Interlude One: In the Mind's EyeEdit
"Ohmikami? What do you mean?" Ukyou asked.
The light grew brighter. "Look not into me, Ukyou Kuonji. Look into yourself. For within you lies the answer. I may merely show you the way."
"But why did you call me 'Ohmikami'?"
"Because that is what you are. God of Gods."
Ukyou shook her head. "How? How can I be? I'm just a chef. A simple chef."
"Are you not the best at what you do, Ukyou Kuonji?"
Ukyou couldn't disagree with that. She was the best okonomiyaki chef in Japan.
"Do you not feel the heat from the grill upon with you practice your art? Do you not revel in it?"
"But what does that have to do with anything?"
"Look into yourself, Ukyou Kuonji, and find the answer."
Ukyou sighed. She didn't know what to do, or how to go about doing it.
"Close your eyes."
Ukyou closed them.
Ukyou gasped as she felt a wave of intense heat pass through her, and felt her vision go from dark, to a bright white.
"Please, Ohmikami," the man begged at the altar. "I beg of you, help us."
Ukyou could recognize the man, and yet not. He bore a resemblance to Ranma, yet did not. Something twinged in her mind as she realized it was, and wasn't.
"Jiao," she spoke. "I will help you, for there is none else who would. Rogi has hurt you greatly, and will continue to hurt until all that we know is destroyed."
Jiao looked up at the altar, tears flowing freely from his eyes. "I thank you, Ohmikami."
Ukyou shook her head, as if it would rid her of the confusion. "What... what was that?"
"The first what?"
"The first of your lessons, Ukyou Kuonji Ohmikami."
"Why do you keep calling me that? I keep telling you, I'm not the Ohmikami! There's... there's no way!"
"Which is why the lessons continue."
"What are you doing here, Amaterasu?" the man asked. "You are far from your land."
"Fei Liang, I have come to fight," she replied.
Fei Liang shook his head. "Much time has passed during our days of carefree youth, many centuries. Our two lands have had little contact."
"Fei Liang, I wish to harm your land not. Rogi has--"
"Rogi is in our land, and it is now our responsibility."
"But you will do nothing about him!"
"He has not harmed us, there is no need."
"Yet. Fei Liang, Rogi has not harmed you yet, but we know not his agenda, and it is doubtful we ever will."
"Amaterasu, we know of his doings in your land, and we know of his ascension to the valley. We will prevent whatever it is that will be done, and you can be sure of that."
"Fei Liang, I understand how I invade your land, and I mean no harm to the land or its gods. I simply wish to--"
"Amaterasu, I cannot allow--"
"Listen to me this once, Fei Liang, then you may argue all you wish."
"Very well. Speak."
"Look among the faces of those who fight against Rogi. A man who has lost everything to him. His family dead, his friend stolen, all because of Rogi. Yet he sees not how much is in front of him, although he fights to protect her."
"The desperation of man is not my concern."
Amaterasu laughed. "You are much like my brother, Fei Liang. But you see not what I say. Mankind is everything. Our ilk may have created man, but it is man that keeps us alive."
"You care too much for mortals, Amaterasu. But I will continue to listen."
"Those in my travelling party are going to meet some from your land, Fei Liang. Two warriors and a wise woman."
"I presume you mean the strongest fighters of the warrior tribe at the valley of secrets?"
"Yes. That would be them."
"And with the help of these warriors, you plan to defeat Rogi? Amaterasu, I doubt--"
"Fei Liang, my old friend. Please. We come to help your land, not destroy it. We come to save the godhood of both of our lands, not dishonour them."
Fei Liang took a deep breath. "Very well, Amaterasu. I shall confer this with the council."
Amaterasu closed her eyes. "I thank you, my old friend."
Fei Liang nodded. "I will do what I can to convince the council of your cause, but expect little or no help from us."
"That is all I ask, dear friend."
Ukyou shielded her eyes from the growing light before her. "Amaterasu? Why am I seeing these... visions?"
"I have told you, Ukyou Kuonji Ohmikami. They are lessons."
"Why are you getting brighter?"
"I grow brighter as my power grows in you. I will soon disappear from this world, but I leave with you my power."
Ukyou shook her head. "I... I don't know what you mean? What is all this? Who is Rogi? Who is Fei Liang?"
"You shall meet Rogi within time. Fei Liang is close to you, and that is all I may say."
"You said he was like your brother. Susanowo?"
"Yes. Fei Liang is a God of Winds."
"I thought there was only one. What is happening?"
"Ukyou Kuonji Ohmikami, there are many. For each land, for each faith, there are the gods and goddesses. Many are friendly towards others, while some bear hostility."
"Then why are we taught to follow one faith?"
"I know not. That is the way of mankind. I feel myself slipping away from you, Ukyou Kuonji Ohmikami. I can give you one more lesson, and then I will be forgotten."
"When you return to the waking world, you will remember none of this. Only bits that surface from your subconscious, but my power will have manifested. Do not be frightened."
The third lesson, Ukyou soon found, was not like the others. She was not looking from Amaterasu's eyes, but from her own.
She stood in a valley. A large valley, with craggy peaks surrounding her, and the canopy of a forest in the distance.
The valley was empty, and then not. Battles had broken out all around her, and she could see, yet she could not.
She could see Ranma, and yet not Ranma. She could see Akane, and yet not Akane. All around her, she saw others she recognized. She saw Tatewaki, Nabiki, Shampoo, Mousse, Ryouga, and many others.
She could see the life escape each of them, bit by bit, piece by piece, until there were two.
In one, she could see darkness, and a grotesque face that was twisted as if it had been through a thousand deaths. A being of dark, but something else. There was no goodness in it, but a sort of... servitude?
In the other, she saw light. A pure, almost blinding light that did not hurt Ukyou's eyes. Ukyou also noticed something else that scared her beyond belief.
Ukyou saw herself. It was her, but it wasn't. Golden flowing hair, no longer tied by the unseen force of gravity. It flowed and swayed about as if each strand was a boat floating upon a raging sea. And she could see a fire deep in her eyes that could blind any who looked into them.
And then Ukyou could see a third. It was a young man in samurai armour, she easily recognized him as Fei Liang, the one from earlier. But there was something else. There was a streak of darkness and light, fighting each other for dominance. Never finding a resolution, but always trying.
But Ukyou saw a face in Fei Liang. Not the face he wore in the dream world, but another.
It was the face of an old man.
The light grew so bright that it encompassed Ukyou's vision. She could see nothing but the light.
And then she could see nothing.
Slowly, Ukyou began to wake up.