asian literature

Chapter 2:1-3 Back to Life

And how he has a body! An overly pretty body. I did not come up with it, but it works very well for my purposes.


“What…” Ben breathed slowly, watching in disbelief as a man formed out of the mysterious fire. “What’s going on?”

“I don’t… know,” Ally muttered back but allowed it to feel her mind and share what it needed. “But it’s going to be okay.”

The flame fell away leaving the man kneeling before her. The looked only a few years older than the both of them. His suit was distinctly modern even to the point of being ‘fashion forward.’ His wore a black quarter-length overcoat over black designer ‘skinny’ pants. He had a black vest over a pristine white designer tunic. He looked current. He looked modern.

He looked Human.

His skin no longer had an off-color sheer. His eyes, though a bit brighter than he intended, were normally spaced. The materials for his clothes did not maintain their otherworldly sheen. His shoes were just shoes.

He looked down at his hands and back up at her. “What have you done?” He then slapped his hands over his mouth. “What did I say?! What language is this?!”

“It’s English,” Ben offered helpfully.

“Where is English?!”

“It’s… just the language a lot of us speak here? Ally, why does he look familiar?”

Her voice suddenly jumped to a piercing shriek, “HE LOOKS LIKE YAMAPI!”

“You didn’t…”

“You know, the guy from ‘Boku, Unmei—’”

“THE POP IDOL.”

The spirit shut his eyes, trying shift back to his less corporeal body with no avail. “I am of the form you believed would protect you.”

“You thought the Pop Idol would show up and protect you?! You’re insane! You’ve got some kind of terminal Fangirl Brain Cancer!”

“It’s not like that!” she swore, “I just thought… It was the last show I watched about Gods and stuff just appearing out of nowhere and that’s where my brain went!”

“Brain Cancer.”

“Will you two stop bickering!”

“Yeah, um.. What do we even call you?” Ben asked.

“I.. I don’t know.”

“You don’t have a name?” Ally asked, almost with a whimper.

“My name is given by the on who called me.”

“That would be you, Fangirl. Just not Yamapi.”

“Obviously not Yamapi.” She moved around the Summoned who was still kneeling and at the ready. She hooked her finger underneath his collar and pulled it back, peeking in. “Kesshen? Does that sound right?”

“He pulled his shirt back and shot a glare at her, but in an instant, he felt settled. “That feels… right. Yes. How did you do that?”

“Well. My mom used to put my name in my shirts like that.”

Ben buried his face in his hand. “I do not believe this.”

“What I’m saying is that if he had a name, it would be on him somewhere! Like in his shirt. So. There it is.”

“Why not just call him Calvin…”

“Whatever, Mr. Eighties Reference! You weren’t even born then.” She took Kesshen’s hands and had him stand. She flushed a bit, realizing exactly how much she made him look like the Idol. “Wow… So. Kesshen it is.”

“And I am here to serve you. Apparently.”

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Chapter 2:1-2 Back to Life

Yay! I have decided 1. Not to rechapter the book until I’ve actually finished the story. and 2. To keep Kesshen’s name. This seems like a no-brainer situation but I’ve thought a lot about both. By the way, there are captioned words below. I debated including them at all instead of just the captions. The issue being that some words are Japanese and some are Chinese. It’s by design. Initially, I didn’t want any of the words to be real, but I had trouble finding a script font that didn’t have actual characters in it that looked appropriate.


 

公主! [Princess!]

The man seemed to call at her, but they couldn’t truly see him. He was covered head to toe in black strapping. The bits of skin that could be seen between the strapping was also black as pitch. It was arguable it was even skin as some of it seemed to bubble over the edges. It stood like a man but lurched as if he was only recently and hastily put together.

“What the fuck is that thing?!” Ben barked, instinctively putting himself between his friend and the assailant.

Ally shrieked and swung her sling bag at him. It fell just shy. She was a terrible throw. She was also a bit of a disorganized mess and its pockets were left open, spilling the contents all over the grimey cement.

“Okay, what was that,” Ben resigned.

“Me defending myself?”

“Why do you have so much shit…”

“WAIT MY PHONE WAS IN THERE!”

“DAMMIT ALLY.”

The bandaged man looked down, eyes bloodshot and faded. Amongst the general purse litter that was now strewn before him was a small statuette. It almost grinned or at least made the attempt. His hand cracked and grew extra, distended fingers and then sharpened into claws. More of the bubbling, leathery hide grew over them.

“We’re going to die!” Ally screamed.

“We’re not going to die!” Ben screamed back, though he really wasn’t convinced.

“Dammit, someone help us!”

The statuette started to shake and burst open, barely able to contain the energy inside. What came out was wild. A cloud of plasma and arcing lightning tore through, throwing itself against the wall, bouncing once it hit. It stretched and squashed, trying to produce a form.

No, all it could do was scream and howl, fighting itself.

妖怪 [Demon!] The curse sounded like it came from the assailant, but it never spoke. Instead the words flew through the air and shook through them.

It was enough to get the burning cloud’s attention. It stopped its thrashing and turned its attentions to the shambling, bandaged attacker.

食尸鬼[Ghoul!] the cloud shot back, the curse trembling through them through the same unearthly plane. The cloud shot forward, shifting to a pure and blinding flame, torching the body and consuming it the moment they touched. During the short moment it took to burn the man away, Ally and Ben could feel the ravaged howl deep in their cores. When the shambling mess was gone, ash flying away on the wind, the howl dissipated. Even the fiery cloud seemed to calm.

Ally and Ben both had to catch their breath and try to make sense of what they had just seen. A man, or something vaguely resembling one, had appeared out of the sky. Then, some kind of fire fell out of her purse and burned him away. And now that same fire was simply sitting there, resting.

Ben was looking for a way out, back to a reality he understood.

Ally was entranced. “I…” she whispered, “I’m gonna touch it.”

The latest in his friend’s idiotic ideas was enough to snap him out of his panic. At least, he could shift his panic to something more manageable. “Are you insane?!”

“Too late,” she said as she reached forward and opened her palm as if to warm it. The cloud tightened and rolled towards her.

“Ally!” Ben hissed, “That thing is going to kill you!”

“No… No it won’t. Will you, big guy?”

The cloud loosened in response and slowly moved to meet her hand. The colors calmed and started to shift, gently this time. When it touched her, it was warm and inviting. It even felt relief. After a long, quiet moment, the cloud began to change. It stretched out in some places, tightening in others. He could feel a body coalescing for the first time in an eternity. His summoner had finally given him a form.

Chapter 2.1-1: Back to Life

I guess I’m back! Sort of. I am so sleep deprived again.


“Please stop,” he whispered. His best friend since grade school had been rambling without a breath and he was sure that one of two things was about to happen: One, the sort of tiny Asian mix next to him was going to pass out due to lack of oxygen reaching her brain, and Two, his brain would hemorrhage from the garbage he was being forced to listen to.

“But you asked, and you’re obviously not getting it. Kylie set up the robbery! It’s all right there!”

“OH MY GOD, I DON’T CARE. While I’m impressed you managed to take a break from your dramas and K-pop gossip column fire hose long enough to even hear about something that happened in this country, sort of, since when do you even ‘keep up’?”

“Hey, when it’s juicy you kind of don’t care where it comes from. Anyway, So, at her party—”

“That happened months ago, and I still don’t care.”

“How do you know when it happened if you don’t ‘keep up’?”

“Shut up.”

“Do you want to hear about the latest release date debacle?”

“No.”

“Oh this K-pop band just dropped out of a tour that was supposed to pass through here, and there is going to be rioting!”

“Who is it? Wait! No! Just.. Enough with the gossip rag for five seconds.”

“Fii~ne,” she groaned. They walked in an awkward silence while Ally bit her lip to keep any more details fell out of her mouth. After an excruciating twenty seconds, she spoke up again, “What do you want to talk about?”

Benjamin groaned and rolled his eyes. “I just want to grab a bite before work!”

He was a few steps ahead before he realized that Ally had fallen behind. “Hey? Are you okay?”

The girl had her finger and her thumb massaging her eyes. “No, it’s just… I thought I heard something, and now I have kind of the worst migraine.”

“You never get migraines.” He sighed again and went over to his friend, hand to her forehead. “Well, you aren’t sick. When was the last time you ate something that wasn’t just formed up sugar and caffeine?”

“I eat fine, mom.”

“Seriously, your mom will murder me if you get home messed up.”

“Fine! I will eat with you if it will make you stop nagging me!”

“Like you weren’t going to eat,” he mumbled before heading to the nearest tea shop. He stopped in his tracks, seeing a commotion ahead of them. “Huh. Shenanigans outside of the Temple. There’s something you don’t see every day.”

Ally could barely focus. “Yeah, yeah. Let’s just go around. I don’t feel like getting into a tangle with Buddhists today.”

“I think that is literally impossible.” His friend was gone again, this time ducking into an alleyway causing the hairs on his neck to stand on end. “What is it with you with alleys?! Are you a fan of being murdered?!”

“What can I say, it’s in the name.” Ally leaned against the wall, the pounding in her head getting worse.

“Whatever you say, Miss Murder Bait.”

“That’s Princess Murder Bait to you.”

公主? [Princess?]

“Oh my god, it was a joke,” she groaned as she moved further in the alleyway.

“What are you talking about? I didn’t say anything.” Benjamin followed her, growing more concerned as she became more distracted.

She began to argue when a dark clad man seemingly dropped out of the sky, blocking their exit.

公主! [Princess!]

Ghost Relic: Stray Animal

The urge to write the first arc of Ghost Relic in full came from a couple of 100-word pieces I wrote as a post-a-day challenge. I’m not 100% on the post-a-day deal but I think I’m doing pretty well so far. I figured if I did it for the next arc, I’d get a handle on the characters the same way.

Ally and Ben are two nth-generation millennials about to get caught up in a heap of trouble. Writing Prompt is from here.


 

#121: Stray Animal

Ally tore down an alley, chasing down some dog she had seen wandering aimlessly through the streets. It reminded her of a pup she had seen on a poster or two around the neighborhood, not that she had a good look at it before she took to the chase.

“Dammit, come back here!” her friend ordered as he ran after.

She didn’t have time to respond, having finally cornered the frightened, disoriented animal.

“What the hell is wrong with you?!” he hissed at her.

Ally knelt down, smiling gently at the stray before it finally came to her and nuzzled her hand. She had a way about her that put animals at ease, even if it did nothing for actual people. It finally crawled into her lap, and she flipped through photos on her phone, trying to match the dog to one of the many posters she snapped.

“How did you even do that? You’re scared of everything,” Ben sighed, leaning against a wall. He kept an eye out. It might have been quiet now, but he wasn’t going to be the reason his friend got murdered in some back alley.

“No idea. And I never said I wasn’t scared. Isn’t that right, little buddy?” she cooed, scratching the pup beneath the snout before calling the owner.

“One of these days, they’re just going to turn and bite you.”

Ally shrugged. “Yeah. Maybe. But not today.”

“Then, seriously, what the hell, Ally?”

“Sometimes you just got to get someone home.”

Ghost Relic: Chapter 1

Chapter 1.4: Fading Memories

Well. This is it! That was a whole lot of words. I’m not used to writing this much, to be honest. That leaves editing this monster then reposting it in full. Not that I’d expect you to read it twice, but it’s a good exercise for me.


 

Makoto had made the trek to the old battlefield. It had been three months since the Priestess and her companions had left the capital city, and three months since the flash of light cleared the blight from the countryside. In that amount of time, everything he expected to happen had come to pass.

When the light had faded, the demons were gone without any trace allowing the armies to close in. Where the vortex once swirled, the air was unnaturally still and the land had gone barren. There were few remains to tell of what had happened there. There were three bodies, impaled by stone spikes. One of those was a woman whose neck was slashed. The artifacts that survived were damaged and drained of their former power. There was no sign of any Ghoul or any Summoned Spirit and no one had any reason to think they had even existed.

Still, the Golden Temple had taken it all. The bodies of the fallen and those they could not recover were given funerals befitting heroes. The battlefield was cordoned off. After a while, the land was forgotten.

By the time he came to pay his respects, the land had grown over. New life was pushing its way through the cracks of dry land. In no time at all, all evidence of a battle would have been buried. He was sure that was what everyone else wanted. All memories of the horrors of the Darkness and the alliances forged to defeat it lost to time. This way, everything could return to the status quo.

He knelt down towards one of the piles of rubble and looked through. He had no idea what he wanted to find. He had already searched several other piles to only find more dirt. He dug down and felt something solid. He narrowed his eyes and fished out small stone statuette. Makoto looked down at it. It was warm to the touch and made of no material he had seen before.

He slipped the statuette into one of his pockets and headed back where he came. Both clans had been dismissed from the capital, leaving little else to do but return home and prepare for the day that memory of this battle had faded. He had a feeling it would not be long.

Ghost Relic: Chapter 1

Chapter 1-3.3: Broken Bonds

This is where everyone dies. I’m sorry.


 

Mei watched it unfold before her. The Light began to turn the Darkness as the Darkness once blighted the land. A smile formed across her face.

“WATCH OUT!”

It was Keijiro’s voice calling from behind her. No. She couldn’t be distracted. The bond between Kesshen and her could be seen as a beam that connected the two. They were moments away from it shattering forever.

Hrk…

Mei finally looked down. A stone spike had ripped out of the ground and thrust its way into her back and through her chest. She tried to scream out, but blood had filled her throat and snuffed her voice.

Why wasn’t she dead?

The spike was marbled with veins twisting through the stone. She didn’t notice it before in the dark, but it was hard to miss them now. They were glowing a sick green. The stone was blighting her flesh, rotting it black. The same green veins were now twisting its way through the blight and into her chest.

The plan was never to kill her. It was to poison him.

She realized it too late as she saw the bond between them start to flicker and turn, the light shifting to a similar green.

Kesshen, who was a giant compared to his a usual human shape, turned as the corruption also caught his attention. He turned away from the rift, letting it continue to burn away the darkness.

“Mei!” Keijiro was the one screaming out and ran to her. Before he could move a step, another stone tendril shot out of the ground, this time coiling around and shattering the Ninja’s leg. All he saw was white before he crumpled to the ground.

Yan tried to look past Mei to see the new source of screams. The tendril apparently did not need to corrupt him the way it needed the Priestess, it simply needed him out of the way. He saw a figure emerge from behind him. It was their apparent traitor.

“Tomoe.” Yan could barely hear himself breathe the name.

It couldn’t have been her. It must have been an imposter. After all, they had found the body, lifeless and alone. Not that they had any means to investigate that further. He moved closer, past the impaled Priestess and the fallen Ninja.

It wasn’t her. It was a ghoul. Or perhaps at one time, it was. They buried her in the forest, meaning to come back for her body once the crisis was resolved. The corruption must have taken her. It must have killed her, and once they had gone, taken the woman as its host.

I am already in your Realm.

It was the right choice. As much as Mei was the soul of their group, Tomoe was its mind: strategic, logical, and privy to all of their collected knowledge.

He couldn’t think of when the corruption even began. Even if he wanted to, he didn’t have the time. The ghoul’s cold, lifeless eyes stared through Yan. There was a moment of recognition before the ground began to quake, even more tendrils shooting out and piercing Yan through his limbs.

When the ghoul turned its onslaught onto the two companions, the green glow in the stone veins started to waver. It was the chance Mei needed to pull herself off of the spike. It had missed her heart. After all, it needed her alive. She looked upwards at the glowing giant coming towards her, trying to fulfill its purpose and protect her.

That was more of the trap. The closer he got, the faster the corruption moved along the bond. She would not let it have him. I’m sorry, she mouthed, before coughing out enough blood for a final order.

‘SAVE YOURSELF!’

Razor sharp shards had littered the ground where the tendrils had grown. She grabbed one, the edges digging into her palm. She took one more look at her fallen comrades and dragged the stone across her throat.

The blighted land and twisted sky shook as the Darkness screamed out, watching the bond disintegrate before the corruption could reach the enraged spirit.

It was already too late.

Without the Priestess to anchor her magics, the rift was now uncontrollably. Light poured out from the heavens and burned away the darkness. It was blinding, draping itself over everything it touched as it grew outwards and flooding the summoned Spirit.

When it reached out as far as it could, covering all of the blighted lands, time froze again.

Then, in a blink, the light receded back to the rift, leaving in its wake ground scarred from the accursed energies. For all those outside of the vortex, it all happened in a breath.

Within the vortex, all that remained was Kesshen.

His mortal allies had fallen. The ghoul that wore a familiar face was being penetrated by light from the rift. Then, the light started to return. He saw the edges of the vortex start to draw in. He looked between the Ghoul, where every instinct he had said to strike it down first. Then he looked at the rift.

Save Yourself.

No, he reached out with his sword drawn. He raised its edge, ready to end this once and for all.

SAVE YOURSELF.

The compulsion halted him in his swing. He could advance no further. The bond was severed yet the orders remained within him. Kesshen was full of the rift’s light. When it began to call the light back, it pulled him with it.

No. NO.

He tried to fight it. He felt the pull dragging him back. He thrust his sword into the ground and tried to keep hold.

Nothing worked.

He turned to the rift, just moments before making contact with it. He knew what lied on the other side. The Spirit Realm. Beyond that, the Heavens. If he let it take him, he would no longer be alone. He looked to the ghoul, who seemed to be resisting the Light’s influence. He needed no convincing. He turned his sword and sent it flying at the rift.

The tip pierced the rift. A ring ran through the vortex. Again, there was an explosion of light. And then, there was nothing.

Ghost Relic: Chapter 1

Chapter 1-3.2: Broken Bonds

Ever get that feeling that you can’t wait to finish just so you can go back and fix everything? I feel like that right now. But, I’m almost there!


 

Her eyes glowed again, piercing in the deep darkness of the vortex. The Tome and Mirror were both tied to her back. When she pulled the strap, they fell but never made it to the ground. They suspended in mid-air before flying to arm’s level. The Tome opened, and the text glowed. The Mirror’s surface glowed in kind.

This got the full attention of all of the demonic creatures who turned to the now empowered Priestess. Even those engaged with the Soldier left to throw themselves into her glowing shield, letting out an unholy shriek as they hit.

“GET BACK!” she ordered. Mei drew power from the staff and the shield sent out a pulse of her own, knocking the cursed beasts to the ground. The display of strength was out of character for anyone who had met her, with the exception of her traveling companions. They saw her grow into this warrior who, for the rest of the world, was still a timid Temple Maiden.

“Time to end this!” she called, reading the glowing words before her, the mirror’s surface filling with a pure, golden light. The light shot a column into the sky, fighting to pierce the billowing clouds.

A roar shook the very air, screaming the party down in a demonic tongue. For the Soldier and the Ninja, the words were indiscernible and scratched at their very bones. She understood, thanks to the knowledge gathered in the Staff.

The only end to be found here is yours. Close this door, if you must, but others remain. I am already in your Realm. There is no escaping me. It is already too late.

Mei did not waver. She knew there was some truth in what the Darkness declared, but she realized in that moment she had always known. This was her one journey. She had already made peace with that.

With her free hand, she raised it over her head. The ribbon that held her small statuette to her wrist slipped away. The statuette too joined the other artifacts. She pointed to the Darkness’ Heart and the statuette whipped away. It tore through the beam of light, still pouring out of the mirror, giving it an otherworldly glow, brighter than it had ever been.

She pulled the dagger from her side and sent it flying after. It was going to do more than a mere blessed pebble. When it struck, it was going to cut the statue clean through and unleash the whole power of Kesshen and his small pocket realm.

When the dagger did hit the statue, time froze, causing a ring to reverberate through all realms. There was the light burst from which Kesshen would be born from. This time, the light blinded and burned the darkness away. Kesshen was still a swordsman, but this time he was still more Spirit than Man, made up only of the pure Heavenly Light. His sword formed of the same stuff and he cut a line down through the Darkness’ Heart. The rift that opened tore the vortex apart and the demonic howl that emerged was an unadulterated pain.

It worked.

IT WORKED.