Harmony Act V: Pride

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Scene XVII: Curtain Call

Tokyo, Japan. 2014, May


Yujin shuffled out of his flat, grumbling to himself as he closed the door shut. He smoothed his thumb across the top of his cane and tapped it against the floor as he paced himself to the metal stairway attached to the side of Hinansho building. He already had plans to move from the area; naturally the long trail down did no favours for his hip.

He glanced to the pink box in his free hand and shoved it into his pocket. He had never been one for special occasions, nor had he been one to actually go out of his way to buy gifts for others ever since the loss of his family. That young, carefree, happy man was no more. Now he was come kind of bitter, unemployed elder slowly slipping into his forties.

Shaking his head, Yujin moved. He was swift on his feet, despite his aching hip, and made his way down the metal steps until he neared the bottom where he stopped; blond brows raising.

“Hoshi,” Yujin spoke up, hand gripping the railing at his side. He stared at the girl perched on the bottom step. “Are you waiting for someone?”

Hikari Hoshi turned her head. Loose strands of pink hair fell over her fair cheeks. She had tried to pin her long hair up into a messy, fashionable bun and was dressed in a short, black dress with spaghetti straps and black-heeled sandals. Her big, grapefruit eyes were rimmed with a heavy black eye shadow and her lips were painted a cold, creamy colour which glittered when she smiled.

“I’m waiting for Hahen!” Hikari beamed, tapping her shoes against the floor. “We’re going to a show in Chiba.”

“They already left for Chiba a few hours ago.” Yujin stated bluntly, moving down the remainder of the stairway. He tapped Hikari’s knee with the end of his cane, earning a small frown from the young woman. “Come on. I’ll drive you.”

“Ah! Thank you so much!” Hikari bounced up, turning her head to plant a kiss on the man’s cheek.

“It’s no problem.” Yujin grunted, pulling his car keys from his pocket.

Hikari talked the whole way to Chiba. Yujin considered it a luxury, as opposed to spending it in his own silence – suffering with the plaguing thoughts of all that could go wrong. He told himself he was only going to drop Hikari off, give Muzai her present and then get the hell out of Chiba before the world could end.

Seconds turned to minutes and minutes turned into half an hour before Yujin neared Concordia’s Theatre. He had to park his car down the road, since the majority of the street was engulfed in cars parked along the curbs for the big show. He killed the engine, grabbed his keys, and groaned aloud.

“Are you alright?” Hikari chimed.

“Just fine.” Yujin replied, running a bony hand through his hair before popping his door open.

He brushed himself down, elbowing the door shut behind him. The sharp clicks of Hikari’s shoes soon filled his ears as the girl made her way out of the car to join his side. They entered the theatre together and was confronted by the young woman sitting behind reception. Her long, silver hair trailed past her shoulders and down over her large bust. Her glasses shone against the lights when she peered towards the door.

“We’re here for the show.” Yujin spoke up, slapping his hand down upon the desk along with his ticket.

Hikari followed suit, slamming her own ticket down and the receptionist hopped off her stool. She smiled sheepishly, taking their tickets, and motioned towards the end of the hallway.

“You missed the lunching. The show has already begun, I believe. Enjoy the show.”

Yujin grunted a response before turning away. He wasted no time in crossing the space to reach the large double doors. The closer he got, the slower he moved. Eventually, he stopped himself and cocked his head; as if listening for something.

“What’s wrong?” Hikari spoke up.

“There’s no noise.” Yujin replied bluntly, reaching for the doors. “If there was a show going on, we would be able to hear something.”

The stage was empty, the chairs were empty. Lights flickered and music echoed, repeating the same beat over and over. The only evidence to someone having been there was the remains of food and plates splayed around the tables and turned-over chairs.

Hikari stepped forward. “Where is everyone?”

“I have no idea.” Yujin replied stiffly. He hurriedly moved down into the ballroom, wincing as he surveyed the area. His head was thumping and his eyes stung. “Sorcerers and Familiars… They’re everywhere, fighting.”

“So, they’re inside the Void?” Hikari darted, wincing when her foot hit the dancefloor. She could feel the essence of Magick hit her like a wave and she paused, raising the heel of her hand to her temple.

“We need to get into Concordia.” Yujin muttered, climbing the steps onto the messy stage. He tapped his cane along the floorboards, cursing. “The real Concordia.”

“Allow us to be of assistance.”

Yujin frowned, turning to the sudden voice of Aisu. The little girl stood at the edge of the stage; hands folded against her stomach. She bowed once, motioning to the air around her.

“I must see my mother now.”


Chiba, Japan. 2014, May

An hour earlier

“Ladies and Gentlemen!” Hokori stepped out onto the stage, arms outstretched to greet the audience full of people. He was dressed in a golden robe, coiling around his chest and stomach with an orange sash. His legs were clad in black tights with golden sequences running down the outside of his calves and he smiled – forced. “Welcome and thank you all for coming here on this fine evening. Tonight shall be a night like no other, I assure you.”

He paused, gradually lowering his hands. Broad shoulders slumped, aware how Yoku was glaring daggers in his back. She had been doing so ever since she arrived, and he knew things would take a different turn of destruction if he were to suddenly change his deal now.

“Without any further delays,” Hokori glanced over to Kin, slowly shaking his head as a silent apology for everything that was about to happen. “Let the show begin.”

The God of Chaos stamped his foot against the stage, sending a starry darkness to ripple from his heel and swallow the entire room into an inky blackness, arousing gasps from the audience. Foolishly enough, they began to applaud and stood from their seats to cheer for what they assumed to be the start of the show.

Hokori shook his head and turned away. His arms extended at his sides and his palms clashed together in a sharp clap, bringing life to the darkness. The sky erupted in a plane of blue and the ground beneath him turned to dusty soil and ragged boulders. The train tracks to Shoki were rusted over and the air was still with a makeshift sun hanging over Hokori’s head. Concordia.

“I am sure you are all very confused on what is happening.” Yoku stepped up, brushing past Hokori. She addressed the crowd with a smile, noting their expressions turning to horror when their chairs and tables vanished into thin air. “Do not worry, all will make perfect sense in due time, for you have all been chosen for a very special experiment and I could not be more thankful for your generous help.”

Yoku moved, turning to Muchina who had been huddling away in what had originally been the corner of the stage; now it was nothing but a dusty boulder which gave him very little coverage as he was yanked out for all to see by The Enchantress’ hand.

“Let us begin with you, shall we?”

Muchina’s eyes turned wide, tensing as Yoku pulled out a needle from inside her lab coat. He attempted to duck under her arm to escape, but Yoku’s hand shot out to grab a fistful of his hair and bring him to his knees. She was much quicker than Muchina, and far stronger.

“Yoku!” Hokori barked. “You said you would not harm my Coven!”

“Oh, but he is not your Coven, is he? Muchina belongs to me.” Yoku forced a fake pout, trailing her long fingers against the boy’s cheek. “I sent him to the circus to keep an eye on you all before my arrival; yet your Coven turned him soft and he forgot his purpose. But now he will be able to deliver just what he promised me.”

Muchina struggled against The Enchantress’ grip and he cried out, thrashing against the dusty ground to escape Yoku’s needle as she pressed it down, piercing the fabric of his sleeve and plunging the tip into his arm’s flesh. Yoku emptied the contents of the syringe and wrenched the needle away with a smile, taking a wary step back as all eyes turned on the convulsing Muchina sitting on his knees.

The Enchantress took the chance to escape as her experiment unfolded. Her heels tapped sharply against the dusty ground and she reached out, grabbing Miryoku by the collar of his shirt as she moved. The only person who had been aware of the woman’s escape was Nara. His dark eyes narrowed and took the advantage to flee while everyone else was staring at Yoku’s grand plot.

Muchina panted, clapping his hand against the injection site on his arm. He jerked, drool spilling past his lips and eyes rolling back against his skull before he stopped, hitting the floor with an exaggerated breath of air. A woman from the audience screamed in fright and the crowd began shouting, screaming and crying for their lives.

Kobi moved, shoving past the other members of the circus to get to Muchina’s hunched body. She knelt down, reaching to shake his shoulder.

“Get back, Kobi!” Hokori shouted. “Do not touch him!”

Kobi gasped, shuffling away when a heavy groan fell past Muchina’s lips. A sickly cracking sound echoed from his body; his limps twisting and stretched as he moved to stand up. Horrid black lines had appeared beneath his skin, rising up from his injection site and over his right cheek. His skin was pale against the blood seeping from his eyes and he groaned, reaching for the girl.

“…K…ob…i…”

Yelping, Kobi moved and slapped his hand with her porcelain arm. Her strength was enough to knock his arm away from her face and towards the crowd where he shot a bright light from his palm. Magick.

“What?!” Kobi’s heart skipped a beat as Kin appeared, pulling her up from the dusty ground. “Muchina isn’t a Sorcerer! He’s a Familiar! He can’t use Magick like that!”

“It’s whatever Yoku gave ’im!” Kin snapped, hauling Kobi towards the rest of their Coven for protection. “It ’as to be!”

Muchina screeched lowly in his throat, and he hunched over, standing on all fours like a rabid animal. He kicked back his feet and charged for the audience, making quick work of biting into their arms and legs.

“He’s spreading the spell!” Hokori gasped. “He’s turning the Dabblers into Sorcerers!”

“What do we do, Boss?!” Kin cried, storming over to Hokori. He hit his strong chest with a weak fist, tears welling in his eyes as the audience snarled, turning into rabid Sorcerers and tore each other apart. “This is all yer fault! Make it right!”

“Forgive me, Kin. I had no choice. I had no…” Hokori trailed off, looking back to the deranged crowd, then over to his Coven. “There is only one option. We must have a dual. A dual of Magick.”


Concordia (borders), Void of Chaos. 2014, May

Muzai whimpered, body aching in every possible place. She turned onto her back, emerald eyes fluttering to stare up into a clear, sunny sky. She shot up into a sit and turned her head, investigating her surroundings and immediately recognised where she was.

Hurriedly, she scrambled to her feet and turned her head once more. There was nothing but stretches of sand dunes, hard rock, and dusty, sun-beaten horizons. The soles of her shoes tapped against the rusted lines of the train tracks she remembered all too well, and she stumbled, reaching for nothing as she steadied herself.

“Hello?” Muzai called, fiddling with the ends of her dress.

The last thing she could recall was being led to the stage. Kin had left her at the piano and Hokori made his speech – then everything went dark. So why was she in Concordia?! She stubbornly muttered to herself, kicking a pebble across the tracks, wishing herself a happy birthday. Puffing her cheeks, she stopped to kneel down and make quick work of untying her shoes and throwing them across the desert.

Muzai had been under these conditions plenty of times to know just how tough she needed to get. After tossing away the uncomfortable footwear, she grabbed the end of her dress and ripped it, making it easier to move and prevent any kind of heatstroke. If that was even a thing here. Could she get heatstroke in a Magick world with a fake sun? Muzai answered herself with a cry of frustration.

“Aren’t you a tough one?”

Yelping, Muzai turned, drawing her fists up to her chest, ready to fight. Upon meeting the face of her temporary companion, she sighed loudly, dropping her arms with the loudest sigh she could muster. “Hanzai… What are you doing here?”

“I’d like to ask you the same thing.” Hanzai blinked, gesturing the landscape with his right hand before reaching out to offer her help getting off the tracks. “This is where I live. I told you that.”

“Wait, you actually live here? In Concordia?” Muzai frowned, accepting his hand.

“Yup, the Mayor of Shoki is really making things worth living for in town.” Hanzai nodded, gently tugging Muzai down beside him and away from the rusty tracks. “Naturally, I would appreciate it if you kept that quiet. The more people know about Shoki, the more danger you put our kind in against Dabblers.”

“Sure, I’ll keep it to myself.” Muzai squinted her eyes under the beaming sun above, wiping her brow with the back of her arm. “I’m guessing you have no idea how I got here?”

“No clue.” Hanzai chimed. “I can take you back to the Dabbler world if you want. The God of Chaos left a few holes to get in and out of the Void in case of emergencies, there’s a Pocket not too far from the tracks. Come on.”

Muzai took one last glance over her shoulder before deciding to put her faith in the mysterious boy who claimed to be Tsumi Kokutan’s brother.


Tsumi scurried along, hands low against her sides. She moved through the sandy desert, passing large boulders and sundried cracks beneath her heels. She had to pause every so often just to look back and ensure her temporary companion was still following her. She sighed loudly, slumping her shoulders.

“You don’t have to come, Hahen.” Tsumi spoke bluntly, rubbing her pale palms together. “You could just stay here, next to this boulder.”

“No!” Hahen panted, rushing up to Tsumi’s side. He bent forward, hands landing upon his thighs in his attempts to breathe. “I have t-t-to find Heishi!”

“I can find your cousin for you.” Tsumi began. She turned her head slowly, checking the area around them. “It could be dangerous-”

“Tsumi, look out!”

Tsumi narrowed her eyes at the oncoming threat ahead. She recognised the twisted clone as one of Namakemono’s experiments-gone-wrong and raised her arm to summon a spell – failing to notice the second clone looming above until it pounced off the boulder to attack her.

Hahen screeched, backing away when the clone landed on Tsumi and shoved her to the ground. It snarled, keeping the girl with silver hair pinned as the other clone sloppily made its way over to her. Tsumi turned her head and began to conjure a spell, palms beginning to brighten. The clone above her bit down, digging its teeth into her neck to stop any hope of escape.

Hahen closed his eyes when blood spurted from Tsumi’s throat. He turned, hurriedly picking up a large stone and with a skilful eye – and surprising force – he hurled the rock through the air, knocking the clone off of Tsumi to give the girl enough time to stand up on wobbly legs.

Tsumi stumbled, pressing her back against the nearest boulder. She slapped a palm over her gushing neck and whispered a spell to lessen the bleeding. Hahen appeared at her side, grabbing her arm in fright. They were cornered, surrounded by two bloodthirsty clones and Tsumi could barely keep her eyes open while she repaired herself.

Hahen shouted his fear, burying his face against Tsumi’s arm just as the clones were thrown off their feet by a fireball summoned in the distance. Tsumi frowned, watching the charred bodies hit the floor and turned to her right. Her heart jumped into her throat as she peeled herself away from the boulder and over to her dear friend.

“Yujin.”

Hahen raised his head, seeing a flurry of pink and black soar across the desert. He tensed as Hikari threw her arms around him and squeezed. He was convinced he felt his bones break under her grip.

“H-Hikari… You look really, really nice…” Hahen wheezed, patting her back.

Hikari beamed, gently placing Hahen back to his feet before examining him, running her fingers across his face and shoulders. She bowed her head soon after, pressing a small kiss to his forehead. “I’m so glad you’re okay!”

Tsumi blinked, turning away from the duo to face Yujin who was quick to examine her throat. Tsumi gently batted his hand away before he could make a fuss. “I’m fine. How did you get into the Void?”

“We were helped by The Mistress, of all people. Once we crossed the barrier, we got separated. I have no idea where she or her Coven is.” Yujin grunted. “Where’s Yoku and the others?”

Tsumi opened her mouth to reply, but no sound came. Her eyes were wide as she peered over Yujin’s shoulder and slowly reached for his sleeve, tugging meekly. She swallowed, audible enough to make everyone turn and look. If Tsumi Kokutan was afraid, there was a reason for everyone to be afraid.

“Well, well, well,” Yoku’s voice travelled over Yujin’s shoulder, ever so sweet and toxic. “I must admit, I am rather glad to see you here, Toi. I have something to show you.”

Yujin’s shoulders stiffened. He refused to turn and face The Enchantress, instead keeping his eyes plastered on Tsumi’s face. It was rare to see the girl with silver hair make nay other expression but stoic. If possible, he wanted to keep himself from turning to see what horrors could possibly be making Tsumi pull a face like she had seen hell.

“I was disappointed that Chikai had gone ahead to help you after I put you in that coma. It was very unprofessional of him, so I decided to perform a little experiment on him. A tester; if you will.” Yoku chuckled.

A choked groan echoed through the air, causing Yujin to shudder. Slowly, he began to turn around, keeping his eyes to the ground as the groans turned louder.

“Only, Chikai was hardly the ideal subject for such an experiment.” Yoku whispered, just as Yujin lifted his head to see the young man standing beside The Enchantress.

Yujin’s face turned a deathly pale. His knees went weak from the mere sight and he buckled, landing on the floor. He dropped his cane, hands shooting out to support his fall as he stared at the black-veined, snarling figure standing beside Yoku.

“Oh? Were you expecting Chikai?” Yoku chuckled, turning to trace her long fingers down her experiment's cheek. “Behold, my first volunteer for the Pugnator-Virus-VII. My beloved nephew, Chini.”

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