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.