Chapter Twenty-Three: Mission of the Hunt:

6:52 p.m.

How the hell did this happen? Tsuzuki walked over with the tea.

“Are you okay?” he asked. The hunter nodded. The shinigami handed her the cup. She stared down into her tea. This wasn’t supposed to happen. She had to get out of here.

“Could you remove your hood?” Anna asked. The hunter about jumped.

“What?!” she asked.

“It’s okay,” the other woman said. “You’re safe here. We won’t hurt you.” The hunter’s hands shook. She really needed to leave.

“Okay…” she mumbled. The hunter removed her hood. Bright green hair popped out. She breathed and lowered her head. Her complexion looked pale in the light. Tsuzuki looked at her silver ear piercings and dark eyes.

“You’re really cute,” he said. Airi shot him a cold glare, but Anna patted her on the head.

“Thank you,” the hunter mumbled.

“What is your name?” Anna asked.

“Minori,” she said.

“That’s a pretty name,” the other woman said. Minori’s leg shook.

“I can’t stay here,” she said. “I have to go.” Minori started to stand up, but Tsuzuki pushed her back.

“Stay,” he said.

“I can’t,” the hunter said. “I have to go. I need to kill my target. I’ve already let him slip away and he knows I’m on to him. I have to go now! He’s probably tipped off the other by now. I have to go. I have to go!”

“We can’t let you go yet,” Anna said.

“Huh? Why not?”

“Do you know how bad the spell was?”

Minori gave her a blank stare. “No…”



“Do you think distorting us and making us sick was all he did? It could be worse than that. We don’t know.”

“But my party will be worried about me.”

“Do you want to spread the curse to them as well?”

Minori looked down at her hands. “Well…”

Anna put hands on her hips. “We’re going to get tested in the morning. For now, you are staying with us.”

Minori looked like a deflated balloon. “But…” She glanced up to see Anna eyeing her sternly. The hunter closed her mouth.

“Fine,” she said. Kirika-chan started crying from down the hall.

“I’ve got her,” Tsuzuki said. The shinigami got up and headed down the hall. Anna looked Minori in the eye.

“Is he…?” the woman began to ask.

“Yes,” Minori said.

“I knew it.”

“Are you against your family?”

“I don’t consider them family. So, yes.”


The look in Anna’s eyes became frozen. “She had my father killed.”


“Before that, she killed his sisters.” The other woman clenched her fists in her lap. “That’s why… That’s why… She has to pay for what she’s done. With her life.”

Minori lowered her head. “She took someone dear to me too.”


The hunter fought back her tears. “I’m tired.”

“I’ll run you a bath, okay?” Anna whispered. The hunter nodded.

“Alright,” her host said. She stood up and walked down the hall. When she was alone, Minori rolled up her sleeve. She tapped on her silver bracelet three times. A little light flashed and disappeared.

Good, she thought. Minori slumped in th chair. Maybe the message would reach them in time. She hoped…