Harmony Act IV: Lust

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Scene XIII: Face-to-Face

Kanagawa, Yuugen. Japan. 2005, September

Senbo was walking in a matter of days. His neck would never heal, and he would always face the thick, ugly line across his throat whenever he looked in the mirror. In order to avoid unnecessary staring, he eventually covered it over with make-up, something Gekido and Namakemono would only laugh at. Bullies.

Yokubo had perhaps been the most sincere – other than Hokori. He had stalked Senbo every morning since, always asking the same questions and receiving the same answers.

“I don’t know who did it…” Senbo would mumble, ducking away from The Chairman every chance he got.

He had explained that his attacker was not stupid, that they had clearly thought out their plan. He could remember the lights going off first before he was grabbed from behind. His attacker was a coward or a genius. Above all, they were strong. Senbo had explained his attempts to evaporate and escape were pointless – his throat was slit before he realised what was happening and then he hit the floor. The rest was a blur.

Once Hokori put his foot down, asking everyone to leave Senbo alone, the questions stopped, and life went back to something of normality. Then, finally, Senbo stepped into The Chairman’s bedroom with a small vial in the palm of his hand a week later. The cure.


Yokubo moved, sliding across his bed to reach the man in the doorway. For once, he had not been interrupted in his sinful activities and had been alone, lounging with an arm across his eyes. He had never been ashamed of his lack of clothing; yet Senbo’s presence was enough for Yokubo to regret wearing only a pair of trousers. Those icy eyes peering at him made The Chairman shiver.

“Thank you.” Long fingers wrapped around the vial as he moved, examining the clear fluid swirling against the glass. “I’m so grateful.”

Senbo nodded. He said nothing as he turned, reaching for the doorknob to grant his freedom. Their arrangement was done; he had work to do and classes to teach. He had barely seen Tsumi in days and needed to make sure she was okay. But Yokubo was not ready to part.

“Senbo,” he had reached out, gently grazing the pads of his fingers along Senbo’s sleeve. The action was enough to make Yokubo flinch as if he had been struck with an electric shook. As if no-one should touch him. “I truly am so thankful, and I apologise for the accusations I made before. I was just so angry, so concerned. I’m sure you understand. But I swear, we will find the person who did this to you-”

“There’s no need.” Senbo cut in swiftly. He moved, pulling the door open and rushed into the corridor. “Excuse me.”

Yujin sighed, watching Tsumi hop onto the edge of Chini’s bed for the third time that evening. He had made it clear that Chini needed plenty of space yet Tsumi could not seem to grasp this fact and Yujin had no choice but to haul himself off of his chair. The girl with silver hair had protested initially, placing a piece of paper on Chini’s chest before allowing Yujin to tug her off the bed.

“Did you draw this, Tsumi?” The man smirked, plucking the picture from the bed. His lips twitched at the picture of two stickmen holding hands. Despite the poor lines, he could tell it was meant to be Chini and Tsumi.

The infirmary door was pulled open, announcing Senbo’s arrival. Tsumi ran over, giggling when he knelt to pick her up. Senbo sighed as he stood up, eyes glancing over to Chini’s resting body before meeting Yujin. All he could offer was a stiff nod.

“How has she been?” Senbo asked, he winced when Tsumi turned to bury her face against his neck and he nudged her away with a gentle palm. “N-Not there, Tsumi.”

Tsumi responded with wide eyes and a huff of defeat. She pressed her cheek against Senbo’s shoulder, eyes closing. Her guard was knocked down in seconds all because of The Parasite and his nurturing touch.

“She’s been fine.” Yujin finally spoke. He sat down, turning the picture in his hands slowly. The thought of questioning the scars on Tsumi’s arms came to mind; but they were old – and none of his business. Besides, what could he do? Threaten to take her away? Senbo would kill him. “She’s been drawing for Chini.”

“That so?” Senbo smirked. He ran his fingers through the soft, silver threads atop Tsumi’s hair, turning to look at Chini. “…I finished the cure. He should wake up after he gets it.”

“You have it with you?” Yujin blinked. He looked ready to stand, keen to cure Chini and watch his eyes open. The desperation was enough to make Senbo smile.

“No. The Chairman has it.” Rocking Tsumi back and forth, blue eyes turned down and Senbo moved towards the door. He paused, noting Tsumi’s efforts to wave a goodbye to the nurse huddled on his swivel chair. “Thank you, Yujin. For taking care of Tsumi and… keeping her safe from everyone. I’ll see you later.”

Dameji Repato was known for many things; mainly for his Shadow Coven, his sketchy association with Yuugen, and his podgy belly. At his heels was Kuikki, his ever-faithful partner. Between them they were intimidating enough to send students running back to their rooms or down the stairs just to avoid them. With their black suits and suave attitude, some would even dare to whisper mafia under their breath.

Dameji moved ahead, cutting their march short as he came to a lonesome door and threw it open before he could even consider knocking. He tossed his hands above his head as if his presence was a great celebration. “Family call!”

Miryoku had been hunkered down in the corner of his room, rummaging through class work when the door opened. It took one look over his shoulder to send him running. He dropped his paper and pen to climb up his bunkbed and sit in the furthest corner.

“What are you doing here?”

“We brought you some things from the cabin. Your dad’s gone and started emptying your room out, so I took the chance to grab what I could before he decided to take it out and burn it.” Dameji shrugged, stepping over the threshold. He wrinkled his nose as he surveyed the small, dark room and made hand-signals for Kuikki to drop the box he had been carrying down the hallway. “You can’t refuse your favourite uncle, can you?”

A moment of reluctance was made on Miryoku’s behalf before he moved, slowly shuffling to the edge of the bed. “Uncle Dameji, what if dad finds out you did this? He’ll blame me, you know.” He muttered, climbing down the bed.

“Eh, I’ll sort your old man out, no worries.” Dameji offered a second shrug and reached out, running his meaty fingers through the boy’s crimson hair. With a pinch to Miryoku’s cheek, he turned to leave. “Come on Kuikki.”

Kuikki gave Miryoku a stiff nod. He was glued to Dameji’s heels as they disappeared back into the hallway. The stares and gasps would restart, and students would scurry away – oblivious to Miryoku Fumetsu’s ties to Dameji Repato, the man who raised his own Coven behind the scenes.

Yokubo crossed his arms as he watched the movements his sister made, the way she drew up the vial, the way she tied a tourniquet around Chini’s arms and clean his skin before injecting the antidote. Yujin watched from his chair and the back of the room was filled with the remainder of Yuugen’s Council – save for Hokori or Senbo.

“It should take a while to work its way through.” Yoku spoke. Her back was to everyone in the room, which was a fortune on her account as her expression only held bitterness and disgust. Yujin was the only one who noticed.

“Thank you, Yoku.” Yokubo nodded his thanks with a smile. He received a hearty clap to the shoulder on behalf of Okui and he sighed, unleashing his long-awaited relief. “I could always count on you.”

“Honestly, I hardly see why I should have been the one to administer it.” Yoku waved her hand through the air as if she were brushing off the gratitude before she tossed the needle aside and ripped her gloves off. “You could have asked Senbo. I was busy.”

Everyone in the room turned silent. They shared a look, Yujin to Yokubo, Yokubo to Okui. Even Gekido and Namakemono raised a brow at the statement. It was no secret Yoku’s attitude had always been blunt, perhaps even vile at times – yet this was enough to turn the whole room silent and it took only a minute for Yoku to register the tension before she turned around with the sweetest smile anyone had ever seen.

“Ah, but as it was for my nephew, naturally I would be willing to participate.” She hummed, patting Yokubo’s shoulder. She spared nothing more to the room, not a glance nor statement, as she disappeared into the hallway.

“Well, that was boring.” Namakemono spoke first, slapping his hands against the wall behind him. He only moved after Okui had spared his regards to The Chairman, after that Namakemono trailed after him, blabbering away as per usual.

Gekido was only decent enough to snort before he slunk out of the room to do who-knows-what and Yokubo moved, sliding the door shut in his fellow councilmen’s departure. Yujin raised a brow, unable to stop himself from tensing when The Chairman turned to face him.

“Yujin. I need to ask you to do something for me.”

“What do you need?” There was no point in debating. Yujin would always cave to Yuugen’s will eventually. Besides, the desperation in Yokubo’s eyes were almost unreal.

Yokubo looked serious and lost. Frustrated and defeated. He pinched the bridge of his nose once, unleashing a loud sigh as if he were trying to sum up the most appropriate way to request his thoughts without making the biggest mistake of his life. Then finally, he reached out, placing a hand upon Yujin’s shoulder. Their eyes locked. Only the two of them would ever share this secret.

“I need you to take Chini away from Yuugen-”

The Chairman’s sentence was cut off when a shrill scream of terror ran out through the academy, followed by one simple sentence that everyone would remember from this day forth; “Dotai’s dead!”

Tokyo, Japan. 2014, February

The plan was simple. Get the antidote, return it to Chini and Tsumi, revive Yujin from his coma. Easier said than done.

Chikai was already beginning to regret his decisions; specifically disclosing Yoku’s plans and what she had been doing for the past seven years. He could never blame anyone for accusing him of poisoning Chini. At the time, he wanted to protect Yoku and had confessed to the crimes of Chini and Senbo. It was a lie, but he had confessed all the same. Thus, was how he had been the one to betray The Chairman, why no-one ever spared him the time of day, and precisely why he had a curfew and limits to where he could and could not go on Yuugen’s campus.

Small clinks and taps of glass echoed throughout the dark room as Chikai brushed his long fingers over each vial stacked in the shelves of the dusty laboratory. A lot had changed over the years. Only Yoku ever came down here now. She would work on her experiments, sometimes locking herself down here for days on end. Chikai never asked, Yoku never told.

“Ah-!” Chikai’s eyes lit up and he reached out, plucking the vial from its shelf before hurrying to the exit. He could see the stairs ahead. Just a few more feet and it would be as if he were never here!

“Chikai.” The sharp voice could never be mistaken. Nor could her perfume and the sound of her heels. When Chikai turned to face her, The Enchantress pulled that sickly sweet smile. “What are you doing?”

“Enchantress,” Chikai forced his own smile and took a step back, towards the staircase. “How are you today?”

“What are you holding?” Yoku inquired, paying no mind to anything but Chikai’s hand.

“…. Holding?” Chikai repeated, slowly moving his arms behind his back. His mouth was dry, his knees were rattling. He could only shake his head. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Yoku moved. The heels of her ridiculously high heels clicked against the cool ground and her lab coat swayed slowly to and fro. Thin fingers adjusted the spectacles resting upon a flawless face and long, violet lashes fluttered downward as she closed her eyes and began to hum. She never ran or lashed out; just watching her walk was threatening enough.

“You have disappointed me greatly, Chikai.” She reached out, cupping the man’s face. Her long, perfectly filed nails tapped against Chikai’s cool, sweaty cheek. She could only shake her head again. “Oh, look, you seem to be panicking. I suppose I no longer have a use for you, hm?”

“Y-Yoku, please-” Chikai began, stopping short as Yoku’s finger pressed against his lips to silence him.

“Hush.” Clicking her tongue, Yoku stepped forward. She was close enough to press her chest against his and moved like a snake, lacing her free hand behind Chikai’s back to take the vial. Shock was an amazing weapon. “Were you planning to save the nurse, Chikai? How sweet.”

Chikai swallowed, eyes wide as Yoku tossed the vial carelessly over her shoulder. She cocked her head as it landed with a smash, eyes fixed on the man’s parted lips and the beads of sweat peeking from his brow. Like a deer in the headlights. Like a rabbit in a snare. Like a peasant faced with a queen.

“Come now.” Yoku hummed. “I would like to use you for an experiment.”

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