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Mouikkai Musume Mohitotsu
After weeks of strange dreams about another life, Madoka has a series of encounters with supernatural beings that will change his life.
Author(s): Rellawing | Editor(s): Trismegistus Shandy | 3 Warnings!
Content Keywords | Status: Completed | To Disqus!
MyReviews: 1
Madoka sees more disturbing visions and faces her most dire threat thus far!

Chapter Twenty Three : The Miko Who Faced The Worst
Posted: 2018-11-21 12:55:49 | Updated: 2018-11-21 14:24:34
Words: 7733

The miko stares despondently at the far side wall of a hospital room, crowded with two other patients on beds to either side of her. Tears stream down her cheeks. She weakly clutches her bandaged head and moans. The moaning triggers a violent spasm of coughing. She belatedly covers her mouth. Her cough has sent a fine spray of red blood mixed with spittle. The white hospital sheets covering her are now spotted and stained.

She lifts her hands listlessly to examine them, tracing the sprinkling of blood and clots smeared across them. She moans softly and thinks not of herself, but the ragged forms of those poor children. The miko’s eyes fall on the IV pumps and vital-checking machinery set up by the patients’ beds as the same equipment sits beside her own bed. She casts her eyes elsewhere towards the other patient on her other side, noting that that patient has already been intubated. An IV line is connected to their wrist.

“Are you not well?” a weak quavering male voice calls from the bed to her right. The miko looks in that direction, spasms of coughing making her shudder.

“No, not well. My head hurts and I think there’s a lot of internal damage,” she murmurs softly. “More importantly, how are you doing, neighbor?”

“Not well… I don’t feel… I think everything is broken,” he responds. “The home I worked in collapsed… on -- me...” he trails off.

“That’s terrible… I’m so sorry for your loss…” she murmurs softly. “I would perform a purification ritual to protect your soul if I could lift myself from this bed…” she sighs wearily. He speaks and her ears ring, and she clutches her head.

“-- Miko -- well?” he inquires weakly, his voice warbling like a radio having difficulty receiving signal.

Some time later, a nurse opens the door and briskly walks across the room, examining the patients in order. The prodding of the nurse wakes the miko and she speaks, but the miko is unable to hear her words.

She looks to the other beds blearily. The other two in the room with her are unconscious. She can’t hear well or think well. She sees the nurse now examining the patient to her right, and sees her sadly cast her eyes down. She lifts her stethoscope earplugs to her ears and pulls the sheets covering that patient down to press it against the patient’s sternum.

The Miko listens for a long moment, straining to hear. She then turns back towards the nurse mutely, too tired to speak now. The nurse notices and smiles at her gently, as though to reassure her. She turns her attention back to the patient.

Then the door opens again and another professional in white and scrubs enters. He wears a nametag which the miko is unable to read. The new figure walks over to the nurse, giving the miko a friendly professional smile. She weakly smiles at the man in reply and closes her eyes, wearied for a long moment. She hears vague murmurs, but nothing gives her a clue as to what is going on. The miko opens her eyes again and she sees an aged man with sorrow-filled eyes. He has grey to white hair and his eyes are fastened to the patient. The professional gestures towards the man. The man, perhaps a doctor, shakes his head and covers his face.

He looks away for a long moment and places his hands in his slacks pockets. After a long moment again, he speaks as though the words are being dragged out of him. The miko can’t hear his words. She sees tears falling from his eyes and the nurse walks to his side and places a comforting hand on his shoulder, her eyes sad. They speak for a long moment, and she sighs, gesturing to the patient. The man shakes his head negatively, and casts his eyes to the floor.

“Fugui… can you hear me? Are you awake?” an insistent voice speaks up.

Madoka’s eyes flutter as she moans softly. She feels a hand on her shoulder and the hand gently shakes her body.

She doesn’t respond for a long moment, but finally she does open her eyes. She looks blearily up to the face of a man. I… don’t know this man… Madoka thinks.

“Fugui… are you alright?” the man asks her. Madoka blinks and rubs her eyes; she looks around and notices that she’s in an infirmary. Madoka gasps and regards the man.

“W-where am I?” she asks tiredly.

The man shakes his head. “You didn’t hit your head. You’re bruised here and there, but otherwise you’re fine. You’re in the school infirmary. You collapsed in the bathroom. Can you answers a few questions about what happened to you?” he asks Madoka.

Madoka gapes, disorientated. Finally, she responds as the preceding events come to her. “I… there was a fight… a struggle… against a creepy thing...” she trails off.

“There are reports that a young man was in the bathroom with you. Did he harm you?” he asks Madoka.

“No… it was that creature…” Madoka trails off, at a loss for what to say; she moans, wincing when she thinks about the damage done to the bathroom.

“So this creature broke the window?” he asks.

“Yes, and no… the boy fought the creature, but he broke it while he was fighting it,” Madoka states.

“There were witnesses in the bathroom and on the campus outside. They claim the same. The students are acclaiming him as a superhero,” he says carefully.

Eiji would like that, Madoka thinks wryly.

I do, Goshujinsama! she hears Eiji chime in mentally. I’m sorry for the difficulty you’re facing on my behalf.

“And you’re stating that you had no part in the damage done to the bathroom?” the man asks.

“I-I… I’m not sure what to say… I was there… I didn’t do it myself, but maybe it wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t there.” Madoka chews her lip.

“Do you feel well enough to return your classes, Fugui?” the man asks. “By the way, it’s nice to meet you. I’m one of the doctors on staff for the infirmary of the academy. My name is Tabata Hisui.”

Madoka wearilly shakes her head, exhausted. “It’s nice to meet you, Sensei!” Madoka replies.

I may have used too much energy when dealing with that youkai. I’m so sorry about that, Goshujinsama! Eiji says again.

Why did you leave me to fight the monster? When you were taking the other girls who were under its spell to safety, I was desperately fighting for my life! Madoka criticizes.

I’m very sorry, Goshujinsama. I was concerned for their safety. You’re strong enough to fight a thing like that off for a while unassisted. You need to gain more strength.

What happened with the monster? Why didn’t my spear come out? Where are Aoi and Kanna? Madoka asks, lying flat on the bed again.

“Why don’t you rest, Fugui? Obviously you’re still not ready to get up yet. I’ll check on you again before the school day is over. If you need me to call your family, let me know now,” Tabata-sensei offers.

“T-Thank you, sensei. I appreciate that,” Madoka wearily replies. She clutches her head. Why does my head hurt so? Madoka wonders.

You used far too much energy. I’m sorry again. Aoi and Kanna are here. Maybe they should answer your questions, Eiji suggests with a tinge of regret in his tone.

Aoi-chan! Kanna-chan! Why would you abandon me in my need? Madoka asks with widened eyes.

I’m very sorry, Goshujinsama, Kanna commiserates. We were trying to ready you for danger approaching. We sensed the spirit haunting the bathroom, but you have scarcely made the journey to strengthen yourself as is, and you may not have much time. You have to take it very seriously!

Aoi chimes in next. You know, Goshujinsama, it’s our fault that your energy was so low going into today. We became too enthusiastic in our training of you. Myself or Kanna could have answered your desperate summons, but… she trails off.

But, Eiji-kun, you wouldn’t have discovered him if we had answered. Kanna breaks in to fill in the silence. You had to remember him. We are your shikigami, and there is yet another, but it is not yet time. Your mind isn’t primed for meeting the last.

That’s right, there were four friends… there’s another one… and who was it? Madoka wonders.

Yes, there were four, though we were closest to you. These last two are the hardest to remember, in the order in which… Aoi trails off again.

You are way too vague and mysterious, Aoi-chan! Why can’t you be more upfront with me? Madoka pleads.

We’ll tell you what we may, Goshujinsama! the three chime in as one. Madoka sighs, wearied by this interaction. She sighs and takes a deep breath, feeling sleep take her away again.

Madoka is awakened rudely by the grip of a hand clutching around her windpipe and the hand lifts her from the infirmary bed. She gasps and screams soundlessly, staring blearily down at the frightening face of the squatty imposing oni.

“Once again, you have destroyed one of my followers. You’re starting to weary me, toy. Your power will be mine, or else I will destroy you. You have only one choice at this point, child. If you don’t surrender right away, I will reave you. You will wish you had listened to reason. This power of yours, you don’t need. You should want to preserve your life as it always has been. Clinging to this is foolish. Give me what I seek…” it growls. Madoka stares into its eyes, her own going as wide as possible; she chokes. She flails against it weakly.

“Don’t bother, you fool! You don’t have the energy. I’ve been watching you. This is the best opportunity to reason with you, toy.”

Madoka cries soundlessly as it clutches her throat. Aoi-chan, Kanna-chan, Eiji… s-save me… p-please! she begs.

“What is your answer? Now! I will have it, or I will have you!” it snarls, losing patience.

“N-n…” Madoka gasps out. Yoshimaru clenches her throat more tightly and she nearly passes out from a lack of air.

“You were about to make a terrible mistake. Very well. I’ve had enough of you!” It strikes Madoka suddenly, driving the palm of its clawed other hand into her forehead, snapping her head backwards.

N-no! Goshujinsama! the voices chime in unison.

Kiyomi hisses as she slips into the infirmary. The cloyingly evil aura emanating from the oni makes her want to vomit.

“You’re at it again, aren’t you, Yoshimaru! You leave my Madoka-chan alone!” she shrieks, raising her hands as it turns towards her and lifts Madoka’s prone unconscious body as a shield.

“What makes you so fixated on her? My Madoka, you say? She’s mine. I’ve put a claim on her soul and power long since, well before you met her, but if you want to fight, a fight you shall have, feckless kitsune,.” It snarls at Kiyomi, its voice dripping with vitriol.

Kiyomi hesitates in the act of summoning foxfire energy coruscating over her hand.

“A fight you want, Oni?” another powerful voice ripples and shakes the room. Kiyomi turns her eyes to gaze upon the form of the figure present. I knew she would be watching after Madoka!

Yoshimaru turns and snarls at the one who has appeared before the window of the infirmary, a shining hagoromo draped over her shoulders; it defies gravity on its own. Her kimono is light green like seafoam with lillies embroidered on its sleeves and hems. Her long straight dark hair sways and floats as she walks towards Yoshimaru. It snarls and cackles loudly.

“You would pit your pathetic power against mine?” Kami asks quietly.

“And you would directly intervene on behalf of your poor champion?” Yoshimaru cackles. “This power is my birthright. Don’t cling so pathetically to your undeserved power. It will soon be all mine!” It grimaces.

“I think I’ll put an end to you today, Oni. What a fortuitous opportunity to rid myself of such a nuisance.” She laughs, her voice echoes with power.

“A nuisance, am I? What an ego you have for such a young poor Kami,” Yoshimaru taunts her.

“Put down Madoka, or I will force you.” She lifts her hand and her hagoromo floats into the air and shines as it streaks towards the Oni to bind him. Yoshimaru snarls and leaps to the nearby wall, carrying Madoka with him. It leaps to the ceiling and slams its fist into the ceiling, swinging rapidly towards the window. The hagoromo returns to Kami’s shoulders for a moment and resumes its chase of Yoshimaru.

Kiyomi summons foxfire and hurls it towards the window, putting up a barrier between Yoshimaru and its freedom. The prone unconscious Madoka with a reddened face flops as Yoshimaru dances to the side, snarling like a caged beast.

“You intervene on behalf this pathetic child, god-ling?” it hisses and deposits Madoka’s prone body in the corner, drawing its blades from its obi as the hagoromo attempts to encircle him. It clashes with the crackling hagoromo and when Kami casts a pure bolt of light, it dodges desperately. Its hideous tongue hangs out from its mouth as it runs now toward Kiyomi instead. She transforms instantly, filling one side of the room entirely with her bulky body. Her own tongue lolls out and her multiple tails thrash around as she faces down Yoshimaru.

“I’ll rout this fool for you, Kami-sama!” Kiyomi growls, barking silently. An orb of electricity forms in the air before her and a bolt streaks towards Yoshimaru. It growls as the bolt strikes it, causing it pain. It focuses its energies, lifting its blades, deflecting the energy. Arcs of energy wrap around Yoshimaru and his blades and robes smoke. It hisses and tenaciously charges towards Kiyomi through the bolt and as Kiyomi lets up and resorts to physical combat, Yoshimaru starts wildly striking at her with its glistening dark blades.

“Intelligent of you to attack the kitsune instead of myself,” Kami laughs softly. “But you should not turn your back to an opponent, particularly not a kami.” Her hagoromo launches towards Yoshimaru again. Yoshimaru wildly slices his blades to deflect the hagoromo flitting back and forth around him, menacing him.

“Not so intelligent, Kami-sama! He doesn’t know enough to eliminate his chief threat, not that he could with his pathetic power!” Kiyomi laughs aloud and as she bares her teeth and pounces on Yoshimaru. It raises its blades to impale her with them, but Kiyomi summons a sudden gale which rocks the room, sending various fragile glass objects to the floor, shattering. The gale buffets the oni and it slams against the far wall.

“Pathetic, me? You ignorant foolish kitsune, drunk on your own strength. Think you that I am not your Master?” Yoshimaru barks as he groans.

Kiyomi pounces again on the oni, shaking the room as she moves to bite into Yoshimaru’s horned head while Kami’s hagoromo lashes out and wraps around its form tightly. Kiyomi hesitates about chomping down when she realizes that its head is no longer where she had seen it.

A masked woman stands there bound where Yoshimaru had stood in robes similar to its. “I count it an honor to face death on behalf of my Kami!” the woman shouts in defiance. Kiyomi stops, her sharp teeth on the point of removing her head, but the scent of her is not Yoshimaru’s.

“Wily oni. An old trick. You still won’t make a clever escape.” Kami walks casually towards the corner where Yoshimaru crouches now. She raises a hand and energy sizzles around her hand. “I’ve had enough of you, Yoshimaru. Perish in your envy,” she states gravely. Her sharp words make the very air ring and it sizzles as though fire has coursed through the room.

Suddenly, Yoshimaru throws its head back as though to surrender; it laughs aloud, its arms spread and claws extended. It chuckles uproariously. “You’re nothing to me, Kami-ling… watch as my hand moves!” it cackles. The room is suddenly cast in shadows as thick smoke fills it quickly. “I’m sick of you as well!”

“You won’t take her, Oni!” Kami shines suddenly and fills the room with her light. The smoke disappears, and along with the darkness she finds the Oni has mysteriously disappeared with its minion.

“That wretched oni took Madoka.” Kami looks to Kiyomi with an expression of annoyance and frustration.

Kiyomi bounds forward to her and nuzzles at her as she transforms into her human form. She gazes into Kami’s eyes.

“Foolish kitsune. This is not an opportunity to curry favor. You know my disdain for you. Find Madoka!” Kami chastises Kiyomi. Kiyomi winces and bows humbly.

“Of course, Kami-sama. I will find her. For myself, not for you!” Kiyomi glares at Kami. Kami walks to the window and turns to look back to Kiyomi. “Don’t fail, Kitsune. For the sake of your new flame,” Kami admonishes her.

Kozuke puts his hand to his ear. “Kami-sama? I have failed!” Kozuke gasps aloud.

He stands from the tree branch he crouches on, studying the grounds of the school grounds. “I will give chase!”

He transforms and like a blur he charges across the grounds to pick up the scent of the fetid oni, and he catches the scent of Madoka with him. Mistress! He does have her! I have to catch up to them! he thinks desperately. He races onwards through the trees, following the path of the scent. He faintly smells the scent of disinfectant on Madoka, and the scent makes him think involuntarily of a hospital room. He has barely had a chance to take in his surroundings, but the disinfectant in the bandages around his body was a scent that has long haunted him for the length of his afterlife.

I don’t deserve to serve you, Kami-sama… I’m a failure of a lion-dog… why am I not vigilant enough? he scathes himself.

You are not a failure, my servant. Don’t allow your misery to overtake you. Not every soul has a happy life, nor a happy end. Think of only the now, Kami responds to his morose words.

I’m sorry, Kami-sama! Kozuke thinks of that room again, unable to help it. His mind shies away from the things he has seen and felt.

His thoughts are interrupted by heavy tromping paws running through the foliage nearby. As he nears the street ahead, he turns and transforms into his human form. Kiyomi’s enormous ninetails form bears down on him and she transforms to her human form, clad in her school uniform. She looks up into his face. “We can’t take on our beast forms from here on. Let’s hurry along, butler-lion-dog-sama!” Kiyomi states with a teasing expression, though her tone is full of urgency. She charges ahead onto the street, running; Kozuke follows quickly.

They chase Madoka’s scent through the city along tidy streets. The passersby stare at the two as they run madly past, seemingly tireless in their run. When they reach major intersections they have to wait to cross the street, though Kozuke shuffles anxiously from foot to foot. Kiyomi’s nose wrinkles as she takes in the scent of her surroundings while they impatiently wait.

Madoka wakes up in darkness. She moans and tries to clutch a hand to her head, but unfortunately she’s firmly bound. She thrashes and wriggles, feeling a tatami mat under her knees. Her arms are bound to her ankles, and as she thrashes, she falls over onto the tatami. As she looks around the room, terrified, flames light the area, blinding her momentarily. She sees numerous masked faces surrounding her in a circle. They’re on their knees, their hands pressed together in a worship form. Madoka gasps aloud and screams loudly.

“Where am I? This is so creepy! So are you!” Madoka yelps out. Oh no, Aoi-chan, Kanna-chan, Eiji, save me! I’m in a bad situation again! she pleads.

No voices respond. A dark form suddenly flips over the circle of the robed masked figures and lands heavily on the tatami. Madoka recognizes the dark squatty misshapen form of Yoshimaru again!

“It’s time for you to surrender, Madoka. You are out of time now. Look at me and behold your end,” it snarls. It reaches down and grasps Madoka’s face and laughs crudely. “Have you reconsidered your mistaken answer? If you don’t give up your power to me, right now… if you don’t will it, I will be forced to take an even more drastic action.”

Madoka shakes her head desperately. “No!” she screams aloud.

“Why would you defend such a foolish new god-ling? Is that why you cling to this unnecessary power? You don’t want to be a miko. You don’t even want to be a girl. Or do you? Do you cling to it?” Yoshimaru taunts.

“No! It’s not about that! I don’t care! It’s no matter what I look like, and who I…” Madoka gasps as it derisively interrupts her.

“A weak pathetic boy. You have no future. There is nothing special about you. You live a mediocre life. You have no talent; there is nothing of yours that would better the world, is there? Do you think those words false, fake-girl?” Yoshimaru cackles. “Why cling? Resign yourself to your mediocrity!”

“No! There’s… there’s nothing about me that’s weak. I won’t surrender to you!” Madoka gasps.

Yoshimaru strikes Madoka’s face again and hisses. “Why? You’re weak! You have no talent. When you’re talentless, power does nothing for you, all it does is rot and stagnate from a lack of proper use. I, on the other hand will use that power well. You anger me, child. I don’t have the patience to deal with your ill-considered foolish behavior. You fight me because you’re stubborn? Because you’re greedy?” It laughs harshly.

“You don’t know anything!” Madoka screams aloud. “You damn selfish persistent evil…” Madoka gasps as it strikes her again and again, pummeling her with malice painting its cruel horned face. Unable to bear the beatings, she falls unconscious again.

She sits up weakly and tiredly raises her arms to rub the sleep from her eyes. She breathes shallowly. The beeping of her heart monitor vaguely disturbs her. It seems too erratic. She looks around slowly and sees that the patient beside her has a sheet pulled up over his face. She stares at his prone unmoving body.

Wh-who am… I? she wonders. She casts her eyes to the other bed, and the patient there breathes shallowly yet. She looks to the other occupant of the room and cries, her tears pour from her eyes, but she doesn’t know why they’re oozing out uncontrollably.

Are they thoughts for myself? They at least have had family visiting, but not me. Is it because I’m alone? Is that why I cry? She weakly sobs, her eyes closed tightly around her outpouring tears.

Kami-sa-ma, sa-save me...” she quietly breathes out.

She thinks of the brief time she spoke with the man lying now deceased in the bed beside her. Kami-s-sama… please bless… him… she prays, crying.

“I lost the scent…” Kozuke mutters, casting his gaze around and sniffing the air.

Kiyomi smirks. “I suppose your sense of smell isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be.”

“Why don’t you just close your ever-agape mouth,” Kozuke snaps, leading the way to a pleasant-looking office building. He looks around, sniffing the air.

Kiyomi laughs aloud as onlookers point their fingers at the extremely peculiar sight of a butler sniffing the air and casting this and that way like a coursing hound.

“What about your dignity, butler-lion-dog-sama?” Kiyomi chortles.

“Dignity and ego are your speciality, kitsune.” Kozuke rolls his eyes.

Onlookers gape further at that exchange, laughing and pointing. “Cosplay?” one murmurs.

“Strange couple…” another laughs.

“There’s nothing to see here, everyone!” Kiyomi addresses the onlookers. “If you’d be so kind as to go on about your business, my deranged friend needs to get this canine roleplay out of his system.”

“Deranged?” Kozuke mouths and grits his teeth, clicking them at Kiyomi, who stifles a giggle.

“Did you catch a good smell yet, butler-lion-dog-sama?” she inquires.

“Why are you making light of this situation? You profess concern for…” Kozuke trails off and paces over to Kiyomi with a snarl.

“We’re stalemated at the moment. There isn’t much to do but laugh at the situation.” Kiyomi shrugs.

“Laugh at what? We failed, you know,” Kozuke growls. “But you’re not an official guardian, so you don’t need to take any responsibility. That would be about your speed.”

“What would? I’m not sure what you’re referring to.” Kiyomi seems to laze.

“Whatever are you thinking of, you useless fox?!”

“Nothing much right now.”

“That’s about what I’d expect from you. I bet you’re thinking of your own convenience and entertainment.”

“No, you know that’s not all I think about. I know how to take pleasure in strange, awful situations.”

“Take pleasure? In Mistress’ kidnapping?” Kozuke snarls and notices that the crowd has dispersed. He bolts towards Kiyomi to grip her uniform blouse.

A knife blooms suddenly in Kozuke’s shoulder. Bright bloodstains his dapper butler’s coat. Kozuke grimaces and looks around. Where before there were many onlookers, a circle of robed figures stand.

Kiyomi gasps as a smaller robed figure throws a bottle with a maniac laugh. The bottle explodes as Kiyomi dodges it. She gasps and looks at the burning patch of flammable fluid sprayed out from the bottle. She starts laughing aloud, herself. Her own laughter is classically haughty. She covers her mouth with the fan as she dramatically laughs.

Kozuke snarls and yanks the knife from his shoulderbone with a snarl. “I don’t feel an aura… they may wear the masks of oni, but they aren’t what they pretend to be.”

Suddenly, a larger robed figure charges in, arms spread. He makes a comical grunting sound.

“You want to play with fire, mortals? Really… why don’t I show you what real fire is?” Kiyomi laughs, and with a snap of her fingers she summons foxfire; it breaks into multiple shards, which rocket into the ring of robed figures. They gasp and some bolt away, their robes in flame, while others fervently charge. Those remove concealed weapons as they charge in. Many of them wield handguns, some heft bricks, some bats, and one clumsily swings nunchaku like he’s pretending to be a character in a movie.

A few actually seem competent. Kozuke snarls and phases into his lion-dog form. A few gasp and one bolts, witnessing this.

“You don’t like fire? How about some healthy water? It’s great for weight loss!” Kiyomi laughs aloud and as several charge at her, she places her palms on them, moving like water itself. Where she strikes them, balls of water form and grow to envelop their bodies. When it swallows their bodies it seems to concentrate and then bursts, sending water all over. The pressure of the water and explosive force knock out the unlucky ones.

Kozuke bounds back and forth amongst the figures, baring his teeth, and bites more than one backside, tearing large patches of cloth. The smaller figures scream and scurry away in the face of this embarrassment.

Kiyomi laughs aloud. “You have a sadistic side, butler-lion-dog-sama!” she giggles, delighted.

Kozuke harries them, but many still don’t run. Unafraid, they attack him. His agility proves to be masterful for most attackers, but unfortunately one accurately throws their metal bat and the attack scores a hit directly on his bleeding shoulder. He whimpers and the inertia of the attack makes him crumple for a moment, but he’s back on his feet quickly. Two attackers bear down on him and he jumps to his feet again. They surround him in a pincer maneuver. The way they hold their weapons is very capable, while three larger ones surround Kiyomi. The smaller ones form a circle to the side as they shriek and bow down low, praying furiously. “Yo-shi-ma-ru-sa-ma…” they murmur rhythmically, bowing deeply as they dance in their circle.

“You ridiculous fools!” Kiyomi laughs. “I’ve had enough of this silly act.” She grins. She thrusts two fingers high into the air as if to cleave the skies. With her free hand she reaches behind her, pulling out her seemingly ever-present fan. Kozuke gapes and charges an attacker and mauls him. Kiyomi flips her fan open as she grins. “Now that the stage is set, why don’t we light the stage up!” She covers her face ever elegantly as she laughs with her classic, “Oh-ho-ho-ho…”

The three move in on her, annoyed by Kiyomi’s taunting. One swings a heavy chain directly at her head, while another wields a gun, pointing it towards Kiyomi’s torso. Kozuke snarls and bounds savagely over the two menacing him, as though he has teleported. Like a flash, his fangs are locked around the gunman’s wrist. The gun fires and Kiyomi sidesteps the misfired shot. The gunman flinches and screams as blood pours from his wrist when Kozuke’s jaws savage it.

“Thank you, mutt, but you really should be somewhere safer. You’re in the way right now.” Kiyomi gestures with her fan and a fountain of wind rips from below Kozuke, blowing him high into the air above, sending flying the hapless robed man. His blood leaves an arc in the air as he flies away with a cry not unlike a Wilhelm scream. After a moment, Kiyomi brings her fingers down dramatically and lightning shoots from her fingers, striking the soaked pavement, below. Kiyomi waves her fan at that moment to catapult herself into the air. The figures gape and scream as they’re electrocuted. The hurricane she has summoned blows the twitching smoking robed figures around chaotically. The first to come down from the skies is Kozuke. He lands heavily in a heap on top of a larger robed figure, who screams. Kozuke climbs to his legs and sits on his haunches on top of the man, panting. The man groans as Kozuke’s leg slams him repeatedly, and he passes out. A moment later, preceded by the spray of his blood, the man lands heavily on his head on the pavement. He stays in that position, arms spread, legs akimbo in the air. Meanwhile, Kozuke transforms to his human form and Kiyomi finally lands daintily.

She grins towards Kozuke and he replies with a sigh. “Show-off,” he grouses as he stands and dusts himself off with a wry chuckle. “We really should get on with finding the Mistress, kitsune. Let's not rest on our laurels,” he murmurs.

“Oh, I have no intention of…” Kiyomi’s voice is interrupted by a terrible roar which rings throughout the urban plaza. All around, water roars up in enormous walls. She looks around, her eyes huge. “This is some serious high level spiritual power… what is this?”

One of the robed men laughs raggedly, his laugher cackling dementedly. “Our Kami has answered our prayers! Yoshimaru provides for the faithful!” he laughs and groans as Kozuke stomps on his head, knocking him out. Kozuke looks around, hands in his pockets; he winces as his shoulder twinges. He barely notices an enormous shadow dropping directly on them. He shifts forms and darts away desperately.

Kiyomi waves her fan and a massive hurricane is born on the spot. Kozuke looks up into the skies and sees a large blue water-type dragon fights to land in its created arena. Kiyomi sweats and grits her teeth and suddenly shifts into her ninetails form. The hurricane waxes in ferocious strength. The dragon is thrown higher into the sky. Kiyomi snarls, her hair standing on end with all nine tails standing straight up into the skies as she determinedly maintains the pressure of air thrusting the dragon away. She shrieks in dismay when a torrent of rain falls suddenly into the arena, and it begins to fill with water.

Kozuke starts dog-paddling to stay afloat. The water laps around Kiyomi’s legs and by the time it reaches her head, she has to start fox-paddling. Put off her pace, she swims furiously. Suddenly, the dragon splashes down into the arena, sending them flying into the water walls, which feel very solid, as though they were stone.

Kiyomi and Kozuke plunge into the depths of the watery arena and struggle to float to the surface, unable to tell what direction would lead them upwards. The terror of the depths swims rapidly, striking the two and clawing at them. Kiyomi shrieks and gurgles, her poise compromised. The water starts flowing with undertows and savage currents ravage the two.

From above, a crackling noise shocks through the turbulent water. The darkness of the depths of the makeshift whirlpool-ridden lake transforms gradually to a deep green instead of a deep blue as it becomes placid. The dragon roars and swims furiously through the thickening green water. Its body starts to sizzle and it flinches and gurgles in pain.

Meanwhile, Kiyomi and Kozuke nearly pass out from a lack of air. There’s a wrenching sensation as all the nearly drowned followers go flying, and Kozuke and Kiyomi are flung high into the sky. Lastly, the dragon is ejected. It roars and spins and flops as it’s pitched high above. Kozuke clears his head while falling and gasps for breath, seeing a strange thing as he somehow lands on his legs. The water-walled arena has dispersed and its water has been replaced by something enormous which resembles an enormous gelatin mold. Next, Kiyomi falls, crashing less gracefully to the pavement. Onlookers stare and gape as the followers fall in various compromising positions, some faceplanting, while others simply fall into heaps on the pavement, all unconscious at this point.

Three familiar figures rush to the aid of Kiyomi and Kozuke. Kozuke gasps and his jaw drops when he sees the identity of the girls running over. He reverts to his human form again, finally. “The little one, and the catgirl and the tengu girl!” he exclaims.

“At least dignify them with their names, mutt.” Kiyomi coughs and reverts to a human form, herself. “Their names are Arisu, Chie, and Sari.”

“It’s wonderful to see you again, Mistress! I responded to your summons as quickly as possible!” Arisu chimes in brightly.

“You called for assistance?” Chie asks with a dour expression. “Where is Mistress Madoka?”

“She is lost. We need to find her,” Kozuke barks out.

Sari dashes to Kozuke and throws her arms around him. “Oh, Kozuke-sama! You’re hurt!” She places her hands on his wound and the light of her spiritual power ignites.

“I see that Ko, Momo, Namo, and Suni have come as well.” Kiyomi stands and waves her fan. With a torrent of wind, the two sodden slime-covered figures dry as Momo and Namo dash in with a flurry of combing, brushing and cleaning. The two stand, looking immaculately tidy and clean. Momo and Namo the kitsune twins smile, posing cutely.

The enormous gelatin mold blurbles and makes noises like beat-boxing. Kozuke laughs aloud and the gelatin mold suddenly shrinks as water pours out, pouring into a nearby street’s drain. It takes on the form of the curvaceous feminine figure it assumed in the maid cafe, with its maid costume made of its own substance.

Suddenly, another roar sounds through the air, signaling that the danger is not yet past. Kozuke looks up to see the dragon returning as it renews its assault. The youkai without eyes steps up and removes her flute from her front pocket in her maid dress. She starts playing a gentle song, filling the paved area with soft music, which quickly puts onlookers to sleep en masse. The dragon crashes down and it shakes its head vigorously to fight the soothing effect of the song.

Momo and Namo dash into the fray together, holding hands. Kozuke blinks as he notices that the battle has changed in tenor. He laughs aloud to note that the dragon has somehow become the beneficiary of pampering pedicures and manicures. It roars and moves awkwardly, but it immediately starts woozily wavering as the strange service shifts to a massage. The girls serve it like a customer, and all the maids join in to treat the dragon like a frequent patron to their cafe. It growls and snorts as it finally surrenders and collapses, lulled by the relaxing treatment.

“Alright, girls! Thank you for coming!” Kiyomi smiles brightly to the girls as she applauds them. Everyone except for Sari gathers around her; the kitsune hostess remains attached to Kozuke, who by now is healed.

She looks to Kiyomi, then. “Do you need healing, Onee-sama?” she asks softly, snuggling up to Kozuke. He looks down to the girl with a bewildered expression and gently pats her fuzzy kitsune ears. She looks up into his eyes, her face framed with her cute blonde hair and her expression sunny. “Kozuke-sama!” she squees.

“No, I’m well, little one.” Kiyomi winks at Sari. “The important thing that must be attended to immediately is locating Madoka. We’re close to her now. Employ your unique gifts and we’ll find her! Hurry!” she imperiously orders.

“Yes, Mistress!” Arisu giggles.

“Of course, Mistress Kiyomi,” Chie murmurs. “We have to find her!”

“We’ll split up and find her super quickly!” Momo smiles.

Namo giggles and curseys. “Of course, sister,” she murmurs. The energetic girls scatter to the winds. Chie takes wing and flies straight up to gain a view from above.

Arisu enthusiastically bounds around, her tail twitching.

“Will you ceede your power, or will you fight me foolishly?” Yoshimaru asks, an edge of threat in its tone.

“I have had enough of you, foolish child! There is no escape for you!” it threatens as it holds Madoka up by her long hair. Madoka moans and groans, her face blue and bruised from repeated blows from Yoshimaru. Madoka has been fighting him and denying him ever since she has awakened.

“N-no!!!!” she screams loudly, casting her refutation into its horned face.

Yoshimaru hisses and grimaces. “You will regret this stubborn resistance! Your very life is in my palm. You will suffer in so many ways, I can’t count them. Your miserable existence… I try to take pity on you and you spit in my face, you wretched child!” he screams into Madoka face.

A-Aoi… Ka-nn… Madoka calls out desperately mentally to her shikigami spirits.

Oh no, Goshujinsama… you haven’t recovered enough… I want to cut off Yoshimaru’s jewels if it has any! Aoi savagely growls.

We know how you’ve suffered, oh Goshujinsama… please buy some time… we’ll defend you, but he’s probably keeping you weak with a field of some sort. Those followers are singing some occult chant, Kanna comments.

I’d burn all their rears if I could! Eiji growls frustrated.

I’m… s-stuck… oh, no… maybe I should… she can barely think through the pain that racks her body.

A burst of light floods the room and blinds everyone. Madoka moans and groans, suddenly hearing a strange melody floating in the air. The quality of it nearly puts her to sleep. The followers of Yoshimaru charge to their feet, rubbing their eyes through their masks. They charge. The prayers of the circle of followers surrounding Madoka and Yoshimaru are interrupted. Suddenly, Madoka can see familiar faces all around her outside the circle of followers still recovering. A familiar tengu face hovers in the air, flapping her wings rapidly. She sends feathers in every direction, and here and there they embed themselves in the flesh of the followers. They break their formation as they panic. Madoka gasps next and flinches when her eyes fall on Ko, the slime girl who nearly drowned her in her body.

Ko gurgles and burbles. She wraps herself around a particularly large man and seems to make strange erotic noises. Madoka blushes and looks away, chewing her lip. Yoshimaru still grips Madoka, and he casts his eyes around the room with a despite-filled expression. Momo and Namo bow, curtsey, and dance amongst the followers, wielding scissors. Robes are trimmed down to shirts here and there, and a few of the followers are totally naked under their robes. They scream and cover their humiliations as they stampede out from the room.

“Don’t flee, you cowards! You aren’t worthy of your God!” a large woman yells loudly.

Yoshimaru hisses as he sees Kozuke dart in and transform to his lion-dog form. He growls and snarls as he mauls Yoshimaru unbelievably fiercely. Comforting arms seize Madoka from behind, freeing her from Yoshimaru’s grasp. A flood of light surges through her body as gentle small hands soothe away her pain and wounds.

Her head is turned and Madoka blinks, moaning. Her lips are greedily seized in an intense kiss by Kiyomi’s. Madoka gasps and fidgets, feeling energy pouring into her. The energy pouring into her on both fronts charges her to the brim. Meanwhile, Arisu bounds into the room; she clotheslines followers on the way and otherwise pounces on many of the followers while Momo and Namo assist her with her enthusiastic cat girl assault. Chie flies above, sending a hail of pinions into the eyes and other sensitive parts of the followers below.

The enthusiastic ministrations of the maid girls shortly make quick work of the followers, the work of Momo and Nami leaving the robed, disrobed in many cases. The man who had been inside Ko collapses unconscious with a strange comical expression, his clothes entirely dissolved. For good measure, Chie sends a pinion down to plant in his bare backside like a black flag.

Kozuke faces off with Yoshimaru and the two snarl at each other, his jaws lodged in Yoshimaru’s arm. It beats furiously at Kozuke’s snarling face. At that moment, Kiyomi stops kissing Madoka and Madoka hisses. With an intense burst of golden energy, three spirits seem to rise from her and they take solid form flanking Madoka, their elemental auras shining. Aoi wields her water blade, Kanna her wind kunai, and Eiji his flame-wreathed tonfa. The three charge in while Madoka touches her Magatama and it shines brightly, flooding the room once again with brilliant light. Her spear appears in her hands and she joins the other three in the fray. Kiyomi watches now with a weak smile. Sari puts her arms comfortingly around her. Kiyomi smiles at Sari with a soft grin. “It was a great kiss!”

The shikigami execute a three-point combination attack on Yoshimaru and it screams and yells as it desperately dodges the precisely executed slices of Aoi’s water katana. Kanna harries Yoshimaru with her kunai and cleverly flung bolos. Yoshimaru dances, leaping and flipping to avoid their strikes. He swings his stumpy limbs to block strikes, his movement resembling something like a breakdance. Eiji flips into the fray suddenly and finding an opening, pummeling it fiercely from behind. “Feel the burn, you dastard villain!” he sings with a rockstar vibe, tremolo shaking his voice dramatically. Kanna giggles as she listens to Eiji with a warm grin. Aoi rolls her eyes and focuses intensely on her fight with Yoshimaru.

She thrusts repeatedly, slamming her blade home in its torso repeatedly. Meanwhile, Madoka dashes in, her expression savage and hard. “I will destroy you, you evil piece of filth!” Madoka growls and yells aloud, swinging her spear and twirling it with more skill than she has demonstrated thus far. Now that she’s found her will to fight, several of her strikes hit their mark. It’s a flurry of action and Kozuke harries the oni from behind, snapping at its hamstrings, sinking his fangs in at one point.

“That’s enough of this!” Yoshimaru roars in pain. “We’ll meet another day, toy! You were in the palm of my hand, but you will capsize like a sunken ship in the Sea of Japan. Mark my words, child. I will destroy your motivation. You will gladly give your power the next time we see each other. My hand moves NOW!” it barks menacingly. With a burst of stunningly powerful dark energy, it disappears.

Meanwhile, a peaceful home flares up instantly in a conflagration akin to hellflame…

Glossary -

Hagoromo - I’m fairly sure this was already defined in a previous chapter… likely chapter two where Kami-sama appeared last in person! It’s a mantle typically in use by kami, though they have appeared in many anime where the characters were not kami, but empowered. Think of it as a gravity defying scarf draped around your head or neck.

Wilhelm Scream - Some may not know this. It’s still in use in modern movies. If you heard that silly laugh when a character went flying or fell or otherwise were harmed, that’s likely the silly cry that you heard at some point without perhaps thinking of it!

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Avatar Battle over the Shrine Maiden! BEGIN! by Yuki 2018-11-21 13:04:24

Wow thats a lot of action, The Oni was so close, and yet so far away. Even the Kami stepped in to help, for a moment. Even Madoka got to fight and got to be bad ass doing it. I hope everyone's okay. I hope that wasn't Madoka's home, One Madoka already lost her family already. To another Yoshi. I hope it isn't another one!

Rellawing's Reply: I can't really answer this question! :D I suppose you'll have to read the next one to see what the meaning of that is! :D *huggles*

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