The first few months that Johan spends in the Gravina family manor are a blur of doing the wrong thing at the wrong time while saying the wrong thing to the wrong person in the wrong place, but his uncle assures him that he’ll settle into his role in time. Serving as Young Master Hugo’s valet is an important responsibility, after all. Does Johan think he was chosen lightly? Well, then.


The Conquests of Dr. Victor Alazon

“My laboratory assistant?”

Dr. Victor Alazon – Technician of the Shadowed Corpse, rightful resident mad scientist of Egova, and the greatest scientific mind of his generation (perhaps of any generation) – stared down at the tow-headed boy who had shown up on his doorstep.

That alone was a noteworthy event. When one lives in a gloomy castle atop a hill that is prone to thunderstorms, visitors rarely stop by for tea and cakes. In point of fact, Victor had not received a single guest in the six years since he inherited Duskspark Castle.

But even this boy had not shown up for tea and cakes. He had come seeking employment.


A Day in the Life of an Onmyouji (榊先生の日常)

Ame no Shoubumei no Mikoto once quarreled with his sister, Enkanushi. In her fury, Enkanushi called forth a great tidal wave, intending to crush Yasukou Province, home to Shoubumei’s head shrine. Before the great wave fell, Shoubumei apologized and presented sacred sake as a peace offering. Enkanushi accepted, and spared Yasukou.


Shoubumei’s Requital (神の恩返し)

At all times of the day and in all seasons, a thick ring of fog embraces Yasukou Taisha, encircling the shrine grounds like a living sacred rope. In the early morning and on rainy days, the mists breathe out beyond the grounds, and even the little hokora shrines at the foot of the stone steps wear veils of dew.

The mountain is evergreen, though few of the plants themselves are. Drifts of spiraea blanket the feet of black pines. Plum and cherry–in full-bloom and heavy with fruit–stand behind trembling curtains of wisteria. Curiosity seekers hear of these wonders and arrive bursting with excitement, and leave feeling unsettled.

Sakaki Manabu paused to add one of the plums, heavy as a stone of similar size, to his basket. It would regrow by sunrise the next morning.


No One Said It Would Be Easy

I hate scavenging apartments–enclosed spaces in general make the back of my neck itch these days–but I’m low on dog food, and the nearest grocery store has zombies in its shattered front windows.

This particular block is in good condition, with most of the doors ajar or at least unlocked. Places like this tend to be zombie-free since their occupants fled before their delicious, meaty smell could attract the undead hordes. On the other hand, they also tend to attract humans, who can be a bit territorial.

Which explains the hunting knife now kissing my carotid artery.


Left Alone at the Altar

by Kikuchi Makoto (菊池 誠) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/45109.html) I was forced to admit that something wasn’t quite right when I nearly burst into tears during the Eucharistic Prayer. It almost surprised me–I hadn’t considered myself to be particularly depressed or miserable–but somehow, looking out over the congregation, I felt a sudden weight of loneliness settle over […]


The Two Chivalrous Warriors of Skill and Gracefulness

translated by Kikuchi Makoto (菊池 誠) [1] (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/42097.html) Chapter 37 – The Jade Zither Scholar Subdues an Intruder; The Wanderer of Jiang Nan Springs a Trap in the Wine-Scent Pavilion Liu Qing Hua leapt up and exchanged three stances with the intruder before the last note of the qin had faded. Although the lantern […]



by Kikuchi Makoto (菊池 誠) (mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/5353.html) If you have any magic in your family, and even if you don’t, it is likely that you have heard of Morus University. Like most old and traditional schools, Morus does not admit girls. Unlike most old and traditional schools, however, age is not so very important. Students […]