A/N: “Kurasshu Kigenso” is my best attempt at a Japanese translation for “Element Crash.” This is my first real attempt at a manga-related story with an actual plotline and this is also the first time I have written anything like this, so this will be a bit of an experiment on my part. Any comments or criticisms will be appreciated.
Also of note, I use “yokai” in dialogue, but “demon” in the prose. There is no real reason behind this; it just seems like the way it should be.
Quest for Power
A rustle of leaves whispered over the valley and the sound combined with the echo of a wolf howling in the distance. Together they created something special and the subtle commotion piqued the interest of the stoic demon that stared at the full moon.
Black hair that fell to the straps of a silver cuirass glimmered on the demon’s head as he stared across the grass-covered valley. Moonlight shone a white glow over every living thing and a small smirk tugged at the mouth of the demon from the sight.
“Dominance,” he said aloud in a haughty, but placid voice. “I’ll soon dominate everything that can be touched by moonlight.”
The earth rumbled behind him and a dark figure emerged from the ground.
“My lord,” it said. “There’s still no word yet as to its location. We must begin to consider other pl-”
“Nonsense, Chikonashi,” the demon hissed. “We’ll make no other plans. There are no other plans to make. I need the Kurasshu Kigenso. Find it.”
There was finality to his voice that made the figure recoil slightly and it retreated into the shadows as the ground rumbled once again.
The moon made its slow trek across the sky and its brilliant glow eventually yielded to the rising sun of dawn, but the demon had not moved in all the while. His gaze remained fixed on the valley in the same way his thoughts had remained on the Kurasshu Kigenso.
The sword had been sought by thousands of earnest hinsei demons for millennia as it stood as the symbol of everlasting power and dominance; it embodied every desire of the great nature demon, Bankonashi.
His search for the sword had carried him across continents and seas throughout the five hundred years he had been coveting its power. He had never found it, but this time he knew it was close. It was near; he could feel the sword’s aura in the air. Bankonashi could almost see the crackle of white light that emanated from the blade as it was wielded. It was so close.
Bankonashi watched the colours in the sky change as the sun rose, reached its peak in the sky and began its slow descent to the horizon. As dusk overtook the sky, a dark shape appeared high in the air and flew closer and closer to the demon. Though it continued to approach, looking like a menacing spot on the orange sun, Bankonashi did not bat even a lid of his near-white blue eyes. The wind picked up pace as the shape drew closer to him, blowing leaves and bending trees.
Just as the trees seemed to reach their threshold from the wind, the flow died suddenly and a blue-skinned figure alighted in front of him.
“Kazekonashi,” said Bankonashi. “Please, tell me you come bearing good news.”
“My lord,” the figure said like a rush of wind. “My lord…Hikonashi and Mizukonashi have it almost cornered and Chikonashi is rushing toward it.”
“Good,” said Bankonashi. “We’re going…now.”
He felt wind rush across his body and, a moment later, he found himself flying over the valley. A winged silhouette danced across the ground beneath him as he flew away from the sunset and his heart was at peace with every breath of wind on his face. However, the moment was soon over and Bankonashi landed gracefully in front of a towering tree at the edge of the valley.
Standing in front of the tree were two demons; one dressed all in red and the other in black. The demon in red held a mischievous grin on his face as if contemplating evil actions that were humourous only to him and his orange hair that clashed badly with his tan face and beady red eyes waved in the breeze giving him the appearance that he was on fire. The one in black was a soothing contradiction with her knee-length, dark blue hair, white skin and grey eyes like water. She was solemn, but collected and together they stood glaring at something small, thin and quivering between her and the tree.
Bankonashi felt another burst of wind and Kazekonashi’s great white wings glimmered against his skin as he stepped forward to the join the others. The ground rumbled beneath all of them and a fourth figure emerged from the ground and stood next to Kazekonashi, looking distinct from the others with his black skin, grey kimono and bush of bright green hair.
The five demons stood before the shaking form in front of the tree and the small demon’s heart visibly beat a rapid pace, as droplets of water squirted out of his pale blue skin like a spring. In his hand, a sword sparkled in the rising moonlight and his mouth gaped as the five took a simultaneous step toward him.
A smile crept toward Bankonashi’s lips and he resisted the urge to throw back his head and laugh to the moon. The water demon’s hands could just barely form a complete circle around the hilt of the sword, but there it stood, determination resonating in its wide eyes. Its large, floppy wet ears gave a disposition contrary to that of its grip, which spoke of a demon fully aware of the power within its hands.
The sword vibrated for a moment in the demon’s hand, capturing Bankonashi’s full attention. It was enormous; it was the size of Bankonashi himself and the small demon had to hold the sword at an angle with the blade’s tip on the ground. The blade gleamed a broad, proud silver while its handle glowed red with the blood of its many victims. With each turn the demon attempted to make, a crack of white would surround the sword, allowing a glimpse of the power it concealed.
Bankonashi briefly wondered how such a weak demon got possession of the most powerful heirloom crafted into existence, but that did not matter for the moment. It was the sword of dominion. It contained the power to control all the elements of nature and, finally, it was within his grasp.
“Mizu yokai,” said Bankonashi. “Give me the Kurasshu.”
“The little demon shook his head. “I’m no mizu yokai. I’m a full hinsei yokai and I won’t give this away to anyone.”
“You can’t possibly think you can use it.”
“I’m a hinsei yokai!” screamed the demon. “I can wield it!”
“Give me the sword…now.”
The demon squeezed his small hands tighter around the hilt of the sword. “No…it’s mine. I know its value. It came to me and I won’t give it to anyone. Least of all, the likes of you.”
“Give it to me now or prepare to see the netherworld.”
The demon then pulled the sword with some unseen strength and swung it at the five. The other four took a step backward, but Bankonashi stood his ground allowing the sword to come so close it cut the edge of his kimono.
Heaving with the exertion of swinging the sword, the small demon let it fall to the ground with a thud.
Bankonashi sighed and shook his head. “Take it.”
At that moment, a mound of earth rose in front of the demon and lurched in the small demon’s direction. He squeezed his eyes shut, bracing for the worst, but, holding the sword’s hilt toward the sky, he managed to deflect the blow.
The mound subsided and the demon took a deep breath as the air around him grew hot. The edges of its kimono were singeing and the bark of the tree behind it grew darker and, suddenly, a ball of fire in the shape of a hand came careening at the demon and sword.
The demon pulled the sword upward and hid its entire body behind it as fire blazed around the sword. A white light crackled all around the sword and the fire died away instantly. Yet, as soon as the fire had subsided, a wave of water rushed from where the female demon had stood. The water crested and formed a fist as it crashed against the sword, but for this the demon was ready. He stepped from behind the sword and waved his small claws at the rushing water that then became a narrow stream instead of its prior gush of water.
Leaves began swirling with a new gust of a wind and the dry leaves and dirt formed the ghostly image of outstretched fingers that curled around the hilt of the sword. The wind then changed directions and seemed be pulling at the sword, but the demon held strong and, as his grip around the sword tightened, a white glow seemed to emanate from the blade dissuading the winding from the demon’s body.
The wind slowed to a light breeze and the leaves dropped from the sky like rain, leaving the demon covered in a light layer of forest undergrowth. Its breath was coming in deep gasps and its large eyes rolled backward at the same time. The demon let out a gagging sound and its body quickly went from opaque to a translucent block of liquid to opaque again causing Bankonashi to laugh in the process.
“So! You’re only a mizu yokai after all…”
“I am hinsei,” the small demon wheezed, “but…water is what I control.”
“Water is what you control?” said Bankonashi, laughing again. “A true hinsei demon can control all.” The other four demons seemed to melt into one form behind him and he suddenly towered far higher over the small demon. “Let me show you what a real hinsei yokai can do.”
Standing dirty and wet, but resolute, the demon regained his grip on the hilt of the sword and steadied himself in the ground. The sky grew darker than the deep blue of night and the leaves vibrated on the ground; the air was electric and the demon’s eyes stared about the forest foreboding something worse than the other attacks.
The ground rumbled and a crack of white light danced in sky for less than a blink of an eye before streaming straight into the sword. The demon shook for a moment and fell into a smoldering lump on the ground.
Bankonashi nudged the demon’s body away from the sword with the tip of his zouri and took a deep breath as his hand gripped the hilt of the revered sword.
It came alive in his hand.
It glimmered continuously in the pale moonlight and hummed with its power.
“At last, it’s mine,” he thought.
Bankonashi stared at the beautiful sword, feeling almost at one with it, as if it would obey his every thought, but the sensation was fleeting. One part of the journey had ended, but another remained.
The Kurasshu Kigenso fed off the demonic aura of defeated foes and would only release its true power once the greatest demon on earth had conquered.
He sighed and swung the sword once. A wave of fire emanated from it burning down a dozen trees with on lackadaisical swoop.
Now that he had the sword, the reality of his secondary problem sudden realized. Defeating enemies was not the problem. He was, after all, Bankonashi, the hinsei demon and heir to the eastern lands. The trouble lay in finding formidable enemies to battle. Times were far different from when he first began his search. More humans were around the areas than demons and the truly great demons had all but vanished and in their wake left only weaker demons or worse…hanyous.
When the sword was first within reach, he had had great plans and an enemy in mind. The daiyokai Inu no Taishou had carried the sword along with another, but discarded it once he had fashioned two others from his own fang, never capable of fully wielding the sword. Only a hinsei demon could wield it properly; one that was pure and composed of each of the four elements.
What became of Inu no Taishou’s other swords, Bankonashi did not know or care, but what he did know was that Inu no Taishou, the greatest foe imaginable, was dead. Some clash with Ryuukotsei had wounded him and then a rumour about a petty mortal had ended his life.
Ridiculous, he thought to himself. The greatest of the daiyokai that had ever lived being brought down…by a human. Utterly ridiculous.
He picked the sword’s dirty black scabbard from the ground, marveling briefly at how shabby and unloved the scabbard seemed, but his thoughts soon grew troubled once again.
It had been two hundred years since the great dog demon had died and, with no one like him available to battle, Bankonashi would still not be able to bring about the most powerful technique maintained in a weapon for which the sword took its name.
The sound of rushing water echoed in his ears and then Mizukonashi spoke sounding closer than she would if standing directly next to him.
“My lord,” she said. “While we searched, there was a rumored a demon that roamed over all. He was formed from thousands of other demons. Perhaps this demon, this Naraku, is strong enough to allow you to unleash the Kurasshu.”
“Sounds promising,” Bankonashi said, skepticism coating his voice.
He had heard several rumours about a demon called Naraku fighting some infantile battle with a hanyou and some humans. The rumours had run even deeper to suggest that the hanyou with the son of the Inu no Taishou, but Bankonashi dismissed the idea entirely. No hanyou could ever be strong enough to unless the true power of the sword. It was the sword of the nature demons and by definition required purity, the likes of which a hanyou could never convey.
The thought that a mixture of weak demons and miasma could create a demon greater than he, Bankonashi, also seemed preposterous, yet he sheathed the sword, prepared to search for “Naraku” nonetheless.
He took a step forward through the wood and suddenly, five others followed him.
“If only the daiyokai had survived,” said Hikonashi, his fire-like hair waving in the gentle wind.
Bankonashi nodded, agreeing with his subordinate. Killing Inu no Taishou would have been the very thing to unless the true power of the Kurasshu Kigenso and allow Bankonashi to claim his place as master of the world, but for now, his new search would have to continue.
If only, he thought as he stepped through the trees, if only the daiyokai had fathered a pure child…