Living and the dead

Chapter 19

He didn't like it. Not a single bit. He should be fine sitting on his comfortable chair while feeling the peace inside the darkness but he felt otherwise, far from the usual. He raised his hand, as if reaching something invisible.

"The true nature of a person's soul. . . .is darkness." He chuckled. 'Do you know why this world is rotten? It's because it's easy to learn bad things than to seek for kindness. Being kind is for weak, it attracts darkness and while you are busy chasing the light, before you knew it-you're already into the deepest pit of darkness.' He clenched his fist tightly. 'Everyday, everyone think of something they thought could save them from darkness. When in fact the more you want to avoid it, the more it will drag you deeper.'

He heaved a deep and agonizing sigh.

'The easiest people to break in this world are those who think they're strong. It's fine to be weak, it's fine to lean on someone, it's fine even if you don't do anything to save yourself. Things that I failed to realize sooner, things that I ignore just to do what I think were right.' He fell silent for a while. "Now ani-ue, I'm the one who made you that way. I thought it's for the best, but all along, I'm just thinking of myself. I'm selfish aren't I?. . . . . . . . . .but. . . .I can't go back now. The game has been already concluded before it even started. I just need to make sure that... ...everything will be fine."

His assistant enters with a cup of black coffee. "Here's your coffee." He said, putting it above the table.

"Yamaki."

"Yes President?"

"I've been playing a dangerous game since I entered a deal with that demon." He picked up his coffee and savors its scent. "Remember what I told you before?"

"About 'no matter how you arranged something as you wish, there will always be someone who'll mess with it.' that's what you say."

"I see, you still have a nice memory." He chuckled. "I made sure that everything will go exactly as I planned. But you know ... I didn't even imagine that someone like her will put everything to an end. . . . Honestly . . . I'm scared of that girl."

"President?"

"That girl is not included in my plans yet she managed to get involved. I don't know how and what happened but everything is going smoothly until she showed up."

"I don't understand, president."

"Neither do I." He replied and sighed. "I already lose control of everything and now ... I don't know what will happen anymore. Taniyama Mai ... just what is she?"

The moment he compelled her using his hypnosis, he saw what lies ahead for him. It was not something he foresaw. What he saw was a different outcome without other possibilities yet will fulfill his desire, his desire of being free.

His office became quiet. Awfully quiet he could hear his own breathing. Kagiri turned his gaze to the almost full moon. The day that he was patiently waiting for is coming. He's looking forward to it, he's excited but feeling quite unsure all the same. Something will definitely happen. His eyes narrowed and a smirked formed in his lips again, why is everything so difficult to grasp? He didn't even wish for this to happen, but it's too late to go back now.

He needed to continue, or else everything that he has worked for would go down crashing like it was never even built. His goal will simply melt and fade away. And that made everything more interesting. He love testing his own limits and this game will definitely the end of it.

"Oliver Davis." From the table, he lifted up the young man's picture and gaze at it with contempt. "Like me, you also felt the pain of losing someone. But why are you standing on the flat form different from mine? How did you manage to move forward without being tainted?"

At first Kurogane Kagiri thought that he and Oliver Davis were the same when he learned that he too, also lose someone important to him but he was completely wrong. They may be have the same experienced in life but unlike him, Oliver Davis already moved forward whilst he on the other hand left chained in his dark past.

"What do you think Yamaki?" He asked Yamaki. But the man opted not to answer. "I wonder how far he will go just to save her? It's amazing. I want to see what he will do. But you know what Yamaki?"

"What is it president?"

"People like him... ...I truly hate the most."

(AN: ANI-UE different term for older brother.)


_ _ _Night time

One day before full moon_ _ _

Naru was peacefully seating on his chair, however his mind is keeping itself busy. Now they knew that Kurogane Kagiri is the culprit, he's thinking of a better way to bring him down.

He has this feeling that he's running out of time. After the meeting with Kurogane, the uneasiness never leaves him. It was as though he has to face a great ordeal and Naru was admitting to himself that he's scared. Not for him but for Mai.

What if something goes wrong before he finds her? He's afraid-he doesn't want to feel the pain of losing someone again. That would be too much to handle.

"Coin-san?" He jolt up from his seat and looked at the ghost Mai in front of him.

Naru immediately reached for a coin and put it on the table. He then stood up. Mai frowned at the moving chair.

"Why is that chair moving?" She asked.

"Sit there." He ordered Mai.

"There you are coin-san!" She smiled at the coin and turned to sit on the reclining chair. "Ne, coin-san. Is something wrong?" She asked before sitting down.

"Why do you asked?" Naru asked back.

"I... ...don't know. Maybe because the last time I've been here. . .it feels lonely... ...now it becomes heavier." Her eyes widen suddenly. "Could it be that your master found out about my trespassing?"

"Do you think I'm stupid to let him know about that?" He maneuvers the coin and made it jump to Mai. "Besides, I always keep my word."

Mai chuckled but it faded soon. "Tomorrow's the day huh? I wonder what will happen."

"What do you mean?" He asked, suddenly heart beating faster.

She put the coin back at the table. "Ne, coin-san... ...if you were imprisoned inside a cell without knowing what you did wrong, will you escape?"

"... ...You are imprisoned in a cell and you are planning to escape." He stated casually.

Mai laugh and scratch the back of her head. Naru closed his eyes to control his temper. "I have to do something, but. . .I know I made the right decision, yet...I'm scared that if I don't do it right, not only I won't be able to get away with my body in decent condition but also, all of the ghost here will lose their chance to leave the place."

Naru looked at Mai with a worried expression on his face. Mai is planning to escape and she would do it tomorrow. "You've decided to do something but who are you doing this for?" He asked. "Yourself? Or. . .for someone else?"

She smiled. "Can I say both?"

He didn't answer. He just looked at her.

"It doesn't matter if it's going to be dangerous." She said. "What matters now is to save everyone including myself."

"Do you really want to do it?" Naru asked, fist slowly clenching.

"I already told you that I didn't remember anything. It always made me feel empty-incomplete. Something important is missing from me. Honestly, I'm scared. I don't know if it would be a good thing having my memories back, but one thing is for sure!"

"What is it?"

"I need to get out of here and help my friends before he turns me into a meal for that ugly demon." She said, smiling nervously.

Naru's eyes widen in surprised. "A demon?"

Mai nodded in response. "You see, the person who's keeping me here has a dead brother. He's the one who told me that his brother collects souls and feed it to that demon in order to grant a wish. That is to bring his brother back."

That means ... he's taking lives to resurrect a dead person but he himself is already dead. Looking at things more thoroughly, a kind of arrangements was being form.

Naru turned his gaze on the calendar. Tomorrow is full moon, so it means that Kurogane Kagiri does his ritual on the night when the moon is full. Naru cursed loudly. He's late! Too late to know where Kagiri keeps Mai. What if...

Chaos is starting to grow in Naru's head. He needs to make a plan fast. "Do you feel inclined to talk about your situation right now?"

"It's okay." She replied. "I don't know how long has it been since I was locked up in a room. I told him I won't escape but things got a little more complicated there. Souls wanted to be free from that place, their wailing from the recurring pain they had gone through. Then I realized, I'm such a coward for being like that. I'm going to escape and free them!"

"What are your plans?" He asked her.

"I'll sneak out while he's inside the cave. He couldn't touch me that's why he will feed the demon first, I only have a single chance and I must do it right. Someone will possess a living person to get the key. From then, he will help me get to a secret exit."

Naru clenched his hand. There's a dire situation at hand and knowing Mai, she won't back down just because it's dangerous. He has to do something to make sure her safety.


The void is starting to eat all the remaining fragments. Eugene was observing the whole place from above for some time now and everything is changing. His brother should know about this as soon as possible but he couldn't get in touch with him.

If the void completely devours the remaining fragments, the owner of the memories will completely forget everything, reason for the brain to malfunction. Forgetting how to eat, walk, talk, move etc. In short the owner will die.

This is a curse made by Kurogane Kagiri to ensure that even the victim manage to survive, she would die eventually.

"Gene?"

Eugene wheeled and saw Mai. He smiled at her. "Are you okay?"

He shook his head. "I'm worried."

"I want to ask you this, you knew where the other Mai is being kept but you didn't tell your brother. Why? Why did you keep it a secret until now?"

He looked down. He misjudged everything and it's his fault that Mai's life is in danger now. "Because I'm trying to protect my brother but... ...I ended up placing you in a more big risk."

"Protecting Naru?"

He nodded. "Yes. I gave him the time he needed, to know who the person behind all of these is. If I tell him everything I knew, what do you think he will do?"

"Naru would immediately go to her."

"That's right. He'll do it without knowing who his enemy is. There were more than twenty person in that house and all of them are moving according on their master's order. Meaning, all of them can kill if someone trespasses in the mansion's premises."

Mai pouted. "I know you're concerned on your little brother Gene, but you're not putting enough faith on him."

"What do you mean?" He asked with a frown.

"You're his brother you should know him more than anyone else!" She said. "Do you really think Naru would go in that place without a plan to make sure everyone's safety? He may be a ruthless person at times but he cared for others. And the team is with him to back him up, he will be fine."

Gene's eyes sadden. How he wished he realized that sooner. "I'm sorry, Mai."

Mai held his hand and gave him a wide smile. "Don't worry Gene, I'm sure everything will be alright. And... ...when the time comes that something happens to me, I want you to keep your promise. I want you to call my name until I remember."

Gene slowly nodded. "Yes, I will." It's high time for him to take full action.


"Coin-san? You're. .. .quiet." Mai said in a worried voice.

Naru cleared his throat and made the coin jump to the table. "Mai."

"Yes?"

"Listen to what I'm going to say." He said firmly.

Mai suddenly became nervous. "W-What is it?"

"I want you to meet someone important."

"Someone.. .. .. . .important?"

"Yes, think that this dream is more than just a simple dream. Close your eyes and listen to your surroundings." He told her. Naru could only hope that this would work.

Although confused, Mai followed his instructions. She stood up while closing her eyes and feel her surroundings.

"Now, start imagining that there's a wall in front of you and it keeps you from seeing this world completely. The wall that hides everything that should exist along with this world," Naru stood up in front of her. "Do you see a wall?"

Mai nodded. She touched it and feel the cold rock in her palm. "There's a wall." She said.

"Good, now, think that you want to see through that wall."

She followed what it says. She focused herself and after a moment, the wall became water like barrier. She could see a figure standing on the other side. 'What is that?' She thought. She tried to focus her bleary vision but saw only the figure standing in front of her.

"Now, Mai... ...please open your eyes." The coin...no, this voice doesn't belong to the coin. It's from that figure.

Her eyes opened unintentionally and widen in shock. She can clearly see it now. The figure was a man with a face that bears some emotion that she couldn't name. His eyes have the same color of the flower she grew to love.

The man lifted his hand and moved it close to her hand that left hanging after the wall vanished. He gave her a small smile. She stood even. The shocking feeling never leaves her. Mai felt a pain in her chest, her wide eyes decided to show tears. It flows slowly down her cheeks along with the foreign feeling inside her.

It was the same feeling she felt while watching the family in her usual dream. She liked how they're having a happy dinner together. Yet she didn't know why she felt sad just by looking at them.

"Do you see me now?" The young man in black asked her.

She didn't respond.

"Mai... ..."

"Sorry. . ." Mai said in a quivery hushed voice. "I'm sorry. . .I'm really sorry."

Certainly she didn't do anything wrong to apologize. However, for some reason, Mai felt a strong feeling to ask for an apology. Is it because she trespassed?

No...

It's more than that.

"You don't need to push yourself too much." She heard him say. "You don't have to remember me right away."

That's right... ...She's not apologizing because she had done something bad. She's apologizing because she failed to remember him. A part of her recognized the young man. Those tears were not of sadness. The moment she saw him, a feeling of relieved and happiness elated from within. It overwhelmed her, putting her in tears.

"Mai." He called. "Idiot, stop crying."

"I'm...I'm sorry, I just can't help it! And I'm not an idiot..."

"I know." The guy said. "That's why I believe in you." He took one step forward. "No matter what happen, make it out of there alive."

"But..."

"It's okay not to believe in yourself sometimes. However, I believe in you."

She decided to smile. "I will!"


"Here's your order, sir." The kind waiter said, handing out his take out order.

Yasuhara took it with a smile.

As he was about to leave, two people entered the restaurant. They quickly got his attention. He never thought that he would come across with the man. Maybe because he judged him as a person who would never go in such place.

With a sure intention Yasuhara strides to the table near Kurogane Kagiri. He silently sat down and listens to their conversation.

"-don't know but I'm sure they will do something." The man was saying.

"What are you planning to do, president?"

"I'll proceed to my original plan. I've been working for this for very long and I wouldn't let someone disrupt achieving what I want."

Yasu smirked. Looks like the timing is all good!

"But president, are you sure, that girl is what he really wanted?"

"That demon wants a strong spiritual energy. I'm sure Taniyama Mai is more than enough to get what he needed, after all. . . .that girl's spiritual strength is far greater than mine."

Yasu's eyes widen and suddenly he finds it hard to swallow. That bastard really plans to make Mai a sacrifice for his selfish wish. His fist clenched and right there he thanked the gods he's not Oliver Davis, because if Naru would hear Kagiri he will spare no time to take actions.

"I'm not lying to Taniyama when I said that my mansion is haunted. But I didn't expect she would sense the ill presence in me." Kagiri said. "No one should have died if she just decided to investigate after she got the request."

Yasuhara quickly stood up and with a big steps, he exited the restaurant.

"President...just now..."

"I know. Osamu Yasuhara. Just a little more and Oliver Davis will know where I'm keeping Taniyama Mai."

"Is it okay for them to know?" Yamaki asked.

"You know what my goal is. And all of these will end in a final decisive battle. The game has already ended before it actually begun." Kagiri smirked. "Like he had said, I'm playing a dangerous game and no matter how I play it, the game might not play out the way I intended."

He cleared his throat and look outside the window. "However I... ...hate losing seems like Oliver Davis will go through a lot before he gets what he wanted."

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