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(Return of the Kūki no yōna) Part 1

by MissJ1genz 9 months ago in Series · updated 6 months ago
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Feathers of crimson. Horns like iron. Wings soar higher and Ogre fire.

(Return of the Kūki no yōna) Part 1
Photo by Mike Lewinski on Unsplash

When the world of yokai was at its darkest, a phoenix of immense power emerged from the embers of the carnage. Like a vengeful sun, it lit up the sky and burnt the cursed shroud that harmed the land to cinders, thus bringing about a brighter dawn for all of yokai kind.

But not before the phoenix was infected by the same darkness it had just saved its world from, turning its flames to a dark onyx - earning it the title "Kūki no yōna" (the ethereal). Now afflicted by this darkness, the phoenix became a creature ruled by its impulses, consumed by its insatiable hunger for destruction and a massive sadist in nature. The saviour had become an even bigger calamity.

After a century of rampaging, the Kūki no yōna was finally defeated due to the efforts of the entire yokai world. In its final moments it was stripped of its curse, returning to the gracious saviour it once was, flames returned to crimson red and it promised to return when the yokai world loses its way again. Its descendants, the phoenix clan, are viewed with respect and reverie until this day.

A Millennia Later

300 years. It’s been 300 years since my clans annihilation left me the sole survivor of my race and forced me into hiding in one of the weirdest places in existence - the mortal realm.

The beings that inhabit this world, the humans, are so interesting to me. They live much shorter lives than yokai and they age rapidly, most barely making it to a century whilst a yokai like myself of 328 years would be mistaken for one of their infants of a mere 21 years. It's all very confusing.

The human world is weird and wonderful at times, their incredibly short lifespans meant that their industrial and technological progress was a lot faster than one would expect. Each generation brings new things and ideas, fixing problems started by those before them. The things humans find important will always baffle me, shiny stones, how other people view them. You'd think, with their very limited time alive, they'd be unconcerned with such triviality. Humans have far less variations between them than yokai; skin tone, hair and eye colour and different shaped facial features mainly. No wings, horns, claws or anything like us yokai and yet they spew so much hate for these minor differences which has caused too many issues to count. However, its now 2381 and they have finally risen above these petty disputes, something I am incredibly grateful for.

By Dewang Gupta on Unsplash

As I soar above the clouds, the feeling of the wind riffling through my crimson wings is exhilarating. While watching the light chase the sun as it casts shadows in its descent, I can't help but laugh grimly at how my life has turned out. Alone, traumatised and basically a fugitive from my homeland. All because the yokai got superstitious and fear the Kūki no yōna, the ethereal, a fairytale! To top it all off, my refuge for the last 3 centuries is no longer safe. Despite my best efforts, in my infinite wisdom even I make mistakes.

Two Nights Ago...

"Hey, I think that guy over there is into you Shay" whispered Erika, my best friend of 2 years. Her breath smelled like a combination of all the liquor we'd had tonight and made me wonder what mine smelled like. "This club always has the hottest guys, go shoot your shot” urged Chantelle, my other friend. I looked over to the guy in question and sure enough, he and his friends were looking at me. No, looking isn't the right word; he was assessing me like a beast would its prey before devouring it. I don't know why, but it made me feel something different, something I had never felt before, something tingly.

By Alexander Popov on Unsplash

Maybe it was the alcohol, or the loud music and rhythmic gyrating of warm bodies. Maybe it was my friends drunken laughter that made me feel bold, tonight I'm not a yokai on the run for my life, tonight I'm a 21 year old "chocolate darling" as my friends have often described me. Tonight, I’m just a regular girl on a night out with her friends. So I approach them, but as I draw closer my senses suddenly sharpen to point where they almost awaken me from my drunken stupor. It's a feeling I haven't felt in centuries but one I will never forget.

The feeling of another yokai's presence.

I hope that their senses are still dulled by the alcohol and they haven't noticed me yet but as my eyes connect with the guy who initially drew my attention, I know I'm not so lucky. He and his friends now nod towards the exit; my mind is racing as I desperately try to think of a way out of this. Now that I'm sober I can fully feel their auras, although I can't tell what clan they’re from, I know for a fact that they are older than me by a few centuries at least. If I mishandle this it will not end well for me so I take one more glance at my friends who are currently chatting to other guys, and swiftly follow the men outside. There are three of them, if it comes down to a physical confrontation I like to think the odds are in my favour but that depends on what they are.

The three yokai men indicate to go around the corner and out of sight of mortals. The one who caught my attention in the club was the tallest and most domineering, standing at least 6ft 2 tall with broad shoulders and athletic build. His dark skin was flawless and his features could only be described as beautiful but his eyes promised danger and hedonism. His two friends were almost as impressive looking, both with similar builds and airs to them but it was obvious that HE was the leader.

"What's a little yokai like you doing in a place like this?" asked the leader, he smirked on the word "little" and his fangs gleamed in the darkness and I had to resist the urge to roll my eyes at his cliche line.

Wait. Fangs!!

Before I could say anything, before I could even blink, he was in my face.

“You smell delectable" he said, stalking even closer.

"You’re invading my personal space" I state, trying to sound unbothered whilst trying to stop myself from trembling. Vampires are incredibly resilient and formidable when trained well. His friends behind him laughed before moving in closer, I feel like a deer being cornered by a pack of wolves. Vampire are afterall, first and foremost, predators through and through.

"I'm Da'von, heir to the vampire clan throne, feel free to swoon. Now that introductions have been made, tell me" he pauses to lean closer and inhale my scent.

"What exactly are you? You don't smell like any other yokai I've ever encountered"

"I bet you're delicious, let's have a taste" drooled henchman 1 as he and henchman 2 joined their boss.

"So deplorable, you leeches really are slaves to your hunger" I scoff, their ravenous behaviour removing all my fear.

"Please forgive them, I promise that not all vampires are such shameful gluttons" sighed Da'von as he shot a withering glare at his subordinates that froze them in their tracks.

Before I could respond, before I could even blink, Da'von's fangs were in my neck. I could feel my blood and energy flowing into him, instinct took over as my body heated up and a wave of flames shot out of me, flinging Da'von and his lackeys across the alleyway.

By Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Da'von landed gracefully on his feet with an astonished look on his face, his lackeys were not so lucky as they were writhing on the floor in agony trying to quell the flames.

"You're a phoenix!?" exclaimed Da'von "You're all supposed to have been wiped out centuries ago" then he grinned, his now blood stained fangs dripping onto the floor.

"Your essence is divine. Come back to the motherland with me, I swear on my honor as a royal that you will not be prosecuted" he held out his hand invitingly. I have missed home dearly but he must really think I'm an idiot if he thinks I'm going with him.

So I grin, hold out my hand and finish off his subordinates, engulfing them in flames. Their deaths are so swift, they don't even have time to scream before they're reduced to ashes and carried away by the night breeze. All the while I never break eye contact with Da'von, the weirdo is still grinning although the light in his eyes has changed to something I can't quite decipher.

"It seems you aren't going to cooperate, I see I'm going to have to use force. I hate to manhandle a lady but needs must" he sighs and I see his body tense in preparationto attack.

" Unfortunately for you, she will be leaving with me" a deep voice from behind me stated. I desperately wanted to turn around but I deemed the vampire infront of me a bigger threat so my eyes stayed glued to him. Da'von, it seemed, did not view me the same way as he cocked his head to see the new arrival. He then cursed, his beautiful face contorted with evident malice.

" What the hell are you doing here Ogre?" seethed Da'von. Ogre? I turn around, intrigued, and sure enough there's a tall handsome yokai with horns like iron standing a few feet from me. He's as devastatingly attractive as Da'von but with an air of mischief instead of danger. A little lighter in complexion than myself, like a burnt caramel and nails long and sharp like claws which are characteristic for the Ogre clan.

"Da'von, what an unsightly face you're making" mused the Ogre "As a fellow royal I must say, you're not conducting yourself suitably" the Ogre tutted, shaking his head in mock disapproval whilst smirking.

"Stay out of this Arashi, I fear the situation is too much for your feeble mind to comprehend" Da'von shot back now smirking. I'm sensing a long standing rivalry between these two.

"She's the last phoenix, you want to take her back with you and use her existence to re spark fears of the Kūki no yōna and her powers for some kind of nefarious purpose. Probably as a ploy to win daddys approval at long last. Did I leave anything out?" Arashi the Ogre raised his eyebrow.

"If you were watching all this time why did you not assist?" inquired Da'von, seemingly unfazed but I'm so close to him that I don't miss the stiffening of his posture, it seems the ogres' last comment hit too close to home.

"You know watching you struggle is a pleasurable past time of mine" grinned Arashi, completely unapologetic. "Now as much as I would love to continue this riveting conversation with you, I have been incredibly rude to the lady present and will now be giving her my full undivided attention. So, we bid you a due". With that, Arashi grabbed me round my waist and then we were surrounded in flames that were not mine - ogre fire. A great green light surrounded us and then everything went dark.

Present Day...

Arashi is waiting for me on the balcony of his "newly acquired" penthouse in New Tokyo. After the incident a few days ago with the vampire clan prince, Arashi brought me here as he thought it best to vacate that region and set up camp. Arashi assured me that by now the whole upper echelon of the yokai world would know of my existence by now.

"Nice flight princess?" Arashi asked, holding out a hot chocolate to me. He's taken to calling me a range of nicknames like we've been friends forever, it's as endearing as it is annoying. I'm still weary of his true intentions for helping me. He's only a few years older than I am and didn't agree with the decision to wipe out my clan, believing that children should not have to pay for the sins of their ancestors. That's probably got a lot to do with his own background.

For now though, we need to work together to plan our next moves. All I know is that, for the first time in centuries, my future consists of more than just survival. For the first time in ages, I am truly not alone.


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