The busy streets of Tokyo illuminated the sky in a mist of fluorescent and colour as people chattered and honked the horns of their cars impatiently in traffic, often shouting obscenities at the top of their voice as they wiped their brow. The summer air and the city noise never complimented each other. It still surprised Black how so many people could live in a brimming metropolis like that this everyday of their lives, like bees in a hive. He'd seen it all in his three months of living in Japan. From the giggling schoolgirl, to the strange ganguro tribes that seemed to look like Asian versions of those obnoxious apes from Jersey Shore (though these orange people were a lot friendlier in his personal opinion.)
He looked at his watch, sighing. He loved to observe the world in front of him in motion like it was a movie, but if he was to lose himself in the vision any further, he'd have to wait until the next train to the southern districts. His stomach grumbled as much as he did. Maybe he should have tried his luck with the mysterious bento. Even if the last one he had was a particularly rancid sashimi that didn't quite agree with his stomach.
Forcing himself to join the world in motion, his eyes ventured to see the night sky, but winced to find all he could see was the city lights and the towering sky scrapers. He had to admit, they were exceedingly impressive and a little disorientating, even if he didn't like the city. More accurately he hated cities, but Tokyo's amazing reputation had lured him in with its gentle song, and completely ensnared him into accepting the opportunity to travel for the year. As he looked down from the sky his shoulder collided into someone else, rather harshly. Black, never one for confrontation, turned around and said in his best Japanese "Excuse me!" He noticed it was a girl in a high school uniform who only stood there, staring at him blankly, but didn't move from where she stood. Curiously, he noticed she was Caucasian. He looked into her eyes and for that moment, the world ceased to exist. The loud sounds became hollow, and the girl's eyes shined brightly, but wouldn't move from the lock on his eyes. The gaze seemed to feel like tiny claws holding his eyes, forcing him to stop blinking or to look elsewhere. Where had she taken him?
He felt an abrupt bump into his back and all at once, like a rushing wind sweeping the darkness away, he was back in Tokyo already running late to his train. He turned to see who bumped him to find Daisuke, one of his friends at Tokyo University with his big hands on Black's shoulders, with a concerned look on his face.
"Black-kun! Are you ok?" He asked, shaking Black vigorously.
"Uh…yeah, I'm fine." Black responded, and turned his gaze to where the ominous girl was but saw she had vanished.
"It'll never do if you just stand here." Daisuke said, clicking his tongue. Black couldn't help but feel he was almost being scolded in the tone of voice that was being used on him.
"Hey, did you just see…" He began before Daisuke had cut him off"Black, which train do you take to get home?"
He sighed, submitting to the question. "I think it's the eight o' clock one to Iidibashi." He answered. Daisuke's jaw dropped.
"Black-kun…" He began, while Black wondered why he addresses him as Kun instead of San, "I don't want to tell you, but that train left literally five minutes ago!" Black put a palm to his face, sighing. "Guess I'm here a little while longer."
He looked around him, seeing the bench he'd been sitting on earlier was now occupied by some dirty looking misfits who'd wolf whistle and hassle people who came too close to them. He hated those sorts of people and figured standing around wouldn't do. It might bring attention to him.
"I'm going to the train station." Black said, fixing up his backpack when Daisuke again put his huge hands on Black's shoulders.
"I won't have it!" He declared. "You don't live far from my apartment anyway! You'll walk home with me!" Black looked at him. He seemed sincere, even if he was eccentric and had the attention span of a five year old that drank five litres of red cordial chasing a rubber ball. How he got into the same art university seemed a little curious to him. And he hadn't been walking in a while. He shrugged.
"It couldn't hurt, I guess." He said and Daisuke swung a big arm over his shoulder, almost knocking him off his feet. "Hey, not so rough next time!"
"That's the spirit!" He cheered, as he began to lead the way, completely ignoring Black's complaint. "Walking is good for the heart and soul! And you could use some walking anyway!" Black eyed Daisuke's rather broad frame and concluded in his mind's eye that under those clothes couldn't be muscle. Honestly Black wasn't even big, his frame restricted him from growing large, so he wasn't sure what the hell Daisuke was on about.
They walked on, still surrounded in by street lights and people talking into their mobile phones, chattering about business or domestic disputes. Black was a little surprised to see a five year old with a sleek mobile phone that looked like it had more features than his clunky old Nokia. It was often easier said than done to avoid the people who frequently texted, not caring to look up into the general direction they were walking. As Black took in the sights, Daisuke yammered on and on about anything his mind could wonder, sometimes rubbing his thick beard to ponder.
"Black-kun, I think you need a haircut!" Black rolled his eyes, smirking a little. "I'm fine, Daisuke, if I need tips on my appearance I'll..." Daisuke looked at him expecting an answer. He sighed. There wasn't any point in insulting him. They were kind of close after a few months and Daisuke could abandon him, leaving Black to fend for himself. "I'll…come to you." Daisuke smiled and then grinned. "I knew you would!"
Finally the city lights were far less harsh, but the summer air was still fairly warm. The path was finally audible as their shoes clunked against the cement, reinforcing their acknowledgment of gravity. Off in the distance a bright white light glowed and as they walked closer to it, they noticed it was a drink dispenser. They were both pretty thirsty and Black noted his lips felt particularly dry and arid.
"I'll get a soda." Black said when his companion opened his wallet and pulled out 400 yen. "This one's on me, Black-kun." He walked forward and Black felt his face turn hot, blushing. He had to admit, Daisuke was pretty cute for a large guy. He smiled to himself and his thoughts were interrupted by that big voice again. "Which colour?"
"Oh! Umm…I guess I'll have the pink one." He mumbled. The machine took the money and a loud clunking sound later and the pink can was handed to him. It had bold katakana printed on the side with hearts and polka dots and a winking strawberry on the can greeted his eyes. The cold surface of the can made it even more enticing. Daisuke cracked open his blackberry flavoured soda and gulped the whole thing down like it were a contest while Black took timid little sips.
"Ah! Best stuff in the world!" Daisuke said. "Well, except for maybe Sake. That reminds me, there's a new brand of Sake at the bar if you're interested-"He stared at Black's sips.
"Long hair, pink can and little sips?" He chuckled. "Black-Kun is really a little girl!" With that he cackled as he hugged Black, spilling some of his strawberry soda. Black blushed but then tried to fight him off.
"Get off me you idiot!" He yelled, prying himself out of the grip.
They both stood there laughing and arguing when a whistling sound grew pierced the air. They both looked into the air. It was getting louder and louder, as though a bomb fell from the sky. Suddenly a loud thud could be heard and the ground rumbled and the ground moved from the shockwave. Tiny little lights flickered around a large box that had cracked and fractured the road. Fortunately no cars had been driving there or they'd have surely been crushed. The box appeared to have a rustic iron framework with cardboard squares and was roughly the size of a small van. They stepped closer to it cautiously, wondering if anything would happen should they get too close. Upon closer inspection, the cardboard squares appeared to have crayon illustrations, drawn by a child depicting acts of what appeared to be great risk. One side showed a man about to fall to his death, another of a woman wearing a short skirt surrounded by frightening characters. All of the images had violent scribble marks across the character faces. Black wondered what kind of strange box this would be and what business would it have to descend from the night sky like this. A running pair of feet echoes from behind. When he turned to see who it was, he recognised her immediately. The running figure was the girl from earlier.
"Get back!" She cried.
"What did you say?" Daisuke exclaimed. "Me and my buddy found the box first! If you want to see it, it's going to cost you!" Without a moment's hesitation, the girl reached into one of her high socks and threw a small object that landed between Daisuke's eyes, which immediately sent him to the floor.
"Hey! Daisuke! What happened?" He shook the large young man alarmingly when he was assured the loud snoring indicated he was alive. The girl stood there, staring at the box. Black approached her. "What did you to him?" He began when the girl grabbed his arm and pulled him behind her swiftly.
"Be prepared." She began. "You might not like what you see." Black stared at her curiously when a gurgling noise came from the box, making them both flinch.
The girl stepped forward and then stood there stiffly. The air was tense and the heat was washed away by a sudden coldness. The night air began to turn violet, but the sky remained a sheet of darkness and Daisuke became transparent. In fact, everything seemed to. The city, the trees, the bench, it all appeared to be made of glass. As though it was invisible before, a bubble appeared over Daisuke, made of a sort of energy. Black looked at his hands to find he was the same; however the girl now hovered into the air. Soon her clothes glowed into a bright light and her hair separated from being pigtails and flowed down to her shoulders. Her uniform changed into a new dress. It was dark red with stripes and a belled out skirt in layers and black frills. A pair of boots that were identical to a pair Black owned formed around her feet as she descended to the floor. Like a secondary step, she reached into the air, and white sparkles formed around her hand. They formed into a pair of scissors and against all reason, solidified into a pair of scissors with finger-holes the size of small hoops. The blades were however, the size of a Katana. She lifted the scissors into the air, and a loud clicking sound was made as they parted into two hand-held blades. She pointed one towards the box which had now started to shift and shuffle and sometimes rocked.
"I, Alisonia Rittle challenge you." She said, talking to the box. It now bounced in place, the lid rattling as more gurgling sounds could be made, whatever lurked inside obviously excited. "I challenge you, the venturer into unknown. The pest of mystery and the voice of uncertainty." She charged towards it hastily. "I challenge you, The Fool!"
When those final words escaped her lips, she plunged both blades into the box. The air was still with tension. What would happen now? Black went to take a step forward when the gurgling sound from within the box turned into a twisted snicker. The lid swung up and a twisting abomination rose from inside. Its body seemed to be made of contorting body limbs, legs and arms, covered in blood and disease, rising up and down as though they were breathing. At the top of the tower of limbs, was a horrible old man with a crooked smile. Its eyes were sockets that flowed out ooze that had flies hover around the putrid sludge. Its ears were like a goblin's and it wore a cap which formed into a question mark. Atop of the hat seemed to be the flesh of a large hound's head, all but dead fur and flesh, drooling froth from its decayed face. The hideous monster's four arms were thin and hovered between states of being transparent and then being complete flesh. Its smile revealed pin-like teeth that failed to hold back a red scabby tongue that dripped with pus. It cackled impishly as it hovered over the two.
Black stood there, frozen with fear, his gaze on the horrifying creature. His legs were frozen and the cold sweat seemed to paralyse him on the spot, leaving him stiff as a scarecrow. He fell to his knees when suddenly shards of ice started to grow on from the ground and onto him at a steady pace. It made a constrictive sound and his face quivered at the sight of the monstrosity.
"What is this? Why am I here?"
A loud scrape was heard and the girl, who he guessed was obviously known as Alisonia swung a scissor blade at the ice.
"We have to defeat him!" She exclaimed. Black's lips parted from each other but his words left his mouth in a riddle, and he began to hyperventilate when she slapped him in the face.
"I know this isn't easy." She said, and grabbed his arms and threw him across the road and flipped out of the way when a pile of glowing green needles stabbed into the spot they had been standing.
"You need to call upon your inner belief!" She exclaimed as she dodged another barrage of needles being expelled from the monster which now giggled in a high pitch that echoed in a hollow manner. The monster leaned down from its fleshy tower and voraciously swiped at Black, barely missing him but leaving a tear in his shirt.
"Focus and do what you saw me do! She jumped from the side of the box and swung her scissor blades on her wrist and attempted to hack at the mass of pulsing limbs.
"It's too thick." She cursed under breath and one of the monster's arms swiped at her and sent her to the floor.
Black stood there and felt more ice trying to grow on him. He shook it off hastily. He closed his eyes. "What did she do? What did she do?" He retraced her steps in his mind. There was the floating and the…how do I float?" He took a step forward, his eyes still closed and felt more ice breaking off the bottom of his feet.
"Floating…it's got to be possible if she did it isn't it?" He heard the giggling monster overhead and dared himself to keep his eyes shut. "Floating…floating…" And his feet finally parted from the ground and he felt as though he was being embraced, and could hear the monster lean towards him from where it stood when it gave a small shriek in dismay. He could feel his clothes turn warm and then hot and he gasped at the feeling. His veins twitched and his heart stopped, but his brain literally shook in his skull. Suddenly in his ears a castanet sound could be heard and he saw he was floating in the air still, with a bubble of energy stopping him and the jaws of the monster from meeting. He looked at his hands to see black and red velvet gloves with long claws extended from the tips of each of them. He felt himself move backward with the bubble still in the jaws of the creature. When he looked at it now, an iron ring hovered over its head with jagged points sticking from the ring. It reminded him of a crown of thorns.
Alisonia reached her arm into the air. That reminded him. He reached his own arm into the air and white sparkles hovered around his hand where it became a rapier. The handle was decorated into the shape of a rose, and the blade had something inscribed. He went to read it when Alisonia joined him by his side.
"It appears you're a mage DO." She said. He looked at her, puzzled. What was a DO?
"Excuse me?" But the bubble in the monster's jaws shrank and he sighed, "Just tell me what to do, please!"
The both leapt into the air as the monster reared and then coughed out a vile paste towards the two. They both swung their weapons, to Black's own surprise at speeds he'd never dreamt of. The paste parted over them as they soared. They landed on either side of the head of the monster.
"Use a spell!" She exclaimed, swinging her blades at the beast, causing some heavy damage as blood poured from its face. He gulped. What kind of spell? Could magic really exist? He looked down the arm and noted the elbow of the creature shifted between transparency and flesh. Going by a hunch, he figured that might be a potential weak spot. Anything seemed to be possible. He slid down the arm, and noticed he was wearing striped tights with boots now before stopping at the joint. How did he look after his transformation? The creature laughed as the arm began to shift between the two states. Now it was difficult to determine what to do. An idea sparked in his mind and somewhere in his brain, a part he'd never thought existed before, he pointed the rapier towards the flesh and shouted "Lock!" With that, twisting vines appeared from nothing and constricted the arm, which seemed to slow down the arm. He gasped. He didn't know he could do this. Why would he say lock specifically? He began to think of this when the vines began to slither away from each other.
"Use the spell "Balloon! Alisonia cried as she plunged her scissor blades into the arm she was now standing on, which severed it immediately, making it writhe and scream in agony. Blood cascaded to the ground in large volumes. He nodded and pointed the rapier to the arm.
"Balloon!" With that, wind poured from the blade and entered the arm, making it swell. It was certainly swollen with air after a few short seconds and the creature moaned in pain. The flesh began to tear and rip until eventually it popped into a bloody mess, the severed joint cascading to the ground. Losing his balance, Black fell downward and pointed his blade at the joint beneath him.
"I really did that?" He thought when the joint became transparent and he fell right through it and thudded on the road with a crack. He moaned in pain as the creature leered over him, its skin now a flushed scarlet. It's two remaining arms flexed the clawed fingers and extended towards him, pouncing onto him like a tiger.
"Oh shit!" Black exclaimed as the palms thudded up and down on his chest, bruising and damaging him. He lost wind and couldn't breathe. He panicked, trying to crawl out when a red flash appeared between them. It was Alisonia with both blades in each hand, easily severing both elbows. The creature writhed and the claws shattered above Black like porcelain. It moaned and screeched as the halo hovering above its head floated down around its neck and began to constrict its throat, making it choke and bleed from the spikes. The dead hound on it's hat began to howl in agony after being silent for so long. It began to melt into a black pool of sludge and slowly sank into the ground. The pool began to shrink until finally it solidified into a tiny rectangle. Alisonia reached into the air and the white sparkles formed into a trunk of an ancient appearance made of ivory with highly detailed markings. The card floated into the air and into the trunk, snapping itself shut afterwards with an echoing lock.
"We have claimed the card, The Fool." She smiled. She stared at Black, tilting her head. The violet air began to disperse when finally she whispered:
"We will meet again." A howling darkness consumed the world.
Black opened his eyes to find he was standing there with the strawberry can to his lips with Daisuke drinking the blackberry can, like it was a competition. He looked around. Didn't this just happen? Maybe this is what Déjà vu is. His thoughts were interfered again by Daisuke calling him a little girl and went to hug him when Black stepped back from the grapple.
"Not so fast there." He grinned. "You're taking this little girl back to where he lives." Daisuke looked dumbfounded and then shrugged.
"Whatever, hugging is for wimps! Yeah!" He flexed his arms before laughing to himself while Black shook his head. As they went to turn a corner, Black looked into the sky. He thought something was going to happen. Oh well. Guess not.