When it was lunchtime, Mitsuo and I took our bento boxes and went up to the roof, as usual. It was cold and windy, so I drew out a circle to set up a barrier that kept the wind away and he placed jars filled with tiny fire Shikigami to act as heating lamps around us.
The Shikigami were shaped like tiny elf things. I’d captured them off sparks from a fire. The whole world was made of these creatures, and from spells and magic, it was just that most people weren’t aware. They danced happily in the jars, throwing off warm blasts of heat, fed by bits of wood I’d scraped from a tree.
“They went overboard again, huh?” I poked at Mitsuo’s bento box. It was one of those huge, fancy three-layer ones. The traditional kind that people rarely saw anymore. Each layer was filled with overly elaborate and expensive dishes that he was too embarrassed to eat in the classroom. The carrots were actually carved into a lotus flower, for gods’ sakes.
Mitsuo sighed, resigned. “What do you have?”
“Hamburger.” I said, poking at the meat with my chopsticks. “Akira re-fried some frozen patties so it’s a little charred on the sides.” He’d also used the seawood to make a very, very rough figure of me on the rice with red pickles for my hair. Akira had obviously been extremely sleep-deprived when he made this.
“You have the best lunches.” Mitsuo said with his chopsticks sticking despondently from his mouth.
“…Okay.” I picked out the charred bits and made sure the burger wasn’t raw on the inside. “Trade you the fried shrimp for my eggs.”
“So, the new guy.” Mitsuo said, picking out bits of crabs from his vegetables. “Was he the one with the Inugami you saw before?”
“Maybe. Probably. I think so.”
“Might not be him.”
“It better be.” It was that or there were two Inugami out there and that was just…yeah.
Mitsuo took some of my pickles, “Remember that YouTube video, the one where this girl calls herself the Inugami goddess and there were windows breaking and it apparently killed all those chickens? He didn’t do that, I mean, he wasn’t like that. The Inugami wasn’t…evil or anything. It didn’t feel violent.”
“That was fake.” But he made a good point. Inugami weren’t supposed to be calm, and just like that night this one had been, even all through class, nothing more than heavy pants and the occasional tongue swiping over a nose.
“Think he’ll be trouble?”
I sucked sauce from the tips of my chopsticks. “I think he’ll cause it.”