Chapter 11: Frozen Grief on Frozen Snow
|From where chapter 10 leaves off, Hikitsu totally pawns Rimudo and Takiko, since Uruki's wind does diddly-squat against the water. And it turns out Hikitsu can do a heck of a lot more than just snakes Cue massively huge killed water dog types .
Tomite and Hikitsu meet. Obviously disturbed by this, Hikitsu decides to make a hasty retreat, followed by more name-calling.
Takiko attempts to chase after him and explain that "Wait, Hikitsu! I'm the-" but it seems he's already gone, and Tomite, Uruki, Takiko and Namame are left standing in an empty cave . Tomite is a little surprised by the whole ordeal, so they just go back to Soruen and Hatsui where they sit around talking for a bit and try to get some answers about what's going on from Tomite. Tomite reveals a part of his past, saying that he was the only survivor of an attack by monsters.
Uruki says something to provoke Tomite and they argue a bit, and Takiko tries to get them to shut up.
Switch to Hikitsu being broody and talking to his wolf-pet. He wonders why Tomite came back to the mountain... and hey! Takiko kind of reminds him of his sister (?) named Ayla.
Back with the other warriors, Takiko wakes up, and Rimudo is kind of dozing while on look out and Tomite gets up to leave, and Takiko pretends to be asleep. As soon as he is gone Takiko gets up to follow him. As soon as she is gone, Rimudo follows her! Follow the Leader, everyone!! Except Rimudo tells Souren to stay with Hatsui and Namame. Takiko follows Tomite from a distance, except she gets lost in her thoughts about Tomite and Hikitsu and walks right into Tomite.
He asks Takiko if she loves Rimudo.
Takiko denies it, and tells how there is another man she loves in her own world but it's clear she's trying hard to convince herself of this. Rimudo has a few lines of mini-monologue.
Tomite leads Takiko to his old abandoned/pillaged/desecrated village, and has a little trip down memory lane as he wanders through his old house and stuff -- all about how he learned archery (damn, those Kyudo lessons paid off! I knew the kanji right off the bat!) but he's very upset by the memory of it all. He promised his father that he would protect people and stuff, but he failed and almost cries a bit. Takiko reflects on all this, as does Rimudo. Unfortunately, Rimudo performs the most spectacular fall ever as he trips over Namame, to land flat on his face, totally giving his presence away to Taki and Tomi. Takiko realizes that he must have heard her deny her love for him. Rimudo carries on about something or other until Takiko smacks him across the face Takiko yells about how much she hates him again, soon followed with a swearing sentence from Rimudo.
Takiko leaves to go brood and comes upon a floating ghost. Fascinated, Takiko reaches out and touches the ice... and the ice starts covering her. She screams, and Tomite /Uruki/Namame come running over. By the time they reach her, her arms are completely frozen. Tomite sees the girl and recognizes her. She has something to do with the killer monster. Uruki, however, is more focused on Takiko and grabs her to try and pull her away, but he starts freezing onto it as as well.
Hikitsu shows up and yells "Don't touch it! Don't touch that wall of ice! You'll also attach to it!" Tomite yells at him "This is *your* power, Hikitsu?"
Hurry up and make it stop before it kills Takiko!"
Tomite freaks a bit because he realizes that it was Hikitsu who killed the village/Tomite's father.
Hikitsu feels bad but still says nothing, and Uruki can't go more than a few pages without being mentioned, so he pipes up fretting about how poor Takiko is now completely encased in ice. Rimudo yells "Takiko! hold on! I'm going to save you!" As Uruki tries to cut the ice using his wind, Hikitsu says it won't work.
Takiko is apparently dying now, and Rimudo is quite firmly frozen on as well, and Takiko briefly remembers Anlu and her necklace starts to glow Takiko glows with a brilliant light, which startles everyone, and Hikitsu dumbly realizes Takiko is the priestess of Genbu.