She had been warned, but of course, she hadn’t heeded the warnings. The voices of those who had attempted this in the past and had failed spoke to her, trying to convince her that this was a rash decision and that she should not continue.
She ignored them.
Thorns and branches scratched at her face as she ran through the forest. Finally, she broke free of the woods and came to a clearing littered with buildings. She spotted the largest one and ran to it, hoping that no one was guarding it.
Of course she was wrong.
“Stop! You may not enter the temple!” came the guard’s gruff voice. She tried to push past both of them, intent on getting in, but they grabbed her arms and held them in a vice-tight grip.
“Where is Master Saito?” one of the guards yelled. As if on cue, an old man with long hair as white as snow and a matching beard appeared.
“You summoned me?” asked the old man.
“Yes, Sensei. This woman was trying to break into the temple,” the guard motioned toward the woman. The man gave her a long look and then finally spoke.
“Release her and let her come with me,” he ordered, motioning for the guards to let her go. They did so, watching warily as the old man led the woman into the temple.
“Kana, it has been a long time since I last saw you. The last time we spoke was when you were exiled, I believe. What business do you have here in Banzai?” he asked cautiously, walking over to some incense candles.
“Don’t you think it’s about time that the Oracle get a new host, Saito?” she asked him.
“Call me Sensei,” he said, completely disregarding her question as he lit the candles with a snap of his fingers.
“ Yes, Sensei,” she said through gritted teeth, frustrated that he was treating her words as if they were a mere inquisition as to what the weather was.
“And as for your question, I don’t see what’s wrong with the Oracle in her form now. But if you wish to try, let me warn you,” he turned away from the candles to look at her intently, “hosting the Oracle is as dangerous as hosting a god. If she does not wish to dwell within your body, then you will be burned to ashes,” he warned darkly.
She was tired of warnings.
“I am aware. You must remember that my family, my ancestors, have long been Oracles and Spirit Warriors,” she reminded him.
“Ah, yes, the Zumi family,” he said dryly. He led her over to the altar, on which the shrunken body of a female sat.
“Give me your best then, Miss Kana,” he said, almost as if he were mocking her. This annoyed Kana, but she ignored it, closing her eyes and beginning to chant.
Suddenly a blinding flash of light lit up the room and when it subsided, Kana was no longer there. Instead, the Oracle had come to life, but her skin was no longer the waxy, wrinkled skin of a shrunken body’s, but rather full of life. Master Li bowed to the Oracle and spoke.
“Mistress Kana, Oracle of the Banzai kingdom,” he murmured in acknowledgment.
The Oracle’s eyes rolled up into her head and she started speaking.
“The lost empire will be restored,
The four will come to answer to their lord.
The Spirit Warriors again shall rise,
And bring about the demons’ demise.
The dragon and the wolf shall enter the gate,
And there they shall fulfill fate.
Their destinies shall be decided
When they with the tiger and the cougar are sided,” the Oracle stopped chanting and looked down at him.
“Thank you for your audience, Mistress Kana. You have given me much to think about,” said Master Saito thoughtfully.
He would have to watch for them.