Chapter 11:


Distorted Light

“You all set?”

I look at Momioka, who seems worried about what we had planned today.

“I am. It’s just more nerve-wracking to walk into a police station than I thought.”

“And don’t forget you have to talk to them too.”

“And yes, I have to talk to them too… You’re not being helpful, you know.”

I chuckle at Momioka.

“Remember, I’ll be there with you too. So don’t worry all too much.

“I know… But Anya, are you sure my father won’t find out I’m missing?”

“The Illusion I created of you should last for a long while. Besides, you said your father would only open the door to check if you’re in your room, right?”

“Yeah… Since I’ve already made lunch for him, I don’t think he’ll call for me.”

“Then you should be fine. Your clone will just be reading on your bed.”

“Okay… Well, Anya, may the enchantments of Gungnir assist us on this mission.”

She taps her eyepatch with her left hand lightly.

“Let’s do this.”

I turn myself invisible and walk into the police station with Momioka. The station itself is pretty quiet. There are a few people sitting on the benches in front of the reception area, with only a couple of police officers walking by. But as soon as we walk past the double glass door, all eyes begin to stare at Momioka as if she is the most wanted criminal in the world.

“Hey, aren’t you the daughter of that man who’s been reporting you missing the past week.”

Momioka looks down onto the floor, grasping her arm tightly.


“Come on, Momioka, you can do this.”

We slowly make our way towards the reception where the staff greet us.

“Hello, is there something you would like us to help you with?”

“Hello… I want to… reclaim my lost items…”

“I’m sorry?”

I put my hand on Momioka’s shoulder as she takes a deep breath.

“I think I’ve dropped some items in the park. When I returned for it, there was police tape everywhere, so I thought mayhaps they are in the police station.”

“Oh, the park. I think some things did come in. But before that, I think one of our detectives would like to speak to you. So please, could you wait for a second here. Thank you.”

The receptionist picks up the reception phone and starts dialling someone.

“I don’t think we thought through our plan very well, Anya…”

“I don’t think running away is a good idea. Besides, you didn’t really do anything wrong, so let’s see how this goes.”

After waiting for some time, a man in a grey shirt and tie walks out from the back of the precinct.

“This is Detective Suzukawa. He’ll be taking care of you today.”

“Nice to meet you.”

“… Nice to meet you too…”

“Don’t worry, this won’t take long. I just have a few questions to ask you regarding the park. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”


“Now, would you come with me?”

The detective then escorts Momioka into an interrogation room as I follow closely behind. It isn’t long until we arrive at the room. It is your typical interrogation room, with a couple of chairs around a single table. Though this room is well lit.

“Please take a seat. Let’s not make this longer than it should be.”


“So, your father came by last night and said you reappeared back home. I’m glad to hear that you returned home safe, but would you tell me where you have gone and what happened to you for the past week?”


“You’re not in any trouble. So please tell me what happened. Did your father do anything to you?”

I carefully take a seat next to Momioka and silently cheer her on.

“…Would you like a cup of water or some snacks, kid?”

“No, I’m okay…”


“It wasn’t my father’s fault. That day, I had a small argument with my father about which college I’ll be going to, and I left the house to spite him.”

“You can tell me the truth. You don’t have to worry about your father if he did hurt you.”

“No. It is the truth. He didn’t hurt me… Physically…”

“I understand. So, where did you go after that.”

“I was just staying at a hotel in the next town so that my father wouldn’t find me. I returned home yesterday since I thought I’d been gone for too long, and I didn’t want my friends and family to worry too much.”

“Is that everything? Are you sure there is nothing else?”

“Yeah. There is really nothing to it.”

“… Okay. So, onto the next topic… I have some questions I would like to ask you about the park…”

The detective takes out some photos showing the craters created by Mynnerva and me.

“Your disappearance was first thought to be a kidnapping when your personal items were founded in the park around these… Craters and debris. But since you’re here to explain yourself, we now know it is not a kidnapping, and it was only you running away.”


“Still, can you tell me what happened in the park? Why are there so many of these craters?”

I notice Momioka trying her hardest not to look at me as I guiltily look away.

“When we reviewed the camera, it showed that the streetlights had died out first, then the cameras. We didn’t see you or anyone else in those clips, but I do wonder if you know anything.”

Momioka pretends to think about the events while she gazes at me.

“I’m sorry, but it was like that when I arrived. I was only at the park because I was curious about what had happened. From afar, they looked like craters created by meteorites, so I went to check them out. I was holding my items then when I was running around the park, but when I thought I heard my father’s voice calling for me, I just ran for it. That’s when I dropped my things, but I didn’t want to risk my father catching up with me, so I just left them. That’s also when I decided to leave town.”

“… Is that all?”

“Yeah, that’s everything. I’m sorry if I didn’t help with anything.”

“No, you have helped us a lot. Thank you. So, is there a reason why you’re here today?”

“I was wondering could I get my things back?”

“I’m not sure… we do have them in the evidence room right now, but I don’t know if I’m allowed to return them…”


“But let me ask the chief about it. If I’m allowed to, I’ll be returning with them. If not, I’m sorry.”


“Right, I’ll be returning shortly.”

Detective Suzukawa leaves the room, leaving me and Momioka alone, but fearful of any cameras, I remain cloaked.

“That was some acting. How do you manage to do that?”

“…Experience… You know? Amongst other things… Having overly strict parents only ever means that they’ve created a great liar…”


Or a monster… in some cases…”

“I didn’t catch the last part, sorry.”

“It’s nothing… But hey, I got interrogated today! That’s something off the bucket list. It was definitely terrifying at first, but once I calmed down, it was a breeze. I thought there would be more.”

“I’m sure if you have actually done something illegal, it would be.”

“Well… I wonder…”


“Just kidding. Oh, do you want to set up the illusion now for if he doesn’t show up with our stuff?”

“Oh yeah.”

I cast an invisible illusion of Momioka sitting on the chair for it to be uncloaked later. Not long after, detective Suzukawa returns with all of Momioka’s accessories.

“She said it’s fine to return it to you since you’re not really part of the case anymore.”

“Thank you!”

The detective sets Momioka’s items on the table and sits down on the chair.

“I think this is everything we have.”

“My jacket, Gjallarhorn, my small hat, and my eyepatch… Oh, what about my Katana?”

“Katana? I don’t think I saw a katana back there… And even if there is, I don’t think I can give you that since it’s a weapon…”

“Oh, no. It’s a katana hairpin. Can you please check again for me? Please?”

I feel a light tap on my shoes as I begin to uncloak the illusion from the bottom up as I make the real Momioka invisible the same way, timing it perfectly.

“Umm… Okay. I guess… Wait for me here again then.”

“Thank you.”

Momioka and I slowly and quietly get up. We then squeeze past the closing door and follow the detective into the evidence room.


Once we arrive at the evidence room, we again slip through the closing door behind the detective. The whole evidence room could be seen in one glance, only a few guns in the display cages, some suitcases and paper boxes scattered around on the shelves with a couple of clear bags of jewellery lying on the tables.

― Is this it?

While Detective Suzukawa is busy looking for the made-up katana hairpin, we split up and walk through the aisles of the evidence room, trying to locate the real katana, but there is no sign of it. Suddenly while going through the shelves, Momioka waves at me, trying to get my attention. Once she does, I walk over to the display cages and whisper to her.

“You found my katana?”

“Oh, sorry, I haven’t… But look at this, Anya.”

I look towards where Momioka is pointing. From what I could tell, she’s pointing at is an automatic pistol with a grip on the front.”

“Hmm? What about the gun?”

“Anya, look at the name.”

I examine the tag tied to the gun’s trigger guard.

― Case number 23… Date January 2006… Gun model Minebea PM-9 Submachine Gun. Suspect… Kyousuke… Uchida…

“Wait. Isn’t that your uncle?”

“Yeah, it is… I wonder what that for was…”

“Who knows… It’s from about 13 years ago anyway.”

“By the way, look at those two guns too, Anya. They’re from the same case, but there aren’t any names on them. Do you think they belong to my uncle too? Or even… my father?”

“What are you talking about? There are names on it… It’s reads Motoharu Sugita and Haruki Kasahara.”

“Anya… There’s nothing there…”


“But those names… They do sound familiar… Where did I-”

“Damn… I have to tell her that there’s nothing here…”

“It’s time for us to go…”

I take a final glance around the room and conclude that my katana is not in the evidence room. Whilst Detective Suzukawa leaves the room, we follow closely behind. Once he opens the door back to the interrogation room, we instantly hurl ourselves into dismantling the illusion.

“Hey kid, I’m sorry I couldn’t… Oh? Have you fallen asleep, kid?”

Detective Suzukawa looks at Momioka’s clone who’s resting its head on the table.

“No… But I am quite tired, sorry.”

Momioka quickly takes position on the chair as I slowly unwrap the replica.

“I’m sorry, sir. Were you saying something?”

Momioka looks back up at the detective.

“I couldn’t find your katana hairpin anywhere in the evidence room.”

“Oh, that’s saddening. It must still be somewhere in the park.”

“The park is still off-limits right now, but I’ll look out for it.”

“Thank you.”

“Right. So do you have any more questions before I walk you out?”

“Actually, I do.”

“Go ahead.”

“Do you know if there is a dojo in this town?”

“A dojo? You know, your father has been asking that same question for many years now, and I have the same answer for you. There isn’t one in this town. At least, not that I know of, and I have been here for more than a decade now.”

“Anything else?”

“No, I think that’s all. Thank you.”

After Momioka puts away her eyepatch and clips her tiny hat onto the strap of her pouch, the detective guides us out of the police station onto the streets. After walking to the opposite side of the road, I hide between a tree and the concrete wall to uncloak myself.

“Ahhhh! Where’s my katana. I can’t believe I lost it…”

“Let’s wait a couple of days and return to see if they’ve discovered anything.”

“Without that katana, how am I supposed to recuse my sister…”


Momioka puts on her jacket over her casual outfit and ties the horn onto her skirt.

“Momioka. I promised you that we would be attending your school, I intend to keep that promise, but we’ll be training hard, starting today.”

“Aye, Anya. Miss demigoddess of light.”


“Ummm… Nothing… Oh, actually, it’s still not too late. Do you want to visit my aunt and see if she could help us? She’s not too far from here.”

“That wouldn’t be a bad idea. Let’s ask her about the dojo as well. Hopefully, she knows about it, and there will also be a replica of my father’s katana.”

“Well, let’s go.”

It is a short walk from the police station to Momioka’s Aunt’s house. We ring the doorbell when we arrive, but there is no response even after a while of waiting.

“That’s weird… She’s usually at home now… Hey Anya, do you want to try our luck in the shrine she works at? It is a little far from here, though.”

“I think we should try to get into contact with your aunt as soon as we can, so yeah.”

“Let’s not waste any more time then.”

* * *

It is a decent length walk at the side of town. During the journey, we passed by the enormous school that Momioka goes to. From the outside, the school looks like a fortress mounted on the base of a hill protected by the forest which surrounds it. When we finally reached the shrine by the corner of the town, the area wasn’t as festive as we thought it should be.

“What happened here… Why does it feel so…”


“Not the word I was aiming for. Especially not in front of a shrine, but yeah… Dead…”

“Is the shrine close, Momioka?”

“It shouldn’t be… There should always be someone in the shrine. Let’s go up and take a look.”

I follow Momioka’s lead and walk up the right-curved stone staircase to the top of the hill where the main shrine is located. There are many Torii gates on the path towards the peak, and it is also decorated by numerous wooden and stone lanterns as well as fox sculptures along the way.

“I wish we were here under better circumstances… This place is usually much more beautiful and livelier, matching the atmosphere of Fushimi Inari-Taisha in Kyoto even though we are in the middle of nowhere.”

“I think this place is still very pleasant. The sunlight reflected by the ponds, the smell of the fresh forest air under the shade of these gates.”

“It’s even more majestic at sundown when all the lantern lights up, especially at the main shrine.”

“Speaking of that, Momioka. This is a shrine, which means they are worshipping a god… Do you know who are they worshipping? I might be able to speak with them and see if they could help us.”



Momioka freezes for a second before looking back, twiddling her fingers.

“Ehhhhmmm… Let’s quickly get to the top, Anya.”

Without making eye contact, she turns back around and begins to march up the hill. I quickly pick up my pace so that I can catch up with her.

“Don’t tell me you don’t know.”

“I… Ummm…”

“How about the name of the shrine then?”

“… It’s umm... a certain… mountaintop shrine.”


Momioka turns around, tapping both index fingers together with a guilty smile.

“I… ummm... was distracted by something else when my aunt tried to explain before… After that, I just said yes to my aunt...”

I let out a sigh and continue to walk up.

“Wait… But I know there's a ‘Mikoto’ in the Shrine's name since it's also shared with my school... If I'm not mistaken, there're three gods with the name. But the only one I remember clearly is Izanami...”


“Yes… Izanami-no-Mikoto. The goddess of creation and death.”

― Creation and death... If she is the goddess here... Who is she compared to my mother, and would she help us...?


After a while, we finally arrive at the top of the hill, where we are greeted by a fountain which, according to Momioka, is a “Temizuya”.

“Where is everyone… The shrine maidens should be here… But still… Anya, come over here.”


“We should cleanse ourselves before entering the shrine.”

Following Momioka’s instructions, I rinse my hands and mouth before washing and returning the ladle I used. After that, we continue down the path toward the altar or the “Haiden”, passing by more stone lanterns, smaller shrines, Ema and other buildings. When we arrive at the Haiden and see there is still no one around, we walk around the building and arrive at the courtyard where the main hall is located.

“There isn’t anyone here either… The whole place is… deserted …”

“What does that mean, Momioka…”

“I don’t know as well…”

I look around the area, trying to see if there’s anything out of place. There isn’t anything special, but two of the structures give me a weirdly unsettling feeling.

“Momioka, why are there just two Torii gates on top of their own platform on both sides of the main hall?”

“That… they had been there as long as I can remember, but I never questioned it… But now you mentioned it, they look like…”

We look at each other with our eyes wide open.


Momioka turns towards one of the Torii gates.

“To where?”

“I can’t tell…”


“No, I don’t think there will be one here…”

“Then where are they connected to…”

Momioka begins to drift off to the stairs of the platform until I grab hold of her jacket.

“Don’t think that is a good idea. Not until we know where it leads to.”

“I have more and more questions for my aunt, and I don’t think she would like them.”

“Let’s leave now. There isn’t a point in staying any longer, and I want to start training today too. Starting with experimenting on controlling your form and forming weapons consistently.”

“I can’t wait! But before we leave…”

Momioka takes out a couple of five-yen coins from her pouch and passes them to me.

“Since we’re already here, let’s make a wish.”

We return to the altar and begin to make a wish. I follow what Momioka is doing as we ring the bell, throw our coins into the offering box, bow twice to show our respect, clap our hands twice and start praying.

― I wish to be stronger so that I could recuse my sister and not cause any more harm to those around me.

We bow one more time and complete the prayer.

“Now, come to think of it, it’s kind of funny a god is praying to another god.”

“Well… Umm… I’m only a demigoddess? Hmm... I’ve got nothing.”

We share a laugh before exiting the shrine.

“Let’s visit my aunt’s place tomorrow again. Now we train, right?”

“Right. Will you be ready for it?”

“Ready? I will always be ready for a daring challenge!”