“Right, I got the summoning circle arranged here, should be the correct one.” Leonard checked the floor and the page he had opened up. “Yup, looks like it, you’re the catalyst, so just step into the smaller circle and recite this.” He handed Amy a piece of paper and gestured to where she should stand.
“So just read this nonsense?” She stepped into the smaller circle, and Leonard gave her a thumbs up, as she rolled her eyes and shrugged. “Oh Source of Strength, Blood of Blood, Join Me in This Mark so We can Bond.” Amy facepalmed. “That sounded so goofy, is all magic this goofy?”
“Mine is based on feelings or something, do not want to see if I can create clones for an orgy because succubus. Well…” Ugh, I hope this wasn’t demonic corruption or something. I mean, it would pretty much be masturbation with extra steps, right? My thoughts were interrupted by an extremely thick Japanese accent coming from the circle.
“It’s 5 am you crazy Americans. I’m trying to rest and you decide to call on me?!” There was a crack in the air that expanded to let through the one we were calling. “And I have to shrink down to fit in your horribly inadequate apartment as well?! I hope you have an offering prepared as an apology.” The giant arm that was as big as Amy placed its hand on the ground, visibly shrinking as the ancestor pulled through. Against all preconceived notions of what an Oni should look like clothing wise - loincloth out of fur, huge club - this one was smartly dressed. Honestly looked like a Yakuza member. Except blue, and tall, and buff, and sporting one horn over his left eye, the other cracked at the base. His canines were poking out of his mouth as he looked us over. As his gaze fell on Amy and then Leonard, he huffed. “So this is what I felt three days ago.” He summoned up a floor pillow and sat down cross-legged on it, facing Amy. He pointed towards Leonard without moving his gaze. “You. Out. I need to have a conversation with my great-great-granddaughter. We will talk later about what you have done.”
“But I live here-” retorted Leonard, crossing his arms.
“And you summoned me here to fix your mess. Out!” Leonard jumped, shocked at the Oni’s yell, but made his way towards the door. With me in tow. “Hold on, little scarlet one. You seem to be a victim too. You can stay.” I shrugged and made my way to my favorite armchair in Leonard’s apartment. Only now did I notice the stacks of books around it were all yuri manga. I guess Leo either had a phase or enjoyed girls being happy together. As I heard the door to the apartment close, I saw the Oni bowing to formally greet Amy. “The name I have claimed for myself is Naonori Asano.”
Amy seemed confused for a bit, before she sat down as well and bowed. “I’m Amy Naonori... Nice to meet you?” At her introduction, Asano seemed to calm down and ease up.
“Little Amy, then. It has been very long since I had to be called for an awakening. Especially one that had been messed up. Little Red, any clue what might have gone wrong?” Asano asked me, as I began shrugging before noticing Leonard left his laptop wide open and unlocked. The dumbass. I had half a mind to change his wallpaper to tiled butts, but honestly I couldn’t top his current wolfboy one. I grabbed it and scrolled through, looking around until I found what seemed to be the PDF with rituals. He had it open on me still. Scrolling through, I found the one I figured was for Amy’s family.
“Looks like it was written in Japanese originally, I can’t tell the difference between Kanji and Hiragana-”
“But you strangely know it.” Amy interrupted me.
“Had to justify some character’s gender online for some ungodly reason in this year 2089. Anyways, the author of the PDF tried to write it out in latin with pronunciation and that’s probably where he fucked up.” I turned the laptop to show them both the page, as Asano nodded in understanding.
“Yes, that is probably the worst romanization of Japanese I have ever witnessed. No wonder you lack so many of the powers you should have, Little Amy.” He put his hands on Amy’s shoulders, and I could see a shimmer travel between the two of them, Amy quickly returning to human form. Must be like 4’10” that way. “There, that should do it. If you will it, you can change into your ancestral form.” Asano slapped his thighs. “And change size once transformed. Now, bring me food, anything will do. You woke me up, I demand an offering. And do bring in the sorcerer, I have words with him.”
I could only nod and open the door, to see Leonard awkwardly stand there. “Do find Amy something to wear before-” I didn’t get to finish my sentence. They say Speak of the Devil and He Will Appear? Well, I didn’t even say his name and Diego was already approaching the door.
“Hey, so, the old guy’s in the hospital now, in critical condition. How’s Amy?” He looked inside, noticing the Yakuza Oni and his girlfriend sitting across from each other. “Oh. That’s how she’s doing.” I walked past Diego and put a hand on his shoulder.
“You should probably get her some clothes if you have spare keys, and then talk to her grandpa. He seems nice? I’m getting us food. Leo, you go in and get an earful.” I could see the local wizard slouch his shoulders in defeat, walking in very warily.
As I reached my apartment, ready to change back into Peter, I hesitated. It would take so much extra effort to change between Peter and Lily twice so as to hide my identity. And, well, I could pass this off as cosplay. Summer was starting, could say it’s a practice run for the next con. I really didn’t want to give up being Lily yet. Especially since I was feeling more comfortable and cute than I had ever felt my whole life. Although, not sure if cute applies anymore, considering I beat a dude to critical condition with flaming fists. I shook my head, went inside to grab my messenger bag and stash my wallet in there, and made my way over to The Question.
It felt weird walking into the place I frequented almost more than my apartment, and to get hit with Olivia going “Hello, welcome to The Question” instead of her usual greeting for me. Especially when she followed it up with “Whoa there demon gal, don’t think you’ll be able to succubus our ace cook back there.” Followed by a laugh. And a quick look over. “Cool makeup job.” I was sure she couldn’t make the connection that Lily and Peter are the same person; I had never shown her pics of mom. “So, what can I get ya?”
“Uhm, a grilled goat cheese sandwich, plus a vanilla soy latte with chocolate syrup?” I saw a small smirk form on Olivia’s face as I said my order.
“Huh, funny thing, friend and regular ordered that for breakfast today, said for a friend. You that friend?” Olivia got to making the coffee, and I could smell the bread being toasted in the kitchen from the counter. Wow, sensitive nose.
“Uhm, yeah, I’m Lily. Peter’s letting me stay over for some time due to some problems I’m having.” I scratched the back of my head.
“Well, that’s really sweet of him. Anything else you want besides that?” She put the coffee on the counter and waited for Clark to deliver the sandwich.
“Oh! Right, yeah. Neighbor’s family is visiting from Japan and I got roped into getting food for them. Do you have any suggestions for what I could get them?” I eyed the coffee, trying to fight back the saliva and the urge to just gulp it down right then and there, when I heard Clark pipe up.
“Slab a’ Pork Twixt Bread might work, a bit of familiarity with a Chertovice Twist!” was what he yelled from the kitchen, and I just raised my eyebrow at Olivia in confusion.
“He’s suggesting the Pork Cutlet Sandwich, a Katsu Sando if you will. Dude’s obsessed with making his own sauces, so of course that includes Katsu Sauce. You stick around long enough, you’ll learn all his peculiarities. Might even meet his husband by accident, Lily.” Olivia shrugged, and I hummed with a nod.
“Yeah, I think that works… four Katsu Sandos?” I added to my order, waiting not for too long before I got handed a bag of food, paid for it and left. I swear I could hear Olivia going “Five bucks Lily is related to Peter.” followed by Clark going “Ten bucks that Lily IS Peter.” But that must have just been my anxiety-riddled imagination, right? I mean, come on, how would they justify the height difference between my two forms?
When I returned to Leonard’s apartment, the door still unlocked, I was met by a very specific sight. Asano was laughing heartily, Amy and Diego were cuddling up, with Amy in a simple dress. And Leonard? Leonard was standing amongst his books, looking as if he had just had a makeout session with a soul sucking demon. Oh wait, those probably actually exist. Let me rephrase that. Leonard looked as if someone had burned all his books, smashed his laptop, and threatened to eat his heart while it was still beating in his chest.
“Uhm, wow. Asano, I think you killed Leonard.” was what I managed to get out while looking at my wizardly neighbor.
“Ah, Little Red! He’ll be fine, just had some harsh words for him. Did you bring food?” The blue Oni turned to me with a huge grin, and I raised the bag of food.
“Two katsu sandos for you, one each for Diego and Amy, and a thing I shouldn’t be eating but have to because of our shared dumbass for me.” I handed out the food, chugged the coffee like before and absolutely demolished the grilled cheese.
“Why shouldn’t you be eating that?” Amy asked, moments before I finished devouring the grilled sandwich.
“Lactose Intolerance.” was my quick reply, still munching the last of my sandwich. Diego grimaced at me.
“How bad is it?” he managed to ask in between bites. Dammit, should have probably gotten a katsu sando for myself too.
“Stomach feels like an earthquake and the farts could kill a man. But if I don’t eat it, I can barely function.” I shrugged and got to the armchair as Asano looked towards me.
“Why haven’t you called your ancestor to fix the ritual, then?” was his question, as he began chewing on the second sandwich. He didn’t take a bite, he just shoved it in his mouth and began chewing.
“Because she’s MIA. Measseal, or however you say that.” Asano nearly choked up at me mentioning her.
“The Mother with a Shattered Heart?! Okay... no surprise then. Actually big surprise that one of her children survived The Focused Spearhead, or that said child had further daughters. Never met her, my being an Oni and her being a succubus, us both from different regions, but I have heard of her through gossip...” I could see Asano leave out a long sigh. “Well, children, I think I should head back. It was nice meeting you, Little Amy. Come visit sometimes, I’ll show you Kyoto.”
“Sure thing, grandpa.” Amy waved to Asano as he ripped open a pathway in the air for himself and left. And, truth be told, after today’s excursions I felt like falling asleep right that second. Excusing myself, I went back up to my apartment, and crashed into bed the moment I got to it. It wasn’t even evening yet. It was barely half past four. But I just fell asleep almost immediately.