Disclaimer: I do not own "Hareluya II Boy" or "Vendetta." This story is a work of fan fiction. No profit is being made from it.
Author's Note: The crystal skull in this story is based on the Mitchell-Hedges skull. Tests carried out in 2008 indicate that the skull was probably carved in the 1930's. However as Hareluya II Boy is set in 1997 said tests would not have been carried out yet.
Hibino faced off against his opponent with his usual smug smile. Without hesitation he charged and threw a mighty kick. The opponent tried to react but he was too slow.
"Goal!" Hibino roared as the ball flew past Ichijou and right into the makeshift net they had made out of a tarpaulin from his father's old shed. Ichijou hit the ground face-first and Hibino laughed gleefully.
Yamana was watching from a few feet away. "That's two-nil to Hibino" she said cheerfully. "Ichijou has four tries left."
"Ha, it could be forty tries and he still won't get the ball past Ore-sama" Hibino gloated.
"Why did I suggest this?" Ichijou muttered as he got up and dusted himself off.
It had seemed a good idea at the time. The three of them had been walking home from school and as usual Hibino was complaining he was bored. Ichijou had suggested they play soccer behind Hibino's father's church. There wasn't enough room for a proper game but they could have a penalty shoot-out with Yamana acting as referee and scorekeeper.
Hibino took his place in goal, still grinning broadly. Ichijou fumed as he mentally swore to wipe that grin off his face.
Sensing the rising tension Yamana said, "remember it's just a game."
Normally that would be enough to calm him down, but today something about Hibino's taunts was getting to Ichijou. He booted the ball as hard as he could, launching it like a cannonball.
Hibino kicked it harder. The ball was sent flying up into the air and…
All three of them winced at the sound. A second later they heard Hibino's father Harebane yelling from inside the church. "Hareluya!"
"Again!" Harebane exclaimed. "Again you've broken one of the church's windows! The first time I was willing to let you off with a warning, but not this time."
"Lighten up old man" said Hibino casually. "It's just an old window."
"Old window?" Harebane repeated. "This is God's house!" He calmed himself with an effort and continued. "I was talking to Mitoguchi-san earlier and he told me that some of his staff have come down with food poisoning. You Hareluya, are going to work for him and earn the money to pay for repairs."
"Ha! Ore-sama is nobody's lackey" Hibino scoffed.
"If you don't, I will call the okonomiyaki restaurant and tell them not to serve you" said the priest, a dangerous look in his eyes.
Hibino blanched. "Y, you wouldn't dare!"
He sighed. "Okay fine."
"Good. I'll go and call Mitoguchi-san to let him know."
As he walked off Ichijou turned to Hibino. "I'll help" he said remorsefully. "This was my fault as well."
"I'll help too" said Yamana kindly.
Hibino shrugged. "Ore-sama is glad to have such good followers."
Ichijou and Yamana both heard the unspoken "thanks" and smiled.
The next day they arrived at the Mitoguchi's museum. The kindly old curator greeted them at the entrance hall.
"Hello my young friends" he said.
"Hello Mitoguchi oji-san" said Yamana with a warm smile.
"Good to see you again Mitoguchi ji-san" said Ichijou.
Hibino muttered something. It's all right for Ichijou and Yamana, they like this boring place he thought. Ore-sama has better things to do than hang around broken old pieces of junk.
Seeing his reluctance Mitoguchi said, "relax Hibino-san. I'm sure that after a little while you'll really enjoy working here."
Hibino snorted but said nothing.
"Before we start let me show you all something very interesting" said the curator. "My newest exhibit."
He led them through the museum until they came to a glass case. Inside was a piece of clear quartz carved into a likeness of a human skull.
"Now this is a fascinating piece. While there are other crystal skulls in existence this one is unique in its craftsmanship. So far scientists have been unable to determine how old it is or where it was crafted. A collector would pay thousands of yen for it."
"Hibino" Yamana said warningly as she noticed the eager look that appeared on his face.
He was surprised but quickly composed himself. "Ah, Ore-sama was just thinking how good it will be to have such a fine item on display" he said.
"Quite right Hibino-san" said Mitoguchi obliviously.
At that moment three unsavoury-looking figures were casing the museum up from an alleyway across the street.
The first was dressed as a biker, wearing a studded black leather jacket, matching jeans, boots and fingerless gloves. He had blue eyes, a shock of blond hair on either side of his head and a small goatee. Most alarmingly he carried a huge circular saw. His name was Buzzsaw Bravado.
The second was a giant of a man with a mane of unkempt black hair that obscured most of his face and a matching beard. He wore a sleeveless grey vest, heavy black boots and green jeans with a brown belt. Around his wrists were steel cuffs with broken chains hanging from them. He was known only as the Missing Link.
Finally there was a large beefy man in magenta jeans, combat boots and a studded leather jacket. Leather bands went around his wrists. Bizarrely he was carrying a boat anchor. His name was Cruel Kurt.
"Remember, Faust wants the crystal skull" said Buzzsaw. "The museum's closed today so we shouldn't have any trouble."
"Pity, I'd like to crack a few heads" Kurt replied with an evil grin.
"Me too" Missing Link agreed.
"Don't worry. There's bound to be a few cleaning and maintenance guys. I'm sure we'll get to have some fun while we're at it" said Buzzsaw.
"Then let's get going" Kurt said as he hefted his anchor.
Ichijou was pushing a cart loaded with cleaning supplies when he heard the sound of running feet. He looked over to see three thuggish-looking men come charging into the hall.
"The museum's closed" he said warily.
"Kurt, Missing Link, you guys get him. I'll get the skull" said the blond man. He headed down a corridor.
"Leave now" Ichijou said firmly as he readied himself to fight.
Both of them charged him, Kurt in the lead. He swung his anchor like it was an axe in a diagonal blow. Ichijou leaped aside but found himself facing Missing Link. The giant landed an uppercut that knocked him to the floor. The two thugs laughed nastily as they moved in to finish him off.
They looked over as Yamana ran into the hall. The distraction gave Ichijou enough time to clear his head and scramble to his feet.
"Get her, I'll handle this little punk" Kurt snarled.
Missing Link growled and charged her, his footsteps sounding like thunder. He was immensely strong but clumsy and ponderous. Yamana nimbly ducked and dodged as he flailed around with his huge arms.
Frustrated, he uttered a roar like that of a prehistoric beast and ran right at her. She jumped out of the way and he collided with a wall.
Missing Link toppled over and fell, hitting the floor like a chopped-down redwood.
Ichijou dodged just in time as his foe slashed at him with the anchor. He retreated behind the cart and pushed it hard into Kurt's gut. The thug stumbled but recovered instantly and swung at Ichijou's head. He ducked under the blow and held up a bottle of tile cleaner he'd taken from the cart. Hastily he sprayed the floor with it.
As Kurt closed in he lost his footing on the slippery surface and with a cry of alarm he started wobbling. He dropped his anchor and waved his arms desperately to try and regain his balance. Before he could do so Ichijou tackled him to the floor and unleashed a flurry of punches to his jaw. Surprised by the ferocity of the sudden attack Kurt was quickly knocked out.
He wiped his brow and stood up as she hurried over to him.
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. You?"
"Me too. What happened?" she asked. "I was sorting out some files when I heard people fighting."
"These guys are after the crystal skull. There's one more of them. He left while I was fighting those guys" he explained.
"That's where Hibino and Mitoguchi oji-san are!"
"Come on, let's go" he said firmly.
They ran off down the corridor. Although they knew Hibino could handle himself, they also knew that whoever the thieves were they were clearly dangerous. Given Hibino's reluctance to take anything seriously that was a problem.
In the myths and legends section Hibino was silently fuming as he polished the case containing the crystal skull.
Bah, the great Ore-sama having to perform such menial tasks. It's disgraceful he thought crossly as he moved his duster back and forth at blurring speed.
"I admire your enthusiasm Hibino-san but you don't need to polish it quite that hard" said Mitoguchi as he looked over from where he was examining another exhibit.
Hibino was about to retort angrily but before he could speak a man carrying a giant circular saw strode into the hall.
"Give me the crystal skull or I'll slice you guys into pieces" he said as he held up his weapon and activated it. A high-pitched whine filled the hall as the toothed blade began to spin.
"Ha, it takes more than an oversized pizza cutter to impress Ore-sama" Hibino scoffed. "Get out of here old man. Ore-sama will handle this bozo."
"Be careful Hibino-san" Mitoguchi replied as he hurried off down another corridor.
"You're dead punk" said Buzzsaw.
He rushed in and swung his saw in vicious slashes. Hibino dodged each one while still smiling smugly. He ducked under a swipe at his head but Buzzsaw landed a kick that sent him reeling back. Hibino reached behind his back and drew an aluminium baseball bat seemingly from thin air as Buzzsaw came at him, saw raised. He brought it down in an overhead blow but Hibino brought his bat up in time to block. Sparks flew as the whirling saw-blade bit into it.
This time it was Hibino that kicked his opponent in the gut. Buzzsaw staggered, flailing his weapon in front of him clumsily. Hibino calmly stood back, his smug smile never wavering. Buzzsaw clenched his teeth and came in again. This time he tried to aim his attacks better but his cumbersome weapon wasn't suited for precise strikes and Hibino easily evaded them.
"Maybe you'd like to try this without your toy?" he suggested mockingly.
Buzzsaw yelled angrily and brought his saw down in a big overhead strike meant to cleave Hibino in two. He casually sidestepped and the saw-blade went into the floor, cutting through the tiles and into concrete.
Where it got stuck.
Before he could pull it loose Hibino swung his bat and landed a devastating blow to his chin with a loud CRACK! Buzzsaw went down hard and did not get up.
"Ore-sama wins again!" Hibino laughed triumphantly even as Ichijou and Yamana hurried into the hall.
Soon afterwards Mitoguchi called the authorities and the three thugs were carted away.
"Thank you my young friends" he said. "It would have been terrible if those thugs had stolen any of these artefacts."
"We were happy to help" Yamana replied.
"So can Ore-sama go now?" Hibino asked. "Saving those things should be more than enough."
"Ah, I told your father about that" he replied hesitantly. "He said that while he's very proud of you, the church window still needs to be paid for. As such you still need to work here."
"However he also said that good work should be rewarded. When you're finished he'll give you a week's worth of vouchers for the okonomiyaki restaurant."
Hibino's furious expression instantly became an excited grin. "What are we waiting for? Let's get to it" he said eagerly.
Ichijou and Yamana chuckled softly.