Chapter 1: The Peculiar Events of Asabi Town
Tonight was a night of meetings for a young man in his early twenties, who stood in the light of a streetlamp, clad in a black over coat. Visible breath left the man’s mouth as he stood in the quiet of the night, with only the sound of snow crumpling in the distance to keep him company. He had come to Asabi town because of a friend’s request, and now he wondered why they had to meet so late. If it wasn’t bad enough that the mid Febuary weather showed no signs of spring, he received a text that told him that his friend would be a little late. Looking at it again, he brushed his short black hair behind his ears and looked up to the full moon that stared back with a yellow glow. The light faded through his black framed glasses, and calmed the sharp brown eyes that expressed his issues with the midnight meeting. A sudden crunching of snow called his attention away from the sky and made him look to a shadow to his left that stood just a bit out of sight to be recognized.
“Seiji-san right?” It was a young man who seemed to lurk just a little bit off, and made Seiji pick up a briefcase as he turned and silently approached. Had he not been himself, a man who had business on his mind first, he would have smiled as he saw his friend and thought back to the last time they met. It was back when the friend was in middle school, and he himself was in high school. A tragedy had bred familiarity between them, and a similar mind had given a mentor a student. As he moved close enough to see the puffy winter coat that wrapped the silhouettes body, he suddenly came to a stop as something suddenly struck his mind. It had indeed been a while since he saw his student, but before then, they were almost like brothers, and standing where he was bathed in the streetlamp’s light, Seiji knew that his friend would have recognized him immediately.
“Who are you?” He called out and it seemed that the figure smiled, as he moved a little closer to Seiji with his head hidden under a hood.
“I thought that I could trick you since I heard it’s been a while since you saw your friend, but I guess I messed up already.” The boy replied as he shoved his frigid hands into the pockets of black jeans.
Suddenly Seiji realized someone was behind him, and turned his head slightly to get an idea of whom it was. Without turning his head completely he could see a white winter coat, and a pink skirt that fluttered over black snockings. He tried to turn more to get a look at her face, and to confirm a suspicion in the back of his mind, but a fear of turning his attention away from the boy, prevented him from achieving his goal.
“Don’t worry Seiji-san,” The boy said. “We aren’t here to hurt you, we just want the files.” He said and Seiji gave up on seeing the girl and turned his attention back to him. In a sudden breach of character, a smirk came across his face and Seiji crossed his arms and gave the boy a smug look.
“If you thought that you’d have to hurt me to get it, then you know that I won’t give it, right?” He asked and could see a puff of smoke carry a sigh out of the boy's mouth.
“I think it’s pointless to resist, your friends won’t be here.” The lad replied and made Seiji double take at the use of friends.
“Well you should know that one of those friends was my student for a good amount of time. In other words, I don’t need him to be here to handle you.”
“So you’re going to fight me?”
“If you are who I think you are, fighting you won’t turn out good for me. However, if you are who I think you are…” Seiji replied as a black droplet fell from his face. “Then once I’m like this, there is nothing even you can do.” He went on as tan skin became as dark as ink and his body and clothes became a puddle on the ground. The boy ran over to what remained of Seiji and was knocked back as the puddle rose like a geyser, and began to move with its own life.
It shot past the girl who stood behind Seiji and wormed like a snake over a path of snow. With impressive speed, the sentient puddle outmaneuvered the boy and his ally, leading them further away from where they had stood, and further into the shadows of the sleeping town. In the parted abyss of an alley, the duo lost their target, and traded a look between each other as they contemplated the next action they should take.
Meanwhile on the other half of town a young man blew into his hands, as the ringing of his cell phone informed him that it was twelve, and made him mutter a curse. For the dark skinned lad, tonight was a night of meeting too, but unlike Seiji whom he shared a need of glasses with, the meeting for this boy wasn’t one made on good terms. There were many differences between him and Seiji that made them stand out in the night. Seiji’s unfamiliarity with the town and the meeting time being requested by his friend, contrasting this lads overwhelming familiarity and the time being decided by himself. His name was Masaru Taka and it was a name that was well known throughout the quiet hamlet, as the youth who possessed the power to bring others to justice. If he was more of a foolish youth he would akin himself to a hero, and proudly wear a mantle that would symbolize that, but Masaru knew better than to call himself that, and barely had a thought to do so. There was no mantle hanging from his back, but instead a black coat over his shoulders, and in the place of stylish armor, was only the leggings of his black pants. With a white wool hat over his low faded black hair, Masaru laughed at himself for the brief thought and wondered for a second, if a hero was something he could ever be.
Like Seiji, he was distracted by the crunching of snow to his side, and turned his attention to the approaching figure that remained oblivious as he danced in the world his mp3 player created. For a moment, Masaru had to stare to confirm that the person was whom he suspected, a youth about his age with crew cut black hair. As if to present himself as an opposite of Masaru, a white jacket clung to his body over equally white pants. The only thing that bonded them other than an enjoyment of fighting, that Masaru knew the boy had, was the black boots that kicked up snow as each step carried him closer and closer.
“Hashiba Ryuu!” Masaru called him out, but failed to free him of his musical world. As the boy began to pass him, Masaru extended a cane to block his path and finally Hashiba came free and gave Masaru an angry look.
“Wow, didn’t expect to see you this late.” Hashiba laughed as he took a few steps back and Masaru smiled.
“That’s pretty much what all the thugs say.” Masaru laughed and Hashiba grimaced as he was roped in with fodder. “Petty theft, assault, assault with a deadly weapon, and vandalism. Do you deny that you committed these crimes, Hashiba-kun?” He asked and he could tell Hashiba was taking pride.
“I did ‘em Taka, what are you going to do about it?” Hashiba answered and Masaru’s smile began a little smug.
“You know exactly what I’m going to do.” He said as he dropped his cane, and before Hashiba could shove his earphones into his pocket, Masaru threw a punch and knocked them out of his ears.
The sudden strike stunned the delinquent as he stumbled back a little, and as he regained his senses, they were knocked away again as Masaru ran forward and struck with an arching punch. This time Hashiba recovered fast and threw up his arm as Masaru closed in again, and knocked the breath out of him. He head butted Masaru as his body reeled back, and as Masaru held his head, Hashiba charged and knocked him to the ground. With the cold of the snow chilling his neck, and the fists of Hashiba bruising his face, Masaru went into an annoyed desperation and swung some of the frozen liquid into his target’s face. Hashiba pulled back as he tried to clear the snow from his eyes, but before he even had a chance, Masaru struck him again and he fell into the exact thing he tried to get rid of. As the snow was finally removed from his eyes, Hashiba looked up to Masaru and spat on the ground. At the sight of blood mixing with snow, a smile came across the delinquent’s face and he rose and drew out a knife. The blade glinted in the light of the closed store they stood in front of, and made Masaru pick up the cane.
“What do you think that’s going to do?” Hashiba scoffed and Masaru held the cane like a sword.
“More than that knife.” He wanted to sound as confident as ever, but in the face of a weapon, even he had to revise his behavior.
“That’s what you think.” Hashiba laughed and as a trail of light cut through the air, Masaru was taken aback as Hashiba drove the blade into his left hand. He let out a grunt through gritted teeth as he pulled it forth and constantly coursing blood splashed repetitively against the ground. Masaru stared with aghast at the masochistic sight with his face a little green, and his head a little light. Hashiba’s self-affliction had managed to do more than stun Masaru, but as the repeating taps stopped, Masaru realized that wasn’t Hashiba’s goal. The delinquent had suddenly swung his hand back, and made the blood droplets jump off his fingers, where they became long thin needles that he droves into his right arm. Taking further advantage of Masaru shock, he tore a vicious wound into his arm and watched the blood rush to his hand. There, it crystallized into a long blade, and the blood running from Hashiba’s left hand did the same.
A sudden reflection of red from Hashiba’s blades, broke Masaru free of his shock, and allowed him to prepare for the attack. He raised his cane above his head as Hashiba swung his arms down and repelled him, then swung the cane around and slammed it into the delinquent’s side. Hashiba shook the bruise off and charged Masaru again, weaving through his offensive defense and stabbing both blades as far as possible into Masaru’s chest. He roared as he pushed Hashiba away and fell to the ground, holding his chest with his right hand and barely holding the cane with his left. He wanted to rise as he heard crunching snow move closer, but felt his knees quake as he tried enduring. There was an obvious outcome that Masaru had to submit to, and it made him laugh at a dark joke, as he realized his superhero fantasy became tragic. The crumpling moved faster as Hashiba took off into a run, and just as he rose above Masaru with both blades drawn back, he felt something cold cut through him and watched his blade stain the ground. He tried to create the crimson blades again, but the blood did little more than ran from his wounds. Suddenly something heavy struck Hashiba’s back and sent him flying over Masaru, out of the light of the store and into the shadows a few feet away. There, a large boomerang was caught by a young girl’s hand and a weak Hashiba rose as she prepared to throw it again. Although he showed a determination as fierce as Masaru’s, he gave in to his circumstance and threw himself into an alley before she could let it go.
For a moment, the girl showed a hint of wanting to go after him, but as Masaru collapsed into the snow, she gave up the minute want and ran over to him. As she rolled him over, she realized he was knocked out, and pulled a cell phone out of her coats pocket.
“I found him.” She spoke. “He’s in pretty bad shape though.” She went on and ended the call, as someone told her; they were on their way…