Chapter Nineteen: Bad News Express:
Tsuzuki made it to Watari's lab and knocked on the door. Watari looked up from his research.
"Oh, Tsuzuki!" he said. "Perfect, just the person I wanted to see!"
"You have my results in?" his friend asked.
"I sure do, but first, look at this!"
Watari grinned. "Come on." He took the other shinigami by the hand and led him further inside. Tsuzuki kept his eyes on his back.
"Uh� what's this all about?" he asked.
"Come look," Watari said. He stepped aside to reveal Charlotte and Takashi sitting by the computer. Tsuzuki put the pieces together.
"Oh," he whispered. "You mean�"
"Yes," he said. Charlotte looked up when he spoke. The scientist turned to her and the angel.
"Charlotte, Takashi," he said. "This Tsuzuki Asato." Watari turned to his friend. "Tsuzuki, this is Charlotte Moore and her roommate, Takashi."
"Hi," the pair said. Tsuzuki waved.
"Hey," he said. Watari clapped his hands together.
"Perfect!" he said. "Shall we begin? Very good.� He woke up the computer from the screensaver. "Everyone look." They crowded around the computer.
"Moore-san here was nice enough to come down from Kabukicho and let me run tests on her," Watari continued.
"Okay," Tsuzuki said.
"Just as suspected," his friend went on. "Moore-san here is a core carrier just like Kimoto-san." He pulled up the chart.
"But how?" Tsuzuki asked.
"How did Kimoto-san's core keep her alive?"
"Correct, but here's the thing�" Watari clicked the chart. Tsuzuki narrowed his eyes as he looked at the screen.
"Where's the anchor point?" he asked.
"That's just it," Watari said. "It's an external anchor."
"External anchor?" Tsuzuki asked.
"Yes, I have Moore-san's right now."
"Do you? Where?"
"Uh, uh, uh. I'm still researching that. I will let you and her know when I have something."
"Excuse me," they heard a voice say. The man turned to see Charlotte eyeing them.
"So� when will I know?" she asked. Watari smiled and put up a V-sign.
"In three days," he replied. Charlotte's face went pale.
"Three days?" she asked. Takashi held her hand as Watari patted her on the head.
"There, there," he said. "Stay in Meifu if you need to."
"Are you sure it's okay?" Charlotte asked.
"Yeah," he said. "Your roommate can stay if he wants." Charlotte turned to Takashi.
"Is it okay?" she asked. "Are you fine with this?" Takashi held her hand tighter.
"I'll stay if you want me to," the angel replied. She nodded and turned her attention back to Watari.
"Where can we go?" she asked.
"I'll talk to our chief to figure out something," the scientist said. He turned to Tsuzuki. "Would you like your results now?"
"Yes," Tsuzuki replied.
"Come with me," his friend said. The men headed out into the hall. Tsuzuki drew in a breath.
"Well?" he asked. Watari's demeanor changed to a somber one.
"It's positive," he said in a low voice. "The kitsune is feeding on you." Tsuzuki fought to keep a straight face.
"For how long?"
"It's been days, maybe longer."
"So, what do I do now?"
Watari pushed up his glasses. "It's hard to say. For starters, it's a sign that the ritual is starting."
Tsuzuki bit his lower lip. "How can I stop it?"
"Well, I'll need to fully examine Kimoto-san to get a full analysis to see how far along she is."
His older friend shuffled his feet. "What can I do for the time being?"
Watari frowned. "The best thing to do is not sleep with her and bring her in to let me run the tests."
"Oh�" Tsuzuki and Watari knew that the first part would be botched up in some way if the hungry Mother had any say in it. Best to deal with the problem before it got out of all their hands.