Chapter 29: Breaking the Vessel

TS3W 2014-12-25 02-04-56-77

It was cold and snowing out as they boarded one of several private jets belonging to the Kari. After the plane had taken off, they situated themselves around a small table; warm tea in hand. Tadayoshi only glanced at Tationy a few times. It was difficult for him to fully comprehend that he was taking such a big step forward with the vessel of his queen. The worst part of it all was he thought it would be easier to talk to her, but the words were far more difficult to form now, then they had been before. So, the two simply sat silently sipping tea and listening to the boys.

He was not entirely certain how long they had sat with no words spoken between them, but when she finally moved them into a conversation with a question he realized his tea was cold, “Why did you become the head of the Kari?”

“My father thought I was the only one suited.”

“How old were you?”

“I was fourteen when he informed me. I would not officially take the position until much later on, after his death.”

“Why did he feel you were more suited?”

“Tradition is very important, my siblings allowed themselves to be seduced by an era of modernization in Aslann. The way they dressed and acted, it went against everything we were taught and raised to believe in. My father was very traditional, he would never pass on Kazuma’s legacy to anyone that did not continue the ways of the Kari.”

“Did you want to be the head of your family?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“I did not feel I was capable of carrying on the legacy of Kazuma.” He noticed how she eyed him and deduced that she was curious why he felt that way. Tadayoshi was not certain he wanted to elaborate, but finally relented and spoke, “The head of the Kari lives a very restricted life. In ancient times, the elder was not allowed to even marry. His duty is always to Kazuma’s legacy and the clan. Unfortunately, those two things leave very little room for anything else. Things that the elder feels are important to him are often neglected. You give up so much of yourself to lead. Sometimes being the leader means you have to make decisions that will hurt you more than your clan.”

“You are talking about killing Hiko.”

“Despite my disappointment, he was my blood. He was also the man that my queen loved. Even though I hated him for that, killing him was not a benefit to me because there was the potential that you would hate me for it and never be able to forgive me. Knowing that, I still made the decision to kill him because it was in the best interest of the Kari and it was Kazuma’s will that tradition be the means to unite the Kari and instill within them values. Had I allowed him to live, I would have lost face with the remaining Kari. I would have been seen as weak and prideful for putting my own needs and wants above those of my kin.”

“Were you young when you went through your trials?”

“I completed my trials when I was twelve.”

“Is it true that women are not allowed to know the details of these trials?”

His lips pursed, generally the mothers role in the trials was to prepare them for the journey while the fathers role was to guide them. Very few women knew the particulars of the rite of passage that Kari boys took in becoming men. Tadayoshi allowed himself a moment to consider her question, “That is true.”

“Was it your intent to tell me, back when you thought you would die along side Hiko?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

Her question forced him to bow his head as he contemplated his answer. Staring into his cup of tea he opened his mouth, but the words simply would not form. Sighing he changed gears, “They start with fasting. The purpose is to lessen the physical strength and encourage the spiritual. It is about surrendering. One who is incapable of surrendering can never understand true power. After the child has fasted for thirty days, he begins his trial of solitude. Denied support and comfort, he must survive using his own skills and wits in the vast wild. It allows him to learn who he is and what he is capable of doing and enduring for what he believes in.”

Tadayoshi tried to ignore how her body looked in that top as he turned slightly away from her, though she was still in view, “If the child returns, the father enriches the process. His role is not to answer questions or help him. They ask questions. This is done so that the boy learns to answer for himself. You must know yourself. The point of doing so is if they are asked a question, they can answer it with confidence. Hesitation is considered a weakness when it comes to communication.”

“You have been hesitating around me.”

“I find that with you I have a harder time speaking.”

“Why?”

“I do not wish for you to misunderstand.” He could see it out of the corner of his eye a quizzical look upon her face. Opting not to speak on it further, he continued talking about the trials. “The father is not the only man to assist in guidance. Son’s learn their bad habits from their fathers. The past overshadows them and the father cannot be an effective teacher and the son an attentive student. It can be problematic.”

“Did Hiko learn his bad habits from you?”

Tadayoshi was not surprised by her question, anticipating it. “You are wondering if I am capable of taking what I want with violence and by force?” Even though he did not use the word rape, it was clearly evident in the way he articulated his words that he was speaking on that violent response directly.

“Are you?”

“All men are capable of terrible acts against the woman they love. Do not be fooled into thinking that men are good. In a society such as the one we live in men are socialized toward things like violence, sexual prowess, and domination. Boys are taught to be forceful and demanding, young men are encouraged to be studs. Sex is considered an act of submission by the woman and dominance by the man so many men believe that dominance is sex and only in that dominate and submissive setting is it natural. It is these mixed messages that have resulted in men thinking it is acceptable to violate women. They are encouraged and in some cases rewarded for these sorts of behaviors. It can be something as horrendous as rape to something as embarrassing as the walk of shame through a fraternity house. Add in things like moral beliefs, religious beliefs, and learned behavior and you have the potential of a man shifting one way or the other, good or bad. When you marginalize a man, you devastate his self-worth and they feel like a failure. Not all men will succumb to the temptation to lash out, but when you have so much hatred and pent up rage, couple that with the sexual drive of a man it is not surprising that some men fall.”

He paused a moment expecting her to interject, but she remained silent so he continued, “I will not deny that I was raised to be a dominate and aggressive man. All Kari men are taught this and will continue to be. Those that follow the old ways, believe that emotions are a weakness. Allowing yourself to indulge is dangerous. I am Kari, that means there are things that just are and there is no changing them. I am capable of taking what I want, but a Kari man must know restraint. I failed Hiko. I marginalized everything he did. He did not act Kari. Everything about him, was wrong. I would ignore him when he did something I disapproved of or told him I was disappointed in him. I believe he probably heard those words far too often. He needed me to be gentle and accepting, I was incapable of both. I believe it is because of this unthoughtful behavior on my part that Hiko learned to use violence to make himself feel better.”

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Tadayoshi grabbed the tablet setting next to him. He could feel Tationy’s eyes on him as he looked for something before laying it on the table in front of her. It was an almost instant reaction as he noticed how her eyes widened when she saw the picture, “He loved you, but I had already broken him by the time the two of you met.”

Her finger trailed lightly over the photo displayed on the tablet. He had expected her to say something, anything regarding all he just said even ask him where he got that photo, but for a time she continued to remain silent, “I begged him to take me to the beach that summer. He didn’t really want to go. I thought he was probably embarrassed to be seen with me. When it was just me and him he was always so attentive. He went out of his way to make me happy. He wasn’t real. I know he loved me, but it was all based on a lie.” She shifted gears rather quickly before he could respond, “Anyway, you were talking about the trials. What happens next?”

It was clearly evident that talking about Hiko was not something she wished to do so Tadayoshi nodded his head and continued to speak on the trials, “When a young Kari is going through his trials he is taught the importance of hard-work. In ancient times the Kari were assassins by trade, but through the years we have modernized. Now those that go through the trials are brought to the Kari Foundation where they learn the enjoyment and discipline that is involved with working with others as a team, pulling their own weight, and supporting their family in a very structured environment.”

He glanced at her briefly, pretending not to notice that she was still looking at that picture of herself and Hiko. He wanted her attention on him and not that photo so he said, “They are guided in sexual instruction…”

“Wait, what?”

Tadayoshi was slightly amused by the look on her face as he inwardly chuckled. Her attention was completely on him now and he added, “Your mind went to a very bad place.”

“You cannot just say that and expect it not to.”

He smiled briefly as he explained, “The father gives advice on marriage and helps arrange a union. There are many among the Kari that still do arranged marriages, though it is not as common. The younger generations, wish to make their own decisions in that regard and we Kari have always been about knowing oneself and understanding what we truly want. So if they feel they are capable, the father will guide and the child will find his own mate. Sexual growth and their relationship with a woman or a man is just as important as any other facet when one takes the journey into manhood.”

“That surprises me that the Kari are not bothered by homosexuality.”

“It depends on the Kari. There are still some that condemn it, but…”

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He hadn’t realized that he gave himself away until she spoke almost knowingly, “I am sure Zen knows you well enough to understand your heart. He is very practical. While I am certain it was difficult for him to hear, you did not shun him. You remained close with him. It was a different time and sometimes to be accepted and successful you had to hide who you were. Zen is really smart, he had to have known what would happen if he came out during that time. He told you because he trusted you and he needed validation for a decision he was already thinking about making.” He watched as she cupped her tea with both hands much as she had at the start of their conversation, “The two of you are really close.”

“We are.”

Tadayoshi felt a wave of emotion wash over him so when she asked her next question he was thankful for the distraction, “You always dress so traditionally do you ever wonder if a change is necessary?”

“I found it challenging when I attended Harvard. People asked a lot of questions that I did not want to answer so I thought it would be easier if I blended. I dressed in a more modernized fashion until I was thirty four. After I stopped riding with you on the subway and bus, I went back to how I felt most comfortable.”

Her face betrayed her. There were things she wanted to ask about that time, but he could tell she was purposely holding back. When she finally spoke her words caught him off-guard, “I like you just as you are.” He stumbled as he tried to speak. Tadayoshi could not even manage a thank you. “Does the mother play a part in the trials?”

“She prepares the child for the journey and gives a woman’s prospective during sexual instruction. Without mothers, sisters, grandmothers, a boy’s education would never be complete. They are the guiding force behind all Kari men. Despite what people think, we Kari have a great deal of respect for woman. They are our queens. Capable of bringing life into this world. They are to be treasured and a Kari man is to be devoted.”

“You say that yet there are no Kari women that work at the Kari Foundation. Don’t Kari men see women as mothers and wives and nothing more? If they are so important, should they not go through the same trials, have opportunities within the business, be the head of the Kari?”

“It is the job of a Kari man to provide. During my time as Elder, there have been no women who have wished to go through the trials. I cannot speak for times prior to my anointing. Wives and mothers are not roles that should be diminished or belittled. I find that a lot of working women are particularly hard on women that have chosen to stay home and take care of the house and family. Without them, a Kari man would have no peace. When they come home they do not expect for there to be dinner waiting for them or a warm body in their bed. If she chooses to show such attention upon him, then he is fortunate. A woman’s role as wife and mother is about security for the Kari. Women among the Kari are educated. Almost all of them have attended college. Many of them are just as capable, some even more so than their husbands to work at the Kari Foundation. Some of them choose to work. That is their decision and no Kari man is going to hinder the woman he loves from expressing herself. There are many that find the Kari misogynistic.  They have a very narrow view of our world due to limited information. While there have been many Kari men that have fallen and behaved badly, this is not what we are taught.” He paused a moment as he directed his attention fully on her, “Perhaps there will be a time when a woman stands before me and wishes to be seen as an equal rather than a queen of the Kari.”

After his words there was more silence. He thought a change of topic was in order, but he wondered at this point if going back to talking about the trials was even possible. “Did your sisters ever want more?”

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Considering her question he thought back on that day at the Kari Foundation. It was really the day that changed his life. Events that transpired that day and for months after forced him to marry someone that he was never going to be capable of loving and accepting the role as the future Elder of the Kari. “Resa was the second youngest. She was my father’s blessed daughter. When she was around, my father was always laughing and smiling. She was intelligent. Had an I.Q. of 180. She could do anything or be anyone. Resa believed in the Kari. She trusted in our father’s words and anything expected of her she did without hesitation. When my father was ill, she cared for him. Stayed at his side even in his darkest hour. When she was old enough she married a fine man named Yuudai Waichia and had thirteen children. She is a grandmother with twenty-four grandchildren. There is no regret from her. She lived the life she wanted to live. Though some might think she did it for our father, but Resa could have stood at his side as his right hand. His shield. I think had she been a boy, father most certainly would have wanted her there. Regardless, there was none among the children of Azu that he respected and loved more.”

“Are the two of you close?”

“We speak often enough though I am probably closer to Kyo.”

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“You mentioned you had a layover in Spain and visited your sister Nala.”

“Nala was motherly and strict. You could not get away with anything if she was watching you. She loved fashion and pink. Father hated it. He always asked her why she felt the need to dress like a common whore. Nala would just laugh and say there was nothing common about her. She rebelled against what she felt was the oppressive ways of the Kari. She just took off when she was sixteen. Nala wanted nothing to do with the Kari, our father, or Aslann. She just had enough and wanted more. I don’t think she wanted to be in the family business or anything like that. I think what she wanted was to be respected even if what she did or said went against our father’s view of her. Everything she did was picked apart.” Even though he tried to hide the emotion in his voice he could hear it break through, “She felt suffocated by tradition.”

“I get the impression she was not the only one.”

“Zen said something to me once; Sometimes we have to do things we do not want to. We have a responsibility to our family. So no matter how much I hate it, I will modernize, little by little until there is nothing left of the Zen Kari I am. You are the future Elder of the Kari, that means sacrifice. You and I, we have to forget who we are and become what the family needs. That is how this works. Truth be told, when I was young I stood at the side of my father. I was the diligent elder child. When he told me I was to be the future elder of the Kari, I wanted to run away. The closer it got to my anointing the more I fought it, the angrier I got, until I was snapping at the people I cared about and behaving rather disrespectfully. I was no longer the same man. Nala was right to feel suffocated. It is a feeling I quite understood.”

She offered no words at first simply reaching out her hand and resting it on his, “Tell me about your brothers.”

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Thoughtfully he took a moment before speaking, “Sorano was the youngest. Our mother died during childbirth from Eclampsia. Just after Sorano was born she had a seizure. Nala took care of Sorano. They were always together until she left. Maybe that is what caused it, but he did not live to see his first birthday. He was not a fussy baby; quiet really. During that time when a baby died it was usually listed as unknown causes or infant mortality due to pregnancy complications. I suppose after all of this time the reasons why really do not matter.”

“Tadayoshi, you say that and yet I can still hear it in your voice. The loss still effects you.”

“He was my brother. No Kari can look upon the loss of another Kari without being moved.”

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“Tell me about Kyo.”

“He is awkwardly tall. Kyo is quite the joker and despite that he has a very serious side to him. Very dedicated and loyal Kari, but he didn’t exactly make father happy when he brought a Maiba girl home. I can still hear the arguing. Hours of it, both too stubborn as they stood their ground and Kyo called our father out. Things didn’t come to blows like that very often, but you don’t ever tell your father that he is wrong even when he is. I think it hurt Kyo’s pride, but our father I think suffered more. Afterwards, Kyo told him that he was going to marry her with or without his permission. They did not talk again.”

“Do you think he made the wrong decision?”

“No. He loved her. He stood his ground and fought for what he believed in. I wish I had half the strength he did to fight for what I wanted back then. It was so much easier to just do what was expected. How odd the things that I hated most about my son are the same things I suppressed about myself. Maybe that is why I could not face him without scorn.”

She teased him which thankfully broke up the serious conversation, “Oh, so you have a little bad boy in there someplace?”

Looking deeply into his tea, “I would probably disappoint you in that regard. The most rebellious thing I ever did was talking back to my father.”

Laughing she responded, “You better rein that wild-side in.”

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He briefly smiled as his eyes focused in on her face, “You didn’t ask me about Katsu.”

Her somber expression was quite noticeable, “I have a feeling that you saw things, did things that are directly the result of things Katsu did. I am, uneasy about discussing something you might not be prepared to address.”

Tadayoshi stared at her. There was foreboding in her words, “You may ask me anything.”

“Alright. Tell me about the previous vessel of Tearra.”

With her words that foreboding became quite clear. Sighing deeply he hung his head, “Her name was Itoe. I cannot tell you much about whom she was. I never directly spoke to her. What I know of her was that she hung around in the same circles as your father and she was involved with a member of the Takahashi. These things I know only because Katsu took great pride in the fact that she had belonged to another when he took her. His reasons for doing so; the most obvious being that she was a Tylo woman. The real reason I believe was because your mother whom he adored and felt belonged to him, was sleeping with your father.”

“My mother and your brother?”

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Tadayoshi remained silent a moment allowing her a chance to consider that her mother Chilè Yamada and his brother Katsu Kari had been a couple. “They had a tumultuous relationship. He thought himself the king of the gods, Kazuma. Everyone was beneath him and Chilè was the first to tell him that he was delusional. She had an ugly personality, but there was a strength about her. Chilè was the type of woman that knew exactly what she wanted and was not afraid to go after it. She hated conforming to the expectations of the elite, but she was a woman more then, willing to play games. I have no doubt she never had any intention on giving up the Yamada fortune. She was a spoiled heiress that sought out the bad boy because the one she really wanted thought he could control her. Getting pregnant by your father not only made her mother angry, but Katsu as well.”

“What did he do?”

“He attempted to force Itoe to see him as Kazuma.” It was with a great heaviness that he thought back to that time, “I had been hearing whispers that Katsu had gone too far. I wondered how that was possible. He had already claimed the title of Kazuma without the backing of Tearra. How arrogant and prideful. The whispers by the days increased claiming that he was engaging in rather nefarious acts. Like my father, I thought if I ignored it that eventually the issue would resolve itself. It didn’t and I was forced to face him head on.”

The way Tationy looked at him brought an uneasiness to his heart. What she would think of him when she heard the truth about what happened to the previous reincarnate of Tearra. “What happened?”

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Tadayoshi glanced toward the boys to see if they were paying attention. Thankfully Osa was sleeping and Kazuma was still playing with his mother’s tablet. “He did terrible things to her. When I arrived at his home he had already taken her a countless number of times. She was slightly battered, mostly her face, but there were noticeable bruises near her left breast and … ” He did not feel comfortable even speaking the words, “Her womanhood. She was shaved and a large purple bruise covered it entirely. His semen was still on her. He was tormenting her. Whispering in her ear about everything he intended to do to her. What she had already gone through was nothing. She was crying. I had to force myself to keep my composure. I wanted to kill him for disgracing the Kari with such indecent behavior.”

“Why didn’t you?”

Tadayoshi wanted to give her some answer, but he did not know how to explain that at that time in his life he was not capable of killing his own brother. His mind wandered to that day, “Are you out of your mind?”

“Tadayoshi, that look is scaring my guest.”

“What do you think you are doing Katsu?”

Katsu laughed, “Just playing with my new toy. Want to test her out. I wrecked her pussy, but her mouth and asshole are still in good shape.”

“Let her go.”

The seriousness in his voice, forced Katsu to draw his attention away from the Tylo girl he was harassing sexually. “Are you speaking as my elder or my brother?”

Tadayoshi had not even dignified his question with an answer as he waited with hands behind his back for Katsu to do as he was ordered. Eventually he pushed the girl away from him. Sitting on the bed with a sigh, “Woman, suck my cock while I talk with my Elder. If you bite me, I will pull your teeth out, one by one.”

When you have nothing left you look for hope and Tadayoshi had noticed how the girl directed her attention upon him with pleading eyes. He did not understand why he felt no sympathy for her. He was Kazuma and she his queen and yet as he looked upon her he felt disgusted. He shook the thought from his mind drawing his attention toward Tationy, “When I looked at her I felt only disgust. As Kazuma’s reincarnate I should have felt a connection of some sort, but I could not even muster any sympathy for her. I was so angry with Katsu over his behavior and what he had been doing, but even as she looked at me with pleading eyes I felt empty. It left my heart conflicted with doubt. Had everything I known and felt been a lie? Had I been no better then Katsu? I thought myself the King of the Gods and yet when I looked at my queen on her knees sucking him off, I felt only disgust.” There was a brief pause before he drew his attention away from Tationy, “I walked toward them and broke her neck. Katsu was so shocked. I told him he was done within the Kari. That if he was truly Kazuma he would have broken her and she would have announced him as her king instead of begging me with her eyes to release her. It wasn’t mercy. It wasn’t even anger. I don’t know why I killed her. How selfish and prideful of me.”

There were tears streaming along Tationy’s cheeks. Her silence broke him. If she hadn’t seen him as a monster before she most certainly would now. Her voice was choked up as she spoke, “Why didn’t you take me? You had plenty of opportunities to force me to see you. Why kill her and not me?”

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“One day in Progmato, I saw a Tylo man with a small girl. The man rushed to obscure them from my view, but there was a moment where my eyes connected with hers. I felt so strange. My heart swelled so violently that I thought it might burst from my chest. She was so small, but I knew instantly she was my queen. I did not understand why Tearra was punishing Kazuma. Why didn’t I feel that way when I saw Itoe? Why that child? I could have taken you a thousand times, but you were just a little girl. I loved you the moment I saw you. More then, you will ever understand I wanted to be at your side. I could only think that Tearra picked you for a reason. Tormenting me with something I wanted, but I couldn’t have. No, there was no way I was going to take you.”

“What about when I was older?”

“By that point I had convinced myself it was better if you experienced the pains of life. Only with the pain could you see me. A mistake. I should have been trying to protect you. Even on Shimragata when you stumbled upon Katsu and I speaking, I thought it was better to keep my distance. I had to force myself to just allow things to happen even though I had a bad feeling. I promised my father when the firstborns were ready and Tearra was revealed, we would put them through a trial to find Kazuma. So foolish, seeing I already knew who Kazuma was. I made so many mistakes.”

“Are you going to kill me if I do not see you?”

“No. I will never hurt you. Please, just …. please just stay at my side. I know it is selfish of me to ask, but even if you hate me for the rest of my life, do this one thing for me.”

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She made a soft sound and when Tadayoshi looked at her he realized her eyes were closed. Her hand was rubbing her forehead. The stress she had been under put her in the hospital due to a combination of exhaustion and her Anemia and here he was making it worse. His head bowed, “Please forgive me.”

He caught movement from the corner of his eye and realized she had glanced toward him. It hurt him so much seeing her in pain which forced him to keep his attention drawn away from her. “This conversation is really exhausting for me. I think, I will put Kazuma down for a nap and then rest for a bit.”

Tadayoshi nodded his head acknowledging her words, though he had thought she was going to say something else. “I understand.” While she was tending to Kazuma he did what he could to collect himself. The conversation was not just exhausting for her, but him as well. His head hurt; his eyes felt heavy. He was kicking himself. A soft little murmur drew his attention toward the stairs.

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“Tat…Tearra,” He whispered.

“She is much too tired to fight me. Tadayoshi of the Kari, please relinquish control and let me speak with my King.” Tadayoshi felt his breath catch in his throat as he stared at the vision of Tearra. He knew the body belonged to Tationy and he had always seen her this way, but it was different this time. He felt his knee’s buckle before her, “Please Tadayoshi. I do not wish to hurt you, but your mortal mind cannot process what is before you. Sleep for a while and allow my King his freedom.”

Her presence was like a wave bombarding the shore. Tadayoshi felt his body weaken as he braced himself against a chair. Her words were muffled and yet he could hear them so clearly. Even after he felt his strength slipping away he was still acutely aware of what was going on around him, “You speak to me now after all this time?” His voice sounded different; colder, harsher. “Why now Tearra do you stand before me?”

“Kazuma, you seem rather angry with me. Have I disappointed you?”

“You are always doing as you wish. I am the King of the Gods.”

“I was that single flower that bloomed in the center of a great battle. It is my defiance that forced you to see me. Even now after all of this time, you still have learned nothing.” Tearra paused a moment her eyes washing over Kazuma, “You allow Tadayoshi of the Kari to take the blame for something you did. It was your anger that killed Itoe of the Tylo. He does not understand that it was you who looked upon my vessel and felt. His actions were controlled by you and even now it is like a dream for him. You are still as prideful as you have always been. He at least has better sense.”

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“You think you can lecture me?”

“Why have you continued to search for me after all of these years Kazuma, if you did not wish to hear the truth?”

Tadayoshi felt something. It was not his emotions, but those of Kazuma. Even as he controlled them, they were running wildly inside of him. He could feel his pain and anger so sharply he understood now why he wished for the Kari to discipline their minds and bodies while reining in their wayward emotions. Tearra’s words had silenced the King of the Gods and Tadayoshi found himself anxiously waiting to hear his words. “Tell me why you felt a need to do this to yourself and us?”

“Kisho manipulated us until one by one we became mortals. Yet, none of you learned anything. Ryozo sought out battle after battle. Killing hundreds, thousands even. The God of War destroyed lands and people to fulfill that sick part of him that loved the massacre. Hisoka never looked deep enough at anyone to learn to love. The heart of the God of Love was so clouded with showing his passion too many that he was incapable of giving his heart to just one. Rin was always jealous of you. He did everything to become more powerful and risked his own sanity and that of his kin. The God of Death has poisoned his blood in his pursuit of reaching you. The King of the Gods, Kazuma cares only for his kingdom. You taught your blood to be prideful. You taught them how to lock themselves away. You taught them that there is only the Kari. Every person that exist outside the blood of the Kari are less than nothing.”

“What about you my Queen? You speak casually about the faults of myself and the other gods, but you speak nothing of your own. Obsessed with the wants and needs of mortals. Those beast thought you such a benevolent Goddess, but the reality was you are and will always be incapable of doing for yourself.”

“Mortals call that being considerate.”

“You got your wish Tearra. How does it feel? Has being mortal been all you hoped for? Was being at my side such a painful existence for you?”

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Tadayoshi felt pained by Kazuma’s question. He could see the way Tearra’s eyes shifted downward and there was a moment he thought she was going to refuse answering. Her hand came to her face, her eyes closed, and she groaned softly which perplexed Kazuma at first, but Tadayoshi recognized it right away. “My head hurts.” Pulling her hand away she focused her attention on Kazuma and for a moment her eyes widened. Her expression changed rather quickly, “You are not Tadayoshi.”

Kazuma was surprised as he stood staring at the vision of his queen. He practically whispered, “Remarkable. You have the strength to overwhelm Tearra and keep her locked away. After all of these years of running from me, she made a mistake and imprisoned herself. She picked the body of the one mortal with the strength to suppress her. It must be your unique blood; Tylo, Yamada, Saitama, Shima, and Ishi. Speak your name before me, mortal.”

“You know my name.”

“I do, but I still wish for you to speak it. Introductions are customary among your people, are they not?”

“Release Tadayoshi.”

“I refuse.” Tadayoshi felt Kazuma’s strength forcing his consciousness into submission. There was a pause as the two stared at one another. The silence was overwhelming and Tadayoshi struggled to regain control; a futile attempt. He knew it was his fault that he lost himself. Under the weight of Tearra’s presence he buckled and now all he could do was watch on as Tationy faced off against the King of the Gods. “Do you intend to submit yourself to my vessel?”

“What he and I do is none of your concern.” Tadayoshi wondered how it was Tationy could stand in his presence without being overpowered, “If the two of you were not so willfully indifferent and stubborn, then Tadayoshi and I would not have to fix your mess to begin with.”

“Tearra is willful and stubborn, if she simply did as I commanded….”

“You are pathetic.”

“How dare you, woman.”

“This is because of you that this nightmare continues. You could have reached her long ago. Don’t pretend to be above it all when you could stop this if you wished. A prideful god unwilling to say the things needed to reach his queen.”

Tadayoshi felt it the moment it happened. Kazuma’s heart saddened, “One cannot simply change their nature.”

“You are wrong. The gods had thousands of years to grow, but all of you thought yourselves above mortals. Had you accepted your fate and learned, she would have returned to your side and we would not be standing here talking now. Release Tadayoshi, so we can fix the mess you and the other gods made.”

“If I refuse?”

“Then you will never see your queen again.”

TS3W 2014-12-26 17-33-46-36

There was something hidden deep within Kazuma that nagged at Tadayoshi, though he had little time to decipher what it was. He found himself unable to stand as he collapsed upon the nearby sofa and Tationy rushed toward him. His entire body ached. He was unable to lift his arms, barely able to lift his head. He was weak in the face of Tearra and overpowered completely by Kazuma. For the very first time in his entire life he was acutely aware of not only his weakness, but his mortality.

The gentleness of her fingers touching his face brought him little comfort as he sat dumbfounded, “How were you able to stand before him without breaking?”

“Tadayoshi, you still do not understand do you?”

“Explain it to me.”

“You believe in them. Brought up from the time you were small to put all of your faith in the ways of Kazuma. It is your unwavering loyalty to him that binds you to her. As long as you see her as Kazuma’s queen, as your queen, she has all the power over you and so does he. That is why he picked you.”

His head felt heavy as he closed his eyes. He was nothing more than a pawn in the game of Kazuma and Tearra. To be the vessel was always considered an honor and now he was sharply slapped in the face with reality. Kazuma choose him because he could be bound. A prisoner forever to his own blood. “I am sorry for my weakness.”

“No, please don’t be sorry. Look at me.”

He felt so ashamed and having her gentle hand upon his face only made that emotion stronger. As a Kari man, how was he to protect her if he was weak enough to be bound? He found that his son came into his mind. Would Hiko have been capable of standing before the Queen of the Gods, Tearra without buckling? Even as he asked the question in his head he knew the answer. He only saw Tationy. She was his queen. Tadayoshi had given himself over to Tearra the moment he realized he was the vessel of Kazuma. He never considered anything else. “I want to die.”

“Don’t talk like that. Please look at me Tadayoshi.”

He couldn’t look at her, “Leave me alone, please.”

“I am not leaving you. We are in this together.”

He used what strength he had to push her away from him, “I’m sorry. Please just, leave me be.”

Tadayoshi noticed how her lip quivered as she stared up at him. He never wanted to hurt her, but everything he knew was a lie. Was this the will of Kazuma? He felt his faith so devastatingly shattered that his own pride had been damaged.

To Be Continued

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2 comments

  1. So. Wait, I’m a little lost here. What is the connection between Itoe and Chile??

    But..Hey! Kazuma finally met his queen?? O_O and it didn’t go well apparently 😦 So what now? Tearra can see Kazuma but Kazuma still can’t see his queen as mortal? Hm. You know, for the last part, I think Hiko would be able to stand strong before Tearra, well, you know I think he would be stronger than Tadayoshi. Without being controlled or something. @.@ But then again, of course it’s just some sort of assumption because Hiko will never be Kazuma hihi

    • Chile and Itoe have no connection. Itoe and Miroku were distant cousins. Chile and Katsu broke up which ticked off Katsu, so when he went to get her back he noticed Itoe. Itoe was taken because she was Tylo, but also to get back at Chile. It could have been any woman.

      Yeah Kazuma finally meets his queen. Kazuma will never see his queen, because she is mortal. He is far to prideful.

      Hiko would definitely have no issues standing his ground. He is not traditional and does not believe in Tearra and Kazuma. Even when he was told he was Kazuma at one point he never believed it.

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