I own nothing but my OC's. I will be exploring Naru and Lin a little more, giving them hobbies, habits and all in all making them more realistic. They will still be in character (hopefully) so no need to worry.
Plain text= Japanese
~text ~= Spanish. Since I don't speak Spanish that will be used for long conversations but I do know a little Spanish so I will write some words in Spanish as well.
Bold Text= English
"Do I need to shoot anyone?" Ángelita de Muerte asked as she looked at Lin sitting in his hospital bed.
The fluorescent lights from above shone down on them even though the sun was up and shining through the window. The smell if cleaners and antibiotics was prominent but due to her presence there was a faint, lingering scent of cigarette smoke. Seeing as how the man was 6'8 his leg hanged off of the bed while his other leg was suspended. This was something that Ángelita found very amusing. Line never did have the best of luck with beds. If he stretched out, most of the time his feet would hang off the edge.
"No." Lin said, glaring at the black haired woman. He could sense the amusement she felt towards his current predicament and didn't exactly appreciate it. He then sighed in aggravation. He was used to it by now. She had been poking fun at him and aggravating him for a few years now. He had learned to develop a thick skin, a sense of humor and an abundance of patience, when dealing with her at least. "Seeing as how I am unable to, you should go down to the school house we were hired to investigate. You remember the address, correct?"
"Sure." Ángelita said, tucking a strand of raven black hair behind her ear. "So other than a little girl putting you in the hospital," Ángelita smirked at Lin's look of irritation. "Did anything else happen?"
"No." Lin said.
Sighing she turned towards the door. "Aright, I'll go make sure Oliver doesn't kill himself. Don't die on me now; I need someone to spar with." She said with a teasing smile before walking out of the room.
As Ángelita was walking down the hall and towards the door, she thought about anything else she should do before hand while fingering the military tag hanging from her neck. It was a single oval stamped "ESPAÑA" above and below the 3-slot horizontal break line. It was stamped in 4 lines with the 1st being her religion (catholic), the second had her blood group (A) on the left and medical allergies (None) on the right, the third line had her military service and the fourth line had her DNI military number. She had gotten it when she became a soldier in the army. She served in Afghanistan for five years and was even placed on a special squad for her skills. She actually ended up leading it for one year before she decided to go home.
As she was thinking, she rubbed her dark skinned arms in an effort to warm herself as it was chilly in the hospital. She got cold very easily. She was beginning to really regret wearing a sleeveless shirt. Due to her lack of sleeves the tattoo on her left bicep was revealed. Three women with various hairstyles, faces painted like sugar skulls and the words 'dia de los muertos' written in cursive underneath.
She had used Lin's car to get to the hospital. When Oliver-
'No, Kazuya.' Ángelita reminded herself. When Kazuya and Lin had left for the school house, Lin left his other set of keys at the office. It was done on purpose so that she would have a way to get to the site. The woman opened the door to the driver's seat and sat down. Once she situated herself she turned to look in the backseat so that she could talk to her passenger.
"~Hola Shiki! Como estas?~" She asked. The large white dog barked happily and wagged his tail. The dog had a black leather collar on, dog tags and a protective charm that Lin had made. "~Okay, we're going to a creepy old school house. You ready? ~" Shiki barked again. She texted Kazuya to wait for her outside the school and Ángelita took off.
Pulling up to the main school building, Ángelita let Shiki out of the car and put him on his leash. The school wasn't all that different from any other average school she had seen in Japan. It wasn't a very prestigious school but it wasn't too shabby or run down either. Kazuya was waiting out front. As usual the handsome teenager was dressed in all black. Ángelita walked up to her young charge.
"So what are we doing Kazuya?" Ángelita asked, looking up at the school.
"I found some students who seem to know about the old school house. They were apparently telling ghost stories; let's go see if we can find out anything useful. Also, I found someone to replace Lin." The scientist said. Ángelita nodded and let the young teenager take the lead.
"Taking advantage of young girls, is there nothing you won't do Kazuya?" Ángelita teased.
"You took out two tactical vehicles in Afghanistan with a rocket launcher. You don't have much room to talk." The teenager fired back.
"Whatever." Ángelita rolled her golden eyes and continued to follow the teenager into the school
They walked up to a classroom and stood outside to listen in on what the girls were saying. After all, people tended to talk more when nobody of importance was around. It would be better to collect evidence before going into any situation.
"Hey, where should we meet today? It's not as spooky in here." A girl asked. She had long hair which was parted on the left.
"Should we meet in the audiovisual room again?" Another asked with her hair pinned back and bangs brushing against her eyebrows.
"Excuse me..." The duo outside saw a girl with dark twin braids and large, round glasses approach the girls. Her arms were crossed and she had a very stern look on her face.
"Oh Kuroda-san. We were just leaving." The girl with pigtails said with a small smile.
"I heard you guys. What were you talking about?" Kuroda asked, not dropping the matter.
"We're going to tell ghost stories again today. That's what." A girl with really short hair said.
"Hey!" One of her friends yelled. Apparently she wanted to keep their little rendezvous a secret.
"Ghost stories!?" Kuroda asked.
Kazuya then stepped inside the room, knocking on the side of the door with Ángelita trailing in behind him. "Taniyama-san, are you here?" He asked.
"Kyaah! It's Shibuya-sempai!" Two of the girls cheered while the other one didn't seem to thrilled to see him. Ángelita guessed the later was Taniyama. The dark skinned woman didn't use honorifics, she didn't see the point and really didn't care about offending people.
"Notice me sempai!" Ángelita whispered with a smirk towards Kazuya. She bounced on her feet a little bit. "Notice me sempai!"
"Quiet." Kazuya said, a tic mark appearing on his forehead. Ángelita snickered.
"What grade are you? What are you doing here?" Kuroda asked, glaring at Kazuya before narrowing her eyes towards Shiki. "Dogs aren't allowed in here!" The other girls looked at Shiki before smiling. They looked like they wanted to pet him but thought it would be rude to do so without permission. Besides, Shiki wasn't exactly a lap dog and he didn't look like one either.
"Oh no." Ángelita drawled sarcastically. "What ever will become of me and my dog?" She then puled out a cigarette and put it between her lips. Kuroda was about to comment on the school's no smoking policy when Kazuya spoke.
"Oh, I'm here to meet with these girls." Kazuya replied.
"A meeting? To tell ghost stories?" Kuroda demanded.
"Yes, and..?" Kazuya trailed off, wondering why that should matter.
Kuroda turned sharply towards Taniyama who flinched in surprise when she saw the intense look in the other girl's eyes.
"I told you to stop that nonsense! No wonder I've been having headaches since I came to school this morning." When the other girls looked confused Kuroda sighed and put her hand on her head. "I'm very psychic, and when the spirits gather I get a horrible headache. I've been having one all day so there must be one nearby."
"Yeah..." Taniyama said.
"Don't you know what you're doing? When you tell each other ghost stories, low-level spirits gather around. When low-level spirits gather, they call for high-level spirits that are more powerful. When that happens, it'll be too late. That's why you shouldn't be telling each other ghost stories for fun. I would expect you to know better, upper classmate, I'll perform an exorcism for you, just in case." Kuroda said.
"I think you're just imagining all this." Kazuya said.
"This is why I don't like dealing with non-psychic people." Kuroda said. Ángelita had to withhold a chuckle at that. Calling Oliver Davis of all people, not psychic.
"Then tell me...If you're really psychic, do you feel anything from the old building?" Kasuya asked.
"The old building? Oh, definitely. I believe it's haunted with the spirits of old war victims." Kuroda said.
"Which war?" Ángelita asked, slightly curious. She was very interested in history, especially war history. It was a bit of an obsession, her mother Catrina didn't think it was healthy. She said it wouldn't help with her PTSD but Catrina knew that her daughter was an adult and was free to make her own choices. Besides, Ángelita knew her mother thought that it was nice that she had a hobby.
"World War 2, of course." Kuroda said. "I'm sure there used to be an old hospital there. I've seen the spirits of nurses and patients with bandages."
"Really? I didn't know there was a hospital there during World War 2." Kazuya said. "I heard that the school has been here since before the war. Could it have been a medical school, perhaps?"
Kuroda flinched and flushed. "I...I don't know anything about that!" Kuroda said in a panicky voice. "I just know I saw them! But those who aren't psychic like me wouldn't understand."
Ángelita rolled her eyes and snickered as Kazuya spoke. "The principal mentioned that he's upset because the spirits in the old building are preventing him from demolishing it. Why don't you exorcise the spirits for him with your 'psychic power'?" Ángelita snickered again and playfully punched Kazuya on the shoulder. He took the words right out of her mouth. He glared at her but didn't do anything. It wasn't worth the effort of trying to reprimand her.
"Excuse me...Shibuya-sempai, can I cancel this evening?" One of the high school girls asked.
"Me, too I don't feel like telling ghost stories anymore." Another girl chimed in.
"No problem. We'll do it again some other time." Kazuya said.
"Whatever!" Kuroda snapped.
Just as they were almost out the door, Kazuya turned back to face the short-haired brunette. "Oh, ah, Taniyama-san..."
"Yes?" She replied, looking a little irritated.
"Can I talk to you for a sec?" Kazuya asked. The girl did not seem pleased by this idea at all but one glare from Ángelita's ward made the girl slouch and begin to slowly walk over.
"I guess he won't take no for an answer..." She grumbled. "Sure..."
"Ehh!? Why you?" One of her friends asked.
"We're jealous!" The other one said. Ángelita chuckled at their reactions.
"Is she one of your classmates?" Kazuya asked as the trio walked down the hallway.
"Yeah but...I've never really spoken to her before today. She seems a bit weird..." Taniyama said.
"Do you think she's really psychic?" Ángelita asked, taking another drag from her cigarette. Taniyama knew that the older woman had seen the no smoking signs. Ángelita really didn't care though. It seemed that Taniyama didn't think it was worth bringing up.
"That's what she says, so maybe she is. By the way, is your friend from this morning okay?" Taniyama asked Kazuya.
"I wanted to speak to you about that, too." Kazuya said, turning to face the young girl. "He sprained his left leg pretty badly and he won't be able to stand up on his own for a while." The girl flinched in shock.
"Oh no...That's too bad...oooh...ummm...how do you know him?" She asked, running her fingers through her short brown hair with a guilty look on her face.
"Assistant." Kazuya replied.
"Assistant? Oh...but it really wasn't my fault, honest! Your boss surprised me...that's why..." Taniyama said.
"The other way around.." Kazuya said. "I'm his boss. He's my assistant."
"WHAAAAAT!?" Taniyama yelped in shock.
"So now...I have a problem, because my assistant is too injured to work. Don't you think you're responsible for this, Taniyama-san?" Kazuya said.
"Wait a minute, I happen to be a victim too!" Taniyama yelled angrily. "He scared the heck out of me and made me late for class!"
"He got hurt...what happened to you?" Kazuya and Ángelita asked at the same time. Taniyama flinched back. It was incredibly scary when they spoke in unison.
"And you broke me camera, too." Kazuya continued on and Taniyama got even more nervous. "Lin was...he was only trying to stop you from touching the camera. As a result this is what happened." Taniyama had no excuse. "You may choose to pay me back for the loss, but..."
"But I didn't mean to do it...besides, you shouldn't have left a camera in a place like that...so that's...why..." Taniyama trailed off when Kazuya glared at her. He didn't care and quite frankly Ángelita didn't care either. She thought Taniyama should do something to pay the camera back but to be honest she really didn't care either way.
"By the way...how much was it..?" Taniyama asked somewhat nervously.
"In Japanese yen, approximately one thousand man yen." Kazuya said calmly. Taniyama looked about ready to faint. Her expression was comical enough for Ángelita to snicker as she put out her cigarette.
"No way! How can a camera be so expensive!?" Taniyama asked.
"Well it was custom made from Germany. Custom made stuff from foreign countries tend to be expensive." Ángelita shrugged. "You want to see the warranty?"
Taniyama started mumbling about how many large orders of fries it would take her to get the money. Kazuya then spoke up. "If you can;t pay me back..."
"Ahh...then what..!?" Taniyama asked, looking very nervous.
"Would you fill in as my assistant?" Kazuya asked.
"You mean...I will be Shibuya-san's assistant?" Taniyama asked.
"Right. Did you not hear me?" Kazuya asked sarcastically.
Taniyama looked kind of uncertain about it. "It's no problem if you don't want to just make sure to pay me back for the camera." Kamiya said.
Taniyama immediately perked up. "I'd love to be your assistant." She said.
Kazuya smirked, causing a tic mark to form in Taniyama's forehead. "You little...by the way...what do you do, Shibuya-san!?"
"Ghost hunting." Ángelita said.
"Which is?" Taniyama asked, putting a hand to her ear.
"The literal translation would be to eliminate evil spirits...I guess. I'm with Shibuya Psychic Research Center hired by the school principal to do research on the old school building." Kazuya said.
"I have a question." The girl asked, raising her hand like they were still in class. "What's a 'Psychic Research' center?"
Kazuya looked a little frustrated. "Aren't you taking English classes? You have terrible pronunciation."
Taniyama started punching the wall out of anger, most likely imagining that her fist was hitting Kazuya's face. Ángelita had done that many times herself when she was working out with a punching bag. "Why are you so mean all the time..?" she grumbled.
'Get used to it kid.' Ángelita thought to herself as she scratched Shiki behind the ears. Kazuya was only polite when it suited him or if he had something to gain. That rarely happened. It was easy enough to get along with him if you had a thick skin, a sense of humor and knew when to pick your battles.
"It's a research center for studying psychic phenomenon. And...I'm the president." Kazuya said.
'Of the temporary Japanese branch that your parents fund.' Ángelita thought to herself. She thought about calling him out but decided it wasn't worth it. If he wanted to show off a little that was his business.
The trio moved to sit outside by the tennis court. Ángelita sat down with Kazuya on a bench while Taniyama stood. Shiki sat nearby, resting his furry white head on his owner's leg. "One week ago the school principal came to hires us to work on this assignment. He asked us to look into the phenomenon that a rash of accidents always happened when they tried to demolish the old school building."
"Apparently there's a strange rumor that the old school building is cursed." The old principal had said over the phone.
"Is that the only reason you transferred to this school!?" Taniyama asked, shocked. Ángelita winced. Did the girl not know the meaning of an inside voice? Ángelita herself had quite the yelling voice, something she had inherited from her mother besides her looks. But she didn't yell all of the time.
"Why would I transfer here to do research!?" Kazuya asked.
"But yesterday you said you were a transfer student." Taniyama said, confused.
"Its called lying." Ángelita drawled, looking at Taniyama exasperatedly. "He was trying to gather information from the students."
"Did you talk about it?" Kazuya asked.
"Yeah. Michiru told us the story. Umm..." Taniyama paused, trying to recall the story.
"Wait." Kazuya said, before pulling out a recorder. Mai looked at the device curiously. "Start." He said, pressing the record button.
"Well..." Taniyama began.
"I see." Kazuya said after Taniyama concluded her story and he stopped recording.
"So how much of Michiru's story do you think is true?" Kazuya asked before reaching for his brief case. "I know it's true that there were many people who died while the old building was in use."
"Really? Wow..." Taniyama gasped.
Kazuya pulled out his notes and began reading. "Until eighteen years ago when the old building was still being used as a part of the main campus...One to two people died every year. It's also true that the roof fell in during the demolition of the west wing. However...there's no evidence that any demolition workers ever died. It's true that five people were injured but that accident was caused by human error, not spirits. Demolition was completed as planned. They demolished one third of the building and that was all."
"Since then...and this was six years ago...the body of a dead child was discovered in the old building. She was a seven year-old who lived in the neighborhood. She had been kidnapped for ransom. The criminal was caught and arrested one month after her body was found. And it's also true that there was a teacher who committed suicide, but...he suffered from neurosis. They found a suicide note he had left behind." Kazuya said.
"Impressive! Very good research." Taniyama applauded.
"This is nothing. Don't underestimate my investigative skills." Kazuya said, turning a page. Ángelita chuckled.
"So what about the truck that ran out of control?" Taniyama asked, looking a little irritated by Kazuya's earlier comment.
Kazuya hands the girl a newspaper clipping. She read it over while Kazuya spoke. "A demolition truck with a full load of bricks suddenly veered off the road and onto the high school volleyball court. There was a gym class in session and nine students were critically injured, two of them dying soon after the accident. The driver of the vehicle was found to be intoxicated and true, they had to stop demolition because of that accident... but some also believe it was because of the rumors about the building."
Taniyama looked at the pictures of the high school girls, feeling sorry for them when Kazuya spoke up. "But none of these events convince me that the rumors are true. People may believe that the building is ill-opened, but clearly there is an explanation for each of these accidents. My gut tells me this assignment will not reveal anything out of the ordinary."
"Aah...excuse me..." Taniyama said hesitantly. "Do I really have to help you..?" Kazuya glared at her and she slouched over. "Yeah I know...I obviously do..." Ángelita rolled her eyes, a smirk on her lips and an almost burned out cigarette between them.
Taniyama looked stunned at the microphones they had set up outside of the building. Ángelita looked up at the old building. The wood was dark and about a third of it was covered with a blue plastic sheet. It was obviously from the last time they attempted construction. Looking at the wood closer, she didn't think it was very stable. There should have been danger and safety signs posted around the old school building but she didn't see any.
"Take those microphones down and gather them up. I'll get the mike stands." Kazuya said, addressing Taniyama. Ángelita supposed that that meant she had no current task. She proceeded to occupy herself with petting Shiki and looking around her surrounding.
"What do you use these microphones for?" Mai asked, staring down at one that she was particularly close to.
"I suppose microphones are generally used to collect sound." Kazuya said sarcastically.
"That's not what I was asking, I know that much!" Taniyama said angrily. It seemed Kazuya had a gift for riling her up. Either that or she was a very emotional person.
"It's dangerous to go into a haunted building you're not yet familiar with. So it's important to first collect as much information as possible from outside of the building." Kazuya said as he began to take down the mike stands. "For example, record sound from the outside or set up cameras around the building."
"So...Aren't you scared of that haunted building?" Taniyama asked.
"Not particularly." Kazuya shrugged.
"And haunted has yet to be determined" Ángelita pointed out.
"Right." Mai said, nodding towards Ángelita. For some reason, the younger girl hadn't spoken to her as much as she did Kazuya. "By the way, why are you doing this at your age?" Taniyama asked, turning to Kazuya.
"Because they need me." Kazuya replied without any hesitation.
"Bu-but there must have been cases you couldn't solve?" Taniyama asked, sweat dropping.
"Never. Because I can. Always." Kazuya said.
"Ahh..." Taniyama sighed, a tick mark forming. It would appear she was beginning to lose patience with the dark haired ghost hunter. "How impressive!" Taniyama said, her voice sounding a little odd due to how nervous she was. "You're handsome, and on top of that you're capable of getting a difficult job done."
"You think...I'm handsome?" Kazuya asked, turning towards the young girl.
'Apparently she also has a very loose tongue.' Ángelita thought to herself and then made a private note to not trust Taniyama to keep a secret. If she can't even keep her own thoughts to herself, how could she be expected to keep a secret?
"Yeah...I guess. Everyone else seems to think so." Taniyama said nervously.
"I see...at least they have good taste." Kazuya said before turning around and walking into the building.
Taniyama's mind seemed to implode as she tried to comprehend Kazuya's level of narcissism. Ángelita chuckled before following Kazuya. As she walked in, she noticed that Shiki seemed perfectly calm. Dogs, cats and other animals were sensitive to the paranormal so Shiki would notice anything supernatural long before his owner did. Were the ghosts just hiding or were they non existent?
Later, the trio, plus the dog walked over to the truck, which was parked on the side of the building that had been partially demolished. Ángelita planned on moving it at some point. Since that side of the building was the most likely to collapse, she figured it would be a good idea to be safe and move the van to the other side of the building. She decided to do that when she had the chance.
"Ok I helped you. So was that enough." Taniyama asked as she held the microphones. "I want to go now..."
Kazuya ignored her and opened the truck, revealing monitors, cameras and all the other equipment they used.
"Let's carry them out." Kazuya said.
"You mean all of them!?" Mai yelled, gesturing wildly to all of the monitors.
"We're going to need everything." Ángelita said, getting a little aggravated with the girl's complaining. What did she expect? She broke the camera, couldn't pay for it so now she had to work off her debt.
"Do you really know how to use all this stuff, Shibuya-san?" Taniyama asked.
"I'm smart, unlike you. Let's go." Kazuya said.
"Are we going inside?" Taniyama asked nervously.
"Obviously." Ángelita said. "Relax, it's not like you're going in alone." Regardless of her words, Taniyama still looked nervous.
Taniyama's step made the floor boards squeak. The inside of the school house was dark and smelled of rotting wood. Shiki's claws clicked against the wood as he walked beside Ángelita who was carrying some shelving units.
"Let's use this room." Kazuya said, stepping into what must have been a classroom.
"Could you build a shelf, please? Ángelita and I are going to bring in some more equipment."
"You're going to leave me in here all by myself?!" Taniyama yelled.
"Would you rather carry the equipment? It probably ways 40kg..." Kazuya said.
Taniyama slumped in defeat. "I'll build the shelf."
Deciding to take pity on the girl, Ángelita let Shiki off of his leash. After muttering a quiet command in Spanish, the former soldier watched her dog walk over and sit by Taniyama. "Dogs are sensitive to the paranormal. Shiki will sense something way before you do."
"Thanks." Taniyama said looking down at the large white dog. She then turned back to the older woman. "What's your name by the way? I can tell you're a foreigner. I'm sorry I haven't asked sooner it's just that you're...well...a little...intimidating." Mai said, appearing a little sheepish and embarrassed as she looked the foreign woman up and down. She was as tall as Kazuya and had very defined muscles.
Ángelita laughed. "Good, you should be intimidated. I'm Capitán Ángelita de Muerte, veteran from the Spanish army. I served in Afghanistan for five years." Ángelita reached out and shook Taniyama's hand. Her grip wasn't hard enough to hurt, but hard enough for the high schooler to know there was some serious power behind the grip.
"Wow!" Mai exclaimed, impressed. Ángelita smirked. "Thank you for your services." Taniyama said bowing deeply.
This surprised the veteran. "I didn't know Japan fought in the Afghan War."
"We didn't." Taniyama said with a smile. "But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be thanked for all you sacrificed."
This stunned the veteran. She actually wasn't properly thanked for her time in the military all that much, especially not by strangers. When she told someone she fought in Afghanistan, they usually got uncomfortable and tried to change the subject, mostly to keep the situation from getting awkward. But what a lot of people didn't know, was that sometimes, a simply thank you could mean a lot.
"And thank you for saying that perrita." Ángelita said, looking down at Taniyama, fondly.
"What does that mean?" Taniyama asked. She knew that Ángelita knew her name. Was this some kind of term of endearment, a nickname? She didn't seem irritated when she said it so it couldn't mean anything bad.
"Are you two done? Let's get going." Kazuya said.
Ángelita rolled her eyes and then proceeded to follow Kazuya out the door.
"Hey Noll?" Ángelita switched to English once they were a sufficient ways away and she was sure that Taniyama wouldn't hear them. "Aren't all the cameras insured?"
"Yes, why do you ask?" Noll smirked as he grabbed some cables once they reached the car.
"So you're trying to score some free help?" Ángelita smirked and chuckled as she grabbed a monitor. "As expected of you."
They didn't speak the rest of the way back to the classroom. When they walked in, Taniyama gasped in fear, surprised by their sudden entrance.
"Don't just stand there. Get to work!" Kazuya snapped. Mai did not look happy. Shiki settled decided to lay down on the floor and get comfortable.
"Wow..." Mai gasped, looking at all of the monitors on the shelves once they were done. Ángelita was sitting off to the side in an old desk smoking a cigarette. Shiki sat next to her as she blew smoke out of an open window.
"Ah, what's that?" Taniyama asked, looking at what Kazuya was taking out of a box. Kazuya turned towards her, making her flinch. "That thing."
"It's a tape recorder." Kazuya said. "But this one is a little special. It can record for up to twenty-four hours. This is what we plug our mike into."
"What's it for?" Taniyama asked.
"I hate having to explain things to amateurs." Kazuya said.
Taniyama glared at him, aggravated. "You knew I was an amateur when you hired me. If you've got a problem with that, then I won't help you."
Ángelita watched as the two had a staring contest, silently having a battle of wills. Surprisingly enough, Kazuya gave in. He sighed, but did as the girl asked.
"It's to record the sound of a ghost or anything else unusual. All day today I recorded the sound of the first floor through the window, just as a test." Kazuya said.
"Oh. That microphone from earlier." Taniyama said, putting the pieces together.
"Correct. Tonight, we'll set the mic and recorder in the room." Kazuya said.
"You don't stay overnight?" Taniyama asked.
"Not yet." Kazuya said. "If there really is a ghost, first I'll need to determine how powerful it is."
"You're the type of person who looks before he leaps." Taniyama observed.
"What?" Kazuya asked, turning to face her.
"You're extremely careful." She said.
"Of course. Sometimes you encounter great danger in a haunted house. If you underestimate, you might never return." Kazuya said, causing Taniyama to gulp.
"Don't scare me like that." Taniyama said, admonishing the older boy. She then noticed a camera down by her feet. "Hey, what's this."
"I don't want to talk anymore." Kazuya said sternly, turning back to continue what he had been doing prior to his little Into to Ghost Hunting lecture with Taniyama.
"Ah...I see." Taniyama said, crossing her arms. "No problem. But I might make some big mistakes out of ignorance." She said before putting the most innocent look she could muster and placed her foot on the camera. "Is this a camera or a fancy footstool? Oops..."
Kazuya whirled around to face Taniyama. They had another staring contest before, again, Kazuya submitted. "It's and infrared camera." He sighed.
Ángelita snickered quietly. She would gladly keep the little perrita around if it meant she could watch such hilarious interactions between her and Noll. Scratching Shiki behind his ears, Ángelita idly wondered if Lin would find it just as funny as she did.
"To save you the trouble of asking, this is a thermograph. And this one is a super high-speed camera." Kazuya explained, gesturing to each device. "The infrared and super high-speed cameras are used for shooting in the dark. The thermograph is a camera that's sensitive to temperature and captures temperature levels."
"Wow..." Taniyama said, looking at the cameras.
I may as well teach you this, too." Kazuya said. "Thermography is to measure temperature. When a ghost appears, the temperature drops in the surrounding area."
"I see." Taniyama said.
"Now if you understand, stop asking stupid questions and get work!" Kazuya snapped.
"Yes sir!" Taniyama said fearfully. Ángelita got up as well. With the girl around, Kazuya wasn't paying her too much attention but she might as well get to work. She would have plenty of time to laze about later.
Soon, everything was ready and the machines were powered up and doing their thing. Taniyama had gone out to take the temperatures in each room and Ángelita was enjoying another cigarette. She had already helped set up the monitors and plug everything in, so, unless Kazuya had a task for someone without psychic powers, which he didn't, Ángelitawould keep smoking by the window with Shiki by her feet. She never really paid attention during the slow part of investigations unless she was given a task.
"I'm back." Taniyama said as she walked back into base, clipboard in hand. "I measured the temperatures in each room like you asked." Kazuya took the clipboard from her. "This digital thermometer is pretty handy." The girl said, looking at the small device in her hand.
"Nothing unusual...The temperature isn't lower in any particular area. The first floor;s a little lower than the other classrooms...but not enough to matter." Kazuya said.
"Then that means there are no spirits here?" Taniyama asked, throwing the thermometer up and down before catching it.
"Stop playing with that. We don't know that yet. Ghosts can be shy. It's normal for psychic phenomenon to stop temporarily when an outsider comes in." Kazuya said, caught it after she threw it again. "Anyway, this isn't helping us gather any information. First..let's position the infrared cameras: four of them on the first and second floor hallways and one at the entrance." The girl did not seem all to pleased with the idea with more work but Ángelita stood up and proceeded to do the task Kazuya described.
Once they were done, Taniyama was moaning about her back hurting. Ángelita wasn't all that surprised, the girl was skin and bones with no muscle. Then again, the veteran did work out a lot, even though she was no longer active.
She sparred with Lin all of the time to keep her fighting skills sharp after he was finished practicing Tai Chi with Noll in the sauna room on the top floor at the hotel. The two of them used that area for privacy. It wasn't as if Kazuya did it as a martial art or for health reasons. Tai Chi was considered a standard for Qigong techniques such as Tu-na, so it couldn't be helped. When Noll lived at home, they used to meet once a week, but since coming to Japan and living in the same hotel, it became a habit to do it every morning. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that Lin did it every morning, and Noll just accompanied him so he could get his posture looked over.
Lin actually knew Karate and he and Ángelita worked out together. Due to his intense martial arts training he had a great variety of strikes and he had longer limbs than she did, therefore, greater reach. But Ángelita was no weakling and was better at grappling than he was. Once the both of them were on the ground it was simply a matter of who could get who in a submission hold faster. Whoever performed the takedown usually got the other in a submission hold fairly quickly.
A submission hold was when one fighter has his or her opponent held in a painful position where he or she can't move or escape. Left without any other options, the opponent is forced to either submit or deal with the extreme pain of a dislocated joint, torn tendons or worse.
There had been times where Lin and Ángelita had seriously injured each other. Outside of bruises, black eyes or the occasional broken noses they both sometimes got too into the fight. Lin and had broken three of Ángelita's ribs with a kick to the side and she had dislocated his shoulder a couple of times. When they sparred they didn't pull punches, they hit each other with every ounce of strength that they had. Even though they were friends they both agreed if they walked away without any bruises then it wasn't a real fight.
"You may go home now." Kazuya told the high school girl. "We're done for today. The cameras will do the rest."
"Seriously. You don't really look like a psychic." Taniyama said, rubbing her back.
"Ghost hunter." Kazuya corrected. "Don't confuse me with psychics."
"Same thing." Taniyama sighed, turning around. "Well I'm leaving now. See ya."
"Tomorrow after school meet me in front of the van." Taniyama did not seem happy about that idea.
Ángelita stomped out her cigarette and followed Kazuya out to the van. Shiki hopped in the back and Kazuya sat in the passenger seat. Not only did he find driving bothersome but there was also no way that the former soldier would ever let him drive. Any time she was in a vehicle with him behind the wheel she nearly had a heart attack. She decided to take the time they had on the drive back to the hotel to ask the teen a few questions.
"So do you think that place is haunted?" Ángelita asked, stopping at a red light.
"It's only the first day so a lot can happen. But as of yet I don't think so." Noll said.
"Shiki hasn't barked, growled or even stared at anything. He's been totally fine." Ángelita said, glancing back at the large white dog. "Either the spirits are really shy or they just don't exist." The light turned green and they pressed onwards. "By the way, when is Lin getting out?"
"Monday, in the evening." Was all Noll said and they were quiet the rest of the way to the hotel.
"Hello...What are you doing?" Taniyama asked as she walked up to Kazuya and Ángelita by the team van. The other two had arrived about an hour ago. Kazuya was looking over the data on his laptop. Ángelita leaned up against the side of the van, smoking while Shiki stared at a butterfly.
"Reviewing the data we collected yesterday." Kazuya said.
Did you find anything?" Taniyama asked. Ángelita decided to stop referring to her by her last name in her head. She didn't even bother with honorifics so why waste her time with the last name stuff? Besides, Mai was just quicker and easier.
"Nothing unusual. Either there are no ghosts or they're hiding for now...So there doesn't appear to be any danger at the present time." Kazuya said, his eyes scanning the screen.
"Well! Impressive equipment!" A woman's voice said. "For kids' toys, they seem pretty fancy don't they?"
"Hey! Don't get snippy with my boss." Ángelita said, coming out from behind the truck, which hid her from view.
Ángelita had already noticed them, as had Shiki, but looked at them fully to take in their appearance. The woman was dressed very fancily with designer clothes and she had long red hair. She looked very glamorous. The man was taller than the woman, dressed casually by comparison and his bleached hair was tied back into a ponytail.
"He's your boss?" The woman asked, raising a brow. "What exactly do you do?"
"I protect him." Ángelita said cooly. She unzipped her black leather jacket, revealing twin pistols. Mai, the man and the red head paled at the sight of the guns. "Do you need to see my license?"
"And, you are?" Kazuya asked the redhead, tired of his body guard's intimidation game.
"I'm Ayako Matsuzaki. Nice to meet you." She said.
"I'm not interested in your name." Kazuya said.
Ayako looked irritated and the man with her looked amused. "You're pretty sassy aren't you, little boy?" Ayako asked. "But handsome."
"Thanks." Kazuya said.
"But you can't exorcise spirits with your face." Ayako said cooly.
"You're in the same business?" Kazuya asked, his attention now more focused on the two strangers.
"You could say that. I'm a miko." Ayako said, crossing her arms.
Kazuya then grinned sarcastically. That was the only way to describe the particular kind of smile he was now displaying. "I thought you had to be a pure and innocent young lady to become a miko."
Several tick marks appeared on Ayako's forehead. "Oh...that's not how I look to you?"
"For starters, I'd say that you look a little too old to be innocent." Kazuya said, causing the man and Ángelita to start snickering. "And you wear too much make up to be pure." The man was laughing openly at that statement. "And you?" Kazuya asked, addressing the older male. "You don't act like you're Matsuzaki-san's assistant."
"No kidding." He said. "I'm Takigawa Houshou, a monk from Koya Mountain."
"Mt. Koya now allows long hair on their monks?" Kazuya asked.
"He's an outlaw." Ayako said, taking a drag from her cigarette. Ángelita noticed that it was a Seven Star cigarette. Ángelita herself smoked Seven Star cigarettes as well since it was the only Japanese brand she could stand but it was a low tobacco brand. As a result, she smoked much more often. She muched prefered the Fortuna brand from Spain, which was actually the most popular back home.
"I'm just taking a break!" He snapped.
'Touchy subject.' Ángelita thought to herself.
"Anyway, kids' playtime is over. We'll take it from here. The principal told me he no long had confidence in you. Who could blame him? You're only seventeen. The principal thought your company was established and trustworthy because your office location is in a nice, prestigious neighborhood like Shibuya. But he mistook your name for the location, and once he found out the 'president's' age, he decided to call in the professionals."
"Is that so?" Kazuya asked, unaffected by what Takigawa was saying.
"But the principal is also overreacting." Ayako said. "Gathering so many people to work on such a crappy old building."
"That's right. I would've been enough." Takigawa said with a smirk.
"Well, we'll see about that." Ayako smirked back. "By the way little boy, what's your name?" She asked, turning to the teenager in the van.
"Kazuya Shibuya." He said, not looking away from his computer.
"Never heard of you. Must be third-class." Takigawa said.
"I've never head of Takigawa Houshou either." Ayako said, crossing her arms.
"Well, you need to study harder. Actually, I've never heard of Matsuzaki whomever, either." Takigawa snapped.
"Maybe you'd better study harder!" Ayako yelled. They continued to bicker when Ángelita heard the crunch of a foot on the ground.
"Taniyama-san." The new comer said, waving. It was the supposedly psychic girl from Mai's class. "Who are these people?" She asked.
"Oh well, a monk and miko-san. They came to check up on the old building." Mai said.
"Ah, I'm glad." The girl said. Wasn't her name Kuroda or something. "I've had trouble lately, because this old building is such a nest for evil spirits!"
Ayako and Takigawa seemed surprised by this. "What did you just say?" Ayako asked, her eyes narrowing.
"I'm very psychic...and I've been having trouble..." Kuroda said, seeming a little nervous.
"You crave attention don't you?" Ayako asked, her voice hard.
"...Huh?" Kuroda asked.
"You want to be in the spotlight? Do you want people's attention that badly?" Ayako asked.
"You-you don't need to talk to her like that!" Mai yelled, standing in front of Kuroda and glaring at Ayako.
"Although it's true. She's not really psychic." Ayako said.
"How do you know!?" Mai yelled.
"If you look at her, it's easy to tell she just wants attention." Ayako said. Ángelita personally agreed but didn't think it was worth getting into an arguement with Mai.
"How dare..." Mai stopped when Kuroda laughed evilly.
"Whatever...But I really do have strong psychic power. I will gather evil spirits and put a spell on you..."
"Kuroda-san!" mai gasped.
"Very strong...really." Kuroda said with a dark look in her eyes. Mai shivered, "You fake miko...you'll soon regret this." She then turned and walked away.
"Kuroda-san!" Mai called out but the girl never looked back.
'I can already tell she's gonna be a huge pain in the ass.' Ángelita thought to herself.
Mai suddenly shook her head before turning back to Kazuya. "Hey, Naru-chan. What do you want me to do today?"
"What...did you call me..?" Kazuya asked, turning back to Mai with wide eyes. "Did you just call me 'Naru'?" He stood up. Ángelita caught it too. There was no possible way that this high school girl...
"Oh darn. S-s...sorry...I..." Mai stuttered.
"Where did you hear that?" Kazuya narrowed his eyes.
Mai gasped. "Naru; must be your real nickname!" She then slapped Kazuya on the shoulder several times as she laughed nervously. "Hah! Just as I thought. Other people had the same idea. Naru-chan, short for narcissist."
"...huh?" Was all Kazuya could say. Ángelita started snickering. Mai hadn't even known Noll for a full day and she had already come up with a perfect nickname.
"Anyway. What are we going to do today?" Mai asked.
"Well...Because there's no reaction from the spirits, there's not much we can do at the moment...but Mai's sempai..." Kazuya ignored Mai's outburst about him addressing her by her first name. "You mentioned that earlier too, didn't you? Do you happen to know which classroom your sempai saw the human silhouette in?"
"Well, I believe it was in the far west corner of the building, on the second floor." Mai said.
"Ok. Let's set up the equipment in there." Kazuya said, turning to the van.
"Ahh...sure." Mai said.
"Oh, hello." Everyone turned and saw the principal of the school, standing with someone else. He was short, with bright blonde hair, blue eyes and very kind features. He was quite obviously a foreigner. "How are things going?" The principal asked. "We have one more guest joining us. I'd like you to meet John Brown."
'The most stereotypical white guy name.' Ángelita couldn't help but think to herself.
"Hello." John said, bowing almost completely in half. "I'm John Brown. It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Apparently,ah...Brown-san learned Japanese in the Kansai area..." The principal said, "Excuse me, I must go now."
"Thank you very much." John said, bowing deeply once again. Ayako and Takigawa were struggling not to laugh at John's way of speaking.
"Brown-san? Where are you from?" Kazuya asked.
"I'm from Australia." John said.
"Hey, dude! I'm begging. Please don't speak in such a weird Kyoto dialect!" Takigawa said.
"You don't have to laugh so hard..." Mai said, though she was laughing too.
"But if I want to speak politely, shouldn't I speak in a Kyoto dialect?" John asked with the must adorably confused face.
"The Kyoto dialect is one of many! Trust me on this, you need to stop it okay?" Takigawa managed to say amongst his laughter.
"The I'll try to speak more casually." John said. "Are all of you psychics?"
Een Kazuya seemed a little amused with John's way of speaking. "You might say that...how about you?"
"I see. I'm an exorcist." John said, causing all of the earlier amusement to immediately turn serious.
"In Catholicism I believe you have to be ranked higher than a priest to become an exorcist. You're very young even to be a priest." Kazuya said. Ángelita agreed. She went to private Catholic schools all her life as a student and even though she didn't go to church anymore she still remembered a lot.
"You are very knowledgeable. Actually I'm nineteen. I just look young for my age. It's a pleasure to meet you." John said, bowing once again.
"So, your equipment..." Ayako said. "You have quite a collection of expensive gear. How unfortunate that all your efforts have been in vain."
"Did you come here to play around or to find a ghost?" Kazuya asked, looking at the screen. Ángelita smirked. Clearly he was getting tired of Ayako's crap as well.
"This is why I don't like kids!" Ayako said angrily as she stomped out of the room.
"Aren't we all here to work together?" John asked, looking a little unsure. He turned towards Kazuya. "I feel a bit awkward. I'd like to help, so do you mind if I stay?"
"Please do." Kazuya said, turning towards the equipment.
"Hey, what's this? This image..." Mai trailed off when she noticed Kazuya's glare. John walked up to the screen that Mai was looking at.
"I believe it's a thermographic image. Yellow represents higher temperatures. In contrast, blue represents lower temperatures." John said, pointing to the screen.
"Thank you. You're kind, Brown-san." Mai said, glaring at Kazuya from the corner of her eye, who ignored her.
"It was nothing..." John said, flushing like a tomato. "And just call me John."
"You're kinda cute." Mai giggled. Ángelita couldn't help but agree. Not in a way that made her want to jump his bones but in a 'he is too precious and pure for this world so he must be protected' kind of way. Before Ángelita could verbalize any of these thoughts in order to tease the priest, Mai turned to one of the monitors.
"Naru!" She gasped.
Ángelita, John, Mai and Kazuya looked at the screen. At the bottom floor, near the entrance was a young Japanese girl with very doll like features. Her shiny black hair was very short and came down to her chin. She was also wearing a traditional kimono. Eventually, the girl turned away and walked off.
"Ah...what was that..?" Mai asked Kazuya nervously.
Shiki sensed her first. He stared at the door with an intense gaze. Ángelita put a hand on one of her guns, just in case... When the door opened, revealing the girl they had seen on the monitor, Mai jumped back in fright but John caught her.
"Mai-san...it's okay. She's not a ghost." John said soothingly.
"The principal must really want to demolish this building pretty badly if he invited you." Kazuya said, leaning back against a table.
"You know her!?" Mai gasped.
Ángelita recognized her as well. She had seen Masako Hara in passing while she was flipping through the channels on TV. She was pretty famous and apparently well known among the paranormal world. Just as Mai seemed to have calmed down there was a loud scream from down the hall.
"What was that!?" Takigawa yelled.
"It sounded like Matsuzaki-san's voice." John said as he, Kazuya and Ángelita walked out of base.
"Over there." Kazuya said, looking down the hall.
Ayako had managed to get herself trapped in a classroom. "Open up! Please open the door!" She screamed. Kazuya tried to slide it open but it appeared to be stuck. Shiki was sniffing around the door and after a few seconds returned to Ángelita's side.
"Strange." Takigawa said. "Let me try." Mai and Masako looked on.
"It won't open. I'm going to have to kick it in! Ayako, move back!" Takigawa yelled.
"Hey, don't call me by my first name!" Ayako said from behind the door.
Ángelita was impressed by the swift and strong kick the monk delivered to knock down the door. Then again the wood was probably old and rotting so it wasn't that amazing. Ayako quickly got out of the room and everyone returned to base.
"I was checking out the classroom when all of a sudden the door closed by itself and wouldn't open." Ayako said as she took a sip of the drink Mai had brought her.
"You're sure you didn't just close it by yourself?" Masako asked.
"Yes I'm sure!" Ayako snapped. "There's definitely something here."
"I don't sense it at all. There are no spirits in this building." Masako said.
"Who do you think you are?" Ayako said.
"You're making light of my being a psychic, aren't you!? Aren't you a little embarrassed of being scared by a door that wouldn't open?" Masako asked. Ángelita started smoking a cigarette while the two of them argued.
"Shut up you little jerk!" Ayako said, a tic mark appearing on her forehead. "I'm a professional, unlike a fake psychic medium who got popular just because of her looks!"
"Thank you for the compliment on my good looks." Masako said calmly.
Ayako sighed in aggravation. "I think what I just experienced was caused by a Chirei that lives on land."
"Chirei?" Mai asked. "You mean like Jibakurei?"
"No I don't. Jibakurei are human spirits trapped in a particular location because of something that happened here. Chirei are spirits of the land...also known as 'seirei'." Ayako said.
"I think it was an act by a Jibakurei." Takigawa said. "I wonder if something happened to this building in the past? My guess is, there's a ghost that's afraid of losing its home and is trying to prevent the demolition."
"What do you think, John?" Kazuya asked, turning to the young priest.
"I don't really know. Isn't the phenomenon of a haunted building usually caused by a spirit or a ghost?" John asked.
"Spirit..soul..." Kazuya muttered while playing with a nail. "And you, Ángelita?" Kazuya asked, turning to his body guard.
"I don't think there's anything here." Ángelita said, taking a drag from her cigarette.
"In case you don't remember I was trapped in that room just a few minutes ago!" Ayako yelled before coughing when the veteran blew out a plume of smoke into her face.
"In case you don't remember this building is as old as shit. Water damage, no insulation, partial demolition and teenagers sneaking in here to do lord know what? I'm pretty sure the wind just blew the door shut and then it got jammed. Shiki here hasn't sensed anything either." Ángelita said, kneeling down beside the white dog and ruffling his fur. "Dogs are sensitive to the paranormal, that's a common fact in this field and one I'm sure you are all well aware of."
"A ghost is a yurei. Are you listening, Mai?" Kazuya asked, turning towards the high school girl who glared at him.
"Thank you for caring!" She grumbled.
"So if a psychic phenomenon is caused by spirits, it would mean that chirei have a close connection with the location, or it could mean that the spirits have called for the devil." John said. "If the phenomenon was caused by a ghost, that would mean it was an act by a jibakurei."
"So don't you think it was caused by a chirei!?" Ayako asked.
"It's a jibakurei, right!?" Takigawa asked.
"I can't tell for sure." John said, looking a little uncomfortable with how Ayako and Takigawa were ganging up on him. Ayako turned away and started walking out the door.
"Anyway! I just need to exorcise it, right? I'll take care of it tomorrow. I couldn't stand being involved with a crappy incident like this for much longer." Ayako said before leaving.
"What a waste." Masako sighed. "As I said, there are no spirits here."
"But there are so many stories about this building." Mai said. "And how do you explain miko-san getting locked in that room just now?"
"I think I just did a minute ago." Ángelita said, interrupting Masako, who looked a little huffy about it.
"Oh, right..." Mai said, smiling sheepishly.
"I've been meaning to ask you..." Masako said, walking up to Kazuya. "Have we met somewhere before?"
"No...I believe this is the first time." Kazuya said.
"Is that right..?" Masako asked, tilting her head to the side.
Ángelita chuckled. It seemed that Noll had another admirer.
"Naru! The sun in about to set." Mai said.
"Ah..." Kazuya said, now realizing how late it had gotten. "We need to put our equipment in the second floor classroom in the far west corner of the building. Then we should get out of here."
"Oh. Young one, you're not going to stay over night?" Takigawa asked.
"Not tonight...Mai." Kazuya said, turning towards the brown haired girl. "Tomorrow after school, please be prepared to stay."
"Tomorrow is Saturday!" Mai protested.
"Would you rather pay me back for the camera?" Kazuya crossed his arms.
"I'll be ready." Mai said, defeated. Ángelita chuckled. How very amusing.