|Volume 9: The Graveyard of Bells|
|Preceded by||Volume 8: After Death|
|Followed by||Volume 10: Dreamland|
The Graveyard of Bells is the ninth volume of the Silver Diamond series.
Slowly but surely, the world is being painted in new, bright colors by Rakan and the others. But wait, what happens when the party stumbles upon a graveyard for criminals?! Finally, Rakan finds himself a midst a true horror story! Chigusa's lost memory works to their disadvantage as the ghost of a broken-hearted woman claims he was a womanizer. It is time for Rakan puts his horror movie research to use! Rivers are formed and forests are filled with hope by Rakan, wishing that Kazuhi and the others will reach the surface and be taken aback by the new beauty of their world. However, Chigusa starts to wonder, is this really what Rakan wants?
Chapter 25: Graveyard of Ringing BellsEdit
The chapter opens with a quick recap: Rakan and co. are in the Graveyard of Ringing Bells, a graveyard for criminals, and they have just made a ghost there angry.
She’s confused as to why Chigusa doesn’t remember her, and is slowly turning black from anger. Rakan scrambles to remember how to safely interact with ghosts; Narushige comes to the rescue and asks her name. She slowly returns to herself, saying that her name is Rinrai. Chigusa undoes Narushige’s attempt to pacify the ghost by insisting on not remembering her, and Rinrai becomes distraught, mentioning how cruel he had always been, always going from one woman to another.
Rakan, in turn, becomes upset that Chigusa would play with so many women’s’ hearts and begins to lecture him. In the middle of his lecture, however, Rakan manages to make Rinrai angry again, and she begins talking to Chigusa again, talking about how she had waited 200 years for him, and how cruel he had been to die before her. This raises some red flags with the group, and Rakan begins to explain to Rinrai how she was remembering an ancestor of Chigusa’s. She won’t listen, however, and begins turning blacker and blacker with anger, demanding to know why Chigusa won’t love her. Chigusa spurs Kuro onward to escape, but Rinrai calls more ghosts from their graves to catch the group.
Kuro beings to run for the central gazebo, the only area left free from the land’s taint. Long ago, the sound of the bell trees had kept the land purified, but their withering had allowed evil energy to collect. Chigusa jumps from Kuro to distract the ghosts, telling Narushige to get Rakan to the gazebo. Black ghosts cover Chigusa as the trio reaches the gazebo, but Narushige realizes that the gazebo itself is an old Bell Tree. He has Rakan attempt to revive the tree to drive off the ghosts, and they’re just in time, clearing away the miasma of evil and putting Rinrai back in her right mind. She recognizes the sound of bells, and is drawn back into memory, when she first met her Senroh.
He had come to the Graveyard of Bells from the Capital, for he had heard that even criminals would be allowed to die there. Soon enough he began to draw the attention of the local girls; once Rinrai heard of it, she demanded he tell her why he do such things with all of them. He didn’t particularly care what they did with his body, but Rinrai insisted that he pick one person who was special to him. He maintained that he couldn’t, however, and that it was too late for him.
Back in the present, Chigusa brings Rinrai from her revere, apologizing. He couldn’t love her, he says, because he’s already found an important person. Rakan, Narushige, and Tohji rejoin the two, and Rinrai properly introduces herself. Her name is Rinrai Suzumori, and the bell trees and cemetery had been maintained by her clan; she had died young from illness. The Senroh she had known, and had mistaken Chigusa for, had died after her; several dozen women held grudges against him, and apparently killed him. She continued to worry about Senroh after her death and manifested as a ghost.
Rakan tries to cheer her up, comparing her to a bell tree sprite. Rinrai brightens, and asks Chigusa if she can think of him as the reincarnation of the Senroh she knew, as she wished happiness for the both of them.
Chapter 26: ColoringEdit
In a distant village, another great serpent, known as Asatsuyu, sensing its imminent death, tells the villagers not only its name, but that upon dying, it will become a river, “just as the child, Rakan, has said.”
Rakan and the others have come upon an empty village, and they waste no time in sweeping out a building and planting some greenery. Rakan notices a family crest on one of the buildings, and wonders if cherry blossoms used to bloom in the area based on the resemblance, deciding to go see if there are any cherry seeds left in the area.
Kazuhi and the guards, along with Hakubi, decide to take a short break in their underground traversal. While Hakubi wonders if the guards are the friends Rakan talked about, Akiichi notices that he has no weapon. He offers a spare sword to Hakubi, but is stopped by Kazuhi and Miya, who don’t want Hakubi armed. Hakubi, not pleased to find himself in the company of somewhat hostile Numbered Children, lashes out about he’s different than the others. Eventually, word gets out that he was an assassin sent to kill Rakan. His failure doesn’t seem to surprise the guards, however, and they end up mocking him about it. Suddenly, one of Kinrei’s rock puppets attacks the guards. Kazuhi manages to temporarily chase it off, but the puppet’s ability to quickly reform body parts leaves the guards unable to hurt it. Kazuhi can see the immaterial “strings” holding the puppet together with his third eye, and Hakubi tells the group to whet their blades with blood, so that they can cut the strings. The tactic works, and the rock puppet is defeated. Hakubi takes one of the fallen gemstones from the puppet and keeps it before the group moves on.
Up above, Rakan has managed to find and grow cherry blossom seeds to the amazement of his friends, and says that he wants to have a flower viewing with the guards when they all meet up again. As the four curl up against Kuro for the night, they decide to head to the next village Chigusa can see, one that’s inhabited and used to be home to a great serpent.
A girl, presumably in that next village, is observing the trail of Rakan’s greenery through a telescope.
Chapter 27: PeaceEdit
The girl with the telescope from the previous chapter is apparently receiving information from a girl named Karaku about Rakan’s group heading towards their village. She rushes off to go tell the rest of the village.
Rakan and his friends have arrived across the village, across a massive rift in the ground, presumably caused by the previous earthquake. Chigusa and Narushige decide to have Rakan grow a bridge across for lack of any better options. Villagers come to greet them as they cross, and one man recognizes Rakan’s name. The serpent Asatsuyu, before death, told the villagers of Rakan’s words explaining about how Asatsuyu would become a river. Rakan travels to its resting place and lays a grave marker and some flowers, asking the villagers to respect the river and keep it clean. Chigusa, meanwhile, notices an unusual “life spark” in one of the village houses.
Later that day, Narushige and Rakan are teaching the villagers how to cook with all the newly grown plants; Chigusa comments on how happy Rakan looks, and Rakan tells him that it helps to relieve stress. The rest of the group is unfamiliar with the word, but Rakan brushes it away.
That night, as Rakan, his friends, and the villagers eat dinner, Rakan explains his quest. One villager asks Rakan how he can continue doing something so dangerous, and offers Rakan and co. a chance to stay and live in the village and give up their quest. Rakan panics and leaves the room. Chigusa follows, but Rakan tells him to stop and runs off.
Tohji and Narushige go in search of Rakan and Chigusa and find the latter sitting on the floor, following Rakan with his special sight. Chigusa sees Rakan collapse, and the three rush over to see what happened. They determine that he’s just sleeping, but wonder what could have caused him to pass out so suddenly. Koh pokes around in Rakan’s electronic dictionary and finds the definition of stress; the group wonders if the sudden change in Rakan’s environment, from the world he came from to the world they’re in now.
Chigusa puts his hand on Rakan’s forehead and tells the others that he can sees Rakan’s dreams of his home world. He wonders if Rakan regrets coming with them, and decides to dive into Rakan’s dreams. He asks Tohji and Narushige to guard him and Rakan.
A dark-haired girl with pointy ears stands somewhere else, holding a lantern. She knows that Rakan is asleep, and decides to take out his friends so as to make him “ours”.
Horror Story Edit
This is a little side story about one time Rakan and his school friends rented horror movies over the summer. One night, while watching a scary movie, Rakan couldn't take it any more and went into a trance-like state, deciding to go to sleep while holding onto a friend so that, should he be dragged into the abyss, they could both go down together. He doesn't remember the incident afterwards.