Shiawase no imi wa tabun kokoro no kazu dake atte. Dakedo sore ja oosugite miushinau bokura -Rurutia (Lost Butterfly)
I was a surprised to realise it was Yoshi who spoke.
'Huh? English?' I said incoherently.
'Indeed. Peter has been entertaining me with his trick for making people appear to speak a different language.' Yoshimitsu explained, apparently quite pleased with himself.
I had forgotten Peter could do that, although I knew the effects always wore off quickly. It seemed weird hearing Yoshi in English, especially as he was speaking in his high pitched voice which sounds bizarre at the best of times. His choice of clothing was particularly peculiar too. Having become used to the character of Yoshimitsu through video games in which he is dressed for combat, seeing him in his 'mucking around clothing' made him appear almost as a completely different person with only a distant resemblance to Namco's character, although the mask certainly served as a definite reminder.
His trousers were loose cotton and in a most dreadful shade of pink. They had what looked a bit like the Chinese ba-gua embroidered numerous times in gold thread. They were pulled tight at his slim waist with gold chord. He wore a pink t.shirt in a not-quite-matching shade and a bright orange cotton shirt that clashed terribly, over that. The sleeves of the shirt reached just past his elbows and for some reason he had two lengths of pink silk ribbon tied around each arm, one just above the elbows on the outside of the shirt and one in the middle of his forearm. The mask he wore was the one he had on the night I first met him and his red hair exploded out of the back, clashing dreadfully with his already gaudy costume. The most annoying thing about it all was that he still looked really great despite the outfit.
'That's cute.' I said almost without thinking and then realising what I said and feeling my cheeks burn.
Yoshi just stared right at me for a moment before saying.
'Um... thank you?'
I thought I had better redeem myself so added, 'I mean Peter's trick is cute. He had me speaking in Klingon once. We all had a good giggle that night.'
I sat down on the floor in front of the fire. Magrat, who had been sleeping on the arm of one of the easy chairs, saw it as an invite for an ear tickle and came trotting over to me. I stroked the little black and tabby cat and she purred loudly. The sound seemed too big for such a tiny creature and she sometimes had the affect of making people look around the room for the real source of the sound!
'So how was your time in the Middle-Worlds?' I asked Yoshi, making conversation and wondering if Peter had said anything to him yet.
'Tanoshikute omoshirokatta' he answered, back in his usual language.
'Oh, the spell has worn off.' I said pulling a sad face.
'Zannen da naa.'
'So will you be joining the Night Travellers?' I asked.
'He's in if he wants in.' Yoshi tilted his head briskly towards Clandolin as though wondering how the answer came out of the wrong mouth.
'That sounds cool. So where's Peter now?' I asked with a giggle and looking around the room, as though I somehow expected him to leap out from the walls.
'Out the back feeding the horses.'
I thanked Clandolin and then headed out to the stables to have a chat with my spirit guide.
'No, I haven't spoken to Yoshimitsu yet.' Peter said, answering my question while he stuffed fresh, sweet-smelling hay into a large net.
I grabbed an empty net and taking a few slices from the bale, started stuffing it too. 'I was kinda hoping you'd have realised how incredibly stupid and childish you're being, and I wouldn't have to.'
'If I finish off here for you will you speak to him now?' I asked, letting Peter's comment fly over my head.
'I'm almost done but here, you can go hang these for me if you like' he suggested, handing me three large hay-nets. You know, they're heavier than you'd think.
'So, which horse is Yoshi's?' I asked, looking around the yard.
'Stable next to Tiffany.'
'I'll do that stable first then.' I smiled, 'What's he called?'
'She's a mare and her name's Horse.' Peter said, taking one of the nets back off me, having realised how much I was struggling under the weight.
'What? He couldn't even be bothered to give her a proper name?' I said, actually surprised he didn't just cop out and call her 'Yoshimitsu'.
'Well English isn't his first language is it? He probably thought he was being rather clever giving his horse an English name.'
The explanation oddly made sense, especially as I wouldn't think twice about calling a horse 'Uma'.
Horse was actually a lovely, um, horse. She was a well made hunter type, a good 17 hands tall and the strangest colour I have ever seen in a horse (and I grew up around horses in the World as it Is). Her body was light grey, almost white, but her legs, main, tail and muzzle were a dark silvery grey, similar to the markings of a perlino horse only not cream (yes, I mean perlino, not palamino, google it, they're lovely). Her muscle tone showed what an athlete she was and her eyes were wide and kind. She nuzzled me as I tied the net to the ring on the wall with a quick-release knot. I gave her a hearty pat and a 'hello there' as she started to tuck into the fresh hay. I smiled as I recalled the bond between horse and rider.
'You know something Horse, I think we could both love the same man.' I remarked, 'but I'm not the jealous type and I hope you're not.' I stroked her along her back as I left the stable. Horse just continued to eat without looking up as I closed the door. I hung the other net in Tiffany's stable and then headed back to the manor. Peter was already ahead of me.
Clandolin was still sat on his ass so Peter asked him to start setting the dining room for dinner. Yoshimitsu stood up and offered to help but we managed to persuade him that Clandolin will manage on his own, much to Clandolin's disgust of course.
I excused myself by saying I was going to go and stretch my wings. Yoshi commented that he'd never seen me transform into a magpie yet so I used it as an excuse to open the living room window, change to my Magpie form and fly out.
Once I'd flown over the Manor to give the impression that I was actually going somewhere, I sneaked back and perched quietly on a tree near the window, which was still open so I could hear what they were saying. Peter had already mentioned my secret to Yoshi so he must have blurted it out almost as soon as I had left the room.
'Jemma chan wa boku ga suki da ka? Joudan darou yo! laughed Yoshimitsu.
'It's no joke I'm afraid. I think she really does have a crush on you.' Peter explained.
Yoshi was still sat on the sofa where Peter had joined him and he began to chuckle wildly.
'Bakarashii, bakarashii. Kanojou wa hontou ni omoshiroi onnanoko da ne.' He said, shaking his head in disbelief.
'Yup, she's an odd one alright. She's always been the same!'
I was not only hurt by Yoshimitsu's reaction, but also insulted that Peter, a supposed friend, wholeheartedly agreed with him.
'B*****ds.' I said under my breath, or rather, tried to say, as I was in magpie form and Magpies can't whisper, a very loud 'Cha-ku cha-ku' came out instead.
'Kasasagi!' shouted Yoshimitsu before teleporting to the window and looking out.
Realising my cover was blown I flew away as quickly as I could. As I flew, I heard Yoshi's voice calling out 'Jemma chan, matte yo!'
Lake bliss was calm and in the steady influx of dusk, a few remaining dragonflies made the surface of the water twinkle in the light of the sinking sun. A small family of unicorns had stepped out of the woods to enjoy a drink from the ethereal pool. They were aware I was sat there on the opposite bank, but had become so used to my presence that they no longer minded me. All the same, the matriarch kept a close eye on me, her ears flicking constantly towards me and her head lifting if I made too sudden a movement.
The grasshoppers in the grass were chirping a chorus as I watched the scene. Watching unicorns always lifted my spirits so it took some of the sting out of my disappointment over Yoshimitsu. What was I thinking anyway? He's a big scary video game character and I'm just a silly girl with an overactive imagination and an obsessive temperament. Did I really think he was just going to be flattered and come rushing out to sweep me of my feet?
There was a tiny new foal with the 3 adult mares and he high-stepped his way clumsily down to the water's edge. As though it were his first ever encounter with water, he timidly sniffed the surface. The youngest mare, who I assumed to be his mum by her swollen teats and rounded belly, seemed to be encouraging the foal. Then, just as he was taking his first sip, all four animals leaped quickly away through the woods as though suddenly startled by something. Confused, I looked around and there was a loud thud to my right. The trees were waving their branches above me and Yoshimitsu appeared on the grass, crouched where he had landed.
'Aa mitsukatta!' he exclaimed.
'It's rude to sneak up on people'. I huffed.
'Supaikoi mo shitsurei da!' he retorted.
'I wasn't spying on purpose.' I lied 'so I'm sorry if you're offended but I'm the one who was insulted not you. What was it you called me? Foolish, odd girl? That's a fairly accurate translation right?'
Yoshimitsu was still crouched before me where he had landed and though I was sat on a rock, he was still taller than me. The glowing eyes behind the mask changed to a pale green and laying his sword beside him, he sat himself down cross-legged so that we were almost eye to eye.
'Chigau. Sonno koto ga iwanakatta.' he argued switching to his deep growling voice which sounded paradoxically gentle.
'Bullsh*t! 'Bakarashii, bakarashii', 'Omoshiroi onnanoko'. That's what you said.' I reminded him.
He only grunted in reply. He seemed to be looking at something small on the ground several inches in front of him. I wasn't sure because when his eyes are lit, as they usually are, it's not very easy to tell where his gaze is fixed. Usually, you can't make out a pupil or iris at all.
I watched in the silence that was only broken by the constant melody of grasshoppers' song, as Yoshi continued to stare. He really was something amazing. Despite being angry with him, I realised this was my first real one to one with Yoshi and it was probably time to cool off and stop being so short with him. Still, I didn't know where to start so I allowed the silence to continue. I was beginning to feel a beautiful tingling feeling travel through my body as I watched him. Yup, I had it bad.
He reached down and picked something up from where he'd been watching. He moved with a gentle precision and fluidity that most of us 'flesh and bone types' would find impossible. He raised both hands, cupped, to his face.
'What's that?' I asked, trying to sound a bit more positive.
'Kemushi' he answered back in his higher voice and without looking up.
'Do you like bugs?'
'Mochiron, mina doubutsu ga suki da. Ningen mou.'
He placed the caterpillar back on the grass and finally raised his head to look at me.
'I'm not sure that's true. I don't think you can like all humans because you've killed people, haven't you?'
His voice deepened again. 'Zannen dakedo, ningen o ikutsuka warui ni naru. -Akuin akka'
'But you'd rather not right?'
'Un' he nodded.
'That's tough.' I sighed, sympathetically.
'Ee, taihen da.'
In the short silence which followed, I noticed that there was a cold breeze stirring up. The sun had almost set and we were clinging to the last remaining light before Rotokia was plunged into darkness. I realised there was every chance that this private moment with Yoshimitsu's undivided attention may soon be forced to end. It was time to reveal what was on my mind.
'Yoshikun...' I began tentatively, his eyes became brighter and flickered slightly and I got the impression it indicted he was paying close attention, 'It was true what Peter said you know... I really do like you... a lot. Do you like me too?'
Yoshi did not move. I thought maybe I had caused him to short circuit or something. His eyes were still flickering but there was no response at all.
'Yoshi? Yoshimitsu? Are you okay?
'Samuku natte kita.' he finally said, totally avoiding the subject and looking around as though he could actually see the coldness in the air. He stood up and reached out to take my hand, 'Sorosoro kaetta hou ga ii. Okutte ikou ka?'
I opened my mouth to tell him that I didn't think it was all that cold, but then the penny dropped and I realised that he was terminating the conversation. I had forgotten that Japanese people don't like to say anything directly negative. If they think you don't want to hear their opinion, they'll avoid giving it. With a deep sigh, I took his hand and he helped me to me feet.
'Yeah, you can take me home if you want.' I said, trying not to show my disappointment.
'Tonde mou ii?' he asked.
'Um... you mean... you want to carry me?'
'But I can turn into a... oh, okay, why not.' I agreed realising that it was a perfect chance to get up-close-and-personal with the object of my desires.
I stepped hesitantly towards Yoshimitsu. Realising I was taking forever to approach, he scooped me up with one arm and for the first time I appreciated the strength and ferocity of the man. As much as I hate to admit it, I realised that I was actually a little bit afraid of him.
With a strength that jarred my entire body, Yoshimitsu kicked off from the ground. He leaped a lot higher than a man should be able to, especially a man carrying and extra 7 stone 12 of female too. Once he started to lose height I closed my eyes and held my breath. There was a sudden swooping movement that went right through my body, causing most of my organs to migrate north and I felt slightly winded. I could hear the whipping sound of his rotating sword as it blew cold air over me and I knew we were airborne. His grip was good but so good that I was having trouble breathing.
Now, I have flown on wings as a magpie, I have flown upon a dragon and a broomstick, I have even ridden the unicorn Epsilon right off the end of a cliff where he just continued to gallop as though the emptiness beneath his feet was as solid as stone. Despite my previous flight experience, nothing had ever felt as awful as being airlifted by a bionic ninja. I hardly opened my eyes, struggled to breathe and just to add insult to an already uncomfortable situation, I realised that Yoshimitsu bloomin' stinks up close (he smells sort of like damp towels that have started to go mouldy), though it didn't seem the best moment to break it to him. I have a policy of not insulting people when I am reliant on them for my immediate comfort and safety!
'Of course he stinks!' exclaimed Rusty as though I was an idiot.
I was back in the World as It Is and was telling my boyfriend about my recent adventure in Rotokia.
'I mean, he's a ninja after all.' he added, not looking away from the TV screen while he played on Tekken 5. 'He's got more important things to care about than how nice he smells.'
'But surely the ninja, with all their hiding in the shadows and stuff, would need to keep themselves odourless?' I argued as Rusty won another battle with Raven.
'Look,' he actually looked away from the screen to say this, 'if it matters that much, why don't you just make a nice hot-spring in Rotokia? Surely he'd use it and who knows, you may even get to see him naked!'
'An onsen?' I thought, 'That's not a bad idea at all.'
'By the way Jem. How was Yoshimitsu last time you saw him?'
I was completely taken off guard by that question. While Rusty is used to my second world and is also able to travel there himself to some extent (actually everyone can do it; it's laughably easy), he had never directly enquired about the well being of one of my characters before.
'He seemed fine to me. Why do you want to know?' I enquired.
'No real reason. Just curious I guess.'
'Oooooooooookaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. I said, looking at him curiously.
And off I went again to Rusty's bedroom to spend some time in my second reality.
Okay, I'm not sure I really want to write what happened next. If I thought I could leave this part out I would, but unfortunately it's quite relevant to the story. I am not at all proud of my actions at this point and I'll never fully forgive myself but...
Yes, I created an onsen, yes Yoshimitsu did use it and no, I didn't get to see him undressed. Unfortunately I did try though. You see, as well as being able to turn into a magpie in Rotokia, I can also, with much effort, turn into a cat and an adder. I rarely bother with those forms though.
Except on that dreadful day. I thought it would be harmless to just pop into cat form and have a little sneaky peek at Yoshi in the onsen. Unfortunately I couldn't see him very well through the steam so decided that as snakes can swim, I'd use my adder form to get closer. Honest, I'm not a creep, I was just curious. I mean, it was Yoshimitsu after all! I couldn't help myself.
Right well here's what happened next. Obviously my degree in zoology is more for decoration than it is a sign that I know about animals, as it would seem I totally forgot that snakes were cold blooded and sensitive to outside temperature. As soon as I hit the water I remembered very quickly though. It felt like I was going to boil alive and the shock temporarily paralysed me. I instantly returned to my human form and just sat, shaken and stunned at the other end of the pool to Yoshi.
At least, I thought I was at the other end of the pool to Yoshi. Once I had gotten over the initial shock and looked around, I couldn't see him anymore. I thought he had vanished altogether until I suddenly heard his voice above me.
'Yurusanai' he growled in his deep, threatening voice.
I looked up and noticed that he was sat, fully clothed in a tree. His hair was wet and was dripping onto the forest floor below him.
'Yoshi I'm so sorry.' I began, not really sure what my excuse was going to be, but knowing all too well that I had seriously messed up, 'I... I just... Please forgive me.'
'Zettai yurusanai.' he said, then just sort of vanished through the trees.
I called out his name several times and looked around but he was completely gone. I took magpie form and hurried back to the Manor to see if I could beat him back.
'No, he's not in here.' Peter said when I reached the green room, 'have you tried his room?'
I hurried up the stars and was completely out of breath by the time I reached the top floor. I tapped on the door. There was no answer.
'Yoshi are you in there?' I panted.
Again, no answer.
'Please Yoshi, let me talk to you. I'm sorry. I was just being stupid and I should have had more sense. Please forgive me. Please just answer this door.'
There was still no answer and I was getting really upset and could feel myself about to burst into tears.
'Fine then, stay in your room but I'm just going to sit out here until you come out.' I said stubbornly then added in the nicest tone I could 'You just take your time to calm down and then when you want to talk I'll be here.'
I had no idea if he was even in his room really but I figured that even if he wasn't, he'd have to visit it eventually.
I sat on the floor with my back against the wall, facing the door for what felt like an hour. Still, I wasn't going to move until I saw him. I eventually heard foot steps coming up the stairs and I pricked up. Clambering to my feet I walked to the end of the corridor and stuck my head through the door to the stairs.
'Yoshimitsu, is that you?'
'Sorry, Jem, it's Peter. And I have some bad news for you.'
'Bad news about Yoshi?' I asked anxiously as he reached the top of the stairs.
'I'm afraid Horse isn't in her stable and her bridal is gone.' he explained.
That really was bad news. I burst into tears.
'I've driven him away haven't I? He's not coming back now. I'm so STUPID!!!!' I wailed.
Peter put his arm around me and began to guide me towards the stairs.
'Oh come on, Jemma. I'm sure something just came up. You know what these egragores are like. I bet he just had something 'tekkeny' to do.' He soothed.
'No, it was me. I upset him and now he's gone.'
'You had a row? What about? Don't tell me you threw a tantrum because he won't be your boyfriend? We've been over this, he just doesn't do relationships, he told me himself. It's really nothing to do...'
'It wasn't that at all.' I cut in, crying even harder... 'He's angry because I...' I couldn't say it so stopped myself, 'it doesn't matter what I did, just trust me that he's mad with me.'
I broke away from Peter and walked back to the door, took out my wand and tried to blast the lock. Peter grabbed my wrist to stop me.
'Come on Jemma, you know better than that. You'd never get the lock to open that way.'
'So give me the skeleton key.' I suggested brightly.
Peter looked angry,
'No way, I can't just let you break into a resident's room. Those keys are for emergencies only and this is no emergency.'
'But it could be. He could be in there, collapsed on the floor.' I suggested, actually convincing myself and starting to get into a panic.
'And his horse is gone because...? Just face it; he's gone away for a bit. He'll be back, you'll see.'
Peter then started to walk down the stairs. He paused when I didn't follow.
'Aren't you coming?' he said.
'Actually, I'll just stay here a bit longer.' I explained then threw my arms around him, 'thanks for being there for me.' I said sincerely.
'Um, no problem...'
Once I couldn't hear Peter's footsteps any more I went back to Yoshi's door. I opened my fist to reveal the key I'd stolen from Peter's pocket while I hugged him. I'm not dishonest really you know. I would never do such a think in The World As It Is, please believe that. I just really needed to see Yoshimitsu.
With a turn of the key, I pushed his door open and walked inside. The room had his smell and this time, it had become a very beautiful scent to my nose. I looked around. He had built a wardrobe; at least, I assumed he had built it. There wasn't one there the last time I was in that room and it was made of the same wood that we had in the shed behind the stables. He had carved the doors with skulls surrounded by maple leaves and had burned out the detail. It was amazing workmanship. The room was immaculately tidy and the bed had been neatly made with clean white sheets. Beyond his distinctive but still fabulous smell, there wasn't any sign that he had been living there and I began to panic.
With my heart in my mouth, I tentatively tugged open the wardrobe doors, terrified I would find it empty. It wasn't empty. Most of his costumes were still there and he had left a few masks too. I ran my fingers over one of the masks, wishing the rest of him was behind it.
'Where are you Yoshimitsu?' I sobbed as I closed the door.
I threw myself backwards onto the bed and gazed at the clouds through the window above me. If only I had just left him alone. If only I hadn't been so bloomin' curious and forgot that just because Rotokia is my own world to do what I want in, the people aren't mine to do what I want to. My guides call it my 'god complex' and try to constantly remind me when I'm being selfish. It's never a problem in The World as it Is, over there I know how insignificant I am in the scheme of things and I love and respect all the people in my life, whatever capacity I know them in. But Rotokia... I dunno, I guess I sometimes feel that if it was my mind that put the people there, then they are mine, just toys to be played with. Yet they are not. They think and act independently of my desires, they have emotions, hopes, dreams and fears. They are, for all it's rather localised, very much living entities. If they weren't then Yoshimitsu would be my boyfriend wouldn't he? After all, there was little I wanted more in that world at that time.
I rolled onto my side with a sigh, the sheets sadly smelled of lavender and not, as I hoped, the beautiful smell of mouldy towel. Something crinkled under my arm and I sat up to see what I'd rolled on. It was a white piece of paper folded in half that had been camouflaged against the pristine white sheets. I picked it up and opened it out. It was a note written in English and addressed to me.
I would have left this note in a more prominent location but as you evidently have no respect for my privacy I concluded that a locked door and strict rules about not entering a resident's room without their permission, wouldn't discourage you.
As you have undoubtedly realised by now, I have left Rotokia. I would like to ask you not to come looking for me, but I have little hope that you would oblige. Perhaps you shall surprise me and patiently await my return, at which time you can haunt me all you wish. A man can hope but hope can also cause a man to run headlong into yet another disappointment.
I read the note several times and each time I felt sick in my stomach. I had no idea Yoshimitsu could be so cuttingly sarcastic. If he was gone, then I no longer had any reason to remain in Rotokia. With that thought, I woke myself up and returned to The World as it Is.
'Stop laughing at me!' I demanded back in the World As It Is. Rusty held his sides, laughing hysterically so I added.. 'it's not funny!'
'No, it really is. It's hilarious. You're so hopeless that even the people in your head can't put up with you!'
I puffed out my cheeks and pulled an angry face.
'Look,' he continued, 'if you're really that bothered why don't you just go and find him? He can only be in the Tekken world.' Rusty suggested.
'I can't! He said in his note that he doesn't want me to go looking for him.' I reminded him, as I had already recited the note almost word for word.
'No he said he would LIKE to ask you not to go looking for him, he never actually asked you not to.'
He had a point actually and I was willing to believe anything so long as it was something I wanted to hear.
'But he'll be disappointed in me even more if I do.'
'Nah, he's expecting you I bet. He could just be testing you to see how much you like him'
'I don't think Yoshimitsu's the kind of guy to play childish games Rusty.' I argued.
'But you are! And he's smart enough to play you at your own game.'
'Fine, I'll go looking for him. But where could he be?'
Rusty switched on the PS2 and put in Tekken 5.
'I have an idea' he said as the game started to load up.
Once the game had loaded he played Yoshimitsu's prologue to me. I watched it and knew instantly what Rusty was getting at... if Yoshi was pissed off, and in the Tekken world, chances were he had gone to...
...Dr. Boskonovitch's lab!
'Rusty, you're an angel.' I said, kissing him on the cheek before adding, 'mind if I nip to the other-world for a bit?'
He kissed me back and smiled at me.
'As if I could stop you!