Death by Ex-Girlfriend: War Cloud
(So, let me get this straight. Bear with me for a second. Izanami, my precious Izanami, my innocent Izanami, orchestrated this entire scare about my lifespan so that she could tell everyone that the only way to avoid my imminent death would be for me to mate with a god. I don’t know if I should admire her cunnilin—I mean, cunning—or feel betrayed. When she wants to, she really knows how to make everything go her way. Now that I think about it, she’s proven that much as a mediator of the household, and even when she helped me save Aika. Still though…Izanami did this? I am baffled. This would be the first time I’ve had sex with either Izanami or Tsukiakari. Obviously, this is a very important decision that I should be mulling over for a while. I, as a man, have a responsibility to properly think this through with the utmost care. Even if it is Izanami and Tsukiakari, this demands as much thought as it would if I didn’t know these two already. Give me some to think this over. Yes. I will do it. I’ll not waste this opportunity Izanami set up. That was a very long and deep thought. It took roughly one second. One entire second, I say! But what is time but mere numbers? Shall we think one second is just a morsel of time just because someone else says it is? Anything can happen in one second, let alone ten, or sixty. For instance, in one second, I’ve now made the decision, for the first time, to have sex with these two goddesses. I told you to bear with me for a second, and now you’ve come to understand my point of view on this issue. You may think of this as a very roundabout way of justifying this one-second decision, but I think of it as a genuine life lesson and a punchline all in one. So much can happen in just one second.)
Embracing the lusty situation, Tsukiakari climbed into bed with Osamu and began running her finger down his chest, her long hair reaching all the way to the other end of the bed. “You know, now that I'm all grown up again, you and I will have a good time doing this, Osamu.”
Yoko closed her eyes, crossed her arms, and tapped her finger as this went on.
“Do whatever you need to.” Osamu said.
“No wait! I...I want to sleep with him!” Izanami declared, raising her hand like an overeager student.
Not wanting to expose Izanami’s careful construction of the situation, Osamu pretended as if she was as ditzy as always. “Do you even know what sex is, Izanami?!”
“Of course I do! It's when you hold hands with the one you love in the nude!” Izanami said with a confident smile.
“She's hopeless!” Isabella lamented.
“Am not!” Izanami protested. “Look, I already prepared for this too!”
Izanami took off her clothes, revealing her black lingerie bra and underwear, each piece complete with little pink ribbons.
“I-I-Izanami!” Isabella stuttered. “You're the last person I'd ever expect to wear something like that!”
Izanami flipped her hair in a show of stunning confidence. She really had been planning this for quite a while.
“Y-you actually look really good, Izanami!” Osamu stammered.
(Who would ever think a dead girl could rock lingerie so well?!)
“Get lost, I already called him!” Tsukiakari hissed.
“It's not a competition! I'm going to die if we don't do this!” Osamu said.
Yoko tapped her finger even harder.
“Wouldn't it be okay if we shared him?” Izanami proposed.
“Threesome?! Osamu, you dirty dog! I don't even know who you are anymore!” Isabella cried, averting her eyes away from the man she loved.
“This entire situation is out of my control!” Osamu cried.
(This, of course, is a lie.)
“Hmm...alright, alright. The longer we fight, the closer he gets to death. Let's just go for a three way!” Tsukiakari said.
(A three way with two gods...would Dad be proud?)
Izanami joined them in bed and helped take Osamu's shirt off.
“Oh, umm…” Izanami mumbled, nervously glancing at Yoko and Isabella.
“Isabella, Psychopath, you need to leave. You don't want to see what we're about to do to him.” Tsukiakari warned.
“I'll ignore the fact you just called me Psychopath, as it would be rude to slit your throat and get blood all over my husband.” Yoko reasoned. “Please just remember something, Gekko. Once this is all done, I will expect you to repay me.”
“Repay you? And why just me?!”
“Izanami is pure of heart and acts out of common sense of good more than she does her love for Osamu. I can forgive her for that.” Yoko said. “You, however, know exactly what you're doing. When this is over, meet me in my basement. I have a surprise for you. Let's go, Gaijin.”
“I kinda wanna watch this…” Isabella admitted.
“Let's go!” Yoko roared.
Yoko dragged Isabella out of the room by her arm, giving the mortal and the two gods privacy.
“Hey, Osamu. You have protection, right?” Izanami asked.
“Protection? No, I don’t have any one me, sorry. I wasn’t really expecting to be caught in this situation.” Osamu said.
(Which, I’ll admit, is a result of a lack of foresight on my part. I’m the only man living with a group of hypersexual ex-girlfriends. I should’ve known better.)
“If our hands get sweaty while they're holding each other, I might get pregnant!” Izanami said as she slapped her hands over her blushing face, making Osamu wonder if she really was just pretending to be dumb a moment ago.
“Was she always this clueless?” Osamu asked.
Tsukiakari hesitated, then nodded. “That’s why she messed up her marriage ceremony with Izanagi a thousand times. But don't worry about that right now. Just follow my lead, Izanami.”
(I really don't want to talk about what happened after that. But, at least now, I'm not going to die. Not that that was true in the first place. A threesome with two gods...I can't believe the things that have happened since I've come back here!)
After that ordeal, Tsukiakari and Izanami were both left in bed, totally asleep. Osamu went ahead and took the opportunity to take a walk while the moon was still out. The streets were empty and peaceful as always during this time. Snow still blanketed the sidewalks and gave the air a distinct winter chill to it. He sat on a bench underneath a dainty street lamp to rest.
“What am I even doing with my life…” Osamu sighed.
A bearded man with long, black hair in a black yukata and haori walked across the street towards Osamu. Osamu could’ve sworn he wasn’t there just a second beforehand. The man seemed to appear out of thin air like a phantom.
(Wait...is he walking towards me?)
The man stopped in front of Osamu, bowing before speaking. “Pardon me, I hate to disturb you, but...is your name Osamu Ashikaga?”
“H-how do you know my name? Have we met?” Osamu interrogated.
“No, we haven't. I'm sorry, I should introduce myself.”
The man's smile was as every bit as suspicious as his clothing and sudden entrance. “You see...I am Bishamonten, the god of war.”
It was in that moment that Osamu recognized his face from Tsukiakari's memories. The sting of horror and dread paralyzed him as Bishamon joined him on the bench. Osamu tried to get up and leave.
“There's no use leaving now. I've already got you. Sit, Osamu. I'm not here to hurt you.”
(Bishamon...I can't believe this...)
Osamu sat down as calmly as he could.
“Cold day, isn't it? I'm not a big fan of the snow or winter in general. I'm at my best in the spring and summer. I find holding a sword difficult when your hands are chilled by the cool air that winter brings.” Bishamon said.
Osamu was too scared to speak. His hands couldn't stop trembling.
“Come now, don't be shy. I'm just trying to break the ice. Hah, no pun intended, right?”
“I guess…” Osamu mumbled.
“I'm sure you're wondering why I'm here, and why I've chosen to come to you. Well, obviously, this is about that girl, Tsukiakari Senkumo. Kind of an odd name, huh? There are a lot of different ways one could write and pronounce her name, so she has gone by a lot of different aliases throughout her lives. She's changed the kanji, altered the readings, anything she could to keep hidden all this time.”
“Changed her name?” Osamu questioned.
“Yes. Pathetic, isn't it? It's not even like I even knew she was reincarnating this whole time, but I guess she took the extra precaution to remain undetected, especially following the years after the Warring States period.”
“So you're here for her…” Osamu sighed.
“Partly right. You see, because of the fight between her and that other girl of yours, Heaven has found out that she's still alive when she should've been killed long ago.” Bishamon explained. “They decided to send me on the case before spreading the word of this throughout heaven, as not to cause distrust to root itself among the gods. The only person I can think of who would've been able to keep her alive, without detection, would be none other than Izanami-no-Mikoto herself. I didn't want to believe it, since Tsukiakari did kill her sons and all.”
Clouds began to roll over and cover the moon.
“Frankly, the whole situation is a mess. But, to sort this out cleanly, I wanted to come to you first and properly explain my situation, and what will need to happen. Please prepare yourself.” Bishamon warned.
“Tell me then.”
“If it's true that Izanami has been reincarnating a traitor all these years, Heaven will see her as an accomplice and accuse her of high treason. If that's the case, she will have to die, even if she is Izanami. But if that happens, I know that neither Tsukiakari nor your friendly group of women you're living with will sit down and take it quietly. If you all continue to harbor and protect Tsukiakari, then I'll have to kill you and those other two women as well.”
Osamu and Bishamon both locked eyes with each other.
“And if you die, Osamu, I know for a fact that Tsukiakari will try to avenge you. It wouldn’t be the first time she’s gone on the warpath. But Gekko is nothing like she was in her glory days. If she faces me, she will be killed. If she somehow wins the fight, and I am killed in battle, the other gods will smite her, and a lot of humans are going to be caught up in that conflict.”
“That's insane! Why does anyone have to die?! It was centuries ago, Bishamon! Gekko has just been trying to get her life back in shape ever since! It was because of your cruelty that she never got to live a normal life!”
B”Oh, I see...so she told you about the Senkumo clan as well, hmm?” Bishamons scoffed. “That's a problem. Now I definitely have to see to it that she dies.”
(No...I said too much!)
“Listen, Osamu. I don't want this to get bloody either. Izanami was a good friend of mine back in the day, and I could care less about Tsukiakari. The fact is, it's my duty to punish traitors. We cannot allow rogue gods to live of their own accord. Traitors are to be terminated, simple as that. So, I wanted to come to a compromise with you personally.”
“Compromise?” Osamu repeated.
“I'll give you some time to spend with her. I won't deny that she never did get the chance to live a normal life. As recompense, I will be merciful and give her the time she needs to at least be able to get a taste of what normalcy is. I think living in that house with you and the others has already helped her. Let's say...a month. At most, it has to be before the New Year. When the time comes, bring her to me, and bring Izanami with you.”
“You want me to just hand Tsukiakari over to you?! I don't betray my friends, Bishamon.” Osamu hissed.
“If you don't bring her to me, I'll collect her myself. It's no problem. If she comes over peacefully, Izanami can simply take her soul, and I'll have a corpse to show to the gods. Izanami can just tell me the truth and that will be the end of that. I'll make it our little secret. If Izanami terminates Tsukiakari's soul after her death, this whole ordeal will be over and I'll leave you all alone. Life continues as it should.”
(If that happens...)
“You need to understand how much is hanging in the balance simply because that girl exists.” Bishamon said. “It's not just a war, she also threatens to jeopardize Izanami's standing with heaven. Do you have any idea how much chaos it would cause if Izanami, of all gods, was deemed as a traitor? If we handle this as quickly and quietly as possible, Izanami is saved the suffering that awaits her, and there will be no war. No one but Tsukiakari herself will have to die.”
“But still, how can you expect Izanami to agree to something like that?! She's helped her all this time. Despite the fact that she killed two of her sons, she still treated Tsukiakari as her own and loved her as if she was her daughter!” Osamu protested. “Hundreds of years, Bishamon! For hundreds of years, Tsukiakari tried and failed to recoup after the war! Not once did Izanami ever give up on her! Even now, as she risks dying from incarnating her further, she still wants to see her live! That's how big Izanami's heart is! A distinguished and legendary god would sacrifice everything for an orphaned traitor to heaven! I know that Izanami will be devastated if Tsukiakari dies!”
“Indeed. Izanami is a gentle woman capable of such extraordinary amounts of love and compassion. That's why none of us can bare to see her suffer for someone who does not deserve to be cared for.” Bishamon explained.
Bishamon stood up and brushed off the snow from his yukata. “I have presented the situation to you and all of the risks involved, as well as the multiple ways this can end. I quite like your courageous spirit, Osamu. I was a lot like you when I was your age, always caring for others and protecting them. When love meets loss, it can turn into a bitter hatred. This world can either break your heart or turn it into lead. From there, all it takes is irrationality to melt someone out of existence, like a fleeting snowflake in winter. You have to choose which one you want to happen.”
“I don't want to have my heart broken. Nor do I want it to turn into lead. I don't want to be anything like you, Bishamon.”
Bishamon scoffed and looked towards the moon as the clouds parted. :You must choose. It is the choice that defines when we grow, and when we remain naive and idealistic. I will convince the gods to give you until New Year's. Spend your time with that girl. Cherish her every smile and the light of her eyes, because soon, both of them will fade away. Please do not let this be resolved the hard way. Both humans and gods will only lose if it comes to that. It was nice meeting you, Osamu. Take care of yourself.”
Like a phoenix, Bishamon’s body was enwreathed in flames and disappeared, leaving Osamu with his dreadful decision. He immediately ran home, his lungs aching as he rapidly inhaled and exhaled the cold winter air. He took off his shoes and scarf and sat down at the kitchen counter. The very thought of how this was all going to end flushed his eyes with tears. Izanami heard him come in and went downstairs to join him. She was naked, covered only be Tsukiakari's yukata.
“Hey, Osamu.” Izanami greeted.
Izanami sat down with him and noticed he was upset. “Are you crying? What's wrong? Oh no, you don't regret what we did, do you?!”
“No, it's not that.”
“What is it then?”
Osamu grabbed Izanami's hand and kissed it, hoping to brace her for the news. “I'm going to tell you something that is going to hurt you, Izanami. I want you to decide what to do. Anything you decide, I'm going to stand with.”
Izanami, knowing Osamu was serious about something, paid him a sincere and attentive ear. “Alright, speak away.”
Another very hard decision lands itself on the shoulders of Osamu and Izanami. With multiple lives in the balance, their decision will mean everything.