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Now that Tenkou was finally destroyed forever, each of the four priestesses turned to their warrior, in relief, in happiness and even just because they were there.
Unlike Takiko, Suzuno and Miaka, Yuri did not receive any embraces from her seven celestial warriors. They still stood a few paces apart from her, surrounding her in the circle of seven as everyone did in the ritual.
Not that she wanted to be like the other three priestesses, she only looked at them, just as they observed her. She did not even realize their presence until she began to feel the presence of their spirit as the four priestesses began to chant with the god that they served. At that time, she was unable to spare any attention, and if she could-she would be looking at Hotohori.
She had only seen these seven who were meant to protect her once, just before Seiryuu was summoned. Then…she had ended all of their life with her own hands, all for the sake of Hotohori, a celestial warrior of Suzaku.
He was alive, she knew that now, she also knew that as soon as she turned her gaze to look at him, he would notice her eyes resting on his immediately and he would run to her to gather her in his arms.
But she did not fix her gaze on Hotohori, she continued to look at her seven celestial warriors. Strange as it was, they all seemed to be watching her with smiles in their eyes, if they were not smiling already. She was deeply surprised as she could still recollect the anguish and curses they had possessed and hurled just before she ended their lives.
Nakago, with a strange gentle smile, was probably the celestial warrior that she knew the most, the one who sought to manipulate her completely, but it was the woman beside him: Soi, who haunted her the most. Were they really different? The woman she had become in the very end was not unlike Soi, who would sell her own soul to do anything for the one that she love. Yuri could not help but to laugh as she recalled how she did not become the priestesses of Suzaku because she had been afraid of dying. (5)
Strangely, Soi was not what she had remembered, instead of armours the woman was in a rather fancy dress with her long hair decorated by flowers. (6)
On the other side of Nakago was a barely recognizable man, he was a rather young man with long dark hair that was rather similar to Hotohori’s hair in texture, colour and length, the main difference was that he gathered it up in a high pony tail instead. Yuri could barely recognize him as Tomo, who had painted a strange mask on his face. (7)
Then she saw the twins, probably the only unchanged face, although they were more happy as they were together again. Ashitaire was beside them, with his death he finally escaped the beast part in him that always haunted him.
But it was the last man, she truly could not recollect having seen him before. By default, she worked out that he was Miboshi, but there was not a hint of similarity that everyone else possessed, however little.
He seemed a man who almost escaped his teens, no more then nineteen, but certainly above eighteen. He was actually a rather striking man to look upon with relatively attractive features. Strangely, his hair was the same unusual shade of light blond like Nakago’s, but his eyes were a very dark brown that almost seemed black.
Looking at him made Yuri thought of Hotohori, there seemed to be something similar in their bearing and posture. (8)
Unable to bear this silence anymore, she finally spoke.
“I am sorry for what I did, but I do not regret it, so I cannot apologise.” She finally stated softly.
Much to her surprise, those that she killed answered by a laugh, or a smile.
“It is true that we hated you, and cursed you even as you killed us.” Nakago began, speaking for his following companions. “But with our death, we gained the peace that we lost long ago. We are happy in death, what few of us actually possessed when we lived. This happiness is given to us by you, even though you didn’t intend it, but we still thank you nonetheless. (9)
“Without you,” at this point Nakago actually knelt down, but Yuri knew that this time, he was sincere instead of doing the action as a way of controlling and deceiving her. “We would not be able to find this peace even though we would still die. You are our priestess and only you could help us. You did help us, so I thank you for what you did.
“You all are happy then.” Yuri finally said. “But why…why is it that we had to meet that way?”
“It was our fate for what we had done.” The strange man who was Miboshi spoke rather sadly, at the recurring look of disbelieve from Yuri he smiled and assured her: “I am Miboshi, priestess, this is what I truly looked like, this is my true body.
“It seems that all the celestial warriors as well as the priestess of Seiryuu are cursed with knowing great despair.” He continued sagely, despite the seemingly youthful experience, he was well over two hundred when he died. “But most of us ended up wanting to repay the world back for what it inflicted on us, or at the very least we ended not caring.
Soi and Yuri were probably the only ones who managed to not fall as deep as the rest, but their lonely childhood made them loving the one that they love with an additional almost frightening gratitude, that they would literally do anything for the sake of the one they love if they needed to. The twins were rather similar to them too. (10)
Nakago did not want to be a god for the simple sake of power, he did it because he wanted revenge; Ashitaire was so cruelly treated that he really believed everyone deserved to die; likewise Tomo had little scruples in harming another; while Miboshi was perhaps the very worst. (11)
“Who are you then?” why was it that she was possessed with the desire of wanting to know more about them, instead of going to Hotohori? Maybe it was because she finally had the chance to be what Miaka was to the celestial warriors of Suzaku, with her own celestial warriors.
I rather have love from a few, instead of being worshiped by a whole kingdom, she realized, I always want that.
Miboshi smiled and he turned to look at Takiko and the warriors of Genbu. Somehow, Uruki happened to catch his gaze, and his eyes suddenly widened and he even raised a hand to rub them.
“He is seeing my father’s image in me.” Miboshi explained. “My father was Hakei, during the arrival of the priestess of Genbu he was the future emperor of Kutou and he sought the destruction of Hokkan. He also wanted to kill me.”
As Hakei told Uruki, he would never accept the arrival of the priestess of Seiryuu, or any of her celestial warriors. Ironically, within a month his son, the first celestial warrior of Seiryuu was born from his favourite concubine: a beautiful woman from the Hin tribe. But no amount of beauty could have aided the child from his father at all.
“Since the moment I was born, I had been constantly escaping from assassins, which made me want to live even more, just to show them that I would live. I ended up learning all sort of dark magic for the sake of power that would help me to live. When I was almost nineteen, one of the assassins finally managed to be ‘successful’ as he burnt this body-my real body. That was the night I first possessed a child, which was also the night that I truly lost any chance of redemption.” Miboshi concluded the story.
“Priestess of Seiryuu, I told my story to you not because I want your pity as I know that what I did was wrong. But I want you to understand why I ended up as what I was.”
“I too, I do not ask you to forgive me for what I almost done to your sister.” Tomo added, “But I do not want you to hate me if you ever think of me.”
Raising her hands to her eyes Yuri realized that she was actually crying due to them. As they said, she could not remember them all with love and affection as the other priestesses would, or might have. But she was happy with the mere knowledge that her celestial warriors might have loved her, as the others’ warriors did.
Fate was still cruel, but right now she would describe it as unkind instead of malicious. Most importantly of all, she understood why they were her celestial warriors, because they were very much like her.
“We must return now,” Nakago said, putting his arm around Soi’s waist, but much to his surprise, she actually shook his hold off to walk up to their priestess, and put her hands over Yuri’s.
“Yuri and Kaen are so alike.” Soi stated softly. (12)
“Although I was luckier then you,” Yuri nodded, “But yes, we are so alike. I would have done all that you did.”
“We will meet again,” the other woman prophesised, “Do not be afraid of dying, because we will all be there to guide you to that place, and we will all welcome you.” (13)
Then the celestial warriors of Seiryuu were all gone
“Seiryuu, are you not leaving too?” Yuri asked softly, as she felt herself sinking to the ground, the last of her strength finally fleeing due to what she just did. Likewise, the same thing was happening to Miaka. But one man was walking away from his priestess to run to her instead. It could only be Hotohori…she soon knew that she was gathered into his arms and he was holding her against him so tightly.
But she was no longer there, instead, she was standing beside Seiryuu in his temple, with her statue below his dragon form. Walking up to it she unclasped the jade headdress and rewound it around the statue’s lifelike hair before she turned to face Seiryuu, without him telling her, she knew that she would not see Seiryuu again until the day that she dies.
“Are you happy with what you discovered?” he only paused slightly to allow her head to nod, as he guessed it would. “Do you still hate me and the others for making you the priestess of Seiryuu instead of Suzaku?”
“I still think that Miaka is luckier to be the priestess of Suzaku.” Yuri stated. “I don’t think I will ever be happy that I have to go through such despair in order for your summoning, but I understand why now.
“I am the priestess of Seiryuu, I can be no other because that is who I am. As for hatred, yes, when I thought that Hotohori died I did hate the whole world, including you. But it was an instinctive hatred.”
She could feel Hotohori’s arms on her, and she could only wonder how she must appear to him and hope that he was not worrying too much.
She knew that she must do something alone first, although she would tell Hotohori every single detail of her action. It was just like what had happened in Konan, when Hotohori talked with his younger brother in the room where he had witnessed the death of their older brother. He had whispered everything to her that night, but he had to be with his brother alone.
She still loved him so much, but yet she could not go to him immediately. Just as he had his duty of being the emperor of Konan, as well as a celestial warrior of Suzaku, she must finish her last task as the priestess of Seiryuu: to understand his teachings as it was meant to be received.
“Despair was not meant to end up like this.” At last, Seiryuu spoke. “Despair exists alongside love because it is meant to work alongside love, to let people appreciate their lives. Tell me the truth, are you not able to value your life more because of all that you had underwent when you were my priestess?” seeing the nod he continued. “Despair, like all other emotion, is not purely good or bad, I will not explain about the negatives of love because I think you already understand that too well.
“But my own people, even most of the seven chosen ones, did not understand. Instead of being grateful for their present situation they sought to achieve happiness by inflicting the same pain that they had undergone.” (14)
“Nonetheless it is not something easy.” Yuri protested. “No matter what, love…” she suddenly paused when she recollected what happened to many of the celestial warriors of Suzaku due to love: Hotohori almost died when she left him; because of his sister’s death Nuriko ended up abandoning his gender in order to capture her memory; Chichiri and Mitsukake were both haunted by their lovers’ death; while she heard that Taisuki almost violated a girl he loved as much as a sister due to loving her a bit too much.
As for herself, what might she have become?
“I understand now.” She whispered.
“But it is also true that I have made you suffer much by making you into my priestess.” Seiryuu suddenly said.
“You do not mean what you did to me in this life, do you?” Yuri asked sharply. “I know by now that I had a past life, a life before I became Houki Yuri, then Houkigou.”
At this, Seiryuu only nodded. “But do you really desire to know what had happened, what had caused all this to be? Do you really wish to know?” he asked softly.
At his last sentence, Yuri shivered, as they were exactly what Hikitsu had asked her, just before he used his power to let her see the past.
“What would be the right thing to do?” she questioned her deity. “Is it to remember my past and be strong by coming to term with it? Or will real strength be ignoring the opportunity of discovering the truth because I know I will not be able to face it?”
This time, it was Seiryuu’s turn to recollect what had happened a long time ago. She had been dressed in a much more plain blue dress, as she was merely one of the servants in the temple- not an official. She was actually clutching to a broom as she had been doing her daily duty of sweeping when he first approached her.
“What would be the right thing to do?” she had said these very same words as he told her his decision of making her into his chosen one by making her into the priestess of Seiryuu. “Is it to accept this destiny of being a priestess, to be my country’s protector along with the deity whose temple I am raised up in? Or should I follow my own wish and refuse, as I know that I would not be a good priestess because all I ever wanted is to live a normal life like most other girls?”
How could he bear to tell her all that which had happened? Beginning with how he forced her into a life that she did not want.
“I do not desire happiness from power, or from doing something noble. The type of happiness I desire will be from finding a man that I love and marrying him, as well as having children with him. That has been what I had wanted every since I was old enough to understand.” She had stated clearly.
The four gods all had to select a young virginal girl from their kingdom to be their priestess- channelling the four gods’ power by giving them their body as their vessel- and she was the one he had chosen, although she made it clear that all she wanted was to be able to leave the temple and live a normal life.
They also existed for the sake of making sure that Tenkou remained sealed, that was one of their duties.
Perhaps what happened to his priestess was a punishment for him as well.
She had done her duties until the day she saw Hotohori, the celestial warrior of Suzaku. They ended up as lovers in every sense, even though she was meant to remain virginal.
Then the punishments, when she was denounced by the three other priestesses, and almost all the other celestial warriors for doing what she did. For some reason they seemed to have thought that they, who were made to judge men, also had the power to judge those a level higher.
The four gods had chosen their priestesses as well as creating seven celestial warriors for each one from the twenty eight constellations as a way of preventing injustice and cruelty over their kingdom. Instead, one of these celestial warriors ended up dying due to the other’s misjudgement, while his priestess ended up so furious with what happened that she almost ended up working for Tenkou.
Would she be able to accept the fact that in her depression, she had listened to Tenkou’s lies, and was going to take the shinzaho to him, only to be driven to suicide due to her guilt at how far she had fallen, and would have fall?
Then Hotohori went insane with grief as he saw her dying, the celestial warrior of Suzaku ended up staining his sword due to being possessed, with the first sacrifice being the woman who was the beloved of his dearest friend. (15)
Most of, how would she react to the truth that the priestesses and celestial warriors were not sent down to help their selective kingdoms, but were cast down in punishment due to what had happened on that day? (16)
“I cannot tell her all that had happened in the past.” Seiryuu realized. “She would find out when she finally dies- when this all end- but that is not until some years later.”
He stretched his hand out and gently placed it against her brow. Her eyes immediately became vacant, and her hands slumped to her sides.
“I will not let her know.” Seiryuu decided, he pressed his hands slightly- causing a blue light to surround them.
When he finally withdrew his hand, her eyes were closed.
“You will not even remember anything that is related to what had happened.” Seiryuu stated softly as he picked her up in his arms, about to return her to Hotohori. “And I will make sure that no one else does too.
“You will be able to have a life that is only filled with happiness…the sort of happiness which you had always longed for, what I took you away from.”
(1) I know Yuri is being rather harsh and unreasonable here but I think it is understandable considering her life. She had spent the majority of her childhood/teenage hood unloved by anyone, and it might even be fair to say that she had suffered mental and emotional abuse, being constantly reminded that her presence is running the family, and now it appears as if her husband is dead, and she loves Hotohori so much so I guess a nervous break down. You can say that he represents all the good thing in her life: her children, her new family. Later on she’ll use the following concepts to explain: when you are in love every thing seems perfect and you love everyone, but when you are in despair you end up hating every single person.
(2) I was reading Ayashi no Ceres, aka Ceres, celestial legend when I wrote the following and I have the picture of the transformation to Ceres in mind, so that is what I tried to do with Yuri. Speaking of that I actually really like how Ceres is drawn.
(3) In relation to my prologue story- in a way what she did in her past life affects this life, but she did still have the hard deal as what happened in that past life was no full fault of her.
(4) I really don’t know much about Suzuno as we only recently discovers about Takiko in Genbu Kaiden, but I do want to make it clear that she is coming out and as a priestess she is as important as everyone else, although she doesn’t say much in this story.
(5) I suddenly realized that bit, so I had to explain it. Initially Yuri didn’t tell Hotohori that she was not from this world as she was afraid that she would have to be the priestess of Suzaku and die, but by the end of the two years she really ended up being in love so much that she would do anything for him, including dying and killing.
(6) I really like Soi’s character, especially how she is feminine yet strong. I love the little detail of her lipstick, showing her actual desire of being feminine. According to the author, she would have loved to draw Soi in a bridal gown beside Nakago (there is a picture of Soi wearing a bridal gown of one of the native Chinese tribe in one of the chapter covers. It’s sixty something…)
(7) Tomo is actually drawn quite good looking, so I almost think that it is a shame that he have to have that weird mask. I’m sorry to say but I rather him not having the mask instead of Chichiri. I mean…the first time I saw a picture of him without the mask, as himself I was actually pretty shock. Ok…to be honest I was shocked only after I worked out who the heck that guy is.
(8) All this bit I am making up completely. And as Yuri guessed correctly, his mother is from the same tribe (Hin I think) as Nakago, and he is also of royal blood. Being of one those who was naturally born with such royalty and posture.
(9) I want to get this through, this idea: that the warriors of Seiryuu are not evil, it is the harsh circumstances that they had that ended up making them evil, or at the very least they become cruel and harsh. So even though they are all going to be rather out of character, I’m saying that it is because they are dead, and gained the peace and understanding that only death could bring. And technically they were sent down by heaven with the purpose of helping a kingdom, so I strongly believe now that they are actually all good people.
(10) Although the more I think about and write this story the more Soi and Yuri seemed to resemble each other, and as I mentioned earlier, the darker her character seem to become. She does love Hotohori because she truly love him, not because out of mere gratitude, in fact this was one of the things she was afraid of, hence why she only married him three months after their meting. In the same way I really don’t think Soi loved Nakago just because he saved her, but that was something additional to what she feels for him. I think I won’t publish this as it just seems too…strange even for me? I think Yuri would have ended up doing what Soi would do, but Yuri is luckier then Soi by far, because in this story Hotohori really loves her back in a very strong way too.
(11) Since this story is a Hotohori central story, the rest are not really focused so I have no idea whether that flute guy was in love with Miaka or not, probably not. Although it’s strange, Hotohori’s character doesn’t seem to have changed that much, but it might be because I feel Watase Yuu defined him really well that I can’t really change him.
An interesting thing that I thought of about Hotohori in regard to Fushigi Yugi and I am including this in my story. What is better? The love of the one person that you love, or the worship of a whole nation. I regard this as kind of what Hotohori went through in the end, he did not have the love of Miaka, but he knew that his people loved him in the worshipful way. Which is what is happening to Yuri in this story as well, in the beginning. She was not loved by her celestial warriors, but yet the whole of Kutou worships her. I think for Yuri and for Hotohori, they rather have the first- to be love back by the one that you love.
But I am getting sidetracked, the main point is that I feel that is what happened to the warriors of Seiryuu now, that they all were actually very good people, only that their circumstance made them like that, after all, they were all part of the twenty eight who were chosen by the over all god (Taiitsukun.)
(12) Kaen is Soi’s real name, and it is one of the most beautiful name I have ever seen.
(13) I know that in Fushigi Yugi everyone get reincarnated but I never like the idea of reincarnation, that always seem to be so tragic. To always have to part those dear to you and loose them after you find them, the possibility that you never see them again. I just can’t do that, so everyone is going to some sort of heaven, although it seems that the celestial warriors were from heaven in the first place.
(14) Kamiyasu (the new emperor of Kutou) is a very good example of understanding the teaching of despair the right way,
(15) I’m sure you guys can figure out who the guy is, who his ‘best friend’ was, although the woman might not be that easy as she is a change from the original story.
(16) Well, I think this would have got quite confusing but it is all related to the prologue, and I guess what I just give is a very dehydrated version of my prologue story. As I said, I know that some people would probably not like this, but hey- I just want to do it, so well…it’s done. I’ll explain this in more details as it does get confusing, or you can just ignore this bit and pretend it never happened. I wouldn’t blame you if you choose to do this. Seriously, no hard feelings at all if you don’t really like my prologue story’s idea. I think it is a pretty crazy idea.
It might be a good idea to re-read certain bits: Chapter 1: When Yuri recollected what she remembered after her death- what she had seen, as well as Hotohori's dream at the very end of the chapter; Chapter 5: in the very beginning of the chapter- when Tenkou was talking about Yuri; Chapter 6: The parts when Hikitsu come out- especially when he begin to talk about the last time he saw Yuri, as well as his mentioning of not wanting the past to repeat again; and the beginning to this chapter- what Tenkou said to her as well as the bit when Takiko comes out, what she thought about Yuri. And of course, what Seiryuu just said. Hopefully when you re-read them after this footnote it’ll be ‘oh I understand now’.
Basically the four gods needed to select a priestess and they did. The priestess were a bit like intercessors, and the gods stay in their body, so they have to be virginal. The priestess also served as judges for some cases, some mortal feel they did not receive justice, so they would go to the temple and pray to the gods, and the priestess was meant to answer them and give them a judgement. By being a priestess, they were sort of immortal- like their celestial warriors, but they were still not on the same level as the four gods. What happened is that Yuri was technically sinning by being with Hotohori as she was meant to be virginal, and the others found out and as a result they were angry with her- and she and the one they believed to be her partner in crime (they didn’t realize it was Hotohori) were trialled, even though only the four gods had the right to judge and punish her. Due to what happened Tenkou tried to get her to betray the others, and she was so depressed and angry that she agreed, only to realize how foolish she was, so she committed suicide, and Hotohori naturally got really angry and Tenkou ended up possessing him.
The four beast gods then decided that everyone has been in the wrong somehow- either by merely taking some part in it, or not doing something to stop the tragedy (the deaths), so they were all cast down in order to meet their priestesses and re-find the shinzaho and summon their gods. As for why the priestesses ended up being from the other world, I can only say, it is because it is what happens in the original story and I only got this idea in the writing of buried memories, so I guess there will be some contradiction.