Saturday, September 18, 2010

Down the Road –Chapter 3

Sinking their sneakers into the gravel of the path, the hikers in Asuka hurried along the trail. The faces of all the nearby tourists displayed irritation at the unwelcome arrival of rain. Kerberos shot through the hills at high speed, Nakajima on his back tightly gripping the corpse of Yumiko. But the extremely abnormal sight didn't seem to faze the hikers.

"What was that just now?"

"They must be shooting a movie here, I guess."

The relaxed voices grew faint behind Nakajima. Presently, Nakajima arrived at the hills he had seen in his vision. Nakajima did not know that this 200-meter tall hill was a Kofun tomb known as the Shirasagi Mound. The Shirasagi Mound was huge for a Kofun tomb, and deeply shrouded in mystery. It was unknown whether or not it was a zenpokoen-fun keyhole-style tomb or just one that took advantage of a natural hill, let alone who was buried there or when it was built. However, it had been passed down in oral tradition that a woman had been buried here, and some of those who had studied the treatise Gishi-Wajin-den argued that it was the grave of Himiko, the ancient queen of Yamato. In modern times, fully half of Shirasagi Mound had been cultivated into fields; of the original burial mound, only a single stone chamber remained, along with a few kumazasa shrubs and pine woods.

As Kerberos climbed the hill, his movement became visibly slower, and the spasms of his rough breathing could be felt on his back. As soon as what appeared to be the entrance to the burial chamber appeared, Kerberos came to a stop. Nakajima dropped to the ground, leaving Yumiko on the back of the demon beast. As if his strained nerves had finally reached their breaking point, Kerberos' front legs bent, and he collapsed to the ground. Perhaps his wounds from the battle with Loki had worsened, or perhaps Shirasagi Mound itself caused pain to the animal, but either way, he could no longer take another step. Kerberos stuck his tongue out and started panting, letting out a low whine as he did. The flicker of fire in his eyes was gone.

"You did good, Kerberos. You can go on back."

Nakajima had no choice but to return the digital beast to his handheld computer.

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