Part 1


I don't know if this will get to you, or even if I'll ever send it, but I need to say this, if only on parchment. I've only known you for a short time, but in those few months I feel as if my entire life has started over.

Every day, it's getting harder to just be your friend, instead of something more. I want so much to be part of your life, beyond just that of seishi to seishi. At first, you were enjoyable to be around because you were amusing, and easy to tease. But lately I find myself searching out your company for more than just amusement. Your very presence has become addicting, and I have no wish to fight it.

Ever since the first time I saw you, and you pointed at me, asking just _what_ I was, I've merely thought how cute you look, shocked and suprised. I can't help but think of you as beautiful, with your golden eyes and sunset hair. And the fangs add a definite charm to the mix. Add that to the body a god would despair of owning, and even at your most offensive, I find you irresistable.

But it's not just physical attraction. If it was, I could just wait it out and it would eventually fade. Your spirit and personality draw me to you constantly. Your soul is like a burning flame, and I feel like the proverbial moth, constantly running the risk of getting burned, but shying away at the last second.

Your strength and courage alternately charm and astound me. You try to be strong for everyone, giving us, in turn, the strength to keep going, no matter the setbacks. And despite all your comments to the contrary, you expect nothing for yourself, and have put yourself in the line of danger for us many times. I don't think I could be so brave as to put yourself up where you can constantly be hurt.

When you cry, rare as it is, I find myself wanting desperately to go and comfort you. But my own cowardice makes me unable to move, and all I can do is watch helplessly. I wish I could be sure of your feelings, but I don't think you'd want me if asked.

Even as I write this letter, I'm watching you through my window. You look so lonely sometimes, and I wish I could be the one to take that loneliness away. As it is, I must content myself to watching you. Not that this is a bad thing. It's just a little embarassing to get aroused whenever I watch you doing katas. And I'm often VERY glad for my loose clothing and my mask, which hide most signs perfectly.

Whenever I'm away from you for some reason, I feel bereft, and constantly find myself thinking 'I wonder what he'd say if...' or 'How would he react to...' about any little event that happens around me. I'm never happier than when I'm around you, and it's dreams of you that keep me warm at night.

I love you, Tasuki. I always will.


Chichiri looked at the piece of sugar-coated drivel he had just composed. He really had it bad to be writing junk like that. Mind you, the alternative would be to write about exactly what I've been dreaming about DOING to him, and that would make for some very adult material no da. IF I didn't burn up the paper.

The monk sighed and got up, glancing again out at the person who had captured his heart. Tasuki was leaning against a tree and talking to Chiriko. Or at least, he was attempting to follow the subject that Chiriko was talking about. A genius, Tasuki was not.

Not that he was stupid. Not by any means. And Chichiri doubted that he'd have been so strongly attracted if he was. He just wasn't very good at subjects that didn't apply directly to him or his friends.

The bandit was listening, absently toying with his tessen while doing so. Chichiri's attention was caught by those strong hands, and a naughty flash of ideas of how they could be used in another situation.

This is getting really bad, no da. Either I need to go read some more erotic scrolls to blow off steam, or just give up and tell Tasuki no da. Maybe I _should_ send that letter no da.

Once again shaking off his moment of bemusement, Chichiri left the room. He'd wanted to get a bath before dinner, and he hated being rushed when trying to get clean. It was several hours after supper, and Chichiri found himself in an interesting situation. Tasuki and Nuriko had lured him into a debate over whether seishi could exist when there wasn't a Miko, and after Nuriko had pounded Tasuki twice, they'd needed a mediator. Thus, Chichiri had been drafted. Luckily for Tasuki's health, the discussion quickly sidetracked into other topics. Especially when a maid had delivered the sake bottles that Tasuki had asked for. The maid then handed an envelope to Tasuki, blushed furiously, and left.

"What's this?" wondered Tasuki, and opened the message. He read a few lines, then his eyes got very wide, and he turned a shade of red to match his hair.

"Oooh, what is it, Tasuki-chan?! Lemme see!" exclaimed Nuriko, leaning over his shoulder, also reading. He then also took on the wide eyes and huge blush. "That maid is very...inventive. I didn't know it was possible to use rice like that!"

Tasuki turned even redder, if possible, and Chichiri was caught thinking how cute he looked. Mentally slapping himself, he looked at Nuriko. "What is it, no da?" Nuriko grinned, getting his composture back. "It's a love note! And that maid has some very _original_ ideas of a good time. Lucky Tasuki! Ne, gonna take her up on it, Ta-chan? Ne? Ne?"

"Fuck, no! I hate girls, remember?!"

"Awww, I bet you're just shy! C'mon, go after her! It should be fun, ne?"

Tasuki glared at his friend. "No. I hate girls! And even if I was fuckin' tempted, I've already GOT someone I'm interested in! So lay off!"

If anything, this excited Nuriko more. "You DO?! Who is it? Is it someone I know?! Tellmetellmetellmetellmetellme!!!"

"#@@$% NO!!"

Chichiri, meanwhile, felt like a ton of bricks had just been dumped on his head. Tasuki had someone? The monk felt like crying. I should have talked to him sooner no da! Now it's too late!* Chichiri felt a burning need to find out who this person was and tear her throat out. Or get roaring drunk. Actually, getting drunk sounded better. Tearing a throat out tended to get messy.

Using the distraction of the fight to his advantage, he stole two of the sake bottles and got up, proclaiming to the room that he was going to bed. Tasuki and Nuriko were too busy trying to kill each other to notice. Once the monk reached his room, he opened one of the bottles and drank with the air of long practice. Just because the others never saw him drink didn't mean that he didn't. And while he'd never tried a few things that most men had by his age, he and Hikou had _definitely_ made their own dents in the bottles.

The thought of his late friend gave him pause. *I bet you're laughing, Hikou. I lost you and Kouran, thanks to my jealous stupidity. And now I've lost any chance with Tasuki because I was too scared to ask him. You'd probably find this hysterically funny. But then, you could find humor in just about anything.

Shaking his head to rid himself of the thought, Chichiri sat down on the bed, removed his mask, and proceeded to get really plastered.

"...but the hedgehog *hic* can never be buggered at all!!!" Chichiri sang, giggling. He straightened himself from the sort of sideways slouch he'd fallen into, only to immediately slip right back into it.

Two hours of steady drinking had made for a very smashed monk, but now that he'd achieved his original objective, he was bored. He'd already sung every bawdy song he knew, and after practically memorizing every erotic book and scroll in the library, he knew quite a few. "What to do, no da? I know! I'll practice my magic, no da!!!" With that seemingly brilliant plan in mind, Chichiri dug out a few practice scrolls that Taiitsukuun had given him when he'd left her mountain and started to practice.

"I think a transformation spell to start..." Chichiri's eye landed on a potted plant and he decided to try and change it into a statue of Suzaku. Chanting, he made a few mystic gestures...

And caught his hand in the sleeve of his yukata. After a few minutes of struggling to get free, he sat down, muttering what he thought were a few curses. *Or were those incantations? Well, it couldn't hurt, no da! More magic the merrier!* Chichiri gave a manic grin and finished the spell, looking at the potted plant expectantly. Nothing happened.

"K'so, no da!"

On the other side of the palace, Miaka and Tamahome were out under the stars, gazing lovingly at each other. "Tamahome..." Miaka whispered

. "Miaka..." Tamahome murmured.








"Mia- SKRAWK!!!"

Miaka stared in astonishment at the parrot that had replaced her beloved Tamahome. It was the same dark blue as Tamahome's hair, and obviously very put out.

Tamahome the Parrot wasn't too happy with this situation. What the hell had just happened?! One minute he's enjoying Miaka's company, the next, he's a bird! And he'd been hoping to actually get a kiss tonight! What else could go wrong?


Tamahome froze, turning around awkwardly. There was Tama-neko, with a decidedly predatory gaze in his eyes. Then, the cat pounced.



"MEOW!!! FFT!!!"

Feathers and fur flew everywhere, and it was a good ten minutes before Miaka was able to separate the two. Chichiri narrowed his eye in concentration. What to cast next? Where could he turn his talents now?

Chichiri suddenly grinned. He'd change Nuriko into a woman! Then maybe the emporor would actually pay some attention to him!  "Emporor-sama's just a *little* oblivious no da..." This time, Chichiri folded the sleeves of his yukata back before doing anything. *Okay, this spell's a little more complex. I'll need a diagram, no da. Lessee, am I supposed to use ginseng or mercury in the casting...? Aw, let's use both!

When the diagram was done, Chichiri noted the center was a little off to the left, but didn't see what harm it could do. He started the incantation...

Nuriko mentally screamed in frustration as she watched the emporor gaze longingly at Miaka. The Miko had burst into the room, holding a rather battered looking bird and claiming that it was Tamahome. Hotohori, of course, had not stopped looking at her since.

Chiriko, Mitsukake, and Tasuki had been brought in by the servants a few minutes ago, but the servants also said that Chichiri had locked his door for the night. So much for having the mage change him back.

Tasuki, meanwhile, found Tamahome's predicament to be extremely amusing. "I always knew he was a bird-brain!" Nuriko winced at the lame joke and was about to retort when the room suddenly filled with bright light, and everyone was knocked to the floor.

"What the fuck was that?!" said a suprised voice. There was a stunned silence.

"Chiriko, you've been spending waaay too much time around Tasuki." said Nuriko.


"Is everyone okay?" asked Tasuki.

Nuriko got to his feet with the rest and took stock of himself. He was fine, and so were the others. "Now my clothes are all rumpled!" complained Hotohori. Again there was a stunned silence.

"Hotohori-sama, since when were you a soprano?" exclaimed Mitsukake.

Hotohori looked confused. "Never! What happened to me?" Nuriko looked closely at the emporor. His eyes narrowed as he picked out certain curves and slight changes of body structure that shouldn't have been there. *Masaka...* Nuriko was about to say something when Tasuki beat him to it.

"Hotohori, are those BREASTS?!"

Nuriko winced at the lack of tact. Hotohori blinked, and looked down at his chest, which did seem to have grown a bit. The emporor, not ashamed of his body in the least, tore open the front of his robes and was confronted with an ample -and very female- chest. Emporor Hotohori, now empress, did the best and most dignified thing one could do in that situation. He fainted.