Tokumoto Okata had just lost his mother. His father died when he was 15. Now at the age of 17, still in school and no job, Tokumoto thought that he was not yet ready to live on his own. He decided it was time to live with his grandfather, Kitato, who lives in Gotemba, a city located on the southeastern flank of Mt. Fuji in Shizuoka, Japan.
Tokumoto prepared to leave. As he was putting all his personal belongings in his car, he heard soft whispers in his ears. “Come to me,” the voice said. He got startled. He looked around but nobody was there except him. “Who are you?” he asked. Still there was no response. He does not want to be overpowered by fear so he pretended as if he did not hear anything and continued to pack up.
It was a very sunny and breezy day. When Tokumoto pulled up to the driveway, he saw his grandfather sitting idly in the porch drinking tea. Tokumoto’s face suddenly lightened up. He quickly got out of his car and ran towards his grandfather as he yelled “Grandpa!”
“Tokumoto,” his grandfather uttered, “I am so happy to see you again!” He stood up and tightly embraced his grandson as they both entered the house.
“Grandpa, if it wouldn’t be too much of a trouble for you, I would like to stay in your house while I am looking for a job,” pleaded Tokumoto.
His grandfather happily replied, “Yes, of course. You know that I love you as much as I love your father. You are welcome to stay with me as long as you like.” “Thanks, Grandpa. I could not ask for more,” Tokumoto said.
Then Tokumoto went back to his car, opened the trunk, grabbed his luggage and gazed at his grandfather’s house. How time flies. He vividly recalled that when he was very small, his father would take him to this same house almost every month to visit his ailing Grandma. However, when his Grandma died, it took a while for his father to recover emotionally. The mere sight of the house is enough to make his father burst into tears.
Tokumoto took a deep breath and then walked as his grandfather anxiously waited for him at the door. Upon entering the house, his grandfather accompanied him to his room and then left to prepare dinner.
As Tokumoto was lying down in his bed, the lights flickered and soon enough cold air started penetrating his skin. Then he heard the same voice again. This time however, he could not understand a word it was saying. After a few minutes, the voice disappeared. He became curious to know where the voice was coming from and why.
Two months have passed by very quickly and Tokumoto has just graduated from high school. He tried very hard to find a job but to no avail. Japan is experiencing an economic crisis and the unemployment rate was very high. Tokumoto predicted that no jobs will be available for a long time. In the state of despair, he heard the strange voice once again as it says, “Go to the top of Mt. Fuji and I will tell you what to do next. “
Confused and petrified, Tokumoto told his grandfather the next day about the mysterious voice and what it was asking him to do. His grandfather was not surprised at all! He knew from the very start that Tokumoto was born to accomplish a very important mission. He persuaded Tokumoto to follow what the mysterious voice has said. After giving his blessing, Tokumoto’s grandfather reached for the ceramic jar in the cupboard, opened it and gave Tokumoto some money to buy whatever he would need for the expedition.
Tokumoto drew up a long list of items that he would need to reach the summit of Mt. Fuji: food, backpack, shell jacket and pants, thermal underwear, hiking boots, etc. He then drove and bought them from a store which was located just a few kilometers from his grandfather’s house.
It did not take long for Tokumoto to reach the base of Mt Fuji. He vigorously followed the trail for the ascent. At some points, the terrain was rather steep and rocky. Climbing Mt. Fuji was not easy especially in the presence of the blinding rays of the sun, the sudden gust of wind and the falling rocks that he encountered along the way. He struggled with the ascent – it was never ending, very steep and full of horrid stones of all sizes and shapes that gave no grip. One time, Tokumoto slipped and almost fell off the trail. He felt sick as the altitude gets higher and higher. Equipped with sheer courage and determination, he kept going and going until the sun went down.
Soon it was dark enough to warrant him wearing his head torch over his beanie. Cold seeped into his tired body. Every bone and muscle in his body ached. He stopped climbing. After dinner of onigiri, curry, and bite-sized fruit that he brought from home, he put up his tent, inflated his portable bed and slept in the midst of the mountain.
However, at around 3:30 a.m., he was awakened by a mysterious voice. “Keep going!” the voice said. Armed with a flashlight, he went out of his tent and bellowed, “Who’s there?”
Tokumoto was not able to sleep again. He got himself ready for the final ascent. He started climbing wearing his head torch. The sky was clear and the stars looked so close as he ascended the path that got progressively steeper. Two hours later after a hike through ice crystals, gravel and rocks, he was on the summit. He watched the sunrise as it breaks through the clouds on the horizon and across the bay – not the lovely red, fiery ball of postcards, but something bright and shiny red, squeezed out of a toothpaste tube. Then he noticed something strange: Why was there an underground tunnel in the middle of the summit?
Tokumoto was curious so he went inside the tunnel. The walls of the tunnels were like a prism. Everything inside was bright. The place was filled with rats, bugs, snakes, bats, and other frightening animals, and critters. He continued his trek down the tunnel and found a huge clock made of glass. The clock has a diameter of about 30 feet. Both the hour and minute hands were written in Roman numerals and were not moving. As Tokumoto got closer to the center of the clock, he heard faint whispers. Suddenly the clock started ticking and the whisper became louder and louder. Strong winds soon enveloped the cave. The clocked started ticking. After a while, the clock’s face shattered into a million pieces. When all of the debris has settled, Tokumoto found himself wandering in a forest!
Deep within the tranquil reaches of the forest lies a wilderness, vast acres of deep canyons, high cliffs, towering hemlocks, and numerous waterfalls. It is like a maze of canyons and ridge tops, especially during daytime when once cannot see very far. Tokumoto continued to walk. Suddenly, he heard a loud roar and when he turned around, he saw a huge beast ready to strike him. Frightened, he ran as fast as he could but his speed was no much to that of the beast. The beast hit Tokumoto’s chest and feeling hopeless and trapped, Tokumoto tried to trick the beast by pretending to be dead. The beast was about to give him its final blow when out of nowhere, a strange-looking creature with face consisting only of two ears and a mouth appeared and shot the beast with a multitude of arrows. The beast fell to the ground and died.
The strange-looking creature approached Tokumoto and introduced himself as Shigori Atamata.
“Thank you for saving my life. Forgive me but why do you only have a mouth and a pair of ears?” Tokumoto asked Shigori.
“Demons have the power to suck away anything they want. Those demons and monsters absorbed my eyes and nose. But by devouring the Book of Many Eyes, I can see. Do not be surprised but I know who you are. I will help you get out of this forest,” Shigori declared.
Dry leaves crunched and crackled under his feet as Tokumoto walked in the forest. There is a slight breeze moving through the trees but it is not enough to soothe Tokumoto’s aching feet. However, after all his struggles to reach the top of Mt. Fuji, he told himself that he was not going to let this long walk get the better of him. He has no idea how long they have been walking. What was important was finally they were out of the forest. Now he was smiling and enjoying the spectacular view of a bustling town from the 13th century!
Tokumoto and Shigori went to the city gates. One of the guards approached them and upon recognizing Shigori, the guard led them into the city and onto the castle. A big, old man with a long, curly beard greeted them and said, “I am, Ryutarou, the village king. Why are you here? Are you the chosen one?” King Ryutarou said.
“I am sorry but I do not know why I am here. Did you just ask me if I am the chosen one?” Tokumoto asked.
“The chosen one is the one who is destined to save our world,” King Ryutarou responded.
“Why does this world need to be saved?” asked Tokumoto.
“Evil spirits, demons, and monsters from the Spiral Nether have ripped a hole in space and consistently attack this world!” King Ryutarou explained.
“How do we stop them?” asked Tokumoto.
King Ryutarou stared at him and said “The only way we can stop them is by infiltrating their headquarters in the Spiral Nether and by dethroning their king named Kazul Than. King Kazul has been killing people in other worlds. His evil ways must come to an end.”
“Could it be that he was the one who killed my parents?” asked Tokumoto.
“It is possible. Did you witness any purple smoke?” King Ryutarou replied.
“Yes, I did see the purple smoke,” Tokumoto answered.
King Ryutarou stroked his beard and said, “I am certain that he killed your parents. You may seek revenge and fight the demons with us. But be warned: the consequences of battle may be irreversible. You could very well lose your life. The enemies might attack us anytime.”
Just as Tokumoto was about to speak, the bells rang followed by a voice which says evil. “We are close.”
“The alarms have sounded! We are under siege by the demons! Follow me to the armory! Trust your instincts and fight!” Shigori yelled.
Tokumoto and Shigori sprinted to an enormous house next to the castle. They slammed the door open, and barged in. Tokumoto found hundreds, if not thousands, of swords, weapons, and books of spells. Tokumoto grabbed a sword, a shield, and a helmet and scurried over to the door. Shigori dashed to a special footlocker and took a long bow, a five-arrow quiver, and an armor set made of steel and ran to Tokumoto. They both jogged to the gates and fought against the demons.
Each of the demons was about 6 feet tall and was armed with an axe. Over at the horizon, there was a portal similar to the one Tokumoto came through. He saw the demons and monsters exit the portal.
Tokumoto ran into the fray and sliced and lunged at the demons while parrying, dodging, and blocking the incoming blows. Tokumoto was shocked to know that he was a skilled warrior after all! But this was not enough because the demon forces overpowered him. Along came a sorcerer carrying a staff who was accompanied by about 100 elite soldiers. After uttering a series of incantations, the sorcerer released a ball of fire from the staff and hit the demon who was about to kill Tokumoto. The elite soldiers on the other hand fought with all their might and killed as many demons as they can. The demons quickly retreated.
King Ryutarou arrived and shouted, “Go after them!” The army of elites, the sorcerer, Tokumoto, and Shigori chased the demons and they all ended up in front of the portal. The portal was slowly shrinking. Shigori, Tokumoto. the sorcerer, and some of the elites got through it. He heard a voice saying, “Come to me!” and then lost his consciousness.
Tokumoto emerged in an area where the sky was a swirl of purple and black and the air smelled like fresh blood. He was dying to go home to see his grandfather yet he does not know where he is. Later on he realized he was in an apocalyptic world.
“Hey, are you all right?” Shigori asked, “A demon hypnotized you.”
Tokumoto opened his eyes and saw Shigori.
“We are in a plane where demons rule. Now, look at the sky. Do you see that giant tower? That is where King Kazul lives. King Ryutarou wanted us to kill him.” Shigori explained. Shigori pointed at the sorceress. “This is Zuli. She is a master of the arcane arts.”
Tokumoto and Shigori walked towards the huge tower. They found burnt trees, ashes in the air, and corpses on their way to the tower. When they reached the tower, they opened the door and went in. The tower has a long spiral staircase. They walked up the stairs. Then Tokumoto heard a voice saying, “Die.”
He ignored the voice and continued climbing the stairs until he and Shigori reached the top of the tower. They found an armored King Kazul standing by his throne.
“We’ll call you if you’re needed. Stay at the steps.” Zuli told the elites.
“Tokumoto, I have waited such a long time for this moment. Do you remember those faint whispers? That was me talking to you. I killed your parents with the purple gas,” King Kazul said proudly.
Tokumoto was astonished, “Why did you kill my parents? Why not someone kill someone else?”
King Kazul replied, “I feast on the souls of the people I kill to grow ever stronger. Alas, regular souls would not satisfy me, but your parents were special. Your ancestors could travel between dimensions. They found me here, and I was almost killed.
Tokumoto looked back, and saw an army of ghouls fighting the elites. Zuli was infuriated and casted a spell that froze Kazul, but he broke out of it. She then shot a fireball at Kazul. Shigori shot an arrow at the fireball, resulting in a flaming arrow that missed Kazul by inches. Kazul flew into the air with is demonic powers, materialized a sword, dove, and stabbed Zuli in the arm. She staggered to a safe area. Tokumoto charged at Kazul, and attempted to slice him. They were almost equal in strength, but Kazul was a bit stronger. Shigori carefully aimed his bow. He released his arrow, and it hit its mark. With the arrow through Kazul’s neck, he died, and the ghouls fighting the elites vaporized. Shigori’s eyes and nose appeared on his face. They had won. But the king exploded into a portal, sucking in Tokumoto. Tokumoto flew into the portal, along with wispy clouds, appearing in his grandfather’s home.
“Welcome home, Tokumoto. I didn’t hear the door open. How was your trek?” his grandfather asked.
“It was fun. But I wouldn’t want to do it again for a while.
He never heard another unexplained whisper ever again.