I read Watase-sensei’s other work the other day and although I do not like it as much as I love her Fushigi Yugi it is still a really great story! She really is amazing. I can now say, without any hesistation, that Watase-Sensei is my favourite manga artist (and she is also such a nice person too, especially to her fans!!!)
I must also mention this first: my story contains a lot of spoilers. So read at your own risk!!!
What happened last time: After many difficulty Yuri managed to find Tasuki, who will join Miaka as soon as he meets Miaka. Yuri is now on her way to find the last celestial warrior of Suzaku…
The town became completely isolated due to the appearance of a swift and deadly fever that was affecting almost every second person. News had spread quickly, and the town ended up being quarantined, people were prevented from leaving the town. That was why the guard on duty that day was very shocked when a young woman arrived and wanted to enter.
“Lady,” the guard at the gate said bluntly, “If you enter here you will risk being affected with the fever and die. You will not able to get out until at least two weeks later, after we shut you in a cottage to make sure that you are not affected with the fever.”
“I know that, but I must go in.” Yuri said with equal determination. “I must find the legendary healer who is in this town.”
“There is no such a man!” the man said bitterly. “There is no such a man in this town, for our dead are accumulating each day, and no man possesses the power to heal them.”
“I know he is in here somewhere.” Yuri said firmly. “I will go in.”
“Then you walk to your own death.”
Yuri spent the entire day visiting every doctor in the town, hoping to find Mitsukake, the last celestial warrior left. By this time she already heard about how Chichiri had been found by Miaka.
“I will find Mitsukake, and then Suzaku will be summoned and I will be able to go back to Hotohori.” She whispered fiercely after another disappointing visit. She used the excuse of having a loved one sick with the fever to speak to these doctors. According to the scroll Mitsukake was able to heal the ill with his special powers.
“Lady, I do not have the power to heal this fever, but perhaps you can try to go to Ju-An, he used to be a doctor of quite some repute until he stopped his practises a year ago. I think if any man can cure a person with the fever, then it will be him.”
Yuri nodded. By this time it was already night time but she wanted to find Mitsukake as soon as possible. When she stepped out onto the streets she felt her vision blurred slightly but dismissed it as tiredness, after all, she had been travelling a lot.
If that man was Mitsukake then…
By the time she reached Ju-An’s cottage her whole body seemed to be so weak, as she could barely stand. Yuri frowned as she knocked on the door eagerly, was she really that tired? More then ever she missed Hotohori, despite being the ruler of a vast kingdom he still had time to look after her.
Yuri smiled as she recollected an incident that happened at the very beginning of their marriage, when she was still unadjusted to her royal status. She had been waiting for Hotohori in her garden with only an underdress on, although it resembled one of the finer outer dress that she had in her old world. Upon seeing her wearing only that, Hotohori had immediately took off his own robe to put it on her, chiding her for risking being ill as he did so.
“What will I do if you die due a chill from the wind?” he had muttered, holding her tightly against him. “Do not disappear after I finally found you.”
Her smile was lost as she recollected his words, no doubt she was making him undergoing a deep pain due to her absence, especially after she promised him that she would not leave him.
“I am so sorry, Hotohori, but I cannot face you right now.” She whispered.
The door opened…was the door opened? Every thing seemed so dark, this darkness was getting too unnatural.
“I am not a doctor anymore.” Mitsukake said rather coldly, “So…”
As he made a move to close the door, Yuri suddenly saw the red word flashing. It was only for an instant and due to her failing eye sight, she could not see the word clearly. But for that short amount of time a word had appeared on his left hand, and even though she did not have time to read it, she knew what the word must be.
It was the last thing she saw.
“You are Mitsukake.” She grabbed the man’s left hand even though her body started to shake. She suddenly understood why her body reacted like this: she had caught the fever. “Please, go to Eiyo and find the Suzaku priestess in the palace. For Konan’s sake…for Hotohori’s sake…Suzaku must be called out.”
Her words stunned Mitsukake, it was because she was not asking for him to save her even though she must know that she was going to die. He bent down and picked up her unconscious form to gently carry her inside.
She reminded him of Shoka, his dead lover, the cause of why he stopped being a doctor. Even though Shoka was dying from the fever, she still made him leave her side in order to save others. She was so selfless. (1)
This woman seemed selfless as well. Even though she was affected by this so called incurable fever, she did not beg him to help her with her last strength. Instead, she was begging him to help Hotohori, who must be her lover.
“I will save you, so you can be with him again,” he whispered as he touched her face with his left hand, summoning his healing powers. Maybe she was a redemption sent by Suzaku. He could not forgive himself for failing to be with Shoka when she first started to get ill, if he had then he would have been able to save her, and she would still be here.
But he would save this stranger who knew of his identity as the celestial warrior, and by saving her he would feel as if he did some act of repentance, as this woman would be with her lover. Somehow, by uniting her with the one she love he would feel less guilty.
He wasn’t the type of man to secretly fiddle with other people’s belongings, but when he moved her bag the knot accidentally loosened and all her luggage fell out. As he tried to repack them he saw her opened fan.
The fan with its fine material betrayed her identity as being very wealthy, and likely of noble birth, or at the very least have some connection with them. Because only these type of people would spend their money on such a fancy trinket.
It had a painting of Suzaku on it, and Mitsukake could not help but to admire the beautiful illustration. Not meaning to, his eyes rested on the poem. The poem itself did not shock him, as it was not uncommon for a well educated man or woman to write a poem onto a fan and give the fan to another out of friendship or love. (2)
It was the seal beside the signature of Hotohori.
Mitsukake was like most of the people in Konan who lived away from the capital, they lived their whole life hearing many things about their emperor, but never expected to personally see the emperor.
That was why it was such a shock for him when he recognized the seal as the emperor’s seal, and being an educated man, he could understand the words: Saihitei.
“This woman is Houkigou?” he chocked out.
Opening her eyes Yuri automatically reached for Hotohori, only to find that he was no longer lying beside her due to her own actions. Every morning she would still wake up as if she did not leave the palace, she would always do the very same thing when she wake up. These memories continued to haunt her: waking up with Hotohori beside her, he would be holding her if he woke up first. Then the farewell as he prepared to go to court, it always ended with his promise of being back as soon as he could, and a kiss…
Sighing deeply she sat up, trying to recollect what had happened.
“I arrived in this town and I went to talk with almost every doctor in order to find Mitsukake…” she pondered. “Then I was sick…”
It was day time and she could actually see her surroundings clearly due to the light. Then it must mean that she was cured…
“Mitsukake?” she cried out softly.
The celestial warrior had been dozing on a chair as she was sleeping on the sole mattress in this cottage. Upon hearing her calling him he quickly knelt down in front her.
“Kougou…Kougouheika, I beg you to excuse my early rudeness…” (3)
“Please get up, you saved my life!” Yuri implored. “You are Mitsukake then.” At the nod she continued. “Will you…will you go to the capital and find the priestess?”
“My name is Yuri,” she interrupted. “If Hotohori, the emperor, wishes his comrades to call him by his name instead of his title, then his empress must be treated in the same way as well. Beside, before I married Hotohori, I was a peasant too.”
“Very well then…Yuri-sama, I cannot go to the capital just yet because I feel that I must help all the others who are currently affected with fever. Because of my own selfishness I let so many innocents die…” (4)
The two of them shared their stories to one another because both were tormented with a similar guilt. (5)
“We all have a different form of redemption and repentance.” Yuri said quietly. “Mine was to leave Hotohori and find the celestial warriors.”
“Now that you found the last one, will you be going back to the palace, Yuri-sama?”
“No,” she stated, “I cannot go back until Suzaku is summoned, as I will only stop feeling guilty then. But I am feeling less guilty now that I found the last celestial warrior, and know that Suzaku would soon be called out.”
“I understand, even though we cannot undo our actions we are finding comfort in doing what is the next best thing.” Mitsukake agreed, “I cannot resurrect those whom I neglected in my grief, just as you cannot travel back in time and be the priestess of Suzaku. Yet by healing others now, and helping the priestess of Suzaku, our guilt is erased.”
“So perhaps it is really just in our mind. No one but our self blames us for what we did.” Yuri remarked out darkly, she closed her fan and then handed it to Mitsukake. “I want you to give this to Hotohori when you see him.
“Tell him that what is on this fan is what I feel in my heart, and nothing will ever change that.”
Not even, she added inside her head, if you no longer love me, Hotohori. I will still love you.
She raised her hand to stroke the hair ribbon she tied into her hair rather lovingly, because it was Hotohori’s.
Hotohori untied the ribbon in his hair very carefully to hold the long red band in a rather reverend fashion. Balancing it in his hand, he began to stare at it.
“What is he doing?” Tasuki whispered to Miaka. “He was doing that this morning too. Whenever he retied his hair he would always be gazing at that ribbon for such a long time!”
“Maybe it was Yuri’s.” Miaka shrugged absently. “Otherwise why would he be so careful with it?”
“Why don’t I grab it and make him tell me?” Tasuki was naturally completely unaware that Hotohori was also the emperor.
“He’ll probably kill you if you do that- if the ribbon is Yuri’s.” Tamahome whispered.
“Most likely it is.” Nuriko remarked out rather sourly. Even though he knew that his love for Hotohori would never be requited he still couldn’t help but to feel envy whenever he saw Hotohori thinking about Yuri.
Miaka had a point by reminding him that Hotohori would probably not be able to accept his view on love if he ever find out, but nonetheless, Nuriko was still in love. (6)
“Hotohori-sama, are you alright?” he asked gently.
“Yes, I’m fine.” The emperor replied with a sad smile. “I was just thinking of Yuri.”
He was holding her precious hair ribbon in his hand, the same ribbon that had decorated her lovely hair when they first met. This ribbon also represented her past, the barrier that had prevented them from marrying immediately. It was strange but so many memories were contained in this simple ribbon.
There were only two celestial warriors left to find. Hotohori’s only hope was that she would come back to him when this all ended. He needed her to be with him so much.
“The mirror is glowing!” Miaka yelled out.
Someone was in this town then…had Yuri been here before? Hotohori wander as they entered the town. He paled considerably when he heard about how the town had been affected with a deadly fever.
“Has a young woman come into this town?” he questioned the guard rapidly. “She is about twenty and she is very beautiful with long curly hair that reaches up to about here, and she…” (7)
“Hotohori-sama, that type of description applies to a lot of woman.” Tamahome whispered to him.
Initially there was a friction between the two men as Tamahome was a bit angry that Hotohori was so obsessed with Yuri, instead of focusing on Miaka’s protection. But the two men reached a slight understanding when Tamahome realized that he was actually falling in love with Miaka.
“She will be carrying a sword.” Hotohori added.
“Yes, I remember.” The guard at the gate nodded. “I remember thinking how strange it was for a woman to carry a sword, especially when she was wearing a dress with her hair down.”
“So she did enter?” Hotohori was forcing his voice to be calm, even though his mind was almost bursting due to worries of whether Yuri caught the fever or not. He wouldn’t be that surprised if she did though, as she could be rather careless sometimes. She would often walk in her garden with only a thin dress on.
“Yes, but she left the town very soon,” the guard continued, unaware of the agitation in his listener. “She was very lucky as she was unaffected by the fever.”
“Or maybe she was affected but got cured,” Nuriko put in carefully. “We have heard about how there is a legendary healer in this town.”
“You mean Ju-An. Yes it is truly amazing, he suddenly appeared and cured almost all those who were sick with the fever.” the guard said happily, then frowned slightly as he began to count his fingers. “Now that I think about it, Ju-An appeared the day after that strange woman’s arrival. Maybe she is the priestess of Suzaku.”
“THAT IS NOT TRUE! THE…” Miaka began but she found her mouth quickly covered by Tamahome.
“Do you want to cause another riot by announcing your true identity?” he hissed to her, reminding her of the incident in the town.
At this Miaka sobered considerably, not just because of his warning, but mainly because she was thinking about what had happened after that incident, she had told Tamahome she liked him, and yet his answer was so cold…
He apologised but she was still rather uncertain of his feelings for her. He said that he liked her, missed her so much when she was gone, and wanted to stay beside her to protect her. But was that love? Was what he felt for her the same thing as what Hotohori had towards her half-sister?
She was still thinking about this when they began to walk to Ju-An’s cottage, although the rest of her group was rather occupied as well. Hotohori was too busy thinking about Yuri, while Nuriko was focusing all his attention on him, and Tamahome was arguing with Tauki again.
Walking up to Hotohori she tugged at the end of his hair.
“What is it, Miaka?” Hotohori asked patiently, although he almost added the following line: “Is there something you want that no one else can give you?”
Despite what the rest of his comrade believed, he did take Tai Yi-Jun’s word into heart, but it was simply so difficult for him to obey them fully.
“How did you know that you love my sister?” Miaka asked.
Hotohori sighed slightly before he answered, this made him think of the vows he and Yuri had made to each other once more.
“As I told you before, Miaka, I did not, and still do not, understand why I fall in love with Yuri the moment I saw her. I was meant to choose an empress from a hundred women but I didn’t want any one. Then your sister came and she was just the most beautiful woman I ever saw in my whole life.
“But I did not fall in love with her just because she is beautiful, I think I love her just because I simply do. Love is a strange feeling. I took one glance at her and I knew that I want her to be my empress and be at my side for the rest of my life.
“Does that help?”
Miaka shook her head, “Maybe I should ask you how you know whether someone love you.”
“I cannot help you much with this question either. Yuri knows that I love her because I told her that at our first meeting, the difficult part was for me to convince her that I really love her, and will always love her. And I know that she loves me as she told me that when she agreed to marry me. That day is truly one of the happiest days of my life.” Hotohori’s rather dreamy eyes turned rather sharp as they suddenly gazed past Miaka to rest on Tamahome. “But somehow I think your situation is a bit different from ours. I do not think that you will require much convincing when he finally tells you that he actually loves you.”
Blushing, she nodded. She was also quite shocked that Hotohori had noticed the amount of time she would gaze at Tamahome, she had truly thought that he was fully occupied with Yuri.
“Miaka, an emperor can never be fully occupied with only one thing.” Hotohori said gently, reading her mind. (8)
Mitsukake immediately recognized the Suzaku priestess, not because she was the only female, as he thought that Nuriko was a woman too. It was due to the strange clothing that the girl was wearing, as well as dressing in an unusually short skirt that was almost immodest.
“You must be Miaka.” He said softly. “I have been waiting for you ever since Yuri-sama told me about you.”
“Yuri-sama?” Tasuki repeated this automatically.
“Are you suggesting that she is not worthy of being called a Lady?” Hotohori muttered darkly, he was still angry whenever he thought of what the bandits had wanted to do to Yuri.
“That had nothing to do with me!” Tasuki protested. “Miaka, will you do something about this? He gets so unreasonable whenever Yuri is concerned.”
“That is because he loves her, you will only understand, Tasuki, when you fall in love with someone. I can understand his feelings as I too, am in love.” Nuriko declared passionately, pressing a hand on his heart.
“Shouldn’t you give up? Nuriko, Hotohori loves my sister and I mean you being a man as well is not going to help.”
Realizing what she just said Miaka quickly hide behind Tamahome, as Nuriko let out a wail and raised his fists. Hotohori, Tamahome and Tasuki were both staring at Nuriko with pure shock.
“I was kissed by a man?!” Tamahome spluttered.
Tasuki stretched his hand forward, and with his eyes half closed he began to try and touch Nuriko’s chest. (9)
A slap from Nuriko sent him flying up.
“Don’t think that you can touch me in such a shameful fashion just because I am a man!” Nuriko screeched.
“Yuri always laughed and tells me that one day I’ll meet another man who is as beautiful as me in the eyes of the rest of the world,” Hotohori said, “I guess she was right again although I did not believe her at that time.”
“Your wife must be quite beautiful then.” Tasuki muttered dryly.
“Yuri is my wife.” Hotohori replied back rather sardonically, “And as I recall your brothers did find her very beautiful.”
Mitsukake was initially shocked too at this discovery, but he then noticed a more important thing. Hotohori was here…his emperor was standing right beside him.
“Are you Hotohori-sama?” at the nod Mitsukake continued. “I have something from Yuri-sama to give you.”
The two of them left the rest to wait outside and as soon as they were alone, Mitsukake knelt down with the fan lying on the palms of his hands.
“You know that I am the emperor?” Hotohori asked.
Mitsukake nodded. “When I saw the writings on this fan, I knew that Yuri-sama must be the empress and Hotohori is the emperor’s name.”
“Yes,” taking the fan Hotohori held it against his heart. “Please rise. You and I are both one of the seven celestial warriors so we are comrades. Comrades do not kneel to one another.”
“But you are the emperor!”
“Is not the emperor a man like everyone else? I will not have you kneel to me- let that be an imperial command if you will not grant it as a plea.”
Quickly, Mitsukake began to tell him about what had happened to Yuri, upon hearing that she was actually sick Hotohori clenched his hands tightly together, cursing himself for not being able to be beside her in that painful progress.
He smiled slightly when the other informed him that Yuri departed almost happily, as she believed they would soon be reunited.
“It is obvious that she loves you very much.” Mitsukake commented.
“And I love her that much too.” Hotohori whispered.
Opening the fan he read the poems he had wrote for her, recalling her happiness when he gave the fan to her, and how she never failed to smile slightly whenever she read the poem later on.
“That is what I feel in my heart as well.”
Only one more, and then Suzaku would be summoned, and all would be over. His country would be safe, and Yuri would be beside him once more. They would be able to live the rest of their life in happiness because Suzaku would grant their wish.
He could already picture everything. She would soon be pregnant with a child whom they both longed for, and since the country would be in peace he could probably devote more time to his family.
“I heard someone playing the flute!” when the two of them rejoined everyone else, they heard Miaka protesting about something very strongly. “I think it is over there.”
“Someone playing the flute?” Mitsukake remarked out. “That wouldn’t be that strange a thing, there are many street entertainers…”
“It’s from outside the city.”
As she began to run outside, the rest could do nothing but to follow her. The celestial warriors only heard the music of the flute when they saw the young boy leaning against the tree with his flute.
The words of a song that he had heard when he was only a young boy suddenly formed inside his mind. Absently, he quoted them out so softly that it was barely audible. It was rather suitable as the words reflected his current mood perfectly.
“And then it will all be over, and then it can all be put aside: the self-accusations, worrying about the country, and the days of regret and sorrow…” (10)
“Who are you people?” the young boy began, as he moved they saw the word on his abdomen due to the ragged shirt on him.
“CHIRIKO!!!” Miaka screamed out, hugging him happily.
“That is the Priestess of Suzaku, and we are all celestial warriors too.” Tamahome quickly explained.
“Finally, Suzaku can be summoned.” Hotohori said, smiling happily. He touched the strand of pearls that he always carried and smiled once again.
Everything will soon be well.
Like many other men, Hotohori made the mistake of conjuring up images of happiness before he was sure that it would happen. (11)
1 I do find the story of Shoka and Mitsukake rather touching but I changed it for the sake of this story’s plot, because I don’t know how to fit Yuri in if what happens is the same as the book. So I’m changing it to this: Mitsukake could only cure a person affected with the fever only before a certain amount of time lapsed. In Shoka’s case it was too late as she had been sick for too long, but even though she was sick, she still made him leave her in order to save more people. When she died he couldn’t take it, so that’s why he stopped healing people. I do know that in the real story she was very resentful at Mitsukake for not being with her as she died.
2 Yeah, this is quite common in the old time. A pity that we don’t have such things any more. But then that’s when people write with these calligraphy pens. My sister used to be able to write Chinese calligraphy, don’t think she still remember though.
3 I was watching Fushigi Yugi (anime) when I wrote the following bit and the reaction of Mitsukake, Tasuke and Amiboshi/aka the fake Chiriko when they discovered that Hotohori was the emperor was so funny! The dramatic background music and the three completely stunned faces. That is why I added this little bit in.
Kougouheika means her/your majesty the empress. Kougou means empress, while heika means majesty. Kouteiheika is his/your majesty the emperor
4 Mitsukake is calling her Yuri-sama, because it would be quite hard to adjust to the idea of calling your ruler by their first name directly, it is in the same way that every one calls Hotohori Hotohori-sama which is a way of respect, I guess the English equivalent is lord/lady.
5 I was really tempted to let Hotohori meet up with Yuri right now because it would have been quite nice to twist the Hotohori offering to kill Miaka scene with Yuri in it as the central character, I would have like to write that. But unfortunately I couldn’t, so this is what happened instead. In the same way I really want to write about the drowning incident in volume 6.
6 In my story right now, only Miaka knows that Nuriko is a man.
7 I kind of like making Hotohori lose his control when Yuri is concerned, I guess I want to show that he really love her so much that she truly make him feel as a ordinary person instead of the emperor, so therefore he would act rather irrational when she is concerned.
8 I really like this idea. As he is the ruler, an emperor would always be occupied with the business of his state in his daily life, and as he is human, he could not just only think about the state, he would be thinking about other stuff: such as those whom he love.
9 I can see Taisuki doing this as he seems such an impulsive character.
10 This is taken from another one of Hotohori’s character songs: Sadame no hoshi (Star of destiny) once more, translation obtained from Anime lyrics.com. Out of the three Hotohori character songs I have this one is my favourite. I really love this song so that is why I just had to find a way to fit part of the song in my fan fiction somehow, as a result I’m changing even more of the story. I want the words to be said by someone but I don’t want to make Hotohori into a person who goes around quoting poem, cause I don’t think he is like that. As he already kind of randomly quoted a poem, I ended up doing this. He only quoted out the poem due to hearing music that reminded him of the song.
11 Now that Miaka and the rest believed all ‘seven’ celestial warriors had been find they will go back to the palace and summon Suzaku, I wouldn’t be showing this though. Next chapter will be Yuri finding out about the failure, and her purpose for entering the universe of the four gods will finally be revealed!!!