According to the letter, a man by the name of Yoshi Ando had gotten a strange sort of disease: his wife reported that it started a few weeks ago when he started speaking absolute gibberish, even during sleep he wouldn’t stop mumbling and never slept well. They’d seen many doctors who couldn’t find any reason for this illness but ‘stress’. He’d tried all sorts of medicinal treatments, homeopathic remedies, none of which helped. Also, his appetite had increased to enormous proportions, consuming ten bowls of rice for each meal. She was afraid about what could be happening to him and had turned to a monastery for support and they’d recommended the Underground Assembly and that had led to my receiving the missive.
My supply of spell scrolls was running low, but staring at my ink and brush pen set and a stack of pencil-trace scripture paper, waiting to be completed, all I wanted to do was curl up in a fetal position and cry. Not necessarily in that order.
The Hyakki Yako (百鬼夜行), or the Night Parade of One Hundred Monsters, is one of the more well-known Japanese folklore tales, frequently a subject of old paintings like this one:
Dinner was always a noisy affair. It was the one time of the day that all four of us would see each other and catch up.
“And she was like, so we take the same math course, can I get your notes and…”
“I can’t use this freaking text because it’s too ‘common’, what the hell does that mean?”
“There’s going to be a PTA conference on Friday, so I’m going to be a little late…”
By ‘catch up’ I meant everyone having their own conversation, and you just tried to catch whatever was tossed out.
Gosenbo-san was something of an anomaly, or a travesty, depending on your view. He was a high-tier youkai, old and powerful, and he was helping the sworn enemy of youkai everywhere. Gosenbo-san had been an ally of my grandmother’s, she was a liberal – she believed not all youkai were inherently evil as so many of them had come from humans after all, and it was possible for the two species to live together.