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Jin and the Solstice of Blood (Part 34)

The darkness turned to a bright flash of light, and I found myself with Ikiru in a long hallway. The walls were made of wood like a castle and banners hung on them. In one direction it seemed to stretch on infinitely. In the other direction, there was a door, with a large seal over it written in the characters I had seen before. Brasiers illuminated the hallway in a dim glow, and I could see two figures standing by the door with their backs to us.

“Izanagi,” Ikiru called out. “Your time here is over.”

“Dramatic, I like it,” I commented. Only now considering how I would fight as a ghost. He had my sword. However, my wakizashi was still on my hip in ghostly form. I placed my hand on it, not knowing if it would work or not.

The figures turned, and I saw two people who were radically different than the ones in the physical world. The man was about the same height that Shi Fan was, however, his face held nothing else in common. He had long hair, tied into a topknot and tied into a ponytail. His beard was woven as it went down to the middle of his chest, beads were incorporated into the design of it. His eyes though, his eyes were life burning suns. They glowed with a fierce intensity. It made it hard to look upon his face. We wore a full set of armor, with the crest of a sun emblazoned on it.

The woman was hunched and looked as if she was stricken by disease. Her face was wrinkled, but out of her clothes were her arms should be, instead were snakes in their place. More snakes were coming out of her clothes and I could see her hair was full of them. Her eyes were slits like a reptile and as she turned to look at us a forked tongue whipped in and out of her mouth.

These figures were more terrifying than the levels of the underworld I had seen thus far, but I kept my grip steady and readied myself.