You don't need to look at your map to know that you are unwelcome here. Wisps of fog and mist creep along the ground. The path leading into the forest before you seems untouched, there is an eerie lack of wildlife, and it is quiet.
Goosebumps shudder down your spine. Something about this place is wrong. There is no sign of life anywhere, but at the same time, you sense that this forest is very much alive. The pulsing energy, like a heartbeat - you can feel it humming in the air. You take an uneasy glance toward the forest. It looms above you, dark and quiet. Cold sweat clings to your skin as you stare into the depths of the densely packed trees... they seem to stare back at you.
Entirely creeped out, you shake the disturbing thought out of your head. Your neck prickles uncomfortably. For some reason, you feel like you're being watched. Don't be silly, you tell yourself with a nervous laugh.
It is dark now, much darker than you expected. Moonlight glints off your watch as you check the time - midnight?! You could've sworn it was only seven. You look around hesitantly for help, and to your great relief, you finally see another person. It's oddly reassuring to realize that you are not the only human wandering around.
Excuse me, could you give me direc-
The woman walks straight past you.
Well, that's rude! You turn around to follow her, hopefully out of this place, but... she's gone.
Ice floods through your body.
You try to convince yourself that it's just your mind playing tricks on you. You just need to go home. Shaking uncontrollably, you glance back at your watch in a flustered attempt to distract yourself and reject what just happened. There is nothing on your watch. No numbers, no hands, only a blank metal shell. An owl hoots in the far off distance and makes you jump.
I'm losing my mind. On the verge of panic, you rip your watch off your wrist, throw it to the ground, and run. You don't even know where; you just run, run, run, as far as possible from the dark entrance of the forest, driven by pure fear.
A faint giggle echoes in your head.
Suddenly, you slam headfirst into a dark tree trunk that you know was not there two seconds ago and fall. Agitated, you scramble back up and turn around to run again, run away as far as you can - but there's another tree behind you. In fact, a whole forest surrounds you. A forest that you know for a fact was definitely not there two seconds ago.
Dizzy, you press your hand to your forehead. Blood. Your vision blurs. Before everything goes black, the last thing you hear is a voice in your head that says, Fight me! You're no fun...
Suddenly, the memories come flooding back.
Now wide awake but still in denial, you scramble to your feet and slowly walk backwards. Maybe it was all a bad dream. Maybe you fell asleep during the tour, and now you're going to go back home.
Or maybe, I'm not quite finished with you yet, says the creepy, slightly feminine voice in your head.
Get out, get out of my mind!
At a loss for what to do, you run again. You sprint blindly through the sea of trees, regardless if they are real or not, crashing through the foliage, spitting leaves and cobwebs out of your mouth. A tree materializes in front of you before you can stop your momentum; you brace yourself for the impact, but nothing comes. You've run straight through the tree.
Her laugh echoes into the very crevices of your brain.
By now realizing that these are illusions, only illusions, you close your eyes and attempt navigating the forest with your sense of touch, but it's no use. Your compass is spinning randomly, your map is easily exploitable, and your phone doesn't have reception. It's hopeless.
While contemplating your bleak options and feeling the trees - suddenly - the ground below you disappears and you're falling; air is whipping through your hair and wind tears your skin and you're screaming - and then you're not. The forest floor beneath you is solid and intact. The dampness of the ground seeps into your back. You're alive. Out of shock, salty tears begin to slide down your face and leave tracks of dirt in their wake.
I have more tricks up my sleeve than that, my dear, she teases.A beautiful girl, the prettiest you've ever seen, appears out of thin air and peers down at you curiously. Her hair is long and dark and spills over her shoulders, ending in an intricate braid adorned with a silk green ribbon. Nine white tails sway behind her, playing with a pulsing blue orb. Her eyes are a deceptively warm shade of golden yellow, bright and inquisitive. She tilts her head as she looks at you. Goodbye, she says. Slowly, she raises her arm into the air and makes a fist.
You realize what she's doing a second too late.
All of a sudden, you feel out of breath; something, an iron fist, grips your lungs and squeezes every drop of air and oxygen and life out of your body. She wrings you dry and you're gasping for air; your chest is on fire and you're trembling and choking and you fight her this time, but it's not enough. You tell yourself Block her out, you're not really suffocating, she's making you think you are...! but it doesn't work, and you feel your mind slipping like sand through fingers and then - almost mercifully - the blackness takes over your mind once again.
Name: Chimeko (chi • meh • ko)
Alias: N/A, she prefers her name
Age: Ancient, appears young
Weight: Abnormally light
Physique: Thin, lithe
Eyes: Golden yellow
Tails: 9, White
Spirit: Nine-tailed fox
Strengths: Powerful illusionary magic, clever, nimble, senses weakness
Weaknesses: Impatient, easily bored and distracted, love of shiny things
Chimeko is a small, mischievous nine-tailed fox who has lived in the forest of Aokigahara for as long as she can remember. How or why, no one is quite sure.
Although the rest of the world doesn't know it, Chimeko is the real reason why Aokigahara is so famously known for its lost travelers. With vivid illusions, she plays tricks and mind games with anyone who is unfortunate enough to stumble into her forest - swapping the paths, switching landmarks, reversing the signs - and watches gleefully as he or she staggers in circles on what is, in reality, a very straightforward road.
Though Chimeko has no purely malicious intent, her attitude towards humans is that of a slightly condescending one, and she does not see the cruelty of her actions. She believes them to be lesser beings, but thinks they are cute and very fun to play and toy with. Since she is not fully human, she does not feel pity or remorse in the slightest.
Playful by nature, she possesses a thirst for entertainment that is almost annoying. After centuries of being alive, one does get bored easily. Because of this, she is quite easily distracted and very impatient. Chimeko is incredibly flighty and difficult to pin down; she tends to flit about like a butterfly, darting in and out of the trees. She is merely a nine-tailed fox with an affinity for illusions and a little too much cheek.
Her eyes are golden yellow but occasionally seem white. In her semi-human form, Chimeko prefers to wear green clothing to match the trees, and normally wears silk for the softness. She has fox ears and nine white tails, as well as three markings on both sides of her face.
She can also transform into a pure fox form. To most travelers, she appears as a beautiful girl with fox tails and ears. Other divine, demonic, or spiritual powers would see her as a shining brown and green nine-tailed fox, but not many visit her forest save for a few. Tsukuyomi, the god of the moon, has been one of the rare to possess a mind strong enough to live in her forest without being affected by her; to him, she is a mere nuisance.
As a fox, she resembles a small xweetok, light brown in color with sea green markings that mirror her regular clothes. Her nine tails are still tipped white, and her ears are the same.
It is also the focus of her magic. Without her orb, it would be much more difficult to wiggle into the minds of humans and plant images, and almost impossible to switch between human and fox forms. She also uses her foxfire orb to light up the dark forest, like a fake sun, when she wants to watch her various trinkets shine.
Although her orb is made of her life essence, it seems to have a mind of its own at times. Normally it uses levitation to trail behind her or hover obediently near her palm, but sometimes, to Chimeko's delight, the orb will begin to dance around her tails and even split into mini-orbs to surround her in a blur (or disorient lost travelers). Alone in the forest with no true company, the orb is her best friend.
She harbors the ability to plant images and illusions in peoples' minds. Often, she will suggest an image into their heads to overlap their vision, and it will be up to them to block her out and focus on what is real. However, most humans are weak-minded and therefore susceptible and vulnerable; most of the time they fall into her hands like putty. She takes great enjoyment in playing mind games and manipulating humans like marionettes on strings.
Though Chimeko finds the initial challenge refreshing and fun when someone is strong enough to block her out, she loses interest very fast and simply gets irritated instead. At this point, she just wants them broken or gone - the ones who manage to stay sane after enduring constant battering on their minds are the ones who go back home and start the rumors and legends about Aokigahara.
But, usually, they don't make it that far.
Aokigahara, also known as the Sea of Trees, is a (real) forest that lies at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. Due to the wind blocking density of the trees and an absence of wildlife, the forest is known for being eerily quiet. It is often associated with Japanese mythology and demons.
However, there are no demons in Aokigahara, only Chimeko. The forest is infamous for the high rate of lost travelers. Occasionally, brave thrill-seekers will take the challenge, disregarding the rumors (which are true) about malfunctioning compasses, distorting maps, and switching landmarks, but those people aside, no one dares come close to Aokigahara unless they are very, very, lost.
Cellphones carry no reception. There are also large underground iron deposits that cause compasses to go haywire even without Chimeko's help. As a result, people believe the forest is full of restless spirits; every year, villagers come and lay their valuables at the mouth of the forest as an offering so they won't be haunted. Though Chimeko does not know the meaning of this, she pockets the shiny treasures regardless and stashes them under a little tree, where she keeps her collection of various pickpocketed trinkets.
Gah look at all these beautiful arts ;w; Hover for credit, drag to URL bar for full picture!
It's been years. Or at least, it feels like years. You have no grasp of the concept of time anymore. For what seems like an eternity, Chimeko has been bringing you to the brink of insanity and dragging you back from the edge.
You can't stop seeing. Even in darkness you see them, the achingly beautiful images of light and hope. The phantoms seep through the cracks of your mind. At this point, insanity would be a blessing.
You've been reduced to rocking back and forth in the dark, claustrophobic sea of trees, muttering consolations under your breath, trying to convince yourself that this is only a dream... that you'll wake up soon. That it'll be okay. You see the tantalizing illusion of the exit once again, the glorious escape, and just as you give in to the temptation and begin to crawl to the light, she snatches it away from you. Again.
Dimly through the fog of your muddled thoughts, you hear her laugh at you, a beautiful peal of ringing bells that cuts through the unnatural silence like glass, laughing and laughing and laughing until it's been branded into your brain and echoes in your skull. It's the last thing you hear as you give up and finally, finally let go of the few strings of sanity clinging to your mind.
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