The time Summer left (Part 3)

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Part 3 of my Natsume Yuujinchou fan fiction. As Haru began to wake up from her dream, she noticed that she wasn't alone in a place that seemed to painful to remember.

Submitted: October 29, 2016

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Submitted: October 29, 2016

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"So now we have to wait for him to lure it? Jeez this day couldn't get any worse." I could hear a voice close by but I have no idea what situation I'm in right now. "Misuzu did offer us help, we should be thanking him, sensei!" I know that voice belongs to Natsume, but who is he talking to? I finally opened my eyes to get my bearings on the situation, but it proved a bit difficult. My head felt heavy, but I somehow managed to sit upright. I looked around to asses my surroundings. In an instant, I knew where we were. "I see... back at the Kishimoto mansion." I thought to myself. I'd recall what had happened when I saw Natsume again. It was that black wolf ghost again. It hit me in the head. I felt a slight jolt of pain run through my head once again. It wasn't as bad, but it still made me flinch. I finally looked towards my right and saw Natsume standing away from me. Beside him was a... cat? It resembled like one, but I couldn't say it was a cat. "Hmph! We don't need that jerk! I'm strong enough to take on this small fry here by myself!" I couldn't believe it at first, but the... cat-pig like thing started to talk! I know what Natsume sounds like, and he doesn't sound like some old man! "This is stupid..." it continued. ".. let's just go find it and..." but for some reason it stopped talking. Both it and Natsume turned around at looked straight at me. Natsume's face couldn't easily be described as he stared at me. "I... I mean... Meowww?" the cat tried to play it off expecting that I didn't hear anything it had said. "Nah! I defiantly heard that fat pig talk, Natsume!" I suddenly shouted. "Hiiragi! Why didn't you say anything that she had woken up?!" Natsume suddenly shouted. The cat-pig suddenly looked really annoyed. "Oi! You brat! I'm not a pig! I'm a cat! And for your information this isn't fat! It's my lovely fur!" it rushed towards me, but I managed to push myself back in time. "Ahh! Get away from me you creepy talking pig!" "Sensei, please stop! I'm sure Mikoto-san is still in shock!" Natsume said. "But that doesn't mean she has to be mean!" The cat-pig replied back. I was lost, I had no clue what was going on. Why were we back here? How can that cat talk? And why is Natsume not freaked out by it as well? Also, Sensei? There were too many questions, but no answers.

Natsume reached out his hand and offered his help. "Mikoto-san, can you stand?" my heart started to beat a bit faster as we touched hands. "I'm really sorry to drag you back here. But the circumstances couldn't be avoided." he said as he helped me up. "Yeah, but... seriously... what is going on Natsume? And please, no lies this time. Natsume sighed and looked at the cat once again. "We might as well..." it said. "This is Nyanko-sensei..." "What a lame name!" I thought to myself. "...he's my bodyguard." Natsume continued. "Huh?!" I couldn't help but react. "And he's what you would call. A Youkai." It was hard to believe at first, but Natsume had such a straight face that there was no way he could lie. "I... thought they'd be more scary looking to be honest." I replied. "Like humans, they come in many shapes and sizes. And even their personalities differ. Like humans as well, most of them are good natured. But some..." "...eat humans just for fun." Nyanko-sensei finished Natsume's sentence. I took a step back cautiously. The moment Nyanko said Youkai eat humans, the thought was grim and sent a chill down my spine. "But I'm not like most Ayakashi, it's too bothersome to eat humans. And this kid here wouldn't allow me to even if I wanted to try some." it continued. "But the one that's after you, is the kind that does..." "Yeah, that's why Sensei, Hiiragi, and me are gonna seal up that Youkai that's chasing us so that it won't bother us again!" It was hard to process. Basically Youkai are real. And this cat is one of them. "Wait? Hiiragi?! Is there another one here?!" I suddenly asked. "Oh, I haven't introduced you to Hiiragi yet. She's right behind me." Natsume replied. There wasn't anyone there. Just the old rubble and rotting pieces of wood on the floor. I tried to look for this Hiiragi in all directions. But I just couldn't find it. "Wait, don't tell me you can't see her?" Natsume asked. "Eh? No I can't see Youkai!" "But last time, I swore you could see the black wolf..." "It said that I could only see it because of those circles that I drew." they were still on the floor. Even after more than three years it was as if I just drew them yesterday. The moment Natsume saw one, the expression of his face shifted. Dread was written all over his face. "Oh no. Jeez you humans are too troublesome." Nyanko said. "D-did I do something wrong?!" I asked.

"Yes, you did to something very irresponsible." It was a woman's voice this time. Suddenly a figure in a brown kimono appeared to the left of me. Upon further inspection it seemed to look like a human with blond hair and wearing a mask with a crack on it. It was standing on the one of the circles I drew back then. "Your past actions are the reason why we're in this unnecessary situation. These things are what's causing trouble for humans and ayakashi alike." she said as she point at the circle below. "Because of my stupid hobby back then? I wish I'd never gotten into it!" I thought. Tears started to well up in my eyes. "Hiiragi, stop it. You're hurting her." "B-but I'm only tell the truth." Yes, but she's not used to our world... So take it easy on her." Hiiragi didn't bother to reply anymore. "Enough is enough!" "Natsume! How can I help?!" I said. No more running. If his wolf is casuing too much trouble because of me, then I have to stop it. I don't know how, but the thought of other people getting hurt because of my actions I paid little to no attention to the consequences to has to stop. I want others to be safe. "You already are." Hiiragi said. "Excuse me?" I asked. "As much as I hate the idea, we're using you as bait for the Kuroami." Natsume said. "What, is a Kuroami?" I had to ask. "It's an Ayakashi that hides in the shadows and feeds off the fear of humans and other ayakashi alike." Nyanko explained. "Once it finds a victim to torment and feed off of, it will cling on it to satisfy it's hunger. And when it has it's fill, it'll eat it's victim whole." Sweat started to trickle down my face as Nynako explain it to me. "Was the thing that we saw back then a Kuroami too Natsume?" I asked. "The very same one we're trying to seal now." He replied. "But however of a pest they are, the victims need of it need to willingly enter it's territory in order for it to feed off it." "Nyanko said. "So, this mansion is the center of it's territory then?" I assumed. "Precisely." "We tried to exorcize it a while ago, but to no avail." Natsume said. "It's was too rooted in it's territory and had grown powerful enough even for Sensei to handle." Natsume continued. "You idiot! If I'd only used my full power, then nothing would be left of that small fry!" Nynako sneered back. "It's also said that as Kuroami get more powerful, they could manipulate the sense of time in order to feed off more fear from it's victims." Hiiragi suddenly commented. "So that's why..." I reacted. "Yeah... That's why you were gone for nine days back then." Natsume said. "But, it felt like it was only for 15 or 20 minutes at best." silence fell in the room. "Anyway, we need to get ready!" Natsume broke the silence. "Mikokto-san, we have to get rid of these circles. Nyanko-sensei and Hiiragi says that the circles are giving the Kuroami more power than usual." he continued. I just nodded in agreement. "You don't have to erase the hole circle, just breaking part of it will do." Natsume used his foot to blur the lines and runes a bit. I followed suit and did the same. Natsume did three and I two. But I stopped as soon as I came to the last one. The one Hiiragi was standing on. She looked at me, or at least in my direction, I couldn't tell because of the mask she was wearing. "Hmm? What's wrong man child?" she asked. "I-if I erase this one, then... I won't be able to see you anymore right?" "Since you do not posses any spiritual powers, then that would be the case, yes." For some reason I couldn't bare to do it. I know that this was the first step to fixing the problem, but just looking at Hiiragi puts me at ease. Even though I only met her some ten minutes ago. "I-I..." I stuttered. "Speak, human, we have very little time." "I'm Mikoto, Haru! Nice to meet you Hiiragi-san!" I bowed down in respect. "W-what are you doing?" "I'm introducing myself silly!" I smiled. "W-why?" "Well I don't know how Youkai do it, but it's a custom to us humans when we meet someone. I know we had just met, and yet... I'm causing so much trouble for you already. And because of this, I am truly sorry." I bowed down again, this time to show my sincerity. It took a while, but Hiiragi finally replied. "Us ayakashi make mistakes as well, we're not gods." I looked up at. "And you seem to understand what your actions meant." Hiiragi looked at the direction where Natsume was. "I too, have had my share of mistakes in the past as well. But thankfully I was saved and given another chance. If someone like me got a second chance, I don't see why you shouldn't have one as well."

My eyes were getting teary all of a sudden. "I finished mine, is this the last one?" Natsume ran up to where me and Hiiragi were. "Yes, Mikoto-san was just about to erase this one when you showed up Natsume." "It's a shame though." I said. "If things would have been different, then do you think we could have been friends Hiiragi-san?" No one said a word. "Well then... It was nice meeting you Hiiragi-san... Good-bye." But before I could move my foot, I felt a hand grab me. It was Hiiragi, it felt even warmer than Natsume's. "I guess it can't be helped." Hiiragi said. "Mikoto-san please close your eyes." "Eh? W-what are you doing Hiiragi-san?" I asked. "Please, just do so." As I closed my eyes I could feel something cold on my forehead. "What are you doing Hiiragi?" Natsume asked. "It's a charm. No doubt the Kuroami will fight back when it sees us. It's just a pre-caution." After a few seconds Hiiragi let go of my arm. "Please try to open your eyes now." As I opened them, I instantly saw Natsume standing beside Hiiragi. "Do you still see me Mikoto-san?" She asked. I simply nodded. Then I looked down and saw that Hiiragi was out of the circle and it had been partiall erased by Natsume. "Oh! So it's like that charm you put on me too?" Natsume asked. "It's a bit more complicated than that. In a way you humans could understand, I'm letting her borrow my left eye to allow her to see other ayakashi." Hiiragi explained. For some reason it seemed a little creepy to be honest. "Since Mikoto-san has no spiritual powers, then she could use the sight to at least help her see the danger if the Kuroami decided to attack her, and maybe dodge away." "But don't worry Mikoto-san, we won't let that happen!" Natsume assured me. "Thank you Hiiragi-san, and Natsume-kun!" "Well then, I must prepare the rest of the materials for the seal." Hiiragi said.

Soon after a large gust of wind entered the dining hall. It was followed by a large figure. "Natsume-dono! The Kuroami is approaching! Be on you guard!" It looked like a giant horse like thing. But it seemed like it knew who Natsume was. The horse youkai landed on the ground and shook the mansion we were in. "Hiiragi! Is it ready?!" Natsume shouted. "It's ready!" she replied. And again the back wolf appeared once more. This time it was much larger and hand an extra arm above it's right one. It was almost 12 feet tall this time around. The air around it was thicker than I remembered. "It's gotten quite stronger sensei!" Natsume stated. A big cloud of smoke suddenly enveloped Nynako-sensei. And when the smoked settled a big white wolf was in it's place. "Natsume, focus on the seal we'll distract it!" It lunged forward and tackled the Kuroami. What I assumed was Nynako-sensei now, dug it's teeth into the Kuroami. It let out an eerie cry of pain as it struggled with Nyanko on it. One of it's arm's managed grab a hold of Nyanko and grabbed him. It thew Nynako into a wall as the mansion shook violently. The horse youkai flew in as well continuing the fight. The Kuroami swung it's claws around in a frantic manner. Using it's large body, the horse managed to pinned the Kuroami onto the floor. Hiiragi rushed in a while as pieces paper came flying out of her. Dancing in the wind the paper wrapped around the Kuroami and it seemed to tighten around it. Again it let lose a cry. It trashed around as the horse held desperately onto it. Hiiragi looked like she was concentrating as well. But it soon broke free of the bonds and the hose youkai was sent flying back as well. "Hiiragi!" I shouted. The force of the Kuroami sent her flying through the room as well. I ran towards where I thought she would land. I braced for impact, and caught her, but the force pushed me down as well. Instinct kicked in and I used my body to absorb most of the impact. It hurt a lot, but I was only thinking of Hiiragi's safety for now. We poised ourselves once again as Hiiragi helped me up. I looked at Natsume, he was kneeling down and light was coming out of the ground under him. He was mumbling something but I couldn't quite pick it up. "It's too strong even for us three." Hiiragi said in vain. "Right now it's up to Natsume." She continued. "Ah! I know what you're all doing here! You're trying to seal me and steal my prey aren't you?!" The Kuroami suddenly said. "If that's what you want then I'll just play somewhere else!" the Kuroami suddenly jumped away and headed towards the hole in the mansion. Suddely a bright white light filled the dining hall. "I'm not letting you leave!" It was Nynako-sensei. A light was coming out of his head that was stunning the Kuroami dead in it's tracks. Again, the horse Youkai jumped in and started to claw at the Kuroami. "You're not going get away after hurting my followers!" it said. Hiiragi was already on top of the Kuroami before I realized it. They continued to struggle until. "Sensei, Hiiragi, Misuzu! Get back!" Natsume shouted. All at once the three of them jumped back. "He who inherits this world, lend me your strength to purge the evil from his land! Seal!" light began to shine under the Kuroami and it shrieked one last time. It formed into a cloud and it appeared to be sucked into something. Natsume was holding what looked like an old clay flask. The Kuroami continued to scream as it was sucked into the flask. Soon after the light and screaming stopped. Natsume put a cork over the flask and sat down.

"I-is it over?" I asked in anticipation. "Yes, it is done." Nyanko-sensei replied. He was still big but he looked much more majestic in this form. I looked at his white fur but I noticed some red on it's side. "Nyanko-sensei! You're bleeding!" I shouted. "Ah this? It's nothing..." Nyanko-sensei then turned back into the cat it was once was. "...a high level ayakashi myself could easily heal this simple flesh wound." he continued. "A high level ayakashi like yourself shouldn't have gotten any wounds at all fighting against such a weak ayakashi!" the horse youkai said. "Whhhaaat?! You want to go at it you idiot?!" Nyanko-sensei jeered back. "Ah Mikoto-san, this is Misuzu. As you can see, he too, is a youkai." I bowed down in respect. "Thank you for helping me out Misuzu-san." "Hmm? You're mistaken little girl. I did not help seal the Kuroami for your sake, or Natsume-dono's sake. I did it for my own reasons. Nevertheless, our goals ended up the same for now. But if you would still like to thank me personally for it, then maybe one of your limbs would be a good treat, little girl." Misuzu looked at me with such a presence that I couldn't help but look back at him with awe. "Umm... Is my left arm worth that much to you Misuzu-sama?" I replied. "Misuzu-san, please don't joke like that!" Natsume suddenly said. "Ahahaha! I only jest child of man! You humans are really funny." I guess I'm going back home with all of my limbs attached to me. "My business is done here. Well then, if you would be so kind as to excuse me Natsume-dono." Misuzu bowed down to Natsume. "Yes, thank you for all your help Misuzu-san." Natsume replied smiling. Natsume walked up to Misuzu and petted him. Misuzu accepted, flew up, and soon after I couldn't see him in the night sky. "Natsume-sama, I too am needed to be beside Natori-san." Hiiragi said. "Ah! I'm sorry to keep you away from him for this long, it must have been weird without him around." Natsume replied. "Not at all. This experience..." Hiiragi suddenly faced towards me. "...was different. In a good way." she walked towards Natsume and held her hand out. Natsume handed her the flask he was holding to Hiiragi. "Mikoto-san if you wish to lose sight of the ayakashi, simply wipe off the ink on your forehead, and you'll be back to normal. Well, then I too shall take my leave." "Wait Hiiragi-chan!" I suddely shouted "C-chan?" Natsume reacted. "What is the matter?" "Well... I was wondering. If we could be friends?" I could say that after this whole ordeal, that I'm still interested in the supernatural. I know deep down that it's a long shot. But out of the four youkai I've seen today, three out of them are good hearted beings. And for some reason it gave me the courage to get to know them better. "That..." Hiiragi sounded unsure and looked downwards. "It would be weird wouldn't it?" I assumed. "...no it would be interesting." my heart raced. I felt joy deep inside of me grow. "Really?! That's great Hiiragi-chan!" I ran up to her and held her hands up. "Wow! You have really soft hands Hiiragi-chan!" "Umm, I do not know to react to that." "It's a human compliment silly!" "Well, then thank you very much, Mikoto-san." "Since we're friends, you can call me Haru!" "Right, Haru-sama." "I guess we'll work on that..." I looked over at Natsume. He was smiling back at us. His smiled gave out so much warmth from it. "I know he had looks, but was he THIS cute?" I thought. "I must make my departure now." Hiiragi said. "Don't be a stranger now Hiiragi-chan! When you come back around here, make sure to say hi to me okay?" I said without second thought. "But Haru-sama, you won't be able to see me next time. Not without my charm at least." she replied back. "Hmm, that is a little disheartening." she was right. I can't see youkai with help from the circle of the charm Hiiragi-chan gave me. "But, fret not, I'll find a way to communicate to you, Haru-sama. If I ever do come back here, you shall know that it was me." Hiiragi assured. My face lit up once again. "Well then..." Hiiragi bowed down. "Natsume-sama, I take my leave. Fat pig, I hope to never see your hideous face again." Hiiragi jumped upward swiftly and disappeared from sight in an instant.

"Who're you calling a fat pig you brat!" Nyanko-sensei bickered back at Hiiragi, but she was already gone. "Well, we should get going too, Mikoto-san." Natsume said. "You can call me Haru too you know!" I pouted. "Ahaha, I don't think I'm ready for that yet." We made our way out of the Kishimoto Mansion and the forest it was surrounded in. "Is Nyanko-sensei going to be alright?" I asked. Even in his cat from, I could clearly see the wound he sustained. "I'm fine kid, don't worry about me. More importantly, you should remove that charm now." He replied. "Eh? Why so soon?" "If other ayakashi could sense that you can see them, they might try to eat you." he explained. I took out my pocket mirror and opened it. It looked like a weird eye from the looks of it. The ink Hiiragi used was red and was very visible even in the dark. Using the sleeve of my school uniform, I put my arm over my forehead but hesitated. A good five seconds later I whipped it off. There were still some red ink on my skin, but it should have dispelled the charm. "Huh? How can I still see Nyanko-sensei?" I asked Natsume. "In my cat form, normal humans can see me. But in my true from you wouldn't be able to." Nynako-sensei replied. "Haha yeah, he's had a lot of close calls when because he talks a lot!" Natsume added. Seeing Natsume smiling felt refreshing. Back in middle school he always had this worried face, but now. "You seem to be having a lot of fun." I accidently said that out loud. "Hmm?" "Ah! It's just that, I mean, back then in middle school, you always seemed so sad." "I guess, you can say that. My life has certainly be more lively after I met Nyanko-sensei. And like in life, there has been ups and downs as well. But now. I feel like fighting for something." Natsume said. I didn't know how to reply, so I just kept following him in silence.

A few minutes later we came out of the forest and found the main road again. "Well, Natsume. I guess I'll see you later then?" I said. "Umm. I don't live around here though. The town I live in is an hour away by train." "Ehh... Is that so?" We found ourselves back in awkward silence. "Well then, Mikoto-san, I'd best be heading home now. Take care." He bowed down and started walking away. As I waved back, I could hear Natsume and Nyanko-sensei talking with each other. "I wonder what's for dinner at home?" Nyanko asked. "I doubt there's anything left, Touko-san might be furious with me from staying out so late." I soon realized that I had never thanked Natsume for saving me, back then, and a while ago. I owe him a lot. I have to make it up to him. A sudden gust of wind reminded be again that fall was just around the corner. And again for the second time in my life, Summer had left me.


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