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Author Topic: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)  (Read 79770 times)

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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #495 on: August 24, 2019, 01:44:26 PM »
Book of Betrayal Part 2 came out at 142,190 words  :clapping: After this comes the final book in the SWS series, Book of Revenge, the hyper-violent climax of Tsukiakari's time during the Warring States era. I may have to change the last few chapters, as not to spoil the ending to Death by Ex-Girlfriend, but it will still tie right into DbEG.

Book of Betrayal Part 2 will come out in September! Make sure you don't miss out on it, since we're close to the end now.

Now I can go back to finishing Death by Ex-Girlfriend: War Cloud

Offline Coryn

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #496 on: August 25, 2019, 01:34:59 AM »
I just wanted to write lewd, funny, and heartfelt stories about ex-girlfriend and their lover living together

Lol thanks Op

Well let it never be said you haven't accomplished that objective! Congrats on this next step OhGod!

I've read sporadically from time to time, and to be entirely honest, I'm super lost these days. Do you have a master index posted anywhere to help newcomers sort through it all? Maybe a suggested reading order to go along with it?

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #497 on: August 25, 2019, 03:17:10 AM »
No, I don't.

Well, hang on, that's not entirely true. There's an index on the very first page of this thread, actually. It lists the DbEG arcs in order, gives synopses for each, and each of them are linked to the arc's respective first post in this massive thread. If navigating this 33 page hellscape is a nightmare for you, that should help quite a bit. Oh, but the MediBang links are no longer relevant, as MB has shut down its novel section in an attempt to become the poor man's pixiv. There's info on Senkumo War Stories there as well.

As for recommended reading order, I've yet to put together an official list, but I suppose now the time.

Death by Ex-Girlfriend Reading Order
You can really just follow the list on the first page. It's best to read the story that way, in chronological order.

1. Aika Crisis

2. War Cloud

3. Dawn and Dusk

4. Satori no Akuma

5. Himushi Redemption

6. Letting Go

7. Inari Standoff (personal favorite right here)

8. The Corpse's Romance

9. The End of Osamu Ashikaga

Senkumo War Stories can be thought of as a prequel to the DbEG series and requires no DbEG knowledge to jump into. You can really pick up that series whenever you wish, but I would recommend you start reading it after reading the War Cloud arc, as all of the major characters in War Cloud are in Senkumo War Stories.

Does that help?  :noidea:

Offline Coryn

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #498 on: August 25, 2019, 09:39:22 PM »
It's definitely helpful! I'm trying to get some sort of order to delving into MR reviewing for the coming holiday weekend, so anything helps!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #499 on: August 26, 2019, 02:44:55 PM »
Glad to help, then!

The first arc, Aika Crisis, has changed quite a bit from its MR version to the published version.

You can read the published version here, if you want



Offline Coryn

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #500 on: September 02, 2019, 05:39:04 PM »
Alright, let's delve in! It will be interesting to read this now and compare it to what I've read before way back in the day. Per my usual style, comments will be written as I progress.

- You're description of the scene's actions are nice as always! It's very easy to visualize as I go along.

- What kind of bowling alley has bleachers in it?

- Ah yes, I almost forgot you specialized in an R-rated monogatari style.

- I know you delve into it later, so God knows what's what, but right now I'm calling that Osamu is literally cursed.

- More and more these days I'm with Yoko. Twitter makes a life of subsistence farming sound pretty good at times.

- One is forced to wonder what ex-black ops charged by the hour.

- One must also wonder how Osamu managed to get involved with one crazed woman after another. Busy early life, definitely cursed.

- Ah, yeah, probably best not to kick off a mad-cap romantic comedy with a rape.


Unfortunately I only have the time to get through Day 1 for now! I will say though, this as compared to what I've read in the past is far, far more polished! The years of practice have treated you well my friend! Hopefully I can push on soon, but duty calls (or rather, the Happy Hour does), ciao!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #501 on: September 04, 2019, 04:40:19 PM »

Woo hoo! Thanks for taking the time, Coryn. But boy, you've got a long way to go  :sure:

About your last point, I must reply with a quote from a very wise man

"Permission is old fashion. Molestation is the way of the future, baby!"
 - Osamu Ashikaga, 2016

Offline Coryn

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #502 on: September 05, 2019, 10:33:57 PM »
A long way to go may be understating things somewhat...

Ah, historically speaking I think it's something of the opposite.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #503 on: September 08, 2019, 05:50:48 PM »
Oh, here's the last chapter of Book of Betrayal Part 2

Vow of Revenge
Spoiler
Far away from the ruins of the Senkumo base, Izanami brought everyone back to Inari's shrine. She laid out a futon for the unconscious Tsukiakari, helping Chiharu gently lay her down in the living room.

"Thanks, I'll take care of it from here." Inari said. "You should rest too."

Chiharu took her advice and stumbled over to the porch, weary from the long, violent night. She sat down and finally took a moment to rest after everything that happened. She wiped the dirt from her face and took deep breaths to calm her racing her. Her hands hadn't stopped shaking since Goro, Inori, and Chiya were killed just minutes ago. While Inari tended to Tsukiakari's facial burn, Izanami sat on the porch next to the shivering Chiharu. The moonlight shimmered on top of the flowers and shrubs of Inari's garden, filling them both with a sense of calm after the chaos.

"What's your name?" Izanami asked.

"Chiharu." she gulped. "I used to be in the Senkumo clan when I was a little girl, but I was exiled. I came back to the clan just a few days ago."

"Where's Chiya and the others? What exactly happened back there? Can you tell me?"

Just hearing Chiya's name caused tears to swell in Chiharu's eyes. "Chiya is dead. They're all dead. Bishamon started destroying the Senkumo bases and killing off his men. He came for Gekko too, but Chiya put together a plan to get her to safety before he could kill her. All of them...every single one of them..."

Izanami recoiled upon hearing Chiya had died. "Chiya's gone? And Tsukiakari's base is gone too?"

Chiharu shook her head. "There is no base anymore. There's no Senkumo anymore. It's all over. Me and her are all that's left. Bishamon had Senkumo troops with him, but he'll probably kill them too."

"Don't you worry, Chiharu. Gekko is safe here. You did a good job getting her through all of that." Izanami said, rubbing Chiharu's shoulder. "You can stay here too, okay?"

"No, I need to leave." Chiharu protested. "If Bishamon's still searching for us, Gekko will be in much more danger if I stay with her."

"Just for a few days, then." Izanami said. "I can't let you go out there by yourself so soon after all of this has happened. You need to rest and think about what you're going to do next."

Chiharu nodded, wiping the tears from her eyes with her sleeve.

After a few hours to process the events of the night, everyone just wanted to get some rest. Though she knew she wouldn't be able to sleep, Chiharu laid down next to Tsukiakari after all the candles and lanterns were extinguished for the night. Chiharu looked to Tsukiakari with her eyes widened in awe and sheer astonishment.

"It costed us everything, but it was worth it just to protect your life, Gekko." Chiharu whispered. "When you wake up, you'll be all on your own. It'll be painful when you find out what happened, but don't lose heart. The country is heading towards peace. Live to see it. Live through it. Just live. Just live, Gekko, so that we can honor those that died to make this happen."

Chiharu interlocked her fingers with Tsukiakari's. Feeling the warmth of the goddess's soft breaths brush against her nose and cheeks helped her feel a little more relaxed, enough to be able to sleep. Izanami and Inari conversed in the garden as Chiharu fell asleep.

"To think that monster came this close to murdering my granddaughter..." Izanami muttered, biting the nail of her thumb.

"She's lucky to have made it out alive, especially Chiharu." Inari said. "I guess Chiya made that possible for them."

"Inari, I'm sorry to ask..." Izanami began.

Inari shook her head with a smile. "Gekko can stay here for as long as she likes. You don't even have to ask."

Izanami sighed, the burden of the question lifted off her shoulders. "I don't know what I'd do without you, Inari."

"What happens now, Izanami? The Senkumo clan is gone and Bishamon is still out there. If this is all part of some plan he has, I'm not looking forward to seeing what comes next."

"I don't know. I really don't. This has all been such a mess."

"You got that right." Inari said. "I guess we'll take things a step at a time. First, we have to nurse Gekko until she wakes up. That's the most important thing right now. We can't do anything rash in the meantime."

"Gekko's going to be so heartbroken..."

The wind lapped up Izanami's hair, blowing in the direction of the Senkumo base back in Yamashiro, or what remained of it. While Bishamon's men celebrated their victory of the corpses of their fellow Senkumo, Bishamon remained on the steps of Inari's shrine, standing over Chiya's dead body. He sat down on one of the steps, staring off into the void as he released a deep sigh.

"Don't sulk, Bishamon."

The war god leaped off of the step and onto his feet like a startled animal, snapping his body around towards the visitor. It was Uzume, appearing without warning.

"I think that's the first time I've ever seen you cower. My apologies, Bishamon." Uzume said.

"Are you here to mock me or did you come to actually say something?" Bishamon growled.

"Ah, of course." Uzume snapped, feigning remembrance. "First, allow me to give you a round of applause on a job well done. You actually destroyed the entire clan. Good for you."

Uzume remained stone-faced as she gave Bishamon a patronizing round of applause, much to the war god's anger.

"The Exorcist Program will go into effect once this war dies out. Amaterasu thanks you for speeding your plans for her sake." Uzume said. "However, I do believe you know what will come next."

"Amaterasu's wager." Bishamon hissed. "I've noticed Amaterasu loves to rely on hypotheticals and what-ifs. If either of you think Gekko will be the death of me, you're terribly mistaken. How do you even know she'll have the guts to seek revenge?"

"Because her entire family is cursed by their desire for revenge. Izanagi slew his own daughter to avenge his wife. Izanami chased out her husband for disobeying her in the Underworld. Amaterasu let her own kin kill each other off, and even Tsukuyomi murdered a fellow god out of pure hatred. Her family's history, from the dawn of the pantheon up to this very moment, has been one long tale of hatred and retribution. Revenge is in her blood. Children are often doomed to repeat the sins of their mothers and fathers."

"There's nothing she has that I don't." Bishamon said.

"Now, you know that's not true, Bishamon. She has the one thing you tried to suppress in her since the very beginning." Uzume replied. "Regardless, you know what you must do next. Whether Tsukiakari chooses to fight or not, there are gods that need exterminating."

"I know." Bishamon grumbled.

Uzume bowed her head. "Amaterasu and I look forward to seeing how this all concludes, Bishamon."

Uzume disappeared just as quickly as she came, leaving Bishamon with Chiya's corpse. He turned his eyes downhill, towards the Senkumo base his men now occupied. He closed his eyes as he drew his golden blade, resolving to complete Amaterasu's will.

"Now for the rest of them…"

 

 

The very next morning, Chiharu was the first to wake up at Inari's shrine. The sun wasn't even up yet as she rolled up her futon and put her robes back on. She took a final glance at Tsukiakari, savoring the sight of her bandaged, sleeping face before quietly stepping out of the front door. Turning around, Chiharu came face-to-face with Inari on the porch, startling herself and the fox goddess.

"Chiharu? Are you leaving?"

“Yeah. First, I have to go pick something up for Gekko. I’ll be gone a few days. I’ll come back to drop it off for her, but then I’ll have to get going for good. I can't stay here much longer."

"Where will you go?"

"I'll make my way back home in the Yamato province. Though, I might have to move somewhere else just to make sure I don't run into Bishamon. Might be living rough for a while, but I'll manage."

"You're welcome to stay a few more days after you return. Don't you want to be here when Gekko wakes up again?" Inari asked.

Chiharu's put up a melancholic smile. "No. Seeing her so peaceful and knowing she'll be in your care...that's enough for me."

"I'm so sorry about everything. I can't do anything to help you on your journey either." Inari said.

"Taking care of Gekko is already doing plenty. When she wakes up, be sure you tell her everything that happened. It's going to be a very difficult thing for her to hear, but she can't go back to Yamashiro under any circumstances. The Senkumo clan is gone. You're the only ones that'll have her back now. On my own behalf, and on the behalf of everyone that laid down their lives for their Commanding Lord, I fully entrust Gekko to you and Izanami."

Chiharu bowed, leaving Inari speechless and overwhelmed. "Please, raise your head! Of course I'll take care of her! Izanami, too!"

"Good. I really needed to hear that." Chiharu sighed. "Well then, this is goodbye, if I don’t see you when I return. Good luck, Inari. Thank you for everything."

Inari's brows arched downwards in sadness as she bowed her head. "Goodbye, Chiharu."

Chiharu threw her hood over her head and walked through the grove on her own, carrying nothing more than a few days worth of rice and her tanto. Inari watched her until she couldn't be seen anymore, sitting herself down on her porch with a mournful sigh. Sooner or later, Tsukiakari would wake up, and there would be no way to break the news to her gently. But like a few others, Inari's worries didn't lie in how she would react immediately after hearing about the fate of the Senkumo clan. It lied in how she would react after the pain turned into anger.

A week passed by as slowly as sap is drawn from a tree. The sunshine scattered beneath the birdsong anointed sky, a beautiful day after the tragedy that had occurred. It was on that day that Tsukiakari's eyes opened for the first time since her death. It took her a moment to recognize the wooden ceiling above her as Inari's. She slowly sat up in her futon, looking around at her to find no one nearby. The left side of her face stung as she yawned, making her notice the bandages wrapped around her face. She undid the bloodied bandages and let them fall at her bedside, surprised to feel the air sting her skin. She reactively held up her hand to cover her face and noticed Yachi's old bracelet hanging around her wrist.

She spotted the divine sword Kumogiri at her side and unsheathed the base of the blade, using it as a mirror. She finally saw the scalded skin on the left side of her face, having no clue as to how she got such a terrifying wound. She found the strength to stand up, wobbling at first. Her feet slapped against Inari's cold, wooden floors as she stumbled over towards the patio.

 

As Tsukiakari opened the front door, she was greeted by the surprised, yet relieved smile of Inari.

"Gekko! Gekko, you're awake!" Inari cried.

Tsukiakari shamefully held her hand over the scarred half of her face. "Inari? What happened? Why am I at your place? I should've woken up back at base."

Inari ran over to Tsukiakari, helping her sit down on the porch. "Sit down, Gekko. We can't have you moving around too much just yet. A lot happened while you were out."

"Did Chiya drop me off here or something?"

Inari nervously tented her fingers. "Not exactly. It was Chiharu."

"What? Chiharu?" Tsukiakari recoiled, in utter disbelief.

"As I said, a lot happened while you were out."

"I don't understand. Chiharu was banished from the clan decades ago."

"Gekko...I'm going to tell you what happened. I need you to remain as calm as possible, okay?" Inari said.

"What happened, Inari? Tell me."

Inari took a breath and relayed everything she knew about what transpired, from Bishamon's sudden eradication of the clan to the night of the desperate escape. The result was initial disbelief from Tsukiakari, but she soon came to realize that Inari was telling the truth. The fact that she had Kumogiri with her indicated that Chiya helped her get away, and probably instructed the men to bring the divine sword along with her. Yachi's bracelet was Chiya's most sentimental possession, one of the only remnants she still had of her beloved twin sister. Only Chiya could've given it to her. For her to give it to anyone at all, it would've had to have been a farewell gift. The scar on her face matched up with the story of Bishamon's fiery horse attacking her during the escape. Even Izanami was able to confirm the names of all of the dead, names that Tsukiakari recognized very well. Just from the names listed, she was able to determine that Chiya evacuated all of the younger recruits before the battle took place.

It was true. Every word of it. Tsukiakari was forced to accept that.

“I’m so sorry, Gekko.” Inari lamented. “I can’t even begin to imagine…”

Tsukiakari’s hands balled up into a fist, lowing her head as she cried. “My men did all of that for me?”

“They loved you more than anything else in this world.” Izanami said. “That much is obvious.”

“Those damned bastards!” Tsukiakari screamed. “Why?! I would’ve laid down my life for them, over and over again!”

“Chiharu spotted Bishamon’s base before arriving at yours. She said the whole place was abandoned, as if it had been emptied out.” Inari explained. “If Bishamon was planning to kill you for real, then he would’ve destroyed your altar before abandoning the place. If you had died back there, you would’ve never returned. This is what they all wanted, for you to live.”

Tsukiakari could hardly speak through her downpour of tears. Inari and Izanami felt Tsukiakari’s loss and heartbreak as if it was their own. They were reduced to tears just like her. Inari wrapped her arms around Tsukiakari, and Izanami embraced both of them in a wide hug.

All any of them could do was sit there and weep, powerless to reverse the terrible events that had transpired. Tsukiakari couldn’t believe the greed and cruelty Bishamon had to possess to destroy his own kin and betray his most trusted pupil. The weight of her clan’s sacrifice weighed down upon Tsukiakari’s shoulders, like all of the gravity in the world was concentrated on her. In the face of Bishamon’s evil, her clan remained selfless to the end.

 

Once, she calmed down, Tsukiakari returned to her futon and lied there, paralyzed by sorrow. She blankly stared up into the ceiling, her eyes reddened and swollen from crying. Hours after being told what happened, the tears still wouldn't stop. Inari and Izanami resolved to give her some space in her time of mourning. Tsukiakari was so floored by the news that she didn't know what to think or do next. All she could do was sob until her chest ached and her throat ran dry.

Tsukiakari went the next two nights without a wink of sleep. Her mind had been filled with the memories of her comrades. On this morning, her mind took her back to her memories of the Man in Black, of all places. Long free of his physical presence and the illusions of his visage, the memory of him lingered longer than any phantom, just as he said it would.

His voice echoed in her head, unheard to either Inari or Izanami.

"Like I told you, we're all phantoms here. Just as you arose from your grave, so too did I arise from mine. And ever since that day, you and I have been two halves of a whole. We're both more demons than people."

"What will you do after there's no war to profit from? What will you do after clans like yours are no longer allowed to exist as they are? What place will a war goddess have in a land of peace and order, a land where daimyo and warriors are outlawed? When that time comes, you and I won't look so different, will we? We'll both be phantoms of a dead era, with nothing left to lose but our lives. Revenge will become your only reason to carry on. I promise you that."

"Fear, hatred, respect, even love—they are all powerful feelings. Power is what gives rise to action, and action to change. No one can kill what they fear, hate, love, or respect. No matter what the object of those feelings are, the emotions remain."

"Like the sensation of a missing limb, you'll keep trying to hold onto something that isn't there. You'll feel that phantom pain forever, just as I did."

"They say your friends live on in your heart. In your memories. Long after they're dead. That's how we know they're good friends. That's why you should fear a good enemy as much as you love a good friend."

“You think you’ve righted this wrong? You think you’ve washed the blood off of your hands and redeemed yourself? You’ve merely made peace with your vile sins. You, your men, even your master. You'll all remember me when the time comes to take your revenge. When this fragile, inner peace of yours crumbles again, you will remember what I took from you, and what you took from me. My phantom will never truly die."

"Shut up!" Tsukiakari screamed, nearly tearing her own throat apart.

Izanami rushed through the door, alarmed by the commotion. "Gekko! What's wrong?"

Tsukiakari sat up in her futon, chilled to the bone by the cold sweat drenching her skin. A sickly pallor spread through her face, making her appear half-dead. Izanami rushed to Tsukiakari's side, throwing her arms around her in a tight embrace.

"It's okay, Gekko. Calm down." Izanami whispered.

Tsukiakari's tears fell burned and swelled in her eyes. “Izanami..."

 

The next day proved no easier for Tsukiakari. Inari cautiously walked up to Tsukiakari as she lied in her futon, twiddling her fingers nervously.

"Gekko, Izanami and I made some lunch." Inari said softly. "Do you think you can manage to have a bite?"

"I'm sorry, Inari." Tsukiakari muttered with a sniffle.

"You haven't eaten in days, Gekko. Goddesses have to eat too. You won't even have just a little bit of rice?"

Feeling awfully guilty, Tsukiakari sat herself up, but couldn't bring herself to look Inari in the eyes. "Maybe just a small bowl of rice?"

Inari gave a small, but relieved smile. "Coming right up!"

Inari quickly returned with a very small bowl of steaming rice, sitting down with Tsukiakari to make sure she would eat it. She handed the war goddess her chopsticks and mimed the act of eating the rice upon seeing the hesitation in her eyes. For the first time in days, Tsukiakari managed to take a few bites of food.

"I know there's nothing either of us could say that'll make the pain go away, Gekko. In fact, I'm sure this pain will last forever." Inari said. "But Izanami and I, we both love you. I just want you to know that you won't be going through this alone. If you ever want to talk about something, anything at all, I'm here for you."

Tsukiakari's eyes glistened with fresh tears as Inari smiled at her. "Thank you, Inari."

"I buried Taeko, just as you asked. She's resting next to Ebina and Mayumi."

"That's a relief." Tsukiakari replied after swallowing her food. "I wanted them to be together again, just like the old days. Thank you for doing that."

"It was no big deal." Inari said. "Think you can eat a bit of grilled sea bream, too? I'll only give you a little bit. I promise."

"I'll try." Tsukiakari grinned. "Thank you for taking care of me."

"No problem!" Inari cheered. "I'll be right back with some fish!"

As Inari went to fetch more food, Tsukiakari found her gaze attracted to Kumogiri, resting at her side. Faint echoes of the Man in Black's voice returned to her, but his words were unclear. She threw one of her blankets over the blade, obscuring it from her view. She couldn't stomach the sight of it, nor the feelings it inspired within her.

From that day onward, Tsukiakari was able to regain her appetite more and more, even as she continued to grieve for her fallen friends and comrades. She still couldn't eat full meals, but what little nutrition she did get helped her recover from her reincarnation more and more. In a week's time, she felt most of her strength had come back. Though, every time she looked towards Kumogiri, feelings of rage brewed inside of her. She hadn't forgotten how powerful that blade was, which only made her imagination run wild with how much damage she could cause if she used it against Bishamon.

Her brief, vengeful fantasies slowly drifted into the realm of reality as she overheard Inari and Izanami talking one, late night in the garden. She had no intention of eavesdropping on them until she heard the name 'Ichiki'.

"They moved back in that weird temple?" Inari asked.

"Looks like it. I've half a mind to pay Ichiki a visit after what Bishamon did to Gekko. There's no way she didn't know about all of this. I have a feeling she knew about Taeko, too." Izanami surmised.

"Well, we don't know for sure. Like I said, we can't do anything rash." Inari cautioned. "We can't go tearing apart the pantheon for revenge."

Tsukiakari returned to her futon. Without even realizing it, she clung onto Kumogiri as her thoughts focused on Ichiki. Her mind painted vivid thoughts of revenge onto the ceiling, as if it was her very own canvas.

"Ichiki's in that temple..." Tsukiakari muttered. "I remember where that is."

Once again, the Man in Black's disembodied voice returned to her, with more clarity than ever before. "Beware of Bishamon. Whatever he's planning, his dreams of the future do not include you or the rest of this clan. You are following a madman."

Tsukiakari closed her eyes with that rage festering in her heart, and drifted off to sleep. When she awoke the next morning, the house was eerily quiet. Izanami had already gone off somewhere, and Inari seemed to be outside. It was a cloudy day, devoid of the vibrant sunshine of summer. Kumogiri remained at her bedside, still covered with her blanket. Her ears rang until she couldn’t hear the birdsong outside. Her head felt as though her skull was shrinking and crushing her brain. She stood up, stumbling towards the kitchen door. She thought to splash some cold water on her face to help her come back to her senses.

She flung open the sliding door, walking not into Inari’s kitchen, but into Yachi Otonougi’s bloodied cell. She was back in that accursed place, the abandoned temple basement where Yachi was tortured and killed. Tsukiakari screamed and fell onto her bottom, her eyes darting across the very familiar room. She looked to her left, spotting Yachi’s naked corpse lying face-down in the middle of the cell, her pallid body covered in a plethora of scars, bruises, and cuts.

“Why?! Why am I here?!” Mocked the Man in Black, who suddenly appeared in front of the cell. “Is that what you’re thinking, Tsukiakari?”

Startled, Tsukiakari scurried back towards the wall, her teeth chattering and her heart racing out of control.

The Man in Black knelt on one knee, removing his tattered, wide-brimmed hat. He stuck his hand through the bars, grabbing hold of Tsukiakari’s face.

He forced her to maintain eye contact, her tears rolling onto his fingers. “Look at yourself. Take a long, hard gander.”

Tsukiakari pushed his hand away and crawled backwards towards the center of the cell, where he wouldn’t be able to reach her. She could feel fresh blood seep into her hands as she kept crawling. She looked back to make sure she wouldn’t bump into Yachi’s corpse, only to find the Man in Black kneeling besides her body. The Man in Black whispered something into her ear, words that were inaudible to Tsukiakari. Her eyes widened in horror as Yachi’s corpse began to twitch her fingers and toes. Her corpse got onto its knees and stood up onto its feet, alongside the Man in Black.

Tsukiakari scurried back towards the left side of the cell, burning her back as she slammed against the bars. She fell onto her knees again, smoke rising from the back of her robes. The amber light of flame shone down upon her as the Phantom Soldier stood on the other side of the bars, hungry for revenge.

“My my, we’ve an audience tonight.” The Man in Black chuckled.

Tsukiakari turned around, realizing her cell was completely surrounded by a swarm of undead. The Phantom Maiden and Masachika Togashi stood among the swarm of Senkumo soldiers that died at the hands of Bishamon, all of them rattling her cage from the outside. Tsukiakari’s men were all bloodied and burned, as if they were pulled straight from their graves. They yelled and screamed at the goddess, commanding her to take revenge.

“Kill that son of a bitch!”

“He betrayed us, Gekko! You can’t let us die in vain!”

“He murdered us! His own kin!”

“Kill that *censored*ing snake!”

“An eye for an eye!”

“You owe us this much! Avenge us!”

The laughter of the Man in Black echoed throughout the room, vanishing from the inside of the cell. Tsukiakari suddenly felt the weight of a blade in her right hand, the weight of Kumogiri. As she gazed into the sword’s reflection, the powerful, pearlescent blade stared right back at her.

“Enough!” Tsukiakari screamed, blasting the cell door away with a swing of the sword. The ghosts of her comrades vanished in an instant, leaving the Man in Black standing alone. Tsukiakari gave pursuit as he fled up the stairs and turned the corner in the hall. Tsukiakari heard the slam of a sliding door as soon as he turned that corner. She rushed up the steps and followed his footsteps, stopping at the nearest door to her right.

“Stop this, Gekko!” The Man in Black laughed. “You’ve lost your mind!”

“Shut up!” Tsukiakari roared, blasting through the door with a bolt of lightning from her blade’s tip. The hall was clouded with odorous smoke and dust from the blast. Tsukiakari covered her nose and mouth with her sleeve as she slowly stepped through the door’s threshold. She found herself back in Inari’s living room, the sun shining through the opened, front door.

Inari came running  in through the garden with a frightful scream. “Oh my god! Chiharu!”

As the smoke cleared, Tsukiakari realized what she had done. Chiharu’s burnt corpse lied before her, smashed through Inari’s tea table. Inari rushed to Chiharu’s side, but she was already dead, murdered by the very goddess she risked everything to save.

“I…I didn’t…” Tsukiakari stammered, dropping Kumogiri onto the floor.

The Man in Black emerged from the darkened kitchen, circling around Tsukiakari. “How poetic. Taeko, a woman consumed by her hatred and obsession, died a husk of her former self, and the girl you had once saved from her wrath dies by your hand.”

“Gekko, why?!” Inari wept. “What happened?!”

Tsukiakari fell to her knees, the Man in Black disappearing from her sight. “I…I don’t know. I thought she was…”

“She was the only one that survived, Gekko!” Inari cried. “You’ve killed the last one!”

Destroyed along with the table was a handmade, miniature shrine with Tsukiakari’s name on it. Chiharu had made it herself. It was to be a symbol that Tsukiakari was still loved, even in the midst of losing everything. It was smashed to pieces, broken beyond repair. Tsukiakari had been waiting to see how much Chiharu had grown since they last met, but that was impossible now. Tsukiakari had rendered her body charred and unrecognizable.

 

 

Inari demanded that Tsukiakari sit outside in the garden while she cleaned up the mess. Tsukiakari sat among the azaleas, staring at her dirtied, trembling hands. She still couldn’t get herself to calm down after what she had done. Everything she saw leading up to the moment she killed Chiharu seemed so real. When she had the chance to kill the Man in Black, she leaped at it without a second thought. The adversary she saw in her wild vision was Chiharu in reality.

Inari slowly opened up the sliding door, carrying Chiharu’s body with her. The corpse was wrapped tightly in layers of white sheets.

Tsukiakari shot onto her feet, bowing to Inari as she wept. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

“…I’m going to go bury her. Just rest here, okay? I’ll be back in a few hours.”

“Inari…” Tsukiakari cried. “Please believe me. I loved her. I would never hurt her. Never!”

“But you did, Gekko. You did.” Inari lamented. “I’ll be back soon.”

Tsukiakari yelled out as Inari marched into the grove. “I didn’t mean to! Chiharu! I didn’t mean to hurt you!”

Tsukiakari fell to her knees, crying into her hands as Inari continued down the grove. “I didn’t mean to…”

“Did you think you’d escape me, just because I’m dead?” Asked the Man in Black, kneeling besides Tsukiakari. “The time has come. You know where Ichiki is, don’t you? Then you know what it is you need to do. My work remains undone while Bishamon still breathes. You will finish this fight, for the both of us. When you’ve lost everything you loved, you only have hatred to replace the pain. So use it. Use it! Become their demon! Become their phantom!”

Tsukiakari’s pain turned into a fiery rage. She marched back inside and grabbed Kumogiri. She put her sandals on, and wore Kumogiri around her shoulder. The blade didn’t feel anywhere near as heavy as it once did. It was lighter than air now. She borrowed a black, hooded cloak from Inari's closet, perfect for staying hidden. When she was all set to go, Tsukiakari stopped in the exact spot she killed Chiharu. She offered her a silent prayer and plea for forgiveness. She then stormed outside, disappearing into the grove.

Tsukiakari journeyed through the forest of dead trees, making a steady march towards Ichiki's temple. Just as Ichiki always wanted, Tsukiakari intended to pay her a visit. It wasn't just Bishamon who was guilty to Tsukiakari. His co-conspirators, the divine courts that let him get away with his crimes, all of the gods that benefited from his manipulation of the Senkumo clan, they were all guilty. They were all living and thriving off of the blood of her comrades, her dearest friends. All of Heaven was guilty. Every man, woman, and child there was thus subject to her wrath.

Upon hearing a knock on her tower door, Ichiki skipped away from her children to go and greet her sudden guest. After seeing Tsukiakari through the looking glass, a wave of bewilderment and worry ran through her. Still, she put on her best face and eagerly answered the door. Ichiki was in her usual gown she wore at home, almost entirely transparent.

"Tsukiakari! You came! About time!"

Tsukiakari smiled as she removed her hood, revealing the brutal scar on her face to Ichiki's shock and horror. She didn't seem to know anything about what Bishamon did just a few nights ago.

"Hey, Ichiki. It's been a while." Tsukiakari said.

"What...what happened to you?! Here, come inside."

What a pleasure it was to be back inside Ichiki's tower, which remained so reminiscent of a cathedral's sanctuary. Ichiki sat Tsukiakari down at one of the pews, caressing her facial scar.

"Does it hurt, dear?" Ichiki asked.

Tsukiakari shook her head. "I've had worse, don't worry about it."

"Don't worry about it?! Nonsense! Your skin is so cold, too. Wait here, love, I'll get you something warm to drink."

Ichiki hurriedly scuttled into the kitchen, quickly whipping up some tea for the both of them. Out of concern for her wounds, she also flipped open all the cabinets in search of some gauze and disinfectant.

"Gauze...where did we keep the gauze again? Damn..." Ichiki mumbled.

Tsukiakari stood up and walked herself into the kitchen with silent footsteps, spooking Ichiki as she stepped through the doorway.

"Oh! Gekko! You're so light on your feet! I was just preparing the tea, but I can't seem to find the gauze anywhere. Maybe it's in my bedroom somewhere, but I'll definitely—"

The sound of Tsukiakri's sword sliding out of its sheath hushed Ichiki. Before she could even ask what Tsukiakari was doing, the war goddess had already sliced open her belly, spraying her blood all over the floor, cabinets, and teacups resting on the granite counters. Trying to grab hold of something as she lost her poise, Ichiki reached her hand out towards the counter tops as she exsanguinated from her wide open stomach, only managing to knock over several glasses and tea cups.

Ichiki's trembling eyes drifted down to her stomach, where she could see in all of their slimy, blood-soaked detail, her intestines hanging from her open gash. Dark circles quickly formed around her eyes as she desperately tried to crawl away from Tsukiakari.

"Ge...Gekko...w-what are y-you..."

As Ichiki tried harder and harder to crawl away, Tsukiakari's blade came down upon her, piercing right through her left hand, effectively pinning her to the floor. Tsukiakari paid no worry to Ichiki's explosive scream of agony. The only other people in the temple were her infant children, after all.

"Gekko! S-stop this!"

"Did you know?" Tsukiakari growled.

"What are you talking about?!" Ichiki cried.

"Did you know what Bishamon was going to do to my clan?!"

"...Yes..."

Ichiki's children erupted into cries and yells that were vastly overpowered by their mother's After a few, terrifying minutes, Ichiki's screaming died down into cries, and those cries died down into complete silence. Izanami, who sat next to Amaterasu in the divine court of Heaven, could suddenly feel a great sting in her neck, the sting of Ichiki dying. Shivers conquered her arms as she saw the horrifying last memories of Ichiki flash before her. She said nothing as Amaterasu continued to brief the other attending gods about the Vampires.

Leaving the blood-soaked and mangled remains of Ichiki in the kitchen, Tsukiakari sheathed her Kumogiri. Parched after the murder, she took a sip of the hot tea Ichiki was unable to serve. It warmed Tsukiakari's stomach right up with its honey-sweetened flavor of cinnamon spice.

"Thanks for the tea, Ichiki."

Tsukiakari's blood finger prints were left behind on the tea cup's handle as she continued upstairs, down the hall, and into the kids' room. The infant boy and girl lied in their cradle, crying as the outdoors light shined through the rose window and onto Tsukiakari's face

"Shhh, shhh. It's okay."

She took the baby girl out of the cradle, rocking it back and forth as she returned to the kitchen with the infant.

Tsukiakari enwreathed Kumogiri's blade with flames and lit a large fire inside of the oven, filling the kitchen with the aroma of burning charcoal. The infant girl cried harder as Tsukiakari brought her closer to the flames. The baby flailed and screamed reaching her arms out in the opposite direction, but ultimately powerless to decide her own fate, as all children are.

"Go and join your mother, wretched spawn of Bishamon."

Without an ounce of remorse in her icy heart, Tsukiakari threw the infant inside of the oven and locked it shut, ignoring her blood-curdling screams as the flames burned through her delicate flesh and melted her baby fat right off of her brittle bones. In a few minutes, her screams would go silent as well. All that was left was the boy.

It wasn't long before the meeting of the gods was over. Bishamon was returning the to the temple with a few honored guests. Oyamatsumi, Raijin, Hachiman, and Uzume, joined him on the walk home.

"Carmilla the Baneful." Bishamon groaned. "We only know of one of the three vampires that supposedly snuck into the country, but it's not looking good if she was among them. It's very likely Dracula will be one of the other two vampires.

"I hear their leader, Count Dracula, is a particularly mighty foe with various abilities." Uzume said. "Many of the vampires don't even burn under the sun anymore like they did in the olden days."

"As powerful as this Count Dracula may be, I doubt he can fight against a fully armed and powerful Shinto pantheon." Oyamatsumi scoffed.

"It would be best if we fought them in China instead of Japan, wouldn't it?" Hachiman asked. "I'd imagine that if the vampires even manage to get a decent foothold in any province in the country, they'd be able to use the local population as food, while also converting them into lower-tier vampires."

"Indeed, that would be a problem." Raijin agreed. "Well, Amaterasu did say she would consult with the Catholics about ways of fighting off the vampires."

"Funny, I thought the Catholics were working with the vampires. Now they're fighting them?" Bishamon said.

"Man...this is gonna suck." Oyamatsumi sighed.

The group returned to the temple, happily taking off their sandals and relaxing in Ichiki's luxurious home. However, a certain, putrescent smell captured their noses.

"Hmm? What is that?" Bishamon asked, sniffing the air.

"Don't tell me she's burning something...honestly..." Oyamatsumi groaned.

Everyone stepped into the messy, blood-soaked kitchen, realizing immediately that something was horribly wrong.

"What the hell?!" Hachiman recoiled.

"Turn off the oven! Whatever's in there, it isn't food!" Uzume urged.

Bishamon, confused and genuinely scared to see what was causing that awful smell, wrapped a towel around his hand and opened the oven's vault, as not to burn himself. Uzume extinguished the flames with the gusty swipe of her folding fan as everyone covered their noses and mouths. Once the flames were clear, the gods gathered around the oven. Though the inside of the oven was a black, charred mess, what they could clearly see were the split ribs and tiny, fragile skull of an infant.

"Bishamon, is that one of your children?!" Raijin asked.

"Oyamatsumi, go check on the kids!" Bishamon commanded.

Oyamatsumi ran off as Bishamon fell to his knees, his hands shivering with unbearable grief as he pulled out the skeletal remains of the child. While the other gods scrambled in confusion and mayhem, Uzume remained still, calm, and content. It took everything she had to hide her smile from the grieving Bishamon. Amaterasu's wager was playing out exactly as planned. Tsukiakari inherited the curse of vengeance that plagued her family for generations, producing gruesome results.

"Where's Ichiki?" Hachiman asked.

That was honestly a question Bishamon didn't want to have the answer to. Still, his shock compelled him to step into the darkened dining room, following the pool of blood as his heart ran circles in his chest. Uzume flipped open all of the blinds, shining light on the most abhorrent scene any of them had ever witnessed in their lives. Most of them, including Uzume, had to look away to stop themselves from vomiting.

Ichiki's corpse was left naked, propped on one a chair with her intestines running from her stomach and shoved deep down her throat. Her eyes were gouged out and placed in the palm of her left hand. A rolling pin was stuck inside of her genitals in what clearly looked like a violent, sexual assault on her.

Bishamon surveyed the room, finding Ichiki's severed hands, feet, and breasts thrown across the room without a care in the world. The smell of blood, intestines, and carnage made everyone sick to their stomachs. And yet, that wasn't the worst of it.

There was a message on the wall, written in Ichiki's blood. It simply read, "I shall have my revenge."

Tears streaming down his cheeks, Bishamon was brought to his knees. He knew exactly who was responsible for this. There was only one person who could produce such grotesque results, and he was the one who trained her in the basics.

"Tsukiakari...damn you!" Bishamon screamed, slamming his fist into the floor.

"Bishamon, the other kid is missing!" Oyamatsumi cried.

Volcanic fury welled inside of Bishamon as he stood up again, yelling at Oyamatsumi. "Go! She can't have gotten far! Find her!"

"I'll go with you, Oyamatsumi!" Hachiman asserted.

The two ran outside, beginning their hunt for Tsukiakari.

"...Heaven won't let this go unanswered." Raijin stammered. "They'll most likely declare Tsukiakari a divine criminal and hunt her down with impunity. Murdering a god and a divine child in such an atrocious manner will score her the death penalty."

Bishamon kicked over the nightstand in anger, shattering the glass vase and flowers resting on top of it. His explosive rage scared even the other gods, who could not dare say anything to calm him down as he continued to pace around his blood-soaked home, sobbing at the loss of his daughter and wife.

Tsukiakari had already gotten quite a distance away from the temple, holding the infant boy in her arms as she marched through the fog-veiled forest.

Tsukiakari followed the sound of rushing water, ignoring the fearful cries of the baby boy. The sound led her to a flowing brook sandwiched by wilted cherry blossoms. The water was beautifully crisp and cold, perfect for drinking.

"Here we are little one, the end of the line for you." Tsukiakari said.

She dangled the baby by its feet, taking off his little blanket and exposing his small, naked body to the elements. The baby aimlessly flailed his arms, obviously wanting to be held right side up again. Tsukiakari fell to her knees and slammed the boy's head in the brook with her hand wrapped around his small neck. She kept holding his head beneath the water, cruelly drowning the infant. She didn't even blink, nor did she look away as the child swallowed more and more water into his lungs.

It wasn't enough for the child to stop moving and lose consciousness. To satisfy her bloodlust, the baby boy had to die. She continued to hold its head under water for several minutes, until she could be sure there was absolutely no hope of reviving it. When the child's life was lost, she let go of its head, letting its corpse float downstream, far down into the depths of the forest of dead trees. His lifeless body bumped into small rocks and mounds of dirt on the way, before disappearing down the brook completely.

The murder of Ichiki and her children was but the first step in her plan towards revenge. Tsukiakari had several more targets in mind, and she wouldn't stop until she slew them all. With rage in her heart and the cloud-cutting sword, Kumogiri, in her possession, Tsukiakari clasped her hands and spoke a prayer of revenge.

"I, Tsukiakari Senkumo, declare war, not just on Bishamon, but every last man, woman, and child in Heaven. You can call my slaughter wrong. You can call it evil, sick, and disgusting. I call it justice. You all allowed my friends to be killed. You allowed for hundreds of thousands of young, Senkumo souls to perish. You let my murderous uncle walk free when he should've been locked up and put to death. And so, I send this prayer to all of you up there who will surely be confused by my awful actions. I want to make myself perfectly clear. Every single one of you are my targets. Even your children. I will kill as many of you as I possibly can, as harshly as I possibly can, for all of the atrocities you allowed to occur under your watch. I will stomach the greed and treachery of the gods no longer! Prepare yourselves, for I shall tear both Heaven and Earth asunder! I shall have my revenge!"

And so, her vow of vengeance was made. Nothing would stop her now. Bishamon, Oyamatsumi, Hachiman, Raijin, and Uzume received her prayer as a disembodied voice echoing within their heads. Bishamon rose from his knees, clenching his fist so tightly that his nails drew blood from his palms.

"What now, Bisha? What are we going to do?" Raijin asked.

Bishamon blew gusts of air through his nostrils like an enraged bull. "If it's war she wants, we'll accept her challenge."

Uzume's raven hair hid her smile from Raijin standing at her side. Having been denied her blossoming and betrayed by her master, Tsukiakari Senkumo's final act would be a quest of revenge, to commit the mother of all bloodbaths. Ichiki and her children were already gone.

 

Bishamon and his co-conspirators were next.


Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #504 on: September 10, 2019, 02:20:57 PM »
It's up on Amazon

Book of Betrayal Part 2 will come out on September 28th!

678 pages, 144,489 words.


Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Death By Ex-Girlfriend (DbEG First Arc Almost PUBLISHED)
« Reply #505 on: September 29, 2019, 01:58:04 AM »
 :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:Book of Betrayal Part 2 is OUT!!!!!!!! :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

I've been so busy lately that I forgot I even published it. So much happens in this entry, it's insane. It's a harrowing tale of the final years of the Senkumo clan, the truth behind the clan's phantom enemies, and the betrayal that led to its destruction.

Also, Death by Ex-Girlfriend: War Cloud is almost finished. Probably one of the few DbEG arcs with a straightforward, happy ending. I believe some of you are familiar with the bittersweet pain that is the next arc, Dawn and Dusk. Look forward to that.