Summary: Kotoko thought she had enough to deal with already but then she finds herself handed the responsibility of protecting Japan from a mysterious, supernatural evil, and Kotoko finds that as well as juggling college and brutal tennis practices, she now has to hide her heroine lifestyle whilst living with her super genius crush.
Takes place in the manga verse. Some events from the manga will occur but the timings will differ quite a lot and some characters will appear earlier.
Warrior of the Key
She should've known better. Every time she woke up full of optimism of obtaining her Irie-kun, Kotoko would find her day going swiftly downhill. And since she had woken up today in particularly high spirits, energised and extra determined to win over Irie-kun, she really should've known that her day would go straight to hell.
Her good mood quickly dissipated as she realised that she had spent far too long getting ready for college that Irie-kun had already left and she was going to be late if she didn't get a move on. Kotoko made it to the station on time but was once again groped by some perverted passenger.
Grumbling herself away to her first lecture, an English language class that she shared with Irie-kun (the only class they shared), her mood worsened as she saw that he was already seated, and next to that dratted Reiko Matsumoto too. There was no space near them so sighing Kotoko settled herself near the front, sort of wishing she hadn't transferred English classes just so she could be in the same one as Irie-kun, then she could sit with her friends.
Things only got worse as the lecturer called on her to answer some questions and she got the answers wrong. All of them. Kotoko sighed in aggravation as the lecturer scolded her and the rest of the class laughed. Glancing quickly over her shoulder told her that yes; Irie-kun and Matsumoto were some of the ones laughing. The lecturer then announced that he wanted them to do an assignment to be handed in a week's time and as well as that; there would be a test then too. Kotoko refrained from banging her head against the desk...barely.
Any solace Kotoko might have received from the company of her best friends Jinko and Satomi was dampened greatly by Kinnosuke being his usual embarrassing self and humiliating her in front of the entire cafeteria. As the laughter directed at her started to die down, Kotoko vowed that she would start eating outside, even in the rain, to avoid future humiliation.
When it came to tennis practice things looked as though they would start to look up, particularly since Irie-kun had actually turned up for once. However Kotoko was quickly proved wrong as practice turned out to be more brutal than usual with Sudou-sempai, due to the presence of Matsumoto, was trying to make himself look good by making Kotoko do one hundred sit ups, one hundred press ups and then run laps around the court before finally delegating her as a ball collector. The weather matched her foul mood perfectly, the sky was beginning to darken, the clouds seem to grow thicker but this did not deter Sudou-sempai in the slightest.
Her rival decided to grace Kotoko with her presence while she did all this, Matsumoto kept teasing her for being stupid and how sorry she felt for Irie-kun for having to constantly put up with Kotoko making him look bad. Of course Irie-kun said nothing to defend her and in a huff Kotoko went to find a partner to practice with. Unfortunately for her Sudou-sempai was the only one available and Matsumoto's presence was still causing him to act manically. Kotoko was aware, in between dodging balls and falling over, that the manga club were hiding about the court and covertly taking pictures of her and scribbling notes down.
And, on top of all this, Sudou-sempai told her the rumour that Irie-kun was planning on moving out of the Irie household.
So at the end of practice it was a very grumpy and dejected Kotoko that was ordered by Sudou-sempai to put the equipment away. With a few tennis racquet cases and her sports bag slung over her shoulders and the tennis ball box clasped unsteadily in her hands, she caught sight of Matsumoto and Irie-kun walking off in the distance, Sudou-sempai running after them and leaving her all alone on court. Forgetting herself for a moment, Kotoko accidentally loosened a hand from the box causing it to slip, balls falling to the floor. She reached out to catch one and ended up tripping over another one, landing on her face and grazing her knee. The tennis racquets she carried on her shoulders hit her in the head as she landed, followed shortly by her own bag full of clothes and books.
Gritting her teeth, Kotoko grabbed the balls closest to her and shoved them viciously back into the box. She then set out fetching the other balls, further wasting her time. Once she had them all, Kotoko all but stomped to the storage room and savagely put the kit away. She was sure, just to spite her, as soon as Kotoko stepped outside again; she was immediately caught in a downpour of rain.
She ran as fast as she could from the college campus, making her way through the streets and cursing herself for not bringing an umbrella. Kotoko shivered in her flimsy white t-shirt and tennis skirt and on a whim, as she came to the park entrance, decided to find a refuge there and outwait the rain before heading to the station.
Kotoko headed further into the park then she meant to, desiring a better shelter than a dripping tree. The flat lawns and flower beds disappeared giving way to hedges and tall, old trees lining the paths. Not once did Kotoko notice that no other soul was present in the park. She took a random path and eventually Kotoko stumbled upon a wooden structure standing at the centre of a clearing that was surrounded by a ring of trees, another path at the other side of the clearing leading off somewhere else. The wooden structure was simple, a raised square platform with a beam in each corner, holding up a slanted roof. It was the perfect shelter from the rain.
Kotoko crawled up onto it gratefully, huddling her knees to her chest and watching the pouring rain sullenly. Her hair had started to come loose from her side buns in tangled strands and with her completely drenched clothing, Kotoko felt like a drowned rat. If Irie-kun could see her now she knew he would most definitely laugh and insult her. Then laugh again probably.
She sighed, resting her head against a wooden beam. She had quite enough insults and taunts for today, thank you very much. She didn't need to go home and hear the object of her affections insult her further, not to mention his brother Yuki, a mini Naoki in the making.
"Help me," a voice whispered.
Kotoko shrieked and whipped her head up, looking around wildly. But there was nobody else there. She sighed. The day must be getting to her and she was beginning to imagine things. Yeah, that must be it. She looked up at the rain, seeing it had not changed at all, the rain was still thick and the sky a dark grey but at least it was still light. She checked her watch and saw it was coming up to half five. Definitely not the right setting for spooky happenings. Just as Kotoko was about to dismiss the incident, she heard the voice again.
"Help me...please help me!" the voice was slightly louder this time and definitely more urgent.
Kotoko looked up in confusion. That voice...it wasn't coming from around her, it wasn't her ears that had picked it up. She had heard that voice in her head. She looked to the skies, and just as she was beginning to fear for her sanity, her eyes widened as she saw something falling that was definitely not a drop of water.
The object moved with an extreme velocity, slamming into the ground right in front of the wooden structure, the impact causing a huge amount of dirt to dislodge from the earth and splatter her. Kotoko spluttered in indignation, wiping the mud from her face. She scowled as she looked down at the ground but this quickly turned into a gasp as she saw the object had caused a mini crater about two metres wide and more than a metre deep. Kotoko, not wanting to step down onto the mud, crawled to the edge of the wooden structure and leaning on her front, reached down into the crater and felt for the object. Her hand felt a warm, metal object, it wasn't too hot though and she clasped it, pulling herself back up. Unclasping her hand, Kotoko stared in amazement at the object she held.
It was a silver key, about three and a half inches long, with a looping, sturdy, heart- shaped handle and ornate golden wings just below the handle. A bronze coloured vine wrapped along the key length from the silver teeth to the wings, decorated with delicate and detailed golden leaves. A thick, silver chain looped through the heart handle and Kotoko decided to put it around her neck for fun. It was surprisingly light around her neck and Kotoko admired its beauty but this quickly turned to alarm as the key started to glow with a faint white light.
"Please help me!" a voice cried. Kotoko could suddenly identify the voice as female.
"Where are you?" Kotoko shouted, before it occurred to her the person might not be able to hear her if she heard their voice in her mind.
"They're coming!" Kotoko looked around anxiously.
As if to answer her question, two large dark objects that were very much larger than the key, heck, even larger than her, crashed without warning into the ground. As the mud settled, Kotoko observed in horror two hunched up scaly creatures crouched on the ground, bracing the impact. Then, slowly, they rose from the ground and Kotoko gave a shriek of terror, backing further into her temporary sanctuary.
They were hideous. Their bodies were human- like except covered in dark, indigo scales and the tails protruding from their bodies were covered with a series of sharp spikes and curved into a particularly deadly looking spike at the end. As the creatures stood, wicked looking claws protruded from their fingers. The scariest thing about them was their face.
Their heads were bald; they didn't even have ears, just slits in the side of their head and a slit for a nose. Their heads turned sharply to Kotoko as they sensed her and their eyes opened, revealing menacing red eyes, glittering intently as they caught sight of her. Their mouths opened in a twisted grin, revealing sharp fangs and releasing creepy tittering sounds as they focused on the key around her neck. Then without warning, they crouched forwards and skittered towards her. Kotoko screamed and did the only thing she could think of, she ran.
She ran and ran, hearing a horrific pounding sound as the creatures gave chase, vaguely realising she was heading further from the park entrance but she couldn't go back that way now. A large cracking sound told her they had leapt onto the wooden structure and probably caused a lot of damage, not that she was going to turn and look back.
"I can give you assistance," the voice said anxiously, "If you let me." Kotoko barely registered it. She silently thought that as long as she didn't end up being mauled by those creatures then she didn't care what happened.
"Will you trust me?" the melodious voice asked soothingly.
Kotoko didn't really have a choice. YES, she thought firmly, shouting it out too for good measure.
The key glowed again; Kotoko closed her eyes and ran blindly, not being able to stand the bright light and the rain. She only opened her eyes when she felt two heavy objects weighing down her arms and she looked down to find she was holding a sword and shield.
"What!" Kotoko screeched. "Are you kidding me? What am I supposed to do with these?"
"It's all I can do," the voice said apologetically. "But you can do this, the key chose you after all and it would not have done so if you were not up to the task."
"I didn't agree to this!" Kotoko yelled hysterically. "I can't, I'm stupid and clumsy. I can't do this. Irie-kun, save me!"
"Irie-kun, whoever that is, cannot save you. Only you can save you," the voice told her firmly.
"ARGH!" Kotoko screamed as she tripped and fell. The creatures howled in glee and she barely managed to roll over and bring her shield in front of her to block the claws of one of the creatures, knocking the thing backwards with a thud. There was a shriek as another set of claws descended. Without knowing what she was doing, Kotoko jumped up, lifting the sword and swung it down hard. The jarring of her shoulder and an outraged howl greeted her as Kotoko saw to her astonishment that she had actually managed to tear the blade into one of the creatures. It exploded into a cloud of strange, dark particles.
The other creature, recovering from the blow from the shield, snarled and leapt towards her. Unprepared for it, Kotoko dropped the sword as she staggered backwards. The creature advanced on her and its mouth stretched into a hideous grin. The creature advanced on her, its grin stretching even further. It lunged for her again and again, Kotoko only just managed to block the blows with her heavy shield. She panted hard, feeling herself tire out. The creature could sense this too and with a mighty lunge, managed to knock the shield from her arms using it's tail.
There was a pause as Kotoko met its malevolent gaze. Quick as a flash it moved and Kotoko closed her eyes, bringing her arms up as if to shield herself, not that it would do much good. She suddenly felt a strange, vibrating feeling pass through her arms and a low, crackling sound made her open her eyes to see a white light form at the end of hands into a glowing orb. Kotoko didn't hesitate and threw it at the monster, knocking it backwards. Kotoko did a sideward roll and with a quickness she never knew she possessed, picked up her fallen sword and turned, thrusting it forward with all her might as the creature leapt up again, other arm outstretched as she somehow willed another energy orb to slam into the creature at the exact moment the sword impaled its body. The creature howled and burst into tiny pieces that vanished into nothingness. Kotoko sunk to her knees in disbelief, barely comprehending what had happened.
She suddenly became aware that her clothes felt funny upon her body, heavier somehow. Kotoko looked down at herself to find that she was wearing armour. Her legs were clad in white, knee high boots. She wore a white, cap sleeved tunic that bore the insignia of the key that had somehow vanished from around her neck. Beneath the tunic was a silver chainmail, it was heavy but not too heavy not thick. A brown leather belt sat snugly around her waist bearing a sheath for her sword and various pockets. Kotoko vaguely observed that her hands were enclosed in white gloves, and from her wrists she wore arm cuffs made from a brown leather material that came ended just before the elbow. The sleeves of the chainmail ended just below her elbows.
"If you looked in a mirror, you will find your face has been disguised," the voice said suddenly, making Kotoko gasp.
"Just...just what was that?" she stammered. "What were those things? Where did they come from? What are they doing here?" the questions poured from her mouth before she could stop them. "And who are you?" The last bit was said a bit accusingly.
"You might want to find somewhere comfortable to sit," the voice said. "This may take a while."
Hours later when Kotoko finally arrived home she found the members of Irie household still up, sitting in the living room. The Irie family and her dad regarded her in various states of shocked (Irie-kun looking hardly affected and Oba-sama and dad looking the most shocked). Yuki-kun made a rude comment about her dirty clothes and the state she was in but was quickly shushed by Oba-sama. Dad questioned her about where she had been all this time and Kotoko cited an act or two of extreme clumsiness and hen mentioned she was going to clean up and go to bed, politely refusing Oba-sama's offer of food. They all watched as she trudged up the stairs in a seemingly dejected manner.
In a reality Kotoko was just exhausted. After explaining everything to her, the mysterious person had given brief instructions how to use the key, shield and sword, which Kotoko had practiced with for a bit before coming home. It was only after she had bathed and changed into her favourite pair of comfy pyjamas that Kotoko allowed herself to think on what she had been told. Kotoko lay back onto her bed with a sigh.
The voice's speaker had identified themselves as a Princess Minako. She was, she claimed, from another dimension. Those creatures that had attacked were only from the lowliest ranks of a vast demon army that had invaded her world. Those people left had been forced to flee across dimensions to escape the carnage that followed. Princess Minako herself was trapped between dimensions and had sent the key, a manifestation of a power the princess held, to find help.
And, it turned out, the key had chosen Kotoko.
Kotoko had vehemently declared that she wasn't fit for the role. Princess Minako (just call me Mina) apologised and said that another could not be chosen now and that the key had judged Kotoko to be worthy. Mina reminded her of the fight when Kotoko had wielded magic. That, Mina told her, was Kotoko's own power and the key had just awoken it. The key merely turned into protective armour and provided weapons. Mina told her how she had used her own diminishing powers to send out similar keys that would in time find and awaken those with similar dormant powers to Kotoko. Kotoko had briefly thought of asking Irie-kun to help her but what the princess had told her next had made her blood run cold.
Mina had said that her world was not the only one that had been invaded by the demons, the Jinn; it was only one of many that the Jinn had descended upon. Now that her world had been consumed, the Jinn had turned their attention to this one next.
Mina had been unable to find those with the power to save her own world in time and so was determined to save this world. However she had been trapped in an in- between place before she could complete the jump to this world and so Mina had created the keys and sent them using her dwindling powers to find those with dormant magic and awaken them so they could defend this world from the demons.
Mina only had enough power left to protect herself in the in- between place and could communicate with the key holders as she recuperated. In the meantime, each key held a spirit of some sort that could guide the holder and communicate with the princess without her using her powers. However even in her own world, Mina warned, those with this dormant magic were rare and hard to find so the other keys may take time in finding suitable hosts, for they not only looked for those with dormant magic but those with good character who would not be swayed by the demons manipulations.
Meaning that for now, Kotoko was the only one who could defend Earth, the universe even, against these demons.
The thought that she, clumsy, untalented, bumbling Kotoko was the sole defender of her universe was too much for her to take and her eyes rolled back into her head as she passed out.
Naoki was slightly surprised as he made his way home and saw that there was no Kotoko following him like she usually did. He became a bit worried as he boarded the train and it started raining hard, recalling that Kotoko had forgotten an umbrella. He hadn't seen her at the station either and wondered where she was before shaking his head and deciding to forget about her.
But when he got home and three hours had passed, Naoki wasn't the only one who had become worried as they sat at the table for dinner. Just as he was about to go out and look for Kotoko (under the pretence of taking Chibi for a walk of course), and his mother had wildly suggested calling the police, the phone rang. His mother answered it and visibly sagged with relief. It was Kotoko and she was on her way home. She apologised for the delay and told Oba-sama not to worry about her dinner. Naoki was annoyed but he felt relieved too that Kotoko was ok after all.
His annoyance once again turned to worry when Kotoko had finally stumbled through the door just shy of ten o'clock. Naoki had been sitting with everyone else in the living room and even though no one had said it, he knew that they were waiting for Kotoko too. He regarded her appearance in shock but hid it well. Kotoko hadn't changed from her tennis uniform and her clothes were stained with mud and drenched from the rain and Naoki spied a few bruises on her arms and legs. He seriously doubted they were caused by the klutz attacks Kotoko claimed to have. She looked absolutely exhausted, as if she had been through a lot, and as she trudged upstairs under their watchful eyes, he wondered what had caused it.
Naoki had one of his rare moments where his need to look after Kotoko overruled his desire to be unaffected by her. When his mother was busy doing something else, Naoki took up a tray of food and knocked at Kotoko's door. Hearing no reply, he opened the door and went in carrying the tray.
She was asleep, curled up on her bed beneath the covers. Naoki silently moved closer and made a small smile when he saw the cute expression on her face as she slept peacefully. He searched her face as if to find any clues of her earlier state. Finding nothing, Naoki went quietly from the room, tray still in his hands, closing the door softly behind him.
Peeking from his room, Yuki observed this all closely and was thankful that his mother had not witnessed that moment; she surely would've created a fuss and tried to film it. Truth be told he had been worried about Kotoko as well and if she was resting, he didn't want his mother to disturb her.
Kotoko did not sleep well for long. Her harmless dreams soon threw up images of menacing smiles and sharp claws piercing her skin. She woke up in a cold sweat and touched the key around her neck for reassurance. Since Mina did not have enough strength to keep in constant contact, Kotoko would have to depend on the spirit in her key, a spirit called Ripo, who would tell her when there was danger and who would give her advice. Kotoko vowed to find a way to free Mina so they could fight together. She could not do this on her own.
In the meantime Ripo had suggested Kotoko should build up her strength and improve her stamina by taking up as much exercise as she could. Tomorrow they would practice more with the sword and shield, the beginning of one of many training sessions. Ripo would also show Kotoko his true form, all she had felt of his presence so far was his voice. Most importantly, he would teach her how to manipulate her magic.
She would need to train hard too. Both Mina and Ripo had warned that the demons she had face were not the worse. The higher ranked demons had the ability to morph shapes, meaning that they could blend in as humans or any other animal they chose. Ripo would be able to sense their presence over a certain distance but Kotoko needed to be trained to do so too.
Kotoko staggered out of bed to stand in front of the mirror in her room. Touching the key, she concentrated her willpower like Mina had told her to and transformed into her Warrior of the Key form. The key disappeared and dissolved into her as she transformed.
This time Kotoko could observe her face, which she saw was completely disguised, hiding her true identity. Her face was completely covered with a white mask that made of a thin, metal material that seemed to be fused to her skin. The masks even moulded over her eyes, nose and mouth yet she could see clearly through it, breathe easily and when she moved her mouth, the mask moved too. Her reddish- brown hair, which could easily reveal her, had changed to an ethereal white colour. At that moment her shield, a plain gold heraldic- shaped shied, was strapped to her back and her sword lay in its sheath.
Kotoko touched her mask, running her fingers across the smooth metal as she regarded herself. She and for now, she alone, had been given this task to protect Japan, the Earth and maybe the universe. Everyone depended on her.
Her dad...the family.
Her friends and...
Hope you enjoyed it, let me know what you think. I was watching Itazura na Kiss videos and then Sailor Moon ones and became inspired. At first I was going to do a 'Kotoko as a Sailor Scout' story but decided to create an original idea instead as I want to show Kotoko forcing herself to become stronger since she is now the sole defender of Earth.