Erika: "Isn't she a
pretty sight, Dlanor? What do you think? *giggle*"
believe it will be necessary to teach her some humility."
Erika: "Ah, indeed!
Who the hell does she think she is? Who the hell does she think I am?
Does she even know who is she up against to?"
probably does not, and we can use that to our advantage."
Erika: "Ha! Is that
even necessary, Dlanor?"
is her territory, in this world she is nearly almighty. Her
confidence stems from the belief that she cannot be defeated as long
as we are in her domain. She is inexperienced, but extremely
powerful. I advise against underestimating her, Miss Erika."
Erika: "Ha ha ha! A
greenhorn like her cannot hope to seriously stand on my level. What
does she even know about magic?"
believes to know magic a lot more than you do, Miss Erika."
Erika: "And that's
exactly what's so hilarious! But don't you worry, Dlanor, I won't let
my self-esteem cloud my own judgment. This will be extremely
Floating in this
weightless environment, we move closer to the one who summoned us.
When we are at about ten meters from her, we stop. She must be at
least a bit surprised that I am in no way discomforted by the lack of
gravity. Much to her disappointment, I am still as graceful and
elegant as ever.
great detective! Welcome, Erika Furudo! Welcome to my realm! Today
you're my precious guest. Enjoy your stay, while you still can. Ah ha
ha ha ha!!!"
What a hideous, haughty
laughter! But I am not so easily swayed by such petty provocations; I
answer with a courteous smile.
Erika: "I thank you
for this warm welcome... but who do I have the pleasure to be the
guest of? If I may ask? *giggle*"
Maaya: "Oooh? Has my
appearance changed so much that you're unable to recognize me? I
expected more from a great detective!"
Erika: "Your human
vessel is of little concern to me at this moment. State your nature,
state the essence of your existence!"
Maaya: "Very well, I
guess it's only appropriate for me to introduce myself properly. You
have the honor to stand in the presence of Maaya, the witch of
And so she confirms it,
the unforeseen and delightfully welcomed twist of this day is that
Maaya Teramoto is a witch. And the being that stands before me is no
other but her meta-self, the incarnation in a higher plane of the
illusory image that she created to exalt her true nature.
Erika: "It is a
pleasure to make your acquaintance, Maaya, witch of power... Your
title intrigues me. Would you mind to indulge my curiosity?"
Maaya: "Is that
enlightenment that you ask, human? I shall consider it the last wish
of a convicted to death."
Erika: "I came to
know many witches in my life, and I'm familiar with several of their
different kinds, but this is the first time I meet a witch of power."
Maaya: "You've never
met the real deal then, ah ha ha ha ha!"
Erika: "'Witch of
power', that's quite high-sounding, isn't it?"
Erika: "I would, if
I wasn't used to the inflated ego of witches and their fancy words.
Take 'witch of origin', for example. That's just an euphemism for one
who creates stories out of thin air. And take 'witch of endless',
that's just a title for those who can daydream forever while
accomplishing nothing. So you're a witch of power, but what does that
amusing, do not lump me together with those failures! Being a witch
of power means to be destined to command humans, create empires and
rule over them!"
Erika: "I see, it
makes sense. I guess it's quite fitting for your case."
Maaya: "Do you
understand my greatness, human?"
Erika: "I understand
that a witch of power is a fancy name for one who doesn't have any
power of her own."
As soon as I complete my
statement, a blue dart made of pure energy materializes in front of
me. In a single instant, it bolts forward aiming at Maaya's forehead.
It is as fast as a bullet, and as much as deadly, but its target
doesn't flinch, she just reacts with a slightly surprised and amused
The dart impacts an
invisible barrier and disintegrates.
I expected that much, she
won't be defeated so easily. This was just a test, I just probed her
Maaya: "Ah ha ha ha
ha! I didn't imagine you would attack so quickly! If you're so eager
to measure yourself with me, you just need to ask, great detective!"
*giggle* That was just a little demonstration."
Maaya: "Is that so?
Then allow me to give you a demonstration of what true power is!"
With an imperious
flourish she raises her eyes and right arm towards the turbulent
clouds above. Her open palm seems to be ready to grasp the universe
itself. I feel a bit ashamed of myself for admiring the perfection of
her posture, but she literally radiates mightiness.
Maaya: "Chosen ones,
heed my call! Grant me your strength, grant me your power! Enter in
communion with the mystical circle and become one! Let your energies
flow, let them pour onto me! Sustain me! Support me! Obey me! By
yourself you are nothing, together we can move mountains and tear
oceans asunder! I can take your single strengths and multiply them
together. Follow my light and you shall know greatness!"
The eleven pillars react
to Maaya's invocation. The magical inscriptions have started to glow
of a bright red color. They pulsate at steady intervals. I hear a
rumble, it is getting louder. The swirling, formless mass outside the
spherical hall is raging with an impressive strength.
Then I see sparks.
Electrical discharges begin to spiral around the pillars, they move
swiftly like centipedes.
Release your energies! Relinquish them onto me! Open the gates of
your minds! Set yourself free from the shackles of the material
world! There is so much untapped power in your spirits! Do not let it
go to waste! Let it flow onto me, and with it I shall create our
paradise! Follow me, and I'll show you wondrous worlds beyond your
imagination! Fantasy! Excitement! Power!"
Then, suddenly, with a
thunderous roar eleven energy streams trace arcs from the tips of
each pillar to the center of Maaya's open hand. They are connected. A
tremendous amount of power flows inside the body of the mistress of
this world. She screams and laughs overflown by the excitement. The
eleven streams flutter restlessly producing shrieking sounds, they
look like living beings desperately trying to escape a predator's
She is completely
power! Boundless power! Unstoppable power! Overwhelming power! Ah ha
ha ha ha!!!"
At last she regains
control over herself, and while still drawing energy from the
pillars, she directs her eyes and her attention on me once again.
Maaya: "Are you
observing, detective? Are you witnessing my strength? Are you still
Erika: "Why? It is
as I said, this is just borrowed power."
Maaya: "And what of
it? The ability to draw power from external sources is a power in
itself, and a great one at that! You might as well point out the fact
that a human doesn't have fangs and claws, but how is that of any
importance when he can wield far deadlier weapons? You might even
have some kind of peculiar talent for yourself, detective, but you're
just a single pathetic being, while I... I have legions at my
commands! You are a maggot, a vermin! And I shall crush you like the
puny bug that you are!"
Erika: "Ah ha ha ha!
You might have a point indeed, the power you're playing with right
now is a lot greater than anything that I can muster from my own
spirit. Truly frightening! However you'll soon realize what a fragile
being is he who relies on something other than his own self! But
before we begin this fight, let me check one thing. You claim to be a
witch, but which is the witch that acknowledged you?"
Maaya: "Oh? What are
you talking about?"
Erika: "Just as I
thought, you're pretty new to this, aren't you?"
Maaya: "Hmph! Spare
me your clumsy attempts to insult me, human!"
Erika: "As a rule a
new witch needs to be acknowledged by a witch from the senate. Oh
well... considering your strong will, you're probably under the
protection of the witch of certainty."
Maaya: "Ha ha! I
have no need for such trivialities! But if that's really a tradition
among witches, so be it. I don't dislike that: certainty! Very well,
I shall destroy you with absolute certainty! Ha ha ha ha!"
Erika: "My my!
Certainty sure is great, but I'm under the protection of the witch of
miracles, and miracles can defy even an absolute will! Just like
scissors always win against paper, miracles always win against
Maaya: "A miracle!
Ah ha ha ha! Yes, that's really the only way you can hope to defeat
me! Begin to pray!"
Erika: "I wouldn't
laugh, if I were you, you might be able to witness a miracle pretty
Maaya: "Now I'm even
more certain that victory will smile upon me. I have no reason to
fear those who rely on miracles."
Erika: "Fool, you
despise what you don't even understand! Do you even know what's at
stake? I'm a slayer of witches, and there's one just in front of me.
Do you understand what does it mean to be killed in this place? If I
succeed, Maaya, the witch of power, will die. And then only an empty
shell will remain, just an average student of a third rate high
school, wasting her time with worthless rituals and anachronistic
Maaya: "That goes
for you too! What would remain of you, if the great detective Erika
Furudo were to die by my hands? What kind of pathetic being would be
left in her place?"
Erika: "Why don't
you try to find that out by yourself? Assuming that you can, of
course. *giggle* *giggle*"
Maaya: "One of us
will be slain today! Will it be the witch of power Maaya, or will it
be the great detective Erika? I already know the answer to that
Erika: "What a
coincidence! I know that too!"
Maaya: "Ah ha ha ha
Erika: "Ha ha ha
Together with her
laughter, the witch of power unleashes part of her energy into a
powerful electric discharge. The entirety of the gigantic spherical
hall is ravaged by a violent thunderstorm. Myriads of lightnings,
with erratic and unpredictable trajectories, are thrown at the speed
of light all around. There are so many of them that they almost fill
the whole place, and I need to give my all in order to avoid being
skewered. I barely make it, literally grazing most of them. I must
admit it, this is really impressive.
So this is how Maaya
plays. She knows that she has energy to spare, and she doesn't shy
from making use of it with unfocused multiple attacks on a large
I quickly look behind me
to check Dlanor's status. She is fine, for now, it looks like my
furniture is sturdy enough to withstand such degree of power.
Erika: "Ha ha ha...
This is fun! It's as if I'm against the blinded rage of the natural
elements themselves! Are you fine, Dlanor?"
believe I can manage this level, somehow..."
Erika: "So this is a
witch of power!"
is stronger than I had predicted."
Sure, she's got that aplenty! But it takes more than that to defeat
me. Raw power alone is nothing against my superior intellect!"
Dlanor smiles, in a way
that I rarely see on her face. This is what she becomes whenever she
is involved in a real battle. It is as if she turns into a different
being. The usual self-restrained and analytical demeanor of my
companion has been overridden by adrenaline and excitement. Nothing
can move her soul more than the prospect of a fight. She is, after
all, Death Sentence Dlanor. Slaying evil witches is her raison
Erika: "I think it's
time to bring forth and wield our weapons. Don't you think so?"
us give her a taste of what a true battle is!"
A single mental command,
and immediately an ethereal red longsword materializes in Dlanor's
right hand. Similarly a blue shortsword appears in the other. Those
are my companion's favorite tools of destruction. Also called the
'red key' and the 'blue key', they are blades made of pure energy who
can cut through every illusion with the power of truth.
As for me, I have a quite
different taste. I extend my arm forward, and calling upon my inner
power, I visualize in my mind the shape of the weapon that I wish to
brandish. The raw matter of the metaworld gathers following my
desires and quickly forms a long stave. Then from its farthest end a
protrusion, perpendicular to it, begins to enlarge. It spreads and
broadens tracing a curve and emitting an intense blue glow. A few
little decorations to please my aesthetic sense and my work is
complete. Ominous, splendid, and awe-inspiring, my scythe is ready to
fell my enemy and drink her blood. I swing it left and right a few
times to test its balance. Perfect.
Maaya: "Are you
trying to impress me with your primitive tools? Oh, but I see that
even that thing that you always bring with you has thorns. I almost
didn't realize that she was here. You must pardon me for ignoring her
until now, what a terrible host I am! Let me make it up for that by
providing her with a suitable playmate!"
Erika: "Uh? What is
Maaya changes her
posture, she no longer focuses on draining and releasing energy.
Instead she raises her eyes and arms above, with the palms open in
the act of receiving blessing from the higher planes. With the grace
of a divine being, she begins to perform strange and complex
movements with her hands, in a mysterious, ritualistic manner.
Like a chorus they
answer, their voices fill the entire hall.
"Spirits of the land, of the seas and of the heavens, I
entreat you to inspire the bearer of storms to manifest before me,
that he may give me true and faithful answer, so that I may
accomplish my desired end!"
Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat..."
"This I command, in the name of Maaya, the witch of power!"
Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"
"Answer the call! Obey the spirits that bind you, Lord of the
Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat..."
of all fevers and plagues, grinning dark angel of the four wings!"
Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"
"Hear my invocation! Your name I call!"
Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat..."
spiritual pressure has increased to unimaginable proportions. A
furious wind is blowing with unnatural strength.
I step inside my enemy's
lair. I am welcomed by dozens of dancing flames. Excitement and
anxiety saturate the air. The eleven first year students are already
sitting around the magic circle. They left a spot for me, almost on
the opposite side from where Teramoto is standing. She is just
between the circle and the triangle, with the statue of Pazuzu right
behind her. Surrounded by these flickering lights it almost looks
alive, a true demon standing by his mistress' side. Tremendous,
An eloquent gesture of
Teramoto invites me to sit down. At the same time one of her lackeys
shuts the door as much as its poor state allows. We are now isolated
from the rest of the world, the rules and the laws that work out
there are left behind. Here, in this place, anything is possible.
Nobody is saying that, but it can be felt, like an invisible shroud,
masterfully woven by Teramoto and her friends, enveloping us all.
This is a lot better than
I thought, in spite of the lame premises, this doesn't look
amateurish at all. Under the bright light of the day, in a mundane
environment, it is very easy to make fun and laugh of the occult. But
here and now, in the midst of this otherworldly atmosphere, it is
finally a real challenge. And I feel a chill in my bones, a growing
restlessness in my nerves, and deep inside my barren heart I feel
I am so glad I issued
I am so glad to be here!
I am so glad I can
experience this ritual in person, with my own eyes!
I sit down on my assigned
spot, I am now part of the spectators, and the show can begin.
Teramoto nods once, with an ostensibly confident smile.
Club member: "Behold,
chosen ones! Now that you are all assembled around the mystical
circle, the great seer will speak! She is going to reveal the occult
truth of this school. Listen with care, and remember! Do not speak
carelessly of what you will hear and see. The secrets that you are
about to learn are not meant for the clueless men to hear!"
Teramoto claps her hands
twice, and then she extends her arms to the sides. It is beginning.
"My name is Maaya Teramoto..."
voice echoes calm and authoritative.
"...I am the heir of a family of Shinto priests. The spirit
world is vast and mysterious, and originally it was powerful and
strongly tied to this land. Spirits dwelt in every place, they were
all around us and we called them kami. Our ancestors... "
I have listened to these
words before. This is the same long monologue that she recited during
the interrogation of two days ago. She must have repeated it dozens
of times for the past two years. I don't think that she actually
memorized every single word, but it must be pretty close to that. If
there are differences from what I listened to before, they must be
Teramoto: "In the
beginning I was unhinged, I had never perceived such an overwhelming
This is the part where
she describes the first time she came to this school, allegedly
perceiving the presence of the demon Pazuzu. Once again she claims
that she fell ill, and that she had to stay home for a while. That
part must be true somehow, it would be too risky for her to state
something that her classmates can deny, but of course it was probably
just a flu or another mundane disease.
Damn, I feel this strange
'pull' again... I don't know how else to define it. It is like a
gravitational force slowly dragging me away. Away from where? An
towards what? This is ridiculous! And yet it is getting stronger...
Teramoto: "And in
that fierce attack many perished, including several students of this
I the only one who is noticing this? I take a quick look at the other
girls sitting around the magic circle, and I almost choke. They
are... raptured. Is this Teramoto's true power? This is way too
abnormal. I understand that this is a very suggestive setting, and
this is the place where a true murder occurred. This must have a very
strong effect on them, but the way they are reacting is too much.
Why? They should be giggling and sneering at this pathetic story! It
makes no sense, it is full of holes, and it isn't even that
interesting! Can they really start believing in demons and spirits so
easily? This is the third millennium, and they are not kids anymore!
How is this possible?!
Teramoto: "The demon
of the southwestern wind!"
Suddenly a rumble, a sort
of quite vibration, can be heard. It is as if the demon reacted to
Teramoto's call, and in fact I am quite sure that it came from that
statue that stands right behind her. Did I just imagine that?
Teramoto keeps talking as if nothing happened. I see no reactions
from the club members either, but as for the other young girls, the
chosen ones of today's ritual, it seems that they noticed. They look
a bit confused, they must be wondering just like myself: 'did I
really hear that? Was it real or just my mind playing tricks?'
Teramoto: "And once
again he was back to the material world!"
The material world. She
uses different terms, but perhaps her cosmology isn't that different
from mine. She says 'material world', I say 'world of humans'. She
says 'spiritual world', I say 'metaworld'. Could it be...?
revival was at hand, after thousand years of oblivion!"
The way she speaks is
different from that other time. She is a lot more passionate, like a
leader from the past talking to the masses and inflaming their
spirits. Indeed, she is like a modern Joan of Arc. Yes, this is a
fitting comparison, I must say. Does she know what kind of fate
awaits her? Perhaps she does, she is no fool, not completely. Maybe
her hubris persuaded her that she can defy karma itself.
This dragging force is
driving me mad! It is a vortex now, a maelstrom! My head aches!
incidents occurred, chaos and discord spread among the students..."
Is it me or the lights
are changing? Aren't they dancing in a less erratic way? No, it isn't
even a figure of speech anymore. They are... literally... dancing...
They are wobbling and
wavering and bouncing synchronized to a silent tune. Or perhaps it is
Teramoto's flow of words that to them sounds like some kind of music.
They are swirling merrily around the vortex, ring around, ring
around... kagome kagome!
Teramoto: "And this
is why we need to perform the ritual. This is why your power is
Are we already at the
end? Wasn't there more that she needed to tell? Or did I miss it? Am
I losing perception of the passing time? I can no longer concentrate.
What in the world is happening, right at this crucial moment? Stop
circling around me! Stop pulling me!
Club member: "Everyone
raise your hands!"
Teramoto: "Lend me
your power! Together we can defeat the demon! Together we can bend
him to our will!"
Lies! You just want to
harness his power! It is your will that you want him to bend to: the
demon, and all of us! All of us!
Teramoto: "Let the
Club member: "Behold!
The great seer is about to reveal her true self!"
She is going to take that
cloak off. Two of her lackeys get to her sides to assist her. What
exactly did she hide until now? What is this true self that she is
about to reveal? What kind of significance has that outfit that she
is wearing? Something comes to my mind, and yet it is hard to focus.
once said that she is not a Shinto priestess."
Right! She pointed that
out, and she wanted to make that clear. I didn't give to that too
much importance back then, but now I wonder: what is she? What does
she define herself as? The garments she is wearing will reveal it. If
she was a Shintoist shrine maiden, she would be donning a red hakama.
is wearing full length gloves, violet in color."
That doesn't fit with
anything from Japanese folklore, nor from anything of Asian origin,
as far as I can tell. Is she a medium? A demonologist? A summoner?
I know, Dlanor, I am
running in circle, like those many dancing flames.
I am one with them,
swirling and closing in, to the center.
She is going to reveal,
what she is, her true self.
The black cloak is
removed, the curtain is being raised.
The opening of a new
dream, a new world.
The truth that I have
been waiting for.
She is what I should have
A fitting master for a
Just like my hated enemy.
A beautiful western
A pointy hat.
alteration detected. Rationality limits have been breached.
Anchorings to the physical world have been severed. Impossible to
Erika: "Prepare for
battle, Dlanor, this is a declaration of war."
am unable to identify the source, this is not a registered
Erika: "This place
location confirmed to be somewhere in the sea of fragments... I am
unable to provide further specifications."
Erika: "I've never
seen a metaworld like this before. The attacker isn't Beatrice, not
It is probably her."
Erika: "To think
that she had already reached this level. Isn't this a pleasant
Erika, the fact that she was able to create her own world on this
plane of existence can only mean one thing."
Erika: "Of course,
Dlanor, I know. At this point there is no longer any doubt."
There are no walls,
ceiling or floor. This is just a swirling pulsating mass, a storm in
the fabric of the sea of fragments. I am finally at the center of the
vortex, at last. This is what has been trying to drag me in for the
last few minutes, and it succeeded. As I float forward, to an
unspecified destination, the foamy mist surrounding me slowly clears
up. I start to see in the distance a vaguely discernible space. It is
a sort of giant spherical hall, with no visible boundaries. I can
tell it is a sphere, because the nebulous raw matter of the metaworld
is swirling all around it. If I had to compare this to something
existing in the world of humans, this would be a quasar. In other
words this is a primordial existence, a potential universe still in
There are objects down
there, some kind of pillars. As I get closer I notice that they are
covered in cuneiform inscriptions, most likely magical formulae of
some sort. There are eleven of them, and they are displaced all
around the perimeter, forming a circle.
There is someone at the
center, the mistress of this world. She is waiting.
I swear, if they repeat
their rules another time, I am going to scream. And they were even
mad at me because I was late. When will this pathetic ritual start?
It is almost 6:00 pm, we should move already.
At least the eleven first
year students aren't chitchatting and giggling anymore, the four
occultism club members did a good job at scaring them. I bet they
were properly trained for this, their expressions are dead serious.
This is yet another proof that Teramoto isn't simply an amateur. She
must have learned the tricks of the trade somehow. I am suspecting
more and more that what her club really is about is not occultism
itself, but the strategies and techniques to create successful cults.
I cannot even count the many new sects that have plagued Japan for
the past years. The lack of a truly dominant religion makes it easier
to manipulate weak willed individuals into joining new religions.
There is never a shortage of fools in this world. If my hunches are
correct, Teramoto's ambition is to create her own cult, and
considering her personality, I am sure she is a lot more pragmatic
than what her crazy talks suggest. So, in other words, she must have
studied how all those new religions were made, how they spread, and
how they prospered.
There is still light, the
days are becoming longer, but the sun is already close to the
horizon. It will be night very soon, and darkness is the occultism's
best ally. The upcoming fight is going to happen in the worst
possible conditions for me, but that only makes it more exciting. I
think it is only fair to give some kind of advantage to Teramoto, she
is by far the most inexperienced between the two of us.
The tense and yet
disturbingly still atmosphere suddenly livens up as soon as a dark
human figure is spotted moving towards us. The first year students
immediately start whispering between themselves again, but the
authoritative voice of a senior club members promptly silences them.
The one who is coming is
Teramoto herself, but I can only tell with certainty now that she is
close enough. She is strangely clad in a black cape that covers her
whole body from the head to the feet. I can barely see her face. No
doubt this is all part of her show, and that is very impressive.
Teramoto comes to us
walking slowly, without saying a word, without any unnecessary
movements. She radiates an otherworldly presence, and that noticeably
causes uneasiness on the young girls. She always had that proud air
about her, but now she is almost terrifying, as if she wasn't even
human. That is certainly the kind of impression that she wants to
give, and from the look of it, it is working.
Club member: "The
great seer has come! Everyone salute her as you were instructed!"
Following that command,
all the girls respectfully bow, while joining their hands to form a
triangle in front of their chests. This is another fine touch from
Teramoto. I feel a little stupid by performing this pointless
greeting, but, as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. It
doesn't hurt, it is just very lame, but if I tried to disrupt her
'magic' at this point, I would look like a loser, just like Nagaoka.
I need to defeat her inside her own territory, that is the only way.
Satsukawa awkwardly mimics us, while showing a decidedly disconcerted
Club member: "Great
seer! The twelve chosen young maidens are ready to partake in the
mystical ritual, please grant us your protection!"
Teramoto reacts with a
barely noticeable smile. She then extends one of her arms, bringing
it outside of her coat. Her hand is holding a dozen of protective
charms, but that is not what catches my attention. I knew already
about this part, those trinkets are supposed to protect us from the
evil influence of the demon or something. Garbage.
Rather, why is she
wearing full length gloves? It makes me wonder... what else is that
coat hiding? Is this some kind of cosplay? Another of her personal
She must be wearing some
kind of strange outfit, which explains why she is donning that black
coat. She probably doesn't want to be seen wearing that outside, but
I bet she will take it off once inside the shed.
Club member: "These
protective charms were imbued with a powerful magic. As long as they
are with you, the evil presence inside the shed won't harm you. All
of you, take one, and don't let go of them for any reason! The
consequences will be dire, should you be careless!"
If she usually wears that
costume... then one of the mysteries that bugged me for the last few
days suddenly can be explained. With those gloves she is not going to
leave any fingerprints. No wonder we didn't find any, and no wonder
she never worried about that. This is quite convenient for her, but I
guess this is just a fortuitous coincidence. This girl isn't just
clever, she is also very lucky.
I take the charm that is
being offered to me, and, just as I imagined, it isn't anything
particularly elaborated. This is probably just one of the cheapest
charms that Teramoto's family sells. Mixing Japanese and western
folklores... Beatrice would probably turn on her grave, if she was in
one. And yet this isn't exactly wrong from the perspective of a
proselytizer. Syncretism is fairly common, and it is especially
effective on the most superstitious individuals.
Club member: "We
will now proceed to the haunted place. Follow the great seer
Teramoto nods slightly.
She still hasn't opened her mouth. Everything about her is pretty
unsettling, and the young students are visibly affected by that. They
are not going see any spirits nor demons today, but this figure clad
in black, to their eyes, is probably as much as scary.
Finally we start walking
towards the abandoned shed. Teramoto guides us through the deserted
school grounds, under a bright red sky. She is the pied piper and we
are the rats, but the only sounds that can be heard are those of our
There is something in the
air, I can smell it. This is the 'smell' of magic, and it is strong.
This is the strange sensation that I feel whenever a lie is
elaborated enough to challenge rationality and common sense. I would
have never thought that I would experience it again, and this is
merely the beginning. If this gets stronger, it might break the
boundaries between reality and illusion... Just like when Teramoto
narrated that strange story in the gym, I feel like I am being pulled
inside her world. There is a whirlpool around her, and it is calling
me. I am moving towards its center, slowly but surely. It looks calm
now, but it will get stronger later; it might become too much for me
to handle. I must not get close, I must stand my ground. This is the
world of humans; magic, spirits, demons, do not exist.
We have arrived, the
abandoned shed is just before us. This is supposed to be exactly like
every other gathering that was arranged in the past, but something is
clearly different. In order to proceed, we need to trespass the
police tape. In addition, I probably won't see the 'open sesame'
trick, today. The door is still broken and there is no nothing to
Teramoto and the club
members stop and look in the direction of Satsukawa.
Club member: "Do we
have your permission, Satsukawa-san?"
enough... you do."
That place was analyzed
and combed enough, after all. There is nothing important to preserve
Teramoto and the club
members nod to each others, and then they proceed, passing below the
I can't help giggling
when I think that normally it was the demon who allegedly made
possible to enter inside the shed. Today that role fell on Satsukawa.
Teramoto lingers for a
while in front of the half-opened door. She moves her hand forward,
as if probing for some kind of invisible force, and concentrates.
e-liš la na-bu-ú šá-ma-mu! Šap-liš am-ma-tum šu-ma
The first words Teramoto
speaks are in some kind of language that I don't recognize. For all I
know this could be just gibberish, but it is elaborated enough to
sound authentic. I have no idea where did she get that from, nor what
is the actual meaning of her utterances, but it further strengthened
the otherworldly atmosphere that surrounds her. Even if nobody
understood her words, everyone was fooled into thinking that Teramoto
spoke to the demon, and that is the image that she wanted to convey.
She is breaking the
barriers of skepticism and common sense one by one, and she still
hasn't showed us anything yet. All that she needs is a bit of doubt.
A small crack can turn into a giant hole and eventually cause the
destruction the whole wall.
Teramoto enters first,
and she is soon followed by three of her lackeys. The remaining stays
behind, probably to give us instructions. She is the one who spoke
before and ordered us around.
I am very curious to see
how Teramoto is going to react now that she is back to the abandoned
shed, after all that has happened. It has been more than week and it
lost its red color, but the blood stain is still visible there right
at the center of the magic circle. It is a rather morbid view. I have
seen it already, but if this is the first time for her, she can't
really remain unfazed. They say that the killer always returns to the
scene of the crime, and in a cliched detective story, that is usually
when he makes a fatal mistake. I don't think that is quite realistic,
but it would be quite fitting for Teramoto to betray herself in this
place during her ritual, if she was the murderer. Certainly there
would be quite a lot of powerful emotions struggling inside her
heart. However, I now realize that I can't reach any conclusions. I
see her hesitating for a while, looking at that blood stain, but
nothing more than that; I can't see her face well enough. I guess I
can't even conclude with certainty that she has never seen this place
since the day of the crime. She might have wanted to check the state
of the shed, before starting the preparations for this last ritual.
Club member: "Enter
inside, quietly, one by one. Sit down around the magic circle, and
don't touch anything!"
The three club members
inside are lighting the many candles scattered all around. The room
brightens, and it almost looks like a different place. This is the
first time that I see it well lit. It is an eerie light, but with so
many flames burning, it is quite luminous.
At this point the young
girls have completely lost any trace of hilarity. Even if not all of
them believe that a demon is residing in this shed, this is still the
place where one of their senior schoolmates was killed, and that is
not something they can carelessly laugh about. I mostly see fear and
uneasiness in their eyes now, but they know they can't turn back at
this point. They reluctantly enter inside, and timidly sit around the
magic circle as they were instructed.
Club member: "You
cannot be allowed inside!"
Club member: "You
would disrupt the balance required to perform the ritual with your
Erika: "You're a
man, that's why."
Satsukawa: "I was
never informed about this..."
should've imagined that, seriously."
what am I supposed to do now?"
Erika: "As long as
he remains outside, it's fine, right?"
Club member: "Yes."
Erika: "You heard
her. Just remain here in front of the door. You might still be able
Satsukawa sighs and
shakes his head.
Erika: "Come on!
I'll tell you everything afterwards. This is the only entrance,
anyway, it's not like I can go anywhere!"
Satsukawa: "I guess
I don't really have a choice, do I? Just promise you won't do
Satsukawa: "Do I
really need to explain? Rather... now that you asked that, I'm
worrying even more than before..."
Erika: "That was
just a joke, relax! Did you forget? The door is broken, if there's an
emergency you can go inside."
right, all right! I'll stay here..."
Club member: "The
ritual is about to start, all the chosen maidens must take position
around the magic circle..."
Erika: "Yeah, yeah,
I'm going. See you later, Satsukawa-san."
get eaten by a demon."
Erika: "Very funny."
It is somehow comforting
the fact that he didn't lose his humor in spite of the situation.
This proves that Teramoto has still a long way before she can impress
adults with her strategies. I feel a bit stronger now.
Erika: "Well then,
this is going to be exciting. Don't you think so, Dlanor?"