Alicia, Chinami, Yūgure, and I went to speak with Ms. Kanzaki. Fortunately, she wasn’t hard to find. We discovered her relaxing on a beach chair, a pair of shades hiding her eyes and a red string bikini adorning her body.
“Ms. Kanzaki,” Alicia said. “Would it be possible for us to speak with you for a moment?”
“Huh? Oh, sure.” Ms. Kanzaki took off her sunglasses, stood up, and grinned at them in an easy-going manner. She was much more relaxed than I had ever seen her. “What can I do for you kids? And who is your friend?”
Chinami stepped forward. The air hummed with energy, causing the hairs on my arm to prickle. Something was happening. I couldn’t tell what, but when tails suddenly sprouted from Chinami’s hindquarter and fox ears from within her hair, I opened my mouth to scream at her for revealing herself so easily. After all, it was considered a taboo to let regular humans know about the existence of the supernatural.
Alicia stopped me.
“Don’t worry,” she said. “Chinami has already cast an illusion over everyone else.”
“Huh?” I blinked. “Really?”
“Just look around.”
I decided to do just that, and what I saw shocked me.
No one was looking in our direction. No, it was more than that. People walked past us, chatting and laughing as though nothing was wrong, as if someone hadn’t just changed into a fox yokai in their presence. It was like they didn’t even see us.
“Chinami cast an illusion in the same instant that she released the illusion keeping her yokai features hidden,” Alicia said. “Not only that, but look at Ms. Kanzaki.”
I glanced at our homeroom teacher. What I found were glazed over eyes staring back at me. Ms. Kanzaki’s eyes looked like dead fish eyes.
“What is this?” I asked.
“Enchantment,” Chinami answered. “Enchantments are one of a fox yokai’s specialties. They allow us to control the minds and actions of individuals. With this, I can plant a suggestion in your teacher’s mind to let you come with me to meet Kumiho.”
I had once heard that fox yokai were trickster spirits who manipulated humans to play pranks. Since I had never met one before, I didn’t know how true that was, but seeing what Chinami had done, and watching the smile grow on her face, I realized that there was probably more truth to those rumors than most humans realized.
“Anyway, I’m going to be taking your students to meet with my mistress,” Chinami said. “They’ll probably be gone for a day or two, so I would like it if they didn’t get in trouble for it upon their return.”
“Okay…” Ms. Kanzaki said, bobbing her head up and down.
“Good.” The air hummed once more, and then Chinami’s tails and ears disappeared. She turned to us. “We’re all set now. Let’s go.”