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Whims of the Goddess

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You remember waking up to an unsettling feeling. It’s dark, and you can hear the sound of wind howling all around you. You force your eyes to open, enough to see that the place you were in wasn’t natural. All around you, the sky was a deep shade of red, black lines swirling about, pulling dust and large chunks of the land with them. Glancing behind gives you the sight of a withered tree, grey and looking like it could fall over from a strong enough push of the wind. You get up, searching for a reason as to why you woke up here.

Come to think of it, who were you anyways? You rack your brain for an answer, trying to recall what you were doing before all this, but nothing springs to your mind immediately. Taking another look around, you spot a giant peach hanging from one of the lower branches. It wriggles around, as if it were alive. Without warning you see some petals swirl past you, circling directly behind you. You hear a soft voice speak out to you.

“You... who are you?” The voice asks. You turn around to see a women, wearing a rather revealing robe, floating near you. You take a step back nervously.

“U-uh, I don't know who I am. My memory is one big blank.” She raises an eyebrow, and you feel a drop of sweat roll down the side of your head. She nods after a moment, floating closer to you.

“It is surprising to see a human in the state the village is in. All others are currently being protected by my fruit, yet here you are.” She points to the peach, doing a slow swirl around you.

“Protected? What do you mean?” You question, crossing your arms and tilting your head. She sighs, and tells you of recent events.

“There is a great demon, Orochi, who has been unsealed from his resting place, and now seeks to bring darkness to all of Nippon. It is just like the events that had occurred 100 years ago. Sensing this, I brought back the great goddess Amaterasu in hopes of her to save us in our time of need.” She finishes with a glance to an open portal of glowing light that you had somehow missed.

“She should be back soon to cut the peach, freeing the villagers.” You nod, listening to her story intently. Nippon? So that’s the land you find yourself in. This Orochi guy sounds pretty menacing. You thank the woman for helping you out with information, and she smiles once more, before disappearing in a flourish of petals. Left alone, you think about all that you’ve learned thus far.

“Hmmm, so who’s this Amaterasu?”

“Oh Miss Sakuya! We’re back!” Turning around, you spot a bouncing green dot coming towards you, with a beautiful snow white wolf following behind. The green bug thing stops when it notices you in front of it, and you can make out what seems to be a person.

“Whoa! Who’re you? Don’t think I’ve seen you when we were here before.” You realize the voice you had heard earlier had come from the tiny man, and you crouch down to see him better.

“Honestly, I’m trying to figure that out myself. I lost my memory, and this was the first thing I woke up to. Your guess is as good as mine.” He hops up to your face, giving you a once over.

“Well you don’t dress like anyone I’ve seen, that’s for sure.” He hops back over to the wolf, who was staring at the giant peach on the branch. You walk over, drawing the wolf’s attention.

“Whose this? Friend of yours?” You ask,giving the wolf a pat on the head. It whines, moving closer to accept your petting.

“Really? You don’t know who this is?” You shake your head. He gets up on the wolf’s head, somehow glowing even brighter than he was before.

“This here’s the great goddess Amaterasu! Oh, and I’m Issun, the Wandering Artist. Nice to meet you!” You blink, looking back at the wolf. This was Amaterasu? You give Issun a confused stare.

You take a closer look at the wolf. If you squint hard enough, you can see what looks to be crimson markings alongside her fur. Staring into her amber eyes, you get the feeling of a being that seems more than just an ordinary wolf. Shaking your head with a sigh, you stand up, giving one last pat to Amaterasu’s head.

“Well, I’m not exactly in a position to argue, so I’ll just go along with it. Anyways, what exactly is going on?” While you knew the general gist, it wouldn’t hurt to get just a little more info on what the odd pair were doing. Issun filled you in with what the woman from earlier had already told you, just from their perspective. While doing this, Amaterasu swished her tail, still staring at the peach. And before you knew it, the stem had been cut and it crashed onto the ground.

A mystical power flowed past you, dragging bright green leaves from nowhere with it. It twisted and turned, bringing forth a well made path downward from where you were. You looked at it in awe, not believing what you had seen.

While it was still dark in the sky, it felt less cramped than the tiny island you were situated on. You turned to look back at Amaterasu, who just stared back while wagging her tail. You pointed at the trail, incredulous.

“Er, was that you?” You get a bark for a reply.

“Heh heh heh! That’s just a taste of Ammy’s power, you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Issun spoke excitedly. You shook your head, somehow figuring this wasn’t the strangest thing that would happen to you in Nippon.

Following Amaterasu down the path, you came across a grey statue of a person with a pot on their head. Curiously, you give it a few taps with your knuckle.

“Eh? What’s this statue doing here?” Issun said, staring at it as Amaterasu gave it a few pokes with her paw. “Whatever, we need to make sure the villagers are alright.” With one last glance, you made your way further down.

When you reached the bottom, you were stunned at the sight before you. Just like with the statue before, there were plenty more, all eerily realistic and looking like they were doing something important. You spent a few moments going over to each statue, checking to see if any of them would react to your presence. Nothing.

“Something isn’t right...where are all the people?” Issun mutters to himself. Before you could reply, a loud roar vibrated through the air. It sounded horrific, chilling you to the bone.

“What the heck was that?! This isn’t right, something’s going on here. C’mon you two, let’s see if we can’t get a better view of Kamiki!” Amaterasu rushes back the way you came, and you follow her. She turns right from the path leading back up to the tree, and it loops towards an outlook with a direct view of the tree. As you pant trying to catch your breath, Issun speaks up.

“This is REALLY bad, where’s the sun? It’s so dark out, too. Oh man, this isn’t happening anywhere else is it?” While Issun continued muttering to himself, you took another look around. He wasn’t wrong, the sky was unnaturally dark, even more than what would be usual. You glance back down at Amaterasu, who was staring intently at the sky.

“Think you can do anything about this?” When you glanced back up at the sky, a bright ray of sunlight assaulted your eyes, forcing you to close them. When you opened them back up, the sky was a clear shade of blue, and the wind blew in a few leaves from seemingly nowhere.

“Wow! The sun’s back. Hold on, now that I think about it, didn’t Miss Sakuya say something about you being the sun goddess Ammy?” You look back down at Amaterasu, who was giving you a happy wag of her tail.

“Huh, guess that’s why the sun came back, good job Amaterasu.” The wolf leaned into your hand as you crouched down and petted her head.

“Man, never thought I could see Sunrise in action!” Issun bounced up and down rather giddily. You raised an eyebrow.

“Sunrise? What do you mean?” Issun stops bouncing, and turns his head towards you.

“Oh right, I forgot about your memory problem. Well, here in Nippon there are thirteen brush gods, each with a specific technique they use to do a whole bunch of cool stuff. Take Ammy for example! Her power let’s her call for daylight whenever she wants!” He finishes his explanation with a flourish of his arms. You look at Amaterasu, smiling.

“You’re really something, huh?” Amaterasu just barked back as a reply.

“Hm? Who are you two?” You turn around to see an elderly man with a cane walking towards you. Looking at his head, he has an orange on it. You shorten the distance between him to save the man from walking further.

“A white wolf?! You couldn’t be the same one who fought alongside Nagi, could you?” He shakes his head, and turns to you.

“I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m Mr.Orange, and you?” Suddenly the orange made a lot more sense. You shook his hand.

“It’s nice to meet you, my name is...uh…” Shoot, you forgot that you didn’t have one technically! Before you could muster up a reply, Amaterasu had begun to growl. You had felt it later than Amaterasu, but the wind had suddenly become much colder, and the leaves darkened until they looked like they were burnt. Looking around, you spotted what had made your white furred companion growl. Three hideous green monsters were overlooking you from atop a cliff, each wearing some kind of paper mask.

“Here they come furball. These must be the monsters responsible for the troubles in the village!” All at once, the three monster leaped towards you. Amaterasu reacted first, pulling Mr.Orange and using him as a makeshift bat to whack them away. She throws him in another direction, then leaps to meet the monsters. Unfortunately, you ended up getting caught in the middle, and with a weird red barrier blocking any attempts at escaping, you’d have to fight them.

Apparently they noticed too, because you suddenly found yourself getting pelted by bamboo flutes. While they didn’t scratch you, they certainly hurt! Luckily for you, Amaterasu used the opportunity of you being bait to quickly defeat all of the monsters.

When it was over, a flourish of green energy wrapped around a spot not far from where you were, transforming it into a small pond. Afterwards, some glowing orbs shot out and went into Amaterasu.

“Wow, look at the pond now! Hey wait, you got some praise from that! Still, it is a bit concerning how the monsters managed to get this far into the village. Maybe we should go check it out now that we freed Kamiki!” Issun proudly states. Amaterasu begins to walk back down the path, looking back at you as if asking you to follow. After a brief moment of checking yourself over, you nod, and follow her down the path.

Waking up in a foreign land with even stranger people is not exactly how you thought your day would go. Neither is losing your memory. But somehow, you get the feeling that this was just the start of something even worse.
*Ending image of (???) and Amaterasu overlooking the Guardian Tree