"Ah, I want to die"
Those were the words normally uttered weren't they? Those were the words of someone who was facing something in their life that they didn't want to face, could not face. They always spoke those words and yet, they could never act on them. There was no impetuous, merely impudence.
"I want to die."
She said it so plainly, so clearly that it came out as honest and sincere as one would when hearing a request. She was in her room, the dorm she lived in alone. "I want to die.", she repeated clearly. There was no hesitation, no long drawn out dramatic whine. It was a statement, it was a declaration. That was all it was. "I want to die."
There are many things in life that one could regret. There's not being able to tell the person you love your feelings, the regret born from not fulfilling a childhood dream, there's a regret that stems from not being able to keep a promise, there's a regret from not being able to save the ones you want to protect. But the regret she carried was the heaviest kind of all. She regretted hurting the people she loved. She regretted what she was, her own existence. She regretted every facet of herself it almost seemed funny as to how depressing everything was. She regretted it so much.
Plastic rattled against wood in a sound that was crossed between a rattle and a hum. Saten Ruiko looked up from her bed to her phone which was resting on the desk right beside her sleeping space. Gingerly, she pulled up one hand and flicked the phone open with habitual ease. Her face was somber, but quickly shifted into one of a smile. Her blue eyes reflecting the name off the screen.
"Uiharu!", Ruiko practically squealed into her cel as she picked up.
"Hello Saten-san.", greeted Kazari Uiharu, Ruiko's best friend, in kind. Happy giddiness began to creep up Ruiko's arm. It was always like this with her friends, she couldn't help but feel happy. It was odd, like a reflex. She could be somber one moment and spontaneously bubbly the other when her friends appeared.
"What's the call for? I thought you guys were still busy with paperwork for Judgement?", Ruiko inquired with curiosity. That was to be expected, a big incident had just happened after all.
Ruiko stiffened at a memory, her throat constricting as she remembered hazy images. A girl with short fluttering hair. A light brighter than the sun. Darkness, total darkness then mutterings of hundreds upon hundreds of voices. Each one a cry for help, a plea for release.
"Saten-san?", Uiharu's pouty voice snapped Ruiko out of her episode.
"Uh...", came the dumb reply.
The voice on the other end sighed, "You weren't listening were you?".
"Oh.", Ruiko felt very conscious of herself and rubbed the back of her neck. "Sorry, I kinda zoned out a bit there.", she admitted feebly. The memory still clinging as she struggled not to let her perturbation show in her voice. "Sorry.", she apologized in a subdued tone.
She could just imagine the look on Uiharu's face on the other end of the phone. The girl probably had her lips in a thin line right about now in worry. "Are you okay?".
Ruiko's smile was wry at that point. They just knew each other too well. "I'm okay.", was her guarded response.
"Right.", Uiharu quipped. "You should be ready for school tomorrow. I hear that a pop quiz is coming up.".
"Yeah, so stay home and study okay?"
"Aw... so I'm grounded?"
"I mean it. It'd be a shame if your grades went any lower."
"But I have good scores!"
"All the more important they don't drop!"
"Yes, mother.", Ruiko sighed. "Guess I'll see you at school?"
"Like the usual.", replied Uiharu's kind voice.
The connection died with a beep. The young girl pulled the phone away from her ear and stared at her friend's number for a moment or two. "She knew.", Ruiko mumbled. Her smile curved down into a frown. And she threw her phone onto her bed with enough force to make it bounce and smack against the adjacent wall. She sat on her bed, crying until her blue eyes turned red.
Saten Ruiko wanted to die. She had dipped into a darkness she had no business stepping into. She paid the price and nearly lost the sun. But even as hands reached out to pull her into the light, she could only feel herself wither at the radiance that burned her sullied soul.
Laces were tied, leggings and skirt were secure. Zipped up thermal vest to cover the purple shirt. Also that dorky conductor's cap with sewn on goggles she bought from the cosplay store on a whim. Despite Uiharu's words, Ruiko found herself wanting to go out. She needed to leave and breathe in some fresh air, alone. That was why she dressed so far removed from her normal attire. Making sure her keys and wallet were in their proper pockets, Ruiko locked her door and took the stairs two at a time as she descended with the finesse of a bulldozer.
It was already night in Academy City. As a place that housed 2.3 million students, it would be expected that a curfew would be in place. With that thought in mind, all forms of public transport had ceased already. Only few establishments still remained open, most of them convenience stores and the rare bar or two for the adults that resided in the district.
Tap tap tap tap
Everything was so quiet. A stark contrast to the bustling day. She recalls the morning scene in her mind. The one she is a part of everyday. People are walking briskly, cars and trains whiz by and it's all she can do to keep her skirt from flipping up to show her unmentionables. The smell of coffee would waft up in the air as they pass by coffee shops packed with teachers and university students who were getting their daily dose of morning caffeine. It seems so strange as it's the first time she ever wandered the night alone.
Tap tap tap tap
The stores and streets she recognized had all gone dark. They served students the most, so it was probable they followed the curfew as well. I would be odd to be way past said curfew with no patrons, or odder yet having patrons which were not supposed to be there at all.
Tap tap tap tap
Day was far too different from night. The girl hugged herself despite the warmth availed to her by the thick clothes she wore. Summer had passed and Autumn soon to follow. The difference in temperature slowly shimmying down.
Tap tap tap tap
Ruiko wondered to herself how she'd braved her descent. She wonders why she had gone to that frightening place. She had done it for her friends. No, she had done it for herself. That wasn't it either. Did she do it for her family? Her friends back home? No. It was simple, it was much more simple than that.
Perhaps you wanted power?
Ruiko's eyes snapped to the fore.
Tap tap tap tap tap tap tap
The incessant tapping noise continued. Weren't those her footsteps? She had stopped but they still persisted. That wasn't the only issue though. She was wearing sneakers. High cut yes, but sneakers nonetheless. The sound they made against pavement couldn't have been that crisp.
Steps fell like rain and the young girl barely going into her teens looked about with frightened eyes as a bunch of older boys surrounded her. It was unlike how she saw it in the manga. Normally the delinquents would circle the girl and taunt her. But these ones, no. They merely walked in a crowd and grabbed her as they passed by. They made sure she was in the middle so as not to cover whatever scene she would make. Saten would have screamed, but a hand touched her face and she quickly fell to darkness.
When Ruiko awoke, she was somewhere else. It was dark, there was light but it was faint. Maybe from moonlight or stars. She could see no legitimate shape that gave passage to the light so she concluded that she was still somewhere outside. But the dimness prevented her from telling exactly where. No signs of what the place could be were within her sights as well.
"Oh, she's awake."
Ruiko looked around for the spoken voice. Who was it? She moved to stand but was abruptly pushed down again by a hand she could not see. A hiss and a spark preceded the torches that lit up to clear the shadows.
There they were, a group of no less than fourteen. All of them brash looking teens who were in various states of filth and dress. But if there was one thing that linked them all, it was how they seemed to look at her with a leer that told her in more than words ever could at how ecstatic they were. They kidnapped her, it wasn't an assumption but a fact.
"Huh. And here I thought your little sleeping trick could take down an elephant for a week. It's been barely thirty minutes!", the one closest to Ruiko, with dyed blonde hair with black roots sticking out, chuckled snidely at his friend. His proximity being the proof that he was clearly the one that pushed her down.
"Shut up.", grumbled a boy further back who was sitting on a large piece of rock.
Taking in her surroundings, Ruiko realized that they were inside a tunnel. Her heart plummeted, just what tunnel though? Was it underground? It was impossible to be one in the mountains. Wha-
A hulking figure stood up from his seat. Nothing but a wife beater to hide his burly musculature. His jacket, which seemed to be the fashion to these young men, was wrapped around his waist. "So what's the plan?".
"She's no good. We can't make her one of us.", another waved off. "She's a level 0. I can tell."
"But she hangs out around the railgun right?"
"The weak always crowd around the strong."
"We took her 'cause she was easy on the eyes anyway."
"Pfft. What a bust, turns out to be quite the scrawny thing ain't she? Ha!"
"Wait. Ginza likes scrawny. Too bad for you girlie!"
The group seemed to find this a riot. Ruiko turned her frightened eyes from the elder boys to the one hulking man. He was easily a meter over her in height and his body size was nearly thrice as thick as hers. What was he? The look he was giving her was one the smoldered with an emotion Ruiko did not want to identify.
Her mind froze as he bent down to her fallen form. On her backside and palms, she tried to scamper back but even that was not doable. His eyes had her in place and she was in no shape to run, not mentally at least.
One ham sized fist drew close, and Ruiko closed her eyes expecting... something. But nothing. There was nothing that happened. But one moment she felt her scalp cool and the hair which she bundled up tumble down to just beneath her shoulders.
The large man before her smirked as he held her cap in one hand. "Scrawny ain't bad if they still got the looks,".
"Shit.", the one who first called her scrawny laughed. "Looks like Ginza's lucky tonight.".
Ginza, the tall man, looked to the blonde and shrugged, "So what? She mine?".
The blonde had a knowing grin on his face. "She's all yours.", he waved off while walking back to the group. "Just go deeper in the tunnels alright? It ain't doin' us any favors with them screaming and knowing you're the one making them scream. Hopefully she won't break that fast.".
All of them looked to their captive.
"No.", Ruiko repeated.
No no no no no no no
"NO!", she screamed and bolted to her feet to run. Her feet barely made half a step before she was forcefully dragged back to the ground by her hair. The pain seared her scalp and into her back. Impact and strain combining into a cacophonous agony. The roots of her hair still burned as they were the only ones supporting her dazed lolling head. On the other end, Ruiko could see the large meaty hand of Ginza was there.
"No,", it was all she could say. From what they were talking about, from what they were saying. She knew what would happen to her. She didn't want that. She didn't want anything like that.
Please God, if you exist in this world. Please save me.
The silent cries were left unsaid and unheard before Ginza began to drag Ruiko by her hair. The rough cement catching onto the leggings and tearing them in a couple places. Tears began to brim and spill over from the mix of stinging pain and despair.
Why? Why? Why? Why?
"Forget getting away.", Ginza grunted. "We're in an abandoned underground tunnel. Whatever you do, no one's going to hear you scream. Gyahahaha!".
The laugh was nauseating. It was sickening to hear.
"Don't worry. It always hurts at first. But you'll get used to it. I'll even add you to my little collection back at home."
Bile dared to rise up Ruiko's throat. Wasn't it just an hour ago she was wanting to die? Maybe God had a screwed up sense of irony and decided this fate was better. She would have laughed. Could have laughed. But whatever sound came out became a hacking cough as the prickly sensation of bubbling stomach acids escaped with her chuckles. It went over her shirt, it went over her skirt. It splattered onto the concrete with every burst of air violently forced out her lips.
I want to die.
Light, blinding light that should not have existed in this dark place splashed the walls and the people inside.
If you want to die so badly. Then let me grant your wish!
Ruiko wasn't aware, but the hand tearing at her follicles was no longer. She was freed as the hulk had preferred to shield his eyes. Ruiko herself felt an intense buzz in her ears.
She quickly sought out the source of this intense light. But it died before she could. Instead replaced by a darkness that threatened to swallow her. The center of it originating from her pocket. The middle schooler grabbed at the contents and tossed it to the side.
Saten's celphone fell to the ground in a clatter and out of the darkness spawned a large... thing. Ruiko could not give it a name, she could not identify it's species. It wasn't human so much as a manner of beast. It was quite animalistic in its structure, but the gaze of old eyes and wrinkled skin of the head belied a great intellect underneath. If not of academics then one of experience. It was long, definitely long. The color of rich earthen skin sagged against a body width only large enough to not mistake the thing for an overgrown snake. But the thing that truly set it apart were the three stubby spikes. One on it's head, and one on either dinosaur arm, replacing what should have been some form of fingers or paw or even hoof. It stood tall, proud, assessing.
"So this is the type of job I get right after a hard night's partying huh?", it spoke with a strange slur.
"What the fuck is that?", the young men yelled in perplexed panic.
"Like hell I know. Let's just run!"
"Fuck that, let's kill it! This thing might be some new species man. We'd get rich and shit from this!"
The sound of ripping broke the young men from their little strategy source of which was one compatriot losing an arm.
Rips, rips and even more rips. Blood sprayed and painted the walls a dull red. Torchlight doing nothing to highlight but instead impress the dullness of the color of crimson. It was everywhere but as if it was nothing but common oil. Tarnished brown the same shade as rust as it slowly slid down the walls. The girl on the ground only registered it as blood when it sprayed on her and assailed the senses. As if it was forcefully convincing her 'I am blood'. The smell of copper, the cooling warmth of a body. Yes, it was blood. Touch, smell, taste, even hearing the splashes. It was all blood. And with all of that going on, the crescendo of a scream she did not know she was making echoed against the walls.
It all happened quickly. The beast moving like the wind itself. The skin hiding the sinew and muscle underneath that had shown the capacity to shred five men in the blink of an eye. It's elongated body coiling and springing as it bore down on its prey. The swiftness of motion and the sheer fury of execution was reminiscent of a whirlwind. Another blink and another five fell.
Ruiko had enough, she bolted upright and ran. Just ran. There was no plan, no direction. Every fiber in hear being just screamed run. She didn't even pay attention to her surroundings. Neither away if the beast was about to stick its claws into her or Ginza intercepting her in a tackle.
"Where do you think you're going?", the large man ground out in angered panic. Ginza's eyes still held the same look from before. That want and hunger that she had feared before seemed so trivial now. He grabbed at her collar and easily ripped it in a tug. But she didn't care. She fell to the floor from that act and even as the stuffy air was hot against the flush skin of her chest, she didn't care. She was terrified of the monster more than she was of Ginza.
"Fuck fuck fuck. If I'm gonna die then at least I want to get a taste.", he grinned pulling on the skirt Ruiko was wearing.
"No! No! No!", the girl squirmed away. Her mind not registering the fact she was being assaulted. She could only visualize those scythes. Those stubby scythes that rent men into ribbons and she did not wish to be one of the victims of such.
Ginza reached down with a smile, "Come here you little-"
It was the sound that Ruiko only ever related with period dramas. It was the sound effect used for when a sword was drawn. That was ridiculous, why would there be a sword here? She laughed, hysteria set in as she tried to reason why such a clearly fake sound effect was echoing in her head.
Even as she laughed with tears running down her face, behind her the hulking man had his own face frozen in a horrified scream. His irises shook as they tried to focus, process what was happening to him as his body no longer responded to any command the brain would give. Then darkness, his eyes rolled back into his head. The half of his head above the jaw sliding off in a wet squelch as the large body dropped. Behind the fallen loomed the demon, it's body no longer slithering across the ground but instead taking its length to stand tall and survey its handy work.
All that was left was him and his summoner. The monster grinned to itself, the freshly wet skin folding back to show canines that should belong to no earthly creature. Once he killed her, he would be free. Yes, the contract would end and he could do as he pleased.
Given her current state though, the girl seemed like she would die on her own. Despite the lack of wounds, she was in no state to be 'alive'. At best it looked like she would soon turn into a vegetable. Laughing and crying as she did. Her clothes were torn, her skirt was gone leaving behind skintight leggings that left nothing to the imagination. She was bathed in the slaughter he created and he had seen enough that these types tended to do themselves in.
"Child who called upon the old. No parent must bury their child, nor should an elder end a young maiden."
But it must be so.
I want to die
Those were the words she used to call him.
I want to die
That was the contract, and that was his duty.
I want to die
And he would fulfill it with glee. He grinned bringing his scythe down.
Ruiko did not know anything, did not care for anything. She was going to die, she was going to die. She knew it, she wanted it. She looked forward to it. She would become like those mangled corpses and her blood would flow. She wanted this to be her atonement for stepping into the darkness.
I want to die
But is it really death I wanted?
I want to die
If she really wanted to die. Then why was she crying? Why did it feel like her heart was ripping in two from sadness and regret? This would be the finale. This would cleanse her of guilt.
This wasn't going to do anything. Faced with death, she realized something. I wanted to die so I don't have to face it. That's right. Ruiko wanted to run, she wanted to scream, she wanted to hide. She didn't want to face the people she hurt. Despite working harder than ever to develop a power and protect her friends, she could not accept her own sins and wanted to die with them instead. She could not look at Misaka without remembering the vast explosions the girl had to dodge. She remembered Uiharu all dirty, covered in scrapes and bruises as she fought to deliver what was the key to her salvation. She remembered The shock on Kuroko's face as the monstrous form of AIM burst materialized within the world. She knew she wasn't the monster, but she believed she was and at the same time not. She would not grant herself her own innocence.
What did she want?
I want to change.
Yes. Ruiko wanted to change. She wanted to change the person she was, she wanted to change how the world saw her. She wanted to change the fact she was powerless. She wanted to change her fate.
Yes, the power to change destiny. That is a power only humans possess. Show it to us.
Like a switch flipping in her brain, Ruiko rolled to the side. The claw slammed into concrete instead of viscera. Looking around frantically, the girl noticed her phone was still spewing out black miasma. She had a bad feeling and quickly leapt towards it. She picked it up but was too late. A noise like static shock sprang up on her touch and another weird creature popped out. It looked like a piece of fruit. A rather leafy fruit. It had lantern eyes and little hands & feet.
"Ah! You are the human that wanted to die! Prepare yourself!", it challenged with arms put up in dukes. It would have been more threatening had the thing been taller than Ruiko's knees. "I don't have time for this!", grunted Saten as she smacked the monster upside the head and threw it off to the side.
"Ack! I've been defeated!", it said before disappearing in a haze of fading code.
Ruiko checked her phone and saw it was loading a screen unknown to her.
User Saten Ruiko logged in
The girl did not understand but paid it only half her mind as she had to keep the other half on attention to dodging the beast.
"Oh hohohoho, you sure are making it tough on this old man. Did you change your wish half way? Were you too scared to die?", the monster bantered jovially before springing itself again into a whirlwind of motion.
The summoner preferred not to honor that question with an answer. It wasn't like she was afraid to die. She found the courage to live. She wanted to live now. So she did her best to avoid those strikes that could rend a man in half. She looked around with a fervor and focus she never afforded herself before in her life. Just a weapon! Something to fight back with! She saw something on the floor, reflecting the torchlight. She dove for it just in time to luckily dodge a strike for her head.
Holding tightly with her right, Saten realized she had a lead pipe in hand. This would do fine. She faced her adversary who began to slither close to the ground again, it's body like flowing wind. Smooth, untouchable, but slow? Ruiko could have sworn that the beast was much faster before.
It snapped at her heels and she jumped before it could strike. It nipped again and she dodged. It was like something had changed. Whether aware of her doing something or not, neither party cared. Both just knew one thing, the tide of the fight had now changed. In fact, this was an actual fight and no longer a one-sided massacre.
Both would strike and both would dodge. It was an exchange that looked remarkably like a mix of tag and jump rope. The demon trying to trip up the girl, while the girl would swing in a bid to make contact with her weapon. Neither had any success. It was not a stalemate though, both knew. One was at disadvantage and that was Ruiko. Whatever let her move fast enough to stay beyond the reach of harm did not make her any less human. She still tired and she stillweakened. Her swings were becoming more wild and with less speed and force behind them. The monster on the other hand only increased its flurry of limbs.
"I need help.", Ruiko bit back a yelp as she barely pulled back a foot that would have been lopped off.
Call for me
Unsure but unquestioning, Ruiko pulled out her phone. On screen was the little creature she saw awhile ago. There was complete screen of its name, weaknesses, strengths, the works. A status screen? There was no time to hesitate. Ruiko jumped back to make some distance. A button blipped to show Saten which to press. With one click, the portal in the phone opened again.
The girl half-closed her eyes as the energies snap-crackled around her. She held the portal forwards and crowed, "Go Kijimuna!".
The little demon shot out like a cannonball. It smashed into the slithering demon, both of them grunting in pain.
"Ow-ow-ow", little Kijimuna ran around grabbing at the forming bruise on his head.
Ruiko wondered with sweat beading down her forehead whether the little thing would be of help or not.
"So the young'n can summon demons now eh? I thought I was the contract?", it hollered in jovial jest. "But I guess I don't have to feel bad cutting loose then.". It swung both arms. Like whips, air followed the motion like a wave that cut through the stone and mortar the made up the structure.
There was no way to dodge. The shock wave was large and Saten had no idea what the range was.
An equally powerful gust formed into a vortex halfway to Ruiko. It swallowed up the two winds that approached. Debris went flying as the powers clashed and shred the atmosphere. "What is this?", the level 0 wondered. The only times she'd see such intense winds is when ESPers fought.
"You okay Rui?", Kijimuna asked of its summoner like how a child would.
"Uh, yeah.", Ruiko choked out unsurely. She had defeated that? That power?
"Heads-up!", the little demon shouted before diving out of the way. The monster pounced, trying to reset the odds to one against one.
"Hey you whippersnappers. Don't get ahead of yourselves just yet!".
"We're not!", Saten screamed back her reply as her lead pipe finally connected with the large demon's temple. It's long neck swung back on impact. Quickly spinning back again with its mouth open.
"Ah!", the girl felt the teeth dig deep into her shoulder. The razor blades of both jaws meeting as it bit down deeper and deeper. "G-get off!", Ruiko swung at it's neck once, then swung twice for nothing. Finally she thrust up the pipe with what strength she could gather through pain and her non-dominant hand. She aimed for what she assumed to be the throat. That did the job and her wound was quickly released with a cough and sputter. "Kijimuna!".
"Force dance!", the fairy demon sang as it flew through the air performing its own version of stubby limbs ballet. With each stroke of its arms and legs, wind would strike up at a random spot. Ruiko did her best not to scream as debris flew and speckled at her heavily bleeding shoulder. It felt like it could fall off any moment and she did not doubt the possibility. Even though the attacks seemed to be placed at random, none of them actually came close to hitting Saten, actually all of them began to gravitate towards the long demon.
The brown old timer was just recovering from the stab to its throat before being assaulted by wind. One hit caused it to stagger, a second hit made it dizzy, a beat then a third which caused it to fall. A fourth, a fifth and a sixth and seventh. The blows did not stop until Kijimuna finally landed on its feet in a proud dainty bow.
"So how was that master?", the childish monster looked like it was bragging to its parent.
Ruiko just had to smile. "Great.", was all she could say before failing to bite back a scream. Her head was swimming and she was quite surprised she hadn't gone into shock yet.
"Master!", the little demon ran to her with a worried glance.
"Ah. I think this is it.", Ruiko couldn't see. Actually, she just realized she couldn't breathe. Maybe on of those teeth had pierced her lung?
"Hehehe. It's ironic.", the old voice spoke up once more.
Kijimuna glared in the direction while the summoner tried to focus her blurry vision on the fallen monster.
"Just when I'm defeated and found a worthy master. She goes and kicks the bucket on me. Ah, I wouldn't have minded a beautiful young girl as my summoner.".
"Sh-shut up you dirty old man!", Kijimuna shouted at the demon.
"Kijimuna.", Saten shushed the childish fairy with a bloodied hand. "It's not his fault. I wanted this."
"It's not his fault."
I'm sorry, because I was impatient with my level I-
It's not your fault
It's not your fault
"I wanted to change.", Saten smiled as she stared at the two demons. "And I think fighting for my life like I just did changed me. So, I want to thank you. Both of you.". Once more blackness.
The next moment Saten awoke with a start. She was at the hospital. At least that was the first thought in her mind as everything was white. From the walls, to the sheets, to the people who were running around this public ward. What happened? She could barely remember anything.
"Saten-san!", a teary-eyed Uiharu came at her from nowhere and enveloped her in a hug that threatened to kill her entire body's circulation.
"U-Uiharu, I can't breathe.", she sighed to the girl as the pressure lifted.
"Saten-san! Saten-san!", Uiharu continued to cry on her bed-ridden friend's lap.
The girl on the bed managed a soft smile as she wondered whether she should still flip Uiharu's skirt. Maybe not, the timing had passed. Instead, she just opted to stroke the weeping girl's hair.
"Well, it seems you really do have a nose for trouble don't you Saten-san?"
"Kuroko?", Ruiko wondered at the door to the ward. Indeed there was the judgement officer. But she wasn't along. Nearly half a dozen girls all wearing Tokiwadai uniforms entered the ward, at the head of them all was.
"How are you doing Saten?", the level 5 electromaster, Misaka Mikoto asked her friend with an easy smile.
"I'm okay.", was the smiling reply.
"Ah! Saten-san!", Kongou Mitsuko barged into the heartfelt reunion and grabbed the ailing girl's hand. "Allow me to express my deepest condo-"
"Are you okay Saten-san?", Wannai Kinuho suddenly asked.
"Ah I think Kongou-san was still speaking.", pointed out Awaatsuki Maaya. Indeed Mitsuko looked like someone had just denied her a grand chance.
"Hmhmhm, hahaha!", Saten laughed and so did everyone else. More so when Kongou finally gathered her bearings and started to berate her clique who just continued to laugh in the face of her cute tantrum.
It was a few hours later and Saten was alone. After her friends' visit. She had to clear up a few things in her mind first. She was found in the park, her clothes in tact and not a wound on her. However there was a large amount of missing blood and she had to undergo a transfusion along with half-a-week's worth of bed rest. They said she was close to death, but looked utterly pristine. They wondered what could have happened.
So did Saten, because the last thing she remembered, she was supposed to have died. The bite on her shoulder was far too deep and she'd lost too much blood. It was a sure goodbye.
The sound of plastic clattering against wood alerted Ruiko that her phone was ringing. She flipped it open and was surprised when a message was displayed.
Kijimuna: How are you?
Saten smiled and began to type back a reply.
Saten Ruiko: I'm doing great. I'm all healed up and can go back to school in a few days.
The young girl felt that she probably had a lot of explaining that had to be done.
Waira: So I guess it's finally safe to talk eh little lady?
Saten curled her eyebrows, she didn't recognize the name.
Saten Ruiko: Do I know you?
Waira: Aw... that hurt little miss. Even more than when you jabbed my big ol' Adam's Apple.
The image of a brown, serpentine like cow with stubby scythes for arms came to mind.
Saten Ruiko: Wait. You almost killed me!
Waira: Aye. You ain't about to hold a grudge against an old man now are you? Name's Waira, since you beat me, I'm now contracted to you.
Saten sat in silence. So she had control over two demons now. If she defeated them then they join her?
Saten Ruiko: So how am I alive?
Waira: Well I carried you over.
Kijimuna: And I helped heal you!
That explains the closed wounds and the change of venue. But why were her clothes in pristine condition?
Kikimora: that would be me deary.
At this point, Saten wasn't surprised anymore. She just took it in stride and asked.
Saten Ruiko: So did I beat you too?
Kikimora: Ohohoho, heavens no. I just decided to help you.
Saten Ruiko: Why?
Kikimora: You were trying so hard I just felt touched by your determination heeheehee.
Saten Ruiko: I guess I should thank you.
Kijimuna: You should! I couldn't have healed you as well as we have if she weren't around.
Kikimora: Oh hush, you're making this old biddy blush.
The exchange elicited a chuckle from the hospitalized it occurred to her.
Saten Ruiko: Kikimora, I'm pretty sure I closed the portal to my phone after Kijimuna came out. Where did you come from?
Kikimore: Hmhmhm. Well after Waira came out it took quite a bit of time before Kijimuna came out right?
Saten Ruiko: Wait... so you were the second demon to come out?
Kikimora: That's right.
Saten Ruiko: Then why didn't you attack.
Kikimora: I didn't think it was necessary. Waira is plenty strong after all heeheehee.
The vibration of the phone made Saten jump in her bed in surprise. She quickly apologized to her demons and checked what call or mail came. It was mail labeled "Welcome to Laplace.".
Miss Saten Ruiko, Welcome to Laplace.
This is a system that allows you to summon, auction and raise demons to become your most trusted allies in battle! We provide you with a specialized messaging system restricted to within the Laplace as well as the newletter, "Laplace Mail". Upon opening this mail, you will gain the ability to see something known as the deathclock. It is a number above people's heads that indicate how many days they have left to life. Here enclosed is the Laplace mail for the day you joined our service.
9:45P.M. – A young girl will be raped and murdered in the incomplete underground tunnel that links Shinjuku and Academy City. Please be advised that the corpse may be unsightly upon discovery.
Have a nice day.
Saten stopped reading. 9:45 P.M. She went out at eight. Was probably kidnapped around nine after an hour's wandering. She was unconscious for thirty minutes which meant 9:30. Then after that the man named Ginza was... She like she was about to be sick.
It all felt so surreal, and yet at the same time it was the truth. The what is and what could have been overlapped in a way that seemed way more than just mere coincidence. The way they referred to her and the way Ginza handled her. She shuddered at the thought of what could have happened had the mail been true.
Noticing that a arrow cursor was still blinking, Saten realized there was more to read so she continued to scroll down.
The Laplace mail is an oracle. It will tell you your future, but this future is not set in stone. Child of man, the one who sought the power to change. You have already taken the first step. You have changed the events that should have been and you will be provided with the tools to continue changing what should be. Believe that your path is just and bear your cross.
Fight your fate, Defy your destiny.
Peaceful days are over. Let's survive.