"Astarte…" Kagami Mikage's voice started, his tone low and half logged with sleeplessness.
A girl of about seventeen, with long black hair that fell in waves around her shoulders and cascaded down to her waist, turned her head, orienting her pale green eyes on the businessman. She paused in her folding of a paper crane, the white paper dropping to the table before her and becoming lost among the dozens of origami animals. She watched, slightly fearfully, as Kagami strode forward, his nephew Aki Mikage at his side. Kagami was a terrifying man; his mere presence frightened her.
"Yes," she replied momentarily. She was obliged to do so, as Kagami had saved her life and awoken her… other self. She owed him for that.
"We need you and Aki to… investigate something," he said.
"My woman… where is she?" Aki demanded.
"We'll find her, please be patient," Kagami said, stifling a yawn. "Aisei high school is where you two are going. Astarte, you'll have to go by your human name."
"I understand," she nodded. Before she discovered she was a C-Genome, she was an ordinary high school girl named Hanabira Mizushima. But her celestial lineage ruined her normal life. Now she was living at Mikage International, kept under careful watch by Wei and several others. Her power over the human body was to blame for the high security.
"Let's go," Aki said firmly, turning on his heel and breezing out the door. Astarte hopped up and followed.
"Tennyo!" Ceres's voice cried. Aya gasped and ground her teeth together.
"Aya?" Yuhi asked, worried. He watched as she gripped the sides of her desk and hung her head.
"Ceres is trying to come out…" she muttered.
"Release me! That man is here and he has a tennyo with him!" the celestial maiden demanded. "I need to reclaim what is rightfully mine!"
Aya stood up quickly and dashed out into the hallway, digging her fingernails into her arms in an attempt to hold back Ceres. She backed against a wall and slid to the floor, clinging to herself with all her might. Yuhi appeared soon after and held her, reassuring her that he would fix it if Ceres emerged. Aya glanced up sharply and nearly choked. Aki stood at the end of the hall, his hands stuffed in his pockets and a menacing glare on his face. A few paces behind him was a girl with wavy black hair.
"We meet again, Ceres," Aki grinned. Aya forced back a scream as Ceres switched places with her, the force of the transition shattering the wall behind her.
"You malicious ingrate," she hissed. "How dare you show your face to me again?"
"You forget that without me you'll never find your precious hagoromo," he chuckled darkly. "Go ahead and kill me… if you can."
"You jerk!" Yuhi snapped, whipping out his metal chopsticks and darting forwards. Suddenly, he felt his legs freeze up completely. He glanced down to find them enveloped in a strange green light.
"I don't think so, human," Astarte chided. "Boss ordered it, and I can't refuse him."
"Boss?" Yuhi asked. Footsteps pattering down the hall captured everyone's attention. Skidding to a stop at the opposite end of the hall was Chidori, fully transformed.
"Oh, another one to play with?" Astarte giggled.
"Don't mess with my friends!" Chidori said angrily, sending an attack barreling down the hall. It dispersed just before reaching Aki and Astarte. "Huh? What's going on? Why can't I move?"
"It's quite simple, really. I'm a tennyo just like you, and I have power that lets me control human bodies. I know that you're trying to harm Aki, and that's not allowed so I'm stopping all your voluntary functions," Astarte explained.
"You're with Mikage!" Yuhi exclaimed.
"Really? I had no idea!" she said with mock surprise. "Very good, Yuhi Aogiri, I am under the jurisdiction of Mikage International. I wouldn't have bothered coming all the way out to this dump of a school if Kagami hadn't ordered it." Ceres ground her teeth together.
"Why are you here?" she asked.
"Kagami wanted us to investigate something. That's all I was told," Astarte sighed.
"I see. Since that is the case," Ceres replied, pressing her palms together, "I shall have to bestow the joys of transcendent bliss upon you, Hanabira Mizushima."
"Hanabi?" Yuhi asked. Astarte sucked in breath sharply. "Hanabi, is that really you?"
"Yuhi… you remember when I was still human, don't you?" Astarte said coolly.
"you know each other?" Chidori asked, trying to move her arms.
"We went to the same middle school. We'd always get into awful fights but we were rather close friends," Yuhi admitted. "You're a C-Genome?"
"I'm a tennyo, Yuhi," she corrected. "Just like them, I was human until my celestial aspects were awakened."
"But you can transform like us, can't you?" Chidori half-demanded.
"She cannot," Ceres interjected. "Her powers have awakened this far, making her celestial facet dominant."
"Ceres is right, you know," Astarte nodded. "I can't switch back and forth between human and tennyo anymore, though I could at the very beginning."
"Hanabi, stop saying that!" Yuhi cried. "If you come with us, we'll figure out how to separate your tennyo and human sides and…"
"You can't do that, Yuhi," Aki cut in, raising his hand. "She belongs to Mikage International now. There's nothing you can do," he growled as power exploded from his hand, knocking the young chef off his feet.
"You can't separate my human and celestial sides because there's no humanity left inside me," Astarte said bitterly. She slowly lifted her arms, aiming to attack the trio.
Yuhi braced himself for impact, eyes flying open when Astarte started screaming.
"Don't," Ceres ordered. "Aki is right. There is nothing we can do."
She narrowed her eyes as Astarte's arms were slowly consumed by a white fire. Skin was burned and fell off her bones in mushy clumps, splattering on the floor. Her exposed bones were cracking from the heat, turning from white to a dull black in mere seconds. The flames traveled up her arms, reaching the rest of her body. The high-pitched screaming intensified. Chidori closed her eyes tightly and looked away.
"You always were annoying," Aki snarled.
"Aki…" Yuhi muttered.
"Ever since I met you I disliked you, even Aki grew tired of you. This is what Kagami wanted today…" Aki mumbled as Astarte crumpled to the floor, her charred bones disintegrating into a fine black dust as the fire continued to burn. "He wanted me to show you what I am capable of. Keep on your guard, Ceres."
"Aki…" Ceres muttered. In the blink of an eye, she changed back into Aya. "Aki!" she called after her brother as he strode away down the hall and disappeared. She wrinkled her nose at the ripe stench of smoldering flesh and pressed her sleeve to her face. "Did I do that?" she asked a bit shakily, her grey eyes sweeping over the charred remains of a tennyo.
"He did," Yuhi grumbled. "He killed her as a warning to us."
"Let's go before someone important comes to investigate," Chidori suggested.
As the three fled to the Aogiri house, Yuhi kept looking back over his shoulder. Hanabi's words kept echoing in his head.
"There's no humanity left inside me."
He sighed deeply, wondering just how sick the Mikages actually were if they could kill off someone they were looking for so easily.
A/N: well, there's that for ya. I had an idea and I went with it. Personally, I don't really like it, but I'm too lazy to go back and make it nicer. I was gonna make this into a multiple chapter story, but I have enough of those started already and I don't really think I need to start another one. I mean, the only multi-chapter story I've completed it DXM.
Did you like it? Yes? No? Maybe? Review and tell me what you honestly thought. Flames are welcome, as I churned this out in about an hour, more or less. Next new story you'll all find on my account will be for Treasure Planet, so look forward to that one, okay? I'm not done with chapter one yet, but I'm working on it, okay? Okay? Okay?! Is that okay?!?!?
Sorry... oh, BTW, it'll be a multi-chapter story. Yeah, I know… finish one of the ones you started… Geh, just leave ma alone and let me write!
I do have some aspect of a social life, and I still have a shitload of DXM manga to work on and on top of that my friend Kelly Nelly Chan and I are doing a joint comic now, which will be up on our joint site .com.
Until… my next post, I suppose…