Our tale for today is about Tamamo No Mae, a nine-tailed fox (kyuubi). (=^･ω･^)y＝
✧ The Tale of the Nine-Tailed Fox ✧
むかしむかし , there was a beautiful lady who arrived at the Emperor’s palace. She was Tamamo No Mae, and she was so beautiful, intelligent, and graceful that the Emperor fell in love with her the first time he saw her.
When he asked her what could he do for a visitor like her, she told him that she would like to stay at the palace. The Emperor could not resist her charm, so he agreed.
The longer she stayed at the palace, the more people around her adored her. She was the most beautiful girl they have ever seen!
She was also very polite, elegant, and very, very intelligent.The scholars in the palace often liked to test her knowledge, and she always passed their tests, sometimes even exceeding their expectations.
The Emperor, who also enjoyed her company, found himself falling in love with her even deeper. One day, he asked her if she wanted to move in with him inside the palace. Tamamo No Mae agreed.
As the days went by, she and the Emperor became a couple. They were always together, day and night, all days of the week. They were almost inseparable~ ヽ(*≧ω≦)ﾉ ♡♡
As time passed, the people of the palace noticed that the Emperor was becoming weak. Until one day, he was so severely ill that he could not get out of bed!
The servants also found it strange that at first, Tamamo No Mae was apathetic, not showing any signs of sadness, nor any emotion at all. It was just until when the Emperor had a grave near-death convulsion that Tamamo No Mae almost appeared worried and restless, sometimes even looking quite confused.
One of the palace’s scholars became very suspicious of their mysterious lady visitor, that he sought help from the monks in the high mountains. He told them how the nearly-perfect Tamamo No Mae came to their town and charmed everyone, including the Emperor, and that he fears that she might not be what she appears to be.
The monks gave the scholar a small wand, and told him to trick Tamamo no Mae into touching it. They said that when she touches it, it will reveal her true nature.
The scholar returned to the palace and immediately went to Tamamo No Mae. He found Tamamo No Mae in her room, staring blankly out of the window, looking very absentminded.
The scholar took opportunity of Tamamo No Mae’s absentmindedness, and asked her if she wanted to come with him for another knowledge test, to get her mind off of things. He offered his hand to as if to invite her, and when she reached out her hand, he immediately pressed the wand against her palm.
The moment the wand touched her skin, it began to smoke! Tamamo No Mae retracted her hand in pain, but it was too late. A blinding light came out of nowhere, and amidst the light and smoke, the scholar was shocked to see a number of tails unfurl behind Tamamo No Mae.
The scholar screamed for the guards. Just as the guards came bursting into the room, a cornered and panicking Tamamo No Mae transformed fully into a kyuubi, or a nine-tailed fox! She leapt out of the window and tore through the town at top speed.
The people (who adored her before), upon seeing her, threw rocks and sharp objects at her. Wounded, she escaped the town and headed towards the mountains.
Back in the palace, the scholars informed the Emperor of Tamamo No Mae’s true nature. Kitsune (and Kyuubi) are creatures who are known to use their charm to absorb the energy of people, especially those who feel closest to them.
Heartbroken and still weak (but miraculously recovering), the Emperor heavy-heartedly authorized the scholars to “do what needs to be done”, for the sake of the people.
The scholars then hired two skilled warrior-assassins, Kazusa-no-suke and Miura-no-suke, to hunt and kill the fox.
It took long before the two warriors found her. Tamamo No Mae, the fox, was found hiding in the mountains, victimizing wandering travellers for food. When she saw the two warriors, she instantly attacked them, but they were too skillful so they easily dodged her attacks.
Suddenly, Miura-no-suke said aloud, “Under the order of the Emperor, a foul traitor like you must die a painful death!!!”
The fox suddenly stopped, then a blinding light came again, and the two warriors found a very beautiful Tamamo No Mae standing before them, with nine tails on her back, and her eyes brimming with tears. She stood there shaking, staring at the ground, looking half angry and half miserable.
"Do what you need to do," she finally said. "But I’m not going to die without a fight." Upon these words she charged at the two warriors with sharp claws and bared fangs.
The three had a long and tough fight, eventually leading to the three of them heavily wounded, and with Tamamo No Mae transforming again into a fox and fleeing the mountains.
The fox ran towards the plains, again at top speed. The warriors chased after her, but she was too fast, so one of them took out a bow and arrow. He aimed at the running fox, and with several attempts, he successfully shot an arrow through the fox’s chest.
The fox, as it lay dying on the ground, once again transformed into Tamamo No Mae. Hot tears of sadness, anger, and pain ran down her beautiful face, before finally dying.
The moment she drew her last breath, she transformed into a cursed black stone (Sessho-seki, or Killing Stone). The stone released a magical poisonous gas, killing anyone who went near it.
The stone stood there for many generations, victimizing many. Until one night, a monk passed by, and set up a ritual around the cursed stone. He prayed the whole night, muttering enchantments and setting up blessed candles and incense around the stone.
The next morning, he got up and approached the stone, even placing his hand on its surface, but miraculously, he was not harmed.
He then called out to it, “I’ve heard of your story, Tamamo No Mae; of how as a kyuubi you bewitched the Emperor and got what you deserved - a painful and lonely death. But I know that there is so much more than that story, and I would like to lend a listening heart for you. Please, I want to know your real story.”
He waited several moments, until a voice came from the stone.
"I am Tamamo No Mae, but I haven’t always been Tamamo No Mae. My real name is Mizukume. My adoptive father found me in the forest as an infant, not knowing that I was already cursed to be a nine-tailed fox, which is probably why my real parents abandoned me. When I was seventeen years old, my adoptive father was framed for treason, and the palace sentenced him into exile, eventually leading to his death.
"I was terribly angry and alone. I decided to embrace my kyuubi self and immediately sought vengeance towards the palace, eventually gaining the trust and love of the young Emperor himself. As I slowly drained his life force, I came across something unexpected: I found myself falling for him, which was not part of the plan. A part of me didn’t want him to get hurt, or to die. I became very confused about things. I got my heart broken even before that arrow tore through my chest, and that’s what really killed me in the end.
"Please, kind monk, I cannot take this anymore. I have been cursed since I was born, and even after I died, I am still cursed. I have killed so many, in my life and death, and I am very sorry. Please, I beg you, release me from this misery."
The monk closed his eyes, and with his hand still leaning on the rock, he muttered a solemn incantation, which he ended with “thank you, Mizukume. Be free.”
A brilliant ball of light rose up from the stone, and went up into the sky. The stone, which was not cursed anymore, crumbled into pieces, and the debris scattered all over Japan.
Such a sad story, but this might be our most favorite so far! ;3;
We hope you liked it!
Art by littlemisspaintbrush ♥