In a village deep inside a forest surrounded by a two rivers lived many people, they were all nice and joyful, until one day a part of the village was engulfed in flames. It spread throughout the entire village and spread out burning everything in its path. The fire stopped at the rivers, but even so it was too late for everyone living in the village for it was burnt to a crisp. Over the land covered in ashes was a little light flying wildly, a firefly of such a pure red that's never been seen, flickering through the night.
As days passed people found out that the village was no more, but they had no idea what may have caused a fire of such proportions, so the mysterious incident came to be known as "Black fire", cause all that was left was the ashes of the village and forest. Months later the people from near villages begun using the rivers for travelling and transport. Ships kept sailing on the rivers and more and more people learned about the "Black fire" and the rumors of it spread across the continent.
A year later, on a cruising ship sailing on the river were many tourists curious of the rumor that shocked and amazed people across the country, the land where an entire village and forest got burnt down to nothing without a trace of what could have started the fire. Among them was a young man with white hair, pale skin and an unearthly-green eye and the man's name was Ginko. As he gazed at the dark land, he couldn't help but ask the ship's captain and crew about the incident, but they didn't know more than the rumors say, even if he didn't know more than the eyes could see that didn't stop him from wanting to find out what happened there. Guided by curiosity he started to investigate the ashes and the ground, as well as the surroundings, for all he knew it could have be caused by a mere fire, but the size of the affected area was still a bit too big to burn everything without no one noticing it, so he kept looking thinking it was more than just a regular fire. As he checked the ground he found a spot where it still smelled like fire was still burning, it felt like his nose was set on fire, he never felt such a particular smell. He followed the smell over the river, through the forest, all the way to a village where the smell was lost, because everyone kept moving around, the wind was blowing hard and rain had fallen last few days making that unearthly-smell vanish at the edge of the village. With no tracks to follow he begun to ask around if they saw anything strange. While asking everyone around he found nothing new, but he kept hearing of a little girl that everyone were saying she`s crazy. So he found out from people where she lives and went to her home. He knocked at the door and her father answered.
Ginko: Good evening, sir! My name is Ginko. I am a mushi master and i heard strange things about your daughter and i'd like to ask you a few things.
Aker: Good evening! My name is Aker. I suppose you heard about my daughter from the villagers just like Tenrou.
Ginko: Who is Tenrou?
Aker: He is a mushi master too. He is already inside talking to my daughter. Please come!
Ginko entered the house and saw Tenrou, a middle aged man with brown hair, red eyes. Next to him was the girl, she had red hair and red eyes like fire. Next to her was her aunt, a beatiful middle aged woman with blonde hair and she seemed to have a certain attraction for Tenrou. Ginko joined the discussion.
Ginko: Good evening everyone! My name is Ginko and i am a mushi master. I take it you are Tenrou, the mushi master i have heard about, Akane, the red haired girl everyone in the village is talking about, but who are you? *Said Ginko while starring at the little girl's aunt*
Katsumi: I am Katsumi, Akane's aunt. What are you here for?
Ginko: I am here to find out more about the "Black fire" incident. I have heard from the villagers that you, Akane, were the last person from this village that saw the forest that's been burnt before the incident. They all say you are at fault.
Katsumi: That's insane, you can't seriously believe what they say, she would never do such a thing.
Tenrou: He never said he believes what they say, he just stated the facts that brought him to this house, aren't i right?
Ginko: Indeed. Her name is Akane which means "brilliant red", you have hair and eyes of the color of fire and you were at the place of the incident last, but what is the strangest thing is that you kept saying around the village you saw a firefly around the village that was burnt and you said that when it touched a person a burst of flames came out of where it touched him and he got engulfed entirely in flames in just a moment. Because of those things the elders around think you are cursed and you will set this village on fire too, but you are allowed to remain in the village just because your father told everyone you are crazy. So what exactly happened?
Akane: Just like you said, that's everything. I saw a firefly like i have never seen before and followed it to the village and what followed next you already know.
Ginko: A firefly that sets objects on fire just by touching them? I have never heard of such a mushi. Tenrou do you know anything of such a mushi?
Tenrou: As a matter of fact i do know. It is called Fenikkusuhotaru and it means phoenix firefly. The firefly she saw was actually a phoenix.
Ginko: Phoenix? I have heard just rumors about it but nothing certain. Wasn't the phoenix supposed to be a bird made by pure fire?
Tenrou: Yes, but you never wandered how are they born? Once every 1000 years the strongest phoenix, Suzaku, comes and suicides in a vulcano during a complete sun eclipse and revives afterwards, causing an eruption and an egg rises and flies away over the ground at low heights. The egg looks like a firefly and it searches for a mountain to leave during a full moon night. Because of unknown reasons it tends to not touch the materials in our world, unless sudden interference from people or fauna occurs and touch it. What touched it is set on fire and the mushi starts to fly wildly for a while. But the fire from a Fenikkusuhotaru is not just any fire, it is stronger than the regular fire, it spreads faster and is not so easy to extinguish.
Ginko: So a phoenix egg burned that village. And what was the fragrance it left in a certain spot there?
Tenrou: That smell is left by it the moment it touches something, and it keeps leaving a trail of that smell that gets weaker and weaker and after some time without touching anything it stops leaving that smell behind.
Ginko: So that's how you found this village too. But how do ... *Tenrou suddenly interrupts Ginko*
Tenrou: Wait a second, what do you mean by how i found this village?
Ginko: I followed the smell from the ashes and it ended here.
Tenrou: If that's so then it means it still might be around. After it leaves the trail of that strange smell it needs to rest a while in a little area to recover it's strength in order to keep looking for the mountain.
Ginko: How do we get rid of it?
Tenrou: We have to take it to a mountain that will be under the light of the full moon. I know the mountain we have to go but it's very far away and we don't have that much time. It's already past dawn and the full moon moment aproaches fast. We can take it with us in a jar filled with smoke that calms down mushi. It should calm down it's movement and won't touch the jar. The problem is finding it.
Akane: I might be able to help with that. I don't know why but i have a feeling when i'm closing in to it. Like a burning fire in my heart but it doesn't hurt at all, i kinda like it actually.
Ginko: Why is it so Tenrou?
Tenrou: I don't know but we have other pressing matters now, we have to take care of the Fenikkusuhotaru fast. Can you find it Akane?
Akane: I'll try!
All five started looking after the mushi. They found it in the center of the village and they could all five see it except Aker. Out of a house came an old man and told them to leave. Akane stepped forward and told him to calm down and go back in his house. But he didn't listen. While Tenrou and Ginko were preparing to catch the Fenikkusuhotaru the old man kept yelling and shaking his hands towards them, attracting the atention of more villagers. As he kept shaking his hands he touched without noticing the Fenikkusuhotaru and was instantly engulfed in flames, that moment the girl was shocked, she opened her eyes widely, she started trembling, as she fell on her back and just remained on the ground gazing, very scared, at the burning old man. The other villagers saw, brought water and extinguished the fire, while she was still starring at the corpse. The crowd, for they could not see the mushi, started blaming the little girl, yelling at her, throwing rocks and pushing her to make her leave the village, thinking she really was cursed. Then Ginko catched the Fenikkusuhotaru in the jar and Aker and Katsumi stepped between the girl and crowd trying to explain what happened.
Katsumi: Please everyone calm down, she has nothing to do with the fire. The old man touched a mushi that set him on fire but now we catched it in that jar and we'll take it away.
Crowd: YOU THINK WE ARE IDIOTS? THERE IS NOTHING IN THAT JAR BUT SMOKE, SHE IS CURSED AND HAS TO BE THROWN OUT OF THE VILLAGE!
Aker: The four of you go and get rid of the mushi, I'll stay and try to calm them down. *Said Aker although he couldn't see the mushi either, nor believe in them, but just couldn't believe her daughter was guilty for all this*
Akane: Dad, don't do it, come with us!
Aker: Go sweetie, I'll handle it here, just go! Ouch… *Aker got hit by a rock in the head and started bleeding but he was still standing up*
Akane: No dad, I'll not go without you, I won't leave you behind no matter what!
Aker: I love you sweetie, Ginko grab her and go, NOW!
Ginko grabbed Akane and started to run away from the village with Tenrou, which was holding the jar, and Katsumi. As they ran, she was watching with tears in her eyes her father behind being pushed around by the villagers, taken down by them and killed.
Crowd: HERE! THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR PROTECTING THAT MONSTER!
Akane: Daddy!Nooooo! *Shouted Akane, while crying harder and harder*
After they finally got out of the village they kept running through the forest, Tenrou speeded up a bit and took the lead.
Tenrou: Follow me to the entrance!
Ginko: What entrance?
Tenrou: We're gonna use the tunnels between our world and the mushi world to get to the mountain whose top is gonna be lightened by the full moonlight from tonight, cause we don't have enough time, moon already rises.
Akane: Ginko let me down, I can run on my own, after all I don't have where to return now.
Katsumi: What tunnels you said? Between worlds? WHAT?
Tenrou: Mushi masters don't stay in one place, they are constantly moving, therefore we are hard to locate. So we use a mushi that travels between closed places by using those tunnels in order to transmit messages from people to mushi masters. It's more complicated but the idea is that we can use those tunnels to get to that mountain faster. There is an entrance in a tree around here, and one in another tree on the mountain we wanna reach and I know the path through the tunnels.
Ginko: Are you sure you wanna do it? We could just wait for the next full moon and keep the mushi under control.
Tenrou: We can't cause the smoke won't keep it calm for more than 24 hours, after that it's freed from the smoke it's gonna go wild because it was exposed to the smoke to force it's movement to stop.
Ginko: But the smoke calms the mushi.
Tenrou: Well this mushi is an exeption. Found it! Everyone follow me inside!
Akane: What are the chains for?
Tenrou: They will show us the path, although we'll have to stray away from them a little part of the path to get to where we want but we'll get there, I hope.
Ginko: You hope? So you aren't sure?
Tenrou: I am sure … more or less. We have no other choice now, let's go in.
They all entered the tree into the tunnels and started running alongside the chain on the wall.
Akane: Wow, so many tunnels, where do they all lead to?
Ginko: Throughout the entire world, and those aren't all, there are thousands more.
Katsumi: I can't believe something like this exists.
Tenrou: Alright, here we part from this chain, follow me.
They went through a few more tunnels finding another chain, the one they needed to follow to reach the mountain. As they went through the tunnels, they were separated by distance, because Akane moved slower than the others and Ginko stayed alongside her, in two groups: Tenrou and Katsumi, Ginko and Akane. At some point Ginko says:
Ginko: I know were in a hurry but wait up Tenrou.
Tenrou: I can't the smoke in the jar is starting to fade.
Tenrou: It's a mushi made of pure fire, what would you expect. If the smoke completely fades then the mushi will melt the jar down in a second and burn everything.
Katsumi: But we are surrounded by earth, what can it burn exept us?
Tenrou: This isn't normal earth, it's made of life in its purest form, they are filled with life veins. In other words normal objects wouldn't affect this place at all, but the Fenikkusuhotaru is another story, not only that the earth around will be set on fire, but it'll spread very fast too, through all tunnels.
Ginko: WHAT?! But those tunnels spread throughout the entire world.
Tenrou: Exactly, if the Fenikkusuhotaru gets out of this jar now, the world will be engulfed in a sea of flames. *They all stopped when he said that*
Ginko: WHAT?! You knew that and still brought it here?
Tenrou: I am sorry, but I had to do it, the villagers wanted to kill Akane tonight, I overheard them talking. *Katsumi stares at Tenrou and starts taking little steps backwards very scared*
Katsumi: This is crazy! You must be joking, right? Tell me it's all just a joke! Please Te… *She falls of the edge*
Tenrou: KATSUMIII… *Shouts Tenrou while trying to catch her, he catched her hand on the edge* Hold on, I won't let you fall.
Ginko: Hold on! We're coming right now!
Katsumi: My hand is slipping. Let me go and take that thing out of here.
Akane: No auntie, hold on, I don't wanna lose you too!
Katsumi: Tenrou, you might not remember but we met before this, long ago, about 7 years ago. You saved my life from a landslide and since then I wanted to tell you something. I LOVE YOU! *And she let's go of Tenrou's hand falling in the tunnels bellow*
Tenrou: I remember you too… Ginko, I'll leave the jar here, take it to the top of the mountain and free it during the full moon and you must take Akane there too, I don't have time to explain, so just trust me.
Ginko: What? But what are you gonna … wait a second, you want to jump after her, it's crazy, you two will be lost forever, don't do it!
Tenrou: I have to, it's my fault she is in this mess, remember what I told you. * He jumped off the edge after Katsumi*
Ginko: Come Akane, we don't have time to cry, we must finish what we started.
Akane: Alright, if you promise you won't leave me too.
Ginko: I promise.
They went and took the jar, then they started running following the chain on the wall until they reached the exit. As soon as they got out of the tunnel they saw the full moon on the sky. They begun to run as hard as they could to the top of the mountain. She fell down and fainted, so Ginko grabbed her and started carrying her on his back. He was tired, he could barely feel his feet, running through the forest under the moonlight, wandering why did Tenrou tell him to take Akane to the top of the mountain too. He reached the top, put Akane on the ground and freed the Fenikkusuhotaru in the moonlight and it started flying wildly. Then a circle of fire surrounded them, rising higher and higher. At that moment Akane woke up and stood up on her feet. Ginko went to her and tried to touch her to see if she's alright.
Ginko: Ouch … *He took his hand away from her* You are burning hot! What is going on?
Akane: I know who am I and why I was attracted by that mushi. I am that mushi.
Ginko: What?! How do you know it?
Akane: I don't know how to put it, I just know it. Thank you for everything Ginko.
Ginko: Wait, what are you gonna do?
Akane: Become whole. *She said while walking towards the Fenikkusuhotaru*
As soon as she reached the Fenikkusuhotaru she raised her hands toward it and touched it without being set on fire. She took it and placed it over her heart, then it entered her body and she was engulfed in flames. Afterwards she took the shape of a bird made of pure fire and started flying in circles over the ring of fire surrounding Ginko. Then she took off to the sky, straight at the moon, leaving trails of fire in the air that were vanishing fast, just like the moonlight was being set on fire. After it reached over the clouds they closed in blocking the sight of the moon and the phoenix, afterwards the ring of fire around Ginko vanished too. Afterwards Ginko started thinking: "So this is why Tenrou wanted me to bring Akane too, but still how did he know and why was Akane chosen to be the one?" . He went back to the village where she lived, after a few months, but when he asked about her no one knew her. He asked them about Aker, her father, but they told him he was dead and buried in the cemetery and no one seemed to know how he died, but also no one recalls Aker having a daughter. They remembered only his sister, Katsumi, although they had no idea what happened to her. So he went to miss Tanyuu and told her the story of the adventure of the phoenix. After she finished writing it, they went outside to look at the sunset.
Tanyuu: It's an incredible story Ginko, but are you sure you didn't hit your head and dreamed all of this during one of your other adventures?
Ginko: Hahah, so funny, so you don't believe me?
Tanyuu: I didn't say that, it's just that it's so amazing.
Ginko: Indeed, as amazing as it sounds I must agree that it's hard to believe. If I wouldn't have gone through it I wouldn't have believed it either. You must be crazy to believe such a story.
Tanyuu: Then I guess I am crazy, cause I believe you. You are not the type to make good stories without experiencing them. *Said Tanyuu with a big smile on her face*
Ginko: Hahah, so funny again, glad I could amuse you with my story.
Tanyuu: Sorry, I didn't mean to be rude, it's just that it must be so amazing to experience such adventures unlike me. I am just standing here listening and writing other people stories. I'd like to go on an adventure too.
Ginko: Don't worry, your leg will heal and I'll take you on an adventure with me.
Ginko: Of course!
Tanyuu: So what happened with Katsumi and Tenrou?
Ginko: I wish I've known. I have no idea even how he knew all that, or how he found her. All I know is that he is wandering in a tunnel with Katsumi somewhere between the mushi world and ours.
Tanyuu: Travel for eternity with the one you love doesn't sound that bad.
Ginko: Maybe… Now that I think of it, it was just a sunset like this when I started that adventure.
Tanyuu: Must be nice to have such a memory and remember it each time you see a beautiful sunset like this. Do you have any idea where the phoenix went?
Ginko: Not even the slightest idea. I just know it's somewhere out there, with more just like it.
Tanyuu: Such a big world, who knows what other incredible mushi might be out there. Maybe you'll meet a unicorn mushi too. *Said Tanyuu while laughing*
Ginko: You're having fun aren't you?
Tanyuu: Yeah, sorry, but I had that joke on my tongue and couldn't hold it. Would you wait and watch this sunset with me?
Ginko: Of course I will!
Tanyuu: Thank you Ginko!