Shiba Kaien dies in front of his captain and his kouhai after being a foolish idiot, trying to avenge his precious Miyako. He knew it wouldn’t bring her back, but he tried anyway.
His soul waits. And waits and waits and waits, until the Soul King guides him back into the Human World and into a baby boy born amidst a terrifying snowstorm that is just saturated with spiritual power.
His name is Usui Horokeu, and the last of Shiba Kaien is locked away for a very, very long time.
(But things slip out - they aren’t supposed to, but they do.
Horokeu looks at that Kurobe girl, “ Damuko ,” they call her because his father is just doing his job even if it meant destroying all Horokeu was told to protect and cherish, and sees an older black haired woman with gentle eyes and a gentle smile and it makes him half-tempted to disregard the elder’s orders and keep
MiyaDamuko - Tamiko, her real name is - as a friend. He never gets to, and the grief he feels the days-weeks-months after her death echoes strangely in him. (Then he meets Kororo, and if sometimes he starts seeing triple, he doesn’t linger long on it.)
Sometimes he wonders why his hair is predominantly blue instead of all black but thinks of his mother, beautiful and lovely with her ice blue hair, and decides he doesn’t mind after all. (What little black locks he gets from his cold, distant, and gruff father he doesn’t mind either. Because for all the lack of affection he shows towards him (“ I can always have another son ,” the words echo in his mind sometimes),
Horokeu Horohoro knows his father does care and love his children.
Other times he sees Pirika, his beloved younger sister and wonders where his younger brother is. Only to remember that no, he doesn’t have a younger brother, does he? (A sister yes, always a sister.)
Other times tries to reach for a blade that’s not there and never was. (When they train him on weapons to see what suits him the best, he tries the spear and when no one was looking, twirled it in what felt like a long-practiced way. He whispers “ Rage through the seas and the heavens, ” and stops. The final word ( name ) is at the tip of his tongue but it never comes out.)
And most times, he feels just at home in the water as he is in the cold, bitter ice and snow.)
The tribe teaches him how to be their shaman.
(How to respect nature, the value of living things, his heritage, his power and potential to change the world.
How to create icicles strong and sharp enough to impale, how to freeze his opponents and shatter them into nothing but ice dust, how to create an avalanche grand enough to bury villages with just his spiritual power.)
Other things, however, he already knows.
(How to smile again despite everything, how to be a big brother, how to fight to protect life, how to fight to protect honor, how to be open to other people while keeping secrets.
How to kill.)
Horohoro realizes what he is to them early on. Hope, for some of them, but for many, a weapon. A wolf to be released as a predator ( the strongest prey on the weakest , he’s told many times) with an ice heart and a will to achieve what he (is taught to) believes is right. He’ll be either their king or their martyr.
( They don’t take into account that Horohoro has his own beliefs, has his own ethics and morals that he’ll follow beyond life and death.
He’ll save the koropukkuru, not for them , but for the spirits themselves.)
Horohoro is eleven when he’s defeated every single fighter in their tribe. Twelve when he defeats the ones in the nearest tribes as well.
On the turn of the millennium, at fifteen years old, Horohoro is the only one in Hokkaido to leave for the Shaman King tournament.
Yoh with his constant carefree smile, and ability to see and believe the good in people, (much like a long, white haired man he vaguely remembers, always sick but worrying more about others than himself)
Ren who is more than rough around the edges in terms of personality, but brilliant and talented as a shaman, (a child prodigy comes into mind, surpassing peers with decades more experience even if he’d only graduated so recently)
Ryu the dramatic ex-delinquent, with his heart and loyalty to his closest friends, looking for the elusive ‘Best Place’ for himself but foremost for his devoted gang, (a pink flowered kimono that’s just as flamboyant as the white suit, and the rather one-sided love towards women, well)
Faust, who only wanted to help, who only wanted to save his wife out of love, (a blonde haired man that was too brilliant and too innovative for people that they’d rather condemn him than understand)
Chocolove, with his terrible jokes but just as strong desire to make everyone smile even at the expense of himself, (the young green haired woman, vibrant and flighty to the point of immaturity, but tried her best to light up the room)
Lyserg, driven by justice and revenge wrought from suffering, but lost without the gentle guiding of one of the people he respects the most, (like the young onmitsukidou, turning the feeling of betrayal and abandonment into resolve and strength)
these are the comrades Horohoro finds and would give his very life for.
Horohoro acquires the Spirit of Rain, and it’s like breathing for the first time.
Then Shiba Kaien wakes up.
(Within the Spirit of Rain, Nejibana smiles.)