This was supposed to be strictly Hao/Yoh/Anna, but someone emailed me, asking me to retain my other couplings. *syao bows* Your wish is my command!
Yoh Asakura lazily placed his headphones around his neck. He had yet again exhausted the batteries he bought yesterday for them, and there seemed to be no shop around for miles. He was asked by is grandmother Kino Asakura to fetch someone just outside the skirts of the town of Izumo. Apparently, the person he was going to go and get was someone from the Osorezan mountains, and was going to be the fiancée of his twin brother, Asakura Hao.
He grinned. He looked up to his brother, no question about it. There was something about his brother that could intimidate even the elders of the family. No one told him why, though, and he never bothered to ask. He admired his brother's coolness, his wit, and his wisdom too much to even doubt the demigod pedestal he had placed his brother on. He could also feel that his brother was quite fond of him, and in his twelve-year-old eyes, sees Hao as invincible and untouchable- a hero to worship. On the other hand, Hao dotes on him, and probably, the only one whom the onmyouji became close with.
Lately though, Hao wasn't around the house as often as he was. Perhaps it was connected to the matter his aniki was very obsessed about- the throne of the shaman king. For the past few months, Hao was taking his bid for the throne seriously, although for the life in him, he couldn't understand why. He, for one, was very much contented with his own spirit, Amidamaru, a former swordsman whom everyone wrongly thought was nothing but a bloodthirsty killer. The samurai spirit was his best friend, and it loved him back, and the bond between them, he would never exchange for anything, even for the Great Spirit, which some say was the source of the life of this world.
But then, it was Hao Asakura, and for Yoh, his aniki could do nothing wrong. If he wanted the Great Spirit, he would support his brother till the end.
"Master Yoh, how much farther do we have to travel?" asked Amidamaru, looking at the seemingly endless barren lands ahead of them.
"Grandmother told me that I should take the main road, but Horo Horo told me that this is a shortcut," he explained.
"And you believed him?" asked the spirit incredulously. To this, the boy nodded meekly.
"Let's just hope that Horo Horo is telling the truth this time," sighed the spirit. The Ainu was more than a joker; he was a personification of the boy who cried wolf in the story. There was only one person who could see through his jokes: the pink-haired Asakura trainee, Tamamura Tamao. How she could do that was beyond anyone's comprehension.
It was near evening when they reached the boundary of Izumo. Amidamaru sighed as Yoh plopped down the ground, exhausted.
"We should take the main road when we walk home," suggested the power spirit, to which the shaman agreed wearily. He knew he should be annoyed because Horo was able to pull a trick on him yet again, but he was too tired.
"Aniki's fiancée must be really furious now," he said out of the blue. "I wonder what she looks like."
Amidamaru smiled. "Well, if she is to be a wife, then she must have been trained."
"Trained?" His forehead creased. "Just like geishas?"
"Yes. Perhaps she was trained to be soft-spoken, kind, timid, gentle, meek, submissive, and affectionate. She should be a good cook and an orderly housekeeper. Maybe your grandmother has decided that your brother was too driven, so he needed a sheath to calm the katana. That sheath would be his fiancée."
Yoh smiled. He can't wait to meet his sister-in-law already; he was sure he would like her a lot.
Their conversation was interrupted when they heard a sharp howl of a wolf, making Yoh's goosebumps rise.
"B-By any chance…it can't be a werewolf right?" asked Yoh uncertainly. "I mean, it's too early-"
"Master Yoh, all the houses are closed already!" The spirit pointed to the dark, shut houses not too far away. There wasn't even a soul outside walking in the streets.
The howl was followed another one, and Yoh began to perspire nervously.
"M-Maybe they are…well, afraid of the werewolf," he said.
"Are werewolves true? Aren't the just a legend in the Western tales?" asked the swordsman spirit.
"Those howls sounded too real to be just legends," said Yoh. "Maybe we should seek shelter into one of the houses. He ran to the nearest house and knocked on its window. "E-Excuse me, anyone in there? I need shelter tonight. Can you please let me in?"
"Go away!" yelled a voice. "We don't entertain strangers, especially at this time of the night!" he heard an angry voice yell, but he could also feel fear in the voice. He looked at Amidamaru, then ran to the next house.
But just like the first house, they refused to let him in, fearing that he was the much-dreaded werewolf that had been hunting their neighborhood since yesterday, when they found a corpse by the forest, internal organs gone.
Just when he was about to give up, he heard a door open. A young boy with emerald hair was looking at him, smiling. "Sorry about the folks here," he said, as if it was his fault that the attitude of the people in the neighborhood was like that. "Please come in."
"Are those werewolves true?" asked Yoh as the boy let him into his house.
The boy grinned. "Well, I don't know. But I do know that if you stay outside the chill of the night, you'll freeze." He offered his hand. "My name is Lyserg Diethyl, and I'm a detective."
"Huh? Hontou?" Yoh looked excited. "Do you have a case here? Do you know that guy…I think he lives in Scotland…Shocked Holmes?"
Lyserg chuckled. "I think it's Sherlock Holmes, and well, I'm from London, not Scotland."
"Hai!" He waved his hand dismissively. "So you have a case here?"
He paused. "Sort of. I'm taking care of an unsolved crime, and I think that the killer is here in Japan." He turned his back on Yoh, signaling that he didn't want to elaborate anymore on it. Yoh understood at once.
"Do you want some tea, mister-"
"You can call me Yoh," said the Asakura, his infectious grin on his face.
Lyserg's eyes crinkled into a smile- he just noted that the boy's smile was infectious, didn't he? The dowser felt that he immediately liked Yoh. "Do you want tea then, Yoh?"
Their conversation was cut off when they suddenly heard men screaming and running, as if they were chasing something.
"What was that?" asked Yoh, frowning.
Lyserg shrugged. "Some random men who say that they are chasing after this werewolf."
Yoh's eyes widened. "So the werewolf is true after all!"
"Er-" Just then, they heard the men scream in unison. "Over there!"
"Is it me, or they entered the house next to ours?" said Yoh, sweatdropping.
Lyserg frowned. "You mean someone already lives in there?"
"Don't touch me!" screamed a female voice, catching the attention of the two. Both boys went out of the house and found men dragging a twelve-year-old girl out of the house. She was clad in black, and itako beads dangled around her neck.
Yoh frowned. "Hey, hey-" He was about to step forward to rescue the girl when she suddenly untangled herself from the men's grips and slapped one of them.
"Oooh…" some of the people said.
That broke the rope of patience of the men. "You witch!"
Yoh suddenly stepped forward. "Hey, hey, maybe we can talk things through, you know?"
"Don't meddle here, stranger!" snapped the head of the men. "We saw the big black beast enter her house! She is the werewolf, we are very sure of that!"
"I must tell you to go easy on your words," said the girl with flaxen hair coolly. "If I tell you who I am, you might regret that you opened that big mouth of yours."
"Try me," said the man, smirking.
"My name is Kyouyama Anna, and I intend to be the wife of the shaman king," she said proudly. "I am the fiancée of the famous son of the clan of Asakura!"
The name Asakura triggered something in the mob. After all, it was the surname of the oldest and most mysterious family in Izumo, known for its Shamanic abilities.
But before the people could react, Yoh suddenly gasped. "My brother's fiancée is a werewolf!!! No way!!!"
It was his turn to get slapped. "I am NOT a werewolf, you doofus! And how did I become your brother's fiancé?" she snapped.
"Y-You're talking about future shaman king Asakura Hao, my aniki, right?" he asked uncertainly.
Before she could reply, the mob cried, "You know this girl? Then you must be a werewolf too!"
"I am?" he asked, wide-eyed. "How come Father never told me that?"
Lyserg raised his hand. "Hey, everyone, let's settle down-"
"We must kill the two of them!" yelled the leader. "Before the moon becomes full!"
"Aye!" agreed the rest of the crowd.
Lyserg panicked. The mob is getting dangerously excited, and if he doesn't act soon, his friend would be in big, big trouble. "Townmates, we're not even sure if they really are werewolves! Let's quiet down first and talk about it over tea and biscuits-"
"What does a stranger like you know?" asked one of the men mockingly. "Do not stick your nose into our business or we might include you in our enemy's list."
"Die werewolf!" yelled another man, aiming his katana at the headphoned boy.
"I don't wanna die yet!" protested Yoh. "I'm too young! Plus I haven't finished watching Doraemon yet and-"
The mob froze.
"You haven't?" the leader asked after quite awhile, frowning.
Yoh nodded somberly. "It's my favorite show ever since I was child. My brother and I watch it together before."
The man sighed. "Oh alright. My son and daughter watches it too so…"
"You'll spare their lives?" asked Lyserg eagerly.
"I suppose…but if another death happens, my men and I will hunt you three down." The man turned his back on Yoh. "Never mess with an Ainu."
"That was a pretty close call," said Lyserg as he poured some tea for Yoh and Anna. "It was a good thing that you were able to think of an alibi like that."
"Think?" The boy's face was blank, and the dowser realized that the word was foreign in his vocabulary.
The girl had pretty much the same opinion. "I knew it. He didn't think of that by chance."
Yoh looked dumbfounded. "But I really do watch Doraemon! It's very educational."
"Oh, very well." Lyserg chuckled once more. He liked Yoh's candidness a lot.
Anna looked at the boy, eyes narrowed. "Now tell me, are you really the brother of my fiancé?"
"Well, I was sent by my grandmother to pick up an Osorezan girl that my brother is bound to marry."
She looked at him intently, then placed her cup of tea down. "I'm from the Osorezan mountains," she said.
Yoh's eyes lit up. "Great!" He held his hand up in greeting. "I'm Yoh Asakura, and I will be your brother-in-law. It's cool to meet you!"
Her bored eyes didn't even show a flash of interest in meeting him. Instead, she stood up gracefully. "Then we better hurry back to your home. I still have to meet my fiancé."
"Okie-dokie." Yoh didn't even look bothered by her coldness. He turned to Lyserg and bowed gratefully. "Arigatou once more for the hospitality and for sticking out for me and my sister-in-law."
The dowser smiled. "It's nothing. If you have some time, you can always come back here and visit me, you know."
"I'll keep that in mind." Yoh grinned once more before following the itako out of the house. "Hey Anna wait up! What if a werewolf attacks us while we're walking-"
"If that werewolf's brain is larger than yours, I'm sure he would think twice before crossing my path," she snapped.
"Uh, ok, if you say so, Anna."
Lyserg was just about to lock his door when fists banged on the door. The first thought that entered his mind was that it might be a thief, but before he could pull his dowsing tool out, the door swung.
The next thing he knew, a gun was aimed at him. The stranger holding the pistol was wearing a fisherman's cap, and was clad in baggy trousers and long-sleeved sweater which seemed inappropriate for the current weather.
His green alert eyes spotted some stray silver wisps of hair peeking out of the hat. It was strange, especially when the moustache on the person's face was dark.
"What a strange man," he thought. "I wonder what is his problem."
He blinked when the person gestured for him to sit down and raise his arms towards the ceiling. He didn't know why, but he found himself obeying the stranger, not even thinking of taking his own gun in his pocket or even summoning Morphine.
The armed stranger went to him and inspected his body. He watched as his gun and his swiss knife was thrown onto the floor. Once more, concern didn't dawn in him; he was still fascinated for some reason about the unspeaking trespasser. Not to mention that those red orbs beneath the hat were strikingly beautiful, especially when up close…
Satisfied, the stranger was about to step back when he spoke up. "What's your name?"
The intruder frowned, then whipped out a pen and a piece of paper from his writing desk. He watched the person write furiously, then was shown a hastily-scribbled note.
I am mute, and I am a thief. My name is John. I will stay in here for tonight.
He grinned. "No problem, John. It is kind of lonely to live here all by myself. A company for the night will be lovely." He placed his arms down. "Have you eaten already?"
The person looked at him suspiciously. He smiled. "No, John. I won't poison you, if that is what you're afraid of. I may not exactly be devout, but I'm basically a God-fearing person. I respect the Ten Commandments."
He spotted something flicker in those red orbs, and the detective in him was telling him that John might just be someone else other than a thief.
"Well, it's about time that you arrive," said Kino Asakura when she saw Yoh walking sheepishly behind a girl clad in black mini-dress and red bandanna.
"Is aniki here already?" asked Yoh excitedly.
"No, he isn't." Kino turned to the itako. "Kyouyama Anna, I presume?"
The girl bowed politely.
"Come with me. We have a lot of things to talk about." With that, Kino turned her back on them already.
Anna took her slippers off as Yoh watched awkwardly. "Er, Anna, don't you want to get a drink first or something?"
She looked at him, then shrugged. "Mind your own business." She continued onto the hallway, leaving Yoh sweatdropping.
Amidamaru, who was floating beside him, rubbed his cheek. "Soft-spoken, kind, timid, gentle, meek, submissive and affectionate…I don't think she is any of those I've said."
"Far from it," agreed Yoh. "Ah, but I'm sure Aniki could take care of her temper." He looked up at the night sky and sighed. "I wonder when will Aniki return. I can't wait to tell him about those people who almost made me believe that I am a werewolf."
"Whew! For a while back there, I thought I was just an adopted son or something…that my mother was a wolf or something," said Yoh, grinning. He placed his headphones back to his ears and hummed along with the music powered by the dying battery of his walkman.