Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Spider

Her mind snuffed out, and Sano Felt the wail of a soul left howling into emptiness. Felt Mindspeech rip and shred itself, trying to touch what was no longer there. :No!: He thrashed against the net. :Don’t do that! Look over here! Damn it, you young fool – look over here-:

:He can’t hear you,: the spider-creature sing-songed. :I won’t let him.:

:Bastard!: Sano bared his teeth, biting at silk somehow strong as steel.

:Bastard? I think not. I am chuugumo. Your little assassin, now – he’s the only bastard here.: The spider snickered. :I could hunt down the little half-breed. He’d be such an easy kill. But I’d have to let you go to do that, wouldn’t I, spirit-made-flesh?: A long tongue licked at Sano’s leg. :And you taste like so much more fun….:

The world twisted into nightmare, and he knew nothing more.


:The MindHealers blocked out a lot of the rest of it,: Sanosuke finished. :That – creature – fed on despair. And I could give it a lot, because I lost him….: Kerowyn felt the Companion shudder. :But after several months, it got careless. I broke out while it was sleeping, lurched my way back to the blank spot and Jumped. I don’t think I even cared if I made it back alive. Almost didn’t. Wandered around in the Pelagirs a while, finally got my head together enough to stumble back toward Valdemar, and – that’s it.:

“What in the hells was that thing?” Eldan demanded.

:Probably some kind of Change-spider, according to Megumi,: Sayvel filled in. :They’re at least as common in Yamato as firebirds are here. Think wyrsa-nasty. Then think bigger and more intelligent. Sano’s damn lucky to be alive.:

Kero whistled. “And them without mages. No wonder those poor bastards came up with hitokiri.” She looked at her hands – hands that had so often held a bloody blade. If I were going to kill a man anyway, and I knew things like that were out there, and there was nothing but me to stand between them and my people….

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24 thoughts on “Through the Cracks Ch3 bit – Spider

      1. …. I think your Halloween hellhound Giles put it best. To paraphrase:

        “Good lord. What kami did you mortally offend to be born as Himura Kenshin?”

        Liked by 2 people

  1. It’ll be interesting for the crew to find out that no, that wasn’t just a change-creature. That such youkai have always been in Yamato and depending on the in-universe origin, are as natural if not more so than the gryphons.

    And the real fun part? They’ve got some half-breed descendants of similar creatures in the city right now. I can’t wait for the scene when Kenshin and Kaoru explain Hanyou and Youkai to them.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Torn between curious, terrified, and so mad at Yamagata and the other leaders she could spit?

        Because she understands need to know but darn it, she needed to know! Surely there was a bare bones version that would give her just enough information to at least try* preventing her Heralds and Guards from doing something monumentally stupid but not give away all of Yamato’s secrets thus allowing them to retain an ace. She probably has one that does that for Companions or if she doesn’t, could come up with one.

        *Acknowledging that even with 100% full disclosure on both sides, someone would still be an idiot and do exactly the thing they were specifically told not to do.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. *wince*

    Well, we know that it wasn’t going to be pretty. Because it would take something pretty ugly and awful to keep a Companion away from their Chosen. Especially if said Chosen was hurt and grieving. And because if you have seen Trust and Betrayal, then you know nothing about that ambush was pleasant.

    Through since you said his Chosen isn’t dead but Sano believes that they are . . . I wonder if that was spider-dementor thing doing or the Mind Healer’s or a combination of both. The spider did it initially and the Healer re-enforced it for some reason.

    Not wanting to give him false hope/re-open an already bleeding wound, they saw something his Chosen do something that made them think if the Chosen isn’t dead, it’s best for Sano if he thinks they are because that is a Repudiation waiting to happen and Sano has been hurt enough . . . Not saying the Healer would do that but Valdemar has different ideas about where to draw the line than Yamato. And sometimes someone’s desire to spare someone else more pain has them do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.

    If I were going to kill a man anyway, and I knew things like that were out there, and there was nothing but me to stand between them and my people….

    Exactly.

    What else are they supposed to do? Just stand there, do nothing and die? Allow their friends and family die?

    Somehow it just doesn’t seem like having the moral high ground when that ground is perched on a mountain of corpses.

    Hitokiri doesn’t pretend to be moral. It just says I am necessity and sacrifice. I will be the killer so others might live and not have to kill themselves just to survive at all.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Mostly, the distance there was between them and the wounds he saw, Sano had no way of knowing alive or dead.

        If his Chosen has youkai blood, he might not have any idea just how well even a hanyou can heal.

        Or at least I’m assuming youkai and hanyou still operate under the principal that whatever doesn’t kill them immediately tends to not kill them at all.

        Of course, even if he did know that, those wounds might be severe enough that a hanyou would have be extremely lucky to survive them.

        and I imagine Hiko’s been a lot busier and active than canon!

        It’s probably good for him.

        And at least some of them should be tricky enough to at least qualify as exercise. An actual challenge is much rarer treat.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Maybe the mind healers saw ‘assassin’ applied to Sano’s Chosen? Or picked up the blood magic in his wound, or both, along with the distance and wounding (mentioned by our hostess below) and whatnot. I only sort of remember Valdemar, having not revisited any of it since the early ’90s, but that seems the sort of thing they’d do. Assassins can’t be Heralds, blood mages/tainted by blood magic can’t be Heralds…. That type of thinking.

      What I really want to know is whether Sano’s recognized Kenshin once he wandered into Haven. He’s obviously interested in him enough to haul him off to the healer after Jine.

      Happy Thanksgiving, to all, by the way.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would probably be hard to “recognize” Kenshin mentally, because he hides so well (in normal circumstances), and he does that split personality thing so well. And in his presence and appearance, the rurouni doesn’t look all that much like the hitokiri, right? Must be a cousin! Sure! And if you’re from Valdemar, you might think there are tons of redheads back in Yamato, right?

        But of course, the more Sano hung around, the more he’d start to wonder. He’s not stupid, even though he can be misled; and in some ways, he’s very intuitive. The kind of guy who “can see through a brick wall, in time.” And once he figured something out, he wouldn’t bother much about how it’s possible; he’d just know he was right.

        Occasionally he can be subtle, too, although he might just have gone at it like, “Yo, Chosen! I recognize you now! So that this is where you got to!”

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Sano’s not sure yet. He thinks he knows, but he’s not sure. Because Kenshin is very, very good at hiding his energy.

        But he’s watching him. And either some enemy or something will force Kenshin to be more showy with his energy to beat them . . . or he needs to show up a least of his ken-ki or youki to prove a point about ki in general, youkai, and hanyou . . . or because Kenshin trusts Sano to a degree, he might not be as tight with his shielding around him. Or some combination thereof.

        Once he knows, Sano better pounce quick . . . because if Kenshin figures it out first, he might bolt. Or at least feel like he might need. Very like how he thought he needed to be ready to run whenever Obi-Wan figured it out in “Shadows in Starlight”

        “I have you now!”
        Kenshin: Bonks on the head.
        “Owww….”

        Quite.

        Still . . .
        Sano: “Worth it! Totally worth it!”
        Kenshin: “. . .”

        Sano might be a little euphoric. After all, he thought his Chosen was dead. Dead and Sano had been powerless to even try to help him. Probably made him feel pretty helpless and worthless – what kind of Companion couldn’t even help his Chosen?

        Through anyone who thinks that being Chosen will make Kenshin more manageable in some fashion will be in for a surprise.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Kenshin: “Time for sessha to wander off.”

        Kaoru: “You can’t wander off without me! Queen Selenay assigned me to follow you around and fight trouble!”
        Megumi: “And of course that means I’m going too.”
        Yahiko: “And I go where my ugly teacher goes!”
        Kaoru: “Possibly tied and gagged in a saddlebag….”
        Gensai: “Coincidentally, it’s the time of year when my granddaughters and I go gather herbs with my giant caravan wagon, so I guess we’ll tag along, too.”
        Sano: “So yeah, Kenshin, you can walk, but you might want to ride. Me. Because I’m just awesome like that.”
        Hiko: “Did somebody say my idiot apprentice was disrespectfully trying to leave early, without me?”

        Kenshin: “Did sessha just become Wagonmaster Kenshin?”

        Liked by 3 people

  3. >> Kaoru: “You can’t wander off without me! Queen Selenay assigned me to follow you around and fight trouble!”

    *Snrk*

    I mostly know Selenay by reputation, but this sounds hilariously like something that she or Talia would think of as ‘Two Birds, One Stone’ since it provides Kenshin ready back up that’s familiar with how things are done in Valdemar and gives Kaouru – who’s frankly gonna do it anyways – the Official job of ‘sit on the idiot when he starts guilt tripping himself or running away from his own happiness due to PTSD’.

    That and it recognizes Kenshin’s status as a Trouble Magnet.

    Heck, they’d probably mention part of the order to Kenshin ahead of time, presenting it as ‘I’m doing you this favour…’

    Liked by 2 people

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