Author Note: As many know this story was started back in 2010. There was a large variety of game issues that resulted in me losing sims and hoods and it was just a general mess. Because of many of the issues that were going on things were skipped over and just touched on briefly which was never my intention, but when your game is being uncooperative, you do what you can. The original story was completely different and I thought The Exiled Prince (provided things went as they were meant to) would be a nice little enjoyable story. As time went by and continued game issues, things got away from me and it ended up being a project that felt more like a chore then anything else. So a combination of things resulted in revamping the characters and after considerable talks with people who were reading it and others who are writers themselves, I decided that I would move the story into a different direction. This chapter is the final chapter for The Exiled Prince. The goal in this chapter was to first trim down the cast as well as addressing (some not all) loose ends. I had to be realistic with this chapter. I could not address all plots that were left dangling or all the things that left you going hmm, wonder what that is about. Just not possible in one chapter. So I did what I could to focus on the characters and give a little insight into who they were, why they were in the story, and what they were trying to accomplish all while dealing with the Gods themselves. It is long, because there were many characters to deal with. There were characters that I wanted to keep for the “new” story, but I simply could not find any reasonable way to keep them. Which is a shame, because some of my favorites are not going to be in the continuation, but that is alright. This was necessary for me and for the story.
Kazuma paused taking a deep breath in. He did not want to take each person in the world one by one and let them be judged. He felt it was better to judge them by their clans, but he could see with Tationy that was not going to be possible.
“We will start with Kisho of the Nakamaru. He was the first of the Nakamaru, created by Rin who dabbled in the darkest forms of esoteric arts. He manipulated us in an attempt to obtain our powers and access to the heavens. His sins are fairly obvious. Is there anyone who is not in agreement that he should be removed from the very fabric of existence?”
His attention was drawn toward Tationy who refused to look at him. She had considered Kisho several times since her arrival. She could not really argue for his life, seeing it was because of him that the gods became mortal to begin with. He was ultimately the reason all of this with Tearra got set into motion. Had he not manipulated them, things perhaps would have been much different.
“Then it is decided.” Tationy felt it the moment Kisho was removed from time itself. She could feel it in every part of her body as she brought her hand to her mouth, feeling as though she was going to be ill.
“Myia of the Nakamaru, manipulated her clan and her sons. She was closely aligned with Kisho and did anything he wished of her. Her arrogance and desire for power was rivaled only by Kisho himself.”
“Myia infiltrated my clan, by destroying Nene and taking control of her body. Such an action against the blood of the gods is unforgivable.” Rin responded.
“I have to agree, she was instrumental in the manipulation of Sohma of the Hamara. It was because of her that he was killed by Taku of the Kensuku. While her part may have seemed insignificant, her manipulations set forth a wide variety of unfortunate events.” Hisoka spoke.
Ryozo did not offer any response, he agreed wholeheartedly with the other gods, but his eyes drifted toward Tationy. Most of them knew each other’s decisions already, it was hers that they were uncertain about. Tationy realized suddenly that she was being stared at, “I don’t really have anything to contribute. I had no contact with her as far as I know. Certainly she has done her part in all of this that cannot be denied. I…” She paused a moment, “I wish I understood why she did it. Why power was so important to her. Anyone who desires power that much is willing to do anything for it. I cannot say the world would not be better off without such a person. Though I don’t entirely know if I am making the right decision.”
Each god could feel her apprehension. The Nakamaru clan was the easiest clan to deal with and she was already struggling. “You cannot change your mind after it has been done.” Kazuma informed her.
“Then let it be so. Myia of the Nakamaru will suffer the same fate as Kisho and be removed from time itself.”
They moved through various Nakamaru. Some decisions were so easy and some more difficult, then she ever imagined. “Mikira of the Nakamaru…” Kazuma spoke, but was quickly interrupted.
“Who killed him?”
Kazuma seemed surprised by Tationy’s question, “Atsuki of the Nakamaru.” He noticed the unhappy expression upon her face, “You are bothered by this?”
“When we first arrived to Aslann, we stayed at the Elder of the Nakamaru’s estate. Mikira kept to himself, there were times when he seemed troubled. Had I not been so selfish, perhaps I would have asked him why. He must have known what was coming and what fate laid before him.”
“Mikira was a demon of the Nakamaru with Tylo clan blood. He faced my clan in battle many times.” Kazuma responded. “Among the Nakamaru, he is possibly the most reasonable and one of a few that did not fall in line with Kisho’s ideologies.”
“You seem to respect him.” Tationy stated.
Each god displayed a surprised expression as Kazuma thoroughly considered his words. “Bingwen of the Kari respected him greatly. They met on the battlefield often. Mikira was a rarity among the Nakamaru because he simply did not fall in line and had a capable mind of his own. He was one of the few demons of the Nakamaru capable of unlocking the lowest level of purgatory and releasing the demons. His eyes were said to haunt those that he faced in battle long after their encounter. He was a man to be feared and respected, that does not mean I do not think him dangerous.”
“Yet you have no intention of removing him from the world.”
Kazuma bowed his head, “At first I believed that all the Nakamaru should suffer the same fate, but Mikira is a perfect example of a Nakamaru who had great power, but was mindful about how he wielded it. You were right, we gods were being rash rushing to judgement regarding the whole clan, rather than seeing them as individuals.”
“Does that mean…”
She did not get a chance to finish her question as he interrupted her, “He will live.”
“Thank you.” She whispered softly bowing her head.
That lightness that she felt did not last when Kazuma said, “Atsuki of the Nakamaru.”
She felt her chest tighten. The feelings that she had for him as a teacher. The feelings that the Prince of Aslann had for him. All of it came rushing forward and she gasped for breath as the anxiety overtook her. For a moment, Kazuma nearly reached out to her, but he pulled his hand away. The gods knew she had to do this on her own and there was nothing gained by coddling her.
“Atsuki of the Nakamaru and the Prince of Aslann were misguided in their battle to be recognized by each other. It was nothing more than a game to them. Instead of saying the things they should, they entered into a competition to outdo one another. It was Atsuki’s esoteric ritual that allowed the bodies of the guardians to defy the laws of the gods and be reincarnated. It is because of that ritual that the guardians and the Prince of Aslann tainted the timeline and forced the hand of the Ishi to protect the Prince. His actions were all to ensure that the vessel of Tearra would belong to the Nakamaru and they would obtain the power of the gods.” Kazuma rehashed some of Atsuki’s sins.
“He was responsible for taking control of the body of my kin, Togore of the Ishi after his apparent capture by Sohma of the Hamara and Taku of the Kensuku. He was also responsible for the death of countless individuals including Mikk of the Takahashi.” Rin spoke.
Hisoka sighed, “His list of sins are long. He even convinced his brother Shiano to take control of the body of Iashi of the Kari. It was this manipulation that ultimately would give the Nakamaru some control over Tationy when she arrived at the Kari village.”
“Let us not forget that all of this could have been prevented, when the Prince of Aslann offered herself to Atsuki. He refused her love and that alone ultimately resulted in this internal conflict between the two of them. Regardless of their grand motives all of their actions were ultimately for the others benefit.” Ryozo added.
“Did he manipulate Hero?” Tationy questioned.
“Hero’s motives were his own. His agenda at the time coincided with that of the Nakamaru, but there is no guarantee it would have remained such.”
Kazuma’s attention was drawn toward Tationy, “We all know how we feel about Atsuki, all we need to know is how you feel.”
“He was always the worst teacher ever. He was so boring. He was really good at lying because I never once suspected anything odd with him. When I think about my time with him, I wonder how much of it was true. I thought maybe being here that I would know the answers, but I guess that comes with time, right?” They did not answer her because she already knew the answer, “I don’t doubt that he was using everyone and it was because of him that the Nakamaru clan elders estate was attacked and all of us were separated. He had to have known that he could not accomplish is goals with all of us there. I just don’t understand anything he did and yet at the same time, I do. How messed up is that?”
“Tationy,” Kazuma said her name.
“I know some of you want him to suffer the same fate as Kisho. I know it is probably the right decision, but there is a part of me that does not want anything to happen to him. Just do it…do it quickly so I don’t change my mind.” She voiced as the tears rolled down along her cheeks and she whispered, “I am sorry Atsuki.”
Ryozo was about to suggest a break, but he noticed how Kazuma was watching her. So he remained silent understanding the next one was going to be even harder.
“Shiano of the Nakamaru, was manipulated and used by Kisho, Atsuki, and Myia of the Nakamaru. He was used to take control of the body of Iashi of the Kari who was believed to be a front-runner for my reincarnate. More importantly, he was the only person capable of making Tearra reincarnate fall in love with him. He succeeded at his goal, and the only reason Tationy did not fall into the hands of the Nakamaru was because Kuro of the Ishi and Moromari of the Saitama, were capable of stopping him. He was ultimately sealed away inside the eye of Moromari.” Kazuma’s eyes drifted toward Tationy. “We know of what we wish to do with him, what we don’t know is what you desire.”
“He was manipulated he could not help what happened. He was young and he was just doing what his mother and brother wanted. There was something vulnerable about him. He needed to feel important and loved, and I think that his motives were done purely for that reason. He was expected to grow up to fast and live the life of someone else. I don’t feel right deciding his fate on something he was coerced into doing.”
“Then you are saying you will leave this decision to us?” Hisoka questioned.
Tationy only managed a brief nod as she took a breath in and waited for them to make the decision she could not. She was too close to him. She had shared his bed and fell in love with him. Certainly he had been deceitful, but she did not believe for a moment his intention was to hurt her. “He will be given his life back.” Kazuma spoke and Tationy looked toward him. Whatever he was feeling he hid behind an emotionally withdrawn face. She could not help, but wonder if he had made that decision for her.
They rather quickly moved through the Nakamaru and onto the next clan, “The Saitama struck a blow against your blood Kazuma. Is it acceptable to allow them to live?” Rin questioned.
“Not all the Saitama were a part of that, it was only those that directly served the Dragon Lords.” Tationy argued.
“You would have us differentiate between them? Blood is blood.”
“Then you are saying I am no better than the Prince of Aslann. You are able to differentiate between those that have wronged and those that are innocent. There are many fine Saitama, if you are going to punish any, it should only be the ones that rose up against the Kari. Suemeli of the Satiama, Moromari of the Saitama, Toshiro of the Waichia, among many others had nothing at all to do with that massacre. I was there…” She looked away from them, “I saw the devastation, very few were spared, but I am certain that men and women like Moromari and Suemeli would have fought against their own blood to protect the Kari.”
Ryozo focused his eyes onto Tationy, taking in her features and the emotion on her face. “The Saitama are weapons of destruction, created as servants of war for the Dragon Lords. They know nothing else. Allowing any to live is dangerous, even those of my blood.”
“I say kill them all, nothing is gained by keeping such a clan.” Rin remarked then noticed the look Tationy had given him. “Are you going to make an impassioned plea for the one called Moromari?” She looked away, the fact that they knew the depths of her feelings bothered her. Of course it should have been obvious that the gods were well aware of everything, but it made her vulnerable to their scrutinizing eyes.
Hisoka spoke before Tationy could, “Moromari of the Saitama is connected closely with the Shima, to judge him is to judge them. He was never a part of the Saitama due to his pure-blood.”
“I agree, our judgement of him is also the judgement of the Shima due to his connection with them. For now, it is best that we do not cast judgement on Saitama that were not associated with the massacre of the Kari.” Kazuma responded. Tationy’s eyes fell upon Kazuma and if she could have she would have thanked him for not judging all Saitama with such harshness. “The Saitama in an attempt to acquire Tearra, went against my blood. I cannot allow that to be left unpunished.”
“I cannot say it was entirely a loss. However, to attack the blood of the gods is to attack the gods themselves.” Rin spoke, “Those that participated in the massacre of the Kari, do not deserve life.”
Hisoka simply nodded his head in acknowledgement. Tationy thought of Bòre and there was guilt at deciding his fate and that of his clan. He was not a bad man, she was certain of it. He had simply desired Tearra or the Prince of Aslann, she was not entirely sure which one. She supposed it did not matter, in the end, it was that obsession that led to the deaths of the Kari clan. The gods watched her as she silently pondered her decision, at this point she was the only one that had not agreed. She supposed these ones that they were dealing with first were the easy decisions. She imagined that not all of them would be so simple to decide.
Her mind drifted to Agara of the Saitama. She had kept her distance from Tationy while they were at the Retreat of the Empress. She felt a nagging within her when she looked upon Agara’s face like there was some distant memory locked away. She was certain the matriarch of the Saitama clan was the party responsible for pushing this power-play. She had no doubts that Agara was the one that controlled the strings of the Saitama.
At Agara’s side was a boy named Muramasa. Was it fair to take the life of someone so young? She knew that the Saitama fell at one point, but not much other information had been available at the time. This decision would decide if those people that sinned against the blood of Kazuma would be removed from the very fabric of existence. She felt terrible as she thought about Bòre again. “I agree.” She finally managed to say.
Working through the Saitama that had sinned against the Kari was rather easy, though it did not sit well with Tationy.
The judgement of Moromari went fairly quickly. None of the gods could find any fault with any action he had taken. He was dedicated to serving the Shima and had even protected Tationy when his own life had been on the line and he had personally sealed away Shiano of the Nakamaru. He was probably the most noble of all of the Saitama. It made Tationy happy that they had judged him fairly.
“Suemeli of the Saitama,” Kazuma began and then halted suddenly. It was clear he was considering his words, “I do not believe there is any need to speak about her. She suffered greatly at the hands of her own clan. Her Matsuo mother and brother were killed along with her father when the Saitama came to retrieve him. While all humans sin in one form or another, she has done nothing, but stand as a pillar of strength against her own clan. If there are no disagreements, then she will be allowed to be reborn into our new world.”
“Thank you Kazuma.” Tationy spoke softly. “I am glad, Suemeli will live on.”
The silence did not last long. “We should speak about that unpleasantness.” Hisoka spoke as his eyes focused in on Tationy. She was not sure what unpleasantness he thought was necessary to talk about, but she was certain that very soon she was going to be well-aware.
“What unpleasantness?” She braved asking.
Tationy frowned, “What about them?”
“You should know this.” Ryozo responded.
“She has kept many of Tearra’s memories locked away, Ryozo. This girl might as well be a separate individual.” Rin stated.
“Tearra create Emi of the Sosa, I know that, but what unpleasantness are you referring to?”
“Emi was Tearra’s mortal self.” Kazuma explained. “Tired of her place in heaven, she created one mortal a woman that was her essence. The Nakamaru clan manipulated Emi, captured her son, and using his blood created the Sweela. It is that unpleasantness that we are referring. The Sweela are abominations. They were never part of our design.”
“Otoha.” She whispered as she thought of him and the other Sweela she had encountered both as herself and as the Prince of Aslann. Even though her mind drifted to Seiree the Elder of the Sweela, Tohma his brother, Moochie the daughter of Tohma and servent to the Prince of Aslann, her mind could not help but settle on Otoha. “Are you trying to take everyone that I care about away?”
“We are trying to fix the damage that has been done. Rewriting time itself.” Kazuma explained, “They were never part of our design. They are a sin against humanity. Tearra’s sin. You can save the Sosa or the Sweela, but you cannot save both.” Kazuma responded.
He was making her choose between Otoha and Abe, she never imagined the day would come when she was forced to pick between two of the people she came to this time with. Hisoka’s eyes were on her, she could feel them. The power of the Hamara, the power that belonged to Hisoka was so strong that even sitting not far away from him, she felt pressured to do as he wished. She focused in on her hands. She had to decide, she could not pick both. Why was this one a decision only she could make? “Why don’t all of you decide?” She questioned.
“We have already made our decisions regarding both clans, we are divided.” Hisoka responded.
How long was she sitting there silently contemplating her decision? She was not certain. Time seemed so slow. “I save the Sosa.” She finally responded, the emotion etched across her features. Her eyes drifted up to look into those of Hisoka. She wished she could read him, but she swore there was a bit of delight in the fact that she was so troubled by this.
“Of course that would your decision.” Kazuma responded and it was clear he was unhappy.
Tationy at first did not understand why he was so putout about it, but then realized what might be causing him stress. “I only wish to save Abe of the Sosa, I care nothing of any others.”
Tationy suspected this was about Emi more than anything. She was all of Tearra’s hate toward Kazuma or at least that is how the story went. Allowing Emi to live allowed Tearra’s hate to remain in the world. It was an obvious blow to the ego of Kazuma.
She knew there were many fine Sosa such as Abe’s father Emitoya who was a war hero, though at the same time the Emitoya of the modern world had been cold and hard to his son. He made Abe feel as though he was never good enough and it was many years before Tationy would even find out that Abe’s life was not perfect. It was during that time when they had lived in the garden of the gods, before they were attacked and everyone she cared about died. She hated this feeling that she was taking someone great from the world and she justified it by reminding herself that he was also not a good person in one of his lifetimes.
She took a breath in, “I will agree to the annihilation of both clans, if Otoha of the Sweela and Abe of the Sosa are allowed to remain.”
“You would be willing to give up Emi of the Sosa?” Kazuma questioned.
“Her hate is that of Tearra’s, not mine. If I don’t like something you do, I will simply tell you. Sealing such emotions away is unhealthy.”
“The Sweela are abominations.” Rin responded.
“It would only be one Sweela.” Tationy stated, “He fought to protect me and lost his life fighting for what he believed in. Isn’t that the type of character you want for the balance of this new world?”
Hisoka and Ryozo both seemed to be considering her words. Rin seemed rather unhappy and it would be Kazuma who would speak first. “I will agree to allow Otoha of the Sweela and Abe of the Sosa to live on and the remainder of the two clans to be removed from time itself.”
“I do not disagree.” Ryozo responded, “Both men showed considerable character in the face of adversity and gave their lives to protect Tationy.”
“Apprehension consumes my heart regarding allowing both a Sweela and a Sosa to remain. However, I will agree to this provided that Tationy agrees to never create another Emi.”
“I would never.” Tationy insisted.
Rin seemed annoyed by the entire conversation. When all eyes were on him he simply waved his hand, “Does it matter what I think? Kazuma got what he wanted, I imagine that makes this situation acceptable.” He paused a moment as he changed the topic. “I believe that we should leave Cho of the Takahashi’s reincarnate alone, but his clan should be destroyed.” Tationy went to protest, but quickly made note of the expression on his face. It was not a decision he was making lightly. “I also submit that clans such as the Maiba, Matsuo, Anami, Shinohara, Kensuku, and Zenaku suffer the same fate. Their direct connection with one another serves to only strengthen their power. Leaving Cho’s reincarnate alive will send a message that such power and devastation by his kin will be severely punished.”
“Do you understand what he did?”
Rin lifted his head to look into her eyes, “Mikio was there when Cho’s reincarnate attacked and he nearly died defending you, I am well aware of the dangers he poses, but I also understand why he has done the things he has. He wishes for a world without the gods, a world where the mortals grow and progress. I cannot blame him for wanting the people of the world to move forward. They have relied on us too much and because of it, it has caused nothing, but war.”
“Yet we are sitting here intervening into their lives.”
“We are simply fixing what never should have happened, re-balancing the world. Do you deny that clans such as these have done more harm than good?”
“No, all of them sided with the Dragon Lords and stood against both the people of Aslann and Shimragata.”
“Then our decisions, should be easy.” He responded, but the heavy look on his face, told her that it was not so simple a decision.
“We agreed to take one clan at a time, person by person. We should not rush to judgement about other clans. If you wish to talk about the Takahashi, now that we have concluded with the Sosa and Sweela by all means.” Kazuma interjected. “Cho’s reincarnate, Hero of the Takahashi, did incredible damage. He sided with the Nakamaru, he has had a hand in starting wars. He has killed many to get to Tearra’s reincarnate.”
“What if we brought Cho himself back.” Hisoka suggested. “Cho was the most powerful of the Takahashi, brilliant and respected. He certainly would be able to keep Hero in line, and then there would not be a matter of Hero being the reincarnate of Cho. Cho would not have allowed his clan to falter the way it did during the war. He would have analyzed the situation of all parties involved and acted accordingly. He would have kept a tight leash on his clansmen. Had he not been killed early on by the Ishi, things with Hero might not have spiraled out of control.
“Cho bedded Tearra and it is because of that union that the Takahashi were born.” Kazuma responded his eyes fixated on Tationy.
Tationy sighed, “Is there anyone else Tearra slept with that you are going to dwell on? Let’s get rid of Cho because he slept with Tearra, for that matter why don’t you just remove Hisoka, Ryozo, and Rin as well. Tearra was a slut who slept around with everyone, I get it. I don’t care, I am not her and never was. Don’t look at me any time Tearra did something you disapprove of.”
The tension was thick and Kazuma stood and left the balcony where they were discussing matters. “That was rather harsh of you,” Hisoka said as his eyes fell upon Tationy.
“Harsh? I don’t think I was harsh at all. He looks at me any time Tearra did something he disapproves of…I am tired of it.”
“He looks at you only to see how you react to it.” Ryozo explained. “Kazuma is capable of distinguishing between you and Tearra.”
“Is this where you all gang up on me?”
“Stop being a child.” Rin responded coldly. “We are doing this for your benefit.”
“My benefit, how exactly is killing off people I care about for my benefit?”
“We already know you have decided to become mortal again. So we are being accommodating to you so that when you return to that life, you are in a place where the world is balanced and the only trials and tribulations that are set in your path are the ones that are meant to be there.” Ryozo explained.
Kazuma made his return though said nothing as he retook his seat. For a moment there was silence and Tationy got the distinct impression she was meant to apologize to him. Internally she struggled and then as quickly as she sighed she rested her head to Kazuma’s shoulder. The simple action seemed to surprise the other gods just as much as it did Kazuma as his head turned slightly to look at her. “Can we not talk about Tearra’s sins, until it is time to judge her?” Tationy questioned.
At first Kazuma did not respond, but eventually he agreed, “Yes, that is probably for the best.” He cleared his throat as he looked away from Tationy who still had her head rested to his shoulder, “Have we made a decision regarding Hero and Cho.”
“I don’t like the idea of Hero being allowed to continue on, but the images you showed me the other day of him and Tearra, I have to wonder if his motivations were not solely because of her and her alone. Her sin should be judged as a different matter entirely, but if they were once married, then my question is….did she ever tell him who she was?”
“She did.” Hisoka responded.
“I see, I was afraid you would say that.” Tationy sighed, closing her eyes, “As long as Cho is brought back as well, I will agree to Hero continuing on.”
Her words took Kazuma and the other gods by surprise. “Why are you agreeing after what he did?” Kazuma questioned.
Tationy spoke in a whisper, “It is alright as long as Tearra is not brought back.”
“What are you saying?”
“When it is time to judge the Tylo clan, Tearra should be judged as well and if her sins unsettle the balance, then she should as well be removed from the existence of time.”
Each god had their own reaction, but it would be Kazuma’s that was the most obvious. Tationy wanted Tearra to be removed from time itself. It would mean that Kazuma and Tearra were never in love. He nearly opened his mouth, his anger was bubbling over, but Hisoka calmed him with his words, “Then we should hold judgement for Hero. If Tearra is allowed to exist in time, then Hero will not be and vice versa. When it is time to judge the Tylo clan, we will judge her as well and in turn, if Hero is allowed to remain, then we shall revive Cho, who will be more than capable of controlling his clansman. Does anyone disagree?”
There was silence from the gods, even Kazuma held his tongue. He wanted to shake Tationy and ask her why she was doing this, but the rational part of him understood. To pass judgement on the Prince of Aslann meant that one also had to pass judgement on Tearra, whose actions set much of this power-struggle into motion. Kazuma collected himself quickly and changed the topic to another Takahashi. There was nothing more to discuss about Hero or Cho at this point, “Sadoo of the Takahashi.”
“Sadoo killed Otoha and was working for the Prince of Aslann, is there anything really to discuss?” Tationy questioned. Her tone was cold and hard, much more so than any of them had ever witnessed.
“He was loyal to a fault that does not mean that his sins…” Hisoka was quickly interrupted.
“Loyalty is double-edged. Certainly loyalty should be prized, but where is the fine-line drawn. Sadoo did everything the Prince of Aslann requested of him, doesn’t that mean that any redeeming qualities he might have are overshadowed by the fact that he was a loyal dog to the Prince of Aslann? He told me in purgatory that the only sin he wished to atone for was me. That they never should have brought me to Aslann, and yet he did so without hesitation following every order his Prince gave him. He failed me at every turn, it might be selfish, but I don’t think he would want this.
“Your words condemn him and yet in the end you are only thinking about what he would want.” Kazuma pointed-out.
“I am certain it is not what he would have wanted just as I am certain if he had the chance to do it all over again, he would not change a single thing. That was the type of man he was. He was a general, who followed orders like any soldier would, even if it went against who he was as a human being. He would not want to be brought back.”
“Then he won’t be.” Ryozo responded simply.
“He will be remembered in history as a great war hero who fell protecting his lord. A story that fathers tell their sons. Is this acceptable?” Rin questioned.
“Yes, thank you.”
There were some decisions that were so easy among the Takahashi. Izumo who had been a loyal soldier of the Ruthlbahdo participating in several very important battles including the protection of Aslann against his own clan, the Kensuku, the Hamara, and the Sweela. His actions would result in him being hung after he surrendered. He was also a powerful esoteric user who was there during the battle against Chochi of the Waichia. He was one of two that were powerful enough to lock down Chochi’s mental capabilities. Tationy remembered him fondly from her time with the Ruthlbahdo led by Oro of the Ishi. She said he was rather quiet, loved music and was always playing some form of instrument and it was not uncommon for him to be summoned to the palace to play for Emperor Miroku. Even though Rin had wanted all Takahashi to be killed, he agreed that Izumo was a pillar among his kin and he was allowed to remain.
Hei of the Takahashi was also an esoteric user like Izumo who was used to lock down Chochi’s abilities. While with the Ruthlbahdo Tationy remembered that he liked to read and was often sitting by himself. He was a quiet man and well-respected among his peers. The gods could not find any faults with him, it was not as though they were not looking and they certainly tried to pick apart everyone they could, but Hei was so well-respected among his peers that the gods were certain that if Hei had been aware of what was transpiring he would have put a quick halt to it.
Hisoka seemed the most beside himself when they finally reached Mikk of the Takahashi. Mikk under the orders of Sohma of the Hamara had struck out against Luna the matriarch of the Hamara clan. Even though the order was given by one of his own blood, Hisoka seemed unable to forgive Mikk of the Takahashi. “You are being unreasonable, Hisoka.” Ryozo argued.
“It does not matter if my blood gave the order, Mikk is the one that did the dirty work. His hands are stained with Hamara blood.”
“I don’t think he is being unreasonable.” Tationy spoke up, “The Takahashi in their own ways were working for Sohma who was working for the Prince of Aslann or at the very least they thought they were. The Takahashi attacked Aslann because Mikk had told them to do so. He was the elder of the clan at that time, so the responsibility for what transpired at the hands of his clan should fall upon him. Yes, Hisoka may be going a bit overboard, but I imagine if any of us were in his position we would feel the same.”
Rin spoke up, “Considering he was killed by Togore who was under the control of Atsuki at the time, I feel I should add that he was beneath most elders. They had chosen him because Hero refused the position. His drive to be better and stronger then others of his clan, led him on a path of destruction long before he had even killed Luna of the Hamara. We cannot forget that he has always been a man with very little respect for anyone and if it had not been for Sohma of the Hamara coming along and offering him power, it would have been someone else.”
“Kazuma am I the only one that feels this decision is a rush to judgement?” Ryozo questioned.
“All of you make valid points. Ryozo, you are perhaps rather biased, considering it was you who created Cho of the Takahashi and Mikk certainly embodies everything that the God of War prizes. He is a man that is willing to do anything to obtain power, he is a man that loves to fight, and even though he was not the first choice for Elder of the Takahashi he is a man that can command respect and lead, but considering there is a chance that Cho might be returned to the world of the living, I have to wonder how well Mikk will stay the course. He has never been the type to fall in line and if there is a chance of Cho returning to the living there is also the risk that Mikk might act against him. It is not unreasonable, considering his behavior as a child toward Cho.
“Humans will ultimately do as they please…”
“Yes that is true they will, but we are trying to create a world where the first hundred years does not start out as a battlefield, isn’t that worth a few sacrifices?” Kazuma questioned.
Ryozo frowned, it was already four against one. He doubted he would be able to convince any of them to change their mind, especially considering Mikk’s actions.
They had finally made it through all of the Takahashi, that just left one. “Can we talk about the Dragon Lords.” Tationy spoke up as they reached Guiren of the Takahashi. “They were created by the gods and given everything, isn’t that right?”
“That is correct?”
“They have sinned just as much as the Nakamaru. It was because of the Dragon Lord’s manipulations in Aslann, that the Prince’s hand was forced. If the Nakamaru are to be condemned for their actions, then should the Dragon Lords not be punished as well?”
“The Dragon Lords have faithfully served us.” Kazuma argued.
“The Dragon Lords manipulated the Saitama which ultimately resulted in the Kari being decimated, does that sit well with you?”
Kazuma bowed his head. It was true that his clan had been destroyed because of the actions of both the Saitama and the Dragon Lords.
“I refuse to allow Oji of the Waichia to be sacrificed. Despite being a Dragon Lord, he is my blood. I will erase his knowledge of the Dragon Lords, but he shall continue on.”
“So that is how it is, Oji lives because he is Waichia?” Her question was ignored by Ryozo, “Then what of the other Dragon Lords, Guiren of the Takahashi and Toshiko of the Kensuku?”
“Without the other Dragon Lords, Oji is nothing more than a Lord of the Waichia. I would submit that the sacrifice of both Guiren and Toshiko are acceptable to the God of War.” Ryozo Responded.
“I have no objections.” Rin spoke up.
“I have no disagreements as long as the title of Dragon Lord is also completely removed. Guiren of the Takahashi and Toshiko of the Kensuku have disgraced their titles and their actions have resulted in damage to the world we created.” Hisoka added.
“Let it be done.” Kazuma commanded. It was so simple, removing someone from history. Making it as though they never existed. She could feel it, the moment Oji of the Waichia was brought back to life and Guiren of the Takahashi and Toshiko of the Kensuku were removed from the very fabric of existence. It was not a feeling she had gotten used to even after all of the other moments of playing god.
Hisoka rubbed the back of his neck. “Who knew this was going to be so taxing.”
“A lot of work went into creating the world and humans destroyed it in such a short time. Fixing it is no easy task.” Ryozo added then looked to Tationy to see how she was holding up. “You are troubled.”
“No it is not that. I would like to talk about the Tylo clan.”
Kazuma’s attention was drawn toward her, “So soon, why?”
“I understand it is your intention to save them until last, along with the clans that are from your blood. I would feel more comfortable if they were dealt with immediately.”
“If that is what you wish.” Kazuma responded, “Who would you like to start with?”
“Tearra,” She said simply and then took a breath in. “She was beautiful and desired or so I have been told. Mikio adored his mother and I could tell each time he spoke of her that she meant the world to him. She had many sins. Her first was creating Emi of the Sosa, a being who contained nothing more than her hate for Kazuma. Creating such a vessel makes me doubt her feelings. She had liaisons with the God of Love, Hisoka, the God of War, Ryozo, and the God of Death, Rin. She had relations with mortals including, but not limited to Cho of the Takahashi. She like all of you was manipulated by Kisho, taken on the shrine of Hisoka by Rin, and impregnated with the first of many pure-bloods. Instead of running to Kazuma, who she supposedly loved she remained at the side of Rin until her death at which time she used a dangerous esoteric technique to reincarnate herself over and over again, looking for that perfect vessel. I don’t understand what she was trying to accomplish, it could not have been to simply make Kazuma see her. At some point she eventually found me and tried to take over my body at birth, a feat she was unable to accomplish. She has been the catalyst of every manipulation and war that has gone on since her first reincarnate. All of this nonsense starts and ends with her. She should not be allowed to return in any form.”
Kazuma leaned back in his seat. The entire group was silent after her words, there was no doubting that Tearra had sinned well. Ryozo suddenly spoke, “You understand that removing Tearra….”
Tationy interrupted him, “Tearra means nothing to me. She is someone I was told I was, nothing more and nothing less. Her memories barely exist in me. I take on the responsibility of her sins and make them mine, only if she is no longer a factor. You cannot expect me to be Tearra, if you see us as separate beings. I will be frank, I don’t care to be her. Her sins should be her own, but as I sit here in a position that belongs to her, I understand that it is not my right to make such a request.”
“You would be Kazuma’s queen and most likely unable to return to the mortal world.”
She paused a moment, “I understand that. It does not matter as long as she is not allowed to return and do as she wishes.”
Kazuma frowned, “Do you wish to return to the mortal world?” Tationy turned her attention toward him, it was clear on her face what she wanted. “Don’t think about lying to me.” He added.
“I think the world would be better off without the gods.” She spoke honestly, “I want to return to the mortal realm and all knowledge of the gods to be erased from the minds of every human being.”
“I see.” He responded. He took a moment to consider her words, “I agree with the removal of Tearra.”
The look on Tationy’s face showed great surprise and concern. She wanted to ask him why he was agreeing so readily, but just as quickly as he responded so did the other gods. She did not think they would all agree and expected an uphill battle over Tearra. The fact that they all agreed troubled her and she wanted to ask why they had, but could not bring herself to approach the conversation.
“You seem unsettled.” Kazuma responded.
“Don’t be,” He said simply as he moved the conversation forward, “Soti of the Tylo. He betrayed the Dragon Lords and rebelled against them.”
“That was only after Rin along with Bak of the Ishi manipulated him into thinking they had kidnapped his sister Narie of the Sato.” Hisoka stated.
Tationy thought about it for a minute and then remembered being told this tale. What did Rin think he was going to accomplish by threatening to take out the Tylo clan when it was his manipulations that resulted in many of the sins.
“The Dragon Lords were an issue. I warned all of you then that there would be serious consequences giving such a group power. By the time Bak and I manipulated Soti I was already mortal and trying desperately to get out from under the Dragon Lords. Certainly you all remember those times. Just because we were former gods, did not mean we had it easy. Torgahdah was a hell-mound in those days.”
“I can’t say I don’t agree.” Hisoka voiced, “Those were difficult times, but you manipulated your own blood.”
“You make it seem so callous. Soti was the most powerful of the Tylo clan. His ability to use the cursed eyes, made him an adversary not easily matched. It cannot be helped that his eyes did not allow him to see what was going on around him.”
“Perhaps he saw it and simply ignored it.” Ryozo responded. “If he also felt the pull to remove himself from being under the thumb of the Dragon Lords, perhaps your manipulation was just the push he needed.”
“The entire clan should be wiped out.” Rin argued.
Tationy remained relatively quiet during the discussion a fact not lost on Kazuma who was closely monitoring her.
Tationy stood up and made a point to look directly at Rin. “Tatsuya, Miroku, Agito, Hayato, Soti and all members of the Tylo clan, are descended from Tearra. They have no place in this new world we are creating.”
“Do you understand what you are saying?” Ryozo questioned.
“I understand that removing them changes the very history for many. Mikio will not have a mother or a brother with Tylo blood. Will it change his view on the world? Will he become a different person if he is allowed to live? I cannot answer those questions, but it all started with Tearra and while I said it should end with her, perhaps it should end with me.”
“You understand that you will no longer have blood within the mortal world.” Kazuma responded.
“Do you really?” Ryozo questioned, “It means if for any reason you become mortal, you will be alone.”
“Why would that be any different from any other time?” She asked him. “My parents hated me. My friends used me. Even when I was brought to Aslann, I had all of this stuff that revolved around me and yet I was never included in it. It was like I was a pillow on a sofa, just used and tossed around at others convince. I feel no connection to any of them, even after I spent time with Hayato, Miroku, and Tatsuya in purgatory. This is what I wish, and I am sure Rin will agree that it is for the best. Isn’t that right Rin?”
Rin had an unreadable expression, “I agree with Tationy.” It only left one person. They only needed one other to agree and they would have the votes to make it happen.
Tationy took a seat and turned toward Kazuma, “This is what I want.”
“I don’t think I can agree to this.” He responded.
There was silence as the two stared at each other and the other gods felt oddly out of place. They had each considered leaving the two alone for a time, but Kazuma spoke before they could, “You cannot change your mind after it is done.”
“So be it.”
Hisoka bowed his head, “I find myself wondering if I would have the strength to do the same, when it comes time to discuss the Hamara.”
“Not everyone can survive. Nothing is accomplished if we do not look at our own blood with a scrutinizing eye.” Tationy stated.
Kazuma sighed noticeably, “You are right. Let us speak about the Kari.” His words took everyone by surprise. “My clan has been divided for centuries. That has left infighting among my kin. Out of all of the leaders of the Kari, Tatsuya perhaps embodies what it means to be Kari the most. Despite his alliance with Oji of the Waichia, I feel that his intent was never to harm Tationy. He was simply looking out for the well-being of his clan.”
“Bingwen and Erobus were also exceptional leaders, though neither of them wished for the responsibility of such a life. While Tatsuya was a newly formed leader, both Bingwen and Erobus lived long lives and led the clansmen of the Kari Village for a combine total of fourteen decades. I feel that the Kari would be adversely affected if these three individuals were removed from the time stream.”
Tationy spoke, “Tatsuya felt great regret for his part in what had transpired. I do agree he was only doing what was right for the Kari. I did not know Bingwen, but Erobus was a great leader and well-respected among the clansmen of the Kari Village.”
“Exceptional leaders are hard to come by. These were men not afraid to go to war or to fight for what they believed in.” Ryozo added.
“Keeping the three of them though, concerns me. Doesn’t that potentially put the Kari in the same position? They were divided because strong personalities like these could not agree.” Hisoka voiced.
“I was concerned about that as well.” Kazuma acknowledged, “I believe with Erobus it would not be an issue. His preference was always to do as the elder directed and he never wanted the position even after he had it. Bingwen on the other hand, while an exceptional leader, would be more likely to butt-heads over things that he felt went against the Kari ways. It would potentially put him at odds with both Erobus and Tatsuya.”
“So you are considering that you might have to let one go to keep two or let two go to keep one.”
“It would seem so. There is little way around it.”
“Baito was also the leader of the Kari at one point.” Tationy interjected.
“The position was rather thrust upon him after the attack by the Saitama. Had this event not taken place, Erobus would have ruled over the Kari for a couple more decades before having to choose someone to replace him. There were other options for leader of the Kari, but Baito was the only person he could give it to at the time. He was an exceptional leader in his own right, but I cannot say there were not choices better than him. However, with that said, I do think that Baito was one of several who truly embodied what it meant to be Kari, despite his Maiba blood.”
“What will become of the shield of the Kari elder?”
“Depending on the best decision for the Kari, the shield will suffer the same fate.” Kazuma stated simply.
Ryozo spoke, “I do not disagree with you, but keeping Bingwen over Erobus and Tatsuya might be a decision you regret later on. Two exceptional leaders such as they are, could easily lead the Kari in the new world.”
“You are concerned about their personalities clashing?” Hisoka questioned.
“Bingwen and Erobus had an amicable relationship, there is noway of knowing how Erobus will interact with Tatsuya.”
Tationy laughed softly, “Tatsuya can handle Hiko with little issue. Erobus is tame in comparison.”
Kazuma stared at her a moment then for the first time ever, he chuckled. Her surprise was warranted, but she was not the only one. It had been a long time since any of the gods had witnessed such a reaction out of Kazuma. “You are right. That does make the decision simpler for me. I believe I would like to keep Tatsuya, Erobus, and Baito which means that I will allow Bingwen and his shield Kyo to fade into non-existence. Is there any that disagree?”
None of the gods seemed troubled by this decision in fact it had gone relatively smoothly. Tationy spoke softly, “Does this mean Kin will survive as well? He was Baito’s shield.”
“The Kari elder and their shield are eternally bound together.” Hisoka explained, “When deciding the fate of one, the other is automatically included.”
“That makes me happy. Kin is a fine Kari.”
Kazuma could find little fault with most of his clan and it seemed that the gods readily agreed with him. Tationy contributed when she could, but some of the Kari mentioned had contact with only Tearra and there was still much of Tearra’s memories that she was unable to access.
Kazuma seemed to have given his clan considerable thought. Somè had been an assassin for the Dragon Lords along with Soti of the Tylo. Kazuma believed that because Soti was removed from time itself that his fellow assassins should be as well. He could not guarantee that the other gods would agree with him, but where his kin was concerned, he felt that Somè deserved the same fate as Soti, not just because of that association, but because he along with his brother Tuhiko were ultimately the reasons the Kari had been divided.
Tadayoshi the father of Hiko was also subject to Kazuma’s disapproval. He felt that his behavior as a father adversely affected Hiko in the long run. Though he refused to give specifics, he felt that this contributed to Hiko’s blatant disregard for the Kari ways. He also had similar feelings regarding Katsu the father of Sesiago. His belief was that Katsu had put to much pressure upon Sesiago to be the perfect Kari child and the reincarnate of Kazuma that in the end, when it came time to make the right decision for himself and grab a hold of what he held most dear, he threw it aside instead.
Much like his brother Somè, Tuhiko also was disapproved of by Kazuma. The two bickering brothers had caused a rift among the Kari so great that they fractured into three groups. Others during that time also were looked upon with a disapproving eye and Kazuma showed little respect for individuals he felt hindered the family and the clan.
Tationy had asked him about Sesiago’s daughters at one point. His response to her disappointed her, but she understood it. He told her simply that whatever they decided for Eri of the Maiba will be the fate of Sesiago’s daughters as well. It made her stomach knot thinking about it, so she had to force herself to push it all aside.
The gods found little fault with any of Kazuma’s kin and admittedly Kazuma chose members of his blood simply for reason he felt embodied his vision of the Kari. It was no surprise that Semei the father of Zen was one accepted. Despite his often rebellious ways, he more than any other Kari of his generation understood the importance of traditions.
Zen who served as a general for the Ruthlbahdo was also prized by Kazuma for his devotion to the ways of the Kari and his dedication to family and clan.
Even Zen’s son Tsuna who had died young, was revived.
Tationy had been surprised that he wanted to keep Shiku, father of Iashi over Katsu. She would have expected it to have been reversed, but Kazuma explained to her simply that Shiku adored his son and his wife as any good Kari man would. His issue, however, with Shiku was with the fact that he dishonored himself by committing suicide. There were arguments for and against Shiku, in the end it came down to Tationy to make the final decision. She voted for his survival, only because she could not bring herself to be the one that took Shiku, father of Iashi from the world.
It had come down to the final three Kari. To say Tationy was nervous was an understatement. “Hiko of the Kari abandoned his duty, the protection of Tationy, because of the Prince of Aslann. He pledged himself to Tationy then went against his word. He fornicated with a member of the Ishi, specifically Kuro. He had rebelled against the ways of the Kari…”
“Please don’t erase him.” Tationy whispered.
“You still have feelings for him?”
“I don’t hate him for what he did. When the Prince of Aslann, sunk her claws into a man it was all over for him. There were times even after Kuro and I were together that I wondered if Kuro was thinking of her. It is hard to compete with someone like that. Please do not hold those things against Hiko. He might be rebellious and the demon commander of the Ruthlbahdo, but he is amazing and respected.”
“You understand that if I keep him that I will remove Iashi or Sesiago from the world.”
Tationy frowned, “I understand.”
For a moment it was as though they were the only two sitting there as his hand reached out and ran along her cheek, “Then I leave the decision to you, Sesiago or Iashi?”
Tationy took a breath in, “I wish you would not leave it to me.”
“It is better this way.” He responded.
“I adore them both.”
“You were in love with Iashi.” Kazuma stated.
“Whomever you choose will be Kazuma’s mortal vessel.” Hisoka interrupted.
“What do you mean?”
“If at any time Kazuma chooses to become mortal that will be the body he resides in.”
“Hisoka, that is enough. This decision…” Kazuma furiously interrupted.
“I see.” She whispered as she bowed her head. “That is why you want me to decide.”
“You had feelings for both of these men. You know them intimately well. You are the best person to make this decision.”
“The only person I can choose is Sesiago.” She responded. “He embodies everything that it means to be Kari. You would not be happy in the body of Iashi. Iashi sub-combed to Shiano’s power making him weak and susceptible to possession. Such a body would be a prison for someone like you.”
“So you are saying you wish for Sesiago to survive?”
“Yes.” At the moment that Iashi was pulled from the very fabric of existence she felt overcome with emotion.
Kazuma could see the torment on her face as he gently stroked her cheek, “Forget about him,” He said in a soft tone as the memory of Iashi of the Kari was washed away from her mind. Kazuma had the power of all of the gods, and this one specifically was what made the Waichia, blood of Ryozo, so fearsome.
Hisoka and Ryozo both frowned. This was the first time that Kazuma had ever willingly made one of the gods forget something. Truthfully they understood why he might do such a thing, but to be so blatant about it troubled them both. Rin seemed unconcerned with the situation as he turned his head and watched the rain. It was not the first time that Tationy had commanded the weather in the garden. When she was angry the sky grew dark, the wind billowed, and the rain fell. This time they were truly tears from heaven.
Ryozo cleared his throat as he began speaking casually. He did not wish to dwell on this unpleasantness any longer than was necessary. “I thought we might speak about the Zenaku.”
“You wish to speak about them because of Tsubaki and her mother?” Tationy questioned.
Ryozo frowned, to have her of all people remind him of what had happened. “Certainly she served my people well, but at the same time she and her mother were in league with the Nakamaru.”
“The Zenaku always had questionable loyalties. They would do as they pleased to assure their own safety.” Hisoka stated.
“Yee is a perfect example of that.” Tationy spoke, “When I met him in purgatory it was clear what he had done. He betrayed his own people just to save his life and went as far as to support the Prince of Aslann. The whole clan seems suspect to me.”
There was silence for a long time as the gods contemplated the Zenaku. “I have no issue with their removal from the world.” Rin stated.
Ryozo bowed his head, “Considering Tsubaki of the Zenaku was spying on my clan and the shady character of her kin as a whole, I would appreciate their removal.”
“The woman I knew as Tsubaki was spoiled, rich, and selfish. I cannot say that deserves eradication from time. However, anyone who willingly associated with the Prince of Aslann and spied for the Nakamaru, deserves no sympathy.”
Kazuma sighed, “You do not have to push yourself to respond.”
“I don’t want to see anyone else I care about hurting because of people like her.”
“Is this because she attempted to kill Chochi of the Waichia?”
“It is not just that. In my world, she went so far as to manipulate Sadoo and Abe into fighting. She…I don’t like girls like her that play with men so willfully.”
Hisoka spoke, “It matters not if we go against this Kazuma, not that I would. I as well feel that the path the Zenaku take ultimately will always result in them doing only what is best for them.”
“Humans do that.” Kazuma stated.
“Not all humans.” Tationy responded.
Kazuma sighed, “The Prince had the Zenaku killed, only women and children were taken to Aslann. Does that not …”
Tationy spoke in a soft whisper, “Kazuma, the Prince of Aslann did many bad things, but the Zenaku also had to make a decision. They could have resisted the need to fight back. They could have gone to the Shima for assistance. They did none of these things. The Zenaku that survived aligned themselves with manipulative forces, who we have already deemed not worthy of continuing on. Why should they be any different?” Tationy asked.
Kazuma allowed his eyes to take in her face as she spoke. For a moment, it was almost as though he had Tearra back. His head bowed and the will of the gods was done.
Rin noticed how troubled Kazuma was with this last decision. It was not because he wished for the Zenaku to survive, there was something else. He was certain it had to do with Tationy and the fact that he had removed Iashi from her memory. Rin spoke, “I have made my decisions regarding my blood.” There was silence from each of the gods as they looked toward Rin. “I will start with Jiro of the Ishi, who was one of the guardians for Emperor Miroku. Jiro was a dedicated and loyal Ishi who stood by his lord until he was forcibly pulled away by Jin. He was bound by his blood to do as his clan elder wished of him, which went against who he was a man. It is for this reason I have decided that he shall not live.”
“What?” Hisoka questioned.
“You have judged him rather harshly.” Ryozo responded.
“Perhaps I have. While most clans would consider it only natural and proper to follow ones Elder, we Ishi do not.”
Tationy smiled softly, “Ishi are not known for conforming. It is something they prize. A good Ishi would have stood by Emperor Miroku, even if that put him at odds with his blood. It makes the Ishi different then clans like the Kari. This is why he judged him harshly. Jiro was unable to follow what he believed was right in the end because it put him at odds with his clan.” Tationy explained.
Rin’s eyes locked on hers, “I see your time with my sons was not wasted.”
“I might seem like I have no clue what is going on around me, but I am not entirely oblivious. It is important to consider the clan when making the decisions at hand. Hisoka and Ryozo, you would not wish for you clans to be judged the same as the Kari or the Ishi, would you?”
Hisoka smiled, “You are right. We failed to consider the clan and it was we who were truly being harsh.”
“Taking into consideration the Ishi’s disposition, I have no objections to the loss of Jiro of the Ishi.” Ryozo responded.
Rin’s eyes fixated on Tationy a moment. “You were never happy with me.” His words caused her to glance toward him, “You always thought me the lowest of men. I ask only you this time…” He paused a moment, “I have no doubts that you will allow Mikio to live. You will do everything in your power to keep him. He is your son, even if you cannot remember giving birth to him. Even if you see him as more of a friend and a lover.” He was right, Tationy would fight for Mikio and fortunately it did not take much convincing from the other gods to keep the son of Rin.
“I have a feeling you intend to ask me for a rather big favor.” Tationy responded.
“Bak and Mikio were my favored sons.” He began and Tationy could not help, but inwardly sigh.
“After what he did, you are really asking for him to be spared?”
“As you know I had hundreds of sons and daughters. In exchange for his life I will sacrifice fifty of my kin, including my sons Rykuero of the Maiba line, Mitsuo of the Shinohara line, Katachira of the Yamada line, as well as Kenta father of Jin and grandfather of Nao. I ask only you, your vote is the only one that matters here.” He stated simply.
It was clear to Tationy that the others had already decided. Ryozo most likely sided with Rin to bring back Bak. He was the God of War after all and Bak was very good at plotting, planning, and striking. He himself initiated the catalyst that started Soti down the path of war with the Dragon Lords. Which meant that Kazuma and Hisoka most likely disagreed, they probably felt Bak was too dangerous to keep. She considered the decision and sighed, “Kuro said you had at least fifty sons, maybe more and you are saying you had hundreds of sons and daughters. That is a lot of children Rin. Out of those directly born from you…” She paused a moment as the gods waited for some response from her, “Sacrifice all of them, but ten and you will have my vote. If you are unable to do that, then Bak will not survive.”
Hisoka chuckled, “Not even Tearra was so ruthless.”
“I know how he treated his sons, this decision should be easy for him.”
It took Rin a moment to consider her words, “You are mistaken Hisoka, Tearra never would have dared.”
“I am not Tearra.” Tationy responded.
Rin smiled, “You are better, then I ever imagined. That blood of yours slithers like only the Ishi’s can. Perhaps Kuro was not such a waste. My firstborn seems to have accomplished something truly remarkable. I will sacrifice all my sons and daughters, with the exception of ten.”
Tationy felt Kazuma’s hand rest upon hers. Her attention drew toward him and the look he gave her was one of approval.
“Should we discuss your firstborn?” Kazuma questioned.
Tationy felt ill for a moment as an image of Kuro came to mind. He looked different. Come to think of it, they all appeared to be a bit different. Was this the essence of what they were meant to be that she was seeing? She had not considered it until this point, but now that she looked upon Kuro in her minds-eye she wondered how much damage the Prince of Aslann and Tearra had done. “We can.” Rin responded after having taken care of all of his children except ten.
“You have been stubbornly reserved regarding decisions involving Kuro. All of us, with the exception of Tationy were fairly aware of our decisions beforehand, but with him you have ….”
Kazuma’s words were interrupted by Rin, “Kuro was to die long ago. The fact that he survived as long as he did was simply because of the Prince of Aslann and had nothing at all to do with his intended fate. His survival was unexpected. Even more so that his blood so willingly followed him during a time when Mikio should have been leading. I admit, I am rather surprised at how things turned out.”
Rin once again let his eyes linger on Tationy, “When I was first told of Kuro I was told he was a demon of the Ishi. Atsuki said it so casually as though it were nothing to call someone that. We had little contact with one another until Shimragata and even then he served only as my teacher. Now and again we would talk, but he always presented himself as emotionally distant and yet there was something menacing and arrogant about him. At first I thought it was because he was the son of Rin that he behaved this way. Later I come to find out that he was older than Mikio and even as the firstborn he was not the favored son. That he had been treated badly by Rin. He was never strong enough, never good enough, and then to find out that the reason he lost his sight in his eye was because Mikio had been forced by Rin to hurt him, made me ill. He cared for the generations of the Ishi that came after him, but was shown little respect for the man he was and for what he had accomplished. Your son struggled and maybe it is because he is part Hamara that he turned out to be such a good man because it certainly had nothing at all to do with you, Rin.”
“You are so cold.” Rin responded though his tone suggested that he was not bothered by her words. “Kazuma and Hisoka wish for him to live. Does this surprise you?”
“Not so much Hisoka, but a little that Kazuma does.”
“They feel that him protecting you and leading the clan when no others wished him to, shows a great amount of character. Certainly under normal circumstances I as well might respect that. Ryozo and I are in agreement though, he does not deserve to live. I imagine your words to me are going to be, I will not allow you to kill him Rin.” His tone was almost mocking the further into his speech he got, “That is alright Tationy, I will not go against the majority, but I will make certain that my lesser son is never given the opportunity to be with you when and if you become mortal again.”
“If there is meant to be love between two people, it will find its own way.” Tationy responded, but it was clearly evident she was hurting.
With Kuro’s survival Tationy felt some relief, but it hurt her knowing that she would always have these feelings for him that he may never reciprocate. She did not dare ask about her son, praying that the decision was already made for her. Nene went rather quickly all of the gods except Tationy felt that anyone that could have their body taken control of so easily by a Nakamaru was a liability, so she was purged from time itself.
For the same reasons Togore of the Ishi also did not survive. He had his body taken control of by Atsuki and despite, being one of the most powerful Ishi of his generation, his inability to fight off Atsuki, showed great weakness in the eyes of the gods.
There were many arguments over Jin, that ultimately resulted in verbal altercations between Kazuma who felt he was too dangerous and Rin who wanted him to live. In the end the final vote ultimately came down to Ryozo. “I will admit that Jin is a dangerous man who has done things his own way. He plotted against the Prince of Aslann, but he also willingly entered into a blood-oath binding the Ishi to the Prince. That shows his weakness because in the end he died alongside Jiro and had not accomplished any of his goals. I do not think he is worth saving.”
Rin tried desperately to persuade Ryozo, but in the end it was futile and Jin faded from existence.
The memories of Nao made it difficult for Tationy to concentrate. Certainly they had let bygones be bygones, but that did not mean she ever forgot what he did. She considered he might be a different man if circumstances were to change. She was not certain someone like him could be a better man. As she listened to the arguments for and against. In the end, her vote was not needed because the majority had already agreed that he would live on.
Tationy rested her head once again on Kazuma’s shoulder, “Do you need to rest?” He questioned.
“I am a little drained.” She whispered. “I did not realize there were so many Ishi.”
“We are almost done, the last few should be fairly straight-forward and then we can take a break for a time if you wish.”
“What happens to the world during that time.”
“At the moment it is in stasis and will not continue on until we have placed everything back as it is meant to be.”
“I see.” She responded as she took a breath in and closed her eyes.
Kazuma could tell she was exhausted. Even though they did not require food or sleep that did not mean that their bodies did not need to recuperate especially while in the garden. They were so close to humanity that the emotional toll it took upon them was greater due to their proximity. “We shall take a break for a short time after we finish up with the Ishi.” The other gods understood that the break was strictly for Tationy’s benefit. They were used to this sort of taxation, but she who could not even remember being Tearra, was forced to learn from the beginning.
The last four as Kazuma said were relatively straight-forward. They discussed Jee of the Ishi who Tationy had met in another lifetime. Though he had failed to protect her from Atsuki, he was well respected among the gods.
Oro who led the Ruthlbahdo along with Hiko was also respected. His decision to go against his own clan to protect Tationy, by hiding any trace of her while she was with the Ruthlbahdo set him apart from every other Ishi who was involved in trying to capture Tationy or trying to keep her away from those trying to capture her. There was also the fact that he chose friendship over duty and informed Zen that he and his clan should leave Aslann to keep them from being slaughtered.
Ryoko was the grandfather of Nao and considered among the Ishi to be a genius only second to Mikio. His intellect and strategic planning helped greatly during several wars.
Yukime had been a member of the Ruthlbado who Tationy had met during her time with them. He was also a part of the battle against Chochi of the Waichia. While he was considered the weakest of the Ishi and his killer intent non-existent the gods could find little fault with him.
After their break they returned to business. There were many clans that met with disapproval for one reason or another.
From the Shinohara clan, there were many who did not survive. The gods felt that Renshu of the Shinohara was insignificant and played no major role in any event in Aslann’s history. In the end, he was not worth keeping simply because he was unimportant in the eyes of the gods.
Renji of the Shinohara a long time palace guard on the other hand was deemed worthy. During the midst of battle when there was little hope left, he protected his emperor with his dying breath.
Clans that were closely associated with Kisho, were scrutinized far more than other clans. It was difficult for clans that had heavy relationships with him to survive. Even those of certain clans that had little or no contact with Kisho were discussed at great length.
Ako of the Anami, who married Tadayoshi and gave birth to Hiko suffered a great deal of criticism She had betrayed her clan during the war and while she had been taken in by the Kari of Aslann she like many women during that time were often looked at with a suspicious eye. Ako was deemed untrustworthy due to her close relationship with the Chantry and the fact that for decades she often visited Thacian and Kisho.
Sadamitsu of the Anami who worked for the Chantry and was closely associated with Kisho was given little consideration for survival because of his involvement in the poisoning of Lord Seiji Shima and his partnership with the Nakamaru. The gods unanimously voted and out of the tens of thousands of Anami in the world, only a handful survived.
Like many of the other clans the Sato had few that survived. Narie, sister of Bak of the Ishi and Soti of the Tylo was sympathized with. She was used by Bak and Rin to force Soti into acting against the Dragon Lords. Tationy felt the gods were being unreasonable blaming Narie’s weakness for this manipulation, but in the end her words fell on deaf ears.
The Yamada were another clan that faced intense scrutiny. Between Shimragata and Thacian lay the homelands of the Anami, the Matsuo, and the Yamada. Each of these clans had close ties to the Chantry, a playground for Kisho. Tationy refused to make any decision regarding her mother, Chilè. The gods were well aware of the history between the two and the emotional abuse that Tationy had been subjected to her entire life. It was because of this that they had decided that Chilè‘s very existence was forfeit.
Surprisingly the gods also felt that Teslia the wife of Shiku of the Kari and Miso the wife of Atherol King of Thacian were also unworthy of life. Teslia had settled with Shiku and despite, having a great fondness for him, her lack of love for him caused the gods to feel that the Yamada woman was incapable of true love and that she like many others of her kin simply settled. This settling caused the men in their lives to feel the need to make them happy a feat not easily accomplished, thus why Yamada women were often obsessed over. More importantly, it would be her visit to the garden of the gods that would ultimately seal her fate.
The gods decided that Miso the mother of Chilè, contributed to her daughters bad behavior, thus she was not allowed to continue on in the new world.
Kadzu and Seelie suffered the same fate for entirely different reasons. Kadzu despite, his participation in the battle against Chochi of the Waichia and the fact that Tationy spoke highly of him from the time they spent together in the Ruthlbahdo, was considered an abomination because his mother was none other than Emi of the Sosa. While Seelie, was given no chance for survival because he was one of the many lovers of the Prince of Aslann, most notably when Prince Tatsuya was in the body of Agito Tylo. Despite having given his life to protect the young lord of the Tylo, Seelie’s loyalty to such a monster was considered dangerous.
The Maiba were another clan that faced intense scrutiny. The gods felt that the Maiba had on numerous occasions had chosen their allies unwisely. The brothers Denzo and Tenzo had acted against not only the Kari, but the Hamara and Ishi as well. They were instrumental in sending men after Hiko and later on they themselves went after and attempted to seal Hisoka and Rin who were in the bodies of Chee and Mikio. Of course there was much discussion about who they were working for. They understood that Jin of the Ishi was using the Maiba to strike a blow against the gods themselves.
The gods struggled on these two about whether or not to allow them to exist. To say they were conflicted was an understatement and even after many centuries they remained stuck on the two of them. “There were three involved in the attack on Chee and Mikio?” Tationy questioned.
“The one called Haruo of the Maiba was also involved.” Kazuma responded.
“I remember Haruo, he was an esoteric user that specialized in sealing techniques with the Ruthlbahdo. He was very nice and such an honorable man. I do not believe he would take on such an action without truly believing it was necessary.”
“So you feel, we should keep him alive?”
“I feel…” She paused a moment, “Maybe we should keep the three of them.” The arguing started again and Tationy sighed. “Hear me out. Ryusui and Akizuki were both a part of the attacks on Shimragata. Yes Tenzo and Denzo attacked the gods themselves, but they were not successful in sealing them. I mean come on, not even close. Mikio alone could have taken them or am I wrong?”
“You are not wrong. Mikio had the strength to best all three on his own.” Rin responded.
“So the problem is not what they did, it is who they tried to do it to. If they had sealed Mikio and Chee, that would mean that Rin and Hisoka would not be able to be reincarnated which means Jins plan was ultimately to keep the gods from coming together and thus preventing the Dragon Lords form acquiring what they wished. We have already dealt with the Dragon Lords bad behavior, this seems a direct result of that. So maybe we should consider only allowing Denzo and Tenzo along with Haruo to live.”
Kazuma spoke, “You understand that if we keep those three that this will seal the fate of Eri of the Maiba and her daughters.”
“Let us not forget about soldiers such as Fei of the Maiba who guarded the palace and gave their lives to protect the royal family.” Hisoka added.
“I never said it was a perfect solution, but if someone does not decide we are going to be sitting here for a rather long time. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am not really that patient.” Tationy stated.
Rin chuckled, “I have to agree. I as well am not that patient. Kazuma and Ryozo might be able to sit here for the next two hundred years, but it seems the majority of us are not built that way.”
“The world is not perfect. It will never be perfect. Human beings are made up of imperfections. In the end all we can do is leave it in their hands and hope they make the right decisions.” Tationy responded.
Kazuma bowed his head, “Are you certain you wish to do this?” His question was directed toward Tationy who simply gave a single nod of her head. “Then I agree to your proposal.”
“Really?” Tationy questioned. Kazuma’s eyes met hers and a soft smile traveled over Tationy’s lips. “Come on Rin, you are an impatient sort, let’s get this moving so we are not sitting here forever.”
Rin chuckled and agreed to the decision to keep Haruo, Denzo, and Tenzo of the Maiba while the remainder would fade into non-existence.
The Matsuo clan also faced dire consequences for their actions, particularly Sune whom along with his assassination squad assisted Atsuki of the Nakamaru. He was also the assassin responsible for injuring Tationy while she was pregnant a fact that did not sit well with any of the gods. In the end, his blind obedience to the Nakamaru would seal the fate of his clan.
Despite there being many clans that were scrutinized severely there were some that the gods simply could not find any fault with. The Shima was a clan that was looked upon favorably by the Gods. Seiji Shima ruled over Shimragata and Yayoi stood as one of his generals. It was their eternal devotion to the gods and even their defiance of the Dragon Lords that put them in such a favorable position.
At one point there was even consideration that they might pull Osa’s soul from Tationy and allow him to live despite, him being the child of the Prince of Aslann and Lord Seiji Shima. In the end they decided that it was not worth it because they could not be certain that he had not been tainted by the Prince, even with all of their godly powers it was simply something left to the unknown because of the unusual phenomenon that surrounded the events of Tationy becoming the goddess.
There was little left for the gods to discuss. They had hit almost every human being that had ever existed from the time the gods had created the world all the way to the point of Tationy’s death. Even her modern world was not left untouched. The entire history of mankind was being rewritten, and as they came down to the last few clans there was some relief that it would soon be over.
“We have the Waichia, Hamara, and the Kensuku left to discuss,” Kazuma said then paused when he noticed the look on Hisoka’s face. “Are you troubled Hisoka?”
“No, it is nothing like that. I have simply decided to do something rather rash.”
“That is not a trait you are particularly known for.” Ryozo stated.
“Yes it is unusual for me, but I feel the need to be rather bold here.”
“So is this about Chee of the Hamara?”
“No. My intention is for Chee to survive as long as everyone is in agreement and he will be my mortal body should I return to that form. I also believe it is in the best interest of the Hamara that Luna be allowed to exist.”
Tationy studied his face, “This is about Sohma.”
“Yes. It was my intention originally to allow him to fade away, but we have worked through many clans and individuals and I have come to the decision that perhaps that is the wrong course of action to take.”
“To keep someone like him will require a great sacrifice from you.” Rin stated.
“I understand that and have decided on whom those sacrifices should be.” Hisoka paused a moment before once again speaking, “I have chosen four people who have been of great importance to the Hamara through the centuries. The first is Kita, who was a poet and scholar for the Hamara. He was known worldwide for his works of love. With him would be Rikku, mother of Kuro, lover of Rin. She was the first lover of Rin and born from that union was Rin’s firstborn son. The decision to keep Kuro alive and the effects of sacrificing Rikku will inadvertently change him drastically I imagine, but to keep Sohma it is necessary. Also, I would add in there Koshi, assassin for the Dragon Lord who worked with Soti of the Tylo and my son. He served as Elder of the Hamara for decades. I would also submit another Elder of the Hamara and my grandson, Rikumaru who led the clan after Koshi had fallen.”
Kazuma was silent as he stared at Hisoka. Tationy glanced between the two. Admittedly she found them both rather difficult to read at that point. The silence seemed unnatural to her and she looked to Ryozo and Rin to see if they were feeling uneasy, but noticed rather quickly it seemed to only be her who was out of the loop. Kazuma eventually spoke, “Why?”
“I feel as though his path might be different if he was given a second chance.” Hisoka stated.
“I would not mind seeing Sohma get another chance.” Tationy whispered.
“To sacrifice so much for one man. That is indeed rash.” Ryozo stated.
“Taking such an action could cause great harm to your blood, Hisoka.” Kazuma spoke.
“I am aware of that. Tationy’s eyes never developed, so only you Kazuma can see the path before each person we allow to exist. I may be making the wrong decision. I am not a god who has the power of foresight. I can only judge the situation at hand and make decisions accordingly, good or bad, it is the path I wish for my blood to take.”
“So be it.” Kazuma responded.
Like so many other clans there was a great deal of disagreement over the Kensuku clan.
The arguments against mostly had to do with them being slaves during their residency in Aslann. They had fallen greatly since their time as a war clan. There were shining stars among the Kensuku, individuals who stood out. The former general of the Ruthlbahdo that fought against Chochi of the Waichia and trained most of the soldiers of Aslann, Suetomo and his younger brother Shinshi who against insurmountable odds stood against their own clan to protect individuals of Aslann who were unable to garnered the two of them a great deal of respect from the gods, enough that they were capable of overlooking the fact that they had ended up slaves.
Kiyoshi of the Kensuku the father of Taku also stood out among his clan. The former war hero, who did everything in his power to liberate his clansmen. Despite their dislike of the Sosa, the biggest fault they could find with Kiyoshi was the fact that he had turned his back on his allies during the war, most notably Emitoya of the Sosa who ultimately would be killed.
The decision to keep the three of them was considered the easiest of the decisions regarding the Kensuku.
Hidesoda, brother of Taku did not fair as well. A prostitute and slave, his liaisons with the Prince of Aslann ultimately sealed his fate.
The gods had taken serious issues with the Kensuku due to their slave status as well as the fact that many of them were sold into prostitution. Sonchiro, brother of Taku was looked upon disapprovingly. His most redeeming quality to the gods was the fact that he sided with Oro of the Ishi and their close relationship was ultimately what saved him.
The most arguing revolved around Tien of the Kensuku. Considered by most to be one of the greatest generals in Aslann’s history the Elder of the Kensuku stood alongside the Takahashi, Sweela, Hamara, among other clans and attacked Aslann. While they understood that the Kensuku were fighting for their freedom the gods could not seem to justify Tien’s actions. In the end they were divided down the middle with the deciding vote falling on Tationy.
None of the gods were really discussing him, they were mostly arguing back and forth as Tationy sat there quietly. When one of them would take the opportunity to ask her thoughts on the matter another one would say something else and the arguments would resume. Tationy finally spoke, “We all know what he did, we don’t really need to keep rehashing the same thing over and over. I believe that he was making what he thought was the best decision for his clan. I don’t think he should be faulted for that. Yes we judged Mikk of the Takahashi harshly and they were allies, but Mikk acted against the blood of the gods. Tien did not. Certainly he was working for the Dragon Lords at one point, but so were several others that we saved. We cannot hold that against him either. I feel much the same way Hisoka did about Sohma. I feel he is a man worthy of a second chance.”
Not everyone had agreed with her words, and promptly let Tationy know it, but her vote broke the tie that was holding them back from progressing so there was nothing much that could be done about it. When they finally arrived to Kensuke, Tationy feared that they might judge him harshly because he as well was a slave and a prostitute.
Ryozo, however, spoke eloquently about Kensuke being an excellent fighter and a man of great intelligence. How he was generous and kind and every decision he made was simply to protect his brothers. He stated that he felt that no one deserved a second chance more than this man and seeing we were handing them out so casually to men that probably did not deserve them that perhaps we should consider giving one to a man that did. The gods found him hard to argue with.
Tationy noticed that there seemed to be a double standard where women were concerned. Many of the women that came up for judgement that she recognized did not survive. Masae was no different. The gods seemed to hold many things against her including being a slave and prostitute, but the thing that seemed to bother them the most was the fact that she was sharing secrets told to her by her many lovers to whomever would listen.
So Tationy did what she could for Pai Pai. She and Mai had been her friends in the modern world even though she was hardly treated well by either. The Pai Pai she met in Aslann had been so nice and she wanted nothing more than to do what she could for her. “Please don’t mention she was a slave and a prostitute. We all get it.” Tationy stated. “Pai Pai was very nice. When we first met she talked with me and made me feel so much better about being in Aslann. I was a terrible friend though because there was so much going on I never got back to see her. They were my friends, her and Mai in my modern world. They weren’t the best of friends, but they were people I cared about. I want to see both of them survive this.”
“She had Hamara blood running through her veins.” Hisoka stated.
“That is the same argument you used regarding Tien.” Rin remarked.
“If she had Ishi blood you would say the same.”
“Kazuma,” Tationy said his name which caused him to look toward her, “Please.”
Kazuma notably sighed and nodded his head, which caused Hisoka to chuckle, “If I bat my eyes at you like that, will I get what I want?”
“My, my, Kazuma…”
“That is enough Hisoka.” Ryozo responded.
Tationy silently listened to their banter, but did not interject. She was not certain why Kazuma had agreed so readily until Kazuma spoke, “I believe we are to the last of the Kensuku.” She had considered it a moment and realized that they did go through a lot of Kensuku, but they had not reached Taku yet and then she realized he was the last one. She felt nervous as Kazuma continued, “Despite his association with Sohma of the Hamara and the Prince of Aslann, he did save Tationy and stayed at her side until his death.”
“He beat and tortured Atsuki of the Nakamaru that has to worth something.” Rin remarked.
“None of that matters.” Tationy stated, “He is a good person. Taku is amazing and the world would not be worth living in if he was not a part of it.”
“Are you going to beg for his life?” Ryozo questioned.
“I do not need to beg. You are the God of War. Taku is of the Kensuku clan a war clan. He was the strongest guardian of the Prince of Aslann, his fist were said to be so strong they could shatter a sword. He could have easily have killed Chochi of the Waichia when they faced each other, but despite, what he was doing, he considered Chochi a friend.”
“You Hisoka are the god of love. The Kensuku have amazing rituals and beliefs. He loved not the Prince of Aslann, but the daughter of Emperor Miroku. He gave himself over to that love and even after she had betrayed him, he stayed true to how he felt.”
“Rin, the god of death certainly you can respect a man such as him. He and Sohma traveled all the way back to Aslann on a mission where they knew they were going to die. They looked death straight in the eyes and embraced it.”
Her eyes finally fell on Kazuma, “Mikio told me that Tearra described you as incapable of feeling compassion or remorse. That you were an emotionless god that never intervened in the mortal realm even as the other gods repeatedly did so. You kept your distance and let them make their own decisions and mistakes because that is the type of god you are. You never felt the need to interject yourself into their mortal affairs. Even with all of that, I have no doubts that you can find respect for a man like Taku. You can see him for whom he is and who he is meant to be. I ask only that you give him a chance to prove himself. You will not be disappointed.”
“Will you speak as passionately for Chochi of the Waichia?” Ryozo questioned.
Tationy bowed her head a moment, considering what Chochi did, would the gods even forgive him? “I will, if it is needed.” She finally said.
The gods silently contemplated her words. The silence seemed to linger forever until Kazuma finally spoke. “We will allow him to continue on.”
Her smile told them that she was happy and grateful to them.
The gods were feeling restless and drained. Only the Waichia were left. Ryozo sat silently for some time before speaking. “There are two whom I believe I will be met with resistance. The siblings of the lesser branch of the Waichia, Chochi and Maito also known as Mai. Admittedly Chochi did right by Tationy more times then, he failed, but there was a moment in his many lifetimes that he lost out to jealousy and anger and raped her.”
“That was a different lifetime and I did not even remember it until after purgatory.” Tationy stated.
Ryozo continued on, “Maito assisted the Prince of Aslann by helping Togore transfer the princes mind into the body of Agito Tylo. His crimes are numerous including working with Sohma of the Hamara.”
“Despite their sins you wish to keep them?” Kazuma questioned.
“You were allowed to keep Oji of the Waichia, one of the Dragon Lords…” Hisoka words were halted.
“I understand that the decision to keep Chochi and Maito would be met with resistance. You are aware it was my intention to keep Ryou and his sister Sakura, who worked for the Dragon Lords as assassins along with Soti of the Tylo. Ryou went on to form the Waichia of Thacian and Sakura traveled to Aslann and formed the main and lesser branches. The two of them are the foundation. Everything that is Waichia is because of them. They were two of the most powerful minds in the world and together they were unmatched. Then, there was Ryo, named Ryozo after myself. He was the father of Chochi and Maito, leader of the lesser branch of the Waichia and one of the most respected Waichia in history. Many Waichia would look past the lines of division and had he lived he might have been able to break down that wall that separated my clan. There is only one more respected then, Ryo and that is Daishiro. Son of the Waichia Elder Yuudai and brother to Ritsu. Daishiro was to take control of the clan after his father’s death, but he would not live long enough to become the Elder, he was probably the greatest loss the Waichia has ever known. These four individuals are the strength and heart of the Waichia. To let them go is a massive blow to my blood, but I feel as though Chochi and Maito can fill the void left by them with time.”
“I see that we all have given our blood great consideration.” Kazuma stated, “I know of the importance of these individuals, but you lose a wealth of experience by allowing them to fade into non-existence. Is youth more important than wisdom in this case?”
“I have taken the loss into consideration. Daishiro’s father Yuudai was a great Elder for the Waichia, but truthfully the most important thing he brought to the Waichia was his extensive knowledge. Unlike his son Daishiro, he had a long-standing military career before be even was given the position of Elder. This life experience, I believe will be important to the Waichia in the long run.”
“Is it your intent for Takuya of the Waichia and Oji to lead the clan again?” Rin questioned.
“That is not my intent. Though I do wish for Takaya to also survive this, it is my hope that my blood will no longer be divided.”
“So there will be no lesser branch if you have your way in this, will Toshiro of the Waichia have a place in this new world?” Tationy question.
“As long as there are no disagreements, I wish for Chochi, Maito, Takuya, Toshiro, and Yuudai to all be a part of the new world. The loss of Daishiro, Ryo, Sakura, and Ryou will be difficult, but I think this is the best course for my clan.”
There were other Waichia discussed as the gods collected as much information as they could before making their decisions. “What of Ritsu?” Tationy questioned.
“The Prince of Aslann’s behavior was most shameful in regard to Ritsu. He might have been a great leader had it not been for his morale being crushed by such a foul creature.”
Tationy’s head bowed, her eyes closed, “Are you okay with the fact that he manipulated Chochi?”
“The manipulation was to gain control of the Prince and ultimately the power of the nation of Aslann. I do not fault him for his ambition, but he was also manipulated by the Dragon Lords into taking such an action. If others had not interfered perhaps he may not have been as bold, but he was not the only man to be manipulated by individuals more powerful.”
Ryozo managed to get what he wanted, though he seemed none-to-happy that certain individuals of his blood such as Ritsu were allowed to return.
“You seem tired.” A voice broke Tationy of her thoughts.
After the gods finished deciding fates of every individual that had ever existed, she had retreated to someplace quiet.
“I thought you still had more to do.”
Kazuma took a step toward her, “My task are not yet completed.”
“Yet you are here with me.” She responded.
“I wanted to make certain that you were alright.”
“Showing concern for me, you are going to make the other gods talk.”
“I am fine, really.” The look he gave her, made her feel like she had to convince him. “You don’t have to worry about me, I might not seem like much, but I am capable.”
Kazuma once again took a step toward her, “You wore that while with Sesiago.”
She looked down at herself a moment considering that it was rather similar to what she had worn when the two of them where in the Land of Souls, “I was feeling a bit uncomfortable in my school uniform and before I realized it, this is what I was wearing.”
“That is a good sign.” He responded.
“It means the garden recognizes you as the Queen of the Gods. With time, everything around us will begin to change according to your desires.” He frowned when she looked away, a disheartened expression upon her face. “Your desire is to be mortal.”
He was not asking her a question, she knew by his tone. “Was there nothing you liked about being mortal, Kazuma? You obviously took a lover, otherwise there would be no Kari clan.”
“I took a mate for a time.” He responded. “As to whether or not I liked anything about being mortal, there was nothing…..” His words drifted off for a moment and then he sighed, “Well that is not entirely true. There was something.”
“What was it?”
“I liked sitting with you at the bus stop in your modern time.” (Author Note: Reference to events in Chapter 15) Tationy felt tense from his words. Now that she thought about it, when she was dying and seeing what her life could have been like with Zen, there were no images of Sesiago. Certainly he was mentioned, but why at that moment was he kept from her thoughts? Nervously she fidgeted, “I remember thinking the first time I saw you how short your skirt was and how it displeased me to see my queen showing off so much of her skin. I understand it now. Why it would never have worked with Sesiago. The one that belonged to you was the version of me in your modern world. Once I was returned to my place among the gods, I could see it more clearly.”
“You never said anything to me, even when you helped me that day.”
“I did not know what to say.” He paused a moment as he closed the last bit of distance between them, “Even if I make you mortal, your life will not be as it was.”
“Nothing is as it was.” She voiced, “The Prince of Aslann told the Dragon Lord Toshiko of the Kensuku that he had made it so Tearra would never rise to the heavens. That the gods would be reincarnated over and over again. Life will find a way to move forward. Change is a part of every aspect of life and some people handle it better than others. At first I was not happy, but now I understand that everything that is meant to happen will happen because it is not the will of the gods, but the will of men who plow through life becoming masters of their own fates.” Tationy reached out taking his hand, “Being a god is not so bad. I am surrounded by handsome men, but I am still that average girl from Aslann who got dragged through time. I will never be the queen you deserve. My Kazuma is out there someplace, waiting for me.” She whispered. “He might not be the King of the Gods, but he is mine. I might not find him right away or maybe not at all, but I want to live, laugh, and love as a mortal.”
He took a step back from her allowing the distance to pull their hands apart, “I understand.” He was a master of his own emotions, but since her arrival he found that his ability to contain himself was increasingly difficult. He used his godly powers and watched her body start to disappear from the bottom of her toes and slowly traveling up.
“Kazuma.” She whispered his name as she reached out her hand to him, “We will find each other again.”
He gasped as his hand reached out, his fingers just managed to touch hers briefly before she was gone.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” ~Alexander Graham Bell