Okinawa Island is home to roughly 1,384,762 people. But, approximately 40 miles off the coast of Ginoza is another island. This island is unknown to a majority of people of Okinawa. Of most of the world, actually. It is known as Saishō Island. Here, there are only 100 or so inhabitants. It’s a peaceful and typically quiet place, that even has its own small school – as over half of the population is composed of children and teenagers. People assume this is the island where kids have run away. Where some of them have washed up after being lost in the waters. Because only 20 adults are seen on Saishō Island. Yet, it’s still a calming place to live. Especially seeing as it is quite environmentally friendly. No cars. Constant recycling. No smoking. No drugs. No alcohol. The people of Saishō Island like to keep things quiet and safe. And wish to keep this beautiful island a constantly breathtaking sight.
But I think that is enough about the island. We should get moving onto the story. . .
Yoshito Tsutomu makes his way across the yard. The surrounding foliage forms a natural canopy, which casts a cooling shadow. A smile forms on his face as his bare feet sink into the lush grass, and then move onto something else. Sand. Yoshito was glad that his parents had decided to make their home at the edge of Saishō Island. Not only that, but his small house is also distanced from all other homes. He has his own space. A secluded area all to himself. Literally to himself. At the age of 16, Yoshito lives alone. He is one of the few who doesn’t have sibling. He was born in Tokyo, where his father left when Yoshito was 8, and his mother died four years later. She had always been ill, and his father had always been a psychotic drunkard. So he knew that the time would come when they’d both no longer be part of his life. Though, he still wishes that the time wouldn’t have come so soon.
With a barely audible sigh, Yoshito sits down on the beach. He stretches his legs out in front of himself, and lets his calves rest in the perfectly clear waters. In his hand is a silver necklace. Something his mother had given him before she passed away. Yoshito holds the object in front of his face, and watches the cracked scallop shell, that hangs off it, rotate. A gentle breeze causes the necklace to sway to the left, and Yoshito's eyes follow as it slowly settles back into place. He felt like there was a story behind this shell. Did his mother find it? Possibly it was a gift from his father to his mother? A piece of jewelry that has been passed down for generations?
Releasing another quiet sigh, Yoshito drops the necklace to his side and sprawls himself out on the beach. He then proceeds to close his eyes, and lets the warmth of the evening sun welcome him to sleep.
The soothing female voice rings through Yoshito’s head. His eyes sluggishly open, and hovering right over him is a girl. She wears a playful smile on her face, causing Yoshito to arch a questioning brow. Lethargically, Yoshito forces himself to sit up. He shakes sand out of his hair, and then gives a big yawn. The girl twirls before plopping down beside him. Her skin seemed to feintly glow against the sunset.
“Tinbe. . . what are you doing here?” Yoshito groggily wonders aloud. He could hear her giggle at his sleepy drawling.
“I was coming to check on you. I mean, you weren’t in school today.” Tinbe replies, rocking back and forth as she sits at his side. She then stops these movements, and looks at him. “Are you sick?”
“No. I just wasn’t in the mood for school today. I had better things to do.” Yoshito shrugs in response.
“Yeah, whatever.” Tinbe rolls her eyes before laughing. “Just don’t skip again.”
“Okay, mom.” Yoshito sighs, running a hand through his hair. He could feel the sand. But, it didn’t bother him. He has a tendency to sleep on the beach.
Tinbe puffs her cheeks out and furrows her brows. “Don’t call me mom! I’m just trying to be a good friend!”
“Alright, alright.” Yoshito chuckles. He then gets to his feet and watches as Tinbe also rises. She is shorter than him. Most people are. Yoshito is one of the tallest inhabitants of the island, standing at 6’03”.
Tinbe turns her head to the side, and then a grin forms her face. She waves at the distant figure. Yoshito then decides to look, and sees that Tinbe’s best friend is standing on the nearby hill. Nyoko Katsushika. She is #1 student of Saishō High School, in both athletics and academics. She is a very noble girl, someone who would have made an excellent samurai. Well, that’s the way Yoshito always thought of her. Nyoko is quick to make new friends, but can just as easily find enemies. Jealousy is usually the center of dislike towards her. She never let it bother her, though. As Nyoko puts it: “You can’t go on through life with only friends. There has to be an enemy or ten along the way. Otherwise you’re not actually living.”
“Tinbe! Come on! We have to get going!” Nyoko calls out.
“I’ll see you tomorrow at school Yoshito-kun~” Tinbe chimes before running off, and to Nyoko.
Yoshito stands where he is, and watches as Tinbe turns to look back at him. She waves, and he returns it with a blank face. Then, the two girls walk away together.
He then bends down and picks the necklace off the ground. With yet another sigh, Yoshito makes his way into his house.
Yoshito sits at the small two-seated table. He plays with the food on his plate, shifting the rice around. But, his eyes rest on the necklace that is pinned against the parallel wall. He never wears it. The only thing it was useful for is bringing back memories. Of his beloved mother. Of his father. . . his father. . . his father. . . his damn father.
He could feel his muscles tense as his anger flares for a second. The necklace just hangs there, taunting him. Reminding him of the past. The days of his father’s most bipolar nights. That necklace being used to almost strangle his mother. That crack a clear sign of how much force had been put into his father’s wicked attempt. The heart-breaking screaming of his mother and the stomach-churning shouting of his father replays in Yoshito's mind. Why did he even keep it? Why would his mom give it to him!? Why that damn necklace and not an object that actually meant something!?
His rage reaching a new peak, Yoshito abruptly stands up. The table is knocked to the side due to this swift action. But, Yoshito didn’t bother with fixing things. He goes over to the necklace and snatches it off the way. His clutch on it is tight, and he could feel the shell begin to crack even more. With knitted brows, Yoshito exits his house through the sliding glass, back, doors. . . and towards the sea.
Standing near the shore, Yoshito pulls his arm back. He is hesitant for a moment, his grip on the necklace beginning to loosen. But, it becomes strong once more as his mother's tear-stained face flashes before him. Yoshito could feel a fragment of the white scallop shell break off. He could hear it lightly drop to the sand below. And as he snaps his arm forward, he releases his hold. And Yoshito watches as the shell and chain go soaring feet into the air, and then plummets into the waters. It bobs on the surface for a moment, mocking Yoshito. But, after a minute, a trifling wave reaches up and takes it away.
But Yoshito didn’t feel the relief he had longed for. Instead, there was a strange anguish that sunk into his chest.
He stands on the beach, gazing out at the sea. His attention locks onto the full moon’s reflection as it dances atop the waters.
He stands there for what could have been a second. A minute. An hour. Until finally, Yoshito makes his way back into his home. . . hoping to forget all about that damn necklace and the memories that had lingered with it.
Later that night, Yoshito had made his way back to the sea, carrying a board under his armpit. He always knew the right time to go surfing. When the tides were perfect. Glorious waves that could reach a height of ten feet and higher. Just the thought causes a smile to form on Yoshito’s face. All of those pesky memories were powerless when Yoshito surfs. Nothing could break him.
With a running start, Yoshito nears the water. When he is several feet away, he releases the board into the air. Yoshito quickly jumps up after it. As soon as his feet connect with the object, they both drop down. The impact of the board against the water causes Yoshito to wince. But, that smile doesn’t elude. Balancing himself out perfectly, Yoshito begins to skim across the rising sea.
Yoshito always lost track of time. He would just let himself forget the world. Forget everything. Problems and all. There was no weight placed on his shoulders. No burdens to carry. Just him. Just him. . .
He is startled at the sound of thunder. A powerful rumble that shakes the atmosphere. It sounded distant. And he didn’t see any lightning. He should be safe. No worries.
Yoshito curses under his breath as the noise returns. This time louder than before. He goes to dive off his board and swim to shore, but the atmosphere around him blasts with color. He is instantly blinded by a flash. Various hues of blues, oranges and greens all light up the sky. The waters ferociously respond to this by moving in an atypical way. Like hands, the darkened liquid takes hold of Yoshito and yank him off the board and pull him under. He struggles to break free and return to the surface. But, the efforts end in failure. . . and Yoshito finds himself sinking.
The waters were never this cold. Yoshito felt as though every bone in his body had been replaced by ice. The waters were never this murky. Yoshito felt as though a vat of ink had replaced the previous H20. What had once always been home to him, these were suddenly unfamiliar grounds.
He could feel his eardrums begin to pop as he was pulled deeper and deeper. He never remembered it being so horribly deep. . .
Yoshito’s jaw is forced to unhinge, and bubbles stream out of his open maw. His entire strength seemed to go with that oxygen. . . and he stopped fighting. He goes limp, letting the sea claim him as a victim.
His heart pounds in his chest, rattling his ribcage. Suddenly, a silence sweeps over him.
Yoshito remains frozen. Then, he begins to open his eyes. At first, his vision is blurred. Then, the world comes into focus. And Yoshito stares. His eyes slowly widen at what he sees. This couldn’t be real. All of this. The storm. Nearly dying. And this very moment.
He is standing in a large bubble translucent bubble. Yoshito looks in every direction, his heart racing. Clearly, he was still under the water. But, no longer was it obscure and gloomy. Once more, the sea had returned to its vivid form. Yoshito’s eyes trail from left to right, following the fish that dart by. But, Yoshito’s attention returns to in front of him. . . where someone stands before him. A girl. Beautiful. Almost as breathtaking as drowning had been.
His face instantly shades red as he notices something. She isn’t wearing anything. But, her smile was something that moves his attention back to her face. Yoshito’s eyes then skim down to gaze at the object she holds in her palm. The necklace. . .
Yoshito could feel the tears brim his eyes. He didn’t know why. There seemed to be no reasoning behind the waterworks. But a single tear manages to escape, and slides down his cheek, as he looks at the scallop shell. A piece chipped off it from his previous fit of rage. That guilt from earlier suddenly washes over him, and Yoshito could feel his stomach churn. He had been no better than his father. . .
He could feel a soft and warming hand touch the side of his face. A thumb wipe away the lone tear.
Yoshito was unsure of what to actually think. He quickly looks away from her, his entire face a shade of bright red. Yoshito tries to keep himself from glancing over at Shionami, but it was quite difficult. So, he tosses his hands up and then covers his eyes. Shionami tilts her head slightly as she sees this, and then she laughs.
“I-I’m sorry. But c-could you p-please put something on before I ask for you to explain this whole thing any further. Because I-I am confused. But a-also. . . gah. Please. Clothes. Now.” Yoshito tells Shionami as he turns around so his back is to her.
“Alright~” Shionami replies, her voice ringing throughout the bubble. Yoshito could barely see a flash of multicolored light from the corner of his eyes. When he moves to face her once more, he sees that she is dressed. A loose-fitting button shirt and a pair of baggy shorts. Instantly, Yoshito realizes that those are his clothes. The ones that were hanging out to dry. . .
“Wh-what the hell!?” Yoshito exclaims, pointing at her.
“You told me to get some clothes, so I did.” Shionami shrugs.
“Well not MINE!” Yoshito retorts, his brows knitted together as he glares at her. “Who are you anyway?”
“I already told you.” Shionami sighs.
“Well then, I guess I should ask WHAT are you?”
“I answered that, too~” She chimes in response. It was clear that she was taking this all very lightly. As though everything that is happening, is natural. It definitely isn’t, though. Not one bit.
Yoshito takes in a deep breath before starting over. He gestures all around him, at the bubble that surrounds them. “Are you the one who made this?”
“Yeah~ I saved you. I told you that I am your Kōken'nin. Your Guardian.” Shionami nods and smiles.
“But. . . where did you even come from?” Yoshito wonders aloud, feeling himself relax.
“I come from there.” She points up.
“Heaven? You’re an angel? Like, guardian angel?” Yoshito arches a brow, as if to emphasize his question.
Shionami shakes her head multiple times. “No no no. I come from a universe known as Chinmoku. It’s where all Kōken'nin reside. Every human has one. But, Kōken'nin watch over their human from Chinmoku. Rarely does a Kōken'nin show up on Earth, more or less get the chance to show themselves to the human they were assigned to by Shukun, whom is the glorious god of my world. But, when the human is in a near death situation, the Kōken'nin is sent to them. And that’s what happened with you and I~”
The only thing Yoshito manages to utter is: “Whoa.”