Chapter 10- How To Prepare For An Exorcism
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   Oh no, no no no no nonononono. This cannot be happening Wayne was currently in his room, contemplating the enormity of the peril he faced. Beth was most definitely going to tell people about the murderous ghost that killed her friends. Beth, Beth's family, her friends family, and probably lots of other people were going to want Wayne gone. What do you do when you need a ghost killed (again)? You tell the ghost hunters. Or generalist hunters or mercenaries or adventurers or something, but ghost hunters are known for their over-specialization so if Wayne was in their shoes he would definitely go to the ghost hunters. Ghost hunters that could almost definitely do the job. Wayne took an unnecessary breath, and gathered his thoughts. How could he fix this? He should start with a list of things he could and could not affect. Starting off with things he couldn't.

  Firstly, the ghost hunters were going to come. He was stuck in this mansion, where he couldn't do anything about that. Second, they would come in the morning. Beth saw how the light weakened him, and ghost hunters would probably know all about that anyway. Third, they would try to kill him. Even if he showed them he was intelligent, he was already responsible for triple homicide. The intelligence he possessed would only make the threat he posed increase. Now, the things he could change. For starters, he might be able to... stop them. Violently. This would be saved as a last resort for three reasons. First and foremost was the obvious ethical incentives to not end another person's life. Again... Not to mention it was unlikely he had the ability to end their lives at all, seeing as their entire job revolved around killing ghosts. Finally, it wouldn't resolve the problem. It would only serve to get more powerful hunters on him, and if he... stopped those ones too, miraculously, the hunter guild or whoever was hired would just make him a high-threat target and throw the elites at him, which he most certainly could not win against.

  What about on the side of things things he could change?... Maybe he could pretend to never have been here in the first place? Frame Beth for killing her friends? Hmm... Maybe. He would prefer to not frame the poor girl, in fact he felt another wave of guilty nausea just thinking about it, but it was an option. He didn't want to waste his second chance. Any other solutions? Well... Hmm... He couldn't think of any right now. But, wait, wouldn't ghost hunters know how to detect a ghost? The animals outside probably could, what with their fervent avoidance of the place. But how? What did he leave behind, as a ghost? Thinking on it, the only answer he could come up with was ethereal energy. Unless there was some sort of disturbance in mana, which was entirely possible, or some sort of physical evidence he leaves behind, which seems unlikely given that he could pass through just about anything. At least, anything he encountered so far.

  If it was physical he would have no way to check for it. He wouldn't even know where to begin. If it was magical, though... Wayne activated his lackluster mana sense. It felt pretty normal to him, so it probably wasn't magical... maybe... hopefully... Plus, if the animals could sense mana then they'd all be turning into monsters. So that left ethereal energy. He could feel it better, now, after the incident. In fact, he felt he had more within himself too. Not nearly as much as he had yesterday, but slightly more than he had the day before. He could feel ethereal energy in the air inside the mansion, but focusing outside his window and into the garden, he could feel an almost complete absence of the stuff. The fact that he could sense a small, miniscule amount outside likely meant that he could feel it even when it was outside his manor. Knowing that, he was fairly confident that the culprit here was the ethereal energy. So, what could he do about it? Perhaps he could mask it, somehow? If he could, he didn't know how. Then, could he hide it somehow? Concentrating, he grasped the ethereal energy with an aura of his own. He pushed down, forcing the external energy to follow his. He could sense the energy gather closer to the floor, being pulled down by him as if suddenly being attached to a heavy weight. Releasing his grip, he considered the possibility of it working. It wasn't too difficult to do what he just did, but he couldn't cover the whole mansion. So hiding his presence entirely wasn't an option...

   Maybe, perhaps, he could fake his death? Second death? Full death? He wasn't sure what to call it, but maybe he could trick the hunters into thinking they exorcised him. It was a gamble, for sure. If there was some sort of visual confirmation of a successful ghost exorcism then he would be caught and summarily killed, if they could sense the ethereal energy even after he moved it he would be killed, if they were supposed to notice literally anything other than ethereal energy decreasing gradually as he pulled it away then he would be killed. There was so much that could go wrong, and it was a giant risk. The only other option, however, was to just accept his death. For Wayne, the choice was crystal clear. 

  Either Wayne would pull it off, convince the hunters that he was completely dead, and get away from this whole fiasco scot-free, or he would be killed again. What's the worst that could happen? Dying? Been there, done that. He would try it even if it killed him, and in this case that wasn't just a figure of speech. It was the most literal do-or-die situation he could imagine, and gods above he would be doing. So, filled with nervous energy, Wayne began to scheme against his would-be murderers.