Chapter Four: Looking for Mother:

Haruka tapped her elbow with her fingertip. Shichiro and Amaya sat before her across the coffee table. The old lady frowned.

"She can't stay alive like this," she said. "If she is our mother�" Haruka trailed off at that thought. "No!" she snapped. "We can't let that happen!"

"What will happen?" Shichiro asked. His mother cast her evil eyes at him. Her son quickly went quiet. Haruka calmed herself down.

"If Anna has the mother kitsune," she began. "She might use her to wipe us all out."

"But how?" Amaya asked. "Isn't her kitsune still locked?"

"But what if she gets out?" Haruka asked.

"Do� Yasuo-aniki and Nobu know about this?" Shichiro asked.

"Yes!" his mother yelled. She breathed heavily. Her son understood her worry. Three days before New Year's, the Eda-Kimoto clan's kitsune started acting peculiar. They wouldn't really eat some of the soul after the kills. Sometimes, they wouldn't even come out. Amaya looked at her husband and mother-in-law.

"Is it that bad?" she asked.

"Yes!" they yelled. The wife backed off, putting up her hands.

"Okay, okay," she said. Haruka glared at her son.

"Why is she here?" she whispered.

"She wanted to," Shichiro whispered back. His mother frowned as she turned her attention to Amaya. The daughter-in-law was becoming excess baggage.


Meanwhile, mother and son's kitsune watched from above. Kohaku turned to Shiroko.

"What do you think?" it asked. Shiroko shrugged.

"Maybe," she said. "They're not wrong."

"You felt it too?"

"Yeah." She shut her eyes. "I can hear her."

"Hear her?"

"Yeah. Can't you?"

"I don't know."

"Try it."

"Alright�" Kohaku shut its eyes. "Oh wait! I hear something!"

Shiroko looked closer. "What do you hear?"

"I can't tell. It sounds like a whisper." It focused harder, but then the kitsune reeled back, clenching its teeth.

"What's wrong, Kohaku-chan?" Shiroko asked. The other kitsune panted.

"I need more souls!" Kohaku gasped. "Ow, ow, ow!"


Below, Shichiro clenched his chest and gasped aloud.

"Shichi-kun!" Amaya cried. "Shichi-kun, what's the matter?"

"It hurts," he whispered. His wife stroked his back.

"Having you been feeding?" she asked.

"No!" he cried out. The husband drew in heavier breaths to try and cope. Haruka observed them, rather perplexed.

"How long has it been like this?" she asked.

"A week!" Shichiro wailed.

"I knew it," his mother hissed. "This is what I mean! If Anna has the mother kitsune, she must be killed before we die."

"Yes!" Shichiro cried in pain. Haruka drew in a heavy breath.

"Go kill some people," she said.

"But what if Kohaku won't eat?" her son whimpered.

"Force it down its throat!" she snapped. "Just take your sniveling pain somewhere else!"

"Come on, Shichi-kun," Amaya whispered. "I can help you."

"Okay," he mumbled. His wife helped him to his feet and walked him out the door. Haruka shook her head as she watched them leave. She flopped back in her chair and sighed. Damn you, Akio, the old woman thought. Why do I get these?