Title: Wildflower (Part 6 of Torrent) - Chapter 4
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just another piece inspired by Kazuya Minekura's delicious boys.
Summary: "Bloom where you're planted." A long-overdue songfic of random ruminations by four souls bound by fate. Part 6 of the Torrent series.
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
It's been three years since I set off alone from Kinzan. Three fruitless years, with not a shred of solid information about the Seiten Scripture, not a trace of the heinous villains who took my Master's life. All this time I've spent walking from place to place, going around in circles, it seems, garbed in these rags with not a thing to my name except this banishing gun.
That, and the name my Master gave me that final night that we talked.
It is such a burden, this name. And I wish it was not so. I wish I did not feel this way about the title that my teacher saw fit to bestow upon me. Understand that I am not ungrateful for it, nor am I turning my back on the trust that Koumyou Sanzo placed on these shoulders.
But it is a heavy responsibility, when all I want is to find those damn demons and tear them limb from limb.
I want them to bleed.
I want them to suffer.
I want them to drown in such pain that death itself would be a merciful angel.
You have to admit, these are not exactly the desires of one who is 'Holy'.
Hn. But he would understand, anyway. He, who scoffed at the notion of being 'Exalted'. He, who was ever the irreverent one, who always believed what he chose to believe, who always did things his own way.
He, who refused to be "serious", and who refused to take himself seriously. I'd rather be a smiling, dreamy fool than a boring old coot, he always said, and I never knew if he was serious even about that.
Koumyou Sanzo, who refused to be bound, who reveled in his freedom, he, who lived his life just as it was.
Why aren't you inside giving the lecture? I would ask, frowning at the mess of bright-colored paper I was going to have to sweep up.
Oh, I don't know much about giving lectures, he would answer with that serene smile. What I'm really good at is making paper airplanes… And he would let one fly, the warm orange a stark contrast against the cool blue. Look, Kouryu… Isn't it beautiful?
He was beautiful, my Master. Koumyou Sanzo. My father. My teacher. My friend. Such a sage he was, though half those idiots didn't get it, and smiled insultingly at him behind his back.
But I understood. I was among the few who saw, who was in awe of the light that radiated from him. And I drank up all the simple wisdom he imparted upon this eager young soul, even as he always chided me to work less and to play more.
You are so intense, Kouryu, he used to tell me. That is both your blessing and your burden. … And it is only now that I fully grasp the meaning of those words.
Because there is this unquenchable flame that burns in me – the all-consuming need to now take revenge for his death. Because of it, I have survived this long, despite hungry and desperate bandits, despite sinful foul men seeking to claim my body, despite wild beasts and the harsh elements that I sometimes find myself forced to endure when camping out in the wilderness.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Despite the nightmares each night. Despite the overwhelming guilt I carry from the choices I've made in order to survive. Despite the lives I've taken, so that my life will not be taken from me.
Despite the terrible sadness I feel, the utter and complete loneliness that has haunted me since that rainy night when I last looked in his eyes.
So kind they always were, so calm, so gentle and so wise. So playful and twinkling with some secret joke that only he knew. Hn. Probably laughing at the ultimate futileness of it all – the wheel of life, rolling over and over, around and around in a senseless cycle of suffering and loss and death.
And sometimes – very rarely – his eyes were so utterly sorrowful, so alone, as only a man of his stature can be… But always, always, so silently strong.
Perhaps when I've finally seen this through, and I have claimed back that which is rightfully mine… perhaps then I shall be free to grieve him properly. Until then, my grief sustains me. That is the irony of it. The burning rage I feel gives me impetus to struggle on. At this point, whether it is a blessing or a burden doesn't even matter.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
If I must live this life, then live it I shall, a wretched existence though it may be, feeling so damn hypocritical as I do, walking in the borrowed glory of this holy name while my insides are twisted with the single evil desire to extract my pound of flesh from those bastards who took away the one who mattered the most, who took away the only one who mattered.
I never asked for this. I never expressed any desire to be a self-righteous, self-absorbed monk, piously meditating for the sins of the world while living a cloistered, safe life in the confines of a temple, with no idea of the horrible suffering that the common man endures just to stay alive, ignorant of the unceasing struggle for survival that drives the world to commit those sins in the first place.
I consented to learn the ways of the Temple only for my Master's sake, because it was a delight to him for me to be his pupil. But I've never served Buddha, nor His Temple. I believe only in myself, and I served only Koumyou Sanzo. It was never my wish to be the next Toa.
I learned the Holy Scriptures, I trained in martial arts and the esoteric practices of meditation and spiritual magic, I studied theology and philosophy because it pleased my Master for me to do so. But I never intended to shave my head and don the monkly robes. I did it all because it was the way of life of the temple, and the way of life of my Master; I did it to keep my place by his side.
But I never, ever thought that fate would play her cruel hand and not only remove me from his side, but put me in his place.
To be Koumyou Sanzo's successor was the last thing on my mind.
Looking back now, I can see more clearly… and I realize it was what he intended all along. I remember arguing with him about it, saying that surely a grown-up monk with years of training and study under his belt was a more likely candidate to be my Master's heir than a young upstart like me.
And he replied in his usual enigmatic way.
There really is no set standard for becoming a Sanzo, my child. There are no definite guidelines, no rules carved in stone when it comes to the qualities necessary in a person for him to be worthy of the title of Sanzo-Houshi.
And when I pressed him about it, he only smiled at me. A warm smile as always, and yet behind it I sensed a great sorrow… and it was only on that last terrible night that I understood why.
Do you know why Sanzo Priests wear the Holy Sutras on their shoulders? It is a reminder that we carry the world's sins upon ourselves. He gave me one last wistful smile. I know you will be strong enough to shoulder this burden too.
And his dying words bestowed upon me this title and this name.
I leave everything to you now… Be strong, Genjo Sanzo.
And I will live up to it, dammit. I will prove and justify his trust in me, whatever it was that he saw in the pale, silent, moody child that I was. I will find the strength that he believed I possess, even if it feels like I'm running on empty most of the time.
I will prove worthy of being the 31st Toa if it kills me.
You have been blessed with such extraordinary gifts, Kouryu. How can you expect to live an ordinary life?
No fair, Master. But if I must live this life, then live it I shall… until I find a resolution… until I make my peace with you being gone from me, forever.
Above everything else, remember this, Kouryu. Be gentle with yourself.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley
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