Nightcall - Chapter 1 - uanda - 呪術廻戦 (2024)

Chapter Text

I'm giving you a night call to tell you how I feel

(We'll go all, all, all night long)

I want to drive you through the night, down the hills

(We'll go all, all, all night long)

I'm gonna tell you something you don't want to hear

(We'll go all, all, all night long)

I'm gonna show you where it's dark, but have no fear

(We'll go all, all, all night long)

nightcall - kavinsky ft lovefoxxx

Curdling smoke drifts aimlessly through the morgue, an oppressive, gossamer filter that fails to hide the lifeless body splayed on the counter, covered only with a light sheet of threadbare cloth.

Undoubtedly, smoking in a morgue is shirking the rules, but the dead have no voice to complain, and mustering the energy to care about the consequences is not worth her precious time. Not when her friend lies before her, his skin desaturated, lips cracked, and fingernails bloodless.

The past couple of months had been a rollercoaster of anxiety, stress, and exhaustion: a combination that she once thought herself impervious to. Chain smoking twenty packs a day had done nothing, her body seemingly adjusting to the nicotine in protest. But here they were, finally, at the climax.

It’s humbling, realising that, at the end of the day, you’re as human as the rest, she muses distantly, the cigarette in her hand reduced to the barest nub.

Quiet rings incessantly through her eardrums, only disrupted by the vaguest hint of wailing, half-chewed sobs from the room adjacent – tiny lungs pushing, clawing through the walls, demanding to be heard. Nanami really drew the short straw there, though he’d done an admirable job in ensuring silence up until now.

The entourage that assessed the death, compiled of the Jujutsu Inspector General and a handful of available higher ups, had left mere moments ago to discuss their options, already arguing amongst themselves before the door had time to shut. That the Jujutsu Inspector General had bothered to inspect the corpse personally had blindsided Shoko, but it did little to curb her distaste as they harumphed over the body. The group had spared no expense in expressing their dismay that their star pupil had found the audacity to die, not bothering to speak to Shoko except to ask invasive, leading questions, such as, “Why weren’t you able to save him?”

It had been the longest five minutes of her life.

They’d accepted her word, in the end, because she had them over a barrel and they knew it. Healing was her medium, her life.

There was also no mistaking the scent – the nose never lies.

With empty, shaking hands, she pulls back the sheet ever-so-slightly.

Months of preparation and discussion hadn’t quite prepared her for the real deal: cloudy, vacant eyes meet hers expectantly, the broken mark on his neck shimmering, pearlescent. The wailing rises in pitch, as if cognisant of Shoko’s actions.

The pressure of the compounding secrets makes her feel like Atlas. But the nicotine has worked its magic, dulling her senses and easing her burdens a fraction – enough that she feels capable to see this through.

“You owe me for this,” she mumbles. With a crack of her knuckles, and those damning screams echoing through her, she starts.

Seated at the head of a lofty, cedarwood table, Suguru listens to his family confer avidly, secretly yearning for the days when meetings were solely at his discretion.

“… and our scouts report that they’ve successfully located the target. I believe the mission will be wrapped up soon.”

Larue hums. “The latest sweeps indicate this smaller taskforce is sufficient for rounding up stragglers. I suggest we continue with this method for the time being.”

A unanimous wave of agreement resonates throughout the room before Suguru provides his own, conclusive nod of approval. Larue inclines his head towards him – a concise but respectful bow.

“Is there an update on international outreach?” Miguel poses the question to Manami, who rifles through sheets of paper with a practiced ease.

“These are the responses we’ve received so far,” she asserts, plucking a document from the pile and passing it to Miguel. As the paper travels up the ranks to Suguru, she proceeds to name various potential sorcerers, grouped by their country of origin.

Subconsciously, in the bowels of his heart, he’d understood that their utopia for sorcerers would not be realised while he lived, that he and his commanders were merely laying the groundwork for the distant future.

As such, key elements of the idyllic world he’d imagined, like the mountains of paperwork that running a country produces, had been relegated to the backburner.

That is, until the calmly boiling pot suddenly, inexplicably, urgently boiled over.

Observing the list in his hand, Suguru smiles softly. Manami is the epitome of organisation: it’s a collection of all known internationally based sorcerers, with succinct notations on their capabilities, and, of course, the likelihood of their support. “This seems promising,” he notes, scouring the list for any recognisable names.

Only one stands out, jarring him from his brief sense of accomplishment:

Nanami Kento; Grade 1. Based in Malaysia.

No response. Unlikely to return.

Suguru understands. His junior had spoken highly of Malaysia in the past. If he had found his peace there, then Suguru wished him well. The memories the name sparks, however, brings a coldness to his limbs that is difficult to shed.

“We’ve also received replies from several international embassies. I’ve organised them into those that recognise our authority and are willing to partake in discussions with us, those that could be persuaded or have not yet responded, and those that are outright hostile. I believe it would be beneficial to strike while the iron is hot, ensure these eager parties witness us thriving so they report back to the naysayers.”

“What do you suggest?” Suguru says, as his thumb kneads tender circles into his forehead, fighting his blooming headache.

Manami takes the hint. “I have a few ideas,” she says, collecting her documents and shuffling them into a neat stack, “I’ll prepare a proper outline for our next meeting. If you’re willing, Heika, I think we can table any further items for this afternoon.” It’s a statement, not a question.

He graces her with a smile, the warmth of her concern soothing a touch of the coldness leeching his bones.

“Agreed,” he sighs. “We’ll reconvene at one.”

It’s decidedly unhelpful. He appreciates that the government cannot run itself, particularly in these fledging stages. But his family understands – they know Getou Suguru, the person, not Getou Suguru, the Tennou Heika, the Heavenly Sovereign. Without their support, he would be nothing.

His feet trail through grandiose corridors, guiding him back to his quarters.

After eradicating the majority of the monkeys in Japan, they’d claimed Tokyo’s Imperial Palace to be their new base of operations. A gorgeous structure, resplendent in its artistry and architecture, it had been wasted in the hands of those monkeys. Thankfully, he’d generously put it to better use: the Kyūden was his central Palace, and the f*ckiage Palace had been converted into a residence for children and students.

As part of his governmental reform, he’d declared that all underage sorcerers would stay in the Palace for their formative years, to be educated in the ways of jujutsu sorcerers. There was room for families to stay together too, if they so desired. Many of the old clans, or what remained of them, simply sent their children on their merry way, rankling under their new hierarchy, but Suguru was adamant that family units should be encouraged and preserved where possible. Several families had reacted positively to the proposal, and, overall, the f*ckiage initiative was shaping up to be a resounding success.

Suguru and his family, conversely, stayed in a restricted, reserved wing of the Kyūden, along with one other – his Minister for Health. Oftentimes, she was absent though, prone to accidentally falling asleep in the Hospital Wing.

As he makes his way down the corridor, he checks on the cursed spirits lingering there, guarding the wing. They chirrup at him, eager for attention, which he grants briefly before he continues on.

None of the residents of the wing, aside from Suguru himself, have been inside his designated room. There were many reasons why, but the most readily apparent was situated directly opposite the doorway. As he turns the latch, he shucks off his outer robe, dropping the silky fabric in a heap on the floor, and makes his way towards it, kneeling once he reaches his destination.

Lighting a stick of incense, he places it in its holder. Hands slide down to his knees, and his head unconsciously bows in a movement that is unbecoming of the rarified Emperor of Japan, the Alpha of alphas.

Statehood slides off his back, oil mixing with water.

“I’m exhausted,” he tells the shrine, rolling his neck to ease the stiffness in his limbs. “We’re making progress, but it’s slow. We need more sorcerers.” He laughs, brittle and sharp, before adding, “Or maybe one you.”

A wispy cloud coasts upwards in a grey, lazy spiral as the incense burns.

Suguru focuses on the image affixed at the top of the shrine, a photo worn and yellowing with age. His index finger hovers over the subject’s face, tracing their joyous, carefree smile. It’s a mimicry of him, reduced to a solitary picture frame.

The mark on his neck, healed to near completion as it is, remains hollow and inert, despite his endless pleas.

“It should’ve been me,” he whispers.

The shrine is as silent as his mark is, as it has been for a decade. There is nothing it can do for him.

Kneeling silently on the cold tiles takes him through lunch to his afternoon meetings. Pins and needles shoot through his legs as he stands, unsteady as a newborn calf, stomach revolting at the sudden movement. Ignoring his body’s cries, he picks up his discarded robe, slotting arms through billowing sleeves, before fixing his hair, ensuring the loose strands frame his face just so. From his cabinet, he takes the collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, seized from the cooling body of the late Emperor, and slides it over his head.

A glance in the mirror confirms his appearance is adequate. Inky tresses flowing down his body a striking contrast to the gold of the collar. Shoulders relaxed; chin held high.

Monarch façade firmly in place, he leaves.

“I think we need to work on your stamina more.”

Megumi manages a cutting glare in between breathless pants, brows furrowed ferociously. Unphased by the vitriol, Satoru grins. “Don’t you want to meet your full potential?”

The boy straightens, hands falling to his hips and chest puffing out as he desperately tries to regulate his breathing. Waspish, he retorts, “What do you think I’m trying to do?”

Satoru hums, eyeing off the large quantity of sweat dripping onto the grass beneath Megumi’s feet. “Maybe we should take a short break,” he says lightly, a twinge of guilt striking him when Megumi appears briefly crestfallen at the suggestion, though he covers it well. “We can keep going after lunch, ok?”

“Fine.” That’s my boy, Satoru thinks despairingly, wondering how he’d managed to raise such a frightfully serious child. He would’ve clicked better with –

Shaking his head, he stops the thought there, idle musings of what to make for lunch filling his brain instead.

Together, they trudge back into the house, meandering towards the kitchen. Their tiny cottage home is cramped for the likes of Gojo Satoru – who is doomed to duck under each entrance lest he accidentally smash the ceiling with Infinity – but it suits their little family.

Tsumiki, dutiful daughter that she is, is perched at the stove, stirring a bubbling metal pot. Smiling softly as they enter, she points at her delicious-smelling concoction and says, “I’ve just made some curry, are you two hungry?”

Drool pools in his mouth as he watches her spoon out portions of thick, hearty curry, his stomach grumbling violently. “Tsumiki, have you been holding out on me? Because I think you may be psychic."

Megumi pointedly makes eye contact with him before rolling his eyes. Tsumiki is kinder, however, giggling politely at his antics. Satoru walks around the kitchen table, dropping a kiss on the top of her head as he passes his eldest to grab a handful of spoons from the drawer.

He sets the table with flowery placemats to match the tablecloth, silverware and glasses laid out properly, before cupping his mouth and calling out to the final occupant of the house: “Lunch!”

There’s a suspicious clanking noise, followed by the thudding of tiny feet. Satoru’s Six Eyes track his youngest daughter’s dash to the kitchen with bemused concern.

Bursting into the cramped space, her petite frame is somehow larger than life. With dark pigtails flying and arms waving nonsensically in the air, she yells, “Here!”, as though they would have had no idea that she was present without the externalisation.

“Yes, we know,” is the flat response, courtesy of Megumi. “Sit down.”

Unbothered by his cantankerous attitude, she plonks herself next to him and gazes up at him, wide-eyed and vibrating with excitement. “Did you learn anything new today? Can you summon that snake? Can I train with you now?”

“Koko,” Satoru interrupts, and his youngest snaps to attention, grinning sheepishly. “If you ask him nicely, maybe Megumi will bring out the dogs for you to play with after dinner, ok?”

“Really?” she says, beaming up at an unimpressed Megumi, who refuses to return her determined, pleading gaze.

“You’ve gotta eat your dinner first, though, ‘kay?”

“Ok!” she sings, thanking Tsumiki for the meal before ripping up a piece of bread and dipping it into the curry, inhaling it with gusto.

Satoru turns his attention away from the family troublemaker to ask Tsumiki about her day, and she happily regales her captive audience with tales of her gardening exploits, pleased as punch that her trees are finally bearing fruit.

When they’d first moved here, Satoru had realised that ensuring consistent food production would be paramount: he had three hungry mouths to feed, not including his own, which required significantly more. They were isolated, living on a mountain in the middle of the countryside. Trips to the nearest village were sporadic, with Satoru occasionally venturing down alone for essential items. After the purge, it was the same: breaking into the villagers’ houses and collecting their scraps was useful, but it wasn’t sustainable.

Unfortunately, he did not enjoy the act of gardening. Having to wait for a virtual eternity for your desired outcome to eventuate was, fundamentally, boring.

Tsumiki, conversely, did. The garden was her personal playground, her space to explore and create. Over the years, she’d fashioned a beautiful, bountiful oasis, full to the brim with a vast collection of fruits and vegetables, bright, colourful flowers, and budding saplings. She tended to it daily, often assisted by Megumi and Koko, who would both spend hours listening avidly to her lectures on plant growth and seasonal harvests.

She was shaping into such a kind, patient alpha – he was a bit misty-eyed just thinking about her journey, her growth. It was as if one day, out of the blue, a fully formed individual had emerged from behind the veneer of pudgy cheeks and crooked, toothy smiles. A tear slides down his cheek at the thought and he sniffles, wiping it away with a flourish.

“Stop it,” snaps Megumi, giving him the stink eye from across the table.

Megumi,” Satoru whines, “what could you possibly be referring to?!”

“That. Whatever that is,” the boy says flatly. “Put that away.”

Satoru pouts dramatically as Koko giggles. “So mean to your old man!”

“Maybe if you were older, you’d be a bit more sensible,” Megumi grouses.

Tsumiki pats Satoru’s back consolingly as he wails.

Dinner ends without much fuss. Satoru stacks the dishes and washes up as the kids race outside, Koko demanding, “Doggies!”

The window above the kitchen sink directly faces the front yard, and Satoru watches the three keenly, his Six Eyes constantly scanning their immediate surroundings for any unusual activity. Though Megumi outwardly huffs, Satoru notes the softness in his expression as he obediently releases his Divine Dogs and Koko shrieks with delight. They romp and play together for a time, throwing sticks for the dogs to fetch until the last rays of sunlight curve below the skyline and Satoru summons them back inside for bed.

Time passes strangely in their little bubble.

Days slip by, endless and unforgiving in their dogged march – languid nothingness crossed with constant doing. The monotony of this simple existence grates on him at times. He’ll swing between stir crazy and calm in the span of an hour, edges frayed and held together with RCT and gaffer tape.

Pouring his energy into shaping Megumi into a capable jujutsu sorcerer helps. He’s made leaps and bounds in his training, excelling in utilising his cursed energy in inventive and efficient ways.

It’s becoming harder to restrain Koko from joining them, however. Evidently, she’s inherited his drive and self-possessed spirit, determined to show off her skillset and fight alongside her older brother. He’s aware that Megumi disagrees with him on this front, considering it hypocritical of him to ban her from training – which, to be fair, it is. They’d begun working on Megumi’s control over his shikigami when he was six, and Koko is nearly four years older than that.

But Megumi’s cursed technique is the Ten Shadows. Koko’s is not.

When the mood strikes him, though, he permits Koko to join in on their hand-to-hand combat sessions. It’s a compromise disguised as acquiescence, which Koko is fortunately too young to recognise.

That morning, they spar, Koko practicing her grappling with Megumi until the elder grows tired and pins her down, ending the match. Then, Satoru corrals her inside to do her daily homework – his woeful attempt to maintain their education – and begins the next segment of Megumi’s daily routine.

“Pull out your tonfa,” he states, “I want you to practice infusing them with your cursed energy.”

An hour or so passes like that, with Satoru making Megumi infuse objects to his satisfaction and testing their durability and power on fake dummies that had been prepared previously.

As Megumi beats another poor straw dummy with his tonfa, hacking it to pieces with precise and clinical movements, a strange whistling in the distance grabs at Satoru’s attention. Reaching out with his senses, he immediately locates his daughters: Koko is sitting up at the kitchen table, muttering curses at her textbook, and Tsumiki is in bed, reading.

A rustle in the trees, the birds squawking, discordant. Pricking his ears, he shifts his senses out further, reaching and reaching, but nothing stands out – no patches of cursed energy alight under his watchful Eyes. Nothing. Must’ve been an animal or something. Rolling his neck, he retreats, refocusing on his immediate surroundings, and moves to turn back to Megumi.

“Freeze.”

He halts, as ordered. The air around him stills, the only noise remaining being the subtle, wheezing inhales of his student.

Baffled confusion pours through him at the inexplicable statement. He’d sensed nothing. There had been no cursed energy, aside from the usual, within a 20-kilometre radius of the property.

Toji is dead, is his initial wild, panicked thought. Then reality dawns, and he realises that the tone of the voice sounded vastly different. Distinctly feminine, in fact.

Slowly, Satoru swivels to face the intruder. It is a woman – scentless and with a heavenly restriction, unless his Six Eyes deceive him. Which, he considers, they somewhat are, in failing to notice or respond to this apparent, deadly threat.

There’s one arm held securely around Megumi’s neck, pressing against his windpipe. The other wields a fearsome sword, the tip nudging against the bottom of his jaw.

If this woman is anything akin to Toji, then Satoru has to tread carefully, for Megumi’s sake. His ability to heal is noticeably lacking and Shoko isn’t here to patch his son up for him. Instinct, however, riots at the thought of rational appraisal. A smile splits his lips, sharklike and bloody.

“Can we help you?” he asks, casual as you please.

There’s a small scrunch of confusion in her expression, a flicker of wariness as she watches him, but she smooths it out and spits, “You’re curse users. I should just kill you and be done with it.”

Megumi scoffs. The intruder tightens her grip, and he gurgles in her grasp, arms pinned, unable to break free from the iron hold.

Satoru’s hands twitch. “Why haven’t you?” he goads, unable to resist the obvious opening. “I mean, you’re no match for me, but you could’ve killed him several times over. What’s stopping you?”

Lips baring in a snarl, the woman says, “On second thought, you’re right.”

Or she tries to, but her speech tapers off with a pained cry as Satoru lunges, twisting her arm with brutal efficient, yanking her clean off Megumi in one fell swoop. Hissing, she attempts to sweep his legs out from underneath him, but Infinity blocks her path, which only serves to rile her up more.

“Calm down,” Satoru says, unruffled by her clawing jabs, dodging each blow with ease. “We’re not curse users. Not sure where you got that idea,” he sidesteps as she swipes at him with her singing blade, “I mean, we’re living out in the middle of nowhere doing nothing! Yeesh!”

His rambling seems to hit its mark as she stops mid-swing, her sword aiming right at Satoru’s heart. Cheerily, he grins at her, subtly signalling to Megumi with a hand behind his back to retreat.

“You’re not one of them.” It’s phrased as a question, though her words are monotone, loaded with an underlying weight that confirms Satoru’s suspicions, clear as day. Her threat-level slides from average right down through to non-existent. He doesn’t have to look around to feel Megumi’s curiosity – obstinate Megumi, who has clearly refused to listen to reasonable parental demands.

Maintaining a sharp, easy smile, Satoru simply says, “No.”

Blinking, the woman suddenly steps back, lowering her sword a fraction. Removed from the explosiveness of kidnapping and battle, she seems younger than he’d thought, the stoniness of her face replaced with a mix of muddled emotions, her confidence draining away.

“I’m sorry,” she grinds out curtly, “but you can’t be too careful.”

“Of course not,” he agrees, nodding sagely. “Very pragmatic of you.” There’s a tiny squint to her eyes, as if she is searching for deception in his tone, but Satoru means it. He’s suitably impressed with her – a lone wolf on the run with nothing but her tactical ability and battle prowess to guide her. A part of him wants to test her, see how she performs, see if she’ll allow him to coach her, carve her into something stronger.

It would click so neatly into Megumi’s training as well, a peer to mock fight against, to prepare him for opponents that rely on physical strength and weapon prowess, as opposed to their cursed techniques. This intruder might yet be a blessing in disguise.

“Want to come in?” he says breezily, gesturing to the house. “It’s dinner time, actually.”

“What.” The girl stares at him, nonplussed.

“Aren’t we done with all the posturing? You might as well come inside for a minute.”

“Oh, I see,” she says with a certain finality, finally slinging her sword onto her back, “you’re a complete moron.” It’s matter of fact, as if she’s clocked the essence of Satoru and has garnered, in turn, that his threat to her is similarly negligible. Someone, likely Megumi, makes a noise, a choking cough.

Barking a laugh, Satoru doesn’t bother refuting her.

Heading inside, he calls out to Tsumiki and Koko, inviting them to join their new guest for dinner, confident she won’t refuse – who knows when she last had a cooked meal.

Megumi sidles towards to him, dark, darting eyes betraying his wariness towards their guest, who is in the prime position to attack their exposed, squishy backs. Satoru gives him a once over: no bleeding, minor bruises forming around the neck. Safe.

The boy enters the danger zone, and Satoru pounces. “Aw, Megumi! You survived your first scuffle!” Slinging an arm around his disgruntled child, he ruffles his hair furiously while Megumi spits and fruitlessly endeavours to shrug him off.

Tsumiki and Koko are in position already, with the usual four placements set out on the table. Their eyes grow concernedly wide as they examine the outsider, unused to foreign company as they are. The girl determinedly ignores them, sitting down when prompted, and Satoru moves to grab another dish for her. Lean and wiry, she barely takes up the width of her chair, elbows pointy and skin roughened with cuts and bruises. The black fringe covering her face in rippling shadows only accentuates her gaunt appearance.

Once everyone is seated, Satoru encourages the children to introduce themselves. They go round the table one by one, Tsumiki, Koko, Megumi, until they reach the newcomer, who, hunched over and glaring at her plate steadily, introduces herself as, “Maki. Just Maki.”

“And I’m Satoru, it’s nice to meet you!” he chirps, rounding off the introductions with a mock bow.

Maki’s features shift, drawing tight before widening with shock. “Satoru? Gojo Satoru?”

“That’s right.” It may be foolish, breaking his cover in such a way, but he can handle the consequences.

Instantly, Maki pales. In his periphery, he notes the children exchanging puzzled glances.

“Is that supposed to mean something?” says Megumi tersely. To the watchful eye, he’s obviously discomforted by an outsider in his space, back rigid and expression fastidiously neutral. A pulse of guilt flickers through Satoru, a shooting star fizzling down into his gut.

“I come from a well-known family in jujutsu society,” he explains blandly, picking at his soup. He grins at Maki, the warning implicit in his faux cheer. “A boring bunch of nobodies, really, not worth discussing.” She takes the hint, lowering her head and returning to silently contemplating her meal.

Megumi’s expression doesn’t shift, but he drops his gaze and starts eating without further comment. Redirecting the conversation after that proves easy when Satoru advises Koko that Maki is a trained fighter, gifted in sparring. She is, of course, immediately smitten with the composed teen, badgering Maki with questions in her usual rapid-fire manner and begging for her to train with them.

“Tsumiki doesn’t spar, it’s just Megumi and I – you should join us, it’d be fun! Dad knows so many cool tricks, and –” she prattles on, waxing on about how Maki would fit right in and would love it, please please please!

A line of tension, previously unseen, drains from Maki as Koko talks. The teen locks eyes with Satoru for a second, and he spies consideration reflected in those green depths, a touch of sympathy. Not breaking eye contact, she tilts her chin to the side infinitesimally, a delicate display of vulnerability. His lips curve minutely in acknowledgement.

“Not a fan of soup?” he queries lightly, halting Koko’s tirade. Maki stares at him impassively, but she draws a spoonful of soup to her mouth, sipping cautiously. It must meet her standards because after that initial, tentative sip she slurps the rest down fast, then openly watches as the others claim seconds, expression hesitant and hopeful.

Tilting his head towards the pot, he says, “Go for it.” Not needing to be asked twice, the girl hungrily ladles soup into her bowl before wolfing it down straight from the plate, spoon forgotten, earning her a disgusted grimace from Megumi.

Tsumiki glances at Satoru, concern shimmering in her brown eyes. Dropping Infinity, he grabs her hand underneath the table and squeezes once in reassurance, before pulling the technique back around him like a well-worn blanket. It does not go unnoticed, his scent blooming outwards in the precious few milliseconds it was permitted to, and Maki reacts as anticipated: her head jolting upwards and nostrils flaring, disbelief crossing her features.

“Can we play with the dogs again tonight, Megumi?” Koko begs, oblivious. Megumi startles slightly out of his forced nonchalance, darting towards Satoru in askance.

“Great idea, little one!” he cheers, clapping his hands warmly. “You and Megumi can take our guest outside now, if you like?”

Cheering, Koko drags Megumi by the hand, quickly clasping Maki’s also. Poor Maki, seemingly shell-shocked by the revelations of the night, is unable to resist the tugs and cries of an over-eager child.

“She seems interesting,” says Tsumiki. A clear icebreaker.

“Mm.” Satoru stands, stretching out his back before beginning to clear the table. “You know, Tsumiki, her glasses allow her to see cursed energy.”

“Huh?”

Out the window, Maki has her arms crossed defensively as Megumi is speaking to Koko. Nobody, it seems, is immune to the power of the Divine Dogs, however. They sidle up to Maki and lick her face – Satoru can hear her shouts of, “Hey! Back off!” – but sure enough, it morphs into exasperated laughter as she’s nuzzled to the ground by two attention-starved shadow dogs.

“The glasses are special,” he continues, “and she may even have a spare pair.” Pausing, he rinses off the dirty dishes, cogs turning swiftly in his mind, full to the brim with the possibilities. “I’d be more surprised if she didn’t, honestly. She’d need at least two sets if she’s operating alone.”

“You think she’d let me try them?”

“Can’t hurt to ask.” Detergent sluices off his hands as he rinses them, and he watches the water drain down, the bubbles stubbornly refusing to dissipate, settling on the surface in an explosion of white.

“I would love to see the dogs properly.” Beside him, Tsumiki marvels at the kids through the window, a certain form of hope clarifying in her expression. Cursed energy leaks from her in waves, a normal amount for a non-sorcerer, uncontrolled and uncontained.

“Sure, ‘Miki,” he says offhandedly, engrossed in the kaleidoscopic patterns her cursed energy is fashioning, mind racing. “You will.”

Nightcall - Chapter 1 - uanda - 呪術廻戦 (2024)

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