The Astrologer’s Chrysanthemum

by Sagiro Harumi (鷺裸 春美)


With a sigh, he set the brush aside next to the finely-wrought ink stone and its blot of liquid ebony. This was the 84th talisman and he still had another 434 to go. He told himself for what was also possibly the 434rd time that this was all probably a waste of time and no spirit would be summoned… but something nagged at him that even if the chances were slim, he had to at least try.

The knotted ribbon that tied back his large, wide sleeves was loosening, so again he unfastened and swept it around himself, the white muslin forming an X shape on his upper back and restraining his billowing sleeves. Outside, snow fell in clumps of crisp flakes the same color of his ornate robes, although the darkness was such that the winter weather could hardly be seen.

He longed to go out into it for a breath of fresh air, to take in the sense of yin in the deathly cold and silent winter — and to ease the heat of his layers of silk and the previously comforting heat of the braziers… but there was too much work to be done, however repetitive and dull it might be.

Instead, he settled for removing his peaked cap and undoing his up-swept hair; it tumbled about his face and shoulders like the tousled feathers of a crow, unruly and black as the winter sky he longed to see.

Wearily he clapped his hands and after a handful of breaths, the screens were slid aside and a woman entered.

“Send for Shungiku.”

He didn’t bother glancing back to see her respectful bow and barely heard the sound of her dainty footsteps on the wooden floor. His thoughts were occupied by the ceremony that would come once his hundreds of charms were complete.

How much incense? How many sacrifices? he thought as he added a few drops of water to the stick of ink and scraped it in the shallow indentation. There is no record of what sort of celestial alignment would be more fortuitous — there’s no record of such an absurd undertaking at all… He dabbed his brush and set to work on another oblong sheet of fine paper, scrawling elaborate, curvaceous characters of spiritual significance.

There was a breath of cold as another screen slid open, and he knew Shungiku had come. He allowed himself a thin smile but continued his calligraphy; he was feeling a bit phlegmatic this night and saw no reason to trouble himself.

Shungiku, done up with looped hair and an alabaster face like a princeling or little princess, held out for as long as possible but the warmth of the room and the master’s obstinance was only endurable for so long.

“You called for me, Atsunobu no Matsuyama-dono?”

The onmyouji finished the 86th ofuda before clearing his throat and answering, “Haven’t I earned the right to be addressed as befits my rank and power?”

Shungiku rolled her eyes, knowing Atsunobu hadn’t bothered to look up from his work.

“You called for me, onmyouji-sama?”

“The usual, please.”

Without hesitation Shungiku approached and knelt behind the master magician. Nimble fingers dug into Atsunobu’s scalp and at once he let out a contented sigh.

Shungiku had to admit it wasn’t so bad dragging her fingers through the black satin of Atsunobu’s hair and massaging his scalp. Worse demands could be made, after all, and his hair was quite beautiful and luxurious. The servant knew, however, that it was only this well-kept because Atsunobu had so many servants to beckon him to bathe and perfume himself regularly. Shungiku knew that without their constant reminders and application, Atsunobu would probably be too focused on his study of the upper spheres and distasteful of the normal goings-on of court to take care of his physical appearance. It was amusing to imagine the bedraggled, unshaven recluse he might turn into, left to his own devices.

The coals and incense burned and the smoke continued to curl in small ghosts about the room. The stack of freshly-inked ofuda grew and Atsunobu’s tension drained quickly.

“If only they knew the value of your hands,” Atsunobu began with a smile, “That Ashiya would probably find a way to take you from me.”

“I think the intrigue would give you a challenge,” The masseuse mused. On an impulse, Shungiku went to the inlaid cabinet and fetched one of Atsunobu’s prized bottles of liquor.

“Please, you know I loathe the sycophantic goings-on here,” Atsunobu scoffed but happily accepted the dish of clear liquor from her. The pottery was faintly warm after having been held over the brazier for a moment.

“They say the son of a kitsune might be elevated to the court of the Fujiwara no Mitsuhiro soon.”

“Douji?” Atsunobu’s eyes narrowed. “The son of… Abe no Yasu-something?”

Shungiku was all nonchalance and innocence. “It is said he has tamed a vast array of spirits and demons and can summon beautiful illusions without any ceremony.”

“Hmph, simple tricks,” Atsunobu grumbled and sipped. “He merely prepares everything beforehand — it’s the same thing I do.” Although someone with such potent blood might very well be capable of such feats, fuming about an up-and-coming potential rival was not something Atsunobu felt up to at the moment.

Her master’s drink was finished in no time and Shungiku was quick to refill Atsunobu’s small bowl.

“The Minister of the Right has an even shorter attention span than Fujiwara no Masayuki,” Atsunobu said after he had finished another round off. “A fortnight or two and he’ll be looking for someone new to tell him when the most auspicious day to trim his nose hair. I know how to play their games.”

Shungiku tried to stifle her amusement as much as possible. After another refill, she returned her attention to his scalp massage. “You say that, and yet you attend to all their fortune-telling wants.” The astrologer faintly purred at her touch.

“Only because I must,” Atsunobu grumbled. He refused to admit that not only was he adept at the games of intrigue played by the courtiers and ministers, he loved nothing more than to win them. It was not merely his skill in onmyoudo that had elevated him so high in court, but a clever mind and a smooth tongue as well.

“The only thing you love more than politicking is wheeling and dealing with youkai,” Shungiku smirked, perhaps sensing Atsunobu’s pout.

What Shungiku didn’t sense was Atsunobu suddenly seizing his servant’s wrists and yanking on them so that Shungiku was inadvertently embracing the astrologer.

“You speak out of turn with your master,” Atsunobu said in dulcet tones that belied his aggressiveness.

Shungiku fought back even though it was a fruitless struggle. Of course Atsunobu would be allowed to win — never mind that Shungiku was bedecked in voluminous layers of silk. The servant stumbled to the floor and Atsunobu pinned her by the wrists, looming over her with a wry smile.

“A thousand apologies, onmyouji-sama,” Shungiku smirked, not sounding terribly apologetic.

“I think I prefer ‘Atsunobu-dono,'” he said smugly as he sat up to take a sip of the fine alcohol.

“Yes, Atsunobu-dono,” Shungiku drawled with an exaggerated eye-roll.

The magician looked down at the child-like figure from above the rim of the shallow dish; Shungiku had remained lying prone, hair spread about in a tangled pool of darkness and silken robes in a tempting disarray — the picture of a victim, were it not for that cheeky smile.

Atsunobu savored the last mouthful of liquor and bent over Shungiku until they were nose to nose.

“What are you today?” His breath was sharply aromatic from his drink and it tickled Shungiku’s nostrils.

“Neither,” Shungiku answered before tilting its mouth up to lick Atsunobu’s lips. Atsunobu seized its chin and kissed it forcefully, allowing Shungiku to sample the fine vintage with its hungry tongue.

“Let me see,” Atsunobu whispered, his hand creeping between the layers of fabric to untie the many ribbons that fastened all the robes on. After several minutes, Atsunobu was grumbling as he finally stripped the youth down to its most basic shift. Shungiku, for its part, said nothing and merely obliged… perhaps doing less work than it ought to have done, just to make Atsunobu go to more trouble.

As though he were unwrapping a gift, Atsunobu grew careful again as he undid the last strip of cloth and revealed Shungiku’s naked body.

‘It’ was like a doll brought to life — hairless, perfectly proportioned, and devoid of sexual organs.

Shungiku stretched languorously as Atsunobu marveled at the pale flesh, stroking the spirit’s smooth pelvis.

“You’re so funny… Atsunobu-do~no,” Shungiku purred.

“Don’t take that tone with me,” Atsunobu commanded even while he smirked and bent down for another forceful kiss. “You’re mine, not the other way around,” he murmured, and Shungiku couldn’t resist trying to interrupt him, grabbing a lock of Atsunobu’s hair and pulling him closer.

Atsunobu retaliated by pinning its wrists down again and Shungiku whined. Satisfied, the onmyouji sat up and settled between Shungiku’s legs

Shungiku’s eyes never left him, and it felt between its thighs as it pondered Atsunobu’s fascination.

“It’s not like this is my natural form–”

“Obviously,” Atsunobu scoffed imperiously as he caressed its unnaturally smooth hips. He had seen its natural form when he had first captured the mischievous spirit and bound it to his will.

“It’s just simpler.” The spirit allowed the lower half of its human-seeming body to be shifted upward as Atsunobu hefted its thighs, kissing his way towards the apex.

“That’s easy to understand,” he answered as he moved Shungiku’s calves onto his shoulders, “But at the moment, I desire the shape of a human.”

Shungiku obliged, and shuddered as Atsunobu licked the moist slit that had appeared between her legs before pausing.

“Hmmm,” Another stroke of his tongue, another shudder from Shungiku; “Perhaps a boy this time…”

Shungiku’s grin went unseen as s/he obliged, the flesh growing together and then expanding into the phallus of a healthy youth.

“Yes…” Atsunobu smiled before engulfing his cock with his mouth. Shungiku moaned as the courtier sucked hard, overwhelming him with force from the very beginning. It was undeniably pleasurable, though, and many decades of patience and self-control were all that kept him from coming right down his throat simply to be cheeky.

He smelled the jar of Atsunobu’s favorite scented oil as he gave one last uncouth slurp at his prick and sat up so he could unscrew the jar.

“Prepare yourself for me,” Atsunobu commanded.

“Of course, Atsunobu-dono,” Shungiku obediently answered as he elevated his hips and pressed his oiled fingers into his anus.

It hadn’t been like this from the beginning, Shungiku thought as he applied the pleasant-smelling lubricant; but they both enjoyed the game… or at least Shungiku didn’t mind it. In fact, Shungiku relished the sight of Atsunobu shifting his robes aside so he could stroke himself as he devoured Shungiku with his eyes. The bestial hunger in his gaze was thrilling, so much so that he put on a show, biting his lip and fluttering his lashes.

“Mm, you filthy spirit,” Atsunobu failed to hide his smile behind his hand. Shungiku grinned, knowing he couldn’t resist.

“The human body is so useful for pleasure,” Shungiku murmured, and Atsunobu was between his legs again, dipping his fingers in the oil and getting the youkai’s hand out of the way.

“I’ve had a change of plans,” Atsunobu’s narrowed gaze fairly radiated lust as he felt inside the boy. Shungiku let out an unrestrained groan as the man nudged his prostate.

“You always go straight for the kill, don’t you,” he breathed, his fingers idly exploring his length.

“No, I just know that you can come more than once.” Again, that almost evil smile. Atsunobu pressed and prodded and Shungiku was happy to beg.

“Please, Atsunobu-dono… nngh, I want to come,” he writhed and wondered why so many youkai would shun human company, knowing how many of them just wanted to fuck something beautiful and unearthly.

“Then come for me,” Atsunobu whispered, his oiled fingers working Shungiku’s prostate until his pleas grew incoherent. He grinded against the man’s knuckles as streams of white spurted across his chest. Atsunobu bent down to lap a sliver of semen from his pet’s heaving chest and Shungiku giggled at his reaction to the mundane taste.

“And here I was hoping a youkai’s seed would be different,” he said with a sour expression.

“It’s a human body–”

“No it isn’t, it’s still your body, it’s just a human shape,” Atsunobu argued as he daintily wiped Shungiku’s chest and abdomen with the excess cloth of his table covering.

“It’s a very powerful illusion then,” Shungiku shrugged, which turned into a languorous stretch. He loved when Atsunobu fussed over him, feeding him some of his prized alcohol after he finished cleaning the mess.

“I’m not in the mood for a metaphysical debate. Won’t you fill me with your essence now instead, my lord?” Shungiku said with a coy smile. Atsunobu returned the expression as he pulled the slender, long-limbed boy into his lap. His upright cock looked rather comical standing up amidst white and plum silk but it wasn’t uncommon for them to not bother disrobing, given how long it took to put on their many layers.

Atsunobu lay down as Shungiku mounted him, his face the picture of relaxation and bliss. He sighed and steadied Shungiku’s hips as he adjusted himself to the new intrusion.

“Mmmm, even as a boy my lord fits me as a key to the proper lock.” He wouldn’t have bothered to say anything so silly but Atsunobu relished terrible pillow talk.

Shungiku rose up and down on Atsunobu’s length, brow slightly furrowed as he worked a perfect rhythm. The astrologer only sighed in response, exploring Shungiku’s body with now-gentle hands. They settled on his ass for a moment, squeezing and kneading, before one hand came forward to touch his stiff length. Shungiku made an encouraging sound and Atsunobu began anew, tugging the soft flesh until Shungiku was engorged anew.

Atsunobu held him in place for a moment so he could sit up, the sleeves of his white kariginu enfolding Shungiku as he was embraced, the human’s face nuzzled against his chest. He thrust once and sighed as he withdrew, then repeated the motion. Shungiku leaned down to rest his face in that familiar hair.

“Give me more,” he demanded, grinding in time with Atsunobu’s thrusts.

Atsunobu’s arms tightened around him. “Oh… my chrysanthemum in bloom,” he whispered. He placed his hands palm-down on the tatami and leaned back so he could shift his hips faster. Shungiku rode him hard, and Atsunobu regretted staying clothed as the demon worked him into a sweat.

“Please, Atsunobu-dono…” Shungiku begged as he shifted up and down rapidly, happily impaling himself.

“Yesss…” He hissed, slamming roughly into Shungiku’s lithe and lanky boy’s body. He shuddered, thrusting erratically as he came hard.

Shungiku arched back and moaned ecstatically, trying to take in as much cock as he could.

Still shivering, Atsunobu shifted his weight to one hand so he could grasp Shungiku’s bobbing erection.

Merely a few seconds away from his own orgasm, Shungiku cried out Atsunobu’s name and came into his fist.


Dawn broke with the two of them luxuriating in a hot spring, the snow-covered rocks and trees a picturesque, austere sight to enjoy as the sky lightened.

“You still have another hundred ofuda to finish,” Shungiku reminded his master.

Atsunobu’s blissful expression wrinkled as though he had been fed a lemon. He sank deeper into the near-scalding water.

“Yes. If not for your demonic wiles I might be done.” His dissatisfied expression looked an awful lot like a pout to Shungiku; he laughed silently.

“Regardless of hand cramps, you have to admit your position is an enviable one.”

“True,” Atsunobu said, a placid smile smoothing his features; placid, and perhaps more than a little proud. “Although don’t think I couldn’t summon and bind you on my own without the resources my station allows.”

Shungiku finally chuckled a little. “That’s because of your force of will and force of personality, not some innate magical ability.” Those were two of the main factors in Atsunobu’s rise in court as well. He had not been born into the position as one of the Imperial ministers’ onmyouji. “But then again, that’s what I love about you and the reason I let you keep me around.”

The water lapped just beneath Atsunobu no Matsuyama’s nose so no one could see his smile of childish glee, pure and happy.

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