RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS
Ryunosuke was in over his head. How long had it been since he’d been minted into the Black Soul Angels? A month, maybe two; that was why I didn’t know his face. Regardless, he’d cast his lot with our enemies, and there he was, begging for his life.
“Please, you have to help me!”
He was on hands and knees, casting his gaze down and trembling. Did he know what he was asking?
The other Dolls murmured to each other, but they didn’t know; the scent of piss, steaming and hot, wasn’t sick on their senses. A step back in time I was still laid out on the pavement by his brothers; it was a place I would never be again.
“Are you trying to tell us the Black Soul Angels are back from the dead,” Yumiko hummed, “like zombies or something? That’s fucking demented!”
She laughed, and so did the other girls; I didn’t.
“Your angel friends were dragged to Hell, and now you call on demons to save you,” I said.
Ryunosuke looked up, aware of the irony. He pulled his jacket from his shoulders and cast it to my feet; an offering. The symbol of his gang lay crumpled as he turned away.
“Whatever they are now, I am no longer one of them,” he said.
“Boss, you’re going to want to see this.” Ginny peered up from her phone and stepped to my side. On the screen were scenes of violence; the street torn, windows smashed, and poles ripped from the ground. Screams blared from the live report.
“-Scenes from moment ago in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district were a local gang has confronted police. Authorities are already reporting civilian casualties with numbers of wounded on the rise. Residents are urged to stay indoors for their own safety-”
Yumiko tilted her head. “Wait, your guys did this? The same guys who we beat the shit out of last night are now taking on assault squads…”
“I know it’s crazy,” Ryunosuke cried, “but I had nowhere else to go. Please, Queen Chiyoko, with all that I am, I believe only you can stop them. It’s not just me, but people on the street!”
On any other day I would have sent him away, but the smell was more than I could stand. How could they not smell it?
“Okay,” I said.
“What do you mean ‘okay’?” Akane threw her arms into the sky. “They’re tearing up Shinjuku! If the carnage is that bad then they’ve probably got guns or something, and you want us to go in there?”
“Not we,” I corrected her; “me.”
Their collective jaws dropped, though Yumiko was the first to collect herself. “You don’t mean to go in alone.”
“Yes,” I told her.
“How?” Akane muttered. “Why?”
I thought on it a moment; my lip curled into a smile. “He called me by a proper female title. Such respect from an enemy is rare and deserves acknowledgement. I intend to pay it in kind.”
From the dirt and debris rose a cloud of ash. The wisp of intent curled into shape and touched ground in the form of a wolf. Grenier peered to me; he knew just as I did that it was time.
Did the others see? None had turned to face him; only I.
“Yamaguchi Chiyoko,” he hummed. “There is evil to be met.”
I reached into the pocket of my jacket and removed the lock and key. They had appeared just as they were needed, and burned in my grip. There was no pain, only adrenaline as I turned them, and the surge of power broke my skin and shaped me into something more.
It happened just as it had the time before; I was a woman enhanced beyond humanity, with straight hair falling around, and the danger of my form disguised in an incandescent uniform. I was from head to toe a legendary magical girl.
The girls stared in awe, as did Ryunosuke. They’d not seen the wolf, but my empowerment dazzled them into silence.
Yumiko was first to speak. “Chiyoko?”
“More than Chiyoko,” I told them. “I am Platinum Doll, leader of the Hellbound Dolls. Hell is empty and the devils are here, and all of them bow to me.”
As I stepped forward they backed away. The taste in the air was like fear, only deeper. What must it have been like for a mere human to be in the presence of the supernatural? It was no longer an experience I could know.
My gaze fell on Ryunosuke, and he trembled. “You’re coming with me,” I told him.
“Because,” I explained, “they’re your gang, and you’re bait.”
He had no time to argue before I threw him over my shoulder; carrying him was no more difficult than handling a tissue. His weight did not impede my ability to leap into the sky, launching across rooftops with a spring.
No doubt he was in shock, just as the others; but I had no time to give them pause.
There was the smell of wickedness looming over Tokyo; vile, rank, and begging to be snuffed.
To be continued…