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Bah, lying around like this is depressing. Covering my mouth with one hand as I yawned, I stood back up. Leaning against my dresser was my trusty old buddy: my scythe. I snatched it up by the chain attached to the bottom of the snath, letting the blade dangle in the air as I wrapped the chain around my right arm. I gripped the shaft with the same hand, letting it rest on my shoulder as I walked out of my room.
My scythe is my pride and joy. I polish it at the end of everyday. While the rustic and wicked look would add to a degree of intimidation, I preferred the more clean, professional look. It was the symbol of us shinigami, after all. Everyone carried one around, even the office workers and the ferrymen. And it’s just badass.
Now then, I suppose I should go pay a visit to whoever was in charge of bringing the souls over to Higan, huh? I think the Boss said her name was Onizuka or something like that. I’m pretty bad with names. I’m surprised I still remember my own name, actually.
With that in mind, I left the palace of Hell, ascending to the world above. My destination, of course, would be the Sanzu River.
The Sanzu River.
It’s a pretty well-known river separating the world of the living from the place of judgment. It’s a pretty desolate place. The only ones ever around are us shinigami and deposited souls.
I also happen to hate this place.
It’s so quiet. And foggy. Seriously, I can’t see with all this mist around. It’s so thick you can never tell if it’s day or night. You never hear anything either. The river barely flows, so you can’t even hear the sound of running water. Just us, occasionally, when we decide we want to be loud.
I touched down on the bank, on the side of the living. Bending down, I plunged my hand into the slow current of the water, as a spectral form of a ruined fish passed through my hand. Everything in the river was already dead. Even the soul-devouring monster fishies.
If the living tried to swim or boat their way across, they’d sink right to the bottom, to either drown or be consumed. If they tried to fly across, they would be lost in the mist until they were forced to go back the way they came, lest they remain to wander around forever. No living being has ever made across to Higan.
Standing back up, I turned away from the river. Let’s see… I’m pretty sure this was her designated area, and I see her boat there on the bank. She should be around here somewhere.
… After about twenty minutes of aimless searching, I found her after taking a look inside of her boat. She was lying there, just snoring her troubles away. Fabulous, my new coworker is a slacker. Whatever, not my problem. Could be worse. She could be an old, ugly hag, which she wasn’t.
She was a woman with short, reddish pink hair, wearing a colorful outfit consisting of a blue and pinkish-white dress. Wrapped around her waist was a belt with a large coin tied at the center, which really helped to accentuate… the most notable part of her body.
She sure looked carefree, even though surrounding her was a bunch of souls that needed to be ferried. That kind of irked me. Why was I the one that got demoted when this one wasn’t even doing her job very diligently?
As I turned my gaze away from her drooling face, I noticed a small wrapping at the end of her boat. Out of curiosity, and totally not ill intent, I guarantee you, I opened it up. Inside were neatly packed rice balls. You know, come to think of it, I hadn’t eaten anything all day. Well, since she was being so defenseless, I may as well teach her a lesson…
I grabbed one of the rice balls, biting off half of it in a single chomp. Hmm… pretty bland. Could use a little more substance in it than just rice. I turned away, leaning against the side of the boat as I looked out to the river while chewing what I had in my mouth.
Eh? Oh crap, she’s waking up. Quickly, I stuffed the rest of the rice ball into my mouth, almost swallowing the thing whole. Argh, I’m choking!
“Ahhh… that was a nice nap. Eh, who’re you? You okay there?”
Pounding my chest, I turned around. Damn, I nearly died there! Or at least, as close as I could get to dying, anyway. The ferrywoman was sitting up now, rubbing her eyes as she took a closer look at me.
I said, raising my scythe in greeting. But goddamn, that was embarrassing. First impression I make on her is nearly choking to death. But at least she didn’t catch me eating her lunch… yet.
The woman let out a loud yawn as she stepped out of the boat, carrying her own scythe with her.
“Eh? Another shinigami? I don’t think I’ve seen you around before… Did something happen?”
She said, walking closer to me, balancing her scythe on her shoulders. What, wasn’t she informed about me coming here?
“… I’m the new reaper here. Didn’t your boss tell you anything?”
I said, cracking my neck as I gave her a puzzled look.
“Huh? Ehhh, she might have said something yeah, but if she did, I don’t remember.”
Totally reliable, this one.
“Anyway, I’ll be working with you from now on, so I thought I’d drop by and say hi.”
“Oh. Well, nice to meetcha. My name’s Onozuka Komachi.”
Giving a friendly grin, she extended her hand to me, which I took and shook.
“Kitoshirowha? That’s kind of a mouthful, so can I call ya Sho?”
“Sure, why not. I hate it when people say all of it, anyway.”
Saying that, I grabbed a soul that was floating by near me. It was cold to the touch, but felt very soft. It started squirming in my hands as I tugged and pinched it.
“… By the way, shouldn’t you be working already? You’ve got plenty of souls here to ferry over.”
I said absentmindedly, tossing the soul away like it was a baseball.
“Oh, right, right!”
She put on a good natured grin as she walked back over to her boat.
“I was just putting it off ‘til after I had lunch, you know? Can’t work on an empty stoma- Wah!”
Komachi quickly jumped back into the boat, crouching down with a distressed look on her face.
I said, looking as innocent as I could as I walked over to her.
“Ahh… someone stole part of my lunch!”
She exclaimed, looking tearful. Oh come on. It was one rice ball. If you get so upset, I’m really going to feel like crap.
I managed to say with a straight face. It broke my heart to do so. Really.
She quickly regained her spirits as she picked up the two remaining rice balls with her hands, jumping back out of the boat.
“Here, you want one?”
Komachi said, offering one of them to you. Urk. Way to further rub in the guilt, lady.
“… Nah, I’ll pass. I’m not hungry.”
“Well, alright then. More for me!”
She said brightly as she bit into a rice ball, happily chewing it. Well, she was certainly a bright and carefree person, wasn’t she? Still, I gotta wonder if she really doesn’t suspect me of stealing her food at all.
Well, now that we were introduced…
[ ] I should continue on beyond the mountains, right?
[ ] I should stay here, and maybe strike up a conversation or two.