A/N: Thanks to my wife, Tarma Hartley, for giving me the idea for this omake. If you'd like to thank her too, you can go read her new GrimGrimoire fic! [/blatant plug]
~X X X~
The shrine rising out of the mists was an eerie place, its eight towering prayer gates of an oddly purple-hued stone looming over the foggy heart of the structure like a flock of predatory birds—or perhaps instead a volt of vultures licking their chops in anticipation of a feast. The Necks of Orochi who perched on those gates were something vulture-like themselves, waiting for the world's destruction to tear apart the shreds. They thought themselves the bringers of that destruction, and perhaps they were, but their very existence had only come because the world was decaying enough that human malice had risen to the point that it called upon the spirit of chaos to manifest itself. In tearing the world to bits they were, in a sense, only scavengers ripping at a corpse.
If Tsubasa, the First Neck, had been present that image might have been different. There was nothing vulture-like about him! Nor were the Seventh and Eighth Necks there, their allegiance to the whole concept of Orochi very muddled.
Actually, forget the vultures. Without Tsubasa, Souma, and Chikane, the remaining Necks of Orochi mostly resembled a five-person comedy troupe whose flash-powder bombs had been replaced with real explosives.
At the very least, Sister Miyako felt like the straight woman in a manzai act, as she watched the incarnated wills of Yamata no Orochi desperately try to scribble out enough manga pages to meet a deadline that wouldn't come until after the world-ending eclipse, work on poses for a stage act that no one would see, or chase one another around with chains and giant hypodermic needles as relief for having the attention span of a gnat.
"Enough!" she screamed. They probably didn't hear her; the four bolts of lightning that speared down out of the swirling clouds and blasted Girochi, Corona, Reiko, and Nekoko were fairly loud. "Now that I have your attention," she addressed the smoking wreckage, "may I ask how it is that all four of you managed to miss that we have a guest?"
She pointed down into the shrine where the mists parted to reveal a man of average height, average build, average features, a blue pinstriped suit, a white shirt, a blue tie with silver stripes, and a giant Afro.
All that lightning tends to throw a lot of static electricity around, after all. Any day when Sister Miyako had to vent her opinion of others tended to be a bad hair day.
She wondered if finding a good de-frizzer would make Tsubasa more inclined to pay attention to her.
"I can't be bothered to play security guard when I have a deadline coming up," Reiko stated.
"Yeah," Corona chimed in. "And I still haven't worked out the choreography for my closing number. Shouldn't the musclehead there be the one playing rent-a-cop at the door? All he needs is the dumb hat and he'd look the part perfectly."
"Hey! Whaddya mean I look like a cop, sixty...nah, sixteen...nah, it was...oh, whatever!" Girochi evidently was so offended that his delinquent chic was being compared to a security guard's uniform that he couldn't actually remember which number was Reiko's usual insult for the idol singer.
"But what's someone doing here anyway, nya?" Nekoko asked, too curious to offer excuses.
"That's a very good question. Let's just go and find out, shall we?"
Sister Miyako gestured, and the newcomer was surrounded with a seething purple aura. Carried by the power of Orochi, he levitated up to the same level as the Necks.
"You! Who are you, and what business do you have trespassing in the shrine of Yamata no Orochi?"
The man's eyebrows rose behind his steel-rimmed glasses.
"Yamata no Orochi? Excellent. Then I am in the correct place." His voice was clipped, even prim, with a crisp formality that seemed utterly out of place among the seething chaos of the Orochi. "My name is Aozaki Hiro, and I represent the Federated National Insurance Company." He opened his trim leather attaché case and extracted a sheaf of papers. "Now, our clients have recently filed claims with us for, ahem, three aircraft carriers, two F4-E fighters, a three-hundred-year-old Buddhist temple, a suspension bridge, and the greater part of the buildings on either side of Main Street in the village of Mahoroba. There was, I believe, also some mention of a mountain but we are denying that claim on the grounds that the policy covers damage to structures, not the obliteration of the real estate itself. I believe that in each case, members of your organization claimed responsibility?"
"Hell, yeah!" Girochi crowed.
"It was fun playing 'boom' with Nya-Nya, nya!"
"Thank you for the confirmation. Under our right of subrogation, the full amount due comes to eleven trillion, four hundred and seventy-eight billion, nine hundred and fifty-four million, two hundred and sixteen thousand, five hundred and thirty-nine yen. I am hereby serving you with a copy of the complaint and summons."
He extended the sheaf of papers; they floated over to Sister Miyako.
"Let me make sure that I understand you. You are presenting the disciples of the God of Destruction with a bill for damages?"
"As embodied in a legal action, yes."
Sister Miyako stared at him incredulously. Was the entire universe made up of nothing but idiots and lunatics? Was this, in fact, why Orochi was poised to obliterate it all? She was on the verge of summoning up another lightning bolt to erase the fool...but then she just sighed and gave up. Killing Aozaki would not make the splitting headache pounding through her temples go away. Actually, it might do the opposite; thunder was, as a rule, rather loud.
"Fine, fine," she said, gesturing like she was shooing off a fly. "Go see the Eighth Neck at the Himemiya mansion outside Mahoroba. She's the only one of us who has any money, anyway."
"I shall do that. The Federated National Insurance Company appreciates your cooperation."
"Not at all." If I just let him drop, would the impact be too loud? No, I'd better not; cleaning blood off a wood floor is next to impossible and I couldn't trust any of these idiots to do it right so I'd have to handle it myself.
Aozaki felt himself lowered down to the shrine floor, blissfully unaware that his continued health was largely due to Sister Miyako's fundamental dislike for getting stuck with household chores. The Second Neck had just about decided to go off for a badly-needed afternoon nap when she was interrupted.
"I thought that insurance policies had exceptions for damage or loss caused by acts of God, nya?"