Realizing the gravity of the situation, Haruka turns to an old friend for help.
Chapter Seventeen: Noose:
Haruka can feel the strain.
/The mother is back/, she thought. She could see one grim possibility already. She saw it in her family’s kitsune. They hadn’t really been eating the souls lately. They interacted with their masters less often. Even some of her cousins started losing their powers. Haruka didn’t like the signs. She picked up the phone and made a needed call.
“Hello?” a woman asked on the other line.
“Hitomi-chan!” Haruka said. The kitsune went quiet on the other line.
“Haruka-sama…” she murmured.
“Yes, my dear.”
“Please don’t make me kill again. I’ve moved on. I’m not going back there.”
Haruka chuckled. “No, no, no. I’m not calling for that.”
Hitomi froze. “Then, what is it?”
“I have a question for you, actually.”
“I have a little problem, you see. Our mother kitsune woke up.”
Haruka nodded. “I’m afraid so. That’s not the only thing.”
“How do you mean?”
“Our kitsune don’t seem to be eating the souls lately.”
“My sons can’t seem to command theirs anymore. Some of my cousins have lost control of their kitsune.”
“And you believe she’s causing this?”
“Before we get to what I think, I want your thoughts on this.”
Hitomi took a moment to think about it. “She might be trying to kill you all off slowly.”
“I knew it! Any reason why?”
Hitomi pressed her lips together. “Do you really want to hear what I think?”
“Should I just say it?”
“Okay then. She seems to be ending the curse.”
“She probably does not approve of the killings.”
“But why? Why now of all times?”
“I won’t know until I can contact her myself.”
“How long would that take?”
“Hard to say until I get a response.”
“So, how do we stop this?”
Hitomi paused at that question. “Give me a moment.”
Haruka waited on the other line. She heard the door on Hitomi’s end. Two people spoke to the kitsune teacher. Sounded like a child and his mother to be exact.
“It should be right here,” Hitomi said. “Hang on.” More footsteps came.
“Is this it?” she asked.
“Yes, thank you!” the boy cheered.
“Just be careful next time, alright?” Hitomi asked.
“Okay!” he said. “See you tomorrow!”
“Bye!” Hitomi said. Footsteps followed and then the door closed. The kitsune returned to the phone.
“Sorry about that,” she said. “One of my students left behind his favorite stuffed animal.”
“I see,” Haruka replied. “Now, about my questions.”
“Yes” her old friend said. “Have the kitsune and handler begun to merge yet?”
“No,” the old lady replied.
“There is still a chance,” she told her friend.
“How?” Haruka asked.
“Kill the handler and trap the mother,” Hitomi told her.
“How do I do that?” her friend asked.
“Are you doing anything Sunday?”
“I’ve decided to ride up there to Tokyo to pay you a visit.”
“Alright, I’ll see you then.”
“We’ll talk when you get here.”
“Bye.” After they hung, Haruka went to the kitchen and got herself some Hoppy.