Shadows of the Moon
Claimer: I own this whole story and everything in it!! Please, please, please, please, PLEASE do not plagiarize or take any credit for it or whatever it is! I had to do a ton of Japanese and Chinese historical research (helped me pass my Social Studies test, hehe…who said making up stories couldn't teach you anything? ^_^) to make the FIRST chapter, and there are still more ahead! So please don't take advantage of this…mmkay? Mmkay.
And remember that this is an ANIME :)
Prologue & Intro
Shinji and Akira Yuuki are mysteriously taken to China, 1547. When they meet a young monk named Li Xiao and his companions Jei Ling and Liang, Shinji and Akira made a deal that if they helped him find the 9 Swords of the Shaolin Mountain, he had to take them back to Japan. They thought they were going on a simple journey to find some weapons, and that it had been nothing more than an agreement. But their quest becomes an adventure that would change all of them forever…
By the late 1800s, samurai and ninja were no longer important social statuses in Japan, and Feudalism (the system of one person being loyal to another person of higher power) was gone. By then, firearms had already replaced swords and the old ways of life. Akira and Shinji just happened to be people that didn't let the old ways die.
I chose the actual story to take place in 16th century China because of Shaolin and my interest in it. I wanted the concepts of Shaolin to be part of the story, and therefore, having the 19th century as a setting would've eliminated that.
The story of Ta Mo being the creator of Shaolin is 100% true, and so is the story of how he spent 9 years of solitude in the mountains. Look it up yourself if you don't believe me. However, his forging of the swords are not historical fact at all. The legend was made up by me to be used for Shadows of the Moon, and was not based on anything relating to Ta Mo or the 9 years of solitude story.
None of the characters' names are based on historical figures.
Jei Ling, Li Xiao, and Liang all refer to China as the 'Middle Kingdom,' because that is what the Chinese called it. They never called their own land 'China.'
Eyes: Dark blue
Hair: Reddish brown, long
Looks like: (need to help you get an idea ^^) Kenshin Himura w/o the ponytail
Date/Place of Birth: November 2, 1810 Japan
Identifying feature: resemblance to his late father
Akira is the cocky and outspoken brother of Shinji Yuuki, and is known to many people as the 'Samurai without Honor.' He supposedly abandoned his master for a free life 2 years prior to the events of Shadows of the Moon, but only he knows what really happened. He likes to act tough, and pretends not to care about things that actually mean a lot to him.
Eyes: Dark blue
Hair: Black, spiky
Looks like: ……. uh ……. can't find anyone ….…
Date/Place of Birth: June 25, 1812 – Japan
Identifying feature: Fighting style
Shinji is Akira's younger brother. Unlike Akira, Shinji is shy, quiet and *almost* has a demure attitude. He is a lone ninja who lost the rest of his clan, the Kage Ayame, in a terrible fight. Unfortunately, because of this, he became very expensive kill--his head is worth thousands in bounty reward money. Most people who find out that he is the Kage Ayame's last ninja are surprised--you see, he has this tendency to cry a lot…
Eyes: Rainforest green
Looks like: Ayame from Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven
Date/Place of Birth: April 16, 1532 – China
Jei Ling is the last remaining descendant of a mysterious clan that practiced an enhanced style of White Crane Shaolin. She won't give anyone her last name, has a fear of arrows and is extremely superstitious. She becomes good friends with Shinji and is a nice, outgoing, and sometimes mysterious person, but piss her off and…
Eyes: Reddish brown
Looks like: a happier, friendlier anime version of Squall Leonhart (Final Fantasy VIII)
Date/Place of Birth: ????? 1528 – China
Identifying feature: Scar on right cheek
Li Xiao is a Shaolin monk, and like all in the monastery, *literally* knows 100 ways to kill a man. He was the one who Ming Tien spoke to through the dream. He leads the group on the journey and speaks little of his past.
Eyes: Sky Blue
Looks like: No one I can think of yet…
Date/Place of Birth: December 25, 1529 – China
Liang ran away from the life of nobility at the age of 6. The monks found her lost in the forest, sitting by a stream, and decided to take her in. She mastered all the styles of Shaolin by watching the monks for the 12 years that she lived with them. She is a silent person, but she and Li Xiao seem to have a special friendship.
Eyes: Dark green
Looks like: ???
Date/Place of Birth: August 13, 1812 – Japan
Eyes: Dark Green
Looks like: Yuffie Kisaragi
Date/Place of Birth: July 17, 1814 – Japan
More character profiles will be added as the story progresses, because I don't wanna spoil what happens later if you're interested.
On with the story :)
Kyoto, Japan – 1829
"Hey, Shinji, is thirty minutes up yet?" Akira yawned as if he weren't even under the waterfall at all. Shinji continued playing the flute. "Hey, Shinji. Shinji!" he threw a rock at his brother's head, but the younger man caught it.
"Yes, yes, it is done. Leave me to my music, oniichan!"
"Alright, don't be such a crybaby." Akira stepped out from under the waterfall and began to unwrap a small package. "So what'll it be? Sashimi? Maki?"
"Do we have anything else?"
"Well, besides sashimi and maki, there's …er … sashimi and maki."
Shinji's eyes began to shine noticeably, and a very cute but sad expression crossed his face. The young man's lower lip trembled slightly.
"Whoa…whoa, hey, Shinji, don't look at me like that…" his expression didn't change. "Oh come on, you can't stare at me like that forever!" Another thought crossed Akira's mind. (Actually, he can.)
Akira stepped out of the waterfall. "A-alright, how 'bout …er…how about we eat a restaurant? Huh? Whaddaya say, buddy?" He took out some money and jingled the coins in his hand. Shinji smiled almost genki-style. Akira sighed. "The things I do for you…"
--- --- --- ---
Akira stood outside the restaurant. "Just how much can that genki eat? This is longer than natural even for him…" He stepped into the restaurant and walked up to the bar. "Hey, uh, any of you see a short kid around, by any chance?"
"Well, there was a young man just earlier, but he went out to look for his brother just a while ago. I'd say he was about fifteen, at most."
"Huh. Well, thanks." Akira smiled a bit fondly at what the bartender said. 'I'd say he was about fifteen, at most.' Shinji was 17, but looked 2 years his junior. Akira walked out of the restaurant through the back door. "Looks like I've just missed him."
"Shinji!!! Shiiiiiiiiiinjiiiiiiiii! Hey! Aw, crap…" the samurai scratched his head and chewed on a dumpling he'd saved from earlier. A policeman passed by, and Akira smirked, remembering his sword.
(Anti-sword law. Heh. Whatever.) He walked briskly by the man, who was standing in his path. Naturally, he noticed the blade hanging from Akira's belt.
"Hey! You over there! You've got a sword!"
"Of a man who stands in his own grave? You'll die tonight, you wannabe-samurai!"
Akira jumped up and over the policeman. "You've got crappy aim. Think they'd hire better officials these days."
"You'll regret those words the hour of your death, boy!"
"Boy?? Tsch. I'm nineteen, buddy."
"Your quick mouth and your efforts will prove fruitless tonight."
"You calling me a fruit? I hate it when people insult me." He jumped up into the trees. "Luckily for you, I'm not in such a bad mood today. Let's play a little game. Hide and seek! Whaddaya say--you can back out any time you want, you know." He teased provocatively.
"Why you no good son of a--"
"Keep it clean, will ya?" Akira jumped out of the trees and ran into the forest. The policeman trailed closely behind.
"Get back here you worthless coward!!!"
"Yeesh, you've got one hell of a temper, buddy. Guess it's no fun playing with a sore loser." He ran into a cluster of trees, and the policeman continued to follow.
"You dirty--where did he go?" he looked around wildly. "Stupid kid." He finally muttered, walking out of the glade.
Akira witnessed all this from behind a rock in the lake, chuckling to himself. He dove underwater, expecting to surface, but the water never seemed to end. He seemed to be held in one place. His eyes shot open as he felt his lungs run out of air, until he finally passed out.
--- --- --- ---
Akira yawned and groaned sleepily. (What the hell just happened to me?) Remembering what he had gone through earlier, he bolted upright and cursed. "Oh no! Shinji! Where is he?!" he paused. "Where…where am I?!"
He was on a high cliff, probably on some kind of mountain. Akira sat back down. (I'll find my way. Just gotta find that genki.) He looked around, but had no clue where to start. The place looked like nowhere he had ever been. He wasn't even sure if he was still in Japan. For the first time, Akira felt lost.
"You there." The samurai turned around to face a handsome young man with dark brown hair and clothing Akira had never seen before. "Are you lost?"
"No. Not at all." Akira lied. He treasured his pride like he treasured his life. "Do you happen to know if there's an inn anywhere near here?"
"Only a temple." The man noticed his blade. "Pardon me, but if you wish to stay, I'm afraid you'll have to let us take your sword until you leave."
Akira pulled out his beloved weapon half proudly and half surprised. "This?"
"I'm afraid so." Suddenly, the expression on the monk's face changed. He bowed after a while and remained like that as he spoke to Akira. "If you please, I must borrow your sword for some time."
"Better tell me what you need it for."
"Sir, I am afraid that is my affair."
"Well I'm afraid it's my sword."
"I need it from you, if only for a while."
"Gimme one good reason why I should say yes."
"The white crane does not question the darkness of its black brother."
"Give me the sword, and I will release this man." From behind him came 2 women, one with long black hair and a tranquil aura, and the other, with a childish face and her hair in a messy ponytail.
"Oh--hi, Oniichan!" they weren't holding Shinji tightly or uncomfortably, but securely by the back of his robes.
"Gaaaah………SHINJI, YOU GENKI!!!!!!" Shinji gave him an innocent look and began chewing on a dumpling. Akira sighed, exasperated. "…..Here." He said, avoiding eye contact with the monk as he handed him the sword. The women let Shinji go.
"But Ani, I gave them my sword."
--------- ---------- ---------
"Jei Ling, Liang, please get the rooms ready for our guests." The two girls rushed toward one of the buildings in the monastery grounds. The monk then turned to them. "You may feel free to stay here as long as you like." Akira was fishing money out of his pocket, but the man stopped him.
"No, your stay is free."
"If you say so. So…uh…what's your name?"
"Li Xiao. And you?" he responded, bowing politely.
"I'm Akira Yuuki. This is my brother, Shinji." Shinji waved timidly.
"I hope you enjoy your time here."
"Yeah, thanks." Akira and Shinji walked away. Li Xiao started to, but noticed something shining on the ground. Picking up the silver coin, instead of seeing his country's currency, he saw a kind of money he had never seen before.
Shinji sat on the steps in front of his room, watching a group of monks practice Black Tiger Shaolin. Everyone moved with the same motion at the same time, lined up in straight rows, one behind the other. (I've never seen a fighting style like this…what is it called?)
"Good afternoon, Shinji."
"Li Xiao-san!" Shinji got up, politely mimicking the monk's bow. He said his name, however, with some difficulty.
"Is it a custom where you come from to add the word--san, was it?--to the end of another's name?"
"I am eager to know what style of Kung-Fu you use. Will you tell me?"
"Kung…fu?" Shinji cocked his head to the side slightly, confused. "What's that? Is it martial arts…?"
"Oh! Well I--er…well…" the Kage Ayame's fighting style was infamous, and letting Li Xiao know might get him in trouble. He named his brother's fighting style instead.
"I don't recall ever hearing of a fighting style like that. Where are you from, young Shinji?"
"Technically Kyoto, but no particular town. Akira and I just wander."
"Kyoto? That sounds like a Japanese word."
"Of course! This is Japan after all."
Li Xiao looked confused now. "You are in the Middle Kingdom, Shinji."
"…….B-b-b-b-b-b-but--but China is kinda……ummm……far from Japan…..ORO???? So then HOW'D I GET HERE????" Shinji started waterfall-crying.
Naturally, the news soon reached Akira. His only reaction was to bang his head sixteen times on a nearby table.
--------------- --------------- ------------
It was late at night, but Shinji heard sheets rustling in the bed across the room from his. A wide-awake Akira tossed and turned uneasily. "If I'm going back to Japan, I'm going to need a weapon to protect me! And what better reason to take my sword back!" he spoke half excited and half irritated.
"So you're gonna ask Li Xiao-san to give it back tomorrow?" a sleepy Shinji slurred.
"Ask? I'm takin' it now. And I'm getting yours, too!"
"I'm not leaving my little brother in a foreign country! I don't care if I have to carry you on my back all the way home. You're coming with me."
"But Ani, do you know your way back?"
Akira's eyes became small dots, and he sweatdropped.
"E……uh……ehehehe……I'll try to improvise."
"Who's the baka now?"
--- --- --- --- --- ---
Akira ended up heading for the weapons chamber anyway. Nothing his brother--or for that matter, anyone--said could stop him. His eyes widened when he saw the massive storage of swords, halberds, long spears and staves, but he quickly shook off his amazement and went to work looking for his treasured weapon.
"Hehehe…got it! Now for Shinji's--"
"I thought you'd be here." A chill ran down Akira's spine, and he turned around to face to see exactly who he thought he'd see. Li Xiao stepped into the light.
"You are fond of this Sekkimaru, are you not?"
"The Sekkimaru? That thing's just a legend. This is the baby that got me everything I wanted."
"Why not claim your desires with an ordinary sword?"
"'Cause it's mine and I intend to hang onto it. Problem?"
"Not at all. Keep it then, and stay true to your intention to keep it. Here is your brother's."
Akira didn't run away that night. Something in his mind told him to stay just a little bit longer because something he probably wouldn't want to miss would happen the next day. His body wanted to run as far away from the temple as he could, but his heart told him to stay where he was. Akira gave into his heart.