|The capital city of Heian (now known as Kyoto) was troubled by civil unrest. Worrying of what is in store for his kingdom, the emperor holds an "Onmyo festival" to learn of the city's fortune. Inside the shrine within the Seiryo chamber are a group of nobles. Among them are the Minister of the Left, Fujiwara no Masayuki, and his elder brother, the Minister of the Right, Fujiwara no Mitsuhiro. The Onmyoji are telling the future by reading signs they see from where the evil spirits are, the weather, the calendar, and Feng Shi. Mitsuhiro asks, "what can be seen by reading the movement of the stars?" The imperial Onmyoji, Yasunori, however, only gives an incoherent answer. Kamo no Tadayuki, another Onmyoji, is just barely able to squeeze out an answer as he says, "there is a curse that we cannot break with our powers." "Anything beyond that is too much for them..." says Masayuki as if he never thought the Onmyoji could do more than that from the beginning. Just then...a spiraling wind like fire breaks out in the shrine. Sensing danger, Masayuki shouts out to the emperor's mistress Ayako no Kimi and tries to protect her. Suddenly the fire starts burning even more fervently, and inside the fire the second consort to the emperor, Chihaya no Kimi, sees an evil spirit. "Kyukyu nyoritsuryo!" chants a man at the spirit as he lands inside the shrine. "Seimei-sama!" "Seimei-sama!" is heard from the mouths of military officers and some of the consorts. The man at the other end of this excitement is Abe no Seimei, an Onmyoji who is able to cast away curses and control evil spirits at will. |
Seimei tells Kamo no Tadayuki and the others that the reason why he was delayed was because he was busy making a barrier to protect the capital from the evil spirits lurking in the wings to attack, like the one they just encountered. What frightened those listening more than anything was that Seimei told them that death is upon two of them...Kamo no Tadayuki and Ayako no Kimi.
"How dare you..." says Kamo no Tadayuki in rage as he looks at Seimei. Suddenly, the once bright sky turns cloudy, and from the darkness the fire begins to burn again as a man dressed in black appears. "So it was you Gekitsura?" mutters Seimei as if he was expecting him. It seems that Seimei anticipated that this was all the work of ex-Onmyoji, Tachibana no Gekitsura. Tadayuki and Yasunori both knowing Gekitsura, turn blue in the face.
A short while after, Seimei, along with his apprentice Toya, go to visit Ayako in the Shoyosha chamber. Ayako has fallen ill after being cursed with a noxious vapor. Masayuki orders the vapor to be purged, but the amulet that is needed to purge it goes up in flames every time it is chanted. As if she can understand how powerful the curse is, one of the emperor's consorts, Hizuki no Kimi tells the others that "the curse gains strength with each chant."
Ayako's condition deteriorates even further, so Seimei tells Masayuki of the last possible thing that he can do for her. It is to use the "Raikirimaru," a sword that holds Herculean type magical powers; one that not just anyone can use. After hearing this, Masayuki vows to set out with Seimei to find the sword.