Chapter 1: Black Dog
Where in the underworld was I?
How long have I been asking myself this question I wonder?
It didn't take long since my arrival before I found myself sitting in a chair in a room with some manner of strange contraptions within it. There's this glowing oval/box combination like machine to my right with a red cylinder shape plastered on the front. It keeps making a humming noise which wouldn't have interest me if not for the fact that it's doing this without Od or magic power.
I scanned the room for possible exits with only one being the door I used to come in here. I was escorted into this strange room some time ago and told to wait for a "specialist" of some sort. The only thing that's really keeping me here is the food I was promised. Food that I just so happen don't have to pay for. I almost can't wait. For the last… couple centuries I haven't eaten anything. That's too long for any mortal man to go without the sweet taste of fresh apple pie or the delicious metallic flavor of raw but slightly cooks oxen leg.
Pushing my awareness out from my mortal body I watched the many beings outside of these walls. Times have changed drastically since last I've walked the human world. When I think back to the hundreds of years they're all a blur. The nonstop fight to survive in a world where half the beings there happened to be put there by you.
The Abyss: A world of spirits as dark as night and monsters with souls shrouded in blackness.
Nonstop. The struggle was constant and never ending. I fought for my soul until it became a constant chore. Move and attack. Slash and bash. Kill and consume. It never ended during my search for an escape. I need any escape and to return back to my life before. Instead of Fugeki castle I landed here in this strange and unfamiliar world. The strange manner in which people dress and the technology is… startling.
I've witnessed a bird made of metal taking off into the air with humans of every shape and size in its stomach. It's an airaplane, I believe they called it. Strange name, but then again everything here is just so strange.
The memories I took from this one girl I came across helped. It's how I discovered that this place is a port for these air ships. She assisted me with discovering more about this world, about the people, and what counts as modern times. My time is seen as ancient history long past, but I'm relieved that my actions didn't lead to the genocide of the human race. It's worked out well enough even though the magi plane is all but cut off from this world, its door ways are forever sealed, and I'll never see my mistress ever again.
To this day I'm not entirely sure why I went this Far East to begin with. I do know that those witches failed in the end. Though, I did find myself here in the middle of a stone road with metal birds soaring overhead. They did say I'd never return so in a way they did succeed.
Since I didn't know anything about where I was or when I surveyed the area a bit. I found myself surrounded by eastern men and women not that I was shocked. I was banished to the Abyss in the middle of Japan. I wouldn't have had a problem any of the people here if not for the man in which they all dressed. How they walked and presented themselves made my skin crawl. These people themselves have always been on the slender side, expect when it came to its nobles. I've found that everyone around me aren't only skinnier but almost so scrawny. It's almost as if they've erased The Way and mystic arts from their way of life.
The spirit I felt inside each and every one of them is meager and pathetic. It's like they only have enough chi in their bodies to stay alive and enough ki to move at, I'm afraid to say, human limitations.
I noticed the stares I was receiving as I walked throughout the passage ways. I heard the not so subtle whispers about my "strange" way of dressing. They've no room to talk at all about how I dress from what I am seeing. They look and dress worse than the English or the Scottish Highlanders. I dress in the traditional robes of an assassin which are always in style no matter the year from what I heard. Despite my disdain towards their words it's still significant to take note of. If the general populace finds my clothing strange, then it's memorable. What's memorable is identifiable. If I can be identified I can be tracked and that's unacceptable. I need to change clothing and soon.
I could barely understand the dialect these people used. I've long but became quite fluent in Japanese but the way they use it is strange. Some words are mixed and slurred together. I've studied at least eight different dialects and this one is new. This one sort of sounds like three of the old merged together. I could pick out most of it but not all. Language barriers are not acceptable, but I'm hesitant to bleed the mind of another just to get me up to speed. It wouldn't take too long, maybe a minute at the most, but I could kill the one I'd drain by accident.
The girl I drained will be fine because something as common as times and modern-day life isn't hard to leech. Language, the bed rock of the individual, isn't so easy to take. Because the birth and home language of a human is so closely tied to them as a person and so their soul I'd have to apply more force to the drain. More force to these people would kill them for sure, and I try not to kill innocents. Accidents do happen though. By being here could be classified as one of them.
Eventually, I found myself at a desk with a glowing thing on top that the bystanders in front of me their hands on. When they did this the gate in front of them to the building outside opened though not magically. It was interesting, and I became curious of its functions.
When it was my turn I mirrored what I witnessed before and placed my hand on the gate opener thing. Instead of the gate opening it made a noise and the surface turned red like fire. I was asked to do it again which I did to more noises and then a buzzing sound. I was told to stand by and this man put a box to his head and started talking to it. I was confused on why a man would talk to a box but then notice it light up. I concluded that it could mimic the workings of a responder spell to talk to others across distances, and so I waited and was escorted to this room. I was told I could order anything I wanted under the expense of another.
My stomach grumbled angrily, and I placed a hand on top to calm it a bit. My stomach is seconds from caving in. I can almost taste the meat to come that I ordered. Almost.
The second I heard the door handle click I almost jumped to my feet to ambush the food before it had a chance to reach me. Instead of food and a different kind of food I could eat "walked" in. While this left me disappointed I was still curious. This had to be the "Specialist" that I was told about. An older mature woman in the age range of thirty or forty summers maybe with grey short shaggy hair, grey eyes, and a white coat that fell to her ankles walked inside. I studied the woman as she pulled some manner of pad up to her chest and poked it.
The older woman wasn't alone. Behind her came another woman and still no food. Yet again I found myself disappointed that yet again it wasn't my food. My disappointment though was severely overshadowed by the haunting curiosity spawned by this new woman. A woman with the same shade of hair but sleeker and longer tied back into a long ponytail. The second woman has her eyes closed as well or maybe they're squinted so much you that can't see her eyes. She's obviously able to walk normally without hitting anything. I can feel her eyes one me as well. The second woman is noticeably younger than the first one but seems tired with the bags under her eyes. The older woman doesn't show the spiritual signs of fatigue.
This second woman wore some manner of formfitting black leather outfit that stopped at her lower thighs. I will admit she has some nice legs on her and her skin was a little too flawless as well. I couldn't see a cut, blemish, bump, or any form of scaring on her body at all unlike on the older woman that still looked worth mating with despite her age.
Another thing is the nodachi she held in her left hand. A woman with a nodachi is strange. Even I don't bother with using such an oversized weapon. It's as long as she was from head to shin. It's strange but a relief to find a swordsman err… woman in this place. Her power trumps all that I've sensed since my arrival. I've met few warriors with such high ki and chi reserves within their bodies. Only a few males and only two females, one not even being human, can measure up against this female. I can tell just by the flow of her energy that this one isn't exactly human. Neither is she an apostle nor one of the deathless. That leaves me to wonder just was this woman is anyway.
The woman's hoari was an interesting shade of gray with black seams and that bloodlust that I could feel emitting off her practically made her haori float behind her like a cape. I've felt worse bloodlust, but I'm still a bit inquisitive. The white coat cladded woman though is just as imposing. With her ki she could smash a man's skull with a punch. It seems this time isn't as lost as I first thought, not that I know all that much myself.
I spent most of my long life in the west and only went so far in teachings of Chinese martial arts and the use of Ki. My chi and Od are top of the class though. I know that from my time as a master assassin and witch crafter I can mold the spirit of the almost anyone. Most of my teachings are spawned from my traveling of the land. Dealing with Immortals are also part of this. It's a shame and annoyance when I meet them as well as a shame to kill anything immortal, but sometimes you have to push back.
I watched the woman take their respected comfortable positions before me and let my eyes wandered them. Normally when two attractive women come into a room to greet me I'd be a little more respectful and give a greeting, but I'm hungry enough drink and eat a banquet bare. I just want my food. Gods I can only go so far without food. Damn it, I need some food!
"Huh?" I looked up to the mature woman as her eyes studied my own.
"You said you needed food, and I said it is coming. Just be patient," she spoke calmly.
"I… see." I was thinking out loud again. This problem has persisted for so long now. If this woman said it was coming I couldn't really call her out on it. I'm too tired to think all that clearly right now. Once I leave I'll need to rest for a couple days after getting my fill.
"I should introduce myself," the white coated woman pronounced. I turned my attention from my bracer on my left forearm to the woman sitting down across from me. I don't care about her name or what she wanted from me. Even if it wanted to stop me it's not like it'll be hard to dispose of.
The woman leaning on the wall though is a different story. She'll be a challenge to escape from. This is especially true whilst in my weakened state. I might have to sacrifice something of mine to escape her. I don't want to but my life is more important than the clothes on my back. I won't give up my blades though. That's something I cannot do.
"My name is Takami Sahashi representative of MBI," the woman introduced herself. Her tone was rigid much like her poised figure. She sat with her thing on the table regarding me with mixture seriousness but calm. Her stillness as well is near flawless, but within her I see her ferocious temperament just barely contained behind fleeting restraints. I feel if push she'd become a lioness in moments.
She came off as self-important with her introduction almost like it's a name I should be acquainted. She revealed a group of sorts as well, but I've never heard of this MBI thing before. Such a surprise that I haven't though since I just arrived here. It does sound medical related though. Doctors always come up with strange acronyms for simple things. Why call it MBI instead of simple headache medicine? It's mundane and quite annoying trying to figure out what words coincide with the letters.
I didn't voice my thoughts and remained silent. I need more information before I can begin questioning this woman or the other one staring at me like I'm a waste of skin.
The wait and see approach is preferable.
This Takami woman gestured backwards towards the inhuman woman standing behind her with her back to the wall and arms crossed over her chest. "This is my associate. Her name is Karasuba."
"A pleasure," I said to this woman though. Her power is worth respecting. Enough to display the simplest of pleasantries.
This Karasuba woman screams inhuman monster to me. The matter in which she looks at me, her intimidating and fierce presence, and yet aloof expression left me wary. It's the complete opposite of her aura. I can tell that if she and I were to cross I wouldn't leave unscathed while holding back in my most basic form. If I keep the demons at bay during this battle it'd end with me missing most of my blood and maybe an arm.
'What sort of energy is that coursing throughout her circuits?' I asked myself internally.
Her aura… it's strong but clouded by anger, disgust, and a bit of envy as well. Emotions are lucid. The strong you are and more aura you display the clear they became to differentiate. Despite the couple bags under her eyes I'm not fooled by the visuals like I was in my youth. The spirit says it all.
Her spirit is large and ready to clash against another's. She desires to clash with my own. She wishes not to fight me but to kill me. Killer intent this strong is almost like that of Trager. That monster took a long time to put down because of its sheer size and Od capacity. This woman who's much smaller than myself has me compare her to that monster.
I can assume that the only reason this Takami brought this woman with her is because she's the muscle.
"Huh?" The woman glanced up at me, but I quickly shook my head.
I cleared my throat before continuing. "Nothing, I was only mumbling out loud."
Takami stared at me for a second longer judging my every action. Eventually let it go and went back to messing with that thingy in her hands with a bright top. She's touching the top repeatedly with many different shapes and colors changing every now and again the more she touched it. It looked interesting to a point that I leaned forward for a better look but quickly lost interest.
I caught the Karasuba woman looking at me with her eyes slightly more open but not enough for me to see the color. She's not specifically looking at me but certain places on my body. My right shoulder, my left and right hip, my left wrist, and the only visible hilt sticking out from my back. She could see each and every sword, knife, and pointed object I have equipped. I fiddled with the blade on my bracer and this made her eyes open slightly. I could almost see an eye color but then there was a knock at the door.
"Enter," this white clad woman ordered. The door opened a second later and the smell of food slammed into me. The smell of meat and meat and more meat. My gods it smells too good.
The Takami woman was speaking in English a moment ago and now some man walked in speaking Japanese once more. I closed my eyes and slowly shifted my mental sources around to understand this new age Japanese they speak now.
I remember from the woman's memories what my ability could be called. "Universal translator." I've broken into the minds of many people of many different languages around the world, but I can't key onto them out right. My mental capacity may be grand but it isn't infinite. Much of the space is taken up by the ethereal beings within me so I've had to store many of my languages away in small compartments where I can't access them. I can hold only three languages at a time it seems. It used to be seven. I didn't need any more than two languages in the shadow land. One for magic and one to communicate with the beings within that world.
I quickly equipped Japanese, the sort I learned from my friend Mitsumi and Kuu when I heard this shift in dialect. I remember well when we worked together. I wonder now if they ever found peace and family like I wished for them. Kuu more than likely died in mid job but Mitsumi for sure became the cook she always wanted to be. I can only pray it came to be for the two of them to find happiness.
The next is English. The same Takami used when she spoke to me. It's very different compared to the English of my time, but I can get the jist of what she says. The last language of course is the language of the spirits. Spell casting at the ready. I've had more than a couple lifetimes worth of practice in the Abyss. My magic proved the most effective against them. It will prove the same against these sacks of soft tissues and organs.
Huh? What is tissue?
"Your order is here and we... uhhh," the man stopped and held the door open.
I broke from my thoughts as five carts of food came inside the room a moment later with everything I ordered. A pitcher of wine from France that was aged to fourteen years after the 20th century and a gallon of water just to get most of the food down came with it like I desired. Whole platters of different dishes from across the world that I wished to try were spread out on the table. I've never really eaten like a noble before, so I decided to give it a try for once.
"That's... a lot of food." Takami deadpanned at the table was set and my stomach growled.
A slip of paper was given to the Takami woman and I swear she uttered the loudest sigh I've ever heard when she looked at it. I didn't care though because in under a minute half of the meat, rice, vegetables, and wine I had was in my stomach.
"Gods above look at him go." Takami said with a disgusted scoff.
I was going fast in my unrelenting attempt to drink down the food as if it was water. So good. After ten minutes I found my stomach full and my appetite sated for now until another 30 minutes when I'm finished digesting. I sighed in more pleasure and relief than I've ever before as the wide eyes of Takami stuck to me like an arrow to the throat. Karasuba adopted a smirk on her lips that caused one to fall on mine as well.
"That's quite the inhuman appetite you have there," the Karasuba woman finally spoke. Her voice is surprisingly pleasing to the ears. It sounded mature but only slightly fluid. It's almost like she doesn't speak that much, and her vocal cords aren't used to being used as much. It's slightly raspy.
I finally saw her eyes and they instantly took my interest. The eyes are a gateway to the soul and what I saw confound me. This woman is truly warped and twisted, and I wonder by what. I recognize the eyes of a killer much like myself, but she seems to take a disturbing pleasure out of it. I wish to classify this woman as a monster to be beheaded or evil enough to be vanquished, but for some strange reason I can't. For some reason when I look into her I see the eyes of woman that's lost in the past. A woman with a hole in her heart. Almost someone I can relate to.
"W-where did you put it all?"
Time resumed from our stare down. I looked away from the smiling Karasuba back to Takami. I tilted my head slightly at Takami's question and shrugged. "I'm a pit of death." I said quite seriously. Takami though just stared at me with a blank expression.
"Ah-huh," she sort of hummed I think. Takami shook her head and went back to fingering her rectangular panel thing.
It was nice finally to eat. I can feel the energy filling my body again after a couple minutes. I started the process of healing my cuts and bruises as the energy came. I could feel my body bask in the Od around and within to assist with healing me. This is including the slashed eye in my right socket. I opened my right eye and blinked as my vision turned from blurry to clear. I could feel my left arm and my right leg again. The pain stacked as feeling came back to life all around my body, but I used my ki to numb the pain for now. Major cuts and scaring were taken care of but only so much could be rush restored. I'm not a wizard of restoration and my lack of elf dust makes this more difficult when it comes to the more minor wounds. I let them be for now.
I leaned back in my chair contempt enough for one day and waited for the woman to talk but it seems she was waiting for me instead.
"You're finished?" She questioned.
I doubt the woman even noticed that I was slowly healing myself and curious more about the movements I made. The subtle and sudden alike. I physically checked myself as I healed my body. I rubbed certain parts of my legs and hips, and massaged my sore muscles.
The final push to the world door took everything out of me. The shadows protected that door with all their might. They took the shape of the nightmarish creatures I've killed or the people I met and decided to never harm for as long as they lived. A trick the shadow beings used many times over that being why I developed the ability to see past the physical boundaries. I could see the real shape of their souls instead of what they formed into. I ignored the voices of Fredrick, Horst, Dahlia, and the many other shapes. I would never be contained or trapped in that place forever, and I succeeded in escaping.
I closed my eyes, not that they could see, and looked past the physical barrier. I found it weird to use it here. In the shadow world everything moves. The walls shift from in place to the next. Here the walls are completely black and solid. They don't have a presence to them. The humans around me outside the room and in this room are o dim. They almost mirror the lifelessness of the walls. This Karasuba though is different. She's a sun that illuminates the darkness that is this lifeless world. So very much different from shadow sprites.
"Ohh, really?" The woman mused.
I nodded without thinking about it. My spirit sight faded away from to see this goddess, in comparison to the humans around me. This Karasuba woman opened her eyes halfway to look at me finally showing me the color. Grey like her hair. Her outer iris is red but the inner portion is grey. The smile on her lips grew a little more out of bemusement, but this only furthered to make my interest grow. It grew to the point that I had to ask, "What are you exactly?"
The Takami woman blinked at me and asked back, "what do you mean "what is she'?"
I didn't stop looking at Karasuba at all. She has my full attention. I looked into her eyes to take in much more information about this woman that fascinates me.
She's not a demon in human flesh.
She's not an elf in disguise to hide her ears.
She's not human and yet she looked like nothing else other than human.
What in the 13 worlds is this woman? She's something new I've never discovered. Not a magic user or a paladin and yet her pathways and core are so very like one. Their paths come together in one central point in her body. The angel core, the central light within angels of God, have the same circuits and power sphere within them. That though is bestowed upon them by their god. This woman isn't an angel. She has no wings, and no matter what form they take I can always see the wings of an angel or demon. Whether from heaven, hell, or the nether realm I can always see their wings or horns. This woman isn't anyone of those. That begs a single question.
"What race are you?" I asked next. Again, I received looks of shock from the Takami and amusement from the Karasuba.
"What race do you think I am monkey?" She mocked. She's not human or even part human. That 'monkey' comment is used by anything other than humans when race is brought up. We're the monkey race. Hairless apes. I've heard it all before. It's comical that racism hasn't changed even in this era I found myself in. I don't how many years in the future I've escaped into but looking at the possible consequences if I had stayed this was probably for the best. I get to meet new races of inhuman beings like this one. This woman isn't an angel or even tied to the supernatural aspect of life. That energy she has stems from the soul, but her soul isn't like mine. She's nothing like anything I've ever seen or felt before. I'm a little anxious to see what hunting this thing would be like.
Would the hunt be long or short? Would it be clean or bloody? Would it satiate the beast or leave me longing for more until madness takes me? I took that moment to formulate a strategy to kill her and what to compare her to. It has a core but no wings. Even a fallen angel keeps their wings unless they are truly forsaken. A true fallen angel that lost her wings and so can never find you way back within the grace of god ever again. That's the only race can think of.
"Are you a fallen angel?" I probed her.
Karasuba gave me a wide eyed look before bursting into a fit of laughter. She gripped her stomach and leaned over as she laughed hysterically. "Me?" The woman chuckled again. "A fallen angel?" She may have laughed as if finding this amusing, but I can tell she's conflicted on the inside. Maybe I'm on to something.
"She's not a fallen angel," Takami sighed. "You must be Christian to believe in God and his angels then."
Christian? Is that another name for a Protestant faith? It could be. I've never believed in gods of any faith. I know they exist after all I've met a few, fought a few, and killed one, but as far as believing in them I can't find it within me to do that. I do have one that I respect more than any other. I'm not sure what belief in their religion entails but she saved my life, my soul, and my very existence. It's a debt I've yet to repay. Even now she guides my hand and watches from above. It's not night time, but I can feel her again after so long. It feels good.
The Takami woman tapped the panel thing again and laid it back down on table. "About an hour ago I got a call about a fault in our identification scanners. It seems that someone that's not in the system placed their hand on the scanner that caused most of the alarms in MBI to go off. I've scanned your prints and what sample of your DNA I could work with and found nothing on you. Can you remove you hood while I'm talking to you?"
"No," I stated.
Takami narrowed her eyes at me. "Why not?"
"Because I don't wish to so I will not. That is," I tilted my head a bit to the left. "Unless you wish to attempt to take it off for me." My challenge was in plain sight which made the grey haired woman frown. She looked over to Karasuba to which the woman shrugged and went back to leaning quietly on the wall.
"I need to see your face."
"No you don't, you just wish too," I returned swiftly. I can see the truth and intent in her eyes. I know her type well from my time in the Vatican. The scholar types that wish to unravel the unknown out of their hate for it; that was then, and this is now, but somethings never change. I doubt the Vatican survived that much longer after the Betrayal.
"Fine, can you tell me your name?"
"No," I said once more.
Takami's eye twitched. "And what is the reason this time, because I won't accept the "because I wish not to' excuse again."
"Because," I shook my head. "I have no name to give. I never wanted a name to be honest."
"What do you mean you have no name?"
"That is what I mean. I was born a bastard without a name to call my own. For the longest time I've only went with what other's decided to call me for some form of familiarity," I explained casually. It's not like I'm capable of giving her crucial information about me right now. I'm clear headed now.
"Fine," she woman waved off the previous question. "What would you call yourself from the many names you've acquired then?"
I thought in it for a moment. I've been called many things but never have I tried to name myself. Most of the time my presence was associated with a color or a title not an actual name. Maybe that can work for her if they do need a name to identify me with.
"You can call me Jäger if you wish it." I'm The Hunter after all so why not.
Takami rose her brow. "You're German then?"
German? What is a German? I can assume they're a group of people like the Irish or the French, and they just happen to be German. That's interesting that the title I gave them is German. I didn't answer or give any indication that she's right or wrong. I can accept being called German I suppose. It doesn't really matter to me.
"I can safely assume that's your last name correct?" I didn't answer so she continued. "What's your full name?"
This cycles back to the problem of me not having a name to fall back on. If I had a name my mother died before I could find out what it was. Jäger is one title that I've earned over the years from my marks and anyone that got in the way. I couldn't help but let them follow their masters into the abyss. Most days with force and a headless body as proof. I could just use a second title to go with the last. One that goes well with Jäger and symbolizes myself or my actions. It could go back to my roots maybe.
"Otieno," I answered for I was born in the night and lived for it for many years. "Otieno D. Jäger is what you can call me Missus. Sahashi."
"I'm not married," she said dully.
This brought out more confusion. This woman has given birth. Many years of her life were taken off to give birth to her one maybe three children. Or maybe it's one extremely strong child that used the life of the others to empower it. I know the scent of a woman that has given birth and yet she's not married. By the small shine of irritation I see within her eyes the man she procreated with isn't in the beyond and instead a source of aggravation.
Before her thoughts would remain constant by the mention of her man who isn't her man she sighed letting go of her strong emotions and calmed down. She does have children though and now that I know this I can key on her signature and find them if they reside within this city. If she becomes a threat to me I can use them as a means of controlling her. If she becomes a threat. I need more information before I can place her on the scale.
"What's your profession?" She asked but I only looked at her in confusion. She sighed then clarify. "What do you do to finance your cost of living?"
"How do I get by you mean," I asked dryly.
"Yes!" She exclaimed.
She should have just said it that way instead of using words I don't know or recognize. "I do many things."
"Like what?" she ushered me impatiently.
"I am a baker," I started off with.
"You're a baker?" Her tone told me that she didn't believe me.
Was it that hard to believe? Where I came from it was normal for my kind to have multiple professions.
"I'm also blacksmith, furnisher, herbalist, and an artisan." I listed off a few of the many occupations I've held.
I can make my own weapons and enchant them if need be. Many times I've created and designed weapons for others for a healthy sum of money or other types of compensation. I can recreate clothing as well as repair it from many years of doing my own self repairs. I'm barely decent at it, but I do have some skill. I can make furniture from a wardrobe to a bed. Baking anything from bread to pies or cakes are a bit of a past time. My mother taught me and I've fostered this skill. Making poisons, potions, and tonics came to me with ease. Because of my powers I can survive many different poisons until they become ineffective. I can create poisons without any warnings or symptoms until the moment you breathe your last breath.
It all helps calm the mind much and stops my body from going into its "contact" phase at random intervals.
"A potion maker?" Takami questioned me.
"Yes," I answered quickly. "I can make potions to place you in a state of fake death which I've made four times in my life. The people that used it all ended up killing others or themselves in the end. It all comes down to what I needed at the time and how long I had to make it."
Takami rose an eyebrow at the list of professions I gave her. "Really?" Again she worded in a tone of disbelief. "Is hemlock a good herb for a tonic?"
"It can be used for either a potion for feint death state but has to be coupled with devil's shoestring, Juniper root, and a few other herbs as well. Alongside a few other ingredients, it can be a poison that kills a grown man between twenty to thirty breaths. With a little nightshade, some cobra venom, and a few other ingredients it's lowered to between one to three breaths to kill a fully grown man."
Takami's stared at me in shock with her jaw dropped bit. She quickly recovered and cleared her throat. "Well," she coughed again. "You sound like you at least have an idea of what you're talking about." She still didn't believe me it seems. I just nodded again and let her create her own assumptions of me. "You're an unknown in the system and have all these professions. Couple together with your armament it leaves me to wonder just who or what are you?"
I looked away from the woman. What could I say to her? This world's majority probably doesn't believe in the supernatural world: monsters, beasts, shadows, or any other threat I've faced in my years in this life. I wager most of these beings are nothing more than folklore much like the elves in my time. I can tell her that I hunt beasts, demons, and evil that wear the faces of men, but what'd be the point? She'd think I'm insane, and I've seen what happened to those deemed insane by the masses. I could tell her anything but because of my curse I can't lie. I have to tell her some form of truth but not the whole truth.
"You know who I am or at least what I've told you." My answer made Takami's eye twitch a little. I continued despite this. "As for what I am… I'm a human being if that's what you're wondering. Much like yourself Ms. Sahashi." I corrected my suffix seeing that she told me she's not married. It's probably a good thing that she's not married. This type of woman would eat most hardened men whole, in one bite, and with them kicking and screaming on the way down.
"You keep bringing that up. What's human and what isn't. Why is that?"
I gestured Karasuba's way then brought my attention back to Takami. "I believe the woman behind you isn't human," I said truthfully.
"Yes I'm a "fallen angel' or didn't you hear Mrs. Sahashi," the Karasuba flapped her arms like they were wings and doing well to mock the two of us.
Takami ignored Karasuba for me. "What do you feel from her to make you believe she's not human?"
I said nothing.
"Okay then what are you doing in Shinto Teito?" Takami demanded.
"I am not so sure myself," I answered earnestly.
Takami slammed her hand on the table, "Bullshit! I don't know who or what you are, but I was called in the middle of important work to investigate a glitch in our system which just so happens to be caused by you, because YOU are not even in the system. I have cross threaded your DNA to find a next of kin to nothing. You're an enigma that just so happens to be able to feel if something isn't 'human'! Your name is a bunch of titles at most and what they come together to form isn't humorous in the least. You're visually armed in every way and immune to our serum"
I had a feeling that the food they gave me was spiked with something, but I didn't know what. What sort of serum was it I wonder because I couldn't feel a thing? Whatever it was it made this woman upset that it didn't work despite all the time we've sat here.
"I'll ask you again, and I better get an answer. Just who do you work for? A rival company trying to get a leg up on us. Some form of agency or military that knows too much and trust me you will talk."
I said nothing.
"Well, are you going to say anything?"
I shrugged, "I was mostly tuning out all the yelling you were doing. You seem like the sort of woman that could yell a man's ear off." And since that was the first time she's asked me any of those questions I was a bit overwhelmed as well.
Karasuba started to chuckle but instead of sounding cute it was more like the phantom laugh of a rave demon that's slowly approaching its prey and the soul it's been hunting for years. Takami glanced hard at the other woman to which she brushed off and looked back to me with a ghost of a smile.
"Okay… if you don't wish to talk to me or even listen you can talk to her." Takami gestured to the woman leaning on the wall. "And trust me you don't want that."
I almost huffed at his woman. I don't like to be threatened without a justified cause and right now this doesn't feel justified. No matter what sort of torture they can imagine doing to me they would never break a spirit like mine. It's been broken too many times to feel anything. I feel very few things. Pain is one constant same with disappointment.
"There isn't much you can threaten me with."
"I doubt that," Karasuba sneered. "I could kill you."
"My life means nothing to nobody so it doesn't matter. I don't matter," I confessed blankly. After all I'm just a tool used and thrown away by human masters until the time I questioned my role. Then I betrayed my colors and turned against everything. I killed my old masters and many more that tried to claim ownership over my life.
I've turned against my own race and killed more humans than I wish to count. Some days I'm ashamed to be human because of the atrocities our kind caused to myself and the races that wanted nothing but to be left alone. The elves took the blunt of human might and I was at the forefront. I don't feel regret, but I'm sure if I did fighting men wouldn't be one of them.
I've never liked killing until you bring up monsters like the orcs. I've never liked fighting, but I do like stacking my life against another's. Most of the time it ends in a clash. Now that I've eaten I'm eager to get moving to walk off most of this food. I'm wasting time sitting here doing nothing accept failing to entertain a couple females with issues as tall as a mountain. Even I can see it. Though they have mixed reactions from my response it seems.
"May I leave now?" I looked around the room I'm tired of.
"Did you seriously just ask that?" Takami asked with drooped eyes.
"I believe I just did, yes. I don't see a reason to hold me much longer. If you let me go on my way I won't cause trouble for your organization or business or whatever it is you work for. I can tell you that I'm new to this city but not eager to cause trouble. I can also tell you I work for no one but myself. If you believe I'm a spy then you're very mistaken. I don't care for things that don't involve me and it is best you don't involve me into your MBI thing Sahashi Takami." I took a breath after that.
Takami glared at me. A glare so hot a lesser man would've been set aflame or at least ruffled. I couldn't care what this woman's opinion of me is. I just wish to leave and go about my business. I may be in a new world, but it's not the first time this has happened to me. Times have changed but humans never do.
"You think highly of yourself don't you?" She sounded like she was a mixture of impressed but also aggravated by my reactions.
The human woman hummed and went back to her thingy moving her hands over the top. Suddenly there was noise around me that pierced my brain with how loud it was. It stopped but then started up again. It repeated five more times but by the third I had my fingers over my ears to protect my drums from bursting. The noise came to a final end. Hesitantly, I pulled my hands down but ready to cover my ears again just encase.
Why does this era have to be so noisy?
I sighed and put my attention back up to the woman sitting across from me with a questioning look in her eyes. Regardless of this she shook her head and pressed something in her thingy. The door opened a second later at first I thought for me to leave through but people started to enter wearing the same uniform as the rest of the people here in this metal nest of large steel birds.
"Food is here."
More food? I won't complain.
A woman walked over towards me with a couple utensils in hand and not chop sticks but forks, spoons, and a knife thank the gods.
"Here you are sir, please enjoy the rest of your order." I smiled at the woman looking directly into her eyes, into her soul. She gulped then averted her eyes from my own to place the utensils down in front of me.
"Thank you ma'am." The woman perked up a little and bowed to me before leaving in a little bit of a hurry than warrant. I looked down to the food with my eyes wandering around it . I stopped at the soup and smelled it.
This is tampered with again it seems. The first time I didn't really care because primal hunger blinded me, but now most of that hunger is satiated. I'm still hungry but only Just. I wonder if they assume I'll loose control all the time.
Why try to poison me for the second time. I'm immune to many concoctions and almost any combination of tonic or hallucinogens that they could come up with. A Hunter must always be of an able mind and swayed by no external sources unless self-inflicted to improve your immunities. Maybe they attempted to control my mind, because I felt pressure behind my eyes throughout their questioning. Regardless I won't fall for this a second time.
I pushed most of the food away from me. "What's wrong," the woman asked feigning genuine confusion, but I wasn't having it. If there is one thing I can't accept from people, no matter how attractive they are, you don't disrespect food in such a way.
"Nothing, it's just that if I eat so much right now it may very well kill me." I tilted my head looking up to the ceiling. "I like living and having my mind to myself. I'm sure you would agree with me." The woman stared at me but then went back to her thingy. A moment later the uniformed people walked in and took all I left away. The whole time she never broke eyesight with me. I took my hood in hand and pulled it up over my head to my forehead to show her my face and met my naked eyes with hers.
"You must take me for a fool?" We both said to each other then grunted.
"I do for the disrespect towards me, a complete stranger, woman, and for what you did to the food," I spat at her.
The woman rose an eyebrow then sighed. "You should have made this easier on yourself."
I inched my hand toward Hate. "And made what easier exactly? My capture and examination?" I nearly growled at this woman.
The woman glared at me and sat her thing down. "Listen wonder man, there's a system in place for a reason: To ensure that we have accountability for everything and everyone within the city. You are not in said system so we have problem," she made sure to stress the you and we in this as well. "You say you have no name, and usually that wouldn't be a bad thing, but in this day and age that doesn't make you a nobody. In all actuality it makes you a suspicious person."
I can accept that. She's not wrong. No matter the time or age just because you have no name doesn't mean you're insignificant.
"So, you're armed with medieval like weaponry, and you dress like some video game assassin. Those aren't props, are they?" I didn't answer but my silence seemed to be all the response she needed.
"You know your way around supplements. The first time, you ate everything like a wild animal, but despite the dose you ate being enough to comatose a blue whale," she exclaimed like I should know what that is. Still any manner of whale is large. "You're still very much awake and uncooperative. I chocked it up as maybe they didn't mix it right and tried again," the woman admitted. "The second time the moment you looked at the food you only ate and drank what wasn't tampered with. Your immune to truth serums and can pick apart what's not tampered with despite it being traceless. That begs the better question you asked before," the woman pointed at me.
"What are you exactly'?"
"There's not much I can say I already haven't," I sighed. This sort always believe there's more to reveal than necessary even if it's better to be ignorant and unaware. She's knows more than I'd prefer and should appreciate that fact I've said anything. "I've told you my professions so what else can I offer you?"
"Are you a spy or assassin or just get off by dressing like one from the 19th century?" The woman asked back completely ignoring my question.
"It depends on the instance and how much I'm paid."
"Paid?" The other woman asked, seemingly curious about this certain topic. "So you Are you an assassin?" The woman asked in a way that didn't sound like she wanted to kill me or thought of me as a lesser being. That took me by surprise for a moment but not for long. The change of tone though or something beckoned for me to speak.
"It doesn't matter if your some sort of mercenary or not," Takami interrupted me with a rise in her voice. This one is going to be quite bothersome. "Tell me why you're here? Who is paying you?"
I barely spared the annoying woman a glance at her demands. She didn't interest me.
Two hours. That's all I need to break this woman's mind and three days to shatter her soul. That's all I need.
I took a couple breaths to put the net back up. These thoughts are supposed to be filtered through the block placed in my mind.
"I will trade information if you start," I tried to find some middle ground. While the hunt might be challenging I've no wish at the moment.
"I'm listening," Takami crossed her arms over her chest.
"If you tell me what are I'll answer one of your questions without inhibition. Sounds fair?" I looked straight at the woman in the corner. The woman's left eye cracked up a bit. That smile of hers grew a bit. It's was enough to put me on edge. I've seen a smile like that before and the aftermath that follows is usually catastrophic.
"Right back to me huh?" The woman spoke, fairly amused. "Don't you know such questions are rude when said to a lady? Calling me "that' is just rude."
I believe this woman called me a monkey earlier but let it alone. The last thing I need right now is an inhuman being with the power to tear down a house loose on me for insulting her. I've had to deal with enough overbearing females in my life and pray to the gods above it never happened again. I'm never that fortunate, sadly.
I shook my head and turned my attention away from the red and grey eye that examined me. The way she looks at me now reminds me of a tiger in the midst of its prey. That tiger happens to be cautious as well.
"Karasuba," Takami rose her voice and glanced back but the reddened eyed woman ignored her.
"What are you?" The corner woman asked back.
"I'm a Hunter," I said this impulsively. "What are you?"
"Would you like to find out?" The other eye opened and let the grip on her sword to slacken. Not to the point that it would fall but more for preparation to draw. I looked down to the knives and forks on the table and back at the woman. I might need to borrow a few if she attacks.
"I do, yes." I despise the fact that I can't recognize this thing's race and wonder just what it's capable of. I've never jumped into a hunt without preparation or silenced a target without the proper research. In this instance thought I might have to do this the hard way.
"Calm down," the human woman stood up blocking my line of sight on the being and hers on me. "I don't need you killing each other so calm down."
"It's usually good manners to exchange pleasantries before a bout. Do you agree with this?" I spoke as if the human woman said nothing.
"By pleasantries do you mean names?" Karasuba asked.
"Yes. I would like the name you go by. If you're not willing to depart with that sort of information please tell me verbally what you are."
"You already know my name monkey. Were you not listening?" I waited for her to answer and relented to stare at her. The woman in the corner chuckled and punched off the corner. "Karasuba," she said as she walked around the human woman.
That name is Japanese, but this woman doesn't look Japanese in my opinion. She's Eastern Asian but mixed with something less. English maybe by the nose and it's curvature. The brow speaks of a northern and more primal standing though. One feature to the next I've noticed many things I've seen on people of different regions but over all it's all in Europe and Eastern Asia. Her name as well… what does it mean? I dove into the knowledge of what little Japanese I took and found some manner of Kanji. Crow, I believe. Her name is Crow. That's a strong name and perfect for her. I can see it.
"That's a good name. It fits."
"Thank you." I didn't expect words of gratitude from the woman.
"Are you the ward to this woman?" I gestured towards Takami.
"Ward? That's quite an old word to use nowadays. No I'm not. I'm here to… keep the peace." Meaning she's her to respond to whatever brought Takami here and pacify it if necessary.
"Then how do I leave in a way that "keeps the peace' as you say?" I asked.
"Don't know, don't care," she stated with a shrug. "Though I know with how things are you won't get out of this any time soon."
So my only choices are to let them take me in and probably study me or run away thus breaking this "peace' and forcing me to contend with this woman.
"Karasuba," Takami growled and glared at her.
I took a breath and reached for a couple forks and knives. They watched me do this silently as I did this. "So, if I threw this knife at Takami with the aim to kill her would you attack me or save her?"
Karasuba grinned and touched the hilt of her sword. "I'd cut your hand off before it even lets a knife fly."
"Wait, there's no need…" Takami tried to say until I followed on with my words. I shot out my seat and let two of the knives in the table fly towards Takami. Each though was augmented with Ki to make them both faster and more destructive. I narrowly evaded her sword when she drew it with the aim to cut off my hand. I moved fast. Faster than she excepted which I can tell with the slight widening of her eyes. Karasuba quickly reversed and cut down the knives I threw. She cut through my energy and it's metal slapping them away.
I held four forks and two more knives left. I threw two forks at Karasuba and one more a Takami. I didn't care for what happened next. I saw everything I needed to. Karasuba is powerful and fast. Her reactions, though a bit dull, are top notch.
I shot to the door and pushed through it. It was bared and locked but that didn't stop me from kicking it open with a Ki infused kick at the knob.
A couple men in strange black outfits who surrounded the door all turned towards me. The large letters on their chest reading MBI was enough for me to know they are hostile. One drew what looks to be a metal rod of sorts. A nightstick I think. The man shot at me in some manner of stance. I slipped under his swipe and landed my elbow on his side. The man stepped back from the attack but was unfazed. He's wearing body armor? His black vest they have on took my strike even though I felt something break. I don't have time for this though.
"Capture him!" I heard from the door I burst through. I clicked my tongue and kicked a man in his stomach. When he leaned over I rolled over his back and rushed out down the hallway. I could see the signs and followed them out. While I don't know what they might mean they lead somewhere and that's good enough. I saw the word Departures in English and followed along.
"You can't escape~" I heard a familiar voice sing behind me. I glanced back and saw Karasuba right behind me. I'm rushing at my near top speed without argumentation and heat, but she's easily kept up I drew my blade Love and blocked one of her slashes. Her eyes narrowed at me and she tried again. I jumped away to the top of this cart to the other side and took another hallway instead. I'm going to have to stop her and my basic form right now isn't good enough. Sadly, it's all I have.
I took a few breathes and let a bit of the gate open. Blistering heat spread throughout my entire right arm and then to my chest. I think about a cup will do. I could see the world around me slowdown and magnify at odd places. This power of mine is what cursed me to survive. I prefer not to rely on it, but as of now I don't think I have much choice. I just have to make sure not to push it too far.
I crossed blades while vaulting over obstacles and people and the woman followed along with me. She's stronger than an alpha ogre. Much stronger. That coupled with the speed of a werewolf and ferocity of a drake makes a potent mixture. I passed through some checkpoint with these machines that made a noice when I pass through the, and down moving stairs.
This Karasuba creature shot out and landed in my way to the doors I saw just a little bit more from me. I held up Love and reached for Hate. By the smile on her lips something tells me this is as far as I go. So be it. I'd like to see just why this thing is capable of anyway.
A/N: Thanks for reading and please Review