The Demon Hunting Club
It goes without saying that, on paper, no such club as the Demon Hunting Club exists at Kitaminami Academy. There are, of course, rumors that a group of delusional fools go around calling themselves that, but if you were to ask any teacher at the school about joining the club, I'm sure they'd be hard-pressed not to laugh in your face. I, as a man of logic and reason, felt nothing but pity for these unknown students gallivanting around telling everyone that they fight demons in their spare time, as there was clearly something deeply wrong with them.
And yet, I now find myself face to face with one such student, having been rescued by what could only be a demon, the very same thing they hunt, and the reason why I found the club's existance outside the imagination of it's so-called members so impossible.
“Um, Konishi-san...” I begin, how am I even supposed to respond to that earnest invitation? “I doubt I would be of any use to your club. I mean, you saw how close I was to getting... eaten.”
Konishi just smiles at me. “Oh, I was terrified my first time to. I got saved by Date-senpai, just like I saved you. So, if I can join the club, I don't see why you can't, right?”
“And I couldn't fight, either, but Date-senpai taught me, apparently she's a direct descendant of Date Masamune, isn't that super cool?”
I find that rather hard to believe, but if demons are real, then sure, why not, I go to school with Date Masamune's great-great-great-granddaughter. “Okay, but-”
“And it'd be nice to finally have a boy join the club.”
“Would you-” I pause. “Did you say there's no other boys in the club?”
“That's right.” Konishi nods, before starting to panic. “Th-That's not, like, a deal breaker, is it? Because some of us are kind of boyish... Ah, don't tell them I said that!”
A club where I'd be the only male member, huh? That's the kind of thing that normally doesn't happen in the real world, but again, demons are real, so logic's kind of taken a nosedive for me recently.
Now, this isn't to say that the fact I'd be the sole male of the group is doing anything to change my mind on the matter. In fact, I was simply airing my concerns about doing so before accepting the invitation, which I fully intended to do from the start.
“Oh, and don't worry about your hand.” Konishi finally says. “Fukada-san can fix you up with a super realistic prosthetic.”
“Okay, okay, slow down, Konishi-san.” I finally get to finish a full sentence. “I'm in.”
“Really!?” Konishi beams at me. “Like, really really?”
“Really really.” I tell her. “So, can you, I dunno, take me to the club room?”
“Oh, of course.” Konishi takes my right hand and pulls me up, before dragging me down the corridor and out onto the sports field.
“Here it is!” She announces, gesturing towards an old gym storage shed.
“That's your club room?”
“That's our club room!”
I guess it would be hard for something as bizarre as a Demon Hunting Club to get a legitimate club room. And, in a roundabout way, this might explain why this shed was never demolished after the new one was built.
“C'mon,” Konishi pulled me towards the door. “I'll introduce you to everyone.” With a smile on her face, she pushed open the door and announced “I'm back!” And almost the instant she'd finished a shot rang out, sailing between the two of our heads and out the door.
“Sloppy.” Said a woman sat over and old whetstone grinding wheel, sharpening a sword unlike one I'd ever seen before. From the traditional sword I'd seen Konishi using, I assumed all of the Demon Hunting Club would be outfitted with the same sort of weapon, but this was a huge European-style Greatsword.
“Oh, come on, Fukada-san, it's just me!” Konishi pouts, before looking over at me. “Well, me and a new recruit.”
Fukada looks over to me, the disproportionately long bangs of her black hair obscuring most of her face from my sight, but I can tell she's appraising me all the same. “Name.” She says, clearly a woman of few words.
“My name is Kuro Sekigahara. I was attacked by a demon and saved by Konishi-san.” I tell her. “And, well, she said you might be able to fix me up with a prosthetic hand.”
“I can.” Fukada tells me, and returns to sharpening the giant sword. “Wait.”
“Um, how long will I have to wait, exactly?” It's not like I can go home with a missing hand. Even my helicopter parents would freak out if they saw me in this state.
“Date's sword first.” Fukada explains. “Then your hand. Two hours, maximum.”
Less than two hours to build a functioning prosthetic hand? I'm no expert on this sort of thing, but isn't that really fast? I'm not getting a rush job here, am I?
“By the way, where is Date-senpai?” Konishi asks. “I wanted to introduce Sekigahara-san to her.”
“Out.” Fukada tells her. “Busy.”
“Is she out hunting?” Konishi asks, before excitedly turning to me. “Oh, you've just got to see Date-senpai when she's on a hunt, she swings that huge sword around like it's made of paper, and she only uses one hand, too, it's amazing!”
That definitely sounds impressive, superhuman even, but without having ever met this Date person, it's even harder to visualise such an impossible sight.
“Hungry.” Fukada mutters.
“Hmm?” Konishi responds.
“Date was hungry.” She repeats. “Went out. Convenience store.”
“Oh, right.” Konishi nods. “How long ago?”
“30 minutes. Back soon. Probably.” I can't tell if Fukada's not talking because she's so focussed on her work, or if she's just not the talkative type. Either way, since she's still holding a very real pistol in her free hand, I'm not in a rush to bother her, so I turn back to Konishi.
“So, is it just the three of you?” I ask her.
“No, we've got another member, but she's-”
“Don't just talk about me like I'm not here, Tsuki-cchi!” A shrill voice comes from the darkness behind Fukada, startling me so much I almost fall on my butt. Even if I strain my eyes, I can't see who it was that spoke until she darts out from the shadows faster than I could have blinked and gets right up in my face.
“So, you want to join the club? Hmm? Ruin my paradise with your boy stink? No way, nuh-uh, I won't let Date-senpai let you join!”
“M-Mei-chan! What are you talking about!?” Konishi frets.
“I bet you've already been putting the moves on Tsuki-cchi! Don't trust anything this delinquent says!”
“I quite literally could not be further from a delinquent, thank you very much.” I tell this loud girl, adjusting my glasses as I do so as if to call attention to them. “And I have no intention of wooing Konishi-san, if that's your concern.”
“Huh!?” This just makes this Mei girl even angrier. It would seem I can't win. “Why the heck not? Is she not good enough for you, is that it, huh? Answer me, you jerk!”
“Loud.” Fukada complains, and her gun hand twitches. Hey, she's not actually going to-
“Wahaha! Your fearless leader has returned from her vital provision hunt!” A (somehow even louder than Mei) woman dressed in full armour bursts through the door right as Fukada fires her pistol through the roof. Seriously, what kind of operation have I agreed to join here? And if this is Date, did she seriously go to the store dressed like that? “And who might this be?” She looks at me. “Hmmm? Hmmm? Whatever you wish to offer me, be it food, shelter, or your own body, I accept!”
I hear a squeal from behind me, and whip around to see Mei frantically waving her hands. “D-D-D-Date-senpai, you aren't even going to ask him what it is first!? W-What if he's some sort of dangerous pervert!? Or a demon in disguise!? P-Please at least consider things before you say them!”
“Wahaha!” Date laughs once again. That can't possibly be her real laugh, can it? “Ever the cautious type, are you not, Nishida?”
“Nishida, that's it!” I blurt out. That was Nishi-something's real name! Oh, now everyone's staring at me. “Uh, there's somebody in my class who's name I forgot.” I explain.
“Are you in 2-3?” Mei asks, seemingly, no definitely annoyed. And also completely right. “Then you've met my idiot brother.” She sighs. “How you could possibly forget somebody that loud is beyond me.”
“Wahaha!” Seriously, that laugh's getting annoying. Mei hardly has any room to complain about other people being loud when this is the company that she keeps. “Then it is fate that you should join the Demon Hunting Club, he of the unknown name!”
“My name is Kuro Sekigahara.”
“Sekigahara! Yes, indeed, a fitting name for one of my Demon Hunters! This is, without a doubt, a fated meeting for myself as well!” So, the girl who styles herself after her supposed ascendant, Date Masamune, is obsessed with the Sengoku period. Who would've guessed? “And, yes, a missing hand to match my ancestor's missing eye! It is as if fate itself placed you in this room for the express purpose of becoming a valued ally!”
“I fully intend to get a prosthetic hand from Fukada-san, actually.” I tell her, just in case she's gotten some insane idea that I like having one hand.
“Nevertheless! You, Sekigahara, are fated to become a Demon Hunter of the highest calibre, perhaps surpassing even myself, Tomomi Date! My perfect brain has deduced as such!” She announced before finishing with what my perfect brain has deduced to be her signature “Wahaha!” I want to get off this crazy ride as soon as possible. Please tell me that Fukada's at least done with Date-san's sword?
“I've never seen everyone this lively before.” Konishi mutters wistfully. “I'm glad you're getting along with us all so well.”
Please, learn how to read a room, Koizumi-san! I'm definitely not getting along with your rabble of lunatics!
“Date-san. Your sword. Finished.”
“Excellent timing as always, Fukada.” Date announces, slapping me on the back with enough force to make me almost lose my balance. I guess she'd have to be at least that strong to wield that giant sword in battle. If anything, I'm luck I wasn't sent flying. “Your mecha arm is as good as completed, Sekigahara!”
“Please, I just want a normal prosthetic. One that looks as close to my real arm as possible.”
“No. Already decided. Mecha arm.” Fukada immediately rebukes me. For a quiet type, she sure can be sassy, huh? “Gun attachment. Grappling hook. Preference?”
“I suppose 'neither' isn't an option here?” I ask, silently hoping to be proved wrong.
“Correct. Choose one. Can make both. Longer wait.” Fukada informs me. “Won't ask again.”
“Fine, I guess the grappling hook would be less obtrusive.” I sigh.
“Then it is decided! Fukada will no doubt create the most fantastic arm-mounted demon hunting cannon the world has ever witnessed!” Date announces, slapping me on the back once again.
“N-No! I want the grappling hook!” I argue. “I thought I'd made that clear!”
“Hmm? I do not understand, you yourself said that the grappling hook was the more boring of the two, did you not?”
“Leader's decision.” Fukada chimes in. “Gun attachment. Unless you want both.”
“Having both would be completely overboard.” I tell her.
“Well said, Sekigahara!” Date slaps me on the back for a third time. I'd assume this was another quirk of hers, as there are clearly many, but I can't help but notice that she hasn't done it to anyone else yet. Am I just the only one close enough to reach? “Fukada, you will add both capabilities to the mecha arm!”
“Huh, no, I insist-”
“Roger. Both. Will take longer. Two-and-a-half hours.” And with that, Fukada took a lump of metal and headed further into the storage shed.
“Will it seriously only take her two hours to make an arm with all those...” I avoid the word 'pointless', since I know how hard Date hits people when she's not angry with them, “extra features?”
“Two and a half.” Konishi corrects me. “But, yeah, that's her hunting ability.”
“Her what now?” I ask, and Konishi suddenly looks embarrassed.
“O-oh no! I completely forgot to tell you about Hunting!” She frets, looking from me, to Date, to Mei, and finally back to me. “I-I'm sorry! It's the first thing I should've taught you!”
“There is no need to fret, Konishi! Your magnanimous leader shall instruct her newest disciple in your stead! Wahaha!” Date slaps me on the back again. Seriously, at least slap Konishi when you're expressly talking to her! “Come, Sekigahara! Your first lesson in Demon Hunting awaits!”