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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 copes with the aftermath of Yoshimaru's merciless tactics.

Chapter Twenty Five : The Miko Who Suffered
Posted: 2018-12-05 08:47:39 | Updated: 2018-12-05 08:47:39
Words: 6022

The mournful beeping of vital-monitoring machinery echoes through a quiet room. In the hospital room there is only one occupied bed. Suddenly the door opens and a crowd of people file in, their expressions somber. Men, women, children, some looking ragged. Many look hopeless as they quietly surround the bed. Many of the women present put gentle hands on the prone unconscious body in the bed, and they look back and forth amongst themselves, shedding tears.

“We will remember you forever…” a soft trembling voice sobs. “You brought so much happiness to our lives… you are…”

The beeping of machinery drones into the silence of the room. Kozuke stands nearby, arms crossed. He stares bitterly out the window, reminiscing. Kiyomi hugs Madoka tightly, and Madoka stares blankly at nothing, her cheeks stained by the tears she has shed until no more can come. The door opens suddenly. Madoka turns mutely, seeing that it’s the girl she has never met until recently, Riri. She sees that Tatsuo stands next to her, looking anxious.

Riri gently steps to Madoka and passes her a cold can of coffee. Madoka stares down at it for a long moment and nods with a weak smile, accepting it.

“Um… I don’t want to make things worse, but Emi-chan hasn’t shown up.” Riri sighs. Moments after, Harue steps into the room. She sighs as she examines the faces of the people inside.

Her lips twist in an expression of bitterness. Kiyomi looks at Riri with a warm encouraging smile. Tatsuo looks at Harue with an astonished expression.

“If you’re so amazing, Kiyomi, why don’t you go looking for Emi-chan?” Harue suggests. “Madoka has plenty of support here. An extra hug will not make much of a difference here.” She turns her attention to Tatsuo, noticing the expression on his face. “What? Is there something on my face?” she asks.

“Oh, no… I remember you from Harajuku a little while back, with Emi-chan and…” Tatsuo blinks.

“I do have resources. I do not want to assume that she perished in the fire.” Kiyomi shakes her head. “She hasn’t been particularly kind towards me, but she is a cherished friend. I will do my best to find out where she may have gone.” She chews her lip and finally relinquishes her grip on Madoka, looking to her with a questioning expression.

Madoka shakes her head and sighs. “I’m fine, Kiyomi. Ah, yes… Harue is that girl...”

“Alright, Madoka-chan. I’ll be back as soon as possible.” She gently touches Madoka’s cheek and steps away.

“Do you need any help?” Tatsuo offers.

“I’m grateful for the offer, but you would slow my efforts. I know you worry for your girlfriend, but do what you are able on your own,” Kiyomi gently states as she hurries out. Everyone except for Kozuke watches her go, but finally he grits his teeth, turning towards Madoka.

“W-why don’t you go too, Kozy?” Madoka suggests.

“We’ve seen what has happened when you’ve been left unattended. You are at your weakest at the moment. I cannot risk your coming to further harm due to my negligence.”

“So why? Are there yakuza after her family?” Riri asks, awed.

“No, it’s nothing like that… I mean… I don’t think we can really explain,” Tatsuo murmurs.

The door opens again and a doctor steps in. She smiles comfortingly towards the visitors. “If you’d all be so kind as to step outside the room… I need to speak with his daughter.” She gestures to Madoka. “Unless you consent their hearing what I have to say.”

“I-I don’t mind it. They’re my dear friends… I barely know Riri, but she’s very kind,” Madoka replies.

“That’s sweet. You don’t have to include me.” Riri smiles.

Tatsuo looks at her then. “Riri-chan… don’t you have practice? Why are you still here four hours later?” he inquires.

Riri shakes her head. “I… I’m worried about Emi-chan, but Madoka is a dear friend of Emi-chan’s. I’d be a terrible friend if I didn’t offer comfort while I’m able.”

“You’re an amazing girl.” Tatsuo smiles.

“Don’t go hitting on your girlfriend’s bestie at a time like this.” She laughs.

“I’m not doing that. I appreciate kindness.” Tatsuo shrugs.

“Yes, I know,” she responds.

Harue sighs and nods. “I have not known Emi-chan for long, but she is wonderful to Madoka-chan, and I adore her sense of humor. There isn’t much I can do, but we can all pray for Emi, and for Madoka’s father… and, by the way, the sensei is here to discuss a matter concerning him. We should probably let her speak.” She gestures to Madoka’s father on the hospital bed. Their eyes usually have avoided him, but their eyes are drawn to him like iron filings to a magnet.

Madoka sniffles and sobs softly. Nobuo, her father, is wrapped in bandages from head to toes. The bandages are bloody in places.

Kozuke snarls and turns his back to the bed.

“Your father will likely live,” the doctor allows herself a sigh. ”He is stable for now, however… his full recovery will take a long time. We are doing all we can, but we expect he’ll be able to communicate in a month or so. I understand you’re without a home. Do you have any other family members you can stay with?” she asks softly. She steps forward and places a comforting hand on Madoka’s shoulder.

“I… n-no… no other family.” Madoka bawls softly. “They’re all I’ve had… I… h-h-he…” Madoka screams.

“Oh, Madoka-chan…” Harue steps to her side and embraces her gently. “Pray for a miracle, I’m certain that you will receive one.”

Riri hugs her from the other side. “If you need a place to stay, you can stay with me. It’s a wonderful apartment. Emi-chan would do the same for you. You are not friendless, Madoka! I don’t know you, but I trust someone Emi came to deeply like. She’s very choosy with friends.” She smiles softly.

Madoka stares at Riri with a blank expression. “I-I appreciate it… I’m so glad I have options.”

“I recommend you take her up on the offer, Mistress. You must. If you ended up homeless I would figure something out for you, and I’m certain the… Kiyomi… would as well. At the last, there is your friend Tatsuo. But don’t worry. Kiyomi will see to it that things are put to right where she can. I have to grudgingly give her some of my respect.” He shakes his head.

Madoka looks to Kozuke with a blank expression, and Tatsuo’s silly smile is somewhat reassuring despite the fact that it ill fits the mood.

“Ahem… Madoka,” the Doctor murmurs. “If things go poorly, and your father were to suddenly lose his life, you would have to be registered with Social Services. There is a man who may be able to place you in a nice home. We will not assume that everything will go poorly, but just in case, I will inform him and he will stand by for the nonce.”

“I-I… I don’t want to think about that! He’ll be fine! Don’t worry about it.” Madoka sobs.

“You clearly require mental assistance. Your mother is deceased, and your father… I highly recommend taking advantage of the social worker’s assistance. Regardless of the result of our treatments, you should,” the doctor states.

“We don’t know that Mama’s dead for certain! She could be alive! She didn’t have to be there, Mama… there isn’t any evidence…” Madoka screams.

“Shhhh… don’t take it out on Sensei,” Harue murmurs gently.

“This is so terrible…” Kozuke murmurs, his tone husky.

Pray for her!” Harue squeezes Madoka’s shoulder. “For all of them. What kind of a failure of a Kami would allow this!?” Harue bites her lip.

“No, not a failure,” Kozuke responds gently, his back turned to all still. “It’s in our own hands to act. Kami will bless you. That will help, but it doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Harue nods mutely, and Riri echoes the nod.

“Keep my offer in mind, Madoka-chan,” Riri says. “If you don’t have anywhere else to go, you have my place, and you have a bright future ahead of you. Please consider it. I’ll see to it that you have one.” She smiles.

“Riri-chan is so kind.” Tatsuo smiles warmly towards Riri. “It’s true that if you were to stay at my place again, it would be pretty awkward. When Emi-chan resurfaces, if she found out about it, she’d give me the silent treatment for a month, I think,” he laughs.

“Oh, I don’t think so. I think Emi-chan would be jealous, but she would appreciate your helping your friend more, but yes, that should probably be a last resort.” Riri laughs.

“I-I will think about it. But for tonight, I want to stay by my father’s side…” Madoka claps the palms of her hands to her face as she she takes a long deep breath.

I don’t know what to do now! Mama, where are you? I want to go through the wreckage of our home… but I don’t want to find Mama’s dead body! What do I do? I-I want to find IT and destroy it! Madoka screams mentally.

M-Madoka-chan… Aoi-chan’s voice responds gently.

I will help you in the hunt, Goshujinsama Eiji chimes in. You don’t know what to do, but you should take revenge on that cursed Oni!

I think chasing him foolishly isn’t as important as finding her mama! It’s her mama, and Emi-chan! We have to find her too! Kanna cries out.

Emi is a wonderful friend, Aoi adds. She can be there, able to do for her what we can’t, that is if she’s alright. Madoka, take us to your home. If you have the energy, you can call us out and we’ll go through the wreck of your home… we’ll tell you what we find!

I agree with that suggestion! Finding them is what we should do! Eiji adds.

“She’s having one of those conversations with the voices in her head,” Tatsuo jokes.

“She’s mentally unstable?” Riri blinks. “Oh no, I don’t blame her after what happened to her family!”

“Oh no, it’s not what it sounds like, I shouldn’t have said anything. She just reasons her way in pretty major detail through her problems.” Tatsuo laughs, scratching his head.

“That’s a little insensitive. It makes her sound insane still,” Harue suggests.

“I’m not so sure about it, but laughter is the only answer sometimes,” Tatsuo replies.

“There’s a time for laughter and smiles, and there are times when it’s insensitive,” Harue comes back at him.

“That’s true, but Madoka needs to find reasons to smile.” He sighs and looks at Madoka, noticing her sagging.

“I can’t leave his side… not when something might happen… I have to stay here.” Madoka sniffles. “H-he’s all that’s left of my only family, maybe. Oh, Mama…” Madoka mewls and turns around, rubbing her eyes.

“I have to go for now, but I’ll bring you supper.” Riri gently pats Madoka’s back. “Tatsuo is clumsy, but he’s right! Cheer up. We’ll do everything we can to help you, Madoka.”

Later that night, Kozuke sits in a nearby chair. The lights in the hospital room are dimmed. His nose wrinkles as he takes in the scents filling the air. The odor of disinfectant thick in the air discomfits him. He focuses on the more pleasant odors emanating still from the large bento box Ruri has brought, containing a pleasant meal of yaki udon. It sits mostly eaten on a nearby table.

Kami-sama, what will we do? Her will to fight seems severely damaged. That evil oni threatened to do something horrible, and he has! All I can do is protect her. I want to find her mother for her, as well as her friend. I dare not move from here. He sniffs at the air. Perhaps its his imagination that he can smell the fetid scent of the oni. I would not put it past that evil monster to stalk Madoka at the point of her greatest weakness. That is what he wanted. I will not allow him to have his way! He idly taps his foot on the floor of the hospital room and looks to the chair on the other side of the bed where Mistress Madoka is wrapped up in a blanket. Her soft breathing is audible as well as the weaker breathing of her father.

As soon as she reappears, we can ask for little Sari’s assistance. She’s surely weakened from the earlier healing she offered. I don’t know how long it will be before she would be able to take on such a major project, but healing Madoka’s father is absolutely imperative!

You are quite correct, my faithful hound. You must be especially vigilant while Madoka is weakened. I don’t have many resources available to me at the moment, but I will look after you and her, Kami responds.

We must hunt down that oni, Kamisama! He is a merciless enemy. He will usurp everything. Eliminating him is…

That is the duty of my Shrine Maiden. It’s a far more daunting duty than many others have, but she is not ready for that task. When she finds the fourth, perhaps then. I hope she won’t crumble. A blade tempers under the right temperatures. This may yet backfire in his face.

I should eliminate him as soon as possible! That wily fox is far more capable than I would have thought. I always respected Kiyomi’s deviousness, but I do respect her power. She seeks to steal Madoka’s heart, but she is subtle.

Power she does have, my faithful hound, but I wouldn’t rely on her. She has a jealous heart. Her desires border on obsession. Protect Madoka’s heart. We’ll see how Kiyomi conducts herself.

Yoshimaru’s lips twist and his fangs gleam as he peers into the third-floor window. He chuckles softly with self-satisfaction. The form of the watchdog stirs and Yoshimaru smirks; his tongue licks his lips as though anticipating a rich feast. It is nearly done! Her power erodes. He laughs as shadows lick across his form like black flames and his body, standing on air outside the window, disappears.

Kozuke wakes the next morning, snorting. When he looks around, he sees that Madoka is gone! He growls loudly and leaps to his feet, coursing through the room. He sighs as he turns to look towards her still unconscious father. Where has she gone? He follows her scent to the door and out.

I didn’t smell anyone else in the room. No one else has recently… perhaps she…

He walks along the hallway past clustered orderlies at a station. A few of the younger nurses smile at him shyly. He has no time for such nonsense, but he returns the smiles casually. Kozuke continues up the hallway towards an elevator bank and the door opens. Tatsuo and the the new girl, seemingly always wearing sunglasses, step out. Kozuke blinks, looking from one to the other. “Good morning,” he mutters tersely.

“Good morning, butler-san.” Riri smiles warmly.

“Are you heading out for a hearty breakfast?” Tatsuo inquires. “How is Madoka doing?”

“She has disappeared,” Kozuke responds with a bitter expression. “She continually makes my job to protect her extremely difficult at times.”

“Your job? Someone pays you as a bodyguard? Are you a multiskilled man?” Riri grins. “I wish I could hire you, but where I live…” she trails off.

“Where you live?” Tatsuo blinks. “Wait… he just said Madoka is gone again. Was she kidnapped again?” He panics.

“I’m uncertain of it. I think she was alone when she left me behind. I’m trailing her,” Kozuke responds in a terse manner. “I don’t have time for niceties. I must be on my way before her trail goes cold.”

“Her trail?” Riri blinks and as Kozuke steps into the elevator, the two others sneak in after him.

Kozuke presses the first floor button quickly and they wait as it descends.

“Maybe she’s at the hospital cafe? It’s the right time for breakfast, so maybe she’s just eating?” Tatsuo suggests.

“Perhaps…” Kozuke frowns as he paces impatiently. When the door opens, he bolts out and runs up and down the hallway before finding a whiff of Madoka’s scent. He gestures up the hallway and bolts in that direction. Riri and Tatsuo follow with blank expressions.

Finally Tatsuo lets out a short laugh. “I can’t say much about his behavior, but Kozuke has a talent for trailing people, I think. He’s an odd man, but he’s pretty amazing.”

“Really? He sounds even more interesting.” They continue to run after him as Kozuke follows the scent of Madoka to the lobby doors and outside.

“So much for the breakfast theory, unless she’s eating out,” Riri comments.

“I don’t much care for hospital food, either.” Tatsuo chuckles.

“And I, as well,” Kozuke growls over his shoulder, increasing his pace. The other two force their paces faster to keep up.

“If we have to go a long distance, maybe we should take my car?” Riri suggests as she follows. Tatsuo is the first to flag despite her words.

“I appreciate the offer, but I… could not follow the trail from the inside of a car. You may follow in a vehicle if you prefer.

“Oh, I’m fine… but Tatty might need the help?” Riri grins, seeming invigorated. Tatsuo looks at her with a indecipherable expression. She giggles.

They follow to a nearby subway station and downstairs. When they reach the ticket taking stands, he removes a card from his pocket and the two take a moment to remove their own magnetic cards. Tatsuo unpockets his wallet, sliding his card free. Riri rumages briefly through her purse. Riri swipes her card and dashes after Kozuke like a champion marathon runner. Tatsuo follows, with a great deal less zeal as he gasps and puffs.

When they reach the platform, Kozuke stops, snarling. “It will be impossible to follow her trail from here!” He turns to look at the two. Tatsuo wipes a slick of greasy sweat from his forehead.

“What now?” Riri asks cooly. “Calm down and consider the situation. Where might Madoka go?” She looks to the other two.

“I-I don’t know…” Tatsuo coughs. “Maybe she’s going home? I mean, to her burned-down house… but why would she leave her father alone? Why don’t I try calling her?”

“That’s not a bad idea!” Riri smiles broadly. “Do it, Tatty!”

“Tatty, really…” Tatsuo shakes his head. “That’s such a horrible nickname.”

“You’re stuck with it now,” she giggles in reply. “Once you have a nickname, you wear it forever.”

“That’s not… oh fine…” Tatsuo slips his phone from his pocket and dials up Madoka’s number. He waits a long moment and it starts ringing. He waits for six rings and it switches to voicemail. “MADOKA! Pick up the PHONE!” He grimaces.

“She’s pretty disturbed at the moment. I don’t blame her, but we’re just trying to help her,” Kozuke snarls. “Very well, let’s go to her most likely destination. We need to go to the closest station to her home,” Kozuke points out, and at that moment the train noisily barrels down the tunnel into the station. It comes slowly to a stop at the right platform. Kozuke examines the two. “You don’t have to come, but going there seems to be the best plan for the moment.” He dashes into the train car after a crowd of people. The other two squeeze in after.

They ride for several stops and disembark to transfer to another train. They board a Chuo line train bound for Higashi-Nakano. When they arrive, Kozuke darts outside the car first and courses up and down along the platform as the other two disembark more casually. Tatsuo, now cooled off somewhat, watches Kozuke. Riri moves quickly towards a vending machine nearby. She removes a small coin pouch from her purse and inserts a series of yen coins. She carefully crouches and retrieves three drinks from where they have dropped. She carries them in her arm as she steps around a group of salarymen. When she reaches Tatsuo, she offers him one of the drinks with a caring smile.

“You’re looking better, but you should work on improving your stamina. Maybe you don’t take your physical education seriously?” she suggests.

Tatsuo rolls his eyes. “As much as the next young high schooler does. I do very well. Not all of us are athletes.” He rolls his eyes.

“Well, I don’t mind it if you think I’m an athlete.” She grins.

“And that means you’re not an athlete? What exactly are you?” Tatsuo asks as he accepts the drink.

“Oh, that… athlete sounds fine. Lots of exercise every day, you know.” She giggles.

“Oh… it sounds like you are an athlete.” Tatsuo smiles.

He’s such an adorable dope, really… Emi-chan! She laughs and Tatsuo smiles even more.

Kozuke draws close to them after a while and snorts. “I think I smelled her for a moment here, but there are too many unwashed types going in and out through the station…”

“Smell?” Riri delicately sniffs the air. “It… smells like a train station, I mean… it’s not like they sell a perfume with that smell, but I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“Oh! The always popular ‘new train station’ smell! It probably drives the train enthusiasts up a wall!” Tatsuo laughs.

“That’s a good one!” Riri grins, chortling.

“That’s… okay. So she might have been here. We need to move along if you’re still tagging along.” Kozuke rolls his eyes.

“Kozuke-san? I got this for you! You’re working really hard looking for that girl! Please enjoy it!” She smiles warmly as she extends him a Pocari Sweat.

“Thank you, young lady,” he murmurs as he accepts the bottle. “Let’s hurry along.” He gestures and leads the way to a nearby stairwell and up from the tracks. They hurry along and through the proper station and onto the street. Kozuke casts around for a while. Tatsuo and Riri watch him as they enjoy their drinks. Finally, Kozuke nods and leads them up the street.

“There’s a faint scent of her, but I’m not sure how old the scent is,” Kozuke comments.

“Is he really tracking her by scent? What kind of a man is he, if he can do that? Is he a weird stalker? Does he sniff her panties?” Riri asks with a blush. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she has a stalker or two! She looks way too amazing for a few creepy types not to be into her.”

Kozuke stiffens at Riri’s suggestion as he runs.

Tatsuo steps in to correct the misapprehension. “Um, Madoka’s footprint is kind of really small at the moment, but I guess there’s Kiyomi and the butler. I guess you could say they’re fans of hers? Maybe that Harue girl, too?” Tatsuo suggests.

“I’m a bodyguard servant,” Kozuke chips in over his shoulder. “Hurry!”

Madoka comes to a stop before her home. She sniffles and seats herself on a nearby cement wall as she stares at it. She touches her magatama under her blouse, stroking it.

The yard is still somewhat pretty… but the house is burned rubble. She looks at the walkway up to the front door and tears ooze down her cheeks. She sits for a long moment, and once or twice people walk past, not neighbors she recognizes.

After a long period, she leaps to her feet, casting her eyes around her. She grits her teeth. She walks into the yard and goes down to her knees in the grass of the yard behind the low wall around her home’s yard. She strokes the magatama.

Maybe you shouldn’t burn all that much energy… we will help you search for your mother, but if you’re too exhausted to fight if the oni appears, it might be a problem, Aoi suggests.

I wish my home was on one of those leylines. Then maybe I could expend energy to do both things… Madoka frowns. But Aoi-chan, I need to… I need to find Mama…

I understand, Madoka-chan, but why did you leave Kozuke behind? He would have been willing to come and help you. You were in such a hurry to get here… Aoi replies.

She is probably right again. Aoi-chan is way too frustrating with her logic. All I want to do is loose the steam. I understand how you feel, Goshujinsama! Eiji commiserates.

She isn’t thinking… you aren’t thinking clearly, Madoka-chan! Kanna cries out.

Can’t you understand it, Kanna? He took away her mother, maybe. Why wouldn’t anyone want to look for revenge? Eiji cries out.

I do, idiot! I know well! Oh, fine… why not let us out for a moment to hug you, Madoka-chan? Kanna suggests.

That won’t help me! All I want is to kill that evil piece of filth oni! You want to know why I’m here? Surely you can figure it out! Kanna! Don’t you know? Madoka clutches her head.

I know. You’re bait. He wants you. And you’ve rested well. If he’s foolish enough to think he can come at you because you’re alone, he’ll find how mistaken he is. Eiji chortles.

Madoka-chan! We’re not stupid! I knew what you had in mind from the beginning, and you worry me! You’re not in your right mind! Can you handle him? He seems powered up by his grudge! He’s like a frightening ghoul! He hurt you…

I was weak then! I hadn’t found my fire! I’ll use it to set HIM on aflame! If he thinks he can burn everything important to me, I will burn him! Madoka screams mentally.

“Have you decided to cease your foolish clinging to your undeserved power?” a snarling taunting voice echoes through the air.

Kozuke, Tatsuo, and Riri head along a large roadway for a period, past many businesses with banks of vending machines periodically stationed along the way. They trot along the way and Riri tirelessly trots after. Tatsuo is panting again pretty quickly. He follows with a laugh. Tatsuo leads the way down a narrow street along the way.

“We’re approaching Madoka’s neighborhood via small streets,” Tatsuo points out, gasping.

“I remember the area, but I haven’t seen every small street.” Riri smiles towards Tatsuo.

“If you had an idea she’d be heading here, maybe taking Riri-chan’s car would have been a better idea,” Tatsuo pants.

“Man up,” Kozuke comments.

Riri giggles. “I’m man enough for the two of you.”

Tatsuo runs his hand through his sweaty greasy hand and grimaces as he reaches into his pocket for his handkerchief, already sodden. “You’re as girly-girly as they come, Riri-chan!” He barks out a laugh.

“That’s true. It’s good that you pointed out my feminine style.” Riri echoes the laugh.

“Who wouldn’t, with those skirts you seem to like?” Tatsuo asks her.

“Well, you know, it’s the right weather for it, but it’s also really stylish. Emi-chan is pretty stylish too, though she’s more into glamour fashion.”

“You talk too much. Save your breath. You’ll tire out faster.” Kozuke chuckles.

“What kind of training do you do, butler-san?” Riri asks as they jog. “Maybe you should consider becoming a trainer. If you have that kind of stamina, I’ll bet you’d have a future in that career! But you’re handsome enough to make it as a model too, maybe.”

“Oh? That’s not a priority for me.” Kozuke utters a chuckle. “I’m flattered.”

At that moment, they leave a narrow one-lane street and enter a two-lane street. Tatsuo turns his head in the direction of Madoka’s home. They jog across the street and up it. He looks at it mournfully as Kozuke leaps the wall dynamically. He searches the small yard and, not finding her, he snarls.

“Unless she’s hiding somewhere nearby she’s not here! As soon as I find her trail, I am moving along! Rest if you need it, for a moment!” He courses around the area, visibly sniffing the air.

Riri and Tatsuo cast their sad expressions towards the house. Tatsuo grits his teeth and walks over to the burned-out ruin. He carefully looks around it and and starts to dig through the rubble, exhausted.

“Why has no one come to search the wreck of her home yet?” Riri asks aloud.

“Shouldn’t they search it soon to see if anyone died?” Tatsuo echoes Riri’s words.

“It’s a huge mess! What are the odds that something that could turn her home to an ash-covered mess like this… I mean… how could someone survive it?” Riri sighs.

“I have the trail!” Kozuke growls. “I’m on my way!” he snarls and leads the way, not waiting for a response.

“Oh,more running… joy…” Tatsuo complains.

“I skipped my practice yesterday… and probably will end up doing so today too. I’m grateful for this wonderful opportunity to stay in shape, and maybe it will boost my endurance!” Riri grins.

“Like you need a boost in your endurance. You’re inexhaustible!” Tatsuo pants. “Give me some of that energy!” he groans as he shambles after.

“Ehe… sorry…”

As the three run, they charge onwards and break into a strange atmosphere. Everything around seems darker, and dark lightning links the sky to the ground. Not a single human being is in sight. They stumble onto the grounds of a shrine.

By the time they’ve reached their destination, Tatsuo is a sodden, panting mess. Even Riri is sweating, but she smiles and shines like a star despite the eerie darkness around. She removes her sunglasses to clear the lenses of fog.

Kozuke pants and snarls, and an exhausted Tatsuo finally notices Madoka standing in the center of the yard of the shrine. The oni stands on the roof of the shrine and Madoka holds her golden spear in her hands. To either side from three points, her Shikigami stand, weapons brandished. After clearing her sunglasses, Riri pushes them into her purse and turns her eyes to the roof of the shrine; her jaw drops. “W-what… a filming? What is this?” she exclaims.

“I’ll look after you, Riri-chan,” Tatsuo gasps and gulps for breath.

“You should leave,” Kozuke snarls. “This is no place for either of you. I didn’t suspect that it would come to this so soon after his previous ploy. He’s already taking advantage of the situation? Mistress! Why did you leave me behind?” he snarls. “Are you out of your mind?” he demands.

Madoka shrugs, mostly ignoring the words as she swings her spear threateningly.

“You think you have me, weak child?” the oni snarls. “Ahahaha… you have guts, but you are such a fool! I understand that your father at least survived the bonfire. If you continue to struggle against me, think about what you’ll lose! You stupid stubborn foolish child… give up your undeserved power or you will regret it!”

“You monster!” Eiji shrieks and charges with his flaming tonfa. Yoshimaru raises its dark blades to parry Eiji’s flaming tonfa. Their weapons clash, their elemental light visibly struggles with his dark energy. Aoi darts in, holding her blade low, and draws her arm back to slash across its exposed back. Suddenly, a robed form appears between them, a woman by appearance. She has black hair and red highlights. It flows around an oni mask. She wears a purple kimono with dark clouds and dark lightning inlaid upon it and wields a large sword nearly as large as an adult human. She parries Aoi’s slash and charges her, pushing her to the edge of the small rooftop. She weaves her large blade easily as if it were a foil.

“Who is that?” Tatsuo gasps tiredly. “She looks kind of sexy, but this isn’t the right time to… Madoka, are you…” He gapes as Madoka drives her spear into the ground and launches herself impossibly high into the air in a way that he never imagined possible for anyone. Madoka shrieks as she lances down towards Yoshimaru. He turns towards Madoka with a snarl and leaps backward. Madoka pulls her spear back as she lands heavily so as to not damage the roof of the shrine, but she pursues him. Kanna attacks it when its back is turned and launches a bolo. It leaps into the air, evading the attack, but her bolo captures its legs. It wraps around and heavy bags collide; there’s a burst of light and a dense cloud of some powder fills the air around Yoshimaru. Madoka dances backwards to avoid contact with it as Yoshimaru screams. When it lands heavily, Madoka charges in, point forward to seize upon its weakness. The strange woman reappears between them and turns the point of Madoka’s golden spear with her dark oversized sword. Madoka screams and swings her spear wildly to reach her body with her blade. The oni-masked woman dances from side to side, evading her strikes, but raises her weapon to turn her thrusts time after time.

“Die!” Eiji shrieks and flames up like a bonfire as he charges towards Yoshimaru. It laughs coarsely and throws one of Kanna’s bags up into his face. Eiji gasps and coughs, and the powder explodes in his face, sending him feet over head off the roof.

“No!” Kanna yells, charging in with her kunai bared. Aoi darts in again from the side to stab Yoshimaru repeatedly. The woman yells and swings her enormous blade like a hurricane. “You won’t harm my kami!” she yells, and brings her sword heavily down on one of the bags. There’s an explosion of powder.

“Ahahaha… you fool. You don’t have the strength! If you want to fight me, you have a long way to go. Your mother is dead! I have your friend! This was a intercession. If you don’t act on my warning you will regret it!” Yoshimaru hisses.

“I will torture her and leave her body where you will find it. You will be broken utterly!” Yoshimaru laughs.

“You will release Emi! You evil spirit! I banish you!” Madoka screams. “Kami-sama, grant me the strength to slay this evil bastard!” She thrusts her spear towards Yoshimaru’s voice and her spear blazes like the sun.

I hope you've enjoyed it! We're likely five or so chapters away from the completion of this novel, depending on when it feels a good time to complete it!

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Avatar Madoka's out for revenge! by Yuki 2018-12-05 9:11:42

It's nice to see Madoka get fired up about this. She's tired of running, instead she's doing the hunting now. Facing off against Yoshimaru even as the others worry about her. I love seeing how much worry everyone has when she disappears, and how often it comes up that Kozy is not exactly human, but it gets ignored time and time again. or brushed off. I still have to wonder who this other woman is, this, I'm gonna have to call her, dark Miko. Since she worships Yoshimaru. Not to mention I wonder why He keeps calling Madoka's power undeserved, when Madoka is proving time and again she is deserving of the faith her Kami-sama is putting into her and vice versa. Well need to see for next time, I hope Emi and Madoka's mom are okay!

Rellawing's Reply: With everything happening to her, she can't help but resent Yoshimaru! Who wouldn't want to put an end to harassment? He's hurt her badly numerous times now, and now he attacks her family. Unfortunately she does not have much left in the way of family. We will have to see what will happen! <3

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