Riding with the Burning Angels

A model of a Komatsu LAV in darkness Source: O My Car

Three teenage siblings drove out of a roadside Saizeriya in the middle of nowhere in a Komatsu LAV, headed north.

In the driver’s seat was Muro, the big sister of the three.

Muro had adorned an SDF-styled outfit sourced from a Lady’s Shop with some significant modifications throughout. It was a two piece outfit with shorts in purple and green, a green top with gold medals, buttons and two belts around her waist and on top of her exposed midsection. An aviator hat with goggles matched her blue eyes and long black hair, with a collar, stylized to look like the neck piece of a general’s coat. To complete the look, a wrist scrunchie adorned her left arm and a purple and green elbow band extended to her wrist on the right arm. Most importantly, she had giant reinforced green boots, from foot to her knee, quite capable of delivering superkicks with forté.

On the passenger’s side was Matsumi, the more sullen looking of the two girls. Matsumi was wearing a giant feathered, Ainu-inspired robe that covered most of her body but for her legs, blue hair with purple highlights, and purple eyes. She was also quite fond of her boots, black ones with navy blue knee pads and red trim.

Matsumi gave a side eye towards Muro while her affordable grilled ersatz squid was still digesting. “You know, when we were picking out outfits… was it really wise to let Mori pick for you?”

Mori, whose real name was Moritora, was two seats back, slumped over in his mesh, long sleeved shirt, giant belt and black jeans. His black hair and purple eyes would have given him a more unassuming appearance from the other two, despite a similar skinny frame, but for his side shaved haircut with floppy hair down one side.

Muro felt up to the challenge. “Matsumi, don’t be so mean. Moritora dresses nicely.” Matsumi rolled her eyes.

Undeterred, Muro continued, “He’s got a good sense of where to eat well on the road, and he likes to pick clothes that make me look good.” Muro capped that off with a gesture where she did a salute, then turned her saluting hand into a “V” over her eye with a goofy grin and a wink.

“Yes, he picked a fine outfit for a kobold to disembowel your completely unprotected belly.” Matsumi stuck out her tongue, revealing two glistening piercings. “Does our little brother want to protect you, or does he want to snuggle with you?”

Muro snickered. Moritora was pretending not to understand behind a very stern face.

“Okay, Matsumi.” Muro batted her eyes. “I shall pretend that you did not get a bondage-themed bikini with arm bands, biker gloves and boots completely-”

“Look, it’s business. We’re supposed to be the joshi princesses around the proving grounds, make the people respect us.” Matsumi reached behind her to get a lighter and a baseball bat covered with barbed wire. “And I came prepared.”

Moritora was lost in a Tetris Jr. machine sourced from their past travels, trying not to get involved in a conversation that he was almost sure to lose.

Matsumi was having none of that. “Mori, do you intend to fight in jeans?”

Moritora paused his game and spoke in a flat, dismal tone. “I wasn’t planning on fighting at all. And I don’t know what it is about this shirt that either of you like, I wanted to go out there shirtless with a pair of blue jeans.”

Muro smiled again. “I think you look very nice in that. And besides, you’re-”

Matsumi interrupted again. “Managing. Doing the talking while we do the real work. Least, I think you can handle that.”

Moritoria gave a long, audible sigh and went back to making a poorly considered move with a spinning T block.

Matsumi didn’t miss a step. “You keep sighing like that and you’re gonna die, you know that?”

Muro had enough of the low key bullying. “Leave him alone, Matsumi. He can take a break after planning out this trip for us.” She cleared her throat for emphasis. “And you should give him a break, or I’ll make you clean the car and do the laundry at the next stop.”

Matsumi raised her arms, opening the robe and gesturing like a preacher. “The glorious life of a hunter.”

It wasn’t much of a joke, but it was enough to make Moritora smile in the back.

“Fine, I’ll let the boy live.” Matsumi made half a heart with one hand, and Muro responded with the other heart.

With sibling rivalry defused, Muro wanted to steer the conversation towards their next destination. “So… Moss Bay, I hear they have quite a few princesses in the area.”

Matsumi played the part of the armchair expert, as she was keen to do. “A water company with more money than it knows what to do with, contract killers, demons, and princesses. Yep, the best of gentrified wasteland suburbia.” She paused to adjust her robe. “I think I’m going to hate it.”

Muro smiled. “You’re no fun!”

Matsumi gave Muro another look and a comically overdone pout. “But I guess there’s more left standing there than Tokyo. So… turf war with the local princesses?”

Muro quietly laughed. “You’re awful.”

Moritoria sensed that he had permission to speak. “There’s a hunter guild that was shut down long ago on account of lack of interest. We could probably roll in and see if it’s available.”

Matsumi rubbed her hands together. “Sounds ready for the taking!”

Muro pondered. “I don’t think we’d be able to run the same kind of business though. If hunters have decided Moss Bay isn’t worth their time, maybe we should look into something more popular?”

Moritora mumbled, “Kelpie racing…”

Without a moment’s notice Matsumi added, “Oh God! Yes, Kelpie racing in Moss Bay. We gotta check if anybody else has a claim on that.”

Muro raised an eyebrow. “Like horse racing? Is Moss Bay really into that?”

Matsumi declared, “Horse racing and horse girls are insanely popular. We gotta make dosh off of that. Right this instant!”

“And where would that put your dreams of introducing demons to the world of Joshi pro wrestling?” inquired Muro.

“Money first! Tables, chairs, and body slams later.” Matsumi beamed with a smile.

Moritora looked straight ahead into nothing, lost in the thought that he was going to be in for quite a bit of homework to make Moss Bay work with the three of them.

But for now, simpler problems than the girls. Like Tetris.