"And to think I was impertinent enough to dream of visiting my home town without encountering anything paranormal related...Honestly, how rude of me!" I muttered to myself as I followed the way that my instincts told me.
I check my phone to see what the time was, then fixed the black cardigan that complimented the thin green turtleneck that was tucked in the black jeans I had and soon enough, I realised I was guided in front of what seemed to be a bar that was named "Black Rabbit".
You must be kidding me...
First, there was the Black Rabbit from the Kujou mansion, the one that kinda killed Mary temporarily, but was in place, killed as well.
I and Yashiki -...Uh...Masamune, rather, but it's weird calling him that, think it could have been his sister, Saya, but the world may never know for sure.
So...What is this strong instinct that brings me here? It's a strong urge to protect, as if I have to take care of someone...I don't even know.
Shyly opening the doors to the bar, I see 3 people, seemingly younger than me, chatting seriously about something.
"Kijima, you have a customer." the black haired girl said in a shushed voice, making the brunet boy look at me curiously.
"We don't really have customers...That's unusual." he muttered, coming to me.
"Uhm...Actually, I wanted to ask something, which may sound extremely weird, so I apologise in advance." I sweatdropped, looking up at the tall boy now standing right in front of me, with a neutral yet intimidating aura.
"Too many weird things have been happening around. Try me." he scoffed, not trying to sound rude to a stranger.
"Well then, let's see if I can top that. Now...Have you been encountering some...Strange paranormal phenomena? Ghosts, spirits, feeling of being stalked, I don't know, anything weird and unexplainable?" I asked, trying my best not to sound too weird, however, by the slight widening of his eyes, I was sure I hit the nail.
"How...Did you know...?" his voice dropped by an octave, clearly shocked by what I said.
"Believe it or not, I have a pretty strong spiritual power, so I was guided here by my instinct to solve this. The whole story is rather long and tedious to explain, so maybe not now. I'd rather hear what's going on, if you'd let me help." I offered a small smile and an extended hand for him to shake, which thankfully, he did, and guided me to a table, where the other two were sat at.
"This is Amanome Seiji and Hazuki Kaoru. I am Keiji Akira. And, you are?" the brunet boy introduced everyone, so I complied.
"My name is Mashita Kisara and I come from H city. I'm not sure whether or not I should say that I'm fortunate, or quite the contrary, though I have a pretty long history of paranormal encounters and cases that I've debunked and solved with my brother and another person from a highly spiritual family." I explain, leaning back on the chair seat, analysing carefully each and every one of them.
"So you're a paranormal expert? That's great! We can investigate properly what's going on and rescue Ami!" Kaoru exclaimed in victory.
"Wait, hold up, can you tell me the story?" I stop the cheerful girl, wanting to know what I was dealing with.
"Yes, Kijima, let's see how older women like these fairy tales." Seiji smirked, making his friend roll his eyes.
"I think a little girl dressed in a traditional kimono cursed me. She said her name is Kakuya and she kidnapped Ami, my little sister, after making a car try to kill us. I know it sounds stupid, bu-" he explained, slightly irked and expecting me to laugh, but my face was still pondering.
"Kakuya...More like Kaguya, I suppose. A little girl, wanting to play...Why, that sounds just like Mary and hoow she cursed Yashiki. I think Kakuya could be a Doll...Spirit...Something." I thought it over out loud, and it seemed like Akira was following me.
"Spirits? What's that?" he asked, obviously confused.
"What?! You don't know what Spirits are?! That means you don't read Moe's H City Featured Article in OOParts?" Kaoru gasped incredulous, making me look at her in shock.
"You know Moe? She got the Death Mark in H City from Hanahiko. Since then, she started writing about most of our Paranormal cases, and even helped us get information on the Jirogumo, Little Red Hood, at the abandoned Masquerade Love Hotel." I explain Moe's story, making Kaoru's eyes sparkle with surprise and glee.
"No way! That means the Heroine of the story is you?! You're The Knight?!" she fangirls over me, her voice turning a bit more pitched then usual, as she slammed her hands on the table and leaned over it, getting very close to my face.
"U-Uh...Y-Yeah, that would be me. It's a play on words. I didn't want people knowing that was me, it might bring a bad spotlight to my actual career." my cheeks redden slightly in awkwardness as I inched backwards as much as possible, not used to people fawning over me like that.
"How did you get to that nickname?! What does it mean?!" she asked excitedly, barely contenting herself.
"It's just a word play that my brother and I came up with one day, while joking around. As I said, Mashita Kisara. If you add the "KI" and "SHI" from both names, you get "KISHI" which means "Knight". " I explain nonchalantly, hoping she'd leave me alone.
"That's so smart! Will you take me as your disciple and teach me more about the supernatural?!" she asked, but I only shook my head.
"Calm down, Kaoru, it's not what you think. I merely got caught up in everything, it's not like I like it, okay? And besides, sometimes you get random spirits playing tricks on you at your own home, which is very annoying. As well as that...I am a Veterinarian, I have nothing to do, professionally, with supernatural stuff. " I cross my arms, as she visibly deflated and pouted, getting back in her seat.
"What a pity. You'd have been an amazing investigator..." she mumbled, making me sigh.
"A bit more respect for my actual career would have been much appreciated." I sweatdropped in annoyance, but shifted my gaze to Akira, who zoned away because of the silly talk. "So, Akira, basically...Spirits are what happens with a human that dies with a very strong grudge. They are left behind as twisted beings that can curse and kill you. Many of them feed on the despair of the people they cursed, and won't kill them right away. And...There are only 2 ways to get rid of them, but there is only 1 I'd recommend, which is purification. That way, no more human casualties will happen." I tell Akira, who seemed to ponder everything.
"That just sounds like some occult story, don't scare us like that, Miss Mashita!" Seiji made a weird face, making me realise he was absolutely terrified of things he can't understand.
"Akira right now has Kakuya's curse...Some very terrifying mouths on his face. You can't really see them, since it's a personal curse, but few people with strong spiritual power can, if they focus on that only. Like, what I did now. Also, Seiji, it's normal to be afraid of things you don't understand, especially since they are malevolent and ready to kill, and unlike humans, you can't physically retaliate and thus, you have to do a pacifying ritual. But all in due time will be explained, okay? And don't worry, I will make sure nobody gets harmed. After all...My holiday is already ruined, might as well not let some kids die while trying to save another kid." I sighed, scratching the back of my neck.
"Treating us like kids isn't very nice, is it, Miss Mashita?" Seiji smirks widely.
"Can you all just call me Kisara? When you say Mashita...It just makes me think of my brother, and it's weird..." I look away slightly, making Seiji chuckle.
"Well, how old are you then, Kisara?" he asks with an amused grin on his face.
"Amanome! Don't you know it's not nice to ask a lady her age?" Kaoru raises her voice at him, making everyone sigh.
"That made me feel even older than his question. Honestly, I'm just 23, calm down. You're like, what, 18?" I ask, shifting a bit in my seat.
"Right on point~! Very much legal." Seiji smirked mischievously, making Akira slap the back of his head in annoyance.
"Don't be gross with a person you just met. Also, Hazuki is 16." he states, as I nod in understandment.
"Okay, casual talk aside, did Kakuya mention anything about the game she wanted to play with you?" I ask, wanting to get away from the weirdness.
"She told me to search for the Urashima woman." Akira answers my question, but I was even more confused.
"Any idea what that's all about?" I ask, looking at each of them.
"So...Does that mean that the rumours are true? The Urashima woman is the most discussed topic on the Shinza Ward Ghost Story forums." Kaoru mentioned out of the blue.
"E-Enough of this!" Seiji grimaced, obviously not wanting to hear anything about that.
"Don't worry, Seiji, I will protect you from the big, scary Spirit, okay~?" I smirked at him, and it seemed like he got both embarrassed but also more relaxed.
"It's the ghost of a woman said to appear at Yamato shrine, and her name comes from the Urashima Lake contained there..." she began, then told us the rumours about the Urashima woman, who died in that lake, and how, if you're lucky, if you throw a rock in the lake at midnight, you'll see her, and she appears to be a pregnant woman, walking a baby stroller, and that's how that college girl died, apparently. She didn't see the Spirit right away, but her body was found in the Lake, the cause of death being drowning, and the peculiarity of it was that her corpse was swarming with turtles.
"Well...I've heard worse, that much is true. However, if these are the rumours, we must go investigate. Ah...Seiji? You're not looking very well...Is it because of the story?" I asked gently, brushing a strand of hair from his face.
"What? Don't tell me you're REALLY afraid of ghosts?" Kaoru giggled like a schoolgirl, making Seiji grimace even more in annoyance at the mocking.
"My adversion to these sorts of things is more or less what you'd consider wheat allergy. Meaning, that's just how my body reacts, I can't help it if it does it." he scoffed, looking away.
"When I heard you were the son of a boss, I was afraid you'd be scary, but...So you can be cute too, Amanome!" the girl grinned in amusement at the fair haired boy.
"Why are you smiling? And why are you being overly familiar with me?" he glared at her, but she stood her ground.
"You don't seem to have a problem when Kisara does it." she shot back, making him chuckle lightly.
"She's a respectable woman who deserves respect, unlike some midget like you with no shape!" he continued the fight, which made both myself and Akira get mad and shout at them to shut up.
"When you said boss...What kind of boss did you mean?" I asked, looking at Kaoru, but instead, Akira replied.
"Amanome is the son of the Yakuza boss. He's not yet officially in the Yakuza, though. And he's known as the Prince of Threats or something." Akira shrugged, explaining the situation.
"Ahh, I see. Then, that would explain why he's so anti-ghosts. He's so used to being able to have everything in control and solve everything, that with the paranormal, since he doesn't have a clue how to deal with it, and it's also out of his reach, since it's unpredictable, he isn't comfortable at all. While, people...Well...They're expandable and replaceable. Right?" I ask, looking at the boy next to me, who nodded in appreciation.
"See? Someone GETS me!" he smirked in victory, before Kaoru started fangirling over this case and mentioned how we should hurry and investigate this, making Akira call her out for enjoying this and basing her clothes on it too.
"Of course, I'm a Momoler. Plus, the Urashima Woman got Momo's concert cancelled. I can't forgive her." she scoffed, looking away in anger.
"What...? Am I too old to understand teenagers? I feel weirdly uncomfortable now." I look in concern at Akira, who only shook his head.
"Don't worry, it's better if you don't know." he reassured me, but Kaoru glared at him.
"What do you mean by that?! Momo Kuruse is awesome and she sings very well! She is the most popular Idol nowadays." Kaoru exclaimed a bit too offended.
"Oh, another idol? I had to save another from the Death mark before. What was she called....Ai...Kashiwagi, I think? I don't know, I didn't really care enough to remember. But she played the piano extremely well, and she gave me some tips for that, which I really appreciate." I put my hand behind my chin, trying to remember more about the said obnoxious girl.
"Ah...Yeah, I heard of her. She's in that group, "Love & Hero" or something." Kaoru grumbled in envy.
"Ahem. Let's spare the chit chat and go investigate. Seiji, are you coming with us as well? I know you are scared, but I won't let a ghost hurt you." I pat his hair softly, making him make a slight cat face.
"I don't mind coming along, but didn't the news say something about the Yamato Shrine being closed at night right now? Wouldn't the trip be for nothing?" he asks with a serious tone.
"We'll just go there and check it out. Besides, you'd be surprised at the ways one can get through well guarded places. I've heard about die-hard fans sneaking into their favourite idol's dressing room." Kaoru shrugged as if that was the easiest thing to do.
"I think you take everything either too seriously or too...Uhm...Not serious enough." I try to say gently, but Akira wasn't that soft.
"One of these die-hard fans doesn't happen to be you, does it?" Akira asks, as if reading my mind.
"I bet she stole the clothes she's wearing from Momo Kuruse's dressing room." Seiji joined in the teasing, but it didn't seem to affect the girl at all.
"Do you WANT me to curse you both to death?" she threatened with a smile on her face, but I got up before they could answer.
"Look, it's getting late, isn't it? Let's just go and see what we can do, okay?" I explain, wanting to get this over with.
"Kisara is right. Don't forget to be on the look for cops, it'll be a huge hassle if they catch us." Seiji got up as well, getting next to me, which is when I realised how big our height difference was.
"Don't worry, I know a route that can go around with no police." Kaoru piped in, getting next to us as well.
"Why would you know that?" Akira asks suspiciously.
"I like exploring haunted places." she shrugged nonchalantly.
"Enough. Let's go." I state firmly, as Akira joined us, as we headed out. "Kaoru, lead the way. And be aware of your surroundings." I continue as I walk behind the girl, nobody else speaking much on the way there.
It didn't take long for us to arrive at the Shrine, where we realised that the only guard there was a bit too dedicated to his duty, and the only one who could actually jump the gate would be Akira.
The good part was that there weren't any security cameras.
After that, Seiji, very confidently, went to talk to the guard and see if he could negotiate, but the guard was very pissy and rude to him, so there was no success.
Thus, Akira found a flyer about Momo Kuruse's cancelled and went to ask the guard about it., finding out that tomorrow's guard is a die-hard Kuruse fan.
Even better, since Akira is so strong, he decided to go investigate on his own today, while we'd be on the look out.
So basically, we were to create a disturbance and make the guard pay attention to us, instead of Akira....But I wasn't expecting everything to go downhill so fast.
"Are you guys sure about this? It's, uhm...Weird." I scratch my cheek anxiously, feeling like I was playing some bad highschool theater play.
"Of course it will work. Besides, it would be nice playing the boyfriend part." he smirked slightly, hooking his arm to mine. "A woman your age surely has more experience in this department than she would, so I trust you with this role. And, besides...I believe her she'd fit the crazy ex role much better." he chuckled, walking away from Kaoru's ear-range.
"Should I feel flattered?" I smirked, looking up at him as I inched closer, making the appearance that we were together, for the guard to see.
"If you want to BE flattered, just say so, and it will be arranged." he leaned down slightly, using his other hand to take a strand of my hair and play with it, talking a bit louder for the guard to hear, and for Hazuki to hear the signal. "Your long red hair reminds me of how the angels paint the sky on each Spring evening, so beautiful, like the fire burning in my heart whenever I see or think of you. You know...I heard women with hair kissed by fire are the most passionate kissers...And I have to agree. Whenever I see those emerald eyes, sparkling with such mischief, and that foxy grin of yours...You don't know what you do to me, Kitsune." he stated every word clearly and with much conviction, which really made me wonder if he was playing his role or speaking the truth. Nonetheless, I played my part, and with a low chuckle, I rested my head on his arm, looking up at him with a huge grin.
"My, Seijiro, you're ever the charmer! If there is one thing I regret in life, is not having met you sooner! I feel so happy whenever I am with you, I feel like my heart truly is on fire!" I matched his tone, as love-struck as his, which was signal for Kaoru to butt in...Then again, it felt oddly nice, this faking, to be fair.
"Seijiro...! How could you?! I can't believe it?! Taking out this...This whore in OUR spot?! Nonetheless, on MY birthday?!" Kaoru's shrilled pitch made me cringe, not being fond of such noises, so I instinctively tightened my grip on Seiji's arm, as we turned around to look at the girl, whose face was twisted in anger.
"What the hell is wrong with you, Kaoruko? I don't care if you're angry at me, but why do you have to insult Kitsune like that? She's done nothing wrong!" Seiji stood tall, glaring at the girl as his voice boomed through the place.
"Who cares about her?! You should stay with me! You get me pregnant, and then run away with another chick you find on the streets?! How dare you do something like this! Have you no shame at all?!" her voice attacked him with such rage that almost shocked me. Then again, rage was the easiest emotion to fake.
"What's with that look on your face...?! Don't give me any of your shit! It's definitely YOUR child! Who do you take me for?! I'll...I'll make you acknowledge it, no matter what!" she inched towards us threateningly, but the guard came in to the rescue.
"What's all that fuss about?! Take your quarrel elsewhere!" the guard tried to get us to leave, but the girl's shriek made me cringe again, taking a step back.
"SHUT UP! You know what?! It's YOUR fault to begin with! If I hadn't seen them like this...If you'd have just let them go inside that park...! IF MY TRAUMA CAUSES ME TO LOSE MY CHILD, ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY?! HUH?!" she yelled, almost not understanding what she was saying because of the pitch, making the guard sweat drop, not knowing what to do.
"P-Please, miss, there must be a misunderstanding. Please, calm down." I try to make Kaoru get it, but she was much too caught up in her act to even realise that Akira was already far gone and we needn't continue this charade, so instead, I tugged on Seiji's arm and motioned for him to leave.
"Whatever. Let's just go somewhere else, Kitsune. We shouldn't bother with some hysterical girl like her." he guided me out of the place, towards the Kissouji Station, where we decided to meet. Hazuki probably stayed behind a bit, to argue with the guard, not sure if she realised we left right away or not, but the peace of the night was definitely better for my senses, and I sighed in relief.
"That's too much acting for a lifetime. Kaoru really overdid it." I muttered, not realising I was still holding his arm.
"Thought I'd go deaf pretty soon." he whined as well, but soon after, started chuckling in amusement. "We should do that again some time. But without Hazuki, she'd just make my ears bleed." he stated nonchalantly, looking down to meet my gaze.
"Is that your very subtle way of asking me on a date?" I ask with a side-smile.
"Depends if that's what you want to as well." he shrugged playfully, making me chuckle.
"Aren't I a bit too old for you?" I ask in amusement, but he only shook his head.
"No, no, no. A woman should be elegant, mature, smart and motherly, and you give me just that vibe." he stated confidently, but I merely shook my head as well, humming in amusement.
"If you're looking for a mother, you chose the wrong person. The other attributes, however, I think I can tick." I winked at him, as I noticed Kaoru approaching.
"One doesn't have to be a mother, or even want to be a mother, to give that feeling of security and happiness." he said it in such a bold and sure way, that he shocked me.
"My, that's rather mature of you to speak. Sure you don't have mommy issues or something?" I try to laugh it off, but he smirked and nodded towards Kaoru.
"No, I just don't like hysterical and immature young brats, if you catch my drift." he laughed, getting me to join in as well.
"Yeah, I can definitely agree with you here." I stifle a chuckle, as the girl changed her gaze between me and Seiji back and forth, completely confused.
"What's with you?" she asked, confused, but not before long, Akira joined us, saving us from the awkwardness.
"Akira. You move fast, well done." I clap my hands together, happy with the outcome.
"We had a lot of trouble while distracting that guard to get you inside. A certain SOMEONE had a rather impassioned performance and embarrassed us." Seiji grimaced, remembering how her shrill voice echoed throughout the park.
"Ahhahaha, I got a little caught up in the moment. I'm pretty good, right?" she grinned, as Akira merely nodded and started telling us what happened.
"I tossed a rock into the lake, but nothing showed up." he shrugged with no care in the world.
"Oh, you actually threw a rock...Are you feeling okay? No stomach aches? I hope no bad ghosts follow you home." she said in a concerned voice.
"I'm fine, as far as I know." he tried to stop the conversation, but Kaoru continued it.
"Then it's fine, I guess. It might be wise to burn some incense when you get home, just in case." she suggested, making Seiji grimace.
"Can we move away from the occult topic? We have to find a way to sneak into the park." Seiji brought the most important point to the discussion.
"And rather fast. We don't know how fast the curse will progress, so we have to be quick with this, otherwise, who knows what will happen to Akira, and more, to Ami." I explain, thinking back to my own encounters with the Mark.
"I suppose. And as pitiful as it is, since I had such lovely company, we can't do a show like that every time." he continues, as I nod.
"And besides, we can't let only Akira go inside all the time. He might need help, or one of us may see something the other doesn't." I add to the argument.
"Easier said than done." he crossed his arms, thinking.
"The guard on shift tomorrow is a Momo Kuruse fan, right? I guess the odds will be in our favour tomorrow. If he's such a big Kuruse fan, he's probably not used to talking to girls." he wore a wide, mischievous smirk. "I thought she could use her...Wiles to lend a hand." he suggested.
"Why not suggest Kisara?" she looked away with a scowl. "Isn't her woman charm supposed to be better than mine?" she continued, making Seiji nod.
"Well, of course it is. But, there are 2 main problems here. Firstly, you're a live-or-die obsessed Momo Kuruse fan too. You must know exactly what kind of things would make that type of guy happy. Obviously, if a man that age can be so into underage idols, he has some things for...What was that called...Lolis, right? And besides, you even have the clothes for it." Seiji said his first point, but it seemed to be enough to make Kaoru nod and agree to do it.
"Very well. I'll do my best. It's for the Urashima Woman and Ami. You can count on me." she smiled reliably.
"It wouldn't be such a hassle if we only had to access the shrine. We could do our business there during the day." Seiji states, a bit annoyed.
"Unfortunately, all ghosts-...Or well, important things, so to speak, seem to be appearing at night...Or after midnight. It depends." I explain calmly, but I could see Seiji breaking a sweat over it.
"I-I haven't affirmed the existence of ghosts for myself just yet! And besides, it's entirely possible that it's just a pregnant woman on a stroll." he tried to reason, but I shook my head as I put my hand on his arm, squeezing it in a way to reassure him.
"I'm sorry, Seiji, but I can sense it's a ghost. From the moment we got close to the Shrine, it was pretty obvious that a malevolent spirit was lurking nearby. But don't worry, I said I will make sure nothing bad happens to you, and I intend to keep my promise." I smile at them brightly, and somehow, it seemed to put their worries at ease.
"Oh, and one more thing. Don't tell Mrs. Natsumi a thing, she would definitely try to stop us. Not a word to the police or anyone else either." he stated seriously, making me tilt my head in confusion.
"Who's Mrs. Natsumi?" I ask, my eyebrow raised in curiosity.
"My aunt. Ami's mother. She's been worried sick since Ami's disappearance." Akira explained, as I nodded in understanding.
"Very well then, that makes sense." I mutter.
"All right, I'm off. I have an assembly to attend to." Seiji put his hands in his pockets, ready to leave.
"Ah, wait! You didn't say the other reason!" Kaoru exclaimed rather loudly, gasping as she remembered that little detail.
"Isn't it obvious?" he laughed darkly, barely audible. "Why would I want for some old lech to look at her with his filthy eyes? Who knows what things that mongrel would be thinking of with that peasant brain of his?" he finished with a bright yet threatening grin on his face, as a dark aura surrounded him.
"Woaw. Your aura is so dark, no wonder you're a Yakuza. Now I can see that you're a part of it." I stifled my chuckle as I patted his back.
"And it's only just the beginning. You should go back home as well. It can be dangerous for a lone woman to walk around the streets. Ah, actually, where do you live? I can walk you home." he offered, as we said our good byes and left in the opposite direction to them.
"Not too far, thankfully. Thank you for offering to walk me home, I appreciate it. Won't you be late to the assembly, though?" I asked, hoping not to inconvenience him.
"No, don't worry about such trivial things. If I tell my dad that I made sure a lovely woman such as yourself got home safe, then he'd just give me extra pocket money and praise me. He holds deep respect for women and made sure I'm the same." he grins casually, making me smile up at him softly.
"It's not very often that I hear that. It's very nice to see such a nice change from the usual, every day jerks." I stifle a chuckle, closing my eyes briefly in appreciation.
"I take it you you've had your fair share of dealing with uncultured swines." he asked, yet he knew the answer to that.
"Unfortunately, I think it's pretty common to hear that. What a shame, don't you think? So many people forgot how to respect and appreciate people around them." I shrug, spotting my home. "Well, here we are. Thank you for being so nice with me, despite just meeting me today. You're a very sweet boy, Seiji. See you tomorrow, have a safe walk to the assembly. Oh, rather, please text me when you get there so I know you're safe." I grin at him as I wave him goodbye.
"Huh...That's something I've never head about. Here, this is my number. I'll call you later. Good night, Kisara." he winked playfully before leaving.
In the meantime, I took a shower, ate something light and went to bed to read a few more chapters from the book I started, until the familiar notification tune brought me back to reality, as a nice reminder to both go to sleep, and that people can be nice too.
"I just got home, thanks for worrying. Good night.
Seiji x "
For a kid, he sure sounds more mature than his age.
"Thanks for walking me home again. Sweet dreams, Seiji.
Kisara x "
With a smile on my face, I turn off the lights and go to sleep, knowing full well that tomorrow will be a big day.