A Trip To Tokyo




Chapter 2: Friends ████ Together

"Huh? Who's there-" That was the moment a pair of 'Brainseekers' rip their way across the night air; winged quills of razor-sharp chitin guided by rudimentary insect minds, plunging themselves straight through the guard's eyes and into the grey matter of their frenzied craving. The guard gurgles and his limbs fall limp, falling backwards as his mind is literally sucked out of his cranium.

Oitsuwa kicks the door open as the guard's alarmed cohorts tear themselves from their card game and pull out their guns.

"We're under attack! Shoot to kill!" All thugs immediately open fire as Oitsuwa raises his arms in a taunting pose as webbing rips and spreads from his limbs. Stray bullets chip and splinter the cheap plaster walls as he is riddled with holes across his body; face, chest, abdomen, arms, legs and more. Oitsuwa trembles violently as his skin turns grey and bulges travel across the webbings into his body. His biceps and his legs swell further, splitting open to reveal an array of organic barrels.

"What the he-" Oitsuwa's 'Redirectors' twist and pivot to each guard, violently spewing a hail of bullets back towards them.

A few guards overturn a table while others crumple over in the fire. Manabu walks out from behind Oitsuwa, having pulled off his shirt to reveal his roiling girth. Lines begin splitting and forming across his body as Manabu gradually jerks and twitches. His body rips itself apart in controlled lines to reveal an empty maw above a pair of legs, a meaty tooth-thronged tongue spiraling above it. Manabu sweeps himself over the tables, blood flying across the walls as the screaming starts amidst sounds of gorging. Manabu's legs wobble towards the table as the end of his 'Great Tongue' raises from behind the table, teeth firmly gripping and coiled about a screaming guard being dragged towards to the gullet above the legs.

Mari strides through the havoc of the room as the door at the thick door back of the "herbs cafe" slams open and more guards run out, opening fire at Manabu while Oitsuwa intercepts them. Her nose and brow wrinkles in disgust as she adjusts her arm, having clasped it back shut from a bisected split after reinserting the engorged brainseekers.

"Nothing's changed." She goes back to focusing on the task. "Sarada! Servers past the door and to the right!"

"On it!" Sarada fingers morph into warped silica as he runs past the havoc, sticking them into a computer terminal's USB slots. He grunts and shivers for a moment, and the building turns pitch black. The lights come back on in a dim hazy glow, and he pulls his fingers back out.

"There's a backup generator somewhere in here. A little bit of the juice is going up to the lights here, but electronic locks and security are all dead and blind now. No distress signal, email or SMS is getting past my 'Scramblers'."

"Good." Mari's features darkened. "None of these adults are leaving this place alive."

A surviving guard makes a break for it and runs past everyone, towards the door and escape. He slams into the door and tries to open it, only for the phlegm gumming its seams to hold fast. He turns to his side and sees Otsuko, her jaw unhinged and her skull raised a meter above her lower jaw. He whimpers, then screams, a shower of steaming acid gushing over him.

"Otsu!" Mari castigates. "Save it for the barricades below!"

"Sorry! Just in case he was going to shoot me." Otsu gurgles as her head lowers back into its rightful position. She grabs her lower jaw and fixes it back into place, clearing her throat.

"What did I… what did I just watch?"

The gang turns to look towards a pale-faced Mishio, stiller than a statue. Mari approaches her once more.

"The true and ugly world behind the fake smiles and bright lights, Mishio. The real world."

"You just killed all of these men."

"This is what true power looks like, Mishio! It is nothing like the fat pigs who cower behind armies of paid guns while signing away the lives of others! Anyways, none of them will be missed. Follow us to the truth below, and you will see why. Manabu, Oitsuwa. The toilets, third stall to the right, the one that's out of service. Otsuko, follow them. You'll know when to vomit." The two boys and girl nod and move inwards.

"But… but you're not Yōkai, are you? You're just humans…"

"Yō…kai?" Mari's lips curl in a cold snarl as she slowly turns to face her guest. Mishio is taken aback by the look of absolute hatred in Mari's eyes.

"Don't compare any of us - especially me - to Yōkai. Those stupid, stinking, disgusting creatures were nothing more than lies and myths our pathetic ancestors came up with to explain their fear of the dark. Humanity is the only monster on this planet! We merely invented nightmares to blind ourselves before the true evil within all of our hearts. We humans are the truest monsters that there is, that ever was, and that there will ever be! As such, we have no choice but to be worse…" Mari stalks off as Otsuko's retching can be heard in the distance.

Mishio takes a reluctant step forwards, then another. She slowly ambles into a room of toilet stalls, one of their doors opened and its own false plastic throne pulled off to reveal a staircase and dim red lights leading below. A faint outline of a freshly corroded gate can be made out at the bottom under the glow of a red light…

Blood splatters across the wall. Dying gasps echo along a hallway of white porcelain tiles. Sarada steps over pile after pile of dismembered corpses, shredded aprons and ruined rubber suits, glancing upwards to the tops of each barred door lining the sides of the corridor, ignoring the whimpers and sobs within each cell. He reaches the end of the corridor and enters an office room where everybody else has gathered, with Mari feverishly poring over a file cabinet.

"The cells use electric locks, Mari-Ane-San. They're all open!"

"Good, good." Mari does not look up from her frenetic search. "That saves us the time to look for a key. Where, where, where, where, where…" She growls and flings the folder to the floor. "Damn it! That-that one wasn't in here! The one who was in charge of this place, when…"

"Who are you looking for?"

"Not now, Mishio. It's… it's personal."

Manabu looks over to the desk and picks up a weighted desk plaque.

"It says 'Kuroba Shigeki' as the manager. I probably ate him."

"NO!" Mari holds her head in anguish. "She's… that bitch… she's no longer here! She's moved on, and… and the personnel files aren't updated past 2015!"

"Ane-san," Sarada opens, "I know this isn't part of our mission, but the server was updated a few years ago. Maybe they switched from a paper trail to an electronic trail?" Mari perks back up with fresh hope.

"Good call. Do me this favour, Sarada: Go back up and… and search their server for any relevant file on staff movement. If need be, send any reports that are needed to not raise suspicions. Otsu, head up with him and start ungumming the doors. Manabu and Oitsu, clean up and move away the body bits. Then help to get all the…" Mari flinches for a moment, "…produce out. Mishio… follow me up." Everybody does as they are told, including Mishio.

They silently walk past the gore, the death and the blood. Mari speaks once more as they ascend the steps.

"I know this must be a shock for you. I don't what happened that made you into a homeless vagrant, but watching us do the things we do? It's definitely nothing you've ever seen before."

"I… I suppose."

Mari snorts. "Still playing it coy, hm? But I recognize the look in your eyes. I may not know your past but I can see the anger in your eyes. The distrust. You've been hurt, let down by something. Lost something. Someone, perhaps? But, payback… Is it a distant dream, or can we help you make it a reality in exchange for joining our ranks?"

Mishio exhales slowly before issuing her own reply. "There is no payback for time that has been lost."

"Then make up with the second best thing." Mishio halts her footsteps, the two of them having reached the false shopfront. She watches as Otsuko works away at the door, paint scraper in hand carving into the phlegm, periodically spitting something unto said tool that causes the phlegm to soften and peel.

"You're dead set on having me join?"

"I am."

"…to turn into monsters like the others?"

"Nothing so drastic. They chose to be what they can become. I wouldn't force that on you, just as much as I wouldn't like it forced on me. Besides, look at Sarada. Barely any difference."

"But what you are doing, this isn't how human civilization is-" Mari's lips curl back into a snarl.

"Civilization is diseased! It is already dying! We are merely the maggots who'll help to kill it a little faster through a billion little cuts. And when it's all finally rot and mulch, perhaps something better can grow from the ruins. But if it stays dead… it's most likely for the best." Mari gathers herself and calms down. She reaches into a jacket.

"This is meant for emergency use if more power is needed… But in a pinch, it will serve as an adequate initiation tool." Mari hands the object over to Mishio, who then takes it to the barred windows. She looks out wistfully, feeling… sensing… something.

She looks back down inspect the vial, faint traces of moonlight glinting unto its surface: A plastic tube housing a glass syringe, a pre-fitted needle waiting to puncture skin and flesh. Within the syringe swirls a muddy orange fluid, and occasionally, something worm-like seemed to emerge past the murk to brush against the walls. Upon the plastic tube was a sticker: a black outline of a man within a circle and a square, six arms and four legs outstretched with a red star in his chest.

"I can't say what exactly it'll grant you, but if you want a shot at something greater beyond spending the rest of your life in dumpsters, you need to do this to yourself." Mari looks to the doorway as footsteps approach. "Hold that thought, I've got something more important to do first."

A small herd of humanoids began shuffling into the shopfront. They couldn't be any older than the monstrous teenagers who assaulted the shop.

Mishio took in a sharp breath and held it in as she finally beheld the source of the whimpers behind each cell: Children, pre-teens, young teens… But what was most eye-catching was the common trait they all shared; something about their bodies had been forcibly twisted and changed.

Fleshy, scaled or furred tails trailed behind the posteriors of some. An array of pointy and floppy animal ears twitched upon heads. Sharpened irises squinted under the flickering lights of the shop. Wheezing, mewling and whimpering, among other animal sounds no human should be making. Marks of fading whippings and bruisings; injuries meant to inflict submissiveness, not lasting physical damage. A few scraps of modesty-protecting rags, barely enough to go around amongst the bare skin, fur and scales.

Mari stood still, strangely calm whilst taking in the sorry sights and sounds. She spoke nothing as Mishio clutched the strange vial closer to her chest.

A 'cat-boy' became the first to speak up.

"Are… you hie to sayv us? Are wie being sayvd?"

"Please tell me you can do something about… about these!" A 'lizard-girl' desperately displays her tail and her semi-scaled arms. "We have to go back to being human! My parents… They're bankers, I'll make sure that you'll be rewarded for this-"

A 'dog-girl' amidst a tight cluster of 'dog-girls' broke down. "I just want to go home…!" The crowd breaks down in sobs and cries of uncertainty.

Mari calmly raises her hand, briefly placating the group.

"I have good news and bad news for all of you. The bad news is, none of you will ever return to your original lives."

"No way…!" Shouted 'lizard-girl'. "If these people can do this, surely, surely there has to be a way to reverse it!"

"The surgery is permanent on a physical level." Mari glowered. "The alterations are permanent on a genetic level. The only ones who could reverse it are the same ones who inflicted it on you, and they would sooner kill themselves than to undo their 'works of art'." Cries and groans of disbelief rang out.

"The good news is that a life yet remains for you. As long as you breathe, as long as your hearts continue to beat, as long as you have the will to continue… I offer you a way out of your hells. A way to climb back to the closest sense of normalcy, a way to strike back at the hearts of the scum who did this to us all."

"Whaf the hewr are hyeu talkinh abou'?" A 'dog-boy' with a mastiff's muzzle barked. "Whah do you wanh from arf?"

"I represent a group called the Church of Malthus, and we bear a message: Humanity has gone sick! We live in an age of corruption and indulgence, where monsters lurk everywhere, behind the facade of normalcy! An age where innocent children and adolescents are kidnapped from their lives, forcibly warped to suit the tastes of the rich, disgusting and powerful across the world! What kind of animal would do to one another, that which has been done to each and every one of you?!" The group chatters as Manabu unfurls a black flag, bearing the same icon on the vial given to Mishio.

"Join our family, help us tear down the facade of glamour and beauty! Help us expose the rotting truth of civilization's heart so we can tear it out once and for all!"

"What if-what if we don't?!"

"Then live in fear for the rest of your life, as another discarded waste of humanity's filthy and forgotten alleys."

Mishio snaps back to attention from peering out the window and grits her teeth in alarm.

"What are you saying, Mari? You gave me the choice to join your group, but here you force them all to do so!" Mari's grows frantic as the anger in her voice mixes with pain.

"Look at them, Mishio! Look at every last one of them! There is no choice left for them all, just like there was none for me!"

"None for you? What… What do you mean?"

Mari rips off her beanie. Mishio's eyes widen at the sight of two sharp peaks rising above Mari's head.

"I AM a fellow freak, Mishio!"

Vulpine ears. There was no denying it.

"You too…?"

"Yes! I was molded this way by these same child-trafficking fuckers, advertised as having real 'kitsune' genes for that exotic flair!" Mari clawed at her ears as tears welled in her eyes.

"I was the first in a line of 'Yōkai girls', and my mind was broken into truly believing that I was a Kitsune! I was so happy to be trained and treated like an animal! To learn how to sit like a dog and wag my tail and raise my leg and yip like a good little fox for master's affections! A master that I was never sold to, because someone claimed to have found actual 'Kitsune DNA' from someone else's hunting spree, so I was thrown away! Discarded! Flushed out into the sewers as if I was little more than shit in a toilet! I was made obsolete, before I even had a chance to be sold!"

Mari turns back to the hushed crowd, fresh anger in her voice, truly speaking to all of them as one of their own.

"The Church of Malthus understands my pain - our pain. I learned this the day they embraced my filthy body and lifted my diseased body up from the sewers I called home, and helped to cut off the tail that I hated! Human civilization is rotten to the core from the very top! Its corruption descends like a fog of sickness upon us all. If it all has to be torn down to purge the illness? So-be-it!"


"What is it now, Mishio?" Mari's growl was met with Mishio's look of haunted concern.

"…It was for two centuries that we were spirited away into a timeless sleep… Was it really long enough that humans filled in the missing hole and became monsters?"

"What are you talking about, Mishio?"



Chapter 2: Friends Kill Together

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