It all goes downhill from here onwards...
6 People, 7 Parts, The First Day
Disclaimer: I don't own the series, okay? Both of the series.
EDIT: 7 AM OF 8-6-16: ALSO! SHOUTOUTS TO sakurademonalchemist for letting me borrow her characters, Astarael and Betzalel, for the story. They're for Gabriel storyline in the fic so they are exclusive only to his 'route', so to say. THANK YOU VERY MUCH sakurademonalchemist!
(12 IN THE MORNING)8-6:16: Also, liberal amounts of Google Map were used in this chapter and probably in the next chapters. Sorry for the delay, my aunts got pneumonia so I had to take care all of them. Happy birthday to Harry Potter (even if I was late for about 5 days, dammit). Forgive me for the long-ass chapter.
Subject: Are you okay?
Hibiki, is that you? What am I saying, of course it is you. It's me, Kazuya. Your cousin. I was surprised to see your e-mail in my inbox.
Although I have no idea how did you come across the handle on my brand new COMP, I won't complain... much.
You said you're at the Diet Building? How in the world did you even get there? As far as I know, you were planning to go to Shibuya tomorrow with Shijima-kun. Maybe you two changed plans at the last minute?
And really. Alien life forms. Also, demons. By the way, did you met any Shomonkai on the way?
Subject: RE: Are you okay?
Who are you? And why are you acting that we are close? I don't have a cousin. In fact my parents doesn't have any siblings, so there's no way I could have any cousins.
Where do you even got my handle anyway? I didn't send any e-mail to your handle or to anyone else.
You must have the wrong person.
Subject: Funny, Hibiki
I never knew you could be this funny, Hibiki. I bought you that white rabbit jacket/hoodie/whatever-that-is you loved so much, remember?
Also only you Hibiki would use that handle/username. You always use that username in every account you make.
Whether its a MMORPG IGN or an e-mail address, WhteRbt is your signature nickname.
So don't play mind games with me, cousin?
Now that actually went over your first e-mail, its strange that you have a 'death clip' and earthquakes. Those didn't happened today so I wonder if that happened somewhere.
Say, how's Shijima-kun? You said he's with you. Last time I heard from you, he's planning to get a driver's license.
Hm… You came across the government that fast? Strange. Anyways, at least I know you're safe. Though, with the blackout I doubt you would even get out from Tokyo at the moment.
We, on the other hand, have to stay at a cemetery since we got caught up in an attack of sorts. Good thing a priestess of a cult - I think its legit since the Shomonkai is a registered group at the Ministry - erected a barrier to prevent any stray demons from attacking us.
They're too many for us to get through so we had stay in for the night.
...Please be safe cousin. Be safe..
Even though their location is at the middle of the city, there were no loud noises commonly linked to the city nightlife. There were generators for occasional blackouts and power interruptions but there weren't any noise at all. His headphones weren't any help at all.
Although his Naoya-nii made an accompanying mp3 player for the headphones and purposely modified the power consumption to use as little electricity as possible, his Naoya-nii also programmed it to not be active when it detected its past 21:00. Mainly because Kazuya rarely slept at night if he was allowed to listen to music.
This made one Kazuya Minegishi a very grouch person at that time. He didn't know if his best friends knew it but Kazuya can't sleep at night unless there is background noise for him to listen to. Even white noise would be enough for him. As long as there's noise or any semblance of sound, he can get some rest.
His only consolation was that his Naoya-nii usually was there to help him get to sleep. Kazuya doesn't really know how his Nii-sama does it but whenever he has these 'insomnia attacks', his Naoya-nii would sing a lullaby he was familiar with. It was in a language that wasn't Japanese nor English. Kazuya knew that it wasn't any language he knew but he was familiar with it to comprehend it.
(of course you would be familiar with it, its the first language after all)
But his situation at that moment didn't helped him at all. His phone was dead, literally, after he noticed an ice shard found itself lodged in it. A stray ice shard that came from the Wendigo's attack hours before. Luckily he wasn't hurt at it but the fact that his phone was the one that was sacrificed annoyed him.
His Naoya-nii's songs, which he secretly recorded when he sang to him one time, were in there. All stored in his phone's memory. The memory card in his phone was also included in the collateral damage so his hopes of salvaging any songs in it and use it on his COMP were immediately crushed.
Standing up from the makeshift bed he made from the spare blankets and pillows he had stored in his storage bag, he made his way through the tombstones of the cemetery and towards the edge of the Concealing Bounded Field. There Kazuya saw the Kobold contracted with him making rounds around the Bounded Field. There were low-level demons lingering the perimeter of the Bounded Field but with the Kobold and the effect of the Bounded Field, they never approached it.
Using his COMP, he saw that the demons were just Pixies, Kobolds and Kabusos, All low level demons that could pose no threat to them. But their numbers…
Kazuya wondered if his Kobold could even stand a chance against the stray demons so he ordered it mentally to attack. That was also a thing. Somehow he could now order the demons they have a contract with using his mind. The same could be with Yuzu and Atsuro.
The Kobold stood no chance against the sheer number of stray demons and vanished in a burst of light. Kazuya's COMP then made a sound and showed the 'Status Screen' of his Kobold. The avatar of the Kobold was darkened and a cross was 'stamped' beside the name. His Kobold's HP bar was empty with the numbers [0/78] beside it as well.
A 'window' was plastered on the Kobold's darkened avatar. [Summon Available in: 5 minutes]
So there's an allotted time before they could summon their demons after they got defeated. Kazuya wondered if this was the case the first time their group summoned their contracted demons. After all, it was almost an hour before Yuzu summoned her Pixie for a test run.
Swiping the COMP he claimed for himself, he took a look at the 'Status Screens' of the stray demons that were loitering the area beyond the Concealing Bounded Field. A Level 7 Ogre was the highest Kazuya saw from the hoard of loitering stray demons.
Even if he can barrel his way through the hoard, that was not the case for his friends. Yuzu was dead tired from the entire day's ordeal and Atsuro was winded. Given that both of them haven't got any experience dealing with anything supernatural, it was expected for them to be tired. Not to mention that they just had to deal with demons in a cemetery. If that wasn't enough to get one freaked out into exhaustion, then Kazuya knew nothing else.
The Priestess – Kuzuryu Amane – was certainly telling the truth that their group would be safe from the demons in the cemetery. But she was from the Shomonkai, a group/cult his Naoya-nii cut ties with. That was enough for him to get suspicious of the cult.
(that's because they are suspicious)
However, Kazuya wouldn't make any judgments on her motives. If she had any ulterior plans in saving/aiding their group, Kazuya hoped it was something benign in nature. Besides, his Naoya-nii said that a person will be meeting them at the cemetery and that person will affect our future activities.
She also said to them before she left about 'remembering their names in the future'. It implies that Kuzuryu-san would need their names, either in making contact with them or referring them to other people. That said, it still would affect them their future activities.
Making his way back to their small camp, Kazuya made one last look at the COMP's applications. His Naoya-nii better reply soon or else he would really make him pay. Going around in circles, skirting his way through the answers and making vague replies to his inquiries.
Just because he's smart enough to decode his Nii-sama's rambling does not he prefers a straightforward conversation with him. Why did he gave them these COMP that were installed with the Summoning Program? Why did they encountered mythical monsters like a Kobold, Pixie and a Kabuso? And why did they have to stay in a cemetery in all places?
(brother was always the one who makes the plans work you know, its his 'department')
Not to mention the other curious things about the [PROFILES] and the newly discovered [COMPENDIUM] applications. The 'Compendium' was where he realized that the demons they summoned and encountered were from myths and legends. A German Fairy that gave the ore Cobalt its name, an English Fairy known for pranks and tricks, and a Japanese yokai that loves to play tricks as well.
...He should have been familiar with the Kabuso. Kazuya heard of the stories from the visiting onmyōji in Tokyo when they arrive at the Abenobashi. The Kabusos were notorious at Ishikawa-ken according to them, especially when their shikigamis were easily torn apart by the yokai.
Kazuya thought they should replace their rice papers with waterproof ones or Oslo Papers since those were much sturdier but each has their own preferences in the end.
By the time he reached their small encampment, Kazuya was tired enough that he slept soundly as soon as he laid down on the makeshift bed. If he did noticed Yuzu and Atsuro talking when he came back, Kazuya may have disregarded it. His body was screaming to sleep and he wasn't that petty to deny its wants.
It was dark. That's what he saw after tearing off the blindfold covering his eyes. It also smelled… moldy. Like someone forgot to clean the carpets after a month or two. It hurt his nose but not much that he can't smell other things.
His mouth also was, strangely, not wrapped with a cloth, which he usually saw in tv shows about kidnappings and ransoms. Yeah, he was kidnapped. Lucky him. For what? He doesn't have a clue.
Maybe his kidnappers will ransom him off in exchange for money? His parents work in a bank. Other than that, he have no idea.
Also he couldn't speak, even with his mouth not wrapped with anything. His throat also felt empty so there goes his idea of something lodged in his throat. But he felt something familiar with his strange silence.
...Silence! Of course he was under a [Silence] spell. It was magic he was feeling. Good thing his brother taught him last week about the various 'Status Effects' he encountered before. One was the [Silence] 'Status Effect', a very basic yet underrated 'Status Effect'.
From what he remembered, most magicians he and his brother met rarely use a [Silence] spell on their opponents, whether its a fellow magician or a magical creature. His brother taught him how to 'silence' the source of magic of his opponent using his own magic. Something about 'using the ancient common tongue for the best results'.
He also taught him the [Amrita] spell, a necessary spell his brother said he would need since it cures any ailment. Too bad that its only applicable to ailments that the body identifies as 'harmful' otherwise cancer and other sickness mankind knew could be cured of. Channeling the [Amrita] spell internally, since the [Silence] only prevents the user to 'externally' release their magic and as a side-effect their speech as well, he cured his silence.
Internally channeling his spells were tricky since it can fail at times, but his brother said 'practice makes perfect'. Or something similar to that. Nevertheless, he must keep practicing to channel his magic internally.
For good measure, he tried using the other 'type-specific spell' he had. [Dekunda] was something his brother introduced to him. It was said to remove any suppressors on the person it was used on so he used it to remove anything that his [Amrita] missed.
Now that he removed any 'Status Changes' on his person, he could see that the room he was in was big enough to be classified as their living room. Rising up from the bed he was on, he noticed he was in a bedroom of sorts. His kidnappers sure have a weird taste in decoration since the curtains of the windows were dusty and were in shades of black.
He was about to look out the window and see if he could recognize anything outside when the door to the room he was in slammed open. It revealed two people wearing strange clothes and were waving sticks at him. The lady – she was had long hair up to her back – waved her stick at him and a strange light flew at him.
Scared and surprised, he immediately used [Makarakarn] to reflect the light. The light screamed magic to him so he used the 'magic shield' his brother taught to him. Thankfully he did because when the light bounced, it hit the wall and made a small hole that was smoking.
He was shocked by the hole the light made that he didn't noticed the lady sent another light at him. He then saw nothing afterwards.
Another of those again.
(it was about 6 years ago)
The light from the sun was shining from the horizon, its light hitting his face causing him to wake up. If the dream wasn't enough to wake him up then the light from sun did the job for it.
Opening the COMP – he left it on standby because if he turned it off, his Kobold will get unsummoned – he saw his Kobold was still alive and probably making rounds around the perimeter of the Bounded Field. Yuzu and Atsuro were still asleep in their respective makeshift beds with their COMPs on standby mode beside them.
Taking a moment to stretch out his arms and legs, he noticed that his COMP had an e-mail. Particularly, one from his Naoya-nii and one from The Observer. He opened his Nii-sama's e-mail first. The Laplace Mail can wait until Yuzu and Atsuro read theirs.
Subject: Death Clock
Kazuya, you're awake by now, right? I'm sorry if I wasn't able to reply to your e-mail last night. Sorry.
Starting off with something important, I'm sure you have heard of the Laplace Demon right? If not, which I highly doubt so, then ask Atsuro to jog your memory. The Laplace Mail wasn't called by itself for a reason, right?
I checked this… 'Observer', who sent you three the Laplace Mail. I, too, received one yesterday so don't be surprised that I searched for it myself.
Just like what we initially thought, this 'Observer' is an anomaly. There's no trace of where the Laplace Mails came from nor how it arrived to our inboxes, as if these e-mails just popped up out of nowhere. I recommend you and Atsuro to search for anything about this... 'Observer' and tell me of your findings.
I'll be doing my own research here as well.
I swear if you are thinking about Divine Intervention I'll personally punch you in the gut. Don't be an ass, brother.
Anyway, why I gave you three those COMPs? Safety measures, that's all. That Shomonkai Priestess, Kuzuryu-san, gave me a heads up yesterday morning about how their… cult was going to implement their plans for their retreat here in Tokyo.
Given their reputation, its something the Ministry and any magical here in Japan would give attention to. Especially the last time they had a retreat at Osaka... Well, there's a reason why a certain part of the a park there is now closed off for good.
Remember the Mahōtokoro Incident? That one time you persuaded me to visit that school with you and Gabriel and some… terrible things happened? I suspect the Shomonkai had something to do with it but I can't really prove it.
Nevertheless, I gave you three those COMPs so you can protect yourselves. If I startled you three that afternoon, once again I apologize.
Kuzuryu-san sent me an e-mail last night about meeting a Minegishi at Aoyama Cemetery. Good thing you met her. She was there to stop one of their members from summoning a demon for various reasons. But based on your e-mail earlier and hers, she had failed.
I'm running out of space to type so let's talk when we meet up somehow today or later in the evening. Try to find a way to escape the Yamanote Loop if possible. If not then please be safe.
Oh, before I forgot. I suspect you can see the Death Clocks after you received the Laplace Mail yesterday. It happened to me yesterday as well. From what I can get from the system files of the application, it somehow… 'hacked' its way into the programming of the Summoning Program and used a part of its rituals for itself.
I found a copy in the Demon Summoning Program so I guess anyone with the program may get the Death Clock function as well. What a load of crap.
Back to the point. Using the source of the Laplace Mail as its basis, the Death Clock calculates the life expectancy of a person in terms of days. However, since this is based on the Laplace Mail and its source, we can say that it can be altered. It may predict the outcome but its not written in stone.
According to my analysis, the Death Clock can only be seen by the 'party leader' if you are in a group or if you're alone. Since it 'hacked' and used the rituals for itself, its a magical illusion that can be seen by only those who have magic or at least have used the Demon Summoning Program. I presume your the 'party leader' of your group, since you asked me about the Death Clock.
I have nothing else more to say so I'll be waiting for your replies soon.
Be safe Kazuya.
P.S. Tell Atsuro that 'Senpai already noticed you but not in the way you want him to notice you'. You know what I meant.
That his Naoya-nii actually made a very long and detailed explanation of things, although it just made a couple more of questions for him to ask, was very interesting. His Naoya-nii most likely knew how the Shomonkai got their hands on demons and subsequently the Demon Summoning Program in the first place. If the last conversation he overheard last week wasn't proof…
The e-mail alerts woke up Yuzu, causing her to rise up and yawn. Stretching her arms, Yuzu muttered something about 'left, right and wrong'. Atsuro, on the other hand, was still drooling on his blanket and still clutching the strap of his bag where his laptop was kept in.
Grabbing a couple of bread rolls from his bag and some water, he shook Atsuro up and handed Yuzu the food and water he had on his person.
"Hey, Atsuro. Wake up. Its morning. Hey~" Atsuro stayed asleep. With a sigh, he cast a low powered Bufu on Atsuro, instantly waking the black haired teen up.
"Wh-What in the world!?"
(though a Zio would be appropriate, it would be a jerkass move)
That worked. And Yuzu seemed to be wide awake now, and judging by her blinking stares at Atsuro's state, she saw the entire thing from the start.
"Well, I guess that was one way to get him up" Yuzu muttered, biting on the dinner roll. "I didn't knew you could use Bufu in that way."
"It's how you… uh… manipulate, yes, manipulate the spell. Visualization and all. As long as you knew the basics, you can play around with it. Just like how we had some water to freshen up or selves? By the way, there's a basin on the top of that grave," Kazuya remarked, pointing to a grave with a basin on top. "Go wash up your face there."
"It is weird and creepy for us to use a graveyard as a campsite. We even used a grave as a table for washing up."
"Correction: It's a cemetery. Not a graveyard. A graveyard is all land with crosses everywhere."
Yuzu is really not a morning person.
(brother on the other hand...)
"M-Must you really do that?" Atsuro asked, shaking off the excess ice that was on him when he woke up. "Really, Kazu?"
"Hey, it worked, right? Besides, we must move now. The Priestess said the barrier is only valid until sunrise and look its already morning."
"I know. But… Did you really have to do that?"
"...Nope," Kazuya replied, popping the 'p' of the word. "It wasn't necessary but I still did it."
Atsuro released a sigh. "Anyway, where's Yuzu?"
"I'm right here Atsuro. Here, take the dinner roll." Yuzu then threw a dinner roll at the black-haired teen. "Go wash your drool, Atsuro. There's an extra basin for you over there."
"Okay," Atsuro said. He then left the two, leaving Yuzu to clean up her blankets and pillows. Kazuya also did the same for his and Atsuro's.
As he was packing up their things from their little encampment in the cemetery, Yuzu suddenly spoke up. "Um… Kazu, why is your hair blue at the back?"
"At first I thought it was just black but when I made a second look, its… blue-er? There," Yuzu said, pointing to a part of Kazuya's back. She made her way to Kazu, carrying the blankets and pillows with her. Yuzu laid them down and ruffled Kazuya's hair at the back of his head.
"...Here. This part is blue-er than the rest." Yuzu then moved her finger across his head. "And… It makes it way around your head. Wow. Its really blue at the roots but it gets blacker as it goes up. Strange."
"Oh. You meant that," Kazuya remarked as he packed the last pair of blankets and pillows back to his bag. "I noticed it back at Junior High. It's really not noticeable, right? Unless you really looked at it, you won't notice my hair is getting blue at the roots."
"How did that happened?"
"I have no idea. I think it happened when I was… 12? 13? I forgot."
(actually it started at August 15)
"Oh, so its all natural?" Yuzu asked. "It is possible you will get blue hair later and people who don't know its natural will say you dye it."
"Its normal for people who have magic in their blood, Yuzu. Its is actually a fact that hair is usually a conduit of magical abilities and the change in color meant that their magic is strong enough to affect one's physical appearance."
"It's like a tool. A tube. Much like you use a straw to sip soda from a can, Yuzu." Atsuro called out loud as he approached the two. "So your hair actually turned blue huh. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me when I was at your place during Junior High. You really have no idea?"
Kazuya nodded and picked up his COMP. "Yeah, I really have no idea how it turned blue. I suspect Naoya-nii have an idea since his was actually black before it turned… silver? White?" He shook his head. "Anyway, I think its normal for our family, since Naoya-nii's hair changed when he was 11. Mom told me how she freaked out when Naoya-nii's hair slowly turned silver when he came back at home."
"...I can't imagine Naoya having black hair."
"Me too Atsuro. He looks creepier if he did."
"Hey!" The two teenagers exclaimed at the same time. Kazuya and Atsuro then looked at each other and laughed.
"Anyway, I think Naoya-nii sent you two e-mails. The alerts actually woke you up. Also the… Laplace Mail arrived."
From: The Observer
Subject: Laplace Mail
Here is today's NEWS.
1. Power outages will continue in all parts of Tokyo within the Yamanote loop throughout the entire day. It is unknown when power will be restored.
2. Poisonous gas is suspected to have escaped from underground pockets. All trains services are canceled across all lines. All exits from within the Yamanote loop will be closed.
3. Rumors of monsters appearing in Tokyo will start spreading before the day ended.
4. At 13:00 in Chiyoda-ku Bunkyo, a localized blizzard will occur. At least three victims will be murdered by a snowman. The victims so suffered from extreme frostbite and hypothermia before succumbing to their injuries.
HaVE a nICE daY.
After they read the e-mails and consequently caused Yuzu and Atsuro to freak out, Kazuya calmed the two down by explaining his point.
"Guys, I know Naoya-nii's explanations were quite… short in your e-mails but I guess he spent most of his time typing mine. Anyway, this Death Clock? Its only a prediction, much more like the Laplace Mail. Actually, Atsuro."
The cap wearing teen was started by Kazuya's sudden shift of attention to him. "What?"
"Did Naoya-nii told you about the Laplace Demon?"
Atsuro took a moment to think and perked up. "Yes. Yes. He did. I searched last night about this Laplace Mail and all I could find is this Laplace Demon. My laptop had an encyclopedia in it. Neat little thing, right? "
"Ugh. Another demon," Yuzu groaned and rolled her eyes. "Why must these demons do this to us?"
"...Yuzu, its not an actual demon but an idea. More like a personification of an idea. The idea is what if there's someone who can see how things will happen by actually observing every possible action and reaction. That is the Laplace Demon. The so-called demon that can see what will happen cause he can see how it will happen."
"So basically it can saw the future? And this… Laplace Mail is the result..?" Yuzu asked.
"Essentially. But think about this way, this is just a theory made by people. If everything has been determined already by this… demon, they why are we even thinking and choosing our own actions? Its still a theory," Kazuya explained.
"Uggh! I can't stand this all talk! Let's go home for now! I don't want to remember that I'm supposed to die today!"
"...We can only hope so. The e-mail said that all exits are closed off," Atsuro spoke. "Even the roads are implied to be closed down."
"Hey Atsuro. Naoya-nii told us to find an exit for ourselves while he deals with these Shomonkai and other demon stuff. It just screams that there is an exit. We just have to find one!"
"Whatever. Hey, you two. I'm getting out of here. There aren't any demons outside and that Priestess said we should move out when daybreak comes," Yuzu stated out loud as she grabbed her COMP and pink sling bag from the top of the grave they were sitting and moved towards the cemetery exit.
"You two coming or what?"
The three of them made their way out of the cemetery and found no stray demons on their way. Kazuya chucked it up to the fact that the Wendigo probably collected its minions early in the morning before daybreak and went somewhere else. It was probably safe, for now.
But the scene they arrived at Omotesando didn't gave them the feeling of safety. Vehicles were littered at the road, making it hard to cross the street, and broken windows of shops and buildings were the sight the three arrived to. Curiously, people were absent, making the entire scene a scenario from a Zombie Film.
"Where are the people? And the accidents! What could have caused this?" Yuzu exclaimed.
"Well it was for sure that this wasn't a result of the blackout," Atsuro said. "The cars have their own batteries that supply their own electricity."
"Also look at the windows," Kazuya said, pointing towards the shops around Omotesando. "If its not smashed, its looted."
"...You're implying that demons caused the accidents? What about the people? Where are they?"
"...Probably at the nearest station? I'm not thinking of them being dead since last night Kuzuryu-san was here along with some of the Shomonkai," Kazuya replied as he skittered around a trashed car on the sidewalk.
(a wide area repairing charm would do the trick but it would attract way too much attention)
"Man, whoever drove this one surely was drunk or else," Atsuro remarked, jumping over the hood of a car that was blocking their way. "So what you're saying Kazu is that the Shomonkai probably chased off the demon that caused this trouble without the people noticing?"
"Ugh, so what are these Shomonkai anyway?" Yuzu groaned, jumping around the fallen bikes and stranded cars that were in their way. "Are they superheroes or what? And I think I saw that girl had a COMP with her last night."
"Wait. What did you say?"
Glancing up from the rubble she was jumping to avoid, Yuzu spoke, "I said I think I saw her holding a COMP on one hand. Why?"
"Huh…. That surely makes sense why she can match the Wendigo last night." Kazuya then jumped the last fallen bike before reaching the alleyway that acts as a shortcut towards Shibuya Station. "She probably had a Harmonizer with her, right?"
(or she was just that good but the possibility is too damn low)
"That makes sense. Hey, we're almost there Yuzu!"
"Ugh, just wait a minute. I think I scraped my knee." Yuzu's hand then glowed a bright light and the small wound around her knee healed up quickly. "There. I think I got the hang of this magic stuff. Coming!"
"-logizing about the emergency blockade. Poisonous gas leaks are suspected to have been leaked out underground around the Yamanote Loop. For your safety, all train exits are closed temporarily until the issue has been solved. We also apologize for erecting blockades at the roads for quarantine purposes. I repeat, we sincerely apologize for..."
"Then how are we going to get to our jobs?! Last night the trains weren't working and the roads were full of checkpoints! What is really happening here?!"
"I repeat, we sincerely apologize-"
"To hell with this!"
The two of them decided to back away from the angry mob outside the Shibuya Station and the blockade made by the JSDF at the roads. Kazuya saw some were climbing over the fences made but were caught immediately by the soldiers guarding.
"Some people wearing orange colored robes told us to leave Omotesando! There was a mad man there and he caused so much accidents! How could we go back there?"
"I'm sorry about it Ma'am but we can't allow anyone to leave the perimeter. It was already a hard task for us to set up the blockades after the reports last night about an explosion happening at one of the power grids here in Shibuya."
Another soldier then announced, "If you have any news about the said explosion last night, we would be glad to receive it from anyone. We are also investigating on that situation since it was suspected it caused the gas leaks to occur. I repeat, If you have..."
"Yuzu, let's go. We can't find a way to get out from here," Kazuya said. Even though many were already caught and 'thrown back' outside the stations, some were still climbing over the fences and blockades. It is useless since the soldiers were adamant on sticking with their orders.
"It seemed that the e-mail predictions were true after all. At this rate, we'll never get home!" Yuzu complained. She reached into her pink sling bag and drank from a water bottle. "And I'm hungry now. We only had dinner rolls an hour ago and its not a very filling breakfast."
"How about we go and check out if there are any blind spots from the JSDF blockades? They couldn't have established the blockades that fast if they only received the reports of the explosion last night. Didn't it happened around 21:00?" Kazuya asked. It would be strange of the JSDF made their blockades that fast unless they already knew…
(there's something else at the top of the station and the buildings past the lines)
The green-eyed teen shook his head. The idea the JSDF would prepare containment instead of dealing with the threat beforehand is appalling that its laughable.
"Yeah. I agree with Kazu. Naoya said that the Laplace Mail is just a prediction, right? They there's a chance that it won't happen," Yuzu said. She was already sitting down at the ground underneath a tree and stretching out her arms. Her COMP was in her arms and she was tinkering with it. People coming from the Station soon found a spot for themselves underneath the shades of the tree at the nearby park at Shibuya Station.
All of them have a number 7 on top of their heads. Only the he, Yuzu and Atsuro – who was on his laptop and checking out the system files of his COMP – had a zero on their Death Clocks. The sight didn't gave Kazuya a happy feeling, at all.
"...You may have a point there Yuzu. You see I was checking the files in my laptop-" "So that's why you were silent for an hour when we were at the Station." "I'm talking here Yohoo," "Hey!" "Anyway, I was checking and and I noticed that the algorithms of the two applications were similar and it was responding to the variables given by-"
"Ugh! Atsuro! Get to the point! I'm still thinking about the idea of we are supposed to die today in an unknown way!"
"Okay! The Death Clock solely depends on the Laplace Mail's predictions. If we find a way to make the Laplace Mail's predictions fail, then the Death Clock's predictions would fail too. As it is, it's only a prediction on the person's life expectancy. It only predicts, it only guesses. And guesses can either be correct or not, right?" Atsuro explained.
"In other words, find an exit and get home. The Laplace Mail said all exits are closed off so if we can find one that is open, the prediction was wrong and the Death Clock was actually giving a wrong prediction."
"So that means… We don't have to die today?!" Yuzu perked up and stood up on her legs. "We actually had a chance? We won't be like Naoya's neighbor, right?"
"Then let's go. We have to check out ALL exits and we have about… 4 hours before lunchtime," Yuzu said as she placed her COMP back into her bag and dusted and wiped herself off of any dust. "Come on. I hope there are open stores within the city. I'm starving."
Kazuya and Yuzu was about to leave the place when Atsuro gasped from his position. He nearly tripped over his feet but he managed to save himself from falling by grasping a railing.
"What in the world? Atsuro?" Kazuya asked. Atsuro was gaping like a koi in a feeding session with his mouth open wide. Yuzu waved her hands in front of Atsuro but the teen with the cap didn't gave her actions any heed.
"That's… That's Kaido of the Shibuya Daemons!" Atsuro then pointed to a group of men and women at a part of the park wearing clothes that are fit for people who belong to a gang. There was a man there wearing jogging pants and a jacket appropriate for exercise, which was the person Atsuro was pointing at.
"Another demon?" Yuzu complained. Kazuya laughed at Yuzu's remark.
"Wh-What did I say?"
"Yuzu, its da-e-mon. Not de-mons. Its the name of their group. They're a famous gang that acts as the guardians/caretakers of Shibuya. You remember Mochizuki-sensei from Atsuro's Junior High?"
Kazuya remembered Mochizuki-sensei. When he and Yuzu visited Atsuro's school back when they were in Junior High, it was the brand new school nurse who helped them find Atsuro. Since then Mochizuki-sensei treated them as if they were her patients whenever they went to visit Atsuro.
"Hm… I think I do remember her. Wasn't she his Junior High's school nurse?" Yuzu asked. "What does she have to do with those… Daemons?"
"Her boyfriend and his brother were the leaders of the Daemons. Also I heard she used to be a member of it, if the rumors on the internet were to believed. Anyway, the Shibuya Daemons are known to be a very helpful gang. Maybe we can ask them for help in finding a way out of here?" Atsuro said.
Kazuya can agree with Atsuro's statement. He heard from Gabe how there's a gang that acts like a gang but isn't a gang at all. He compared the Shibuya Daemons to an Independent Organization or a vigilante group. It is also a good thing to ask for their help when you know you really need help.
(that's the way people work, unity, altruism and camaraderie)
Besides, the police sometimes weren't that enthusiastic in doing their jobs. And by the lack of police presence at the stations, Kazuya can say that the rumor was actually the truth.
(and since when did they were helpful at all? brother was the one who has to do all the work when they came back again)
In a situation like this where they are prevented from leaving the Yamanote Loop and a threat to their lives, they really need all the help they can. But there's one thing he don't understand…
"Um… Atsuro?" Kazuya spoke. "Isn't your house inside the Yamanote Loop? At Akasaka in Minato-ku?"
"...You know how I don't really call it as my home, Kazu. But I see your point. We have a place to crash at if we can't really get out from here." Atsuro then shook his head. "Let's go ask them."
Atsuro then left them to approach the Daemons, leaving Yuzu and Kazuya to follow him. Kazuya can hear Atsuro was already in a conversation with the leader of the group by the time he and his redhead best friend arrived.
"If I did, ya think we'd be here?"
Kazuya then interrupted their conversation. "Sorry, we were just trying to ask if someone found a way out. My brother said there could be one but he couldn't help us find it since he was busy with other things. By the way, I'm Minegishi Kazuya. This blockhead over here is Kihara Atsuro and the gal beside us is Tanikawa Yuzu."
"Nikaido Tadashi. Call me Kaido. Leader of the Shibuya Daemons. Your brother said there's a potential exit from this place? Everyone's here in the same boat… Things are pretty bad around here, so anything that could help would be a lot," Kaido said in a gruff manner. He surely doesn't want waste anymore time.
"Yeah, his name is Minegishi Naoya. Here, this is what he looks like." Kazuya then pulled out his cellphone and produced a picture of his Nii-sama. "If doesn't bother you guys, if you somehow find him, please tell him his brother is looking for him."
"Yeah, yeah, send that picture to us. When the cell phones come back up, we can send it to our fellow Daemons to find him. Also, to search out this exit your brother told you about. If it does exists, well… we all know who we are going thank for, right?" Kaido said.
"Thanks a lot. We'll try to find it as well. Good luck to you guys!"
"Well, they were helpful. Genuinely helpful," Yuzu said as she looked back at the group from their location. "At least if they could find an exit, they could tell the others."
Omotesando was clear of rubble and wrecked cars when they returned to it from Shibuya. The people who came from the Station grudgingly returned to the places where they came from, mainly their apartments and houses. From what Yuzu can see from the windows of the apartments, they were just lounging in their rooms and entertaining themselves by doing various stuff.
Like hanging out their pillows and blankets on the railings.
Shop owners, on the other hand, went to open their shops in case their patrons may come and do some shopping. Although the clutter made by the so-called 'mad man' that caused accidents the night before were cleaned by the community, there were still trash left that could dissuade their patrons from coming. So the shop keepers and the workers who slept in their shops were sweeping and cleaning the broken glass of their shops and preparing their wares.
Thankfully the three of them managed to beat the demons that were lingering the area around Omotesando. Batches of Kabuso, Kobolds, Pixies and an occasional Ogre were the demons they fought along the way towards Omotesando. Despite unwilling to fight the demons herself, she couldn't disagree with her best friends' idea of saving other people from danger when they could at least protect them.
Yuzu knew that she had the ability to do it but honestly she wanted nothing with it. Sure she seemed to have a knack in using the magic 'installed' by the COMP to her, but it came with the danger of fighting demons. However, she knew that people will get injured or killed when they met a demon.
Along with the reminder Atsuro kept reminding them about the [Harmonizer] that allows them to match the demons on the same ground, the demon's attacks could be instantly fatal when it hit a person without a [Harmonizer].
The fighting they did made her hungry and the others as well so they decided to check a shop where they could get some food. Yuzu herself chose a good looking cafe, to which Atsuro and Kazu gave her a strange look. She paid it no mind since Yuzu was sure the other two would agree to pay the slightly expensive tag price when they tasted it.
Kazu covered both of them when they were done eating. She knew Kazu was rich enough to pay the entire menu of the cafe thrice over but he just chose to be somewhat practical in spending it. Yuzu connected it to his parents' job as bankers.
Still, it was a surprise to Yuzu to find at least a part of Omotesando active, even if they have to deal with the noise done by the electric generators just to supply the needed power for the establishments. What she didn't expect was to encounter Gin at the cafe they went into.
Gin immediately honed into her as soon as he came inside the Blue Bottle Coffee Cafe. Yuzu immediately went into reminiscing the times she had with the 'unofficial manager' of the best indie singer in today's Japan music industry.
"You two knew each other?" Kazuya asked them while he was munching on a cinnamon roll he bought. Atsuro was busy stuffing his face with the pasta Kazuya bought for him while charging up his laptop and COMP at an electric socket.
That reminds her to charge the COMP as well, since the… special application eats up a large chunk of its battery.
"This is Gin, the 'unofficial' manager and persona guardian of this one indie singer I love listening to. She's pretty new but her songs are amazing. Her name is Haru and I think you have a couple of her songs in you player," Yuzu explained. "Gin is amazing. His 'guardianship' over Haru extends as well to her fans so everyone considers him as a big brother."
"You flatter me, Yuzu. So are these two your friends? We haven't met yet, right?" Gin asked Kazuya and Atsuro, who went extended his laptop charger to reach their small table from the socket.
"I think so but maybe Kazu here may have went to one of Haru's shows. He's a music addict, if his 'cat ears' aren't any indication. Oh! The guy with the 'cat ears' is Minegishi Kazuya while the one who's clutching on his laptop like it was dying is Kihara Atsuro."
Atsuro stood up from the table and defended himself. "Hey! My laptop is literally dying here because she ran out of juice!". He then shifted his attention to Gin. "Kihara Atsuro, nice to meet you."
Kazuya reached out his hand. "Minegishi Kazuya, nice to meet you Gin-san."
"Heh. Kamiya Eiji but call me Gin. I have a bar nearby that's open on everyday starring at 7 pm until 5 am. The bar should have been open last night but I came late since I was with Haru the whole day. She had some… problems with her new album."
"That's sad. Well, Haru can get over this roadblock right? Just like how her mentor's band broke up..," Yuzu sadly spoke. "It was a very big deal when their group D-VA broke up. Their lead singer Aya left the band because she went to music school. It was actually received well by their fans, including me, but news came that said she disappeared one day from her music school." She then looked out of the windows of the cafe with a sad smile and continued. "Everyone was shocked at the news and thought it was just a hoax. But... The band made a statement the next day about her disappearance and about the various complications done by her schooling and her recent disappearance. It was hard for Haru, who was following Aya's footsteps by training under her, since she lost her mentor."
"Haru took up the mantle of being D-VA's lead vocalist, even though its only for a short while. Many expected much from her, since she was Aya's 'apprentice', but their expectations weren't met. They say the quality of the band's songs went astray, thus leading to the loss of fans and patrons. The group then broke off because 'why should they stay when the group evidently became a flop after Aya disappeared," Gin solemnly said. "Haru took it hard but she couldn't ignore her calling to music, especially when Aya left her legacy to her 'apprentice'. So I helped her, became her manager and produced her album. People actually adored her solo status, but I guess that's because she's a solo artist."
He then shook his head and gestured at the scene outside the cafe. Street cleaners were cleaning up the trash left over from the general cleanup done by the residents.
"If Haru were here, maybe she could find inspiration about the mess outside the cafe. She needs to get her bearings back. Yesterday was the day Haru last met Aya, back when she gave her a gift before she went to music school," Gin remarked.
"Oh... Yesterday was a special day for Haru huh... I hope she is okay," Yuzu commented as she drank from her glass of juice.
"I really hope so. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I woke up this morning to find the power gone and water and gas limited. Good thing that my bar and apartment got a generator for these occasions. I'm still mad about the spoiled milk and food in my refrigerator but what can you do," Gin said. "Also, I heard that there was a maniac here last night that caused a ruckus when the blackout happened. People went hiding in the buildings and ignored the noise being caused by the said maniac."
"Yeah. I heard about it from the people at Shibuya Station," Yuzu said. "Since Kazu here is planning to go back to Setagaya from Shinjuku Station, we decided to go to Shibuya Station first. The JSDF barricaded the entire station and blocked all exits, including roads and train tracks."
"They say some poisonous gas has been released underground and may be dangerous to people. So they closed the stations to prevent the gas to leak and the roads to 'quarantine' the area. What gets me is why they explicitly said 'the entire Yamanote Loop'?" Kazu asked as he sat down and charged up his COMP at the electric socket beside him, which Atsuro apparently didn't noticed.
"Hey, would you mind charging mine too Kazu?" She then handed her COMP and the accompanying charger from her sling bag.
Gin, on the other hand, had an expression of disbelief and disappointment. "What? You must be pulling my leg here. The station's locked down, even the roads and no one's getting through?"
"Yeah, its annoying but what's really annoying is that our cellphones aren't even working. Even the COMP's e-mail function isn't working properly," Atsuro complained from his seat. "People are demanding the exact reason why there's a quarantine in the first place and the information blackout isn't really helping."
"What's wrong with the COMPs Atsuro? Last night and this morning we received an e-mail from Kazu's brother so why it isn't working anymore?"
"That's the thing. It is working but the server used by Naoya-nii's e-mails were a different one. It seemed to be unable to connect to other COMPs sold to the public," Kazuya explained and gestured towards the road outside the cafe. "I tried to e-mail and connect to the internet a while ago to see if there's anything posted on the net, since Naoya-nii sent us three an e-mail this morning, but I can't connect."
Gin's voice the interrupted their small conversation. "Well if you say that the JSDF were already there, then at least the government is on it already. Give it time and the problem will be solved soon." He then walked towards the attendant at the counter. "I'll just be buying a cup of coffee and then go back to my bar. If the power gets back this evening, then the bar should be ready for my customers. If you kids need anything, I'll just be there. Ask Yuzu for the directions."
The attendant immediately went on making Gin's coffee and in a minute after he ordered it, a hot steamy cup of coffee was handed to him. "Keep safe you three. See you later."
"Bye Gin" "Bye." The vest wearing man then left the cafe, leaving the three alone in it.
"What did you say Kazu?"
"The number above his head is 6. So were the other people at the Station and everybody we met until now. Including the lady at the counter," Kazuya said. He then pulled the chargers of the COMPs out of the sockets and handed it to Yuzu.
"Come on, we should be going now. We have a lots of Stations to check and last time I check there were 9 stations on the west side of the Yamanote Loop. Should we choose a few since we really can't check them all?"
"Hm... Ikebukuro at the north, Ebisu at the south, Shinjuku and Harajuku at the middle. Those four are the only stations that I know of that can connect to the Keiō Train Lines to Setagaya-ku," Atsuro said as he stuffed his laptop in his bag.
"So we start from the bottom then to the top? I want to try and get a shower or bath at your house so we might as well go to Akasaka later," Yuzu said. "Ugh, this just reminds me that the Stations are so far away from one another."
"Then should we hire a taxi? Or rent a bike? I can ride a bike," Kazuya interjected, causing Atsuro and Yuzu to give him a strange look. "Hey! You just said that the Stations are so far away and there's a chance the bus lines won't be active since all major roads are closed off from the outside. That means we either must walk or find a different mode of transportation."
"...Sometimes I hate when you mind comes up with these strange ideas," Yuzu sighed as she turned on her COMP. "...You still have extra yen for renting a couple of bikes for us three?"
Good thing there was an open bike shop at Omotesando, which was found at a back alley and was hidden from main streets. They were actually lucky to find it when they turned around the corner of the small cafe. Kazu had enough yen for the three bikes so their dilemma of finding mode of transportation was now solved.
But Atsuro small comment on how he forgot to ride a bike was actually true. So they spent a couple of minutes to help Atsuro get the hang of riding a bike a second time and soon they managed to teach him how to ride it again. After that small problem was solved, she and her best friends then rode their bikes towards Ebisu Station through the main roads.
Along the way, Yuzu noticed the number of cars and other vehicles stranded on the roads. Since the JSDF also closed the roads passing through/over/under the train tracks of Yamanote Loop, the cars clogged the roads. Kazu, the smart ass, remarked how he correctly predicted that they need to have a very slim and light mode of transportation in order to get pass through the traffic.
He should be thankful that she can't hit his smug face since she was busy not to fall over or hit a stranded vehicle along to road. Not to mention the people who were giving them strange looks when they pass by on their bikes. Surely her best friend wasn't the only one who saw the opportunity to use bicycles in order to traverse the streets of Tokyo?
When they arrive at Ebisu Station, the same scene they saw at Shibuya Station was the scene they arrived to. The three just turned their bikes around and made their way north, still following the Yamanote Loop train tracks as a guide to the Stations on the Western side of the Line. Strangely, Yuzu expected demons to come out from the alleys on their way.
But thankfully, the demons weren't in the mood to attack them no any of the people stranded. She voiced her confusion to her best friends and the reply she received from them were not surprising. At all.
"When you went to the bathroom at Omotesando an hour ago, we found demons scrambling away from us and were fleeing somewhere north. I think those were the same demons who were following that Wendigo last night. Probably to chase the Priestess, if not running away from her," her green-eyed best friend replied.
"Kazu's guess is also my guess as well. The demons aren't really a problem right now and the Laplace Mail didn't say anything about victims of a monster or animal attack so I would rule out the 'demons attacking people' being a problem now," her jacket wearing best friend replied as well.
Passing by Harajuku and Yoyogi Stations didn't helped as well. How in the world did the government even managed to find soldiers to guard the railways, road and the Stations? Yuzu doesn't know and honestly she fear for the possible answer. Her opinion on the Summoning Program as a way for world peace seemed to be not so impossible anymore.
Especially when she honestly thought the JSDF couldn't bother to dispatch soldiers to guard train tracks and train stations.
The stranded people weren't even helping, too. They were angry and pissed off that even an old lady tried to pull her away from her best friends. Apparently for her sake, which is - in her opinion - far from the old lady's business.
When they arrived somewhere near Shinjuku Station - at Shinjuku Musashinokan precisely-, Kazu left them, claiming he wanted to check Gabe. The station was across the rail track and road to the station was barricaded by the JSDF. Atsuro was confused by Kazu's action so she took upon her the responsibility of bring Atsuro up to date.
"Kazu and I went here yesterday while you were working on you laptop. We met this guy who works at Shinjuku as a... male escort. Don't give me that look Atsuro, I don't go to those bars even if some of our classmate try to persuade me to come with them," Yuzu said as she sat down on a railing across the street and facing the Shinjuku Station. People were avoiding the station in Shinjuku, claiming that poisonous gases escaped from the station and it may cause them to endanger their health.
"Gabe was a friend of his brother for almost... uh... I forgot but it was a long time. That's why Kazu was friends with him since he apparently spent time with him."
"...Does this guy have brown hair and was sucking on a lollipop by any chance?" Atsuro asked.
Bewildered by the strange question, Yuzu paid it no attention and answered, "Now that you said it, I managed to take a glimpse of him before he went into an alley, leaving Kazu to come back at me. He did have a brownish hair and was sucking on a lollipop."
"That was Gabriel Michaels -he introduces himself the Western way, okay-, a friend of Naoya and also an acquaintance of mine on the internet. We met at one of the forums where I and Naoya frequently talk to and managed to haggle me in talking with him. Long story to be honest but I met him once in a while back at Junior High, thanks to Naoya."
"So he's actually a family friend?"
"I don't know. Probably. Last time I remembered he was working at a department store at Ichi-maru-kyu. He' Naoya's friend from America who went here to get away from his family. I remember him talking it once when he caught me at Shibuya with Kazu back at Junior High."
"...How come I wasn't there?"
"You were at a family outing, if I remember correctly," Kazu's voice was heard from across them, causing both of them to turn around.
Kazu was back and was holding a goodie bag of sorts. "Gabe was there and he was quite busy catching up with some of his friends from America. Fortunately, or unfortunately, they came before the trains went down yesterday at 17:00. Here, he gave me some of his favorite chocolates and candies as an apology."
Yuzu took the goodie bag from the black haired teen and looked inside. There were a couple of American branded chocolates in there and a some candies. "An apology for what?"
"For making me worry for him. I know he was bound to Omotesando last night since he always visits a certain confectionery there every 2nd Sunday of July."
Atsuro munched on a chocolate cereal bar and said, "Because last night there were demons at Omotesando, right? And what's up with Gabe anyway?"
"Yup, good thing he went home before the blackout happened and found his friends at the front of his bar/apartment. They were pissed that he was late. I think Gabe forgot he was receiving visitors that day. By the way, he has an apartment but he prefers to sleep at Naoya-nii's to save on utilities. What a cheapskate." Kazu then shook his head. "Gabe is still the same as always. A sugar addict who thinks he won't get diabetes in his entire life, a cheapskate by staying at Naoya-nii's when he has an apartment for himself - which has a bar he actually owns below -, and doing odd jobs once in a while. Even if he has a bar he owned that supplies him enough money to enjoy his life."
"Uhuh... That's interesting. Anyway, let's go. We still have... uh... two more stations before we reach Ikebukuro. If there's no potential exit there, maybe we can try the Eastern Side?"
"Hm... I still don't get it why other people call the Western Side of the Loop as the 'East Line' when it is the 'west' if we use the north-south-east-west thingy," Kazu said. "Anyway, let's go... Hey, Atsuro! What are you staring at?"
Yuzu then noticed Atsuro was silent after he asked his question a while ago. He was staring at some person across the street who then ran away from them, hiding in the crowd that formed from the stranded people at the Station.
"...Who was that Atsuro? Did you knew him?" Yuzu asked. The person they saw was somewhat familiar, probably a person she met when Kazu and her went to Atsuro's Junior High back then.
"I think that was Keisuke. You know, Takagi Keisuke? That one guy who always stood up against bullies and protect the other students from being bullied. You guys may have seen him once back at Junior High. We became friends when I joined in helping him dealing with other bullies."
"...Maybe? Sorry I can't remember. If you two were close enough to work together, then why didn't we saw him more in High School?" Yuzu asked. It is common for fellow students to keep up with at least each other after graduation, unless something happened that caused the other party to stop in making an effort.
"I guess something really came up when we got into High School. Honestly, I thought he would enroll at our school but he didn't. If we ever meet, I'll try to ask him why and also introduce you guys to him," Atsuro muttered. "Uh... Yuzu? Where's Kazu?"
The two of them looked around and found the glasses wearing teen sitting at a railing not far from them, engrossed on doing something on his COMP. The green eyed teen was mumbling things they couldn't hear from their position. His expression was a mixture of disbelief and curiosity.
"Oh. There he is. He must have left us," Atsuro remarked. "Did he spaced out again? This is somewhat worrying me now." Yuzu couldn't blame him, Kazu sometimes space out at random times and can get confused on what was the topic they were discussing. A trait she discovered when she was his seatmate at Junior High.
It also lead to her becoming friends with him because she was worried of his... 'spaciness'.
"Me too, Atsuro. He was already like that by the time we met in Junior High. I had to help him in classes when he went into those... sessions." She sighed and wiped her sweat from her forehead. "Was he like this back in Elementary?"
"No. He wasn't like this." Atsuro then paused for a minute, his face deep in thought. "I... Maybe its a bad idea. It's too far-fetched anyway."
"What is it? Tell me."
"...Okay. You see, back when we graduated at Elementary. I remembered he told me he was going to have a trip with his family. A family trip outside Tokyo." He then gestured to his COMP, which was showing Kazu's Profile. "Remember the thing about England yesterday? About the escaped maniac or whatever it was and the deaths? I think it has something to do with him."
"So you're saying he had met this maniac back when we are in Elementary?"
"Possibly. I read that the mind can block things when someone faced extreme trauma. Things like being attacked by a person or having an accident. Usually it comes in the form of unexplainable fear of objects related to the incident but forgetting it completely or amnesia is not uncommon."
"...Which means his occasional blackouts are him unconsciously remembering that forgotten event?"
"Most likely. But we can't do anything at the moment. Let's just be with him, alright? His outburst yesterday was the first time I heard him let out his emotions, Yuzu. For six years, he never really opened up to me how he really was nor talked about his life. Aside from the things we experienced together with him, nothing else. The fact that I was in a different Junior High only made things difficult. Good thing you were there, right?"
"Yeah, you're right. Ever since we met in school, he never really did told me how he was. I had to learn it from second-hand sources, like his parents or asking questions from our teachers. What his favorite food was. What he liked to read. He never told me until he loosened up a few months into the school year. I think that was the time he called me his best friend."
"You said it right. From what you kept on telling me through our e-mails, he was cheerful and always had a smile on his face. I think its a facade or a mask personally."
"You think so? Huh." Yuzu then motioned to approached their friend who was on the other side of the street. "Come on Atsuro, let's get him. We can talk more later at your house."
"Oi. What are you doing there?" Yuzu said as she hopped towards the railing where her best friend was sitting on. Atsuro was following her, towing his bike and hers along with him.
"Huh? Oh, you guys were talking about a Takagi Keisuke, right? Sounds familiar so I looked into the [Profiles] application and there he was. Atsuro, check it out. I'm betting on it available at yours. Yuzu, try yours as well," Kazu chimed in. "I also did some contracting with other demons at the Auction. I'll connect them to your COMPs in a minute."
"I'm still wondering why are you so comfortable in dealing with that kind of stuff. Isn't it strange that you are dealing with demons of all things?" Yuzu inquired. She doesn't really understand why her best friend is alright with the demons. They're not humans nor animals and they can easily kill them if it weren't for the [Harmonizer]'s effect around them.
"...I don't really know Yuzu. I do not really know. Unless they try to hurt us in the first place or became a threat to others, I don't see anything wrong with working with them. Besides, the demons that we encounter seemed to be... strange."
"Strange...? What do you mean by that?" Atsuro asked as he opened his COMP and search for the application. "Huh. Keisuke seemed to be in my [Profiles] app. What's with this [Profile] app anyway? Its weird enough that we have demons to deal with but information about us being plastered on an application that can be seen by anyone on the internet is crossing the line already. Thank whatever god out there that the internet is down."
"Haven't you guys noticed that there aren't any demons coming after people except for us? And the fact that some of them ran away from us and seemed to taunt us into following them. If I have to say anything about it, I would think the demons we faced all day were the Wendigo's minions. Remember last night when it called out several more demons when it noticed us with it," Kazu explained as he wiped away some dust from his glasses. "I forgot to ask Naoya-nii about that app, Atsuro, but I think we are the only ones with this application. Naoya-nii would have made a comment in his e-mails last night if my personal info were leaked into the public, given my infamy at England."
"Uhuh... Wait a minute! This is the first time I saw you wearing your glasses after 4 months. Why now?" Yuzu changed the subject immediately since she can't stand to be reminded of her time at the cemetery.
"I somehow forgot to bring my prescribed contacts at home yesterday so this morning was the last time I wore them until I can get the ones at home. The contacts irritate my eyes when I have them for so long, so I took them off and returned to my glasses. Considering that I haven't got my eye drops here and I always have my glasses when these situations comes to play, I decided to wear them." He then took them off and continued. "I can't see anything when I don't have them... well, except for some vague shapes but you get my drift."
"Huh. I always thought that those glasses you wore back at graduation were just for show and weren't graded. You are actually blind without them," Yuzu remarked as she tried on the square framed glasses. "And... wow. That hurts."
"Okay then, since you two are geeking out on Kazu's glasses, I'm just gonna go now and make my way to Ikebukuro."
"Hey! Don't you dare leave us here!"
"Just joking. By the way, didn't we just passed an open McDonald's on the way here? Let's buy a McFlurry before we go."
Ikebukuro was a bust when they reached the station. Or somewhat near the station. Just like at Shinjuku Station, there was a blockade preventing them from getting to the station. JSDF soldiers were posted along the barricade and the fences and blockades on the roads were full of soldiers with guns. People were either milling around or walking towards other places except for the station.
Most seemed to be going at the direction of Sunshine City.
Yuzu expected them to be accosted by demons when they turned around a corner and found an empty parking lot, which would lead them to another road towards the main roads. What she didn't expect was to saw a white owl air diving its way to Kazu, who then gave the owl a hug.
She experienced strange things when she was around Kazu and Atsuro - mainly Kazu though -, ranging from surprise gifts of pudding from his parents, occasional blank stares to clothing 'magicked' to regulate its wearer's body temperature. Yuzu even experienced having to take notes back at Junior High when he and his family had these 'emergency overseas trip'.
Hm... Maybe she'll ask him what were those 'emergency overseas trips' they had. Kazu admitted one time he couldn't remember stuff about those trips back then. She blame it to jet lag, since his father used to complain about not getting enough rest when he came back from his overseas trip.
...Now isn't the time to think about him.
"Uh... What's with the owl Kazu? I know the Ikebukuro Station has an owl statue and owls were once regarded as the mascot of Ikebukuro. I even heard there's a cafe that has lots of owls in it," Atsuro asked as he looked around the station and its nearby locations.
"Yeah, its strange for an owl to air dive and receive a hug from anyone," Yuzu commented. "And its a very white owl. White as snow."
"She's Yukine, Yuzu! She's a pet of one of my acquaintances at Akihabara. She usually hangs around here at Ikebukuro when she isn't being a nuisance at Abenobashi or at the Kanda Shrine. I mean seriously, they love her since she catches all of the mice and rats there. I recall she was given a place at the tea shop and the shrine when she came there. Isn't that right Yuki?"
The owl barked in reply and snuggled itself at the neck of the teen.
"Wow. She's quite a perky one. How and when did you became friends with an owl? She's so friendly with you..." Yuzu then approached the owl who was perching on the shoulder of the glasses wearing teen and it turned it head in her direction. The owl then flew towards her, which made Yuzu to pause her actions. It then made its perch on Yuzu shoulders and proceeded to rest it head on her head.
"And she's friendly to anyone who look friendly enough."
"Oh my gosh! Is that an actual owl?!"
The three of them - and the owl - turned their heads towards the direction where the girlish voice came from and saw a girl in a strange dress. If one could call it a dress, but Yuzu can see the girl was wearing some cycling shorts underneath that very short skirt. Seriously, was she cosplaying when the stations were under a lockdown?
"Uh... Yeah! An actual owl. Her name is Yukine. What's yours?"
"Komaki Midori! You know, Ikebukuro is known for having an owl statue at its center but I never saw a single real owl there. Well except for that cafe nearby but the owls are all sad and gloomy that its..." Komaki-san then released a deep sigh. "Its very gloomy even though the people there are happy to see chained owls... Can I pet her?"
The owl flew from Yuzu's shoulder towards Komaki-san, who then reached out her arm for the owl to perch on. Strangely, the owl's claws weren't sharp to hurt her shoulders and judging from the lack of tears on the sleeves the owl's claws were on, their really dull to do any damage.
"Awww~ Such a beautiful owl. If only my cameras weren't out of juice, I could have made a video of my super duper extra exclusive encounter with the mysterious white owl of Ikebukuro Station!"
Kazu tried to laugh but he kept it hidden by his hands but from the snickers she can hear at her back, he was failing at it. Yuzu can't blame him, she herself can't stop but smile at the cosplaying girl who was busy petting the owl. Its quite refreshing to see a very positive and upbeat person after they met very grumpy and annoyed people all throughout the day.
"Hey... By any chance is the station open? I just came all the way from Shinjuku Station because it was closed and all the following stations after it were closed as well," Komaki-san said.
"Its closed. The same can be said all the way from Ebisu to Ikebukuro Station. We were planning to check the other side of the lines later. By the way, what's with your clothes? Isn't it kinda hard for you to wear that? Considering you came all the way from Shinjuku..." Kazu trailed off. Even the owl seemed to agree with her best friend by making a confused hoot.
"Oh this?" Komaki-san then pointed to her dress. "Well... I was in an event yesterday and I was planning to get back home the same day but the trains closed down at 17:00 yesterday. I wasn't expecting to be stranded here so all I have are just my extra costumes from yesterday's event. Trust me, this one is a much appropriate for outdoor use since the ones I wore at the event were really not appropriate for long exposure."
"Besides, it looks like your normal everyday clothes. Except its a bit more... fancy and stylish, right?" She then made a twirl and a pose, which was somewhat cute on her. Yuzu can agree with her statement, aside from the fact that her skirt was dangerously short but the cycling shorts were a saving point, that it can be seen by others as very special everyday clothes.
"An event huh... So you were cosplaying. Were you at Akihabara yesterday around 13:00?" Kazu asked.
"I was there. But I left around 15:00 so that I could catch the train. My daddy sent me an e-mail that the trains weren't working by the time I made to Ikebukuro so he sent me enough money to stay at a hotel we went to before. He doesn't want me to try going on buses since I had an accident before in one." Komaki-san then threw up the owl up in the air and continued. "Anyway, there were rumors about an exit around the stations so I might as well check out if those really exists. If not then I will just go back to the hotel, I still have extra money for a room until Wednesday. I hope the power gets back on Wednesday so that I could tell my daddy what's my situation right now."
"Yeah, power is a big deal right now. Couple it with our phones getting no reception and all of the telephone lines are dead, all of us are just hoping it will go back," Yuzu said as she saw the owl perched on the owl statue beside them. "You're going now? Bye then. Hope we see you next time."
"Same to you guys! You guys are so cool with me, even the owl, so take care!" Komaki-san then ran off back towards the crowd after she said her goodbyes.
"...That girl is a bundle of energy. I wonder where she get the energy from. Draining it from others, maybe?" Asturo exclaimed as he finally was able to say what he wanted to say. "But she sure looks familiar. Have we seen her before coming to Ikebukuro, Kazu? Yuzu?"
Kazuya then made a loud laugh. Yuzu couldn't help it but join as well because Atsuro, of all people, didn't recognized the famous cosplayer who approached them a while ago.
"Atsuro, that was DOLLY! That camgirl on the internet who also goes to anime and manga conventions. I though you of all people would recognize her at first sight!" Yuzu said as she wiped small tears from her eyes.
"She's popular because aside from her amazing works, she sews her costumes, she's also an amazing video-blogger. That's why even the likes of Yuzu here love her!" Kazuya remarked, earning a pinch to his ear courtesy of one pissed off Tanikawa Yuzu.
"Were you implying something demeaning about me?" She said with a creepy smile. The teen with a pair of headphones shook his head in denial. "I thought so."
"Yeah, yeah. Sorry if I didn't recognized her before. Give me some leeway here," Atsuro retorted. Taking a look at his digital watch, he continued, "Hey, its almost noon. Should we go and have lunch? Pasta isn't really that filling, you know."
"How about we go to you house? It's along the way to the other side of the Yamanote Loop and we can take a rest there. Didn't your parents bought a generator once in case of emergencies? Our COMPs are halfway empty and we know that its the only thing that would allow us to survive any demon attack," Kazu said. He then opened up his backpack and brought out a bag of pastries he bought before at the cafe.
Kazu then threw a bun to the white owl perched atop at the statue beside them. "Here, enjoy you snack. Go back to Tsuki-chan will you? I'm sure she is worried about you now." The owl whistled in reply and flew away. Other people who were around their area wowed at the sight of a flying white owl.
"Didya see that mommy? An owl? There were no birds since this morning mommy. Where did that owl came from mommy?"
Strange. Now that the kid said it, Yuzu noticed there weren't any birds flying around the area. She also now remembered there weren't any birds as well from Aoyama up to Ikebukuro.
"That kid... She noticed there weren't any birds around. Why? Even if Tokyo is a metropolis, we have tree and parks for birds to live in so why aren't there any birds since this morning?"
"I have no idea, Yuzu. Maybe they are spooked by the explosion last night that they flew away?" Kazu said. He handed over a sandwich to her and to Atsuro, which the both of them received. "But that would only apply to those at Kita-Aoyama though."
From: DS Admin
Subject: Auction Registration
Attached: auct(exe) ; auctREADME(pdf)
We would like to inform you that you have been automatically registered to the Demon Auction House as patron!
Here our clients can make contracts with demons safely, removing the threat of accidents when the said contracting fails. For it our vision to have demons and humans have a stable and working relationship, we provide a safe and easy process for you Demon Tamers to have the demon you want to summon.
The auction houses our service provides use the gathered [Magnetite] your COMPs obtain from battling demons by converting them into [Macca]. [Macca] is the staple currency used in buying, negotiating and selling contracts.
Although there are many demons who sell their contracts using our services, we must inform you that we don't have all of the demons on our lines. If you are searching for a specific demon and their contract isn't available in our auction houses, we implore you to use the service of our sister company, Cathedral of Shadows.
Thank you and we'll be expecting you to keep using our services. May you find the demon you covet dearly within our shelves.
For more information, we attached an instructional booklet with this e-mail for you to read at your own pace.
From: DS Admin
Subject: Registration at Cathedral confirmed.
Attached: cath(exe) ; cathREADME(pdf)
We would like to inform you that you have been automatically registered to the services provided by the Cathedral of Shadows.
The Cathedral of Shadows is an organization deeply entrenched in brooking between demons and humans. They, along with the ones who brought to you the Demon Auction House, provide you, the user, to way to find the specific demon you dearly covet.
Using the contracts you have from other demons, The Cathedral of Shadows will provide you the potential demon you may contract with in exchange of the contracts you provide. The services The Cathedral of Shadows provide include the basic negotiating you usually experience at the Demon Auction House.
Here at The Cathedral of Shadows, we do the negotiating for you. Just provide the necessary contracts and we'll 'fuse' them into a single contract with the different demon. It is 100% safe and it won't 'bite you back in the ass' when you use the contracts you have for other demons in 'fusing'.
The Cathedral of Shadows always have the best interests of our demon and human clients so rest assured you are in safe hands. We also include the demons you have summoned as well.
Thank you and we beseech you to use our services as frequent as possible.
For more information, we attached an instructional booklet with this e-mail for you to read at your own pace.
The e-mails the three of them received after he cracked more functions of their COMPs at the cafe, as advised by his mentor, confused Atsuro. He was still bewildered by the sudden change of events for him and the new... installments of their COMPs just gave him a headache.
It was clear the e-mails were written by a third-person party since it wasn't written in any style Naoya would employ in using. Besides, Naoya seemed to be implying he didn't made these applications and he only hid it for Atsuro to crack it later. If that was what Naoya was planning for him to do, he sure did prepared a lot of work for Atsuro to deal with.
His best friend, on the other hand, doesn't seem to be freaking out by the implications their group were facing. They were summoning demons to do their bidding and the applications that just got 'installed' allows them to have a more... diverse group of demons to summon from. According to the e-mail he received that morning from Naoya, he gave the modded COMPs to them because there has been an emergency and they would need them along the way.
What he didn't outright told him what kind of emergency it was and what would they use the Summoning Program for. Atsuro had no idea what they would use it for, except for a vague idea of saving other people who might be targeted by demons. His best friend's actions implies he may have an idea but just like them, he doesn't have a solid idea on what was the reason.
...But all of those can be discussed when they arrive at his house at Akasaka. They have to first find a way around the city towards his house. It was annoying that, aside from having a bike or a motorcycle, all of them have to walk around the city under the harsh light of the sun.
Not that it would have any effect on them. Even in broad daylight, the demons are a bit more... aggressive even after they left the last area where they fought. The Pixies, Kobolds and Kabusos were definitely leading them towards their leader.
Atsuro had a bad feeling about it but he hid it carefully. It wouldn't be a great idea, since Yuzu was clearly uncomfortable with fighting. She's amazing with the way she can dish out magic, can cast more than what Kazu can and has a knack in healing when they got hurt. He would equalize things in terms of specializations, if has anything to say on the topic.
Kazu is the one who dishes out strong Almighty attacks and is responsible in 'buffing' and 'shielding' them from damage. He can cast Elemental spells but he goes for an attack that can't be resisted by the demon's defenses. Atsuro can say he can be a one-man team if not for the fact that his 'shields' must be focused at all time for it to be active, thus delegating him as their group's defender.
Yuzu, on the other hand, is whiz on the Elemental spells and Healing. Though not strong compared to Kazu's irresistible Megido balls, her Elemental spells target the weaknesses of certain demons. For some reason, some of them are weak to certain spells, like the Fire-based Agi or the Lightning-based Zio. When their weaknesses are struck, they get dazed and their wide open for an attack without any repercussions. Her Dias are, strangely, stronger than Kazu's, even if his were 2nd-tier according to the COMPs [Compendium].
All of them figured it has something to do with Yuzu's knack in magic. Even his best friend was amused and delighted by her skill in magic.
Atsuro was somewhat the physical attacker of their group. He prefers to punch the sense out of the demons, something he can credit to the times he was caught fighting against bullies in Junior High with Keisuke. And he has a special skill that allows him to deal the complete brunt of his attacks to the demons. Only he seemed to have acquire the requirements to 'equip' a certain [Passive], Pierce. And that was a thing, the [Teams] app in their COMPs works like in a video game. A remark Kazu took offense to since he also noticed it as well and thought his brother programmed the application with that in mind.
The COMPs reflect their 'statistics' in terms of physical and magic strength, agility, vitality and resistances to attacks; a theme commonly found in any RPG games. After Atsuro cracked the COMPs at the cafe, the three of them can 'equip' skills as long as their 'stats' can meet the requirements. After a skill was equipped, it wouldn't be available to others until it was unequipped.
If that wasn't any indication that Naoya had made the program with games in mind, the fact that there was an experience counter after every 'encounter' they had against the demons was enough evidence for Kazu and Atsuro to slam the gavel and shout "Guilty!". Based on the files Atsuro and Kazu read after he cracked the apps, the 'exp counter' seemed to work alongside with the ritual Kazu mentioned the day before and the [Magnetite Converter] function of the Summoning Program. Since the said ritual allowed them to have magic in the first place, it would make sense it would also 'empower' them just like how game characters get powerful after leveling up.
All three of them don't feel it the 'upgrade' but it can be noticed when they consciously use the said 'strength'. Yuzu explained that she was only turning a switch in her mind whenever she wanted to use the 'upgraded' strength she gained in fighting the demons. Kazu showed proof by kicking a soda can into a wall, making a crack in it, after he 'applied' his strength.
All in all, aside from the reality that they are now 'enhanced' human being through the use of Demon Summoning Program, the 'stats' allow them to equip the skills Atsuro cracked as long as they can meet the requirements.
The all agreed to check the other side of the Yamanote Loop before going to Akasaka. Originally they were planning to go at Atsuro's house but Kazu made a comment on checking the other side of the Loop. Since they all had lunch at some open ramen shop near Ikebukuro and proceeded to stuff themselves with the noodles courtesy of Kazu's wallet, Yuzu and Atsuro made no complaints at Kazu's suggestion. It was a better to check the stations when there's daylight than to check them in the dark if the power won't come back that evening. Besides, Kazu made a great argument that they could stay the night at Atsuro's place instead of being stranded somewhere in the city at night.
Yuzu was comforted by the idea of having a bed to sleep on that evening, if they can't find a way out. If nothing else, having a roof to sleep under was absolutely better than to take the chance of sleeping at a cemetery.
They decided to try going along the train tracks and passing by the Otsuka, Suagamo, Komagome, and Nippori Stations but were stopped when a group of people who had bikes with them saw their small party. Apparently, they came from the northern stations of the Yamanote Loop and had to check the other stations. JSDF soldiers also littered the stations and along the train tracks that the possibility of an exit was nil. Them having bikes were enough for the party of 7 to assume they were also planning to check the stations in a fast and easy way.
Atsuro had to be the bearer of bad news to them when he relayed their situation. All seven of them were disappointed but thankful for the news. The three of them were also thankful for the news as well and made their goodbyes to the other party. Just like them they will be checking out the other stations of the Loop.
Kazu then made a suggestion of accompanying the group of seven when they were about to leave. Three of the girls were suspicious but the rest of the boys allowed the three of them to accompany them. Yuzu then asked the reason why he wanted for them to join the group, although she wasn't complaining of the company the group of seven brought.
His answer shook the him and Yuzu.
"...Their clocks were zero. Just like ours."
Yuzu almost fell over from the bike when she heard it from Kazu. Atsuro also forgot the fact that their Death Clocks were zero that day. That meant the had a chance to die that day if they couldn't prevent it. They had the Laplace Mail with them, an e-mail detailing potential events that may happen that day including potential deaths of people but hearing it also applied to the group they encountered was something else.
"Remember the e-mail saying there will be three people be killed? If this group decided to go pass Suidobashi Station, then most likely they are the ones we must save from the demons!"
"But look at our Death Clocks, Kazu! We might die today but we don't know how!" Yuzu cried out as she swerved her bike, narrowly missing a wrecked trashcan in the middle of the road.
"Yeah, but are you just gonna stay put and let them die, knowing they don't stand a chance against the demons-"
Just as when they turned at the curve at the Metropolitan Expressway No. 5, a scream was heard a couple of meters in front of them. Kazu rushed immediately around the corner and made a shout to them, "Prepare your COMPs!"
His best friend's shout as proof enough that the demons decided to attack the group. Summoning his demons, he came to the corner on his bike and saw three of the bikers who were with them all across the road. Still on top of his bike, he called out Yuzu to come faster and try to heal the victims.
Unfortunately, the three of the bikers were already dead, judging by the wounds they have on their bodies. Yuzu seemed to be aghast by the severity of the wounds they received. Burns and lacerations were the common ones the two of them found but Yuzu discovered one of the victims had a big chunk of ice embedded at his back. He was also smoking by the time they arrived.
Atsuro just then realized how powerful the demons' attacks if not for the [Harmonizer] their COMPs always run. Those three weren't near them so they received the full power of the attacks.
Kazu seemed to be fighting some red shades who were so fast in avoiding his Megido balls. His demons, a Jambavan and a Makara, were doing okay in fighting a Bilwis who decided to stay around. The other demons were chasing a blur at the horizon, to which Atsuro realized were the rest of bikers they were with.
"Yuzu! The Bilwis' weak to Zio! Can you help me here?"
"On it!" The girl with a bandanna cast several Zios to the Bilwis causing it to stagger, which the allowed Kazu's Jambavan to finish it with a heavy strike with its club. The Makara then glowed and a swirling energy ball of sorts appeared in front of it. It then threw - if the flippers of the duck/deer demon can throw- at the red shades Kazu was targeting at. The blurs then seemed to be stuck on the ground it was on.
Kazu then climbed on his bike and charged at the blurs. His bike seemed to be glowing or his hands were the ones glowing, which he then realized was an effect of a skill Kazu had. Navas Nebula. Kazu charged at the blurs with his bike, hitting them and causing them to dissipate in a swirl of colors.
Atsuro then remembered there rest of the bikers. "Yuzu! Kazu! Come on! The other bikers are in danger! The other demons were chasing them!"
"I know!" He then recalled his demons and continued. "You guys okay? No one's injured? Okay. I'm gonna cast a Masukukaja so that we can catch up to them."
"I didn't realized you could use that outside of fighting," Yuzu remarked as she climbed up on her bike and followed to where Atsuro and the teen with glasses were waiting for he. "By the way, can we do something about the others?"
"We can't help them Yuzu. They're already dead when we arrived," Atsuro said with a sigh. "I guess when other people will find them, they would instantly chuck it up to a gang war or something. Speaking of people, where are they anyway?"
"You didn't noticed Atsuro?"
"They're gone as well. Look closely at the windows and the buildings around us. They're practically empty. I bet the majority of them ran away or got attacked by the demons. Come, let's hurry!"
Atsuro can see at the distance the bikers being bombarded by fireballs and lightning strikes by the demons. Luckily all of them missed. It was a wonder that they manage to avoid the attacks while riding a bike.
The three of them followed the demons and the bikers to the Tokyo Dome Hotel, where they turned around the corner and ran.
"I can't believe they were waiting for an ambush at the corners. If they weren't there, the bikers could have escaped!" Yuzu exclaimed as she ran to the entrance of the amusement park. "Look, they ran up the stairs towards the park!"
Kazu almost crashed his bike as he tried to slow down before he too ran towards the theme park. Atsuro also had to catch himself from crashing into Yuzu's and Kazu's bikes.
When he arrived where Yuzu and Kazu stopped, the scene he came across was the frozen pillars of the four bikers. And a Wendigo was towering behind the pillars of ice.
"Oh no... They were frozen alive! Look at their faces!"
The Wendigo laughed before it bellowed, "Hah! You three will pay for interfering my plans in killing that skank! Its because to you three I have to run away from her!"
It was the same Wendigo from the cemetery!
"My minions! Surround them! Don't let them escape! We'll feast on their flesh!"
Yuzu was being hysterical from her position as the demons one by one surrounded them, blocking the exits from which they could escape. She was shaking on her feet while clutching at the COMP as if it held her life. Kazu gritted his teeth while and muttered, "What time is it Atsuro?"
"I don't see why its important right now!"
"Just tell me, what time is it?"
"It's 13:00! So why..." Oh. So that's why.
"You realized it too huh. We were the ones being referred in the Laplace Mail. We even walked into their trap," Kazu said. He then help out his COMP and continued, "We're even at the right place, we are in Bunkyō-ku, and at the right time, 13:00. Hell, we even have the murderer in front of us, the Wendigo."
"...Wendigos are said to be the Western equivalent of Yuki-Onna. Except their beasts," Atsuro replied as he prepared his COMP as well. "We have forgotten that we were scheduled to die today."
"Hell no we aren't. I'd stick to the idea that the Laplace Mails are just predictions, not the actual truth! If this we are going to die, I won't go down without a fight."
"I... I try to forget that our Death Clocks were zero. I thought I could run away from it but it chased us back," Yuzu said as she try to shake of her fear. It seemed that his little talk with Kazu was overheard by Yuzu. "I... I won't run away now. I... I'm gonna fight! What Kazu said was right. I won't go down without a fight!"
"That's our girl! How about you Atsuro?" Kazu asked him as he summoned his Jambavan and Makara. "Will you stand around and watch?"
"Never." He then summoned his demons, a Shisaa and a Jack Frost, while Yuzu summoned hers, an Angel and a Hamsa.
An angel. Aren't angels and demons enemies in stories? Then how did Kazu managed to make a contract with an Angel using the Demon Summoning Program?
"...What the?! Kazu! You have some explaining to do later!"
It seems Yuzu had the same idea as his, given with her unsurprising outburst.
"Will do! Get ready guys, his minions are charging."
His plans of only summoning the demons who had the shards of his brother's soul were derailed by those cultists who have a fetish with the color orange. When he received that e-mail from Kuzuryu detailing about her father's plans that afternoon, he immediately abandoned his plans of having a nice summer trip outside Tokyo with his brother. And his friends as well, since the redhead and his 'apprentice' managed to make their existence a permanent fixture in their lives.
Even though the redhead was the only girl in his brother's small circle of friends - if it can be called a circle in the first place -, she was the rock that seemed to anchor his brother's sense of normality. His 'apprentice' can be somewhat flighty in his ideas, especially when he got his brother into those topics about the latest stuff on the internet. The girl completes the group's dynamics, even though his brother always got himself delegated into the mediator role.
His brother wasn't the same after the time he was abducted by some wizards in Europe. Just because his brother had the same name as the kid they wanted - they changed it into a Japanese one after the adoption was finished -, doesn't mean they could take him whenever they want. And they kept on doing it for 6 consecutive years.
Naoya had to pull some strings just so he could rescue his brother from England. He used the excuse of a family trip when their teachers inquired him when he returned to school. Their parents were also in the secret for both of them were attacked when Kazuya got abducted from them for the first time. Even Gabriel, the candy equivalent of a drug addict and all around pain in the ass Archangel from a different dimension, joined in his mission to recover Kazuya from the grubby hands of those wizards. And everytime they managed to get him back to Japan, a part of his brother's mind gets chipped off. Literally.
After he rescued him for the first time, he noticed something wrong with how his brother acted. Like something hypnotized him into believing he was supposed to do something before he stopped himself from whatever he was planning to do. He got over it as time pass by but when the second time he rescued him and noticed it happening again, he went to their resident angel in the slums.
Gabriel managed to save the most of his brother's sanity by making a seal on his mind. Naoya could do it but his skill in mind magics were a bit lower than the ones employed by the angels. And since Gabriel was an angel who got turned into a human but still have access to his angelic abilities, he can do the deed. It was much more smoother and cleaner and made it harder for anyone who wanted to tamper on his brother's mind again.
Unfortunately, Gabriel couldn't do a thing with restoring the part of his brother's mind that got chipped away. He wasn't the healer, it was more on 'Raphael's jurisdiction' as he explained to Naoya. The only he could do was to delegate the chipped memories into a seal where one day it would be healed naturally and reabsorbed by the main part of his mind. Humans often get traumatized by witnessing or experiencing horrific things/scenes/accidents but they get healed as time goes by. As long as support and encouragement from the person's relatives and friends is continuously supplied, the trauma will be healed.
That is what Gabriel did to his brother. He also noticed that somehow Abel was being assimilated into the seal he made, after he checked it when the third rescue operation happened. Gabriel explained it by comparing it to a hard drive partitions. Or a back-up memory or something similar to it.
Naoya equated it to a multiple personality disorder when he was confronted by Abel instead of Kazuya when his brother woke up after Gabriel finished his check-up. He recognized him when Kazuya's eyes turned blue and parts of Kazuya's hair turned the same shade as his eyes.
It was a confrontation he didn't expect but nevertheless received. Good thing he was tired - aside from the harsh headbutt he initially taken from him when he saw the eyes - and only made comments on 'kicking Cain's ass when he comes back' and 'should have known to get some defenses against Almighty attacks on the tower'. Only Abel could have made comments on getting defenses on a tower for only he and Abel were the ones left on top of Tower of Babel when it was struck down by a strike from the Heavens.
Gabriel mused that Abel was only waking up properly now because he wasn't blocked by a foreign entity. Specifically the soul shard Naoya found and used as a catalyst to summon Gabriel and made him human with his angelic abilities unlocked. Consequent abduction and rescue operations didn't evoked Abel again, though both of them can sense he was absolutely pissed by the events.
The kidnappings didn't go unnoticed by the Japanese Ministry of Magic, since both the Minegishi brothers were claimed by their community as one of their best magicians in the country. Despite being classified as hermits by their standards, the contributions of the elder Minegishi in the area of ancient magical history research and spell-crafting development and the younger one as one of their strongest spell-casters in the country gave them the well-earned respect by the Ministry. Especially when the elder brother wrote articles and publications about the potential origin of magical creatures and yokai in the country, possibly in the whole world.
At first, when the Ministry caught wind of the kidnapping of the younger Minegishi, it was already settled by the family of the victim and the perpetrators' identities weren't released to the public. Hence they left the issue alone. But when the second successful abduction was discovered, investigations followed immediately on who are the perpetrators were. Naoya gladly gave information on how he rescued his brother, namely the location where he found his brother by following his magical signature through a very special tracking spell he crafted personally.
The second rescue was done by Naoya and Gabriel, the relatives of the victim - Gabriel claimed to be distant uncle thrice removed -, and small party of the Magical Sector of the 4th Division of the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Kazuya was rescued at the same location as he was rescued at in the first kidnapping, at a house magically in the middle of the city of London hidden by several wards and under a Fidelius Charm. Location tacked down by following the magical signature registered at the Magical Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and defenses breached by the custom crafted spellwork by one of the best spellcrafters of Japan , the operation was successful.
Meanwhile, the Magical Sector of the Japanese National Police Agency gained a brand new, specially crafted, and Japan-exclusive spell that can neutralize any magic done or cast in an area. It also prevents any magic be cast or done, including magical artifacts and prosthetics. As such it was given the name [Ban Mystic] since it figuratively bans any magic or mysticism in a specific area.
The British Ministry of Magic was essentially in hot water when the Japan discovered they actually allowed the said kidnapping under the pretenses of 'rescuing a British citizen from a place not suited for respectable British wizard'. The spectacle was reported too in normal news since the Magic and Mundane side of Japan weren't really separated from each other. It was reported that a Japanese citizen was kidnapped from his home repeatedly for several years by the British Government, who reasoned out that they were only 'rescuing the son of a respectable British citizen from the barbaric country somewhere in the East'. It also didn't helped that there was a video released to the public from an anonymous source showing an official of the British Government saying those things. The official was a high-ranking one, implied to be a part of the cabinet of the Prime Minister, and to make things worse, the video wasn't a hoax at all.
It was a prototype of Naoya's work in making technology work with magic. Needless to say, the disrespect made by a high ranking official to the entire country of Japan caused much anger and rage towards the country. The Ministry in Britain was scrutinized by the International Community due to their acts and 'active hostility and insult' to an entire country. Not to mention that it was then disclosed to the International Confederation of Wizards - which Japan was a member of but doesn't really commit much to their rules and regulations because wizards - about the blatant disregard of laws made by the British wizards and the kidnappings.
Kazuya Minegishi was a naturalized Japanese citizen since he was adopted by her British aunt and her Japanese husband. Even though he wasn't born in Japan, he was still a citizen of the country through Article 8 of The Nationality Law No. 88 of 2008. The claims of 'abduction' was ultimately denied since legal papers of his adoption were filed years in London before it was filled again in Japan.
However, it didn't stopped their kidnappings which went for 4 more years. The fallout from those 'series of unfortunate events', as one reporter has wrote, included permanent blacklist of England in any airline service from Japan, the entire country of Brain put under extreme probation by both the ICW and UN due to their actions and several more.
Naoya was only glad that his parents were supportive of his action is rescuing is brother and Gabriel for helping in dealing the trauma his brother went through. Though the things the events that happened to him especially during the 3rd to 6th abductions were extremely traumatizing to him, Naoya was happy that Gabriel made a seal for Kazuya to prevent the majority of the damage affect his mind. Abel, on the hand, was somewhat unhappy but not mad by the time he came out and had a talk with his brother and the angel in the slums. He was thankful for the memories in the seal since it gave him a way to be fully assimilated into his reincarnation since his memories will be included in the assimilation.
The damage dealt by the soul shard hindered Abel from being assimilated by his current reincarnation and was cut off completely until Naoya used it as a catalyst. It was the 'boulder blocking the cave to which Lazarus was kept in'. Abel also requested that from his brother to help him gather the scattered parts while he was currently incapacitated.
A request Naoya gladly accepted.
He didn't spent all his time crafting spells for nothing. He also went to to different institutions that delved into the realms of yokai and mythical creatures. Chances are, he would find a way to select the demons he will summon from their work since his attempt in summoning Loki ended up with summoning a version of the Archangel Gabriel. Though he masqueraded as Loki in his dimension, it still didn't count.
Luckily he snagged an internship from a very famous programmer who was also known in the magical community as The Expanse Crafter. He specialized in crafting space expansion and transportation symbols since he was a cripple. In the mundane world, he's known as STEVEN. The creator several gadgets and other technological advancements currently enjoyed by people. It also included the widely known COMP and its upgraded versions. Much like how laptops were bulky at first but became smaller and faster as the years go by. Thanks to a chance meeting when Stephen was visiting Japan at the Diet Building, he was given the chance to learn from the programmer.
When Stephen returned back to America, he left countless notes for Naoya to study. There was also a letter stating he will be his successor and his legacy. Naoya never heard of the man again nor were there anymore news about him. He completely vanished from both sides of the world, leaving a company that was soon divided by the shareholders and a thousand of notes on his work to his 'successor and legacy. Rumors went on saying he got into a mishap with his transportation runes but those were just rumors.
In the notes, he discovered a document detailing a theory made by his mentor about a dimension, called 'Expanse', where spirits and other mythical beings reside, a place where human consciousness and belief affects the entirety of the dimension and how humanity can only be the one to change the status quo. Stephen never released it nor published it but Naoya suspected his mentor deliberately left it for him to discover. He also discovered a system prepared by Stephen actualizing rituals and symbols as a series of programming code. Naoya suspected it was done on a whim by his mentor but chances of him leaving it to Naoya was also high. Coupled with his previous knowledge in summoning rituals, the notes his mentor left about reaching the 'Expanse' and the notes on how to use programming codes as a replacement to the symbols used in rituals, he managed to create the Demon Summoning Program.
Though he wondered where the [Auction] and [Cathedral of Shadows] programs came from when his program was booted, Naoya realized it was made by the program to assist in its function. He did programmed it to fix its code when it detected an error but he didn't expect it to create 2 programs, much less one.
But the coding and programming in those were... unique. It wasn't made in his 'style' and overall it was too... hammy. And it was using the contracts made in the Demon Summoning Program in ways he didn't thought possible until it showed him. Naoya suspected it wasn't the work of his self-fixing program but some other party's work.
When he reported his accomplishment after working on his mentor's work to Gabriel, he was shocked. Gabriel actually recognized the terms and divulged him into the things Gabriel did after he was summoned by Naoya. He knew there was a place where the demons he summoned along with Abel came from but to learn his mentor's theory of an entire dimension sustained by humanity's belief was something he never expected.
Added by the fact that Gabriel mentioned that the demons there were talking about selling their contracts only lead credibility to his theory of someone other than him managed to create a Summoning Program and there were people before him who were dealing with demons using contracts professionally.
The comments of his brother about 'humanity's power over everything else' back at the top of the Tower of Babel were actually true.
When the Shomonkai, a small cult obsessed in uniting people through the power of the internet, - though Naoya certainly thought it was originally unite all people within our nation through the power of the internet - discovered his skill in summoning after they caught him doing it a test run somewhere in Shinagawa-ku.
Knowing he was protective of his brother, they threatened Naoya to work with them in exchange of Kazuya's safety. At first Naoya denied which then lead to the Mahōtokoro Incident, which marked the 6th abduction and rescue operation. The Shomonkai claimed plausible deniability since technically they really had no contribution to Kazuya's abduction and only the British wizards were to blame.
Naoya had no choice but to work with them and help them have their own summoning devices. By the time he made a server for the Summoning Program for it run properly, he tossed it into one of his mentor's dimensional portals specially made in case of emergencies. That way he can claim he already did his job and its was up to them to find a way to get the server back if they wanted to recreate his Program. Just to be safe, he destroyed all of his and his mentor's notes after he completed the job. He made the only back-up to his files and hid it into one of his COMPs, claiming it was his a gift to himself for doing a great job.
He then gave it to his brother and his friends when the news of the Shomonkai proceeding with their plans to summon their god arrived to him. The only consolation he got was that this god they were trying to summon is one of the specific demons he discovered who got a major chunk of Abel's soul shards. It saved him time and work to summon that bastard. The only thing left was to have Abel absorb back his soul.
Naoya didn't expect the Heavens to lock them inside the Yamanote Loop that evening.
Aside from involving the Government in this so-called 'test to humanity', they also placed barriers over the entire Loop. It prevented anyone from jumping over to flying out the blockade. Not to mention it also reached a certain level below ground level, a fact that irritated Naoya. He noticed it when he received the e-mail from Kuzuryu.
Kuzuryu Amane was the only person he was polite to during the entire period he was working with the Shomonkai. She was polite to a fault that her persona as the Holy Maiden of the Shomonkai was commonly thought to be her true personality. A selfless kind-hearted idiot who would do anything to help the people. They weren't entirely far off from the truth.
She was also a bitch to deal with, especially with her annoying questions whether he would stay and work with them after he was done with the server. It was annoying but not to the point he would gank her with a metal steel pipe. Not to mention that she had an angel and a devil inside her, using her body as a vessel.
It also greatly annoyed Naoya that through his actions, a Bel demon got summoned out of schedule and got stuck in a girl. The stupid girl got the 'honor' to be the one who will summon a demon to kill a Deva, a guardian deity or a tutelary tasked to prevent the Expanse to creep into the human world. That was a thing, too. Certain mythical spirits became deities, who were summoned to keep the rest of the Expanse to get into the real world. Like the 4 Devas in Tokyo, Japan and the Totems of somewhere in North America. Although the Black Hats can be regarded as tutelary of the entire American Region, since the Men in Black myths are commonly associated with protecting the entire United States of America, there are several guardian deities at different states and locations tasked in keeping the 'veil' between dimension stable and secure.
America was something, that was for sure. Human belief there were strong and thus devils of the Judeo-Christian Religion always got summoned there. Gabriel has yet to check if there the Hunters he personally knew of exist there.
Nevertheless, Naoya had no idea why the Shomonkai decided to kill one of the Devas a week after he was done with the server and the modded COMPs and threw the said server, thus destabilizing the barrier erected by ancient Japanese monks and priests to hold back the 'malevolence' of the Expanse. His program can summon demons without a problem, though the strain to summon was somewhat lessened by the loss of the barrier. Still, what Kuzuryu summoned was a Bel demon who went by the name of Jezebel, a queen of Ancient Israel who convinced her people to worship Baal and/or the prophetess who was accused of spreading sexual promiscuity to the worshipers of the church. in the sequel of what Gabriel referred as 'a collection of books Father commission to be written but Michael managed to fuck up by selecting some humans to write in a drunk stupor haze, cause why couldn't they just asked permission to use a human to be their temporary vessel, write it and send it to the rest of humanity'.
And to top things off, this caught the attention of the Heavenly Host, according to Gabriel, and sent one of theirs to secure the Holy Maiden from corruption. Of course Naoya saw everything, though he had to hide behind the temple with his custom made concealment spells from the Shomonkai and consequently from Kuzuryu when he sensed something happened to their Holy Maiden after the 'cleansing'. Naoya already have Gabriel coming to his apartment so seeing weird things was the norm for him, especially when he had experienced a thousand of lifetimes witnessing weird shit.
But never in his life did he saw and angel and a devil co-exist in the same body. Though the fact that the Bel demon was unconscious probably had to do with it. While the rest of the Shomonkai left ahead to so back at their Headquarters at Shinagawa-ku, Kuzuryu remained behind and honed immediately to his position, ripping his concealment spells away and revealing him to the Maiden of the Shomonkai.
"So, this is what the First Son of Adam has been reduced to? He who used to stand tall and boast of his greatness, challenging the Heavens for a fight and when we send our reply you tumbled down to the dirt like the worms you so despised of. And now, you hide and fear for revealing yourself to others."
And the angel has spoken. Gabriel's remark on the residents of the Heavenly Host as 'dicks with wings' were certainly spot on, especially to those who thought they rule the Heavens and the entire World. If it weren't for the revived Archangel of a different dimension's observations and admission to the workings of Heaven when he investigated it, he would have resorted to having an argument with the angel inhabiting the body of the Shomonkai's Maiden.
"Where's the hubris you radiate when we last saw you active amongst humanity? Did the countless lives you have spent had finally taught you not to fight against His Words?"
Now that he knew that even God despised the attitude of His angels - both in this dimension and in others as well - and subsequently absconded the moment He gave humanity 'free will', he won't dare anymore in using God's name in his plans. Although at first Naoya doubted the words of the Archangel he unwittingly summoned, he realized Gabriel had no reason to lie. He was essentially an anomaly to the entire system. He would be killed instantly by the forces of Heaven if he was discovered.
Abel was certainly killed by Metatron for the reason he refrained to offer his offerings to him and instead sent it directly to God. His brother admitted to him that he forgot to tell that the first time around since he was full of anger and hatred to the one who orchestrated his demise.
He realized the truth when God told him directly not to send more offerings to His name but to another one He claimed recently. Only when he tried to tell Cain, he was cut down by his scythe and his head smashed by a rock. Then his soul was experimented by the Heavens and torn apart, as punishment of his transgressions.
"Although your lips doesn't drip with venom, your eyes absolutely exude the stench your soul certainly reeks of. Begone from this place, Cain."
Naoya would absolutely aid his brother in releasing humanity from the clutches of Heavens. When he finally comes back, they would continue what they had started before. But Cain wouldn't close off his ears and eyes from his brother's words this time around. He was undoubtedly played with by the Heavens all those lifetimes and his anger was only then multiplied by the sheer hopelessness he felt when he died in those lives.
Started by anger coming from his disbelief in the entire scenario and the unexplained 'punishment' that came after, it soon then grew through the countless lifetimes he experienced and knowing his brother was broken literally into pieces by his hands (technically). And it was directed to God, not knowing He left before they were born just because He despised the attitude of several of his angels.
(And probably the fact that their mother disappeared after they were born, leaving him and his younger brother alone with their good for nothing father. How did Seth came to exist was a wonder to him all those years after he died. Did the angels found a way to persuade their mother to have another child with their father? Or did they made another human for Seth to exist? Cain could remember a demon he summoned once referred that their mother was amongst the devils at the Pit, deep in Samael's embrace and strangely happy there.)
The target of his ire now was not God anymore but the angels He left to supervise the humans of this dimension. Gabriel told him about how his Father had His hands tied up in things concerning humanity cause He was prevented by from interfering by His own work.
Just because He was The Creator doesn't mean He could do everything what He wanted. He ultimately gave humanity their 'free will', independence from any shackles and the right to do their own decisions. This power was strong enough that He couldn't do a thing but watch after He made them.
Naoya kept silent while memorizing the feeling of the angel's Grace, in case he would meet the said angel once more in the future. He was then removed forcefully from the location when the angel banished him there. Though the angel will have to recuperate after the banishment since he made it very hard for him to be removed in the first place, the angel used up a lot of its Grace just to do the deed.
If he laughed before he was successfully removed there, he wouldn't deny it. God undoubtedly left this dimension to humanity and only His angels decided to ignore His unspoken decision. Naoya will have his fun when Abel comes back.
Weeks after the 'cleansing', as the Shomonkai claimed to the public when they were reported in the media, was done, Naoya discovered what they really planned back then. By killing a Deva, the barrier at Tokyo would weaken and thus easier to summon demons. But it also allowed demons within a certain strength level to pass through and resist the binding mechanism of the Program.
Naoya suspected the Shomonkai was planning to summon stronger demons and they needed to destabilize the barrier for it to happen. It was somewhat stupid since his Program could summon any demon, as long as you employ the services of the [Auction] and [Cathedral of Shadows]. The needed [Macca] could be alternatively paid by using one's magic as currency if you don't have enough [Magnetite] to supply it. Just like how the magi in the Clock Tower employ Servants into their services. And besides, the only thing they allowed to happen that seemed to be relevant was to allow certain demons to resist the binding contract and cause havoc because they aren't under a contract.
He was already planning to use their trip outside Tokyo to investigate other ways to stabilize the barrier when Kuzuryu e-mailed her about a summoning scheduled that evening at Aoyama and an unknown sender sending him a Laplace Mail. Naoya had to cancel his plans on the trip and rushed to his apartment complex at Aoyama from Shinjuku. He was hanging out at Gabriel's bar, researching any viable plans in stabilizing the barrier and dealing payback to Gabriel by wasting his stash of chocolates and blasting classical music using his speakers, when he received it.
He had met the redhead before he made his way to Ichi-maru-kyu so Naoya gave her the COMPs, for safety measures; he already 'modded' them so it would only summon a low rank demon that would easily be defeated. The police may go through his stuff in his apartment when they found out the death of his neighbor so he hurried his way there.
He arrived there, just in time for his brother and the redhead to confront him about his safety. Abel was asleep but he can't tell if he was feigning it or he was completely unconscious. Naoya had to reassure the two before he finally convinced them to leave, allowing him to clean up his apartment of anything that could give the police any idea he had a smudge of a connection to the murder at the door next to him. His stuff there were vague and ominous enough to give them an idea to slap an arrest warrant on him, given that he was researching ways to fix the barrier.
Naoya also sent an e-mail to Kazuya, guiding them into helping Kuzuryu when he found the site they used to summon the Wendigo. They actually manufactured a summoning sigil and forgot how to dismantle those after. It cost him - he was disguised as a member - and the Shomonkai several hours in defeating the influx of demons summoned by the crudely made summoning sigil, which was incomplete due to lacking the necessary circle for binding and other things he added to the mix, namely the stopper that stops demons from rushing out.
Every time one summons a demon from the Expanse, one must limit their summons since it basically opens a 'free-for-all' portal to the human world.
Strangely, they also didn't bother to bring the tracks they supplied to him to act as a 'regulator' and an emergency 'canceler'. Naoya wondered all the time when he was with the Shomonkai since they found two songs that acts as a conduit in summoning demons and a unsummoning sequence, banishing any demons within its range back to the Expanse.
The saying that music is the universal language is actually true. Although Naoya had no idea how in the world did the 'composer' of the song managed to successfully imitate the phonetics of the Ancient Common Tongue , he had to give it to whoever it was because the skill needed to construct even an imitation of the Old Language is incomprehensible. Unless it was just plain luck that made it possible in the first place. Fortune was a bitch with her 'blessings'.
Good thing he was disguised since everything went down to a massacre since the demons they summoned were at their full strength and the only thing that prevented them from killing him was the COMP he had with him. He added the tracks they supplied to him into the COMPs as a safety measure and he was ever so grateful to his past self in thinking about it. Naoya also noticed before Kuzuryu left to chase the Wendigo, since it was a much larger threat, that she had a COMP with her.
Smart girl, that's what she was.
He found Gabriel and some of his friends at the streets of Omotesando after the blackout happened, leaving them to fend off the remaining demons summoned from the work done by the dead cultists. Thankfully the streets were dark enough to hide the berserk demons from the eyes of the residents there but the noise created by the fray was heard throughout the entire neighborhood.
Naoya had to crash at Gabriel's place since his apartment was not fit enough for him to stay, not to mention the police would have been busy searching the entire building of any clues to the cause of the victim's unusual death. He wouldn't risk of returning even if they were bound to be attracted to the noise of conflict several blocks from the apartment complex and leave the area. With a bribe and a threat or two to Gabriel's source of exquisite chocolate fondue, he managed to persuade Gabriel to not reveal he was with them for the night.
Kazuya was appalled already by the fact Gabriel was staying at his apartment for free, he wouldn't want to incur Kazuya's ire if he discovered Gabriel pays it by letting Naoya stay at his place as well.
Expecting things would be alright and the power back on the next, he prepared reply to his brother and his 'apprentice' when the Laplace Mail arrived for that day. He immediately had to change things and rushed to adjust his replies before sending those to their recipients. The Babel Server the COMPs he made were connected to in case of its main service providers went down was something he didn't realized would be useful that day. Although he made the server for the Program act as a private server for internet services and other communication methods on a whim during his stay at the Shomonkai, he never really focused on its possible uses.
He might have to do some adjustments in the future when the bugs and errors came out, if he can get his hands on the server or the heavy duty, high-end terminals that were used in creating the said server again. However, the fact that the power was still down and other communication methods were dead wouldn't help him in that matter.
When he arrived at the Shinjuku Station, he discovered the reason why there was a blackout and a communication blackout. The Heavenly Host decided to come out and play. Angels were hidden amongst the soldiers of the JSDF and at the buildings past beyond the Yamanote Loop. He easily recognized the power those beings give off, despite possessing human bodies to hide their 'angelic presence'.
Noticing the brother of one of his acquaintances at the Ministry, one who was good enough not to piss him off unlike the rest of the people there, he dropped a COMP to the boy's hands while he was gawking at the scene at the station. He won't bother telling him how, he already gave the boy the means to protect himself. Naoya repaid the favor one Takagi Saya did for him by giving her brother a COMP.
He's smart enough, based from his sister's gossip to him whenever he visits the Diet Building, to breeze his way in making a contract. The 'dicks with wings' wouldn't do a thing in helping people inside the Lockdown if what the Laplace Mail said to him was accurate. It basically implied that the Shomonkai would follow through their plans and summon their god, while recklessly summoning anything they want on the way or somehow the barrier in Tokyo was weak enough for some of the demons from the Expanse to allow their entry into the human world.
Neither of those two implications endeared to him at all.
After he got himself settled down at Tokyo, the first thing he did was to investigate the summoning circle Cain - no, it was Naoya now - used to save him from dying. Permanently. Unlike the angels under his jurisdiction in Heaven, Archangels like him were created by their Father from the Primordial Energy He used to create the worlds and everything in it. The rest of their brethren were made from the energy left over from their creation mixed with their Father's power and could be easily recycled to 'revive' if they got themselves killed.
But unlike them, those who were created using the bulk of the Primordial Energy can't be revived again. The Primordial Energy used to create them was something that can not be replaced again. Once it was used, it can't be used again since it was completely consumed by the process it was used for.
Gabriel theorized that the Pagan god and deities back in his world/dimension used the leftover Primordial Energy to exist as themselves, using humanity's belief as their basis and consequently the souls of humans as their fuel to sustain their existence. He had to hide his disgust at their actions when he was forced to hide as one of them.
It also gave an answer to the question how the Hunters and other beings like his brothers, sisters and the demons were able to kill those Pagan gods permanently. They were made from the leftover energy Archangels were made, giving them tremendous power but a glaring and obvious weakness that could be exploited by many.
There is a reason why he, his brothers and their Father had to pacify their aunt since the worlds she destroyed in her anger were completely eradicated. Because their Father used Primordial Energy in creating the main world and other worlds, it couldn't be brought back after they're destroyed.
Gabriel thought that once he died, it was permanent. No way to save an Archangel from dying after being stabbed and purged by an Archangel Blade, a weapon made to balance their existence. Archangels like him were created to be indestructible since the Primordial Energy flowing and composing their Grace was something that couldn't be matched by anything else, so their Father had to use a portion of their Grace in a different way to balance the sheer power. Since it was the force of the entire universe in a weapon form and a part of their existence, the Archangel Blades were the ultimate weapon to destroy anything in the universe.
Ranging from the lowest of spirits to high ranking demons, their Father warned them that it could be used against them since only the force of the universe could counter one of itself. A balance, so to say. Gabriel could say that it was play on the saying 'equivalent exchange' after he hid himself on Earth from his brothers later on.
Only to realize later on that the term 'equivalent exchange' was actually one of the unspoken laws of the universe. Gabriel was killed by a weapon made from the energy he was created from. A weapon strong enough to counter the strong existence Gabriel had. An equal to him, an Archangel.
'Equivalent exchange' was also the reason why he was saved from dying because in exchange of him dying, a soul of another person was used in his place. He always never thought that the offerings and 'reagents' used by the demonic witches back in his dimension in summoning demons was an offshoot of one of the laws in the universe. No wonder why the Heavenly Host couldn't do a thing about the summons since it was part of their world's existence, not to mention it was used to summon a specific angel down to Earth if the appropriate materials were used.
Though he had to wonder how he was now technically a human, despite retaining his abilities as an Archangel. Naoya once joked he was now the perfect example of a true homonculus, to which he slammed his mouth shut for 5 minutes using his Grace.
He never repeated that joke ever since.
Still, the fact that he managed to survive, through the work of his Father and/or the laws of the universe, was something he was ever so grateful. And to think that something managed to counter effect of an Archangel Blade was bound to be investigated by someone who got to experienced it first hand.
The summoning circle Naoya used was a prototype, according to him. The materials were simple and the circle was... in a vague shape resembling closely an oblong than a circle. All in all, it was nothing special from any summoning he had witnessed except for one thing. The incantation he used was in the Ancient Common Tongue.
It was the language everyone intimately and instinctively knew back before the Tower of Babel was struck down and the emergence of distinct accents and dialects. Heaven decided to create their own language, Enochian, because of the reasons that the Ancient Common Tongue was commonly spoken and the writings of Heaven could be read instantly if it got into the hands of humans.
Not that it even happened but the idea was clear enough. Thus Enochian was created.
The thing about the Ancient Common Tongue was that its ancient. As in ancient as time immemorial. Their Father used the language He knew and taught it to humanity, because He wanted everyone to understand each other easily. But Tower of Babel happened and the loss of the common language...
Still, it was ancient for a reason because its the language of the universe. Their Father used the Ancient Common Tongue in making His creations and thus when it was invoked, the universe complies. No wonder the summoning worked for him. The universe complied with it.
Asking for a copy of what Naoya used to summon him was easy. Answering his questions of why and for what purpose were tricky.
Ever since he left his garrison in Heaven and hid amongst the Pagan gods as the Norse Trickster god Loki - his Father helped him with the disguise since He was also hiding from his brothers and sisters - , Gabriel wondered what happened to those he left behind. Namely Astarael and Betzalel, the twin sisters who worked under him.
They were the one he personally chose from his brethren to be a part of his garrison. The rest were assigned by Michael, for he was the second-in-command after God left and Lucifer was imprisoned in Hell. Astarael was someone that would get along with Tzadkiel, the angel of justice, since she was was enamored in the idea of balance and retribution while Betzalel, who also goes by the name Za'apiel, was originally in the garrison that specializes in punishing wicked humans.
Both of the sisters were strict and all but they also were very good in pranking their fellow angels when they got them pissed off. That's why Gabriel personally went to those two after he witnessed them pranked Lailah. Lailah had it coming after she burned Astarael's hair one day just because she was in her way.
They hid her candle she often used in helping her find a way through the darkness since she was an angel of the night. Unlike other angels, angels of the night can't see much in the dark despite 'night' a part of their title. The prank was harmless but it taught Lailah not to mess with Arael again after they hid her candle for a day.
When they heard he eventually left Heaven and went into hiding, both of them cried out in the 'Angel Airwaves' begging for him to come back or, at the very least, take them with him.
Gabriel remembered before coming into the new dimension was that Arael was screaming at the 'Angel Airwaves' for help for countless weeks until it eventually disappeared. Gabriel heard it but he couldn't find the exact location where Arael was. He doubted she was in Hell since the demons in Hell would kill one of them the moment one would be found by a demon. Betzalel, on the other hand, was sent somewhere in the Maine, New England to do her duties as an angel of punishment. She wasn't heard ever since.
Hoping that somehow he could call his trusted lieutenants in his garrison in his new dimension, whisking them away from whatever problem they are saddled with. Knowing his brothers, Michael and Raphael, they would undoubtedly tasked both of his second-in-commands with tasks unsuitable to their specializations or used them as scapegoats just because they're loyal only to him and not them.
Good thing he found two soul shards back at England when he and Naoya rescued Kazuya. The taint they emit was almost the same of the taint he felt that lingered at his forehead when he was summoned. It was undoubtedly parts of the same soul, shattered and embedded at objects for some reason.
He had no idea why would anyone do such a thing. A human soul was one of the most important and mysterious of their Father's creations that even they, his first sentient creations and sons & daughters, couldn't make heads and tails of. To find it broken into pieces - and how did it came into in the first place? - was something any angel would weep and even a demon gasp in shock.
Gabriel also had no idea why would they be found inside a tiara and a book. Why would it even be in a kid's forehead? A question that could not be answered anymore, that's what it was.
It would be immediately thrown into Purgatory, for neither Heaven nor Hell could accept it into their realms. Heaven couldn't for obvious reasons and Hell for the fact that they couldn't torture the soul and turn it into a demon because its way too broken already for use.
But it doesn't matter in the long run, whoever it was before its soul was broken wouldn't enter Heaven nor Hell anyway. Using the shards of its soul as payment for a potential rescue would be a much better ending for the person it was before than being devoured by one of his Father's biggest mistakes in creation. Invoking the Ancient Common Tongue into summoning his lieutenants, the book and the tiara he confiscated from a strange castle in England began to burn.
From the circles where he placed the book and tiara, flames began to rupture and a type of mist start to form. Gabriel was only thankful that it was noon and he's alone in the apartment he bought for himself, or else people would have noticed the light-show.
When Naoya came to him that afternoon to inform him of the things he should do now that he was a human being, Gabriel had to stop his lieutenants from attacking Naoya. Both of them were debriefed after they got saved from whatever disaster was happening back in their old dimension but old habits die hard.
Astarael arrived in the form of a woman with average height and had bright red hair. She wore something that Gabriel would have instantly direct to the Bikers of America, with the spiked leather jackets and pants she wore above a decent tank top. Leather boots completed her ensemble, making Gabriel thought of how in the world did Arael got herself into it.
Betzalel, on the other hand, was wearing something he could easily recognize. Who wouldn't if the person if front of you was wearing a skirt designed with lots of frills and lace and had knee high socks. She was also wearing platform shoes that were in the same color as her skirt dress. If he was honest with himself, he would say that Betzalel was cosplaying as Ruby Rose, a character from one of the American animated shows he was following currently. She even had the same shade of black as the color of her hair, even the highlights are also included.
Gabriel was in the middle of informing the sisters of their current situation when Naoya came so he had to postpone it after he settled the three down. Naoya wouldn't back out from a threat on his person, he lived enough lives already and Gabriel wouldn't want to test if the Curse of Seven-fold Suffering was true in this world or not.
"Arael! Zal! Stop! This Cain is not the Cain you two are familiar with!" Gabriel yelled at the sisters, catching their attention while allowing Naoya to escape from their gazes and find his way behind him. Not that Naoya is scared of the two but to show he bore no harm to him and them.
"And who are you? Your presence feels just like our Commander. But nobody knew where he is and only Father would have an idea where his whereabouts are, but he's hiding as well!" the redhead screamed back in retaliation as she manifested an Angel Blade out of thin air. "What have you done to have us here?"
Betzalel, or should he say Za'apiel now because she's radiating pure anger, continued for her sister, "I would also ask why we have a human vessel without the drawbacks of possessing one. And the circumstances of you knowing our names. We haven't spoken out our names yet you knew it."
"One word. No, make it two. Lailah. Candle."
His statement finally caused the two to gasp in shock and then in recognition.
The bastard behind him chuckled. "I'll be at the backroom. Call me if something comes up, okay?"
"Where were you Commander?! Where are you been all these centuries?"
"I've been hiding from my brothers among the Pagan gods as one of the most notorious Trickster gods, Arael. Now, what happened to you and where have you been all this time after you stopped screaming for help in the airwaves?" Gabriel asked the redhead. He made the two comfortable by having them sit down on the couch he bought for the flat he had. The entire place was bought by his hard work, although he may have cheated a bit so he could get the best out of everything.
"I... After you left, Lord Michael assigned me as your replacement in you garrison while Betsy was removed from it. I was sent to one of the battlefields during the Dark Ages and one of the Archdemons caught me. I was then threw into Hell and was tortured by one the demons there. Three guesses on who it was that got that honor," Arael bitterly replied, dropping her cup of the tea Gabriel served for the three of them down at the table with a bang. "Clue: Faust knew him."
"No way. Mephistopheles? What did he do to you?!" Gabriel exclaimed as he dropped his drink on the coffee table as well. Even Betzalel stopped from munching on her cookie from the revelation. "... Does this have to do with the news of his creations? The Hell Bikers?"
"Huh. Where did you even heard of them? Anyway, you're correct on that. How would Mephistopheles be able create those demented versions of Hell's hellhounds without using an Angel's Grace? Those Hell Bikers of his are powered by my Grace, which allows them to have a part of their consciousness stay on Earth while their soul is at Hell being tortured. Trust me, I witnessed it while being tortured there."
"And how did you stay sane?!"
"Who said I did? I was broken there, Commander. Broken. I couldn't make of things anymore except for certain things like the time my Grace was successfully ripped off of me, mentions of how my Grace was used for their men, and the glimpses of the souls of those who made a deal with Mephistopheles," she answered back with a smile on her face. "Truthfully, I think I'm imagining having a conversation with you and my sister her while my real self is still there in Hell but... I can feel my Grace, Commander. Its intact and complete."
Gabriel smiled at Arael's genuine smile after she said the last part. "Then at least my plan worked."
"...You can tell us later what was your plan after my sister tells us where she was before coming here." Oh yeah, Betzalel was with them. She was so engrossed in her food that the he didn't processed her presence until she looked at the after sensing their stares.
Betzalel laid down her plate of cake and drank down her drink, downing the food. "Two words: Silent Hill."
That caused Arael and Gabriel to shiver. Gabriel doesn't know if Arael knew what Silent Hill actually was but she might have an idea. It was a despicable place that not even Hell would grace its 'malevolence'. And to think Betzalel was sent there to do her duties as an angel of punishment. He was there when Uriel razed down a portion of the town, giving the message of displeasure and disgust from the Heavens. However it backfired big time based on what Zal implied. No, what she just not said but obviously stated.
"Same as my sister, I was tasked to quell the 'sinners' in the place. But I didn't expect for a demon to lay down a barrier around the town when I entered the town. It allowed no one to exit but allowed anyone to enter. A one-way ticket."
Zal sighed and continued, "Also it seemed that someone from Above reinforced the barrier, disabling my authority over a low-level demon's work. I surmised it was the work of one of our brothers whose station is quite above us, since I wasn't able to remove it nor gain access to the 'Angel Airwaves."
"I believe we have much to discuss in the future but I, myself, am thankful that I got you two out from whatever hell, pun not intended, you were in. Thank you Father for giving me the chance," Gabriel said as he prayed to his Father, thanking whatever He did. He knew that somehow his Father can hear him even when he is so far from where He is right now. The two sisters also closed their eyes and prayed quietly to their Father for their rescue.
"Now that you two have calmed down, I would like to inform you that the place you are in right now isn't the same place you were in before," Gabriel stated.
"If you meant by the lack of Father's presence around us, then you are correct," Arael replied. "Oh and the fact that there is something here-" She pointed to her head. "- that gave me tons of information about various things."
"Me too!" Zal quipped as well.
"Then tell me because I didn't got that... whatever you have in your head after I got here." He had to travel to Heaven and find his way back to where Naoya was. Thankfully time was somewhat slow in the Expanse or his abilities in Chronokinesis was activated there.
"From what I can understand, since my Grace was used as the source of power by Mephistopheles' Hell Bikers, it affected my Grace when it was returned to me. It wouldn't affect my abilities as an Angel normally but somehow when... I got here, it changed me," Arael explained. She then motioned to her current attire. "Tell me Commander, honestly. This... world we are in now is strongly affected by humankind's perception, am I right?"
"...Yes, in fact I theorized this is one of the worlds our Aunt supposedly destroyed back before you two were created. I think this world evaded its destruction by the sheer strength of humanity's will. This is probably where Father tested out the 'program' He used in making the separate Heavens of humans up Above," he told Arael. Zal, on the hand, seemed to be deep in though since her face was scrunched up and her eyebrows were tense.
"Just as I thought. The perception of humankind here is strong enough to affect the supernatural beings of this world, although from what I can gander from the chunk of information installed here in my head, there is something that prevents the majority of them in entering the human side of the world. Another part of humankind perception, I suppose. The denial of anything supernatural."
What Arael had just said was... quite accurate. Gabriel could feel there's a barrier around certain parts of the country there were in preventing the Expanse from coming in, except for England but that was a story for another time. There are certain parts in the world that the barrier is weak enough to allow certain creatures to exist. Yokai and other magical creatures could only exist there, since their origins came from the Expanse thus their existence is tied there as well.
Getting them to go near where the barrier is intact would immediately 'deport' them back to the Expanse. Unless their existence could be tied by a contract with a summoner, letting them through the barrier under probation, so to say.
"Hell Bikers are commonly attributed to the element of Fire and wearing leather jackets or anything with leather in it. Also the rumor of them punishing wicked people by just a stare is also regarded as a part of a Hell Biker's abilities. Guess what got added to me, aside from the attire I'm wearing," Arael said, catching Gabriel's attention back to her.
"Uh... you can wield Holy Flames now? And you can do the Penance Stare? Hey! I watched the movie Ghost Rider and the comics it was based on!" The stare Arael was giving towards him was something that he wouldn't want to experience looking at. Even with the implications that she could use the so-called Penance Stare, he wouldn't want to look at her anyway. She was pissed.
With a huff, Arael stopped giving Gabriel her stare of anger and continued, "Seriously Commander, must you be an ass in such a serious discussion?"
"Its a rhetorical question Commander!"
"Um... Sister? Commander?"
Zal's inquiry caught his and Arael's attention. "Sorry, Zal. We went a bi... too serious back there. You know your sister is."
"And here I am, the one who is supposed to be the problematic one," Zal mussed while giving a small smirk.
"Ugh. Anyway, tell us Zal. What changes you got when we got summoned here, is that right Commander?"
"Okay, first of all, please call me Beth. Zal just sounds so... wrong and Beth is much better nickname, especially with Elizabeth can be connected to Betzalel since the phonetics of the two are-"
"Beth! Get to the point."
"... My abilities adapted to the image of an Angel of Death and Vengeance since people thought that the punishments reported in Silent Hill and its neighboring town of Shepherd's Glen were done by an Angel, which isn't far from the truth. I don't know humanity knew about it and it got so famous that it affected me. Maybe its because I am the angel sent there to punish the sinners of their acts against children but..."
Beth trailed off, gazing at the scenery outside the windows of his apartment. "Their actions... They're despicable, perhaps that's why I was sent there by Lord Michael and the others. I've always been a vindictive angel on circumstances regarding children. Good thing I managed to help Alessa separate her goodness before it could be corrupted completely and Alex to accept the burden of his actions."
Sighing, Beth rose up and went to the mirror he hanged near the doorway of his apartment. "I... When I came there and helped Alessa with purging the town of its sinners, I... I don't know how they got their hands on Metatron's Seal. You know, the Seal Metatron used on the scrolls he wrote Father's words at? They used it on Alessa as I was with her at that time." She touched the mirror and clenched her fist. "I was using her as a temporary vessel so when the Seal was used, Alessa suffered from the effects of my Grace in full power. It awakened her magic abilities. It was... I reckon you heard of it from the stories, how the entire town was plagued with monsters coming from a demented child's mind?"
Beth gave a broken laugh. "Although it was Alessa's mind that caused those manifestations of her emotions, it was my Grace being used as a tool. Which made her to the eyes of the sinners as the Mother of their god. And gander this. The being inside was was supposed to be their god? Wasn't that funny?"
"Sis... Commander... Its over, okay? Things went down like it was in the stories, albeit it went different. With my help, Cheryl was 'born' and the town went into lockdown. Using the monsters to hunt down the sinners as the years pass by, I reached out into the neighboring town of Shepherd's Glen. Alessa, bless her soul by the way, was so helpful in my duty. She wanted to end the residents' blasphemous acts too," Betzalel continued.
"Tell me sister, did you broke down in Hell? Did you mind got shattered by their torture?"
Gabriel was curious with Beth's sudden change in topic. Arael, who was beside him, answered, "Sadly, yes. My mind was shattered by the torture that I can't remember what actually happened down there. Should I be thankful that I can't remember it?"
"I think you should but who am I to say it, right? At the very least, you can remember vague memories of what happened but not the vivid ones. Was I correct in my assumption?"
Arael shook her head. "No, you not wrong."
"I, on the other hand, can still remember all the atrocities the two towns made. One who burned a lot of girls in the name of their god while the other sacrificed their children for the so-called protection. Was I mistaken in using their in-grained fear of the so-called punishments from their god as their penance? As a way to even the scales?"
"No, it isn't. They did it consciously and without remorse, right? If Uriel, that dickhead, was there, he would have not used only his Grace to smite them but would use other means to deal justice," Gabriel remarked. He heard of the stories, the story of Silent Hill is even a series in this world. He surmised that these writers and authors of the 'stories' can see what happened in other worlds and wrote them as a proof of them witnessing it. They're not Prophets but can be classified as Seers.
"I won't go much into detail what I did in Shepherd's Glen but I assure you Commander and Sis that almost everyone there did things that they deserved the punishment. Elle and Alex were spared because they are innocent, even if their forefathers did despicable things," Beth continued as she went back to her seat. "After that, the time came for Cheryl to come back and save her other self. With her abilities in full strength, we managed to give 'birth' to their 'god' and made them experience Heaven's Wrath instead of their Paradise."
She closed her eyes shut. "But after that, after Alessa and her adopted father Harry left, I can't get out. I was stuck in the town for several years, witnessing how Alessa's leftover power from absorbing my Grace affect the barrier of the town. It attracted the attention of other people, commonly those who did despicable stuff."
Gabriel remarked while Beth drank another glass of juice instead of tea, "The barrier attracts the sinners, giving them images of redemption?"
"Yes, I had to experience the lot of them dying under the hands of their own fears made manifest. Alessa's leftover abilities, which is also my Grace, allowed their inner fears and despair made manifest in the town. It also tested their resolve and willingness to carry the burden of their problems, regardless of severity."
Then at that moment, as if he sensed the degree of seriousness in their conversations and decided to defuse it temporarily, Naoya came out from the backroom of his apartment carrying a tray of heaping rice and other meals. "Enough of that story telling, you three need to eat. Based on what I had to suffer after Gabriel was first summoned, I prepared a feast for you two."
"Is... Is this free?!"
"No Gabe, everything's not free. I canceled one of your just-made online orders and used it to buy them. In fact," Naoya gave him a smile. "you won't be receiving your next month's shipment of chocolate fondue!"
He had to explain that the dimension they came into got a copy of their Heaven, though having alternates of themselves in there threw a wrench into their plans. The sisters were sad that they couldn't visit Heaven again, despite it a mere copy of the real one.
Gabriel also had to explain that the Cain and Abel of this world are... different. Cain was cursed by Metatron - to which the two were shocked to know he's the leader of this dimension's Heaven - while Abel was experimented on. He also had to explain that his brother's, Lucifer, alternate followed through with his Falling but as a means to guide humanity instead of letting Metatron 'enslave' them.
Both of his lieutenants remarked that if Lucifer in their dimension was that, things would have went different.
Needless to say, Arael and Beth caught up with the problem Naoya was in and were up to date with the current stuff around. He and Naoya also had to get them legit papers since both of the were classified as Humans, just like him. They also tested Arael's and Beth's abilities. All of them were amazing, especially with Arael's Penance Stare. Instead of her turning her own head into a skull, she just manifested a flaming eye behind her with her Angel Blade - which was turned into a chain whip, a side-effect of humanity's perception of a Ghost Rider/Hell Biker -. Beth, on the other hand, was inclined to the Light and Dark 'purging/smiting spells' of the magic scale in the new dimension. A side-effect of her purging the sinners in Silent Hill and Shepherd's Glen.
He outfit and looks also had something to do with humanity's perception on her role, although it was slightly modified to fit her true personality. The character her outfit and image was based on had a scythe and a gun modified into one weapon, symbolizing her role as an angel dealing with death, and clothes showing off the Gothic Lolita Fashion that was popular back in the early 2000s. The said fashion statement also mirrors another famous character Gabriel knew of, Margaret Moonlight.
Now that he thought about it, the character of Margaret Moonlight probably affected Betzalel mostly than Ruby Rose. She's an assassin in her story, mirroring Betzalel's role as an 'assassin' of the Heavens. Betzalel's looks, however, used Ruby Rose for some reason Gabriel couldn't understand.
...Philistine was that good, now that he was remembered of it.
Of course, Gabriel himself won't let his two lieutenants show off their skills and abilities without him doing the same. Even Naoya - the one who they used as their guinea pig, though he can keep up with them - who lived from the start and saw lots of things, can handle their attacks. Visualizing the so called 'Skill List' that seemed to be given to him after he was summoned, he can identify two 'Healing' Spells, two Elemental Spells and two Offensive Spells.
Samarecarm, a translation of an Ancient Common Tongue that invokes the revival of a sentient being in exchange of power, commonly magic. And Prayer, a title to the invocation of complete recovery of the entire group.
Mazandyne and Maziodyne, both are translations of the power of Forceful Wind that affects the entire being of a person, causing it to stiffen, and the power of Lightning of the Universe to hit the entire opposing party. There's also the Garu series but it lacks the aftereffect of stiffening one's body.
God's Hand, a severe Physical attack in the form of manifesting a giant fist coming from the Heavens and falling towards the opponent. Fitting for Gabriel, whose name translate to God is my strength. And the manifestation of the said skill surely does give credit to his Father, as if He was the one dealing it personally from the Heavens. He also have access to a unique ability called Ethereal Blast, according to the 'Skill List' in his mind.
The feeling of him trying to do it was he was undressing his mortal vessel and releasing the full strength of his Archangel Grace. Concentrating it into a singular blast of White Light, he released it. Causing a deep hole, the concentrated light would then explode and affect the entire opposing group in its blast radius.
Gabriel felt that he saw it once in one of Kazuya's and Naoya's video games, which would made sense since humanity's perception of magic and other supernatural abilities came from humanity's imagination and belief. When Naoya saw him executing the said skill, he laughed harder than the time he referred to Gabriel as a true homonculus.
The days the followed were nothing of importance to Gabriel. Both of his lieutenants had applied for a legit identity since they are also classified as humans by the summoning sequence made by Naoya. After that, they went to different paths in order to help their Commander and this dimension's Cain and Abel.
Just like him, they trusted this world's Cain and Abel. There's a reason why both of them tried to follow him into hiding. They want nothing to do with the way the Heavens worked with their Father's order to guide humanity. Unlike in their dimension where their Father is actively observing yet in hiding, Father had no presence in this dimension.
This also lead credence to Gabriel's theory of this word as one of the supposedly destroyed worlds by their aunt. And it only survived through humanity's will to live. It also applied to several things as well like the supernatural side of the world.
While Gabriel and Naoya had to deal with the abductions on Kazuya's person, both Arael and Beth went to do their jobs in order to aid Gabriel and Naoya. And also potentially Kazuya.
Arael went to Heaven to listen on the rumor mill there. She's safe is she pretended to be a low-ranked angel since Astarael was originally a low-ranked angel back at their dimension, and only got promoted due to her actions and being chosen personally by the Archangel Gabriel. Thus, she won't be totally suspicious if she was found there listening amongst the Angels and Powers.
Beth, on the other hand, decided to explore the rest of the world they are in. Gabriel can't due to his contract with Kazuya, preventing him to be away from the teen and restricting him within a certain distance. Beth mused it was justified since their Commander ditched them before so having him 'shackled' served him right. Gabriel thought the two still had small grudges on his departure.
With Beth looking at the different situations around the world, mostly to check if there are any signs of having the Judeo-Christian Apocalypse happening that was for sure happened back in there home dimension. From what Gabriel could understand of his lieutenant's ramblings before they were summoned, it was somewhat averted but things went worse than the so-called Apocalypse.
Then again, the so-called Apocalypse was just a Battle Royal between his brothers.
Gabriel made his way to the confectionery he was a patron of, after he was stopped by Remiel. Good thing he was able to buy the last of Marriane's stock of sweets before she closed for the night. He was expecting Naoya to handle the situation with the Shomonkai but he didn't expect it to reach the streets.
Coupled with the blackout, that wasn't announced at all, it was difficult to fend off the summoned demons. Naoya came down the street from the direction of the cemetery in Aoyama, with the idea of defeating the demons clearly in mind. Good thing that Arael and Beth were in Japan that day, taking a break from their duties as his eyes and ears in both Heaven and around the world.
The binding contract that was used on him didn't apply to his lieutenants since there was already a contract active. The 'contract' of having as their Commander while they were his lieutenants in his Garrison. Apparently it was recognized by the summoning sequence, thus allowing them the freedom of movement. Not that he was complaining on his 'contract', Father knows how he have to settle down after his period of hiding from his brothers and sisters in Heaven. It was making wonders on him, to be honest.
Sending a mental alert to his lieutenants, he prepared to engage with the demons that escaped from Naoya. With the blackout hiding the conflict in its darkness, the civilians and other people won't notice something wrong outside their establishments. A flash of light appeared, albeit it was only for second, and his lieutenants were with him, ready to take on the demons. Both Arael and Beth faced demons as the years pass by, usually overseas where some stupid summoner found his hands on a summoning circle. They had experience in fighting the summoned demons, especially when there aren't any restrictions in the summoning unlike in Naoya's work.
Though the conflict was short, the damage they had done to the area won't be easy to fix. And all three of them were exhausted by the end of it. With Naoya leaving them to focus on destroying the sigils the stupid idiots made at the Cemetery, the three of them had to deal with the escaping demons. The demons summoned were an high leveled ones, a result of the botched up summoning sigil the idiots made, that defeating them and having them return to the Expanse was a struggle.
Gabriel wondered how in his Father's name did the idiots managed to summon Nergal, a Sumerian god of the netherworld, though with liberal use of Ethereal Blast he managed to kick his ass back to the Expanse. Naoya mused when he came back to them that the botched up summoning sigils they made was so botched up that it summoned a very high leveled demon. He was thankful that no one except for them were there or else many would have perished by the demon's attacks. Naoya mentioned something of a lucky escape but he denied to elaborate on it.
With the blackout in place and the presence of police in Naoya's apartment, Gabriel had to drag the younger man to his place in Shinjuku along with his lieutenants. Experienced soul or not, he wouldn't allow the kid - he's much older than the younger man - to stay around the place. Although he had to bribed not to tell the entire thing to his younger brother.
The entire day after that was a chore to handle. Naoya left the place early to investigate his brother's whereabouts while Arael and Beth reported on the presence of angels near the station. Gabriel had to investigate it as well when he felt a barrier forming around the entire area he was in.
Barricades were found at every potential exit around the Yamanote Loop and there was a barrier placed on top of the entire place. It prevented any supernatural being to get out of the place, proven when he went to Akihabara and witnessed a Magus trying to get out from the blockade by flying over the line. He was stopped by the wall and crashed messily to the ground. Thankfully he was under a concealment spell or else the JSDF stationed around the train tracks would have made minced meat of him.
Only a high ranked angel could do such a thing, making him wonder if Metatron did the entire thing. Arael and Beth reported to him after he returned to Shinjuku about the exact same thing around the entire perimeter of the Yamanote Line. All three of them also noticed the sudden influx of 'demons' around the city, though it was only in small burst and disappeared afterwards. But the rate of the appearances were rising and Gabriel can feel it won't stop.
Naoya was correct that there would be a problem in the near future when he was 'commissioned' by the Shomonkai. Gabriel hoped Naoya would tell him what was going on when they meet next time. If it wasn't for the blockade and the barrier in place, Gabriel could say things would be fine since the demons could be handled with ease as long as the public won't notice a thing.
But with those in place, the public will be forced to notice the influx of demons in the city. It would bring a ton load of problems. People are already clamoring at the stations and the exits, demanding their release and a concrete explanation of things.
"Things will get ugly here," Gabriel mused as he watched from his apartment window the scene of people raging at the soldiers in the exits along Shinjuku Station. He could feel an angel observing the situation from the top of a building across the street.
"Whoooh! Go Haru!"
"Yeah! You're the best!"
Shouts and screams of adoration can be heard from the small crowd that formed in front of Roppongi Hills in Minato-ku in Tokyo. There were her fans, dedicated to her choice in becoming a solo artist and supporting her along the way. It was a good thing she had her guitar and sequencer with her. Along with the fact that she also had a flat there in Roppongi Hills with all of her music equipment, she could rock out to her heart's content.
But with the blackout, her options are limited. The management of the building were finicky with the use of electricity, given that they are running on generators at the moment. So she had to stick with her portable speakers to supply her music.
Harusawa Yoshino wanted to cheer up the people who were depressed in front of Roppongi Hills. With the blackout and the stuff about the barricades at the station and the exits of the city, it was understandable that people will get depressed. As a musician, its her duty to bring back the smiles to the people who lost it.
Still, with every song she made in her impromptu stage on the front of the hotel, she made the people smile and temporarily alleviate their worries. Though they have to face it sometime soon, it would be best to face it with a light heart and a positive outlook. And her songs are something that could help it.
And was it an irony that her songs, used to help other people, couldn't help its singer in the first place?
... She was getting way into her head if she kept on think that. She left her the sequencer with Haru with explicit instructions to continue her work. If she would falter now, that would break her promise with her.
"To all those suffering from the blackout blues, this song is for you!"
And with it, she continued to her next song. Her own problems could be dealt with later.
By the time her impromptu concert ended, it was already around 16:00. The sun was already making its orange glow to the surroundings and the summer heat was slowly being replaced by the cold commonly felt during summer nights. Although the majority of the crowd in front of her let when she ended her singing, there's a particular group near her stage that somehow reminded her of the last concert she had at Shimokitazawa.
However, before she could check out what made her feel nostalgic, a man grabbed her arm and pulled her into the hotel's lobby. Just who was this guy that thought he was entitled to do whatever he wanted? The man was wearing a suit on top of a very tacky orange... shirt. He couldn't describe what it was and with that... scarf? Or was it a neck decoration? What is it anyway? Haru couldn't take the man seriously.
Especially when he went on with the goal of his cult. Was this one of the things Gin warned her to be careful of? Having an obsessed fan focused on her that he would even join a cult? No thank you, she'd rather be called a witch and burned on the stake than to join a no-name, waste of time cult.
"Learn when to quit already. Are those ears of yours for show or not? I told you, I'll be fine. I don't need of your help."
Thankfully he left after she refused his advances on her. Seriously, was he a creep or something else? Haru went outside the hotel's lobby and saw the man leaving and turning around the corner. He passed by the group of three teenagers, while making an expression of disgust at the young woman's attire. Was he for real? That girl's outfit rocked.
"Men..." Haru went to the group of teenagers, now that she remembered why she felt nostalgic. Anyone with cat-ear headphones would make a statement everywhere he would go and the redhead with them was one of her loyal fans. Even Gin was friends with the girl, ever since she started on her path as a solo artist.
"Well, what do we have here? Aren't you the gal that frequent my concerts?" Haru asked the group. The one with a blue jacket was giving her the look of surprise with the one with cat-ear headphones smiled at her and his female friend. Who had stars in her eyes. Figuratively.
"Yes! I'm surprised you remembered me! Hey guys! This is Haru, that one singer Gin was the manager of!"
So they already met Gin huh. That would make things easy. Haru fell into an easy and light conversation with the three. The boy with the cap was a Kihara Atsuro while the boy with the black with red shirt and red pants was a Minegishi Kazuya. The girl - now that she remembered it - was a Tanikawa Yuzu, who was sporting a very good looking pink cardigan with matching blue skirt and a knee length stockings? She can't remember what they're called but they're certainly not socks.
"Harusawa Yoshino, but call me Haru. I'm known for that name ever since I was in D-VA and now that I'm a solo artist, it tends to stick."
"Nice to meet you too, Haru-san," the boy with glasses said to her. Huh, polite and cute. He's her type but hey, she can't be blamed if she liked to look at some very good eye candy. And she's not old, she's twenty but with the entertainment industry, her makeup just gives her the image of someone older despite her actual age way below what people assumed.
"So what's with that guy?" The one with the orange sling bag remarked. Not that cute but not really ugly. A perfect example of a basic face person. No offense to him but what can she do. It comes along with job to instantly analyze one's image as a method to learn how to appeal to the public eye.
"Yeah, that strange looking man. What did want from you Haru-san?" Yuzu asked her. She can see a COMP on one of her pockets and its even in a stylish color of pink. Pink is a very nice color as long as you can handle and balance its strengths.
"Oh that guy? He wanted me to join his cult. Something about my voice as the voice of the gods... Basic cult advertisement, if you ask me," she replied. That guy was way beyond the norm. Must be forgotten immediately or in the near future.
"He looked like he came from the Shomonkai..." Minegishi-kun trailed off. Huh, now that he said it, that name was familiar.
"Anyway, he won't be bothering me soon enough. So why you three anyway? You kids liked my performance back there?"
The singer and her fan, or her fans if what Yuzu said was to be believed as true, had a very light conversation on how amazing her songs were and the fans persuading the 'non-believer' to convert into the 'Haru-ism'. It was funny and it just reminded her of the times she was in D-VA, back when she was there.
"... Well, I guess we have to go our own separate ways. You said you three were going to buy some gasoline for a generator in his house?" She gestured at the boy with a cap. At least his cap hid his not hair. The cap was fashionable enough to hide his 'basic-ness'.
"Oh yeah! We forgot that. Thank you for your time Haru-san." The three bowed down in respect after the boy with glasses finished speaking. It was giving her funny feelings. Was this what she felt when faced with someone younger than her? It's nice to experience again.
"Don't mention it, I'm going to get some fresh air at Nippon Budokan anyway. I need to get my 'wind' back and the atmosphere of the arena always reminds me of the concerts held there." D-VA planned to have a concert there but she left and things went...
"But isn't that too far away? I mean its almost at the other side of the city!" Huh, she's worried? Why would she be worried about her?
"The walk there would be helpful to me, honestly. The air here is so... heavy that I need to get out, you get me? Besides, I need to think about my future songs. You know, inspiration and that sort?" Haru explained to the three teens.
"Oh." Kihara-kun said as he look down to his feet. Makes her feel bad for the boy but she really needs to think about those things again. Yesterdays was the last day she was last seen by Haru and the memory of that day haunts her. She needs to straighten out her mind.
The three teens said their goodbyes to her as they rode their bikes, turning at the left corner of the street. Maybe the gasoline stations near where the house of the boy with the jacket are empty or closed? Given that the blackout started last night, the stock of gasoline at the stations must have been bought by several hotels and buildings in the city.
She also must not forget bringing the sequencer with her to the arena. It was her last memento of her. The rest of her stuff was divided with the different members of D-VA that she barely got anything from it. If anything else, at least having the sequencer with her will make her feel better.
She always told her stories of how certain songs she made and consequently left in her care had 'mystical' qualities. And damn were they 'mystical'. Haru had kept it a secret, a secret between sisters in all but in blood, that she can call out spirits. Spirits told in stories that she personally thought were fictional ones were actually real.
Haru sat down at the steps of the arena. It was closed, obviously, since it was summer vacation and the fact that none of the caretakers were able to come that day due to the barricades along the Yamanote Loop since last night. And the fact that there was a blackout last night probably made things difficult for the caretakers.
"Why? Why did you left me with this?" She called out. Her eyes were already tearing up and her voice was already shaking. That afternoon's impromptu performance really took a lot of her energy that her voice was almost hoarse. But it doesn't matter.
What matters is that she couldn't get over the idea of her disappearing on her and Gin. Gin was her boyfriend and her brother figure. She was her sister in all but blood and her apprentice to the entertainment industry. Haru was her friend ever since they were little, she was her senpai in school and thanks to her that she was able to graduate earlier than other teens of her age. The fact that she was a full time musician at the age of 20 was something most people would be proud of.
But Haru doubted she was proud of it. If she was proud of her achievements, then why did she left them? Not only her but Gin as well was feeling the pain of her disappearance. He only showed it with her and some people he trusted with but to others it was like Gin wasn't affected by the news. They certainly didn't knew of their relationship.
"Was it all for nothing? Are you really -"
What in the world? Haru stood up and saw monsters surrounding her. Was she that unaware of her surroundings that these... monsters were able to creep at her?
"Is that...?! Its Haru! Oh my gosh! Kazu! Atsuro! That's Haru over there! And demons are around her!" Huh? Was that... Yuzu? Oh my. They're so brave on trying to help her but she can handle it by herself.
"Its okay. I can take care of myself," she called out to the three. With the sequencer in her possession, she can handle these... what did Yuzu said they were? Demons? Yes, demons. She'll just turn that song on and...
Huh? Was it really...? Once more... and...
"I guess this is really the end for me," she whispered to herself. Guess she ran the sequencer out of its juice back at her impromptu concert and its charger was a pain to use. The sequencer was imported from the States... Or was it in Europe? She forgot. Its charger isn't compatible to the sockets in Japan and with the blackout in place...
If she was already having a bad time finding the correct socket for it or found a suitable adapter, the blackout only made it worse because there's no power.
"Give us your power! Our MASTER DEMANDS YOUR COOPERATION!"
Was this the end for her? She was already contemplating on her purpose in life. Her fans would just find a different artist to follow and Gin would understand if she wanted to go with her. Gin have a family in the Yamanashi-ken anyway, so if she left him then he would focus all of his attention to the family that may accept him back but...
"Haru! Stay there okay! We'll get you as soon as we can! I mean try to get away from them! Please!" Yuzu keeps on calling her. She must have idolized her that she don't want to see her die. That's okay. She can do it soon but if it does happen to her now, well there's no one to blame. And that's the truth. But...
"...Just don't get yourself hurt in the process okay?" The three of them seemed to have experience in dealing with these... demons, with the way they act and move around them. Yuzu seemed to be focused on getting herself near heat she... wait a minute.
Did they actually had some of those demons as their teammates? It looks like they are being summoned to do their being. Huh. That's new. But she's too far away from her. There are demons blocking their way to her and -
"Agh!" That hurt! But... "Wait, I'm still alive?" Why was she still alive? Shouldn't a demon be stronger than a human being that they could kill by a single swipe of their hands. Haru backed off towards the screens of the arena. That swipe from the flying purple demon hurt as hell but it was something she could tolerate.
"Its the Harmonizer! As long as she's in our range, she's affected by the Harmonizer as well!"
Whatever this Harmonizer is something special if it could allow them to survive a demon's attack.
"Haru! I'm coming for you!" Yuzu called out to her as she was being lifted by floating girl with hair was its wings. Weird.
"You kids should leave me alone okay? You should be the one who must run," she reasoned out to the redhead. Was it not clear that she wants to be alone?
"No! I won't allow that!"
"...Hehe. Just don't get yourself hurt in the process," Haru quipped back. If only the sequencer wasn't dead, then she could call out to the demon she usually summons to protect her. But that demon was picky since it, or she, liked to listen to her songs before defeating the demons she attracted. She also prefers to lounge around and play with that stringed instrument of hers.
Kihara-kun was punching the demons with the ends of a mop as their hair while his... demons were busy blasting their fellow demons with fire and lightning. Yuzu was busy with throwing the red figures with her own balls of fire while the floating girl with her was making green swirls of wind around them. It knocked some of the floating midgets with rakes in their hands into the ground.
The two were amazing but as she was rolling away from the strikes of the pink menaces, she noticed that the Minegishi kid was much more interesting to her. At first he seemed to be doing nothing but the more she observed she could see him doing something with his hands. As if he was 'projecting' something towards his friends.
A barrier. Everytime he 'projects', a translucent barrier will appear in front of Yuzu and Kihara-kun, negating the incoming attack from the demons. He wasn't only a defensive person since he counters an incoming attack from a demon who got close to him by blasting it with a purple ball of energy. He can also do well in the offense but from the looks of it, he prefer to do the shielding for his friends. Though she only spent a moment observing the kid, he already endeared him to her.
Minegishi-kun caught her interest. He's polite, cute and also deadly, based on the resulting explosion of his attack, leaving the demons nothing but scattered ashes. He's also quite protective of his friends, proven by his ability to create barriers around them to prevent any damage reaching their persons.
"Fools! Call the rest of our brethren! We must have the power of this human with us in time! For Our Master!"
The floating thing with a rake screamed out causing the other demons to cry out as well. The resulting noise they made managed to disorient her supposedly rescuers and herself, the volume of their cries temporarily made Haru's ear hurt and also the ones near them. Yuzu and Kihara-kun were clutching their ears while their demons stood in confusion. She would have observed what the teen with glasses' reaction but the sudden leap towards her of a hooded deer demon forced Haru to scramble down the steps of the arena and towards the parking area.
A cloud of dust exploded in front of her, a result of a missed lightning and wind attack by the demons at her, which made her unable to see clearly where she's going. Haru hoped she won't hit a tree on the way while stumbling over her legs in desperation, away from the demons. She may have thoughts of letting the demons kill her a while ago but the pain she felt afterwards immediately made her think otherwise. Unfortunately she tripped over a parking stopper/barrier a moment later, which was a good thing since she can feel something pass by above her back.
She can feel something was different immediately when she rose up from her fall. The air was heavy like she was at the middle of the road in a traffic jam. There wasn't any smoke or anything but there was a slight discoloration in the air. As if someone threw a bottle of paprika, chili pepper flakes and curry powder up in the air and as if lightning would fell upon her location, with how her skin seemed to crawl by just being there.
A flash of light and another demon appeared, however this time it was the same one Yuzu had with her. A floating girl with hair acting as its wings, it flew towards her and grabbed her legs. Haru almost dropped the sequencer when she was grabbed. The girl was cackling and gave her a look that doesn't seemed to be appropriate on her small face.
The demon was about to speak something to her but a gust of wind swept around them with a tinge of green in it, causing the floating girl to groan in pain that lead to her being freed. Looking around her, Haru saw Yuzu and her friends rushing towards her. Yuzu's hand began to glow and she can feel the bruises - must be from the force of that demon's grip on her - on her legs heal and disappear. Atsuro's demons were floating behind me, glancing the surroundings around them, while hers were making sparkles around their persons.
She also received a shower of sparkles and she felt better instantly. It was as if she just lost her accumulated fatigue of the entire day but that would be ridiculous. Still, Haru felt better than she was before. Even before she was grabbed by the floating demon girl.
"The air felt heavy. Can you feel it Atsuro?" Yuzu spoke out loud. She would have replied but Kihara-kun was faster.
"Its like... Something is coming out. Look at that!" And another demon popped out from the swirling mass of red. "Demons are coming out from the miasma!" Miasma huh. Excellent choice of word, Atsuboy. Fits perfectly since the air around them is very unpleasant.
"Ugh. Wairas. I feel like I can't cast more Agis. Maybe for a few more minutes but after that I'm done," the girl in pink said as she raised her arm and a COMP was aimed towards the demons. Now that she saw one upclose, Haru noticed all three of them had COMPs with them and were using them as some sort of scanner. "Great. A Kikimora, a couple of Hairy Jacks, three Gagysons and a Tlaloc. Where do these demons come from anyway? Could they appear as they want to now without someone summoning them?"
"Look at the middle of the miasma Yuzu! There's a COMP!" The four of them honed into one of the miasma around them and saw a COMP that appeared to be glitching out. Complete with flashing lights and was most likely making screeches commonly connected to the sound made when one makes a fatal error on a computer. "That's the source of the miasma! I bet it is!" the cap wearing teen stated out loud for them.
"Is it possible for the demons to find a way to 'hack' the Program and make it into a portal for them to come out?" the teen with glasses remarked as motioned for his demons to charge. "Sure looks like its possible for them. Look at that one over at the top of the van."
Haru looked over to the direction where a mini-van was parked and a purple winged demon - a Gagyson according to Yuzu - was punching some buttons in the COMP. It then thew it into the ground and proceeded to cry out in... happiness? The COMP then began to flash in a very unstable manner, even though the COMP was a bit far from them Haru could see sparks began to come out from the COMP.
"For our Lord Beldr! We will use the power of that woman to bring our Lord back to our side!" A shout was made behind them cried out in English - which wasn't understood by the two teens with the exception of the one with the glasses - that made them to turn around. A man with blond hair wearing dark hued clothes with a unique crest on its shirt's breast pocket in the shape of a diamond and was waving some kind of tarpaulin with his hands.
He then threw the tarpaulin down on the ground and slashed his palms with a something sharp, making it bleed on the sketches printed on it. Now that she can see clearly, Haru observed several more of the tarpaulins the man had scattered around the entire parking lot. All of them were forming connecting to each other through the sketches, as if the sketches themselves were just divided amongst the tarpaulins. Was he with the demons who attacked her? Was he the one who sent them to her?
The sketches that had blood now on them - which made Haru a bit squeamish at the sight of it - began too glow as the man started to chant in a very low voice. Around them, the miasmas began to pour out demons, slowly surrounding them one by one in the parking lot. Although the sun was already began to set and the darkness was slowly creeping at their surroundings, the miasmas where the demons came from glowed with an otherworldly color of red that by some reason illuminated the area.
"What is he doing?! Is he seriously summoning more demons?!"
"When I mentioned that there could be rituals that would allow one to summon one, I wasn't wishing that I will be partaking in it! Where the hell did he came from anyway?!"
"Oh brother. Not one of them. Okay, that's it. I'm so done with this. I'm gonna wreck these demons up and beat the good that they won't think of doing this stunt ever again," the teen with a black shirt cried out as he motioned his demons to return. "Yuzu, Atsuro, please watch my back. I doubt I would be able to stand after this. I'm gonna make the stars fall tonight!"
Fuck her life. She isn't a damsel in distress yet thanks to her actions that afternoon, she was given that part and her safety depends on three kids younger than her. And one of the the, the cute one, would be doing something stupid just to end things quick. Hearing a shout from her back, Haru ducked her head as an shard of ice flew by above her, which prompted her to look behind.
"I swear, didn't you and Nii-sama razed down their base?" Minegishi-kun spoke out loud, a thing the two teen behind didn't noticed since they were busy fending off the demons summoned behind them. He was met by silence and spoke again, "Huh. So the survivors decided to follow us here? ...Okay then. Let's show them what they did was a bad idea."
The two behind her were grumbling about 'stronger than before' and 'reflected' while the one before her was slowly walking towards the group of demons. He was speaking something in a low volume that she couldn't hear anymore. Haru was about to stand up when she saw a light from the skies. It was bright, too bright.
...Fuck her life.
There wasn't any sound that can be heard in the room she was in. Not even a cricket can be heard and its summer, cricket are supposed to be out and making their chirping noises, annoying people who are attempting to get a good night's sleep by their incessant chirps. The window of the guest room was halfway open, allowing a small breeze to come through it and bringing in a fresh wave of air to the room.
She just laid there, under the covers of the blankets, wide awake and thinking. Or contemplating. Contemplating on the things that happened to her the whole day. Atsuro was at his room, most likely watching their best friend sleeping. The entire house was silent, the generator was turned off to save gasoline and their COMPs still on at the nearest table within their reach. Its still playing the inaudible [Harmonizer], a necessity they learned during their trip back at Akasaka.
From her experience from the impromptu camping trip in a cemetery to a city-wide race in searching for an exit outside the Yamanote Loop to a mad scramble to save the life of a group of civilians from a demon they had encountered the day before, she wasn't expecting it to end in a very weird way. Good thing that the possessed man had a car with him when he ambushed Haru at Nippon Budokan in Kudanshita. It was also stocked up with fuel. Without it, they wouldn't have made back to Atsuro's house before night fell. And with the blackout still in place, the entire city would be too dark for them to walk around and the fact that they actually confirmed demons could summon their fellow demons through the COMPs implied that demons may be waiting for them in the darkness of the city.
Rising up from the bed, she grabbed the COMP at her bedside and went outside the guest room. She could hear Atsuro's soft whispers and Kazu's hoarse mumbling at the next room. Knocking to let Atsuro know she was there, she opened the door slowly. "Hey, can't sleep as well?"
"I should be the one asking you that but that would be pointless, right?" he replied without turning back. He was on his seat by the study table. It was near the window where it was also halfway open, letting in the summer breeze enter and the moonlight to shine in.
"Yeah... So how's he right now?" Yuzu gestured to the sleeping teen. Kazu's headphones were on the bedside table along with his COMP and music player. Just like their own COMPs, it was also on. On the floor, the enchanted backpack that contained all of their belongings was placed. Belongings to which they reclaimed after arriving at Akasaka around 15:00.
"He said he will be fine in the morning but we have to watch out for anything strange because he once managed to walk outside his room and fell down the stairs. Sleep walking may be unusual but..." Atsuro stood up and went towards the window. He gazed into the scenery outside and made a sigh.
"I know, I know. What about you though? You better get some rest even if for a while. Better yet, let's just stick to your room. I'll just get the comforter in the other room and I'll be with you two here." She rummaged through the enchanted backpack Kazu had and pulled out a COMP Charger. "Hey, look at this. Isn't this one of those chargers for the COMPs? The wind up one? I wonder where did he got it though."
"...Were you looking for a snack in his bag, Yuzu? Sorry, we went through the last batch when we were on the road," Atsuro said as he returned to his seat and grabbed his COMP from the study table. He then tinkered with the gadget. "You go and get the comforters. I'll be getting mine soon from the closet after I checked the e-mails and other things."
Atsuro was wearing a pair of shorts and a sleeveless shirt while she was wearing the same as well, except hers were in an orange and red combo while Atsuro's was in a blue and white combination. Their 'charmed' clothes were out in the laundry room, drying out from the wash Atsuro did when they arrived from the arena. Even Kazu's clothes were changed by Atsuro, since he was filthy from his crash to the ground. Yuzu surmised Atsuro had to take care of himself a lot of times that he isn't really ashamed that Yuzu was witnessing all of his 'domestic' actions.
She went out of the room and went down the stairs towards the kitchens. Using the COMP's flashlight, she found herself a glass of mineral water from the water jug Atsuro brought back from his house's storage room. She was thirsty and Yuzu needed to refresh herself up before going back.
Yuzu also took notice of Haru sleeping by the couch of Atsuro's living room. She was dead tired from the events back at the arena and the trip they took to get back at Akasaka. Haru was the one who drove them all the way from Nippon Budokan, because neither of them two knew how to drive a vehicle. Slowing tiptoeing towards the female singer at the sofa, she pulled the blanket up from her legs in an effort to warm singer's body and prevent her from getting cold.
Pleased with herself, she climbed up the stairs back to the guest room and collected the comforters on the bed. Atsuro's parents were filthy rich by the quality of the comforters they had in use.
The three of them were victorious against the Wendigo but it couldn't be said to be the same to the bikers they met. If not frozen solid, then they're way too gone for her Healing Spells to have any use. Yuzu had to run out of the amusement park and into the streets just to get away from the dead people they weren't able to help. Her best friends followed her outside, attempting to calm her down.
With their failure fresh in her mind, she was consoled when Atsuro reminded her that they managed to evade their supposed deaths. That they were actually supposed to die back there was something she should take into consideration. Yuzu thought it was unfair that they weren't able to save them yet they were able to save themselves. Kazu remarked that they couldn't save everyone.
To take away her attention from their failure, Kazu explained to them how he was able to contract with an angel using the demon summoning program. He explained that demon is an catch-all for any supernatural being and that includes angels, devils, goddesses, gods, manifestations of the elements and even spirits of heroes. As he was scourging the Auctions, he was able to delve into the Compendium's contents and found the classifications of the demons. Thus the reasoning why beings regarded as enemies of demons can be summoned by a Demon Summoning Program. He also told them that their Death Clocks raised to two.
Overjoyed by the revelation of their safety, she persuaded the two to continue in their quest to find an exit. She privately considered it as a way to payback to the fallen bikers. She would find an exit for their sake. They were doing the same when the demons decided to attack.
They found their way to Akihabara Station by following the main highways. Yuzu noticed that people weren't out of their houses and establishments. Either they're afraid to come out because of the demons she and her friends had defeated or they prefer not to get out from their homes, clearly attempting to get some rest since it was summer break. If she was back in her house and there was a blackout, she wouldn't even bother going out and try to get some rest while waiting for the power to return.
Unlike the other stations they went to, the Akihabara Station was empty of the people she and her friends were customized to see from the start of the day. Although there are still soldiers found at the station, train tracks and the roads leading out of the Yamanote Loop, the people Yuzu expected to have been mulling around were strangely absent. On the other hand, the nearby buildings and establishments were open with customers actively participating in having some sort of conversation with their fellow customers.
"Hey, Yuzu, Atsuro. Mind we visit Tsuki-chan for a moment? I would also want you guys to see the shopping district since you two have magic now," Kazu said as he perked up after they passed by a slightly decrepit tea shop that was somehow functional. "She works there at the tea shop, if you're curious."
"Huh. Okay then. I really want to take a break, to be honest. We've been travelling from Shibuya to Akihabara almost non-stop now," she remarked as she entered the tea shop after Kazu went in first. Atsuro was behind her, looking around at the buildings surrounding the shop.
"Hey! Maya-san! Is Tsuki-chan here?" her best friend called out as he led her and Atsuro to a small table at the corner of the shop. The shopkeeper, a middle-aged woman who was washing some cups at the counter when they entered the shop, said in return, "She just went out a minute before you three went in Kazu. Tsuki-chan will be back soon enough, she just went to buy some of my patches at the nearby herb shop. And who are with you today?"
The shopkeeper, Maya, gave them a curious look before she turned her back to them and took a towel form the upper shelves at the cabiner behind her. She then went to wipe the cups. "They haven't been to the district before, Maya-san. And they're new to the area since Tanikawa-san here is from... Shinjuku, right? And Kihara-kun is from... overseas. Specifically from America," Kazu continued.
Atsuro gave her a look, giving her the unspoken message of 'is this for real?' to her. She could only raise her eyebrow to Atsruo when the shopkeeper made a laugh, a very light one. "Being a good samaritan huh. That's fine with me. So what you guys want? I serve tea here and even though Tsuki-chan would often be the one doing the serving, I'm gonna do it since I sent her for an errand."
Kazu ordered them some tea she forgot the names of and as soon the orders were made he left them to somewhere he only knew of. Maya-san laughed when Kazu left them and went to collect some biscuits from the display case she had on the counter. "You know, this place acts like a cafe sometimes but this is a tea shop for most of the cases. He'll be back. The shopping district is just a few a meters ahead of the shop but to pass through the barrier, they need to have some sort of a 'permission' from me. I'm the so-called guard of the barrier," Maya-san said as a blond haired girl came in from the front entrance.
"Maya-san! Here's your patches! Aiko-san told me to tell you about her sudden infestations of flies at their shop. Oh! Who are these guys you were talking to Maya-san?" the girl, who's a bit younger than them but was much older compared to the other younger girl they had met. Yukine, the while owl the group had met in Ikebukuro Station, was on her shoulder and immediately flew towards them while making noises only an owl could make. "Huh. Oh! You are with Kazuya-kun, right? Only Yuki here would react like that if she had already met the person previously. Where's he anyway?"
"He... He just left," Yuzu answered for the girl dressed in a blouse and skirt the passed beyond her knees. She also wore an apron, quite fitting for her to wear since she's working in a tea shop/cafe. "Maya-san said he would be visiting the shopping district about a few meters ahead."
"...He won't be able to enter it. I don't know how or when it happened but the gateway to the shopping district wasn't working when I checked it a few hours ago. Maybe they were 'upgrading' it, so to say?" the blond girl said, pulling a seat from a nearby table and pushing it towards their table. She then sat down and introduced herself. "Where are my maners. I'm Yoshida Tsuki, call me Tsuki. Are you classmates of Kazuya-kun? He tells me stories of how he have 2 best friends that are so dear to him." Tsuki-chan then gave them a smile so bright as if the sun was shining. Or the moon. Whatever.
The girl then bowed her head. "I must thank you then for being there with him. He really needs friends like you two ever since..." She trailed off and silence began to fall in the small shop. Maya-san then called out from the counter, "I'll be at the back, Tsuki-chan!"
"Okay!" Tsuki-chan then let out a deep breath. "I know you two have some questions for me. Who am I that I could say I'm worried for him? What did happened that allowed us to meet and be friendly? And why there's a white owl with me?"
Atsuro answered for them, "I'd go with the first and second questions, the last one was already answered when we met this owl at Ikebukuro Station." He then pointed the owl who was sleeping on a perch at the corner of the shop. "I also have some questions but I can give them later, after I heard the first two answers."
"Hm... I'm Yoshida Tsuki, I met Kazuya-kun outside the country. As you can see from my appearance, I work here in Abenobashi as a attendant and waitress for the customers. But I guess that's not what you want to hear, am I right?"
Atsuro nodded. Yuzu, on the other hand, was silent all throughout their conversation and was just watching them have a serious talk. Tsuki-chan was giving them a look that was implying she was considering what to say to them.
"I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna break my promise with him by saying this but, did you two knew he came from England? A country in Europe?" She and Atsuro gave her a nod. "Oh good, then I'm assured that I didn't broke his trust on me. Well, I'm from England as well, things were pretty bad back there."
"Why did you left there? And how did you two met?" Yuzu asked her.
"Hm... How should I say this... I'm under what you two could say a 'Witness Protection Program'," the blond girl said with a smile.
And with that the blond girl gave them a story of how she was abducted by a group of people who worked under the maniac that terrorized the country. She was with Kazu, who was kidnapped as well by the same group, at the time when something terrible happened that caused her to enter the said 'Witness Protection Program'. Unlike other victims of the said abduction, only the two of them survived because the group went into killing the hostages after the authorities came to their rescue.
Tsuki-chan apparently knew the identities of some of the escaped kidnappers so she decided to leave the country and hid from them by seeking refuge/asylum in Japan. With the help of Kazu and his brother Naoya, her application was approved. She abandoned her old name and took a completely new identity.
"Though, by the fact that he brought you two here means you guys are aware of magic, I could tell you that my real appearance is hidden through magic. Very strong one that allowed me to hide from my kidnappers," the blond girl said as she took a bite from the cookie served to them.
"...Where's your family, if you don't mind me asking, and are they aware of what happened to you?" Atsuro asked her.
"Dad was kidnapped with me. Our abduction was a bit... personal for them because my dad was only an editor of our very own magazine. It's a concentrated on plants and animals so the idea they did such a thing because of business is so unlikely. Maybe dad had some dealings with them in the past? My mother died back when I was 8," the girl with an orange shirt said. "Now that I mentioned it, maybe they had a thing with my mother's death since she was working under one of the people I saw back there. He used to come at our place back until I'm 10."
"Its okay, I'm used to it right now. I'm more or less capable of handling myself nowadays. Even before when the kidnapping happened I was already working at my dad's magazine, writing articles about unheard flora and fauna. Besides, I didn't have much attachments to that country anyway..."
Someone made a cough from the shop's doorway, making them turn around. It was Kazu.
"So, what dirty secrets have you been telling them, Kaguya-sama?" he asked with a smirk on his face.
"Kazuya-sama, please forgive my actions. I was only telling them how you once forgot to bring your wallet one time and you had to wash all of the dishes just to pay for the food one of Naoya's friend ate."
"Hey! That never happened!"
So it seems that the two of them really had some history.
"Why didn't he introduced her to us before?" she asked the teen beside her. The two went outside to have a talk, leaving her and Atsuro in the shop all alone.
"I think its because of the existence of magic and the fact she's under a 'Witness Protection Program, Yuzu," Atsuro whispered to her.
"...Oh! You had a point there."
"Anyway, let's finish the biscuits and tea. It would be a waste."
When Kazu and Tsuki-chan finished whatever they were talking back at Abenobashi, the group said their goodbyes to the shopkeeper and her attendant. As they passed by the Akihabara Station, the group met another group who were checking out the station. They came all the way from Shinagawa Station and were planning to check the other stations for a potential exit. Yuzu and her friends had to tell them of the status of the other stations to save their time, since they were also grateful of their help in telling them the news.
She was more inclined to not have them pass by Metropolitan Express No. 5 or through Suidobashi, just in case there are any surviving demons lurking at the amusement park.
Decided to their new destination would be Atsuro's house in Akasaka, the group changed their plans accordingly and went through the main roads towards Aksaka Station. Atsuro's house was near the subway station, according to her best friends, so with the station as their goal, they wouldn't get lost on the road. Kazu bought some food and other stuff from an open supermarket when they passed by Ōtemachi Station. Yuzu took it as a break from the long ride they did from Akihabara while Atsuro used it as a moment to stretch out his legs.
Taking note of the subway station near them, she went inside to inquire if the trains inside the loop were functioning, at the very least. Yuzu came out of the station disappointed and afraid when the people inside the station expressed their frustrations to her. Atsuro and Kazu had to console her when she came back up from the underground train station.
Apparently, when the blackout happened the night before, the trains shut down midway between the stations. The trains were all working on electricity so when the power was cut off, the trains stopped working. Working together, the stranded passengers had to crawl out of the train and walked in the dark towards the stations after an hour of waiting. Add the fact that they had to stay at the station for the night and only to find out that the entire city's exits were barricaded by the JSDF, all of them were pissed when Yuzu asked if they trains were working.
With the idea of using the subways was crossed off from their potential modes of transport, the group rode their way from Ōtemach to Tameike-Sannō Station. There it was only a few meters to the Akasaka Subway Station and Atsuro's house.
Yuzu mused that the demons were surprisingly absent after their encounter near Suidobashi. Kazu brought up his opinion that they were more or less dependent on the Wendigo's decisions and with the defeat of the Wendigo, they had no purpose to chase them. He also reminded that they had swept the entire place clean after they finished the Wendigo so the idea there would be remaining demons was unlikely at most.
Since she had any chance to visit Atsuro's house before, which was so near the station, Yuzu followed her best friends to the house that stood out from the scenery. The neighborhood was full of buildings, often companies or apartment complexes, that a house that stood in a middle of a obviously private lot would attract such attention from passersby. Both of her best friends implied that his house have a water tank that would supply them with water and a generator that could supply them with electricity.
She entered the room with the comforters in her arms. Yuzu could see that their green eyed friend was still fast asleep while Atsuro was busy typing on his COMP. The COMPs that Naoya gave to them were the brand new models she saw being advertised a month ago. They were small enough to fit in your pockets but since they're collapsible, the actual size of the COMP was larger than its implied size.
The screens were touchscreens, able to pull out a keyboard in its interface for easy typing instead of the much older models' method of having buttons to manually designate the key and had 4 buttons to enter it. The newer models were based on an overseas gadget called tablet while the older ones were designed to emulate a GameBoy. Yuzu was thankful that Naoya used the newer ones because the older ones were tacky and weren't that useful. She had one back at her home, a gift from her father before they discovered his other family, and Yuzu could agree with Atsuro's complaint of it as a 'much better GameBoy than a communication gadget'.
Atsuro was typing something on his COMP, probably a reply to Naoya since he sent an e-mail to them a while ago. She laid down her comforter after Atsuro made a grunt, acknowledging her arrival, and proceeded to rummage with Kazu's bag.
"Say Atsuro, where did you put the food we cooked before?"
"Its in a different bag, the it has the word FOOD on it. Our water bottles and drinks are in a different one, it has WATER on it.," he said in reply. "Aaaand there. Hope Naoya reads it before he go to sleep."
"What did he sent to you anyway?"
"He said sorry. The private server used by our COMPs couldn't handle traffic made by e-mails since they were busy with handling the requests made by the Summoning Program," Atsuro replied as he rose up from his stool and went to his study table. "I forgot to explain stuff to you before so this would be the perfect time to do it."
"Okay, to start off. According to Naoya, he made the server used by the COMPs as a job for the Shomonkai. They wanted him to make a private server where only they could use, security purposes probably. He came clean to me just a while ago, admitting he also wrote the Summoning Program but he didn't wrote the apps like [Auction], [Cathedral] and [Profiles]." Atsuro explained to her.
"So why did he made it in the first place?" Yuzu asked. Why would he even try to make a program that is supposed to summon demons. "Isn't it kinda dangerous and... illegal?"
"To be honest, I couldn't even imagine why would he want to do such a thing but he admitted it was a private project of his. But the Shomonkai threatened him by some method that he had to comply with their request. I read Kazu's mails and I think the Shomonkai had something to do with him. So I guess they used Kazu as a bargaining chip to make Naoya work for them."
"That's crazy!" Were they the one who made him this way? Did they do something to her best friend that he suffered from random blank-outs, spontaneous bursts of emotion - yesterday's outburst instantly came to her mind - and a possible personality disorder. "What did Naoya tell you? Did he said something else?"
Atsuro nodded. "Anyway, the Shomonkai had some very deep connection with the government or something that they could confront the group directly. I think he implied he's working on it for a while." He then pulled out a sheet of paper and some pens. "We're getting back to my lesson, you asked how the COMPs could summon demons while its just a simple gadget right?"
"Yeah, I think I asked it when we were in the car."
"Think about this, the COMP is just a switch while the server Naoya made is the actual machine doing everything. Using the COMP, we send a request to the server and the server does it. It gets returned to the requester, that is the COMPs, and we got the result. Just like an hair dryer? You press the switch and the hot air began to come out of it. The COMPs work like that while the server I mentioned is the machine inside the blower," Atsuro told her while he showed her his sketch of his explanation.
She bonked his head with his flashlight in annoyance. "You really didn't have to do that, you know? I'm not that dumb."
"Sorry, I'm just... restless. That's it. From the entire thing in the arena to the fact that there were helicopter up in the sky when we came back, I can't feel we're safe now. Especially when my neighbors seemed to have evacuated to the nearby schools because of the so-called 'poisonous gas leaks' near the underground stations," he said with a exasperated sigh.
"Dammit. I forgot we ran out of gasoline," Atsuro exclaimed as he went back inside the house. He just went to the generator located at the back of his house a while ago but from his reaction, he wasn't expecting what he just encountered there.
"So, that means we have to get some gasoline huh? Yuzu, you done changing you clothes? We could just leave the one we used yesterday in the laundry. Let them soak in the detergent, right?" Kazu asked her as he came from the kitchen area of the house, finished changing his clothes at the ground floor bathroom. She used the second floor bathroom to take a shower. Though she isn't used to a shower because her house doesn't have one and it wasn't really a Japanese thing, she just went with it. It may have been an effect from how much time Atsuro's parents were working in America that they brought some of the Western culture back to Japan.
Case in point, the entire house seemed to be a bit... modern than what she imagined. The entire design of the house looked it came from one of the housekeeping magazines her mother subscribed to, even the decorations around the house gave off the feeling of the 'American Dream' - a thing she had learned from reading the American magazines her mother had in her house -.
"Yeah! I'm done! I've gotta say Kazu, these clothes you bought for us to wear are pretty neat. Its summer yet I don't feel the heat, and I'm wearing sleeves!" she commented and showed off the pink cardigan she was given to wear. "So we're buying some gasoline for the generator? How many and much would it cost us?"
"I'll be covering it for us," Kazu volunteered for them. "What's with the strange looks?"
"How come you have lot of money anyway?"
"Yeah, I was about to ask the same thing. I know that we were originally planning to have an out-of-the-city trip but... Seriously, you paid for the bikes, you paid for the ramen we had for lunch, you also paid for the... groceries. How much were you even carrying?" Yuzu asked her best friend. He gave them a sheepish smile in reply instead and went to the front door.
"I may have withdrew a bit more than what I intended when I went to Akihabara yesterday. You guys might have forgotten it when I was explaining about magic at the Electric Museum so..." He opened the door and took the backpack hanging at the shoe closet beside it. "They have their own currency and you can covert it to yen and vice versa. In fact, I'm filthy rich in the magical communities!" Then Kazu ran out of the door and off towards the gate.
"Hey come back here! What do you mean by filthy rich?! Hey! Hey!" She scrambled down the stairs, clutching the sling bag with her COMP in it while Atsuro chased off their best friend out of the house.
"Oi! You're not joking, right?! Seriously?!"
"Hey, what's up with our Death Clocks anyway? Kazu said ours are 2 while the ones we met throughout the day were 6. He even said that Naoya had 6 on his head. When I heard it from him, I began to doubt my initial thought of him playing a trick with us. But..." She shook her head as she laid down on the comforter. The breeze coming from the half opened window was cool enough for them not to feel hot but not too cold for them shiver. But if push comes to shove, she'll close the windows.
Just because Kazu had an 'magic spell' that can cure their ailments doesn't mean she want to test it out.
"I don't really know, Yuzu. I don't really know. I just want to read tomorrow's Laplace Mail. Today was about our potential death at Suidobashi and the news about the barricades at the exits around Yamanote Loop." Atsuro sighed as he thew up his arms up in the air and stretched. "The Death Clocks predicts the possible days left of a person, something like that one American movie we saw last time, the one where one's lifespan is a commodity and currency in their world."
"Yeah, I remember that. It's creepy now that you reminded me of it. Do you think that there would be more of us tomorrow?"
"What do you meant by us?"
"I mean people with COMPs that could see the Death Clocks. Didn't Naoya sent us all an e-mail about the Death Clocks would be seen by people who had COMPs? The... man at the arena... he had a COMP. And the Priestess... What was her name again? Kuzuryu?" She opened up her COMP and scanned through her e-mails. "Yeah, Kuzuryu. Kuzuryu-san had a COMP as well. Do you think there would me more of us tomorrow? People like us that could see how many days we have left before we die?"
"...I would be lying if I say no. Someone is spreading the COMPs and I doubt its Naoya. He admitted to me that he had only 5 of the COMPs with the program and he gave three to us, one to an acquaintance of his and one for himself. If he would be tricking me, he wouldn't include other people in this mess. Especially when he said this was for our safety."
The last statement Atsuro made caught her attention. "Our... safety?!" She almost screamed but with her best friend (and potential boyfriend) sleeping at the room, she immediately toned it down. "He sent us to the Cemetery! He practically sent us off to the place when he sent that e-mail of his yesterday!"
"Yuzu, did you really think Naoya would send us off to die there? He sent us to be safe there. When we came out of the cemetery this morning, the streets of Omotesando were wrecked. As in wrecked. The cars and the shops' windows are broken and the road were full of holes. I think there was even a blast mark at a corner but many people just ignored it. And remember, the people stranded at the stations said the trains stopped working around 17:00 or even earlier than that. We were potential targets of whatever demons that got out that night."
She made a groan in return. "But... Fine. Because he knew that the Shomonkai were there to catch whoever summoned those demons just like at the arena, right?"
"Probably." He trailed off. Making a glance to the COMP on her hand, which was on the main menu, Yuzu noticed the unfamiliar applications in it.
"Um, Atsuro. Did you check what's with these applications that got installed in our COMPs after you... you know, tinkered with it?" She was curious by the application but was unsettled by the connotations the names implied. A 'Cathedral of Shadows' isn't really a term she would connect with rainbows and kittens.
"I... I think I got the hang of it. The Auction house feels like I'm just attending an online sale of gadgets while the Cathedral... Uh... I don't know how to explain it but..." Atsuro then stood up and went closer to her. "Look, let me show you. Pull up the application."
She brought up the application and the screen changed into a very weird... chemistry table? There were a table for... fusions? How did Kazu understood all of this?
"Its like chemistry to me. The... demons Kazu contracted or bought in the Auction are instantly registered here in the Cathedral for um... fusion purposes. I think we uh... fuse demons into a brand new but different demon."
"Yeah, that was my reaction when I tested it this evening while you heated up a microwavable meal in my microwave. Like I said, its like chemistry. You mix two chemicals and you get a different chemical right? The same works here but its kinda different."
"...Demons are so weird. To think there are angels that could be summoned by the Demon Summoning Program and now. We can actually fuse them. What is this, Alchemy?" Yuzu then stared into Atsuro, causing the boy to flinch. "Don't think about it."
"I wasn't thinking anything!"
Strangely, the gasoline stations they went to had all of their supplied drained dry ever since that morning. Which made Kazu curse in anger since they had went to a total of 10 gasoline stations, all the way from Akasaka to Roppongi Hills. According to one of the attendants, who was asleep when they came by, a strange man came to them that morning with a truck full of empty barrels with the purpose of buying all of their stock. He paid obviously in cash, with the lack of power, and the transaction was done without any fuss.
And that was the same thing every attendant in all of the stations said to them when they asked the reason of their empty stocks. All ten of the gasoline stations and it pissed Kazu off quite bad.
When the passed by Roppongi Hills, with the goal of trying out any gasoline stations with a stock of gasoline with them, a small concert was being held. The tune of the songs were somewhat familiar to her and, curiously, to Kazu as well. Decided to check it out, Yuzu was taken back by the sight she saw.
Her idol, the indie solo singer, Haru, was having a concert in front of the hotel in Roppongi Hills. Even with a portable speakers and a sequencer with her, she rocked the people who were listening to her sings and, pun intended, blasted away the frustrations of the stranded people who were suffering from the blackout and the barricaded exits in the city.
Kazu, the most illusive person in the world with his choice of music, was tapping his feet to the tune of Haru's songs and was even bobbing his head every once in a while, also to the beat of Haru's songs. It only cemented her theory of him being one of Haru's avid fans and him being [ariaAficionado] on the forum where Haru was being discussed. That person was very... enthusiastic with their words. Atsuro though, he wasn't... feeling it. She can't blame him, some people just don't have the taste.
When the small concert was over, Haru was manhandled by a man with a dark black longcoat that had a strange flower decoration on the collar - which was somewhat familiar to her - into the hotel's lobby. Good thing she was stopped by her headphoned best friend from running to the hotel because Haru managed to make the man leave her alone. The man left her, passing them while giving them strange looks.
Haru then honed into them, intrigued by their eagerness in showing their love to her songs and performance. Yuzu and her friends had a very delightful conversation with Haru, she even got to introduce her friends and herself to her idol personally. They were then shooed by Haru after reminding them of their original purpose before they stopped by her performance. By the time she and her friends had been a few meters away from Roppongi Hills and Haru had returned to the confines of the hotel, Kazu made a comment.
"What? What do you... No. No. Nononononono. There's no way! You're kidding right?!"
Kazu just turned away from her gaze. Atsuro then interjected for him, "Then we must find some gasoline then follow Haru-san to the arena! She said she was going there, right? Maybe someone would ambush her there!"
"No! We must tell her now!"
Her best friend then grabbed her shoulders before she could run across the street towards Roppongi Hills. "Would she even believe you? Tell me Yuzu, would she really believe you? No, she wouldn't. No one would." He gave a sigh and climbed up on his bike. "We're gonna find a gasoline station, grab any gasoline cans, barrels, whatever and scram off to the arena. I don't care if they're gonna call us thieves. I'm not going to go back at Atsuro's place without accomplishing what we came here nor I'm gonna stand by and let Haru die. We defied our fate a few hours ago, who says we can't do the same for her?"
Atsuro nodded in agreement. "At least in this case, there aren't demons involved in it. Do you think its the Shomonkai man who would do the deed?"
"No, I don't... Well now that you mentioned it, it likely. Anyway, whoever this... attacker of Haru wouldn't do it in front of many people and in public. Didn't she said she was going to the arena in front of us? I bet some of the people there could hear her remark," he said as he sped up. With Atsuro and her following Kazu's lead, he continued, "You with me guys?"
"Absolutely." "No problem."
"Hey, Atsuro. Do you think that there's any truth to what the person on the helicopter said a few hours ago? About the poisonous gas in the subways?"
"Hm... I doubt so. If there were, then why would there be people hiding there from the heat during the day? Didn't you just went through one of their... rants?" Atsuro said with a smirk.
"...Funny Atsuro. I'm being serious here."
"Nah. I think they're doing for some purpose but as far as I can tell, its not really harmful. In fact, its a blessing in disguise for some. With the government telling them to evacuate to any nearby school or evacuation center, the demons won't even think of attacking a fortified place. It would also be a place where people would help each other but..."
"But what Atsuro? What's wrong? To me, its fishy. Something just doesn't make sense. Why would they have people evacuate from their homes to an evacuation center? Just because of alleged invisible poisonous gases?"
"Exactly Yuzu. That's what I'm getting from their announcements. Its too... suspicious but we don't have any some kind of rebuttals to their claims. However, I know, we know there no such thing as an invisible poisonous gases in the subways nor any place in their announcements. Remember the fiasco at Shibuya Station this morning? About the strange explosion the night before?"
"Hm... I remember. Is it connected to it?"
"Probably. The strange explosion is caused by demons, the Wendigo to be exact. It made the people to avoid the Cemetery or any place near Aoyama that day, preventing them to get near the demons," Atsuro remarked as he rearranged himself on his comforter on the floor. Kazu was still sleeping wearing his shorts and sleeveless shirt that Atsuro forced on him to wear. The teen was knocked out cold after the events at the arena that he was dead as a rock.
Yuzu went out when that happened. She might have spent countless times with the two but she won't be a pervert and try to take a peek at his best friend's naked body. The same thing applies to her when she's the one undressing, the boys vacating the room she was in. Atsuro and Kazu were friends in elementary, a few years before she became friends with them, so she guessed Atsuro had spent countless of times with Kazu to be comfortable with him getting half naked.
Nevertheless, Atsuro changed his best friend's clothes and threw the dirty clothes to the wash, along with their earlier laundry. Good thing that they also had a dryer, the enchanted clothes were something she wanted to wear again.
"But... I... I can't put my finger on it."
They found a gasoline station where there was a stock of gasoline cans for them to buy. But the attendant was a finicky one, he won't let them sell it because he wanted to sell it to the man who bought the stock of the other stations at any price they made. Greedy little bastard.
All three of them had no regrets when Kazu and Atsuro punched the unsuspecting man, knocking him out instantly. Though their knuckles were a bit sore, a Dia from her did the trick on healing it. Kazu still left a bundle of cash on the counter for the man to find when he wakes up, as payment for the gasoline they 'bought'. Still, what a greedy little bastard.
Continuous applications of Masukukaja from Kazu, they breezed their way back to Atsuro's house. Leaving the gasoline cans at the shed where the generator was stored, they left the house and rode their way towards the arena. The streets were almost empty, cars were already parked at the sides, and people were already returning to their houses or apartments. It was clear they don't want to be out in the streets when there's no power.
One by one, the generators of several buildings began to hum around them and the lights from the buildings shone through the windows and made some light on the road. Though the sun was still up in the sky, it was on the horizon and the sky was already in its reddish orange color.
Instead of going through the winding roads along the Science Museum, they passed through the entrance near Yasukuni Shrine, around the corner of Waseda-dori and Uchibori-dori. When they were near the arena, they could hear a woman singing beyond the wooden doors. They could also hear a garbled cry that sound so similar to them.
When Kazu and Atsuro tried to slam themselves into the wooden doors using their 'enhanced' strength, they heard a sharp cry from behind them and a torrent of electric bolts slammed at the door. Turning around, Yuzu made a gasp. A demon was behind them.
Quickly throwing a blast of fire to the red colored demon, it shrieked before it went into particles. Seeing that the door was already damaged, Kazu blasted it with a purple ball of energy while he cast a barrier of sorts at her and Atsuro to prevent any of the shrapnel to hit them.
Good thing they arrived just in time, and they also brought their COMPs with them - not that they ever left without it since it was a pretty good replacement for a watch -, because Haru was surrounded by demons and it was a bad thing for someone like Haru to find herself in such a situation.
A ping alerted them of an e-mail from the sleeping teen's COMP. Yuzu was the one who was near the bedside table so she took the COMP and opened it. "Huh. Its from a... how do you read this? Anyway, its not from Naoya since you already told him what happened this evening."
"...Hmm that reminds me. Did you personalized your COMP after you got it yesterday?"
"Is your COMP handle [YUZ]?"
"...How in the world?"
"Apparently Naoya forgot to mention it yesterday. Our COMPs could get the handles of other COMP users as long as they are within a certain range and spent a minimum of 10 minutes in its range. I don't know if its a side-effect of the [Harmonizer] or something but it automatically registers the COMP handle in your contacts," Atsuro told her as he showed her the contact list of his COMP. He the continued speaking as he took back the COMP from her hands, "But it doesn't take in consideration of the COMPs that weren't 'personalized' and by 'personalized' I meant by registering a handle name to the COMP."
"Would it also affect other COMPs? You know, the ones without the program?"
"Hm... I don't think so. Naoya said our COMPs are running on a private server, right? It could be possible in the future but I highly doubt so at the moment. But I'll send an e-mail to him now and maybe he could give me an answer tomorrow." He then went to type an e-mail, leaving Yuzu alone for a moment.
Checking her COMP, she saw she had two contracts on her contact list. A [SOULSRVR] and a [AT-LOW]. Kazu's and Atsuro's, most likely. There was also a [NAOYA], probably Naoya's. "Wait a minute Atsuro! How in the first place did Naoya sent us an e-mail in the first place? Our COMPS weren't registered at that time and he had no COMP with him at Aoyama!"
"...Maybe he had saved the FTP address of our COMPs on his COMP. He made the programming in these COMP, Yuzu, so he may have done something that allowed him to send e-mail directly and passing by the requirements for one to be registered in our contacts."
"Huh. You're probably right." Seeing that she wouldn't lose anything, she went to type a message for Kazu to read when he wakes up in the morning. Atsuro had walked her though how to properly use the different applications in it so she was pretty comfortable in using it now, unlike the time she had broken her old COMP that even Atsuro can't fix it.
Not that the old COMP was a good model but...
Still, she took the time to type out her frustrations and set an alarm for tomorrow morning. From what Naoya had implied through his e-mail to Atsuro, he heard there was an exit somewhere near Shinagawa Station. One that was hidden underground but he hadn't able to check it since it was already dark and the fact that there was someone distributing altered COMPs like the ones they found at the arena...
It was disturbing to a fault. Naoya admitted to them that he made the program for the Shomonkai and Atsuro told her that it was possible for the Shomonkai to copy the program and distribute its copies in different COMPs. And there was with the man they met in the arena that evening, obsessed with Haru and her power. Whatever that was.
Yuzu was busy fllinging out balls of fire and bolts of electricity while also healing any injuries she and Atsuro had received from the attacks of the demons. Atsuro was focused on punching any demons that come near them, which were quite effective given that he had a Pierce+ [Passive] that allows his attacks to be received fully without any resistances. She and Atsuro was figuratively 'holding down the fort' while Kazu went to do his thing.
He told them of his 'personal' skills that couldn't be copied by the program, which were a product of his training in magic under his brother, because they weren't installed by it to him. Kazu's skills were unique to a point, the three of them can agree that some of his skills could be 'learned' by them when they met the requirements to 'equip' it, that it was super useful to them.
Masukukaja gave them the boost in speed which they frequently used when they were on the bikes all day long. The barriers he made were very useful in shielding them from damage and she had witnessed him using those Megido balls against the other demons. She also witnessed how he charged at a group of demons like a meteor, blasting the demons into particles. The fact that they were skills of her best friend was something she couldn't give words.
They also didn't forgot about his other skills. They never had seen how Agneyastra works, but according to Kazu he was taught by his brother to use it in emergencies and he admitted he never remembered if he ever did cast it once before.
"I invoke thee the might of earth and fire! Bring down the might of the celestial bodies! Primordial creations in its basic form, descend on our enemies! As the Second Son of Humanity, I order Agneyastra!"
So when she and Atsuro felt something happening behind them that even the demons in front of them paused and stopped attacking them, both of them turned around. What they saw was something she never expected to see. Neither did Atsuro, based on his reaction.
"...Is that a meteor? No, meteors?!"
"When he said to us that he would be making the stars fall, I thought he wasn't serious and was just joking."
The sky above them began to distort around and rocks started to fall from it, descending on the demons and the miasmas. Several of the so-called 'meteor showers' fell to the ground around them.
Looking behind them and shifting her attention at her surroundings, she could see the span of Kazu's attack. The entire space above them were distorting as if it was letting the rocks pass through an invisible barrier, making ripples in mid-air as the rocks pass through them and start to blaze against the air. Every 'meteor' that hit a demon or a miasma exploded causing the affected demon to shatter into particles and the miasma to dissipate.
The meteors also hit the sketches the crazy man laid down in advance around the parking lot. As if the meteors were also targeting him, they almost managed to hit the man but he was able to evade it at the last second. Unfortunately for him, when the rocks crashed to the ground it also explodes. The resulting explosions from the meteors blasted him towards Kazu, who was standing a few meters ahead of them with his right arm raised to the skies and his left hand clutching to his COMP.
He had his back at them but Yuzu could see that he wasn't wearing his headphones. The flames brought by the exploded meteors that keep on falling to them also shone some light to their surroundings. Yuzu could have swore that moment that Kazu had blue hair. All of his hair was a shade of blue.
With every meteor that fell, it shattered every demon it hit. In a span of a minute, the entire parking area of the arena was full of holes with flames in it and countless scorch marks around them. Kazu was still raising his right arm.
"A plea that it would keep them safe, wounds healed and sickness recovered. Therefor I give my Prayer!"
Suddenly she felt great as if she just woke up from a good night's sleep. But that was only a temporary feeling. When she checked herself, she saw the wounds and small cuts and scrapes she received from her dodges and received attacks from the demons all healed up. Thankfully there wasn't a very serious injury.
Even Haru, who was bleeding at her leg and didn't noticed it before, was all healed up. Atsuro's knuckles were also healed up and the soreness of his bruises all disappeared.
Kazu was still standing there in the center of the parking lot, holding the man by his shirt at the neck and was busy questioning him. He still had his back at them. The man was angry at their friend and by the way he was almost frothing at the mouth, she was tempted to throw a Zio at the man.
She could hear his friend tell the man something about 'foolishness' and 'futility'. Yuzu couldn't hear much from what her friend said but she was soon shocked when Kazu let go of the man, the man tried to gut her friend when he pulled a pocket knife from his pocket. Kazu punched him with a glowing fist that caused the man to fly towards the other side of the park and knocking him unconscious.
Atsuro made a move to walk towards the teen with the black shirt but the sky began to lose its red tint and was replaced by a very bright light. So bright she had to close and shut her eyes with her hands and arms. It lasted for a minute or two - the longest thing she had experience to suffer when being flashed-.
When the three of them came around, the area around them had the flames extinguished and the light from the sky began to recede, plunging them slowly into the darkness. The demons around them were surprisingly gone. Kazu on the other hand was knocked out on the ground, delirious from the entire thing.
His eyes shut, he said to Yuzu and Atsuro who rushed to him dragged him up, "Let me take a rest, I'll be find in the morning." After he was completely unconscious.
"We can't take him on a bike! It's dangerous!"
"What should we do?!"
The singer with them then interrupted with a casual remark of 'a car'. Yuzu could see there was a car at the corner of the parking lot and went to it. It had gasoline and was still running. "Haru! Can you drive?!"
Okay, to those Guest reviewers who didn't even tried to log in into their accounts, please do so when you review next time because that way we could have a talk through PMs. I don't really want to clutter up the end of the chapters with these so-called Review Answer Corners. It's disrupting the flow of the story. (To me, that is.)
1. Anyway, 1st Guest Reviewer, Have you even read the Harry Potter and the Throne of Bel by The Distorted Shadow? Please do so. I'm pacing the HP-verse contributions all throughout the story so I don't get overwhelmed by the sheer load of HP-verse.
The HP-verse is regarded by many as a 'sandbox', where anything is possible as long as its possible. So please, wait and sift through the story. I rather have subtle jabs towards the HP-verse contributions than flatout showing you guys. Besides, I have plans for the TriWizard Tournament where they proceed with 'cliché' use of 'Summoning Harry Potter using the Goblet of Fire' trick.
2. To the 2nd Guest Reviewer, did you even read what you typed? 'They can destroy thousands of universes in an instant'. Hah. That's a fallacy. They can't destroy the universe because they cannot. You hear me? Even if they could (and that is just a hypothetical situation because it could not happen), it would just be created again since the SMT universe is powered by the Collective Consciousness/Humanity's Belief.
As I said before, SMT-verse is dependent on human belief. That's why both sides are so gung-ho on humanity. They really can't do it. 'The top tiers of SMT-verse can destroy billions of universes'. Hah. Are we even on the same page?
The leader of the Chaos Route just wanted the world to burn, not to destroy existence, unless you are referring to another series. The Law Route can be said the same, instead of fire, its all songs for eternity.
Loki is a Chaotic Neutral character while Gabriel is a Lawful Evil one. Law in SMT is all about praise YHVH throughout eternity by enslaving humanity while Chaos is all about fucking things up for humans while the demons of Chaos gets free reign over the world.
About SPN Gabriel, he's not powered by the beliefs of humanity in SMT. He came from a world where the laws dictated them to take a human vessel if they have to descend to Earth. He can't go back to Heaven cause its not his Heaven nor is he even welcome there. He has enough reason not to grab any attention from both sides. Also, he died in SPN. Even their God cannot bring back Gabriel and Raphael because they were created differently than the other angels.
Go do your research. The 'top-tiers' really can't destroy the universe because they'll be destroying themselves as well. And for the record, as long as humanity exists, those top-tiers will continue to exist as well.
3. To Prototype Gear, thanks for the critic. Grammar can be improved through continuous practice, right? So please, keep an eye on my work. About Hibiki... He's the protagonist of DeSu2. His backstory is the one from the anime, where like other 'Persona-esque' Protagonists, he's practically an orphan/abandoned by parents/neglected by them and as a result, made a family with his friends. [Only applies to Persona 3 and beyond, Persona 1 and 2 are a different matter.]
It creates this image of the Protagonist of an independent person who has no ties whatsoever and commitments before the story takes place.
Also, SMT Protagonists are blank slates, ready for the player to become a justified Self-Insert OC. Only a few 'canon' descriptions are implied by the Protagonists' choices within the game that alludes to their personality, just like how the FeMc of Persona 3 has a dialogue option of "1000 Yen for Mitsuru-senpai's pictures" instead of a simple "Yes" or "No" when a NPC asked if she enjoyed her School Trip at Osaka.
Devil Survivor 2 is literally SMT with Social Links. If that wasn't enough to imply you'll be spending a lot of time making 'bonds' with other people cause you didn't got to spend time with your parents/family, then I don't know what you need to see it.
And about how his situation looks like a "badly written naruto neglect fic'... Yeah, its kinda stupid but it really doesn't affect the story. It's just a little thing that happening at the sidelines. Much like how you notice your neighbors having a fight yesterday, and the next day the other left the house, and the week after he returned with her wife and it really doesn't concern you at all...
What I'm saying is, its really just a sidenote. Don't pay any heed to it, okay? I may allude to some things concerning DeSu2 but we are focusing on DeSu 1 not 2.
So I looked into any British/Gaelic/whatever-as-long-as-its-in-the-British-Isles gods or demons and I encountered Belatucadnos, a god of war that was also equated to the Roman/Greek god of war, [Mars/Ares], and Belenus, one of the most ancient Celtic gods and claimed as a fire/sun god though there was no evidence to back up the claim. Belenus means 'Bright One' so people would equate it to something bright, like the sun or a fire.
I guess I found two more contenders to the Throne of Bel, who were hiding out in England. I wonder if Beldr [Baldur] found them and assimilated the soul shards of Abel in canon... But if he did then there should be a sign he did, just like how Bael, Baal and Belphegor got morphed into Belberith's body. Its still interesting that I managed to find some obscure gods that have the [Bel] in their names.
Oh damn. Belisama is another Bel I found while scourging the internet. She's equated to [Minerva/Athena] of the Roman/Greek gods. Although there are problems with indentifying if she's a [true] deity since her name is derived from Belenus, she's can be a contender to the Throne of Bel and a rather problematic enemy since she's equated to [ATHENA/MINERVA], the goddess of strategy and wisdom. Also Belenus is equated to [Apollo], the god of anything related to light, sun, healing, music, etc. Curse you Atlus, you guys could have added more obscure gods to the game!