Chapter Twenty-Two: House of Leaves:

3:00 p.m.

This was an accident.

She was trailing another Eda-Kimoto descendant. The pursuit had been going on since last night. The time to strike never felt right. Today, the streets were crowded.

She held her breath. If I can just get him alone…

The young man turned the corner. She followed accordingly.


Anna was heading home from shopping when she froze.

“What’s wrong?” Airi asked. Anna’s eyes shifted behind her.

“Someone’s calling me,” she said. She turned around to look.

“No…” Airi said. “Anna…” Her vessel began walking towards the silent sound. Airi cursed herself.

“Come back here!” she shouted. The Mother kitsune had to chase her down.


The hunter didn’t let up on her chase. Her breath touched her target’s nape. She moved her hand to her knife. But suddenly, the air changed. She pressed her hand to her forehead.

I don’t feel so good.

She wouldn’t stop her pursuit.

Are you sure you want to keep this up?

She stopped in her tracks. Who said that? Her target stood with his back to her.

I know you have been following me. You want to kill me, don’t you?

Wait, how did--? Her head felt like it was spinning. She took in slow breaths.

You aren’t good at hiding your energy.

She clutched her knife. The hilt felt like spikes going through her hand.

Shut up! Why don’t you turn around and face me? And why are you talking in my head?

He started to laugh.


Take a look around.

She slowly turned her head against her better judgement. Black and purple waves surrounded them. The air felt paper thin. Her feet couldn’t feel the ground anymore. The high-pitched howling made her ears hurt.

Ow! Ow! What did you do?

He began snickering. Welcome to my House of Leaves.

House of Leaves?

You are trapped in my prison. Are you feeling dizzy yet?

She took a huge gasp of breath. The pain started in her chest and spread to her lungs. Her vision became blurry and spotted.

Are… Are you doing this?

No. My kitsune’s heart has you trapped. But don’t worry, you won’t be alone.



Anna turned the corner as a voiceless whisper circled her ears.

“Hello?” she asked. The woman walked further down the narrow alley. Anna didn’t have time to realize what happened when it hit her chest.

“Anna!” Airi shouted. The vessel felt herself choke up in her lungs. Her head felt like it was swimming.

What is this?

We seemed to have into an energy trap. Airi’s voice sounded so distant. Anna pressed her hand to her forehead.

Airi? Airi, where are you?

Who’s there?

Anna froze and looked up. Who said that?

Help… me…

Where are you? Anna saw a hand reaching towards her. The pain wouldn’t let her think as she reached for the skinny fingers.

How do we get out of here?

I have no idea!

I think I’m going to die!

Another hand grabbed Anna by the shoulder.

I’ve got you, hang on! The hand dragged both women backwards. There was a bright flash and then…



When Anna came to, she found herself lying on the sidewalk at nighttime. She groaned as she rubbed her forehead.

“What happened to me?” she asked. “And how long was I out for?” Anna paused when she heard groaning beside her. She looked down to see a black-hooded figure laying next her.

“Urgh,” a woman’s voice muttered. She froze when she and Anna made eyes with each other.

“Uh… Who are you?” Anna asked. The hooded woman didn’t speak.

All the while, the target got away.