Chapter 1: Day unto Night
A bell rang through the high
school, and students flooded the halls. As most of the students prepared to
leave, though, one student was going the opposite direction to the Principal’s
office. The teen’s unusual, crimson hair color made them easily visible among
the darker hair of the other students, while their slim, athletic build made it
difficult to determine their gender at a glance.
As the redhead passed one group of students, one of them called out. “Hey there, Girly Boy! You get called to the Principal for fighting again?”
Whirling around to face the one who addressed him, the redhead grabbed the offending boy’s collar, and growled out, “What did you just call me?”
Gulping nervously, the other student stuttered out, “C-Calm down, Hikarino! Y-You don’t want to make the old man mad by being late, r-right?”
A glare was the only answer he received at first. After a moment, the redhead just shoved him away and moved on. The scowl on his face deepened when he heard one of the students he was leaving behind say, “Why did you call him that? Everyone knows he hates being called ‘girly’.”
“Well, can you blame me?” Came the voice of the student who was grabbed. “If he wasn’t wearing the boys’ uniform, I’d almost think he was a girl. Having a first name like ‘Yamiko’ doesn’t help him, either.”
Hearing the others talk about him left Yamiko in a foul mood by the time he reached the Principal’s office. As he approached the office, the school secretary, a regular Yamato Nadeshiko named Domeikuni Hana, saw Yamiko’s mood, and cautioned the youth. “Better cool it, Yamiko. Even for you, Father only has so much patience.”
At the sound of her voice, Yamiko stopped and took a deep breath. Yamiko thought to himself, ‘Hana is right. Still, it’s hard to believe that such a nice woman is really the daughter of that strict old man.’
“Thanks, Hana, but I’d rather just get this over with.” Yamiko said sullenly, before moving past her into the office.
Yamiko was well familiar with the man inside, and not only due to his numerous trips to this office. Domeikuni Inmaru was an elderly man who had been a friend of Yamiko’s father, but that didn’t keep him from coming down hard on Yamiko when the youth misbehaved.
Yamiko just sighed as he sat down and prepared to tune out the lecture he knew was coming. Folding his hands in front of him, the principal spoke. “Yamiko, we both know why you’re here, so I won’t beat around the bush. You have to stop fighting on school grounds. The last boy you fought is in the hospital with several broken ribs.”
“Ch, not my fault he was so weak.” Yamiko scoffed. “He was captain of the Kendo team, for crying out loud.”
“That’s no excuse!” The principal snapped harshly. “We both know you could easy beat him, and yet you still provoked him needlessly. Your father would be ashamed!”
“And why the Hell would I care what a dead man thinks!?” Yamiko cried angrily, as he jumped to his feet. Without giving the older man a chance to respond, he spun around and stomped out of the room.
“Yamiko, we’re not done yet!” Principal Domeikuni called after the redhead, only to be ignored.
As Yamiko stormed out of the school, his thoughts reflected his earlier comment. ‘Why the hell should I care what Dad thought? He went and got himself killed, and left Mom and I to fend for ourselves. Besides, his work kept him traveling, so it’s not like he was ever there.’ Unconsciously, Yamiko’s hand rose to the cross that hung around his neck. It was pure ebony, carved with strange symbols, and hung on a simple string. Yamiko didn’t know what the significance of the markings, but kept it close. He had had it as long as he could remember, one of his earliest memories being of his father telling him to always keep it close.
While dwelling on just thoughts, Yamiko failed to pay attention where he was walking. As he passed through the school gates, Yamiko collided with someone standing there.
“Ah, my apolo- Oh, it’s you.” Yamiko looked up, as a familiar voice spoke. Standing in front of Yamiko was a well-built young man, with messy black hair tied up by a long, black bandana, and a pair of glasses on his face.
“Ugh, I am not in the mood to deal with a kid like you, Seigi.” Yamiko said with a scowl, his mood going from bad to worse. The person in front of Yamiko was Tsuyoi Seigi, his childhood friend. However, they had been at odds for several years.
Scowling back, Seigi glared over his glasses. “I’m hardly ecstatic to see you either. And stop calling me a kid! I’m a couple months older than you are!”
Feeling that a good fight might help him work off some stress, Yamiko smirked at him, as he said, “Only little kids still believe in monsters.”
Seigi grit his teeth and dropped his school bag, revealing that the taunt had worked. Carefully taking off his glasses and setting them on the bag, Seigi replied in a low voice, “My father died at the hands of the demon he was hunting, as did yours. Claiming that such being don’t exist just disrespects their memory.” Raising up on the balls of his feet, Seigi clenched his fists as he held them up beside his head. “And I refuse to stand by and let you do that!”
“Heh, kinda hard to believe such a serious guy still believes in fairy tales.” Yamiko replied, raising his own fists in anticipation. “Our dads just died in a hunting accident, not fighting some Oni!”
Yamiko smirked again as he dodged Seigi’s opening punch at his face, only cry out in pain as his opponent turned the blow into an elbow strike to the side of his head. Moving with the momentum of the blow, Yamiko launched a kick, only for it to be blocked by Seigi’s other arm. Before Yamiko had a chance to regain his balance, Seigi used his own leg, slamming a knee into Yamiko’s stomach, causing the redhead to stagger backwards gasping for breath.
Calming returning to his original stance, Seigi growled out. “Give it up, Yamiko. You’ll never defeat me as you are. You might be stronger and faster than most of our peers, but there’s still no way you someone with my training.”
Wincing as he straightened up, Yamiko grunted out, “That’s right, your grandad’s some martial arts master, ain’t he?” Frowning, Yamiko thought, ‘Dammit! I beat that Kendo guy without breaking a sweat. So, why can I never beat this bastard?’ Gritting his teeth, Yamiko charged forward again.
The sun was already setting
as Yamiko staggered down the street, clutching his side. “Damn that bastard…”
He grumbled. Reaching the entrance to a park, Yamiko turned to enter it,
knowing it would be a shortcut to get home.
As it started growing dark, Yamiko couldn’t help but look around nervously. “I’ve never passed through here this late before.” He mumbled. “It gets kinda creepy… and for some reason, I feel like I’m being watched…”
“Guess you’ve got good instincts then, missy.” A raspy voice suddenly called out from the darkness.
“Who’s there!?” Yamiko cried out as he spun to face the voice. Silence was the only response, until the redhead felt something grip his leg. Looking down, Yamiko’s eyes widened in shock. “What the Hell!?”
Wrapped around his leg was slimy red tentacle.
“Got you!” The raspy voice called out again, before more tentacles shot out of the darkness and grabbed onto Yamiko’s other limbs.
“W-What is this!? N-no! This has got to be a bad joke!” Yamiko stammered in disbelief, as he struggled against the binding limbs.
As the tentacles wrapped further around Yamiko’s form, the voice called out once more, closer now. “What’s this? I thought you were a female. No matter, it just means the meat will be a bit tougher!” As it finished speaking, the source of the voice and tentacles emerged from the darkness, revealing an amorphous mass, with an enormous, toothy maw.
“What the Hell are you? Why are you doing this?” Yamiko’s voice was little more than a whisper at this point, as shock began to set in.
“Ha! Isn’t it obvious? I’m a demon, and you are my next meal.” The self-proclaimed demon said, as it drew Yamiko closer to its mouth. However, as Yamiko continued to struggle, the demon noticed the cross around his neck. “Oh my, what do we have here?” It said with a laugh. “A ward against evil, perhaps? You humans should just accept your place as food and- ARGH!”
The demon had moved to tear away the cross, but the moment it touched the runes covering the cross, they began glowing a bright pink, before the cross shattered in a burst of energy.
Yamiko gasped as the strange energy washed over him, burning away the tentacles that bound him. Scrambling backwards, he saw the demon howling in pain, burns marring several of its tentacles and part of its body.
Jumping to his feet, Yamiko took off running, determined to get away before the creature recovered. Sprinting as fast as he could towards home, he stumbled repeatedly, the energy from the cross having left his body feeling strange.
Reaching his home, Yamiko burst inside, and slammed the door behind himself. Falling against the door and sliding to a sitting position, Yamiko was silent for a moment before groaning, “Today seriously sucked.” Pushing himself to his feet, Yamiko staggered towards the bathroom, hoping that a good long soak would help him calm down after the events of that evenings.
‘What the Hell was that thing? Some kind of mutated octopus?’ Yamiko thought. ‘There’s no way it could have actually been a demon, right?’
Yamiko began to get undressed, only to stop when his chest felt… softer than normal. And seemed to stick out a bit more, too. Slowly unbuttoning and opening ‘his’ shirt, Yamiko was greeted by the sight of a pair of small yet shapely breasts, which definitely had not been there when he got dressed that morning.
“W-Why do I have breasts?” Yamiko wondered aloud. Swallowing nervously, Yamiko dropped ‘his’ pants as well, only to confirm ‘his’ concerns. “Why am I a GIRL!?”
“Yamiko, are you alright?” Came a faint call from elsewhere in the house.
Recognizing the voice, Yamiko called back, “Uh, I’m fine, Mom. I just slipped on my way to take a bath.”
“Oh, alright. Just be careful dear.” Yamiko’s mother replied. “Dinner should be ready when you’re done.”
To herself, Yamiko thought, ‘Is this some kind of sick joke, or has today just been one big nightmare?’
Yamiko spent longer than usual on her bath, both dwelling on everything that had happened, and trying to avoid touching her new parts any more than necessary. However, it was while washing her hair that she made the most startling discovery yet.
“I have HORNS now, TOO!?”