| ◯５面ボス 新帝の盃
Taira no Humikado
|〇 Stage 5 Boss — The Vessel for the New Emperor
Taira no Fumikado
Ability: Something like transferring souls
A long time ago, they lost both parents due to a political power dispute in the "Capital"
and was raised by their single grandfather.
Fumikado offered everything they could to help realize the wish of their grandfather, to whom they were indebted.
This wish was to resurrect who their grandfather and his associates considered the "True Emperor".
As an alchemist, he used the body of an oni that he hunted, added to it Fumikado's blood,
as well as the vital energy and some special qualities from a lot of other living things, to manufacture a new life-form.
Fumikado transferred their own soul into the young, small, empty and soulless lifeform,
and for many months and years kept stimulating, developing and training its physical body.
When the body was completed as a "vessel", their grandfather had already passed away.
Fumikado continued his plan with their comrades and vowed to realize it on their grandfather's tomb.
Using the physical and spiritual strength of the "vessel" that their grandfather created,
and by relying on the effects and magical powers of the various "heirloom" transmitted through various generations.
However while this plan was being executed, they lost an important and trustworthy partner,
and the plan reached an impasse.
—————This is a story that happened on a dark night, were a faint moon floated in the sky.
Now, there is a strait with gentle waves in "Mugenri".
Due to the influence of heavy fogs and mirages, light from the sky and land barely reaches the strait.
Thus, regardless of day or night, the strait was dim and gloomy the entire year and is hence known as "The Gloomy Strait".
To escape from the hands of assassins sent by enemies, Fumikado decided to go across the strait.
They avoided using a big ship to get across, and instead hired an idle boater
who was eating sea urchin at the end of the harbor at night.
They planned to use their sail-less boat to cross the strait.
"Did you come from the 'Capital'?"
Most conversations on the boat were started by the boater.
"Y'know, just a while ago there used to be lots of guests taking this boat...
But then you saw that thing at the harbour, right? That biiig sailboat?!
It's called a 'ferryboat', I think?
Ever since that boat appeared, the customers have almost disappeared.
And as if that wasn't enough that big bridge is gonna be complete soon as well, right?
It's been one month since,
and I've been only carrying things like baggage and letters.
Consequently, the number of people in this job started to decrease too,
perhaps it's getting impossible to get enough food with only this job..."
Even without being asked to do so, the boater kept on talking attentively.
For a long while, it seemed they had more free time than they knew what to do with.
"Y'know what I really wanted was to become a pirate,
but what with the pioneers already there, there's not much a single person on a boat can do."
Traditionally, sailors should be prepared to listen to the grumbles of their clients,
but instead of that, they were revealing all of the problems with their own job.
"If you were to retire from the job of boater, what would you do after that?"
When Fumikado asked that question, they smiled slightly as if thinking "I was waiting for you say that,"
then the boater retrieved a thin flute from their pocket made of bamboo.
"Going for the art path, I see," Fumikado thought.
Even with that they still looked like a person without integrity on their work or their hobbies.
"If you aren't in any rush may I play one song for you?
Don't worry, it won't add any extra cost to your toll."
Since the plans were already delayed, there was no special reason for Fumikado to be in a hurry.
Lately they were starting to feel irritated,
so it'd be better to calm down a bit.
Therefore, they asked the boater to try and play a song.
They accepted the request happily with a proud smile on their face.
"So... just one song..."
Their voice trembled a bit with a mix of confidence and tension.
Fumikado wondered if they were used to playing for other people....?
———It was a song that they had never heard of before.
There were a lot of notes that sounded a bit off but it wasn't discomforting.
It was like the saké's bitterness, with time such bitterness became good.
It was a taste that only a person who had been through a lot of bitter experiences could understand...
The darkness of the night, with only the two of them there to listen to the water surface's timbre,
the rest of the music was swallowed by the waves.
However they weren't feeling this kind of sensation.
They thought that it was a good idea to ask their name and express
their gratitude in a proper way after listening to a good song.
After doing an awkward face, the boater answered their question and surprised Fumikado.
This happened because the name "Fujiwara" is a very special name in Mugenri.
Moreover it was the name of Fumikado's "Enemy".
After a little pause Fumikado said their name as well,
and the boater was also surprised after hearing it.
Then they remained in silence for a moment.
—————That night was a rare night with a clear sky.
There was a light mist but nothing that could resemble a mirage.
Far away in the direction of the shore there were small lights mounted along the shoreline.
But those lights weren't able to reach them,
only the lights of the stars were able to trace their silhouette.
Even with their eyes already accustomed to the darkness of the sea,
it was difficult to look straight at the exaggerated lights from the capital that was even further away.
The ship's bottom was shaking with the waves breaking on it in a well-defined pattern.
Its sound was like an announcement of a change.
That pleasant pulsation persisted for a long while.
And there was no need to make it certain between the two of them.
Fumikado recalled one item amongst their heirlooms that they happened to have in their hands
and handed the "Saeda" over to the boater.
They were looking for a better place for that flute.
And that place was with anyone but themself.
It seemed that their soul was being taken away from their body when they asked the boater to try to play the Saeda.
Its timbre was able to make the sea waves shiver.
Small ripples spread around the boat,
and the thin fog dispersed alongside the ripples.
They took off their hat.
If handled by the correct person,
would tools be able to release so much power?
"So, what were you doing in the 'Capital'?"
This time again, the boater was the one to break the ice.
"...In order to fulfil my plan, I was looking for a certain informant."
"An informant huh? So, did you get the information you wanted?"
"Soon, a big hole will be opened on the inside of the barrier,
and it seems all sorts of things from the outside will flow in.
Particularly, among those a great number of spirits will flow in, filling up Mugenri."
"Ho, that will be a big problem for those at the shrine,
I heard they were new guys or substitutes or something."
"That's none of my business.
What I'm thinking is, why don't I use those spirits for something?"
"Heh~. So, how is it? What's your current situation?"
"......I've just now collected the needed pieces."
That was the meeting between Taira no Fumikado and Fujiwara no Iyozane.
"Steady as she goes...."
Fumikado didn't know of Iyozane's past, who murmured so,
but they somehow understood their feelings.
Then Iyozane's boat, without a sail,
had finally started to receive favorable winds after receiving a sail named "Fumikado".
—————This is the Gloomy Strait.
The eastern sky thus became a bit brighter.