The Long Road to Heaven
Breaking Up is Hard Enough 3
Terrence feels a cold shiver pass through him as whatever was controlling the dead body passes through him. He returns back to the hotel to meet with his team.
With Seamus’ help, they research cases of unusual deaths the past few weeks. The first seemingly related death occured a week before the Scions arrived. Then a few weeks after that, and a few weeks after that. There doesn’t seem to be a pattern with the time or the locations. Taylor does notice something unusual about the newspaper articles. He asks Seamus to blow up the pictures from the newspapers, and they soon discover that the tourists from the modeling show were at every crime scene, in the background. Their faces are blurred but the outfits are the same, that of Minnesotan tourists.
Nodame & Taylor call up Leo to ask for his help. He says he’ll look into it, grumbling the entire time.
The next morning, Terrence breaks into Taylor’s room at a god(s)-forsaken hour and drags him, naked, into the hotel pool. Tossing him in, he tells Taylor that his training begins now.
Nodame decides to do a bit of research of her own, taking what little information they have gathered and bringing it to an expert. Karma makes an appointment with a local librarian working at the Japanese Studies library.
Talking with the librarian, she learns that what she’s describing is an Onryo, the spirit of an abused woman that had been murdered by her husband. It rises from the dead seeking vengeance against its killer. Typically though, they are satisfied after one or two deaths, but this one doesn’t seem to be stopping. And possessing dead bodies is odd as well.
Nodame asks for banishment or entrapment rituals, which the librarian does not have. He sends her (reluctantly) to someone who might be able to help. Nodame takes a cab to a sketchy part of town, to a run down neighborhood. The house she is sent to is run down, with a dead lawn and broken windows. Paying for the taxi to wait there, she goes up to the front porch. She knocks on the battered door, which opens up with a loud and slow creak. She walks in.
Inside, the house is in pristine condition. It has the decor or a 70s home, but with an Asian tint to it. The furniture is all clean and neat, as are the knick knacks strewn around the house. In the living room is an old Asian lady with a walker. Her silver grey hair is tied up in a bun and she’s wearing an old kimono. She welcomes Nodame and invites her in to the kitchen for tea.
While the old woman prepares the tea, she activates her knack insert title here to see whether the old woman is a Scion or not. She is not, but Nodame suspects she is more than human.
Nodame asks the old woman for information on rites that could help them out with the Onryo. The old woman says she has just the right scroll, but that there is a cost. She tells Nodame that she will request a single boon in the future. Nodame will be given the chance to reject her first request, but must complete the second one. One boon, for the incantation that will banish the Onryo.
Nodame contemplates the request, and agrees.
The old woman hands Nodame an old scroll with Japanese writing and images on it, and wishes her well. She takes Nodames empty tea cup and says, “Wait one moment.” She begins to read the tea leaves in Nodame’s cup. She says, “The Onryo is not an ordinary case of vengeance. There are other forces manipulating it, making it even more dangerous than usual. You’ll have to deal with them before you can properly send the Onryo to the other side.”
Terrence goes to talk with the young boy they rescued. Talking with the social worker, Mary Sunshine, he finds out that he has no other family and will most likely be put into a boys home until a foster family can be found. Terrence talks to young James (Bucky) Grayson, and discovers that he sees Terrence as a superhero. Terrence seems to take a liking to the young lad.
Getting back to the hotel, Nodame gets a call from Leo. He tells her that the blurred shapes are indicative of a shapeshifter of some sort, but without more information he can’t narrow it down. Nodame thinks it has something to do with her pantheon, what with the Onryo being involved. Leo asks how she figured that one out. Nodame tells him he went to see the old woman.
Leo goes, “Oh. Why’d you go see her?”
Nodame answers, “We just didn’t think of you.”
Leo, sounding mildly offended, says, "Well then, you’re probably dealing with Yokai, demons that cause mischief, but the more they cause the more dangerous their “pranks” become. They can shapeshift into almost anything. So yeah, have fun with that."
The others look at Nodame and shake their heads at having her insult their informant. They then decide that their next step should be to scout abused woman’s shelters and to hack the police computer system to see if there are any domestic abuse reports that may lead them to the next potential victim of the Onryo.
Time to do some patrolling!