Chapter Seventeen: Noose:
Haruka can feel the strain.
The mother is back, she thought. She could see one grim possibility already in her family's kitsune. They hadn't really been eating souls lately and interacted with their masters less often. Even some of her cousins started losing their powers. Haruka didn't like the signs. She picked up the phone and made a needed call.
"Hello?" a woman asked on the other line.
"Hitomi-chan!" Haruka said.
"Yes, my dear."
"Please don't make me kill again. I've moved on. I'm not going back there."
Haruka chuckled. "No, no, no. I'm not calling for that."
"Then… what is it?"
"I have a question for you, actually."
"I have a little problem, you see. Our mother kitsune woke up."
Haruka nodded as she pressed her lips together. "I'm afraid so. That's not the only thing."
"How do you mean?"
"Our kitsune don't seem to be eating souls lately."
"My sons can't seem to command theirs anymore. Some of my cousins have lost control of their kitsune."
"And you believe she's causing this?"
"Before we get to what I think, I want your thoughts on this."
"She might be trying to kill you all off slowly."
"I knew it! Any reason why?"
"Do you really want to hear what I think?"
"Should I just say it?"
Hitomi paused over her end. "She seems to be ending the curse."
"She probably does not approve of the killings."
"But why? Why now of all times?"
"I won't know until I can contact her myself."
"How long would that take?"
"Hard to say until I get a response."
"So, how do we stop this?"
"Give me a minute," Hitomi said. Haruka waited on the other line as she heard the door open on Hitomi's end. Two people spoke to the kitsune teacher, sounded like a child and his mother to be exact.
"It should be right here," Hitomi said. "Hang on." More footsteps followed. "Is this it?"
"Yes, thank you!" the boy cheered.
"Just be careful with it next time, alright?" Hitomi said.
"Okay!" he said. "See you tomorrow!"
"Bye!" Hitomi said. Footsteps followed and the door closed. The kitsune returned to the phone.
"Sorry about that," she said. "One of my students left behind his favorite stuffed animal."
"I see," Haruka replied. "Now, about my questions."
"Yes" her old friend said. "Have the kitsune and tsukai begun to merge yet?"
"No," the old lady replied.
"There is still a chance," she told her friend.
"How?" Haruka asked.
"Kill the tsukai and trap the mother," Hitomi told her.
"How do I do that?" her friend asked.
"Are you doing anything Sunday?"
"I've decided to ride up there to Tokyo to pay you a visit."
"Alright, I'll see you then."
"We'll talk when you get here."
"Bye." After they hung, Haruka went to the kitchen and got herself some Hoppy.