It's looking to be another girl's day out at Tsukiji City.
While we're heading to the restaurant Hana is showing Rika the magical girl costumes in her backpack.
"What— they're so daring," Rika goes red in the face taking a look at the revealing outfits. "And you made these yourself?"
"You better believe I did. I toooottallly didn't ask Yumi to help me in any way," Hana brags.
Hitomi reaches into the bag and grabs the 'magic rod.' She inspects it curiously, finds the switch underneath the shaft, and turns it on max. It vibrates with such intensity that it would hurt more than it feels good. "What did I say about bringing your sex toys to school?"
"Uwah?! How'd you find out?"
"More importantly… how is someone so young making such vulgar things?"
Hana pouts. "Rude! I'm actually— mrph? Mmmrrrph!!"
Mio sneaks up behind Hana to cover her mouth. She flails in Mio's grasp, steam billowing from her ears.
"You know what they say," Mio begins, "don't let your dreams be dreams."
Mio lets go of Hana's mouth, leaving a mouth gag stuck between her lips. Try as she might, Hana can't pull it off and gives up to chase Mio who's hiding between Rika and Hitomi.
Hitomi doesn't look any different. I had an inkling she was the succubus I sensed, but that's not possible. If she were, my internal radar would be going off. Not that it's a possibility anyway. Hitomi's been a student at Tsukiji High since year one, and not once did she do anything suspicious.
I notice a car that's been tailing us since we left school. It's a beat down van like it was driven right out of a car junkyard. I've been trying not to make it too obvious, and only occasionally glance back pretending that something catches my attention. Since its windows aren't tinted, I managed to count four people in the van.
They look nothing like Hitomi's family who were wearing suits and driving in a limousine. These guys— at least from their appearance alone�� look like run-of-the-mill thugs. If they were just playboys trying to hit up girls, they wouldn't need to be stalking us like this.
Even though I'm a succubus now, my human stranger-danger senses are telling me they're up to no good.
I pull Mio back a few paces from the rest of the group so as to not freak the others out. She quickly sees what has me concerned.
"I can take care of them real quick, if you want." Mio is offering to charm them away, but the van is too far away for either of us to reach.
"What are you two looking at?"
Mio and I didn't even notice we've already reached our destination. Hitomi is holding the door open, waiting for us to go in.
"Let's ignore them for now. They'll probably leave by the time we're done eating." I whisper to Mio, and she nods in agreement.
The restaurant we've come to is a mongolian barbecue place. Mio's been wanting to eat spicier food, so Rika recommended this place because of their hefty portions and variety of sauces.
Mio dashes into the restaurant taking a huge whiff of the food being cooked on the circular grill behind the counter. Her eyes and mouth are watering so much, you'd think she were a succubus for food instead of sex.
"It hasn't really occurred to me until now," I begin, recalling the nuclear okonomiyaki from last time. "You really like spicy food, don't you?"
"Never really had anything like it back in Elza. Something about destroying your tongue and stomach that reminds me of rough S&M play."
I put a hand to my face. "Leave it to you to liken spicy food and sex together."
"I'd like two extra large bowls, puh-lease!" Mio declares, racing up to the register.
"You're making me pay for all that, aren't you?!"
Hitomi takes Mio's place next to me. "Elza? Her school records show Hokkaido?"
I nearly choke on my own spit. "Ah— it's a nickname for her hometown, Ebetsu… I think it was?"
Hitomi falls for the bait and says, "I see," before going ahead to order for her own food.
"Haeho, oher hor he, heash."
I look over to my left and see Hana's with the mouth gag still stuck in her mouth.
"Why do you still have that on?"
"Hio hash ha khe."
Unlike Mio, I just order a medium bowl for Hana and myself. The great thing about mongolian barbecue is that you have complete control over what you want to eat. We're each handed an empty bowl to fill up however we want. There's an array of meats, vegetables, and toppings laid out like a buffet.
The real winner that brings the food together is the sauce. Once I hand the bowl over to the cooks, they ask us the type of sauce we want in it. There are about a dozen different sauce mixes. It's daunting at first, and they have their own blend if a newcomer doesn't know what to get, but I enjoy a light chili sauce combined with basil and garlic sauce.
They take the entire bowl and toss it onto their round grill to be cooked in front of us. The final product and taste is simply indescribable.
Meanwhile, everyone at the table wrinkles their nose at Mio's abomination. The cook even asked Mio if she was sure about wanting so many scoops of chili sauce. They had to go to the back to refill the container because she asked for so much.
"Sniff, sniff. Aahhh… you smell that?" Mio hovers over her nuclear creation, drool dripping from the corner of her lips.
"What? The smell of death?" I remark, scooting my chair away a few inches.
"Mmm! Mmmhh!" Hana points to the gag in her mouth.
"Oh, right." Mio unlocks the gag from Hana's mouth, and the moment she does, a waterfall of saliva spills onto the floor.
Hana throws her hands into the air. "FREEDOM— ompf?!"
Mio stuffs a forkful of the crimson food into Hana's mouth. Her face begins to sweat profusely. She fans her mouth and face in vain trying to put out the fire.
"Kahaha! Rika, you wanna try?" Mio holds up another forkful.
Rika covers her bowl just in case Mio tries to dump it on. "My stomach doesn't agree with spicy!"
"Prez?" Mio shifts it over to Hitomi, who chomps down without hesitation.
We all stare at her expecting the same exaggerated reaction Hana had, but she shrugs it off. Japanese folk in general aren't high into spicy food, so seeing Hitomi take it like a champ has us in awe if not mildly impressed.
"What? I've been accustomed to spicy food since a young age. This, though it might come back to bite me in the bathroom later, isn't too bad." Hitomi wipes the beading sweat from her forehead.
"Speaking of, what was all that about this morning?" Mio asks.
I elbow her side. "Don't just dig into someone's private life like that. You don't have to answer her, Hitomi."
"It's fine. Torii Sensei and Murata are probably right to tell students to stay away from me. The people you saw this morning are my family in Tottori. They want me to go back and take over the, ahem, family business— not that I have any intentions to. I didn't know about the death threats until today," she says, biting into her thumbnail.
So far, the threats have only been directed at my family since Hitomi lives with us." Rika explains. "But they're empty threats, just trying to intimidate her into going home."
"Are you not close with your family?" I ask Hitomi.
"How can I be? They only want me to be at the head. Didn't care about how I felt."
"I so get you." Mio says, gnawing on her fork and leaning back on her chair. "I couldn't care less about my sister. But she was always trying to control me. Keeping me in my room, dictating where I could and couldn't go. If she'd just left me alone, I'd never have run off."
Hitomi laughs into her hand. "You ran away from your sister?"
"I tried. Kept getting caught by her mutt though. Nothing short of tearing that bitch's throat out is gonna make up for all the whipping she gave me."
"I feel the same. They don't think I'll remember all the cigarette burns they gave me as punishment. It's only right that I repay them over a few times."
Rika and I eat quietly at the corners of the table, unsure how to join in the conversation. Somehow, this discussion became pretty grim— or therapeutic. I was sympathizing with them up until the killing part. Is this really the kind of topics high schoolers should be having?
Either way, I can see how Mio and Hitomi got along so easily from the start. By the sound of it, their family circumstances are somewhat similar, and it's nice to see Hitomi venting off steam.
While we're finishing up our mongolian barbecue, Hitomi excuses herself to use the restroom. I can take this chance to speak to her alone.
"I'll go with you," I say, following after her.
As soon as we enter the restroom, Hitomi yanks me into a stall and locks the door.
"Ah— what? What's going on??"
Her knee pushes up between my knees, and her hands squeeze my butt from behind. Hitomi leans so close that our lips are only an inch apart. The smell of coconuts lingering from whatever shampoo or body wash she used slowly takes away my sense of reasoning.
"Hitomi, wait. We shouldn't!" She's much stronger than I thought. I'm having a hard time struggling against her. As much as I'd like to have sex with her, we'll definitely get caught if someone comes in.
"Isn't this why you followed me in," she coos and nibbles on my ear.
"Haauu~" I fall limp in her arms, legs trembling. "I… I just wanted to talk…"
Hitomi gasps and lets go of me. A look of confusion adorns her face. She bursts out of the stall and splashes water on herself over the sink.
"Sorry, I don't know what came over me."
"Are you okay?" I ask, handing her some paper towels.
Hitomi hesitates to take them from me. She stares at them as though I tampered with the paper towels. Eventually she reaches out with two fingers, clearly trying to avoid contact with me.
If I didn't know better, the way she's acting and her sudden bouts of lust makes me think she's a—
"I'm good. What did you want to talk about?"
I shake the outrageous thought from my mind.
"I saw you and Torii Sensei—" Hitomi stiffens. My instincts tell me to change course. "Going up to the rooftop. Are you two in… that sort of a relationship?"
Her shoulders slacken. I might have dodged a bullet. It definitely looks like she has something to hide from being seen upstairs, and I missed my chance to see it.
She sighs. "Torii Sensei approached me about my family problem. I couldn't confide in anyone else, especially when it has to do with… me being yakuza."
"So it is true. The tattoos, the limo. It makes sense. But you can talk to us. We're your friends, right?"
Hitomi balls up the paper towel and sinks it into the trash bin's small opening with pinpoint precision. She looks at her own hand as if expecting a different outcome.
"I'm happy that you think we're friends. We only started speaking to each other— what? A few days ago? You don't know the kind of people I tangoed with in the past, and it's better if we keep it that way."
There's more she isn't telling me, but out of respect for Hitomi, I don't pursue the topic any further. While the day is still young, Hana's newfound interest in otaku culture convinces us to take a trip to Akiba.
"Let's dress up in these costumes. That's cosplay, right?" Hana exclaims, a little too eager.
Rika is inspecting one of the outfits with mild anxiety. "But this dress… there's nothing covering the chest?"
However, as we exit the restaurant, three cars pull up to us. One of them is the van I saw earlier. Intimidating men pour out surrounding us from all directions. A man wearing a flashy purple blazer exits the most expensive vehicle and sneers.
"Look who it is! What's the Taiyo Clan's heiress doing all the way in Kobe?"
A shadow falls across Hitomi's face. "Why won't you all just leave me alone?"
The way they talk makes it seem like they have history.
It would be a different story if the police were nearby. Pedestrians are making a wide berth or running away. The only way we're getting out of this is using magic, but Hitomi and Rika will find out immediately.
The man keeps his hands in his pocket. There's a bulge in there, and I barely make out the outlines of a… gun?
"Your family did a number on us back in Tottori. We're here to collect the reparations. So come quietly and get in the car," he orders.
"Uwah… I can't charm them. Something's not letting me." Hana says.
"It's not working. I can't either. It's gotta be you," Mio whispers to me.
"I said get in the fucking car!" The man in purple pulls a gun on us. The rest of his goons do the same brandishing knives, metal bats, and tire irons.
Rika collapses to the ground, whimpering. "P-Please… we're just high schoolers!"
Before I can step in, the thugs turn the weapons on themselves. They press their knives against their throats, bats and tire iron into their mouths, and the man in purple raises the trembling hand clutching the gun to his head.
Hana and Mio are just as shocked as I am. Mio asks me, "is it you?"
"No," I answer, and then realize who the real culprit is.
"Everywhere I go I'm always being hounded… I'm so sick of it all." Hitomi's fists are clenched so hard her knuckles have turned white.
"Shit. Mio, Hana. Take care of those guys!"
"Magical girls, go!"
I tackle Hitomi to the ground. Her normally brown eyes take on a reddish tint. She kicks me off, the blow landing a lot harder than I would have expected of a human.
I couldn't believe my eyes. I didn't want to believe it. I suspected it in the restroom, but my stupid self didn't act on that.
Hitomi's uniform rips and tears, sprouting large bat-like wings from her back. A longer, slender tail whips violently behind her. She clutches her head in agony as two horns emerge from beneath the hair.
"Don't get in my way," she snarls. "I need to get rid of them for good. All of them."
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