Chapter 2: Juzoh

The docks were peaceful, very peaceful. The soft sounds of water lapping at the wooden shore was like a lullaby for Juzoh. He found a nearby hilly spot of grass, and declared it perfect for a quick nap. Following through with this, he proceeded to lie down and rest.

He woke from his brief venture roughly an hour later, greatly refreshed. Looking at the sun, he decided he should head for home. Passing by an old building, he heard what he thought was a familiar voice.

"(…festival tomorrow.)"

"(Oh, really?)"

"(Yeah! It's gonna be a lot of fun.)"

He didn't quite recognize the second voice, but the first one sounded just like his little sister, Akari. Turning the corner, he found out why: because it was Akari.

"(Juzoh!)"

"(Akari! What are you doing here?)"

Juzoh was not ungodly tall. Certainly unusually tall, standing well over six feet, surrounded by the comparatively small people around him, he was a giant. Adding to this his broad shoulders and barrel chest, and he seemed a sight most formidable. But beneath his appearances, he was a kind-hearted, playful man, who enjoyed a simple life. Unfortunately, Greg had no idea of the latter, and so was taken quite aback when a very large man with a studded club (Which Juzoh taught himself how to use to pass the time, and mostly just carried it for effect) burst upon the scene, he was understandably dumbfounded.

"uhhh…. Um."

Akari, getting irritated by her brother, said "(That man is teaching me to speak American!)"

"(Akari, you know you shouldn't be out here! It's dangerous to be by yourself!)"

"Um…"

"(Juzoh, I'm not a kid anymore!)"

"(You still shouldn't be out by yourself! Haven't you heard about what's been happening?)"

"(Oh yeah? Well you can't make me go home.)"

As it turns out, he can.

Juzoh picked Akari up by the scruff of the neck, his ham of a hand easily lifting her off the ground. Akari had lost the fight, and unfortunately had to accept it.

Finally, Greg spoke something intelligible. "(She, uh, she is telling the truth. I was just teaching her…)"

Juzoh briefly nodded, then proceeded to not care about that at all, and begin marching home.

(Note: After this, I will stop using () to signify that someone is speaking Japanese, as all the dialogue will be spoken in that language.)

A few minutes into the walking, Juzoh decided that Akari had adequately calmed down and set her on the ground. The two were not related by blood, but rather, Juzoh was an orphan taken into the Ichijo family with Akari and Hikari (and their parents). Being the near-eldest as well as the largest, he had decided that he had to take a certain degree of responsibility with his sisters, though this didn't keep him from being smitten with Hikari, who had unfortunately been bedridden for the past few days. But I digress,

"I don't see why it's so dangerous out here" Akari began.

"Because of the omens. The things that have been happening!"

Akari raised her finger as if she were going to say something, then after a pause put her hand down. Juzoh raised an eyebrow. "You don't know what's been happening, do you?"

Akari coughed. "No."

"Word of demons and monsters have been spreading. And crime is on the rise."

Akari gasped. "Then Hikari's illness… Hell's Gate!"

Before she could elaborate, a rush of wind blew past them, and two malicious forms bore themselves from the ground. Akari, ready for the worst, drew out a paper doll from her shirt. Winding her arm up and inundating the paper with magic, the doll began to catch fire in a bright velvet hue. She threw the paper at the nearest evil spirit, and upon contact the doll and spirit burst into a cascade of flames and disintegrated.

Juzoh, in the meantime, Had been charging toward the other figure, brandishing his giant club. When he was a few meters away, he began sliding on his feet, and swung his club in a mighty horizontal arc, knocking the spirit to the ground and taking a large chunk out of its right side, which disappeared in a pile of sand. As the form stood back up, Juzoh reared his club backwards, and released a mighty roar as he brought the club down on the head of the foul being, turning it into a group of flying evil-chunks which, again, quickly became earth.

Juzoh wiped his forehead. "That was too close."

"How? We decimated them!"

"I mean too close to home. If evil spirits are starting to find their way into our city, it could be disaster."

"Stop! Thief!" came the screech of a nearby shopkeeper.

Juzoh slapped his face with his hand and sighed, "It never ends."

Next: Washizuka Keiichiro