Yumari and the Violet Oni part 1
Yumari Travels south
Mind Numbing, throbbing pain seared through her head like a freight train. Her travels led her directly into the Forest of Lies. The woodland floor was covered in moss, laid out like a bad american 70's teenage sitcom. A dense aroma filtered between the tree littered area as its sticky fog never seemed to drift away. This place was more like a prison. Anything that goes in usually never comes out the same way or at all. Tales of old talks about how this place takes many lives and truth be told, this isn't even the worst forest of them all. Yumari recalled a story about Suicide Forest, a place of death and dismay. Deeper into the thicket she journeyed with only her sword at her side to protect her. Hindsight mocked her in thoughts of what she should have brought with her. Thick droplets of liquid began to fall and the woods drank it up as a panther in the night. Quickly, quietly, smaller animals began to dart out from their homes to taste the sweet, richness of water. They trembled in fear, but what were they afraid of? Having spent a few hours already in earth's growth, the young woman had yet to come across anything she even slightly feared. Were all the stories false? Forest of Lies, was that the reason for its name? Onward, the snow haired traveler kept her blade close, her honey eyes open and her ears focused for anything that might surprise her.
Wrapped around her belt, next to her satchel, a silver chain hung and held a cross. Yumari herself was never really very religious, but the Shoto family was deeply rooted to their God. She only carried this cross in honor of her late mother and father who had died in the Village Wars when she was only a babe. Glancing around, she tried to catch a glimpse of the sun, the moon or stars to give her a sense of time. However, with all the foliage, she just couldn't seem to decipher the hour. The rain hadn't ceased since it started, she was drenched and becoming exhausted from the extra weight of wet clothing. She now sought shelter from the infuriating forest.
Continuing on, growing tired, Yumari could nearly keep her eyes open. Trudging through the mud, broken logs, grass and moss was tough enough. Now she began to see things. Jumping backwards, she threw her back into the base of a large tree. Her body began to shake as her eyes tired desperately to focus on the distance before her. Two bright beaming dulled lights blared in her direction. She barely just made out the silhouette of an enormous koi fish swimming in the raised fog. Not completely sure on what she should do, she remained still and slowed her breath. It never moved either for what seemed like hours. Her lids began to close. Staying still did not cause issues. She silently gathered her spiritual pressure from the earth below her and brought the connection to her legs. Melding the two allowed her legs to stiffen. She would rest there still, wait for the beast to move on. Stifling a yawn, her eyes hid behind its curtains. Was this a dream? What was really going on? She wanted to make sure this was really happening or if this was all a trick of the mind. She shook, but opened her eyes. Her face turned beet red and the sight before her nearly killed her by its vision alone.
The koi swam closer to her without causing the air to move around her and without noise. Now the beast was dead on her. With nowhere to go and the stiffness keeping her from falling to the ground, a small quivering cry fell from her shaking lips. Yumari's sound was heard like an echoing boom. The fish's unshut mouth began to widen and water from all around was suctioning inward and vanished inside the belly of the beast. There was a pressure around her that pulled her toward the anomaly. Releasing her lower half, she raised her blade as she was sucked into an underwater whirlwind. Slicing at the fish as she was taken in, it disappeared and she fell to the ground.
Her mind was going to split in two as she staggered to her feet. Sharp pain of her right shoulder ached. After examining herself, she noticed a rock lying on the ground precisely where she had fallen and apart from any other obstructions. She began to bleed from the open wound, the scent of her blood wafted deep into the darkness of the forest. Cursing herself, she headed in the direction of the moss that crawled on one side of the trees. Sheathing her blade, Yumari adjusted herself and shifted direction so she would head west. If she were wrong, she would be headed east, back where she came from.
Who knew how long she slugged through the forest. One thing seemed to be apparent, there was a calmness that now settled into the trees and nature all around her. Owls hooted and screeched their warnings in the shaded night. Stopping in her tracks, Yumari could feel the chuckle that was bubbling in the pit of her stomach. Honey eyes shifted and darted around, taking in the cold darkness. "Of course!" She laid the palm of her right hand against her sweat covered forehead and laughed. As she relaxed, the faint sounds of rushing waters spoke to her. Without missing a step and with new motivation, she headed toward the direction of the water. She was so focused on what kind of beast would attack next that she forgot to stop and listen.
A mile away and she could see a clearing. She was finally out of the forest. She would be able to breathe easily now. Slowing her pace while keeping an eye out, the dirt cloaked woman neared what looked like a river. The crisp scent of freshwater slapped her in the face, though all she was able to do was smile. She had reached the end of the forest where the dark grassy field welcomed her like an old friend. The air never smelled so sweet before or had she never took the time to appreciate it? Reaching the river, she knelt down and scooped the refreshing liquid into her mouth. Heaven's trumpets orchestrated a melody as she replenished her thirst.
A few scattered trees lived at the river bank to give drinkers much needed shade from the burning sun. This evening, shade was not needed and so it was used to hide one from a hunter. Nobody was around her or so she thought. A deer or two was spotted down the way a few miles in one direction and in the other was clear. She was tired and her body was beyond the need of a bath. Yumari was not one who liked to be caught off guard and so she kept her clothes on. Resting her blade in the tall grass as it was concealed, she stepped slowly into the chilling water and began to wash off the hardships of her travels.
Shivering was the body's way of warming itself up. Yumari's teeth chattered like a joyous cricket. Though she didn't want to remove her clothing, it was taking quite some time to get clean. With great reluctance, the snow haired woman waded in the waters and began to remove her clothing. Her weathered cloak slipped off easily and she placed the thick fabric against the grass beside her sword. Turning around, she raised her bum to sit in the wet greenery to take off her shoes, socks, pants and undergarments. The feeling of vulnerability washed over her like thousands of pricks. Bending to and fro, she looked around to make sure nobody was bear her before she continued. Removing her brassiere, and outer shirt left the only remaining article of clothing to hide her naked bodice. A long white robe clung to her body like a frightened kitten.
After briskly cleansing her beaten body, she dug up some enlodged rocks from under the water. Collecting her clothing she laid them out as best she could and rested the rocks atop of them to hold them down in place. She would use the rushing river to wash the clothes for her. On the other side of the riverbed, a large rock flat rock beckoned for her to rest and dry off. From her satchel, she took out bandages and utensils that she could use to clean herself up. There were splinters embedded in her hands that she dug her silver needle in to drive them out. Blood ran down her hands and dripped down on the blueish grey slab of rock beneath her. Setting that aside, she wrapped her toes and feet in white bandages to protect it from infection and more dirt. She was a mess.
The setting sun was a beauty to take in. For a moment's time, she laid back and stared deep into the vibrant colors from above. The golden sky played with spilled paints from the heavens. A pool of violet ran wild into a stream of blues and exploded into the distance. Mesmerized and relaxed, she drifted off into a short rest. Faint laughter filled her ears and she spun around to see her best friend Kenjin. School had let out for the last time and the graduation ceremony was to commence the following night.
The sound of a bear startled Yumari from her rest and she quickly kept from the rock onto the soft grass below. Swiftly collecting her things she then dug into the rushing waters to retrieve her clean clothing. Yanking them from the pool, she took off toward the treeline where she could conceal herself.