It had been long, very long. Or, at least, it felt that way. It felt like it was just way too long. Long enough for the memories of before to feel like they belonged to someone, something else. But they didnâ€™t. He knew that, of course he knew that. What was he, crazy? No, he wasnâ€™t crazy. He was definitely, unequivocally, not crazy. The Voice might suggest otherwise, but he knew it wasnâ€™t in control. Not all the time anyway. Granted, it was thanks to the voice that he was even around here right now. But, you know, canâ€™t win them all. The Voice was certainly winning a lot of the time lately. Or did it just feel like that? It was so difficult to keep track of things. Was The Voice messing with his memories, could it? Was Enyo under its influence? No, never that. If there was one thing he could trust in this universe, it was Enyo. Right?
Enyo would definitely know if he was going crazy. Enyo would tell him. Enyo would tell him everything. Yes, yes he would. No, thatâ€™s not right. No doubts, not this day, not this time. The forest hides something. Forests always hide something. Thatâ€™s their purpose isnâ€™t it? Remember forests? Or, better yet, remember THE forest. Yes that one, with the wooded man and all the confusing fighting. Those were the days. You know, the days before it all went to Hell. The days before you had to wonder if you were crazy, if you were alive, if you were you, if it even mattered. Doubts are kicking in. Thatâ€™s not why youâ€™re here. Itâ€™s the mysteries. Itâ€™s the hunt. Itâ€™s the finding. Itâ€™s the chase. Itâ€™s The Voice. Whereâ€™s the mask? Whereâ€™s the blade? Whereâ€™s the friend? Whereâ€™s everything?
The forest. Is it there? Are they there? Is everything there? Is that why youâ€™ve brought me here? â€˜If I say yes, would that make you feel better?â€™ Iâ€™m not sure thereâ€™s a way to feel better, not in this world, not anymore. â€˜Oh dear, so gloomy. And I donâ€™t even have to do much. I like this new you. Things have really taken a toll on you. Iâ€™m quite certain that you wouldnâ€™t have allowed me to take you here, like this, before. No, you would have put up a bigger fight, I think, wait, no, I know. Of course I know.â€™ Just tell me where to go.
The forest was beautiful. Forests always were, it doesnâ€™t matter if they were destroyed, or burnt down, or didnâ€™t have a single remaining tree. Forests were beautiful, they were special, Shibuname knew that. Enyo enjoyed them too, being a bird, itâ€™s pretty much mandatory. The two of them were taking a not-so casual stroll through a forest in the Fire Country. They didnâ€™t know much about what was going on. It was a bit difficult to keep track of the going ons lately. Shibuname was very surprised that there were still things going on after all that happened. But, it is the nature of humanity to adapt, to keep going on, and even though he often wondered if there was a point to it anymore, he kept going too. Enyo always by his side.
What were Enyo and Shibuname doing in one of the Fire Countryâ€™s forests? Well, they donâ€™t know. Or rather, theyâ€™re not being told. After the disasters that happened, The Voice had started gaining a stronger hold on Shibuname. It was almost impossible to resist its pull lately. This was a cause for worry, but Shibuname didnâ€™t have much in the way of options. Especially with it calling the shots most of the time. However, Shibuname and Enyo did know what was â€˜specialâ€™ about this particular forest. It was the source of the legend. The mysteries, the myths, the rumors of the ghost. The Voice was very intent on getting them there and meeting the ghost. Enyo had resisted at first. It was still difficult to realize when his master was fully in control of his actions. But he was starting to notice the difference, practice makes perfect, after all. The bird knew that it rested on him to make sure his master survived whatever idiotic scheme his brain was getting him into. Just like old times.
Oh, yes. Itâ€™s finally happened. I can see it. That must be it, right?
Just ahead of the group, it appeared. A clearing, and in the center there was a cat. Shibuname grinned, but the smile wasnâ€™t his. Enyo burrowed his head under Shibuâ€™s neck, something about the creature frightened him to his core. The human master was not feeling the same way. He kept getting closer to the creature, following the urgings of the voice inside his head. â€˜Here we are. Meeting the ghost. Itâ€™s a cat. Oh, how wonderful. Can I talk to him? Let me talk to him. I will talk to him now.â€™
Shibuname stopped in front of the cat and bowed extravagantly. â€œOh good sir, or do you prefer cat? No matter. I came following what the common tongues where spewing, and I am so glad to see they did not speak lies. Oh, this is such an honor. The meat suit and the bird didnâ€™t want to come, but I forced them. Because I knew there would be something special about you. And I was right. I can feel it. Weâ€™re going to be great friends, arenâ€™t we?â€