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The Emperor and the hourglass
Writer Barbara
  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
  • R: Restricted
469 Reads

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The Emperor and the hourglass
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Chapter One
Nov 24, 2017
8 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!74fBwhWV1rXTcpjRvgQbposted on PENANA

There was once a happy emperor who had everything he could have wished for, a lovely wife and family. Then one day his life changed forever, his dear wife fell ill and there was nothing the doctors could do. Even the great Healers could not save her, all they could do was help her to pass into the other realm in peace.copyright protection96PENANAsHP9rQZeBG

The emperor placed her to rest in a lovely tomb and plated a cherry tree outside so every spring the delicate petals would drift through the window to fall on to the lid of her stone coffin.copyright protection96PENANAQIL5jhngdo

A month later the emperor is awaken in the middle of the night by someone calling his name, “Gonijō... Gonijō.”copyright protection96PENANAHaiUzCM5SC

He quickly lights the lamp on his bedside table and looks around his bedchamber to see no one is there.copyright protection96PENANAgkj6uKWtZy

   “Gonijō,” comes the strange voice again.copyright protection96PENANAaQgVWAckQq

   “Who’s there? Show yourself,” calls the emperor, holding the lamp out in front of him.copyright protection96PENANAJyA2taEfgw

The shadows on the back wall seem to dance and slowly form into a woman, she holds out a skeleton like hand towards him and asks, “You miss your wife?”copyright protection96PENANARxRbDlWAOW

Gonijō stares at the floating mist like creature before him, with glowing white orbs for eyes and replies with hesitation, “Yes, I... I miss her a lot.”copyright protection96PENANA8ZMpUIZ73Q

   “Then I have a gift for you,” says the mist woman.copyright protection96PENANAxMp8OTjs8z

The next thing the emperor sees is an hourglass floating before him and she continues, “This will bring her back to you every full moon. All you need to do is turn it and she will appear until the sand runs out and you will not be able to turn it again until the next full moon.”copyright protection96PENANAZ06QbKb8k0

Without thinking Gonijō takes hold of the hourglass, he looks at the strange golden sand and asks, “It really will be my darling Kiku?”copyright protection96PENANA4sZQSUzS2C

   “Yes, she will be returned to you. All you need to do is turn the hourglass on the next full moon and she will appear.”copyright protection96PENANAIAp8Jd12Ga

The emperor smiles at the thought of seeing his dear wife again, he looks back up at the mist woman and asks, “What do I owe you?”copyright protection96PENANABFaIvmsHuM

   “Nothing,” she replies in a soft voice. “I am merely returning your happiness.”copyright protection96PENANAIyfIp7CZZE

This reply makes Gonijō a little on edge as it was clear the mist woman was some kind of spirit and they never give anything away without something in return. He looks at the hourglass then back to the entity and says firmly, “You take me for a fool!... I know there is a catch, as your kind never just give things away.”copyright protection96PENANACIe1RXeT0V

The mist woman seems to shift shape, he briefly sees a skull face appear and the white orb eyes turn slightly red which makes him take a step back.copyright protection96PENANA3CAek6ANO5

   “No,” she says in that same soft voice as before, “There is no catch. I just want to see you happy, there is nothing wrong with that, is there?”copyright protection96PENANAzwEPe4XQ3W

The emperor frowns as he thinks, What could this spirit be up to? I have an awful feeling it is going to take my soul.copyright protection96PENANAvFFKGwIVqJ

   “Don’t you want to be happy again?” the mist woman asks, pointing her hand towards him.copyright protection96PENANAQtlrHFxitl

   “Yes, I do and I all I want is to see her again.”copyright protection96PENANAo3S2S66PX9

   “And you will, with just one turn of the hourglass and she will appear right before your eyes.”copyright protection96PENANAMtPsdwZWrp

The emperor’s love for his dear departed wife blinds him, he  gives the mist woman a nod and replies, “Thank you.”copyright protection96PENANAFiS0JAGhT9

The entity strokes the side of his face before she disappears into the shadows of the back wall.copyright protection96PENANAChcuj5BqVy

Gonijō gently sets the hourglass down on his desk, he then makes his way to the window, slides back the shutter to gaze up at the night sky, to see the moon is almost full. He heads back to bed filled with happy thoughts of seeing his dear Kiku.copyright protection96PENANAAH2pafV9cn

By the end of the week the moon is shinning round and full in the night sky, the emperor does as the mist lady told him, he turns the hourglass over and waits to see his dear wife appear.copyright protection96PENANAySFrSp1zGV

The moment the sand begins to cascade down a woman in white appears and Gonijō starts to weep when he sees it is his dear sweet wife.copyright protection96PENANAJjcWNw2pWX

   “Kiku, my dear Kiku,” he weeps, throwing out his arms to embrace her.copyright protection96PENANAYwF0WPgRYs

They hug and the empress says, “I have missed you, my love.”copyright protection96PENANAfxkUYdj0N0

   “I have missed you too... I’m so pleased I can see you again, even if it is brief,” replies the emperor, pointing his hand to the hourglass.copyright protection96PENANAVxj8t7EvwB

Kiku nods and says, “Come, sit with me in the moonlight.”copyright protection96PENANAtu88v4YLWX

Gonijō nods and follows her outside, where he goes on to take a seat on the covered walkway with his dear wife lying in his arms.copyright protection96PENANAebuz6tNqtB

Soon the last bits of sand is beginning to fall and the empress starts to get more transparent, she stares into her husband’s eyes and tells him, “I will always love you,” before she disappears.copyright protection96PENANAqp8JyCQc8n

The emperor starts to cry, he quickly returns to his bedchamber and tries to turn the hourglass over, but no matter how hard he tries it refuses to budge.copyright protection96PENANAOBSWKn0I9X

   “No... please let me see her again... Please,” he begs, still trying to turn it over.copyright protection96PENANAFo8aYfDLF7

Then the mist woman appears, she points her skeleton like hand towards his face and says, “Try as you might, but that hourglass will not turn until the next full moon.”copyright protection96PENANAn5xvP57Gif

   “But it is too brief... I wish she could stay longer. Please make it longer,” begs Gonijō, placing his hands together.copyright protection96PENANA46RW3Bk4ku

The mist woman waves her right hand over the hourglass and replies, “I have made it so the sand flows slower to give you more time with your dear wife.”copyright protection96PENANA10SaaRpOC4

   “Thank you, thank you,” says the emperor with tears in his eyes.copyright protection96PENANAW0auvZADGS

The mist woman strokes the side of his face before she disappears.copyright protection96PENANATKZKG2l16G

A month later the moon is once again full in the night sky and Gonijō waits patiently for his dear wife to appear to sit with her once more on the covered walkway.copyright protection96PENANAv8GoiQfHFS

This time one of the guards over hears his emperor talking to himself, he peeks his head around the corner of the walkway to see a ghost like woman rested in the emperor’s arms who looks a lot like the dead empress. He rubs his eyes to make sure he is not dreaming and watches her disappear like the mist, then the emperor starts to cry. The guard decides to mention what he saw to the gods the next time one comes to visit. He does not have to wait long because a week later Yūichi comes to see how Gonijō is doing.copyright protection96PENANAMCSW6nWG1C

The guard waits until the god has seen him before he quickly takes him to one side and tells him what he saw.copyright protection96PENANAyUmyE3A04H

The Leader of the Japanese Dragon Order listens to him, he shakes his head and asks, “Did the ghost do anything before she disappears?”copyright protection96PENANAGAPmY7dePT

   “Not that I could see... No wait it did seem to stare into his eyes before it vanished.”copyright protection96PENANA6BvYyBmuho

   “Hmm... Have any of you notice any change in him?”copyright protection96PENANA7QitoWwZXB

   “Like what, my lord?”copyright protection96PENANAGDbv0aDeos

   “Strange behaviours, like staying up all night, or talking in his sleep, to not eating.”copyright protection96PENANA7v3CuCeQ6v

The guard shakes his head and replies, “No nothing like that. Can it really be the empresses spirit?”copyright protection96PENANAedmxHLueKr

   “It could be... Nonetheless, we need to be cautious as it could be something far worse.”copyright protection96PENANAPq51W5czkA

The guard looks at him all worried and asks, “What do you mean by that, my lord?”copyright protection96PENANA1r654AHirO

   “Sorry, I was just thinking aloud. Please keep me posted my son. The moment he starts acting strange send word to the Order.”copyright protection96PENANAOG2bdJWHXH

    “Will do, my lord,” replies the guard, performing a deep bow.copyright protection96PENANA8N8dP4j1EE

Yūichi places his hand on top of the man’s head and says, “Bless you, my son.”copyright protection96PENANACF5ILaitsK

Over time the emperor begins to become aware the apparition is not that of his dear wife, but something else and he starts to wonder what he has done. Has he sealed his fate? Is the thing going to kill him at some point?copyright protection96PENANAhhqjsD2ok0

The next time the moon is full he puts his theory to the test, he decides to leave the hourglass alone and watches in horror when it turns itself over bringing fourth the thing that is pretending to be his darling Kiku.copyright protection96PENANA6tOeHDi1FW

   “Why did you not bring me forth?” she asks, floating towards him.copyright protection96PENANAFhCK0oUjRn

Gonijō points his hand at her and asks, “Who are you?”copyright protection96PENANA39Ets76vwr

   “Why I’m your wife.”copyright protection96PENANAwCVkQCX9DC

   “No your not, my dear wife would sit and tell me stories when we were alone. You’ve not told me one.”copyright protection96PENANA6iUJ3V7YeZ

The ghost floats backwards, she places her hand to her chest and replies, “I just do not remember them.”copyright protection96PENANAmi81LB8S7E

The emperor shakes his head and says, “No, if you were really my wife you would remember my favourite story.”copyright protection96PENANAkDhfY7SWgv

The apparition seems to shift her position, her face grows angry and her hands turn to fists as she snaps, “Why don’t you believe me! I cannot remember. Listen to me, I am your wife. Come to me.”copyright protection96PENANAznOt6SpeQD

Gonijō takes a step back and snaps, “No! You stay away from me.”copyright protection96PENANAddVleHXnA4

Suddenly the ghost lunges at him, grabbing his shoulders, pulling him close, saying, “Hold me, my love.”copyright protection96PENANA1UIjaGq2CH

The emperor is helpless, he is unable to get out of the apparition’s tight grip and this time he begins to feel week, like all of his energy is being taken out of him.copyright protection96PENANAyb4mFbf4p6

When the sand runs out Gonijō drops to the floor, he takes a deep breath, before he crawls over to his bed and falls straight to sleep.copyright protection96PENANAICjEYxlVUV

The next morning the maids grow worried when they are unable to wake the emperor, the guard quickly sends word by eagle to the Order.copyright protection96PENANA0WQIf0pG21

To be continued...copyright protection96PENANAoAdtXTEcY4

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