It's just after dawn when Kyoutani spots a black speck heading towards him on the horizon. He ignores it, deciding it's probably a stray cliff ghast, and goes back to his current occupation: tearing the fat from the seal he had for dinner. His delicate claws separate the remaining bits of ligaments and muscle from the fat, leaving him with one intact seal skin to lubricate his armor with. He decides to start cleaning his helm first. It is unique among the panserbjørne; most of the other armored bears keep their helms simple and free of decoration, but Kyoutani's has two large black stripes across the back, the result of a rare strain of sky iron that he had found. He gently and almost lovingly rubs the fat around the entire helm, taking care to make sure that no spot is left unlubricated. He sets it aside when he is satisfied and moves on to the layered breast plate. By the time he finishes with this the speck has come close enough to reveal itself as something much more troublesome than a cliff ghast. It is a witch and his daemon, one that Kyoutani is unfortunately acquainted with. If it had been a cliff ghast he could have easily fought it off but if the witch Yahaba Shigeru and his daemon Kaze had flown this far north to find him, Kyoutani was in for the kind of trouble he couldn't just bat away.
He resigns himself to the fact that attempting to run away would be more trouble than it's worth and begins cleaning a side plate, rubbing the fat on a particularly rusty spot. By the time the witch lands in front of Kyoutani he has finished and has donned the giant sheets of armor, but he still feels less than prepared for what is about to come.
The witch lightly leaps off his branch of cloud pine onto the snow with a grace that only their kind could have. He wears a black dress that covers his breasts and privates and very little else, leaving large patches of smooth skin open to the frozen winds of the northern tundra. But Kyoutani knows that witches rarely ever truly feel the cold. A large, pure white goshawk with bright red eyes circles the area twice before landing onto Yahaba’s outstretched arm. She shakes out her feathers twice before gently walking over to settle on his shoulder.
"How did you find me?"
"Most of the bears left the north with the king, Iorek Byrnison. It wasn't hard to find the only bear stupid enough to stay, even when he knows he can't survive," the witch snipes.
"A bear's home is here in Svalbard. If the king cannot see that then he is no king of mine."
Yahaba opens his mouth to argue but Kyoutani cuts him off. He has very little patience to begin with and none at all when it comes to fighting with Yahaba Shigeru. "Why are you here?" he growls.
Yahaba snaps his mouth shut, looking put off at the interruption. He doesn't answer right away, letting the wind fill the silence as he seems to decide what to say.
"We are on the brink of war." He pauses and Kyoutani just nods his assent, knowing Yahaba will continue without prompting. "You can see for yourself what is happening. The lights in the sky, the angels that pass through our world. The Magisterium- they tortured one of my sisters!" He pauses, realizing he had began yelling. He takes a deep breath and begins again, his voice calm in masked fury. "When that man ripped a hole into the horizon-into another world- we witch clans knew we could no longer stand idle. We are joining the war.” He stops there, waiting for Kyoutani to respond.
What Yahaba had said was true. Kyoutani has seen the spectral bodies of lesser angels passing through their world and into the hole in the sky, on their way to take their own side in the war. Every day more and more of them pass through. Lately Kyoutani has even seen the opaque forms of higher angels carrying weapons as they flew. There is no doubt that war is imminent. But still.
"What does this have to do with me?"
Kaze lets out a distressed screech and Yahaba clenches his jaw and fists, fire blazing in their red eyes. "What does this have to do with you? Join us! Fight with me!" Passion made his voice powerful. "I have seen the boy Oikawa Tooru and his alethiometer; there is no doubt in my mind that he is the child we witches have prophesied. My clan and I will do whatever we must to protect this child. To take down the Magisterium and even the Authority if that’s what it takes. Join us Kyoutani Kentarou."
Kyoutani knows of the boy Oikawa Tooru. He’s said to possess the alethiometer and is one of the few in the world who is truly able to read it, though he is still only a child. But Kyoutani had been there when Oikawa helped Iorek Byrnison take the throne from the old, corrupt king, saw him lie and twist his way into the throne room only to betray the the old king. The boy is gifted, able to weave stories out of thin air and even mask all his emotions. Iorek had even given him a new name after he was restored to the throne: Oikawa Silvertoungue. Kyoutani doesn’t trust the boy at all, even if the bear king doted on him.
"Iorek Byrnison may favor the boy but he is no longer a king of mine and that child will not be my responsibility," he spits out, unable to hide his disgust for such liars.
Just as quickly as Yahaba's anger had come, it dissipates and instead, a smirk slides across his face. "They say there is another boy who has joined him. They even say this boy is so strong that he defeated Iorek Byrnison armed with only a knife." He nearly coos out the last words, bait he knows Kyoutani can't refuse to bite.
Except he does refuse. Because obviously this must be a lie. A king becomes a king by defeating the strongest bears in all of Svalbard. To say that some child defeated the king would be saying that he was stronger than all the panserbjørne; that he was stronger than Kyoutani. He prides himself on being one of the strongest bears in the north. Some even said that Kyoutani was strong enough to be king, though he had never felt the need to test this, preferring to spend his time alone.The idea of there being a child out there who was possibly strong enough to defeat him was something he could not believe to be true. Except he must. Because Yahaba never lies. And with that Kyoutani finds himself falling into the trap just like Yahaba has probably planned all along. In order to protect his pride he must find this rumored child and challenge him. If that means joining Yahaba's clan in the war to do it, then so be it.
"And this boy-"
"Iwaizumi Hajime. We would find him?"
Kyoutani heaves a heavy sigh. "Let's go then."
Together they head towards the tear in the horizon, Yahaba flying and Kyoutani loping behind. He doesn’t know what they will find in these other worlds beyond. But, looking at Yahaba, he decides that if they are together, they can probably take on anything that comes their way.