Originally written in commemoration of my reaching the end of Neal Gaiman's American Gods
--all I wanted to do was make fun of Gaiman's writing style. (I failed, dismally, but oh well.)SHAMAN KING (isn't mine)
Rating: G, like everything I write
Genre: Overwrought mysticism
Summary: There is a legend told to a certain Indian tribe, about the coming of a savior whose twin is pure evil...
The two met, apparently by coincidence, at the foot of the trail up the mountain. In silence they walked until they reached a cave halfway up the slope. There, in the semi-darkness, they began a discussion. Or half of one, at any rate: the tall one spoke while the other listened, humming occasionally in agreement or thought. After a time, a minor disagreement broke out. It is here that we pick up the story.
"It is true, young one. Among my people, you are known as Great New Green Leaf." The speaker, in appearance a teenager, was in manner much older. A tall boy - no, man - with a hooked nose, thickly braided black hair, and an intense look to his dark eyes, he projected an air of timeless solemnity. A closer look revealed worry hidden in the creases of his mouth and at the corners of his eyes. "It is 'Leaf' for short."
"Leaf" shook his head in surprise and denial. Seeing that, the tall man smiled inwardly, although his expression did not change.
"Why are you shocked? Your twin has already accepted his place in the Pantheon. Surely he has told you." Whether the boy before him, a slender youth with habitually sleepy eyes, had shaken his head or stared in horror made little difference; what mattered was the disbelief behind the gesture.
Leaf, who knew himself as Asakura Yoh, smiled and shrugged. "Hao said he was a God, but he never said I had to believe him. I guess you can believe whatever you want, as long as you don't expect me to do anything,"
The man nodded. His grave expression shifted not an iota. Perhaps the creases lifted slightly. He said, "This is as it should be. The Gods have their purposes, and we have ours. To freely mix the two would be disastrous." In his mind, the man contrasted the reaction of the boy before him with the reaction of his twin.
With the Other, there had been no disbelief. Great Encompassing Silent Snow had been accepting to the point of pathology, as if strange foreign tribesman appeared from nowhere to worship him all the time. He had viewed the tribe's worship as not only right but necessary, something he was owed.
Snow basked in adoration as if it were sunlight, and he took others into his own purpose as easily as breathing. It was unseemly. A God might command, but he should not persuade. He should not need
his followers. The Council had been worried.
"If you don't want anything, why did you tell me to meet you here?" Yoh asked. His voice belied a curiosity not present in his expression.
"We thought you should know," the tribesman said, "that there are others who watch this Fight with interest. And also…"
His solemn air faltered then. He hesitated. For an instant he looked his age, or younger. "I thought you should know, that our legends say you and he are the same person," he said. "Two sides of the same coin, each no more and no less than the other."
Yoh hmmed. The young tribesman continued undaunted. "So the legends say, and also that we should not think badly of him, for inwardly he means well. But even so, I am rooting for you!"
Great New Green Leaf smiled. "I'm not Hao," he said, "and I'm pretty sure I'm not your God either. But you are right that he's not a bad guy. That's what I thought all along."
The young tribesman stood in confusion as Yoh passed him the canteen he'd been drinking from. "You must be tired after all that talking," he said. "You don't have to worry; it'll all work out. Hao's probably pretty reasonable, deep down. I think."
Reasonable. Great Encompassing Silent Snow. Leaf's mortal enemy who was also (so the legends said) half his own self. "I'll tell the Council you said so," the tribesman managed to choke out.
"You do that." Yoh looked positively cheerful. "If that's all, we should be getting back to the village." He made his way out of the cave and down the trail. Turning back, he asked, "You coming?"
My Shaman King is a little shaky since I never finished the series.