Act I: The Name of the Game
Part IV: Brothers
Read Part I first! Right under the Dumbledore story.
We crossed over to
During the first 6 months, we were unable to get a lead whatsoever. That was of no real consequence, since Master Rama had given us as much time as we needed, but it frustrated me; I blamed it on my own incompetence. Meanwhile, Sorakirin and I had a great deal of interesting and dangerous adventures, not the least of which was an almost deadly encounter with Katsuishin assassins of the Ajisai Sect. We had been digging around; for five and a half months we had been sticking (mostly I did) our noses in all the wrong places and had gotten into all sorts of trouble. Someone finally noticed and was irritated. We were in
I am not ashamed to say that, though I had a good enough command of the two Scientiae most feared by those collectively – and simplistically – called “undead”, I was easy prey for them. Their powers were astounding and deadly. With one down and two to go, I had already been exhausted, though I fought one at a time with no intervention from the others (they have a peculiar code of engagement). I was expecting to go down impressively (there was no way I would be able to elude them, due to an ability known as Onisokudou), even if that incurred a tremendous Nemesis on me. As it started to rain, announcing my fall, I thought, I gathered my wits and the last of my strength to summon a Sacrum Fulmen, a sacred lightning in the middle of friggin’ Tokyo; the reality backlash would be deadly in that area.
Well, I never had the chance, as a lightning bolt from the storm above struck between my assailants and me. There, in the midst of dust and steam, a sprawled form lay apparently unconscious; I recognized Sorakirin’ s blue mohawk and stopped in the middle of my Magia. One of the Ajisai approached, determined to end this quickly, before police and firemen gathered at the scene. As he reached a distance roughly 2 meters away from Sorakirin, quick as lightning, what seemed like a metallic staff hit him and bluish energy crackled, turning him into dust within seconds. The other assassin wisely thought better of it and started calling upon one of his frightening powers, akin to an Elemental Fire effect but much more devastating. I knew my friend could not counter it in time, so I threw myself between them, taking most of the blast. Only the skin thick Elemental Barrier I had summoned prevented me from burning to a crisp. Nevertheless, I lost all consciousness.
When I woke up, I was someplace dark and damp but I could feel the bandages, in the parts of my body I actually could feel. I could not make out anything though, either because of the blast or the place. I struggled to focus my sight. Then I saw Sorakirin but I believed that I was too seriously injured, since it seemed as if his skin had peeled off to reveal... I felt intense pain and coughed up blood.
“Kang-Lin, please tell me he'll live! You have the power to...” I heard my frantic friend.
“Worry not. Your friend should be dead, but he resisted the Tengu Kaen (as that power was evidently called). Impressive, for a mortal; even one of his kind. It is up to his will to live now. I must be gone; I have already tarried enough”, she said coldly but with a hint of anxiety.
“Thank you” he said honestly, more seriously than I had ever heard him talk before.
I woke up, completely healed, 3 days later but stiff as a stick. I was in our room and very, very hungry. Then, Sorakirin entered and yelled out of joy that I was awake. It was the first time his face was not eternally smiling and tears of joy trickled down his cheeks.
“You dumb bastard”, he said to me “eat up so I can yell at you for scaring me like that, with my conscience resting easy. Are you nuts? The Ajisai almost fried you like cheap tofu. What were you thinking?”
“Well”, I said weakly, “I thought I at least owed that to your ugly mug, for blasting in at the right moment. If not for you, I'd be… Well, wherever you end up when reality spits you out… It’s a one-way ticket, whatever the case.”
He said no more; he just smiled, relieved, and helped me eat. When I was done and he was doing the dishes, I asked him:
“Who was that woman?”
“A healer... of sorts.”
“I asked you who she was.”
“You are susceptible enough to death, without me burdening you with such knowledge.”
“Fair enough. There is one other thing though...”
“It's probably just my imagination, but... there, in that place, I had the impression that your face had… peeled?”
“Yeah, I know, probably too much heat on the old gray cells.”
“What do you…?”
I then heard the sound of something ripped apart, like paper, and Sora turned to look at me with his right eye permanently closed; a set of nasty claw scars had sealed it shut. He explained to me how the scars and the blue hair had to do with his violent crossing of the Threshold, involving a Loup-Garou and a blast of Prima Materia. I never learned about the healer, but I didn't mind anyway.
That night, at midnight precisely, we took an oath: one would always be the other's shield and blade, true, honorable, brother. Should one succumb to Darkness, the other would use any and all means to bring him back to the Light. If all hope was forfeit, he would see to his death, no matter how long it took or how much the other pleaded or resisted. We sealed the oath with our blood and from that day on, we became Consanguinei, “Blood Brothers”.
Together we spent one and a half year searching, investigating, fighting side by side, drinking and teaching each other the secrets of our Scientiae.
[To be continued…]