We haven’t found the nest, but I must say, the last five days have been rather good. Takeshi is more like himself, or at least how he was before Ana appeared in our midst. And today we had a laugh, something neither of us have done much of late.
Sil, a Mazikin who bears Takeshi intense animosity, adopted a new strategy, but it did not work out so well. Takeshi and I had discovered another altar in the basement of an apartment building, a bare metal bedframe with ropes tied to each corner post. The place was a bit small for a nest, and now we’re wondering if the creatures are possessing a few at a time before moving on. It might explain why we haven’t found them yet.
As we emerged from the stairwell, we came face to face with a man dragging a woman toward us. He looked like one of Takeshi’s countrymen, with thick black hair pulled back from his face, and he was massive, nearly as tall as I am and easily twice as wide, with broad, beefy shoulders and legs like columns of concrete. When he saw us, he dropped the woman and adopted a wide-leg stance, his arms out to his side, like a wrestler.
Takeshi started to laugh. “This is a new look for you, Sil.”
The Mazikin scowled at Takeshi’s instant recognition, but did not bother denying his identity. “I will crush you.”
Takeshi was nearly doubled over with the silliness of it. “You can try.”
Sil charged. Takeshi sidestepped him and brought his staff down across the Mazikin’s back. When the creature dropped to all fours and lunged for him again, Takeshi leaped in the air and ran over his back, landing on his other side.
While I escorted the limp, passive woman to a nearby empty apartment and instructed her to stay inside, Takeshi taunted the enormous Mazikin in Japanese while he thwacked him with his staff. Laughing the entire time, my Captain raced up and down the hallways of the building with the bull-like man charging after him on all fours. The sight was so comical that I started laughing, too. Sil had perhaps thought that a larger body would help him defeat us, but though Takeshi is fairly slight of build and stature, he is quick as a viper and devilishly clever.
Sil did not stand a chance. Finally, just after Takeshi ran by, I stuck out my staff and tripped the Mazikin up when he tried to follow. “Are you finished with him?”
Sil was sprawled on his stomach, panting for breath. Takeshi stared down at him, still smiling. “I suppose, but I truly don’t know if the two of us have the strength to drag this giant all the way to the dark tower.”
I remembered an imprisoned Mazikin, telling me that I could liberate the soul of a human if I killed the possessed body. “That’s fine. We can end him here.”
Takeshi sighed. “It’s a shame. This could have been his fatal error.”
I couldn’t regret it. I was imagining the soul of the poor man he’d possessed, flying free of the Mazikin realm.
Takeshi pulled his knife and leaned down. “It was a good try, to possess a sumo wrestler. And I suppose I will see you again.”
"Count on it," snarled the Mazikin. "And next time, maybe I will take your body."
Takeshi’s grin was cold. “That will never happen.”
He drew his knife across his enemy’s throat, and we watched the creature bleed to death.