Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sympathy & Mirth!


The following images
contain spoilers about
"Higanbana no Saku Yoru ni: First Night"



Click to enlarge:


















Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Chapter 5 (h)


Erika: "Isn't she a pretty sight, Dlanor? What do you think? *giggle*"

Dlanor: "I 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?"

Dlanor: "She probably does not, and we can use that to our advantage."

Erika: "Ha! Is that even necessary, Dlanor?"

Dlanor: "This 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?"

Dlanor: "She 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 entertaining!!!"

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.

Maaya: "Welcome, 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 power!"

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?"

Maaya: "Impressed?"

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 actually mean?"

Maaya: "Very 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 expression.
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 defenses.

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!"

Erika: "*giggle* *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.

Maaya: "Come! 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 grasp.

Maaya: "Power!"

She is completely inebriated.

Maaya: "Unfettered 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 unimpressed?"

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 certainty!"

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 soon."

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 superstitions!"

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 question!"

Erika: "What a coincidence! I know that too!"

Maaya: "Ah ha ha ha ha!!!"

Erika: "Ha 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 scale. Terrifying...
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?"

Dlanor: "I believe I can manage this level, somehow..."

Erika: "So this is a witch of power!"

Dlanor: "She is stronger than I had predicted."

Erika: "Strength! 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 d'ĂȘtre.

Erika: "I think it's time to bring forth and wield our weapons. Don't you think so?"

Dlanor: "Let 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 she..."

Dlanor: "..."

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.

Maaya: "Astrachios, Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat, Anabotas, Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"

Her invocation begins. I can feel already the pressure of the spiritual energy flowing towards and all around her.

Maaya: "Spirits of the land, of the seas and of the heavens, grant me, I pray, the power to conceive in my mind and to execute that which I desire to do, the end of which I would attain by your help!"

Something very mysterious is happening. Maaya's words are resonating with the eleven pillars. They start to vibrate and echo her words.

Maaya: "Astrachios, Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat, Anabotas, Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"

"Astrachios, Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat, Anabotas, Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"

Like a chorus they answer, their voices fill the entire hall.

Maaya: "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!"

"Astrachios, Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat..."

Maaya: "This I command, in the name of Maaya, the witch of power!"

"...Anabotas, Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"

Maaya: "Answer the call! Obey the spirits that bind you, Lord of the southwestern wind!"

"Astrachios, Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat..."

Maaya: "Master of all fevers and plagues, grinning dark angel of the four wings!"

"...Anabotas, Jesubilin, Scigin, Geneon, Domol!"

Maaya: "Hear my invocation! Your name I call!"

"Astrachios, Asach, Asarca, Abedumabal, Silat..."

The spiritual pressure has increased to unimaginable proportions. A furious wind is blowing with unnatural strength.

Maaya: "Pazuzu! Pazuzu! Pazuzu!"