Harmony Act V: Pride

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Scene X: Bloodshed

Tokyo, Japan. 2014, May


Kin turned his head, walking out of the shop Hokori had asked him to visit, minding the step as he moved. He paused, turning to face Katsubo as he struggled under the weight of the boxes he carried. Kin snickered, shaking his head.

“D’ya want me to ’elp ya out?”

Huffing from behind the boxes, Katsubo stepped out of the shop and craned his neck to look up at Kin. The boxes in his arms were not exactly heavy. There was just a lot. Balancing them all on top of each other without dropping them had been the challenge.

“No, I’m fine. Thank you.” He mumbled, the last two words being a small reflex.

He had been taught under the strict hand of Okui Boushoku; thus he would always use manners and always act like a gentleman in front of ladies. The latter was becoming harder and harder to accomplish. The only so-called ladies he was ever around these days had incredibly short skirts and horrible personalities. It took everything in his power for Katsubo to simply pull his lips back into a small smile and carry on with his own affairs whenever they spat or swore in front of him.

“Boss’ll be chuffed we got this stuff cheap-like.” Kin piped up, twirling his car keys on the end of his finger.

Katsubo sighed softly. Again, there was the matter of Hokori’s Coven and their speech. He understood that Kin was foreign and had taught himself a quick language lesson. To an extent he seemed rather fluent - there just happened to be one or two flaws he needed to work on. He supposed if Kin were to speak normally, it would kill part of his character and honestly, he was the nicest out of the circus. At least in Katsubo’s eyes.

“We best get these back ‘n’ ’elp the others with their acts.” Kin commented aloud. He quirked a brow, slowly turning his head to look back on Katsubo falling behind. He could only smile, pausing at an alleyway entrance. “Come on slowpoke-”

“Kin?” Katsubo turned his head at the muffled sound of Kin’s words being cut off. He struggled with the boxes in his hands to see around the corner. He bit back the urge to curse at the weight in his hands and hurried forward. “Kin?”

He paused at the entrance to the alleyway Kin had stopped at and stared down the narrow alley. It was early in the morning and the sun had hardly risen in the sky, making it difficult to make anything out in the darkness between the buildings. The sounds that came from within was enough to tell Katsubo where Kin had gone.

“Kin!” Dropping the boxes to the floor, he rushed forward and nearly slipped along the tiles. One wrong move and he would topple face first.

He turned a corner and slid along a cobblestone, hitting the side of a wall. His shoulder throbbed from the impact but he kept running until he spotted a group of thugs circling Kin at the end of the alley.

“Isn’t this one of those circus freaks?” One of the thugs called out with amusement. His taunts were complemented when one of his gang men reached down to grab a fistful of Kin’s auburn hair.

“Think so.” The thug agreed, brushing dirty fingers through the hair covering Kin’s eye. A small hum of delight emanated from the man and he turned his head up to look at his rounding companions with a row of missing teeth. “Look at this eye! Fuck, can you imagine the amount we’d get in the market for this shit? This is some pure Magick!”

Another gang member huffed, clearly doubtful. He grabbed Kin by the shoulders and slammed him against a wall; stepping up to see the eye for himself. Kin winced at the odour of poor breath against his cheek and turned away, gritting his teeth.

“You’re right, man. This eye is like nothing I’ve never seen before.” He leant forward to catch a better look when Kin finally moved, hiking his knee up to land between the thug’s legs.

Kin raised his arm when the thug buckled, slamming his elbow against the small of the bastard’s back, sending him to the floor. The rest of the group exchanged glances of wariness and annoyance. Kin stepped back against the wall, fists raising in defence.

“I ain’t afraid of yers.” He spat, shaking his head to allow his hair to fall back into place over his Named eye. Pride.

It was an unfair fight; four against one. Kin knew that much when the first attack came from two of the men on his right. He skidded to the left, knocking one man to the ground with a simple trick of sticking his foot out to trip him – but the other man was quicker. His fist collided with Kin’s cheek, a horrid sound following the contact.

Kin buckled to the ground. His hands caught himself from landing on his face and he hunched, coughing up blood from biting his tongue when he was punched. He raised a hand, dirty now that it had touched the slimy floor, and wiped the blood from his lips, leaving a small dirt trail along his cheek and chin.

He turned, sitting back on his knees. The man standing in front of him was quick to haul him up and throw him against the wall. Kin flanked, pressing himself against the ground as he skidded, messing up his clothes. He could hear the thugs laughing, followed by the sounds of belts being undone. Fucking monsters. Kin gritted his teeth and jumped to his feet, throwing himself at the nearest man who was busy undoing the zip on his jeans. When Kin’s head moved, he slammed his forehead against the man’s skull and smirked when he heard the break of a nose.

“Fuck this shit, hold him down!” The thug’s ringleader threw his arms up, motioning for his men to grab Kin and haul him back to the wall. Kin did not go willingly and the sounds of torn clothing filled the alleyway.

It was hardly surprising to find members of the circus wearing poor-quality clothes. They were easy to rip and Kin grunted, falling back to the ground when his shirt was ruined. He winced at the collision of the hard ground and the unfortunate jolt of knocking his head against the wall behind him. He was in a daze, unable to keep his eyes open as his attackers gasped.

“Shit.”

“A fucking woman?!

The third man, who had been the one to rip Kin’s shirt in the first place, tossed the useless fabric in his hands to the ground. He smiled, chuckling to himself as if gold had just landed in his lap. “A fucking woman disguising herself as a man with a Magick eye.”

“She’d cost more than any of us could make in ten lifetimes!”

A small round of cheers was given on their success from finding a good catch and they turned back to Kin laying on the ground. Dirty, greedy hands reached out to grope and molest when one of the men was thrown through the air by an invisible force. His bulky body collided against the nearest wall and he groaned in pain, sliding to the damp floor.

“What the fuck?” The remaining two men breathed lowly, stepping back from Kin. They listened for a sound, searched for a sign, anything that could tell them what had just happened. The only sounds they received was the faint buzzing of traffic and Tokyo coming to life in the morning.

“Just pick up the prize and let’s get out of here. We’ll do the rest when we get back home.” The ringleader sneered, doing his trousers back up.

Nodding, the remaining man turned to Kin hesitantly and reached out. A blur of blue shifted in the corner of his eye and he paused, turning his head. His hands retreated from the redhead on the floor when shapes of movement began charging towards him.

“Ghost!”

For a split-second, a figure materialised from the air to throw the petrified man against the ringleader. They toppled to the ground like a pair of bowling pins. Their pathetic cries and screeches were almost comical as they scurried to their feet and began to run down the alleyway. The remaining members of the gang soon followed, limping, and calling out for help.

Kin fought against the pain in his face and winced, sitting up against the wall to bend his knees and cover his breasts. His hands flew to his face and he sighed, shakily exhaling in time for the space beside him to shudder and Katsubo materialised from thin air.

“Kin!” He knelt to the ground, hands out but never touching. His eyes moved up and down, scanning his dear friend as he tried to cover himself. “Oh, God. You’re bleeding. We need to get Hokori!”

“No.” Kin cut in sharply, brushing back his dirty hair and lacing his lean arms around his knees. “It ain’t the first time it’s ’appened. Boss don’t need to know. I just need a min, aight? Let me breathe.”

Katsubo felt a pang in his chest at the small sob that escaped Kin’s throat. He could not stop his eyes from glancing down. Freckled skin from Kin’s shoulders travelled all the way down his chest and Katsubo blushed, shifting to pull off his coat. He gently draped it over Kin’s shoulders and covered him up. He knew Kin was different in more ways than one. He had seen him in the bathhouses before and had trouble working out the ins and outs of what it meant at first. But Kin was Kin and that was good enough for Katsubo.

“…You’ll catch cold.”

Kin raised his head. With his face in plain view, Katsubo could see the faint tracks of tears down his freckled cheeks. A small flicker sparked in Katsubo’s eyes and he reached into his pocket to pull out a handkerchief. He gingerly began to wipe away the blood and dirt decorating Kin’s lip and chin before tenderly pressing the tips of his fingers against his swelling cheek.

“Your jaw could be broken. You should try not to talk for a while.” Katsubo advised softly before moving to stand.

Kin was quick to stop him by leaning forward to brush his lips against Katsubo’s. The action was sudden and Katsubo felt his cheeks turn red, reaching the tips of his ears. He was thankful the affection lasted mere seconds before they departed, and he was even more relieved to find he was not the only one blushing.

“What-” Katsubo began, only to be cut off by a thin finger being pressed to his lips.

“Don’ spoil it.” Kin whispered, wincing at the movement of his jaw.

Katsubo smiled behind Kin’s finger and finally shifted to stand. He held out his hand for Kin to take and pulled him up. When Kin stood tall, towering over him as per usual, Katsubo could not help but blush again. Kin zipped the offered coat up, covering his bare chest. The clothing was a little small for him, leaving part of his toned stomach and forearms exposed.

As they made their way out of the alley, a silence had grown between them. Katsubo was already beginning to come up with an appropriate explanation for his powers – how Okui had taught him the ways of the Void and how he could materialise in and out at will. He was only able to last long enough to shift around a surrounding space and teleport, such as he had done moments ago to throw those thugs around. It wore him out; but he was pleased to know it could be of use to someone even now.

“We’ll need to buy everythin’ again.” Kin mumbled as they came out of the alleyway to find their boxes had been trampled into the ground or stolen.

Katsubo sighed softly. “I’ll pay.”


Chiba, Japan. 2014, May

Yoku sat in her assigned room, turning the pages of her brother’s diary with eyes of boredom. She sat on her chair with her long legs crossed and had been sipping from a hot cup of herbal tea when her door was opened unannounced. She turned, tossing the diary onto her desk and raised a violet brow with amusement.

“Yes?” Her tone was mild, unsure why she was being approached by one of Hokori’s Coven members.

In the doorway stood Nara. He leant against the frame and narrowed his eyes at the woman who acted as though she owned everything in sight. He wrinkled his nose and stepped inside, kicking the door shut behind him. He was all lanky arms and legs, but he was broad, and his eyes were rather bug-like, making his staring difficult to ignore.

“What’s your deal here?” Nara started, crossing his arms over his chest. “You invite yourself in and get all friendly with the Boss. You never make an appearance and now we suddenly got this big show on – so, does that have something to do with you?”

The corner of Yoku’s mouth lifted in a small smile. She tilted her head to the side, raising her fingers to her mouth. She hummed and eyed the young man up and down, tapping one of her sharp heels against the wooden floorboards. “What if it did have something to do with me? What would you do then?”

“I want to be a part of it.” Nara scoffed lightly, uncrossing his arms and shoving his hands into his pockets. His dark hair moved across his scarred face when he smiled, flashing his shark-like grin. “I could help you.”

Yoku blinked, allowing a light laugh to escape her lips. She put a hand to her chest as if the amusement was too much for her to handle and closed her eyes. Nara stood perfectly composed, having guessed The Enchantress would exaggerate a tad upon the subject. He shuffled his feet, awaiting the laughter to halt.

When Yoku did finally stop, she wore a wide smile on her face and stood. Her hand raised, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear before reaching out to tap Nara on the nose. “I doubt you have the qualifications to work for me, child.”

Nara gritted his teeth and took a step back. His hands balled into fists from within his pockets, a surge of humiliation washing over him. His cheeks would have flushed if not for his pride and he raised his chin with challenge, prepared to make his statement when the door opened.

Yoku tilted her head around Nara’s shoulder to find Miryoku walking in. He raised a brow at Nara but said nothing as he closed the door behind him and stepped around the room to unceremoniously drop himself against the chair Yoku had previously been occupying.

The Enchantress smiled. “Actually, I think you could serve to be quite useful, Nara. How about we perform a test to see just how powerful you are, hm? I cannot afford to have a weakling chase my heels, can I?”

“I think I can handle that much.” Nara smirked. “What’s the test about?”

Yoku took a step to the side, holding an arm out to gesture between Nara and Miryoku. “I demand a dual. Miryoku Fumetsu is the strongest Sorcerer within his generation. He does not need Familiars to fight, nor does he need the Void itself to conjure his powers. He could burn you down right here and now if he wished.”

Nara tensed. Miryoku hardly seemed fazed as he stood from his chair with a small grunt. Despite the fact Nara being taller and bulkier around the shoulders and thighs, there was no mistaking the powers Miryoku possessed. The burns he wore across his face and the scars on the inside of his wrists was enough to make Nara puff his chest in defence.

“Your demand for a dual,” Miryoku sighed, glancing to Yoku. “I accept.”

With the confirmation hanging in the air, the whole room was swallowed into darkness. Slowly, the Void created itself around them, starting with a small light above their heads. The Void tended to morph itself into a specific setting depending on the power of the Familiar within; most were created by the heart and mind to enforce power into their fellow Sorcerers to assist their Magick. As Yoku was the only Familiar, the Void was filled with illuminated scalpels, cannulas, and needles. Various wonders filled the sky and coated the ground, radiating iridescence and ice. To put it bluntly, Yoku was powerful.

“It would be unfair of me to choose between the pair of you.” Yoku waved a hand through the air. “To be kind, I shall not assist either of you with my strength. You shall fight it out on your own.”

Miryoku was already conjuring his Magick when Yoku began speaking. He was hardly interested in the lack of assistance. He never needed it and preferred running solo - save for his recent trip to Concordia. Swiftly, he raised his hand in the air to unleash his first spell when Yoku spoke up again.

“Miryoku. Do not attack.”

“What-?” Miryoku faltered, turning to look back at her.

“I do not wish for you to attack.” Yoku sighed, pulling off her spectacles to clean their lenses against the hem of her suit. “This is a test for Nara’s power. I simply wish to see how long it takes to put you down.”

Nara sighed with relief when Miryoku’s palms ceased glowing. There was no chance to hold back now and he moved forward. He was fast and his feet effortlessly carried him across the Void towards his target. He coiled his elbow backwards as he summoned the strength of his Magick down his arm and into his fist before he landed a fatal punch to Miryoku’s chest.

The contact was severe, and his entire arm went straight through Miryoku’s chest. The attack was a clear shock to both Miryoku and Yoku. The latter’s eyes widened with fascination and she inhaled deeply when Miryoku began spasming. His legs buckled and he raised his hands to grasp Nara’s bicep to keep himself upright. The only support he had was the arm through his chest. Nara smirked, lifting his shoulder, and thus raised Miryoku higher into the air.

“Burn.”

His arm erupted in flames. Miryoku tossed his head back to scream but no sound came. The agony was enough to trap the sound in his throat. His watering eyes and bleeding body was all there was to evidence his pain and Nara scoffed, swaying his arm to the side. With a swift flick of his elbow, he tossed Miryoku through the air.

Miryoku choked when he hit the ground and rolled on his side. He panted, pressing a hand against his gaping chest, desperate for air. His golden eyes rolled back against his skull and he went limp. The sight was enough to make Yoku sigh and she moved, stepping over Miryoku’s body to make her way to Nara. She smiled, dragging a pale finger along the side of his cheek.

“You go straight for the kill, hm? Here I was hoping for a little more entertainment.” The Enchantress clicked her tongue. “I suppose your powers could serve well for my plans. I would like you as my right-hand man when the time comes. What say you?”

Nara raised his unbloodied hand and ran his fingers through his dark locks of hair. “I’d like that. I’m just glad I was able to impress.”

Gradually, the area around them shattered and returned to Yoku’s bedroom. With a wave of her hand, she commanded Nara to leave and slowly pivoted on her heel to stare downward at Miryoku.

“What a pity.”

Long legs strode over and Yoku knelt. Her eyes wandered over his bloodied chest and she turned her nose up at the large hole Nara left. She reached out to trace the pad of her forefinger around the bloodied edges when her wrist was caught by a strong, scarred hand.

Miryoku’s eyes shot open and he inhaled, murmuring a spell under his breath as he squeezed Yoku’s wrist tighter. His chest slowly began to close and his bleeding came to a stop. Inhaling once more, he dropped Yoku’s arm and moved to stand – awkwardly slamming a palm against the desk to keep himself upright.

“How wise.” Yoku tutted, straightening her spectacles. “Playing dead until I come along so you can use my powers to heal yourself. Very wise, indeed.”

“It doesn’t take a genius… to figure that one out.” Miryoku panted heavily, pushing away from the desk. He swayed in his steps as he moved towards the exit.

“Oh, was there something you wanted?” Yoku asked, dusting her suit down. Her composure remained calm as ever, acting as though the fight beforehand meant nothing. “You came in here, so I assume there was something you needed?”

“Not from you.” Miryoku replied quietly. He opened the door, pausing to put a hand against his chest. His clothes were bloody and ruined – unlike Nara who had skulked out with an arm covered in blood, narrowly getting away with murder.

Slowly, Miryoku pushed the door shut and turned back to the woman standing oh-so-casually. She stared with a blank expression, simply awaiting a word to be shared or a sign to be made. For as long as Miryoku had been with her, he had decided she only ever had two expressions: disappointment or amusement. He couldn't tell which one this was.

“What the hell do you plan on using his powers for?” Miryoku grunted. He turned around and pulled off his shirt, folding it to the best of his abilities, grimacing at the blood-soaked fabric. “So, he can punch a man through the chest with one blow, so what? It’s not like everyone he attacks is gonna be made to stand still.”

Yoku tapped a finger to her chin in thought, remaining quiet on the matter and turned away. She walked as if she owned the ground beneath her feet and Miryoku knew that once this so-called show came to an end, Yoku would return to Yuugen and proceed to take her rightful place as Chairman. The thought sickened Miryoku. It was one thing to work for her but to imagine the entire force of Yuugen and its academy being under her order was so much worse.

She had already blackmailed him and Yoku made it clear that his sick mother would be the one to suffer should he ever step out of line. To make matters even more personal, she had given Miryoku the last thing that Neko left behind – the bell and ribbon he had tied around his wrist, exposed now that he was shirtless.

“Are you looking forward to the show?” Yoku spoke with disinterest, staring at the bell jingling against Miryoku’s scarred wrist before turning to her cupboard and opened its door. Hokori had been ever so kind in offering his most gracious hospitality; spare rooms, extra clothes and bitty food.

“Wouldn’t your right-hand man be jealous if I was there during his time to shine?”

Yoku wandered to Miryoku’s side and turned him to face her. She held a black dress shirt against his lean frame and smiled to herself before swapping it for a white one; analysing which suited him the most. She hummed, tossing the white away and gestured for Miryoku to drop his torn, bloodied shirt. Quietly, Miryoku complied and slipped his burnt arms into the shirt, turning 360 before Yoku began buttoning the shirt up. She adjusted the collar, tugging Miryoku closer; much to his discomfort.

“He is reckless. I doubt he will last long under my command. Unlike you.” Yoku hummed, running her thumbs up the side of Miryoku’s scarred neck. “Whatever reason he has against this freakshow is his own business. His abilities are high in strength but low in intelligence.”

Miryoku brushed the woman’s hands away and stepped back. He rolled up the sleeves of his new shirt, exposing Neko’s ribbon around his left forearm, uninterested with the way Yoku spoke to him. He could hardly be interested in most things these days; especially the way she lowered her voice and touched him when they were alone. Yet another thing that sickened Miryoku to the stomach.

“You don’t need to seduce me to get me to do what you want.” Miryoku’s comment was blunt. His eyes were dull. “You already have me under your thumb. I want to keep the bell and I want my mother safe. Tell me what to do, I don’t care.”

“The love between a mother and child is strong – almost rare.” Yoku sighed, eyes flickering across Miryoku’s face. She made sure to brush against him, hands reaching to cup his burnt cheek and trace her perfect thumbnail across the bottom of his left eye. “When the show begins, there will be blood and you will be one of the people who shed it. If you cannot reach heaven for me, you will raise hell instead. Remember that, Miryoku.”

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