Seane Lopez – “Akagi’s Exile”

Part One: Kami’s Messenger

“Those who killed the sheep are now murderers. Those who took advantage of them are now tyrants. But you, you will be worst. ” A herd of countless sheep surrounded me, slowly closing in on me.

“The Mongolians are coming, Akagi and they’re not coming to give but to take lives.” As the sheep came close, I noticed the sheep has the eyes of a blind man. I fell down on the ground and the sheep dragged me near the seafront.

“If you fail the prophecy I commanded you, I shall curse you with millions of deaths upon your next life.” Kami, my people’s greatest god told me. He majestically floated among the clouds; shaking the earth with every step he takes. When I blinked, I opened my eyes to the seafront beside my village. I saw a crimson wave head towards me as I laid down paralyzed. I got swept away from the thick, salty water. Down there I heard fire crackling and cannons blowing everywhere.

“Wake up you gosh darn insect. This is private property.” The smell of sake still caressed my nose. An old man tapped my back with his broomstick, although pushing it away, he kept poking me with the ends of the broom.

“I got it, old man,” I said.

“Come one, get up you young drunk.” I sneered at him with a grin and walked away. When I moved here I thought people would treat me better, as in better I meant: provide me with refreshments. But it was just the same as the other villages. As imperfect as my life may be at least I get the beautiful scene. This was one of the only places where I could see the sun sink at the ends of the world. The bamboos that grew next to the pond would usually be cut in half and then burnt for the ceremony that would take place today. As I continued down the cobblestone street, my mind felt empty almost like I was forgetting something. Was it about the tales of me advancing to waves of soldiers? Or was it?

“The Mongolians are coming!” I ran and ran to the center of the village, finding a way to make my voice heard is going to be hard, since the bamboo ceremony starts today. On top a hill that stood beside the village walls. I watched my people burn a pile of bamboo and made all kinds of things out of bamboo. Some kids ran around fighting with sticks. I ran and tripped down the hill, rolling. I had all kinds of green around my body, but this was no excuse to slow me down from telling my prophecy. I opened the gates and people looked at the green walking bush like contraption. I ignored the glares and whispers and continued on to the center of the village circle. I looked at the statue of Shinohara – our villages’ greatest swordsman. I climbed up on top of the statue and as the people looked at me while the heavens cleared and shine light upon me.

“Everyone, the time has come! Kami has told me that a war is coming and it is inevitable. If we start getting prepared now, we might have a chance!” The statue started tilting to the left. I too was losing balance. Bam! The statue crashed and crushed into rubble. The villagers started to form a circle around me, they closed in on me, kicking me. They said things like, “Heavens? Like God would even talk to you!” Or “You dare mock our Kami!?” And the classic “you are nothing! You are a sham to this village”. I was dragged to the villages’ center where I was given a trial – a trial I’d never win.

“Akagi of the Konoha family, you have been charged with theft and now..” A man whispered to the judge’s ear,

“Blasphemy, now what do you have to say for yourself before we banish you from our village?” The judge looked smug as he raised both his arms, what a prune little prick.

“Kami, our God has told me in a dream that our invaders, the Mongolians will come to our land to destroy and kill us all,” I exclaimed. The villagers behind me gasped and whispered fearfully.

“And yet you still think Kami would have the courtesy to have any interaction with a man like you? How dare you!” after the judge said this, the crowd got riled up and agreed with the judge.

“I say we kill him!” the old man who kicked me out his store front outspoken and raised his hands. I saw some villagers nod and agreed.

“I agree that Akagi here is a big burden amongst our village. But there is no reason to shed blood. I will let you have fun with him for a little but do not kill him. If he dies he becomes a freeman.” The judge walked away with his hands up in the air. Before I was beaten miserably, all I said was:

“You will pay, all of you. You will all pay for this.” Beaten and knocked out I was dragged to a boat. My exile is upon me.

“Hey, you. You’re finally awake. You were trying to tell a prophecy, right. I’d say your crazy, but everyone on this boat is pretty much crazy.” The taste of sea salt crept up my nose. My nose felt spicy. Thunder roared in all directions as waves argued with each other. An island was visible in the distance. The captain of this boat had his hand on a katana. “He’s samurai? Or is he just another mercenary?” I wondered. I haven’t seen one in years since the death of Shinohara. Shinohara was our last swordsman. He never stopped loving his village, and he showed that vibrantly. Though, one thing disturbed me. I once noticed something when he fought to defend our village. He smiled even with a mask you could see the smirk and glow in his eyes that are saying “more, more, give me more!”. But all that lust for blood drove him into uncontrollable insanity. After killing the children of the village, he was then captured and pushed into the pit of bamboos. I was apparently supposed to be pushed there too, instead, I was put into exile with other prisoners. The boat stopped.

“Enjoy your stay. Now get off!” The captain said as he pointed to the shore with his sword. The prisoners and I got off the boat except for this old man who just woke up and started protesting against the captain. The old man was yelling and throwing gestures all over the place. Eventually, the captain looked like he got frustrated and pushed off the old man out the boat, leaving him to drown. The old man flopped in the water like a fish without water.

I looked at the island and thought, “Maybe this isn’t so bad after all”. The island had green beautiful hills, palm trees, and multiple mountain ranges with waterfalls, this was paradise. The sun was rising off the ends of the earth, I saw a bright glaring object fly by and land in front of my foot. It was the captain’s sword.

Shocked by the near death experience, a humongous prisoner laughed stupidly and pushed me out of the way to grab the sword. The others gathered around him as he freed himself off his cuffs and wielded the sword. Not even seconds after he chased them killing them one by one. The screams of sheep pierced through my ears Even more shocked, I just stood there and watched the horrors of the wolf  slaughtering the sheep.

“You don’t seem so scared. Bow down to me, and maybe I will spare your pitiful life!” The mountain of a man said in front of me. Looking at the man who would be the death of me, I charged at him with ropes still tied around my hands. He slashed the sword and cut my whole left arm. “My hands are free!” I exclaimed in my mind. With my heart blowing like cannons, I jumped on his back choking him and biting his ears off. My vision was getting blurry. I made him fall down. He tried lunging the sword but I kicked the sword off his hand.

“Fear me!” I said with rolling lightning striking behind me. The man was crying, so I gouged his eyes one by one. Squish, squish. Ah the sound of cherry picking. Bang, bang! Thunder and lightning clashed each other. I laughed and laughed and laughed and laughed. My vision was crimson. I punched the carcass. I punched his head, punched his teeth out, with nothing but my remaining right arm.

“Fear me!” I screamed again. My heart was beating slower. I fell on the sand and closed my eyes. A voice called out to me. Opening my eyes again, I saw the white beaming lights of the heavens shined on me. For a moment the darkness of the world disappeared, the shadows of the trees, clouds, and mountains disappeared. The man who appeared in my dream walked amongst the clouds, he looked

“Akagi, Akagi. What have you done now?” His voice echoed from the sky.

“I have done you wrong, Kami of our heavens, by killing your people Kami.” My hands shook from the guilt. The blood on my left arm still poured like the waterfall before me.

“It is true, it is true that you have killed your countrymen. But you had no choice. I am the one who appeared in your dream, and I am thee who’ve told of the prophecy, and you have followed the star’s path that leads you to great prosperity! “

“What if I disobey you, Kami?” I stuttered as I told him what possibilities could happen.

“You will not disobey me!” The yellow lights and white clouds became crimson and grey. My heart pumps so hard I could see it palpitate through my skin. My eyes were turning back to the shade of red. Kami told me to go back to sleep because he will take care of me.

Later, I woke up in a boat, with a tall ghostly figure that stands in front of me, rowing the boat. I stood up. I asked who or what it is, and what it wants with me. But it said nothing. Almost to the shore he points at a nearby village and says,

“Demons, over there. Bad things they are. Clean them.” We then stopped midway. I exited the boat and started walking toward the town. I see four towers, two made out of crying women and another two made out of men trying to climb the tower, kicking each other, having no regard to who kick down.  In front, there are gates of fire. There stood two people, both with heads of a boar. Kami obviously wanted me to do their dirty work, by killing the demons in this world, but anything the Kami asks is anything that I shall do. Picking up a stone, I throw it into both of the boar’s eyes. I then pick up a sword and finish them.

“Hachiman-shin, bless me with your strength.” Entering the village, I saw the village was full of floating heads that spoke insults,

“I will cleanse this village.” Taking my position, I sprinted through the streets slashing the heads in half. They cry of laughter, smiling every time I cut them; filthy creatures.

“Aka- has retu-“ I heard a choppy voice from behind. I turn around, but all I saw was another floating head. So I chased after it. It ran like a chicken with its head taken off. It tripped and fell, I looked at its face and it was frowning. I look at it for another second; I will not be deceived by demons! I cut it and it laughed this time it pierced my ears. For hours I ran through the village, killing every head. The laughter just kept getting louder and louder, I eventually realized what Shinohara felt and start laughing with them. I chased down every head like a hungry hound.

“Akagi! Stop this madness!” On top of village stairs, an ogre stood and yelled at me. He leaped onto the center of the hard marble ground. His eyes glowed striking red. He lunged and charged at me. I jumped over him and cut his back. Roaring I jump on his stomach and leap over his head and pierced his eyes. Balancing on his face I stomp the sword deeper into his eyes. I jump off kicking his chin and landing in one piece. The ogre stopped covering its eyes and for the last time, it charged I slid between his legs and he then accidentally charges into a spike, Shook!- the wooden beam pierced through his heart. Fire blasted out from his mouth, I approached him and pulled out the sword from his eyes. Looking at his miserable face I decapitate him and in his last miserable moments, he let out this roar; almighty roar.

Bwaa! Trumpets blasted in the heavens, and hands of Kami reached down to me from the stairs, leading me to this dazzling temple. I   know this was here before, maybe I wasn’t just paying attention. Bwa! The trumpets grew louder as I was getting closer to the temple. When I arrived, the voice of Kami said

“Akagi, Akagi, you have done it again. You have done well my child.” moments later fog surrounded me and dispersed. The temple disappeared and in front of me was just a simple shrine that I used to sleep in my old town. I look around, and I see no fire, no towers. The body of the ogre disappeared. Just the runned down version of my village. I sleep again where I was before

Part Two: Catacombs

“Awake.” I opened my eyes only to see the tall figure whom I’ve seen before. It pointed north and said,

“You must heads south, and only south. If there’s a tree in the way climb over it. If there’s a wall in the way knock it over. If there is a soul in the way, kill it.” I fall down the stairs as I tried picking myself up. I have forgotten that left arm has been cut off. I stand up and looked at it. No bones nor flesh were visible. It was sown. And so my journey began. The eerie silence of the forests and the ominous shadows of the trees rests. The tall figure followed me from behind.

“If you’re going to walk with me, we might as well introduce each other.” I said, it walked beside me and stared at me with its dark shadowy hood.

“I am what you people call “shinigami”. I am the Kami of death.” The rest of the walk was silence. We set camp in the middle of nowhere. I haven’t talked to a person in a while. Sitting down it asked,

“Why do you do the things you do Akagi? Why follow Kami when you can follow your own path?” I paused for a minute to think about my answer.

“Nothing special really. I just want to prove the world that I’m not like those rats. I want to prove to my village men that I am a strong person. And after all this I get to have great prosperity in my next life.” Shinigami stared at me as if I said something wrong. If I really think about it, did I say something wrong?

“I see, Akagi, Akagi, let me tell you that isn’t the reason why you’re doing all of this. Have you forgotten after all this time?” Shinigami said as he walked away. It looked at me for the last time, and I wondered, “has my time come?”, quite possibly not. If it were my time, Shinigami would have taken me to the underworld by now. Four days has passed, I was still on my journey. Shinigami embarked on its own journey whilst I was in the midst of dreaming of drinking sake and hunting. The gazes of Shinigami still haunted me. Had he invited me to die? Why must it be me? I’m doing my country good, even Kami is rooting for me.

Another three days has passed and I witnessed two crabs fighting. The red crab had a damaged leg, so it took it off. It had a bad arm, so it took off its arm. The orange crab gouged the eyes of the red crab. The red crab tried running away, so the orange crab ran in front of it. Thinking the red crab would run into him, the blind red crab with its last arm pinched and cracked the orange’s shell. I got distracted long enough, I had to continue on my journey. It wouldn’t be another hour till’ I’d reach the bay.

“You made it Akagi! You have! Now.” Kami’s tone of voice switched from joyous to serious. His hands which was reaching down onto the sand retracted back into the heavens.

“Akagi, walk down the bay. and no matter what happens, do not fight the spirits that live on this beach.“ Kami paused and walked away. I proceeded to the beach. A shadow arose from the sand, it was Shinigami again.

“Take off your shoes” Kami said, so I took them off. Walking on the sand, my feet started skinning off, going down to the bones. And so did my whole body. Eventually, I was just a walking skeleton. I walked and walked, the beachfront felt like a desert. Crack. A hand from the ground grabbed my meatless ankles. I couldn’t move so I let it have my foot. Crack-crack-crack.  More and more hands came from the ground, a tunnel of bones started forming in front of me. I walked into it. More hands came out the ceiling and walls grabbing every part and limbs of my body. Light from the end of the tunnel illuminated and a tall skinny figure stood there.

“Kami has taken advantage of you! This is a trap!” At first, I didn’t trust that voice but the drilling words that the tunnel spoke started to engrave in my mind,

“You’ve killed us all Akagi, You will kill us all.”

“Kill us, kill us.” They just kept coming and coming,

“If you kill us, Kami would understand.”

Kill us, kill us. They couldn’t and wouldn’t shut up. I was immobile by then, the hands covered my whole body. The light of the end of the tunnel disappeared and but the tall figure still remained; now walking towards me. With hands of bones, it reached out a sword from his dark robes. It put down its hood and revealed the face of Kami.

“You have passed the test Akagi, now kill.” Smirking, I reached for the sword and slashed all the hands surrounding me. I ran down the tunnel cutting every hand, every voice. The tunnel lights grew crimson, and the voices started screaming. Ghastly faces of familiar people started floating around the tunnels. The excruciating screams grew worst, but I didn’t mind, for Kami has revealed himself to me. Lightning struck on my sword as I raised it up. The light at the end of the tunnel died down, the voices were gone, and what laid in front of my eyes was just the beach where I was before. Meanwhile, I turn around to see Kami one more time, but I only saw Shinigami smiling.

          “You fool, Kami has abandoned you now.” Rage grew as I charged at him, I spat and swore till I reached the depths of its robes. I smashed my sword downwards, but Shinigami raised its hands and blocked my sword between his fingers.

          “Now! Finish what you were supposed  to do.” He raised up his other palm and pushed me with the winds of Fujin out to the sea.

Part Three: Kamikaze

          I floated on the water surface and stared at the sky. I could still picture the hands of Kami reaching down to me. But I knew Kami wouldn’t dare to appear to me again.  I’ve been tricked into the hands of death, and now I am invited to suffer with those who have failed to follow Kami’s orders. The calm waters moved slowly. Eventually, waves started coming cold and fast. In the distance, I could see two dragons twisting and turning. They flew with no wings nor feathers. With them flying towards me, I drew my sword, preparing for the battle that lies ahead of me. The dragons roared a foreign language.

          The dragons circled around me, closing the circle smaller and smaller almost like they are taunting me. One rose up to the skies and slammed down in an attempt to swallow me. I slid its sides and cut its skin like paper. Wood started coming out of its wounds, I couldn’t bare the stench of year old wet wood. The dragon cried blood. I climbed up the other dragon and ran up to its head, stabbing my sword on it I got to control it like a horse. “Spit!” I commanded it, and so it did, the dragon let out this ball of fire onto the other dragon. My eyes closed – I heard men yelling. I heard the sound of wood burning, and water crashing. I opened my eyes to a waging war between two boats. In front of me was a lit canon aimed at the opposite boat.

          I feel my whole body being pulled down to the ground like a bull stepping on a feather, I couldn’t stand I had to lay down and rest for a bit. Falling down I slumped on the cannon accidentally aiming at a Mongolian soldier. Thunk. A ball launched out the cannon blowing up the whole boat. I fell off the boat sinking into the salty water. I saw not hundreds but thousands of Mongols. The waves washed me up to the shore, coincidentally my sword stood in front of me. I couldn’t take this crap any longer, I had to stay for the night. Without moving an inch I slept on the rough sand.

“Akagi, wake up.”

          “Can a man get sleep?” I was already annoyed as I was when Kami first spoke to me. If that were really Kami, that is.

          “Akagi, You have been manipulated for far too long and I’ve been standing by for far too long. Shinigami was wrong. You, you will be greater, greater than any ruler or warrior. Be warned though, I believe Owatatsumi, Deity of the sea, has become irritated.” This was getting stupid, I wanted to end it right there on the spot. By then I didn’t know what the hell was real anymore. Is Shinigami even real? Is our great Kami even real?

          “Akagi, you must fight Shinigami till your last breath.”

          “How do I even know that you, are, you know, you.”

          “You will know. when the battle ends that is.”

          “Slit and slash until it is done.” I picked my sword and cleaned it. I looked up at Kami and I got the feeling this is the last time I will ever hold this katana. I turned around and saw black dust flow with the wind. There stood Shinigami waiting for me with his arms open. It opened its mouth and screamed at me. I ran like the wind. My eyes gazed at death itself, murderous intent flowed through my mind. “This was it”, I thought, and so I closed my eyes and prayed.

          I was now in front of shinigami, I slashed my sword in front. Shinigami dodged and jumped on a branch laughing. He jumped off leaning backwards, looking at me. Still laughing he disappeared and appeared behind me.

          “Foolish human! You think you can go against me?” It scratched my back leaving four scars. I was growing more and more desperate every time I moved my arm. I pretty much just wobbled my sword around. Gha! What was that? Did I land a hit? I turned around and saw Shinigami on its knees. Maybe all those negative thoughts weren’t really necessary, haha, so foolish of me. I laid my hand on the shoulder of Shinigami.

          “Any last words?” I smirked and it whispered

          “What? Was that?” I leaned closer to his hood.

          “Should have gone for the hea- I mean. Do you think you honestly defeat me?” Shinigami disappeared in ashes. Not even seconds later, my stomach felt funny. It felt like there’s something crawling inside of it. I looked down and ashes forming in front of it. The ashes turned into a blade of shadows stabbing through me. I held the blade and looked behind me. I saw Shinigami’s face, his own very face, which was just smoke? I swayed my thoughts of fear away. This was it, this is my only opportunity to get him at least once before I go. I raised my sword above my head and pushed it into my stomach as well. I kneeled in defeat.

          “You’re an idiot, you know? Now look over there.” It pointed to the east, but all I saw was the calm seas.

          “No, no, no. Look again Akagi.” I rubbed my eyes and did as it commanded. Looking up I saw a dragon fly by as it pulled a great wave with a thin string. I stood up with two swords in my stomach. I started running and running. Eventually, the wave caught up to me.

          “I will not die. I Akagi!” I tripped and fell, so did the wave. I grabbed onto the ground basically clinging on to my dear life. The wave died down – but no, another wave came in from the opposites. I grabbed onto the soil again, but this time I had no more strength to survive this one. I gave up and went down on both knees, with my arms both open I accepted that this was it.

Epilogue: 7 Year journey

          A tree sapling rose from soil and soul where the slayer rested, but no light dared to shine upon it nor did anyone approach it. The tree sapling didn’t grow at all. A year has passed and a flock of birds visited the cursed ground. The birds then tended the tree supplying it with water and fertilizer. Two years have passed and the tree grew tall as the heavens but it bared no fruit nor leaves. Three years have passed and the flock birds returned now using the tree as shelter, they decorated it with leaves and flowers. On the seventh year, the tree would shelter all kinds of animals, both prey and predator alike. Later on, the tree was satisfied and shined light all over the world, inviting everything and everyone to come and relax in paradise. Some came but some didn’t dare to set foot on it because the tree grew from roots of blood, lead, and steel.

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