Disclaimer: None of the characters are mine, but belong to their respective owners.
Amy Madison was in a mess: the magic was gone. Well, not metaphorical magic, but the literal one: Buffy the senior Vampire Slayer had smashed a certain sort of a super-magical seed with her scythe, and the magic was gone from the world, more or less. Warren, in particular, was gone, and Amy was not happy.
Unfortunately, without her magic she was also unable to do anything about it – successfully, that is. Doing something unsuccessfully, on the other hand, just wasn’t to Amy Madison’s liking: there had been just too many failures in her past to add yet another one in the present. But her final failure, well, that still rankled. A lot.
And so, when the ghost of a rather Oriental-looking gentleman appeared in Amy’s apartment sinking through the ceiling, Amy was rather startled.
“Amy Maitland?” the ghost asked with a noticeable accent, but his English was quite fluent.
“Yeah,” Amy muttered crossly, deciding that there wasn’t any way that she could protect herself if the ghost decided to launch an attack, so any precautions were useless. “And who are you?”
“Hyuuga Hizashi is at your service,” the ghost said with a rather courtly bow, “though in reality it is I who has a favour to ask.”
“I’m listening,” Amy said quietly, deciding that she didn’t have anything to lose by listening to the ghost.
“It has all started – with my death, I suppose,” Hizashi said uncomfortably. “My son...he’s so young...he didn’t take it as well as I hoped. And a wish-granting oni took an advantage of it. She had cast a rather terrible curse upon my entire clan, transforming them all into rat hengeyokai, not unlike yourself.”
“How terrible,” Amy said flatly, not quite agreeing that her misadventure with rats caused her to develop a sort of empathy towards them, besides other qualities. “Still, it isn’t quite the end of the world. I’ve heard of the wish-granting vengeance demons, and their powers can be broken-“
“That particular oni, alas, is already dead. Alas, I say, because with her demise the curse upon my clan has not lifted, which makes me suspect that the powers higher than that oni may feel that my clan is... deserving of that curse.”
“And you?” Amy asked shrewdly, aware that it was Hizashi’s death that started the whole process.
Hizashi didn’t reply, but rather he looked away – for the first time since their encounter. That told even Amy (who wasn’t the most observant young woman in the world) quite a bit. “So, what do you want me to do?” she asked, unwilling to press Hizashi just yet (not without her powers, at any rate). “I’m not the best witch at breaking curses, nor the most powerful one. I can give you the address of one Willow Rosenberg, who will help you with breaking of the curse-“
“No,” Hizashi shook his head. “I want your head. I feel that you’re the best hengeyokai in your neighbourhood who will help my clan, perhaps precisely because you’re not the best nor the most powerful magician in your land.”
“Really?” Amy narrowed her eyes. “Fancy that! Very well, I’ll go to your country and see what I can do. You have a deal.”
“Splendid!” Hizashi clapped his hands in excitement. Immediately, a wormhole of some sort appeared beneath Amy’s feet and she dropped into it.To be continued...