Shintaro walked along the lighted streets of the road leading to Shinjuku. Regeneration and healing of his wounds had temporarily lessened his powers to summon the portal through Kakuriyo.
Even with decreased powers, he is still stronger than the healthiest human male. Besides, the streets were always busy. A couple was chatting outside a shop. Cars were going back and forth on the road. A few lonely Japanese were scurrying off to their destination.
"Shintaro!" Kyoko's voice called out.
He turned around and smiled. "Hey baby."
The ghost was probably going about Kuro's business. Masakage had instructed him to 'get in her good books'. That's the only way they could spy on Kuro and fish for information on her moves. Who was he to reject an order?
His eyes gleamed with the kitsune's seduction prowess. Those powers worked on every yōkai and ghost, except on the serpents.
"What are you doing out so late?" Kyoko slipped her arm into his.
Troublesome ghost. She felt cold as fuck. Still needed to play the game, despite the painful fact that her boss had just trashed him.
"Oh, just finished dojo training and needed to have a bit of fresh air. And your boss is with Daija, if you are looking for her." he pointed to the dojo's direction.
Nurarihyon halted as he glanced at both Kyoko and Shintaro making out from afar.
What was Kuro's secretary doing with the kitsune? He knew Kuro has always been cautious of letting her staff fraternise with the male kitsune.
A few of the Amabie yōkai bowed and greeted him with their Kumamoto accent, then went off on their merry way after he returned the greetings. They are distinctive, with their birdlike beaks, scales, wild long hair, and three legs had long hair. Thankfully, invisible to the mortals until they wished to be seen.
That was the third group he saw tonight. They are supposedly rare but with the Covid-19 pandemic, their existing population has risen in popularity with the humans.
The Kyushu Daiyōkai had mentioned about them in the Edo period. Something about six years of good harvest, and should any disease happen, their pictures were to be shown around to ward off a spreading disease.
Amabie yōkai are seen nationwide now. Even in his home prefecture of Akita, in the Tohoku region - the opposite end of Japan from the Kyushu region. They had never appeared there until 2020, when the pandemic started.
Who was he to complain? A few years back, a manga artist made him popular with the manga series, Nurarihyon no Mago. Handsome even. Then it withered back to the old image of him. Nurarihyon snickered at the thought. Humans, they can be so amusing.
A sudden presence of a passing aura caught his attention. An old familiar one, which was hardly felt in the Kanto region for centuries. It halted at his position for a while.
"Nura… what are you doing here?"
The disembodied voice spoke not in Yamato Kotoba but a language of the lost people. The Yamatos, forbearers of the modern day Japanese, were not always occupying the entire Japan then. There were indigenous tribes whom the Yamatos referred to, with disdain, as the Emishi, Ebisu or Ezo.
Nurarihyon immediately froze. A few of the yōkai heading his way immediately walked in the opposite direction.
Arahabaki! The ancient god of the extinct indigenous tribes in Tohoku. What the hell was he doing here?
The aura immediately manifested into a human figure. A tall slender young man with short reddish tinged hair and glowing green eyes appeared. Clean shaven. Looking like a real punk with his dressing.
A few girls giggled flirtatiously as they walked past the god, unaware of his true nature. Nurarihyon remained hidden in the dark corner.
"Ladies, if you want to go back to my place…" Arahabaki grinned.
"Not tonight," the girls laughed and stopped as one hurried up towards them, pretending to be shy.
Nurarihyon swiftly shape-shifted unseen in the dark as another young man, careful not to outshine Arahabaki's appearance.
Arahabaki patted him on the cheeks. "Clever boy."
Arahabaki had a reputation of being extremely unpredictable, volatile and even rebellious. Even the Yamato gods had avoided conflict with him by appeasing him with godly membership. Quite unwillingly.
They and Arahabaki once fought. The resulting violence led to an endless turmoil in the Takamagahara, their abode. So the rumour went.
Out of the blue, shrines were built for Arahabaki. Unlike other Emishi gods who disappeared with their tribes, Arahabaki had survived to this century.
Any yōkai who dared to offend Arahabaki would have a terrible time paying the price. This peculiar god piled on vengeance with high interest repayment. Taira no Masakado's wrath could not even match a hundredth of Arahabaki's wrath.
Nurarihyon wished he could disappear on the spot.
"There's one here now," he said as he tried to move away.
Arahabaki yanked him by the collar. "Not so fast. What will the lady think? Besides, we have to talk. Now SMILE."
Nurarihyon forced on his best smile.
The girl reached them, offering her phone to a grinning Arahabaki. "What's your Line or phone number?… oh hi there."
Brazen and dumb young girl, Nurarihyon thought as he gave her a quick nod.
'If you try to escape, I will hunt you myself,' Arahabaki's unspoken warning slammed forcefully into Nurarihyon's being. Anyway, he couldn't move under the god's power, even if he tried .
Arahabaki calmly pulled out his iPhone and gave it to the girl.
"Add yours in my phone, more convenient." he winked at her as she smiled happily and took it.
Shoot me dead, Nurarihyon turn his head away to grimace when the girl returned the iPhone. That's the real raging inferno this teenage girl is playing with. Worse than the motorcycle gangsters.
"My name is Michiko." she bowed and then giggled like a moron again.
"Arahito," Arahabaki swept his hair as he called her phone from his.
Oh dear gods, Nurarihyon wanted to facepalm at that nauseating sweetness.
A sickening Jpop melody played as she waved to them and left unsteadily in her heels for her giggly companions.
Arahabaki muttered coldly as his grin disappeared once the girls turned their backs. "Not even a virgin at her age. What is this world coming to? Not even fit to be a miko in my shrine."
"Now for you, we have business." He grew closer to Nurarihyon's face.
"About that text message you all received about Izanami-no-Mikoto." Arahabaki flashed a pearly white smile.
Nurarihyon felt like someone sunk him down into the depths of the ocean.
"Why the FUCK am I included in that text spam?" Arahabaki slammed the screen of his iPhone with full force into his face.