Hello everyone, I hope you are well. Today, I bring you the first chapter of this new story based on the videogame Genshin Impact, starring my favorite characters from it: Ayaka and Kazuha. This story has been rolling around in my head for a long time, and since I've recently finished the Inazuma arc, I've decided to bring it to life once and for all. It's initially written in Spanish, and I'll simultaneously try to translate it into English. I don't have much experience with this, so bear with me if any translations end up being "weird."
The story will be somewhat of a prequel to the Inazuma arc featured in the game, but with several changes to the events narrated, the backgrounds of various characters, and a few tweaks to their personalities and motivations. The core of everything you know about the game will still be here. Still, it's worth mentioning that I'll be taking a few freedoms to give everything a more narrative feel and, of course, adjust things to what I want to tell. For this reason, perhaps the correct thing would be to say that the story will touch a bit on the Alternate Universe or the Canon Divergent. From my side, I see it more as a reinterpretation of the Inazuma arc and its characters.
As I said before, the story will mainly focus on Ayaka and Kazuha, but it will also star various other Inazuma characters like Thoma, Sara, Ayato, Tomo, and many more. Likewise, several OCs (or Original Characters) will be introduced to support or complement the story.
At the end of each chapter, I will try to add some explanatory notes when I think it is necessary. But if you have any questions or require clarification, you can leave them in the comments.
Without further ado, let's begin...
Take my sadness with you
Even at eight, Kamisato Ayaka had always distinguished herself as an obedient and helpful girl, who did what the people told her, and never gave any trouble to her parents, her brother, the servants, or anyone. And for this reason, when in that spring afternoon they informed her that her brother would have an important meeting with his advisers, and she should not interrupt them or even approach the room where they were, she did not hesitate to abide by the instruction as it had been given.
However, the young Kamisato's fervent tendency to obey was tested when she began to perceive her name among the discreet whispers of the servants. It was also accompanied by phrases of great weight such as "the future of the clan" or more... striking words such as "engagement" and "marriage."
Although Ayaka was unable to connect how all that related to each other, especially to her, it was still enough to make her childish curiosity vibrate and put aside her duty for the first time in several years.
The little girl walked stealthily through the corridors of the Kamisato Estate in the direction of the room that had they said to her bluntly not to go near. There were no servants or guards on sight, which was helpful. She then stood just outside the wooden door to try to listen to the mysterious conversation that was taking place inside; she practically had her ear glued to it.
The clearest and most recognizable voice to her was that of his older brother, Ayato.
"So, the Kaedehara clan," she heard him mutter with the usual seriousness that he uses at such meetings. "Yes, I think my father spoke to me a little about that family and its outstanding warriors."
"Indeed," Ayaka heard someone else's voice respond with moderate emotion right after, possibly one of her father's old advisers, who were now his brother's. "The swordsmen of the Kaedehara clan are some of the most skilled in all over Inazuma. Having their loyalty solely to the Kamisato clan would be invaluable."
"I understand," Ayato muttered, actually sounding somewhat indifferent to that allegation. "But, is having the loyalty of a clan of swordsmen really that important in a time of peace like the one we live in? Especially if the price is my sister's hand."
"My hand?" Ayaka thought, confused, frowning slightly. What exactly were they talking about? And what did she have to do with all this?
Inside the room, they were first, of course, the young master of the house, Kamisato Ayato, only fifteen years old. Sitting behind him, guarding his rear, was Thoma, his bodyguard and friend of the same age. And in front of them were three men, clearly older than the two young men; they were even older than the former clan leader was.
At that time, Ayato had just recently taken the clan's leadership after his father's death, and little by little, he was soaking up all these matters. But despite his agile mind and sharp intelligence, it was clear that he still had a lot to learn; and at times, his advisors seemed to want to use that to their advantage.
Even so, it was pretty clear to him that engaging her sister to anyone, while she was still so young, was not a decision he should take lightly.
What would his father have decided in his place...?
"If history has shown us anything, it is that peace is fleeting, my lord," another of the councilors added, bowing his head respectfully. "You never know what changes will come tomorrow."
"Not in Shogun Raiden's Eternal Inazuma," Ayato replied quite confidently. "Isn't that what she promised? Perpetual and immovable peace and prosperity?"
"Yes, of course," another of the older men answered, a little hesitantly. "Our beloved and powerful Archon will always be here, taking care of the prosperity of our people even after all of us have departed. But there are small situations far from requiring the intervention or interest of a deity like her. And for these kinds of issues, a man like you must consolidate his position, especially with the other commissioners. Having powerful allies will make you a powerful lord."
"And, of course, this is not just for your benefit, my lord," the third of the men quickly interjected. "You need to think about Lady Ayaka, also. There are many candidates to be her future husband, and we can review the entire list if you wish. But the three of us agree that this young man is undoubtedly the best prospect; politically, economically, and is also the same age and upbringing as her. And we know that you will indeed conclude the same."
The advisors were quite insistent, but Ayato was still quite hesitant.
While his lord was deep in the discussion, Thoma was aware of a slight noise coming from the door behind him. And by focusing his attention on that point, he became aware of the presence of someone on the other side; someone who had apparently been there for a while.
Moving discreetly so as not to attract too much attention from the others in the room (or from the person hidden in the hallway), the blond-haired young man backed toward the door. He got down on his knees right in front of it, opening it just a crack so he could peer out. On the other side, a surprised Ayaka flinched, backing away a bit and raising her sheepish gaze to the boy. He smiled back at her gently.
"It's not suitable for you to spy behind doors, my lady," the servant muttered under his breath, sounding very much like a scolding.
"I'm sorry," Ayaka whispered embarrassedly, lowering her flushed face a little.
"You don't need to apologize to me. But you'd better get out before your brother sees you. Okay?"
Ayaka nodded without looking at him and walked down the hall without complaint, even quickening her pace a bit. Once he was sure that lady Kamisato had moved far enough away, Thoma closed the door again.
"Is everything okay, Thoma?" Ayato muttered at that moment, turning to see the young servant over his shoulder.
"A minor matter, my lord," he answered in a friendly voice, approaching and sitting down behind Ayato again. He nodded, although something in his eyes told him that he did not fully believe those words. But there would be time to explain the situation directly to him when there weren't so many curious ears.
"Could I at least meet the boy before making a decision?" Ayato inquired, turning back to the advisors.
"Of course," one of them exclaimed happily. "In fact, he and his entourage came especially to have an audience with you."
Ayato nodded, apparently pleased.
— — — —
Embarrassed at being caught in her first disobedience in years, Ayaka walked down the hall with her head down. The obedient part of her seemed to be retaking control, berating herself for doing just what they told her not to do. She didn't know if Thoma would end up exposing it to her brother, but being the way he is, Ayato would indeed find it out sooner or later anyway. And when that time came, she would only have to accept the corresponding punishment.
The most conscious part of her had that all clear. However, there was still enough in the little Kamisato that was more interested in what she managed to hear and understand from the conversation...
Were they talking about her? And more importantly: were they talking about who she would marry?
Ayaka had already had a talk about it with her mother a long time ago. Back then, she had told her that when the time came, a suitable person would be chosen to be her life partner and that it would be her duty as a Kamisato to abide by the clan head's wish. Ayaka had understood it (or thought she had). Still, it felt like something quite far away that corresponded to an Ayaka from the future that she would never even meet.
And now it seemed that "Ayaka from the future" was right there, walking with her feet down that corridor.
The sound of several agitated voices nearby caught her attention, forcing her to pause for a moment and lookup. With some surprise, she realized which wing of the house she was in. Up ahead, a few meters from where she was standing, was Kamisato Kayo's room; her mother. Ayaka had headed there without even thinking about it, perhaps guided by the memory of that old conversation.
The bustle that had distracted her had come from that room; apparently, it was the voices of several maids, speaking and giving instructions to each other. And below them, intense and tearing coughs could also be heard.
Ayaka fearfully began to advance towards that door, which was half open at the time. She hadn't been explicitly instructed not to go near that room, as they had that afternoon with the meeting room. However, somehow or other, the youngest Kamisato stayed away from that place consciously or unconsciously.
Peeking her small blue eyes through the door opening, she caught sight of her mother's figure on her bed, leaning to the side coughing as the maids tried to help her. But what perhaps caught the girl's attention the most was a noticeable red stain on the white lining covering her mother's legs.
She was coughing up blood once again...
That left the girl quite impressed, so much so that it was even impossible for her to look away. For this reason, she did not realize when her presence was noticed by the maids, nor that one of them was approaching the door until she was practically standing in front of her, covering the image of her mother with her body.
"Don't worry, lady Ayaka," the older woman murmured, giving her a (forced) smile. "Lady Kayo is fine. The doctor is coming to see her."
She tried to speak kindly and sweetly to her as almost all servants tried to do. However, Ayaka realized that it was not easy for her to stay that way. And before she could question anything, the maid slid the door to the side to close it completely.
Before Ayaka's vision of the interior of the room completely disappeared, she caught a brief glimpse of her mother turning towards her, propped up against her pillow. Her eyes seemed so dull and her face so thin that it was very difficult for Ayaka to recognize her. When the door closed completely, and she couldn't see her anymore, a part of her was even a little grateful...
Ayaka moved faster down the hall, away from her mother's door without looking back.
Her father had passed away not long ago. Her mother was very ill, and her brother now carried the full responsibility of being the clan leader. Ayaka put a lot of effort into her studies and preparation to not be a burden but rather a substantial support for her family. Still, there was really very little she could actually do.
Except engaged to marriage, apparently.
If she weighed it against everything her brother had to do or what her mother was going through at the moment, getting married was a small and easy task. If that was what was required of her, she would do it without protest; obedient and helpful, as she had always been...
As she passed through the corridor next to the house's back garden, something new caught her eye. She turned for a second in that direction, and there, sitting on one of the rocks and surrounded by all the cherry trees, she saw the figure of a strange person and out of place.
It was a boy; or at least from her position, it seemed like that. He had platinum blonde hair so light it almost looked white as snow. He was now with his back to her, sitting on the stone looking up at the sky, or perhaps at the hundreds of pink petals floating in the air above him.
He didn't seem familiar to Ayaka at all. In fact, as far as she knew, the only child at the Kamisato Estate was herself.
Intrigued, she began to approach with a cautious step. That boy didn't seem to notice her presence, or at least he didn't show it. And when she was close enough, Ayaka could hear him repeatedly muttering something under his breath...
"Take my sadness... spring flower... No... Take my sadness with you... No... Sweet spring flower..."
The boy blurted out several similar phrases in that span of time, feeling a bit of dismay in his voice. Ayaka stood right behind him, waiting for him to finish so she wouldn't interrupt him. She had to wait several seconds before the stranger took a few moments of silent reflection, allowing her to speak properly.
"Hello, what are you doing here?"
The boy let out a small groan, which reminded her a little of when her father was thinking deeply about something. Then he looked up at the sky again and answered in a soft and carefree voice:
"I'm trying to make a haiku inspired by this setting and moment, but the proper arrangement of words eludes me."
"Oh... I see," the young Kamisato muttered under her breath. Actually, she was referring to what he was doing there in her yard, but she thought it would be a little impolite of her to contradict him.
The mysterious boy continued to recite his poem a few more times. He repeated the same ideas about flowers flying in the air and taking his sadness with them. However, he couldn't seem to accommodate them in a way that would completely satisfy him.
Ayaka also looked up and saw the petals dancing above them, blown away by the slightest blizzard. And then she felt identified with that idea, about how nice it would be if her worries and fears were blown away by the wind as easily as cherry blossoms.
And then, almost without thinking, the young Kamisato spoke slowly and steadily the words that were going through her head at that moment:
"Fleeting spring flower... you take my sadness with you... flying in the wind..."
The boy turned to see her at that moment, a little surprised apparently. Ayaka could see his white face and his unique reddish eyes until then. It seemed to Ayaka that he might be the same age as her. Also, he was cute...
After a while, the stranger turned up again and softly whispered the exact words Ayaka had spoken, making them sound almost like a beautiful chant.
"I like it," the boy concluded with measured glee.
"Yeah, me too," Ayaka added.
Right after that, she walked over to the same stone the mysterious boy was standing on and allowed herself to sit down next to him.
"Why are you sad?" she asked suddenly, apparently taking his companion by surprise. "You said you would like the wind to take your sadness away. Why are you sad?"
The boy looked at her for a while, perhaps a little hesitant about how to answer that question. In the end, he turned his gaze away, as if embarrassed, and answered in a low voice:
"It's just a poem..."
Ayaka nodded silently, not intending to over-press.
"What's your name?" she asked then, outlining a friendly smile.
The subject change seemed to encourage the stranger to turn back to her.
"I'm Kazuha. And you?"
The young Kamisato opened her mouth, ready to answer him, but someone else beat her to it.
"Ayaka," she heard her brother's voice shout behind them.
Turning on their shoulders, both kids saw the young head of the Kamisato clan approaching down the hall, followed a few steps behind by Thoma and his three advisors. In Ayato Kamisato's eyes, there was some bewilderment at seeing his sister with... that boy. However, he tried to hide it behind one of his almost famous affable smiles.
"Young master Kazuha, I guess," Ayato muttered, lowering his feet from the wooden-floored hallway to the garden lawn. He then proceeded to cautiously approach the two boys. Thoma and the councilors waited in place, but the four of them had their attention focused on what was happening before them.
The boy, introduced as Kazuha, turned on the stone and stood up from it, with outstanding agility, planting his feet firmly on the ground in front of the young commissioner.
"Lord Kamisato," he greeted, leaning his body forward with the appropriate respect that the position of the person in front of him required. "It's an honor to be in your presence, my lord. I, Kaedehara Kazuha, will be your loyal servant if you allow me."
That sentence seemed to Ayato... a bit artificial. But not necessarily negatively or condescendingly, but rather as if the boy had to rehearse it and repeat it so many times, to the point where it totally lost its meaning for him. Ayato sensed that this must be the work of his family. They had put a heavy burden on him to impress the Kamisato leader, despite being so young; similar to Ayaka, in a way.
"What were you doing here?" Ayato asked, now turning to his sister.
"We were doing a haiku, brother," Ayaka replied with total sincerity.
"A haiku?" Ayato asked, a bit surprised and certainly curious. Kazuha nodded, reaffirming what the girl had said. "Would you mind reciting it for me, Lord Kaedehara?"
Kazuha jumped, apparently a bit taken aback by the request. Surely his family hadn't instructed him how to recite poetry in front of the commissioner Yashiro.
He turned briefly to Ayaka, who smiled back at him, nodding her head. Kazuha took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and spoke those words, which came out of his mouth floating on their own in the air.
"Fleeting spring flower... you take my sadness with you... flying in the wind..."
That sounded much more sincere to Ayato. If he had to interpret it in any way, it would be that those were words spoken by the real Kazuha Kaedehara and not the version that his family wanted to present to him.
That brought a small smile to the young commissioner's lips.
"Do you like haikus, lord Kaedehara?"
Kazuha seemed to hesitate again.
"I don't know... I guess I'm not very good at them..."
"Well, the truth is that I'm not either," Ayato answered humorously. "But Ayaka is more versed in that sort of thing, isn't she?"
Ayaka jumped, a little nervous at his sudden mention.
"I... well..." stammered the girl, unable to answer anything clearly.
"Yes, she actually helped me put it into its final shape," Kazuha stated abruptly.
"There it is, I knew it!" Ayato added between laughs.
All this caused the girl's face to turn red with grief without being able to avoid it.
"Well, Ayaka," she heard her brother murmur, actually sounding more like commissioner Yashiro's usual seriousness. "Why don't you take your new friend on a tour of the house?"
"Friend?" Ayaka muttered, a little surprised, almost as if that word was... unknown to her. "Ah, sure... this way, sir... lord... ah..."
Ayaka hesitated a bit on how to refer to that boy. She almost always had to deal with adults, and she rarely interacted with someone her own age. So all of that was kind of new to her.
Her uncertainty was quite evident, so the boy decided to come to her rescue without being asked.
"You can call me Kazuha if you don't mind me calling you Ayaka."
"No!" exclaimed the blue-haired girl, perhaps with more impetus than necessary. "I mean... Yeah, okay... This way, Kazuha."
Ayaka started to walk across the courtyard, and Kazuha followed a few steps behind. As they walked, the girl was seen trying to speak to her visitor between nervous stammers. Still, he seemed somewhat distracted by the leaves floating above them and barely answered her with a word or two. Passing by the three senior councilors, they offered each one a reverence and even spoke a few words of glee. All this under the watchful eye of Kamisato Ayato.
"And what do you think, my lord?" Thoma asked suddenly, approaching him.
"At first glance, I like him," Ayato replied. "But the important thing is if Ayaka likes him. Let them get to know each other a little. And, who knows?; engagement or not, maybe Ayaka can at least make a friend for a change."
Thoma nodded in agreement with his statement.
No one would have imagined at that moment that, some time later, Ayato would regret even allowing his little sister to meet that kid.
—For this story, among other things, I will take the freedom of specifying the ages of various characters on my own. I really don't know if there is a reliable or official source for these, but for practical purposes, I decided to adjust them to my interpretation of each character. In this context, Ayaka and Kazuha are considered to be the same age, being around 18 years old at present. Ayato and Thoma, for their part, would be about 24 or 25.
—This first chapter was mainly a flashback, but we will jump ahead ten years later from the next chapter. Still, throughout the following chapters, we will continue to have some other flashbacks of Ayaka and Kazuha as children. Still, mostly we will be in the present.
Obrigado pela leitura!
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