|A Thief's Tale: Yankotsu
Author: yankotsu PM
A lost and confused boy finds himself in an unknown city with total amnesia. He lives homeless and unwanted his entire life relying only on himself for survival. To find the mean for food and other such luxuries he must live as a thief in the night.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Fantasy - Words: 4,560 - Published: 01-28-13 - id: 3096294
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A Thief's Tale: Yankotsu; The Awakening of a Thief.
Being pulled out of the sea, a young boy lay on the dock unconscious. This boy was no older than ten years old. As he slowly opened his eyes, mind in a fog, body shaken with an unknown fear, every muscle of the poor boy's ached with pain and fatigue. As he looked around all he seen were unknown faces. The fear that sat inside him suddenly shot through his nerves and caused him to get up and sprint for safety, not knowing where to go he just ran blindly down any and all streets. When finally he was out of breath he slumped his way to the ground panting. Many questions raced through his mind; where was he? What was going on? Why is his head bleeding? And who is he?
This young child had no memories of who he was, where he was at, or what happened to him. He had no memories at all. When he closed his eyes and tried to remember he got a weird feeling from the town he was in, and all he could see were flames. Shaking and slapping his head the visions finally dispersed, but the weird feeling stayed. Tears flooded his face, sobs choked is breaths, he curled up into a ball and rolled to his side. He was not only alone on the streets, but mentally as well. Slumber slowly crept its way into the boy, and he embraced it gratefully hoping he will remember something when he awoke.
Sleep did not last long for him however. Thuds and groans of pain awoke him late in the night. The child tried to scurry to his feet, but he slipped and landed on his butt. Looking around, wide eyed and scared, he saw the cause of the sound. There was a group of tall people all wearing dark brown robes, some stained with blood, fighting each other. The scene was pure chaos. Fists, weapons, and blood flew across the skirmish. Figures began to drop, bleeding onto the street, one after the other. Finally only three stood in the end. All three of them seemed to be of the same side, as they did not fight each other, and they carried hammers at their sides. The remainders all laughed and strolled off into the night as if they fight had been a routine thing. This experience only made the child that much more scared of where he was. Did any of the others die in that fight? What was that even for? How safe was he? Slowly he watched as one got up, and limped away, but the others still lay bleeding on the streets. He no longer wanted to be around this place, and so he wondered further down the dark alleyway and found a black corner that he rolled up into and went back to sleep.
The next morning was brought upon by another uneasy sensation. This time there was another kid sitting on him, fiddling with his wear. The now awake child's first reaction was to run, but he could not get up. For some reason this felt usual to him though, and his body moved on it's own as his arm drew back, and rammed into the other kid's side, causing him to double over. Quickly he got to his feet and watched his attacker slowly recover from the surprise blow. What was he attempting to do? He looked down and seen that he had been wearing a belt which was now open around his waist. As he examined it however the attacker went for another blow, and struck the unsuspecting victim in the face, sending him to the ground. A trickle of blood ran from his mouth. He stood wiping it away. The memories of the night before popped into his mind, but the fear was gone. All that he felt now was anger. Quickly he deciphered that this was a fighting town. He may not have any memory, but his body remembers how to fight, and his hands were rough and covered with calluses, perhaps he was a usual fighter before his loss of memory. Looking the young enemy in the face with confidence now, he awaited the next hit, but instead the boy turned and away. Maybe he figured he could not win this fight, and he simply chose to steal another day. Now that he was alone he looked down at his belt. Taking it off and turning it in his hands he could see why someone would steal it. It was fine black leather, with golden hairs of some kind imbedded into it. The hairs spelled a name. Yankotsu Akatsumi. Was this his name? Is he Yankotsu Akatsumi? Regardless if that was his birth name or not, it was still a name, and still one step closer to finding out his past.
Pulling his shirt down to cover his belt, Yankotsu walked the streets of this foreign town. Looking around the first thing he noticed was that every building looked the exact same. Every house or shop was made of the same materials, same shade, and looks very similar. Only one thing made them stick out were the small painting on the sides, and decoration of hanging skulls. This only made the place seem even more unfriendly to a young outsider. The people simply pushed their way past him, giving him glares and small remarks of getting out of their way. He did not like it here.
Slinking away from the main flow of people Yankotsu sat alone and watched the people. He happens to notice that a lot of them looked similar as well as the town; tall figures, dark hair, and hard faces. Everyone wore very bright colors, but no one in particular looked rich, and there was the occasional person with dark worn robes like the night before that everyone respected. Is that the true way of things? Why was he wearing such dirty tan colors then? Was he to be respected as? So then why was everyone so rude to him before? This place made no sense, but then again sense he remembered nothing, what would make sense?
Yankotsu decided to learn more about this place. So he walked, but this time he did so following others. Either he would travel in the footsteps of another to make the passages easier to walk in, or alongside the same person for a while so it seemed they were together to others. He listened in on others' conversations as he moved, getting bits of information here and there. Apparently the robed people were called Monks. Monks should be feared he quickly realized. As he walked and passed more Monks he noticed they have blood stains all over their robes, and carry their weapons as with pride while others were unarmed. After so long of walking and listening that his poor feet ached to step, he broke off the main streets and wondered down the side streets.
These were still occupied with many people, but not nearly as packed as the others. Here people noticed him easily, must not be hard to do so with such a light colored hair amongst their dark. He slunk around on the sides of the streets, trying to stick to the darkest areas around so not to cause attention. That was when a brown being stepped in front of him. "Hey there kid, are you lost or something?" The question seemed caring, but the tone was harsh and cold. To scared to answer the man he just shook his head. "Well, what's your name?"
Fear stuttered his words. "Y-Y-Yankotsu A-Aka-Akatsumi" finally slipped his lips. He looked at him, wondering if it sounded like a local name, maybe this man knew his family. Maybe this man can help find out what happened to him.
"Well no Akatsumi live here, Boy. You better come with me." He reached down to take Yankotsu's arm, and as he did the wind caught his robe enough to reveal a sharp looking weapon. Fear shot through the kid again as he seen it, and a flash of bloody bodies on the group popped into his head. Running was all he could, so he ran as fast as he could in the opposite direction. Bumping into other people as he forced his way down the street made it difficult to see where he was running exactly. However there eventually came an opening in the hoards of people, so he pushed on faster. Soon enough though he realized why there was a gap in the crowd. As he ran right for it he seen there was a giant opening in the ground. What in the world was this? What caused it? He had no idea of either of these questions, but what he did know is that he cannot stop running, for it was too late. As he reached the edge of the opening he could feel gravity take effect, his insides seemed to fall to his feet, he feared his death had come, and the shock of the situation made him black out.
As he came to he seen a crowed of robes, and one brightly dressed woman standing over him. They all stopped talking as he opened his eyes. Everyone was looking at him, but he had no idea why he was even alive. "Are you okay now, Child?" It was the woman talking to him, "I caught the back of your shirt and belt just as you ran into the Aperture. What in the world were you thinking?" Her voice sounded both frustrated, but also honestly concerned. She actually cared about his well being.
"Hey, Kid, I never meant to scare you; I simply wanted to help you find you parents." It was the monk from earlier. He had caught up to the scene shortly after it happened. "Do you know where they are?" As he sat up the other monks left. Something felt wrong though. It appears he had lost control of his body, and soiled himself after the blackout. It was warm and squishy to sit on, now that he knew it was there he could smell it and it caused him to gag. This scene made the monk laugh. "It's normal for brats who almost die to dirty themselves."
The woman however looked at him with pity, "You can wash up at my place if that's okay with the monk." With a nod the monk looked down at the child. With one last shrug, as if shrugging off the responsibilities, he walked away. Yankotsu was now in the care of some random woman he had never met.
He followed her to her house. As he suspected it appeared just like every other in this place on the outside, but the inside was a totally different story. The walls were all decorated with different colored fabrics with weird symbols that he recognized from banners out on the streets. The furniture was rather basic despite to bright colors around them. Although nothing appeared to perfect, it was all very pretty. She quickly went and fetched a bucket of water and a rag and placed them in front of him. "Okay, turn and drop your pants so I can wash you." She appeared to be harmless, and so he did as she asked. He blushed as the wet cloth ran across his bare bottom, wiping the stink away. As she finished Yankotsu's face was beat red with shame. When she seen him she laughed and patted his head. "It's okay, I have a boy almost the same age, he's with his Papa right now though," She stopped and thought for a second. "In fact I have some extra cloths you can wear of his." And so she disappeared into the house. Yankotsu took this time to look around the house more. Nothing really stood out at him as far as appeal goes, but nothing was dirty either. It must be a nice place to live. She soon returned with a new outfit for him. The shirt and pants were a bright blue, and the undershirt and drawers were a golden yellow color. Sure enough they fit perfectly. She stood with a triumphant smile on her face. "Alright I'll go empty the bucket and we can talk some more when I get back." And just like that she was gone. He did not feel right about being here. Something just felt wrong about. He clearly did not belong. Looking around he seen a piece of black fabric that had some weird symbol on, and thought it must be very warm. Reaching up he grabbed it from where it hung and ran out the door, never to return.
Back on the streets he wrapped himself in the black fabric, with the symbol side inward, and walked down the streets trying to pass it off as one of the cloaks everyone else was wearing, only looking terrible at it. His 'cloak' looked like a terribly folded blanket thrown on his back, which it was, but he did not want everyone else to know. Now that he was dressed brightly like all the others around him he was no longer pushed around and forced to the sides. He now blended in with others of this weird place. Looking around he noticed that those with the bright colored cloths after had some sort of strange symbol with them, and all of the symbols seemed to match those hanging from the banners around them. Yankotsu had no such banner, so how could he obtain one?
A bustling place off to the side stood out among the street. There was a group of people tumbling their way out of the door as others walked in. Those leaving walked strange, had red faces, and talked gibberish. That would be a perfect place to obtain a symbol of some kind, so he slipped his way in as another staggering person found the exit. Noise and stench are the only things he noticed about this place. Everyone was loud and the whole place smelled rank. He found himself a dark little corner and watched the people passing. Regardless of how loud and unorderly they all seemed, everyone was happy. They were all smiling and laughing alike. Yankotsu liked it here, no one was fighting, everyone getting along, and no one was being mean to him. He listened to the people of this place for quite some time. Apparently the table next to his corner had born a new child day before and was celebrating the good news. He learned that the place was called a "Pub" and the people tripping over others were "Drunk" off of whatever it was they were drinking, and he noticed everyone was drinking the same stuff. Yankotsu wondered if it tasted any good. As the party disbanded from the table they left their cups behind. He slowly made his way over to the table and checked the drinks. One still had half of its contents. Slowly he raised it and took a drink, and quickly spat it back out wiping the remains from his mouth. It tasted terrible! Before he could walk away however he felt a tug on the top of his shirt as his feet listed off the ground.
Behind him stood a very tall and muscular man with a rough beard and scowl of rage. "What the blazes is a kid like you doing in here?" The man carried him over to the door and turned Yankotsu to face him. "This is no place for you, Boy, don't come back or I'll get the Monks." With that, he tossed Yankotsu to the street and shut the door. This was not good, as it seemed that he had missed his chance of getting a symbol, and it was growing dark out. Most of the people on the streets were gone already, only a few stragglers remained on the streets, and a lot of them wore the blood stained robes of a monk. He instantly knew he should be out here like this, so he took off to the side streets and alleys. Before long he managed to find himself a small passageway that appeared abandoned, so he curled up on the side, covered himself with the fabric, and let himself doze off to sleep, recollecting the day's events and the bits he had heard about this, but he still did now know what it was called. Just where in the world was he?
On the third day he awoke no longer scared or lonely. He was simply tired. Hunger left his body weak, the days of running and walking finally caught up to his aching muscles, and the depression of being alone with no memory began to affect his mind. He was feeling weird, as if there was someone else around him. The feeling first came about when he had almost fell into the weird opening in the ground, but at the time he was too confused to notice anything.
After giving his body time to fully awaken, he eventually summoned the strength to lift his body off the ground. Fatigue made him shiver. Wrapping himself in the fabric he began once again to walk the streets. As he turned the corner he seen people in a line, but just people, all of the people around were either in this line, or returning to their houses from it. Not being an official member of the town he sat back and watched what was going on. There was a stall surrounded by Monks, and they were passing out food. Yankotsu's face lit up at the sight of them just passing out the food. He hadn't eaten in so long it hurt to be awake. Looking around he found the end of the line, and joined it. Not sure what to do he tugged on the shirt of the man in front of him. "Um… What's goin on here?" With a look of disgust the man yanked his shirt back from the homeless boy and turned away from him. It was enough, Yankotsu knew he was not accepted by these people, but he had to try to get the food regardless.
As Yankotsu inched his way to the front of the line, one person going after the other, the stillness began to wear on his already aching body, it turned out the forced movements was that were stopping his body from hurting so bad. Eventually he fell to the ground, not able to stand anymore. As he laid on the ground the others in line simply walked right past him. It was not their problem, not everyone was as nice as the woman from the day before.
Why did this all have to happen? Yankotsu lay on the streets, ignored by all, waiting for his death. 'I'm so tired,' he thought to himself, 'Do I really have to keep going? Maybe I should just let myself die.' He rolled over staring at the feet of the other citizens of this place. Finally he realized that no one truly cared about him. He was alone, and that was that. 'They all get to live so happily… With their families, homes, food, yet I lay here alone, homeless, and starving. Nothing is fair.' More people passed him by. His mind cried with pain, his body limb and numb, darkness began to take over his vision. 'And this is it; this is the end of my story.' Slowly he shut his eyes and let the darkness take him. His body felt limp. 'No… NO!'
He stood, forcing himself to go on. If no one wanted to help him, wanted to care about him, then he would not care about anyone else, but himself. He would live simply so that someone would care about the name "Yankotsu Akatsumi" before it disappeared from this world. Slowly he straightened himself up. Noticing that people were still barely giving him even a glance, he made his way back to his spot in the line.
When at last it was his turn to receive some food he noticed a Monk with a quill and paper. Yankotsu stepped up and was asked his name. When he gave his name one of the security Monks perked up. "Akatsumi, aren't you the kid who ran from me yesterday?" And sure enough, it was the same guard that had chased him through town. "Weren't you to go home with a family yesterday?" The question scared him. Would running away of made it impossible to get food? What would he have to do now? He answered simply by shaking his head. The Monk looked him over. Not sure if it was the hollowing cheeks, the dirt covered figure, or the desperate look in his face, but for whatever reason this blood stained robed Monk shrugged. "Musta been a different kid, never mind then give him some food." And with that the Monk behind the stand reached down and handed Yankotsu a loaf of bread and two apples. The starving boy quickly accepted the gift and began to run off before the helpful Monk stepped in his way, making him fall and lose the food. Angrily the Monk gathered Yankotsu's food and handed it to him. "Watch yourself kid!" Without another word the boy was gone, food in hand.
Finding himself a quit alleyway to himself Yankotsu dropped to the ground and began eating an apple. Looking over the food it didn't appear too grand, but it was amazing none the less. The apples were almost old and the bread almost stale, but there was something new in the bundle. Somehow he managed to get a single slice of dried meat. Was it the Monk? Could someone be so kind in this place? He was thankful for however it had happened, and enjoyed his first bit of food in days.
Finishing his meal he felt like a whole new person. Perhaps he still did not feel well, but he did however have a raised moral. He can survive in this world. It might not be hard, and he might be alone, but he will not give up, not again. Rising to his feet he looked around the city with new eyes. If he was not meant to fit in then he simply won't want to. He had decided to live in this town as a single person. He will make a living even if it is at the loss of others. They do not care about him, why should he about them? And with this new found goal in life Yankotsu Akatsumi set foot to the streets a new child.
He spent many hours following people on the street. He was listening to their words, trying to copy their walk as best as a he could, and looking for anything new along the way. Soon he came to know much about this place in only one day. The town was called Nyka and run by Monks. The Monks all belonged to four separate Gods; each one had their own symbols and their own parts of the town. It did not take him long to figure out that the symbols were on the banners of the streets. He did not yet know which banner belonged to what god, or what the gods meant, but it was enough for one day.
By the time the skies were getting dark he had done much walking. His legs pounded from being so over worked on so little food, head began to fog up from tiredness, and the weird feeling of not being alone continued to haunt him again. This was a new area of town however. The banners on the buildings were different, and the houses had bowls with a small portion of food outside the door while the home became dark with sleep. Looking around Yankotsu noticed no one. Slowly he crept his way up to the bowls of food. There truly was not much in them. Simple slices of bread, and some only had an apple or two, but it was more than he had. Quickly he snatched up the food in a bowl and ran off. He made his way a small side street, snatching all of the food he passed. Eventually he needed to take off his stolen fabric and use it to carry the food. Until finally as he was reaching for a bowl a neighbor opened his door to put his out and caught the boy stealing the food. "Hey! What are you trying to do with our offerings?"
Scared Yankotsu froze. He had been caught. What could he say to get out of this situation? What would he believe to let him go? Nothing, that's what, but there was something that everyone appeared to fear. "The Monks asked me to gather the offerings for this road tonight. They are awfully busy with something else in town."
The look on the man's face eased up, but he still looked suspicious. He looked at the fabric used to carry the food and assumed that a child as dirty as him surely could not afford it. "Well, if it's for the Monks I can't stop you, but I'm warning if you're lying and the Monks catch you; you're dead." With that the man through his bowl of offerings, which consisted of a single apple and the end of a loaf of bread, to the kid's feet and closed the door.
Slowly Yankotsu picked up the food and added to the rest. 'This is easy enough for me to live on.' He thought to himself as he walked away from the street. But he knew the man was right, he could not lie about working for the Monks forever, or he would be caught, and if the Monks truly do pick up the offerings he could not take them every night. This bit would have to do for now. He continued to walk, wanting to get as far away from that street as possible, until he found a dead end road with an abandoned building. He tried to open the door, but it was locked, and the windows were boarded up. However there was a pile of hay in the corner of that building and the back of another. Food and a bed. Tonight was going to be a good night for this lonely orphan. He gathered the hay up and laid it out for a bed. He looked at his food and began to eat. He ate until his neglected stomach could not hold anymore. When he finished he looked around for something to do with the left over scraps. He found an old sack with potatoes in it. Perhaps this building was once a food shop? Perhaps not because there were none other in the town. Maybe some kind of animal shop? He did not care what it was, only that it was helping him now. Looking inside the bad what few potatoes were left were black and something growing on them. He dumped the sack away from his corner and put his food in it. Stashing the food under the hay Yankotsu slept peacefully for the first time.