Base was quiet when Ms Ayaki walked in, curious as to what progress the team had made on the case. The grim faces of the room occupants however and the unconscious Mai sent a chill down her spine.
"Is... Is everything alright?" She hesitated, her attention being drawn to the Naru look alike as he stood and sent her a bright smile that looked real, but to Naru and Lin, it was as fake as an elderly mans wig.
"In a sense of the word, things are alright now. We had a... small altercation with the ghost of yours." Gene answer the woman, walking over to her and stretching out his hand. "I'm Eugene. Kazuya's brother."
"Oh my." She said, taking his hand in a gentle handshake. "I... Well, I didn't see you earlier."
"He came... later." Was all Naru said, his brow furrowed ever so slightly as his gaze remained focused on Mai as she lay resting on one of the sofa's. He couldn't wrap his head around the events that had happened hours earlier. After Mai had been bandaged up, the team had sat down and discussed what their next plan of action would be...
"I can't keep the barrier up forever. Sooner or later, that demons gonna get in here." Monk stated solemnly, frowning at the thought of the monster attacking the women, and most likely Mai, again.
"And it seems as though the demon is only getting more agitated. I shudder to think what would happen if we didn't do something soon. Demons are no creature to be kept around while angry." John said, his arm around a still shaking Masako as she leaned on his.
"Indeed." Naru nodded, pacing in front of the sleeping Mai. "Not even Urado was this aggressive so suddenly... Lin?"
The Chinese Omnioji looked at the young man before picking up his laptop from the coffee table and opening it. "The dark beings that were with the demon are known as 'Shadow People.' Vicious beings from hell that are slaves to demons; they love to cause grief and mischief whenever they can and can become attached to a person."
A horrified gasp left Ayako's mouth as she clung to Monk. "You mean... one of those... things, could be on me right now?"
Lin just blinked before looking at Masako who stood up. "No. I do not sense any malevolent spirit within the room, but beyond is a great evil which has lurked here for many years."
"Wait! How come it only just started attacking now? It doesn't make any sense!" Yasu asked, but Masako just shook her head, a clear sign that she herself, did not know.
Naru stopped pacing long enough to look at his watch before turning to face the team and his brother that had remained oddly quiet the whole time.
"We have two hours before our scheduled dinner. Miss Matsuzaki, I want you to make protective charms for everyone and the bedrooms as well... Perhaps some for base too. John, you and Yasu are to receive them first and then head to the school library to do some research. Monk, once the charms are done, I want you to take down the barrier after dinner and then get some rest. By the looks of it, you'll need it. Masako, you and Gene will be in charge of making dinner. Am I understood?" Naru asked, receiving multiple signs of agreement from everyone before they set off to do their assigned tasks.
Yasu walked into base from the small kitchen with a tray full of tea cups and handed them out before taking a seat in the armchair opposite Mai.
"How many people are still in the school?" Lin asked, turning away from his computer screen long enough to make sure Ms Ayaki knew he was addressing her.
"Myself, the security and the caretaker... there is my assistant who's coming back in a day or too also." She said, taking a sip of tea with a smile. "Why would you need to know?"
"We want you to leave."
Naru's statement left the headmistress in a state of shock before she blinked, putting her cup on the coffee table before sputtering a response in disbelief, "Wh-what? On what grounds?"
"We mean no disrespect ma'am." John defended, trying his best to salvage the situation. "We only care about your safety. We think it would be best if you leave. That is all Kazuya meant."
Ms Ayaki seemed to relax after the Australian priest explained the situation and she nodded slowly, as if trying to stay calm despite the urgency to leave.
"How soon should we leave?" She asked, her voice wavering as her eyes cast a weary glance to the door between them and the poltergeist.
"As soon as possible." Was all Naru said and with that, she left the room in a rush. Half an hour later, Naru was watching multiple cars drive away into the night.
Monk yawned loudly, breaking the silence that had fallen over the room. The sign of fatigue seemed to set off a chain reaction as Masako rested her head on John's shoulder while he rubbed his eye sleepily. Ayako stretched while Yasu leaned back in his seat.
"I think we should all get some rest for the night." Gene suggested, everyone mumbled words of agreement before shuffling off to their respective rooms with the charms that Ayako made in their grasp. This left Gene in the room with Lin, Naru and an unconscious Mai.
Lin sat in front of the monitors beside Naru, who was still standing by the window, before they almost instantly looked towards Mai as she shifted, muttering under her breath.
"I can't see what she's dreaming." Gene whispered, his eyes showing both pain and confusion. "I'm worried..."
"I am too Gene. But Mai... she's strong. No matter what's thrown at her, she's always got the strength to smile." Naru stated, not even caring whether or not he was acting oddly.
Gene blinked before glancing at Lin, noticing that the Chinese omnioji was staring at Naru with a small, but noticeable smile . It was easy enough for Gene to see the change that had occurred in the two other men in the room after they had met Mai. He only hoped that their happiness wasn't suffering without him...
The sky was dark with the fierce storm that tinted the clouds green and purple. The sickly combination sent a chill down her spine as she stared over the edge of the roof. She didn't know why she was there, but what she could tell of her location was that she was on a tall building that was isolated within a large, thick forest. Mountains encircled the woods and showed no sign of an exit. Thunder boomed in the distance and caused her to jump, her fragile body shivering as a cold wind blew past her, the chill biting into her skin like blades.
A small voice, often referred to as instinct, told her to run.
To run and run and never turn back...
And she did just that. Turning on her heels, she rushed towards the small alcove which she knew, somehow, sheltered a door. Ducking into the darkness, an unknown urgency ran through her veins as she rattled the handle, shifting her weight forward quickly and slamming her shoulder into the wooden door that stood firm againsther attack. She frantically rammed herself into the door and paused only long enough to catch her breath. Her shoulder ached and the skies opened up, showering the roof in a blanket of never-ending ran.
It was then that she heard it... The bone chilling hiss of the demon...
Masako stormed into base, startling the three men from their thoughts and caused them to turn away from the unconscious brunette.
"Masako? What-" Lin tried to ask the wide eyed medium, only to have her turn to the door and rip off the charm Ayako had made. "What do you think you're doing?"
Gene's eyes widened marginally before he gasped, jumping forward to grab Mai's shoulders the instant a scream left her lips.
"Mai!" He called, shaking the shivering girl, her body becoming wet as if she was standing in rain. "Wake up! You have to wake up now!"
"Gene?" Naru asked, trying his best to retain his calm exterior, but his inner anxiety was fighting through his emotionless shell and he felt himself fall to his knees beside his brother.
"Her dream... It's not like the others. The demon managed to capture her spirit from the plane she travels to in her sleep. He's got her... He's going to kill her..." Gene whispered, feeling the heavy weight of defeat on his shoulders. "I'm her spirit guide damn it! I... I could have... I should have known the charm would have stopped my powers."
"You can still do something!" Naru yelled, his sudden outburst shocking the occupants of the room as he shifted his arms under Mai's shoulders before lifting her up to lean against the back of the couch. "Think Eugene! There has to be something?"
Masako's eyes softened as Naru's voice cracked, showing his hidden feelings for the brunette in his arms. Stepping forward, she placed a hand on his shoulder before giving him a reassuring smile, any jealousy she would have felt in her teenage years all but gone. "She's strong Naru... You of all people should know that..."
Oliver glanced at the dark haired medium in surprise before nodding slowly, looking at his brother with a pleading expression only to snap his head down to look at Mai as she let out another whimper before it was silent. "Mai?"
He got onto his knees and shook her gently, only to have his eyes widened. Quickly lowering his head to hers, he gasped loudly.
"She's not breathing... Gene! Do something!" Naru yelled at his brother. Said twin's eyes widened before he turned to his brother.
"She's been away from her body too long. We have to find her." Gene said as calmly as he could, placing a hand on his brothers free shoulder, sending him a knowing look before he stepped away, grabbing Masako as he went to give Naru some space.
"Psychometry..." Naru whispered, staring down at Mai tenderly.
"Noll... I know you care. We all do. But you can't-" Lin warned him, only to be ignore and Naru lowered his head and sealed his lips with Mai's. His brows knitted in concentration, barely focused on the kiss, despite how much he wanted to, but Mai's life was on the line and it unnerved him how cold her lips were.
Pulling away with a gasp, Naru's eyes were wide before he snapped his head up to look at Masako.
"Get the others!"
A few minutes later had Naru standing in the hall with Mai in his arms, while a frantic Masako clung to Ayako and an anxious Gene. Monk had come storming out of his room with a nervous John following in his wake. Angry words had been exchanged between the bassist and the narcissistic boss before Lin intervened as Ayako had a panic attack over wasting time.
"We have to break through a wall to get to the doorway. The headmistress thought it would be safer to seal off the doorway to the roof." With that, Lin handed out sledgehammers to John and Monk before leading to the wall next to base.
"Um... No offence Lin. But this doesn't look like anything has been sealed off..." Monk started, feeling the wall for cracks or any sign that a doorway had been sealed.
"Looks can be deceiving in this business. You should know that Takigawa." Lin told the blonde in a monotone voice, hiding his worry for his friend as best as he could.
Sighing, John hefted the hammer and swung at the wall, dust and paint flying off and revealing a poorly bricked doorway, some bricks already falling to the other side of the wall. Masako blinked as she clutched onto Ayako.
"It was just plaster?" Her question went unanswered as Monk joined John in beating through the false wall. In a few seconds, there was a hole large enough for them to fit through comfortably. Stepping through into the darkness of the newly opened corridor, Ayako turned on a torch that had been dangling from her wrist and pointed it down the dusty hallway. Taking a tentative step forward, she felt Masako shiver as a cold breeze rushed past them.
It wasn't the normal chill they would get during a storm, but the kind when paranormal activity was at its peak and as one, they all broke into a run, disregarding the ominous creak of the wooden steps that lead to the doorway that blocked them from their goal.
Without stopping, Monk sped up, lifting the sledgehammer above his head and swinging it down against the door. It splintered into thousands of tiny pieces that fell to the wet ground of the roof just as a scream rang out.
Naru and Gene were the first to break through the darkness of the small alcove that sheltered the door and stopped in their tracks the second they laid eyes on the demon.
It stood in its twisted body, clutching a struggling Mai who looked as though she had just died. Only, she very well might.
"Mai!" Monk called out, trying to get past Gene only to be stopped when the boy held him back. "Let go! We have to get her! She's right there!"
Gene just shook his head in a manner that instantly stopped Monk's struggles. His face was pulled tight and slowly, Gene released Monk before taking a cautious step forward.
"Stop..." The demon hissed, pulling Mai closer to it and the brunette cringed as its' breathe fluttered over her face. "Any closer and I'll kill her."
"Why are you doing this?" Naru asked as calmly as he could, tightening his grip on Mai's physical body.
"Do you humans understand who I am?" The demon asked in turn, only receiving a shake of the head, Gene's way of saying no without speaking to Mai's captive. "Then of course you wouldn't know. But let me explain... This girl here has already figured out that this school used to be a prison. However, how many of you knew that? How many of you knew that prisons usually have the most demonic spirits in them?"
"The records only said a detention facility. Any police records or injuries that you caused were only recent. The only links were the types of phenomena found." Lin answered, stepping up beside Naru.
"Ah. Yes. The good old days... My name back then escapes me but I was a killer. How many I killed... I don't know. But there screams gave me pleasure and it excited me when the begged for mercy. Oh how I remember their weak, pitiful voices. 'Please... Please don't kill me... I won't tell anyone, just let me go...' Stupid fools, like it'd let go of my prey. But all toys must break." The demon sighed before snapping its head down to look at Mai as she managed to jerk from his grip and rushed to Naru.
"You are a sick monster. Now that I think about it, this case was pointless. All that research and effort for nothing." She yelled at the demon before touching her spiritual forehead to her physical one, merging with it in a glimmer of sparkles. A second later, a groan left her lips as she clutched at Naru's shirt. "I forgot how tiring it was to leave my body."
"You are foolish, girl. My prey never escapes!" The demon hissed and tried to lunge for her only to be stopped by a barrier. "What?"
It was then that it noticed Monk chanting, a golden tool clasped between his hands.
"You are weak. Feeding off the fear of the living to give you power. Your delusions are over. Now, you'll pay for your sins." Gene told the demon, glaring uncharacteristically at the disfigured body that was once human. "You only think you can intimidate us because you're a demon. But you've just killed so much, not even hell wanted your twisted soul."
"You know nothing!" The demon cursed, beating against the barrier.
"We do. But I have a question. Why start now? If you've been dead since before 1976, why wait?" Yasu asked, walking up behind the group with a camera pointed at the demon but staying under the alcove by the door.
"Again you prove your stupidity! Their fear had to grow before I could begin, but it had to be contained and continuous! Once it became a boarding school, it worked out perfectly for me." It smiled a sinister smile before frowning at the sound of feet splashing in the rain. Turning to look, it saw Mai standing unsteadily in front of Naru and trying her hardest to aim her gun.
"You are pathetic. You wasted our time and hurt so many people. For that, I'll make sure you pay." Mai hissed, her anger making her shaking worse.
"With that pathetic toy? Please. You're weak! Admit it! Alone you can do nothing! If it hadn't been for the foolish medium destroying the charm, they wouldn't have even found you and your soul would have been mine! Your nothing without others!" The demon scoffed at her as she struggled to stand on her own before its eyes grew wide.
Naru took his place directly behind Mai, wrapping his arms around her. One hand steadying her arm, while the other covered her finger on the trigger.
"It takes strength to rely on others. I learnt that because of Mai and that made me stronger. We've all grown because of Mai and we will always be there to save her." Naru's speech was echoed with a series of agreements, "Because of Mai... There is one less demon in the world to cause trouble."
With that, they pulled the trigger and a loud bang echoed through the night, accompanying it was a bright flash of lightning and an inhuman scream...