Chapter 11: Darkness
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[SECONDARY REPORT FOR CASE: GAMMA-158]

Spirit Classification: Deity

Exorcist In Charge: Rohan Yang

Transcribed Audio Report No.1: 

[LOG START]

“I hate doing written reports… Thankfully, the SAIB allows audio form…

“Oh… It started…” 

(Rohan clears throat)

“This is the log of events leading up to the Spiriting Away Event as well as the aftermath of the investigation. Details have been gathered from various individuals and may not be a hundred percent accurate. 

On the 25th of February 2022, 10:37 AM….

25th of February 2022 10:37AM, Nan Ching District Southern Residential Area

“Sheesh! It’s so freaking hot this morning!” Khan took his denim jacket off and placed it in the sedan he arrived in. 

Barrier Agents rushed past Khan, preparing the charms to set the barrier. 

“Hey, what’s up? Why isn’t the barrier up yet?” Khan approached and asked an SAIB agent nearby.

“We have to clear the residential area sir… It’s taking a while. The residents… they’re demanding an explanation for the spirit...” The agent replied before running off to deal with something. 

“Hmmm so it's visible to civilians…” Khan muttered as he approached the red crime scene tape. 

“Woah… this area is nice…” Vince exclaimed as he looked around. 

The houses were situated on a hill, with wide patios and balconies overlooking the roads and streets below. Concrete steps with brick borders paved the way up to the different estates, The sides of the staircases were decorated with finely trimmed shrubs. 

The three of them walked up the steps until they reached the red crime scene tape blocking their way. In front of them, they could see what seems like a floating object draped in a white curtain. The aura beneath and around it was thick and heavy, permeating throughout the area like mist.

“Oh wow…” Vince was in awe, he could sense the strength of the spirit. This was a heavier feeling than back in the white room.

Ozai could sense it too. 

Khan looked around, the barrier hadn’t been set up yet. 

“Khan-Sensei… What’s taking them so long?” Vince asked.

“Well, to set up a barrier, the agents have to literally place charms to mark the perimeter of the barrier. The more powerful the spirit, the bigger the perimeter. And this… is a pretty powerful spirit.” Khan spoke, hands in his pockets, waiting for the barrier to go up.

“A barrier is important for a number of reasons… Firstly, it separates the spirit from the outside world. It can’t escape, and no one can enter… unless the person who set up the barrier wants them to. The charms that create the barrier are basically written instructions to determine who can and can’t enter the barrier and various other properties. 

“Secondly, barriers minimise property damage. Barriers can ‘remember’ the initial state of objects within it and will try to revert everything to its original state. This only works on non-living objects. Ozai, do you remember how the park looked like after the barrier came down? The various holes in the ground you made with your shikigami, they were more or less gone right?” Khan asked.

Ozai thought for a moment, and nodded his head. He did remember sensing the difference in terrain. Though the holes were not entirely filled, the damage done to the surroundings was significantly reduced. 

“And that’s why we use barriers. It’s usually a pain to set them up by ourselves so we have agents that specialise in setting up barriers for us.” Khan continued his impromptu lesson on barriers.

“Oh… it’s going up…” Khan spoke as he sensed a shift in the spiritual energy around him. 

Sure enough, the barrier went up, and the weird floating curtain vanished from their eyes. 

“Barriers can also hide things from view, we don’t want the public’s fear feeding the spirit do we?” Khan started to stretch his limbs, as if preparing for a strenuous activity. 

“Sensei, are you going to let us exorcise it with you?” Vince asked, excitement and enthusiasm showing on his face.

“I was planning to, but if this spirit can be seen by regular civilians, then it may be stronger than expected. I’ll have you guys wait this one out. Just in case. I know you’ve been dispatched as support so go around and help the agents secure the area, maybe learn how to write the barrier charms. I won’t be long…” Khan gave a confident smile before stepping over the red tape, disappearing from view. 

Vince and Ozai were now left alone outside the barrier. They looked around, they were like lost children in a maze of agents, all scurrying around.

“Say, Ozai… Sorry if this is a sensitive issue for you… but why do you wear a blindfold and bandana?” Vince asked, breaking the silence. He had wanted to ask this question for the longest time.

Ozai pulled out his phone and began typing on it. 

‘I can’t speak, taste nor see… It’s the cost of my Contract! I hide my eyes and mouth because the marks of the Contract may be unsightly for some…’

“Ahh…” Vince was trying hard to react in a way that was appropriate.

Ozai picked up on the awkwardness and typed: ‘But don’t stress it dude! I admit it, I wish I could see and taste… but we all have our various problems right? Besides, I can ‘see’ via spiritual energy, I ‘sense’ the world around me better than most exorcists because I don’t rely on sight.’

“I was going to ask you about that! You read minds too?” Vince laughed.

Ozai smiled with his eyes, ‘Come on, everyone asks that question…’

“Hmm, speaking about the costs of a Contract… I wonder what Khan-sensei’s cost is…” Vince wondered as he stared at the barrier.

“Hey! You two! Come here for a bit! Khan-sensei told me to show you guys how barriers are constructed…” A commanding voice called out to them, one of the senior Barrier Agents gestured for the both of them to go over. 


In the barrier…

Khan could feel an intense energy the moment he stepped into the barrier. The thick and heavy spiritual aura made Khan feel as if he was walking through mud. 

Up close, the floating curtain didn’t seem too menacing. It formed a spherical shape, like it was draped over a ball. Below, the curtain, something caught Khan’s eye.

“Hmm… symbols?” Khan stroked his chin as he knelt down to inspect the symbols. They were inscribed in a circular fashion below the curtain. 

“This… is a curse…” Just as Khan finished inspecting the symbols, he felt a strange sensation. He jumped back, and noticed the curtain had changed shape. The sheet had folded and twisted to form a hooded robe. Now it was like it draped itself over a humanoid figure. But there was no one wearing the robe. 

Khan blinked and the hooded robe disappeared. 

“Behind youuu…” A deep voice creeped out from behind Khan. 

Khan’s eyes widened and he instinctively stepped forward and activated his ability, teleporting him several metres away from the spirit. 

I couldn’t sense it? 

Khan turned and saw the hooded figure before him, this time, the robe had something or someone wearing it. 

The thing wearing the robe was hard to describe. The best way to put it was that it was a shadow. A shadow with eyes, mouth and limbs. Its eyes were glowing purple and its wide smile with its pearly white teeth stood out amidst its vantablack body. Its hands had overgrown nails that looked like talons. 

“Heee heeee, as expected, I couldn’t get you so easily. Nice to meet you Khan! My name is Eugene…” The hooded spirit spoke excitedly in a deep, smooth cadence, his smile widening.

Khan felt a shiver creep up his spine, this guy creeped him out.

“Eugene? That’s a unusually normal name don’t you think?” Khan replied, keeping his guard up.

“What’s wrong with that? You were expecting something like Betelguese? Beezlebub? Frieza? Heee heee…” Eugene smiled before once again disappearing from Khan’s sight. 

Khan reacted fast, he brought his left hand up and formed the Akash Mudra with it, placing the middle finger against his thumb. 

[Four Corner Fold]” Khan chanted.

Eugene appeared behind Khan and attempted to pierce him with his hands, but his arms passed right through Khan, disappearing behind Khan and reappearing in front of him. Like it had passed through a portal. 

“Got you!” Khan grinned and grabbed Eugene’s arm, pulling him through the ‘portal’ he had created. 

“You see, my ability allows me to manipulate space itself. I simply folded the space around me so that your attack passes through.” Khan explained, he felt his ability get more efficient and less taxing as Spiritual Reinforcement kicked in. 

Eugene resisted the tug he felt on his arm before completely giving in. His once tangible body dissipated, leaving a limp piece of cloth that passed through Khan’s portal smoothly. 

Khan was slightly caught off guard, letting go of the blanket he had just pulled out of his ‘portal’. 

The blanket floated in the air before folding and retaking the shape of Eugene once again. 

“You’re not the only one with tricks… heehee… you see, I’m a spirit that exists in the darkness, you could say, I aaam darkness itself... This curtain provides a constant shadow and darkness in which I manifesssttt in…. But let me ask yoouuu… what issss darkness manifested? 

“Heee hee… can you touch it? Feel it? Without light, complete darkness envelops you, it overwhelms you… you can’t touch it… but you suuurree can feel it… heee heee” Eugene breathed heavily, an excited expression showing on his face. 

“I’m the same… you will not touch me… but you will FEEEEL ME!” Eugene disappeared from Khan’s view and reappeared in front of him, giving him a punch to the gut. 

The impact of the punch sent Khan flying back. His face twisted in agony and shock. 

My four corner fold stopped working? Did he rely on Spiritual Reinforcement?

“Shocked? The moment you revealed your abiltiy, I knewww it was perfect for me. Sure, you can manipulate space… but does darkness reallyyyy occupy space? You thought that the instanttt I revealed my nature didn’t yoouu?” Eugene smirked.

Khan couldn’t believe it, he let a spirit get to his head. 

“Ha..haha…” Khan started to chuckle.

“It would seem I underestimated you… but now you’ve got my attention… This could be fun!” Khan smiled, his eyes lit up, giving off a sense of derangement.

“HEEHEE!” Eugene lunged at Khan once more, his palm open, fingers together. 

Khan dodged the attack, teleporting to the side. 

“You asked a great question… And I admit, I had to ponder it for a bit… Does darkness occupy space? Isn’t it the absence of light? How can nothing occupy space? I had that small slip in thought which gave you the upper hand…” Khan spoke as he continued to dodge Eugene’s attacks, teleporting around. 

“But then what is space? Is it an object? Is it just a concept in our minds? You see, it's a question humanity has been asking for millennia. But that’s what I love about my ability… as far as Spiritual Energy and Spiritual Reinforcement is concerned… Space… is open to interpretation.” Khan continued his lecture as he avoided Eugene’s attacks. 

“From my point of view, you may or may not occupy space… but that curtain you have on… doesn’t that occupy at least 3 dimensions? Is that not space? And from my point of view, you are trying to move closer to me aren’t you? You’re moving that way because you’re convinced about the distance between us… a distance, a space, I can manipulate…” Khan smirked as he formed the Akash Mudra once again with both of his hands. 

[Infinite Distance]” Khan chanted as he dragged his hands far apart, as if dragging the distance between Eugene and himself.

Eugene found himself stuck in the same spot, no matter how fast he ran towards Khan, he found himself, making no progress in closing the distance, in fact, the distance was increasing.

“Hee hee… very good… very impressive…” Eugene spoke, standing still now. 

“I see… so you can’t teleport… you just move very fast…” Khan noted as he walked around Eugene, like a researcher observing his test subject. 

My ability only allows me to manipulate the space that exists. I cannot create nor negate space. Infinite Distance is simply looping the distance and changing the direction in which he is running. If he could teleport, he would teleport out of that loop. Him not doing so means he just moves really fast… 

Khan grinned. 

“I see… so you operate just like every other thing on this Earth… which means, you’re subject to MY rules.” Khan spoke menacingly as he approached Eugene, eyeing him down.

Eugene tried to reach out to Khan but even his hands kept reverting back to it’s original position. 

“You’re strong… I’ll give you that… and yet… why did so many of your students end up dying in that massacre? ” Eugene stood there and looked Khan straight in the eye. 

Fury flashed across Khan’s face. 

“You’ll regret that…” Khan vehemently spat out those words. 

“You mentioned that you manifest through the shadow of that piece of cloth? Well, then it's easy then, my next move would be to simply…” Khan once again formed the Akash Mudra with his hands. 

“Rip you apart!” Khan twisted his hands in an unfolding motion, like opening a book. 

[Single Fold]

Eugene found himself split into two places. His upper body appeared several metres away while his lower body remained near Khan.

Khan teleported to Eugene’s head. 

“Don’t worry, you haven’t been ripped apart yet… You see, I’ve only folded space, so while you see yourself in two different spaces, your ‘body’ still thinks it's in one space. That is until…” Khan grabbed onto Eugene’s head, while releasing his ability. 

The space Khan folded started to reorganise itself, pulling itself back to its original positon. But Eugene’s head was stuck in place by Khan, the resultant force pulling Eugene’s upper body back to its place started to tear his body apart.

“Tell, me… you describe yourself as darkness… can darkness feel pain?” Khan mocked as Eugene’s body tore into two, half of his upper body reappeared at his lower body while the remainder remained held up by Khan. 

“AAHHRRGGG…. Heeehh, heeeh, it seems I do….” Eugene screamed in agony, breathing heavily, watching his lower body collapse to the floor. 

Khan held on tight to the upper torso of his enemy and grasped onto his dark shadowy head. He could feel the texture of it, it was coarse and rough, like needles. Khan couldn’t wait to just rip it in half and get rid of that creepy smile. 

But then Eugene slipped from his grasp, like earlier, his body once gain disappeared and the sheet he was possessing turned limp. 

He disappeared? No, he just transferred mediums… He calls himself darkness, so…

My shadow?!

Khan looked behind him and sure enough, in his shadow, were the same set of creepy features starring at him. 

“Surrrpriseee!” Eugene’s creepy voice called out as he threw a punch from Khan’s own shadow. 

It was odd, being punched by your own shadow. Khan watched as his shadow moved without his permission, throwing punches that Khan could ‘feel’. As in, he felt the pain, but nothing ever really touched him. 

This is starting to get really annoying. 

Khan thought to himself, but he had an ace up his sleeve. 

For a shadow to exist, there needs to be a light source. But what if your position kept changing? What if it changed too fast for a proper shadow to form? 

That was Khan’s plan.

He could change his position by folding space and walking through the folded space. So he needed to do was fold space multiple times, bringing himself to different angles and positions and simultaneously exiting those positions. It would be like if he was carving his own corridor through space. To do this required an immense concentration and spiritual energy. It was not something an ordinary Exorcist could pull off. 

But Khan was no ordinary Exorcist. 

[Unlimited Fold: Infinite Corridor]

Khan chanted and began to teleport all over the space. 

An ordinary eye would not be able to catch him. To an observer, Khan seemed to be moving at the speed of light. 

Khan was actually moving 0.0000001 seconds slower than the speed of light. 

But from Khan’s view, it was like taking a stroll, from one position to the next, his folds through space acted like portals, instantly bringing him through various positions. Light touched him for only a fraction of a fraction of a second. Inside his corridor of portals, were dizzying fractals of light and dark. 

But Khan was closing his eyes anyway, in his infinite corridor, Khan only needed to sense his own energy. And that gave him a splendid view of the very concept of space itself. It was a vast and beautiful image, best described as the emptiness of outer space colliding with the deepness of the blue ocean. Khan found himself in a zen-like state, connecting from one point to the next, like drawing through stars in the night sky. 

From Eugene’s view, it was like absolute hell.

Eugene felt his essence being torn apart, like being passed through the meat grinder while also spinning in circles. He also felt like he was simultaneously being drowned, his existence slowly fading. He needed to find another medium. And he needed to find it fast. He couldn’t use the darkness of Khan’s corridor, it was filled with energy that even Eugene knew would instantly exorcsie him. 

He had to pull out the ol’ reliable. 

“wAiT! DoN’t YoU wAnT To KnOw AbOuT tHe SyMboLs? AnD tHe ReLaTiOn To ThE dEaD eXoRcIsT?”

“Meh, I don’t care.” Khan replied, he could tell Eugene was getting desperate, if he stopped and allowed Eugene out, he would not have another chance.

Thisss iss nooott good!!! Eugene thought.

Eugene started to panic, he was left with only one option for survival. 

He rematerialised, and felt his body get stretched across and pulled in so many directions. 

All the various folds were reorganising themselves after Khan walked through them. Eugene’s body broke into a million pieces, all scattered across the floor. His dark shadowy body now in crumbs. But Eugene was still alive. A small portion of his face remained intact, it was were his core lie. His single eye and half a smile were all that remained functioning. 

Eugene needed to reconnect with his lower body, he needed to get back to his cursed curtain. Eugene inched his way to his goal, but then he felt a hand pick him up.

“I can’t believe you managed to escape that… well, I guess there’s not much of you left…” Khan said as he dangled Eugene’s half-face in the air.

“I might as well listen to what you wanted to say about the symbols and what it has to do with Ryu. You know, before I exorcise you.” Khan said nonchalantly.

Eugene coughed and gagged, still regaining his composure. 

“Haaa…heeee… thoseee symbols… doo you know what they meeaan?” Eugene wheezed. 

Khan brought Eugene’s half-face to the symbols, he noticed they were a repeating pattern. 

The four symbols repeated themselves over and over. 

“These look familiar… I’ve… it feels like I’ve seen them before…” Khan spoke, he felt an ominous familiarity with those symbols.

“Heee heee heee… that’s because you haveee… Your friend, the exorcist with the scar on his eye, will see them when he findss the bodyyy… Both of youu will find these symbolsss familiar…” Eugene spoke, his half-grin widening.

“These symbols… they’re ancient Chinese? It’s a curse…” Khan pondered out loud.

“Yesss… and where have seen these curses before?” 

Khan pondered hard, searching his memory as to where he had seen this particular curse. 

Suddenly, it all came together, images of the battle that day, his students and colleagues lying motionless on the floor, puddles of blood forming beneath them, evil spirits drawing symbols around those bodies in the blood of his comrades. 

The symbols they drew were exactly the same as the ones he saw in front of him now. 

Eugene was enjoying the torment on Khan’s face.

“One year ago… the Nan Ching Massacre…” Khan’s face filled with a slow creeping horror as he realised the significance of the symbols.

“YEsss!! YEss!!! I’m sureee you’ve figured out what they mean by now?” Eugene squealed excitedly. 

“It can’t be… we’ve removed all traces of the curse… we thought they referred to the massacre… There’s no way it can be activated…” Khan said, distraught.

“You’re just plain wrong about that… It can be reactivated… thanks to the Spiritual Reinforcement you Exorcists like to rely on sooooo much! Your friend is probably running around now trying to get to the bottom of thisss but will he make it in time?” Eugene started to cackle.

“In time? In time for what?” Khan asked, his patience running out.

“Heee… heee… come on, you know what the symbols mean don’t youuu? These four characters… translated… means…

“‘Hell On Earth’”

Khan’s eyes widened, he knew he needed to end this quickly and get over to Shen to warn him. An event bigger than the Nan Ching Massacre could occur. 

“You’re wrong about one more thing byy the wayyy… Did you think I would go down so easily? My legs… they can move on their own you knowww…” Eugene used this opportunity to slip down into the shadows and rejoin his lower body, which had appeared behind Khan. The remaining torn sheet quickly reformed into a smaller version of Eugene.

Shit!

Khan was caught completely off guard, he still couldn’t sense Eugene’s movements. 

“I’ll be the one ending thisss!!” Eugene’s left and right hand formed cradles, with his left hand cupping his right hand from below, his sharp fingernails facing opposite directions.  

“[Dispossession: Humbling Abyss]” Eugene chanted. 

The next thing Khan felt was his body sinking into the ground, followed by complete utter darkness.

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