Notes: I have done a little research on Japanese goddesses when
I wrote this story, but I didn't go into much detail. I also did an
itty-bitty bit of research on the 'other subject' but decided that if you
guys want to learn about it, you can do it yourselves. I'm a prude.
All copyrights to Shaman King belong to Hiroyuki Takei. And remember
kids, it's 'Manta', not 'Morty'.
Shaman Not Required!
A Shaman King Fanfic.
By Niki 'NeeP' Paradis
"Stupid haunted house," muttered Manta Oyamada to himself
as he hurriedly pulled on his sneakers. "No one in their right mind
would stay here." He then looked through the doorway to where Yoh and
Anna were taking their dinner. A few ghostly outlines resembling people
could be seen. A book was floating across the room and Anna managed
to save a pot of soup from flying into a wall. But then again,
Manta thought to himself, I guess a Shaman has to be a little crazy to
deal with ghosts and the Spiritual World. It's either that or go completely
He remembered what happened at the Shaman King competition.
Yeah, there was a different between crazy and insane --you just had to compare
Yoh and Hao. Yoh may be a little 'Out There' at times, but compare him to
Hao --who had illusions of divinity or at least controlling it, well, um...
Let's just say that Yoh was just a little bit crazy and Hao was a certified
Picking up his huge book, Manta left the house.
Sometimes he wondered what it was like to do the things that Yoh could do.
Not that he wondered about it very hard or for very often. He had the
opportunity with Mosuke --twice, and it involved a hammer somehow, but he
really couldn't remember either experience very well. And that was
just fine with him. He wasn't equipped to deal with ghosts. It
was still too much on occasion just being able to see them.
"Are you leaving already, Manta-dono?" asked a voice as
he was heading towards the front gate. "I understand that Yoh-dono
can finally make a very good soup."
Manta turned around and squinted a bit until he could
pick out the misty form of Amidamaru, the samurai ghost.
"I'm afraid so, Amidamaru. There's a test tomorrow,
and I can't really study with all of the ghosts in there. I am going
home and study in my room where it's quiet."
The ghost chuckled. "Yes, it's true that the ghosts
of this place tend to get rowdy sometimes."
"Yeah," Manta managed a weak grin. "Anyways, I am
sure that I will see you tomorrow. Take care of yourself, Amidamaru."
"You do the same, Manta-dono." The ghost then returned
to his exercises.
It was already dark as Manta started off for home.
He was fortunate that his family believed that he was taking more cram school.
Actually, they didn't really care what he did, as long as he was able to
maintain his high grade average. They left him alone for the most part.
Once again, he decided to take a shortcut through the
cemetery. It was still creepy at times, but it no longer held him in
fear as it did many months ago. The ghosts he saw greeted him by name,
and Manta waved and smiled at them even as cold perspiration trickled down
the back of his shirt. They still made him a little nervous sometimes.
But, they weren't bad at all. He knew that they would not harm him
and that they would not allow any harm to come to him.
But he decided to hurry through anyway. The sooner
he was out of the creepy place and away from the supernatural, the sooner
he would be back in his mundane bedroom, doing something truly mundane and
boring, like studying for the test tomorrow. It would be a nice change,
"Excuse me," said a quiet voice behind him and Manta jumped
high into the air in surprise.
"Hey!" cried out Manta as he landed and spun around.
"Don't you that it's rude to be sneaking up..."
There was no one there.
"...On people..." he finished lamely.
"Oops. Sorry about that," said the same voice beside
Manta turned to see a girl standing beside him.
Or to be more precise, the translucent form of one. He responded to
her the only way that he could.
"Aaaaarrrrrrrrrgh!!!" he screamed. Even after
everything that he has been through, some habits are just too hard to break.
"Geez, you're so jumpy."
"Sorry..." Manta took a deep breath to steady his
nerves, and then took a look at the ghost who startled him.
She was not much taller than he was, with short dark hair
and large dark eyes. She was dressed as a priestess would be, but at
her side, a single short sword could be seen.
She's beautiful, thought Manta to himself.
And she's dead. Just my luck. "Can I help you?" he asked
The small female ghost looked thoughtful for a moment.
"I hope that you can," she said finally. "The other ghosts in this
cemetery speak highly of you, Manta Oyamada. I was hoping that you
can help me."
"Help you?" asked Manta, all fear forgotten as his curiosity
"Yes. My name is Misa. I was once the protector
of a great itako (spirit medium) who served the area to the East, not too
far away from here. One day, our temple was attacked by brigands and
before she fell in battle, my mistress entrusted to me our most treasured
relic. It was my duty to take it to a scholar where it would be protected
and studied. But I was not able to depart before one of the scoundrels
killed me. However I was able to hide the relic before I was discovered.
So now I need to find someone to help me complete my task."
Manta's face was completely blank. Then he shook
"Look, uh, miss --I'm not the one you should be talking
to. You should be talking to my friend Yoh. He's a shaman.
He'd be better at helping you."
Misa drifted around Manta until she was facing him.
"I know about your friend, Yoh Asakura, and I am aware of his abilities.
But you don't seem to understand. I don't want a shaman. I want
you. You are obviously very knowledgeable and you are known to be good
at figuring things out. I need to know what happened to the holy relic
that my mistress charged me to take care of. I need to make certain
that it is still safe and I need to make certain that it gets to someplace
safe. I cannot go to my final rest until I do so."
"But why me?" asked Manta. "Why not Yoh?"
"Because he does not think in the same way that you do.
You are capable of finding information fast, and your ability to reason is
impressive. I must admit that while your friend does indeed appear
to be a great shaman, his ability to reason is somewhat on the limited side."
"That's true." Manta nodded. "He prefers to
go on gut instincts. Maybe you should talk to Anna then. She's
got a lot of common sense."
"But she thinks like a shaman too. I need someone
who doesn't think the same way as shamans do."
Manta shook his head. "Maybe. But I don't
think that I am the right person for the job. Have yourself a good
evening, Misa-san." With that, he walked briskly for the other end
of the cemetery.
Soon Manta made it home. He trudged up towards his
room, set down his Mantien-dictionary on his desk and proceeded to remove
his school uniform and get it ready for the next day. He looked momentarily
for his notebook computer, but then remembered that he had left it back at
Yoh's place. Mosuke, who currently haunted the piece of high-tech equipment,
wanted to visit with Amidamaru for a while. The spirit of the blacksmith
seemed to feel more comfortable having the laptop there, so Manta agreed
to leave it. It was kinda like having Mosuke bringing his own sleeping
The short teen was stripped to his underpants while he
was looking for his pyjamas.
"Why won't you help me?" asked a very feminine voice.
Manta shrieked as he dived under his covers.
"Manta!" shouted a voice from below. "There's no
reason for you to be making such a racket! Pipe down up there!!"
Trembling, the boy looked out from under the blankets.
There, floating not even a foot away from his face was the ghost girl, Misa.
"What are you doing here?!?" he hissed at her.
"I want to know why you don't want to help me," she said.
"Because I don't know very much about helping ghosts out
and about religious artefacts," whimpered Manta.
"That's okay!" beamed the pretty ghost. "You don't
have to. I know about the relic and you know just the right amount
"Um, listen, Misa-san...?" said Manta hesitantly.
"Could I provide you with an answer tomorrow afternoon? I really need
to study for my test."
Misa looked confused. "You truly can't expect to
study properly from under a blanket, do you?" she asked.
"Well," retorted Manta hotly. "In case you have
forgotten, I have been in the middle of changing when you came in."
Misa giggled. "Oh yeah, I have forgotten."
"So could you please leave so I can get dressed and study?
I promise that I will give you an answer tomorrow."
Misa was silent for a few moments. "I don't think
so," she said finally. "I'm not leaving until you agree to help me."
Yoh came out of the possession trance. The ghost
of the student, Suzuki, aced the exam as always. He smirked to himself
and stretched. Then he looked over at his friend. Manta was asleep,
drooling on his test papers. The teacher loomed over the small boy
and slammed his hand on the desk.
"Wake up, Oyamada! This is not the time for taking
Manta woke with a startled yelp and fell over the back
of the desk chair --no mean feat when the seat back was higher than the boy's
head. "I'm awake!" he shouted, dazed.
"What has got into you?!?" demanded the teacher
as he ignored the giggles and laughter of the other students in the class.
"This is not like you at all."
"No sir," mumbled Manta. "I guess I didn't get much
sleep last night."
The teacher looked at what was usually his best student.
Large black circles were under his eyes. This was the kid that slaved
and sweated over each and every mark. The boy looked awful and a bit
fearful about what a failed exam would cost him.
Then, contrary to the reputation of the entire staff body
of the school, the teacher decided to give the kid a break.
"Then expect to come to my office after school tomorrow.
You will write the exam, Oyamada. And I expect you to be awake for
"Yes sir! Thank you sir," said Manta. Then
"See that you do. Class is dismissed."
"Yo, Manta. What's up?" asked Yoh as they walked
home. "You were completely out of it today. And that's not like
you at all."
Anna walked by the two. "Isn't it obvious?" she
asked. "Shorty had a visitation last night."
Yoh perked up immediately. "A visitation?
Really?" He sounded interested.
"Yeah," yawned Manta. "There's this ghost that wants
me to help her. I tried to tell her that you would be the better person
to ask, but she wouldn't leave me alone. She wouldn't let me sleep
or study until I agreed to help her out."
"Hmm," mused Anna. "Help him out, Yoh. Give
him some pointers. I'll see you at home." She walked past the
boys, around the corner and out of sight.
They waited for a bit to make certain that Anna was gone.
"How --how did she know?" asked Manta faintly.
Yoh shook his head. "She just does."
Both boys shuddered with the fear of Anna's apparent omniscience.
"So, did you agree to help her?" asked Yoh after a moment.
"Of course I did. She wouldn't let me study or even
get my pyjamas on until I did. What choice did I have? But by
the time I did agree it was four in the morning." Manta sighed.
"And you saw the results of that." He explained the events of the previous
evening to his friend.
The taller boy nodded. "So can I meet this ghost
friend of yours?" he asked.
"I dunno, Yoh. Actually, I don't know where she
is right about now..."
"Maybe she went back to the cemetery. We could look
Manta shrugged. "Sure, why not?" The boys
changed their direction and headed towards the Funbari Hill Cemetery.
The two boys walked down the street. Manta was amazed
at how relaxed Yoh was, even after everything that had happened. Amidamaru
appeared shortly after they had left the school. The ghost was fascinated
with the modern world that he now found himself in.
Manta looked at the two. Yoh and Amidamaru had a
relationship that was both strong and unique. And the short boy was
jealous of them. And of Horohoro and Kororo, and of Chocolove and Mick
the Jaguar... Heck, he was jealous of all of them. But mostly
of Yoh and Amidamaru.
Would it be possible to become partners like that with
a ghost? With maybe Mosuke? He didn't know. He will have
to think on it, after he finished doing what Misa wanted him to do.
He followed his friends quietly to the cemetery.
"So why did you bring your friend?" demanded Misa after
the introductions were made. "I said that I wanted your help, not his!"
"Relax," laughed Yoh. "I'm just here to help Manta
help you. He's new at this." The young shaman then turned to
his friend. "All you have to do is listen. The ghost will tell
you what you need to know and what to do."
"That's it?" asked Manta.
"Well, to be honest, you can't really do anything else.
You haven't been trained for it. But I'm sure that you'll do fine."
Manta scowled. "Gee, thanks Yoh..."
"No problem," smiled Yoh. "I gotta get home and
get dinner started. Catch ya later."
"Please to make your acquaintance, Misa-san," called Amidamaru
as he followed his partner.
And Manta was left alone in the cemetery with only the
ghost for company. "So, um... Tell me... What is it that
you want me to help you with?"
A little time later, Manta was surprised to find himself
in a library. At first he was uncertain as to why a ghost would want
to peruse old books, but Misa assured him that it was necessary. She
knew the exact location of where she had left the artefact, but she needed
to find out where she needed to take it.
"What is this artefact exactly?" asked Manta as he went
through an ancient map of the area.
"It is a statue of Jingo," replied Misa as she read the
spines of the various books on the shelves. She was puzzled over some
of the titles.
"You mean, the Empress Jingo?" asked Manta, as he pulled
another book out of the pile on the table where he has been sitting at.
"Yes, that is who I am referring to. The statue
was carved from ivory. And ivory was very rare then. It was to
be a gift from our temple to a known scholar of the area."
"But that would have been a long time ago," mused the
Misa nodded. "I know that the scholar has been dead
for centuries, but I still need to deliver the statue. I just need
to find out where to deliver it. I have no idea of where to begin."
"Um, right." Manta flipped the pages in the book
that he was perusing. "What was the name of the scholar?"
"I am trying to remember..." said Misa as she concentrated.
The whole room seemed to vibrate as she did so. "The name of the scholar
was 'Takei Hiroyuki '," she said finally.
"That will help," said Manta.
Manta continued to research into history of the ancient
"Excuse me, Manta-kun?" interrupted the ghost as she tried
to make sense of a title of one of the books on the shelf.
"What is 'Kama Sutra'?" she asked. "I noticed
the title here on this shelf with other books pertaining to relationships...
I have heard the term before while I was alive, but I am not too certain
what it is. Other ghosts that I have asked about it would not tell
me. Would you happen to know about it?"
Manta went completely red. "I don't think I should
tell you," he said.
"Not you too!" complained the ghost-girl. "One would
think that they were purposely trying to hide such information from young
Manta went even redder. He had heard of the term
and he had, by honest accident, managed to overhear what it was about.
The method of learning about this particular forbidden subject involved hiding
behind large furniture when he was much younger. It would be during
those times when his parents had his weird aunt over. She was totally
obsessed with the concept and constantly talked about it. Manta found
that he still blushed whenever he had to think about it. It made him
nervous and uncomfortable.
"It's hard to explain," he said. "No one would tell
me either. I had to listen in on conversations to find out."
"So tell me what it's about, then!" she demanded of him.
The boy said nothing.
"Now!" she shouted voicelessly with a glare that
could nearly rival one of Anna's.
Manta gestured for her to come closer, cupping a hand
to his mouth so he could whisper into her unsubstantial ear. "It'saboutsex!"
he said in as low of a voice as humanly possible. He was then pressured
to explain about it and he tried, while using as little detail as he could
get away with. His face went redder and redder. Misa naturally
pale complexion went as red as his did.
"No wonder they didn't want to tell me!" she exclaimed.
"That is very unusual information. And I guess I can see why people
would try to keep such information from a young woman and a priestess.
But I am still glad that I finally know. Thank you very much, Manta-kun!"
"No problem," whimpered the short teen faintly.
Further proper research revealed that an institute
and museum was dedicated to the scholar in question. So that solved
the 'where to' part of the problem. Now it was the matter of getting
the statue in the first place.
"The funny thing is," said Manta as he placed the books
onto the return cart, "there is a popular manga artist today that goes by
the same name. I wonder if he might be a distant relative or descendent."
"What is manga?" asked the ghost in a confused voice.
So Manta had to explain the art of comics to her.
"I'd like to see some of that," she said after the explanation
They left the library and started to walk down the street.
"Manta-kun?" asked Misa suddenly.
"Yeah?" Manta stopped and faced her. He was
sort of aware that there were people staring at him, unable to see who he
was talking to."
"Would it be at all possible for you to pick up a weapon
of some sort? Like a sword?"
"A sword?" asked Manta. "What for?"
"To protect me," replied Misa.
"Me with a weapon?!?" exclaimed the short boy. "Are
you nuts?!? I would end up hurting myself with it. Besides, you're
already a ghost. What can hurt you?!?"
"Please Manta-kun?" pleaded the ghost. "It would
make me feel better..." She batted her eyelashes at him.
The eyelashes did the job and Manta sighed. "I guess
that I could stop by Yoh's house and see if Ryu is there. I think that
he will let me borrow his bokuto for a little while."
"A wooden sword?" asked Misa in disbelief. "What
can anyone do with a wooden sword?"
"More than you think," replied Manta as he started walking
again, this time to Yoh's place.
It was getting dark as Manta and Misa started to walk
towards the place where the artefact was supposed to be hidden.
"Misa-san," began Manta shyly. "Can you tell me about your temple?
And why you carry a sword?" He shifted the position of the borrowed
bokuto on his shoulder.
"Sure. Our temple was consecrated to the warrior
goddesses. It was up to us to show everyone that women can be strong
and fight alongside their men."
"But there weren't that many warrior goddesses then, right?"
"There are more than you think!" said Misa hotly.
"Jingo was raised to deity status because of her military prowess long ago.
I understand that the pilots of the second great war dedicated themselves
to the goddess of the wind, Kamikaze --Well, maybe she isn't exactly a warrior
goddess, but she too was strong. But there's also Kanayama-hime, the
goddess of metals --without her, there would have been no swords and tools.
And there are others as well."
"Huhn. You must know a lot of this kind of thing,"
replied Manta awed.
The ghost sighed. "Not as much as my Mistress would
have liked me to. I still keep trying, even though my bones are beneath
A street gang waited on the other side of the street.
They watched as the young boy, apparently talking to himself, walked by.
"Where do you think he's goin', boss?" asked one of them.
"I don't really care where he's going, as long it ain't
to the old ruins..." replied the gang leader, whose face was a mass of scar
Another flunky snorted. "Yeah. Only an idiot
would try to enter our home turf and our meeting place."
They watched the short kid turned into the property of
"Now what, boss?" asked the clueless street punk.
The gang leader took a final drag on his cigarette before
throwing it away. "Now we go nail the little turd for trespassing."
"Excuse me, Manta-kun?" asked the ghost.
"Yeah?" Manta was feeling a little nervous.
According to his classmates, the area that he was currently strolling about
in was frequented by a tough street gang called the Rusty Nails. These
guys made Ryu's old gang look like a bunch of little old ladies. He
hoped that he would not run into them that evening.
"There is a group of evil looking men staring at us from
across the street."
Well, so much for not running into the gang.
"Maybe they won't say anything," suggested Manta nervously.
"Hey! Shorty!" shouted the leader of the street
gang. "Where do you think you're going?"
Manta spun around in terror to face the much bigger, much
"Show them what you're made of, Manta-kun!" cheered Misa.
Manta swallowed. "Stay back!" he shouted.
"I've got a sword!" He brandished the bokuto at the thugs.
"We don't need to get close," replied the gang leader
with a smirk. "We've got guns."
"..." A lot of words were going though Manta's mind
at the moment, but none of them were suitable in the presence of a lady-ghost.
I am not afraid, he said to himself. I am not going to run
"Run, you idiot!" shouted Misa.
"Right!" The short student scrambled to get into
the temple grounds, glad that someone else had decided for him. The
wind picked up as he ran for his life. The thundering sound of bullets
being fired could be heard right behind him. He also heard the thudding
of the bullets as they landed in the pavement. At least, he
thought to himself as he ran, I'm not screaming...
"Not bad, Yoh," said Anna as she set down her rice bowl.
"You're getting better at this."
Yoh nodded and grinned. "With all of the practice
that I have had, I figured that eventually I would get the knack of cooking
"Congratulations, Yoh-dono," said Amidamaru, tears running
down his face. The rice did indeed look good and once again the dead
samurai wished that he eat.
"Thanks," replied the young shaman. "Hey."
He turned his attention back to Anna. "How do you think that Manta
is doing right now?" he asked.
"I'm sure that he's doing fine," replied the young itako.
"What kind of trouble could he get into?"
"Yeah, I guess you're right. Everything will work
out." He grinned as he cleared the table.
Manta Oyamada was currently dancing out of the range of
a lot of bullets. He dashed behind rotten pillars and old trees, but
the bullets seemed to be intent on tearing them apart to find him.
"I'm gonna die..." he moaned. But Misa would not hear of it,
and she would tell him which way to leap and jump.
The gang leader growled. So far, the little punk
has had remarkable luck, dodging all of those bullets. But even luck
can't last forever.
"Do you understand how Integration works?" yelped Misa
as Manta jumped and leaped from side to side avoiding the bullets.
"Well, yeah!" gasped Manta as he took refuge behind a
large boulder. "I've seen Yoh do it many times. I understand
"Good," she nodded," because that is what we are going
"Say what?!?" the short student shouted. "Are you
nuts?!? I told you --I'm no shaman!"
"Well, I have no formal training either, but I have seen
my mistress do it and so I understand how it's done. I have talked
to many ghosts and they have told me how it works from the ghost's point
of view. And the ghosts told me about you and Mosuke, the smith.
Face it, Manta-kun. You're no warrior and if you go out there now,
as you are, you're gonna join me as a ghost instead of working with me as
part of a team."
"Um..." said Manta as the bullets pounded at the rock,
"I don't have time to wait for you to decide!" shrieked
Misa. "Now, Manta!" She flashed and became a spirit ball.
"I can't believe that I am doing this," muttered the short
boy as he grabbed the spirit flame in his hand. He was surprised that
it didn't burn. He wondered about that momentarily.
"What are you doing, you idiot?!?" shouted the Misa-flame.
"Um." Manta's mind went blank and he brought the
Misa-flame up to his chest. "Hyoi Gattai!" he whispered fiercely
as he pressed the ball into himself.
Then Manta was no longer alone in his body. And
he could feel the other spirit trying to come to grips with having flesh
again. And coming to grips with uh, differences between her original body
and Manta's. Manta's spirit blushed as he felt the embarrassment of
the other spirit. "How about that we just ignore that for now,"
he suggested. "Basically, we're doing this just to get this body
away from here in one piece, right?"
"Right," agreed the other soul after a moment.
"You just give me control for a moment."
"Give you control?!?"
More bullets chipped away at the bolder.
"I know how to move. You can have control again
after we get into the temple, okay?"
Manta thought about the two choices that he had.
Life with the chance of being possessed for the rest of it, or no life at
all. Um, easy choice actually when it's put that way...
The gang members were surprised when the short kid that
they have been chasing jumped out from behind the rock, and batted aside
the bullets with a wooden sword. Then in the lull while the street
thugs were staring in astonishment, the boy made a mad dash towards the ruined
Manta was panting from exertion when Misa released control
of his body. He was so tired, but he knew that he could not afford
to rest, let alone pass out. With a little effort, he expulsed the
ghost from his body. Actually, he just asked her to leave and she left
his body because she realised that he was getting worn out.
"Stay awake Manta-kun," commanded Misa. "We're not
"I know... But they're gonna find us for sure.
We've gotta hide." The stamping of feet could be heard as the street
gang entered the ruined temple.
The ghost smirked. "Follow me," she said.
"I know just the place." She floated towards another room.
"All right," replied Manta as he tip-toed after her.
"Just please remember that I can't go through walls."
"All right, youse guys!" shouted the leader of the pack.
"Go find that little freak and deal with him!"
"Right, Boss!" came the voices of the gang members as
they split up to search the ruins.
"Yah," muttered the boss to his chief flunky. "We're
actually doin' the little punk a favour."
"Whatcha mean, Boss?"
"Anyone who talks to himself the way that he was doin'
would be better off bein' put out of his misery."
The flunky nodded. Yeah, the kid was sure weird.
Manta squeezed into the tiny space under the decaying
altar in the main room. He tried not to flinch and scream as ancient
cobwebs brushed against his face. Misa encouraged him and murmured
comforting to him as he shivered in the dark cramped space. His hand
came across something cool and hard. He clenched his jaw and bit back
"It's not a bone, Manta-kun," said Misa voicelessly.
"It's the idol. Relax!"
The boy took a few deep breaths, and tried to steady his
nerves. And he froze again as he heard the heavy thudding of footsteps
Please don't let them find me... Please don't
let them find me... Manta thoughts chanted over and over again
in the recesses of his mind. I can deal with ghosts now --I don't
wanna be one though...
"It's all right, Manta-kun... They won't find us
Manta had to remind himself again that unless one of the
goons above him had any decent amount of sixth sense, they were not going
to hear Misa at all. Which was a good thing, as the street gang seemed
to be gathering up in the room right above him.
"We can't find him, Boss!" said the head flunky.
"It's like he just disappeared."
"He's around here somewhere," snarled the gang leader.
"Nobody saw the little twerp leave, right."
There were a lot of reluctant agreements and acknowledgements.
"Hey, Boss?" asked a gang member reluctantly. "I
know that this temple is on 'our turf', but this place feels rather creepy.
There's stories about it being haunted, y'know?"
"Ghosts?" asked some of the other gang members.
With the wind blowing through all of the cracks and openings, the whole building
had a rather eerie feel to it.
"Get serious, moron!" shouted the gang leader. "There
are no such things as ghosts!"
"Hey, Boss, are ya sure about that?" questioned another
flunky. "There's stories about how guys would get close to bein' killed
when huntin' for treasure. I know a guy who got put into a hospital
because a beam in this place fell on 'im. It just ain't safe here."
"Excuse me Manta-kun," said Misa quietly to Manta.
"I will be right back. Just don't go anywhere."
Like where would I go?!? shouted Manta in the recesses
of his mind. But the ghost was gone and there was nothing for the boy
to do but shiver in the dark.
The wind picked up. The whistling became louder
as the breeze found all sorts of different cracks and holes to blow through.
The gang members became more nervous as all at once as pieces of plaster,
wooden plaques and other items fell off the wall all at once. The temperature
of the room dropped a whole five degrees Celsius. Even the gang leader
had to shiver. The whistling wind became a moan and it seemed to be
blowing around the street gang as they crowded closer together for support.
There were sounds of whimpers being suppressed as many of the youths tried
to hide their fear from the others.
"What's goin' on here?!?" shouted the leader. "I don't believe this!"
He fired his gun. The bullet went through the old planks of the floor
in front of the old altar. After the ringing of the gunshot died down,
the scarred youth could almost swear that he heard a whimper from somewhere
other than the flunkies behind him. He raised his gun again...
Then the gun became freezing cold in his hand. It
burned as the surface temperature dropped to below freezing. Howling
in pain and fright, he threw the gun away from him. He stared at the
weapon that had suddenly turned against him. The wind rose yet again,
the whistling and moaning became almost deafening. Then, at the edge
of their consciousness, they heard a voice within the breeze.
The thugs ran out of the old temple. The gang leader
led the way. After the thundering sound of stampeding cowards faded,
Misa laughed merrily.
"It's all right now, Manta-kun," she called. "You
can come out now. Just don't forget to bring out the statue."
Manta took a few deep breaths, totally relieved that he
did not cry out, and grateful that he didn't wet his pants like he thought
he have done when the thug's bulled exploded through the floor just ten centimetres
in front of his face. Carefully, he backed out of the narrow space,
through a hole into another room. He absently set the statue down and
brushed himself off as he regarded the hole and crawlspace that he was in.
Good thing I was short enough to get in there, he thought. Yoh wouldn't
have fit in there at all. He stopped brushing the old cobwebs off
as he realised something.
"They have gone, Manta-kun!" exclaimed Misa as she appeared
beside the short youth. "We're safe for now."
"Yoh wasn't short enough to be useful to you," he said
slowly, thoughtfully. "My skills and knowledge didn't matter at all,
did they? You just wanted someone short enough to fit in that tiny
space and grab the idol!" He glared at her, daring her to refute what
he just said.
She looked back at him.
Manta stared at her some more. "Admit it!" he shouted.
The ghost blushed. "It was one of the reasons..."
she said reluctantly.
Manta turned away, picked up the statue and the borrowed
bokuto and left the ruins. He walked briskly towards home thinking
that he would take the stupid idol to the Museum after school the next day.
Misa trailed listlessly behind. "Manta-kun, please
wait," she said.
"Why?" asked the student. "You have pretty much
admitted that you only wanted me to help because I'm short. I did what
you need me to do, so you can go away to your final rest and leave me alone."
He did not stop walking.
Misa sighed. "There is some truth to what you say,"
she admitted. "But it isn't the whole reason, Manta-kun. Believe
Manta stopped and turned to face the ghost. He set
down the statue and the bokuto. "Go ahead, explain it all to me.
Make it good."
"Well, it is true that I wanted to find someone who would
be able to reach the statue. There really are no local shamans that
are small enough to fit where I once was able to. But the ghosts of
the Funbari Hill Cemetery said that while you were not a shaman, you were
able to see and hear spirits, and that you might be able to handle an Integration.
Even if I had asked your friend Yoh, he would have brought you along, as
you are the only person that he knew who could crawl in that tiny space.
And he would have asked you to help him with the research as he wouldn't
have known how to begin. I had decided to go straight to you as you
were more than capable of doing what needed to be done."
Manta just looked at/through her.
"Can you not see, Manta-kun? I knew that you could
do it! Even though I knew that Soul Integration was rather risky, I
knew that you would be able to handle it! You were great, Manta-kun!"
The short student picked up the wooden sword and the ivory
statue. "It's getting late," he said. "I still have to study
for my make-up exam." He started towards home.
"You were very brave, Manta-kun," said Misa wistfully.
"Before I told you to run, you were going to fight those ruffians, even though
they had those small match-locks, weren't you?"
"I wasn't brave," muttered Manta sadly. "I just
knew that I couldn't outrun those guys."
"And you wanted to go down fighting..." concluded the
female ghost. "How noble..."
They entered the Funbari Hill shopping district.
Manta sighed. He didn't want to admit that wasn't
the real reason for staying put. He was certain that he was going to
die. It was just that he would rather face his death instead of letting
it catch him with his back turned.
Then he thought about how Misa made him run. Somehow,
the bullets missed him, even at the close range that they were firing at.
"Um, Misa-san," he asked. "Did you do something to make those guys
The ghost beamed at him. "I most certainly did.
Like the breeze that I was able to conjure up at the temple, I made certain
that there was enough of a wind to put their aim off."
"Thank you," said Manta finally. "I'm sorry that
I snapped at you."
"No, I must apologise to you. I should have been
honest with you since the start." She floated around until she was
in front of him. "Please forgive me, Manta-kun," Misa said as she bowed
low in apology.
"Um, it's okay," replied the short student finally.
"I should be getting home and study for tomorrow's exam. I'll take
the statue over to the museum after school tomorrow."
The ghost didn't say anything in reply. The silence
went on for a few minutes. Manta looked at her, and thought that she
looked a bit sad.
"Are you all right, Misa-san?" he asked.
"I am fine, Manta-kun," she smiled at him suddenly.
"I shall take my leave of you once we have reached your house."
"That would be great," grinned the boy. "I would
be grateful for the company," he said shyly.
The boy and his invisible erstwhile partner continued
walking until they have reached Manta's not-so-humble home. At the
front gate, Manta turned towards Misa. "I'll see you tomorrow then,"
he said to her. "At the cemetery..."
"Take care, Manta-kun," replied the ghost and disappeared.
Manta sighed and went into his house.
Yoh was waiting for his friend when Manta came out of
the teacher's office. "So. How did it go?" he asked.
"Well, I get a few points knocked off for having to do
a rewrite, but I think I did pretty good on that exam," replied the short
"Not the exam, Manta! I meant with the ghost.
Did everything go okay?"
Yoh looked to his friend. He could have sworn that
the short boy was blushing. "What happened?" asked the young shaman.
"Um, Yoh-kun. I'm really sorry, but I have to meet
up with Misa," Manta stammered. "I've got to finish the mission with
her. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow, okay?"
Yoh blinked. "Uh, sure," he replied.
"See you tomorrow," shouted the short student as he ran
off towards the Funbari Cemetery.
The warrior-priestess ghost was waiting for him as Manta
clambered over the gate to the cemetery. "You're late, Manta-kun!"
she chided him.
"Sorry," he replied. "The exam took longer than
I thought and then the teacher decided to lecture me on falling asleep in
"Will we make it the museum in time?" she asked.
"Um, I think the Institute is closed for the evening already,"
replied the short student. "I'm sorry about that. I guess that
you were in a bit of a hurry to go on your way, right?"
The dead priestess looked at the boy who helped her.
"That's all right, Manta-kun," she said. "I don't mind waiting one
"Um, okay..." Manta didn't know what to say next.
"Uh, if you are not busy this evening," suggested Misa
shyly, "would you mind showing me around this modern city?"
Manta blushed. "Um, sure," he replied. "But
there must be someone waiting for you, right."
"Well, there are my brothers and my Mistress. But
I think they would understand if I stay just another day to be with a nice
guy like you... That is, if you don't mind spending an evening with
"Um, right..." Manta swallowed. A date with
a ghost? he asked himself. Then he mentally shrugged then smiled.
Why not? "But you know something? Tonight,
I don't think I mind at all."
They went to see a movie. Manta decided to take
his somewhat invisible companion to see a film in which a female martial
artist was starring. Misa had never seen such a thing as a movie before
and Manta remembered how much Amidamaru enjoyed the experience.
The film was being shown in an old theatre and because of its age, there
were hardly any people in it. --Most people preferred to see movie
in the newer high-tech theatres that were becoming so popular. Manta
was able to explain things to Misa without too much fear of being overheard.
And the advantage of taking a ghost out on a date is that he only had to
pay for himself.
Afterwards, they went for a walk along the streets of
the Funbari Hill area. They looked at the bright lights, watched the
people. Manta bought some manga for Misa to look at. Then they
went back to the cemetery to gaze at the stars.
Manta had surprised himself. Normally once he took
leave of Yoh and Anna, he would be done with the ghosts. Except for
the part that he couldn't hold her hand, Misa was like almost any other really
pretty short girl. Who liked him...
Then the time came for Manta to go home. He made
plans with Misa to meet her at the cemetery the next day so that they could
go and deliver the statue. "It's only a half day of school tomorrow,"
he said to her. "There will be plenty of time to get to the Institute."
After class the next day, the ghost of the warrior priestess,
Misa, met with Manta, the boy who could see ghosts who was just arriving
at the cemetery.
"I want to thank you for a wonderful evening last night,"
she said to him.
Other ghosts in the immediate vicinity cheered and jeered
at them as they blushed.
"Hmmm... No problem." Manta carried his awkward
backpack with the statue in it. "After we drop this statue off you
can go on your way to heaven." He started walking down the street.
"Yes," she said. "I guess that it is time to go.
I need to see my family again. But let's save the farewells until after
my final duty is completed."
They walked towards the business centre of the Funbari
Hill district. There was a building where the Takei Institute was located.
It was rather close to the museum where Amidamaru's sword was located.
He went into the main office and asked the secretary for
the director of the institute. The secretary, all though polite, was
not certain that a mere middle school boy warranted the time of such an important
person such as the director.
"I'm truly sorry, but the director is a very busy man,
and he cannot be interrupted at the moment," said the snooty secretary.
Manta then pulled the ivory statue from out of his pack.
"I would like to talk to him about this," he replied.
The secretary, who did have some knowledge about valuable
artefacts, looked at the idol, then picked up the phone and pushed a button
on it. "Yamamoto-san, there is a young man here in the office with
an artefact that he would like to discuss with you. It is an ivory
carving... His name, sir...?" She covered the handset for a moment.
"Excuse me, who shall I say is here?" she asked of the boy.
"Oyamada Manta, sir." She resumed talking on the
phone. "Yes sir, I shall tell him." She hung up the phone and
turned to Manta. "Yamamoto-san will be here shortly to speak with you.
Please take a seat."
With a hop, Manta got himself seated. He whispered
softly to Misa, right next to him, "Don't let me screw this up." He
positioned the idol on his lap.
The director walked into the office shortly. He
was a tall, slightly stooped man in his forties. "Good afternoon, Oyamada-san.
If you would follow me to my office, I will be happy to speak with you."
"Yes sir," replied the short teen and he hopped down from
off the chair with the ivory statue. Behind him, Misa drifted silently,
knowing that Manta would be unable to talk to her.
The director led him to what should be a large spacious
office. But with all of the books, papers, newspaper clippings, odd
artefacts and other odds and ends, the end result was cluttered, yet comfortable.
He showed Manta a seat and took his behind the desk.
"I suppose that you are wondering why I came to see you
right way, Oyamada-san. Am I right?" asked the director.
"Well, yes sir," replied Manta. "I am."
"If you would please set that treasure of yours on the
desk, I would be grateful." Yamamoto's eyes opened with surprise and
delight as the short boy complied. "Ah," he exclaimed. "I have
heard of this. You got this out of the old temple ruins in the other
side of town, didn't you?"
"Uh, yeah." Manta and Misa were both flabbergasted.
"Yamamoto-san, how did you know?"
"I have been doing research on this particular piece for
some time. This is the missing carving of the empress Jingo...
You see, Takei Hiroyuki --the scholar whom this institute is name for --left
notes about the relic that he was expecting to study." Tenderly, the
older man picked up the ivory statue. "However, the same brigands that
destroyed the temple and killed all who were there came to the monastery
where Takei-san was doing his research. They killed him and his attendants."
"So I wouldn't have been able to finish my mission after
all," murmured Misa.
"How did you find this, Oyamada-san?" asked Yamamoto.
"I have had many people go over those old ruins, but they were always driven
off by the noises of the old building. My people were frightened that
the temple ceiling would fall on top of them."
Manta could feel the faint heat coming off of Misa as
she blushed. "I had help," he said after a moment.
"Yes," replied Yamamoto, looking towards Misa. "I
can see that."
"You can see me?!?" exclaimed the ghost.
"You can see her?!?" asked Manta.
"Yes, I can," replied Yamamoto. "As a matter of
fact, I also had help in obtaining information about this artefact that you
have brought to me."
A ghost of a young man suddenly appeared beside the older
man. "This is the scholar, Takei Hiroyuki. With his help, I was
able to acquire enough information regarding the Funbari Assassination."
"I am pleased to make your acquaintance," said the ghostly
scholar. He was tall pale and handsome. And he made Manta feel
a tad jealous for some reason.
"Wow," said Misa. "The honour is mine."
"Um, Yamamoto-san? Are you a shaman?" asked the
short student. It seemed to Manta most of the time that everyone who
was able to see ghosts, except for him, was a shaman.
"Not at all," replied the older man. "I am just
someone who can see ghosts. How about you, Oyamada-san?"
"Oh, no! No! I'm no shaman," chuckled Manta
nervously. "I know quite a few of them though."
"So why don't you introduce your friend and then with
the help of Takei-kun here, we can finish filling in the holes of the story
involving this relic."
"Yes sir." Manta grinned at his friend and introduced
her to the others. "This is Misa-san. She's a warrior-priestess
who has been haunting this ivory statue for all this time..."
Misa told the director and his ghost companion about her
struggle to hide the ivory idol. Yamamoto wrote everything down, and
Takei floated around looking impressed. Mostly at Misa.
A few hours later Yamamoto bowed to both Manta and Misa.
"Again, thank you for coming. Now Takei-kun and I can finish our work."
"It has been a pleasure meeting you," said Takei.
"I hope that this meeting has fulfilled your obligation, Misa-san."
"It certainly does," replied the little ghost of the warrior
priestess. "I shall be able to continue onto heaven now." She
sounded a little sad.
The short teen and the female ghost left the building.
"Thank you, Manta-kun," said Misa. "What you did
means a lot to me."
"Yeah?" asked Manta. "Well. I'm glad that I could
help out with the statue. Yamamoto-san and Takei were great people.
I'm glad that we got to meet them."
"Yeah." The ghost gave him a huge smile. "But
that's not all that I wanted to thank you about. I want to thank you
for taking me out last night, even though it's well know throughout the cemetery
that ghosts tend to make you nervous."
Manta blushed. "It was not a problem at all," he
said. "You were great company, and --I like you, Misa-san."
"I like you too, Manta-kun." She sighed. "But
now I have to go."
"I can feel my family calling me. I have a duty
to return to them."
"Oh." Manta's head hung down and he stared at the
toes of his sneakers, trying not to cry.
"Manta-kun?" asked Misa. She reached out and with
ghostly fingertips, touched his face. "Manta-sama? Please
The boy started as he felt her fingers. I shouldn't
be able to feel that, he thought. And then he realised what Misa
just called him. He raised his head and faced the ghost whom, he just
realised, he had fallen in love with. He saw that there were tears
in her eyes.
"I will remember the time we have spent together for all
eternity, Manta-sama," she said. "But before I go, I have two things
that I need to tell you."
The short young man wiped the traitorous tears from his
"Please thank Anna-kun for the suggestion that you could
"Anna?" What did Anna have to do with any of this?
"And Manta-sama, I want you to know that if you should
ever consider it, I think you would be an excellent shaman."
"Shaman?" Manta was feeling lost and stunned.
But at the moment, it was a blessing. He knew that as soon as he was
capable of making sense of everything, he was going to hurt. He squeezed
his eyes closed tight, to prevent the escape of any more tears.
He felt a faint feathery kiss on his lips and he opened
his eyes. Misa was starting to rise up into the sky.
"Good bye, Manta-sama!" she called out as she rose higher
and higher. As she rose, she began to glow.
"Good bye, Misa-san!" called out Manta, not caring who
could hear him that late in the night. "Good bye!"
With a flash of light, the ghost of the small warrior
priestess was gone.
Manta let the tears flow and he snuffled. He only
knew her for a few days, and he missed her already. Life was simply
not fair, and seeing how Misa was crying as she left, he realised that there
was not too much fairness in the afterlife either.
"Manta," said a voice softly, startling him out of his
Anna was standing against the wall in the spotlight.
There was no way of telling of how long she had been there or in the shadows,
"You did good, Shorty," she said. "I'm impressed."
"Thanks," muttered the boy. Praise from Anna was
rarer than platinum, but to Manta, in his current condition, it felt like
it was worth as much as lead.
Anna came up to him and put her hand on his shoulder and
sighed. "Don't fall in love with ghosts, Manta," she said softly.
"There's no future in it, and it only leads to heartbreak."
"Yeah," said Manta finally. "I know."
"But she was right about one thing," continued the young
"What's that?" asked the short student after a moment.
"You probably could be a pretty decent shaman if you wanted
to," she said. "Obviously not as good as Yoh, but pretty fair."
"I don't know..."
"Think about it. Talk it over with Mosuke.
I think that he would be more than willing to be your partner if you want."
"Um..." It was too much to think about while dealing
with a broken heart.
"You'll stay at our place for the night," said Anna.
"We will talk it over in the morning. Yoh wants to know all about your
Manta smiled. There were times when this strong
willed young woman can be a decent human being. And a good friend as
He straightened up and took a deep breath. It may
be a long while, but he knew that he would be able to see Misa again. He
followed Anna into the yard of the haunted house. He noticed that the
lights were on and the smell of food was wafting through the open windows.
Despite of its history, the old inn was welcoming and warm. Yoh came
to the door at Anna's shout and he grinned at his best friend. Manta
smiled back. Everything will work out in the end, Manta realised.
He was with his friends.