Chapter Eleven- Bakiya Takahashi Enjoys Okinawa
[Author’s Note: “The Royal Crown of Okinawa (A Bakiya Takahashi Adventure)” continues as Bakiya enjoys all that Okinawa has to offer, and Anri finds her first love.]
It took time to dawn upon Bakiya that the place he had longed to reach. Okinawa was underneath his wet, sand-covered feet. He was water-logged, but the island of his dreams surrounded him in all directions.
“Have adventures and see the world, right?” Robert said.
“Amazing, isn’t it? Just as I remembered it,” Captain Thompson said.
“I agree with you. It is certainly a gorgeous view.”
“But you look like you have seen better days, my friend.”
Bakiya raced across the wet, sandy beach. As he got closer to the figure, Bakiya saw the sardonic smile on the woman’s face. His disappointment grew as she was not the love that he was searching for on his journey.
“Hardly,” The feminine figure said.
Bakiya studied the woman’s toned arms and shapely legs. Eventually, he took a deep breath.
“I’m sorry. But have we met before?”
“For certain we have not. I am a woman a man never forgets. I promise you that.”
Looking again, even more, disappointed as Bakiya pulled at his wet clothes.
“Ma’am, I apologize if I have offended you. You remind me of someone.”
“And who is she?”
Bakiya gulped. He glanced at the beautiful woman before him. She was a bold and self-confident woman with pretty features.
“A woman I met once. She was a goddess to be sure.”
“And does this goddess have a name?”
“You know ‘Saki’?”
Bakiya wasn’t sure if that was a good thing. He gave thought to play dumb, but a good liar he was not.
“Ah!” the woman said. “It might be better for you if it didn’t, Bakiya Takahashi.”
“Do you know me?” Bakiya asked. “Did I introduce myself when I came in?”
“You did not.”
“And yet you know my name, but I know not yours. How curious.”
“Hello, Tsumugi. It’s so nice to see you again,” Captain Thompson interrupted.
“You know her?” Bakiya asked.
“To be sure, he does. Once long ago intimately so. Has he forgotten?” Tsumugi asked.
Captain Thompson fiddled with his old, black belt. He waddled in a way that suggested he wished to disappear. Tsumugi gave him a sexy wink as she pursed her mauve-colored lips.
“I have not, my dear,” Captain Thompson said.
“Hmm. I should hope not.”
Bakiya remained silent. Tsumugi saw that a worrying shudder washed across his face. Tsumugi stopped. Her face fell into a similar-looking visage. Anri in her impetuous teenage-style asked the obvious.
“Where is Saki? We’ve come so far. This is Okinawa. Is it not?”
“It is indeed, my dear girl,” Tsumugi said.
“Then, I ask once more, ‘Is Saki here?’”
“She’s been missing since Friday.”
“‘Missing’?” Bakiya asked.
“And you’re not worried?”
“I am most certainly not. It’s not the first or the last time Saki has runoff. To seek redemption for — ”
“For what?” Bakiya asked.
“Losing the treasure,” Robert said.
“Yes, that’s right,” Tsumugi said.
“But Saki is a goddess. What could she possibly need a treasure for?” Bakiya asked.
“That was not just any treasure. But it wasn’t Saki’s fault. Every young child on this island knows that story,” Captain Thompson said.
Tsumugi’s manner grew dark. She waved her hand into the air and she, Bakiya, and his companions were whisked away. In a mist of haze, Bakiya watched a terrible scene unfold before his eyes in a grand temple full of light.
Long ago Saki was the leader of the Golden Pearl Goddess Phalanx. The day of the lunar festival came, and Saki was the sole guard on duty. The temple was silent. The hours slipped by, and Saki grew sleepy, when she perceived a dark and most dangerous figure slip into the treasure room.
“What treasure?” Anri asked.
“Shh!” Bakiya said.
“Fear not, no one can see or hear us. These are shadows of events from ages ago.”
The dark figure made his way to the center of the altar. Saki sprang upon him, at the same time. She sounded the alarm in the hopes of summoning help. But the other guards in the throngs of folk music, heavy drinking, and deep passion heard nothing. The man grabbed a large, gold object from the base of the altar, and held it in his arms.
“At last the Royal Crown of Okinawa is mine.”
“Stop, please, I beg of you, Nishimura.”
Saki put up a good fight. She used every incantation she knew and even threw a punch, but Nishimura was too powerful for the nubile goddess.
“Enjoy death, my dear wife. I died many times over to escape that cold, dark sea. I suppose, funny enough, I have you to thank for that.”
“That’s right. A pity you have none.”
A wave of his hand and Nishimura vanished in an explosion with the Crown in his possession. Saki was left in an injured, contorted mess on the cold ground from the power of the dark magic.
The grey and white mist dissipated. Tsumugi, Bakiya, and his worn-out friends found themselves inside a most magnificent room.
Bakiya walked over to a large picture window. Bright sunshine upon the glass reflected on his beautiful surroundings.
“Look father, a book! A real book. There’s a whole library of them,” Anri shouted as she ran with a thick novel under each arm towards him.
“So I see. That’s really something.”
Bakiya lamented the truth that the love of his life had long ago been married.
“I want to read them all. Can you teach me?”
“Sure. They’ll be time for that.”
Bakiya took a big, brown book from under Anri’s arm. He was more sullen and depressed as he flipped through the tattered, yellow pages of the enormous volume.
“Saki,” Bakiya cried.
“Alas, my daughter is not here.”
“Yes, Saki is my beloved daughter. And you must be Bakiya-san. That young man she keeps going on and on about.”
Bakiya was shocked to learn Saki talked about him to anyone, let alone her father. He was certain he loved Saki. Their brief encounter in his hometown years ago set him on his journey to Okinawa.
“Saki-san talks about me?”
“Yes, she most certainly does. You must be someone quite amazing as a mortal to win her affections.”
“Yes, it must run in the family. Saki’s mother was a lovely, young mortal I married years ago. We left Saki to live with my wife’s family.”
“She didn’t tell me that.”
“It’s not something she likes to talk about. Saki never knew the man whom she called ‘father’ was not her own until much later.”
“Yes, we thought it best that Saki live among the mortals.”
“But my sister Tsumugi never agreed with that choice. She thought it was beneath a god or goddess to be ‘a mere mortal.’”
“No worries by dear boy, Saki’s mother and I thought it was for the best. Being a god is tough. One gives up a lot. We wanted more for her than simply going through the motions of life, immortal though she might be.”
“‘Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven.’ Right?”
“Something like that one supposes, Bakiya.”
“By the way, my apologies, sir, but what should I call you?”
“‘Your Highness’ will do.”
“It’s a pleasure. And I’m most sorry to hear that your wife passed, Your Highness.”
“It’s fine. She was a saint. Her life was filled with love and laughter. She made my heart glad each day. But such loves are never meant to last forever.”
“Why? Are you not a god?”
“And yet, your lovely wife is dead.”
“That’s true. She is.”
“Could you not have prevented that?”
“My dear boy, love without sacrifice isn’t really love. Everything in life even for a god is a trade to some degree. Even immortality has its limits. My wife and I knew the price of such passions. Our love was defeated by Father Time. He is a most powerful ally in life and one undefeated adversary in death for humans like yourself. No offense.”
“None taken. ‘Only I discern infinite passion, and the pain of finite hearts that yearn.’”
“A poet I see,” The Emperor said.
“‘What is a poet? An unhappy man who hides deep anguish in his heart.’”
“Sadly all too true,” The Emperor said.
“Father, it’s time to eat. Can you smell it? Such a wonderful aroma,” Anri said, interrupting and nearly tripping over her bare feet.
“Yes, Bakiya, let’s feast together. There is no finer food capital in the world than Okinawa. Why even Chef Trevor is sure to be impressed,” Robert said as he ran by with Trevor and Captain Thompson trailing behind them.
“I’m amazing in the kitchen and the bedroom too for your information.”
“Hey! I’ve never had any complaints.”
“No repeat customers either.”
Anri went down the hall last and stood for a moment in the dining hall, rapt in thought. If she had been back at her little, dilapidated family home, she would have sat and cried.
“If my brother and mother could see me now,” Anri moaned.
“Is everything okay, miss?”
Anri threw down her last, thick book and clapped her hands with delight. A young boy wearing an apron gazed at her, thinking that he was seeing the most beautiful, young woman in the world — she was so clever, so high energy, so perfect.
“Are you going to answer the poor boy or not, Anri-chan?” asked Bakiya, standing in front of the long banquet table.
“I — you see, it’s just that — ”
“It looks like young Nathan has himself an admirer,” Captain Thompson shouted as he slapped the poor boy on the back.
Anri shook her fist in the air, threw a vicious-looking scowl at Captain Thompson, picked up her thick book, and ran towards the exit. At the door, she turned and looked at the handsome, young lad, and left.
“Someone’s got a boyfriend,” Captain Thompson teased.
“That’s enough,” Bakiya said.
“See what you did, Captain Thompson. And you wonder why you and I never worked out. You have no couth at all.”
Tsumugi from the shadows of the balcony sauntered into the dining hall. An honest to goodness goddess and she looked every bit the part this evening. Her long emerald green gown, so sheer, so slick, and nearly see-through, much to the delight of the men in the room.
Captain Thompson stepped back and behind Bakiya as if to shield himself from his former lover’s wrath. Tsumugi let him go for the moment and turned her attention to a flummoxed young man in Nathan.
“You fix a fresh plate for that poor, young girl, and you take it to her room. And you apologize to her, Nathan.”
“Me? What did I do?”
“You are a man, that is cause enough to apologize most any time, even for one so young as you. Best you get used to it if you ever want to marry.”
Anri returned to her room and shut the door. Her sobs rippled hauntingly through the enormous hallway. Nathan picked up a flimsy dinner tray in the kitchen and filled it with his favorite dishes. The confused, young man wanted to scream, but he begrudgingly did as he was told.
“Why should I have to apologize to her? After all, she’s just a girl.”