(Title – 在りし日 – Arishihi – Days of Yore)
“Respected elder, are you Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto ?” Kichirō asked.
(「月夜見の尊」Moon God, brother of Amaterasu)
“Wow, you can be this formal?” Mizudori chuckled.
Kichirō just glared at the blue ‘rabbit’ which made the other keep quiet.
“I am not who you think I am,” the old man said.
“I apologize for this young one’s intrusion but is it possible for us to know who you are, respected elder?” Kichirō politely said while he bowed toward the old man.
The old man, who was now standing before Kichirō and Mizudori, raised one of his arms and started patting Kichirō’s head.
“Ehh?” Kichirō was astonished by the actions of the old man.
“Ho ho, this old man is your own Ojīsan, Takeru. I didn’t know my grandson would be this cute, heh,” Takeru chuckled.
“Hmm? You’re Ojīsan? How come you’re wearing ancient clothing?” Kichirō looked puzzled as he asked the old man.
“This is my real form. Takeru is just one of my reincarnates. My real name is Sadamori. I used to be a high priest who served in the shrine of Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto. I was sent here to help you.”
“Help? In what way?”
“He he, I know that you have this ability that you got from Tsukuyomi-no-Mikoto. That’s the reason why you can see, hear and talk with me. We know that you have been through a lot. Let’s just say Ojīsan is here to make up for the lost time.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Oho, you remind me of your Otōsan, Akihiko. A very curious child. We have been watching you ever since. I know everything that happened. I’m here to help you. But before anything else, would you be kind enough to give your Ojīsan a dango?” Sadamori grinned.
“Oh. Let me get you some.” Kichirō got a few dangos from the pouch that he brought out from his bag earlier. He suddenly realized something: “Ojīsan, how can you eat this when you’re a spirit?”
“You can just offer it to me. The dead can get the essence of the food that is offered to them by anyone.” Sadamori sat down on a low-lying branch of the tree and waved his hand to signal Kichirō to come over.
Kichirō happily went toward his grandfather as he carried the dangos he took on top of the rock. “Here Ojīsan.”
“Domo. Itadakimasu~” While Sadamori was eating, he looked at Kichirō who was earnestly staring at him. He cleared his throat and started talking: You and this little fur ball have quite a history.”
“Wait. Ojīsan, we actually know each other?” Kichirō looked at Mizudori who was floating beside him.
“Really?!?” Mizudori glanced as well at Kichirō. “How are we related, Respected Priest?”
“You will find out soon. Now, I won’t take much of your time. I will help you correct the past and prevent a big misfortune. You will travel back in time…”
“Is that even possible?” The two said in unison.
“Yes. There isn’t anything impossible with your Ojīsan ho ho ho,” Sadamori proudly laughed.
“Ren, your grandfather is a lunatic narcissist,” Mizudori whispered.
“Hey I heard that,” Sadamori narrowed his eyes.
“He’s very childish, too,” Mizudori added.
“I heard that, too. Do you really want my help or not?”
“Ha ha, I was just joking, Respected Priest.”
“Fine, fine. I have to go now. I need to feed the usagis on the moon,” Sadamori waved his hand in hurry and then flicked his fingers.
In an instant, everything around Kichirō and Mizudori disappeared. Earlier, they were immersed in darkness, now, everything around them was bright. It was so bright that they could not even open their eyes. Kichirō and Mizudori were both floating as if there was no gravity to pull them down.
“Ren, I can’t see. It’s so bright?”
“Neither can I. Stay close to me or else we would float aimlessly,” Kichirō yelled.
Their voices echoed within this bright space. They could not hear nor see anything. It was deafeningly silent and blindingly bright. The two, who were floating aimlessly earlier then froze, as if time stopped. The bright light was sucked by a black hole, to who-knows-where, that was fast approaching the two. They both struggled in an attempt to move away from the ominous, dark, swirling void; yet, all attempts were futile. They could only move their eyes and nothing else. With the speed of the light, a strong force pulled them toward the eye of the black hole.
“Waaah~~~!!!” The two screamed.
“I don’t wanna die, Ren!” Mizudori sobbed.
“You’re already dead!”
“I want to be reincarnated of course, hu hu…”
The two were forced to close their eyes out of fear. As they were pulled within the unknown void, memories of the olden days flashed before their minds. It was like a flashback; yet, they were fleeting and were extremely difficult to comprehend.
When Kichirō realized that everything stopped. He slowly opened his eyes. His eyes were blurry at first but after blinking a few times, he saw a familiar ceiling. He looked around and saw a familiar closet, a familiar armchair — everything was familiar. He came to a realization that he was lying on his old bed in Shinjuku. He looked down and checked his clothes, his hands… He was profusely sweating and was breathing fast. Was I having nightmares again? He gasped for air and closed his eyes.
“Ren! What place is this?” A voice came over.
“Waaah! Mizudori? I wasn’t dreaming?” Kichirō screamed.
“Don’t scream like you saw a ghost. Everything was real. I’m real. You could see me. Now, care to tell me where we are?” Mizudori brushed his fur with his paws as he gazed at Kichirō.
“This is my old room in Shinjuku.”
“Ehh? We really traveled in time?”
“I don’t know,” Kichirō was baffled, himself. There’s only one way to find out. He looked at the calendar that was hanging on the wall. His eyes grew big when he saw it was showing the figures 2, 0, 0, and 5. This is the year 2005? This is when I was in the 11th grade… which means… “We really traveled back in time!”
“Wow this is so cool. At least we could hit two birds with one stone. You can fix your past and I could find out who I am,” Mizudori fantasized.
Kichirō’s eyes grew even wider when he realized that this was the night before he and Shirō met for the first time. He immediately got up of the bed and hurriedly said: Kuso! Shirō and I will meet tomorrow morning. This is going to be our first meeting!”
Mizudori was lying sideways with one of his paws supporting his head as he floated: “You make me curious about this Shirō fellow. Are you really just friends?”
“… Yeah, why?” Kichirō hesitated to respond.
“Judging by how you reacted, you looked like someone who was excited to see their lover after a long time, ha ha!” Mizudori laughed out loud.
“Shut up! My parents will hear you,” Kichirō gritted his teeth as he called out Mizudori.
“Silly, you want me to shut up when it’s only you who could hear me. And to think that you always reminded me that I’m already dead and that I can’t do what living things can do,” Mizudori narrowed his eyes and furrowed his brows.
Suddenly, someone knocked hard on the door. “Kichirō, go to sleep. It’s already midnight!” It was Fumiko.
“Sorry, Okāsan. I was having a bad dream,” Kichirō reacted.
“Go back to sleep then. Remember you will go out early later.”
After that, Kichirō and Mizudori heard Fumiko’s footsteps as she walked away.
“Phew! That was close. I never thought your mother was this scary.”
“You haven’t seen anything yet. Now hush, let’s go to sleep. I’ll have to find out what to do tomorrow. Shirō will confess to me.”