Fushigi Yuugi Novel #4
(“The Legend of Shooting Star”)
Based on the comics by: Watase Yuu
Written by: Nishizaki Megumi
Chapter 3: Flute of Destruction
The girl walked along the alley of the war destroyed city. She stopped at the corner. Before her stood the charred remains of a house. On the slashed doorplate read the name “Shin”.
The girl stood in front of this house for quite some time. Her thin body, which was clothed in tattered garments, looked like that of a boy, but her glossy, black hair and her rosy cheeks held the beauty of a loveable girl.
A tear rolled out of one of her large, slanted eyes. Not bothering to wipe it, she whispered.
“Dad, Mom…. It won’t be long now. It won’t be long now, okay?…”
Clenching both fists tightly, the girl turned her back on the house. Suddenly she stopped in her tracks.
The girl’s ears perked up. She heard something that felt very calming….like the sound of a flute. As if in a trance, the girl began to walk toward the source of the sound.
The boy was leaning against a boulder in the marketplace of the dead city, playing his flute with his head solemnly bowed. The mysterious melody of the flute floated through the air; almost as if it were the only living thing left in the city.
The boy suddenly looked up from his playing and removed the flute from his lips.
There was a girl a few yards away from him, staring at him. When their eyes met, the girl fearfully walked towards him. When she arrived within touching distance, the girl slowly looked the boy over from the top of his head down to his toes.
“…..What do you want…” The boy asked suspiciously.
The girl snapped back to her senses. “Uh, well… I like that tune you were just playing…” she answered frankly.
“What’s it called?”
“It doesn’t have a name. I just play what I feel…”
“Ohhh… Wow, that’s cool; you adlib it, huh.” The girl’s eyes sparkled. “Are you making a living by playing the flute?”
“But there’s no one around here. Why don’t you go play somewhere else, where there’s a palace or something?” In saying that, the girl reached into her pocket. “Here’s some money… because I just listened to you.”
The boy smiled slightly and pushed her hand away. “You don’t have to pay…” His smile was warm and gentle, and yet at the same time, it was sad.
“My name’s Toka. What about you?”
At the girl’s question, the boy answered softly. “….Kotoku.”
“So you’re an orphan from the war, too, huh…” Toka lowered her voice.
Kotoku stole a glance at the fourteen-year-old girl sitting next to him on the boulder.
“So your parents died six years ago?… Mine died just last year…”
“….Are you living alone?” Kotoku asked Toka.
“Nope, I’m living with my big brother…”
At Kotoku’s flat response, this time Toka asked a personal question. “Kotoku, do you have any brothers or sisters?”
Toka awkwardly rose to her feet. “I’m sorry… I didn’t mean to be so nosy. You don’t have to tell me.”
“No, I don’t mind,” Kotoku told her as he gazed at the sunset. “I…had a little brother, but I left him…three years ago.”
Kotoku noticed that Toka was staring at him again. When their eyes met, Toka smiled.
“Oh, so that’s all. So he didn’t die or anything. That means you’ll see him again some day.”
“I mean, the Civil War is stopping now, so don’t be so glum! Well, I’ve gotta go now. Thanks for letting me hear your flute!” Toka said with a wave of her hand as she ran off like the wind.
A month had passed since Kotoku had made himself a home under the stone bridge of that deserted city. Even though Shunkaku had been sold three years ago, Kotoku still never gave up searching for him.
To every person he met, he would ask “Have you seen my younger twin? He’s sickly and shy…”; but no one had ever seen such a boy.
Kotoku feared that as Sou had said, Shunkaku might have died just after he was sold. But it wasn’t only his brother who could not be found. The lonely years passed without any sign of Seiryuu no Miko’s ki.
Then one day, Kotoku had found this dead city.
He found comfort in playing his flute to himself in the ruins. Perhaps it was because this city bore a resemblance to the village in which he was raised.
It was also in this city that he also met Toka. Just as she had said, Kutoh’s Civil War was now under much better control than it was when Kotoku had been living at Kou’s house.
Kotoku also heard rumors that under the leadership of Kutoh’s new, young Shogun, the military was growing stronger. The Civil War was no longer a threat to the country, but it almost seemed that the strong military was gaining control of the government.
The citizens of Kutoh were still restless and in poverty.
“I wonder if Kutoh has any hope of becoming peaceful….” Kotoku whispered forlornly.
The next day…
While playing his flute and taking in the sunset in the abandoned marketplace, Kotoku felt a long shadow hovering over him.
Kotoku looked up at the owner of the shadow.
“I’m ba~ack. I thought you’d be here…” Toka said as she plopped down next to Kotoku. “Don’t stop playing…. I can’t really explain it, but…it brings back happy memories and calms me down.”
Kotoku nodded and readied his fingers on the flute.
In the sunset, the silhouettes of the boy and girl who had lost their parents in the war vibrated to the melody of the flute.
“Hey, Kotoku. Have you heard of the legend of the Seiryuu Seishi?”
Kotoku’s flute suddenly squeaked.
“AH! Wha, what happennnnned?!”
“Uh, sorry…My finger slipped a little….ahaha. Well, to make up for that, I’ll play this tune!”
Kotoku piped out a whimsical melody.
“Aaaah, that’s the melody the ramen-seller plays! Damn, Kotoku, you’re pretty silly!”
The two laughed heartily.
“Hey, don’t you ever wonder why the Seiryuu Seishi haven’t been gathered together yet?” Toka pestered.
“…..Yeah…I guess so.”
“I mean, if they had assembled and found the Miko much sooner, then we wouldn’t have had to lose our parents, would we.”
“….I guess….so…. But don’t you think it would be hard assembling seven people?…”
“Yeah, you’re right. And they can’t do anything without the Miko anyway.”
“But if one of the Seishi appeared in front of me right now, I’d grab him by the ear and demand why he’s just sitting around and not trying to save the country.”
Beads of sweat popped up on Kotoku’s forehead.
“Juuuust kidding! I’d probably actually get all excited and ask for his autograph.”
Autograph, huh… Kotoku fantasized this scene in his head for an instant until his thoughts were broken by Toka.
“Hey, play some more for me,” she pestered. “I could just sit here and listen forever….to your flute….”
“Ah….okay. As you wish.”
Kotoku brought the flute to his lips once again. Continue reading