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Victory Belles: Kami and Funayūrei - Chapter 1: Sakurako Tatebayashi, and the Voice of Kami


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20th March 1919

"Oh my, what a cute little infant. She looked just like you Danna-sama."

"Haha, this little girl cried so loud after given birth, she is strong after all and will become a great person in the future."

Heard the unfamiliar voices, the new-born slowly opened her eyes and looked around the surrounding around itself. It found out she was laid on a tatami floor with a new woven tiny red kimono of its size covered her body as a blanket, it was surrounded by a man and a woman with another lady presumed to be the infant's mother laid next to it on a futon, reached her finger onto its hand.

With curiosity, it touched the finger and made some happy noises, the lady in the futon smiled with a tear in her eyes in excitement.

"The Kami must hear our prayers, she was blessed to be born during the cherry blossom. Look at her, so cheerful."

"I am glad you are experienced to receive our child, I thank you sincerely, Uzu-san. Please take this as our thanks."

Uzu, the lady servent who helped to receive the new-born child, she was flattered from the words as she received a heavy pouch until she opened it and found it was filled with money, Uzu was shocked, and she insisted to return them.

"Iya! Iya! There is no need to give me that much money, please use them for your child's future Danna-sama, there's no need to give me such high tip as I just start working for this family!"

The father of the new-born, put back the pouch into Uzu's hand as he refused.

"Please just accept it, you also have a family, so please take this as a good fortune."

With Uzu agreed to keep the pouch, the infant tilted its head to the garden where a cherry tree planted at the centre filled with cherry blossom. It reached its hand to the tree as it giggled happily. The mother smiled along as she decided to name the baby.

"She seems like the cherry blossom, how about Sakurako? Which also means cheery blossom."

With eyes looked at each other's, Uzu and the father nodded their heads with the father gently put his hand on the baby with a smile.

"Welcome to the world, Sakurako Tatebayashi."


1st September 1923

Early morning of the first day of September, the first beam of sunlight soon broke out along with heavy metallic noise combined of iron and steel echoed from the southern coast of Tokyo Bay near Yokosuka Naval District, home based to the first of four main administrative districts and pride of the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Near the district a small town soon to spring into life with citizens began their daily routie with shops, restaurants, and transports opened into service. Although the town sound quiet, but with the hammering from the naval district rise the town into an industrial habitat.

Near to the outskirt of Yokosuka, a small bus travelled through mountainous coastal roads all the way from Tokyo soon to arrive. In the bus there was a little cheerful girl stood on her seat near the left side window, she placed her hands on the window as she could saw the city along with the naval district on the horizon.

"Nee-chan! Uzu Nee-chan!! Papa is there!! Papa is there!!"

"Just sit down properly Sakura-chan, you are going to fall, be a good girl as we arrive to visit your father, ok?"

"Boo~ fine..."

Sakurako Tatebayashi, who was 4 years old along with her caretaker Uzu travelled from Tokyo to visit her father, Jiro Tatebayashi, a naval officer in the Yokosuka Naval District. The little girl has been long to see her father who had not return home for two years, with the high commands' approval, Jiro was permitted to invite her daughter for a visit.

As the bus passed through narrow streets and wide roads, soon it stopped at one of the bus stops near the naval district, as Sakurako ready to get off the bus from the doors, the bus driver cheered her up.

"Take care Ojou-chan, hope you visit your father well!"

The little girl nodded with enthusiasm before Uzu picked her up from the doorway and got off. Once again, the bus departed with two honks as the girls bowed in farewell, then Uzu took Sakurako's tiny hand and walked to the front gate of the district. As they arrived, a sailor on guard near the guarding post stood out and walked towards them with a rifle in his arms.

"Halt! This is a military restricted area! You can't enter casually!"

Saw the rifle, Sakurako dashed behind Uzu's legs and hid from behind as she peeked, Uzu searched her kimono sleeves and brough out a letter as she handed it over to the sailor.

"We are here to visit Taisa Jiro Tatebayashi with the approval from his senior commands."

As the guard read the letter, he looked back to Uzu with a salute, "Please wait here." And returned to his post as he dialled on the phone. Sakurako looked from behind as she grasped Uzu's kimono tightly.


"Don't be afraid, I am here for you."

A minute later, the guard finished his phone call and returned to them as he handed back the letter. "Taisa Tatebayashi will be here shortly, please wait."

"Ah! Arigatōgozaimashita."

With a polite bow, Uzu thanked the guard as Sakurako tangled along as they wait. Soon, a man in white uniform walked towards the gate, stopped, and lowered on his knees with open arms.



In a speed of light, Sakurako rushed to her father like a wobbling duckling as she flew into his arms and hugged him tightly.

"Papa!! Ohisashiburi!!"

"Oh my! You have grown so much! Let papa carry you, oh you've gained some weights don't you, did you eat too much again?"

"Papa! You Meanie!!"

While Jiro was teasing his daughter with her carried in his arms, Uzu walked towards them and bowed.

"Ohisashiburidesu, Danna-sama. You're looking good today."

"Oh Uzu, thank you for accompany my daughter, how's the bus trip from Tokyo?"

"It was smooth and less bumpy. She was so excited to see you."

"I guess the trip going to wore you both a bit, come with me to my office before the sun gets any hotter."

- - -

Soon, they entered the ministry building walked through hallways and staircases to the second floor, then arrived at the office as Jiro opened the door for them. Once Sakurako put back on the floor, she ran across the office like an exciting cat seeing the pristine environment. Uzu sat on the couch while Jiro prepared a tray of hot tea and some sweets.

"So, how's Mizuha, is she well?"

Jiro picked up the tray as he walked to the tea table and placed the tray on it, then moved his way to the opposite couch and sat on it. Mizuha was Jiro's wife and Sakurako's mother, a gentle lady who loved flower arrangements, she had been sick in bed in a year at a hospital in Toyko while the house only left Uzu to take care of Sakurako.

"She is fine and in good health, the doctor had taken diligent care of her as I visit her regularly, Sakura-chan also came along during those times. Better to let her spend sometimes with her mother."

While Sakurako finished running around the office, she jumped onto the couch, sat next to Jiro, and lend her head onto his lap, cuddled for a head pat.

"Mama missed you so much, she is hoping one day you will come to see her."

With his daughter on his laps, Jiro patted her with a smile on his face, glad to see Sakurako still as cheerful as usual. Hours later in the office, Jiro stood up and decided to take them for a walk outside the port. While they took a stroll near the coast, Sakurako noticed a massive structure on a drydock beyond her sight, she pulled her father's hand as she pointed the mysterious object.

"Papa, what's that?"

"Oh, that's a battlecruiser in construction, her name is Amagi, once she is finished, she will become a great warship guarding the seas around Japan."

"Will she save us from monsters? Uzu Nee-chan told me that there are some bad monsters outside the sea."

Her father smiled at her as he lowered himself to her height, held her hand into his palms, as well as Uzu's.

"If one day, monsters stormed onto the Japan's shores I promise to protect both of you, and so your mother. Ok?"

Sakurako nodded her head as both adults smiled at her until something bad happened to the whole nation. Suddenly, crows flew into the sky as they cried rapidly, Jiro noticed the tides near the coast stared to move towards the sea. His face was in shocked and stood up, he pulled Uzu's hand and picked up Sakurako in his arms.

"Earthquake!! We got to run!!"

Not for long as they rushed to the big centre parade ground, it started to shake intensivily with Jiro hugging Uzu and Sakurako tightly on the ground. Gigantic rumbles echo into the air with screams and shouting from the naval personals in the district. Trees shaking side to side as some timbered down from snapped trunks, noise of shattering window glasses pour down the ground in an endless loop.

After four to ten minutes, the ground stopped shaking with a long silence in this thin dead air, Jiro lifted his head as he looked around, he turned back his attention to Uzu and his daughter.

"Are you both all right? Any injuries?"

"I... I am fine Danna-sama, same for Sakura-chan..."

From such dramatic natural disaster, Sakurako wept into her father's arms as Uzu patted her back to calm her down. As she cried, an exceptionally soft painful voice entered her ears, it was moaning and tried calling for help.

"H-Help... it hurts... it hurts..."

With such curiosity, Sakurako stopped crying as her cheeks still covered in tears, she slowly broke off from her father's arms, walked towards the empty ground as she looked around with no one's appeared to be seen.

"Sakura-chan, are you alright? What are you looking for?"

As Uzu asked from a distance, Sakurako heard the mysterious voice again, this time much clearer and more painful.

"It hurts... somebody help me..."

Looking from afar to the horizon of a drydock where Amagi was, Sakurako began running towards the drydock as Jiro and Uzu chased up from behind.

"Sakurako!! Wait, where are you running? Come back!!"

- - -

As Sakurako kept running, she would see a horror that would haunt her memories, the city was covered in massive waves of fire burning everything it touches, babies' cries and people's screams echoed into the dark smoking sky. She wept and closed her eyes as she continued running to track the voice.

Soon as she arrived at a steel platform on the construction drydock, she stopped as she looked through from the safety bars, the voice was much clearer and so close to her ears. Sakurako shouted at the empty dock as loud as she could.

"Is there anyone here? Do you need help?"

"...My hulls... it hurts... I can't... *cough cough* take anymore..."

With a moment of silence, Sakurako realised the incomplete ship hull in front of her is Amagi, and the voice was coming from it. The little girl spoke through at the dock once more.

"Amagi Onee-chan!! Is that you?"

Soon, a soft voice replied to Sakurako in surprised.

"H-How can you hear from me...?! I-It... can't be unless..."

"Shikkari shite!! I will call papa to send help on the way!!"

Looking from the platform, Amagi's hull was seriously damaged, and the structures totally cracked. Suddenly a figure covered in faint light appeared on the deck of Amagi, Sakurako couldn't see the face of it, but it spoke with the same voice.

"I am done for... there's no way I will be fixed... *cough*... I guess this is my fate to be destroyed..."

Heard for such words, Sakurako wept in tears as she cried at the figure with determinations.

"Chigaimasu! Papa said you will be a great warship to save us from sea monsters, you can't give up easily!!"

The figure let out a pitiful smile but felt from the words with warmth and encouragements, it sighed before lifting its head looked at the little girl.

"You are brave and full of determination... *cough* w-what is... your name?"

"Sakurako Tatebayshi... that's my name."

The figure slowly walked to the top edge of the hull as it spoke weakly.

"Will you... *cough cough* hear my final wish... Sakurako-chan? Take care of my little sister, Akagi... One day, you will become... the greatest naval commander under the voice of Kami... You... shall be... blessed..."

With the final word, the figure began to glow around it with a smile of its face. It turned into a stream of lights floated towards the sun, as Sakurako gazed at them until they disappeared, she dropped on her knees and cried in despair.

Soon later, Jiro and Uzu caught up in surprise of her crying, Sakurako rushed to them as she cried in tears, apologised them, and told them Amagi was gone.

"Papa... papa... A-Amagi Onee-chan... she is gone... she can't be a great warship anymore..."

Watched from the platform, Jiro saw the damages on the unfinished Amagi lowered his head and hugged Uzu and Sakurako as they cried together, with a tear in his eyes too.

"... may she rest in peace..."


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