Happy New Year everyone! XD
Note: Every character needs some attention, even the very minor ones who are barely noticed.
Note: Around this time, Ike and Fujita still haven't gotten together.
I really like this filler. Hope you enjoy it too! And please review.
The sun shone high above as Ike ascended up the hill to the grave of Kazumi Yoshida. There, he was surprised to find another person standing before the stone cross in the likeness of Giralda.
"Johan-san, what are you doing here?" the young man asked the Mystes. As he spoke, he couldn't help but notice some daffodils and a basket of bread placed at the base of the tombstone.
"I've decided to visit this place every one or two months," Johan replied as he walked towards Ike. "It's the least I could do to make it up to her."
As the Mystes passed by him, Ike turned around to speak again.
"I heard about what really happened to her, and personally, I hold you responsible," he said. "But only for the most part of it. Yoshida-san wouldn't blame you for something she chose to risk herself for. And she wouldn't want a friend of hers tearing himself up because of her. So just go back to the same cheerful self that you were, and keep protecting her other friends. That's the best you could do for her."
Johan looked over his shoulder with a smile. "You know what, you're right. Thanks," he said, "though it still might not be easy to forgive myself." He gave the human boy a wave before descending the hill. "Anyway, see you around."
As the Mystes left, Ike approached the grave and knelt before it. If Johan would come here on a monthly basis, he came here once or twice a week.
"Hey Yoshida-san, it's me again," he said solemnly. "It's already been a whole month since you died. The others seem to have gotten over your passing away, although some of them still have a hard time, especially Johan-san, Sakai, Shana-chan and Heca-tan. Fujita-san's been dragging me around a lot less often; apparently she's more sympathetic than I thought. School's been going on normally again too, and that flower vase we put on your desk is still there. Sakai's also told me that they did something similar with your seat in that flying palace's council chamber, and are even planning on making a memorial for you and all the others who sacrificed themselves in that recent battle."
He took off his glasses as tears began to fall from his eyes.
"Although they don't show it, many of your friends still remember you, and they miss you," he said. "I also miss you…"
Dog's Day Out
As Eita and Ogata walked through one of the many corridors within Sereiden, their ears picked up the sound of metal banging on metal, energies charging up, and overly exaggerated maniacal laughter close by. If they weren't followed by a thud or a "shut up" by someone else, it could only mean one thing.
"That freak is working in the lab by himself again," Ogata with alarm said as they picked up the pace and rushed to the lab.
"He shouldn't be doing experiments unsupervised," Eita said as he raced beside her. "Come to think of it, it was my turn to watch him today."
Ogata smirked. "Typical of you to forget," she said.
When Eita kicked the thick metallic doors of the lab open, they discovered that Dantalion had already completed some large, strange type of ray gun. It was aimed right at a cockroach inside a glass case.
"Ah, just in time to witness my fantaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa--!"
Without warning, Eita rushed to tackle the mad scientist, when Domino 28 suddenly appeared out of nowhere and was taken down instead.
"What are you doing?!" Eita yelled in surprise. "You were supposed to make sure he didn't cause trouble for anyone, including himself."
"He had me distracted with something else," Domino replied in a panicked and embarrassed tone. "Just now, I actually tried to tackle him when you got me from behind."
As the two hastily struggled to get back on their feet, Dantalion's ray gun charged up and spell circles and insignias appeared at the tip of the barrel.
"Stop!" Eita yelled as he finally got back up again. "Who knows what'll happen?!"
"Please listen to him master!" Domino pleaded.
But all of Dantalion's attention was on his experiment. He didn't even hear them, and was probably even unaware of their presence in the room, until Ogata, who had rushed at the Seeking Researcher when her boyfriend had missed, grabbed him.
The two wrestled. Dantalion randomly stretched his hands with the ray gun away from his opponent in an attempt to keep it away from her. Before Ogata could snatch it away from him, the ray gun fired, and a crooked beam of light flew out through an open window and curved to the city below.
Ogata grabbed Dantalion by the collar. Her face was filled with panic.
"What was that thing supposed to do?!" she asked.
"I have absolutely no idea," Dantalion calmly said with a crazed grin. "But it should have been inrceeeeeeeeeeeeeeee--!"
Ogata slapped his face to shut him up. She turned to her boyfriend.
"What do we do?" she said. "We'll all be in trouble if something horrible happens."
"How about we find whoever or whatever was hit by that ray before things get out of hand?" Eita quickly said. "Then we could take it back here before anyone notices."
"Good enough!" Ogata said as she dragged the Seeking Researcher out the lab, with Eita quickly following behind. Domino was left alone to clean up the mess of a lab, as usual.
Down in Misaki City, in the yard of a certain house, a certain small dog owned by a certain family was suddenly hit by a strange, crooked ray. Before she knew it, her front claws grew fingers as her paw developed into a hand. She gradually stood on only her hind legs as they became longer and her feet grew toes and became more like those of humans. All of her brown fur had also shed off, exposing smooth, fair skin. The only hair remaining was those on the top of her head, which had lengthened a bit. As her ears and nose shortened while her eyes widened, she was suddenly able to see in color, although her sense of smell and hearing had weakened dramatically. Her tail, however, still remained as it was, though it was too short for notice to begin with.
Fortunately, no one had seen the transformation from dog to human thanks to the tall fence around the yard. The family who owned the dog were also away.
"W-what just happened?" the dog turned human asked herself. "Wait, am I speaking human Japanese? What's going on? And what's this drafty feeling?"
She looked towards a glass door and saw a short, flat-chested, short-haired girl who appeared 12 or 14 years old reflected on it. She soon realized that it was her. And when she looked down at her body she turned red in the face for a reason she could not understand. But she immediately knew why she suddenly felt cold. She no longer hade fur, and she wasn't wearing anything at all, save for a collar around her neck.
Trusting her newfound human instincts and gut feelings, she entered the house and entered the room of a girl who was once her master. She randomly picked out some underwear, a white skirt which hid her short tail, and a yellow blouse and wore them. As she did all these things, she was constantly fascinated by her apposable thumbs and the colors she had never seen before.
Then she left the house, still confused at what had happened to her. Perhaps she wanted to look for some answers, or what she probably wanted was to experience what humans enjoyed, or maybe she wanted to find her best friend who had not been home for such a long period of time.
In her excitement, she ran down the street until she bumped tripped and fell flat on her face.
"Are you alright?" said a male voice as the dog-turned-human picked herself up and rubbed her nose.
She looked up to see Sydonay lending a hand out to her. She took it without hesitation.
She's really cute! Sydonay thought as he helped her up. Could I have been blessed with another chance at bliss?
He also somehow felt a familiar connection with her, it was a feeling he usually had when he worked with and studied animals. But the feeling only drew him more to the girl.
"The name's Sydonay," he said, trying to appear cool yet gentlemanly. "May I ask your name?"
"A name?" the girl repeated. She thought for a while, then remembered what she had usually been called.
"I'm Ekaterina," she said.
"Ekaterina…" Sydonay repeated. "It's such a cute name."
Ekaterina was about to continue on when Sydonay grabbed her by the hand.
"It's a little dangerous to go around alone," he said. "There are perverts and other such menaces in this city."
"It's alright," Ekaterina said cheerfully. "I know my way around as much as my best friend. We always went on walks together, and had lots of fun."
"Um," Sydonay said, blushing a bit. "Would you care to take a walk with me one of these days?"
"Sure," Ekaterina said innocently.
"Can we meet at the park tomorrow at 2?" Sydonay said, getting all excited inside.
"Alright," said Ekaterina, though at this point she had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. "Bye-bye."
"Bye-bye," Sydonay said while waving as Ekaterina ran through the streets.
"Look at that perverted face. It's even worse than when you're drunk, my lovely goblet, Margery Daw," said Marcosias.
Sydonay turned to see Margery and Keisaku walking in his direction.
"We saw the whole thing you lolicon," said Margery.
Keisaku chuckled. "Yeah, nice job there Pedonay," he teased.
Sydonay became a little pink in the face. "W-well, since when has age ever mattered for people like us?" he said. "I mean, look at you two."
"Whatever you say Pedonay," Margery said as she and Keisaku, struggling not to laugh, continued walking.
"Grr, stop calling me that!" he yelled as he chased the partners in crime.
"I know I said it was a good enough idea."
"But I just realized, how the heck are we gonna find something weird in an entire city full of weirdoes?!"
Eita and Ogata, with Dantalion, stood in the midst of a multitude of people going about their own business. Most of the people around them were humans, but a few were either Flame Haze, Denizens or Rinne. Indeed, finding an anomaly caused by Dantalion's experiment in this kind of city was going to be like finding a needle in a haystack mixed with pins.
After walking for some time, Ekaterina slowed down as she heard a growl in her stomach.
She giggled. "I've always wondered what human food tastes like," she said.
She looked around and quickly spotted a store with various bread lining the windows. Without another thought, she entered the bakery and grabbed a handful of bread, even spilling a few of them in the process. A moment later, she quickly scarfed some of them down.
"You must be really hungry," said a beautiful blonde-haired woman who apparently ran the bakery. Under her apron was a bulging tummy.
"Indeed, her hunger for your bread may be on par with Shana's," said a pink-haired woman in a maid's outfit who was helping the blonde-haired woman.
"Hay, I noe oou," Ekaterina cheerfully said with her mouth full. She swallowed before continuing. "You're Pheles-san and Carmel-san."
Pheles and Wilhelmina looked at each other, somewhat confused.
"Indeed do we know you?" Wilhelmina asked.
"I'm not sure," said Ekaterina. "But my best friend talks about you sometimes, and I think we rarely met when the two of us go on walks together."
"Who is your best friend anyway?" Pheles asked.
"And will the bread be purchased by you?" said Tiamat in monotone before Ekaterina could answer.
Awkward silence followed. Ekaterina still bore a clueless expression on her face.
After a while, Eita, Ogata and Dantalion searched the suburbs.
"This is going nowhere," Ogata said wearily.
Eita glanced at a GPS-like tracker in Dantalion's hands.
"Hey, how does that thing work?" he asked.
"I think it's supposed to trace manipulated Power of Existence," Dantalion said. "Like when someone uses an Unrestricted Method."
"An Unrestricted Method, huh?" Eita said. "Did that ray of yours count as an Unrestricted Method?"
"Probably," said the mad scientist. "Oh how I'd love to see its awesooooooooooooooooooooome results!"
Eita turned to his girlfriend.
"Hey, do you still have that lightbulb Hougu you brought during that trip to the mountains last year?" he asked.
"The time you guys tried to peep on us?" said Ogata. Eita nodded, a little embarrassed.
From her pocket she produced the Hougu. "I take it with me sometimes, though we usually don't need it since our Flame Haze and Denizen friends--and especially guys like Sakai-kun and Johan-san--are better at sensing things like Unrestricted Methods."
She gave Eita the Hougu. "What are you planning anyway?" she said.
"I have a hunch that this might amplify this guy's tracker," said Eita.
"That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard," said Ogata.
Dantalion and Eita tried it anyway, and got instant results.
"Are you sure that's the place?" said Eita.
"Sure as sure can beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!" said Dantalion.
Eita quickly grabbed a dumbstruck Ogata by the hand and rushed towards the marked coordinates.
"Indeed, that was ventriloquism," said Wilhelmina. "But are you going to pay for that bread?"
Ekaterina tilted her head. "Pay?" she said curiously. "What's that?"
Wilhelmina and Pheles were surprised yet again.
"Don't insult us little girl," Pheles said with a cold voice. "How can you not know what exchange is?"
"Indeed, she must be trying to eat and run," said Wilhelmina.
"W-what's going on?" said Ekaterina fearfully as she stepped back. She could feel the air in the store suddenly get heavier. "What did I do? Did I do something wrong?"
As she began to tear and whimper, a bespectacled young man entered the bakery for a meat bun.
"What's going on here?" he said.
Ekaterina turned to the young man and recognized him immediately.
"Ike!" she said as she suddenly glomped him. "Please help me. These mean people are bullying me."
"Uh, do I know you?" Ike said. "And what do you mean 'bullying you'?"
"She says she does not understand what it means to buy bread," said Pheles. "We think she's just trying to eat and run."
"Thief," said Tiamat.
Ike looked down at the girl with her arms wrapped tightly around his torso. Somehow, he felt something familiar about her, as if there was something that reminded him of a certain someone once close to him.
Defying logic and common sense and being guided by feeling alone, for once, he spoke.
"Let me pay for her," he said as he took out his wallet. "How much?"
Pheles punched up the numbers, causing Ike to turn a little pale. After doing as he had promised, he took Ekaterina outside.
"Alright, I'm taking you to your home before you get into more trouble," he said.
"What? But I have to find my best friend first," said Ekaterina. "She hasn't been home for many, many days."
Ike's eyes widened a little. "So you're looking for your friend, whom you live with, and won't go home until she does?" he said. Ekaterina nodded. "Then I guess I'll just have to help you then," Ike said with a sigh.
As Ike and Ekaterina walked away from the bakery, Wilhelmina watched them, from the door.
"Indeed, why did you suddenly speak?" she asked her contractor.
"Faint manipulated Power of Existence," said Tiamat. "Assumed Denizen or Rinne."
"That's possible indeed," said Wilhelmina. "But indeed, Denizens and Rinne do not feel hunger for human food. And they should also know the basics of human culture."
Meanwhile, back with Eita, Ogata and Dantalion, the three had managed to infiltrate a certain home, which was still devoid of residents. Getting in was easy, as the gate was wide open.
"The readings are going crazy here," Eita said as he checked the tracker and followed it toward a certain spot in the yard.
"Hey, this place is Yo--," Ogata was about to say, when Dantalion rudely and loudly interrupted.
"This is iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!" he yelled before receiving a blow to the face by two fists with either belonging to each of his fellow investigators. The mad scientist fell down to the ground head-first.
"Be quiet!" Ogata said. "Keep it down!" said Eita.
Ogata glanced at the tracker and quickly snatched it to get a closer look.
"You found something?" Eita asked her.
"How could you not see it? Look at the tracker again, there's a faint trace of the same signature here going into the city," Ogata replied.
"So whatever was hit must have gone into the city," said Eita.
"That's right," Ogata said.
"But if whatever was hit by that ray was transformed or something, we would have heard from at least one of our friends or from the Dominos constantly observing the Haridan for threats or abnormalities," Eita continued.
"Yes, that is puzzling," said Ogata. "That ray should have mutated a human, yet we haven't heard from anyone anywhere."
Eita glanced at the gate, as well as the front and side doors of the house. "No one's here right now, so that should be locked," he said, going closer to examine the glass side door. "We can also rule out any humans being turned into an animal, since any kind of animal won't be able to open any of these without leaving some sort of scratch."
Ogata put a hand on her head. "Ah, my head hurts," she said. "If only Sakai-kun, his dad or Johan-san were around."
"But we can't always rely on them to always figure things out for us," said Eita. "But yeah, this is tough."
Dantalion sat up. "What if an animal got turned into a human?" he said. "That would be !"
"That's the craziest thing I've ever heard," said Ogata.
"Then again, this was his experiment we're talking about," said Eita.
Ogata looked at Eita in the face, then whipped out her cellphone.
"What are you doing?" asked Eita.
"Calling for backup," she said. "We don't even know what she looks like as a human, but our friends might be able to find that kind of abnormality."
"Weren't we doing this because we were going to be in trouble with them?" said Eita.
"Idiot! We'll be in even bigger trouble if we let this get out of hand," she said as she dialed the first number, Hecate's.
"So, can you describe your best friend to me?" Ike asked Ekaterina.
"Sure," she responded cheerfully. "She's a girl."
"That's it?" Ike said with an exasperated tone. "There are thousands of girls in this city! Can you give me a little more detail?"
"Okay," said Ekaterina, still cheerfully dense. "She's a very kind, loving and caring girl. She loves her friends very much, and is always thinking about them. She takes very good care of me. She's a good cook. She never gives up, even when she is sad, and tries to be strong when she's down. And her scent is very good, like smelling flowers."
Ike felt like tripping. "Uh, can you tell me what she looks like?"
"Ah, she looks like a girl."
"I already know that! How old is she?"
"I think she's a teenager."
"And what else?"
"She's kind of petite, she has big eyes, smooth fair skin and shoulder-length hair."
"Hair and eye color?"
"Absolutely no idea! I was colorblind until today."
"How can you suddenly lose colorblindness?!"
"No idea. Oh yeah, she also had the massive melon-like things on her chest."
Ike's eyes widened greatly in surprise. "Y-you mean boobs right?" he said with a nervous, embarrassed voice. "Sh-she has h-huge boobs?"
"Whatever those things are called, yep!" said the oblivious Ekaterina.
Ike put a hand on his face. "Oh boy, this doesn't help at all," he said wearily.
"Oh, and just before she left, she gave me big hug and cuddled me," Ekaterina continued. "Then she said something like 'please take care of my friends if I don't ever return.' But I just know she'll return. She's my best friend."
"That doesn't help either," said Ike. Yet somehow, an old memory from about a month ago was stirring in his mind.
For a moment, in suspicion, he pieced together the descriptions of Ekaterina's friend as well as the fact that she, as well as Ekaterina, knew him and his supernatural friends.
"Nah, it can't be possible," Ike said as he brushed all assumptions from his head.
As they passed through a street near a park, a butterfly suddenly flew in front of Ekaterina, who instantly reacted by chasing it. A moment later, she tripped and fell, and her skirt flew up. At that moment, Ike found decisive evidence to conclude what was going on.
Under the skirt and on top of her panties was a short dog's tail.
Ogata's news about their accident and its results quickly spread to some of their friends, and once Wilhelmina passed her knowledge of the suspicious girl she had met earlier to Shana and Yuji, the Mystes made a call of his own.
As for, Margery and Keisaku, they just sat this crisis out and stayed at home, in the bar. Neither could stop laughing.
"Poor Sydonay," said Margery. "As if being a lolicon was bad enough, now he's chasing after puppies! I really hope the others don't tell him like we asked."
"That is so wrong on so many levels," said Keisaku.
"He's very busy right now, so it might not be good idea to bother him," Marcosias said, repeating the exact words Margery had said to her friends. "You're cruel, my merciless, head-shooting cupid, Margery Daw."
As the sun set over Misaki, Ike, taking Ekaterina by the hand, let her to a graveyard.
"Where are we going?" she asked.
"I know where your best friend is," said Ike as he brought her up a hill.
Soon, they were standing right before a grave with a stone cross.
"Hey, that looks like the cross my best friend used to wear on a necklace," said Ekaterina.
Ike bowed his head a bit. "That confirms it then," he said.
"So, where is my best friend?" said Ekaterina, losing her cheer. "You said you would take me to her."
"I did," said Ike.
Ekaterina looked at the grave for a long while. "I don't understand," she said.
Ike put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry to say this, but Kazumi Yoshida, your best friend, won't be coming home ever again," he said as a single tear fell from his eyes.
Ekaterina stepped back. Her eyes began to water. "Liar," she said. "You're lying!"
She tried to run away, but Ike quickly grabbed her by the arm. She looked back with watery eyes.
"Believe me, I know exactly how you feel," he said. "But it's the truth."
He released his grip and Ekaterina fell to her knees sobbing. Tears flowed from her eyes like rivers.
"So she really is gone," said Ekaterina. "Now I'll be lonely, and I won't have any more reason to exist!"
Ike knelt down before her and put his hand on her head reassuringly.
"That's not true," he said with a warm smile. "She wanted you to take care of her friends, right? We'll take care of you too."
He patted her head and she looked up to his face, then rammed herself into his chest to cry.
As she mourned for her master, the spell on Ekaterina began to wore off. She began to shrink, and fur began to return. Her face was also becoming more canine-like again.
Suddenly, Ike's phone vibrated. He took it out of his pocket and, after seeing that it was from Yuji, answered the call.
"Yeah Sakai," he responded. "What? Oh, I know. Yes, she's right here with me. But you don't have to worry about a thing."
In his arms now lay a small brown dog covered in clothes too big for it to wear.
As evening fell, Ike folded the clothes the dog had been wearing as a human and placed them at Kazumi's grave.
"Even your dog misses you very much," he said before leaving with Ekaterina walking beside him.
The next day, Ike approached Kazumi's parents, who were moving away from the city that day, as they no longer had a reason to stay now that their daughter was gone. Ike requested to keep Ekaterina, and her owners approved, feeling that it would be what their late daughter would want. Also, the day before, they had seen Ekaterina following him home, and had seen how fond she had grown to the boy.
Hearing the news, Ekaterina ran and leaped into Ike's arms with a decorated notebook in its mouth. Concealed close by, Yuji, Pheles and Eita watched.
"All's well that ends well," said Pheles, whose lover was running the bakery at the moment. Yuji nodded.
"Though what were the chances that ray would hit her of all things, and have that kind of effects?" said Eita.
As Ike took the notebook, Ekaterina
"Call it fate?" said Yuji. "By the way, what happened to that experimental ray gun?"
"And who's watching the Seeking Researcher?" asked Pheles.
"As soon as we got back, we smashed the ray gun," Eita answered. "And Matake's watching him today."
At that moment, in Sereiden's lab, Dantalion picked up a screwdriver with one hand and a strange indefinable tool in the other. Before he could even yell maniacally, he was knocked down by a blow to the back of the head with a large paper fan wielded by Ogata.
"Don't even think about it," she said. "We've had enough trouble from you for a year."
As Ike left for his own home, Ekaterina followed him with her tail wagging happily, Yuji, Pheles and Eita took a last glance at them before heading back as well.
"Actually, it was supposed to be Sydonay-san's turn today, but he said he had a date," Eita continued.
"Why do I have a feeling that won't end well for him?" said Yuji.
Later, at around 10:00 at night, Sydonay still sat in wait on a park bench, waiting for his date. Tears and mucus poured out of his eyes and nose.
"She's not coming, is she?" he mumbled.