In the Spiritual World…
“You’ll pay for this!” Khan yelled, fury in his eyes. He ran out of the barrier, into the darkness where Eugene was.
“[Boundless Energy: Maximum Distortion]” Khan’s voice boomed and more cracks started to appear in the sky and the ground, light shining through them.
The space in which Eugene would operate in started to shrink.
The whirlwind of spiritual energy created earlier was now expanding inwards, cutting into Eugene’s darkness, shredding off his body layer by layer.
Eugene held on, gritting his teeth as he felt his existence get cut down by Khan's energy.
“HEEEHEEE, yess!!! Show me your rage!” Eugene was secretly enjoying the display of rage, even though it hurt so bad.
The whirlwind closed in on Eugene’s body.
Khan’s body glowed a bright blue, his hand waving around as though he was controlling the energy in the whirlwind. With each hand movement, cracks started to appear in the outer whirlwind, allowing light to shine through. Each ray of light acted like a spear, piercing Eugene’s dark body.
“AHHHH” Eugene screamed in pain, he was desperately moving around, his large swirling shadow of a body trying to escape the whirlwind of energy and the beams of light that enter his world. Eugene slammed his face into Khan’s barrier, the only thing separating Ozai and the barrier agent from the darkness and blasts of energy outside.
Ozai could sense it all outside the barrier, even as he felt his existence wither.
Is… this it?
Ozai thought as he felt his soul grow lighter and lighter, an unimaginable force beginning from the place he was stabbed seemed to be eating away at his very existence in the spiritual world.
I haven’t even got the chance to do anything… my goal…
Ozai thought about the day he was burdened with his ability. He was too young to remember, but his father told him everything.
15 years ago…
Two-year-old Ozai lay on the hospital bed in a trance-like state. IV needles were hooked up to his arm and then to a blood bag bigger than the size of Ozai’s small frail head. His father looked at his child with a despondent look while his mother cried into the shoulder of her husband. This was a regular occurrence for the Sasaki family.
Ozai Sasaki had a rare genetic blood disorder and would die young. The blood transfusions and various other medical operations could only help so much. The doctors say that he probably only had a year left to live and if he did manage to hang on longer, his life would be filled with pain.
But Ozai’s father, Mr. Sasaki, was determined to find a means to let his son live a proper life. And he would use any means necessary.
“I know a guy,” Mr. Sasaki’s brother informed him.
“He helped me cure my back… I can give you his name. They say he works miracles…” His brother said.
Mr Sasaki had heard. There were people that claimed to be miracle healers and shamans. It was the world of the occult. His brother had an accident that affected his back, causing him to walk with a limp. But ever since he started going for ‘therapy’ with this strange guy, he was healed in record time.
The idea did intrigue him, but was he really going to rely on the occult? Wasn’t his brother’s case an exception?
“The name of this man… is Raison.” His brother informed.
Mr. Sasaki took note but did not intend to act on it. Not yet.
Then one day, Mr. Sasaki was approached by a peculiar person.
He was a young man, dressed in a flamboyant suit. He wore a button-up shirt with a floral pattern and a strikingly white suit blazer. He had gold-piercings on both his ears and had dyed his hair blond.
“Good evening Mr. Sasaki… My name is Raison Connors. To prove to you that this is my actual name, here is my card.” The man spoke in a calm voice that contrasted his appearance and handed Mr. Sasaki a card.
[Tragedy Specialist: Raison C.
Will solve any tragedy for a fee!
Mr. Sasaki was caught rather off-guard. The name rang a bell. It was too much of a coincidence. He was inclined to think this was a prank.
“I know about your son sir, and I intend to help your family. Of course, I will be taking a fee, but know that it is completely nominal. I sincerely intend to help your son from the bottom of my heart.” Raison spoke as he stared into Mr. Sasaki’s eyes. His stare was so cold that Mr. Sasaki was frozen by it.
“You think this might be a scam, maybe a prank. But go ahead, look me up, my name isn’t hard to mix up. Once you do, give me a call.” Raison said confidently and walked away, leaving Mr. Sasaki standing there, holding onto his business card.
That night, that rather odd interaction gnawed away at Mr. Sasaki’s mind, it was the same name his brother had told him. Was it true? Was there a chance after all? His curiosity built up, leading him to search ‘Raison Connors’ on the internet.
[Raison Connors: Scam Artist or Messiah?]
[‘Tragedy Specialist’ cures man of cancer]
[Woman in life-threatening accident saved by mysterious ‘Tragedy Specialist’]
These sorts of articles and discussion threads popped up. While many media articles were dismissive and skeptical, most of the comments and discussion threads were all talking about how this man had helped them. It seemed this man had some sort of religious following. People were calling him a shaman, meaning it in both a good and bad sense.
Mr. Sasaki wasn’t fully convinced. But at this point he was willing to do anything. And if all this man wanted was a small fee, then he would gladly pay it.
Joy could be heard in Raison’s voice when he replied to Mr. Sasaki’s phone call.
Over the next few days, Raison would visit Ozai in the hospital and monitor his health. He would bring along a notebook and scribble some lines in a weird language Mr. Sasaki had never seen before.
Then it was time.
Raison shut the blinds in the hospital room and locked the door.
Mr. Sasaki was the only one in the room. When he saw what Raison was doing, he felt like he had simply hired a scam shaman to perform some sort of sham ritual to ‘bless’ his son. Raison was dressed in his usual white suit but he now had mantra beads hung around his neck. He placed a charm above Ozai’s bed and two more next to his head.
Raison then started to place more charms around the bed, creating a circle.
“What are you doing? If you’re wasting my time, I’ll have you reported…” Mr. Sasaki said sternly. The scene was looking more and more ridiculous.
“Relax, Mr. Sasaki. I’ve told you before, I’m doing a ritual that will give your son life. He will be reborn. He may not be perfect, but he’ll certainly in a better physical condition that he is now.” Raison said as he pulled out a vase from the bag he had brought with him.
The vase had a strange inscription on it.
“This… this all looks so wrong… this… this looks occult!” Mr. Sasaki knew what he was getting into, but seeing it up close made it all seem like nonsense.
“I understand your concerns… but like I said, if you want your son to live, then you’ll trust me. This is the only way.” Raison grasped onto his mantra beads with one hand and held out the vase towards Ozai.
“And please sir, do not interfere, or I cannot guarantee the life of your son… or yours.” Raison’s word’s were now stern and his blank cold gaze was swapped with a piercing stare.
“And if you don’t believe in the occult anyway, then nothing will happen and everything will be as it once was, but I’m sure we all don’t want that. So sit back, and let me do my job.” Raison bluntly stated. He breathed in a deep breathe and began his chant.
“[By the authority of the White Guard, the White Impermanence, you have been given a second chance… To re-enter the earthly realm, you shall cease all hostilities towards mankind and aid them. Should you agree, you shall be released from this empty vessel and into a new one, whom you will form a contract with in the spirit of upholding your agreement. See and experience mankind’s struggle from their perspective and understand what it means to live. In exchange, give this young boy the life he was robbed of…]”
Raison ‘s voice boomed and the room began to shake as if an Earthquake was taking place. Mr. Sasaki was getting worried, something was definitely happening. The vase Raison was holding onto began to crack. The insignia on it was glowing red.
“[All those who make amends, will always be at peace. The Great Omukade, I release you!]” Raison ended his chant and the vase shattered into pieces.
A blinding light filled the room.
When everything had settled down, all traces of the ritual had disappeared. The vase was gone, the charms were gone. Ozai was lying on the bed as if nothing had happened. Except this time, he had a terrible scar on his mouth and a mark in between his eyebrows.
“What… what did you do to my son…” Mr. Sasaki was shocked at the sight, he feared the consequences of what had just occurred.
“Hmm… I told you, nothing is perfect… your son… he won’t be able to see, speak nor taste from now onwards… but I guarantee you, he’ll live a long fruitful life. In fact… it’s even better…” Raison walked towards Ozai, noticing the mark on Ozai’s forehead.
“Stay away from my son! I should never have let you get anywhere near him!” Mr. Sasaki tried to hold Raison back, anger and fury filling his eyes.
“Your son… he truly has potential.. So he managed to grab hold of the Hundred Lives ability as well? Remarkable…” Raison muttered.
The mark in between Ozai’s eyebrows was a small number. It was the number ‘100’. It seemed like a birthmark or a tattoo, looking completely natural on his skin.
“What did you do to him? Reverse it! Now!” Mr. Sasaki yelled, regret showed clearly on his face.
Raison paused to look Mr. Sasaki in the eye.
“You want me to reverse this? Your son would have died in a year! With this, he can live a long life! Ask the doctors, he won’t be needing any operations or transfusions anymore. Would you rather your son die?” Raison’s cold, calm voice returned.
“Then explain, what did you do to my son… what is that mark?” Mr, Sasaki asked, his voice shaking.
“Your son has formed a contract with the Great Omukade. It has fused with your son, taking away his sight, taste and voice but in exchange, giving him life, power and the ability to cheat death…” Raison’s voice trailed. Mr. Sasaki was clearly confused.
“Cheat death? You think this is a joke?” Mr. Sasaki was losing his patience.
“No, I don’t. I’m telling you the truth. Did you not feel it? Did you not feel the power unleashed in this room? That mark on his forehead. In my circles it is known as the Mark of a Hundred Lives. Not everyone who contracts Omukade can use that ability but your son can. It means he can avoid death…” Raison realised he was not getting through to Mr. Sasaki.
“What are you talking about? Is this more occult shit? I’m going to call security…” Mr. Saski dashed for the door.
“Wait!” Raison commanded.
He passed Mr. Sasaki another card.
“Contact these people. They’ll explain everything clearly. And tell them Raison sent you.”
Mr. Sasaki looked down at the card, the title read: [Spiritual Anomalies Investigation Bureau]
“What the fu-” Before Mr. Sasaki could say anything further, Raison was gone and a doctor and nurse rushed into the room.
“Sir, we were told that your son needed attention? Is everything alright?” The doctor entered and accessed the situation.
“Please… check on my son…” Mr. Sasaki pleaded.
In a few hours, it would be revealed that Ozai was completely cured of his genetic disorder.
In a few days Mr. Sasaki would contact the SAIB and an Agent by the name of Charles would arrive and explain everything.
The following entry was keyed into the SAIB database that same week, meant only for the eyes of the upper echelons of the Bureau.
[Contract Database Entry No. C-17700]
Clearance Level: Top Secret
Contracted Spirit: Omukade
Ability Name: Hundred Lives
Current Holder: Ozai sasaki
Description: Hundred Lives allows the user to regenerate and reset to a base state, even after sustaining fatal injuries. As long as the user is still alive, he or she can reset their bodies, healing from any injury instantly. They can do this for up to a 100 times, thus essentially giving them 100 lives. Users of this ability are rare and they will have a mark to indicate this on their bodies. The condition to activate this ability is uncertain and unknown. Previous users have reported that they were not entirely in control of it.
Present Day, Spiritual World.
Ozai’s eyes widened. He felt a surge of energy within him. It was unlike anything he felt before. He could sense it, he could feel it. His wound was healing but more than that, he could sense Omukade again. This was it. His ability had activated. Ozai had been told about this countless times throughout his youth by his father.
Now he understood.
While before he couldn’t feel any connection to Omukade, now he could feel as though Omukade was right next to him.
Ozai rose from his position, staring at the scene outside as Khan relentlessly pounded Eugene into the whirlwind of energy.
The mark on his forehead burned the entire time. And the presence of Omukade was closer than ever.
[Do you want to live?]
Ozai heard a voice inside of him. It was rough, coarse and deep. It was Omukade.
He hadn’t been reset fully yet. His wound was healing but not fast enough. The Hundred Lives ability had been activated but the weak connection was preventing it from properly resetting his body. There was only one way.
[Young man, I’m using all I can to make this as easy for you as possible. If you want to live, you need to do it… I’ll help you.]
Ozai has witnessed Khan doing it earlier. He had always been in tune with his spiritual energy and the spirit he had contracted with. Ozai felt it was possible. At least this time, while his ability was making the connection to Omukade stronger. Convergence was within his grasp. It was foolish to attempt it as a beginner, it likely wouldn’t work. But being near-death made Ozai slightly reckless. He needed to grow, to get stronger if he wanted to achieve his goal. He needed to live and this was the only way to do it.
The words began to form in his mind.
“[Convergence: Invincible Armoured Omukade]”
In the Purifying Lake…
Daiyu undressed and tossed her dirtied clothes into the water. They fizzled and glowed as the purifying properties of the water cleansed any spiritual corruption on the clothes.
Daiyu submerged herself into the lake, soaking her entire body underneath it before coming up for air.
Small bubbles formed around her body as the water started to fizzle as they came into contact with her pale skin. Her wound on her thigh was already starting to heal up. The cooling water was refreshing and rejuvenated Daiyu’s spirit almost instantly.
She leaned back on the stone steps leading into the lake, resting her arms on them. Khan had built a portal to the Purifying Lake long ago and recently the Bureau had the funds to install steps and a room to change in.
Now, it was an invaluable asset to the Bureau, it was the place exorcists came to heal up and wash off any spiritual residue. The lake was akin to a holy site, blessed during ancient times to become a place for rest and rejuvenation. Spiritual Reinforcement caused this lake to become the purifying lake it is today.
Daiyu closed her eyes, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere. The lake had a natural mist surrounding it, adding to the zen-like vibes.
The water started to change temperature, going from cooling to warm. It was one of the properties of the lake, to change temperature based on the phase of healing and purification. Right now it was tending to Daiyu’s wounds.
Daiyu let out a sigh of relief as she felt her muscles relax. It was a tense day.
There had been so many sightings just in half a day, it was a highly unusual morning. So unusual that Daiyu couldn’t help but feel like something was up.
“Ryu’s death… the Epsilon Level anomaly… the spike in spiritual anomalies…” Daiyu muttered as she lay in the lake. It was too much of a coincidence for them to happen all within the span of a few hours.
It reminded her of the massacre a year ago.
As Daiyu’s mind raced to find the connection, the sleepy, zen-like atmosphere around her, combined with the relaxing properties of the lake, caused her to enter a dream-like state…
Daiyu started to dream of the massacre a year ago.
It was like it was yesterday. The feelings all came back. The feeling of her lungs burning, her body exhausted as she summoned her golem yet again. There was no opportunity for rest.
The smell of blood lingered in the air as she defended her fellow exorcists from the onslaught of spirits.
It was the tail-end of the fight. The battle had already gone on for too long. But she could sense it, this was the last wave.
As she exorcised the last spirit within her sight, she took a moment to access her surroundings. Blood, chaos, suffering, and the same four repeating symbols were all around her. She kept seeing the same things. She was sick of it. But it was going to end soon. She was sure.
How many did they lose? How many died that day? Why did this happen? Who was behind all this?
So many questions bounced around her mind. But they were all interrupted by an immense presence. It was the last remaining spirit.
It’s presence was huge, and it had appeared out of nowhere. Almost like it was summoned here.
The spirit’s presence was massive, it was unlike anything Daiyu had sensed before. The other exorcists could sense it too.
A sound could be heard from not too far away. The sound of a pair of heavy wings flapping.
And soon enough, a menacing figure rose above the buildings. It was the final boss, the only thing standing between the exorcists and freedom.
Daiyu had never seen anything like it. It had the body of a large furry wolf, its claws were sharp like talons. It had the head of a fox, with large ox horns growing out from its forehead. On its back, were large scaly wings, like the wings of a dragon. Its general size was several times larger than a bull.
Daiyu and the other exorcists at the safe zone could feel the immense pressure. This was no ordinary spirit. Daiyu had studied this when she was a trainee. This was a Fiend.
There were only four, and based on the appearance, this was Qiong Qi, the Fiend of Deviousness.
They were in no state to exorcise him now.
“Holy shit… that’s a Fiend…” Khan blurted out, he too was exhausted.
“Quick! We can’t let him get here! He could wipe out all of us at once! All Rank A and above follow me, we’ll deal with the Fiend. Everyone else, stay back here!” Daiyu commanded. She clapped her hands together and slammed them onto the ground.
“[Earthen Genesis: Iron Giant]” Daiyu chanted and the ground beneath her began to shake.
A golem made out of stone and iron rose from the ground. It was bigger than anything Daiyu had made that day and it took out a lot from her.
Daiyu stood on the shoulder of her Iron Giant. And slowly began to make her way towards the Fiend.
“So… you got a plan? Exorcising that is gonna be hard… I’m running out of juice…” Khan spoke, floating next to Daiyu.
“I’m not planning on exorcising that. I would say Qiong Qi is one of the hardest Fiends to exorcise… what it lacks in power, it makes up for it with smarts… and that is infinitely more deadly. We can’t let it realise that most of our exorcises are recuperating in the safe zone. We need to distract it. Once we do that, I’ll seal it.” Daiyu spoke with a determined look in her eyes.
“Seal it? You mean… You’re going to use Convergence? And in the physical world? Daiyu… you’ve barely perfected your Convergence Technique in the spiritual world yet… in your tired state, if you mess up…” Khan warned.
“We, we have no choice… we can’t exorcise Qiong Qi in our current state… we need to seal him no matter what…” Daiyu insisted.
“I may be able to help with that…” A calm voice spoke.
A man in a white suit appeared, walking next to Daiyu’s Iron Giant. He had blond hair and gold piercings on his ears. He had a nonchalant look on his face like the carnage and destruction around him did not faze him. A small stubble decorated his chin. The man could not be younger than 35 despite dressing like a young punk.
“And who are you? You’re not from the bureau… so, a private exorcist?” Khan conjectured.
“Yes, my name is Raison. Raison Connors.” Raison spoke.
“Wait, I’ve heard of your name before… you run that private service, helping victims of tragedy… You call yourself a Tragedy Specialist… You used to be part of the Bureau… Charles spoke about you…” Daiyu started to recall.
“Yes, well, I’m flattered the old man still remembers me. If you know so much about me then you must know my ability. Which is why I think I can help.” Raison continued.
“Using a half-baked Convergence Technique on a Fiend is asking for trouble. If your seal fails, you’ll surely die. That’s why we have to do it together. My ability is hardly powerful enough to stop a fiend. I need you to begin the seal with your Convergence Technique and then I’ll complete the seal with my ability.” Raison spoke without a sense of urgency, in his calm monotone voice.
It was jarring but he made sense. With him this could work.
“Okay…this is our only choice afterall…” Daiyu replied.
Daiyu snapped out of her dream. The water had gotten hot enough that it was feeling more like a hot spring. Daiyu felt like she had enough and stepped out of the lake, grabbing her wet clothes in the process.
Wrapping a towel around her body, she walked to the changing rooms, her mind still obsessing over the current events.
There was something, she couldn’t quite see yet.
The increase in spiritual anomalies today, they were all over the place, no specific location where they gathered.
Daiyu started to get dressed, putting on her underwear.
The Epsilon Level Anomaly… only a spirit of a Deity Level could do that… how did we miss a Deity in the Southern Nan Ching District?
Daiyu put on her pants and shirt, buttoning the buttons one by one.
A deity needs a following, a large amount of people had to worship it or at least think about the deity in order for it to manifest…. I need to look for a nearby church or temple, or places for mass gatherings.
Daiyu put on her tie, tightening it around her collar.
I need a map, and time to think, there’s something I’m missing… The location, the timing, there has to be a connection between today’s events and the massacre a year ago. I need to figure out what it is…
Daiyu walked out of the changing room and headed to her office.
There’s also one more thing… the seal.
When she reached her office the first thing she did was pull out a map and lay it out on her desk. She marked the locations of all the major reports they had this morning. And then she marked the location of the place where they had sealed Qiong Qi.
The sightings formed an odd pattern, if it even could be considered a pattern at all. They were all over the place, except for one area. The Nan Ching District Area. In this area, only 3 marks existed. The Epsilon Level Threat, Ryu’s unnnatural death and Qiong Qi’s seal.
It was unusual for so many spiritual anomalies to be recorded in such a short span of time with no obvious cause. Especially since these anomalies were significant enough to require sizeable manpower to deal with. Daiyu was confident that there had to be a reason behind the number of reports.
Someone or something is causing this… the question is… what’s the purpose? To divert attention from the Nan Ching District?
Daiyu kept going back to the only 3 markings in the Nan Ching District. The Epsilon Level Threat was big enough to warrant enough attention into the area. Not to mention the death of another exorcist in the same area. So it couldn’t be an attempt to bring attention away.
There was a pattern. There was a purpose.
One of their strongest exorcists engaged in a Disposession, the rest scrambling around fighting of anomalies. All eyes were paying attention to the wrong things.
Daiyu picked up her phone and dialled Charles.
“Charles? Get me Raison Connors. We need to pay a visit to Qiong Qi’s seal.”