Content disclaimer: YOUKAI MOKUSHI is recommended only for people aged 18+, as the story contains violence, sexual themes and infrequent strong language.
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YOUKAI MOKUSHI is a work of fiction. Any connection to real events or individuals is entirely coincidental and not intentional on the part of the author.
BY L. MOONLIGHT
5TH NIGHTMARE: MAYOR MAY NOT
Niijigoku-shi, Japan, 2121 AD…
I stared dumbfounded at the large white building in front of me. I had bumped into Kii when I was once again walking without watching where I was going, and she insisted on taking me here.
“Ibarra-san,” I asked, turning to look at Kii, “What is this place?”
Kii looked at me with a look implying she thought I was stupid. “It’s the Mayor’s office.” she bluntly informed me.
“You guys have a mayor?” I asked inquisitively. “I thought only certain Japanese cities had those?”
Kii folded her arms and sighed. “This IS a ‘certain Japanese city’, ningen.” the oni pointed out.
“Is the Mayor,” I began, “A youkai too?”
Kii nodded, grabbing my hand with her own robotic one and leading me up the steps to the building’s opening. “Of course he is,” she said, “Now come on, let’s go in and say ‘hi’ to him!”
I raised an eyebrow as Kii and I entered the giant office. “You want me to meet Niijigoku’s MAYOR?!” I stammered. “Wait, so are you friends with the guy, or something?”
Kii let go of my hand as we arrived outside a door. “Here we are!”
“Ok, Ibarra-san,” I said, “Would you mind telling me why we’re here?”
Kii put her hands on her hips and shook her horned head. “You agreed to help Rie-chan and I, didn’t you?” she asked, causing me to nod. “If you’re going to help us protect Niijigoku City, you’ll need to get the Mayor’s approval!”
“Oh,” I smiled, “So you and Satou-san got this Mayor’s permission to fight bad guys, then?”
Kii glanced to a side and covered her mouth with her hand. “I’d prefer not to comment on that.” she meekly said.
So, I thought, I guess oni really can’t tell lies? Although with a response like that, Kii may as well have told me that they hadn’t.
“I mean,” Kii stammered, regaining her composure, “It’s not like Mayor Issun DISAPPROVES of what we’re doing, or anything. But-”
Kii was interrupted as the Mayor’s office door swung open, banging the oni against the wall, being just about stopped by her breasts mere inches away from smacking her right in the face.
“Excuse me,” the short man who had stepped out of the Mayor’s office said, looking up at me, “Who might you be?”
“Oh, uh…” I fumbled around before offering my hand down to the boy, “I’m You Tachibana. Uh… I mean, ‘I’m Tachibana You!’ Who are you?”
The small man stared at me for a few seconds, before shaking my hand and laughing. “I’m Issun Enma,” he said, “Niijigoku’s mayor. I take it you’re new in town?”
“Ah!” I exclaimed, bowing before the man who was apparently the Mayor. “Forgive my intrusion, shichou-san. I’m here because… Well, I don’t really know, but I’m sure Iba-”*
Enma and I jumped out of the way of the office door as Kii pushed it off her body and back into its closed position. “What the Hell is wrong with you?!” the oni barked, “Who just slams a door on some-” She looked down at Enma and bowed. “Oh, shichou-san, I didn’t see you there! Ahehe…” Kii nervously laughed.
“Ibarra-san…” the mayor sighed, “I might have known. Still protecting the streets and townsfolk, I hope?”
“You can count on me!” Kii beamed, putting her metal hand on her heart. “You have my word as an oni!”
I turned to Kii and shot a glance downward towards Enma. “Would you mind telling Issun-san and I why you brought me here, exactly?” I asked.
“The Three Sacred Treasures.” Kii said.
Enma folded his arms. “You’re not going to try taking the Uchide no Kozuchi or Sun Arrow again, are you, Ibarra-san?”
“Of course not!” Kii scowled, “I just want to show Tachibana-san here what it is that this town’s enemies are usually after!” Kii placed her silver hand on my shoulder. “He wants to join Rie-chan and I in protecting the town, right, Tachibana-san?”
“Y-Yes!” I nodded, “It would be my honor to keep Niijigoku safe while collecting research for my thesis!” I responded.
“I’d really prefer that you guys left this sort of thing to Finnegan-san and the rest of the police force…” Enma muttered, opening the office door once again and gesturing us to head inside. “But I suppose I can’t deny that the work that you and Satou-san do does wonders for the townspeople.” he admitted. “And it’s certainly better than what you and Shino-san used to-”
Kii grabbed the mayor by his collar and lifted his face up to hers. “How dare you?” she asked surprisingly calmly, lowering her head and bathing her eyes in shadow. “Talking ill of someone who isn’t alive to defend herself… You’re sick, shichou-san.”
“Ah, I-I’m so sorry, Ibarra-san. I should know better than that.” Enma apologized as Kii let go of him. “And I’m sorry to Shino-san too.” Enma pulled a footstool out from under his mayoral desk and pushed it in front of a vault door. “Feast your eyes, Tachibana You-san!” he declared, unlocking the oversized safe and standing back as the door opened. “I give you… Niijigoku’s Three Sacred Treasures!”
I squinted at the dark inside of the vault as the motion-sensing lights slowly illuminated over the heads of Kii, Enma and I. Encased in three glass boxes in front of me were a mallet, a flask and an arrow.
“What are these?” I asked, looking over to Kii and Enma.
Enma walked over to each case one-by-one, explaining what each of the objects were. “This is Uchide no Kozuchi.” he said, placing a hand as high as he could reach on the podium below the glass box containing the mallet. “Anything tapped by this mallet will grow or shrink to whatever size the wielder desires.” he explained, before walking over to the middle podium and placing his hand on it. “This bottle,” he began, looking up at the case containing the flask, “It was once filled with ochimizu, but after an encounter with…” Enma glanced over to Kii, before looking back to the flask, “A few hoodlums… All that’s left is a single drop.”
“What’s ‘ochimizu’?” I asked, walking over to the center podium and examining the encased flask.
“Don’t touch that!” Enma blurted out, pushing me away by my legs. “You’ll set off the security alarm! Do you want Finnegan-san to come down here and arrest you?!”
“N-No, I’m sorry!” I bowed.
“Ochimizu is a special water that grants eternal life to whoever drinks it,” Mayor Enma explained, walking over to the final Treasure. “And this is the Sun Arrow, a powerful weapon capable of shooting down even the stars.”
“That’s the one that most of the youkai attacking the town are after.” Kii butted in. “So, ningen,” Kii turned towards me, “Do you really think you have what it takes to help us prevent these artifacts from being stolen, or to prevent Niijigoku’s adversaries from committing any other heinous acts, for that matter?”
I nodded. “I can give you knowledge,” I said, “Like, if you’re fighting a youkai and you don’t know what they can do… You can count on me! I know all about youkai!” I looked down at Enma. “Like you, shichou-san, you’re a kobito, right?” I asked, “I can tell by your height.”**
Enma smiled up at me. “Not bad, kid. Ibarra-san, where’d you find this guy? He seems to know a lot about us youkai. That’s unusual for a human from outside of the city.”
“I just sort of bumped into him.” Kii muttered. “Alright, Tachibana-san, you’re hired. Now run along to Niijigoku University and tell Rie-chan to meet me outside this building for patrol.”
“Roger!” I saluted, running out of the vault. “Later, Ibarra-san!”
“He’s certainly determined…” Enma smiled, “And he seems to have a great deal of respect for youkai too.”
“Oh, please!” Kii snapped, “He just wants to make sure his dumb thesis is up to code…” Kii walked off to leave the Mayor’s office, pausing as she reached his office door. “Hey, shinchou-san… Did you hear about the… incident last night?” she asked.
“The ookami ningen attack?” Mayor Enma asked. “I didn’t want to mention it in front of that human boy, but…”
“It’s Yamata no Orochi.” Kii blankly stated. “They’re back for revenge! That’s gotta be it, right?”
“Let’s not jump to conclusions, Ibarra-san…” Enma said, walking up to Kii and wrapping his arms around her left leg. “Why would Yamata no Orochi kill a young man like Yagi-san?”
“They’re trying to draw me out.” Kii sighed, “They must’ve found out somehow that I’m Niijigoku’s protector now.”
“You’re being ridiculous!” Enma shouted, “Ibarra-san, calm down! Since when do Yamata no Orochi even have an ookami ningen among their ranks?!”
“Tiangou-ouji.” Kii said, “He’s an ookami otoko, right?”
“Tiangou-ouji disappeared, remember?” Enma sighed. “Ibarra-san, you’re over-thinking things. This murderer is probably just some sick independent criminal.”
“I hope you’re right…” Kii muttered, leaving the office and slamming the door behind her.
As I walked around looking for Niijigoku University, I thought that maybe I was getting in too deep. Was I really willing to put myself in danger to complete my thesis? I shook my head. This isn’t just about my thesis anymore, I thought, I’ll make friends with Ibarra Kii in no time! If I had known back then how my time in Niijigoku would end… What the cost for finishing my thesis would be… Maybe I would’ve reconsidered? Although, in the end, I did make friends with Kii Ibarra. But I’ll get to that part when I get to it…
5TH NIGHTMARE OVER
*Shinchou-san – A title for a mayor
– Literally “small person”, kobito are mythical creatures which resemble very