Chapter 23: Himari’s Sweet Date (?)
Himari smiled as she walked next to him. It was a dream. It must be. But could this also qualify as a…date?! She wrestled with that thought inside her mind while smiling naturally at him. She can’t lose her composure on such an important day!
“Do you like dessert shops, H-Himari-chan?” Tsukasa pointed towards a small comfy-looking shop. Posters of glistening pastries and sweets were slapped on the window. She wanted to go!
However, she stopped herself and answered coolly. “I’m fine with them. Do you like them, Tsukasa-kun?”
‘He can’t see me being a glutton!!’
“I’m fine with them as well.” He replied smoothly.
Her instinct told her that she had to stop him before she ended up being dragged to the shop for real. “H-how about we browse other shops first? What do you like, Tsukasa-kun?”
Himari cried inside. She was the one who took the initiative to ask him out and here she was with not a single event planned out! Will this day go by without a hitch? If she had known that it would end up this way she would’ve put more thought into putting together a schedule!
He turned slightly. “Me? I’m fine with wherever you want to go.”
It was this constant push of “Let’s do what you want” “No, let’s do what you want” that made it harder for them to actually do anything. So far they had spent an hour strolling around the streets with short conversations. Majority of the time they spent looking through the windows of shops with her holding herself back from purchasing clothing in front of Tsukasa. She was afraid that he would become bored.
In the end they decided to rest at an Italian restaurant. The thing was that she struggled to read the menu. What was a ‘Ragu Alla Bolognese’? What was a ‘Melazane Alla Parmigiana’?! Himari could feel her head spinning. Why could she suddenly see a white light descending?!
God, is that you???
On the outside, she maintained her most famous face. It was her ‘I-understand-everything’ face. Tsukasa, on the other hand, struggled with holding back his laughter at her face. He didn’t even need to look twice to know what she was thinking of. Seeing her stare at the menu methodically and even squinting her eyes as if it’ll somehow increase her understanding was just adorable and unprecedented from all the other expressions of hers.
He let out a little ‘pfftt’ and then cleared his throat subtly. “Have you decided what you want to order yet?”
She jolted. It was her turn to clear her throat. “I…have!”
They waved for a waiter to come and ordered with Himari not knowing exactly what she pointed to. When their food was served she blinked at the green pasta placed in front of her.
“T-this is…?” Himari looked at the waiter. He nodded back politely.
“Enjoy, milady.” Then he quietly took his leave.
The pasta wasn’t bad. But it looked like someone shredded grass with water together and created some sort of paste then stirred it into the pasta. It had a minty scent which made her stomach shrivel into the corner of her body. Slowly taking up her fork, she stabbed into her plate, regretfully praying.
The taste. Was. DISGUSTING.
Well–it wasn’t disgusting, it was just that she never liked basil. Especially since this dish had tons of grinded basil fused with the pasta, even if she scraped the sauce off, it would still heavily taste like basil. She gulped down and barely managed to smile. “Y-yummy!”
Tsukasa returned her smile. “I think mine tastes pretty good too.”
It was true. His dish certainly looked more appetizing than the green vomit in front of her–she couldn’t say that out loud, though. Actually, his order looked more normal compared to Himari’s. She continued to stare at his plate inadvertently until he spoke up.
“Would…would you like…to try some?”
She shook her head and subsequently, ended up nodding her head. He pushed his plate towards her with an encouraging look.
Feeling the need to make it balanced, she pushed her plate up front as well, so it would be an even trade. It wasn’t a very good one. “Feel free to try mine as well.”
‘Please don’t think that I have bad taste!’ She chanted while delivering the fork into her mouth. Her eyelashes flew up in delight accompanied with a hum of pleasure. Only one thought arose: ‘I want more!’
Following that lead, more turbulent thoughts floated up. Tsukasa was the one who ordered this so it wasn’t right for her to eat away at it! But…it was so good–compared to her nasty pasta, she favored his plate more.
Seeing her eyeing at his plate, he once again chuckled. His eyes filled with affection, he said: “Your pasta is delicious. Would you like to switch with me?”
Enraptured by his proposal, she schooled her expression and said back calmly, “Alright, if that’s what you want.”
He held back another urge to chuckle.
Completely blind to the fact that he was teasing her outright, she happily chewed away, glad that she no longer had to eat that disgusting pasta. Since Tsukasa said so himself that he liked her pasta, there was no need to feel guilty, right? Luck was truly on her side!
By the time they finished their lunch, some time had passed and a more comfortable atmosphere settled between them. Like before, they wandered around the streets stocked with shops and actually went inside to explore them. Seeing Tsukasa’s goading smile serving as a stimulus, Himari abandoned all restraining thoughts and shopped to her heart’s content. Even better, Tsukasa even complimented her and fully endorsed her preferences.
Her modus operandi consisted of searching for eye-catching and suitable clothing, then feeling out its material, and after approving it, she would then drag it–along with herself–to the fitting room. Tsukasa enjoyed this free fashion show and applauded lightly with a nod each time she walked out in a different outfit.
After a few showcases, her nervousness gave away to confidence as she strolled out of the curtains and posed. She would then wait for Tsukasa’s rating. It was fun! Sometimes he would put a hand on his hips, silently judging her before either giving her a nod or a thumbs-up. It was exhilarating to find that he wasn’t like the other boys she met; the ones who would always groan or go on their phone while their girlfriends were doing her own thing. The fact that he participated and offered suggestions made her like him even more!
Satisfied with how smoothly the day flowed, she walked out the store with her smile stretching all the way to her eyes and flowers blooming around her.
“Thank you for shopping with me today, Tsukasa-kun!” She said with a cute little ‘hehe!’ He smiled back.
“Before we part, there’s a place that I want to go to.” He pointed to a small shop. Himari froze on the spot. “As a thanks for inviting me out today, I want to treat you to some sweets.”
It would be rude to refuse him, and she didn’t have any excuses to use to escape either. Silently, she followed after him and over the threshold of the shop. They were shown in and seated. The moment she picked up the menu, she became helpless, a lost cause.
“I-I eat a lot!” She suddenly said, peeking out from the top of the menu. Tsukasa continued to smile.
“It’s alright. I have a lot of money.” He replied.
She frowned slightly. “But…you worked hard for it from your part-time job.”
“I-I’ll be alright…I only took it because I wanted to get experience.” He said, scratching his cheek. What, did she actually think he was poor?
Himari let out a soft ‘oh!’ of understanding then buried herself back into the menu. “Then…d-don’t regret it!”
The sky was streaked with red and pink clouds that drifted lackadaisically. Himari was so full and content with how her precious free day was spent. She turned to Tsukasa brightly.
“It’s been really fun today!” She said, “Let’s hang out like this again next time!”
“Sure,” he said. They walked to the station and got into the same train. Before she even knew it, they were on the way back to Natsumi’s house, side by side. The two were conversing happily when a sudden jolt of pain made her wince. “What’s wrong?”
“N-nothing,” she said. However, at that moment her hand instinctively reached for the back of her head. His eyes turned cold.
“Did you get hurt from that fight?” He took her hand gently. Himari couldn’t see his face dyed with black and just assured him that she was fine.
“I’m alright, really! But, I’m glad that I was correct. You were the one who threw the rock, weren’t you?”
His movements paused, then he let out a sigh of defeat. “How did you know?”
While she answered, he went behind her to check on the injury. “It was just a vague prediction.” She said promptly. “It doesn’t hurt, don’t worry.”
Tsukasa’s expression turned even darker. “How can it not hurt?”
After parting her hair, he came to a shocking discovery. His heart dropped. It was a bloody mess! In the middle there was a scab about half the size of a fist from when she was thrown onto the wall. How did he not notice this? He gritted his teeth then calmed himself.
“Why did you not tell me?”
Himari looked up slightly. “Did I have to tell you?”
Tsukasa froze. Right. It had only been recently since they started talking and been friends. How could she disclose such information when they weren’t even that close?
Himari, on the other hand, thought differently. How could she tell her crush that she was injured? Wouldn’t that just be asking for attention? What would she expect in return? A kiss on the boo boo?
He released her then conjured up a gentle smile. “...I’m sorry for acting so rashly. But you should get treatment.”
“Haha…I tried but I just couldn’t see the back of my head,” she said, feeling a bit embarrassed. “And if I told Sora, he’d ask what happened and make a fuss.”
“Does Izanami-san’s house have any first aid?” He asked, taking her hand in the most natural way possible while taking the other shopping bags from her. In his other hand, he carried an abnormal amount of bags.
Himari tried her best to recall the interior of the cupboards in the house. “I think…so….?”
He accepted that answer and the two fell silent. Never had she ever seen him be so serious. The vicissitude of his expressions was a shock that quietly hit her. Himari felt like she was a child being led home after being scolded lightly. When they arrived at the front door, she pulled out the keys and they both entered.
The first thing she noticed when she stepped in was the sound of voices. Sora wasn’t supposed to be home today, and Yuu was usually cooped up in his own room. It could only mean–
Her feet carried her to the living room before she even realized, leaving Tsukasa in the dust. She screeched to a stop at the doorway and summoned all of her voice.
Chapter 21: A Storm is Brewing (The Chronicles of Time)
The lines of spiritual power Akira released slowly wrapped itself around the soul, providing it no loophole to escape. It squirmed with resistance as he entered it. Controlling his powers, he lowered his fingers slowly. More spiritual power poured out of him like tentacles, dragging the soul towards its former body. It struggled, but his powers that were absorbed into it slowly merged with the soul’s power and gained control over it.
Once a soul has parted with the body, its defenses are weak. It couldn’t blast powers like it once could when it had a solid host; in other words, it was incorporeal. Malevolent creatures like demons or evil would then seize that opportunity to devour it. Fresh souls that had just detached themselves were the most appetizing.
At that moment, black wisps of smoke emerged through the walls and cracks in the room.
“Damn it!” Yuu cursed as the wisps of smoke started to transform and take shape. “Soul-eaters–they just have to appear now!”
Sharp jagged teeth, long slimy purple tongues with dark black saliva dripping down, and a large eye planted in the middle of their tiny bodies, rolling around madly. It fit every characteristic that defined the appearance of a soul-eater—no mistake. They shrieked in joy at the sight of a rare soul. Long sharp claws popped out of their round, plump bodies and swung in the air. Sensing the presence of powerful souls gathered together, they were attracted to the feast. At the moment they saw Natsumi’s soul glowing brightly, they lunged forward.
Yuu conjured up balls of fire in his palms and shot at the demons furiously. Although they were low-leveled demons, they were stubborn and came in a large number. If you spotted even just one, there was bound to be a whole pack resting nearby. “Damn. Demons!”
Takuma-san groaned, swinging a tall sword with ease, cutting down the numbers by four to five at a time. “Why do they have to appear in such a cramped space?!”
“Hey!” Yuu shouted. His usual annoyed face returned and replaced the sullen one he had before. “Careful with the sword! This is my room!”
He tsked then sheathed his sword. The sword returned to its rightful place as a beautiful chain around his neck. Resorting to using his spiritual power, he could only blast the creatures away. No matter how many they slaughtered, more would come and take the dead’s place. It was truly exasperating. But using any higher-leveled attack spells might affect Natsumi’s body–especially her soul which was now weakened.
He landed a punch that was coated with his power, “Eat this!”
After blowing up a couple more, they soon realized that the demons were proliferating. Rapidly so! It was to the point that almost every inch of the room–beside the area that they stepped on–were teeming with soul-eaters! Yuu quickly casted a barrier, pushing the soul-eaters back. Their gnarly, exceedingly sharp nails, scraped against the barrier. As they were pushed back, furniture were toppled over; the room was just too small to fit them all. Some tumbled into the corridor and rolled off their balance like small balls being tossed about.
Their eyes spiraled around as they knocked into each other, growling, and cackling in an oddly high pitch like they were singing a chorus. An awfully screechy one.
No matter if you were a god or even the celestial emperor, these creatures would come charging like mad, knocking on your door to eat your soul the moment they sense a soul filled with power. Soul-eaters were born when vicious and greedy humans die and refuse to leave the world. They then, were transformed into these annoying weak demons who run amok, causing trouble to all that have great power, hoping to consume that power to become stronger. The more souls they eat, the more powerful they get, and have a higher chance of increasing their rank.
“We can’t fight them here!” Takuma-san finally said, raising his voice so it would drown out the frantic shrieks of the demons. “If Natsumi’s soul re-enters her body and she wakes up to this, she’ll just be torn apart!”
“‘We’?” Yuu raised an eyebrow, frowning.
“Does how I address us matter at this point?!” Takuma-san choked out exasperatedly. It was a serious predicament, otherwise he wouldn’t even have said such a thing! Partnering up with a magician who is stuck to his precious Natsumi? He wouldn’t even acknowledge him! But…his powers were worthy to be praised. Even against the onslaught of soul-eaters whose numbers were overwhelming, the magician was composed and deft with his spells. He leaped back to Akira who’s eyes were closed as his hands moved about, closing the distance between Natsumi’s soul and her body. “Alright, magician! Can you kill off the soul-eaters if I throw them out one by one?”
“What?” Yuu’s gaze swept across the tide of soul-eaters while aiming at them. “How about I throw them out and you destroy them instead?”
“Huh?!” Since when did it become a time to bargain about positions?! “Fine! Throw them out! I’ll kill them one by one on the roof!”
But would such a maneuver work depended on if Yuu had the power to do so. Tossing the soul-eaters “one by one” would be too exhausting and time-consuming. Yuu walked out of the barrier. The moment he took a single step outside offhandedly, all attention was on him.
“Are you a fool?!” He barely got the words out of his mouth when he saw the boy drowned in the sea of soul-eaters. Takuma-san’s jaw dropped.
“What are you doing, standing there like a fool?” He heard a sound of a snap and the group of soul-eaters thinned. “Get on the roof.”
So he didn't die! He would’ve continued to stand there in awe if it wasn’t for that mocking smirk laying on the boy’s lips. He was a god! A mountain god, how could he sit still when his dignity as a god was being challenged?! Without another word, he vanished, left to his own devices as to how to deal with the disgusting creatures.
Yuu could hear the shrill screams of agony from the soul-eaters on the roof and loud explosions. Then after the last batch of soul-eaters were sent up, the house fell silent.
The tiles of the roof were painted with dark black blood and drool. Disgusted, he stabbed his sword into one of the carcasses of the creature and dragged it around, drawing a circle from the blood that leaked out of it.
“There, that should keep other evil creatures away; a warning.” He clicked his tongue and flicked his pure-white sword now dyed with filth. Splatters of blood fell off its blade and formed the shape of an arc around him.
The corpses that were piled up high to the point where it could challenge a mountain, began to rot and break off into chunks as it crumbled into the air. Even if a demon’s remains were to disappear, its splattered blood would not.
He hopped off the roof to rejoin the others, releasing the barrier that he casted to prevent the dying screams of the soul-eaters and his blinding powers from leaking out. Attracting human attention was the last thing he wanted to do. It would not only cause problems for him, but also Natsumi. It’d be the worst ideal reunion for the two if neighbors came knocking on their door while they were busy being lovey-dovey. “Pup, are you almost done with the soul-combining ritual?”
“Al…most!” Akira grunted, a few drops of sweat were visible on his white face.
“Won’t you get in trouble with the Heavens if they found out that a god participated in “black magic”?” Yuu hugged his arm, leaning against the drawer. He had not a mote of dust on his outfit, completely clean of dirt even after that messy battle.
Takuma-san turned to him then replied curtly, “It’s not “black magic”. Besides, we’re just linking a soul back to its body. Natsumi-chan isn’t fully dead. We’re just saving her, not reviving her.”
For some reason, it sounded funny to Yuu. He laughed spitefully. “A god like you, saving a human? Laughable! I thought that all gods were cruel and emotionless. It just shows how much has changed from before.”
His brow twitched. “What’s that supposed to mean? Don’t forget, I hold seniority here. Dare to be arrogant and you’ll be blown into smithereens. Such blaspheme!”
Now that the soul-eaters were out of their way, they no longer had to work as a team. Nothing stopped them from hosting their own battle. Yuu let out a scoff and continued on with a disingenuous tone, “So what if you hold seniority? A battle would suffice to determine who’s more powerful between you and me. Age has no power.”
“You-! Wait…have I…met you before?” The more he looked closely at the boy the more he felt that he had seen him before. But where? He didn’t notice it before since he was occupied with the battle and the sudden events blowing up in his face. He stayed silent, racking through his dusty memories. Just how many years has he spent underneath his mountain in solitude cultivation? While he was talking to himself inside his head, Natsumi’s condition improved.
“Ah!” Akira exclaimed. His hands trembled and his heart rose, brimming with joy. “I-it’s working!”
Natsumi’s eyelids fluttered, and her fingers twitched. Slowly, her body was regaining its senses. Warmth gathered around her fingertips and her face gradually became flushed with the colors it had before. Soft breathing could be heard.
Yuu, seeing this, breathed a sigh of relief. However, his heart never stopped shaking. He could sense the shackles around his heart falling apart with ‘clinks!’ and ‘clanks!’. That unsettling feeling that overpowered him before melted away from being respited. But if this was just the second time…then next time it would be worse.
Weak blue eyes peeked through her eyelids and stared in their direction. Akira stopped pouring his powers into her and smiled widely. “Master! You’re awake!”
Natsumi could feel numbness throughout her body. She was paralyzed and could only do small movements like twitching her fingers or shifting her head slightly.
“You don’t have to worry, master! Everything’s alright now!”
“You’ve been asleep for almost two weeks now.” Yuu spoke up. He leaned over her so she could see him properly.
Surprisingly, for someone who had slept like the dead for about two weeks, her body was well nourished and she didn’t feel hungry or thirsty at all. But that just made her even more guilty. “Yuu…I’m sorry.”
He raised an eyebrow and crossed his arm. His long hair tickled her nose. “For?”
“For…pushing you out…I’m not sure how that happened.” She smiled weakly.
“Don’t apologize to him!” With a loud ‘bang!’ Yuu was almost thrown back again, but this time, he dodged the blow. Takuma-san stood in between the two with a glower on his face, his hands shaking with spiritual energy.
“Who…who are you?” Natsumi asked. Akira met her aids and helped her sit up. Her smile dropped. “Why did you attack Yuu?”
Uh-oh! This was not the reaction he had expected. All the dreams that he had of her smiling happily and calling him “grandfather!” and chasing after him, cracked away… No matter! Saving her from this devil was more important! He could just resolve it later with her!
“I’m your ancestor, a god!” He answered.
She gave him a disgusted look, not expecting to hear something so ridiculous the second she woke up. “Don’t think I’m a fool. A god? I’m not a child who could be swayed when someone tells them they’re the tooth fairy. I already met a magician and an Okami, I don’t need to meet a god.”
Mental damage +500! Damage taken +2,000!
‘T-that was a rejection, right?!’ Takuma-san almost slipped. He was late! He was beaten by that evil magician and that silly demon pup! If he just showed up earlier…then he would set the standard, not them!!
Natsumi didn’t just stop there. For someone who had just woken up, she sure had a lot of words to say. “If you’re a god, what are you doing here? I never heard of a god being my ancestor. Besides, aren’t gods supposed to be divine beings? They wouldn’t have so much free time to visit a humble abode of a mere mortal like me. And aren’t gods supposed to be good? They shouldn’t be attacking people randomly.”
He almost spat out blood from the attacks that his heart endured. Yuu snickered behind him while Akira hesitated to jump in and back him up. He had come all this way, used his powers to destroy an army(?) of soul-eaters to save her, but in the end the outcome was an ambush of words that was tantamount to a fatal heart attack! And here he had hoped that he would be welcomed and regarded as her savior but instead his image became a ‘fake god’?
He already suffered enough mental blows, okay?!
But his cute Natsumi rambled on. “You also look like a kid, about Akira’s size. How could you be a god?”
So now it was a height problem?! Takuma-san began to wish that his beloved Natsumi had just continued to play as sleeping beauty forever and that he, the prince, had never come.
“T-that’s not the issue here!” He stammered. “Natsumi, trust me, trust this ancestor! This magician who had stuck to your side is nothing but a deceitful ingrate!”
“I know that.” She said, not fazed at all. “Yuu’s an idiot everyday. But calling him an “ingrate” is a bit harsh.”
He was absolutely confounded. The magician truly had her wrapped around his finger! Brainwashed! Realizing that it was too late for her, he turned to Yuu. “You! I had a feeling that I know you from somewhere! But who would think that I would meet you in person!”
Yuu tilted his head.
“You murderer! Bloodthirsty demon!” He roared, unsheathing his sword.
“Wait!” She raised her hand and his sword was knocked out of his hand, clattering away. Natsumi looked down at her hands in bewilderment. “Whoa…”
Takuma-san turned to her shouting in outrage, “What are you doing?! Don’t you want to get revenge on this man who killed your parents?!”
A loud ‘thud!’ echoed throughout the room. The stone that was placed in Natsumi’s hands before, fell.
“...What are you talking about?”
Chapter 20: Another Nuisance Delivered (The Chronicles of Time)
“How could such a kind person…die?”
He turned his head slightly in her direction. “What do you think?”
“...I don’t even want to imagine it.” Natsumi lowered her gaze. There were multiple answers to her question. One: the saintess’s attitude and words changed over time and she lost favor. Two: the saintess was killed because of asassination. Three: the saintess was killed by the people that she wanted to protect.
Natsumi closed her eyes at the last answer and then abandoned the question. There were too many answers, and none of them were positive. The thought of a person like the saintess dying in the end shook her worldview.
Natsumi finally brought herself to ask, her eyes on the three legends in front of her. “Yuu…are you ‘Cassius’?”
He nodded his head. “That was the past ‘me’.”
She looked at him whose eyes were also focused on the other three people. No–he was looking at the saintess specifically. Unexpectedly, Natsumi felt her heart tighten. His eyes were soft and his expression was filled with a mixture of sadness and–no doubt–it was…love. Natsumi couldn’t help but scold herself inwardly.
The saintess was beautiful, compassionate, and powerful. Yuu, who used to be Cassius, stayed beside her for who knows how long. How could he not develop feelings for her?
She suddenly didn’t want to look anymore. It felt like a stab to her heart, but…it couldn’t be that she liked Yuu. So then why did she feel so awful? She had no chance. No chance…
Natsumi clapped her hands lightly on her cheeks, mentally, calming herself down. As much as she wanted to stay and admire the saintess and her friends, her first priority should be to find a way to escape. She couldn’t stay trapped in this space forever. Her hands broke free from Yuu’s grasp and she gestured towards the door to go. His warmth slipped away.
Surprisingly, getting out of the room wasn’t as complicated as she thought it would be.
Yuu pushed the door open and they walked through it. It made her look like a fool for overthinking it before. She found herself standing in the middle of the same white hallway. She didn’t know where they were going and just blindly followed Yuu, trusting that she was in good hands. However, Yuu started to talk.
“You know, that saintess you just saw…”
He paused then said, “She…she was loved. She was loved by the people. If there was anything that was to be named priceless, it would be her.”
A subtle smile crawled onto his face. The more he talked about the saintess mindlessly, the more Natsumi’s heart ached. His pensive expression accompanied with a scoop of happiness didn’t help at all. It made her more discomposed, her thoughts more unruly. But he seemed to be so happy talking about her, even if all he really did was insult her mostly. Their relationship must’ve been incredibly close…
But…why did the stories he told sound so…familiar?
Her body glowed, but she kept staring at her hands as if it was about to pierce a hole through them. Beside her, Yuu felt her mana stirring, stopped his stories and instantly faced her only to be thrown back out of nowhere.
A trail of blood seeped from the corner of his lips as he crashed into the wall, destroying the mirage of the temple into thousands of pieces.
She was once again, surrounded in darkness.
Two vague shadows leaped through the lush verdant forest at a blinding speed. They effortlessly jumped around, using the branches as a launchpad to propel their speed even more. One golden, and one white blurr. Akira–who had long stripped away his mortal clothes–fought to catch up with the figure in front of him. Their robes flew behind them, making it seem like they had wings. The crisp sound of his bell rang as he moved.
“Right, what is it that I should address you, elder?” Akira asked, his pace not dropping.
The other stayed in silent contemplation until finally replying, “Just call me Takuma-san, for now. You may continue to call me ‘elder’ if you wish.”
It wasn’t long until they landed lightly on top of the mahogany eaves of the roof of Natsumi’s house. Takuma-san closed his eyes for a good minute then opened them.
“You’re right,” he said as he stooped down, his feet an inch away from falling. “This vermin is indeed powerful.”
“Are we going to break in?” Akira asked. He stood patiently behind him, waiting for an answer.
However, Takuma-san shot him a ‘are-you-serious?!’ look. “What? Like those grave robbers, entering and robbing as they please? No!”
After hearing that sharp response, Akira scrutinized over his words then said with an ‘oh’. It was his house. Why would he need to break into it? Not only that, the way he phrased it made them look like thieves targeting a house which stained the god’s image. After all, what kind of god breaks into a mortal's house? His dignity would crumble and scatter like dust! He waved those thoughts away.
“My apologies. Then how should we approach?”
“...It seems that he’s occupied with something…” he widened the range of his detection and then closed his fingers into his palm. “Currently, there’s two presences in the house. I think it's safe to use a power-canceling spell. As long as we’re careful and keep our powers tucked away, he won’t be able to sense us–especially when his hands are full.”
The two concealed their remaining powers and cautiously jumped through an open window. They arrived in an empty room. One look at the desk revealed the owner’s identity. Anime figurines stood on top of the desk surface, captured in glass displays. The poses were eccentric. Some of them held swords and their bodies were twisted into a backflip, others floated in mid-air in the form of a spin, etc. Other than that, there were books tucked away neatly into the bookshelves. Upon a closer inspection, they would find some mangas camouflaging amongst the textbooks and novels.
Sora had truly made the room his own.
The two walked to the door and crept into the hallway. Their footsteps were light, and they put a lot of attention in staying quiet. Akira’s heart pounded, looking at Takuma-san’s serious face.
‘So this is what working with a god is like!’
He had always wanted to see a god up close. Even just talking with them was fine, or even a single glance! He knew that it was for business, but he never expected that he would be sneaking into his own house with a god! It was so exciting!!
Takuma-san also shared his excitement, but he didn’t show it. He was going to meet the cutest member in his family yet! Who knows how long he was holed up underneath his mountain, his old bones rotting away. His only connection to the outside world was a cup of water that could conjure up reflections. Upon seeing Natsumi one day, he immediately fell in love. He was so lucky to have such a cute descendant! He remembered that time when he saw Natsumi chewing on a dango, peering into a koi pond. His heart never stopped throbbing at the sight of her afterwards. Such plump cheeks! Such round eyes!
He had truly become a devoted fan.
Something seized him and he paused. He could feel a sinister magic at the end of the hallway. Akira’s ears stood up as tall as spikes. They had never felt this kind of sensation before but they knew that it was nothing good.
“Prepare yourself,” he commanded somberly. He didn’t even need to say anything, Akira had already lit up two bluebell flames from his hands.
The house was cold, and the flames made the temperature around them drop even more. Hellfire flames were like icicles–but alive. It resembled real fire and danced around like it too.
Takuma-san gave a nod of approval.
‘Not bad! To be able to control such a deadly fire at a young age…impressive.’ He couldn’t help but applaud the pup in his head. The number of individuals that could deploy the hellfire to their use were a scarce amount; a pinchful.
Redirecting his focus back to the task at hand, he decided to think about the matter later on. It was not the right situation nor setting to think about such a thing. Whatever monster that laid behind that door, he had to get rid of it at all cost. For Natsumi’s sake!
“We’ll enter quietly, got it?” He transferred the message telepathically. “Wait until I give you the signal to attack.”
Suddenly, they froze. A muddled voice could be heard. They unrooted themselves from their spot and slowly approached. The more they moved, the clearer they could hear the words the voice was saying: “Natsumi!? Hey! Damn it! I can’t enter her soul!”
Before Takuma-san could even say anything, Akira ran past him and smashed the door open.
“What. Are. You. Doing. To. Master’s soul?!” He shouted in outrage.
Takuma-san facepalmed himself, dragging his face down. ‘Why can’t he listen to such simple directions?!’
Since their cover was already blown, he barged into the room as well.
But it wasn’t a monster he found. It was a handsome black haired boy.
Confused, he blurted inadvertently, “Where’s that ‘despicable monster magician’ you told me about? All I see is a pretty boy??”
The flames on Akira’s hands grew even bigger. “That’s him, elder!”
His eyes almost popped out from their sockets. He recalled all the harsh words the boy had used to describe the magician before while they were discussing how to get rid of the vermin. Convinced that he must’ve been a no-good man with, not only a horrible personality, but also a horrible face as well, he steeled his resolve to kill him. After all, even if you were evil, as long as you had beauty you were of some worth in his book. But now that he had seen the perpetrator with his very eyes…“ugly” should be on the blacklist of all the words that could be used to characterize him. “Him?! You said he was ugly! Horrendous! Unsightly to the point where it’ll make you vomit!”
Akira tilted his head offhandedly, and he raised an eyebrow. “Isn’t he?”
WHAT THE FUCK?! The pup must be fucking blind! He was so astonished and baffled that he almost let a few curses slip! Since he was also the god of luxury, how could he call such a beautiful jewel ugly?!
Yuu observed the intruders with a flippant attitude then turned back to Natsumi. He didn’t have time to deal with their pointless bickering. He had just woken up after he was blasted out of her soul’s consciousness. For what reason? His mind was jumbled up to the point where he couldn’t help but let out an irritated groan. It couldn’t be that something else invaded her soul.
He was about to re-enter her consciousness again when a hand grasped onto his wrist.
“Let go of me.”
“What do you think you’re doing?” Takuma-san growled. In the midst of his argument–one-sided scolding–with Akira, his eyes were drawn to that golden orb hovering on top of the body that should be Natsumi’s.
Yuu’s eyes lit up with an egregious glow, fraught with warning. “Release. My. Hand.”
He had never heard anyone dare to speak to him so improperly before. And with such malice! But…for some reason, why did he seem so familiar? “Watch your tone. I’m your elder, show some respect.”
“And I’m trying to save a person.” Yuu countered. “I don’t have time for such useless perfunctory.”
Yuu forcefully broke his hand free, leaving Takuma-san surprised. He couldn’t even get a minute to breathe before another distraction blocked him from even reaching Natsumi. Blue flames obstructed his view. He tried to swat it away but found a scorch mark blemishing the side of his hand.
“What is it that you’re trying to do?” His body radiated with explosive energy. The other two were suddenly put on their guard.
Before they could even exchange attacks, the whole room was painted white by a blinding light. Forced to shut their eyes, the three gritted their teeth. When they recovered their sight, their bellicose spirit was temporarily curbed. Natsumi’s soul’s light flickered faintly, looking aggrieved.
Seeing this, all three of them lowered their hands and rushed to her side, psyched out. Since they were all on the same side anyway, there was no point for them to fight at such a critical moment!
“What’s going on?” Takuma-san demanded. Grudgingly, Akira put away his flames, comprehending that it was not the right time to fight.
Yuu’s gaze scattered around her body. “I, I entered her soul’s consciousness to try and bring her back–to try and get her back into her body. I, somehow, was kicked out.”
“How did she–ah! Nevermind!” He dismissed his questions. Saving her was more important! “Demon pup!”
“Y-yes, elder!” Akira kneeled on one knee, his eyes blazing as he waited for instructions.
“Can you try to inject your spiritual power into her soul and lead it back to her cor–I mean, body?” He almost let the word “corpse” slip out of his tongue.
“Wait.” Yuu rummaged through his pocket then tossed something at Akira who caught it. “Here.”
Akira’s red eyes widened. “Why…why do you have this?”
“No time to explain,” Yuu said flatly, eyeing the declining frequency of the orb’s brightness. It was slowly losing its light; in other words–it’s will to remain in the world.
Biting down on his teeth, and swearing that he would elicit the answer out of him afterwards, Akira looked down in his hands and casted a spell. He then, very carefully, placed the stone in Natsumi’s lifeless hands, and closed them. Then he stretched out his fingers and white rivulets of spiritual power were produced from the tips and entered the soul. The soul flickered at once when it detected the outside force entering it.
“Good!” Takuma-san applauded. “Very good!”
#fiction #novel #fantasy