August 23, 2012

Okurokami - part 18 (end)

The old man with the strange silver hair looked at her sadly and said, “That’s quite a story and I think you haven’t quite finished telling it. But before you go on, here have some chichi dango.” As he handed her a plate with the sweet treats on top of it.

Chichi Dango: a sweet confection made of
glutinous rice flour and coconut milk.
She bit into one and smiled, “These are great. Ingen would have loved them too.”
The old man’s ears perked up. “Speaking of him, did he die? And what did Magunojo-san ask of you?”
Takeko grinned wryly, “That lunatic? Of course not, it turned out that Teruro’s last attack did two things: one, it cut across Ingen's back leaving a giant scar, and two, it shattered Ingen’s sword. Last I heard, he donated most of the gold to the temple where he stayed until he had recovered from his wounds, and afterwards he went traveling on a quest to find a legendary sword as a replacement for his. I'm sure he's getting into whatever trouble he can find along the way.”  

Takeko finished off the last of the dango before continuing. “As for Teruro’s last request, well… Let’s just say that a high ranking official had little package next to his bed when he woke up a few days ago. One broken sword and one head. Had I not fulfilled my promise to finish his mission for him, I'm sure he would have come back from the dead to do it…”  Takeko shrugged. “And there you have it, that’s the whole tale.”

The silver haired man nodded, “So it is… So it is. I suppose it’s time we should get going. Are you coming?”

Takeko laughed because finally she understood what was so strange about the man, finally she understood many things.
The morning sun was well up in the sky. Cicadas had begun to sing. No one saw the two foxes leave the burnt out husk of a wayside eatery. One mature silver-furred fox, and one small vixen whose fur was like a mirror of night.
The two slipped away into the tangle of trees.