Sora would say Kaed was being paranoid without a second thought. Yeah, it was clear she was in a bad mood to begin with. Maybe he should have waited for her. Come on! There was no way he could have imagined that hunting that snake would take the whole morning! They should have been done with it in time to make for the second period.

But he still couldn't help but feel sorry for the boy. Hiroto, wasn't it?

As soon as they put their foot below the Veil, Kaed pointed Yukino to the base of his neck, without too much strength, but enough to make the threat known. The boy was so impressed by the embroidered sky that he only realized the situation when the cold steel of Yukino's blade touched his skin.

"Aaah!" He let out a surprised yell as he gave a step backward, which only made Kaed press harder.

"Ne, Kaed!" Kuma called, "Isn' that too much?"

"I came here at full speed after you called me," She begun, her sharp auburn eyes still on Hiroto, "He was able to keep up with me and showed no fear when we fought that damn snake. Either he knows too much, or he's just plainly stupid," Kaed continued coldly, "Who are you, really?"

"Err, hum..." He raised his hands as if he had just surrendered, "My name is Kurokage Hiroto, 16 years old, second year at Kizuna High School, transferred from-"

"That's not what I wanted to know," Kaed cut him off, "How are you familiar with the Veil?"

"V-Veil?" He stuttered, hopelessly looking around for some help, but it only caused Kaed to press harder with her Yari.

The cold steel made him shiver.

"Anything that doesn't belong to our world," Sora explained, leaning against a nearby tree. The glade had been engulfed by the thick forest. Sora looked up before continuing, "Monsters. Demons. Spirits. Gods. Those kinds of things."

"Hum?" Hiroto tilted his head to the side, "They... Don't belong...?"

He caught Kuma and Kaed off guard, but Sora only smiled. He moved his head as to tell Kead to leave the boy free to move. Slowly, she removed the yari from his neck and moved a few steps back before turning Yukino into the silver bracelet and placing it back on her wrist.

"Why do you think it's normal, Kurokage-san?" Sora continued asking.

"There are a lot of spirits in the forest behind the shrine back at my mother's hometown. I used to play there a lot after I moved there," The black-haired boy answered cheerfully, that innocent smile back on his face, despite the strange looks he got from the girls.

"How old were you?" Sora pressed, "When you moved, that is."

"Hmm..." Hiroto frowned, "10? I don't really remember..."

"The time matches, Kaed," Sora turned around, facing the Ice Dragon user, "Is that enough?"

"Alright, alright," Kaed sighed, defeated, "But it's still better to have Kira and Kari to check him."

"Hai hai," Sora stretched his arms upwards, "The guys are waiting at the town. We should go too."

The boy started walking into the forest nonchalantly, followed by Kaed. Kuma opened a big smile, it was much better without that heavy atmosphere around them. She was about to go after them when she realized that black-haired kid still seemed kind lost. Being careful not to lose her friends, she approached him.

"Y'know, they are gonna drag ye alon if ya don hurry," She extended her hand, "Tah name's Kuma. Let's go, Kurokage-san."

"Ookay" He hesitantly shook her hand in return and both started walking, following the same path the two Divine Sword users were.

Kuma took a good look at the boy. He had a slim build a bit taller than Sora, yet a girl-ish face. His black hair was tied in a small ponytail, making the girl wonder if it would reach his shoulders. His purple eyes were somewhat sharp, and the dark color had a nice contrast with his pale skin. She couldn't help but think it didn't fit his happy-go-lucky personality.

"Kaed's bein a worrywar since that girly guy show up, don mind her."

"I see..." He lowered his royal-purple eyes to the ground, thinking. With a sudden movement, he raised his head and faced the girl, "Who are Kira and Kari?"

"Komainu. Those guys in front of temples. Those two used to serve Amaterasu," Kuma stopped, but quickly added when she noticed the weird face Hiroto was making, "They help us now. Information and such. They're good guys. Don worry, Kurokage-san."

"Hiroto is fine," He faced Kaed and Sora's back, "It gets confusing when you have two brothers."

"Know how ya feel," Kuma laughed, "I have 5 back home."

"Really?" Hiroto almost yelled, regaining his child-like curiosity, "How did you survive? I swear, mine have almost killed me!

"I used to fight tah boys all tyme!" She exclaimed, and both started a heated conversation about siblings that lasted the whole way.


It took a while walking, but the group arrived at a small dirt road. A few more minutes and they left the forest, stopping by a torii that separated the wild from the rice fields that surrounded the village. Hiroto caught himself asking why someone would put a gate like that in the middle of nowhere and why would they stop there.

That's it, until he saw the two lion-dogs coming from the other direction. He actually expected to be seeing those tough-looking statues, but those Komainus were no bigger than a Chihuahua. They looked exactly the same, long white fur with a lion-like mane and tail, the only difference being the color of their collars, one being red and the other pink.

As soon as they reached the group, the one with pink collar jumped on Kaed, who caught it in midair.

"Kaed-san! Sora-san! Kuma-san!" She started crying "I was sooooooooo worried!"

"Kari, stop being such a crybaby! Have some pride! It's not like they'd be defeated by some baby!" The male one growled, walking to Sora, "How was the hunt, Sora?"

"Let's just say we found more than just monsters," He looked at Hiroto, giving him a sign to step forward. As soon as the black-haired boy was by his side, Sora asked, "Kira, can you check him? Kaed won't stop bothering him unless you do."

"I heard that," She sent him a glare, and went back to patting Kari.

"On your knees!" The lion-dog ordered, somehow looking down at the boy. Hiroto obeyed, sending the komainu a glare back.

They kept eye contact for a while, none of them wanting to lose this silent competition. It was actually Kira who broke it, as he started smelling the boy. The wed nose of the lion-dog made Hiroto's skin tickle, but he stayed still. The komainu circled him, and then went back to Sora.

"Get rid of him. The boy smells death."

The group fell silent, Kari having stopped all the whining. The eyes fell on Hiroto, as he got up. Kuma and Sora had truly surprised looks at their faces, while Kaed only had a glare for the boy. Her free hand immediately went to the silver bracelet.

"Wait a second, Kaed-san," A deep, male voice came from above.

While the tension remained, all eyes went to the top of the torii. There stood a men-like figure with skin crimson red with black marking all over. Even if they were on the ground, Hiroto could easily say he was over 6'7' feet tall. The oni had his two pairs of horns appearing, even with his blond wild hair. As he jumped down, Hiroto was able to grasp more details. He only wore simple beige pants, and was well-built. He carried a serious look in that rough-looking face.

"What's your name?" He asked, walking toward the black-haired boy.

"Gao-san!" Kaed called, stepping forward, "Don't pretend you didn't hear Kira!"

"I'm aware," He simply said, not giving the girl a look, "Answer me," He pressed.

"Kurokage Hiroto," The boy replied, standing up again as all eyes fell on him once more.

The demon stood still for a second, and not another word was said for a while. His sighs broke the silence, and he scratched the back of his head, "Yeah, I thought you were way too similar to be a coincidence. Sora-san, Kaed-san," Gao turned to the rest of the group, "Let the boy. I cursed the Kurokage Family a few centuries ago, it's no wonder he still smells like that."

"That's a pretty good reason for keeping him away!" Kira roared, baring his small, sharp fangs at the oni.

"Don't be stupid, Kira," Gao glared the lion-dog back, "You know very well my deal with Izanami is over."

"See, Kaed?" Sora smiled, "No need to worry!" He made a v-sign with his fingers, causing the girl to facepalm.

Kuma raised a hand, "Y'know, it's great na all, but... What we do with him?"

"Kurokage-san can just go back. No ne-" Kaed started, only to be cut off by the black haired boy.

"Kuma-san told me about the group. I wanna join!"


"Alright, let's meet the others," Sora replied, already taking road to the village.


Can someone explain why Sora is the leader again?