Chapter 4 - Enemies Old and New
After he washed the black muck from the glass orb, as well as himself, they all sat around the table and stared down at the shining sphere. Sho was the only one missing, and Jun had a feeling if Sho were here, he wouldn't like to know that they went hunting already. The glass orb continued to radiant a soft glowing light as if it was the most purest artifact they have ever laid eyes on.
"What do we do with it now?" Jun started.
"I'll send an owl to my uncle after we finish recording today," Ohno said. "He will probably take it to the Ministry of Magic vault. He said that's where they store it for now."
"I know that. I mean, what should we do next?" Jun asked. "I know the Ministry is trying to find a way to stop these attacks, but what good will it do if they keep piling up with these soul balls?"
"I'm sure they're trying their best," Aiba spoke. "We all want to know who's behind all this."
Ohno sighed as he rubbed his hand down his face, "For now, let's hide it so no one sees it."
"What about Sho?" Aiba asked.
"If he found out we started hunting, he wouldn't like it," Nino said. "Especially if you went on a trip. He'd be worried sick."
"I'll make sense out of him," Aiba stated. "Leave it to me. I'll get him to join us."
"Still," Jun sighed, "I'm worried. There's something, or someone, out there opening the portal to Paradise. I just wish we knew a way to stop it."
"If only we can ask Headmaster Johnny," Aiba said. "He knows a lot about this, right?"
"Naruse said he doesn't know about Paradise as much as we do," Nino pointed out. "We need to find someone who has more knowledge of this spirit business."
"But when you think about it, the only people who returned from the land of the dead was Naruse...and us," Jun said. "We have no one to turn too."
There was a long silent pause. Jun's memories ran deep as he recalled his time in Paradise. There must be a way to know who's behind these attacks.
"What was it that Hiro asked you guys to do?" Ohno asked. "About trying to talk to the poltergeist?"
"He said we should try to make it tell us how it got here," Nino said. "Of course, the thing was behold comprehensible."
"I think...I know what Hiro's special hunt was for," Ohno said. "Maybe they were hunting a higher form. A ghost, maybe. ONe that can talk. What if they're trying to interrogate the actually beings themselves?"
"A ghost can talk better than a poltergeist," Jun nodded.
"What if we capture a spirit ourselves?" Ohno brought up. "Once it knows our scent, we can make it talk."
"I bet catching a spirit won't be easy," Nino said, leaning on his elbows. "You remember what Naruse said before, right? Spirits are the most powerful form of the dead that has fallen from Paradise. They would be a lot more difficult to deal with than a poltergeist or an Imperfect. How can we catch one?"
"Surely, my uncle will give us the tools," Ohno shrugged. "He won't leave us unarmed."
"But he won't ask of us to do much, I bet," Jun said. "He asked for our help, yes. But we aren't trained like he is, or his department. Nino and I were lucky this time because this poltergeist was a small fry."
"And I still got some injuries," Nino said, pointing to his face. "Imagine facing a ghost. Let alone a spirit."
"But it's the only option we've got," Aiba said. "I think Ohno has the right idea. Maybe we can go on a hunt with Naruse and help him interrogate with a spirit once he catches one."
"What can we ask a dead soul?" Jun mumbled. "Would they even remember falling?"
Jun immediately grabbed the orb and stuffed it in his bag behind him, as his friends quickly stood up to block him from view. It was only their manager, Gin Okami, greeting them with their daily scripts to read while Arashi tried to keep a straight face.
"Hmm? What's the matter?" Gin asked. "You guys look kinda strange."
"Oh, it's nothing!" Aiba quickly blurted out. "We're just...wondering where Sho is."
"Ah, yes, so was I," Gin nodded as he set down the scripts on the table. "I've sent an owl to him this morning and he wasn't replied back."
Jun frowned, "It's not like him to be this late."
"Well, he had a late one last night," Gin shrugged. "With a new movie, newscaster duties, and the variety show, he was exhausted. I'll give him another ten minutes before I'll check on him again. Read the scripts, okay guys?"
"We will," Ohno nodded as Gin left the greenroom.
"Maybe we should check on Sho," Aiba said, looking worried.
"I'm sure he's fine," Nino sat down again. "Like Gin said, he's probably tired and taking a little break."
"But Sho is always prompt," Jun said.
"He'll be on time for the recording," Ohno said, also relaxing. "If anything happens, Gin will tell us."
Jun and Aiba exchanged glances. Perhaps they're right. Sho has been going under a lot of stress these past few weeks. With his work load and the new hunting ordeal, Sho must be worn out. Not to say that Jun isn't, but at least he wasn't working on so many projects at the moment.
Jun started briefing through the scripts as his kept looking up at the clock. Ten minutes had already past. Twenty. The recording is about to start in fifteen minutes and Sho still haven't arrived. He could see Aiba was also worried, and slowly but surely, Nino would occasionally check his watch between playing his game. Ohno started tapping his pen on the table. Suddenly, Gin burst through the door. His suit was covered in owl feathers and he was panting heavily.
"Sho hasn't come yet?" Gin immediately asked.
Jun sat up, noticing his sense of urgency.
"No," Ohno frowned. "What's wrong? Where is he?"
"I don't know," Gin panted. "I've must have sent a dozen owls...nothing!"
Jun and Aiba stood up. He felt his heartbeat racing.
"Where could he be?" Jun asked. "Did he say anything last night where he might have gone?"
"He said nothing," Gin answered. "He was just tired and went off home by himself, as usual."
"We can't start the recording without Sho," Aiba said, beginning to panic. "We have to find him!"
"Now, calm down Aiba," Ohno said gently.
"What if something happened to him?" Nino said. His brow pinched with worry. "What if..."
Jun quietly sucked in his breath. What if a Paradise spirit tracked down Sho's scent?
"Gin, we'll help you find Sho," Ohno immediately said.
"But the recording!" Gin said, looking at his watch. "You guys are about to start soon!"
"Tell the director to delay the recording! Right now, we have to find Sho!"
"Can't you guys just buy time for the camera and wait for Sho to come?" Gin begged.
"We will not appear as four!" Ohno said, his voice lightly raised. "You will tell the producers and the guests they will have to wait until all five of us are together. Alright?"
Gin didn't need to be told twice, and he left the room. Ohno was never so forward with their manager, but when the thought that Sho might be in danger, Jun knew their leader would not resist to show order. Jun grabbed his wand from his bag, but he spotted an extra glass orb from Hiro. He quickly took the sphere as well and tucked it safety in his pocket.
"We should check his apartment," Aiba said. "Maybe he left a clue."
He saw Ohno placed his hand on Nino's shoulder and they disappeared with a pop. Jun also turned on the spot and Apparated close to Sho's apartment. He wished he brought his hat for a disguise, but it didn't matter since Sho also lived in a wizard neighborhood. They hurried up the steps to Sho's floor and found his room number. Aiba anxiously turned the doorknob, but it was already open. Jun was expecting it to be locked, so he held tightly to his wand for the worse.
They walked inside.
"Sho?" Aiba called. "Sho, we're coming in."
The living room was normal. There was no signs of a struggle, and everything was very clean. Quietly, they searched the apartment. Jun checked the living room with Aiba in the kitchen. Ohno and Nino went down the hall to search the bedroom and bathroom. Jun thought Sho might have left a note somewhere, but his bookshelf was neatly in order. Aiba came back, shaking his head. Ohno and Nino also came back.
"Everything is still here," Nino pointed out. "His clothes. His travel bags. All that's missing is his wand and his shoes."
"Where is he?" Jun whispered.
They stood there in Sho's living space in silence, thinking of any possible outcomes.
"Wait a minute..." Ohno mumbled before he lift his head up. "I have an idea."
He turned his heel and walked out the door. They followed Ohno down the stairs, but instead of walking out to the street, Ohno took a turn into the tight alleyway behind the apartment.
"Where are you going?" Jun called after him.
"One time when Sho got drunk, I had to carry him back home," Ohno said. "I don't Apparate, so I took this back alley for privacy. Maybe, Sho took this pathway as a shortcut to work before he Apparates."
"How would you know he came this way?" Nino asked.
"Simple," Ohno stopped in his tracks. "UtaMahou."
At those words, Jun felt a calming chill in the air. They stood back and let Ohno took in a deep breath, facing the narrow alleyway. Ohno started to whistle, a single clear note, but it slowly began to echo louder and louder down the alley. Suddenly, Jun felt someone tap his shoulder.
"Quick," Nino whispered. "Get close."
He pointed his wand upward and chanted, "Nancho." (Deafness)
Jun felt the familiar feeling of his ears being stuffed with cotton, and then it faded away. It was a spell to block out UtaMahou effect. With this spell, they'll be able to hear but Ohno's UtaMahou would not effect them. It was good thing that Nino remembered, because Jun could feel a magical pressuring coming from Ohno's direction.
Ohno started to sing, "When I close my eyes, my memories become clear, into the soft wind toward eternity..."
"How nostalgic," Nino uttered.
"He's using a tracking ability to his song," Jun gasped. "When did he learn to do that?"
"Maybe Naruse taught him before," Aiba whispered.
"A scent like embracing by a fading season certainly returns to you," Ohno's voice rang out.
If Jun didn't have the Nancho effect on him, he imagined Ohno's UtaMahou was drawing him in like a tracking device. Hopefully with Ohno's skill in singing, he can track Sho's presence. Jun stood behind Ohno waiting for him to respond.
"There," Ohno spoke in a normal tone. "I know where he is."
"Lead the way," Jun said. "We'll follow you."
"This way," Ohno said, and he took off running.
* * *
He heard the sounds of water drops echoing. Then, he felt his neck aching him awake, and that's when he realized he was tied up to a chair. Sho tried to open his mouth, but he was gagged as well. The last thing he remembered was that he left his apartment for work, but he saw a few witch fans outside his building. He took the narrow alleyway in the back to avoid them, and everything went black after that.
He looked around his surroundings, but nothing was familiar. He was inside a dark warehouse. The whole interior was made of cement, and there was only one light bulb hanging from the ceiling directly above him. A leak from the ceiling was making the water drop noises. The place was so spacious, he could practically hear his own breath echoing. There were steel frames stacked in tall neat piles in the back and a few dusty crates. As far as Sho can see, someone was leaning over a table wearing a long dark trench coat. Sho tried to free himself, but the scrapping sounds of the chair was too loud to go unnoticed.
"So...you're awake," the man spoke. He turned around, his face hidden in the shadows. "It's been a long time, hasn't it?"
Sho frowned. There was something familiar about that voice...
"Do you remember me?" The man continued. "I used to fight for the Great Metal Vocal Wizard. I was his best man...until the war was over and I was imprisoned. But it wasn't until I finally escaped and I saw the sun again."
The man slowly walked into the light, and Sho's eyes widen. He hasn't seen him in years. The strikingly handsome mad man with wild hair and a crooked tooth...
"You've grown, you know," Fujiwara smirked, pouring himself a shot of Fire Whiskey. "I watched you from in my lonely prison cell. The guards always toyed with the filthy Mudblood television and watched the famous Arashi perform. I have to admit, even I was enchanted by your UtaMahou."
Sho tried to speak, but the rope muffled his tongue from speaking. All he could do was glare back at the ex-convict. Fujiwara walked closer, and Sho could see his face was smudged with sweat and dirt, as if the man was hiding underground all these years. He bend over slightly to Sho's eye level.
"To think we would meet again," Fujiwara chuckled. "I thought a great wizard such as yourself would have noticed I was following you for three days."
Sho's eyes widen. He hasn't notice, and the wicked kidnapper saw his reaction.
"Surely, Naruse Ryo has been informing you," Fujiwara laughed at him. "Paradise is back in business, Sakurai. And you're a juicy bait."
Sho wished he wasn't gagged. He was building up an escape plan. Fujiwara walked back to his table, his back facing Sho.
"I know your friends are coming," he said. "They're tracking you back here, which is exactly what we want."
Sho felt his heart thumping with panic. It was a trap!
"Let's just say...Arashi's colors will go black and white!"
Sho was roaring, but his tongue was blocked. He felt his throat going sore and his face turning red. He tried wiggling his way out of his bonds, but he could not budge. Suddenly, the warehouse turned cold. The light bulb started to flicker. Even though it was morning, the tiny windows at the top of the warehouse showed darkness. Sho felt the goosebumps crawl up his arms when he heard small footsteps.
Fujiwara smirked, "He's here."
There was someone approaching from the far corner; the darkest part of the warehouse. Sho could barely see as the figure slowly walked towards them. The footsteps were so light, there was no way it could be a man. Finally, the shadowy figure was close enough, but just barely within the light. Sho could not believe his eyes.
It was just a boy.
Despite the little amounts of light, Sho thought he never seen such a more beautiful child. He had black hair that fell past the tops of his ears, and there were heavy bags under his eyes. The boy had piercing eyes with the colors of red flame. Full lips and a strong jaw. Sho estimated he must be only twelve or thirteen years old, but the way the boy stood in the shadows made him to look wise and mature.
"Let him speak," the boy spoke. His voice was light and airy.
Sho frowned slightly. 'Who is he?'
"As you wish."
Fujiwara strode back towards him and roughly pulled the rope away from his mouth. Sho didn't waste a second.
"Till that time, till that place!"
The sheer force of Sho's UtaMahou send Fujiwara flying a good distance away while Sho was pushed back. His chair rammed into the concrete wall and it shattered to pieces. He wiggled his way out of his rope bonds and he stood up. He frantically looked for his wand and spotted it at the table. He made a mad dash, but he saw the shadow boy step forward.
Sho heard a loud crack ringing in the warehouse like a lightening bolt. The tiny light bulb above them shattered and everything went dark. Sho grabbed his wand just in time to see the boy draw his finger down on nothing but air. A blinding light following its trail as if opening a small portal. It was like witnessing a crack in the universe.
"Paradise," Sho gasped.
Suddenly, a dozen spirits moaned its way out of the blinding gap as if they were in great pain. Sho held his wand in front of him for protection as the spirits continued to circle around the ceiling. Sho has never seen such things. He has read in books that spirits are like tiny fairies, except spirits give off pure magical energy. The spirits that were haunting above him were ghastly. Their faces were recognizable as humans, but their bodies were shrouded in wisps of smoke and fog. They were pale and almost drifting into nothingness. These spirits were practically creating darkness.
"You bastard!" Fujiwara got up.
Sho immediately cast a shield charm. Fujiwara kept an ongoing assault, and Sho was wavering back. He hasn't fought in a proper duel in years. His work as an idol has made him soft in combat, but he thought he never had to raise his wand for such an occasion. Sho truly believed that the days of terror were over.
He was wrong.
He lost focus and Fujiwara deflected Sho's spell. He suddenly fumbled with his footing and he tripped onto his backside.
"May the spirits of Paradise have mercy on your soul," Fujiwara mocked, his eyes wide with madness.
Sho looked up and made eye contact with a single spirit. Its entire smoky body turned to a deep shade of red, and it swooped down towards him with its mouth hanging open and shrieking-
Two bright lights, an eagle and a wolf, bound forward towards the spiraling spirits. Their soft glowing light left a trail of warmth and Sho had to shield his eyes from its brightness. He could hear the spirits crying out with agony, and Fujiwara was grunting as if annoyed from the temporarily blindness. Sho managed to adjust to the light and he saw the casters, Naruse Ryo and Higashiyama Noriyuki
"Sho! Hurry!" Higashiyama beckoned.
Fujiwara started attacking again, but he was outnumbered. Sho raised his wand and fired a jinx at his attacker, sending him rolling again. Sho made a break for it with the silver Patronuses kept the hungry spirits at bay. The blinding ripple to Paradise was still pouring out more dead souls, and the warehouse was shaking as if wind was gusting through.
"We've got to get you out of here!" Naruse shouted through the ruckus.
"Naruse...that...that thing over there. That boy," Sho pointed at the dark corner. "He can open the portals. He's the one doing it!"
"We can worry about him later" Higashiyama shouted. "We have to run, Sho!"
Fujiwara was quick to stand back up and fired more curses. Higashiyama's eagle Patronus was fading as he tried to block the oncoming spells from the mad man. The wolf Patronus from Naruse faded into a simply shield of light from the dozen spirits soaring around, but the spirits were slowly growing immune to the light. It was as if they were drawing power from another source. Higashiyama made one last powerful jinx and Fujiwara was knocked unconscious. Sho stared back at the dark corner next to the small Paradise portal.
The shadow boy didn't even move or made an attempt to stop them. His body and face was practically hidden in the dark, but his flaming eyes glared viciously at him.
"Come on!" Higashiyama said, grabbing hold of Sho's arm.
Together, the three grown men ran down the warehouse hallway until they burst through the door. Sho forgot it was still daylight outside, he had to squint his eyes against the sudden sunlight. Sho was about to Apparate, but Naruse and Higashiyama kept running, so he followed.
"He placed an anti-Apparate charm around the perimeter," Higashiyama explained to Sho. "We have to get past the barrier fast!"
Suddenly, he heard an explosion. Sho glanced over his shoulder and saw a massive swarm of spirits flocking out from the roof of the abandoned warehouse. The moment the spirits were out, the sky above them quickly turned gray. He could see the spirits gradually turning red with aggression and they started chasing them.
"They picked up my scent too," Naruse grunted.
"We're almost there!"
Sho could see they were heading towards a wired fence. It was still a few meters away, but the spirits were catching up quickly. Suddenly, there was blast next to Sho that barely missed him. The spirits still had burst of magic energy. Soon, the three of them had to run in zigzag formation to avoid getting hit. It was like running through a battlefield full with landmines and being attacked from above. Sho can't remember the last time he ran for his life like this. His side was burning badly.
He looked up and saw his friends running towards him from outside the fence.
"What the hell are you doing here?!" Higashiyama yelled. "Get out of here!"
Jun stepped forth and blasted a hole in the wired fence and Higashiyama, Sho, and Naruse squeezed through. They all Apparated away one by one. Without a second thought, Aiba grabbed hold of Sho's hand and turned on the spot.
End chapter 4
To Chapter 5 http://arashiforyou.livejournal.com/49868.html
things are like a train wreck! XD
god, i was practically pulling my hair when LJ wasn't working. i'm not sure if it was just my end, or what, but it wasn't opening for me. so that's why this chapter took awhile to update. so sorry m(_ _)m
I reused the name Gin Okami from my other fic "The Other Arashi." It means 'silver wolf' if anyone knows what i mean. (i'm such a dork) :D
As for Fujiwara Tatsuya. in real life, he's the same age as Arashi, but in the previous series, i had him older than them, so in this story, he's still older. well, now a lot older. probably the same age as naruse and higashiyama (45-46)
also, Ohno's UtaMahou was his solo Take Me Faraway, and Sho's was Anti Anti :D
i decided to translate it to English instead of writing it in Japanese (makes it easier for me) XDD