Chapter 1:

Chapter 1


The old woman came to a small shrine in the backyard of her home in the wooded area of a mountain. She lit some incense before she clasped her hands together and began to pray. “Oh great house spirit, I come to you today in prayer. I ask that you watch over and protect my grandson through these times. Since he lost his parents and started college his life has only seemed to have gotten harder. Can you please look after him for me and make sure he has an easy life? I also ask that you fill his life with light and love so he feels like the special young man he is.” She then paused before she snickered and said, “And while you’re at it, find him a nice girlfriend, with my son and his wife gone I’d finally like to ask for some great grandchildren, preferably before I die.” She sighed before she bowed and went to stand up. She looked around as the wind blew before she sighed and sat back down, “Maybe I’ll pray some more. My grandson’s a stubborn one when it comes to women.”Bookmark here

Across Japan in Tokyo her grandson laid asleep at a desk just snoring away. He gave a soft groan as he heard a knock from the front door. The knock became louder before it evolved into a loud pound the shook the entire apartment. He jumped awake as he said, “I’M UP!!!” He scratched the top of his head before removing a piece of paper that was stuck to his face. He looked at it with a frown as he said, “Damn, I’ll have to draw this page all over again.” Another knock came from the door, “Ah! Yes! I’m coming!” He stood up and walked to the front door of his apartment before he opened it. He then saw a strange looking girl with purple hair, droopy eyes, and-“GOOD LORD HER BOOBS ARE HUGE!!!!” He said to himself as he suddenly felt all the blood in his body rush to his head and…other areas.Bookmark here

“You’re Ryubami Ikkimaru correct?” Bookmark here

“Hm?!” He responded as he wiped the blood from his nose, “Yeah, and you are?”Bookmark here

“Hakama.”Bookmark here

“Hakama…?” He said a bit confused, “As in-“Bookmark here

“Like the pants.” Bookmark here

“Oh, uh,” he looked down to notice that she was actually wearing a pair of Hakama! They were bright red, and the short sleeved tunic she wore which was tucked into it was baby blue with a light pink for the collar. She wore a strange mask around her neck which had a long zigzagging line across the middle. “Yeah, like the-“Bookmark here

“I’ve come to watch you,” she said as she walked into his apartment,Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah…just come right in…” He said as he turned around and watched her look around the apartment. Bookmark here

“What is this?”Bookmark here

“It’s my apartment,” he said as he closed the door, “Have you ever seen one before?” Bookmark here

“What’s an apartment?”Bookmark here

“I’ll take that a no,” he said as he rubbed the back of his neck and came to the kitchen, “Want some coffee?”Bookmark here

“What’s some coffee?”Bookmark here

“No, just coffee.” He said as he started to turn on the coffee maker. She turned to the coffee maker as it began to make a soft rumbling noise. Bookmark here

“It’s a demon,” she then accelerated towards it as she drew her sword and swung it through the air before she put it away. The coffee maker shook before it fell into numerous pieces.Bookmark here

“WHAT?!! NO!!!” Ikkimaru said as he looked over the now deceased coffee maker, “WHAT DID YOU DO?!?!!”Bookmark here

“I protected you, master.”Bookmark here

“Protected me?! This was going to wake up and carry me through the day!! What am I going to do?!”Bookmark here

“That little couldn’t possibly carry you, you’re too heavy.”Bookmark here

“Too heavy?! I’m too heavy?!” He looked at her as he clenched his teeth, “You don’t get to call me too heavy! Have you seen yourself in the mirror chubs?!”Bookmark here

“My name isn’t chubs. It’s Hakama.”Bookmark here

“Th-That’s not what I meant!!!” He looked at the sword in her hand before saying, “Are those even legal in this area?!?!?!!”Bookmark here

“….what?”Bookmark here

“This!” He said as he pointed to her sword, “Why are you carrying around a sword!”Bookmark here

“It’s not a sword, it’s Metsuketsu.”Bookmark here

“Metsu-HUH?!?!?!!”Bookmark here

“Metsuketsu,” Bookmark here

“It’s still a sword!”Bookmark here

“It’s not a sword, it’s my friend.” Bookmark here

“Whatever it is you can’t carry it around! What if my landlord finds out?!“Bookmark here

“You’re serving under a noble lord?!” She asked as her eyes dazzled,Bookmark here

“What?! No! I don’t!” He then growled, “I’m going to go shower.” He then walked through the apartment and into the bathroom. He turned and went to get undressed when he suddenly screamed and jumped back into the door. Hakama had somehow gotten into the bathroom before he did, “G-Get out!”Bookmark here

“I’m supposed to watch over you.”Bookmark here

“Y-You don’t need to watch me shower!”Bookmark here

“I was told to watch over you and make sure you’re okay.”Bookmark here

“I’m fine!” He opened the door before he pointed out to the living room, “Now get out!”Bookmark here

“I cannot,” she said as she closed her eyes, “As the spirit of your family house my duty is to watch over and protect members of your family.”Bookmark here

“……okay, what?”Bookmark here

“I’m not leaving.” Bookmark here

His eye twitched before he sighed and folded his arms. He thought for a minute before he looked at the sword in Hakama’s hands. He looked at her and then back at the sword. He then quickly ripped it from her grasp and threw it out of the bathroom. Her eyes opened and she darted after it. The second she left he closed the door to the bathroom, locked it, and then put the large shelf holding the towels in front of it. A few seconds past before he heard a knock at the bathroom door, “Master, let me in.”Bookmark here

“I can’t hear you!” He said as he turned on the sink followed by the shower, “I’m in the shower!!!” He then removed his clothes and began to shower off as quickly as possible. She made quick haste of the coffee maker, there’s no telling what she would do with a locked door and giant shelf. Once he was clean he grabbed a towel and dried off before wrapping it around his waist. He moved the shelf before he unlocked the door and poked his head out of it. Hakama was gone. Bookmark here

He walked out of the bathroom and eventually into his bedroom where he turned and closed the door behind him. He gave a heavy sigh before he went to his closet and started to pull out some clothing. He got a pair of underwear on and some pants ants before Hakama’s voice came, “How was your shower?”Bookmark here

“It was fine,” He instinctively responded. After a while he inhaled sharply before he turned and saw Hakama sitting, not on his bed, but on the floor at the foot of his bed. “HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN THERE?!?!?!!”Bookmark here

“Since you threw Metsuketsu out of the door and decided to ignore me.”Bookmark here

“I needed privacy, even here I need privacy!”Bookmark here

“And I need to watch over you. So you can kiss your private life goodbye.” Bookmark here

His eye twitched as he clenched his teeth. He then turned and looked at his work desk and saw everything he was working on. He then turned and looked at Hakama and said, “Ah! I get it now! You’re a fan!” He walked over to her and picked up her sword as he grabbed a permanent marker, “Hakama was it?”Bookmark here

“Don’t touch him!” Hakama said as she tore away the sword from his grasp,Bookmark here

“Oh, uh, then, what do you want me to-“ he then looked down at her breasts as the feeling of impending doom filled the room, “…sign…?”Bookmark here

“I don’t need a sign. What I need is for you to cooperate.”Bookmark here

“Okay, I’m lost…”Bookmark here

“No you’re not, I can clearly see you.” Bookmark here

He sighed before saying, “Just explain what you’re doing here.”Bookmark here

“Your grandmother sent me to-“Bookmark here

“Wait, my grandmother?”Bookmark here

“Yes, she sent me-“Bookmark here

“One second,” he said as he grabbed his phone from beside the bed and dialed in her number. He paced back and forth before he looked over at Hakama before he turned and looked away as his grandmother answered,Bookmark here

“Hello?”Bookmark here

“Grandma, what did you-“Bookmark here

“Ah! Ikkimaru! Good morning! How are you today?!”Bookmark here

“I’m fine.” He said with a sigh, “Wait! No! I’m not fine, the girl you sent over destroyed my-“Bookmark here

“Oh! You have a girl over?!”Bookmark here

“Yes, she said you sent her!”Bookmark here

“You sent me something?!”Bookmark here

“No, YOU sent ME something. More like someone! She’s some weird cosplayer girl and she’s got huge-“ he then stopped in realization. He then took a deep breath before saying, “Grandma?”Bookmark here

“Yes dear?”Bookmark here

“Did you send me an escort service…?”Bookmark here

“Oh my! You’re sending me an escort service?! You’ve never once given me something this nice!”Bookmark here

“No! No! GOD NO!!!” Bookmark here

“Yes. Truly I’m in the graces of god.”Bookmark here

“Ah! Forget it!” He said as he hung up the phone before he turned to Hakama with a slight glare. “You. Out. Now.” He said as he pointed out the door. She sighed before she walked out into the living room. After he closed the door behind her he quickly got dressed before he walked out to the living room and saw her sitting on the floor in front of the couch. He turned to the T.V. to notice it wasn’t even on, “It’s not even-“Bookmark here

“Sh!” Hakama interrupted, “There’s an enemy here. A shapeshifter. It looks like me.”Bookmark here

“What?” He then looked around before he walked over to her and saw she was looking at her reflection in the blank screen of the T.V. “That’s not even-“ he heard a soft groan from Hakama before he looked down at her to see her sitting still. Her eye twitched and she began to sweat, Bookmark here

“The tension in the room is rising. I don’t know if I can hold them back for long, if they’re anything like me then it could get dangerous. Leave now while you have the chance.”Bookmark here

“Wha-no, that’s just your reflection.”Bookmark here

“I know my reflection when I see it, this most certainly isn’t my reflection. Look how dark it is around the shapeshifter, they’re in a soulless void.”Bookmark here

“For the love of God,” he picked up the remote and turned on the T.V. Bookmark here

Hakama’s eyes widened, “Wh-What?! The shapeshifter has now altered their surroundings! They’re stronger than I imagined!” Bookmark here

“Okay,” Ikkimaru said as he sat on the coffee table across from Hakama before he looked her in the eyes…or at east tried to. “Hey! Talk to me!”Bookmark here

“Master, no! Don’t turn your back to the shapeshifter!”Bookmark here

“There is no shapeshifter! It’s a television! For the love of God! Look at me!” He said as he quickly pointed to himself which caught Hakama’s attention. “Who are you?”Bookmark here

“Hakama.”Bookmark here

“Okay, where are you from?”Bookmark here

“The mountains of Kyoto.”Bookmark here

“Good,” he said, “And why are you?”Bookmark here

“I was sent by your grandmother. I was told to watch over you and protect you in these difficult times. I’m supposed to help you get an easy life. I also need to help you get a girlfriend, because you’re stubborn with women, whatever that is.”Bookmark here

“So you’re a cosplayer right?”Bookmark here

“I’m Hakama.”Bookmark here

“A companion?”Bookmark here

“I’m Hakama.”Bookmark here

“Did my grandmother pay you?”Bookmark here

“Yes, she prayed for me.”Bookmark here

“No, pay you, with money.”Bookmark here

“The only payment house spirits need is ones prayer as well as food.”Bookmark here

“Did she give you food?”Bookmark here

“No,” Hakama said before her stomach growled. She blushed as she looked down, Bookmark here

He sighed before saying, “Are you hungry?”Bookmark here

“No…” Hakama said as her stomach growled once more,Bookmark here

“What do you eat?”Bookmark here

“The flesh of creatures.”Bookmark here

“Oh, okay, so…” He then stood up and walked over to the fridge and opened it up. He really needed to go shopping again. He then saw some sushi and took it from the fridge and over to Hakama. He sat at the table and removed the lid and handed it tray to her, “Here, eat this.” Hakama took the small tray before she picked up each of the rolls with her fingers and began to eat them one by one. Her face slowly began to turn as her face went pale, “Are you okay…?”Bookmark here

“This tastes bad…”Bookmark here

“What do you mean? It’s the meat of other creatures!”Bookmark here

“It tastes bad,” she said as she swallowed before she clasped her hands over her mouth.Bookmark here

“Oh no, no, no, no, no, no!” He then grabbed her by the shoulders before he rushed her to the bathroom and shoved her face in the toilet as she then threw up. He sighed before he turned and walked out to the living room. He went to the coffee table before he picked up the lid to the sushi. He looked over the ingredients before he then saw the expiration date, “BECAUSE OF COURSE IT'S A DAY OLD!!!!” He screamed before she crushed the plastic into a ball and he threw it at the ground. He huffed as he ran his fingers through his hair, “I really don’t have much money to go out…”Bookmark here

“I’m never eating flesh again.” Hakama said as she walked out of the bathroom wiping her mouth, Bookmark here

He turned around and looked at Hakama, “However….it’s the least I could do for making her eat expired sushi.” He walked over to her and said, “Come on, let’s go out and eat. I don’t have anything good here.”Bookmark here

“Please don’t feed me again.”Bookmark here

“The food is going to be good, I promise!” Bookmark here

“Are you sure?”Bookmark here

“Yes, I’m sure. I eat there all the time.” He then raced to his bedroom and grabbed his phone, a sketch pad and some pencils before putting them in a bag which he put on his shoulder. He came to the living room and gently touched Hakama’s shoulder, “Come on, let’s go.” He then took her out the front door before he locked the door to his apartment. He then started to walk with her down the landing before they came a flight of stairs. As they reached the bottom of the stairs they then turned and walked down the street. Bookmark here

“What is this place?” Hakama asked,Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“Where are we?”Bookmark here

“Um…we’re in Tokyo.”Bookmark here

“What’s Tokyo?”Bookmark here

“The capital city of Japan?”Bookmark here

“No it’s not,” Hakama said, “The capital of Japan is Edo.”Bookmark here

“Edo became Tokyo.”Bookmark here

“No it didn’t,” she said, “Japan looks nothing like this.” Bookmark here

“It does. It’s looked this way for years.” Bookmark here

“How?”Bookmark here

“Evolution of technology I guess,” Bookmark here

“I see, it makes sense Japan would only grow like the great nation it is. I’m sad I couldn’t see it.”Bookmark here

“Uh…what year do you think this is?”Bookmark here

“I have no idea, I was last summoned in 1877.”Bookmark here

“Then you would’ve known about Edo becoming Japan, because that happened in 1868.”Bookmark here

“No it didn’t. I was there.”Bookmark here

“You said you’re from Kyoto where my grandma lives right? Then you would’ve known that Kyoto was momentarily renamed to Saikyo.”Bookmark here

“I-“ she paused as she looked down, “I don’t remember that.”Bookmark here

“I see,” he said as they came to a bus stop. He then turned and looked and looked at her sword, “So tell me about your sword.”Bookmark here

“Zetsuketsu? What do you want to know?” Bookmark here

“You said it’s your friend, just tell me about it. It’s a Shirasaya right?”Bookmark here

“Yes,” Hakama responded, “It was millions of years ago. A large rock hit the earth and killed everything on the planet, except for me. I found pieces of the rock and carried it with me, eventually I found bone fragments of members of my family and carried those too. Eventually around 1336 I melted down the rock and carved down my families bones to make Zetsuketsu.”Bookmark here

“Oh…uh,” he said in total awe of her….unique and weirdly depressing story. “That’s nice.” He then jumped as tears formed Hakama’s eyes,Bookmark here

“I still hear my family’s voices….” Bookmark here

“Oh, uh, wow, okay…don’t cry, you’ll be fine-“Bookmark here

“It’s why I became a house spirit! I wanted to serve and protect others' families the way I couldn’t protect mine!” She said as she began to sob into her hands. Bookmark here

“Oh, uh, oh God-“ he looked around as he noticed people whispering,Bookmark here

“Wow, is he breaking up with her?” Some people whispered,Bookmark here

“Dudes a total jerk, she’s super cute.” Others whispered,Bookmark here

“Hey, it’s okay.” Ikkimaru said as he placed his hand on the top of Hakama’s head, “You’ll be alright, just please stop crying, people are staring at us now and they’re questioning my empathy and honestly so am I.”Bookmark here

“It’s okay,” she said as she started to wipe her tears as the bus came to the stop, “It’s been 66 Million Years and I’m still not over it.”Bookmark here

“Oh, well, I’m sure you’ll be fine.” He said as he got onto the bus with her and sat down. He then paused as he began to think, “66 Million Years….? Big rock from the sky…?” He panicked before turning and looking at her, “Is she trying to say she’s a dinosaur?!” He then looked at the tattoo on Hakama’s right arm, “HER TATTOO LITERALLY SAYS DINOSAUR!!!!!”Bookmark here

“Can I ask you something?” She said as she had started to calm down from crying,Bookmark here

“What is it?”Bookmark here

“What’s a fan?”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“You said I was a fan.”Bookmark here

“Oh, well, I thought you were a fan of my series.” Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“I’m a mangaka,” he said, “It’s really hard to do, I have a weekly deadline, plus I’ve got college classes during all hours of the day and sometimes into the night.” He reached in his back and pulled out a manga volume, “I always keep a copy of the first volume on me,” he handed it to her before saying, “I don’t know why I submitted that one shot to the magazine, but they liked it so I started to make a story about it. It’s about this shinobi girl who goes around and fights other enemies and villains. Her love interest is this man who seems to hate women for being wronged by so many of them, however he doesn’t mind her and they become friends.”Bookmark here

She looked at the cover as she read the title out loud, “Chanbara…”Bookmark here

“Yeah, that’s her name! Her love interest's name is Chibisuke, as when he was born his mother loved how little he was, and she thought despite his small size he could help a lot of people. So Chibisuke means small helper.”Bookmark here

“I see, what do I do with it?”Bookmark here

“You read it.”Bookmark here

“How?”Bookmark here

“Here,” he opened the book for her and put it back in her hands before he pointed to the panels on the page, “It reads this way, from right to left.”Bookmark here

“Oh, like a scroll.”Bookmark here

“Uh…yeah.” Bookmark here

“Understood,” she said before she started to read it. Ikkimaru sighed as he slouched in his seat a little.Bookmark here

“Thank god….” He then looked around as the bus stopped and some girls got onboard. He blushed heavily as a girl with blonde hair got onto the bus. She had beautiful brown eyes and her bangs went to the left across her forehead. She wore a black choker with a diamond heart on the center of it and she had a small silver ring piercing on the lobes of her ears, and a golden stud on her upper lobes. She wore leg warmers, a skirt, some hair ties around her wrist, and a blue button up shirt. Her name was Mina Ryuko, and she was the girl Ikkimaru had been hopelessly doting on since he began college. She was considered to be the most Galiest Gal at the entire college and perhaps in all of Japan! “Hey, uh, stay here, I’m gonna just…well, use the bathroom.” Bookmark here

Ikkimaru then stood up before he walked over to Ryuko and said, “Hey.”Bookmark here

“Hm?” She smiled at him and said, “Oh, hey, we go to the same college right?”Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah,” he said before she turned and gestured to the back, “Uh, w-would you like my seat?”Bookmark here

“Your seat? Oh, no, I’m good with standing.”Bookmark here

“N-No, please, I insist.”Bookmark here

“You sure?”Bookmark here

“Yeah,”Bookmark here

“Oh,” she smiled before saying, “Thanks.” She walked back and sat down in the seat where Ikkimaru sat. She turned and looked at Hakama who had still been reading the manga Ikkimaru gave her, “Hey, that’s that new manga right?” No response. Hakama had been too engulfed with the main story.Bookmark here

“Yeah, it is.” Ikkimaru said as he cleared his throat and stood beside her as the bus started to move. “You uh, you like it?”Bookmark here

“Mm,” Ryuko said as she leaned back, “Kind of, I like everyone in it but Chibisuke.”Bookmark here

“Oh, uh, why’s that?”Bookmark here

“He just hates women for no reason, I don’t know why they’d let a misogynist into a magazine for kids.”Bookmark here

“O-Oh, w-well,” he said as he looked away a bit embarrassed, “You know, uh, m-maybe he’s got a reason.”Bookmark here

“Oh yeah? And what’s that? Some girl beat him in a race?”Bookmark here

“N-No, I didn’t mean it like that!” He said, “Like, m-maybe he’s only been bullied by girls, and they’ve all lied to him and treated him badly all for being a nice guy.”Bookmark here

“Hm,” she said as she looked at him,Bookmark here

“L-Like, m-maybe they manipulated him and played with his feelings, and told him he was nothing. I-I’m not speaking from experience, I-I mean, I’m not agreeing with him, I-I just think the story hasn’t developed enough for us to make too many judgments you know? I-It’s only the first volume.” Bookmark here

“Hm, I see,” she said as she leaned forward, crossed her legs, and placed her hand on the back of her neck, “Do you think about that kind of stuff often? Like, what makes people hate one another and stuff?”Bookmark here

“U-Uh, I-I mean, y-yeah, like, I did debate back in highschool, so I’m always learning new things and stuff like that.”Bookmark here

“That’s pretty cool,” she said with a smile, “Maybe I should give the story another try.” Bookmark here

“Y-Yeah,”Bookmark here

“What was your name again?”Bookmark here

“I-I’m Ryubami Ikkimaru.”Bookmark here

“That’s too long,” she said, “Is Ikkun okay?”Bookmark here

His blushed heavily as he felt his life begin to change, “Is Ikkun okay…? IS IKKUN OKAY?!?!?!!!”Bookmark here

“Nice to meet you, I’m Ryuko.”Bookmark here

“I KNOW THAT!!!!”Bookmark here

Joe Gold
Takahashi  Eien
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