Thunder and Redness
Homepage: Save the Sugar
is me, brother," Sogetsu stated proudly. "I'm quite surprised you remembered
"What-what has happened to you. . ."
the shack, I saw him emerge. He wore this red demon mask with horns and
a long black cape which hissed like a snake when he walked. Even behind
the mask, I still knew who it was. I could see his eyes. He stood beside
Sogetsu, with a hand on the man's shoulder, and laughed.
forth: "What did you do to my brother, you bastard?! What did you
do to him?! What did you do to him?!"
His voice was
low, calm. "Your brother serves me now. He has become quite an assassin."
him?! Let him go!"
"I don't think
that would be good right now. Your brother enjoys serving me, don't you
"I do, master."
His voice was zombie-like and fluid, with one boring pitch. He stared at
both of us with empty eyes.
I huffed. "You bastard!"
"Why my brother?!
Why, Sogetsu?! Why?!"
found a place with me," Amakusa replied, his voice chilling. "With me,
he doesn't endure the torture and shunning inflicted on him by the people.
He finds comfort in my recognition of his otherwise insulted gifts. He
is. . .quite special, wouldn't you say."
I glared back
at him. He was going to ruin us one by one-before ruining all honor and
goodness. Sogetsu looked at me and grinned with nothing but hate in his
"Soon we will
all serve Our Mighty Lord, for He will overtake all. It is a great honor
to serve Lord Amakusa." He turned to the evil one in the red mask, "How
may I serve you, master?"
your brother," he spat.
Kazuki cried. "Sogetsu don't listen to him!"
"There is no
use, boy. . ." Amakusa chided. "He serves me and only me. He only listens
to me." He turned to Sogetsu. "Kill him!"
forward with his sword drawn; the tine was pointed at the throat of his
own brother. "It is time to die, Kazuki."
he cried, "Why?! I'm your own brother! He's evil! He wants you hurt
you! Once he finds no use for you he'll kill you too."
The boy was
crying and shaking. His eyes were wide; they didn't blink. Mucus dripped
from his nose and he was too afraid to wipe it.
It is only natural that I destroy you. Fire is bad. Fire eats everything
in its path and leaves only black nothingness. Water cleanses the earth
and makes things pure while fire is only destructive. Water stops the evil
of fire. Just look at the evil it does. It burned Gairyu Isle to the ground.
It killed Kei. It destroyed our home. I, the one who beholds the power
of mizu, the almighty force of good, must kill you. You are dangerous,
Kazuki. Water quenches fire; it is a timeless rule. It is only natural
that I kill you."
His lips trembled
and his eyes were wide open and red. He shuddered with broken breath and
perspiration beads on his forehead. Except for his shaking, he stood perfectly
still, as he were to accept his horrible fate. Sogetsu's cold and empty
eyes admired the helplessness of the boy as he trembled before his own
brother. Truly this was not natural.
I glared at
him, standing perfectly still in that long, black robe, and behind that
red mask I could see his grin-that slow, upward curve of his thin lips
until the ends of his mouth reached his amber eyes and they would light
up with this cold spark when he saw perversion he lived for perversion
he lived for perversion it was only natural that I would restore Father's
honor and he broke it he broke it and I'll bet he was grinning that day
as he watched Death his beautiful creation destruction was his creation
destruction was his creation I had to destroy his creation!
brought back his arm, preparing to behead his own brother with the sickle-shaped
sword. I watched with my eyes open and my brows narrowed at the perverted
scene. I could not let it happen. . .
He paused a
few seconds before swinging the sword
Could not let
this happen. . .
I never thought
when I grabbed my scabbard and clubbed the young man over the head with
it. He uttered a short, soft cry and fell helpless to the ground. Blood
seeped from his forehead. I backed away from the silent body, just knowing
what I had done. His sword lay beside him.
Haohmaru. . ." Amakusa said. "It seems you killed this poor boy's brother.
I must pay you some gratitude for allowing one less soul to kill."
I dropped to
the ground as I looked at the two brothers, the younger kneeling over the
older and calling his name with soft desperation. He lay still, peaceful.
What had I done?!
I knelt, resting
my arm on my knee and my head on my arm. I couldn't look-he is part of
me! He is part of me and he screams inside a caged beast roaring to be
released absorbing my honor and blood making it poisoned and evil. . .
I hissed, drawing my sword. "You did this! You did it all!!"
You were doomed the moment your father placed a sword in your hand. If
only he could see the monster you turned out to be."
The sight of
the two brothers brought much shame and dishonor, so much I couldn't become
enraged. I felt him disappear from the shack, and the coldness went away.
The oppressive heat returned. Kazuki's head lay atop his brother's still
chest. He stopped shaking, but he was still crying very quietly.
I turned my
back on the scene that I couldn't bear to look at. A symbol of dishonor.
A chaos that I had created. . .
Chaos the chaos
that he created it was true it was true I was in turn creating destruction
it was my creation too it was both of our creations I had a unity
a unity with
that bastard that dishonorable bastard
I had created
destruction from the day I was born I carried that dirty seal nailed to
my heart making me bad telling me that destruction is the only creation
he had killed my father I had killed Sogetsu all the boy had coming following
us saving Masashige and the look in his big eyes that first day praying
and praying he knelt before us his eyes groveling with anxiety beseeching
our help all he had red he came to us with red hair and the redness spread
all over from his brother's forehead his dead brother his dead brother
that I Haohmaru son of Akira murdered son of Akira I was with the filth
smothered across his honor a swine wallowing in the dirt that I created
told me that a Samurai who was dishonorable could not live
that he must
take his life because it was the only way he could regain his honor is
that my fate is that my fate I believe it is so that was what he would
have wanted me to do that is what he would have wanted me to do cut myself
open and pour out my dirty blood my dirty blood. . .
"What has happened
in here?" I heard her inquire. She called my name.
I fled from
the shack with the redness, and the trees looked brown and the forest didn't
look like a forest, but a rotting wasteland. My thoughts ran with me and
the world raced behind me as I moved forward faster and faster. I could
not look back at the shack.
It ran faster
than I, waiting for me at a clearing of the forest where I dropped myself
in anguish. It ran in circles inside my head, never tiring, never breathless.
was a place where honor is forever immortal where Father's honor would
never be lost I must leave the Earth, place of loss.
I was the monster
I was the monster he lived inside me wrenching me around and nailing
his evilness into my blood I had to destroy it I had to destroy it destroy
it to create destroy it to recreate to retrieve what was lost
I had to end
I knelt down
on my knees and quickly unsheathed the dagger the dagger he killed Father
with it was rusty with his blood with the dagger inside that blood would
enter me and the tainted blood would spill onto the earth and become lost
as everything else on the earth was.
quivered as I pointed it toward my loins, the knife shaking in my hands
I had to do
to end it
I closed my
eyes feeling it slowly poke at me-
I whirled around.
She looked at me with blazing eyes, like blue flames.
"Just put it
"I said go
"NO! I won't
let you do this!"
"It is only
right and only good!"
to stop me, did she?! There she was with those hot-cold eyes just like
her father just like her father she was a curse from him trying
to stop me from doing what I had to forcing me to live with shame gloating
as I suffered with its rocks on my back dragging me down dragging me down
into the ground the earth where I would be lost forever.
to poke the knife into my stomach and I could feel a small sting as it
penetrated me. My back was turned to her.
and ran over to me, grabbing my arm as hard as she could, trying to pull
the knife from my stomach. I gripped it tightly so I wouldn't drop it;
she would snatch it from me if I did. I knew better, I knew better!
"Let go of
me, woman!" I growled right from my throat with my teeth clenched together.
you must stop this at once! Put the knife down!"
I looked at
her, gripping the knife harder. Her eyes were red like devils' and her
face was streaked with dried tears and her small mouth was crying and screaming.
Her hands gripped harder at my arm. I was amazed; she was pretty strong,
but I wouldn't let her overpower me! Her eyes were bluer, they were
so blue they nearly blinded me just like her father's just like her father's.
I wanted to kill that man and drive a knife through his-
Her arm retreated,
covered in redness. It spread across her white skin and dripped in a puddle
on to the ground She stared at it with wide eyes and a tight mouth, looking
at me. A lone tear dripped from her eyes, looking from her arm to me and
back at her arm and then at me. I froze and dropped the knife looking at
her arm and then at her and then at her arm, which pulsed as she held it
gently in her other hand. I had done it. I had done what I knew I would
do-what I was afraid I would do.
She was still
alive, standing straight up, regal in her blue, tailored jacket. Everything
was regal and empress-like except for her face, twisted in torment. She
still stared at me, that lone tear just about to fall from her chin. Her
pink mouth twitched slightly like a rabbit's. I thought that she was going
to say something for a moment. I was just glad she was alive.
The tear finally
fell from her chin and onto her pants, making a dark stain. She folded
her dainty hands and looked down at it, the blue eyes disappearing. Her
golden hair covered her face. She let her arm bleed, letting it gush from
her arm and her skin was turning even whiter; I never thought she could
get any whiter. I tore off part of my clothing and leaned over to her,
wrapping it around her arm to stop the bleeding. I knelt, my shameful head
resting on my arm. I couldn't say anything, so I stayed there and helped
her arm heal.
. ." I said, but the words sounded strange and hollow. It was all I could
seem angry at me for what I had done, nor at what had come out of my mouth.
She looked down on me, her mouth twitching again. I waited for the words,
not patiently. I closed my eyes. What would she say what would she say?
She would say she hated me! No-I would hurt her again if I thought that.
But she should, anyway.
I waited, bracing
myself, the child waiting to be whipped, praying to be whipped fast and
quickly. Three words. Three words. I closed my eyes tightly as the stones
were piled onto my back. She was going to say it again.
"I-I love you."
I opened them
and looked up at her. I could feel the gods lift the stones from my back,
not only knowing what she said, but that she didn't scorn me.
me why I came here when I met you again," she continued, "and I told you
that I wanted to explore. That was true, but-but it wasn't my prime motivation."
"It was me,
wasn't it?" I asked, confused. She said she hated me.
slowly. "All my life I had been so curious about you, and I had missed
you so much. I wondered how you had lived and what you had done. And I
was so angry that you refused to live with us. I tried so hard to understand-and
as I got older I tried to tell myself that my father and my brother would
have been cruel to you, and the other children would make fun of you. But
I am very selfish. . ." she started to cry, and I listened, "I wished you
would have lived with me despite that. And I wanted to see you, but my
father wouldn't let me take a vessel all the way here. I knew not to even
ask. He had hid the map from me, as if he knew what I'd wanted to do, and
he would never go back. He had received his pay. As much as you refuse
to believe it, I hated living in a home of such prejudice and bigotry.
But he was my father, and I couldn't help but love him."
"But how did
you get here?"
"I-I came behind
my father's back, with Sieger's help."
Her words were
very beautiful, even though her clothing was stained in blood and dirt
and tears. I couldn't help but eye her. It was dangerous-very dangerous.
She seemed so beautiful when she was suffering below me. But more guilt
fell upon me. If only I had known why she was here. It couldn't have been
a trick. Her words sounded very true, and I had not one feeling of skepticism.
She had never hated me. She had never hated me.
I held her
frail body in my arms. She felt so limp, and she slightly lay her head
against my shoulder, breathing slowly. We stayed like that for a few minutes
longer until Masashige appeared. He was silent for a moment, his eyes fixed
on us, before he said anything.
"Um. . .Sogetsu
is alive." He merely stated.
Alive! My heart
leapt. I was not like him I was not like him! The thought of seppuku tickled
my mind, for I was not dishonorable! It would have been silly to take my
life! And she was not a tool of him, but a tool of the kami,
for stopping me. I held her tighter.
we must go back," I said softy, helping her from the ground. She was just
strong enough to walk back, even though her cut had stopped bleeding.
us back to the rest of them, who had congregated in front of the old shack
all that while. They were circled around the young man like a bunch of
ants, and I could barely see him, but his head was propped against a rock,
his eyes half-closed. But I saw the rise and fall of his chest, and I knew
for sure he was going to live.
where have you been?" Galford questioned, with a glint of mischief in his
"None of your
concern," I replied harshly.
I gently put
my arm around her waist and told her to rest awhile, and she went away
and fell asleep on a soft patch of grass.
I plowed my
way through the small crowd of people so I could get a closer look.
over to me and squeezed me, nearly crushing my ribs. "Haohmaru, my savior!"
he cried, overjoyed. I beamed. Destruction was not my creation.
called his brother's name, reaching his arm out to him.
"What. . .what
happened? Where am I? Who are. . ."
the people who helped save you."
"Save me? Save
me from what?"
He looked up
at us from his kneeling stance. "He doesn't know. . ." he whispered. "He
doesn't. . ."
"That's a good
thing," Nakoruru said, in her fast, high-pitched voice. She turned to me.
"I think you did the guy a favor by whacking him on the head."
"Well. . .I
didn't think it was a favor at the time. . ." I replied, scratching my
"What do you
last remember?" she asked Sogetsu.
He turned his
head to see her, his eyes still half-closed, his body limp. "Walking alone
on the seaside after escaping into the water. . ." his voiced sounded weak.
"A man came
to me. He was dressed in a dark cloth and had amber eyes, and he. . .he
placed his hand on my head. It was very bony. . ."
I knew who
he was describing, "And after that?"
"Come on, tell
"I woke up
here, with you people. . ."
"I'm not playing
around, I want to know!" I demanded.
Nakoruru scolded. "He doesn't remember!"
name was Amakusa. . ." I told him, my tone more gentle. "Amakusa is evil.
He's a demon. He's the demon of all demons. And you served him."
at me, with wide, child-like eyes. "He often escapes to the seaside when
they torment him. . ." he replied, his voice an octave higher.
"They know of his powers. He has special characteristics that they know
of. Look, behind his ear. . ."
his earlobe to reveal a second flap of skin. "See that? It's a gill. He
can breathe underwater. And look at his hands and feet; they're webbed
so he can swim"
." Galford gasped.
they taunt him?" Nakoruru asked. "He's been given special gifts."
think he's a mutant. They shun him because of his gills, and women. . ."
His voice froze, and his eyes were wider than ever. He drew his hand to
his lip, preparing to bite his nails. "Oh my! Oh--!"
is it?" I interrogated.
day he disappeared. I-I remember what had happened before. . ."
"What?" I asked.
a girl in the village-a very beautiful, nice girl who was the daughter
of a wealthy merchant. She had long, flowing hair and dainty hands. Many
men were attracted to her, but-none more than Sogetsu of course. He had
been fascinated with her for years, since he was fifteen. He would watch
her walk into town with her tiny feet barely touching the ground. She was
royalty, beauty, and perfection to him. Why, he even knew where she went
at certain times during the day. But she didn't know-for years she didn't
know of his infatuation. Sogetsu had been trained in the art of Ninja,
and he knew just where to hide and watch her.
"But he was
too shy and afraid to speak one word to her, and he kept his infatuation
discreet. I was the only one who knew of it. Sogetsu was always discreet,
very quiet. He hardly smiled because he lived a life of torment. He knew
what the people thought of him. Everyday he endured the taunts, the insults,
and the shunning. I was the only friend he had; we had suffered so much
together, but-it was awfully hard to be a friend amidst his rejection.
It had dampened his confidence. He assumed that she would just be one of
them-another element of cruelty.
"And I-I told
him differently. I always had, but especially on that one day. We were
at the market, buying bread and fish together, talking about insignificant
things. I don't even remember what it was. We were happy-well, I was happy,
he was content. Sogetsu was never happy. And she showed up. His eyes turned
away from mine as we talked. I knew he felt her presence. He watched her
with gazing, longing, sad eyes as she carefully picked out apples. I nudged
him, urging him to speak at least a word to her. He backed away at first,
too inhibited, but still staring. I told him that he would never know for
sure if he never even spoke to her. He started shaking his head and denying
my words, but still looking. But as I kept telling him to talk to her,
telling him to release those burdensome feelings, he began to believe me.
a mistake. He slowly walked over to her. I could feel his nervousness.
She minded her own business, picking out fruit, when he tapped her on the
shoulder. I moved my ear closer to hear what she would say. She turned
around-and screamed, dropping the apples: 'Mutant! Mutant! The water
monster-it's attacking me! Help!' And the market manager ran to her defense
and grabbed my brother, who was kicking and screaming. People started hitting
him with brooms and throwing food at him, yelling every possible insult.
I tried to help him, but the mob thrashed me around. I tried so hard to
break through it. His face and stained clothes looked outraged., but that
was not the last thing I saw. When he finally broke free of the mob, he
flashed me a look of cold anger as he ran away.
"The next day
I looked near the seaside where he secluded himself. At first I had figured
he was underwater, and he would come up soon. So I fell asleep nearby on
the coast the following night, expecting him there. That was when I began
to feel at fault. I looked everywhere around town, but he wasn't there.
He'd run away before, but always came back after a week. Two had passed
and he hadn't returned, and I figured it that he was captured-and that
it was my duty to save him, to repent for the lie that I had told him."
carefully to every word. I knew the boy had a lot of trust in me, and I
felt horrible for him, and for his brother. Then I remembered what Amakusa
had said in the shack, about him finding comfort in serving him. . .
that Amakusa would be a friend to him," I sighed, "but Amakusa is not a
friend to anybody. You were right in looking for him at the hiding place-he
did say the last thing he remembered was at the seaside. . ."
"Yes he did."
"His mind is
blank. There is a period where he remembers nothing."
He inched closer
to me. "Is it a good thing-like Nakoruru says?"
I sighed, not
knowing a true answer. "Only time will tell. Only time will tell."
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