February 8, 2012
8:05 a.m. (which is 2 hours after the attack in London began)
It had been a slow and quiet night on Hokkaido. The past days and weeks had been dominated by more work on the mansion and people had enjoyed the quiet nights that followed every day. She had overslept herself, which was unusual for her. Minami never overslept. Well, maybe not ever, but certainly not often.
As she stepped out of the bedroom she could hear the fortress, as everybody called it, awaken around her. Most likely many of the people, and that was using that term very loosely, had already been awake hours ago. Guards were out on patrol, watching the perimeter. Maids and cooks had to get up early to prepare the breakfast for everyone.
Maids, cooks, guards. The thought made her feel uneasy at times. Minami was born into post-war muggle Japan. She knew very little about having people working for a household and what she knew came primarily from muggle TV shows and movies. Muggle. That was another thing she was still trying to get used to. It was discriminating, of course, but at least the Nikaidô seemed to have accepted her non-wizard heritage. Her fiancé had explained to her how some clans tried to keep the bloodline pure, whatever that meant, while others freely bred with muggles.
She had been part of this world for several months now, but there were still many things she wasn't used to just yet. Luckily the Nikaidô were as muggle friendly as they were, so there was some measure of normality to it.
Normality, like the TV set in the living room. It had given her some comfort in times of utter confusion. Though, right now she wasn't looking for comfort, but was rather looking forward to another fifteen minute chapter of the national broadcaster's asadora, literally morning drama, a 150-odd episode series that lasted around half a year and had been an institution on the channel before Minami had been born.
After finding the remote on the small table, Minami pushed the button and the screen came to life. However, what she saw there was not a scene from 'Carnation', but rather a newscaster. For a second she wondered if she had started up the wrong channel, but after flipping through several of them Minami realized that these news were everywhere.
As she watched she began to realize that something wasn't right. “Honey,” she called, “you need to see this!”
She heard the outer door opening and then closing. A cold breeze rushed in, through the bedroom and into the living room, but it was gone as quickly as it had appeared. Nikaidô Takeshi appeared in the door that connected both rooms to each other. He had gotten up earlier than her, he always would. Somewhere in the back of her mind she registered that he was bare chested and his muscles were glistening with sweat. He would always spend one or two hours in the morning working out and training his casting technique, as he called it. Normally, Minami would forget his other qualities at such a point and listen more to her carnal desires, but not today.
Today everything was different.
“What is it?” Takeshi said and Minami pointed at the screen. That was all she had to do. He was about to say more, but what he could read and hear prevented more words to form in his mouth.
“...have been attacked by what witnesses described as 'werewolves'. Dozens of videos have appeared on the internet and social media has gone viral with videos, photos and first hand accounts. Whether this is a hoax, an aggressive marketing campaign or actually authentic has yet to be seen.”
The insert changed and stated that these attacks had began almost two hours ago.
“That's terrible,” Minami said. “I'm worried about Rika and Mayu, are they safe?”
After a few seconds Takeshi grunted an agreement. It took a few more seconds before he realized Minami's question. “They're further up north, in Hogwarts. They should be safe there.”
While the woman on TV continued with updates and information, Takeshi let the facts settle in. The image painted by this data wasn't pretty. It was absolutely horrifying. “This is bad,” he said suddenly.
“I know,” Minami replied. “Those poor people.”
“What?” he said. Then he realized that she had been talking about the people who were under attack by those creatures. “Oh, yes. But this is much worse.”
“I told you about the ministry here in Japan. How they operate units of wizards with only one duty: to contain such outbreaks. They make the muggles forget they had ever seen a wizard casting a spell. This,” he pointed at the TV, “they can't contain.”
Minami swallowed audibly.
“How did it spread? With the internet?” When she nodded he continued. “A lot of wizards, if not most of them, don't even know the internet exists. They have no understanding of muggle culture or technology. Some schools teach subjects like muggle studies, feeble attempts of understanding those who lack the gift. They focus on things like cars or rubber ducks, but have no clue about the true potential of the muggles.” Takeshi shook his head. “The muggles overtook us in technology many years ago. It's a miracle that we haven't been found sooner.”
“But there has to be a way.”
Once more he shook his head. “Soon videos will appear of how humans with sticks in their hands were fighting the werewolves with what can only be described as magic. And then the cat will be out of the bag and nobody will be able to put it back in. What do you think will happen then?”
Minami hesitated. “If there are wizards in Britain, then people in other countries will think there are wizards in theirs too.”
“Exactly,” he agreed. “One muggle can be told about it. One muggle is a rational being. A horde of scared muggles is a superstitious, violent mob. There will be murder in the streets, lynch mobs going after anyone who seems to carry a wand.”
“We have to do something.”
But what? There was only one thing to do. Two things really. Takeshi stood up and opened the door to the corridor. “Guard!” he bellowed and one of them, who had been patrolling the interior, rushed quickly towards the voice.
“Sound the alarm. Assemble everyone. There will be a briefing about recent events and our course of action.”
“Yes, my lord!”
As the man rushed to perform his duty, Takeshi looked at his fiancee. “And the clans must meet. Gods, if they're not completely dumb and deaf they should already be flocking to Osaka.”