Rated T for Gore and Cursing
I tap the sliding doors to Minori's room.
The sun is high, and Minori really has not come out all day. It worries me. I tap the slide again and frown at the silence that follows. The grandfather clock in the hall ticks annoyingly as I wait for Minori to open the door. The tapping goes up to knocking, which eventually turns into banging. No matter what, she just doesn't want to come out. Since Minori is no more than seven, I give up and sulk into the kitchen. It would have been nice to have seen her smile.
The slide to the kitchen opens as I claw into its side and I see Mayu doing homework, Yuka cooking, Kota eating, and Nana waiting. For some reason she was waiting for Minori, but I honestly thought she hated her! "Is Minori okay?" she asks. Nana hasn't even touched her ramen.
I shake my head and sit next to her, patting her head. "She isn't coming out…Damn it Kota, why did you have to yell at her?!" I scold.
Kota sighs and sets his chopsticks down, staring at me sternly. How many times have I seen that stare in my life? "I was thinking of your health," he informs plainly. "Seriously, the wound isn't bleeding now, is it?"
A slam echoes in the whole room. Ignoring my hand that has slapped the table on its own accord, I start yelling at Kota in turn. "PUT YOURSELF IN MINORI'S SHOES!" I shriek. "YELLING IS NOT GOING TO MAKE HER HAPPY, AND SHE WAS JUST SCARED. WOULDN'T YOU BE SCARED IF YOU THOUGHT YOU SAW SOMETHING IN THE DARK?!" The irritation in my veins makes my right eye twitch.
Everyone in the room flinches. They just don't understand…Minori is sweet and honest, so why would they think she was lying? They have known her as long as I have for crying out loud! Why do I seem to be the only one who thinks about how she would react, cares about how she would feel? Yuka sets bowls in front of us with Cha-Su Ramen (Ramen in Pork broth and Sweet Roasted Pork) while looking solemn. "Lucy," she whispers, "I know Minori did not deserve his yelling, but please calm down." When I promptly refuse to, her frown deepens. "Minori can probably hear you from her room."
This is my turn to frown. We decide to eat in silence, all of us with deep frowns on our faces. The atmosphere is stuffy and uncomfortable, but that is probably because of the lack of air conditioning. The worst part is that summer is going to be coming up in a few months, and that time of the year always makes this inn feel like Hell on Earth. Yet again, springs are generally cool here, so I guess that is not it. I notice the extra bowl of Cha-Su Ramen Yuka set out next to me out of awkwardness. The bowl is fairly small, seeing as the person it is, in turn, small herself.
Gripping my chopsticks, I bite my lower lip. I just feel so irritated…"He did it…" I freeze in place. "He made her sad…Why else is she locked in there?" Maybe she forgot how to open slides?Oh really? That's the dumbest suggestion I have ever heard! "He made her sad…Don't you want to rid Minori of the stuff that makes her sad?" "Lucy?" "Don't you want her to smile?" "Hey, you okay?" Shut up…"DO YOU WANT HER TO SUFFER?!" "Lucy?!"
"SHUT UP!" I roar, slamming my fist onto the table. Snap! Ugh, there go the chopsticks…Silence weighs over again and I glance up, pink strands of hair hanging in my face. Kota, Yuka, and Mayu are staring at me in shock. Nana is staring at me in rage. Guess that would explain the two transparent hands in my face. "…Nana, get your vectors away from me."
She refuses to obey. "You might lose it," she snaps. I don't make any further demands. "You hearing voices again?"
Mayu whimpers and stands abruptly, eyes squeezed tight. "Lucy has been on a clean streak! Why would those voices suddenly come back?"
He made her sad…Saliva goes down my throat in a solid chunk. If I tell them that my DNA is talking on the benefit of Minoir, they will probably kick her out! I shake my heavy head, biting my lower lip still. "No…Just thinking to myself."
They seem to accept that answer and continue on with their meal. The air is stuffier and even more uncomfortable than before. So it was our attitudes that caused this. Glancing at the hand firmly placed on the table, I see the chopsticks broken into two pieces, my palm red due to the breakage (if that is even a word). I stand to throw them out before something slams in the hall. "What the-"-Kota starts.
The kitchen slide flings open as well, revealing a little blanket ghost with a fat torso. "Ooga-booga!" it chants, rushing in. "Ooga-OOMPH!" it trips.
We all stare at it. Nana blinks and crawls over, poking it. The mass giggles and rolls on the floor, little arms flailing from under the blanket. Kota smiles a bit and Yuka giggles. I chuckle myself and walk over, picking up the wriggling thing. "Hehe, look guys," I smirk. "Veggie Monster has a rival."
"That's right!" it proclaims. "I am the Veggie-Monster-Eating-Ghost, Hanta*!" The little arms brush my face as they reach out. "Have no fear, for I am your…Er…"
"Ally?" Mayu laughs. Nana laughs as well.
Hanta just nods and kicks their feet, wanting to be on the ground again. I set them down and they start circling me. After a few circles (lost count after fifteen), they hug me tightly and move on to Nana. This is repeated until, at last, it is done to Yuka. "Ta-Da!" they cheer. "I have done it!"
Nana tilts her head in confusion. "Done what?" she asks.
Hanta puts their arms on their hips (if they even have any). "Your friend, Minori, wanted to give you something special for her fifteenth day here!" they explain. "So all night she has been working to summon up me, the Veggie-Monster-Eating-Ghost, Hanta! I have just now preformed a spell that prevents the monster from raping, eating, and misusing any of you!" Bright smiles stretch across our faces. The air gets lighter and Hanta rushes to the slide. "I shall now get Minori, for she is starving and did not know that breakfast was ready! Ooga-booga!" With that, Hanta runs out.
A few minutes later, the slide opens again to show Minori, her hair sticking up in every-which-way and her tiny dress on backwards. "Hanta told me breakfast was ready!" she cheers, skipping over next to me. She stares into the bowl and blinks. "…What's this?"
"Cha-Su Ramen," Yuka informs as the younger Diclonius sits down. "It has roasted pork (pig) and noodles."
Minori stares at the thing in absolute horror. "No! The piggies!" Then she starts crying.
My laughter cannot be contained and I form a cat grin, glancing at the window with innocent eyes. "Oh, did I not tell you about the Pork-Monster?"
"Oh bother…" Kota slaps his forehead.
Minori stares at me and stands up, yanking my horn. "What's a pork monster?" she asks, sucking her thumb.
I tug her into my lap and rock her a bit, almost like a baby. "The Pork-Monster is like the Veggie-Monster, except the Pork-Monster is a bit more...nice. He doesn't like it when you eat the pigs people kill. Otherwise they would have died for nothing."
She tilts her head and blinks, still sucking that thumb of hers. "So we should eat dead bodies to?"
OH MY GOD! "NONONO!" I shake my head madly, waving my hands in front of my face. "Absolutely NOT!"
Surprisingly, she does not seem all that affected by the yelling. "But this is part of a dead body…" she stares at the contents of the bowl.
My head slams into my bowl of Cha-Su, making everyone laugh. My DNA does not return, despite my stress level, and I lift my noodle-head out of the bowl, broth dripping down my face. "…Ask Hanta," I finally answer.
"…Okay!" Minori cheers, skipping out.
I smile, grabbing my napkin and wiping my face. No matter what, these guys wouldn't kick out little Minori. Her name may be 'Truth', but she's more than that. She makes us happy when we're upset. She breaks up the tension, even if she creates some. She even believes in us. So, against all things that make us sad, angry, or uncomfortable, she is 'Hanta'.
*Hanta-The Japanese word for hunter.