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Stories
Mouikkai Musume Mohitotsu
After weeks of strange dreams about another life, Madoka has a series of encounters with supernatural beings that will change his life.
Author(s): Rellawing | Editor(s): Trismegistus Shandy | 3 Warnings!
Content Keywords | Status: Completed | To Disqus!
MyReviews: 1
Preface
A story about the memories of an amazing miko.



Chapter Twenty Four : The Miko Who Dreamed
Posted: 2018-11-28 10:31:07 | Updated: 2018-11-28 12:31:56
Words: 5676


A miko dances to the rhythmic music played by hichiriki flute and zither with shakubyōshi clappers keeping the time. She moves her arms gracefully, turning, moving her hands, taking a moment to stop on the ball of one foot. She shakes her Kagura suzu, a ceremonial rod with bells attached. She contributes to the music floating through the air during the festival with taiko drums occasionally struck.

The audience watches with big smiles and great appreciation. She dances alone, her hair floating in the air as she turns, moving slowly, shaking the Kagura suzu periodically. Ah, they’re all staring at me… it’s my first time dancing the Kagura at the festival… oh Kami-sama! Please don’t allow my steps to falter! Guide me and help me with my prayer! she beseeches silently.

There is a low murmuring from the crowd as the miko dances and the music plays on. Her eyes avoid the audience to prevent stage fright. Unfortunately, her eyes meet the eyes of a particularly unapproving spectator. The elderly man huffs and snorts, audible even to her. He casts his eyes around the festival, sniffs and turns his back to her, slipping through the crowd. A handsome youth in a bright blue patterned yukata looks to the stage with a reassuring smile before he trails the elderly man. The miko does not falter despite the pang of her anxiety. The kindness of the stranger does tug at her heart, but his handsome face does not. She thinks of the unkind elderly festival-goer.

There are always those who are not spiritual who still come. They come for the food, maybe? She sighs to herself as her hands move and she gently rattles the Kagura suzu.

Ah, Amaterasu-sama… she prays quietly.



“She is such an amazing miko, Master!” the young man enthuses. “So graceful and spiritual. You can really feel it in the audience.”

“If you say so,” the man grumps.

“My pardon, Master, but I do… she does not deserve that. I think she’s a true successor. I recall reading an article on her in the paper recently… I think it was an interview,” the younger man continues.

“That does not interest me, fool,” the elderly man grouches. “We’re not here for entertainment. It’s purely business!” he admonishes the younger man.

“But she’s…” the younger man protests, and the elderly man bares his teeth as he slaps his hand over the younger man’s mouth.

“You waste my time! You just had to wear that ridiculous yukata. It’s nonsense shamanistic foolishness. I will not have that from my employees! Quiet your mouth and be actually useful for a change.”

He is such a bore. Why must I suffer his curmudgeonly behavior? the younger man groans to himself. Why can’t he appreciate the best of our culture? He’s always so obsessed with ‘higher cultures’. He sighs as the elder man tugs him onwards by the sleeve of his yukata.

“You need to take yourself more seriously. You make me look terrible and backwards if you refuse to dress properly! You idiot!” the man growls.

“I-I’m sorry, Master,” the younger man replies, stammering as he runs fingers through his hair. I’ll need to do everything I can to please this man or else I will find myself unemployed… but on the other hand, working for him might be detriment to my health, he groans mentally.

“If you work at it, maybe you’ll earn a name one of these days. Until then, you’re an idiot. Speaking of which, where is the other cretin I just hired? I assume she can at least cook, you fumbling fool. If you didn’t look good dressed up decently I would cut you…”



“Hamada, you are a total idiot! Your egotism is sabotaging you!” an aged man berates him on the phone. Hamada snarls.

“What are you talking about, Okamoto! Acting always like you’re an authority! Besides, recognizing your skill is not egotism! I’m accomplished! Who else has achieved what I have in our field?” Hamada scowls.

“Accomplished… for a Japanese man. Perhaps you should move to Thailand if you’re looking for true recognition!” Okamoto suggests.

“What in the world are you trying to say? I should go live in a filthy little hole country? The water is contaminated in most places. It’s rampant!”

“There are other better men who have been able to make do. You go where there is work. It’s common logic, which you seem to be bereft of! You truly are set in your ways. Alright, you’re obsessed with cleanliness. You idolize Western culture. Go live in America, or better yet, how about Canada or Europe? Many of these cultures are far more accepting. Our field is…”

“I’m aware of that, you moron!” Hamada yells. “You’re actually telling me to leave Japan? Are you trying to say the country would be better off without me?”

“You are so defensive. It’s your egotism. I don’t know why I even tolerate you. All of the rest of your colleagues have already washed their hands of you. It’s too much work trying to maintain a relationship with you.”

“You didn’t answer the question! Don’t dodge it!”

“No, I’m not saying that, you senile…” Okamoto groans.

“Look, I like the idea, really, but if I were to do that, I wouldn’t be able to serve my people. It’s our people who need our expertise! If we were to leave, they’d be flocking to Thailand like rats jumping a ship…”

“Why do you hate Thailand? Do you suffer from jealousy too? They get a lot of business.”

“Like you’re saying I haven’t. I’m doing amazingly, you idiot. When they look for a specialist, I’m at the very top of the list!”

“You say that, but have you checked recently? Besides, you’re the one who is dodging answering. This is an intervention! If you don’t listen, you will not like the consequences.”

Hamada sighs and facepalms. “Alright, I appreciate that you care, but I don’t see a problem when I’m producing such amazing results…”

“You don’t see the problem? Your methods are ethically questionable! You need to reevaluate yourself or else it will backfire on you! Just because you’re making amazing leaps in the field because you’re sidestepping ethical procedures does not make you a superior…”

“And why is that? Exactly why? I have harmed no one. On the contrary, I have given so much. My procedures only bring happiness. Why don’t you check my record again and try to tell me how it will backfire on me? When you don’t mis-step, you do recognize greatness, don’t you? Why can’t you appreciate that? All of those free…”

“You idiotic egomaniac. You just listen to me for a change!” Okamoto shrieks. “You will die alone!”

“No, I disagree. The world will see my genius and my name will be remembered right next to the names of Einstein, Tesla, Edison, and Endo! Yours won’t be. You can’t help it, you’ll be a footnote. On top of that, the things I’ve done for this city should guarantee…”



“A-chan!” a energetic young girl giggles as she throws her arms around her friend.

“Ahhh! Kanon…” he gasps. “What do you want?”

“I wanted to see you!” Kanon giggles.

“Well, you see me every day, so it’s not like…” he complains, grouching, his back to her.

“But like, you’re my new best friend!” she giggles. “Why would I not want to see you, A-chan!”

“Would you not call me that? Call me A-kun if you have to talk to me… you’re really annoying.”

“Awww… why would you say something so hurtful?” Kanon sniffles.

A-kun blinks, looking over his shoulder hearing her sniffle. “Are you really crying? You’re such a baby!” he glares. “You’re so cutesy girly girly… it drives me crazy. Just leave me alone for once. I’m going to play soccer.” He jumps to his feet and stuffs his hands in his pockets. Kanon moves to follow him as he shuffles away. Finally, he turns to shoot a glare at Kanon.

“Don’t you ever listen? I don’t want to hang out with you! The only thing you ever talk about is girly things. Why would anyone think that’s interesting?” A-kun complains and dashes out of the yard, leaving Kanon in his dust. Kanon gasps and stares for a long moment.

“Wait! A-kun! You aren’t supposed to leave the yard! You’ll get in trouble!” she sniffles, hesitating. Finally, her desire to follow her friend overpowers her hesitancy in doing a wrong thing. She dashes after A-kun.

“Please! Why do you hate me?” she calls out.



The miko looks across the street as she sweeps the path into her shrine. She smiles pleasantly at passersby. She moves the broom delicately over the pavement, and when visitors bow to her she places her hands together and bows in return, somehow holding onto the broom. These pleasantries slow the process, but it’s no imposition to greet the people.

Ah, such peace… Kami-sama… She smiles warmly as she returns to her work.

She catches in her peripheral vision a young boy darting up the sidewalk from the nearby preschool. She watches him go with a concerned expression as she turns her eyes in that direction. She catches moments later a blonde girl with hair streaming behind her dashing after the boy, screaming after him. She blinks. Are they going to be alright? she wonders as she idly sweeps. Finally deciding on action, she sets her broom aside and lifts the long skirt of her miko attire. She dashes in the direction the children have run.

“Wait, children!” she calls out. The blonde girl hesitates as she stares over her shoulder at the miko. She looks back to the boy, still running. She chews her lip and continues running.

“I’m sorry, Miko-san! A-kun’s being weird right now, I hope he’s okay…” she mews.

“It’s not safe for young ones like you to run through the street like this! You both need to go back!” she calls after the children. She quickly overtakes the girl and runs beside her.

“Child, wait. Go back and I’ll chase him down. Don’t worry.” She winks and smiles towards the girl, who beams warmly at her, coming to a stop in the street. The miko looks over her shoulder a moment with a reassuring grin and the girl giggles, cheering. The miko runs onwards. Kami-sama, please speed my feet! she prays.

She dashes after the fleet-footed boy and pants as she covers the ground between them. He turns a corner and looks over his shoulder at the miko bearing down on him. He yells and puts on more speed.

“Stop, boy! You need to go back! You’re being reckless!” she gasps. By now, she has a stitch in her side. “Please wait. You know a miko won’t hurt you!” she gasps as she chases the boy. He hesitates but continues to lead the way up and down streets. He suddenly bolts down a narrow alleyway. The miko gasps as she comes to a stop at the opening of the narrow alleyway. There’s barely enough room for her to slip through.

She winces as her miko attire rubs against the stone between buildings. The boy runs unfettered, leaving her in the dust. “W-wait, child!” she pants as she squeezes through, and when she finishes she looks down to her white robe, nearly undone. She adjusts herself a little as she darts determinedly after the small figure fading into the distance. He makes another turn. Oh, Kami-sama! Please let him not shake me! Speed my feet, please! she prays.

She runs onwards, her legs seemingly augmented by a higher power. She rounds the corner and loses track of the boy for a moment, but by instinct she runs onwards to another corner and darts into it. She gallops after him and after another turn she sees the boy scrambling to climb a fence. He reaches the top of the wall, he pauses to stare at her with a horrified expression. He screams and leaps into the yard. The miko reaches the fence, panting, leaning against it for a long moment. She sighs and determinedly climbs the fence, easier than the boy has. She watches, seeing the boy has made it through the private garden to a rear corner of it. He goes to his knees on the grass and crawls under a bank of foliage. She facepalms and groans. Oh, please give me greater patience… she entreats.

She looks around as she jumps into the yard and her feet land on the grass of the flower-filled garden wrapping a lovely traditional home. Oh no… I’m a trespasser; what am I doing?

“Boy! Please come out from there!” she pants as she runs to where the boy went to his knees and crawled under the bushes. She looks around and frowns. The fence is blocking his way behind them, unless there is a secret passage that he’s aware of. She goes to her knees and lifts the foliage to peek and sees a little grassy path, and then in the shady back the curled-up form of the boy.

He doesn’t look at her as he curls up. “What is wrong with you? You look unhappy. What is the… problem?” the miko gasps for breath.

The boy doesn’t respond, and as she’s on the point of starting to crawl in after the boy despite how tight the passage is, a hand tugs on her skirt with a familiar touch. She gasps and backs out and looks over her shoulder, her hair mussed.

Miko-sama! What in the world are you doing in my yard?” A youthful face smiles at her.

“Oh… I think I’ve seen you at the shrine.” The Miko sighs softly. “I’m sorry, I don’t know your name, but didn’t you purchase a love charm?”

“Yes! A few months ago! It didn’t work.” She grins. “My confession didn’t go well. Kami didn’t smile on my love.” She giggles.

“I’m very sorry to hear that!” The miko sighs and smiles reassuringly. “The charms don’t guarantee success, but they do help.”

“I know, Miko-sama.” She smiles, blushing. “It’s in our own power to make it happen, but the kami will help where possible.”

“Can you answer another question? Why did you pinch my bottom?” The miko blinks.

“Ah… oh… just a mistake.” The girl looks embarrassed, twirling her long red hair around a finger.

“Are you a highschooler? Why aren’t you at school right now?” the Miko wonders.

“Ah… oh… I’m really flattered by that!” she giggles. “I’m twenty… getting older, and I graduated a few years ago. And found a job, but I didn’t go to college… I’m not really motivated… I thought I might want to be a scientist when I was younger, but I didn’t go for it. I like cooking more.”

“Twenty and looking like you’re sixteen! You’re truly blessed by the kami!” the miko laughs.

“I don’t feel blessed, Miko-sama…” she trails off.

“I see…” She smiles warmly and reaches out, taking the chin of the girl. She blinks and blushes as the miko peers thoughtfully into her face.

“What is this? I mean, do you like me or something?” she giggles.

“Oh yes, you’re absolutely adorable. But it’s nothing indecent,” she laughs. “No, you seem unhappy, and since the boy isn’t budging I may as well take a moment to do a fortune to make up for trespassing on your property.” The miko winks.

“Oooh! A fortune-telling! I hear your fortunes are so accurate, Miko-sama! I’m so lucky!” she giggles.

“Hush…” The miko smiles and peers into her eyes. “I’ve heard a lot about you so far. You like to cook. You don’t feel motivated to reach for more. You were in love recently or perhaps still are. You have a new job, and you are twenty. That tells me everything I would ask.” She smiles.

“Just that? You don’t need to know anything else?” the girl asks.

“Not at all. Unfortunately for you, there is extreme unhappiness in your near future, child. There’s a strange fuzz about your future, obscuring it from clear view.” She frowns. “There will be moments of happiness, but there will also be great displeasure.”

“Oh, no… such bad news… oh, no… Miko-sama… isn’t there anything I can do?” the girl pleads.

“You can face it with courage and also smile. We make our own futures to a large degree. If you work for a better future, kami will bless you,” the Miko murmurs softly.

“Oh… I like that better.” The girl giggles. “So, um… Miko-sama… why are you here… what boy were you talking about?” She blinks. “There’s a boy hiding in my shrub? Oh, I think I know what…”



Tatsuo stuffs his hands in his pockets, grumbling as he walks along the street on his way from school. He sighs, frowning. “I need a new best friend…”

Why did Madoka have to go girl and leave me behind? I haven’t seen him… her in days now. Maybe I should go to her house… I mean, she’s gotta be home by now, he muses.

He hesitates on the corner of an intersection, and he blinks as he turns his head, seeing a curious thing. Two semi-familiar figures are rushing along the large street across the way. He blinks, realizing that the tall dark-haired man dashing alongside the girl is the lion-dog! He barely recognizes him, but the girl wears the uniform he has seen Emi wearing.

Hey… speaking of which, maybe Emi-chan would be interested in going to a ramen bar with me again. She seemed to enjoy the tsukemen in that shop last week. Tatsuo ponders, and his mind turns towards the strangeness of the man running through the city.

“Is he chasing cars? I mean, he’s a dog, right? I mean why else would a dog be running through the city? Or maybe it’s some special training regimen. Do lion-dogs need to train to maintain their strength?” he muses out loud. A woman passing him holding the hand of a small girl looks at him with a strange expression.

Tatsuo studies a nearby glass display of a restaurant with feigned interest.

He waits until she moves on, then focuses on the contents of the display and laughs. “Oh… ramen.” He grins. “It looks good…”

He slips his cell phone from his pocket and dials up Emi-chan. He waits and she picks up.

“Tatsuo-kun!” she exclaims quickly.

“Emi-chan!” he exclaims in return with a broad grin. “Emi-chan, I had a great idea! I’ll send you my position! Come to me if you’re hungry. There’s a really neat ramen shop and I thought…”

“No, Tatsuo-kun… I like the idea of spending time with you, but seriously! Our best friend was kidnapped!” Emi panics.

“What are you talking about? Madoka? Kidnapped? Why?” He blinks, his eyes widened. “Why would anyone want? I mean, she’s really cute right now, but…”

“Oh, you think Madoka is cute? Well, I guess you’re right.” Emi replies quickly, sounding jealous.

“Oh, you know you’re the only girl for me. Madoka is only my good friend, but we’d be better friends if we hung out like usual. I mean really, I’m having a really hard time filling the gap. I know I have to let her go to some extent, but…” Tatsuo trails off, scowling at nothing.

“You don’t. She’s a girl. That doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. Just stop making things weird, Tatsuo-kun!” Emi admonishes him.

“Why am I making things weird? I mean, all I want is to have my friend back… things are different now. He doesn’t like the things that I…”

“Oh, like what? Fighting games? Training to fight? That sounds soooo girly.” Emi sighs.

“Well, I guess things aren't so black and white, but we went off on a tangent here, Emi-chan! Why did they want Madoka?” Tatsuo blinks. “And where are they? Who do I need to beat up?”

“Oh, that’s really masculine and kind of sweet. I don’t know, though. She just disappeared. I saw Kiyomi slip into the infirmary. She darted from class suddenly without saying anything to Okada-sensei. I apologized for her and dashed after her. I didn’t see anything, but I heard some frightening things from the infirmary. The building was shaking and there was a strange feeling in the air. My hair was standing on end! I heard glass breaking and someone shouting, and it was way too scary to jump into. There was a strange presence… oh, Tatsuo-kun…” Emi sniffles.

“Oh, wow…” Tatsuo sighs, running a hand through his greased-up hair. “Well you know… if you don’t know anything, what can we do anything about it? I mean she serves a kami like miko do… maybe we should pray to the kami to help her!” he suggests.

“That’s a possibility, but we don’t know anything about the kami, except it’s a new kami, and the kami was responsible for Madoka’s transformation into some kind of model miko.” Emi laughs.

“Um… so pray to model-making-kami-sama? Model-making-kami-sama!” Tatsuo yells comically, clapping his hands together. “Please bless our friend!” calls out.

Emi-chan’s only reply is musical laughter.

After a long time of laugher and silence, Tatsuo speaks. “So Emi-chan… all we’re doing is worrying for her. Why don’t we get some food while we wait for a response?” Tatsuo asks.

“I’m going to drop by her home, just in case she resurfaces there. I’m sure her parents are so worried for her. If eating is more important, go right ahead. Fill your stomach.” Emi chuckles.

“Well, if you’re heading there, I think I’ll drop by, too. I mean, they know me, and maybe I can help. You know I’m a great friend!” Tatsuo exclaims.

“Yeah, you’re a good friend. Take your time,” Emi says.



Tatsuo stares at the display window for a long while after the call disconnects. Well, it’s not like I’m too far away. I don’t have to go right away… she herself said take your time. She’s way more composed than I am. I might just freak out and make things worse. I mean, I’ll do my best to be comforting and reassuring. He frowns.

Suddenly he yelps and leaps into the air. There’s a girl wearing sunglasses, and he recognizes her. “Riri-chan! Wow! Long time no see! Why are you wandering around here?” He blinks, examining her. This time she’s in a skirt with knee socks, girlish shoes he doesn’t know the name of, and a pink blouse with lacy frills on it.

Riri-chan grins at him. “Well, I was passing by and I noticed a familiar figure with that super greased-up hair.” She rolls her eyes. “You know you’re decades behind in fashion, right?” she asks.

“Emi-chan may have mentioned something about that,” Tatsuo says with a dry expression. “You were passing by, why? Looking for a snack?” he asks.

“Not really, but I wouldn’t be against having a nibble.” She grins.

“Oh? Are you asking your friend’s boyfriend on a date?” Tatsuo asks.

“You? Really?” she laughs aloud. “No, you’re pretty cool. You made an impression, but no.” She laughs. “You know, a girl and a guy can get something to eat without it meaning anything special, right? Well, maybe I’m being silly. I probably can’t be seen with you.” She rolls her eyes with a friendly smile at odds with the seeming cruelty of her words.

“Can’t be seen with me? Like I’m supposed to look like some kind of a Yakuza thug or something? I don’t dress up like that. I mean, that guy tagging along with my friend fits that description more than I ever will,” Tatsuo comments, thinking about Kozuke.

“Oh? Another friend of yours has a yakuza friend?” Riri-chan blinks and laughs. “You’re a really interesting guy. You’re like an anime protagonist,” she jokes.

“I’m not really that interesting… I don’t really qualify to be the main character,” Tatsuo demurs.

“Well, if you work at it, maybe a harem ending is in your future?” She laughs aloud.

Tatsuo laughs and grins. “Well, you know, that is one of my oldest and dearest wishes, but right now I’m kinda a one-girl guy. I’ve gotta clean it up if I want to keep her.”

“Awww… that’s way sweet!” Riri exclaims, patting his shoulder. “You’re great to Emi-chan. I approve of you.” She grins.

“Aww… thank you, that makes a big difference.” Tatsuo laughs. “The approval of a lady’s friends is really important, right?”

“You’re absolutely right! If they hate him, he won't last.” She giggles.

“So they’ll sabotage the relationship for her own good or something?” Tatsuo chuckles.

“Yes, something like that, if they’re good friends.” She waggles a finger.

“Hey, this has been real nice, but I’m in a hurry right now, Riri-chan,” Tatsuo excuses himself.

“Oh! A hot date?” she asks with a laugh.

“If so, only with Emi-chan. Come to think of it, I’m going to see her, but it isn’t about that. A friend of mine was kidnapped. You never got to meet her.” Tatsuo sighs, impatiently pacing.

“A girl? You have a lot of girl friends? Never mind that, if she was kidnapped that’s a huge deal… Let me give you a ride to where you’re going! Maybe there’s something I can do to help! If you’re going to Emi-chan, I’ll be happy to see her too.”

“No, not a lot of girlfriends, like only a couple.” Tatsuo smiles wryly. “I’ll take you up on that offer.”

“Well, you have a new one now.” She grins and leads him to the corner and around it. She leads him to a nondescript car, and opens the rear passenger door for him in some kind of a reverse chivalrous manner.

“Uh… thanks, my lady,” Tatsuo jokes as he hops into the car and moves over for Riri-chan. She scoots in after him and closes the door, looking to him.

“My pleasure,” she replies with a big grin. “So where are we going? Give the driver the address. He’ll queue up the address in GPS and we’ll be there really quickly.

“Ma’am… your practice… Ahem… in a few hours.” The driver coughs.

“Like I didn’t know. Thanks.” She grins and looks at Tatsuo. “So I can’t stay for a long time, but you have like an hour of my time. I’ll do what I can for you. My promises are my bond.” She winks.



Kami sits impatiently in her chair. She reaches to a nearby table for a flask of sake prepared by her faithful. After a long draught, she lifts a box of wrapped chocolates; with a snap of her fingers the box unwraps itself and the lid lifts from it. “Oh, my… La Maison du Chocolat! My worshiper really knows what a lady loves!” She purrs as she enjoys a piece of creamy chocolate. Her munching is interrupted by an incoming communication.

“Kozuke? Did you find Madoka?” she asks. She waves her hand and a mirror shimmers into existence. The surface flashes and the face of Kozuke appears, and Kami notices that a young youkai is clinging to him.

Kami-sama, yes… I’m contacting you to announce our amazing victory. The oni’s followers were defeated, and I believe his strongest youkai follower as well. I’m sorry I couldn’t produce results faster!” he apologizes.

“I’m not an unreasonable mistress, Kozuke. Be proud. If you’ve rescued Madoka you have done very well!” Kami murmurs.

“Kozuke-sama! Are you talking to Kami-sama right now?” the young youkai exclaims with starry eyes.

“Oh, yes. Please do take all the credit for the amazing rescue, Lion-dog-butler-sama,” Kiyomi chimes in with a dry tone. She steps into the panel and seems to look right at Kami. “In truth, all of Madoka-chan’s amazing friends came to her rescue.”

“Is that true? You aren’t taking credit for a change?” Kami’s eyebrow raises.

“Why should I take credit where it’s undue? I have done my own part, but Ko-chan was the star tonight.” She smiles warmly.

“A crack in that cool facade? Interesting. I must meet these friends of yours. You will have my blessings for your wonderful work.” Kami stands elegantly and flips her hand. The mirror slams against nothing before her, seeming to wield with reality itself, and Kami walks to the surface of the mirror grown large as a gateway. She steps through and into a room full of prone robed figures.



Madoka exclaims as Kami steps out of nowhere. She sits on her knees tiredly in the circle of maids. Her expression is harder than usual. Her expression changes and she bolts to her feet and she bows low.

“K-Kami-sama!” she exclaims, stammering.

The maids also bow low, and Kozuke bows in a courtly manner, sweeping his hand before him. Sari disengages from him and goes down to her knees on the tatami, pressing her young face to the mat. “Kami-sama…” she breathes.

“I am pleased to see your progression, my miko. I see the determination in your eyes. Your soul has been tempered,” Kami murmurs, her voice echoing.

“I’m honored that you would come in person!” Madoka gasps, squeaking.

“Your performances rate my blessings and compliments.” She regards the youkai maids. “A peculiar troupe surrounds you. But adorable,” she murmurs, smiling.

“Thank you for your compliments, Kami-sama!” Chie squeaks.

“You’re way so cool, Kami-sama!” Arisu chimes in. “I can’t believe I can meet a kami! I’m going to melt down!” She giggles and visibly flutters.

The others bow with dignity.

“Have you decided to formally embrace your destiny, my miko?” Kami inquires.

“I-I’m not entirely resolved… but I… I will put an end to that evil oni. I am done with him chasing me and harrying me. I will slay him with my own hands!” Madoka exclaims, and blushes, looking down, embarrassed by her outburst.

Kami laughs. “I approve of that determination, Madoka. You’ve found your fire. Soon you will find your bedrock and you will truly be ready. Embrace your spiritual powers and they will see you to the end. You will have every blessing I can grant.” She turns her attention to Kiyomi. “I provisionally approve your attachment with my miko. Don’t disgrace her or myself,” she murmurs and turns dramatically. Her hagoromo floats from her shoulders and flits throughout the room, twisting and flashing from figure to figure. The wearied straighten with new vigor. “You have my blessings,” she murmurs as she fades into nothing and her hagoromo waves as though it feels abandoned. Suddenly it flashes through the air after her and zaps into nothing.



“I-I’ve found… my… my fire…” Madoka sobs, fallen before the ruined garden of her home. Her home is a smoking ruin. Kiyomi and Kozuke stand silently with defeated expressions. The maids have returned to the youkai realm, leaving the three alone to discover the unpleasant truth of what their victory has come to.

“Oh, Kami…” Madoka bawls, covering her face.

M-Madoka-chan…” Aoi says, her tone filled with sadness and concern.

G-Goshujinsama Eiji murmurs.

Oh, Eiji-kun! Kanna’s voice quavers and shakes as she sobs.

They remain silent for a long time, and Kozuke stares at the burned-out frame of her home with a shocked expression. “It’s… a familiar scene…” he gasps, his voice throaty.

Kiyomi impulsively kneels down and holds Madoka from behind.

“No!” Madoka shrieks, sobbing. “Don’t touch me!” she yells.

“I-I will not… you need all the hugs you can…” She sheds silver tears.

From behind, the sound of a vehicle coming to a stop in the street does not catch the attention of any of the three. The doors open silently and silent footsteps approach the scene. Another set of soft arms suddenly surround Madoka from the other side and Madoka dully notices Tatsuo lamely stuffing his hands in his pockets. He looks to Madoka with agony-filled eyes. A girl she doesn’t know stands nearby, gaping. She removes her sunglasses and stares for a long moment before impulsively joining the hug.

The driver steps out of his car and watches silently.


Postface
Glossary:

Amaterasu-sama - The kami of the sun (a goddess). She is the most sacred of all deities. Her name means ‘what illuminates Heaven’. She is sister to Susano’o, kami of the sea and storm, and Tsukuyomi, kami of the moon. She was born of Izanagi.

Endo (Akira) - A famous Japanese biochemist. His research centered around fungi and cholesterol. That research led to the development of statin drugs. Unfortunately he was never properly recognized for his contributions. They’re commonly used these days, but he is a sad case of a man who never received real compensation or recognition.

hichiriki flute - a dual reed flute. It sounds akin to a clarinet, but has a haunting quality to its sound. It is considered among the sacred instruments.

Kagura dance - a sacred dance performed for various ceremonies, weddings, and festivals. There are many forms of Kagura dance. Traditional miko Kagura as depicted is a prayer, entertainment, and/or a channeling of kami. It may have been born of a depiction of Ama-no-Uzume, kami of happiness, dancing to attract Amaterasu’s attention to coax her out of a cave she was hiding herself in. This restored light to the world.

Kagura suzu - an instrument that the miko uses while dancing. It is a wand made of wire with bells attached. It means “divine entertainment bells”. There are fifteen bells: three rows of bells, three up top, five in the middle, and seven on the bottom row. It is used for Kagura dance and prayer.

shakubyoshi - a percussion instrument. They look like two polished boards.

Taiko - a ceremonial drum played at events such as festivals. The drum is as large as a person, usually.

tsukemen - This was already defined earlier in a previous chapter. In case we don’t remember, it’s a variety of ramen. You take everything that would normally be included and put them all on a plate. It is provided with a smaller amount of a richer broth. It’s believed to be a healthier alternative.

Yukata - Another term we should know by now! It’s a garment worn in several situations, previously at the hot spring in the youkai realm. Think of it as a bathrobe you would not be humiliated to wear in public.


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Avatar Burn baby burn! it's not a disco inferno! by Yuki 2018-11-28 11:00:29

So the house did go up in flames.... like I thought it would. I hope Everyone's okay! Wait, Emi was there as well. Please tell me she didn't go up in flames too! On the other side of the coin Kiyomi got approved provisionally by Kami-sama. So I bet she's really happy. I just hope everything will work out for Madoka.


Rellawing's Reply: It's an interesting point, Yuki-chan! There is some interesting drama there!

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