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06 September 2011 @ 03:38 pm
The Night's Devil - Chapter 2  
Title: The Night’s Devil
Groups/Pairings: Kanjani8 Gen
Rating: R for violence, some mild swearing
Warnings: Some graphic violence, mild swearing
Summary: It is the year 2752 AD and the presence of demons in human society has become the norm. But when a string of mysterious murders occur in Osaka, the shaky peace between the two races begins to waver as dark secrets emerge.

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[Chapter 2]


Dead Zone Division HQ
Section 1-A
Kyoto


Ryo made his way to Debrief Room No.17 at a casual, but quick pace. He wasn’t sure why he had been summoned as the message that had appeared on his brace didn’t explain, but he was long overdue for another mission assignment anyway. It had been just over two weeks since the raid upon the Class 3 insectoid demon nest, in which they had managed to locate their queen and kill her, sustaining only moderate injuries amongst their squad. Ryo himself had been recovering from a large gash one of the demons had given him across his back with their arm blades after blocking the attack from landing on one of his fellows. A foolish move, but it at least had given the guy enough time to move away. It had completely healed in just a few days with a faint scar as the only evidence of the injury, thanks to the spelled medicines the Light Walker physicians used.

He reached the room and entered, seeing both Ohkura and Nakamaru seated in two of the fifteen desks in deep conversation with someone Ryo did not recognise. From the insignia on the man’s uniform, he could tell it was a major.

Ohkura stood as Ryo entered and the others followed suit. “Ryo, let me introduce Major Kondo Noriyuki from the Osaka Central Company. He’s here to request the help of the DZ Division.”

Kondo held out a hand for Ryo to shake, after which he then let Ryo take a seat and handed him a manila folder. The others followed suit as Kondo began to explain the reason he came. “As Captain Ohkura has mentioned, I am here today to request the DZ Division to lend us some help in tracking down a murderer, who from the evidence appears to be of demonic origin. After speaking with Major General Arai Tsubasa, he suggested that Captain Ohkura would be suitable for the job and was to bring anyone else he needed. Hence, both yourself and Private Nakamaru have been invited to this debrief.

Let me begin by giving you some background on the case and why we are having trouble tracking down this culprit. To date, there have been four murders in the space of two months, all with similar wounds and method of death. Their bodies were found drained of blood, a bite taken out of their necks. Bones were crushed in several locations, primarily along the arms, and claw wounds existed on all bodies. As you can see from the pictures in the files, we can safely conclude that these acts of violence were committed by a demon. Now, if this were any ordinary demon murder case, it would be easy enough to track down as the culprit is typically a Class 3 or 4. However, on this case, we cannot seem to find any trace of the culprit. We are usually able to trace the essence of these demons but when we try it on this one, it’s as if the demon had vanished into thin air. With public pressure now mounting, it is becoming essential that we find this demon and eradicate it immediately.”

Ryo flipped through the contents of the file, frowning as he saw the pictures of the mutilated bodies. Reading through the notes quickly, he noticed that the locations of the attacks were spread all over the place but occurring at a similar time.

Ohkura looked up from his file, a small frown on his face. “I see you’ve used all the standard locator spells, along with a few more obscure ones. And none of these have worked?”

“None of them. Some of them have been able to pick up a small trail but then it disappears into thin air. I’m beginning to wonder if we’re dealing with a demon that’s capable of spontaneous teleportation, even if it’s unheard of for a Class 3 demon.”

“And who’s to say it is a Class 3 demon? For all we know, it could be a Class 1. And if that’s the case, then the spells used so far will have no effect,” replied Ohkura, looking back down at the notes in his hand.

“Then what do you suggest we do?” asked Kondo, crossing his arms over his chest.

Ohkura shut the file and stared up at Kondo, a small glint in his eyes as he smiled coolly. “If it is indeed a Class 1 demon, I may have a few tricks up my sleeve to chase out the culprit. After all, it’s one of the reasons I’m assigned to the DZ Division.”

Kondo seemed uncomfortable with Ohkura’s stare as he shifted on the spot. After a while, he composed himself and said, “Very well. My orders were to enlist the help of the DZ Division and give the rep full reign in their investigation. It will of course run separately from our own investigation however, any information is to be shared between our contingents. I wish you luck and hope that we will be able to solve this case quickly.”

He held out a hand for Ohkura to shake, which Ohkura took. Then Kondo took his leave, the three remaining alone together in the room.

Ryo glanced at Ohkura after the general left, wondering what Ohkura had planned. Ohkura’s prowess with spells was well known throughout their division and he’d even had a chance to witness this first hand on their last mission. It was one reason why Ohkura had climbed to the rank of captain at such a young age. And yet Ryo himself was still stuck at the rank of a private, which was understandable as he’d started his Light Walker training at an older age than most. So why had Ohkura chosen him to tag along on this mission? Surely there were more qualified Light Walkers out there, such as Ninomiya, to accompany him.

Ohkura let out a huge sigh, crossing his arms behind his head as he leant back in his chair. “I guess you two are wondering why I’ve chosen you to accompany me. Am I correct?” he asked, glancing at the surprised looks on Ryo and Nakamaru’s faces and smiling. “Let’s just say I’m impressed with how you guys acted during that raid.”

Nakumaru frowned slightly, seeming puzzled. “Both Ryo and I are still rookies and we haven’t spent that much time out here in the Dead Zone. Surely there are others that’ll be more useful in tracking down what could possibly be a hostile Class 1?”

Ohkura thought over what he would say before he answered. “Nakamaru, once you’ve spent enough time out here in the Dead Zone, you’ll come to understand that sometimes the most experienced Walker may not the be the most useful. Being in constant combat against the demons makes it hard to see them as anything but enemies. Besides,” said Ohkura, putting his hands back down and sitting upright once more. “You shouldn’t turn down a good opportunity for some useful experience. Now, who’s hungry? That Major talked for so long I’m now starving!”

“But lunch was only an hour ago…” said Ryo as he watched the captain stand up and head towards the exit.

“Yes, but I only got to eat a single bowl of katsu-don before I got called off. I still have a bowl of udon to eat, some sushi, maybe another donburi…,” replied Ohkura, grinning as he listed off the dishes he wanted to eat.

Nakamaru sighed as he followed their superior. “Well, at least the rumour about the captain having a large appetite isn’t a lie.”

Ryo shook his head, smiling. He gathered his file and followed the others out, his excitement growing. Ryo had long admired Ohkura and getting a chance to work one-on-one with the young prodigy excited him. He’d done demon hunts before in the past but to track down a possible hostile Class 1? And with the captain rumours say confronted a yuuki-onna* when he was only thirteen? The opportunity was great but Ryo was determined not to let down his captain, not after being trusted to assist in this case.

(*Note: yuuki-onna translates as “snow woman” and is a type of Japanese youkai.)

~*


Asahi Ward,
Osaka


It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and Subaru was seated at the bar in Maru’s pub, deeply engrossed in the newspaper article on the front cover. The frown that creased his brow grew increasingly furrowed as he read, the news disturbing him.

Yasu crept up behind Subaru, a cheeky look on his face. He then suddenly pounced on him, clasping his hands down on the other man’s shoulders roughly. “Whatcha reading, Baru?” asked Yasu rather loudly into Subaru’s right ear.

Subaru jumped on the spot, thoroughly caught off guard. “Yasu! Don’t surprise me like that,” complained Subaru as he tried to settle his heart rate. “You know I hate surprises.”

“Huuuu…” said Yasu as he let go of Subaru to take several small steps away from him, stretching his hands above his head. “But it’s not often that I can find you being unwary. And you had such a serious look on your face that I couldn’t resist pulling a little prank on you.”

Rolling his eyes, Subaru turned back to his newspaper, searching for where he had left off. “Idiot. Now I have to find where I was up to.”

Maru emerged from the door behind the counter that led to the storeroom, placing his clipboard on the counter. He had been busy doing a stock take on his supplies in preparation for the night’s business. “Yasu, leave the gramps alone. Have you checked the stage yet?”

“Gramps? Is that your impression of me?” asked Subaru incredulously while Yasu responded to Maru’s question with a perky “Yep!”

“Yeah, it is. You’re always so moody and introverted that I sometimes wonder if we’re still similar in age,” said Maru, reviewing his list. He then glanced up and looked over at Subaru, catching a glimpse of the headline on the paper in his hands. “Worried about that headline?”

Subaru glanced back down at the paper, his frown returning once again. “Hm. They’ve even named the murderer the Night’s Devil, and there’s speculation of it possibly being a hostile Class 1. You remember the last time something like this happened, don’t you?”

The look on Maru’s face darkened briefly before he let out a sigh. “There’s no point in worrying about what will happen. What is meant to pass will come to pass.”

Yasu, confused about what the other two were talking about, began tugging on Subaru’s arm. “Ehh?? What happened last time, Baru? Baru?”

Subaru pried Yasu’s fingers off his arm before he answered. “It was around fifteen years ago when the last hostile Class 1 demon attacked a city, much in the same way this demon is attacking. The human population quickly grew panicked and mass riots were held in several cities, including both Tokyo and Osaka. They didn’t care that the citizens of demon heritage were peaceful and meant no harm. To them, a demon was a demon and they were to be exterminated. Of course, this wasn’t anything new; it was just a trigger for the anti-demon faction to attack. And I’m afraid the same thing will occur again.”

Looking thoughtful, Yasu swung around to lean back against the bar between Maru and Subaru. “But that isn’t fair.” He suddenly grew frightened. “Ah! I’m also classified as a Class 1! They won’t attack me, will they? I’m just a harmless crow!”

Maru smiled at Yasu, reaching out to ruffle his hair. “It’ll be alright, Yasu. If things start getting worse, you can stay over here with me. I’ve been though something like this in the past.”

As Yasu began gratefully thanking Maru, Subaru continued to stare at Maru thoughtfully. He didn’t want to remind Maru of how his parents had died, but the parallels to the current situation were too obvious. It was better to bring up painful memories to act as a warning. Maru was a kind guy and he tended to trust people too easily, at least far more easily than Subaru himself. His mind drifted briefly back to when they were children, over at Maru’s house after school to enjoy the sweets his mother had made especially for both Subaru and…

Subaru pulled himself away from the memory and proceeded to fold up the newspaper. “Maru, any chance you could open up shop early and pour me a shot?”

“Eh? But it’s still only 4 in the afternoon…” replied Maru, glancing down at his watch.

“I can drink at any time of the day. Besides, I have something I need to do tonight,” replied Subaru, a small smile on his face that hinted at a hidden agenda.

Maru stared at Subaru thoughtfully before he stood, smiling as well. “Yosh! I’ll open up shop just for you, then. Yasu!” he shouted, cutting Yasu off before he could start to complain to Subaru about not coming to watch his performance tonight. “Instead of complaining, get up on the stage and start performing. You had a new song you wanted him to hear, didn’t you?”

There was a blank look on Yasu’s face before he understood what Maru had told him. “Yes, sir!” he saluted before scurrying away to set himself up, ecstatic.

Subaru shook his head at the young demon. “He still acts just like a kid, doesn’t he?”

Maru chuckled as he began pouring Subaru a glass of brandy. “Well, technically he is only twelve years old. I think his brain is having a little trouble trying to catch up with that adult body of his.” He then placed the glass before Subaru but held onto it as he tried to take it. “Subaru, don’t do anything rash.”

Subaru rolled his eyes as he tugged the glass from Maru’s grip. “Ah, I won’t. I’m just doing my job.”

“Job, huh?” said Maru with a little huff.

“Yeah, job.”

~*


Minato Ward
Osaka


This morning’s victim, a woman in her mid thirties, brought the total murder count up to seven. Hina snapped the last of his pictures quickly, eager to take a look at the crowd that had gathered. The attack this time had occurred at the base of a residential apartment complex, waking up many of the other residents at around 1am. Even two hours after the incident, the crowd was still quite large and curious. Some of the witnesses spoke of seeing a demon that resembled a gargoyle attack the woman before flying off into the night and disappearing. Others said the demon looked like Frankenstein and that it had fled away on foot, also disappearing into the night. Hina didn’t know what to make of the descriptions and he wondered what the police thought of it. He didn’t fail to notice that the number of Light Walkers now present at the crime scene had increased since the first murder. It was about time they were getting serious.

Hina slipped back through the crowd, trying to act casual as he fidgeted with his camera, pretending that it was broken. He glanced at the faces that made up the crowd, searching for the one he knew he would see. Ever since he first noticed him at the scene of the third, Hina had seen him again at the other sites. But, he’d failed to corner the man each time. This time, he would make sure that he didn’t fail.

He finally spotted him standing towards the back of the crowd, wearing a brown fedora and leather jacket, a cream coloured scarf wrapped around his neck to ward off the early morning chill. Hina slowly edged his way towards the man, careful to try and not alert him as to his presence. However, he probably didn’t need to be so careful. Someone else was approaching him, and they were doing so openly. The man noticed this and began walking away. Curious, Hina watched for a minute before following.

The two men walked a short distance down the street before turning down a deserted side street. Hina hid himself behind the corner of the wall where he was able to catch parts of what they were saying.

“Yokoyama, I wasn’t expecting to see you here,” said the newcomer hatefully.

“And neither did I expect to see you, Subaru,” replied Yoko, a smile curving the corner of his lips. “It is a pleasant surprise to see you again, old friend.”

Subaru spat on the ground. “We’re not friends anymore, Yoko.” He paused briefly before continuing, “Are you here to see more of your dirty work?”

Yoko laughed. “Dirty work? Please, Subaru. Don’t be so quick to judge. I’m just here to do a little cleaning up.” His eyes then shifted away from Subaru to where Hina was located. “Perhaps we should catch up some other time, old friend. Send my regards to Maru. I haven’t had a chance to stop by since he opened the pub.”

“Wait a sec!” shouted Subaru as Yoko reached for his brace, but it was too late. Yoko had activated a cloaking device and disappeared.

Hina, no longer hearing anything around the corner, decided to chance a peek. As he did so, he suddenly came face to face with Subaru. “Tch. So that’s why he ran,” muttered Subaru as he pushed past Hina.

Catching the scent of a lead in his story, Hina jogged after Subaru. “I’m sorry for eavesdropping on your conversation like that, but I was curious about the other guy. I’ve been seeing him at all the sites of the murders and thought he might have a connection to them. You seem to know the guy. Do you have any ideas why he keeps following the demons?”

‘So he’s been at all the sites, huh?’ thought Subaru as he ignored Hina.

“Uh, excuse me? Mister?” asked Hina, reaching out to grab Subaru by the arm.

Hina was then rewarded with getting his right arm twisted behind his back and then shoved up against the nearby light pole. “Listen, Mr. Reporter. You shouldn’t get yourself too deep into this story. Let the officials handle it.” After a minute, Subaru released Hina and neatened up his clothing. “And it wouldn’t hurt to tune down the reports you make. We don’t want a repeat of the riots from fifteen years ago, do we?”

As Hina stood there wincing, Subaru gave him a brief chilling smile before walking off. Hina watched him walk away, waiting until he had disappeared past the crowd. He then raised his left hand, looking at the wallet he held with a smile. “The skills of a pickpocket do come in useful from time to time,” he chuckled.

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