A/N: Here is the last chapter of Curse. XDD Wi~~~ At last I can finish one. XDDD Thanks for those who had reviewed (Zombee and Moirah148). Hope everyone will enjoy. XDDD
Disc: Brave Story is an animation copyrighted by Gonzo and a novel written by Miyuki Miyabe
Darkness had never been a big hindrance for him. Oh yes, his sight was shorter than day time but he could still see. Just like the curling hydra he had just ran by. Or the hooting owl perched on the front branch. Even though he was in the swamps, he ran gracefully. The night wind was nothing for him. For his thick fur protect him. He skidded to a halt. Smelling the air, he tracked down the human's direction in seconds.
As much as he didn't like it, he needed to leave his comrade behind. His command was clear. You shall pay attention carefully on Ashikawa Mitsuru. If he tries to do anything funny, you must react according to the situation. We should not repeat the events 7 years ago. He continued his run. His smell was stronger - he would catch up with him in no time. His mind replayed the image he had seen just now. His Highlander comrade was trashing and howling in pain. He couldn't imagine the pain but it should very excruciating. If they were in battle ground, and his friends had suffered to that kind of point, he would be glad to end it up for them. But they were not. And it was not an injury, it was a curse. Something he wasn't familiar with.
He had no tricks to fight with witch or witchcraft. He only had his agility and, probably, element of surprise. If he could strike the villain down before s/he could react, he would gain an advantage. Second-in-commander had thought that the curse was conjured by Mitsuru himself. For a purpose he could still yet decipher. Now that he had spent a period with them. He saw it was a nearly impossible chance, except his eyes had wrongly seen the sincerity and pure worry in Mitsuru's face every time he saw his Highlander comrade.
"Do you even know where we were heading?" He inquired the brown panting figure in front of him. He noticed too the frequent glancing his comrade had been doing back then. However, Mitsuru was taking a flight as if he knew the exact direction.
"No." The answer came curt.
Mitsuru suddenly vanished. At the same time, he ran across an invisible wall. He protected himself in reflex. He bumped back in an instant. Extending his hand, he touched the invisible wall. It must have been a barrier.
He called out Mitsuru's name. He never knew whether his voice had reached him or not but he never heard a reply.
Mitsuru could see a small castle after a few moments. He wondered how he didn't see it on the way he ran. It had been in his sight line. He kept his pace until the front gate. Halting, he was suddenly unsure on how to get in. Actually, now that his mind could work a bit, he wondered what a human and small knife could do to a powerful sorcerer who could curse someone in trans-dimension. The gate was huge as any castle would have. However, it was not well taken cared of. The wood was decayed in a few places though not in critical point. Mosses were abundantly spread on it as well as on the castle rocks. The castle was pretty run down in overall.
He was intending to push the gate. To his surprise, the gate creaked open even before his hand reached it. He knew she must had known he was here. He was all alone. He didn't even know where Lione had gone to. He didn't have time to search either. Inhaling sharply, he braced himself. What will be shall come.
Contrast to the outer look, the inside of the castle was sparkling clean and tidy. Ceramics were shiny white as in every TV ads. The stone pillars were lining neatly at his left and right. He was nearly expecting a red carpet below his feet. The corridor was lit with hanging chandeliers. It ended in a big mosaic glass door which slowly opened for him when he walked nearer. He was standing in a crossroad. There were 3 other corridors in front of him. Which one he should go? The front and left one ended in another door. The right one, however, end in a flight of U stairs. He took the stairs and end up in a wide corridor.
High glass windows were lined neatly at his right. He could see the swamps through it. And the lonely night sky. There were no stars or moon tonight. Brown wall spread till the end of the corridor as far as he could see. He kept walking and ran across a big beautiful ceramic door. It stood up from the rest of the plain wall surrounding it. There were carvings all over it. It was the tale of the frog witch put into images. It has a different ending though. The frog had taken form as a human male and he married the girl in the end.
He pushed the door open when he noticed the door didn't behave like any other door. He though it would be heavy considering the size and the width which were twice his size. The door swiftly opened by a soft touch.
His gaze was greeted by a line of the same window he had seen along the wide corridor. To his right was a big rack full of scroll and parchment. Turning to his left, ten footsteps from him, he found what he had been seeking.
The girl smiled lazily at him. She was lying sidelong in a big comfy couch. There was a big maroon curtain behind her, covering the rest of the room – or anything as far as he could care for. Facing her, he could see the room much better. There was a big long table lined on the wall, full with bottles, jars and any other vessels. Pictures were hanging neatly, stretching from the door until, probably, the room behind the curtain. He didn't even pay attention to figures in the paintings.
"I was expecting a different guest." She said with her soft voice full with malice.
Mitsuru winced and clutched his head. Hegroaned inwardly. Blur images were spinning in his head.
"I see. Your memory seal has not completely broken, hasn't it?" She smiled mockingly. "I thought she is getting weaker. But apparently she is still strong enough." She said thoughtfully, more to herself. "I shall wait longer then." She said, deciding something Mitsuru didn't even understand. Then she turned her attention back to Mitsuru. "So, what a magician who has yet gained his magical capability can do to me?" She grinned eerily wide.
Seeing and hearing her, the blurry images were starting to get clearer. "Stop the curse." He said, wincing and tightening his grip both on the knife and his head.
The girl flipped her gaze to the knife then let out a shrill laugh. "Do you really think that small thing can hurt me?" She found it funny until tears were forming in her eyes. "You never learn, don't you?"
"Aren't the spells in the book boring?" He flipped his head and saw the girl standing not far beside him. He snapped the book shut. He hated it when someone disturbing his learning time. He had carefully chosen a silent hill where people scarcely pass.
"Oh my… Don't put up that face." She smiled sweetly.
"What do you want?" He replied in annoyance.
"I can teach you better spells. Or tell you where to get a better book." She paused, letting her offer sank into him. "You can't get much upper hand if you're learning the same spell as anyone else." She grinned.
Mitsuru frowned. Unlike misfortune, a good offer had never come free. "What do you expect in return?"
She laughed in high pitched tone. Mitsuru would consider the girl to be cute if only she had not that unnatural eerie aura around her. "Nothing that you wouldn't want to do. I want you to meet the Goddess of Fortune and make a wish."
He gasped when the shards of memory had stabbed. He was back in the room with the villain who had caused his best friend unending pain. "Your voice has never change. It's annoying." He said with a low tone, releasing his grip on his head. The pain had receded though not perfectly gone.
The girl looked at him amusedly. "Oh? You actually DO remember something?"
"Thanks to you, yeah." He said in displease. Then in a blink of an eye, he cut his palm deep and smeared the door with a long horizontal line of blood. "No one shall come in or come out. By my blood, I command the room to be enclosed." He chanted.
The girl looked very entertained. "I never put a protection to that kind of spell. I never thought anyone would like to enclose himself in a room with me anyway." She chuckled. "I wonder how much you have gained back, you poor little thing. You were so lonely when I found you." She sneered. "What do you think you can achieve with this?"
Mitsuru smiled coldly. "Like you said, I can never get much upper hand with normal books." He paused, deliberately cut his other palm bleeding. "But…" He drew 3 stripes at each of his cheek with his bloody fingers. "I read something interesting. The kind of spell that you wouldn't even think of use." He draw a bloody pentagram in the back of his both palm. The girl narrowed her eyes.
"'Till my soul perish…" Mitsuru starting to chant, he drew another pentagram on his forehead.
The girl's eyes widen. Both of them chanted together.
"Banish him from the room, O Wind…"
"I shall seal you in this room." Mitsuru pressed his right palm to his heart. He finished the chant first and the room starting to turn freezing grey.
The girl looked at him with resentment. "You can't hold me for long. You don't have enough power."
"It will be enough for Wataru to search for alternatives." Mitsuru replied calmly. "I didn't break my promise in the end, Wataru." He whispered sadly. "I don't sacrifice anyone else." He threw last glance on the freezing room. "But me."
Lione found an opening in the barrier. He noticed an area in the ground that has been freshly dug. He dug out and found out a pocket of charm. He trampled on it crushingly. The scenery in front of him changed. As if a part of skin peeled, the opening revealed a different scenery from its surrounding. Lione advanced with cautions. He scoured the whole castle before went to the second floor. He noticed there was something protruding at a section of the grayish cracking wall. He approached it warily. It was the structure of a human on a stone door. The sculpture shaped as if the human was frozen in the middle of falling down motion. His eyes widen into a shock when he saw the statue. He knew he couldn't - and wouldn't need to - go beyond this point. There was no one else in the castle. He paid him a last respect before leaving.
He didn't know whether Mitsuru had taken the witch down with him or not. He would know when he returned. The condition of his comrade would explain everything.
Wataru opened his eyes. He blinked a few times to get his sight back into focus. "Uh… Water…" His voice sounded hoarse even in his own ear. He sat up; his head was slightly spinning so he squeezed his eyes back shut. Someone shove a bamboo bottle to his hand. He drank the water gratefully. After the spinning receded, he opened his eyes again. Lione was sitting far across him. Zeema sat at his side.
"Thanks." He smiled weakly. Zeema took the bottle back in silence.
He didn't remember anything aside from being blindly in pain. He sighed. Looking at the sky, he knew the dawn was near. Speaking of which, he hadn't seen someone. Turning at Zeema, he inquired. "Where's Mitsuru?"
Zeema was looking down instead of answering. Wataru tilted his head in confusion. He looked at Lione for answer.
Lione looked at him straight and answered. "About 100 meters from here." He pointed to a direction behind him.
Wataru frowned. He wondered what Mitsuru was doing. They needed to continue their journey soon. He paused his train of thought. There was something missing. The tugging! He didn't feel it anymore! In shock, he opened his cloak and clothes to see the mark in his chest had disappeared. He looked at Zeema and Lione in turn. "It's gone! The curse has gone!" He exclaimed joyfully. Zeema returned a weak smile while Lione kept his straight face.
He needed to tell this news to Mitsuru! They could go home! He must have had missed his sister bad. He shamefully admitted he missed his mom too. "I wanna see Mitsuru." He stood up and grinned.
Lione seemed hesitant before he spoke. "You can but…. probably you wouldn't like what you find later." Wataru smile faltered.
"What's that supposed to mean?" He asked carefully, curious but somehow anxious to find the answer.
The next thing he knew was a blur. He was running through the swamp. Breathing heavily, he could see the run down castle. Lione's words kept rotating in his head. He took the witch down with him.
He barged in every room he found. He prayed every time he was opening one.
He kept searching until he reached the stairs. Staggering, he climbed the stairs up in slow anticipation. He saw the same protruding sculpture Lione had saw. He stopped at the highest stairs. He couldn't go forward. He didn't want to. The dawn was breaking. Sunlight shone through the glittering windows with its marvelous light.
Forcing himself, he sluggishly move his feet.
His footsteps echoed in the wide corridor. He was dreading to see the familiar sculpture. But he needed to see with his own eye. His instinct told him to turn back. Turn back before he saw what he didn't want to see. But he kept advancing.
He stood facing the smooth stone statue, blocking the sunlight. Trembling, he extended his hand to the statues face. The statue looked so calm. Eyes closed as if sleeping. And needless to say, it was beautiful. His palm touched the hard granite. It was cold, in contrast with the warm sunlight at his back.
His feet buckled and he fell down on his knees. Tears rolling down his cheeks. He reached out and held the statue tight in his sob - as if he could transfer the heat to the cold stone, as if he could melt the granite away and reveal back his best friend.
"Why?" He muttered again and again.
Brushing his face on the statue's face, smearing it with his tears, he howled. A sad howl which wasn't even enough to express the deep piercing grief he was feeling.
A/N: Yay! And Wataru go home dejected and sad while Mitsuru died. The End. LOL *avoid flying knives* Okay, okay! I was joking! Jeez… I had been planning another arc for this story. If I continue any longer, it wouldn't suitable with the title 'Curse'. That why I said, this is the last chapter of Curse. I never said it's the end of the story. :p So as what this last Curse chapter had been titled, the new arc is 'Seal'. Sigillum is the old Latin for seal which obviously refer to Mitsuru's seal. Let me give you a bit of snapshot. :p
He had been staring out of the window for who knows how long. He didn't have the motivation to move. He didn't have the motivation to think. He didn't have motivation to do anything. Thank God breathing was automatic mechanic of human's body. Else he wouldn't even breathing.
There was nothing that could attract his attention recently. But that voice had succeeded. He turned his head to see his old friend. "Mee…na..?"
"Is there any way to undo the magic?" He asked desperately.
"I'm not trying to get your hopes high but I suggest you to consult Crystal's magician, see if there anything you can do." Kattsu replied. "There is one well known wise magician called Lambda. He is very old but he is said to have all knowledge of magic."
"It is called soul seal. Sacrificing your own soul power to seal." He said after Wataru finished explaining. "It's not permanent and the seal will undo itself when the times come."
Wataru eyes widen. His expression looked hopeful.
"Of course at that time, the soul has lost all its power and the sealer will instantly die. And your curse will also return." He added to Wataru's horror. "Of course, there is a way to save the sealer."
A/N: I will post this probably next week. :D