A Thousand Years
Chapter 1: Meeting You
Japan.. 820 years ago, or so..
I follow that command, not because of obedience, but because of fear.
Fear? Fear could not even begin to cover my feelings back then.
I was just 14 years old back then when our clan was almost exterminated by the Minamoto. Our house was burned down and my family were killed. My father was beheaded and my elder brothers were trampled down by their horses. My only companion left was my personal servant,who told me to run away while she fended off soldiers by herself. I could tell that she was killed instantly but I didn't care anymore. Everyone I loved was dead. And if I would be lucky enough to survive..
..I shall make the Minamoto clan pay for this.
I escape our residence and run off to a place I've never been before. After all, being a child of noble stature, I wasn't able to go out of the house.
I reach a river and attempt to cross it. The current was tough but I managed to swim all the way through the other side. My silk kimono was now muddy and wet.
I look back and to my relief, I see no soldiers coming after me. But I still continue running.
But what do I do now..? What shall I eat? Where shall I stay? All those thoughts came down on me like a tidal wave.
I stopped to catch my breath. Due to my exhaustion, my cough returned. My coughing was so loud that I managed to attract a wild boar. The animal looked like it wanted to tackle me. I was too scared and weak to move. My coughing fits continued and the boar charged at me. Still coughing, I attempt to run, but no avail. The boar managed to knock me down. I stand up weakly and attempt to climb a nearby camphor tree. My limbs were weak and and I didn't manage well, so I fell down and the boar attacked me again. I tried to climb up and by a miracle, I reached half of the tree. Fortunately, I saw a hollow hole and tumbled inside it. I don't care if there will be some yokai around at night, as long as I escape..
I inspect my body. My feet were dirty, half of my body was wet. My hands were full of gashes and my nails were almost bleeding. It was the first time I saw myself like this. Wanting to forget everything, I curl up and sleep.
I was soon awakened by a knocking sound. I rub my eyes and peek slowly towards the hole. Sunlight bathes the inside of the hollow hole.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" a peasant man asks.
I stick out my head and soon, tears start dripping from my face. I was relieved to see a person.
"Who are you?" he repeats.
"M..My name is Taira Miki.."
Suddenly, the man's expression changed. He signalled me to come out and I obliged. Halfway out the crevice, I felt a sharp pain in my back go through my chest. I was soon sweating and shivering. I look at my chest and see a bloody piece of metal sticking out.
I was tricked.
I smile as I step out the car and see the construction site. This would be my first project as an architect. I see my co-workers, hauling bags of cement and doing welding jobs. Yes, finally, my years of studying in America will pay off.
"Hiya, boss!" greeted the foreman. "Welcome back!"
I smile widely.
"Good morning too, how's the construction going?"
"Yeah, it's fine, don't worry about it. The higher-ups like your design for the new building."
I swell with pride as I hear that.
"Good, now let's get started." I said, stretching my back.
I watch as the construction workers resume their work and some of them ask me questions regarding the new building. I could answer much of them until someone calls out to me.
"Boss, we've got a problem."
I nod and walk towards the man. He was pointing to something.
"Boss, you said that the health center will take up the space of the whole area?" he asked.
"Ok, so, do we cut off that tree?" he asked, pointing to a gnarly, twisted tree. Must be really old.
"Yeah, it doesn't seem to make oxygen all that much." I said, walking towards the tree. I inspect it carefully, in case that there are some critters residing there. I see nothing. No nests, dens, but a large gaping hole. I peek carefully through the hole and see a glimpse of something pink.
Hm, pink? I've never seen pink animals in Japan, though.
I peer through it carefully. The pink 'thing' moves. I stare at it for a while.
Out pops a face of a young girl.
"$&%#!" I cursed, sounding all-American. (I guess he's used to cursing in English, so no offense to the American readers, okay..? Don't get it wrong.)
My co-workers dash to me and ask what's going on. I say nothing, but drive them away as I peek back into the hole. The pink thing was there, but I don't see any human. I stick my hand and pull out a dirty, moth-eaten kimono. I place it back inside and wipe my hands in disgust.
"Let's chop it down." I commanded.
They nodded and ran off, finding an axe or chainsaw, leaving me with the tree.
"And who gave you permission to cut down my tree?" a voice cut in.
I turn back in fright and see the girl again, donning the kimono. But the kimono she wore looked brand-new from the kimono I pulled out. Half of her body was outside the crevice, giving her a pretty ghostly look.
"Hey, I'm talking to you..!"
I was pulled out of my trance when I heard her.
"Oh, sorry." I mumbled.
"You can't cut down my tree." she sternly warned.
"Why not?" I asked, eyebrows raised up.
"Because I said so."
I got irritated from her bossiness.
"Who are you and what the hell are you doing there?" I asked, arms crossed.
She suddenly turned pale and sort of returned in her crevice.
"Hey, I'm talking to you! Who are you?!" I yelled as I stuck my head in her hiding place.
She crawled away from me.
Maybe she was scared of me. I slowly moved away and tried to talk gently.
"Hey, no need to be scared.. It's alright. You can come out now."
With scared eyes, she slowly crawled out again.
"Could you come out?" I requested.
She shook her head and crawled back again.
"Look," I said, attempting to win her out, "I need to get rid of this tree as soon as possible."
"You can't." she replied.
"That's the point." I said. "I really need to get rid of this tree and if you hesitate, I'll order my men to cut it down with you in it."
"Men..? You mean servants?" she asked, her voice hinted with interest.
"Well, yeah. So I suggest you get out of there."
"Are you a noble, too?"
"A noble. A person of noble stature. You told me you have servants."
"Yeah, I am a noble. What does that have to do with you?" I said. Well, it was pretty true. My father owns a huge company and I'm next in line.
She jumped out and greeted me.
"Good day, my lord. I am Taira Miki, the youngest daughter of the Taira clan." she said. "May I have the pleasure of knowing your name, good sir?"
I sort of cringed. What in the world is this girl? She lives inside a hollow tree, wearing an old fashioned kimono and introduces herself from the Taira clan..? Seriously, I had to deal with the trouble of learning about her family when I was in middle school..!
And her surname is Taira? What a coincidence.
"My name is Leo. Leo Minamoto."
As expected, her eyes widened as she drew out a real-looking blade from her kimono.
I held my hands up high.
"Look, Miki-chan.. I'm not really from the Minamoto clan.. I just have the same surname..!"
"No!" she yelled, her eyes almost red in fury. "You're the son of those ruffians who massacred my clan!"
She's unreasonable. Just then, I saw my men with chainsaws.
"Guys, help me..!" I yelped.
They were just looking at me with a dumb look on their faces.
"I'm serious..!" I cried, looking at the psychopath in front of me. She rushed to stab me and I closed my eyes.
Her sword got through me, but I had no wound. Just like smoke..! She looked defeated and tried to stab me repeatedly. Nothing.
I snatched the blade. It was tangible. But how..?!
"Why.." she muttered. "Why aren't you being affected?!"
I took the chance to scare her.
"Because I'm the immortal son of Yoritomo Minamoto!" I yelled. "No weapon works against me and by the orders of my father, I shall cut down that tree!" I lied.
"Boss..?" the foreman called.
"You've been talking to yourself for quite a while. Are you alright?"
I turned around to look at the crazy Taira girl but she wasn't there.
She wasn't there anymore! Like she vanished into thin air!
I knew it was useless to explain what I was doing earlier so I resumed work.
"Let's cut down the tree."
The men nodded and proceeded to carry out my command when rain fell. And it was not like any other rain. It was very heavy rain. I told everyone to return and seek shelter.
It was 5 in the afternoon and the rain hasn't let up, one bit. Damn, I had to dismiss them.
As they left, I was the only one left. I picked up an umbrella and returned to the tree.
Nothing was there.
I sighed and left.
But that Taira girl was still on my mind. And what the hell did the foreman mean by 'you've been talking to yourself for quite a while'..?!
Well, guess I'll find out tomorrow.
*sigh* Finally finished. Like it? I hope so. Tune in to the next chapter.