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Area 51, vol. 4, by Masato Hisa. Grade: A
(The Council of 10 Gods, in order from right to left.)
H13) Let it Go and Become Easy
As McCoy and the prisoner walk out of the prison by using Zeus' power to stop time, the Council of 10 Gods convenes an emergency meeting in the Gods of Earth restaurant. The council consists of Ra (Egypt), Morrigan (Celts), Marduk (Mesopotamia), Odin (north Europe), Mokosh (Slavic), Shiva (India), Tsukuyomi (Japan), Tezcatlipoca (Aztecs), Seitentaisei (AKA: Son Goku, China) and Hades (Greece). While the gods argue over whether to get personally involved, or let the American soldiers handle the problem (and Odin just keeps trying to get people to calm down and drink more), McCoy drives the prisoner away in her car. However, rather than tell her where "that guy" (her sworn enemy) is, the prisoner throws himself out of the car and over the cliff they're passing by. A snake slithers out of the brain of the corpse and turns into "Saisho no Hebi" - "The First Snake". No one knows where it originated from, but it's undying and had been imprisoned in the head of a human to isolate it from the rest of the world. It's out now, AND it wants the sword embedded inside McCoy in order to raise an army of snake demons to overthrow the Council of 10. The other Council members want to know what the god from McCoy's country, Tsukuyomi, is going to do about this, but he remains silent. Silent, but not inactive. Amaterasu has been dispatched to the American military base to help locate the enemy. She gets the Lieutenant to help her out, and when they get a lead, she teleports to the target site. Meanwhile, Saisho no Hebi denies knowing anything about McCoy's enemy, and slowly starts preying on her fears and doubts, bringing up bad memories and eating away at her sense of self. Pike tries to protect her, but it's too late, McCoy's control over Kusanagi is failing and her body is ripping in two again. Hebi can't touch the sword directly, but if Kusanagi fully rejects McCoy, then Hebi can claim it himself.
(His Majesty, the First Snake)
McCoy recalls a stakeout with her partner, an older guy named Asamatsu, apparently killed by a monster. Then, her lover, who committed suicide in front of her by shooting himself in the head. This is followed by Kishirou accusing her of causing Kirimaru's death. Slowly, but surely, Hebi is winning.
(What's made her so angry is that her name is Tokuko...)
(Now, Hebi is just messing with her.)
(But, the plan is working. Quetzalcoatl joins his master, Hebi.)
H14) Finally, I Can Buy a Donut At the Main Street and Go Home
Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent god from Mesoamerica, locates Hebi and greets him as "Masterly father". They wait as Kusanagi continues to emerge. Pike tries to get through to her, and McCoy does manage to summon him and fire off one bullet, but it's no threat to Hebi. Then, a Yatagayasu (Japanese 3-legged crow monster) smashes down on Quetzal long enough for Amaterasu to arrive. Hebi orders Quetzal to keep Amaterasu busy, and they fight for a while. In McCoy's head, she remembers her lover, who seems to have suffered from extreme depression. He talks about having nothing to leave behind in this world if he dies. McCoy tried to support him, and eventually got "good news" from her doctor. She rushed home to share it with her boyfriend, but it's too late, as he is in the process of committing suicide. The darkness inside her turns into a creature holding a fetus between its fingers. This is a mistake, because this last piece of information had been a secret between only her and "him". McCoy goes into a blinding rage, literally pulls herself back together and summons Pike to blow holes through both Hebi and Quetzal. Quetzal panics, grabs what remains of Hebi, and flies away. McCoy's aim is bad in her current state, and she keeps missing. When Pike runs out of bullets, she passes out and collapses into Amaterasu's arms. Amaterasu comments that if she'd known that things were going to turn out this way, she wouldn't have bothered asking the U.S. Army for help.
(Was working. Until McCoy got angry.)
The Council calls McCoy to testify in front of them, and she claims that Kusanagi is now safe from Hebi for all time. The Council is happy with this outcome and lets her go without a warning. Outside the chamber room, Lieutenant and Amaterasu chat while they wait for the decision. Amaterasu splits, and McCoy talks Lieutenant into taking her somewhere for donuts. The Gods leave, all except for the drunkard, Odin. He pretends to stick around to keep drinking, then summons Brunhilda. He tells her to mobilize the Valkyries and have them kill McCoy and bring him the sword.
(Prince Charming faces off against McCoy and Pike.)
H15) You Guys Still Doing Situation for 800 Years?
McCoy is deep in the middle of a thick forest in search of a thief. The criminal is the tsukumogami (animated object) vase that has lived for 100 years (first seen way back in volume 1). The vase stole a lacquer box from a Japanese mermaid princess, and the victim has hired McCoy to get it back. McCoy stumbles across a battle raging between two armies, and only one side is willing to pause in the fighting long enough to talk to her, so she rescues one of the fighters and escapes into that side's castle. The fighter turns out to be one of seven dwarfs, who serves to protect their princess and her lover. Pretty soon it's obvious that the princess is Snow White, and the prince is Charming. And the war has been going on for 800 years. McCoy asks this group about the vase, but no one seems to have heard about it. The only other person there, though, is the maid, Fredrika, who is obviously in love with the prince. That night, McCoy notices Snow and the maid taking a stairway down to a lower floor, but she ignores this and goes to bed. The next morning, the dwarfs find the body of a witch named Mason, and under her are the broken remains of the vase. Since the only way for a tsukumogami to die is to be destroyed by another tsukumogami, McCoy and Pike become the prime suspects. Then, another dwarf rushes up to announce that Snow White has apparently been poisoned and is dying. While the other suspect would be Fredrika, Charming accuses McCoy and goes into a towering rage as he attacks her with his sword.
(All that remains of Snow White is the memories.)
H16) There is a Job Called Detective's Assistant in the World
When the princess is in danger, Charming goes ballistic. McCoy and Pike can't stop him normally, so they toss a clip at him, and then light up the gunpowder after the prince cuts the bullets in half with his sword to create a smoke screen to escape. Outside the castle, McCoy is captured by the enemy forces, bound and chained before being dragged to the other castle. However, the Queen on that side orders the prisoners freed so they can chat. Turns out that the "evil Queen" looks just like Snow White. In fact, the massive mirror that the queen used to use when she asked "who is the fairest of all" had become 100 years old, causing it to turn into a tsukumogami, which made her reflection real, and it escaped. Actually, the story of Snow White is that the "princess" is the queen's shadow, and she's been fighting for 800 years to get it back. Armed with this knowledge, McCoy returns to the first castle, where Snow is revealing herself to be the killer. She'd captured the witch, Mason, and had been torturing her for years. She then hired the tsukumogami vase to steal the mermaid princess' lacquer box from Japan because it contains a smoke that represents captured time, and killed both the vase and Mason to cover her tracks. She'd taken Fredrika to the dungeons the night before to reveal her secret, trap the mermaid smoke inside the maid's body, and used Mason to create a spell to make Fredrika and Snow look like each other. Prince Charming and the 7 dwarfs are locked in the room with the maid, but McCoy arrives in time to stop Snow just outside the room and make her confess. Since Snow is a tsukumogami, as is Pike, Pike is able to destroy her and she turns into thousands of shards of glass before becoming the queen's reflection again. Then we learn that Fredrika is the mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen's story, and she'd rescued Charming prior to turning human. Charming tries to rescue her, but the smoke escapes and 800 year's worth of trapped time catches up to everyone in the cellar. Everyone, that is, but the Prince. Fredrika bit her tongue and then kissed Charming at the last moment. The immortality of the mermaid blood cancelled out the trapped time from the smoke, and he's left as normal. Pike is finally able to shoot through the door to free the Prince, and McCoy offers him a job as her new assistant.
Short story: You have Eight Good Legs
This is the one I fan translated. Krakken decides to use his shapeshifting powers to open up a maid cafe, only to have two idiot robbers break in to try to take the "maids" hostage.
Summary: Drama! Love! Hate! War! Gods! Princesses! Snakes!
Highly recommended as long as you're not easily offended.