Shokujin & Echo Edit
It was very rare for Shokujin Tenchikaimei to visit the surface world, however, if he was to put his plan into motion, he needed to find sources of powerful yoki. He crossed over several hills, reaching a long stretch of river. "There is a large grouping of yoki just over this river." he deduced, as he walked over the water to the other side.
Echo stalked furiously through the seaside meadow, covering up his confusion and misery with anger. He had came home to his father's small castle in his hidden forest to see his experimentation chamber was open. Curiosity had overcame him as he entered, seeing for the first time that his father experimented on live demons and humans. Disgusted with his father's work, Echo left in the middle of the night, and honestly had nowhere to go.
"Well, well." said a bandit walking out from behind a tree covered area. "What do we have here?"
Laughter was heard as other bandits came out from their hiding, circling him with their daggers and swords.
Breathing calmly he allowed one to jump at him, sidestepping and elbowing the attacker devastatingly on the crown of his spine, breaking it. He immediately grabbed the fallen man's dagger, sliding under another's legs and slashing his tendons.
Shokujin continued walking until he reached the crest of the final hill, looking down upon the woods. He felt the humans about their sinister business, as well as the yokai in the forest. He then felt the ever slight presence of a dormant yokai within the woods, "The yoki of this yokai is so faint. It's as if there is a barrier between it and I." he pondered letting his great speed carry him into the woods. He jumped from tree to tree until he was in view of the humans gathering around the faint source of yoki, "A boy...?" he wondered.
Managing to grab a short sword as well, Echo whirled around, slicing the throats of the remaining two combatants. For a moment he was content with himself, until he remembered...he wasn't himself. And frankly, he might not ever be. Suddenly he felt a sharp pain in his head, more pain than he had ever felt. He gnashed his teeth, dropping on one knee.
"Hmph, it would be cruel of me to leave this boy in this type of pain." he sighed, quickly flashing in front of the boy. "I wonder if this boy's dormant yoki is causing this pain...? Only one way to know." he reached down and put his hand on the boy's head and focused his immense yoki into the boy's body in an attempt to cause the pain to retreat.
Eventually the pain died, but not before Echo heard the cry of his father ring loud in its wake. He looked up, seeing the strange man above him. "Hello." he mustered.
"Hello." he softly replied, "The boy is fine for now. I can no longer feel his yoki...he is indeed an odd one." Shokujin thought to himself, "What is a young human such as yourself, doing in these woods by yourself?" he wondered thoughtfully.
Echo stood up. "Where else is one without home or cause to go?"
"Ah. So you are an orphan? Nevertheless, this forest is filled with demons. One such as yourself should not be here alone, lest you be taken in by them. You have some skill with a weapon, that much I can see, but alone, this forest would be your deathtrap." he explained. "Now, to answer your question; that would depend on your willingness to find a new home, and to discover your cause."
"My father is alive...just a criminal." pointed out Echo. "But you're right, I need to perservere until I find my place."
"Fathers can be horrid people." he agreed, remembering his own. "In the meantime, what will you do now? You are alone, without a source of food or water, without proper clothing and without shelter. Aside from that, even you know that the pain you experienced earlier may return, and if it does, what then? Tell me. What do you plan to do once you collect yourself and decide to leave these woods?"
"I'm not entirely sure...Perhaps head to a nearby village, my energy is useless, so perhaps they would accept me." wondered Echo aloud.
"Hmm, the boy may be useful to me in my time on the surface..." he pondered, "No, considering your age, they would see you as nothing more than a runaway, something not deemed well in the villages of this nation. If you so wish, you may come with me until you find your place. I, being a daiyokai, can protect you from virtually any demon that crosses our path, and most certainly deal with humans." Shokujin offered, continuing to keep his serious and studying expression.
As much as he despised admitting his inferiority, he knew his chances of surivial were now an actual possibility with this man, who was rather kind to him actually. "Alright, thank you very much." Echo tipped his head.
Shokujin let a small smile creep over his face, a rare thing for him to do. "Very well. With all of that out of the way I will introduce myself. I am Shokujin Tenchikaimei, as I said, I am a daiyokai of the shark species and am the current king of the Sea of Japan." he explained.
Echo's eyes widened a bit. "Most impressive...but all my father has ever called me is 'Echo'." Echo had never really known a true name, he believed his father had used an experimental drug on himself to manipulate his fetus before birth, and that "Echo" was the project's name, and thus his.
Shokujin's eyes narrowed somewhat, "Echo is it? I see. It is a good name." he replied, looking around. "The darkness is starting to settle. This forest will not be safe for much longer. There is a river about a mile from the edge of the forest. We should be able to make it before night completely sets in if we hurry." he said, "We'll camp there for the night." He then began to walk off into the dense thicket.
Echo followed his new guardian, weaving through the thick forestation and admiring the skill of his new...friend. Echo was very knowledgeable himself, but grew up sheltered in a secluded manor filled with secrets his entire life.
The woods became thicker as they journeyed deeper. Shokujin held out his right palm, sparks of electricity beginning to fly out of it, as a blade of concentrated electricity sprung from his hand. In a blinding flash he cut down several trees, clearing the path as the blade vanished. He ability to sense the electromagnetic field of other creatures kept an eye on Echo and the demons in the surrounding forest.
"Incredible." he commented under his breath. Echo had heard of yoki energy being used, but had never witnessed it.
Finally they reached the edge of the woods, the sun now setting just beyond the hills. "Just over those hills is our goal." he stated simply. "Once there I will prepare a small meal and then we will need to get some rest." he said as he began to ascend the hill.
Echo dashed after his comrade, wanting to have energy of his own to use for a split moment before coming to the realization that if he were to follow his mother's wish, that would never be so.
Shokujin sensed the fluctuation of the boy's emotions, "What is on your mind?" he asked, not turning as a he continues to ascend the hill.
"My yoki is forever sealed within me. My mother thought it was too much for me to handle so before she died after my birth, she made Father promise to seal it. There's only one way...But I mustn't." Echo thought about the mystical properties of the Konmira, an indestructable blade his father forged that could release his seal.
"Hmmm, forever sealed?" he thought aloud. "No perhaps not. It surfaced briefly in your confrontation with the humans. It was the source of that pain in your head." he replied. "But a mother's wish is often hard to break, isn't it?" he asked inquisitively. They were now approaching the river's banks.
Echo nodded. "Indeed, for whatever reason...she did not want me to be influenced by it." he shrugged his shoulders.
"Yoki can have negative effects on those who wield it if that person becomes overwhelmed by it." he explained. "Some yoki can even influence a person to do evil, as it did my father." He finally stopped when he reached the water's edge. He started a fire and hung a slab of dear meat over it on a rack made of sticks. While it cooked, he sat with Echo, "This land is full of conflict. Those hanyo and yokai that seek the Shikon Jewl will stop at nothing to ravage this land." he said, sighing. "On the same note, humans are desperately attempting to achieve demon powers. It is a sad day and age."
"True, people seem to want power just so that their neighbor can't have it themselves. It's horrible." commented Echo, considering that perhaps influence was indeed his mother's cause for making such demands.
"Mhm..." Shokujin mumbled softly. He noticed that the meat was finished and he walked over and removed it from above the flame. Using the sword of electricity, he sliced the slab in half, and handed a half to Echo after placing it on a small plate of bark. He then joined the boy and began eating his portion. "So..what made your father so horrible?" he asked between pieces of meat.
Echo poked at his food, starving yet sickened about his father. "He is very brilliant sorcerer, a yokai. Although not particularly potent, his yoki takes form in his brain cells, which makes him more of a scientist than anything. He isn't often able to control himself, and is unable to deny any of his inspirations that could further his work. His work...which I discovered today...doesn't have to be experimentation on the dead." Echo looked away, still not used to knowing that the man he had so much pride in being the son of suddenly became the closest thing to a monster he had ever seen or heard of.
Shokujin nodded in pity, "I see." he replied in a whisper. He finished his meat and walked back over to the water's edge, it's surface choppy under the night's harsh winds. "I understand your horror, but you need to eat. You'll need your strength for tomorrow. He took off his cloak and threw it to Echo, "Here. Use this as a blanket so that you will not be cold tonight." he said as a flicked his wrist and a sphere of water levitated from the river to above the ground beside Echo, "I prefer to sleep in water so I'll be within this sphere for the night."
Echo nodded, quickly finishing his meal and curling up in the cloak as his ally entered the sphere....
Several hours into the night, Echo tossed and turned. He kept having visions of his father being bound and beaten relentlessly, and he continously awoke covered in sweat. "What is happening to me?..." Suddenly the pains that agonized him returned, and he stood up in his misery. "I must go home, to see father...Maybe then this will end."
Imediately Echo did the single thing his was truly proud of, he bursted away in extreme speed, towards the hell he called home.
Shokujin had been watching with one eye open. He sighed, "The boy is running right into a trap..." he thought, erupting from the watery sphere as he flew through the air. He caught sight of Echo and trailed him, giving just enough distance to prevent Echo from detecting him.
Echo noticed the peacful garden in front of his home miles away was destroyed, and all was quiet. He entered what used to be the front gate, seeing destruction at every corner. Heading to his father's private laboratory, he evaded the several labeled and mutated humans and demons he found earlier that scarred his opinion of his father.
He slowly walked into his father's chambers, seeing the remains of a body hanging from the ceiling. Getting closer, Echo recognized it by its hair to be his father...skinned alive. Nothing but torn meat tissue and a morphed face remained. Utterly horrified, Echo tripped backwards, caving through his father's small bed and tumbling down a hidden set of stairs. He stood up limply in a dark chamber, looking to see a small oasis filled with eerie green water. Looking down, he saw dry ground underneath it somehow, it must've been a spell. He jumped into the lengthy downwards tunnel of green liquid, quicly experiencing beyond excrutiating pain. The liquid must be a type of acid, he thought, for his skin seemed to be on fire from the inside out. Frantically swimming he fell through the layer, reaching the shrine below. On a pedestal stood a long, sadistic looking sword. It could be no other sword but Konmira, he knew.
"I must leave now." he thought. His mother would not support this at all, yet the desire to avenge his father grew in the pit of his stomach. The man was truly a monster...but the monster was still his father, and he had been disgraced and mutilated without trial...
Shokujin landed at the home, sensing an increased concentration of yoki below, "Dang...I may be too late..." he pondered, busting into the laboratory and noticing the hole in the rubble of the bed. "Damn..." he cursed, knowing that Echo was already inside.
Drop...Drop... The layer of acid was falling through, apparently his father had intended to ensure that if bothered, the sword would be drawn, or else. Echo's mind shifted back and forth. "Mother...She only wanted me to live a content life in her absence..." he gripped the cross necklace on his neck, a gift made of her yoki that she gave him to represent their trust and love. "But...Father...You didn't deserve that...You loved the world, and worked to better it, no matter the fact that your ambitions for a perfect society became perverse. No one deserves that kind of disgrace..." he thought. "And me...This is my only chance to know what power is, never again will I have the chance..." And that was it, he stalked forwards, grasping the handle of the accursed blade and immediately losing his breath as an indescribable force enraptured his entire being, from the inside out.
Shokujin felt an incredible surge of energy beneath him. Abandoning all will to remain upstairs, he blasted his way into the underground chamber. Upon landing, he saw Echo, his hands tightened around the sword hilt, yoki bursting from him, and his body convulsing. "Oh...crap..." he thought to himself....Echo's transformation was beginning.
Following Chapter: Paths are chosen, lines are drawn