Chapter Twenty-Six: Kaede’s Dance:

10:07 a.m.

Tatsumi looked around the streets of Kabukicho. It looked more subdued at the moment. He could still smell sex around him. The kagetsukai set out to do a welfare check, see how the case was going. However, a pair of golden eyes watched him.

This one?



Tatsumi froze when he heard footsteps. “Who’s there?” At first, the street was virtually empty. The humans couldn’t see him. Tatsumi’s eyes shifted left and right. He held out his hand. The shinigami whipped around when he heard singing. The ancient lyrics and somber tone made his spine tremble. He wouldn’t let up his guard.

“Who are you?” Tatsumi asked. “I do not play games. Come out and show yourself.” Tatsumi turned and saw a woman grinning at him.

“Yes?” she asked. Her head came up to his chest.

“What the hell?!” Tatsumi shouted. He was quick to step back. The dark-haired woman bowed.

“My apologizes, she said. “You look rather odd standing out here.”

“May I ask why?”

“Do you have the time?”

Tatsumi looked this woman up and down. Her black heeled boots gave her little height. He had never seen teeth so white before. Her curves screamed danger ahead. Something about her said, “Keep your distance.” He cleared his throat.

“I really don’t,” Tatsumi said. He tried to walk away, but the woman grabbed his arm.

“Hey,” Tatsumi said, trying to pull away. “What are you doing?”

“Come with me,” she said. “We need to talk.”

“I have to meet up with a couple of friends of mine.”

“They can wait.”

“I’m afraid not.” He noticed the flash of coldness in her eyes.

“Tell me,” the woman said. “Would your friends happen to be Tsuzuki and Kurosaki?” Tatsumi glared at her.

“Who the hell are you?!” A shadow formed around his hand. The woman shook her head.

“Tsk, tsk,” she said. She held up her hand and mumbled something under her breath. The shadow disappeared around Tatsumi’s hand.

“None of that,” she said. “I just want to talk.” The kagetsukai gritted her teeth.

“Look, I don’t know what you are playing at…”

“Shhh, not so loud. You know, this place is too distracting. Let’s go somewhere quieter.” The woman put up her hand in the air. Soon, they had vanished.


Crystal wind chimes echoed in the room. Tatsumi opened his eyes when he heard humming. The woman over with a gold tray in her hands.

“Oh good,” she said. “You’re alright.” Tatsumi took a look around. Soft jazz music spilled from the jukebox on the other side of the room. Red and gold covered the walls, ceiling, and carpets. He found himself sitting on a black barstool.

“Where are we?” Tatsumi asked.

“My bar,” the woman said. “Don’t worry, it’s not open yet.” She set the tray down on the bar. Tatsumi blinked. He tried to form shadows, but nothing happened.

“There is a barrier around this building,” she said. “No magic allowed here. Even my powers are neutralized.” The bartender held up her hand. “See?”

“Why are we here?” Tatsumi asked. The woman came behind the bar.

“We did this wrong,” she said. “Let’s start over, shall we?” The bartender pulled out a glass. “My name is Kaede. And you are?”

The shinigami narrowed his eyes. “Tatsumi.” Kaede smirked like a hungry cat staring down a mouse.

“Good,” she said. “No fighting, I just want to talk.”