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How will this be played? You take the role of dungeon master?
Natsumi Fujikawa

Natsumi had to admit that she felt a little bad for the blob-demon. Whether that was misguided, she really didn’t know. Do demons choose to pass through an Emergence Gate? Could the blob have stayed put in wherever it is that demons come from, or was it pulled here against its will? She wasn’t taught about that at the academy, if answers to such questions existed at all.

“Alright, look, we can’t just let you go free into the city. Even if we were convinced, we don’t have the authority to remove the Demon Denial Field.” Would Ayako drop the Denial Field for this if they asked her to? Probably not, she thought, but either way it seemed useful to shift the decision to an unseen entity that the blob couldn’t argue with. “But you could still get out of this alive. If the Emergence Gate is still open, perhaps you can just go back through.” Again, she didn’t know if that was possible, but it seemed logical. “Or you might make a contract with a human and join our side, like Andrea over there. If you let the girl go, then we will do what we can for you. But we can’t help you if you keep forcing our hand like this.”
Natsumi Fujikawa

Oh, this was bad, real bad. Especially because they couldn’t possibly comply with the demon’s demand. When human criminals take hostages, they’re usually trying to get away with stolen money or something. But a demon that gets away will just continue killing people, way more people than this one hostage. They had to kill it one way or another. But maybe they could still salvage the girl’s life.

“Alright, alright, let’s talk about this,” Natsumi spoke up, doing her best to sound confident. She raised her hands to her sides as a sign of non-aggression, but deliberately allowed the flames on her head to flare up larger, hoping to seem threatening and direct attention towards herself. “Suppose we agree. What are your terms exactly? Because there’s a Demon Denial Field out there, and more demon hunters in reserve.” Really it was just Ayako, but it didn’t need to know that. “Walking away from us won’t be the end of it.”

While she spoke, she made lingering eye contact first with Kaeru and then with Kaida. She didn’t think she could make an expression or gesture that the demon wouldn’t notice, so she simply hoped the others would pick up on her thought process. Kaeru was fast, so she would probably have the best chance to intercept the demon, which might just work if it was distracted by negotiating. And if the girl did get stabbed, Kaida’s healing might still be able to save her. It wasn’t much, but it seemed like the best option they had.

Natsumi Fujikawa

“Right he-” Natsumi responded in surprise, but she stopped herself from saying it out loud. Could the little girl really be the demon? No, no, no, they couldn’t assume that, far too risky. Danger to themselves be damned, she wasn’t opening fire on a human unless they were absolutely sure. If she was a demon, how would they confirm it? Play along until she drops the act and attacks? That would be exactly what the demon wants. Take her to the Denial Field and see if she passes through? The field would block the demon, but it might not block all of its attacks, so they really shouldn’t let it get that close to the evacuees outside. Dammit.

Kaeru’s comment about the tank top didn’t break Natsumi out of her thoughts, since the catgirl’s flippancy in the face of danger was nothing new, but Rika’s comment about a pet hamster did. Of course! The demon could remain unseen if it was really small. She kind of hoped that it was hidden somewhere among the merchandise, out of reach of the girl… but no, Kaeru’s weird comment about the tank top was perfectly clear now that she thought about it. From the back of the group, Natsumi didn’t have a very clear view at the girl, but maybe that would give her the benefit of subtlety. Without announcement, she started walking around the store shelf that the girl had been hiding behind, circling around to hopefully get a look at her from behind.
Natsumi Fujikawa

An innocent lost on the battlefield, just as she figured. At least they found her before any fighting broke out, but it didn't ease her worries very much. For one, because she was still in the line of fire for the time being. But also, she had to wonder, how did this girl end up in this situation? Something must have prevented her from evacuating with the others, but there was no demon in sight to menace her into hiding. Natsumi left comforting the child to the others and turned away to keep an eye on the exit of the shop and the rest of the mall beyond. "There's a little girl here, but no demon in sight," she spoke into her communicator for Ayako and Shiro to hear. "Any luck detecting it yet? It seems like it doesn't want to be found."
Natsumi Fujikawa

Natsumi felt her stomach clench at the sight of the bloody mess. She had worked for the DDF long enough that this wasn’t her first time witnessing the casualties of an incursion, but not so long that it didn’t make her profoundly uneasy. Admittedly, she hoped that she would never reach that point. In addition to her own visceral response, she felt Suzaku bristling with animalistic fury inside her soul. The flames on her head burned hotter and brighter along with a rising sense of righteous anger, but she breathed deeply and pushed it down. She couldn’t afford to let loose, not in general and definitely not here. Not with all the flammable furniture, and her flammable teammates, and the potential of flammable victims still hiding inside the mall. That was what she had done when first faced with a demon, after all.

“I’ll take the rear guard,” she called in a semi-hushed tone as she hurried after the others, into the store. “Be on the lookout for any stray people. They could be hiding.”
Natsumi Fujikawa

Natsumi had spent her on-call time about the same way as usual: training and reading and fraternising non-invasively, especially with Kaida. Rika was reclusive enough that her presence as a new employee made surprisingly little difference to her routine. As for Kaeru, well… she had been low-key avoiding them the whole time. The embarrassment of her screw-up still weighed heavily on her thoughts, plus the longer she avoided facing the music the more awkward it seemed, which only made her more evasive. Just because she knew it to be a vicious cycle didn't make it easier to snap out of it.

When the call to action came, she dutifully hitched along in the transport. Although the mention of a Devil-class worried her, she felt a certain optimism about the opportunity to make a less-awkward second impression on the new recruits. But that optimism was soon shattered when she saw the environment they would be fighting in. There wouldn't be a lot of space to fly around inside the enclosed mall building, and there would be a lot of flammable objects and more importantly people to potentially get in the way. This was going to be a pain for her.

Kaida was at least in good spirits. Maybe a little too much. Natsumi performed her more modest transformation as well, feeling a little weird about all the eyes that were on them after Kaida's and Kaeru's display. As she hurried towards the entrance alongside the others, her fiery hair had the benefit of making the surrounding masses cringe away and make a little more space for them. The flames on her head were weak and wouldn't easily hurt anyone unless she wanted them to, but they had no reason to know that. "Kaida?" she called out to her watery counterpart. "I'll try not to light any spreading fires. But be ready to put them out if I do, alright?"

No relation to @Raineh Daze?
Natsumi Fujikawa

Natsumi wanted to know more about the nature of Rika's "freelancing", but it didn't seem appropriate to ask at this time. She struggled to imagine what kind of person would choose to face these monsters if not recruited into it like she was. But Hirasawa had deemed her suitable to recruit, so it wasn't her place to ask questions. "Yes, I guess we should get to work," she responded, glancing at Rika's missing arm for a moment but feeling awkward about acknowledging it. Did she lose that during her "freelance" work? "Feel free to ask if you need help with anything. It took me some time to get used to this job too. Anyways, it was nice to meet you, Rika-san." She nodded politely before turning away to make her way to the office.

Right as she stepped into the office space, she was halted by the sound of Kaida celebrating something. Some distance away, she could see her, Emi, and Kaeru standing around Emi's desk, but she couldn't yet make out what they were doing. Had she missed something exciting regarding Emi? "Exciting" and "Emi" were two concepts that didn't intersect very often. Strategically, she used that moment to unzip the top of her bodysuit and tie it around her hips, the way she had worn it before. That gave her an excuse to stand there a bit longer and listen in on that conversation from a distance.
Natsumi Fujikawa

"A freelancer?" She hadn't heard of that being a thing, not in Japan at least. There were unregulated contract wielders, she supposed, but those were only begrudgingly tolerated by the DDF. Wasn't there a woman who got killed fighting Monster-class demons on her own a few months ago? Or did she barely survive? Natsumi was part of salvaging that messy situation, but she didn't know all the details about the disaster response afterwards. She could have requested that information, but looking up death tolls would accomplish little more than making her feel bad. Regardless, Rika seemed too timid to try something foolish like that.

"Well, you were authorized to join by Hirasawa-san, so I wouldn't worry about breaking protocol. At worst, Kubo-san might be irate due to the extra paperwork. Oh, I suppose we should do introductions. I'm Fujikawa Natsumi." She bowed in greeting, unsure if Rika would care for Japanese customs but wanting to be polite. "I've worked here for a little over a year now. Could you, uhm, remind me of your full name?"

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