Chapter 2:

Chapter 2


The bags beneath Ikkimaru’s eyes became heavier as he forced himself to stay awake. He continued to draw the last few pages for the upcoming chapter of his manga. Hakama sat cross legged on the floor beside his bed. She had her sword drawn out slightly as she gently touched a cotton swab to it, “Master, are you alright?” She asked as she opened her eyes,Bookmark here

“I’m fine,” he responded,Bookmark here

“Are you sure?”Bookmark here

“I’m positive.”Bookmark here

“Alright,” she said as she closed her eyes today, “Master, can I ask you something?”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Why were people looking at me funny today. I look just like everyone else.”Bookmark here

“Not really,” he said, “You’re dressed like a cosplayer.”Bookmark here

“You keep calling me cosplayer, but I’m not.” She said a bit angered as she opened her eyes once more, “I’m Hakama!”Bookmark here

“A cosplayer is a person who dresses up in a costume,” he said through clenched teeth as his pencil began to move a bit faster, “I know your name is Hakama, but you’re dressed like one of them!”Bookmark here

“What’s wrong with what I’m wearing?”Bookmark here

“It’s not feudal Japan, people don’t wear that stuff anymore.”Bookmark here

“What do you want me to wear?”Bookmark here

“Anything BUT that.”Bookmark here

“Fine,” she said as the room went silent after her sword clicked shut. Ikkimaru continued to draw until Hakama, “Well, how about now?”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“You don’t like what I have on, so what do you think about me now?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know,” he said as he set down his pencil and spun around, “You-“ he then screamed as he threw his hands up, “H-HOW THE HELL DID I THROW MY HANDS UP IN SUCH A WAY THAT MY FINGERS ARE BLOCKING ALL HER BITS?!?!?!!!!”Bookmark here

“Well?”Bookmark here

“P-Put your clothes back on!!!”Bookmark here

“You don’t like what I’m wearing, but the second I take it off you’re not happy either. Honestly, Master, you’re so dumb.”Bookmark here

“J-Just put your clothes back on!” He said as he spun around and tried to go back to drawing. “If you want new clothes, I’ll take you down to the mall tomorrow! For now, put your clothes back on and-“ he growled before he hissed, “Let me work!” Hakama pouted before she put her clothes back on and picked up Zetsumetsu. She then walked over to Ikkimaru to look at what he was drawing. Bookmark here

“You know, the fights aren’t very good.”Bookmark here

“What do you mean?”Bookmark here

“Well, they should be sharper.” She then pointed to a picture of one of the characters throwing a punch, “A punch isn’t thrown like that,” she then put out her finger on an image of Chanbara, “And Chanbara isn’t holding her sword right, and even if she was, the form is all wrong.”Bookmark here

“What? No! This is right! This is how I learned to draw it!”Bookmark here

“That’s not how it really is.” Bookmark here

“Hakama, please!” He said as he slammed his fist on the desk, “Just…” he growled before he then leaned toward and put his face in his hands. “Please, just go somewhere else.”Bookmark here

“I’m supposed to-“Bookmark here

“I know, but it do it from another room. Go watch the shapeshifter on the T.V. for all I care. Just let me work…”Bookmark here

“What?! The shapeshifter’s back?!” She then ran out of the room, “I knew it! They’ve probably been here all day waiting for us to return! Don’t worry Master, I'll stay here and watch it!”Bookmark here

“Good, good.” Ikkimaru said as he then picked up the pencil to go back to drawing. He looked over the panels and discovered that perhaps Hakama was right. Chanbara’s arm looked a bit lazy, and her enemy’s arm wasn’t fully extended into a punch. He sat there overthinking whether he should scrap this or just fix the things that needed fixing. After a few hours he eventually got up and got into a light t-shirt and shorts. He stepped out into the living room to see Hakama with her arms folded glaring at the T.V. while trying to stay awake. He huffed before he turned off his bedroom light and got into bed. Bookmark here

A little after midnight Ikkimaru woke up to a heavy rumbling sound he could both hear as well as feel. He didn’t live near a train, and an Earthquake seemed unlikely, but given the day he had he wasn’t willing to rule it out. He went to close his eyes when it came again, “What the hell was that?!” He then got out of bed and turned on his bedroom light as he wandered into the living room. Chills shot up his vibrating spine as the sound came again. He turned and looked at Hakama who was fast asleep, she breathed in silently before breathing out that terrifying low frequency sound. “Wow…here I thought I had a bad-“ she breathed in and then out as the entire apartment shook, “Snore…what the hell?” He walked over to Hakama before he knelt down, “Hey! Hakama!” He touched her shoulder and gently shook her, “Haka-ACK!” She then quickly clenched down on his forearm and twisted it to the side with one arm before she grabbed him by the throat and lifted him into the air with the other all while remaining asleep. Bookmark here

With her teeth clenched and a powerful glare on her face Hakama seemed to be frozen in place. “H-Hakama…!” Ikkimaru choked as he grabbed onto her wrist to try and loosen her grip. Hakama continued to breathe in and out releasing her low frequency snoring, only her breathing had now increased in speed. “H-Hakama…!!!” As Hakama’s breathing sped up she eventually passed out and fell face first onto the ground. Ikkimaru gave a huge breath of fresh air before he began to cough. He rubbed his neck as he then backed away from her. However now, her breathing seemed to be normal, and the low frequency sound was gone. Ikkimaru quickly stood up before he then turned and ran into his room.Bookmark here

The following morning Hakama woke up to a searing pain in her lower back. She slowly stood up and she bent backwards to pop her back one way before she twisted side to side to pop it another way. Ikkimaru then walked into the living room, this time he wore his shirt completely buttoned up to the top, “Oh! Master! How did you sleep?”Bookmark here

“Uh,” he sighed before he rubbed the back of his neck, “Well I didn’t really sleep at all.”Bookmark here

“Oh, I see. What happened?”Bookmark here

“Well, uh-“Bookmark here

She then took notice of a red mark on his neck, “Master!” She rushed over to him and took his hands before she leaned in close to him, “What happened?! What’s that mark on your neck?!”Bookmark here

“Oh, it’s uh-“Bookmark here

“Did that shapeshifter get you?!”Bookmark here

“Uh-“ He looked into her eyes, her eyes seemed to be a mix of gold, red, brown, and black. However he wasn’t so obsessed with the color but the look of worry. She must’ve not known she attacked him last night. So he sighed and said, “Yeah, they did.”Bookmark here

“Oh no!” She said as she went to start crying,Bookmark here

“Yeah, but you totally defeated them!” Ikkimaru said quickly, “You were super cool!!! You were still asleep and you cut its head off!!!”Bookmark here

“I did?!” She said as the forming tears then turned into sparkles. Bookmark here

“Y-Yep, you kicked their ass!” Ikkimaru said with a nervous chuckle, “Anyways, there’s somewhere I want to take you today. Just to make sure you aren’t crazy.”Bookmark here

“I’m not crazy, I’m Hakama.”Bookmark here

“Yes, I know, but you being Hakama is driving me crazy.” He said as he placed his hands on her shoulders and looked her in the eyes, “Afterwards I’ll take you to get new clothes, then you can wear whatever you want.”Bookmark here

“I want to wear what I have on.”Bookmark here

“Do you want people to stare at you?”Bookmark here

“No,”Bookmark here

“Then I’m buying you new clothes, and afterwards I’ll take you out to eat at one of the best places you can get creature flesh.”Bookmark here

“Huh?! Really?!”Bookmark here

“Yes,”Bookmark here

“Wow, I’ve never had a Master do anything like this before. Normally I just protect them or-“Bookmark here

“And another thing,”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“Don’t call me Master all the time.”Bookmark here

“Why? It’s proper, isn't it. I’m providing you the service of protection.”Bookmark here

“Yes, it’s proper, but in today’s world it can be seen as kind of a negative thing, and I’ll come off looking like a monster.”Bookmark here

“What?! You’ll look like a monster if I call you Master?! Is this a new curse?!”Bookmark here

“I-“ he paused before he shook his head followed by nodding, “Yes! Yes it is! It’s a new curse! Mhmm!”Bookmark here

“Oh, okay, I don’t want to curse you then. What should I call you instead?” Bookmark here

“Call me whatever you like.”Bookmark here

“Overlord?”Bookmark here

“Not that.” Bookmark here

“Owner?”Bookmark here

“ESPECIALLY not that.”Bookmark here

“Then what do you propose?”Bookmark here

“Oh, uh,” he then sighed before saying, “Honestly, Ikki is fine.”Bookmark here

“I can’t call you that.”Bookmark here

“Why not?! It’s my name!”Bookmark here

“Your name is Ikkimaru, it’d be improper.”Bookmark here

“Yes, but this a nickname, it’s a special name that fr-“ He then paused as he couldn’t actually get the word to come out, “Friendly guys like me get to tell uh…what are you again?”Bookmark here

“I’m a spirit, sent to-“Bookmark here

“Yes, that, it’s a special name that only you get to call me because you get to protect me. If you say Ikkimaru get out of the way it could be too late and I’d be dead.”Bookmark here

“Oh, so if I just call you Ikki I could save your life.”Bookmark here

“Exactly.”Bookmark here

“Alright, I’ll call you Ikki from now on.”Bookmark here

“Good, thank you, now let’s get going.”Bookmark here

“Of course. Let’s leave at once.” Bookmark here

Ikkimaru then left the apartment with her before they walked down to the bus stop. Once the bus arrived and they sat down Hakama looked around the bus at the different people. Her gaze was then fixated on a baby. The baby looked back at her as it put its fist in its mouth. The baby was then moved to their mothers other shoulder and it became out of view for Hakama. Hakama got frustrated so she got out of her seat and moved to the empty seat behind the baby. She looked back into the baby’s eyes and the baby looked back in hers. Ikkimaru then took notice of her before he whispered, “Hey! Hakama!” He clicked his tongue at her before snapping his fingers to try and get her attention, “Hakama!” He went to whistle before he said to himself, “She’s not a dog what the hell am I doing?!” Bookmark here

He then got up and walked over to the seat beside her, “Hakama what are you-“Bookmark here

“I’ve never seen on this close before.” Hakama said cutting him off absolutely entranced by the baby, “They’re so small and cute.”Bookmark here

“Huh?” He looked to the baby before he looked at Hakama, “The baby? Yeah, they’re all like that.”Bookmark here

“None are like this one.” Bookmark here

“Yes, they’re very cute, but we shouldn’t just be staring at people’s babies.” Bookmark here

Hakama then turned to Ikkimaru and asked, “Was I a baby once?”Bookmark here

“Uh, I mean, yeah, I guess. Everyone starts out as a baby.”Bookmark here

“A baby like this one?” She asked as she turned back to the baby,Bookmark here

“Oh, uh, that’s what we’re going to go and find out.” He looked around before he noticed the bus coming to a stop, “Ah! This is our stop! Say goodbye to the baby.”Bookmark here

“Goodbye baby…” Hakama said on the brink of tears as Ikkimaru took her hand and started to take her off the bus, “I’ll never forget you!”Bookmark here

“Yeah, yeah, okay.” Ikkimaru said as they got off the bus. Hakama then turned to see a giant building.Bookmark here

“Is this the emperor’s evil palace?” Bookmark here

“Well, it depends on certain people’s experiences.” Ikkimaru said as he took her inside. They wandered the halls before they came to a room and walked in the door. Hakama looked around to see the room to be full of babies, however the babies then meant nothing to her as she saw a tank of fish! She walked over to the tank of fish and knelt in front of it as Ikkimaru went to the desk. He looked around before he hit the bell at the front desk. Bookmark here

“Just a second!” A voice came,Bookmark here

“Okay,” Ikkimaru said as waited for a few seconds before a woman came over to him,Bookmark here

“Hi! Sorry! We’re pretty short staffed!”Bookmark here

“It’s fine,” he said, “We, well, I have an appointment for Hakama.”Bookmark here

“Oh, yes! You called this morning right?”Bookmark here

“I did,” he said,Bookmark here

“Okay, here, fill this out.” She said as she handed him a form on a clipboard and a pen, “Then bring it back to me.”Bookmark here

“Thanks,” he then took the clipboard and sat down in an empty seat as she started to fill things out. Out of one corner of his eye he saw the line of mothers lean into him, and on the other side he saw a woman sneakily remove her wedding ring, “For the love of god…” he stood up and walked over to Hakama before he sat beside her, “Hakama, what’s your last name?”Bookmark here

“I don’t have one.” She responded not looking away from the fish,Bookmark here

“Okay…” he said, “How old are you?”Bookmark here

“66,000,019.”Bookmark here

“Okay, so 19.”Bookmark here

“Gender: female, eye color: brown, ethnicity…” He turned to her and said, “Where are you from?”Bookmark here

“I’m from Earth.”Bookmark here

“No, what country?”Bookmark here

“Japan.” Bookmark here

He sighed before he looked down at the paper, “Japane-“ he then paused as he thought about what Hakama had told him how her family had died. She was talking about the Chicxulub, which was a massive crater formed 66 Million Years ago in the Yucatán Peninsula which was in the Gulf of Mexico. He looked at Hakama, her skin was certainly a bit starker than his, but she also seemed light enough that she could be Japanese. He then marked the ‘Other’ checkbox and beside it wrote mestizo. “Let’s see, hair color…” he looked at her and frowned, “Damn…her hair seems to be purple all the way to the roots…” He then looked down at the form and he looked up at the title at the top. Usually parents filled this out for their child if they were worried about them having special needs at birth. Bookmark here

It was then that he thought of Chanbara. Chanbara was written as sweet and loving, she wasn’t the sharpest tool on the shed, but she still knew how to find the shed. Perhaps Hakama and Chanbara had something in common. He knew he wouldn’t want anyone to bring Chanbara here especially if nothing was wrong with her. He then thought about the bus with the baby, he had never seen anyone look so loving and sincerely at a baby before. Hakama wasn’t crazy, but she was different, he just didn’t understand her yet, much similar to Chanbara. He clicked the pen shut before he sighed and stood up, “Hakama.” He said to her softly. Bookmark here

“Yeah?” Bookmark here

“Let’s go,” he then turned and left the room before Hakama followed after him.Bookmark here

“Where are we going?”Bookmark here

“Away from here,” he responded, not looking back at her. Bookmark here

“Are we going to buy clothes?” Bookmark here

“If that’s what you want, then fine.”Bookmark here

“I want what you want.” Bookmark here

“I want you to be happy,” he said, “I want you to be able to do your job.”Bookmark here

“I’m happy just being here and being able to watch over you. Aren’t you happy that I’m here with you?”Bookmark here

“I don’t know,” he said as he stopped and put his hands in his pockets, “I’m tired, I’m depressed, and I’m overworked. However, that doesn’t mean you have to be.” He then turned to her and said, “Hakama, is it true my grandmother sent you here to look after me?”Bookmark here

“Yes, it’s true.”Bookmark here

“And is it true that you came here to look after me?”Bookmark here

“Yes.” Bookmark here

“Do you want to look after me?” He asked which caused Hakama’s heart to skip a beat.Bookmark here

“I-I want to look after you and watch over more than anyone on the planet.”Bookmark here

“That’s a bit sad,” he said with a scoff as he rubbed the back of his neck, “Come on, let’s go get you some new clothes.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.