RP What Shadows Lie


Staff member
I didn’t know who else to talk to.” The old man said as he bent over and slid open a drawer. With shaky hands he sorted through the contents before finally pulling out a square object that had been wrapped in a white cloth. He held it gingerly and placed it on the top of his desk. Rei traced her fingers across the back of her left wrist, her lips dipping into a frown. The old man wasn’t lying.

D’you know the story behind it?” Rei asked. The old man cleared his throat.

I don’t know the full story, I didn’t think these were real until — that is, my acquaintance, the one who found it, said it was from down south in Okinawa. During the occupation after the war they used the blood of cursed children.” The old man shifted uneasily as he spoke, his gaze on the box. Rei reached out and plucked it off the table. Through the cloth it was uncomfortably warm, something like feverish skin against the tips of her fingers.

Using the Noroi of Sin Eaters.” Rai muttered. The old man cocked his head like he wanted her to repeat herself. “I can take this off your hands.” She said instead. Relief was quick enough to chase off any curiosity the man might have had.

Thank you.” He said, dabbing his brow with the corner of his sleeve.

If you find yourself in possession of anything else, give me a call.” Rei said. The old man nodded as he pushed the drawer closed with his knee. Rei unzipped her shoulder bag and placed the box inside.

The dreams, do you happen to know if…” the old man tailed off.

The resentments of children linger, if they aren’t less violent in a week I know a priest who lives on the east side who’ll help.” She said, zipping the bag closed and slipping it over her shoulder. The old man thanked her as she turned to leave. She made it a few steps towards the door before another twinge in her left wrist drew her gaze over her shoulder. She caught her own eyes in a mirror clouded with age. She paused for a moment, a frown formed on her reflection, before she pushed the antique shop door open with her shoulder and stepped outside.

Today wasn’t particularly pleasant, the air was tacky and hot. Not wanting to linger too long, Rei made her way quickly to the nearest metro station. Two stops and one transfer later saw Rei back on her side of Tokyo on a busy street that branched off of a commercial hub. She allowed herself a brief detour in her journey to duck into a convenience store to pick up lunch, curry rice and a bottle of tea, before continuing on her way.

Light from the midday sun leaked into the alleyway through a gap between two high rise apartment buildings giving a shallow shine to the waxy leaves of two gloomy shrubs. Come evening the neon glow from the commercial district would do the same, but for now the plants greedily basked in the light. Rei continued past the plants, stopping finally when she reached an old wooden door with a nameplate reading Final Rites screwed on. She pushed the door open, a pleased sigh escaping her at the rush of air-conditioned air greeting her. She closed the door behind her and dropped her lunch off on one of a pair of small round tables on the left hand side of the room. A plush L shaped couch filled the right corner, with a small ficus growing on a coffee table in front of it. Rei continued past a reception desk that sat opposite the door, it looked like a few new notes had been added to the growing mess of paper, and brushed past the curtain divider into a short hallway beyond.

With a roll of her shoulder she slid her bag down her arm and simply sat it down in the corner of the hallway next to the curtain. The box would need to be dealt with soon, but it wasn’t so urgent she couldn’t have lunch first. Dusting off her hands she stepped back through the curtain and made her way back to her lunch. The city rumbled on distantly.

Hopefully things would remain quiet enough for her to finish eating.
You killed her.

Those thoughts were with him a lot lately. Habiki Suden squinted into the horizon, where the sun was beating down on the rooftops. He could feel it on his back, close and oppressing. It was always closer, up on the rooftops. Hotter. Sometimes there was a breeze, but mostly it was the sun and the heat and the thick stickiness of tar, the heavy weight of shingles. He finished taking measurements, ignoring the heat of the sun and the thoughts in his mind as best as he could.

It's all your fault. She's dead. You think you deserve to live?

He moved to another part of the high-rise's roof, armed against the intrusive thoughts with only a tape measure, marking off lines and taking photographs to figure out the repair plan. It seemed simple enough. A big job, but not a complex one. He stood up from another crouch, stretching out his shoulders and hooking the tape measure back into his belt, heading back towards the access door.

You could just end it. Jump. A fall from this height. Meet her in the afterlife, tell her you're sorry. You killed her, after all.

His hand reached back, finding his wallet in his pocket, flipping it open. There was a photograph there, a pretty woman laughing. She'd been beautiful - she'd been so happy. Now... now she was gone. Habiki frowned a little, then turned the little plastic sleeve to the next photograph. More than anything, it looked like a wrinkly pinkish potato wrapped in a blanket. Definitely not beautiful - not in that picture, anyway.

But she was older now, and not so wrinkly. Someone who reached for him, when he came home at night, even if she couldn't say dada yet. She was...

She was alive. And he had her to live for. He looked at the photograph a little longer, as the sun's rays reached out, then tucked it back in his pocket and went down the stairs again. He wasn't headed home to her quite yet, though - he had to stop next door and tell the building owners there about the construction on the high-rise. It was just courteous, after all, since it would be loud and there were likely to be large trucks coming down the street.

It was a funny little building - a tiny little thing that looked like a hut next to all of the larger complexes. He wondered how long it had been here - certainly longer than any of the buildings next to it. Final Rites, read the weathered sign. What a weird place. Habiki knocked, then entered.

"Excuse me, is there someone I can pass a message to about construction on the street tomorrow?"

Emmeranne let out a sigh as she pushed the door of the temple open. Six temples and still not a single lead about any supernatural happenings. Perhaps I was wrong coming here. Or maybe they don't trust outsiders..? She shook her head, realizing the reasoning was unimportant. She winced at the cold, burning sensation running through her arm. The pain continued to grow causing her to squeeze her eyes shut and grit her teeth as she clutched her left arm.

"...-iss..? Miss Amaris?" Emma's eyes snapped open and she quickly wiped the build-up of tears from her eyes before turning towards the voice that had been calling for her. The priest from earlier stood a few feet away from her, just outside the entrance of the temple, this time with a look of concern on his face.

She gave him a sheepish look, quickly apologizing, "Sorry, my arm was cramping up. Did you have something for me?"

"Not exactly, I can't promise you will find work here, but we often send people to a place called Final Rites if they require services that we can't manage ourselves."

"I see. If you ever have something come up where you require my services, you know how to contact me." With that, she left the temple and the priest behind.

After stopping at a small ramen shop for a quick lunch, Emma hailed a cab to the commercial district. The entire drive, Emma was trapped in her mind as she replayed the aftermath of losing Nico and the resulting isolation she felt. Her own family always thought of her as a curse, and Nico's family hated her for corrupting and getting their only child killed. Anyone else she got close to were put off by the abnormalities of her line of work. Eventually, she just gave up on letting people in, instead choosing to dive deeper into her work.

Emma felt her skin crawl soon after she stepped out of the cab. After looking around, she shivered despite the hot, sticky air. Nothing she saw was worth noting, which certainly cast some worry over her. Giving one last backwards glance, she made her way through the front entrance of Final Rites only to be hit by the same anxiety she felt just moments earlier. Her eyes narrowed at the construction worker that entered not long before her. She decided to stay quiet, though admittedly wary of the man nonetheless. It was likely he came in need of services, and it would be rude to judge those in need. Despite herself, she continued to give off furtive glances in his direction, but otherwise she mostly tried to ignore him as she waited for someone to ask about getting some work.
She managed three whole bites before someone knocked on the door, which was almost like having a full meal. She called a ‘come in’ as the door swung open, and a tall man wearing construction equipment entered. Rei turned her body in her chair to face newcomer, the skin of her wrist prickling as he entered. He looked tired, that was her first impression anyway, but tired meant a lot of things that couldn’t be diagnosed at a glance. She raised a questioning eyebrow as the construction worker caught her eye, her lips bowing momentarily into a frown as the man spoke.

Excuse me, is there someone I can pass a message to about construction on the street tomorrow?"[/i]

Welcome, that someone’d be me.” Rei said, placing her fork down. She flashed the man a quick smile as she stood, motioning him to come inside as she walked over to her desk. She slid the top drawer open and brushed some paper talismans off of a day planner.

They got you guys working on a real scorcher.” She said, flipping the book open to tomorrow’s date. There was a haze hanging around the man, wasn’t there? But it wasn’t the reason why he was here which made it more tricky to bring up.

Do you know what hours the loudest work will be taking place?” Rei asked, clicking open a pen. The door opening again caused Rei to lean so she could look past the man. A young woman who looked to be more than a touch uncomfortable.

Welcome, how can I help you?” Rei asked.

Just put it on. I can help you control it. Channel it. Use it.

Kasumi tried to push the voice out of her mind, knowing it was for naught. The kijo was at least merciful enough to let her sleep, but whenever she wanted to talk, there was little Kasumi could do but attempt to tune her out. Her bag suddenly felt heavier, as if the object inside could sense her trepidation and was begging to be opened.

The object in question was a rather simple one at first glance: a simple golden ring, with two serpents forming the band before wrapping themselves around a small red gem. The lady she had taken it from had given some sort of backstory about how it had been in the family for generations, an ancestral artifact, etc etc. She hadn’t really been paying attention, because the second she had entered the house, she’d felt it.

There was an aura to the artifact, a stench to it that only she could smell, and even almost taste. Kasumi was glad she had chosen to wear her sunglasses indoors, because she was pretty sure her pupils had started to be swallowed by her red irises. Ichi thankfully remained quiet as Kasumi found the ring. She took one last sniff to make sure that she was correct.


This was what she was looking for, the cursed artifact. Left behind by some careless Curseweaver, it’d been causing nightmares and havoc around the place. They were lucky that nobody had tried putting it on. It was now safely in her bag, placed in a small box with charms engraved on it. Her feet led her back to Final Rites, and she stepped inside without taking in any of the people present. She just slipped through to the back and set her bag down in the little workshop area before coming back out to finally survey the scene.

A construction worker, Rei (overworked as usual), and a black-haired woman stood in the front of the shop. Rei was asking something about loud construction before jumping to help the woman. Kasumi leaned against the wall, scanning the people in their shop. The woman struck her as odd. Kasumi inhaled through her nose, the scent once again reaching her nostrils, but she couldn’t tell if it was from the newcomer or residual from the cursed object she’d just brought in. Either way, she made no move to leave and pushed her sunglasses up further on her nose.
The poor lady looked like she was working through lunch, and with a sort of methodical dedication that implied she probably did it a lot. One thing that Habiki had always approved of with construction work was that lunch break was an actual break, none of this "eating at a desk" sort of business. Of course, there were probably some safety concerns involved if someone was trying to eat a sandwich while going up a ladder with a load of shingles, but even so. Finding a nice spot in the shade to have lunch and think about nothing had always been a good part of the day.

At least, it had been. Lately, he'd had too much to think about, and most of it... well, most of it wasn't good. He tried not to bring it to work with him, but sometimes it crept up on him. "Don't feel like you have to stop for me, miss," he told her as she set the fork down - but she was already up and moving, so he supposed she knew her job best. "Uh... probably loudest between about eight and nine in the morning, that'll be when all the trucks are arriving and equipment's unloading, and then it'll be a bit noisy for the next couple. We'll try to keep it down for you, miss, but a lot of the time there's just not much we can do about it."

She had been polite, though. Habiki found that to be a bit of a relief. He'd definitely had to talk to people before who insisted the process be quieter in ways they couldn't help. One man had told them they all needed to buy silencers for their nail guns and insisted that they ought to fit, since nail guns were just guns that shot nails. Habiki hadn't even known where to start with that one - fortunately the site manager had taken over on that one. Habiki was glad he wasn't a site manager - there was no amount of pay that was enough for dealing with that sort of thing all the time. Plus, he liked doing the work - feeling the sun on his back, even if it was hot.

The air conditioning in the building felt nice, and he was aware that he was maybe lingering a little longer than he should, but a couple of minutes wouldn't hurt. Habiki looked around at the others there, all young women. Two of them had come in after him, and he stepped to the side to make room. It seemed like not everyone here had to work through lunch, after all. His glance around didn't really answer many of the questions, although he hadn't really figured out what the questions were just yet.

"Er... if you don't mind, miss... what is this place?"
No, no, the noise’ll be no issue, I’ll just move consultations to later in the day.” Rei said with a dismissive wave of her hand at the mention of trying to keep the noise down. She scratched down a few quick notations next to a list of names, she could worry about calling them later once things calmed down, but she doubted there would be much issue. Most were from the same group of university kids who had been sent to her way after having been out doing something foolish late at night when bravado was worth more than sense. Still, kids doing dumb things kept her fridge stocked so who was she to complain? Placing her pen down she turned her gaze to Kasumi leaning against the door frame.

If you wouldn’t mind, there’s a box in my bag that needs to be put in storage. Don’t think they'll play well with the earrings so give them some space.” Rei said. Best to get that box stashed away before she managed to forget about it. She looked back to the construction worker to ask if there was anything else he needed to pass along, but he beat her to the punch with a question of his own. Her brow scrunched for a moment while she tried to decide on what would be the best way to answer that particular question.

Now the easy answer could very well be ‘I shoot ghosts with a gun until they stop bothering people’ but something told her that it likely wasn’t the best way to explain things. Still, imagining the odd look the man would likely shoot her was enough to make her crack a smile as she decided on a different tact.

We offer our services here to people troubled by problems that leave them with no one else to turn to.” She paused for a moment, her gaze flicking down to her day planner. It always made for a tricky thing to explain in a world where people were more than happy to write off an odd experience as simply a trick of the mind. “I’m sure you’ve had an experience or two you don’t quite know how to explain to others, right?” She added, looking back up.

Kasumi felt a little awkward just standing against the doorframe watching the conversation, but luckily Rei bailed her out, asking her to put the object that she’d brought back into storage. She couldn’t help but mutter back a quick response.

“If we have room.”

She mentally chastised herself as she spoke in front of an outsider. Despite trying to open her mouth as little as possible while talking, anyone paying attention to her would see something off about her teeth, mainly how sharp and pointed they were. Kasumi moved past the curtain to get to Rei’s bag, chuckling slightly at Rei’s description of their work. Sure, it could be described that way, if you wanted to be esoteric and vague. Just once she wanted to see the reaction of telling people they shot ghosts with guns or that their ancestors ate ghosts so they could fight other ghosts. That would be fun to see.

She found Rei’s bag and reached inside, grabbing the box that she’d wrapped and tucked away. It was almost too warm to touch, and Kasumi could swear she felt a faint , but steady, pulse from the object, as if she held a burning, beating heart in her hand. Unbidden, since she rarely called for her anymore, Ichi spoke.

[font color="red"]You feel it, child? The heartbeat of power, the very power that you now wield yourself. You can use it, grow stronger. Just give me a little more room.[/font]

Kasumi shook her head, doing her best to block the voice out. You’d think that she’d get tired of repeating the same thing over and over again. ‘Give me more room, you can use this, you can grow stronger, trust me, I won’t try taking over your body again’. She’d said it all before and Kasumi had ignored it. This time was no different. Well, a little different. She couldn’t deny what she felt, but she didn’t trust the kijo. After staring at the box for a few minutes, she continued on with her task, pushing into a small, crowded room filled with containers of varying shapes and sizes, differing protections on them all, most holding some form of cursed object. Instead of setting it down, though, her gaze was drawn downward once more, to the warm box in her hand. It would be so easy to open it and see what was inside. Just a little peek. Maybe.
"Appreciate it, miss. Thank you for being so understanding." Some people weren't, after all. Habiki had certainly dealt with some very entitled people who thought can't you just buy some quieter trucks? was a reasonable suggestion. Having someone who not only understood that some noise was inevitable, but was willing to shift things around on their end to fix any potential problems, rather than expecting the construction company to do everything for them - well, it didn't get much better than that.

He gave her a little inclination of his head, as that seemed to conclude the business between them, and probably would have left after the simple answer about the place's function, if not for the question.

I’m sure you’ve had an experience or two you don’t quite know how to explain to others, right?

Bad things happened, sometimes. No, they happened to everyone. It was all just... coincidence. Besides, it wasn't as if Habiki hadn't earned all those little mishaps. Better that they were happening to someone who deserved it than to someone innocent. If he ended up with a few more scrapes and bruises than the average person...

...Well, what was he saying? He worked construction - it was a dangerous job. Of course some accidents were bound to happen. And besides... he still really did feel like he deserved it somehow. He'd gotten away with murder, after all. He'd killed a woman, and all anyone had said was are you okay? He probably should have been in prison, or someone should have taken revenge, left him dead on the street. He could have done it himself and solved all the problems, except...

...Except there was the baby. And she deserved better. She was innocent - completely innocent. Nothing should harm her.

But there had been that one time when the wooden bar of her crib had snapped when she'd kicked it. It shouldn't have happened - there were all sorts of safety regulations for that sort of thing. She should have been fine - and it had really been barely a tiny cut, but it was still something, and he'd felt so helpless then, because it would have been nothing to him, but to her, to her...

Habiki swallowed, shaking his head and making himself return to the room, the present.

"I'm sure that sort of thing happens to everyone, miss."
We all have to help each other where we can, right?” Rei said with another wave of her hand and a more genuine smile catching her lips. Having to knock on doors to tell people they’d soon be having to hear hammers merrily plucking their own tune all day long didn’t sound like a particularly fun part of the job. She felt pretty sure the man had an amusing story or two he could tell, though he didn’t strike her as the sharing type. As the man fell quiet Rei sensed that their conversation seemed to be coming to an end, so she placed her pen inside her day planner to serve as a bookmark as she flicked it closed. Rei looked back to the construction worker to thank him, but the look in his face caused her to pause. After a moment and a shake of the head, he returned to the present with an answer to her question that felt out of place with the contemplation he seemed to have had.

Rei’s head quirked and she thought if it would be better to let the conversation end there. Her lunch was getting cold, after all. But, a troubled look was always something she had a hard time choosing to ignore. She straightened and fixed her dark gaze on him.

Doesn’t that strike you as odd? We all have these experiences but we never feel like we should share them with others, like me must shoulder them alone.” She picked up her day planner and tapped it against the heel of her palm. Her expression softened. “If you find yourself with some burden like that, my doors are always open.”
It was time to go. Past time, really. Habiki had concluded his business here, and there was no reason at all to linger. Still, the woman at the front desk... her voice was compelling, almost urging him to share more. Almost.

Perhaps he would have, if he'd been someone else, but... she didn't know what it was like, to deserve these things. Of course he had to shoulder them alone - he was alone, just like he was supposed to be. Once, he hadn't been alone. He'd had someone to share his life with, but he'd taken hers instead. He deserved some sort of punishment. It was right. It was just.

And yet, he was not alone, not entirely - for there was someone waiting for him, a very small someone, but someone nonetheless. And she... she did not deserve these things. Habiki frowned slightly, a crease in his brow, wondering if he should say anything. For himself, he would not... but for her?

For her... she deserved better than he could give her. Perhaps someone else might be able to offer it to her.

"I..." A hesitance. Perhaps he should go. The door was always open, after all. He could leave any time. He put his hand on it, but lingered. "I worry about my daughter, miss. I don't want any harm to come to her."

"Welcome, how can I help you?"

Emmeranne tilted her head at the question. Perhaps she was being regarded as a potential client by the woman. "I'm looking to provide services to those that need them. I happen to be a skilled... Weaver. I'm sure my skills would do wonders in assisting you." She hesitated, cutting off a large portion of her sales pitch as she gave a quick glance to Habiki. She was wary of giving away too much in front of someone who was unfamiliar with the supernatural. Especially when the topic involved curses.

Emma felt her bracelet constrict, biting into the flesh of her wrist as another cursed object was brought into the vicinity. No... not the object. Her. The trapped Noroi was agitated, lashing out as much as one could within an inanimate object. Besides the pain, Emma also felt uneasy as the younger woman passed, though she couldn't quite grasp why. Regardless the feeling subsided once Kasumi left the room, leaving her to recover from the ordeal.

Emma visibly relaxed once the bracelet released its death grip around her wrist and blood began to flow back into her hand. Shaking the numbness away, she changed her focus back to the construction worker and the owner. Emma had to suppress a knowing smirk as Rei seemed to dance around the topic of their profession. She couldn't help but wonder what the man was thinking with what he was being told. Emma was legitimately surprised when Habiki decided to take up Rei's offer immediately. Generally, most of Emma's clients would wait for their situation to get worse before fully committing to seeking out help. Emma chose to remain silent as she watched on out of respect for the two and she could hopefully get a chance to how Rei handles her business.

Just one little peek. It couldn’t hurt. She could handle whatever this trinket threw at her. She had beaten Ichi, and if anything of consequence happened, she had no doubt the kijo would defend her, if only to prolong its own life. Yes, Kasumi was sure of it. With newfound power and purpose, Kasumi placed her hand on top of the box, feeling its warmth and its faint pulse. Her fingers curled around the sides, and slowly removed the lid.

Contained within was a locket. Just a simple locket with some red discoloration. Kasumi chuckled slightly. It was a strange fate, that they had all suffered so much fear over so small a thing. She reached out to touch it, her fingers brushing up against the warm metal, the red discoloration rubbing off on her fingers before more took its place. She could not understand what it was. The consistency was familiar, as was the scent, but Kasumi couldn’t put her finger on what it was. Her fingers scooped under the locket and her mind was assaulted. Kasumi’s vision went a blinding white, childish cries and screams rebounding around her skull.

A new sensation was added to the deluge, one that was ever so faintly familiar. Sharp pains erupted from her skull, as though someone had dug claws into her brain. The force pulled with all its might, stretching her mind like saltwater taffy. A familiar voice curled around Kasumi and whispered in her ear, a smirk clearly audible.

[font color="red"]I do so love children. In my experience, they always make the best playthings.[/font]

Pain flashed in Kasumi’s palm and she managed to force her eyes half-open, the assault on her senses almost slamming them shut again. She was clutching the locket in her hand so tightly that her nails had pierced her skin. She forced her hand open, sending the locket tumbling back into the box it had been stored in. The stretching stopped, the claws begrudgingly removing themselves from her mind.

[font color="red"]Maybe next time, dear.[/font]

Kasumi shuddered, her breaths coming out ragged and torn. Her eyes felt wet, but she had no memory of crying. A hand sent to wipe away the tears came back smeared with crimson, and it finally clicked that the locket had been weeping blood. Using a phone as a quick mirror, Kasumi noticed two crimson trails that had begun to run down her cheeks. She wiped her eyes with a handkerchief, picked up her glasses that had fell during her internal chaos, and placed the box in as safe a place as she could find.

Kasumi returned to the front of the store, slightly surprised to find both newcomers still there. Her lip reflexively curled up at the new woman, but Kasumi could not say why. She leaned over to Rei and quietly spoke to her.

“How about a little heads-up next time? That thing’s vicious.”
The man didn’t respond as he stepped away from her desk, but Rei could catch confliction in his face. It was hard to say what he was struggling with, but he knew where to find her. Some people needed time to sort through whatever it was they had to deal with, more so if they had a Noroi urging dark thoughts to the forefront. With a faint shake of her head Rei turned her attention to the woman who introduced herself as a weaver. Ah, someone looking for work then.

Welcome,” Rei said with a smile. “While I don’t have anything major at the moment, if you’d please take a seat I can go over what’s open—“ Rei paused, she flexed her wrist exercising away the feeling of needles. She looked over her shoulder as Kasumi stepped back into the room looking a little… rougher than she had a few moments earlier. Something to talk to her about once everything else was sorted.

“I said they wouldn’t get along with the earrings.” Rei muttered with a frown, as if that should have been warning enough. She then tapped her finger against her lips before clicking her teeth together. She turned to look back at the weaver, ready to ask the woman her name but the construction worker caught her attention again.

“I’d love to help you two if I can.” She said, her voice a little softer. “So please tell me what’s been happening.”
For somewhere that looked like it ought to be mostly abandoned, this place was a lot busier than Habiki had thought it would be. It seemed like there was a new person coming in every moment. One of them sounded almost like she was there for a job interview. He was just starting to think about how normal that seemed, except it wasn't quite right, was it? Too hushed, not enough confidence.

What was this place? The people acted like it was some sort of underground crime syndicate, with all the whispers and the secrecy - but did crime syndicates sit at desks and have lunches? He supposed he didn't know, maybe they could hire a pleasant secretary if they wanted to? Should he try to figure out how to ask about that obliquely, or just try to leave while still in possession of all his body parts?

The woman who'd walked in from the side room could definitely be caught up in some crime syndicate stuff, couldn't she? She just looked... shaken. Habiki frowned at her - whatever else she might have been, it just wasn't in him to let someone look like that. The maybe-secretary didn't seem too sympathetic, either. He turned to the shaken looking woman instead, cautiously soliciting with an "Are you... all right, miss?"

Were any of them all right?

Emmeranne nodded along as Rei began to give a very basic rundown on the jobs before she was interrupted by the strange woman returning in a rather disheveled state. She felt for the bracelet hidden under her sleeve, fully expecting it to react in much the same way as earlier. Instead it felt warm, almost hot to the touch. Peculiar.

Before she could give it any further thought, she cast her gaze back to Kasumi in time to catch what appeared to be an aversive expression. Her eyes narrowed in response, glowering at the woman as a fiery rage filled her mind.

How dare that.. that monstrosity look upon me in such a-

Emma blinked in confusion, shaking her head to clear the cobwebs obscuring her thoughts and what remained of the quickly retreating rage. "I-" She started to speak, but her voice came out as a hoarse whisper. She cleared her throat before starting again, all the while struggling to bring back her formal and reserved manner of speech."I just remembered. I need to make a follow-up call with a previous client. Excuse me." Emma bowed slightly before leaving the building, avoiding eye contact with everyone on the way out.

Once she was outside, she found a bench and collapsed into it. Emma rolled up her sleeve enough to uncover the bracelet. A faint red glow emanating from it caught her eye, leaving her both puzzled and increasingly worried. "I really messed up making you, didn't I..." She trailed off, switching gears to try and think up with a way to prevent the trapped Noroi from influencing her mind again. The fact that she already had something designed to prevent that very situation from happening on her head made it that much worse.

Rei dismissed her with a handful of words, as if merely mentioning that two objects wouldn’t get along, a near constant occurrence in this field of work, was enough of a precaution to handle this level of fucking thing. Her voice softened when she turned back to the two who were still here because of course it did. Rei didn’t like dealing with the customers, it often involved them dancing around things when they could just say an object wasn’t acting right or was cursed. The new woman glowered at her and Kasumi raised her lip in response. She left and the construction worker dared to ask if she was okay. She whirled around at him, yanking her sunglasses off her face, revealing her red irises as she bared her teeth at him.

“No, I am not alright. And you want to know why? The demon in me just tried to rip out my soul with the help of an artifact made from childs’ blood and I only just managed to keep her from taking over my entire body!” Her voice was raised, but everything was spoken in a matter-of-fact tone that would be off-putting to any not familiar with what people like her had been through.

“So as you can imagine, it hasn’t been a pleasant day. So either tell us your problem, what curse you have to deal with, or kindly get the fuck out and stop wasting our time.” She snarled at the man, the red in her eyes turning her pupils to pinpricks.
That’s… Rei sighed as she leaned back in her chair. The annoyance didn’t really last that long, there were simply some things that were always going to be out of her control, out of anyone’s control really. The weaver leaving as fast as her legs would all might be a mess in the making but it wasn’t the mess currently standing before her so it could wait. Her food was going to be cold by the time she had everything sorted out, wasn’t it?

Some things really couldn’t be helped.

Rei pulled open the bottom drawer of her desk, the old wood squeaked and she made a mental note about oiling it once she had the free time. She shifted through the contents quickly enough, bundles of blank yellowed paper, talismans and charms written in a variety of languages held together with rubber bands. She slid two slips of paper from different bundles out, holding one for Kasumi to take and placing the other on to the top of the desk.

You keep this on your person until the paper turns completely black.” The sharpness was out of her tone, but it wasn’t like she had good bedside manners. She turned her gaze back to the construction worker. Talking around the issue was cute and all but there was probably something more to be said about the importance of speaking frankly. Rei pushed the second talisman across the desk towards the man. “I don’t expect you to believe me, so I’ll keep it short in consideration of your time. Here at Final Rites we deal with Noroi, spirits and curses that attach themselves to people and bring them and those they love ruin and misfortune. In short, we hunt ghosts. I believe there is one that has attached itself to you, and I would like to help before it hurts anyone you care about.

Well, this was going about as well as a train wreck, wasn’t it?

It wasn't exactly the most intelligent or coherent of responses, but in Habiki's defense, some lady had just started acting completely off her rocker and babbling about demons and the blood of children. He was probably justified in being a little bit flummoxed at the current moment. It might have been easier if the lady up front had said something sensible like "Yes, we're a mental health facility and this is one of our wonderful patients who has been working so hard lately" or something. The standard "I'm saying nice things about you in front of you but you're completely batty" sort of statement that people made when they dealt with crazies.

But that was not to be the case at all. Instead, the secretary - Actually, Habiki was starting to think she wasn't just a secretary - anyway, she seemed to be... not just going along with it, but actively encouraging it. Were they all crazy? Had he accidentally stumbled into the underground council for insane criminals?

She was looking at him again. Talking to him. Apparently she thought he had a... Noroi? Those were creatures in scary stories you told to kids so that they didn't do stupid stuff like wander into dark alleys alone. They weren't real. None of this was possibly real.

So, if they were all crazy, the best thing to do was... play along, he supposed. Play along until he could safely extricate himself, and then quietly make a report to social services, and let someone deal with it who was trained to deal with crazy people - someone who wasn't him. If they wanted someone to drive a forklift into their "Noroi," that he could do, but the whole ghost-busting business was really not something he was interested in getting into, especially if it meant dealing with people like this every day.

"Uh... sure, Miss. Whatever you say. Anything in particular you want me to do with that?"

Kasumi snatched the paper Rei offered, perhaps a bit more harshly than necessary. She locked eyes with the construction worker, who clearly thought she was mad. She’d show him, he wouldn’t think her crazy if she tore him apart, would he? She could do that, it was within her power. She was overflowing with it. All she had to do was let it free, clear the separation that was keeping it from her, and she could show this pesky little man. She could show them all exactly what-

Her eyes squeezed shut, a sudden wave of unsteadiness flowing over her. Kasumi shook her head and opened her eyes. They no longer looked as though they were being completely absorbed, instead they had returned to their usual appearance. She placed the paper gingerly onto the desk, the off-white now stained pitch-black. She bowed her head towards Rei.

“Thank you. And sorry, she got the better of me this time.” Kasumi said apologetically, turning towards the confused and probably scared construction worker. She gave him a sheepish smile once again exposing her sharpened teeth.

“Sorry for snapping at you. What Rei said is all true, trust me. I just so happened to get the end of a deal with a Noroi inside me.”