|The Path Between Light & Shadow
Author: Riker Rayn PM
Sayuri Akimoto is a demon on the path of redemption. Akahana is a strange child with several secrets, many that she does not even know about herself. Many of those secret may have to do with who is chasing her. Akahana seeks help from Sayuri, however she may be more dangerous to the girl, if she can't learn to control her demonic nature at night.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Chapters: 2 - Words: 7,094 - Reviews: 2 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 01-07-13 - Published: 11-11-12 - id: 3073465
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
"Remember Sayuri, to always be in control. The only way to do that is to be calm." Hiroki told her.
Sayuri frowned and tilted her head, confused at what her master meant. Hiroki motioned for her to speak her mind. "Master, what exactly do you mean?"
Hiroki smiled. "We are in control only if we know who we are. If we know who we are then we are capable of being calm enough to stay in control." He sighed and gave her a serious look. "Do you know you are Sayuri?"
She considered the question for a while, becoming deep in thought. After a couple seconds she realized that she had no answer to his question. "...I don't know..." Sayuri replied quietly.
Hiroki nodded. "I expected that reply."
There was a long silence between student and teacher. Finally Sayuri looked up and asked. "Who am I?" There was a touch of fear in her normally blank, emotionless voice.
It took a while for her master to reply, which only made Sayuri tense. She dug her nails into the grass and her muscles became stiff with tension. To calm her, Hiroki placed a hand on her leg, Sayuri merely gawked him. "That is why I'm training you, Sayu. No demon has ever known their purpose, and many believe that they have none. I however think otherwise and believe that you can take control and be different from what humans believe all of you kind to be like. Sayu, I'm giving you a chance that no human would give a demon."
Sayuri stood in the copse, watch the villagers move about. They all were excited and happy. She never truly understood human emotions, so it left her slightly puzzled as she watched the scene play out. Several times she had asked Hiroki-sensei about and he always had trouble explaining it.
She watched as a mother hugged her son who looked to be in his teens. The men of the village were either comforting their families or working with each other and fixing up the rest of them ravaged village. They were all so social...so close and caring. A strange feeling began to build up inside Sayuri, she couldn't place the emotion but whatever it was, it made the bind on her wrist burn.
Wincing and gritting her teeth, Sayuri squeezed her hand over it in vain attempt to stop the pain. The burning dulled after a couple minutes, she rubbed her wrist absently. 'What...was that?' She thought while staring at the bind. It only ever really burned like that when she tried using her full demonic powers.
Deciding that she had stuck around here long enough, Sayuri began trekking off. "Wait, great warrior!" Sayuri looked over shoulder and saw it was the old man she had encountered yesterday.
"You have no debt to pay me." She told him coldly.
The old man paused when he heard her tone. He hesitated like a nervous deer before replying. "Please, I must repay you for this. Such a heroic and life-risking task should never go unpaid."
"No it's alright. I don't want to burden you or your village with such a debt. I don't mind at all." Sayuri said but before she could trek off, the man gripped her arm. She tried her best not to snarl and shove him away.
The old man had felt her tense up though. He was no fool, almost immediately he released her. "At least stay a night here, miss. We will have guilty conscious if we don't repay you."
Sayuri sighed seeing that there was no turning down this man's offer. "Very well. Thank you for your hospitality." She told him.
The old man bowed at her as if she were royalty. "It's no trouble at all. Now please come with me, I shall show you where you'll be staying."
She followed him ignoring the gawking and excited whispers she heard as she walked by some of the villagers. A dark haired little girl who couldn't be more than nine or ten walked up to her. The little girl gazed at her in awe as Sayuri walked by. As she passed the girl through a strange chill crawled up her spine. She looked back at the child curious but the girl seemed to have run off already. Moments later the man stopped at one of the houses that hadn't been ravaged by the demon. He knocked on the door frame and moments later a woman came. When she shall Sayuri, her eyes lit up.
"Hello, Akimoto-san" The woman greeted bright.
The greeting surprised her, but she bowed her head in reply.
"Do have enough room to house our friend for tonight?" The old man asked.
The woman's eyes brightened. "Certainly, I'll go tell my son, Heisuke. Please miss, come in and make yourself comfortable." She bowed and retreated back into her home. After a couple seconds of hesitation, Sayuri entered, she paused and looked at the old man. "Thank you." She told him.
"It was no trouble." He replied.
When Sayuri entered the house she was greeted by a young man. He looked about her age in human years, which was about eighteen or nineteen. The boy had dark red hair that looked almost brown and cutting jade green eyes. He stood at least a head taller than Sayuri.
When he saw her enter, he bowed out of respect. "Hello, it is an honor to have you in our home."
"There is no need for you all to bow to me." Sayuri replied coolly.
The boy straightened up and smiled softly. "Of course, it is proper. We cannot let you leave without showing you our devotion and thanks." He held out his hand and motion for her to follow him. "Come with me, my mother is setting up your room." He led her down a hall.
"Tell me." Sayuri suddenly said when they were half way to the destination. The boy looked back her. "What are your names; yours and your mother's? I must know whom I will thank for letting me stay in their home."
The boy flashed her a grin. "My mother's name is Tokine. Mine is Ichirou Ohayashi."
Sayuri nodded. "It is a pleasure to be welcomed in your household Ohayashi-san. Thank you to both you and your mother for allowing me to stay."
"It is pleasing to meet you as well, beautiful warrior." Ichirou replied taking her hand in his. Sayuri merely tilted her head in response; she was not familiar with human attraction and affection. She let her hand slip from his and she brushed passed him. "So you must've travelled far..." he said hoping to get a few more words from her.
"Yes, very far for two years." Was her quiet reply.
Ichirou looked at her in awe. "You could actually stand travelling alone for two years!?"
"Ichiro!" His mother scolded as she came out the room with a hand on her hip. "Quit interrogating our guest. I do not want to make Akimoto-san uncomfortable during her stay here."
Ichirou turned red and mumbled an apology. "Please," Sayuri insisted politely, "call me Sayuri ma'am."
"Oh of course." Tokine said smiling.
Sayuri stepped into the door frame of her room. "It's nice." She commented looking over the bare walls and the small window in the room. On the far wall, under the window was the bed she would be using.
"It's not much though." Tokine said, biting her lip.
"It's alright. I'm grateful for your hospitality."
"It was no bother at all."
Tokine nodded at Sayuri and disappeared down the hall. When she was gone, Ichirou attempted to start up conversation again. "I've never heard of a woman becoming a samurai. Was your master female as well?" He asked, though the second the words left his mouth, he felt some regret. The question was asked out of harmless curiosity but it still seemed rude.
However, Sayuri didn't seem to take any offense at his loose tongue. "My master was a man. A man with a very open mind, which is why he chose to train me." Not a lie, but not exactly the real whole truth.
Ichirou leaned backed against the wall. "Interesting. So how long were you trained?"
Sayuri cocked her head as she counted up the years. "I was about nine when he took me in." She said.
"What about your parents? How do they feel about you being trained as a samurai?" Ichirou's curiosity seemed to have no bounds. However when Sayuri winced, he knew was pushing her over her comfort zone. "...I'm sorry..." he immediately said.
Sayuri shook her head. "You haven't offended me." She paused for a moment as she tried to think. A few minutes had already ticked by before she said. "I was an orphan. There isn't much I remember about my parents."
"Do not apologize for my own misfortunes." Sayuri interrupted.
Ichirou winced. "So you are not upset at being abandoned? You don't feel resentment at your parents for leaving you?"
"I don't. Am I supposed to?" Sayuri asked.
"I don't know but I know I would feel at least a little angry."
"That is you. The two of us see things differently."
"You act as if you do not care that you will never know who your parents are?"
"You keep asking if I'm angry, Ichirou, is that what you want me to be?"
Ichirou stiffened and his face turned a light shade of red. He looked away and ran a hand through his hair, he breathed out a sigh. "No, I didn't mean to make it seem like I was riling you." He let a short laugh. "You're strange; Sayuri-chan. Uh I—I mean...er is it-"
Sayuri saved him from his embarrassment. "Yes, don't worry; I don't mind you call me Sayuri-chan. I probably am a bit strange as well; everyone is different from the next person." She told him in that same calm tone she had been using the whole time. Ichirou gave her a grateful smile and he exhaled in relief that he had not offended a samurai.
"Enjoy your stay here." Ichirou said before turning away to leave.
Sayuri watched the young man walked until he reached the end of the hall before entering the room. She slid the door shut behind her and went over to go sit on the bed. Dusk is approaching soon. She thought as she gawked at the fading light outside the window. The sounds of activity let her know that it wasn't too late yet, so she decided to go for a walk around the village. After telling Tokine that she'd be gone for a while, Sayuri trudged outside, breathing in the smoke laced air.
Sayuri sneezed and made an irritated sound, she hated the stench of the cook fires. To her sensitive nose, it made the air smell horribly charred and burnt. Though it was very ironic that she was a dragon demon that disliked the smell of smoke and fire.
The young woman tried to ignore the scent and went on to begin her stroll. Sayuri once and awhile would nod at the villagers whenever they would acknowledge her or thank her. She sighed, wishing that these people would let her go on; she had no time for their hospitality. It was dangerous; she was dangerous when night came. It was when her true demon nature became difficult to control. Her master had taught her how to keep it at bay but sometimes it was very difficult. There were times when she wasn't successful in keeping her darker nature under keeps and she feared losing control here and wreaking more havoc.
Sayuri wandered over to the tree line and sat at the roots of one of them. She closed her eyes and leaned back against the trunk. Before she could really relax, the sound of footfalls caught her attention. Someone came over and stood before her, she kept her eyes closed hoping the stranger would believe her to be asleep and leave her be. However even after several minutes, Sayuri could still sense their presence hovering above her. Finally she said, "Is there anything you want to ask me?"
She opened her eyes and saw a little girl, the child she had seen before. Sayuri studied the shy girl with a tilt of her head. The girl's blue eyes were filled with curiosity and also a hint of wariness. Her body trembled a little; if it was from fear then the determined expression on her young face must've hidden it well. "What is it, child? I hope you haven't lost your nerve already, you've only just approached me and haven't even said a word." Sayuri challenged in a quiet voice. The girl's shoulders jumped but she didn't shy a step away from Sayuri.
Sayuri lifted her chin when the girl didn't speak yet, however she didn't leave either. The young woman decided to wait to see if the girl's courage faltered or not. Amusement gleamed in her golden eyes; an emotion she rarely showed most of the time.
Another moment passed and Sayuri noticed the light fading. She mentally growled and got to her feet; she looked over at the dark haired girl, grunted and then walked away. "Please Miss Samurai!" Sayuri paused when she heard the girl's exclamation. She looked out the corner of her eye at her; not breaking her silent demeanor. "I need your help, don't go!"
The samurai looked straight ahead. "I cannot help everyone. Once morning is here, I will be gone, I'm sorry but you must find someone else for assistance."
Before she could take a step forward the girl cried out. "Wait!"
"I cannot help you, now leave me alone. "Sayuri said in a stern voice. Without glancing backward, Sayuri continued on. "It's getting late," she called back, "you should probably go home as well."
When she looked back, the girl was gone. Sayuri felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand; she didn't like being foxed by a mere human child.
"I made supper; you're just in time, Sayuri." Tokine greeted as the samurai entered the house.
"Please don't take offense when I say this, but I am not hungry this evening." Sayuri said bowing to the older woman. Tokine's cheeks flushed a little at the gesture. "I'm going to turn in early."
Tokine smiled. "It's no bother at all." She replied. "Oh and please, before you go rest, allow me to get you some fresh bandages." She motion to the fabric that Sayuri had tied around her injured arm.
"Thank you." She replied with no objections.
Tokine motioned for her to sit at the bench in the kitchen, and then disappeared into one of the other rooms to retrieve medical supplies. Moments later then, she returned with fresh linen bandages. She gently removed the fabric and began to dress the wound, first by rubbing an oily substance over the cut, then once she had rubbed it in enough she took up some dried leaves and pressed them down against the injury. Sayuri winced, feeling a soft tingle when the rough surface of the leaves came in contact with the exposed flesh of her cut. "The herbs will stop it from festering." Tokine told her.
"Thank you, again." Sayuri said with a bow of her head. Then without another word, she stood and retired to the room she would be using tonight.
"Turning in early?"
Sayuri didn't look behind her when she replied to Ichirou. "I barely managed to get any rest last night."
"Oh, well goodnight." Ichirou replied awkwardly. Sayuri still stood at the doorway, sensing that he wanted to say something more. "So you'll be heading out in the morning? You can't stay a little while longer?" He asked curiously.
Sayuri looked down. 'Why does he bother me so much? What is this young man's fascination with me? I don't understand it.' She tensed when she felt his hand on her shoulder and looked at him with a quizzical expression. Ichirou's face was drawn and he was looking off to the side shyly. His demeanor addled her. "What is it, Ichirou?" Sayuri asked, brushing his hand off.
Ichirou backed away in response looking a little offended. "Can't you rest here for a couple more days, Sayuri? You need some time to rest yourself after journeying for so long."
Sayuri shook her head before he could say anymore "I've been traveling by myself for two years, I learned how to endure. Now, good night Ichirou."
She wished he would leave her alone already. With night approaching so quickly, she worried what would happen if she didn't isolate herself soon. She wouldn't forgive herself if she lost control and hurt these villagers after all they've done for her.
Ichirou nodded and looked like he wanted to say more but he held his tongue. He seemed a little discouraged by that edge she had taken on in her voice. Sayuri frowned. "Leave me!" This time she made sure the venom in her voice could be heard.
Ichirou jumped and immediately slid away from her. He looked hurt. "I'll leave you to rest then." He muttered before brushing passed her with a numb expression.
Sayuri sighed; slightly in relief and slightly in exasperation. She disappeared into the room and quickly shut the door behind her. Ichirou had been stung by her words, but he would be fine, he wouldn't let her words bring his mood down that easily. In the morning, he would be bright and awkward again.
He's a strange young man. I've met many men and women who have acted this way but...this is different. His behavior reminds me of an excited ferret. Sayuri thought as she settled down in her bed.
The moonlight shining through the window took her attention captive for a few minutes. The sight of the night sky made the hair on her neck stand. She clutched her bracelet, tightly.
"What's this?" Sayuri asked, she bit at the band on her arm. It clinked softly as her teeth jarred against it. She winced at the metallic taste and pulled away grimly.
Hiroki smiled; there was a pain expression in his eyes though. "It's a special bind." He said.
Sayuri eyed him, despite being a child, the look was still intimidating. "A bind on what?"
"It's a seal on your true demon nature. You're wearing it so you won't lose control and I won't have to hurt you. It's also so you don't hurt me or anybody else."
Sayuri sneered; she didn't like the idea of her powers being suppressed. "I don't like it." She complained.
Hiroki smiled at the demon youth's protest. It was a pity that something so adorable and innocent looking could stir up so much chaos. "You'll learn to get used to it. Stop looking at me like that too; you're only trying to make me feel bad. It's for the best, Sayuri." He told her sternly.
Sayuri scowled but didn't protest further. Instead she went back to inspecting the bracelet as she had before. "What will happen," she asked, "if I tried using my powers?"
"The bracelet will start glowing and if you push it far enough, it will burn you. So you must be careful when we are training Sayu-chan, for if you come close to losing control, you will be severely injured."
Sayuri nodded while still fiddling with the bracelet. It felt cool against her bare skin and itched. This thing was such a nuisance! However, she wouldn't be allowed to remove it, Master Hiroki was too anxious. Too fearful, like all the other short-life humans.
Her wrist began burning and Sayuri let out a yelp. She clamped her hand around the bracelet, letting out a hiss of pain. Suddenly it felt as if all of the energy in her body had been soaked away and she crumpled to the ground. Still clutching her wrist, she looked accusingly at Hiroki whom merely shrugged.
Hiroki leaned down to help her up. Once she was on her feet, Sayuri shied away from him almost immediately, as if he were a leper. "That is what happens when it senses your power." He said remorsefully as he reached out to touch her; however Sayuri only retreated away even more. Hiroki sighed and dropped his head. "I'm sorry Sayu, but it is for the best. If you don't want to experience something like that anymore, then you better behave."
Sayuri looked away from him, and Hiroki could practically feel his hair turning gray. Raising and training a demon youth was more difficult than dealing with a human child. So headstrong. He said to himself as he watched the girl. A small smile—one that he couldn't help—formed on his face.
"Sayu, come here." He said. Sayuri ignored him and walked away, pretending that she was studying the plants around the house. Hiroki let out a sigh and gave a little chuckle. "Sayuri, please just look at me."
The young demon glanced at him; her golden eyes were full of hurt. Hiroki blinked in surprised, he's never known Sayuri to show that much emotion. "I'm sorry, okay?"
"The bind is for your safety, believe in me. I would never hurt you on purpose." He told her.
"…I believe you…" the demon girl said quietly. She still had her wrist cradled against her body. Hiroki winced.
"However, I need to let you know now." He quickly said, ignoring the darkened glint in her eyes. "At night, the bind's power will weaken."
Sayuri didn't seem to find that information. Hiroki wouldn't be surprised if she actually liked hearing it. "Your true demon nature will overcome you and you could become a danger to anyone around you." He paused to let the girl to absorb this information. She had begun to make her way closer to him again, curiosity flickered in her eyes. "Though it's been weakened, the bind will cause you much trouble. It will keep burning until it is morning."
Sayuri's face fell. She looked down at the bracelet with a look of distaste. Her fingers arched as she tried to claw at the metal. "What will I do at night then? If I'm dangerous, then where will you be?"
Sayuri pulled herself from the memory and clutched the bracelet tighter. She looked at the door and felt a little remorse for snapping at Ichirou. The boy was only trying to befriend her and she turned him away. It was dangerous though, she was dangerous.
She didn't want to be chased out of the village she had saved. To suddenly go on a crazy rampage would ruin these people's gratitude. That's the last thing she would need, the fight from last night had still left her drained. She wanted to just rest in peace, without fear or concern.
There was no such thing though. She was a demon; her kind wreaked havoc and filled people with fear. Fear. Wherever she went, there was always fear, this entire country was fill with fear. Everyone was tense, it was as if the world were about to break out in war and chaos. Sayuri didn't like it.
People should be this skittish. She noticed it a couple months back when she was passing through another village. They didn't want her around; the elder had told her to leave immediately and to never come through there again. Something must've frightened them. What it was, Sayuri didn't know, they never gave her a chance to ask.
Whatever it was, Sayuri wasn't sure if it were worth looking into or not. It didn't matter to her if the humans suddenly became more frightened. That was their business; she had other more important matters set before her.
Note: Sorry for the late update. School's been taking over my life. We'll try to have the next chapter up as soon we can.