Disclaimer: Ghost Hunt is not, and never will be, mine. It belongs to Fuyumi Ono. An excellent piece of work, I'd say. :D I want more Naru and Mai romance though. Haha!
Author's Note: Thanks to all of you who read and reviewed the previous chapters! I'm sorry if it took so long for me to upload the next chapter. School has started and I'm going to be pretty busy. I must put extra effort in my studies since I'm graduating college this semester. Yay! XD
I really tried hard to keep them all in character. I hope I succeeded. It's hard to write for Naru. Anyway, I hope you like this chapter. Please read and review. I'd like to know what you think of this story. I hope I get more of your reviews next time. :D Maika over and out!
Warning: Some chapters may contain a few spoilers from the latter part of the manga and the novel. If you've only watched the anime and do not wish to be spoiled, turn back now
Italics denote thoughts.
Chaos in a Page Chapter Three: Magic or Not?
"So that's what happened. Yep. That's all."
A flustered Mai Taniyama fidgeted with her skirt as she finished narrating the events that happened the night before. Everyone in the office remained silent and either focused their eyes on Mai or on the book that was sitting in the center table. The uncomfortable silence remained until a certain narcissist let out a sigh.
"Good job on aiding the destruction of the world, Mai. I'm sure everyone will thank you for it," Naru remarked with sarcasm.
"It's not like I did it on purpose, you jerk! I had no idea that this book was evil in the first place!" Mai angrily replied. Her fists were shaking in frustration and guilt. John looked at the girl with pity as she was fighting off the tears that stung her eyes.
"True, this book does not give off any malicious energy. Even I couldn't feel anything from it," the psychic medium sitting beside the priest suddenly spoke up. This defense by Hara Masako surprised the people in the room, especially Mai.
"What's this? You standing up for Mai? The world must've ended already!" Matsuzaki shook her head in disbelief, which earned her a glare from the spirit medium.
"I am merely stating the truth. That does not mean that I am, in any way, defending Taniyama-san," Masako covered part of her face with her kimono sleeve, "Do not make any hasty assumptions on my relationship with her."
The smile that formed in Mai's face after Hara's observation turned into a scowl upon hearing the last statement. So much for being friends. She turned to face Naru, who was eyeing "Creatures of Mythology and Folklore" with curiosity. She watched as he picked up the book and started leafing through the pages.
"Hmm, it seems that only some of the pages are blank. The descriptions are still written here. From the looks of it, only illustrations managed to vanish from their respective pages," he said.
"So how can missing illustrations destroy the world, Naru-bou?" the monk asked.
Naru furrowed his eyebrows as he thought of a possible explanation to the lost pictures. In a few seconds, a hypothesis surfaced from the Great Oliver Davis' logical mind. He closed the book and handed it to his taller assistant.
"A possibility is that this is a summoning book. Whoever has enough power to activate this book could summon the monsters described in this book as an aide in some sort of agenda - battles for example. Only a practitioner of sorcery could possess such a powerful object," Naru explained.
"Sorcery? Like magic and stuff?" Takigawa again asked the younger man.
"You could say that. Though the sorcery I am talking about is the imbuing of immense psychic power into an object to make it do a certain function. Depending on the type of function it should have, it could only take a few hours or even years to perfect the sorcery. I'd say it's sort of similar to software programming."
"Ah," Yasuhara commented, "Like when you code a web or desktop application for a specific platform? I can't imagine how you could do an error-check and fix bugs using psychic powers."
Mai felt like her nose would bleed any minute now from the discussion that they were having. She never really liked technical stuff, unless it was for a game she liked or so. Remind me not to get a subject on Information Technology, she thought. The girl looked around and saw that, thankfully, she wasn't the only one to get a near-bleed experience. Bou-san and Ayako both had puzzled expressions plastered on their faces.
"Well then, before we completely lose Mai in this conversation," Naru shot his assistant a knowing smirk before continuing, which caused a bit of steam to erupt from the victim of his narcissism, "let me tell you that our goal is to trace the source of this sorcery and render the book's functions useless. But first, I need you all to do some research on this. We do not know who or what we are up against. Though I can say that 'it' wields enormous power, considering that 'it' managed to mask the book's true nature."
His audience nodded in agreement and Naru proceeded to assign them tasks for the mission. Once everyone prepared to leave and do their delegated work, a small sob was heard in the direction of the brown-haired girl. Her bangs hid her face as she clenched her denim skirt tightly.
"I'm sorry," Mai whimpered, fighting back the tears that were already relentlessly cascading, "I didn't mean to… I didn't know... I was just interested in reading it, that's all… I'm sorry for putting you all in danger," she continued as she cupped her face with her palms, trying to catch the river that was flowing from her hazel eyes.
Upon hearing this, Takigawa, Ayako and John went to her side and tried to assure her that everything would be fine. Even the tall Chinese man stood behind her and gave her a light pat on the head. Expecting that she would incur everyone's wrath with what she did, Mai was proved wrong when she felt the warmth of the people around her and cried louder in the arms of Ayako and Takigawa. We're really one big family huh? They still love me even though I screwed up big time. Thank you Kami-sama… she thought as her sobs grew quieter.
"You should be sorry. Now stop moping like a child. It's not going to do anything to atone for what you have caused."
Mai lifted her head to see who had spoken. She was expecting a comment like this to come from the kimono-clad girl but found her boss instead in the direction of the voice. He was giving her a disappointed look, his arms crossed and his eyes cold as steel. Mai noticed new tears forming as he later entered his office, not caring if she made another ruckus with her bawling.
"Naru, you!" Ayako shouted as Naru closed his door, "Don't worry about that jerk, Mai. Remember that we're all here for you." she then tried to comfort the once again crying girl.
"I admit, he was rather harsh," Masako finally approached the group, "You didn't deserve that."
"C'mon Mai, I'll treat you to a strawberry custard ice cream crepe, whaddaya say?" the monk took Mai's hand and led her to the exit, "Is everyone coming too?"
"Yeah, as long as it's your treat Takigawa-kun!" Yasuhara, feigning girly sweetness, held onto Bou-san's free arm.
"Ewww! Get away from me glasses-boy!" Bou-san jerked his arm free from his attacker.
"Let's try our best to cheer Mai-san up!" the blonde priest said as he tagged along, with the miko and the spirit medium following close behind him.
"Lin-san, are you coming?" Mai asked as she tried to stifle her sobs. Lin shook his head and told them to go have fun while he watches over the criminal behind Mai's sadness. When everyone had left, he knocked on Kazuya Shibuya's office door and went in once the man behind the door gave him permission to.
"What is it, Lin?" Naru asked him.
Lin paused for a while. He planned on asking Naru why the latter made such an unkind comment to his assistant of three years but deemed it better not to go through with it. Naru must have had a hard time trying to find words to comfort someone precious like Mai.
In truth, Naru's heart wrenched upon seeing the girl cry. Taniyama Mai had been very special to him and ever since his brother's death, he had forgotten to show people how much he cared for them. He wanted to comfort her but he didn't know how to. He even wanted to hug her but it was hard for him to just drop the stoic image that he had been accustomed to. He couldn't show her that he too had a soft side. So there he went, completely doing the opposite of what he wanted to do, and that had hurt her even more.
"What do you suppose Taniyama-san did to unleash the power of the book? She doesn't seem to be someone who would be involved in sorcery," Lin broke the young man out of his thoughts.
Naru closed his eyes and contemplated on the subject at hand. He too was wondering how Mai managed to activate the book in her sleep. Knowing her, she wouldn't be able to handle such high-level magic. Unless…
"She might have more psychic power than we thought. But she doesn't know how to control it yet, or most likely not aware that she possesses such power. From what I could deduce from the missing illustrations, her powers are only enough to release some of the creatures described in the book. If I was the one who touched it when its magic activated, I might have released everything inside it," Naru told his tall assistant.
"So what do we do about this bewitched book?" Lin asked.
Naru reached for a piece of office paper and started writing something. "I'd like you to take this letter to the library where Mai borrowed the book and ask them to hand it over to us. If they want compensation, we'd gladly give them the amount they want. This book is dangerous. It is surprising how it ended up in that library," he said while he signed the letter and gave it to Lin.
Lin bowed and exited the room. Naru stared outside the window, his eyes resting on the indigo sky that floated above the bustling city streets. His thoughts turned to Mai. Was she still crying? Would she talk to him again? Naru frowned as he pushed away the annoying girl from his mind. He should be concentrating on finding a way to return the monsters inside the book. But how would he do that? It's annoying when you don't know where to start, he thought.
The door flew open and a distressed Lin came rushing inside the office. "Noll, the book!"
"What happened?" Kazuya rose from his seat, a concerned look in his usually expressionless face. Lin led him to the common room and pointed at the object on top of the table.
Miko - shrine maiden
Kami – God
Bou-san – Monk-san (-san being an honorific)
Naru-bou – it's the same as saying "Naru-boy". "Bou" (坊) can be read as 'boy'.
I got the title of this chapter from a kid's book by Eager I read before. It's about a magic wishing well.
Oh, and that stuff about sorcery in relation to psychic powers was something I just made up. Let's just go with the flow shall we? (^_^)
Please read and review! Thank you!