Bonus Story: On The Origin Of Yokai Girls

on September 1, 2008 in Other Tales

The overwhelming preference seemed to be for stories of the nekos, or of Kai in particular. I’m not ready to tell Kai’s story in detail, but here’s a story that contains some tidbits on all the Yokai girls.

In a large house on a cliff overlooking the northwestern coastal waters of Yokan, a man with fur and features like those of a fox stood watching the wind beat the torrential rain against his window. He could not even see the fury of the ocean below, so dark was the sky and so thick was the water against the glass.

“This storm was supposed to land a week ago,” the kitsu businessman said to a younger fox-figure who stood a respectful distance away from both him and the spectacle of the storm. “I postponed my departure in order to avoid the typhoon, when I could have been safely away had I left as scheduled.”

“You would have been away, Hoshinotama-senpai, but your wife and unborn child would have been left alone to face the brunt of the storm’s power.”

“While I am honored to be known for my leadership abilities, Kiyoshi-kun, the walls do not gain strength in my presence,” Hoshinotama said. “My lovely wife would have been just as safe in any event. What concerns me is the distressful inaccuracy. For what purpose do I pay the diviners, if their information is no more reliable than that of a fisherman watching the sunset?”

The younger fox considered before answering.

“The missionaries say that of what men propose, the gods dispose,” he said.

“Missionaries,” Hoshinotama said. He snorted. “They may bear the egg and the arms, but beneath their robes they are traders and schemers, all.”

“Certainly you are right,” Kiyoshi said. “But it is true that the precepts of heaven must overcome the premonitions of mortal creatures. Can you not see a higher purpose in your presence here, when your wife struggles to bring your child into the world?”

“I was inclined to believe she was mistaken about the signs,” Hoshinotama said. “It is weeks too early, and the omens were all auspicious. But now the skies themselves have opened up to show me the folly of trusting in omens, and I have decided that it is good. My son is impatient to be born, and he will do so in his family home, in the sight of his ancestors.”

“It will be a son, then?” Kiyoshi asked.

The older fox let out a bitter bark and turned away from the window, taking his eyes off the raging storm for the first time in over an hour.

“The same fraudulent stargazers who prophesized an earlier landfall and an uneventful birth think it will be a daughter,” he said. “I can think of no more definitive proof that a male child is on the way… can you?”

“I would not disagree with you, Senpai.”

“You must not be worried, my friend,” Hoshinotama said. He smiled thinly. “My son will of course take my place in time, but not at the expense of your own future. My star is rising. There will always be a place for you in my business. I would not forget my promise to your father, and neither could I ignore your potential.”

“Your praise quite embarrasses me,” Kiyoshi said.

“Forgive me such unmanly emotion,” Hoshinotama said. “The impending arrival of my first son… it threatens to overwhelm me.”

“My forgiveness is not necessary, but it is yours for the asking,” Kiyoshi said. “But if I may have your forgiveness in turn, then I must ask… are you not concerned? The labor has gone on for most of the day… weather or no weather, it may be time to send for the healers.”

“I have already sent for them,” Hoshinotama said flatly. “They say they will come when they can. But… I am not overly worried. There is a reason it’s called ‘labor’, after all. The struggle… it will be good for my son, I think.”

“Then there is nothing else that you can do,” Kiyoshi said.

“Except to wait,” Hoshinotama said.

“Except to wait,” Kiyoshi agreed.

The storm and the labor had both been ongoing when Kiyoshi finally retired for the night. He awoke to an eerie calm outside the house, and to the realization that his host was standing at the end of his bed.


“My wife is dead,” Hoshinotama said.

“Your son?”

The fox shook his head.

“My most sincere condolences on both of your losses,” Kiyoshi said.

“I know nothing of the raising of girls,” Hoshinotama said. “One of the household nekos recently had a kitten. She can see to the child until it has reached a respectable age.”

“At least you will always have a part of your wife.”

“Not the part that I need.”

Four Years Later…

Despite his initial apathy, the businessman found that he had a certain fondness for little Suzune, the disappointing girl who had cost him his wife. At first he had only checked on her progress in a cursory fashion, out of a sense of obligation, but now he made a point to set aside a day as often as he could—often as frequently as every two or three weeks, when business didn’t keep him away—to visit with her, and to quiz her nurse on her education and her behavior.

She was an overly imaginative child, and a willful one… but truthfully, his expectations for her had never been that high, so it was difficult for her to disappoint him.

“And have her manners improved at all?” he asked the nekoyokai servant woman who had nursed and then raised her.

She lowered her head even further and explained, in halting and fearful tones, that there was only so much she could do when she was not permitted to discipline the child.

“You will have to make do,” Hoshinotama said.

At that moment, his daughter skipped into view. She was hand-in-hand with the neko’s daughter, her constant companion, Mariko… or “Leeko”, as she rendered it. She had problems forming some of her sounds.

“Sooooooni,” Mariko said, purring her butchered version of the young vixen’s name. “You can’t.”

“And what can my daughter not do, little one?” Hoshinotama asked.

“Father!” little Suzune said, excited as always to see him. “Father, father!”

“Hello, my little darling,” he said. “I hope you do not let your companion dictate your behavior.”

“No, I didn’t!” Suzune said proudly. “She said I can’t but I said I can and I will!”

Hoshinotama chuckled indulgently. His daughter’s willfulness wasn’t all bad. If only she had been a boy…

“That is good to hear,” he said. “But, what is it you will do?”

“Grow up to be a neko like her!” Suzune declared. Not registering the look of horrified shock on her father’s face, she added, “They’re so pretty!”

The servant was dismissed immediately… immediately following the most severe thrashing she could receive without causing a scandal. Hoshinotama watched her hobbling down towards the compound gate with her daughter slung over her shoulder. His daughter was at his side, restrained by two of his staff. The child was bawling, screaming “Leeko! Leeko!” over and over again. The nekoyokai kitten was answering in a similar fashion.

The kitsuyokai father signaled to one of his men. In later years, he would never be sure if he’d done this for his daughter’s peace of mind, or for his own, but it was such a small thing that it hardly mattered.

“Send someone to the neko village to buy the child,” he said.

“If the mother will not sell?”

“Bring her to an understanding.”

Three Years Later…

“Father, Maliko says there is a neko in the village who has my name,” Suzune said. She’d learned to form her Rs properly long ago, but she still retained the childish mispronunciation of her bond companion’s name. “Suzune the neko.”

“And what, my daughter, would you like me to do about this?”

“Maliko says you can have nekos killed.”

“Maliko should not speak about kitsu affairs.”

“I don’t want there to be a neko with my name,” Suzune said. “It isn’t fair.”

“What do you want me to do about it?”

“I don’t want her to be there any more,” Suzune said. “Either kill her or make her leave.”

“Suzune-chan, if we treat the nekos badly for no reason, it will fall back upon us,” Hoshinotama said. “Do you understand?”

“No!” Suzune said. She stomped her foot. The noise was appalling… she’d recently taken to wearing a pair of ugly wooden sandals, and none of the servants could convince her to take them off indoors. “It isn’t for no reason! She shouldn’t get to be Suzune the neko! If you won’t get rid of her, then change her name!”

“Darling daughter, we can’t go changing the names of people who don’t belong to us. It simply isn’t how things are done.”

“Then buy her! I don’t care!” Suzune said.

“I will not buy you another neko simply to change her name.”

“Are you saying that I can’t have her?”

Hoshinotama sighed.

“But you do not even want her,” he said. “You only want…”

“I do, I do, I do!” Suzune shrieked. The words turned into a loud, sustained wail. To Hoshinotama’s chagrin, the furry little child had inherited the power of her mother’s voice, if not the facility with which to use it.

He summoned a servant to go to the village.

Nine Years Later…

“Ikayup! Ikayup!” the small striped cat girl shouted, running up to the bench where the pale spotted one sat reading.

“What is it?” Ikayup asked resignedly, not looking up from her book.

“I saw a girl who looked like you!”

“That’s nice,” Ikayup said. “I’d like to finish reading my book, please.”

“What is it?”

“A method of presenting pages of written material bound within a cover.”

Her sister didn’t understand exactly what Ikayup had said, but she understood that she was hearing a put-on and not a proper answer.

“Tell me, or I’m telling mother,” she said.

“It’s a Chung romance.”

“You can’t read Chung.”

“I can’t yet,” Ikayup said. “But I almost can.”

“Why do you want to read another language anyway? You read too much anyway.”

“I read because I want to,” she said. “Because I don’t want to spend my life as a servant.”

“Oh. Guess where I saw her.”

“Who?” Ikayup asked.

“The girl who looks like you.”


“Just guess!”

“I don’t want to,” Ikayup said.

“Do you want me to tell you, then?”

“Not really.”

“Inside a television!” her sister exclaimed.

That got Ikayup’s atttention. She let the book close around one clawed finger and looked at her sister disgustedly.

“Where did you see a television, tiny liar?”

“Mother took me with her when she went to clean the big houses,” the younger neko said. “I got to watch the television while she dusted, and there was a girl who looked just like you, with a weird splotch on her eye and everything.”

“They aren’t splotches, they’re spots,” Ikayup said. “And some people think they’re lucky.”

“Mother says next year you can go cleaning with her,” the younger cat said. “I’m jealous. You’ll get to watch TV all the time.”

“I’d rather just read…” Ikayup started to say, only to be interrupted by a shrill, screeching scream from a passing carriage.

“Stop the coach! STOP THE COACH!”

Ikayup scowled in irritation. It was easily the most horribly piercing, grating voice she’d ever heard, even including that of her sister. She was happy to see that the coach did stop, if only because that stopped the screaming. If she went her whole life without ever hearing another spoiled, rich kitsu bitch throwing a tantrum like that, she’d consider her life well-spent.

She opened her book back up and buried her face in it once more, thus missing the coach’s door opening, and the figure who stepped out of it…

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3 Responses to “Bonus Story: On The Origin Of Yokai Girls”

  1. pedestrian says:

    kinda like standing at the bottom of a mountain, then looking up at a sudden ripping noise and seeing the avalanche coming down at you. And knowing there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.

    Current score: 2
  2. MadnessMaiden says:

    This is pretty cool. 🙂 before this, I’d never thought of how similar Suzi and Sooni’s names are.

    Current score: 3
  3. Jechtael says:

    I definitely like Kai, or Ikayup, or WHATEVER she thinks of as her name, now. I didn’t DISlike her before, but until her enjoyment of linguistics and literature came up I saw nothing in her that I liked. Her willingness to go through torment to better her position in life was commendable, but that doesn’t mean I liked her for it.

    And hey! Nice explanation for Maliko’s name. And Suzi’s, for that matter. It certainly explains why Suzi is the unfavourite.

    Current score: 2