"Errors of Destiny"
Chapter 5 - Fiery Situation:
"Welcome!" A young girl, around sixteen years of age, with pitch black hair and violet colored eyes, spoke, as another costumer entered her hairdressing saloon. "Oh! Miss Amane! Nice to see you again."
"The pleasure is mine." The mature woman with long hair replied.
"The usual job, I suppose?"
"For once you're wrong." The woman answered, as she handed the teenager a bill. "Today, I want a total makeover."
"Hm? How so?"
"I would like to cut my hair short, neck lengthened."
"Whoa! It must be for some sort of drastic reason, Miss Amane. You're always saying that your hair is your life."
"Indeed, but a little change every once in a while is nice, don't you think?"
The woman sat down on the chair, as the girl wearing an apron with the name tag that spelled the name 'Hatsubi' took hold of her scissor and comb. "Neck lengthened, correct?"
The girl began to cut the hair of the grown woman. It was a passion Hatsubi had never comprehended herself: she had a fascination for hair.
"I still can't understand how such a young girl managed to get her own hair salon."
"Well, I can't really say I did it on my own or didn't get any help. Actually, it would've been impossible if that were the case." Hatsubi stopped for a moment when she felt an unusual scent in the air. "This is...?"
"You like the smell of my new shampoo? It's vanilla."
"It suits you well, I can tell that much. But it is a very pleasant smell." She admitted, as she cut multiple strands of hair carefully. Amane had been her client ever since the very beginning, being her very first costumer and regular. Even if at first it was weird for a young teenager to possess such a job, they hit it off rather quickly. Hatsubi liked how delicate and lustrous Amane's hair always looked like.
Before she knew it, play time was over. She had cut Amane's hair perfectly, resulting in exactly what she had expected to look like.
"Amazing as always, Hatsubi-chan."
"Why thank you."
"Eh?" As the woman stood up, she handed Hatsubi another bill. "What is this for?"
"It will take a while for my hair to grow out again. That is for the times I won't come."
"N-No! I can't accept this! It would be...!"
"Hatsubi, unlike you, I have enough money to live twice. And I know that it must be hard for someone like you to live alone in a place like this all on your own." The woman explained, which didn't exactly comfort Hatsubi. "Don't see it as pity. See it as a reward for a good job."
"I suppose... I still think it's wrong, but..." She placed the bills in the cash register. "I know you won't leave if I don't accept it, so I might as well."
Amane smiled. "See?" She approached the door and opened it up. "But I expect that money back if this haircut isn't a success."
"Seems fair. Until next time."
As soon as the woman closed the door, Hatsubi's smile faded. If Amane knew of her situation, she probably wouldn't be as worried. The teenager cleaned the hair he had just cut with the help of a broom and placed it inside one of two trash bins. The difference between the two was that one was for the hair that had been stepped on or trampled over. The other... was for herself.
"It's been for over a year... But I still feel weird when doing this..." She took the strands of the vanilla-scented lustrous hair she had cut and stared at them for a moment before she placed them inside her mouth and swallowed them as if they were spaghetti. "It's still weird... Even if I enjoy it so much..." The girl continued to do that, blushing more and more with each strand she ate up. She couldn't control herself.
"If you eat it any faster you'll have a tummy ache, you know?"
The girl froze in fear. Someone had entered her saloon without noticing it. Her reputation would be ruined if she was caught doing something as inhuman as eat hair. She slowly turned her head, scared of who could be behind her, but she sighed in relief when she found out that it was only her friend.
"Shinketsu, don't scare me like that."
"Sorry, sorry. But you're at fault too. Next time it might not be me who catches you in the middle of your meal."
"True, but normally I don't get many costumers at Sunday mornings. That's why I thought it was safe." She spoke, as Shinketsu sat down on the chair. "The usual?"
"Yup. Just a slight cut on the points, on the house."
Hatsubi giggled. "One day you'll have to pay me, you know?"
"But we're friends."
"Friends are to help each other, not to give free haircuts." She explained, as she prepared for another haircut.
"You got me there."
For a moment, the only sound there was in the saloon was the sound of her scissors cutting the boy's hair.
"It's really a shame..."
"What about it?"
"I can't eat it."
"Why? And why do you want to eat it to begin with...?"
"It's fluffy, and it looks delicious, but... it's just blood."
"You don't have to apologize. I'm just being a glutton."
"In order to fully consume my Essence, I just have to eat hair every 4 days, and it doesn't have to be any more than 0,25 kilograms."
"That's still a lot."
"Yes, but I already ate that quantity and much more just the other day. There's no reason for me to be doing this."
"Hey, all Errors end up acting as gluttons every once in a while. Me, for example, drank a whole soda can of blood last week."
"Last week? Oh! On your birthday?"
"Yup. Seikyou was really nice to let me do it."
"I haven't talked about her yet?" Hatsubi shook her head. "She's a girl I met just two weeks ago and... it's weird."
"What do you mean by that?"
"Sometimes we act as friends, sometimes we act as lovers, and sometimes I don't even know what the hell we're acting as."
"...If you want me to be honest, I always pictured you with Kibou."
"Kibou? No way."
"Then what's so special about this Seikyou?"
"Sometimes it seems as if she is a mystery. She's like an opened book that doesn't even know she has things written on."
"I was never good with metaphors."
"She asked me to protect her as soon as we met for no apparent reason, she sleeps next to me, and knew nothing about dating and the secrets of life until I told her."
"Why didn't you just say that right from the start?"
"The point is... I don't know what the hell is going through her head. And I... want to know. It's hard to explain."
Hatsubi smiled and closed her eyes. "You know what they say: love doesn't need to be explained."
"Yea- WHO SAID I WAS IN LOVE WITH HER?!"
"You definitely look like you do."
Shinketsu lowered his head and blushed. "...Maybe I am. But that doesn't matter. Whether I am in love with her or not, I will protect her. I don't even know how I feel about her to begin with, so it doesn't matter."
"I see... Finished."
Shinketsu stood up and shook off the small bits of hair his friend had cut. There was little to no difference, but his hair certainly looked much more kept and clean.
"Thanks. I'll pay you next time."
"You never do!" The boy closed the door behind him with a grin, which made the girl sigh in disbelief yet happiness. He dashed away with a speed only he could so casually display. "He never changes... Well, he did change a bit. Before he wouldn't shut up about finding his little princess and love, and now he is struggling about it." She picked up her broom and twirled around. "I wonder when I'm going to find my prince."
Suddenly, the door opened up again, much to her surprise. She turned and found a young man, who appeared to be around 20 or so years of age, probably younger. Maybe 17? The man possessed bright red eyes, orange-red yellowish hair, and wore casual clothes, such as the red jacket, white shirt, and loose long shorts.
"Welcome! Would you like to take a seat, Mister?"
"Not really." Much to her initial horror, the man drew a gun. The girl put her hands up and asked her question.
"What do you want? Money?"
"I have nothing else of interest in here besides that."
"Who said I wanted something of interest?" This confused Hatsubi. "I just want to see this place burn. See you down there." Hatsubi reacted as no human could. As the man pressed the trigger, she joined her hands together and then drew them apart. The bullet was fired, but it didn't reach her. The man was surprised to see what she had done. "Wow. You have to be pretty smart and special in order to do that."
Hatsubi had connected the palms of her hands thought millions of strings of hair. The density of it and its resistance were enough to stop the bullet, which fell to the ground soon after. "You know about the Errors, don't you?"
"You're with the C.O.L. Force?" She asked, as the hair withdrew back into her body.
"Those wannabe hunters? You wish."
"Then who are you? And what do you want?"
"I told you once, Miss Error of Hair. I just want to see this place burn."
Hatsubi put her deduction skills to good use. "If he isn't with the C.O.L., then that can only mean..." The man opened up his palm and a large fireball appeared over it. "He's an Error too!"
The man hurled the fireball towards the trash bin, where all of the flammable hair would be, but Hatsubi was faster and protected her workplace by turning her fingers into amazingly long hair strands, which took the hit instead and caught on fire. She retracted them in pain. She submerged her hand in tap water, extinguishing the flames with ease, but not without leaving a burning sensation.
"You're pretty fast."
"Hair light, you know? The lighter the material you control is, the faster it moves."
"True. But you know what is practically weightless?"
"My name is Suzaku Gouka, also known as the Error of Fire." The man bowed down as he introduced himself. Hatsubi was frozen in fear. To be the Error of Fire would mean to have an amazingly destructive power. A simple wisp could mean the death of someone or the destruction of a building, but a being made out entirely of such danger but also able to manipulate it however he intended and use it in various different forms and ways could mean the destruction of the entire world. She needed time to come up with a plan.
"Why aren't you like the other Errors? Errors died once, they know what it really feels like when life is over! We value life above all else! Why don't you?!"
"Hmm..." The destructive Error seemed to be in deep thought for a moment. "Maybe it's because I'm a pyromaniac? Maybe because I'm bored. Or maybe it's just because I'm screwed up in the head." The Error stepped in even further into the room. "Tell me..." He approached Hatsubi and made her back off to the wall. He was uncomfortably close to her, but what most disturbed her were his eyes. "...you know how painful it is to be burned alive?"
"...No, but I know how to distract someone."
Gouka flinched when Hatsubi took a hold of him and his limbs became restrained by tightly wrapped strands of hair. Hatsubi pressed the button of some sort of device, which released a red light.
At a deserted quarry, a red light flashed for a fraction of a second, making Hatsubi and Gouka appear somehow. The man turned the wrapped portions of his body into flames, allowing him to escape.
"What the hell?! Where are we?!"
Hatsubi panted heavily, as she discarded the burned hair. "At a quarry."
"Ever heard of teleportation?"
"The hell? That's just science fiction!"
"Not anymore." Hatsubi showed the device. "The protector of all Errors is a genius... She managed to develop teleportation by studying us and how we worked. It doesn't work on humans though, but then again, fire and hair aren't people."
"Grrr... You're pissing me off. All I wanted was to burn up your store."
"I won't let you destroy my home!" Hatsubi's fingers extended, turning into lustrous strands of hair.
"If you want to pick a fight, it's fine by me!" Gouka's hands manifested two fireballs, one each.
"Hair is stronger than people think. It can support up to 12 tons, the same as two adult elephants, and is amazingly resistant. It only has one flaw... It's easily flammable!" Hatsubi's thoughts didn't stop her from following her decision of defeating the Error of Fire. Her ponytail grew out and gained life of its own.
"Back already, Shinketsu?"
The Error of Blood walked into his home, more specifically the lab that was also used as a living room. Alice appeared to be working on something, while Seikyou took a nap on the couch.
"It was faster than I had expected, to be honest." Shinketsu admitted, as Seikyou slowly woke up due to the noise. Suddenly an alarm fired up, which surprised Alice and Shinketsu. Seikyou almost had a heart attack. They glanced at the screen of the amazingly large computer Alice was using in order to figure out what had happened.
"On it." She typed on the keyboard as fast as lightning, and then the image of Hatsubi and Gouka, the Error they were not familiar with, popped up on the screen, fighting. "Hatsubi? What is she doing in that quarry?"
"She was in her saloon just five minutes ago."
"She must have used the experimental pocket teleporter I asked her to take care of. But why did she use it...?"
"I'm going there. She looks like she's in a struggle. I have to help her out!" Shinketsu informed, as he moved towards the closet. Opening it up, he found multiple objects similar to the one Hatsubi used before. In the meantime, Seikyou could only look around in confusion. "Send me the coordinates, Alice!"
Seikyou almost fell off the couch when Shinketsu suddenly disappeared in a red flash. "What the...?"
"Oh, you're awake, Seikyou-chan?" Alice asked without turning around. Seikyou approached the scientist and the console, rubbing one of her eyes. The tiredness hadn't worn off yet.
"One of the Errors affiliated with us seems to be fighting one we didn't know existed."
"What's so surprising about that?" Seikyou wondered, thinking that, just like humans sometimes fight, Errors would as well.
"Errors usually just fight in either self-defense or to take care of the C.O.L. Force. It's rare to see two of them fight, actually."
"Hmmm..." Seikyou stared at the screen, finding herself somewhat curious regarding the two Errors. "Who are they?"
"I don't know about the boy, but the girl is Hatsubi, the Error of Hair. She became an Error just a year ago, and she runs a hairdressing saloon."
"She seems nice."
"She's also Shinketsu's personal hairdresser." Alice giggled a bit at her own comment, but she flinched upon glancing at Seikyou and seeing the intensity of her glare towards the girl on the screen. "S-Seikyou...?"
"Grrrr... Shinketsu's personal hairdresser...?!"
"Fureimu Ejji!" (Flame Edge) Gouka raised up his arm, his hand turning into fire, and then he swung it down, releasing a wave-shaped fire stream.
Hatsubi created a barrier using tightly put together hair strands, but it was nearly useless. While she managed to escape unharmed, the barrier was burned and turned into ash rather easily. She looked back at him, but he had disappeared.
Hatsubi reacted as soon as she heard the voice behind her she spun and attempted to strike Gouka, only to find a trail of flames. "Oh no..." She looked up and found her enemy high above, with his feet turned into flames, allowing him to float apparently.
"Faia Neiru!" (Fire Nail)
Gouka raised up his leg and it turned into a large stream of fire. Gouka then moved back and floated up, performing a flip and kicking the stream down as if it was a nail, down towards Hatsubi.
"I... I don't want to die again!"
"Kurimuzon Uōru!" (Crimson Wall) A red barrier of a thick liquid appeared over the scared Hatsubi and protected her from the fiery attack. She opened her eyes and found one of her usual costumers connected to the shield not so far away.
"Thank me later. We have a bigger problem at hands right now." He absorbed the blood back into his body and looked up. "Why are you hurting my friend?!"
"Because I want to. If you have a problem with that, you can die by her side by my flames too." Gouka spoke, grinning maniacally.
"Reddo Buretto!" (Red Bullet)
"Hea Sutingā!" (Hair Stinger)
Shinketsu fired a bullet-like projectile made out of blood from his palm, while Hatsubi gathered up hair at the palm of her hand and strapped it around tightly as if it were a spike and fired it as well.
"Hotto Bakudan!" (Hot Bomb) Gouka placed his hands together and formed a condensed fireball in between them. He hurled it down towards the projectiles and it exploded upon impact, rendering both attacks ineffective. Gouka grinned and laughed, convinced that he was all powerful and unstoppable, but then a strand of hair caught one of his legs. "Eh?"
"Get down here!" Hatsubi swung down her arm, which was connected to the Error of Fire, and pulled him down against the ground, making Gouka collide against it.
She withdrew her hair and Gouka stood up, cleaning off the dust on his clothes. "You're going to pay for that one."
"Not quite." Hatsubi began turning her hand into amazingly long strands of hair, which began shaping into a large object. "One of hair's main components is keratin, a protein that is in the composition of nails, claws and horns too! Manipulating the keratin present within me, while limited, I can make stronger structures!" The hairs assumed the shape of an amazingly large drill, which then solidified into a material that was clearly much more powerful. "Hōn Doriru!" (Horn Drill) The drill began to spin ferociously and Hatsubi dashed towards Gouka, in an attempt to strike him.
"Think again." Upon contact, Gouka immediately dispersed into a sea of flames, which engulfed Hatsubi. "Jikkō: Raibubāningu!" (Execution: Live Burning)
"No... I don't want to die..." Those were the last thoughts of Hatsubi before the flames touched her. She felt a never ending pain as the fire began to make its way inside her, but someone came to her rescue. While still damaged, she engulfed by blood and was pulled out of it. The blood turned back into Shinketsu, who wore an expression of panic.
"What's this? Why are you stealing away my prey?"
Shinketsu glared at Gouka with Crimson tears forming at the corners of his eyes. "Don't you dare come close to her! I'm not afraid to kill you!"
"Do you think I believe such a stupid lie?"
Will Shinketsu be able to defeat Gouka and protect Hatsubi? Will she be alright? Find out in the next chapter.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter. If you want more, leave a review, and I hope you'll read the next chapters when they come out. Until then…