Chapter 21:

Epilogue: Heaven's Prevarication

Death by Ex-Girlfriend: War Cloud

Izanami stood beyond Amaterasu's doorway as she brushed her hair by the window of her bedroom, the light of heaven seeping in through the windows. The servants and gods could be seen from the window, rebuilding whatever damage was caused by the siege. Amaterasu's king-sized, white bed was perfectly made and empty.Bookmark here

"You're disgusting." Izanami chided. "You lied. You pretended to be shocked when you saw what happened. You pretended you didn't know."

"I had to, Izanami." Amaterasu replied. "Surely you didn't expect me to divulge the whole truth to my vengeful daughter. Besides, we accomplished our goal, did we not? Bishamon is finally out of the picture, Gekko is allowed to come home, and you can continue living a life of simplicity and bliss with your mortal friends."Bookmark here

Amaterasu put aside her brush, running throgh her hair with her fingers. "Tsukiakari would never forgive me if she knew that I was aware of Bishamon's actions back then. You just can't explain that kind of thing to her. The times were different, Izanami. We didn't treat banished gods with mercy, even if she was the princess. Bishamon's actions, though cruel and atrocious, put Heaven in position to win the Second Great Holy War."

Izanami's balled her right hand into a fist. "Still..."

"If all it takes is just a little lie to maintain peace, why tell the truth?" Amaterasu asked rhetorically. "The world cannot survive if it is filled with good and truth all the time. You had the luxury of being truthful to yourself and to Gekko, but I don't."

"...I obliterated his soul. Bishamon no longer exists, and he will not be able to reincarnate." Izanami muttered.

Amaterasu sighed. "Good. Heaven no longer had a use for him. I also made sure that your name was cleared. You know, the siege and Tsukuyomi. Of course, the court ran just as it did last time. No one could ever dare oppose Izanami the Cruel."

"Stop calling me that. I shed the yoke of that accursed name long ago."

"At any rate, you've done me a great favor yet again, Izanami. I thank you for taking care of Gekko for all of these years. I take it you'll...accept your immunity and the immunity of your little family as your reward. In exchange, I ask that you keep our secrets to yourself."

"Fine. I just wonder how long you can keep up this illusion, Amaterasu. Some day, Gekko will have every reason to kill you. That day seems far from now, but it will happen. Don't you dare have any regrets when that time comes."

"Of course. I know better."

Izanami bitterly departed from Amaterasu's chambers, gently closing the doors on her way out. For now, the blood red clouds of war just narrowly passed over Heaven and Earth, saved by peace built on a lie of omission. Or at least, that was merely the illusion. Amaterasu watched her subjects from her window, her chest boiling and storming with an old wrath that had lied in dormancy for centuries. The radiant shafts of sunlight streaking through her window died away. Clouds, alien to Heaven, veiled the eternal sun above the heads of the baffled gods outside.Bookmark here

Amaterasu, the calm and austere goddess of the sun, averted her gaze from her window, away from her shaded kingdom, and turned it towards her vanity mirror. It wasn’t herself she saw in its reflection, but that of a sinister, smirking Izanami. In a flash of rage, Amaterasu slammed her fist into the mirror, creating a spider web pattern of cracks through the glass. Several streams of blood dripped from her fist, slowly running down her fingers. Now shattered and fragmented, the mirror now reflected Amaterasu herself on one side, and an impetuous Tsukiakari on the other. Bookmark here

"So, you still hold your grudge close to heart, Izanami. You even dare to turn her against me? Fine then. Have it your way."

She pulled her fist from the shattered mirror, now only showing her her scattered reflection. She licked the streams of blood off of her wrist and clenched fist, her lips drenched in crimson coating.

"War clouds loom over us once more. Is your bloodthirst not yet satisfied, Izanami the Cruel?"Bookmark here

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