This was by far the longest chapter I have ever written ever. Just as the title suggests, this chapter will cover what happens the first day of the hot springs training camp and I guess you could say this is my continuation of the OVA. As always to anyone who's kept up with this story; please leave a positive and/or negative comment in the box below. It would be greatly appreciated as it would only help me to improve with future submissions.
Special note to Nakashima, I introduce your oc in this chapter. I had to change some aspects of her so she would fit the story though. I hope you like it.
Momo was grateful for Riko's presence. It helped her put things into perspective. Her cover was blown, but the mission still needed to be completed. She handled herself with dignity and grace as she addressed the group of butei students. "I apologize for my earlier outburst." She bowed to everyone before continuing. "Please allow me to formally reintroduce myself and clear up any confusion you may have. My name is Momo Kisaragi, the title I was given is Shadow Blade, and just as Sensei stated previously my real rank is SS. Just like you, I'm a student of Butei High School and am currently enrolled in Inquesta Department. As of right now, I'll be assisting Kagerou-san by taking care of your needs during your stay here."
The butei students were rendered speechless by how twin-tailed girl spoke. This was especially true for Riko, who hadn't seen this side of Momo before now.
She turned her attention toward their chaperone. "Sensei…? Pardon my asking, but am I to assume their training also falls within my responsibilities?"
Tsuzuri who was just as shocked as her students was caught off guard by the question. "Um… yeah, don't worry about it. I'll tell you the specifics later."
Momo wasn't satisfied with that answer, but considering the circumstances decided not to press the issue. "I understand. At any rate, I'm sure everyone would like to come inside and rest."
Kagerou was starting to get a bit anxious as well. "That's right! Everyone must be tired from their travels. Please, come in."
As everyone entered the inn, Momo noticed one of the female students had what looked like a white wolf with her. She turned around and approached them. "I'm sorry, but pets aren't allowed inside. If you like, I can escort you and your companion around the perimeter of the inn where he'll be allowed to stay in the backyard."
The girl she was addressing was none other than Snipe Department's ace, Reki. She had cyan hair that came down to her neck and beautiful yellow eyes. "Um… his name is Haimaki."
"Haimaki…" Momo turned her attention to the dog or at least Reki claims he's a dog. Haimaki is actually a wolf with a nice white coat of fur. "What a nice name. Ok, I'll take you two to the backyard now."
Riko noticed her partner diverging from the rest of the group and decided to take the opportunity to spend some time with her. "Wait, I'll come with you guys."
Momo smiled. "I appreciate the gesture." She slipped on a pair of slippers and led them outside.
Meanwhile, Kagerou was leading the rest of the group down the hall.
Goki Muto was the only other male butei student on this trip. He is the Ace of Logi and considered a transportation geek by Kinji. Right now though, vehicles were the furthest thing from his mind. "Kinji…" Goki tapped his shoulder.
Kinji stopped walking and turned around. "What is it?"
"Just who was that girl?" The spiky haired student asked.
"You mean Momo? Didn't she already answer that question herself?" Kinji retorted.
"That's not what I mean! I'm talking about how a girl like that is attending our school and I didn't notice her till now!" The Logi Ace exclaimed.
"Don't you get it? That grace, the way she carries herself, even her kimono…! There's no doubt about it. Momo is… no, Momo-sama must be the rumored paragon of a beautiful Japanese woman. A Yamato Nadeshiko!" Goki declared.
Kinji seemed less than amused. "I seem to recall you saying the same thing about Shirayuki."
"That's right! To think that not one, but two ideal Japanese woman attend our school…" Tears of joy were now flowing down Goki's face as he balled his hand into a fist and confidently held it out in front of him.
A sweat drop formed on Kinji's forehead.
"What are you two doing?"
The two male butei students turned to the direction of the voice. A strawberry-blonde twin-tailed girl was standing in front of them.
"You're going to get left behind if you just stand there." She stated.
Back outside, Momo was quietly leading her guests around the perimeter of the inn. Reki and Haimaki silently followed her. Riko didn't say a word as well which was making the twin-tailed girl nervous. She was sure the blonde would've said something by now. The group kept walking till they reached the gate to the backyard. The gate was a tall wooden fence that encompassed the entirety of the backyard.
"Well, here we are." Momo opened the gate and held it open.
"Thank you." Reki gave a slight bow before walking inside with Haimaki.
Riko on the other hand just stood there and stared at her partner.
"Um… is something on your mind?" Momo asked trying to break the silence.
Riko smirked before breaking out into a fit of giggles. She was attempting to stifle them, but failed miserably.
Momo's nervousness turned into irritation. "Do you find something funny?"
"I'm sorry…" The blonde said as she recovered from her laughing fit. "It's just that I didn't know how to react. I knew you were polite, but what you did back there was just over the top."
"I guess it would seem that way to you." The twin-tailed girl sighed.
"Heh…, now I'm even more curious." Riko stated.
"You see, I grew up in a shrine. Speaking formally comes naturally to me because it's what I grew up with." Momo explained.
Riko crossed her arms. "A shrine, huh? Yeah, that sounds about right."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Momo asked.
"Oh, it's nothing really. I was just thinking out loud." The blonde gazed at her partner before walking up to her. "That kimono looks great on you."
Momo blushed. "Um… thanks."
"She's so vulnerable right now. I wonder…" Riko leaned in and kissed Momo on the cheek.
The twin-tailed girl's face turned a deeper shade of red. "Riko-chan…!"
The blonde smiled, satisfied with the reaction she just elicited. "Now there's the partner I know and love."
The rank SS butei let out another sigh. "You're just screwing with me aren't you?"
"Yup!" Riko exclaimed.
"Please don't sabotage my mission for your own amusement." Momo begged.
"Momo-chan…" Riko gasped. "You don't really think that I'm the type of person who would do that… do you?"
The twin-tailed girl simply stared at the blonde with a stern expression on her face.
"You're no fun at all." Riko pouted.
An anger mark appeared on Momo's head. "I knew it! You really were planning to do something!"
"I'm only kidding." Riko smiled and clasped her partner's hand. "Anyway, we should rejoin the others before anyone gets suspicious."
While Momo wanted nothing more than to stand there and give Riko a piece of her mind, she had a mission to carry out. Her partner was correct that the others would start to get suspicious if they were missing too long. So, twin-tailed girl calmed herself and smiled as well. They were about to start walking when they noticed Reki and Haimaki standing in front of them. Momo nearly had a heart attack, but she managed to keep her composure and addressed them accordingly. "Reki-san, do you need my help with something?"
"No, I just thought that I would follow you since I don't know my way around yet. I would've said something, but I didn't want to interrupt your conversation." Reki answered.
Haimaki stood obediently by his owner's side.
"I see… I apologize for my carelessness." Momo gave her a slight a bow. "I'll escort you to where your friends are now."
Reki followed the rank SS with Haimaki by her side.
Riko thought to herself for a moment before following them. "This trip is going to be better than I expected."
Momo led them around the backyard to the back of the inn. The sound of voices could be heard as they made their way across the perimeter of the inn. They got increasing louder as they came closer to one particular entrance that led to the guest room. The twin-tailed girl turned around and addressed the guests she was leading. "We're here, you're friends are just inside. If there's nothing else you need me for, I'll take my leave." She gave a slight bow before stepping inside. There wasn't much of a difference between this room and the one Momo was in yesterday. The only difference between then and now is that the table was set with all the food she had cooked this morning and the guests were seated around it. "Kagerou-san must have started to serve breakfast because I took too long."
"Oh, there you are Momo-chan." Kagerou was pouring out some tea for one of the guests when she noticed her. "I was just about to come and get you. Did you have any problems assisting our guests?"
"No, I was just informing one of our guests that pets aren't allowed inside. So, I offered to let him stay in the backyard instead." Momo answered.
Riko walked inside and took her seat at the table followed by Reki who sat by the door to tend to Haimaki.
"That's fine then. Now, come join us. We were just about to have breakfast." Kagerou urged.
"Eh…? But, I'm supposed to be working." Momo responded.
"I said it's alright didn't I? Just hurry up and join us." The owner insisted.
"I agree with her." Riko added. "I would very much like you to eat with us isn't that right guys?"
"I don't mind if she eats with us." Shirayuki commented.
"I don't have any problems with it either." Jeanne added.
"They're right. Don't feel you have to eat separately from the rest of us because we're you're guests!" Muto exclaimed.
Other guests had similar reactions to this decision.
Kagerou smiled. "See…?"
"Very well, if that's what our guests wish then it will be my pleasure to join them." Momo replied as she took a seat next to Riko in traditional seiza form.
"At the very least, things will be different this time around with you here." Tsuzuri stated.
"That's the second time you've said that Tsuzuri-sensei." Momo pointed out.
"Is it? Well never mind that. Let's eat." The butei teacher responded.
Everyone put their hands together and closed their eyes. "Ittadakimasu!"
A traditional Japanese breakfast consists of steamed rice, miso soup, and various other side dishes such as broiled/grilled fish, tamagoyaki (rolled omelet), tsukemono pickles, nori (dried seaweed), natto, and so on.
Kinji decided to try the rolled omelettes. He picked up the piece of food with his chopsticks and put it in his mouth savoring the taste in his mouth before swallowing it. "Delicious."
Everyone else had similar reactions.
"Kagerou-san, did you make all this?" Muto asked.
"No, all of the food you see before you was made by my part time assistant." Kagerou answered.
"She even cooks." Muto started tearing up upon realizing this fact.
Kinji looked over at him and decided it was best to ignore him for the rest of the trip.
"Amazing…" Aria gasped.
"I'm impressed you were able to cook all of this for us." Shirayuki complimented.
"This is simple food done well." Jeanne stated.
"I can't find any fault with the dishes you prepared us." Riko added.
"It's all very tasty." Reki smiled.
"Thank you for your kind words." Momo responded giving a slight bow.
"You'd definitely make a great wife." Tsuzuri commented.
"Stop teasing my assistant Tsuzuri. Anyway, after your finished eating, you should try out our hot springs. That includes you too Momo-chan." Kagerou recommended.
"No buts, I'll take care of the cleanup so you won't have to worry about that. Besides, you didn't get a chance to try the hot springs yet." Kagerou suggested.
It was true that Momo didn't use the hot springs yesterday. All she did last night was take a quick shower after listening to former butei's stories and she had to admit a nice soak in the hot springs did sound tempting. "Thank you Kagerou-san. I'll take you up on your offer."
"Good girl." Kagerou responded.
"Please follow me everyone." Momo stood up and opened the sliding door. "I will guide you to the hot springs area now."
Hot Springs Area
Momo removed her hair ties letting her hair flow freely down her back. She had just finished cleansing herself of impurities and with nothing but a towel wrapped around her body was about to step in the hot springs with the rest of the group. She took a deep breath before opening the sliding doors. "I'm coming in…"
The hot springs area was divided by gender with males on one side and females on the other. Reki was washing Haimaki on the side, and Tsuzuri was relaxing in an isolated corner, and the rest of the female butei students were conversing amongst themselves. None of them seemed to notice twin-tailed girl as she walked towards the spring.
Momo tossed the towel aside and entered the spring letting the hot water soothe her body. "This feels nice…"
As soon as the rank SS butei dropped her guard, everyone grew silent and started staring at her.
Momo wasn't quite sure what to make of the situation, but it was making her feel uneasy so she decided to break the ice with a question. "Um… why are all of you staring at me like that?"
Riko approached her partner and eyed her with an especially piercing gaze before nodding her head as if to confirm something and turning around to face the group. "This proves it! Even Momo-chan has bigger breasts than Aria!"
The rank SS butei was at a loss for words.
An anger mark formed on Aria's forehead. "Are you starting up with that again!?"
"I'm only stating the truth. She's at least a B-cup, but you on the other hand could barely qualify as an A-cup. Do they even make bras that small?" Riko taunted.
Aria's anger reached a boiling point. "That's it!" She lifted up one of the wooden buckets where she hid her M1911 pistols.
Momo saw this situation unfold before her and instantaneously reacted. "Riko-chan, look out!" As Aria aimed her guns at her partner, Momo had already closed the distance between them. She delivered a punch to the strawberry blonde's stomach knocking the wind out of her.
Aria collapsed dropping her guns on the rim of the hot spring as she gasped for air.
Everyone was shocked except for Tsuzuri who seemed to find this an interesting turn of events.
Upon realizing what she did, Momo kneeled down next to Aria and started apologizing. "I'm sorry Kanzaki-san. I didn't mean to do that. You just pulled out your weapons of all of a sudden and I reacted without thinking."
"Don't worry about her." Riko placed her hand on Momo's shoulder. "She's fine."
"So this is the power of a rank SS butei." Aria had managed to recover enough energy to speak. "You took me down before I had a chance to fire a single bullet."
"Kanzaki-san…? Are you alright?" Momo asked.
"Yeah, I'm feeling better now." Aria responded.
Riko hugged Momo from behind. "See…? Despite looking like a child, she's as tough as nails."
"Child…?" Aria was doing her best to suppress her anger.
"Anyway, forget about her. I'm more interested in how you shouted my name and defended me like my knight in shining armor?" Riko teased.
"What a coincidence? I am too." Tsuzuri chimed in.
"You even addressed her using '-chan'…" Shirayuki pointed out.
Everyone stared at Momo even more intently than before. Right when she was about to crack under the pressure, Kagerou had just entered the hot springs. "What is everyone talking about?" She was wearing a towel around her body which barely covered her cleavage.
"We're just having some fun with your assistant." Tsuzuri answered.
"Kagerou-san… Save me…" Momo begged.
"My my, I thought I told you not to tease my assistant so much." She removed the towel and stepped into the spring with everyone else. Kagerou then turned her attention to Momo. "I hope they didn't go overboard with their fun."
"No, I'm fine." Momo responded somewhat relieved by the landlady's presence.
"Aw… I was hoping to tease her a little longer." Riko pouted as she let go of her.
"Just how much is that girl trying to torture me?" Momo internally sighed.
Everyone else started to settle down and relax again except for Reki who seemed indifferent to the whole situation and continued to wash Haimaki.
Aria tapped Momo's shoulder. "I've been meaning to ask you something since we got here."
"What is it Kanzaki-san?" Momo asked.
"How did you become a rank SS exactly? I never heard about their being a rank higher than S before today." Aria explained.
"I'm actually curious about that myself." Shirayuki stated.
"I want to hear about how Momo-chan became such a high rank as well." Riko chimed in.
"Count me in as well." Jeanne added.
Even Reki was interested as she seemingly had finished washing Haimaki and joined the rest of the group.
"Well since all of you know my identity already, I don't see any point in not telling you. However, I'll have to tell you about my past as well." Momo said.
"Why not…? I think we all could use a good story." Tsuzuri replied.
"Well to answer your question Kanzaki-san, the reason my rank is SS is because I am capable of completing missions a normal butei could not." Momo explained.
"That's a little vague. Can you be more specific? What kind of missions do you undertake?" Aria questioned further.
Momo thought for a moment about how to respond before continuing. "Do you believe in demons?"
Aria was caught off guard by the question.
"Judging from your reaction, I take it you do. After all it was you, Toyama-san, and Ri… I mean Mine-san who managed to defeat Vlad after all."
"Mine-san…? Anyone can tell you forced that Momo-chan." Riko mentally sighed.
Momo turned her attention to her partner. She didn't want to push the topic of Vlad any further if it made her feel uneasy.
Riko noticed this and smiled back at her indicating she was ok.
Aria crossed her arms. "What's your point?"
"The missions I go on entail hunting demons like him." Momo revealed.
"You didn't just hunt demons like Vlad. You also killed Vlad himself just a couple days ago when he came back to life." Tsuzuri chimed in.
"Sensei! I was going to leave that part out!" Momo exclaimed before she calmed down and realized there's no way her teacher should know that. "Wait, how did you know that?"
"Jeanne told me." Tsuzuri stated plainly.
"Of course she did." Momo sighed.
"Vlad is alive!?" Aria yelled.
"'Was' alive… past tense." Momo corrected.
"My, aren't you slow on the uptake." Riko taunted.
Another anger mark formed on Aria's forehead, but she focused her attention on the rank SS butei instead. "There's one thing I don't understand. The three of us were barely able to defeat Vlad. How did you do it alone?"
"Have you heard the legend of Saya Kisaragi?" Momo asked.
"Saya Kisaragi…? Isn't that legend about a female samurai who protected people by slaying demons?" Shirayuki said.
"That's right. However, what the legend doesn't mention is that she was a demon herself despite her human form. Not only that, but she was unique among her own kind and it was the same reason they feared her. She didn't eat humans, she fed on other demons."
"What does any of this have to do with you?" Aria questioned.
Momo closed her eyes before opening them again revealing a deep crimson color. "Saya Kisaragi is my ancestor. Her blood runs through my veins."
Shirayuki was particularly sensitive to the change within the rank SS butei. "What is this overwhelming feeling…?"
"I'm sorry…" Momo closed her eyes again changing them back to normal. "I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable Hotogi-san."
Shirayuki shook her head. "Don't worry about it."
Momo nodded and continued. "Aside from that, I've trained as a demon hunter since the day I learned to walk and fought my share of them in the past. So if I'm being honest, Vlad wasn't as strong as the rumors made him out to be. Did you want to ask me anything else?"
"I have one last question. Did you go after Vlad alone because of your mission?" Aria asked.
"No, that was personal. He… hurt someone close to me…" Momo responded.
"Momo-chan…" For a moment Riko had a sad expression on her face.
Momo stood up. "If there's nothing then I'll be getting out first. I need to prepare dinner."
"Wait a moment Momo-chan. Since you're going to help everyone with their training tomorrow, you should get to know them better." Kagerou stated.
"She's right. The more time you spend with them today, the more comfortable they'll feel around you tomorrow." Tsuzuri agreed.
Momo felt like she was being roped into something, but decided to take their advice. "I don't mind, but…"
"Don't worry about cooking dinner, I can handle that." Kagerou reassured her.
"I understand." Momo replied.
"Yay!" Riko glomped the Rank SS butei. "Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, we can take our time and examine your body more closely."
"What a splendid idea." Jeanne agreed.
"W-what!?" Momo stammered.
Riko cupped one of Momo's breasts. "Hmm… they aren't as big as Yuki-chan's, but they aren't too small either. They're just right."
Jeanne cupped her other breast. "Oh, I see what you mean. They're pretty firm as well."
"Hey! Stop it! Where do you think you're touching!?" Momo yelled.
"I hope you're not thinking about escaping us Momo-chan." Riko teased.
"Kagerou-san…" Momo begged.
"Do your best." Kagerou cheered as she headed back inside.
"You'll get to know the girls better this way." Tsuzuri added as she followed behind her.
Momo turned her attention to the rest of the female butei students.
Reki had decided to leave and take Haimaki with her.
Shirayuki averted her gaze out of fear they would come to her next if she interfered. "I'm sorry Kisaragi-san…"
Aria on the other hand had multiple anger marks going across her forehead and after getting fed up with the situation and started to scream at the top of her lungs. "Will you guys cut it out already!?"
After that embarrassing event, the girls had come to the recreation room which is a place where traditionally table tennis would be played after soaking in the hot springs. All of them were wearing yukata that the landlady had prepared except for Momo who had changed back into her kimono. She was in the middle of something when Riko approached her. "Are you fixing your hair?"
Momo was surprised by suddenly being called out of the blue, but quickly regained her composure. "Yes, I am."
"Aw…" Riko looked legitimately disappointed. "You look so cute with your hair down like this though."
"You really think so?" Momo asked.
The blonde smiled. "Of course! Although you're usual hairstyle is pretty cute as well in that twin-tailed tsundere kind of way."
"Riko-chan, geez…" Momo blushed. "Fine, I'll keep my hair down for the rest of the day."
"You two seem really close." Shirayuki commented.
"Is that so?" Momo hesitantly responded.
"Well of course they are. They are both roommates, attend the same class, and are basically best friends after all." Jeanne chimed in.
"Why would you tell everyone that!?" Momo yelled.
"I wasn't aware that was a secret." Jeanne responded.
Riko crossed her arms. "Momo-chan is right. You forgot to mention we're partners as well."
"That's not what I meant and you know it…" Momo sighed.
"Wait a minute. You became partners with her?" Aria asked.
"Yes…" Momo sighed. "It seems like Kanzaki-san completely forgot about the incident that took place on the school roof."
"It must be tough." Shirayuki said sympathizing with the rank SS butei.
"You have no idea." Momo replied.
"I don't get it. How come you're ok with telling us about your past, but didn't want us to know you're close with Riko?" Jeanne asked.
Momo blushed. "That is that and this is this."
"Suspicious… Very suspicious…" Jeanne stated.
At this point Momo wanted nothing more than to drop the subject. "Just leave me alone, I thought we came in here to play table tennis?"
"Good idea. Aria would you like to play me?" Jeanne asked.
"I think I'll pass. I don't want to get all sweaty again like last time." Aria responded.
"Last time…? Have all of you been here before?" Momo asked.
"Who knows? You'll have to beat me in a match to find out. However, if I win you'll have to tell us how close to Riko you really are." Jeanne responded as she held up a paddle.
"What!?" Momo yelled in surprise.
"Unless you're scared…" Jeanne taunted.
An anger mark appeared on Momo's head as she picked up a paddle of her own. "If that's how you're going to be then fine. I accept your challenge." Both girls stood at opposite ends of a table staring each other down. "I've always wanted to put you in your place Ice Witch."
Jeanne was trembling with excitement. "Bring it on demon huntress."
"I'll judge. Rekyu, do you want to keep score?" Riko asked.
Reki nodded and walked to the scoreboard.
"This game will be first to eleven!" Riko announced.
Both girls agreed to the decision.
"Very well let's get started. Who's going to serve first?" Riko asked.
"I'll let her serve first. I was one of the top players in IU after all. It's only fair to at least give her that handicap." Jeanne bragged.
"How gracious of you, I'll accept your kind offer." Momo responded with a hint of irritation in her voice.
"You may begin whenever you are ready." Riko stated.
Momo served the ball over the net. Jeanne countered and volleyed it back. They rallied the ball back n' forth multiple times in a series of precise strikes.
Everyone seemed into the game. Especially those who were watching as they happened to be turning their heads back n' forth following the ball.
Momo spiked the ball the down sending it flying. Jeanne was not only able to return it, but she used her ability to create an icy wind to change the trajectory of the ball. That kind of trick worked on Aria, but it wasn't going to work on a butei that surpassed rank S. Momo instantaneously changed the angle of her swing and hit the frozen ball over the net. Since the ball was frozen now, it only bounced once before rolling off the table.
"Point Momo!" Riko announced.
Jeanne was surprised that she was able to react so quickly. "How did you do that?"
"I am simply using the paddle as I would my sword. It's just an extension of my own body. That is all." Momo responded.
"I see… my usual tricks won't cut it against you." Jeanne stated.
The game continued with neither girl giving an inch as they went point for point coming down to the final stretch. The score was 10:10 and it seemed Momo and Jeanne were dead even. Whoever scored this point would win the game. It was Momo's serve. She volleyed the ball over the net to which Jeanne returned it, this time freezing it on contact. The frozen ball went over the net and bounced off the table, but not as high as before. There was little room error as Momo just barely managed to lob it up and over the net having the ball bounce and immediately roll off Jeanne's side of the field.
"That's game! The winner is Momo!" Riko exclaimed.
Jeanne shrugged accepting the loss with a smile. She walked over and congratulated her rival on the win. "That was one of the most fun matches I've played."
Momo smiled back at her. "I feel the same."
"You both did great." Riko complimented.
"I was excited just watching the two of you go at it." Shirayuki added.
Reki nodded in agreement.
"I guess I should keep my promise and tell you what's been going on." Jeanne stated.
The room suddenly fell silent.
"Aria said 'last time' like she's been here before. Even Tsuzuri mentioned that phrase a couple of times. What exactly did they mean by it?" Momo questioned.
Jeanne explained to Momo that on their way here, they drove into a fog. Seemingly during the time Momo and Kagerou were waiting for them, they thought they had already arrived at the inn. She then explained about the weird phenomenon that had been happening during their stay such including the disappearances to someone or something taking out their teachers and tying them up. However, when all was said and done they all woke up in the car as if they all simultaneously dreamed the same thing. None of them remembered going to sleep before the incident, so they just thought it was one big strange coincidence.
"I see, so you've been experiencing them as well." Momo said.
"Wait… as well? Do you mean…?" Jeanne questioned.
"Yes, ever since I got here actually." Momo responded.
"Weren't you scared?" Aria asked.
"To be honest, I was more annoyed than anything." Momo placed her hands on her hips as she continued. "I know it's there, but every time I turn around or every time I see something; it vanishes. It's so irritating…"
"I've been having the same feeling of being watched, but I guess when you put it that way…" Shirayuki responded understanding her point of view.
"Since we know Momo has experienced the same phenomenon, we can't rule out the possibility that it could happen again. We should be prepared." Aria stated.
Everyone else nodded in agreement.
As the group were about to make preparations, the lights went out. As soon as they came back on again, only Momo and Aria were in the room. Everyone else had disappeared without a trace.
"Where did everyone go?" She asked looking from side to side. She was clearly starting to panic.
"I don't know, but why don't we start by asking him." Momo answered in a threatening tone.
Aria looked over to what Momo was glaring at and standing by the doorway was a small figure. "That boy…?" Just as she was about to say something, the figure disappeared.
"You're not getting away from me this time!" Momo grabbed her sheathed katana out of her bag and pursued it.
"Wait for me!?" Aria yelled as she ran after her desperately trying to keep up.
Creepy laughter filled the walls of the hotel as they chased after the mysterious boy. Just as they rounded the corner, Kinji appeared. Momo reacted quickly enough to get out of the way in time. Aria on the other hand who was right behind her wasn't so lucky. Kinji who was also in mid-run, ran straight into the strawberry blonde knocking her down and fell on top of her.
"Toyama-san…? What are you doing here?" Momo asked.
"Muto had disappeared and then that kid showed up again so, I decided to pursue him." Kinji answered as he was starting to get his bearings. "This floor is feels really soft for some reason."
"What a coincidence, we were doing the same thing when Riko-chan, Hotogi-san, Reki-san, and Jeanne had disappeared as well." Momo stated.
"The girls disappeared as well!? Wait, what of Aria…?" Kinji asked.
Momo blushed. "Look down."
Kinji followed her directions and noticed he was on top of Aria. Not only that, but his hands were inadvertently groping her chest. He blushed, but at the same time trembled with fear.
Aria was also trembling, but with a different emotion entirely. "Kinji…! You BAKA!" Her screams of anger echoed throughout the inn.
Kinji had his hands in front of him as he was backing away from her. "Aria, wait. Just let me explain…" His efforts to calm her down were all in vain.
The strawberry blonde pulled out her M1911 pistols and aimed them at Kinji. "I'm going to shoot you full of holes!"
Before the bullets could reach their intended target, Momo appeared in front of Kinji and cut the bullets down. Her katana was only visible for a second before she sheathed her blade. "I don't like interfering in another couple's lover spat, but now is not the time for this." Momo's gaze was clearly fixed on something further down the hallway.
"That boy…" Kinji gasped.
Aria looked behind her. "He's just standing there."
The mysterious boy had a creepy smile on his face.
"That's it! I have had enough!" Aria screamed.
The mysterious boy started to run away again.
"Get back here!" The strawberry blonde yelled as she pursued after him.
"Aria, don't go after him alone!" Kinji yelled after her.
Momo was about to follow them when she felt someone else's presence. She looked behind her, but no one was there. "Again…?" She knew someone was watching her and knew they were there, but when she decides to verify her suspicions; the presence disappears. "This game of cat and mouse is getting old…" Yet oddly enough, the presence felt familiar to her. She wasn't sure of what to make of it before, but after encountering it multiple times she was sure she felt this same presence before. "But where…?" She decided to catch up to Aria and Kinji in the hopes that capturing that mysterious boy would answer her questions.
When Momo caught up, she observed them walking into a supply shed. Upon approaching the shed, she felt the presence again only this time it was from within and it was much stronger than the times before. There was no doubt in her mind that the source of the strange phenomenon is here. "This aura… I've definitely encountered it before, but where…?" There was only one way to find out. She walked up to the dual sliding doors, but when she attempted to open them; they wouldn't budge.
Momo heard Aria and Kinji screams of fear from inside. "I don't have time for this." She drew her katana from the scabbard and cut the door into several pieces before kicking it down. Only to find an empty room with another closed door at the end. Momo then heard gunshots coming from within and knew she had to hurry up. She repeated the process several more times before finally making it to their location. "I need to apologize to Kagerou-san after this is all over."
This room was different from the rest of the inn. Old talismans which appeared to act as a seal on something adorned the room. Aria and Kinji were apparently frightened as they were holding onto each other for dear life. All it took was one look to know why. Some type of apparition with long hair covering it's face was crawling out of one of the closets, but Momo wasn't interested in that. She was looking beyond it where what seemed like a dark violet portal to another dimension was. "Void Magic… That explains everything." She walked forward placing herself between the butei pair and the apparition.
"Momo, be careful. Guns don't work." Aria warned.
"It's one thing to mess with me, but it's another to trouble the guests who are staying at this inn. If you come out now and apologize, I promise I'll go easy on you." Momo stated.
No response, the apparition simply crept closer to the trio.
Momo's eyes turned red. "The hard way it is then."
"Momo, what are you doing?" Kinji questioned.
"Toyama-san… Kanzaki-san… Please stay there." Momo advised before she started walking forward. "This won't take long."
The apparition confronted the rank SS butei and towered over her.
Momo stood still and stared down her foe with no hesitation. "If it's your intention to stop me, I feel I should warn you. I am in no mood."
The apparition stared at the rank SS butei before backing down and fading away.
Momo entered the closet with the doors immediately slamming shut behind her as she walked into the portal.
Kinji and Aria could hear some loud noises as well as some yelling on the other side of closet doors, but couldn't make out what was being said. The only thing they could tell for sure was that it sounded like a bull in a china shop in there.
A few moments passed before the closet doors opened again. The portal as well as the dark atmosphere had all but vanished with only Momo remaining. She walked out holding her sheathed katana in one hand and dragging what seemed like a person by the color of their shirt in another. Momo placed her captive in front of Kinji and Aria for them to see. "Now apologize."
"I'm sorry…" The person who just spoke was a girl who was only a year younger than them. She had purple eyes and cyan blue hair done up in a single ponytail. She looked exactly like Aria in terms of body type and wore a butei uniform indicating that she was a fellow student.
Both Aria and Kinji looked at each before looking back at Momo and this mysterious newcomer. "What…!?"
Later on in the evening, everyone was gathered in one of the guest rooms including the students who went missing. Apparently they were locked in various guest rooms throughout the inn while Momo, Aria, and Kinji were engaged in the chase.
"So who is this girl?" Aria asked.
"My name is Ezekiel Kisaragi, my current rank is A, and I just recently enrolled into butei high school as a first year in the SSR department. It's nice to finally meet everyone face to face and just in case you were wondering, I'm Moemoe's sister." She responded.
"We're cousins." Momo corrected.
"Aw… You don't have to be like that Moemoe." Ezekiel cooed.
"Moemoe…?" Aria questioned.
"Please don't ask Kanzaki-san…" Momo asked.
"Getting back on topic, Ezekiel right? Why did you do all that to us?" Kinji asked.
"Because I told her too…" Tsuzuri answered.
Everyone's attention was on Butei instructor at that point.
"I guess I should start from the beginning…" Tsuzuri looked at Momo before continuing. "Kagerou, Sayako and I were a part of a team and we used to go on missions together. Your mother asked me to watch over you."
"So you were friends with my mother too, but why is Ezekiel here?" Momo asked.
"As soon as I heard my sister was attending this school, I just had to come." Ezekiel chimed in.
"We're cousins." Momo corrected again.
"Ezekiel's parents asked me to look after her as well. Although she came much earlier than I expected so I had Kagerou pick her up for me and she's been staying here ever since." Tsuzuri clarified.
Momo turned her attention to the landlady. "You were in on it too Kagerou-san?"
"I'm sorry for lying to you Momo-chan." The landlady apologized.
"So why exactly did you tell Ezekiel to scare us?" Momo questioned further.
"Well it was for your training, but mainly because I thought it'd be fun to mess with you guys." Tsuzuri answered honestly.
"You should've seen your faces when you saw that spirit coming out of the closet." Ezekiel pointed at Aria and Kinji as she spoke. "She jumped into his arms and was like kyah!"
Momo karate chopped her cousin over the head and scolded her. "Don't antagonize people you just met. Now apologize."
"I'm sorry…" Ezekiel mumbled.
Momo softly pet her head in a caring manner.
"There's still one thing I don't understand. How exactly did you do all this?" Aria asked.
"Why I'm so glad you asked!" A staff similar to what one would see in a magical girl anime appeared in her hand. "Let me show you why I've been given the title of Void Princess." The first year was engulfed by a purple light which blinded everyone. When the light dissipated, Ezekiel had completely changed. She was wearing dark purple knee-high boots with magenta straps around her legs, a dark purple mini-skirt laced with magenta straps with four flaps coming down shaped like bat wings, a purple and magenta strapless sports bra with a cross design in the center, a frilly collar with dark purple long sleeves with a magenta three pronged circle pattern at the ends, and her hair color had changed to purple as well with a dark purple bow which held her pony tail in place. Her staff had also changed as it now represented an axe with a symbol of a bat that adorned it. "Ta-dah! What do you guys think?"
Everyone else was speechless by her transformation.
Muto's reaction was even more extreme as he keeled over with a massive nosebleed.
"Muto! Stay with me!" Kinji exclaimed.
Shirayuki felt the dark energy Ezekiel was emitting.
"If you thought that was amazing check this out! Since I'm also a Kisaragi, I can do this!" Ezekiel exclaimed. She closed her eyes before opening them again. Her eyes which were originally purple were now glowing red.
Her aura was so powerful that it started to have a noticeable effect on everyone making them feel uneasy and in some cases sick.
Shirayuki who was extremely sensitive to her power started to gasp for air.
"Ezekiel! Stop it!" Momo yelled.
Ezekiel's eyes reverted back to their original purple color. "I'm sorry…"
"Hotogi-san is a chotei and is enrolled in the same department as you. She's extremely sensitive to your power." Momo explained.
"I'm sorry senpai!" Ezekiel bowed to her. "I didn't mean to harm you."
Shirayuki shook her head from side to side indicating she was alright. "Don't worry about it."
"So were you also behind that boy we were chasing?" Aria asked.
"In a sense, he's a spirit that haunts this place. I just asked him to play along." Ezekiel responded.
"Aside from being a sorceress of void magic, she can also communicate with spirits." Momo explained.
"In fact he's right behind me if you want to meet him." Ezekiel stepped aside revealing the mysterious boy who proceeded to hide behind her again. "He's pretty shy."
All of the butei students were surprised that there was an actual ghost involved in this incident despite everything else that happened. "What…!?"
After dinner and another bath, everyone retired to their rooms to rest with male students in one room, female students in another, and everyone else with their own personal room.
Momo was sitting seiza style on the tatami mat with her sheathed katana next to her looking out the window at the night sky. The room had one futon setup for her, but with everything that happened she couldn't fall asleep. Just then she felt a pair of arms wrap around her waist. "Shouldn't you be sleeping Riko-chan?"
Riko pressed her body against Momo's back and rested her head on her shoulder. "How mean? Even though I came here just for you…"
"I'm sorry… I just have a lot on my mind. That's all." She responded.
"Would you like to talk about it?" Riko asked.
Momo considered this for a moment before responding. "Shall I continue from where I left off?"
"You said you lived in a shrine…" Riko replied.
"I was born and raised in our family's shrine by my mother, Sayako Kisaragi. She taught me everything I know including how to cook and how to fight with a sword." Momo grabbed her katana and unsheathed it revealing a black blade. "My mother used to use this katana just before it was passed onto me. It's a family heirloom which was originally wielded by the demon hunter, Saya Kisaragi."
Riko observed the blade as it shined in the moonlight. "It's pretty, why is it black though?"
"I heard that this katana, aside from being forged specifically for my ancestor was just like any other katana. Over time though, my ancestors used it to slay countless demons and gradually the color of the blade became darker until, it became as you see it now." Momo explained before sheathing her blade and placing it next to her.
"What about your father?" Riko asked.
"I don't really know my father…" There was a hint of sadness in Momo's voice as she spoke. "He died before I was born. My mother said a demon had killed him."
"I'm sorry…" Riko apologized.
"It's fine Riko-chan. I want to share my past with you, just like you trusted me enough to share yours with me." Momo responded.
The blonde was taken aback by her partner's words. "Momo-chan…"
"The only thing I know about my father was that he was a butei and my mother loved him very much. After he passed away, she only focused on taking care of me and making sure I was ready to take on my responsibilities as the next demon hunter. At age 14, I inherited this katana and the responsibility that came along with it. In the span of one year, I had fought my share of demons until the age of 15 when I left my home and enrolled in Butei High. This was also around the time I was given the rank SS and the title of Shadow Blade, but couldn't reveal that to anyone. That was when I met you, but lately I've been thinking about my mother. I miss her…" Momo trailed off. It was clear this weighed heavily on her mind.
Meanwhile, Aria woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. She was on her way back when she overheard their conversation. "That sounds like Momo and Riko."
Riko tightened her hug. "Your mother sounds like an amazing person. I want to meet her too, so I can thank her."
"Thank her…?" Momo repeated confused by what her partner meant.
Riko released her hug and sat right next to her. "It's because of her that we're together right now. I want to thank her for bringing you into my life."
By this time, Aria had walked up to the sliding door leading to their room and slightly opened it peeking inside. The pair had failed to notice her as they were too engrossed in own their conversation.
Momo turned her head to face her and was about to say something, but the blonde put her finger to her lips before she could make any words.
"You made me so happy Momo-chan. I want to do the same for you now." Riko said with a bright smile on her face.
Tears started streaming down Momo's face. "I love you… I love you…"
Riko wiped off her tears. "I love you too…"
The both of them pulled each other into an embrace and kissed. Using their tongues, they explored every corner of each other's mouth and continued to make out until they were both almost out of breath. The pair took a breather for a moment before going back in for round 2.
Aria's face went beet red as she was in complete shock by the event she was witnessing. So much so in fact that she didn't notice Ezekiel had walked up behind her and peeked inside to see what had her so awestruck. "Ain't love grand?"
Aria jumped up in surprise and burst into the room she was just spying on. "Why did you scare me like that?"
"Shouldn't you worry more about the people behind you?" Ezekiel questioned.
Aria turned around to notice Momo and Riko had stopped their make out session and were now staring at her.
An awkward silence had filled the room until Ezekiel broke it. "Rinrin…" She bowed before continuing. "Please take care of Moemoe for me."
"Ezekiel…" Momo gasped.
Riko was touched by Ezekiel's words. "I will."
Aria turned her attention back on first year. "You're actually fine with this?"
"Not only am I fine with it, I'm genuinely happy for the both of them." Ezekiel smiled.
Aria was completely blown away by her response. There was only one course of action left to her now. She faced Momo and Riko and formally bowed. "C-C-Congratulations…"