother, huh…. The younger twin of that nice boy who plays the flute…..”
Basara’s camp was now visible.
Tessoh was waiting for them in the foothills of the mountains that had been charred with fire. Chama Lee, whose face was bound with a black cloth, was a few paces behind Tessoh.
“Good job, Shunkaku. So what do you have to report?” Tessoh asked his soldier.
“Toka was simply wandering around the to…”
“I was not! I was meeting with the man I love!”
“Toka…” Tessoh scrunched his eyebrows.
“It’s not like I caused any trouble to you guys. Was I wrong?”
Ignoring his aggressive little sister, Tessoh turned to Shunkaku. “Well, who is he?”
“What’s wrong, Shunkaku?”
“Tessoh, there is something I need to discuss with you.” Shunkaku took a step forward. Tessoh’s sharp stare pierced into him. “Revolution is meaningless.”
After a few moments of silence, Tessoh finally mumbled “Oh, really…”
“This country can’t be saved by violence anymore.”
“Well, what do you propose we do, then?”
“I will call on Seiryuu.”
When Tessoh heard this, he laughed.
Shunkaku continued anyway. “I know you’re planning a revolution for the good of the country, but if you kill Nakago, then we can’t call on Seiryuu!”
When Tessoh heard the name “Nakago” come out of Shunkaku’s mouth, he glared at his sister. Toka looked down guiltily.
“….Why didn’t you tell me about Nakago?”
Tessoh only folded his arms and hmph’ed at Shunkaku’s question.
“You knew that I was a Seiryuu Seishi the day you bought me. Why did you hide that from me?”
When Toka heard this, she gulped. “Shunkaku’s a Seiryuu…?!”
“Were you scared that the other Seishi would come after you?”
Tessoh finally raised his head and spoke calmly. “Three years ago, when I heard that a man named ‘Koh’ had a Seiryuu Seishi in his house, I bought you. That was so just in case we were not able to kill Nakago, I could use you as a hostage. Since you’re a Seishi, too, we would be protected from him.”
Both Shunkaku and Toka glared coldly at Basara’s leader.
“So, what’re you gonna do, Shunkaku? Are you planning on deserting us, joining forces with Nakago and calling on Seiryuu?” Tessoh smirked and called in one of his soldiers.
In seconds, Shunraku was at his side with a hostage in tow. The hostage was a woman. She was scantily clad and bore the intoxicating scent of a woman, but she had a scowl on her face.
When she saw Shunkaku, she flinched.
“Woman. What is your name?”
“No, I mean your other name.”
Tessoh roughly lifted up the woman’s skirt.
“Get your filthy hands off me!”
Tessoh pointed to the symbol “fusa” that was glowing on the woman’s upper-thigh and grinned.
“Meet fellow Seiryuu Seishi, Soi. It seems as though her power is to manipulate men through sex.”
“…..Hmph.” Kaen was still sulking over the fact that her magic had not worked on the homosexual, Shunraku.
“I assume you were commanded by Nakago to come here and spy on us. He probably suspected that a Seiryuu Seishi might be in our camp.” Tessoh’s shoulders shook with laughter. “Well, this means that we now have two Seiryuu Seishi gathered here. Understood, Suboshi? Whatever you want to do is up to you; just remember that we have one of your allies here.”
This time, it was Soi who laughed tauntingly. “Tessoh, you’re sure gullible. Do you really believe that he’s Suboshi?”
“Hm?” Tessoh’s eyes shot over to his assistant.
Chama leapt to Shunkaku’s side and lifted up his shirt.
Toka gasped and put her hands to her mouth. The symbol “ko” was shining brightly on his right shoulder.
“…..Kotoku…..!” Toka yelped.
“Good for you! This boy is Amiboshi.” Soi laughed through her nose.
Without angering, Tessoh slowly nodded. “I see. So you’re Shunkaku’s twin brother who came here in his place to secede from us. I thought you were a little too sophisticated for Shunkaku.”
Without giving any excuses, Kotoku faced Tessoh. “I understand how you feel. But revolution is crazy. I hear that Nakago is virtually invincible.”
“You don’t understand anything. Nakago’s controlling this country through the Emperor. If things keep up like this, the country will soon be at Nakago’s mercy.”
“But if we call on Seiryuu, the country can be saved.”
“No it won’t. If you call on Seiryuu, then Nakago will use Him for his own purpose; and it probably will have tremendous results.”
“The Miko is the one who asks for wishes from Seiryuu. The Seishi have no say in it.”
“But Nakago will probably brainwash the Miko.”
“Shut up! Nakago’s not that kind of man!” Kaen broke into their argument. “He rescued me. When I was twelve years old, he found men attacking me and he saved me from them! He wants to call on Seiryuu so the country will never have war again! That’s why he sent me here looking for Seishi!”
The scene froze for a few moments.
Tessoh slowly opened his mouth. “Well, it seems we all believe different things…”
Toka ran up to Tessoh. “I’ll bring Shunkaku back here right away. So please set Kotoku free!”
“….So that’s what it is. This’s the boy you were going out of the mountains to see everyday.” As Tessoh said this, he drew Toka closer to him, bound her arms, and brought a dagger to her throat.
Tessoh laughed sarcastically. “You don’t need to call me that anymore. You know I’m not your brother.”
Chama rushed up to Tessoh’s side and held back his arm. “Don’t do this, Tessoh…”
Tessoh ignored Chama’s plea and kept his eyes on Kotoku. “Your name is Kotoku, right? If you wanna save this girl who’s in love with you, then kill Soi.” Tessoh threw a dagger at Kotoku’s feet. “Or would you rather use your Seishi power? Amiboshi.”
“….Kotoku!” Toka screamed. “Use your flute like you did with those guys back there!”
Tessoh smirked. “Flute? Oh, so that’s your little talent?”
“Don’t laugh at him! Kotoku’s flute can kill anyone he wants it to!”
When the soldiers of Basara who had been gathered around heard Toka’s line, they uneasily shrunk back. Chama Lee did a swift body check on Kotoku.
“This boy has no weapon…”
“I did not come here to fight,” Kotoku explained.
“Enough small talk!” Hot flames seemed to burst out at Tessoh’s vibrating voice. “Come! Get this offensive woman Seishi out of my sights! Kill her, Kotoku!”
Kotoku stared at the dagger by his feet, but did not move his dangling arm as he bit his lip.
Tessoh roughly brought the blade of his dagger closer to Toka’s neck. “Is the life of a fellow Seishi more important to you than a girl who loves you?! Are you saying that you’re willing to sacrifice the life of an innocent girl because it just might save the country?!”
Tessoh bellowed out. “Come on! Kill her already! If you refuse, then I’ll kill you first…!”
The soldiers of Basara all drew their swords and slowly closed in on Kotoku.
“Nooooooooo!!!!” Toka’s scream echoed throughout the mountains.
Clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang, clang!!!!!!
That was the sound of the soldiers’ swords falling to the ground.
The cries from the soldiers continued as they clomped heavily to the ground. It seemed as though they had been hit by a tornado.
Whirl, whirl, whirl….
The sound that had been shaking the mountain air halted.
“Friend or not, anyone who wants to get to Aniki has to get through me first!” With the sound of that voice, Shunkaku jumped out of his tree and landed with a thud in front of Tessoh.
Kotoku snatched up the dagger by his feet, and charged swiftly.
The dagger at Toka’s throat was knocked away. Toka ran to Kotoku. Kotoku untied Kaen, who promptly disappeared.
Shunkaku glared at his brother. “You asshole. Why’d you have to put me to sleep with your flute, become me, and go off to resign from Basara!”
“You probably thought I wouldn’t have the balls to do it myself, huh.”
“I’ll admit I was a bit wishy-washy,” Shunkaku said. “But now I’ve decided for good. I can’t hang around with anyone who tried to kill my Aniki. Tessoh…You should be ashamed of yourself; using a girl as a hostage. And you say Basara wants to kill Nakago? And you didn’t even tell me that I was a Seiryuu Seishi…”
Tessoh smiled weakly. “I like you, Shunkaku. Always so blunt.”
“What was that?!” Shunkaku demanded angrily.
“Get out of here,” Tessoh commanded. “Go ahead and call on Seiryuu with your brother. But I promise you before you get to do that, Basara will have already killed Nakago.”
“….Are you really….gonna go through with that?”
“Basara can do a fine job, even if you’re not here.”
Shunkaku stood there dumbly.
Chama Lee stepped in front of Shunkaku. “I am sorry for deceiving you all this time… I had very hard time hiding your Seishi symbol from you all these years. But I wanted to tell you.”
Shunkaku stared in disbelief at the boy he had been sleeping next to for the past three years. It was then that he finally understood the true reason why Chama had always been by his side, had helped him bathe, and had mended his clothes.
“Chama….So that’s why you were so nice to me?…” Were you lying when you said you were my friend?….
Chama avoided Shunkaku’s gaze. “You are not alone anymore. It will be best for you to forget what happened at Basara….” Chama said quietly.
Tessoh turned his back on the trio. “Take that girl with you, too. She’s just a girl I let stay here because she had no other place to go.”
In hearing that, Toka bit her lip. “…..Tessoh….”
“Don’t you ever come back here again, Toka.”
Even Toka did not know why she had called him that. Flustered, she stared at Tessoh’s back.
After Kotoku, Shunkaku, and Toka had left Basara’s camp, they met up with Kaen on the trail.
“Suboshi, you saved my life. Let me say thank you,” she said as she gently touched a hand to Shunkaku’s cheek. “We’ll meet again!”
Kotoku yelled after the woman who was running away. “Wait! …Where’s the Miko?”
Kaen turned around and said, “Beats me. I still haven’t met her myself.”
After Kaen was gone, Shunkaku grumbled. “Blech! Why does one of the Seishi have to be a woman!”
“The Miko’s a girl, too, ya know,” Toka said wearily.
“Oh….” Shunkaku’s shoulders dropped. “But I’m more surprised about you not really being Tessoh’s sister…”
Toka smiled sadly. “I was all alone until I was picked up by Tessoh and he let me be his little sister.”
“Oh, but I guess now that everyone knows you’re not really his sister, you can’t stay at Basara anymore…”
Toka blew a deep breath out. “…..What I think is more shocking is that you and Kotoku turned out to be Seiryuu Seishi….” She looked at Kotoku and laughed lightly. “I’d better get your autograph…huh…”
After the three made it to the low lands, they turned back and looked towards Basara’s camp. As Kotoku watched over them, Toka and Shunkaku made their silent farewells to the place that had been their home for the past one and three years.
“Preparations for relocation are to be made immediately!” Tessoh ordered his men. Since their base had been discovered by Nakago, they had to evacuate as soon as possible.
The soldiers, who had been hurt by Shunkaku’s desertion, sadly went to work.
As Tessoh looked on, he told Chama. “I knew from the start that I wouldn’t be able to use his Seishi powers for our cause.”
“…Yes, I suppose.” Then Chama asked, “Are you happy to get rid of Toka?”
Tessoh nodded. “I don’t want her to be killed.”
So that’s what Tessoh was planning all along… Chama thought to himself. He understood that if Tessoh valued her life, he would need to part with her. Chama could also see in Tessoh’s face the knowledge that he would probably not survive.
I wanted to give her a pretty kimono….I should’ve known it wouldn’t happen….
Read Tetris no Miko’s other Fushigi Yuugi light novel translations here.
Chapter 7 →