Saboten’s jaw dropped at the unbelievable sight ahead of him; an entire army of Shinigami and Hakujou were shambling towards the small square. The sound of moaning, groaning, screaming, and footsteps echoed like nothing you’d ever heard before and, from behind them all, a building-sized bulbous monster bellowed orders in some unknown language. It held not a human form but one like Frankenstein’s Monster walking on two and a half legs.
Shinji’s words described it best; “is that a fuckin’ dinosaur?”
“Yeah, it does look like it.”
“Saboten?” asked Ayame, she was returning to her former self as the shock dissipated, but she was still in no shape to battle such a horde. Hell, none of them were ready for a mountain like that, were they? The Shinigami were drawing closer in a chessboard fashion as though they were seeking out Team Karasu on purpose.
"Are you feeling well enough to fight?”
“That’s a no, isn’t it?” he said, “keep yourself hidden until you’re feeling better.”
“Okay, that big guy is our biggest problem,” Hideki reported, “if we can knock it down a peg, the others might disperse.”
“We need speed and strength to take out that first wave.”
“Yeah, great,” said Shinji, “very fuckin’ subtle. I’ll take them out, stick around here until I’m done.”
“No, I’ll come with you.”
“Don’t bother Saboten, you’ll just slow me down. Stay back, I’ll call you when I’m ready.”
Saboten wished his friend ‘good luck’, figuring he would need it. Shinji’s dramatic exit left a chill in the air as they all rushed towards the window witness the slaughter, Shinji only needed his swords to carve a deep hole in the Shinigami population. He plummeted into the centre of the horde, surrounding himself with the enemy, and filling the air with a thin red vapour. That first wave of Shinigami didn’t last long at all and soon Shinji was signalling for his team to get in on the action.
“I’m staying with Ayame.”
“The heck you are!” Ayame told him as she sat up, “I’m fine, really.”
“Are you sure?”
“She’s just finding her feet, Saboten. You’ve seen how powerful Ayame is, you’ve got to keep faith.” With his human arm, Hideki gripped Saboten’s shoulder. It was a tight, angry grip which Saboten could feel scratching through his striped shirt, “you know that we need you.”
Saboten wriggled free of Hideki’s unintentional vice lock. “Don’t worry,” he heard Ayame tell him. “I just need a minute,” she had found her power and was more than capable of handling herself, even Belphegor agreed.
“Okay,” his sword was summoned sharp and ready for action. Hideki dragged his armoured finger against the metal, “ready?”
Hideki nodded and the three pushed out from the shop, Saboten sprung straight into action, forcing his blade outward towards the Dinosaur. His signature white aura began to spiral around the hilt of the weapon, bursting past the guard as it charged before firing as it always had; creating echoes in the air and the sound of screaming.
The beam stabbed into the Shinigami’s right eye but did minimal damage to Saboten’s imminent disappointment. He had poured a lot of his energy into that single shot and it had drained him way more than usual. His eyelids felt like solid iron as they lowered but Saboten couldn’t rest now as the lesser monsters had begun to surround him. Shinji was nowhere to be seen, Hiro was chasing after him and Hideki and Ayame were knee deep in their own problem.
“Hideki! Help Saboten!” Ayame yelled to him as her hair solidified, piercing the throat of the grotesque, three-legged zombie that had latched it’s single arm on her leg, “Back off!”
“I can’t do…” he paused as his sharpened fingers slid slowly into the chest cavity of his victim. Blood trickled down onto the Iwa as he slowly tore the ribcage from it’s wound. “…anything.”
“What about Hiro?”
“He’s following Shinji, he’ll have to save himself.” He told her, the second wave of Shinigami were arriving and Saboten was about to be much more overwhelmed than he had before. Not Shinji nor Hiro turned around, they were too focused on keeping the house safe to see that Saboten was down on his knees in a pool of stagnant Shinigami blood, surrounded by the hungry bastards each with a set of claws that could tear through steel without a hint of effort. “Saboten! Stand up!” Ayame yelled to no avail, thrusting her dip-dyed spikes into the corneas of her Hakujou rivals. She charged to him, her hair pulled back into hard, pointed spines as to keep out of her eyes but still in a position to maim anyone foolish enough to harm him. The Shinigami weren’t a problem, in fact, they were almost too easy; Ayame was able to take them out with a single swipe of her locks.
But they weren’t the only adversary.
As Shinji had noticed, further out behind the ‘dinosaur’ stood a woman dressed head to toe in what looked quite expensive clothing; a blue trench coat down to her socked knees over a darker blue, frilled dress shirt with a black bow tie roosting around the wide collar. Upon her head sat a large blue top-hat with a white ribbon strapped around it, trailing off into two different directions.
As she turned to face the Shinigami menace that was creeping up behind her, the short crimped skirt she was wearing span, flicking droplets of blood towards it’s twisted face. Ribbons she had delicately tied around her wrists, hat and socks followed as her white-gloved hands gripped onto a cane ever-so tightly. She wasn’t defenceless, something deadly laid inside that cane.
Saboten was staring into nothingness as Ayame touched his shoulder, in his mind he could hear the echoing of Belphegor’s laughter. She knew exactly what was going on. He was telling his host of his misfortune, complaining and moaning that he knew Saboten would over do it eventually.
“Shut up,” he replied, he rose and of course, somehow he had entered his Utopia again. He felt no pain here, that was a plus. “I suppose you’re going to ask to take over again?”
Not this time, it wouldn’t matter if I did.
“What are you talking about?” The demon just scoffed, “don’t fuck with me.” Saboten told him, his face grew red as Belphegor mocked him again.
If you could see your body now.
“Something is telling me I don’t want to see that.” Saboten said. Belphegor apparated in front of him, in the same clothes as when he first saw the host. The white of the room was still brighter than anything he had witnessed before, and the menacing red of Belphegor’s hair unsettled the young man. He licked his lips and tapped his foot, he was waiting for the opportune moment to strike. “Something I can help you with?”
That body you’ve broken, that would be nice. The demon replied sarcastically, you know what I want. Same thing I wanted when we first met. You know you can’t keep this up. He was quite right, the strain on Saboten’s body was becoming a little too much. His eye hurt, he could barely move at the moment and he was constantly worried he might hurt somebody with it’s tremendous power. He just refused to admit it. The green haired young man shook his head, your hair looks shorter, the bewildered Shinigami told him. When did that happen?
Saboten didn’t know what to say, was he just trying to mess with him? “I thought you saw it last time.”
Not that I remember. I guess that’s just how you looked before the operation. Not that I knew that would happen, at least I’ll be able to see when I take your body. He wasn’t joking that time, Belphegor licked his lips in anticipation. His smile spread, like a toothed fissure the darkness of his mouth terrified Saboten. Just looking at Belphegor gave him shivers, the sinister Shinigami had much to hide from his host, a lot of which involved seriously harming Saboten in an attempt to pry his body from his cold, dead fingers. He didn’t need it in one piece, in time it would heal for him and he’d be ready to reap whatever revenge he wanted. There was no way Saboten would see it coming.
“Can I go bac-” he stopped when Belphegor appeared directly in front of him, just smiling. He had nothing to say once his nose was pressed up to that of a Shinigami Lord however.
Take a deep breath, it’ll be over soon. Saboten backed away slowly, thankfully Belphegor didn’t follow. Instead, he was humming a Christmas carol to himself. A slight pause followed before he muttered, you know it’s December soon? It’s going to get mighty cold outside. You all might freeze to death.
A morbid thought, but a true one. None of them had thought about the long term yet. “Are you just fucking with me now?”
Just running some thoughts past you; do you think they’ll keep printing JUMP? Think you’ll ever be able to lose your virginity now? Oh, hey. Do you think Rho’s in any pain? I mean, she’s part of that psychopath now. I do, I think she’s probably writhing. Especially with the thought of what she’s doing. Or… Maybe she doesn’t exist at all anymore. Saboten winced at the thought, oh yes, you’re still blaming yourself. You think you can save her. How insensitive of me.
“Bastard.” Saboten thought knowing full well Belphegor would hear it.
Ohh, now who’s being insensitive? He asked, he knew every detail about poor Saboten. I guess you’ll have to see, that is if you survive the winter, lack of JUMP and constant erections. The demon laughed at his own lewdness, like a child who just learnt the meaning of the word sex in class and giggles every time he hears it. Something wrong Sabby? He asked without a hint of irony.
Saboten wouldn’t dignify his question with a response. Instead, he walked head on and squared up to Belphegor, in an act of desperation he punched the Shinigami in the face. He didn’t budge, instead his smile grew into the crescent moon that terrified Saboten to the core. Belphegor took a step back and Saboten shudders from the force but before he could retract his fist, Belphegor bit into his hand causing blood to spray out from his vein and for Belphegor disappear as if into the wound himself.
That was all he needed to possess his host, just an open wound and Saboten was all his.
Thank you for taking the time to read this chapter.
If you enjoy our work, why not consider sponsoring The Chestnut Cottage on Patreon?