Halo Two: Mikado:
Masaomi’s phone buzzed. The boy mumbled to himself as he pawed around for his phone.
“Hello?” he mumbled half-asleep.
“Kida-kun?” a small voice whimpered on the other line. A puzzled look came over Masaomi’s face.
“Mikado?” he asked. “Mikado, is that you?”
“Can you come over?” his friend asked.
“Uh… okay,” Masaomi said. There came a pause.
“Can you come over now?” Mikado asked. His friend noticed the tone in his friend’s voice. Masaomi sat up in his bed.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. “Is something wrong? What happened?”
“Please,” Mikado pleaded. “I need you.” Masaomi’s heart sank. Something told him something wasn’t right with that text yesterday.
“Okay,” he said. “I will be there in ten minutes. Hang in there.”
“Thank you,” his friend mumbled. He hung up his phone. Masaomi looked at his phone. All day yesterday, he felt that something wasn’t right. But he couldn’t leave Saki’s side. Anri said that she would check in on their friend. She hadn’t reported back since seven in the evening. No one else seemed to notice either.
Masaomi turned and looked next to him. Saki was still sound asleep. This was stretching him thin. He couldn’t keep watch over both her and Mikado at once. Right now, his best friend needed him. Masaomi climbed out of bed and took a shower. When he got out, he typed up and text to his girlfriend and headed out the door. Masaomi resolved to call Saki later this evening.
Awakusu-san had guards posted around her hospital room. She barely made it out of surgery alive. Naturally, the doctors had to give it their all to save the woman’s life. The worst of it was over but she was still laid up in a coma.
Mikiya made it down to the hospital by morning. He had Akane stay home with her grandfather for the time being. This was the second person tied to the Awakusu who had been attacked. First Akabayashi dies under mysterious circumstances and now Awakusu-san was attacked in public.
Two detectives met up with the yakuza boss in the hallway. Mikiya couldn’t say that he was surprised to see them. One detective, male between Mikiya and his father’s age, stepped forward.
“Good morning,” he said. “I’m so sorry for your wife.”
“Thank you,” Mikiya said in a low voice.
“Do you mind if we ask you a few questions?” the detective asked. “It won’t take too long.”
“No, go ahead,” the mob boss said. The detective took a breath. His partner took a notepad and started taking notes.
“Can you think of anyone who would hurt your wife?” the detective said. “Outside of yakuza-related stuff, I mean.” Mikiya took a moment to think about it.
“Not that I would know of,” he said. “My wife is a gentle woman. She doesn’t have many enemies herself.”
“Did she seem worried about anything before she left the house yesterday?”
“No. Everything was fine that day. She just went out to celebrate her friend’s birthday.”
The partner took down more notes behind the detective. He looked up when he was finished.
“Thank you for your time,” the detective said. “We will be in touch.”
“Thank you, sir,” Mikiya said. The men bowed and the detectives left. The mafia boss walked into his wife’s hospital room.
Awakusu-san was hooked up to tubes and a heart monitor. The doctors weren’t sure if she was going to wake up or not. Mikiya came around to her side of the bed. He kissed her on the hand. He whispered something in her ear before he turned to leave.
“I will avenge you, my love.”
Masaomi made it to Mikado’s apartment. Already, a feeling of ease overwhelmed him. Yesterday, he believed that everything was fine. He got the text saying that Mikado would be studying all day. At first, he thought nothing about it. But over lunch, Masaomi began to realize that something wasn’t right. So he called up Anri to check on him.
“Hello?” she asked.
“Hey Anri,” Masaomi said. “Could you stop by Mikado’s place and check on him really quick?”
“Alright,” Anri said. The boy breathed out and leaned back on the floor.
“Thanks,” he said. Looked like he every right to be worried.
Masaomi knocked on the door.
“Come in,” a weak voice said on the other. A confused look came over the blonde shogun’s face.
“Why can’t you open the door?” he asked.
“Please… just come in,” Mikado pleaded. “It’s unlocked.” Masaomi opened the door with unease. His jaw dropped as he walked inside. Mikado sat on the floor, leaning up against the wall. He looked so dazed and worn out. His pants had been pulled up by this point. Masaomi ran over to him.
“Mikado!” he shouted. He ran over and grabbed Mikado by the shoulders. The tadpole boy lifted his head. He looked as if he was coming out of a drug-hazed stupor.
“What the hell happened? Are you okay?” his friend asked. Mikado gave off a small, dry laugh.
“They got me,” he said in a raspy tone.
“What?!” Masaomi asked.
“I’m so sorry,” Mikado said. “I should’ve known.” His best friend shook his head.
“No,” he said. The tadpole boy started to speak but Masaomi held up his hand.
“Don’t talk,” he said. “We need to get you to a doctor.”
“Don’t!” Mikado said. He drew his knees to his chest. “It won’t do any good. They can’t help me. And she’s there too.” Mikado could see the interns’ faces again. Yayoi’s fingernails scraping across his skin made him shiver. Her hand slipping down his boxers. Those women took something from him and destroyed it.
“Okay…” Masaomi said. “What do you want to do?” He sounded like a father dealing with an injured and upset child by this point. Mikado shook his head.
“Come on, man,” his best friend said. “I want to help you. Tell me what to do.” Mikado murmured something under his breath.
“Hm?” Masaomi asked.
“Please… stay with me?” the tadpole boy asked. He tried to reach for Masaomi’s wrist. His friend didn’t even flinch.
“Okay,” the blonde shogun said. “I will stay with you as long as you need me to.” Mikado lowered his head.
“Thank you,” he whispered. Masaomi pulled him into his arms.
“I don’t know what they did to you but we will get them for this,” he whispered. Tears welled in Mikado’s eyes.
“Can we do that?” he asked. His best friend tightened his grip.
“I am going to try,” Masaomi promised. His usual words of comfort failed Mikado this time.
Kitano looked at the results on his desk. It was just as he expected. Etsuko looked down with him.
“It really doesn’t make a difference, does it?” she asked. Kitano shook his head.
“So what do you want to do?” the doctor asked.
“Keep the Heartseed,” Kitano said. “We will do in-person injections from time to time. We can’t do it too often lest we attraction attention to when our pets are being held against their will.”
“Agreed,” Etsuko said.
“Oh, there’s something else too,” the therapist said. He opened his desk and reached inside. His partner looked down as he pulled out what looked like a spinning clock. An intrigued look came across her face.
“Oh, is it finally that time?” the doctor asked.
“Yes,” Kitano said. “And I am so glad that you remember it.” He got up and carried with clock with such care. Etsuko watched as he set it down on a small table.
“Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride,” Kitano said. He step down a small round stone for each sin he listed. He took a step back.
“Which one will come to us first?” Etsuko asked.
“We will have to see,” Kitano said. “In the meantime, I will call up Aya about our little butterfly.” He pulled out his phone.
“Do you need me for anything?” Etsuko asked.
“No, that will be all,” her partner said. He dialed up his fellow therapist’s number.
“Alright,” she said. “I have to get back to the hospital now.”
“Be careful out there,” he said.
“Will do,” Etsuko said. She bowed and walked out the door. Kitano waved as the door closed behind her.
“Hello?” Aya asked on the other line.
“Ah, yes,” Kitano said. “How is our little butterfly doing?”
Mikado wasn’t allowed to leave his apartment for the day again.
“You were attacked yesterday,” Masaomi said. The tadpole boy didn’t argue. His friend wouldn’t hear of it either. The boys looked up when they heard a knock on the door. Mikado sat on the floor, trembling.
“Who is it?” Masaomi asked.
“It’s only me,” Anri said. The boys looked at each other.
“I’ve got it,” Masaomi said. He got up before Mikado could say a word. The blonde shogun walked over to the door and opened it a crack. Anri stood outside, looking in.
“Oh good,” Masaomi said. “You’re here.”
“How is he?” Anri whispered. The boy looked behind him.
“Not good,” he whispered.
“Oh,” she said. The Saika Mother tried to look inside. Masaomi wouldn’t let her see.
“Can I please come in?” Anri asked. The blonde shogun didn’t look so comfortable.
“I will let you in,” he whispered. “But you have to be careful with him. It’s pretty bad.” Anri didn’t need to say a word. She bowed her head and went inside.
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked. She froze when she saw the tadpole boy. The Saika Mother covered her mouth as she gasped.
“Oh my goodness! Are you okay?” she asked. Anri knelt down to reach out to Mikado.
“Don’t!” he shouted. “Please… don’t…” Anri drew back her hand. The tadpole boy looked about ready to cry. She had a sympathetic look in her eyes. The girl hated to see her boyfriend like this.
“They hurt me…” Mikado said. He trembled with his knees to his chest. Anri turned to Masaomi as if to ask for help. The blonde shogun stood by but said nothing.
“I can’t take this anymore,” Mikado whimpered. “I can’t take it! I can’t take it!” He grabbed the sides of his head and started crying. Anri pulled Mikado into her arms. Masaomi walked over and joined into the hug. The tadpole boy just wept in their arms.
Emily made it back home in the early hours of the morning. When she could move again, she looked up to see Taiyou over her. The spirit familiar was carrying her away.
“You came back,” she murmured.
“I apologize, Emily-sama,” Taiyou said. “That man used some spell on you that cut your connection to me.” His mistress shook her head.
“No, it’s okay,” Emily murmured. “Just take me home.”
“Yes, mistress,” the spirit familiar said. She rested her head against his chest. There weren’t many people in sight in the streets. Probably for the best. How was she going to explain to her mother what happened? The client in the other city thought that she bailed on him. Emily cringed when she thought about Roc’s tongue against her cheeks and face. Taiyou held her closer to his chest. Emily looked ready to cry.
“Thank you,” she whispered. Her familiar spirit didn’t reply. Emily didn’t care what she looked like as Taiyou carried her through the streets.
They made it back to her apartment. Emily looked up at Taiyou.
“Don’t take me through the front door,” she whispered. “I don’t want to wake up Mama.”
“Understood,” Taiyou whispered. He and her vanished into thin air. They reappeared in her room.
“Do you want me to put you to bed?” he asked.
“Yes, please,” Emily whispered.
“Understood,” Taiyou said.
“Thank you,” she whispered again. The spirit familiar laid her down on the bed. Emily pulled the sheets over her head. She wasn’t going to be able to sleep but that didn’t matter. In the morning, the tadpole girl was going to scrub Roc off of her skin. Right now, she didn’t want to wake up her mother and have to answer any questions.
The next morning, Mikado tried to act as normal as he could. Masaomi advised against going to school. The tadpole wouldn’t hear of it.
“I will be fine,” Mikado insisted. “I need this. Besides, summer break will be coming up soon. I can hang on for a couple more days.” Despite not being too certain about this, Masaomi relented.
“But you head home as soon as things go sideways,” he said.
“I will help him if that happens,” Anri volunteered. The boys looked caught off guard at first but then agreed.
“Right,” Masaomi said. Mikado said nothing.
The day at school seemed fairly normal enough. Mikado didn’t have any sensory overload. Nothing stalking him out of the corner of his eyes. The worst had been faint whispers in the doorway. The girls fonded all over him no less. Mikado could relax by lunch.
“Anything happen this morning?” Masaomi asked on the school roof. Mikado shook his head. He paused before thinking.
“Kida-kun?” he asked.
“Hm?” his friend asked. Mikado leaned forward.
“Have you noticed anything… off about this school lately?” he asked. There was a moment of silence between them. Masaomi thought about that for a second.
“I did hear some whispering in the halls when no one else was there,” he finally admitted. Mikado sighed in relief.
“So it isn’t just me,” he said. He remembered what led to this mess at school days ago. By the time he and Masaomi got to Raira Academy, the final gate had already been opened. The sky had turned a fiery red as the ground shook. Mikado knew then that the beginning of the end was coming.
Things got worse when it came to clean up time.
Mikado had been doing so good up to this point. He did his best to keep to himself. Anri kept her eye on him and asked if he was okay.
“I’m fine,” he said in a low voice. By now, he just wanted school to be over.
Mikado and Anri looked up when they heard a girl wail, “Oh no!” A junior classmate had dropped a glass jar on the floor. Millions of little pieces scattered on the floor.
“I’m so sorry!” she wailed.
“It’s okay,” Mikado said. He raced over and helped the girl clean up the mess. Anri joined in as well. As they were cleaning, an odd thought crossed Mikado’s mind.
He began to think back to two nights ago. Mikado and Masaomi never got inside to see what was going on. Someone pushed them back before they could get a better look. It had to be either Fuyuko or Niki pushing him away. Mikado didn’t get a chance to look. He could barely hear her screaming over the earth shaking and the screaming around them.
“Stay back!” she screamed. “Get out of here!” In that moment, the terror of what was going to happen flashed before his eyes.
Blood all over the ground. Bodies. Bodies piled everywhere. That damned Woman in Red laughing over the fires as Ikebukuro burned. Oh her laughter. Mikado could feel his ear burning in real life.
Mikado-kun! Mikado-kun! Mikado-kun!
The tadpole boy jerked himself back into reality. Anri stared at him with a worried look on his face.
“What?” Mikado asked. The Saika Mother seemed to be going so fast with her words. The tadpole did catch the words “Mikado” and “bleeding”.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?” he asked.
“Your hand is bleeding,” Anri managed to say.
“Huh?” Mikado asked. The tadpole boy looked down at his hand on instinct. His left hand was pressed into many shards of glass. Blood started to wash over them.
“Oh my god! Are you okay?!” the junior girl cried. Her words sounded so distant as Mikado picked up his bloody hand. Glass shards were buried into the skin. His blood made them stand out. How long had he had his hands pressed down on the glass? Great fear settled over him as he realized just exactly what Sunday’s experiment had do to his body. Mikado wanted to scream but no sound came out.
Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop.
Her mismatched eyes slowly drew open. A gentle murmur filled her ears. Felt so warm on her skin. Her body floated around in her void nothingness. She could hear the waves flowing around her head.
Wait… Is that…
A pulsing noise rang in her ears. The sound of heart beating made her feel so wet. Her plump red lips curved into a little smirk.
She rose to sitting position as the tingling sensation ran down her skin. Beside her, her staff materialized from thin air. The time had come. Soon, she would be with her siblings in the living world. She would be the first to make it to the surface.
But first, she needed to seek him out and battle him.
She rose to her feet and vanished out of her void.