Chapter 0:

Introduction: The Return of Tsukiakari Senkumo

Death by Ex-Girlfriend: War Cloud

It was a pallid, winter day like any other. Snowflakes lazily swayed in the wind as they made their way down to the iced over roads of the neighborhood. The air was so cold that it almost hurt to breathe it in. It seemed as though all of Kyoto was blanketed in a accumulating layer of white. A single snowflake fell upon a head of long, scarlet hair, prompting her to turn her sapphire eyes upwards. You may know such a red-headed girl with sapphire-blue eyes that lives in this quiet little Kyoto neighborhood alongside her ex-boyfriend and sister ex-girlfriends. Yoko Akiyama, of course. Bookmark here

Yoko gently ran her fingers through her hair before stuffing her hand back inside of the pocket of her suede scout jacket, her other hand carrying a plastic bag of miscellaneous goodies from the grocery store. A pair of rushed footsteps echoed behind her, accompanied by the frantic voice of a young woman.Bookmark here

“Izanami, which street did you say he lived on again? Oh, wait! I think I might’ve found it!”Bookmark here

Izanami? Yoko doubted there very many women named after the Shinto goddess of death that just happened to live in the area. She instantly turned to face the young woman, forcefully yanking her by the wrist as she tried to pass by. Hey ocean-blue eyes scanned the woman before her, starting with her beautifully long tendrils of raven hair. Her eyes were as red as a blood moon and her peachy skin as smooth as porcelain. Strangely, this young woman was dressed in a black yukata and haori, a rather uncharacteristic outfit compared to everyone else in the area. Bookmark here

As the woman stumbled forward, Yoko also caught a glimpse of a sheathed tanto tucked inside of her obi. Had this woman stepped out of a portal from the Warring States era or something? Yoko seriously began to wonder if this person was some sort of time traveler or a very traditional, blade-bearing woman.Bookmark here

The two women briefly met eyes before recoiling away from each other.Bookmark here

“The hell is your deal? Why did you grab me?” The red-eyed woman asked.Bookmark here

Yoko snatched the phone out of the woman’s hands and put it to her ear.Bookmark here

“Hey! Give that back! That was a gift, you bitch!”Bookmark here

Yoko kept the young woman at bay with her arm as she spoke to the person on the other end of the phone. “Hello? Izanami?”Bookmark here

“Huh?! Yoko?! Is that you?”Bookmark here

Without a doubt, that was definitely the same Izanami that Yoko was thinking of. Bookmark here

The red-eyed woman backed away with her eyebrows raised. “You know Izanami?”Bookmark here

Yoko flipped the question around. “You know Izanami?”Bookmark here

Yoko put Izanami on speaker phone. “Ah! I was wondering why you had Gekko’s phone, Yoko! I can’t believe you two ran into each other!”Bookmark here

“Izanami, who the hell is this woman?” Yoko asked.Bookmark here

“My apologies! I call her Gekko, but her name is Tsukiakari Senkumo! She’s a really good friend of mine and a fellow goddess! She knew Osamu when they were both tiny! Ah, that might need some explaining to, but I invited her over so I could introduce her to everyone. Bring her back here so we can talk!”Bookmark here

“Hold on, she knows Osamu too?” Yoko questioned.Bookmark here

“Of course I do. What are you to him?” Tsukiakari asked.Bookmark here

“His ex-girlfriend.” Yoko replied.Bookmark here

“Is that so? I’m also his ex-girlfriend.” Tsukiakari scoffed.Bookmark here

Izanami could sense the tension seeping through the phone as they both went silent on the other end. “Hey…guys? Listen, if you come over, I can explain all of this pretty easily!”Bookmark here

Yoko hung up the phone, her eyes still locked upon Tsukiakari.Bookmark here

“Return my phone, please.” Tsukiakari said, her grumbling tone betraying her bubbling anger.Bookmark here

“Or what? If you reach for that tanto, you’re a dead woman.” Yoko threatened.Bookmark here

“You did hear what Izanami said, right? I’m a goddess. A war goddess, mind you.”Bookmark here

“And I’m a very jealous woman. I’d wager I’m far more dangerous.” Yoko hissed.Bookmark here

The two stared daggers at each other before Tsukiakari put her hands on her hip, clearly trying to inch her hands closer to her tanto.Bookmark here

“I only came to see my friend after a decade and a half. You’re not going to settle this peacefully, aren’t you?” Tsukiakari said.Bookmark here

“Sorry, but it wasn’t Izanami’s place to invite a complete stranger to my home. Even if you’re a friend of hers, I need to speak with you first.” Bookmark here

Tsukiakari sighed. “Good. I like it better this way.”Bookmark here

Sitting at home, Izanami stood paralyzed in the kitchen, the disconnect tone ringing out from her pink cell phone. If the idea of the ditzy Izanami using a cell phone perplexes you, it may help to know that Isabella was the one that got it for her and taught her how to use it. Isabella was helping Osamu make a batch of takoyaki when she noticed Izanami looking unusually stiff and nervous.Bookmark here

“Hey, something wrong, Izanami?” Izzy said.Bookmark here

“Osamu, can you come with me real quick?” Izanami asked.Bookmark here

“Huh? Did something happen?” Osamu said.Bookmark here

Izanami nodded. “I think Yoko is about to pick a fight with a war goddess.”Bookmark here

You can resume reading from this paragraph.