As an aspiring writer, one of the most exhilarating and terrifying things is to see your own words put out there. Which is why I’m anticipating a buzz wherein I will be annoying anyone with the misfortune of being next to me by doing my impression of She Who Would Not Shut Up.
This blog will be a collection of my original fiction as well as pictures, photos, whatever ends up catching my fancy. This brings me to the first instalment of my first novel: The Onmyouji Chronicles – The Inugami Master
My feet skidded across wet grass in a bone-fracturing moment. Slapping both hands against a trunk, I propelled myself forward; my palms itched with a burning sting.
There were too many trees in the way, too many obstacles, and I could feel the presence of the monster coming closer. Air was punching out of my throat and a pain was developing on my left side. I gritted my teeth, mind racing. What were my options? I couldn’t run forever.
I would never be able to compete with the stamina of a youkai, much less a Tengu.
I would have to fight back. A surprise attack, hit him with a one-two spell when his wings were vulnerable, bring him down, then on the descent, slap him with a machine-gun release of spells at his face. Gradually, I pulled back the speed, feeling my aching legs lumber clumsily against the soft, grassy ground. My heart pounded noisily in my head like the moving shadows of a tom-tom drum and I waited for the Tengu to catch up. One beat, two.
I felt that strong slap of air against my neck just as a shadow eclipsed the light of day and whirled around, releasing two spells that hit massive gray wings. Not as hard as I had hoped, but the Tengu wavered and sank down. Chanting, I spread out ten spells, hovering in the air, glowing with ki, and punched them into the monster’s face. A small twist of wind swirled up and I watched as my spells were whipped away, breaking easily under the power of the Tengu and a massive hand came over my head, crashing into the bark of the tree behind me.
“Too slow, Subaru Kanda.” Gosenbo-san said, slowly moving the large hand from the tree that had suffered an imprint. “Too slow on the second attack and not sharp enough on the first. Had I been an enemy, you would have been dead by now.”
I winced, taking the insult and inched my way upright like a worm.
“Such sloppy work. You’ve been distracted of late.” Gosenbo-san said, staring down at me from his considerable height. Tengu were reputedly the spirits of corrupted learned priests who’d died. They were dressed in the fashions of them – a large, bulky colorful robe, pants and sandals, a long-nosed red mask covering the top half of their faces. They were powerful, ancient, full of wisdom, and intimidating. This one was also a pain in my ass.
“So I’ve been distracted, sue me.” I sincerely hoped that didn’t sound as whiny as I thought it did.
“I would not have commented if your training hadn’t been suffering. This was the third time this week you lasted less than fifteen minutes against me.”
“I’ve had stuff on my mind.” And now, grass stains on my pants.
“You should be thinking of your training,” A rough hand grasped my chin, pushing out my cheeks so my lips protruded out. “You take after your grandmother. You are her heir. You must live up to her legacy.”
I glared at him, though the puffed cheeks might have diminished the effect. I knew I took after Grandma. Everyone took the opportunity to tell me I looked exactly like her. I’d only ever seen pictures of her. We had the same face – kind of fox-like with slanted eyes. We always looked like we were up to something, even if we weren’t.
“How can you ever become a great Onmyouji if you allow trivial things to distract you?”
“They’re not trivial! I’ve been thinking about…” I stopped. Gosenbo-san would not enjoy hearing about what I had been thinking about lately.
“About what?” He said dangerously.
“Nothing.” I muttered. The youkai who had been my teacher for my entire life because of a pact he had with my grandmother to keep our lineage going, would not like hearing I had doubts about my future as an Onmyouji.