The light of the full moon shined in through the window, illuminating the small room more than the blue fire candles could. Each candle sat at the tips of the pentagram, the sigil made not with the blood of man, but with the ashes of those who fell against the great evils of the world, those who would give their whole lives to the cause. Lavender incense filled the room, ready to soothe the inevitably angry demon that would burst forth from this ritual. Everything was set, everything was ready…
Well, except for the fact that the summoner was called away, leaving MAGIC to watch over it in her stead. “Don’t try to summon it without me,” Tamia said before she left, waggling a finger at the donut-munching kitsune. “It is far too dangerous for someone like yourself! Wait until I return, alright?”
That was about, say, an hour ago. One full hour. And there was only one full hour until the New Year, according to MAGIC’s handy-dandy tablet. She prepped for this by buying as many donuts as she could with her meager allowance, ready to share them under the light of fireworks, but… Well, now she’s here, getting crumbs all over the sigil. Not like it’d make a major difference, right?
She tried all sorts of ways to distract herself: transforming into various Kobbers, playing as many mobile games she could on her tablet, watching cute dog videos… By the time she was done, it was 10 minutes to 12, and Tamia still hadn’t returned. And she was the one who emphasized that this ritual HAD to be done at 12 on New Years. Too early, and the demon wouldn’t even come. Too late, someone else might have summoned him.
“Well, someone could have summoned him at midnight in Japan, and we’d still be in a pinch!”
Sadly, Tamia did not listen to MAGIC’s sound logic. Maybe because her brain exploded. Maybe. Either way, MAGIC stared at the sigil, looked back at the time, looked at the sigil, and did some finishing touches. If a demon’s gonna come out of it, it’d be rude not to leave an offering of a donut in the middle, right? Hopefully, they like chocolate!
5 minutes. No Tamia. MAGIC peered out the window, hoping to see any sign of her. What kind of errand was Tamia on, anyway? Must be important if she was gone this long.
4 minutes. She couldn’t wait any longer: the young kitsune placed her toes at the edge of the sigil and began to channel magic into it, a dim red light emitting from the sigil and slowly becoming brighter.
3 minutes. She didn’t really know what, exactly, Tamia was chanting when she did her summons, but MAGIC sure tried her best to copy it. Demons love chants, apparently.
2 minutes. The sigil’s light lit the whole room, the moon’s light now tinged a blood red. The flames on the candles danced feverishly, MAGIC still chanting under her breath. 1 minute, she could feel the mana all around her, all the power swirling, seeking an out. It was this power that would serve as the conduit for a demon’s arrival. 30 seconds, Tamia is all but forgotten as the whole room shook around the little kitsune. It reminded her of the Halloween House, and, for a moment, she wished she was summoning Samhain instead.
10 seconds. MAGIC broke into a sweat. Could she do it? Could she summon the fabled Even-Yeared demon? She opened her mouth, unsure of herself. Tamia was the one who did these things, not her. Tamia wasn’t here, though. She was just a worse Tamia, wasn’t she?
Maybe. But someone had to do it, for the safety of their village, of their home.
“From the depths of Relgion,” MAGIC boomed, steeling her nerve and shoving her fears back as best she could, “I summon thee, Satoshi Nakamura, the Five-Eyed!”
The magical power surged right at midnight, lightning crackling all around MAGIC. It was only for a few seconds, but it felt like an eternity before it finally dissipated, revealing a man in the middle of the circle. His long, brown hair flowed behind him as a cold wind passed them by, putting out the candles around the sigil. Slowly, he opened his eyes, staring at the one who beckoned him to this plane.
“From the depths of Relgion, I have come,” he said slowly, his gaze piercing through her very being. “For what purpose have you summoned me?”
MAGIC didn’t say anything for the longest time. She didn’t even notice his irritated look. Slowly, she raised a clawed finger up at his head, the biggest grin spreading on her face as she spoke at last.
“You have a donut on your head!” was possibly the worst way to greet a demon you summoned, especially accompanied with a fit of laughter. “Oh wow, I put a donut on the sigil cuz I thought you’d be hungry but it’s on your head, oh my gosh ahahaha”
The demon stared at her before plucking the donut off of his head and taking a bite out of it. Then stared some more.
After a pregnant pause, he said, “It’s an unusual way to greet a demon.”
“I thought it was the best way,” MAGIC said, crossing her arms and huffing. “Everybody likes food. What kinda demon doesn’t come over for food?”
“Surprisingly many,” Satoshi admitted after taking another bite of his snack. “They would rather come for power. But I digress.” He looked her in the eyes, his tone serious as he said, “I ask again, for what purpose have you summoned me?”
MAGIC gulped, but she tried her best to hide her fear. Demons can smell your fear… Maybe? Or maybe that was dogs? “Uh, um, I summoned you to… uh, help me sample this bakery’s goods?”
The demon quirked an eyebrow. “Truly? One usually does not summon a demon for such.”
“Hey, they’re devilishly good!” MAGIC retorted… though really, she just blurted the first thing that came to mind. “Bound to trigger all seven of your sins or your money back!”
The way Satoshi stared at her made her feel uncomfortable. Was he judging her? Was he mad? She couldn’t tell, as he had a perfect poker face. He stared for the longest time. She stared back, and realized something: he only had two eyes. Where were the other three?
Finally, he closed his eyes and said, “As much as you’d wish it to be the case, I know that is not why you called for me.” Her eyes widened as he continued, “I see your fear, clear as day. It is the same fear most summoners have upon their first true summon. They call upon a force that’s hardly their own, something they cannot control, something with their own thoughts and feelings. That very force could be capricious, demand more than what the summoner can give, twist the summoner’s desires into something more foul, more in line with their way of thinking. A force stronger than your own is keener to manipulate things to their own ends than to aid you in your quest.
“That fear stops most from summoning, but others, like yourself…” Satoshi raised a hand and pointed at MAGIC as he continued, “there is always something motivating you to move past such fears. A reason far stronger than a date for donuts.” He opened his eyes again, and, quietly, he asked, “So once more, I ask of you… For what purpose did you summon me?”
Was it possible to be afraid of being afraid so openly? MAGIC wasn’t sure. She struggled to think of something, anything…
With a heavy sigh, she replied, “I… I need you to protect my friends, my family… Everyone on Chengde.” Her thoughts flashed back to a time of blood and flame, her own people dying before her very eyes as they fought the hordes of demons the Black Witch conjured, Tamia grabbing her and whisking her away before the demons could claim her. “I lost a lot of friends and family before… not only me, but so many other people, too. I don’t want anyone else to suffer like that, not anymore. But I…” Her eyes began to water, her throat throbbing with pain as she forced herself to say, “I don’t know if I can do it alone! So please…”
It was strange. From how Morgan and Tamia explained it, MAGIC feared that she had summoned a cackling demon that demanded much for his help, like blood and sacrifice. So to see the demon she summoned smile gently at her and hold out his hand… It was a little weird. Morgan did say that not all demons were all blood and gore, so maybe MAGIC should have expected this more.
“I understand,” Satoshi said. “I shall protect all you hold dear, and in turn, I ask for home, food, and drink. If that is enough, then take my hand, and seal our contract.”
She hesitated a little as she held out her hand… then grasped his hand firmly, suddenly filled with resolve.
“I, MAGIC, hereby make a contract with you, Satoshi!” she said, though it sounded a little stiff. She cleared her throat and tried again, “You and I are gonna be best buds and kick some butt! And eat everything on the mainland! And then some!”
Satoshi’s smile faded just a little bit into concern. “Um, surely not in one day… correct?”
“Maybe in one day, if I’m really hungry. Maybe not if I ate a giant Thanksgiving spirit beforehand, though! Man, those are pretty filling!”
If Satoshi wasn’t shocked before, he was now. “You ate a what?”
“Oooh, that’s a good story! Well, it all started when Krampus-“
Before MAGIC could go too deep into her embellishment of the Big Bad Turkie Day, the door behind her creaked open as she heard someone say, “Sorry I’m late, MAGIC! I’m ready to perform the ritual-“
MAGIC turned around and saw Tamia with an armful of groceries. Groceries that she just dropped as her cheer turned into fear. The young kitsune looked over at Satoshi, then realized she was still holding his hand… and let go just to attempt some patty cake. Unfortunately, it was impossible to play patty cake with someone with a donut in one hand, one that he was casually finishing off.
Tamia stared and stared and stared… and then…