Winter's Child: Chapter 4

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Mitsuo is a promising martial artist and dating the most popular girl in school. Life seems perfect until his sixteenth birthday when he comes into his mother's heritage and his father's curse.

 
 

Winter's Child
Chapter 4
Revelations

By
Amethyst
My mother was suddenly right in front of the Kitsune holding him a foot off the ground by his throat. “You have already lost two tails in this prank of yours. If you do not explain yourself now I will personally remove the remaining seven.”

 


 
Author's Note: Thanks as usual to my readers and of course the Big Closet team who work tirelessly to give us all a great place to post and read TG fiction. ~Amethyst.
 


 
Chapter 4: Revelations

After we left the doctor’s offices on the fourth floor following what was likely the most embarrassing moment in my life, coming out with my new supply of birth control pills and enough condoms for my entire high school, my father took us up to the top floor of the building. This turned out to be a restaurant with an open air patio. The restaurant served a variety of cuisine and when we ordered the waitress, a woman with wings and the head of an eagle, asked if we had any special dietary needs. It would seem that a lot of different supernatural beings had such needs. When we said we didn’t she left to take our orders to the kitchen and get our drink orders. Kei and I looked at one another as she walked away and I think we were both a bit shocked.

My mom laughed at the looks on our faces and explained that the woman was a Karura, a form of Yōkai thought to be divine beings with a connection to the Sun Goddess Amaterasu as the Kitsune are connected to Inari. Kei shook his head still looking stunned. “I don’t think I’m going to ever get used to this.”

“Me either,” I replied. “But you’ve been training to hunt Yōkai since you were a kid. I thought you would have been prepared for this.”

“Learning about Yōkai and being told they exist by my parents and learning about them at the shrine is one thing but until I actually encountered them myself I couldn’t really believe it completely,” he explained. “Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever seen a Yōkai in reality, and now I am one and I’m seeing all sorts of them. It’s a lot to take in.”

I nodded in agreement. “Tell me about it. Until yesterday all I had were bedtime stories and ghost stories to work from. Now it’s all real and both our lives have been turned upside down.” I bit my lip as I looked at Kei with teary eyes. “I’m sorry, it’s all my fault that you’re going through this.”

He reached over and put a hand on mine. “This is not your fault. I chose this when I chose you. I might not have realized exactly what I was getting into but I knew you were a Yōkai, I knew the Kitsune was one as well and that he probably wasn’t telling me everything. I knew all of this and I still chose to be with you. At least this way we can go through this together.” At this point our waitress returned with our drink orders and I took a sip of my juice as I tried to get control of myself. He really had to stop saying such sweet things all the time, I felt emotional enough as it was.

As we waited for and then ate our lunches my mother and father would point out and identify the more obvious Yōkai and in some cases explain what element they were aligned to. There are ten base elements when working with magic: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, Metal, Wood, Lightning, Ice, Death and Divine. Many species of supernatural creatures are tied to one or more element and can use magic of that element. Some aren’t tied to any element. Mages are humans that have somehow been bound to one or more element either through an accident of birth or by other means. Yōkai Hunters like Rei’s family aren’t Mages and are not tied to any one element and can use a variety of magic, although it takes aptitude and a lot of physical energy to do so.

As a Yuki-onna I am tied to the Ice element so any magic I learned would have to be ice based. My mother believed that Kei, as a Kitsune, was probably tied to the Divine element. I argued, “But what about the foxfire he used Okasan? Wouldn’t that make his magic Fire based?”

Mom shook her head. “No Miyuki, foxfire isn’t really fire it’s actually a form of spirit energy that can be made to act like fire. So I don’t believe Kei will get any Fire magic. Divine magic will suit what he has already learned well though, as Divine magic deals with anything involving the spirit such as sealing spells. He could likely learn healing spells and other useful magic as well but we will need to find him a proper teacher since I am only familiar with magic of the Ice element.”

Kei nodded as he thought about it. “Spirit energy is almost everywhere so I guess with Divine magic I’ll always have something to work with. What do you do if there’s no snow or ice around to manipulate?”

Mom gestured to her tea cup and began to breathe in the steam rising from it and I could sense the warmth leaving the liquid; it was pretty cool to watch. Within seconds the tea in the cup was frozen solid. “We feed on heat. All we need to do is suck all the heat out of something to freeze it. So anywhere there is moisture or liquid we can make ice to work with, and feeding to make ice gives us extra energy. Most other Ice users don’t have this same advantage so they tend to stay in colder areas where there is plenty of snow and ice to work with.”

>^..^<

After lunch we went to the eighth floor where the investigative and policing branch of Department Nine for Tokyo is located. After we had been waiting for several minutes a grey haired man in a dark suit came out and introduced himself as Detective Hirai. He took us to a small office where Kei and I gave our statements about what had happened the day before. He seemed to take a great deal of interest in Rei’s parents and family and how they might react. Finally he nodded and said, “We’ll keep an eye on them and do our best to cover up any evidence at the lake or in the woods. I’ll make sure that when you both turn up as missing that Metro assigns some of our agents in the department to the case. Their findings will of course be inconclusive and with no bodies they will spin it to look like you eloped or something.”

I blushed at that and gave a quick look at Kei but nodded. “Is there anything else we can do detective?”

He shook his head, “Other than keeping your eyes out for trouble, no. But I would be careful if either of you encounter Rei’s parents. We’ve had suspicions that they’re into something dark for years, I’m glad you got out before you got too involved kid.” He said the last to Kei before turning to wink at my mom, “Maybe when you’re both older you can join one of our Hunter teams, you both have useful talents. We’d welcome you back anytime you want too Yuki-san, you were a damn good Hunter.”

Mom laughed at that, “Now that Miyuki’s manifested maybe I’ll think about it. I miss the thrill of a Hunt.” I stared at her for a long moment. My mom was a Hunter? She must have noticed my confusion because she patted my hand, “Part of policing the supernatural is hunting down dangerous and evil supernatural creatures. Sealing is preferred but some creatures can’t be sealed or are too powerful and require deadly force. Unlike human Yōkai Hunter clans we don’t hunt down any creatures we come across we actually use investigative methods to hunt down those we know are dangerous or need to be hunted. Usually we work in four man teams with each member having a different specialty.”

“So that’s why we had to come in and give a statement? So we’re not mistaken for dangerous Yōkai that need to be hunted down?” I asked.

Kei looked over my mom in sudden interest. “So that’s why you didn’t like me or my family. You were a government Hunter.”

“Hai, you’re both right,” my mom answered. “Though if either of you is interested in doing real Hunting then I’ll warn you there is a lot of training involved.” I saw Kei nodding eagerly and to my surprise I was as well. I thought that we had just found our future careers. “It’s also very dangerous,” she added as a warning, but I think that just convinced us both even more. “We should get going Shinji, we have a lot to do still.”

“Hai, Yuki-san, I was really hoping you would come back and join a team but we’ll manage without you. Take care of yourself and these kids. Now let’s all sign these statements so you can be on your way.” He started signing our statements and passed the finished ones to me and Kei for our own signatures.

Mom thought for a moment before we left and turned back to the detective. “I’ll think about coming back Shinji and since these two seem interested I’ll start training them to become future Hunters.” Then we left the office for the elevator.

>^..^<

Once we were In the elevator my father spoke up, “I’m not sure I like the idea of training our daughter and Kei to become Hunters, especially at such a young age.”

Mom turned to give him a sad smile, “They need to learn to protect themselves and each other anyway and this way I can use Department Nine’s resources to train them myself and make sure they’re properly equipped. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of Rei’s parents, and that Kitsune was far too interested in their well-being. From what Kei described it sounds like he gave Kei his Hoshi no Tama and bonded it to him.”

“Hoshi no Tama?” I asked.

My mother frowned as I repeated the words. “The Hoshi no Tama is usually a jewel a Kitsune carries in its mouth. It contains a portion of its power and essence. In this case, male essence which is likely why Kei is now male and has two tails. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that that Kitsune sacrificed two of its own tails to give to Kei. I don’t think even a Kitsune would go that far for a prank.”

Dad’s frown mirrored my mother’s, “You’re right, I don’t like the sounds of that. Why make him a Kitsune if he only wanted him to be male? There has to be more to this. Kitsune are natural shape shifters and Kei should be able to change into a female form any time he wants.”

“Yes,” Mom agreed. “But it will take years of practice and a lot more power before he’s able to hold any form but one of his three base forms for anything longer than a few minutes, and even then he’d just revert when he got tired or fell asleep.”

Kei just shrugged, “There’s no sense in me trying to return to my old form since I don’t think Miyuki would find me attractive that way anymore. I tried doing that when I first woke up yesterday anyway and I only got a headache for my efforts. My time is probably better spent getting used to my new form and learning what I need to.”

“Exactly, so for now let’s worry about getting you both your passports and then we have some shopping to do before we go home and I start planning your lessons,” Mom said as we entered the records office again.

Our passports and Kei’s other identification were all ready and I quickly opened mine to make sure it wasn’t a horrible photo. I was surprised to find an envelope with money inside. “Two hundred thousand yen? What’s this?” I wondered aloud after a quick count.

The Tanuki behind the counter smiled at us as he said, “It’s a start-up payment. We give one to all Department Nine clients who have undergone severe changes and need to start a new identity. It’s basically for clothes, supplies, and other costs associated with getting you set up as your new self.”

Kei opened his passport to find that he had one as well. “Domo arigato,” he said. “This should help a lot.”

“Domo arigato,” I echoed. “This is very kind.”

“It’s our pleasure,” the Tanuki replied. “Many Cursed, Yōkai, and other supernatural creatures go through difficult changes when they manifest. That’s enough to worry about without having to worry about how you’re going to afford to buy any special needs and a new wardrobe on top of it. I wish we could give more but this should help you cover all the basics.”

After thanking the Tanuki once again we headed back to the elevator and down to the underground parking. Once we had all climbed into the SUV I brought up something that had been on my mind since we had left the policing division. “I guess neither of you could have told me what you really did as jobs until I manifested but I should have known you weren’t a personal assistant Okasan. You didn’t leave work because you wanted to spend more time at home with me did you?”

A long silence fell over all of us and it was several moments before she answered. “We were Hunting what we were told was a Vampire. It should have been an easy Hunt but we had gotten bad intel. The Vampire turned out to be a demon, and a lot stronger than we were expecting. Sealing wouldn’t work so it came down to a fight. We won, but at great cost. Two of my team were claimed by the Shinigami and the last member, Siriwen, would be better off if they had claimed her too. Siriwen is a Yōsei, they call her a Pixie where she comes from in Europe. She was lovely and had such beautiful wings. The Faith Healers hope to someday fully heal her burns but they don’t know if they will ever be able to give her her wings back.”

I could hear the sadness in her voice as she spoke. I swallowed the lump in my throat and asked, “If it’s that dangerous why are you letting us train to do it?”

“I have a feeling that the two of you will find danger regardless of what career path you choose,” was her reply. “I am doing this so you can have everything you need to protect yourselves and one another. It’s why I am training you myself.”

>^..^<

After we left Department Nine we went shopping. Luckily we didn’t need to go far since Shibuya ward is well known for its trendy fashion stores and it includes Harajuku district, so there was a lot of variety to be found. It was decided that my father would take Kei shopping while I went with my mother and we would meet up before dinner. I was a bit nervous about not only shopping for girls clothes but also being out in public.

Mom took me mostly to shops that were targeted toward teens and we started by buying proper underthings. My instincts and nature seemed to be guiding my taste since most of the bras and panties I bought were lacy, sexy and meant to be seen in rather than hidden underneath clothes. I bought a variety of styles and colors to make sure I had something for every occasion. My choices made me worry that I was going to turn out to be some kind of slut if I weren’t careful to keep my urges reigned in. After that we found a nice leather jacket in a feminine style to replace my now ill-fitting bomber jacket and a matching purse which I was quick to put all of my ID, money and other important objects into. Then we went on to shop for regular clothes.

Regular clothes turned out to be a lot of dresses, skinny jeans, tight midriff baring tops, short skirts, halter tops, and camisoles and every bit of it made me look sexy. Shoes weren’t much better as I got mostly high heels with the exception of a pair of sneakers and a pair of knee high combat boots that my mom insisted on. For exercise clothes I avoided sweatpants and sweatshirts, preferring yoga pants, and spandex shorts with matching tops.

Soon we were laden down with various shopping bags and I was dressed more appropriately for my age in a short black skirt, a red midriff baring halter top that showed a healthy amount of cleavage, my new jacket and the combat boots. We were on our way to meet Dad and Kei but Mom insisted we had one more stop to make first. She guided me into a small shop where we got my ears pierced and bought me a nice looking snowflake pendant and some make-up. Mom said I wouldn’t need much make-up since I was naturally beautiful, but she felt lip gloss and eye shadow would be good to have so I could blend in.

When we finally met with Kei and my father it seemed like they had been waiting for a while. Kei looked at me approaching and started to look away before he took a double take and stared at me. When we finally were within speaking distance he managed to get out, “Wow Miyuki you look… ummm… wow.”

Mom laughed at that but was quickly distracted by her cell phone ringing. While she checked the number and stepped away to have a hushed conversation I smiled at him and asked, “Do you like it? It seems that my taste in clothing has been somewhat altered in my change.”

“It’s not what I would have worn a few days ago but you look really good,” he replied.

I was about to reply when my mother frowned and disconnected her phone call. “Kei, did your family have some sort of gathering planned?”

He shook his head, “Not that I was told about. Why do you ask?”

“That was Shinji,” she replied. “Someone went over his head and got different Metro detectives assigned to your missing person’s case. He’s also received reports of no less than twenty human Yōkai Hunters known to be associated with your family entering Shinjuku and there may be others who aren’t on our watch list.”

“Am I on your watch list?” he asked, looking nervous.

“You were,” she responded flatly.

Dad was frowning. “A gathering of that many can’t be good for the local Yōkai.”

“Let’s get our dinner to go, I think we should get home,” she replied.

>^..^<

We arrived home to find my grandfather sitting at the table with a grim expression. Sitting across from him was a woman I didn’t recognize. Kei did though when she turned to face us. “O-okasan?!”

The woman smiled at us, “I see you two are still together, it warms my heart. I thought Rei could use a familiar face right now but it seems this one has scared him. Perhaps this one instead?” The features of the person started to blur and subtly change until it was Rei looking at us… female Rei. My eyes bugged out and I think Kei’s might have as well. Suddenly the Rei at the table started laughing, “Oh the looks on your faces!” It began shifting again until there was a large seven tailed Kitsune sitting there. “Is this better?”

Kei’s eyes narrowed, “It’s you. What did you do to me?”

“I didn’t do anything my boy, you did,” he said. “You took my Hoshi no Tama, thereby agreeing to my terms. You have a large portion of my power, two of my tails, and your relationship is in balance. It’s rather generous of me I think. And all I ask is something you’re ready and willing to do anyway.”

“What is that?” Kei asked through clenched teeth.

“Stay by the side of your one true love. The two of you have a destiny that will be entertaining to watch unfold,” was his reply. “So keep your sweetheart safe my son.”

“I am not your son,” Kei growled.

“Of course you are, my essence flows through you and a part of me will live on in you and all your children.” He looked over Kei, “You turned out better than I expected, I do good work. My sister is going to be thrilled to have you around. But enough about us, you four need to get packing, your plane leaves in three hours.”

The room temperature dropped as my mother coldly said, “Explain yourself Kitsune.”

“Oooh you’re feisty, your daughter is too, that’s part of your charm. You make sure you train these two well, they will need it.” He gave us all a vulpine grin. “Now where was I? Oh yes you all need to pack it’s simply not safe for the four of you here in Japan. Someone went and told Rei’s family that a white haired boy with green eyes and a beautiful young woman fitting poor Miyuki’s description were responsible for the disappearance of Rei and her boyfriend and they may have mentioned that Mitsuo’s parents had taken the pair in.”

“I wonder who that could have been,” my mother said frostily.

“Yes I wonder,” he replied absently. “Fortunately you have my sister and I to look out for you. We need to get you four out of Japan before all those pesky human Hunters start converging on you. I will watch over Tanaka-san and your home to make sure no harm befalls them.”

Kei crossed his arms, “You said that Miyuki and I would protect each other.”

“I didn’t say you would be doing it in Japan. You see my boy it’s not about telling the truth it’s about how much truth to tell. That’s the first lesson your dear old dad has for you.” He grinned again and I think everyone in the room wanted to strangle him at that point. “No, the four of you simply must flee Japan. I hear Montreal is nice this time of year, or rather it should be for a family so at home in the snow. My sister’s private jet awaits at the airport. Come now we need to get you all packed. I’ve already told Department Nine about your change of address.”

My mother was suddenly right in front of the Kitsune holding him a foot off the ground by his throat. “You have already lost two tails in this prank of yours. If you do not explain yourself now I will personally remove the remaining seven.”

The look of fear on his face faded quickly into another grin. “Oh yes, you’ll do a fine job training them. You will train your daughter in her new skills and my sister will train the boy in Kitsune magic. You will be responsible for the rest of their training. Word travels faster with these humans in Rei’s family than even I thought and they’ve spread the word to others of their kind. You are all in danger here, and your destinies lie elsewhere, so you must leave tonight. But we must get you packed, let me get the bags.

Mom released him, well more like she threw him. “You’re saying that most the human Yōkai Hunters in Japan know what we are and are going to come after us?”

He nodded. “They are quite eager to seal or kill you all. I don’t think even you could take on that many and win my dear woman. My sister will help you all get set up in Canada. You’ll like Montreal; it’s such a nice city.” The Kitsune shifted back into a human form which looked suspiciously like an older version of Kei and picked up a large black leather purse with a snowflake keychain hanging from the shoulder strap. “Now this is for Miyuki, I thought the snowflake was a nice touch, don’t you?” He opened the main compartment and reached in to pull out a similar purse but white which he gave my mom. “And this is for you Yuki.” Then he gave us a grin, “Oh I keep forgetting we’re on a tight schedule.” He upended the purse and shook it three times, spilling out two backpacks that were folded in half and four bundles that looked like clothing.

I stared as the contents all fell to the floor. There was no way all that stuff should have fit in that purse. “What the…?” I began to say.

“Just a little Kitusune magic my dear,” he said with another grin. “Divine magic has some interesting uses. These purses and the backpacks give you each access to your own personal little pocket dimensions. As long as an item can be made to fit into the mouth of it you can store anything in here. Just think about the object you want to pull out and presto, your hand touches it so you can pull it out. Or you can upend it and give it three good shakes and it will empty the entire contents. It’s perfect for packing light or…” he grinned at us again, “concealing weapons.”

He handed a grey backpack to my dad and held the red one. “Speaking of concealed weapons, I believe these are yours my boy.” He pulled out a large canvas bundle which he unrolled to expose two silver handguns, wooden stakes, clear plastic baggies containing ammunition and various other things I couldn’t identify at the moment.

“My Hunting gear,” Kei said seeming to be in as much shock as I was.

“You had better put that back for now, airports are just filled with metal detectors these days,” the Kitsune said. “Quickly now, you must all pack everything you want to take with you. Oh, you should probably change as well; I have just the thing for you all to wear.” A black and grey bundle was tossed to my father, a black and white one to my mother, a black and red one to Kei, and I got a black and light blue one.

We all just stared at him for a moment before my mom looked at the front door and sighed. “You heard the Kitsune. We’d better hurry if we all want to live through this, Kitsunes may not give the whole truth but they never lie.”

“That’s why I like you,” the Kitsune grinned, “You’re so practical.”

I started taking all the clothes from my shopping bags and placing them in my purse of holding and Kei quickly followed suit. Then I took off my leather jacket and combat boots and placed them by the door so I could put them on when we were ready to leave. Once I had put my regular purse in the magic one I dashed upstairs and put Yuki no Hana in as well and a few personal items I wanted to take. My computer and all my stuff from my time as Mitsuo would have to stay here.

I peeled off my halter top and skirt and put them in the purse and looked at the bundle of cloth. It felt like some sort of leather but it was lighter. When I shook it out it appeared to be a one piece body suit that would cover everything but my hands and feet. I shrugged, unzipped the front and stepped into it. It was surprisingly easy to get on and fit me like a glove when fully zipped up, displaying all my curves. The suit was mostly black but with a small light blue snowflake on the left breast, a larger one on the back, and a swirling pattern like snowflakes being blown on a winter wind along the length of the outer legs and arms in that same light blue.

Once I was dressed I grabbed my purse and headed back downstairs to join the others who were waiting. Mom’s outfit was identical to mine but white where mine was blue, Dad’s had a grey cat emblem instead of a snowflake and Kei’s had a red fox emblem. Mom was saying, “This is Department Nine combat Kevlar, how did you get this?”

“Oh I have my ways, I am quite well connected my dear,” the Kitsune replied. “I spelled these for a little added protection and your husband’s, Miyuki’s, and Kei’s should serve to protect their modesty should they require any sudden changes. “Ah Miyuki, there you are. Could you please bring me those new boots and jacket of yours? I would like to add the same enchantments I did to your body suit.”

I sighed but I brought the boots and jacket to him. Once he was done whatever he wanted to do to them, which just looked like mumbling with his eyes closed to me, he handed them back to me. As I started putting them on again I said, “What exactly do you want from me? You seem way too interested in my survival, not to mention my personal life.”

He looked thoughtful for a long moment before responding. “I think that’s obvious. I want you to live. You are very important to my sister and me. I can’t tell you why.”

I glared at him. “Can’t or won’t?”

“There is a difference isn’t there?” he replied. “In this case it’s both. We’ve already had to interfere more than I would like, but my sister is seldom wrong so I am trusting her judgement in this.” He sighed as he looked at me. “Your life was about to get very complicated, not to mention dangerous, even without my interference. I have taken great pains to make sure that you and your soul mate can stay together and to make this as easy as possible for both of you. The lot of you may not believe me but this was the best and safest possible path for you all.”

I had finished lacing my boots and putting my jacket and purse on at this point. “If that’s really the case then thank you. I don’t like having to leave japan and I don’t like the way you tricked Kei, but I am happy to still have him. Will you really protect my grandfather while we’re gone?”

“I will,” he promised. “I’ll stay here with him and I have Department Nine watching the house as well. Maybe once things settle down and we have taken care of affairs here in Japan I will bring him to come join you. Now could I please get the three of you to change to your animal forms? I would like to make sure the enchantments on your clothes worked properly.”

I concentrated on being a snow leopard and could feel my body beginning to shift and flow back into that form as I grew fur, sprouted a tail and my face and body became more cat-like. I looked to see that Kei was now a white fox and my dad had changed into his snow leopard form as well. And none of us were standing in a pile of damaged clothes. I shifted back to human and found that I was still wearing my body suit, boots and jacket and that my purse was still hanging from my shoulder. “That’s cool; at least I won’t have to worry about running around naked if I’m wearing this stuff.” I sighed and tried giving the Kitsune a smile, “Umm… Domo arigato.”

He grinned back at me, “You’re welcome Miyuki. Now you had all better get to Haneda Airport. When you get there give your family name to the people at the information desk and tell them you’re the guests of Gina Fox. They will be expecting you.”

I nodded and went to give my grandfather a big hug. “I’ll miss you Ojiisan. Things just won’t be the same without you around.” I was crying a bit when he returned the hug tightly.

“I will always be with you in the teachings I have passed on to you Miyuki.” He kissed my forehead softly and added, “I will attempt to settle affairs here and come and join you soon. Keep in contact so I know you are all safe.”

I nodded, sniffling into his shoulder before answering, “Hai Ojiisan.”

.^..^<

We all said our final goodbyes and headed toward Dad’s SUV and that is when all hell broke loose. I heard gunfire and I felt like someone had kicked me in the chest. Mom threw me over her shoulder and took me to cover behind the SUV as Dad was half dragging Kei. Mom sat me down and took a look at my chest. “No damage. Thank goodness you were wearing that combat armor.” She took a look around the side of the vehicle. “I count five of them but more will probably be here soon. They’re not even trying to seal us first and they’re risking gunfire in the open. David, get in and start the vehicle and keep your head down. Kei, can you use those guns you have?”

Kei nodded and replied, “Hai, I’ll have to unpack them though.”

“No time,” she replied pulling out an awkward looking handgun from her purse of holding. “Use this. It’s a tranquilizer gun. We need to use non-lethal means; I don’t want us killing a human unless it’s absolutely necessary.” She looked at me in concern. “Miyuki, do you think you’re up for taking them down hard and fast?”

“Hai Okasan,” I responded, “That hurt like hell but I think I’m okay.”

“Let’s do this then, Kei cover us,” she said. I could hear the SUV starting up as I got to my feet. My chest still hurt but I looked around the vehicle across the street where the streetlights showed two men were shooting from behind the cover of a car, a third was behind a tree and another man and a woman were behind a pickup truck. “I’ll get the ones behind the car,” my mom said. “Miyuki, get the ones behind the truck. Remember this is not honorable combat; take them down however you can so long as it’s fast and not lethal.”

I nodded and we both took off running. I could hear Kei fire the gun behind us and the Hunters dove behind their cover again. I ran straight for the truck and launched myself into the truck bed. The woman lifted her head to peek over the side and I said, “This is for shooting me,” as I punched her in the face. She fell back to the ground and I leaped on her, breaking the arm that was holding the gun. The guy with her raised his gun to fire but I snapped my foot out to kick it from his hand. I quickly followed up with a kick to his privates and then when he was bent over in pain I slammed his head into the side of the truck.

He was unconscious now but the woman wasn’t, and despite her broken arm she was likely still a threat. Her nose was bleeding pretty badly and it was ruining the nice blouse she had on. Her laundry was the least of my worries though as she had picked up the gun with her good hand and was standing up again. “Don’t move,” she said.

I didn’t move, but I did glance over toward the house where I saw Kei taking careful aim from behind the SUV. At least I seemed to have gotten good night vision when I manifested. “I’m not trying to tell you how to do your job,” I said, “But you really should be more careful about where you stand when people have guns trained on you.” Her eyes widened as the tranquilizer dart hit her in the shoulder and then she shook her head as she tried to fight off the drug. That was all the opening I needed and I slammed into her, grabbing her arm to point the gun down and away from me as I elbowed her in the underside of her jaw. She was really going to feel that when she woke up.

I looked around to see that the man behind the tree was slumped over and the two behind the car were sprawled out on the ground with limbs at painful looking angles. Mom came to make sure I was alright and once I had assured her I was we rushed back to the SUV. “Good work you two,” she praised, “Now let’s get out of here before more show up.” We all climbed into the vehicle and my father tore off as quickly as he could in the direction of Ota, and Haneda Airport.

 © 2013 Amethyst Gibbs


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