My August HISTORY themed tale should fit right in with the season of spooky stories in Japan - "The Mountain with Eyes"

“You're privy to a secret only a few have known over the centuries. I am far from *ancient in the *eyes of my kind, but have outlived each of my human caretakers. I am glad to have you, a fellow yokai, as the one to provide my needs, now.” LiminalChronicles

“You collect yokai tales. I was one who asked you to collect our local stories. Might I suggest studying the *haunted houses popping up?” Reizei said.

“The rumor of the mountain with eyes also intrigues me. Which should we *visit first?”

Reizei shuffled his feet. “I’m not yet an *expert in transporting you unseen. And I don’t wish to *strain your capacity.”

I shook my head. “I am kodama, tree spirt and echo. Where you go, my kind will repeat what they see and hear.” Reizei drafted a *letter for me to the Nonogawa River Valley Historic Society inquiring about who might know the tales of the Mountain with Eyes. Undoubtedly, the group would put the letter in the *circuit of the group’s folklore archivists.

Reizei’s peculiar tengu and Nonogawa *dialect was sometimes hard to understand. But he never *stewed over it. He slipped on his sandals to hand deliver the message. Was there a *relation between the uptick in yokai activity and the story of the Mountain with Eyes? Would it be wise to *disturb such a large yokai? It may wish to be left in *solitude. Mountains’ moods changed with the weather. I certainly didn’t want to *tangle with it, if didn’t wish to share its story. But surely, it wouldn’t mind a single *question.

My rumination halted when Reizei returned, diving from the sky at full speed to meet me on the veranda. His wings flicked open to slow his descent. My tree’s leaves flutter wildly in the gust.

“I have news! The historic society dug up an obscure reference. They say *telltale sign of the mountain’s location is that it sits directly in the river.”

Follow We combed the map for anything that matched the clue. Bingo! A *branch ran into the Nonogawa river!

*Dread crept in and clung. Approaching this powerful yokai had no *undo. We’d face the consequences, good or bad. LiminalChronicles Reizei tested an idea that allowed me to stay put and yet help explore. On his camera’s lens, he opened a small portal allowing me to see his surroundings and communicate. Then he took to the sky.

Would we be able to *build rapport with the mountain? LiminalChronicles

I couldn’t *feel the wind rushing by, but I could hear it. Seeing *lush forest below took my breath away. My own perspective had been limited as a ground dweller.

Reizei quietly landed across the river from the remote mountain.

Still, the *event had been noticed. Bulbous eyes, much larger than my house, opened as if awakening from a deep sleep. The ridge blinked slowly.

Reizei waited for several moments. “Master?”

I gulped. Despite earlier rehearsals, my mind blanked. My host tree quaked in *protest over the mountain spirit's presence despite being on the other side of the portal window. This is your opportunity to *influence generations and share this kami’s story if you just muster the courage to ask. LiminalChronicles

My voice emerged as a squeak. “Great mountain spirit, apologies for disturbing your slumber. My associate and I wish to hear your story, to save it for posterity.”

The ground rumbled violently. Reizei’s cellphone blared a *major earthquake warning. Reizei took to the sky for safety.

*Twilight’s soft hues were blotted out as the mountain emerged from the river, cresting higher and higher above the horizon.

My heart sank. Did our chance *vanish? All of Japan must have felt the tremors. The enormous peak leaned to hover over Reizei and my view from the portal. Darkness from the spirit’s shadow *heralded early *night. Its eyes glowed bright, fixed on me through the portal window my tengu friend shakily held. The mountain’s words emerged painfully slow, rumbling like *thunder, sending quakes in every direction. “For centuries I slept, *ignored. Yet you, who won’t even set foot on the base of my vastness, dare to ask me for my tale? Cowardice!” Reizei perched on a sturdy branch, *waiting an hour to verify the spirit was done speaking—lest we be *banned from its presence. Finally, I said, “I am kodama, my host tree grew difficult to move. We’re working on a means of transport.” LiminalChronicles “A kodama tied to a bonsai pot? Humanity’s *avarice knows no bounds.” The ground shook so violently, it liquefied.

My hands waved frantically. “Great Mountain Spirit, until me, no kodama had the pleasure of travelling to record yokai stories!” The *rollercoaster shaking subsided. Reizei fluffed his feathers, settling in as we waited again.

Dawn hid inside a thick, misty *gloom. Rumbling startled Reizei and I awake.

“I am Hoshi. My tale is one of *war.” LiminalChronicles

*Fear could have no *quarter. I fetched my notebook, praying the telling wouldn’t shake Japan to pieces.

The mountain said, “I am a *celestial spirit, cast down to earth. Hideous from the impact, I was driven out of every province. LiminalChronicles My *state was rage against the King of the Moon, the one who condemned me for daring to court the moon princess, Kaguya-hime. He tried to subdue me with tsunami tides. I shoot molten rock back and tethered myself to the land with boulders and trees. I destroyed everything in my path. It led the Moon King to set a *horrible *precedent. I would have preferred death. For, he cursed me to be this mountain and watch my beloved marry another—in slow motion, over and over. LiminalChronicles “Unable to *unearth from this spot and free my love from a marriage I was sure she didn’t want, I gave into depression. My tears flowed into this stream, making it a powerful river.” As he spoke, water threatened to overflow the *shoreline. LiminalChronicles Tremors grew *gargantuan. The river surged, washing trees and boulders away. I shouldn’t have disturbed this slumbering giant. Would his long held grief shake apart and flood the Nonogawa River Valley? Would residents be able to reach high ground?

Quickly, I had the maid dial 119. I bellowed at the poor operator, “Flash flooding at the fork of the Nonogawa River!” The operator kept his wits. Soon the civil defense sirens went *viral. I prayed my foolish story collecting couldn’t cost life. The mountain’s eyes *swept over me through the portal, just before Reizei took to the sky to escape the raging river. “Danger? Where?” the mountain asked.

“From your angry earthquakes and tears!” Reizei shouted with more than a *trace of the same emotion in his voice.

The mountain’s gasped, spewing a vent of scalding sulphurous air. Reizei was on the edge and lost wing feathers. He plummeted.

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