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06 September 2011 @ 03:45 pm
The Night's Devil - Chapter 4  
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 4]


Minato Ward,
Osaka


Hina was the only one left in the office, the other reporters having either returned home for the day or out getting the latest on the riots happening out in Asahi. Normally he’d be out there reporting on the riot as well but with the office empty, he couldn’t resist doing a little bit of semi-legal research that he’d wanted to do for a while. And by semi-legal, Hina meant hacking into the Light Walker database which he told himself he was allowed to do if it helped to further his investigation into the demon murders.

It took Hina a good part of an hour to hack into the database, having forgotten how to do so as it had been years since he’d last had to hack. A list of all the enlisted Light Walkers appeared on his screen, and Hina pulled out the wallet he’d swiped the other day. Subaru’s Light Walker ID was displayed in the clear pocket of the wallet and Hina quickly typed the identification number into the search box. It took the system a few seconds to search the database before finally returning with the result.

Personnel ID: SS93014COML2

Name: Shibutani Subaru
D.O.B: September 22, 2722 (298AA)
Address: N/A
Assignment: Elite Corps - Dead Zone
Rank: Commander Level 2
Status: DECEASED

Hina froze in shock as he read Subaru’s status. “…Deceased? But, how?” he blurted out. When he’d taken the wallet from Subaru the man was still very much alive. He scrolled down the page and started reading frantically through the brief history listed on the profile.
Year  Notes
2737  Enlisted at Kansai Light Walker Training Academy 
2739  Completed training with rank 97 out of 100
2739 – 2743 Assigned to Osaka Central Company
2744 – 2745 Assigned to Southern Hokkaido Brigade
2746 – 2747 Assigned to Dead Zone Division
2747  Assigned to Light Walker Elite Corps – Dead Zone
2749  MIA – Declared deceased

Just as he finished reading the last line, the screen suddenly began to flicker and the computer began to behave on its own, closing down programs and deleting files. Hina frantically tried to regain control of the computer but his efforts were in vain. Eventually, the screen flickered white, a single black cursor flashing in the middle of the screen. After a minute, it began to type a message:

You shouldn’t be looking at this.

The message only stayed on screen for a few seconds before the computer shut itself down completely. Hina attempted to boot the computer back up but he gave up when it refused to respond. Sighing, he leant back in his chair and contemplated what he’d just read and had happened.

Shibutani Subaru was listed as deceased on his profile, going missing while he was assigned to the Elite Corps and based in the Dead Zone. But then why was he still alive, here in Osaka? Further to that, Hina had the sneaking suspicion that Subaru knew something about the recent murders. And then there was that mysterious Yokoyama guy as well.

Letting out a frustrated shout and ruffling his hair, Hina proceeded to pack. Searching Subaru’s profile had made none of the mystery any clearer. In fact, all it did was bring up more questions that couldn’t be answered, not to mention leaving him with a broken computer that he’ll now have to explain to his boss.

As he finished packing, Hina came to a decision. He was going to stay out of it. After all, it wasn’t his job to solve the case.

Hina’s phone suddenly vibrated, indicating that a message had arrived. He reached into his pocket to pull out the phone, clicking his tongue in annoyance as he opened it. Reading the message, his eyes widened. Then he smiled. “Maybe I shouldn’t give up on the story completely just yet,” he mumbled to himself, sprinting out of the office.

~*Asahi Ward,
Osaka


Maru swung his staff quickly, knocking the man out cold with a last blow to the head. He then spun around, raising his staff up just in time to deflect a strike from a sword that was aimed at his head. Parrying off a few more slashes from his attacker, Maru ducked and swung his staff at the man’s legs, sweeping him off his feet. He then hit the assailant firmly in the abdomen, winding him before wrenching the sword out of his grip. Maru left the man lying on the ground and looked around for Subaru.

He caught sight of his friend just as Subaru knocked two men off their feet by palming the air, sending them flying back from the force of being hit with a dense wall of air. Maru made his way over to Subaru, watching as Subaru began a spell that seemed to conjure up a rope of light. The rope curled along the length of Subaru’s arm before extending out in the direction he pointed and proceeding to wrap around the two men he’d been fighting against.

“What does that make it… thirty?” asked Maru as Subaru finished.

“I guess. At least no one seems to be gravely injured. Yet.” Subaru turned around and directed the rope to the two men Maru had just fought, tying them up also.

Maru suddenly started sniffing the air. “You know, I’ve been getting this strange smell in the air for the past several minutes. I just can’t figure out what it is.”

“Is it a fire?” asked Subaru, glancing around at the destruction caused by the riots. Maru shook his head. “Is it more people? Gun smoke? Light Walkers? Demons?”

“No… it’s none of those. To be honest, I don’t think I’ve really smelt anything like it before.” Maru then frowned, crossing his arms over his chest. “Actually-”

He didn’t get to finish off his sentence when a loud scream cut through the night air. Immediately, the pair sprinted off in the direction of the scream, several other Light Walkers also heading in the same direction. Maru, being the fastest, was the first to arrive at the corner of the street where the scream had emanated from. Here, the strange smell he’d smelt earlier was strong, the source of the smell causing him to stare down the street frozen in shock.

A huge beast was located several meters down the street, greedily slurping the blood out of a woman’s neck that it held upside down in its large hands. Some of the blood dribbled out of its mouth, matting the brown fur that covered its chest. It seemed to be so focused on feeding itself that it had yet to notice Maru’s presence.

Subaru finally caught up with Maru, his eyes flying wide as he saw the creature. “What the…?”

“It’s the murderer!”

Both Maru and Subaru spun around to look at who had just spoken. It was a Light Walker, the insignia on his clothes indicating that he was a private. Another Light Walker stood beside him, a mild look of surprise on his face. His insignia indicated that he was a captain.

“…Commander?”

Subaru turned back around to look at the demon, which had by now finished its meal and had cast the body aside. It stared down at them, waiting to see what they would do. “Maru, do you think we can tackle that beast?”

Maru raised an eyebrow, glancing at the other Light Walkers before looking at Subaru. “Of course. But take this,” he said, shoving his staff at Subaru. “You’ve used too much magic tonight.”

Subaru took the staff, twisting it at the middle. Two long blades slotted out either end of the staff and he spun it around, testing the weight. He then sprinted towards the demon, Maru following closely behind as a cloud of shimmering white smoke enveloped him.

The demon let out an ear piercing shriek as it saw Subaru come running towards him, itself preparing to attack. As Subaru reached it, he swung the spear at the demon, just missing it as it sidestepped the attack. He continued to swing the spear at the demon but each blow continued to miss. A large white wolf suddenly jumped into the demon, knocking it over onto the ground. There, the two creatures wrestled with one another, attempting to bite the other in the neck. Subaru kept his eyes peeled for an opening, praying that Maru would be able to keep himself from being bitten by the razor sharp silver teeth of the demon. After a few minutes, the demon managed to dislodge Maru, kicking him backwards into the air. Maru landed on his paws, growling as he glared at the demon.

As the demon clambered back up onto its feet, Subaru took the chance to attack. He swung the spear, slicing through its arm and papery wing. The demon cried out in pain, stumbling back as he held onto its bleeding arm. It cried out several more times and each time, the sound became more pained and scared.

Maru stopped growling, staring up at the demon in confusion. There was something not right. It felt as if the demon was crying, itself confused as to what was happening. He concentrated, attempting to hear the demon’s inner voice.

Help…me…! What…is…happening…to…me…?

Subaru noticed the change in Maru’s demeanour and wondered what his friend had sensed. The two Light Walkers from earlier ran up to them, their rifles aimed at the demon. Maru suddenly dashed in front of them, reverting back to his human form.

“Don’t shoot!” he shouted at the Light Walkers, blocking their path.

Subaru walked over to join Maru, twisting the spear to turn it back into a staff. “If Maru says not to shoot, then don’t shoot, Captain Ohkura.”

Ohkura frowned as he slowly lowered his gun. “Commander Shibutani. If you still remember your training as a Light Walker, then do not obstruct us. We are here to execute that demon.”

“Captain… Look!” exclaimed Ryo, lowering his gun as he pointed over at the demon.

They all turned around to look at the demon, which was now slowly transforming. It grew smaller, its scales and fur receding back into its body to reveal slightly tanned skin. The facial features of the demon softened, becoming feminine. Eventually, a naked woman sat collapsed on the ground where the demon had stood, clutching her bleeding arm and rocking backwards and forwards on the spot.

“What is happening to me? What is happening to me? It must be a dream! A dream!” she mumbled, her voice growing steadily louder. She suddenly clutched her head and screamed. “I AM NOT A MONSTER!”

Maru was about to approach the woman when the sound of a gun being fired echoed from above. He stared at the woman in horror as she clutched at her throat, a black dart sticking out of her neck. Her eyes few wide open in shock as she began to struggle to breathe, black veins creeping outwards underneath her skin from the dart that turned the skin grey wherever they went. Maru ran over to the woman and caught her as she fell sideways, pulling out the dart. She continued to struggle to breathe, hyperventilating as she clawed at her neck. After a minute, the woman took one last, shuddering attempt at trying to breathe before she went still.

Subaru glanced up at the roof of the nearest building in the direction the dart had come from as the woman’s body began to crumble into dust. He spotted a figure standing there, saluting back down at him before turning away. Subaru suddenly sprinted towards the building. Ohkura was about to follow him but stopped when he saw Subaru suddenly leap into the air, soaring upwards and landing on the building roof.

Ryo approached Ohkura, looking up at the roof of the building in awe. “Don’t tell me there are Light Walkers that can jump like that, Captain?”

Ohkura frowned. “No, there aren’t.”

There was a clatter down the alleyway beside the building and both Ryo and Ohkura rushed over, their guns poised and ready. Ryo turned on his flashlight, revealing Hina sprawled over several trash cans. Hina smiled up at them, feigning innocence.

“Hey there, guys! Did you get that demon?” he asked, a little too joyfully. Ohkura lowered his gun and stormed over to snatch the camera off of Hina. “Oi! That’s my camera!”

Ohkura sidestepped Hina lunging at him as he began looking through the contents of the camera. Ryo caught Hina, pulling the man’s arms behind him and holding him down.

“Hmm… some interesting photos you have here,” said Ohkura after he finished looking. He walked over to Hina, grabbing the ID tag that hung from a lanyard around his neck. “Murakami Shingo, huh… A reporter at the Osaka Daily. You won’t mind if I confiscate this camera as evidence, do you?”

“What? That’s just stealing!” exclaimed Hina. “I’ll have you guys arrested for theft!”

“Oh, really? And what justification do you have for that? After all, it has pictures of what just happened here. Or would you like me to have you taken into custody for obstructing a Light Walker in their duty?” said Ohkura, tossing the camera slightly in the air.

Hina glared at Ohkura before letting out a sigh. “Fine… you can keep my camera. But you have to buy me a new one. Deal?”

Ohkura raised an eyebrow, amused. “Fine, we’ll replace it. You can release him, Ryo.”

Ryo released Hina, stepping back as the man flexed his shoulders, trying to remove the soreness Ryo’s grip had caused him in his arms. Without any hesitation, Hina began to hound the two Light Walkers with questions.

“So what do you think that demon was? Was it a Class 1 hostile like everyone thought? Or is there more to the story? Do you know what Commander Shibutani has to do with all this? You know he’s listed as deceased in your database, right? And what about the man named Yokoyama?”

As soon as Hina mentioned Yoko, Ohkura went rigid. “Yokoyama…? What do you know about him?”

“That’s what I’m trying to ask you,” snapped Hina back. Ohkura took a menacing step towards Hina and the man raised his hands up in surrender. “Alright! Alright, I’ll tell you. I’ve been seeing that Yokoyama guy hanging around at all the crime scenes and I happened to stumble across a conversation the two were having. I got the feeling that Subaru guy hated Yokoyama. And that’s all I really know.”

Ohkura frowned, glancing up worryingly at the roof top. “Don’t tell me…” he muttered quietly to himself. He then looked back down at Ryo. “Ryo, let’s go. We need to take that body back for analysis. At least what’s left of it, anyway.”

Ryo nodded and the pair walked out of the alleyway, leaving Hina to stare blankly after them. “Wait, you’re just going to leave me here on my own?” he shouted after them.

They ignored Hina as they stepped out of the alleyway. Maru was nowhere in sight, a pile of dust marking where the body had been. Ohkura walked over to the pile, pulling out a canister he had in the small waist pack that contained some of his magical tools. He collected the dust in the canister, silently apologising to the woman’s soul. After hearing that Yoko was involved, he was beginning to understand why Maru had stopped them from attacking.

Ryo watched his captain work, thinking over the events of the night. He could tell Ohkura knew more about what had been happening than he was letting on. And then there was the commander Ohkura had recognised. Shibutani, he had called him. He turned to glance up at the rooftop, not expecting to see the flashes of light above.

“Uwa! Captain! The roof!” he exclaimed, pointing upwards.

Ohkura glanced up as he stood. “So they’ve started fighting, huh?”

Ryo turned to look at Ohkura and was surprised to see the sadness in his eyes. Gathering up his courage, Ryo decided to ask. “Captain, do you want to tell me what is going on?”

Ohkura continued to stare at the roof for another minute before looking away. “I will, but now is not the time,” he replied, indicating Hina who was still hanging around them within earshot. “Come on, let’s return to base. I’ll tell you what I know after we’ve met up with Nakamaru.”

Ryo nodded, turning to glance one more time up at the roof. The flashes of light had stopped. He then looked back down and saw Ohkura already walking back the way they had come. With a sigh, he jogged to catch up with his superior. The murderer that had been dubbed by the media as the “Night’s Devil” was no longer alive. Ryo had expected to be elated when they managed to track down the demon and execute it, but he wasn’t. Somehow, he felt as if nothing had been solved. In fact, it felt as if it was just the beginning of something much worse to come. Ryo silently hoped his gut feeling was wrong.

~*
 

At the same time…

Subaru landed on the roof without a noise. It had been a while since he’d used those detestable powers and he loathed himself for doing so. But if he was to corner Yoko, he had to. And what better way than to try to corner his old friend than by using the same powers the man had given him.

Yoko stood at the edge of the building, one foot resting on the low wall. He seemed to be contemplating jumping down from the five storey height, tapping the dart gun casually against his shoulder. “Hey, Subaru! Do you think I’ll be able to survive this jump?” he asked, glancing over at Subaru.

“Go ahead and find out. That would make my life much more peaceful,” said Subaru, slowly walking over to Yoko.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk. Subaru, you’re still mad at me? And after all I did for you.” Yoko stepped back down from the ledge, turning back around face Subaru.

“All you did for me?” said Subaru with barely controlled rage. “What you did for me was the same you did to that woman you just killed! Have you no conscience?”

“Yeah, that’s right! I have no conscience!” shouted Yoko angrily back at Subaru. “I have no conscience so that’s why I killed that woman! I have no conscience so that’s why I turned her into a demon in the first place! I have no conscience and that’s why I saved your life by turning you into a demon as well!”

Subaru dashed over to Yoko, shouting as he gripped Yoko’s neck with a hand that was no longer human, but scaly and claw-like, small blades jutting out the back. “If you had to infuse me with demon blood then I would have preferred to die!” His eyes suddenly began to change colour, turning bright blue. “Do you know how much suffering you’ve put me through since? It’s taken me three years to finally be able to control myself. I was a monster, just like that innocent woman you infused with demon blood!”

Yoko began to choke, clawing at Subaru’s hand. As he felt himself start to slip into unconsciousness, Maru suddenly burst through the stairway door behind them and sprinted over. He then attempted to pry Subaru’s fingers from Yoko’s neck.

“Subaru! Don’t do this! Subaru!” shouted Maru. Using all his strength, Maru finally managed to pry Subaru’s fingers away. He then held him away from Yoko, who had now collapsed to the ground coughing and spluttering.

“Thank you… Maru,” Yoko managed to say hoarsely.

Maru glanced down at Yoko, a pained look on his face. “Why, Yoko? Why are you still doing this?”

Yoko shifted so that he was resting against the wall, still attempting to steady his breathing. Several minutes of silence stretched between them before Yoko felt that he could answer Maru’s question. “You know, I’ve always been jealous of you, Maru. Being able to turn into a beautiful wolf. I’ve always wanted to do that.” He then stood back up on his feet, remarkably calm after having nearly been strangled to death. “The short answer to your question is that there is no particular reason except that it is all in the name of progress. As Subaru knows, a person successfully infused with demon blood has so much potential. Imagine what it would be like if all humans could share the power of demons! There won’t be anymore violence like the riots that occurred tonight. Your parents would have still been alive, Maru!”

“But they’re not, Yoko,” answered Maru quietly. “Please, stop. Nothing good will come out of this.”

Subaru suddenly shrugged Maru off, taking a step towards Yoko. “He won’t listen to anyone. The only way to stop other people from suffering is to get rid of him!”

An orb of white light suddenly appeared in Subaru’s claws, which he then hurled at Yoko. Yoko managed to roll out of the way as the orb struck the wall, exploding the bricks. He continued to run as Subaru fired several more orbs at him while Maru shouted at him to stop. After the fifth shot, Yoko decided to jump over the ledge. Maru sprinted over to where Yoko had jumped and was slightly relieved to see that he had descended to the ground via grappling hook.

Subaru wasn’t far behind Maru, great big dragon wings now sprouting from his back as his face began turning reptilian. Maru grabbed him around the waist as Subaru attempted to launch himself into the air, holding him back. “Subaru! Don’t do something you’ll regret!”

“But he is the one who turned me into this monster!” shouted Subaru back down at Maru.

Maru slowly managed to drag Subaru back from the edge of the building, throwing him down to the ground and pinning him down. “Subaru! It doesn’t matter! Return to normal now! You know what staying in this form does to you!”

At the back of Subaru’s mind, he could sense the presence of his other self start to resurface. His other self that was pure demon instinct, the self he had trained himself to lock away. He didn’t want to go out of control here, not after all he’d done to return back to some semblance of normality. Slowly, Subaru began to calm himself down, emptying his mind as he focused on trying to return back to normal. After a short while, his demonic features were gone and he lay there pinned under Maru, breathless. When Maru felt that it was safe to let Subaru go, he released him, rolling over to lie beside his friend.

After a short while, Subaru said, “Thanks. I owe you one.”

Maru let out a short laugh. “How many times have you owed me something?”

“Too many.” Subaru smiled briefly before sitting up. “I need a drink.”

Maru sat up as well. “I think I’ll have one too.”

Subaru didn’t move from his spot, instead staring at where Yoko had leapt off the building. “I want to kill him for what’s done to me. For what he’s still doing to other people.” He then let out a sigh, staring down at his lap. “But I don’t think I can do it if I stay as a human. I can only do it if I let the demon inside me take over.”

Maru stayed silent, staring up at the night sky. Already the stars were beginning to fade, indicating that dawn was soon approaching. “I never understood what Yoko was always thinking. And I still don’t. But I do know this: he really did mean to save you that time.”

Subaru clicked his tongue in annoyance. He finally stood up and headed towards the staircase. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore. I need a drink!”

Maru smiled sadly at Subaru as he stood, following him out. The three of them had been the best of friends in the past, sticking with each other through good times and bad. But when Subaru and Yoko became enlisted as Light Walkers, he grew to see them less and less. Whatever had happened between the two, Maru only knew a little of. He found himself wondering if they would ever be able to mend their fractured friendship one day and return back to how they were in the past.

For now, all he could do was hope.

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