Living and the dead

Chapter 20

Naru pressed the end button of his phone and turned to the window. Yasuhara just called with information that will help them to find Mai. Naru should be glad but he felt otherwise. The timing was all suspicious. It looks like a trap was being laid. If that man's intention was to lure them in that mansion and killed them, then he must prepare something to avoid that.

He decided to call Hirota. The man picked up after three rings. "What's up?" He greeted.

Oliver looked outside his office window, eyes searching for nothing in particular. "We're running out of time. Can you do it tomorrow?"

A loud 'What' was heard from the prosecutor before he called Saki who's obviously with him at that time. "I don't know if we can make it tomorrow but we'll try. What the heck are you planning?"

"A way to finish this annoying hide and seek." He told him. "I need both of you by tomorrow. We'll need some back up."

Hirota heaved a big sigh before speaking. "I'll try what I can but don't expect too much, we're doing a difficult thing you know."

"I'll wait for your call tomorrow." He said before ending the call.

Naru doesn't know what will be the final outcome of all these. It's either he can have Mai or there's a possibility of others getting hurt in his plans.

Nevertheless, he can't step back now because moving carelessly at this point would certainly shove everyone in a dangerous situation. He also figured that he needed to buy time. No one knew how to exorcise a demon that's why he has to think of a way to at least seal it.

'Noll ... can you hear me?'

Oliver's body stiffened when he heard his twin brother's voice. It sounded panic and desperate. 'Gene...what's happened?'

'Thank god! You can finally hear me.' He said, his voice filled with relief. 'Noll, Mai's life is in grieved danger. You must hurry! I don't have time to explain what's happened. I'm sorry I've to keep where Mai is being locked up, I'll tell you where it is so please, I'm counting on you.'

Oliver's eyes widened. 'I already know where they keep Mai.'

'You already knew ... then...'

'Wait Gene, I want to talk to you. Do you still have time?'

'I'll try' Gene answered.

'I want you to do something for me. Hear me out.'

Living or dead ... he will use everyone and everything he could to make this plan possible!


_ _ _Day Time

Full Moon_ _ _

The sky overhead was cloudless and blue, but she could see no sign of the sun. It was as if the sun hides itself from her sight.

Six more hours left before the full moon. She shouldn't have felt frightened but when the thought of being captured enters her mind, she couldn't keep her cool. The worst case scenario always form first inside her head. Well, she has the very right to feel that way. She's a mere human after all.

Wisp enter her room and landed on the bedside table. 'He's here' It says.

She sighed. She can never go back that's why she has to do this. Mai stood up and walked toward the wardrobe. She opened it and took out the blanket she sewed the other day. Good thing, she managed to finish it before the day of her escape. The blanket can cover almost whole of her body and it will prevent Kagiri from spotting her right away.

"What would he do before the said time?" She asked, searching for something she could use for her escape inside the wardrobe. She found an old dagger covered in rust. It couldn't cut anything but she could use it for defense. Better than nothing though.

'Rest ... until... ...it's time..' The wisp floated in front of her. 'You...scared?'

She paused for a while before turning to him. "What do you expect? Of course I am!" She sat on the floor. "But that doesn't mean I'll run away. Besides, everything that happens has a purpose. Whether the outcome is bad or good, I must keep moving forward or else nothing will change."

She didn't know how many souls inside the mansion thought of impossible things just to escape. Even if they wanted to do something, they couldn't because they were already in a state that their capability became limited. They can do something she can't at the same time she can do something they couldn't, for that, they need to help each other.

'Somehow ... I knew you were going to... ...say something like...that. . .'

Mai beam at the wisp. "Really? Am I that easy to read?"

'Somehow...' He answered.

She collects the blanket and dagger, standing up she say. "You know ... I'm sure I'll miss you and everyone when I'm outside."

'Me... ...too..'


Fire coming from small lighted candles reflected inside the whole cave like a dancing wind yet the fierce color of orange gave of a burning sensation for the skulls which was neatly aligned beside the man sitting on a rock. His face was devoid of any emotions as if his soul wasn't really there. The only sound echoing inside that cave was the sound of snapping fingers that can compare to the ticking of a clock.

"Six hours and forty five minutes ... " He mumbled to himself.

"Is that fun?" A voice coming everywhere asked. It was deep and cool at the same time.

"Do I look like I'm having fun?" He then stopped snapping his fingers. "For the past ten years I never considered myself alive. Seeing something so accurately and predicting it without a doubt took away all my excitement in life. But because of a simple mistake ... I can now feel the excitement rushing back again."

"You're tricky ... always hiding yourself and waiting for an opportunity to strike." The voice commented.

"Are you perhaps describing yourself?" Kagiri retorted. "But you know, someone told me that no matter how you play your game, in the end it might not play out the way you intended. So you have to be careful, you know."

"Like how you didn't kill the girl when in fact you have so many chances. Was it a coincidence or simply intentional?"

Kagiri smirked at that. "I promised you a pure soul with strong spiritual power. I'm doing it now so stay out of my way."

"And what will you do if I meddle? Exorcise me?" The voice said. "Are you forgetting that you're already dead and all of your spiritual powers are coming from me? What a mere dead person can do to harm a creature like I am?"

"I have plenty of ways to kill you." He answered and resumed at snapping his fingers again. "You just have to wait ... demon."

"I can kill you now if I wish it. I'm not really fond of scums, feeding a useless dog isn't even interesting." He scoffed. "Be thankful I still don't have the resolve of ending your life even though your motive was so transparent."

"You won't think of that." Kagiri said.

"Of course ... don't want to lose a really good entertainment, besides your life won't last longer anyway so let's end it in a grand way." The voice said and chuckled. "And compared to the lives you've taken, death is just a small price to pay, don't you think? Regardless of so many lives that ended in your hands, you're still alive. Why is that? The answer is simple. That's because you're bound to carry the suffering of the people you slayed."

"Suffering huh? It's just another way of living in this world. As long as I can feel suffering then it means I'm still alive, it's a part of being human, something you will never understand." Kagiri whispered.


Lin's eyes were fixed on the road but he couldn't help but glance at Naru seated beside him. He was being awfully quiet and in Lin's book, it's not good.

"Whatever you're planning, make sure it won't hurt you." He said.

No response from Oliver. He just keep looking outside the window. He was thinking, Lin's sure of it and he doesn't know what's running inside that brain of his. For all he knows, he'll put his life on the line just to get Taniyama back.

The call from Yasuhara last night brought some information that would lead them to Taniyama's whereabouts, however, Oliver refuse to let the team know about it. He even instructed Yasuhara not to tell anyone until he figured something out.

'The hell he will' Lin thought. Here he was driving his butt off to the outskirts of Tokyo not even knowing what would happen to them without any plan in hand.

"Don't be nervous." He heard Noll say. "I didn't let you accompany me without anything in my mind."

"Glad to know that."

Oliver smirked. "That is not a bloody coincidence. You knew it. Kurogane have something in store for us. I smell trouble and if its trouble he wants, I'll give it to him full force."

Lin raised a brow at him.

"Kurogane intentionally let Yasuhara know where he hides Mai. If he wanted me to see him sacrificing Mai or kill me there or he have something else, who knows. I won't know until I get there."

"Then, what are you planning?" He asked him. "It will be dangerous for us to go there with just the two of us."

"I never say we'll go to his mansion." He said. "We will get what we're here for without getting close to that haunted mansion."

Lin frowned slowly getting confused. "What do you mean?"

But Oliver chose not to answer his question. His phone rang and he picked it up quickly. "It's me." Oliver said then paused. "That's great. I'll let you know where we are after two hours."

"Alright, be careful out there." Hirota said.

"I don't need you worrying for me, just do your job and make sure that you'll get here."

"You're still awful."

Naru smirked. "I know." He then turned to Lin. "Lin, I want you to park the van one hundred meters from Kurogane's mansion also install some portable cameras in every sides of this van. We have to see where Mai will come from."

"I understand." Lin said. "But Taniyama probably didn't remember us, how are we supposed-"

"Don't worry, she'll remember us and I believed I already told you, we'll get what we are here for."

_ _ _Night time

Full moon_ _ _

Mai's hands were becoming sweaty as the time of her escape coming near. There's no clock inside her room, and she didn't know if something was already started. She's getting nervous every time she glanced at the small window. The faint glow coming from the moon was slowly getting brighter and it only meant one thing:

The time is coming closer...

...

Chou watched as the old maid put a jar at the center of the big old dining table. The woman looks uneasy and Chou knew why. Every time his brother comes to the mansion, his employees always felt frightened, seems like he has a gift for making people uncomfortable.

Aside from that, they were workers whom especially and carefully picked by his brother's assistant, that's why they knew what was happening in the mansion, every secret of it. They pledge not to tell anyone and protect their master's secret even if it means sacrificing their own life which he finds awfully pathetic.

Sacrificing their life for someone they knew who sacrifice others life for his evil purposes.

Chou looked at the big clock placed on the far side of the dining hall. Eight fifty five...

'A little bit more... ...a little bit more' He thought.

His brother always leaved at exactly nine o clock. He shouldn't possess this woman's body for long if he's going to possess Mai's after. It will exhaust him so he needs to save his spiritual energy.

He floated down when the clock strikes at eight fifty nine. Following the woman, Chou was also observing the place. It's quiet. That's a good sign. Everyone is in their place.

'Already in the cave...' A voice echoed inside his head. 'He knew ...'

Chou froze at the last sentence of the other ghost. 'What do you mean?' He asked.

'He has a plan ... ... we need to go on! Not much time!'

What the hell?! He didn't see that one coming! This is bad! His brother learned that they will help Mai escape. If so, what would he do? Is he going to stop them?

Without wasting any more time, Chou immediately flew where the woman is and force himself inside of her. The woman shuddered as he took full control of her body. When he felt he can already move he hurried fast to the west wing where his brother's room was located.

'Someone found out about our plan and reported it to him' He thought. 'Who was it?'

As the sound of his running feet reached his ears he suddenly remembered his brother's shiki. 'Damn it!' That shiki was ordered to guard the house after his brother stopped abducting female mediums when he got Mai.

'How careless of me what will happen now?' He stopped in his track, the feeling of weariness slowly creeping down the borrowed body. He sighed and clenched his fist. 'Is there any way to get out? ... Is there any way we can get out of this?!'

Pursuing the plan means putting Mai's life on the edge.

'But we have to do this!' Going back is the same like being dead. There's one choice that would decide on everything and he felt like he chose the right choice. He knew Mai can do it and survive the life outside the mansion. And if Gene was telling the truth ... someone might help her get out of this mess.

He stomp his foot in front of his brother's room. Just like what Mai said 'Everything that happens has a purpose' He took a step closer toward the door and opened it.

The whole room was dark and quiet. There's only a bed and a mini table, a built in closet on the left side facing the bed, and a shelf beside it. Kagiri never treat this mansion as his home. For him, this place ... is a prison.

Chou spotted the key on the mini table. He gritted his teeth, whatever Kagiri is planning, he will stop it. With a rush move, he grab the keys, left the room and run to where Mai is.

Mai stood up from the bed and took out the dagger from the wardrobe. Looking at that rusty dagger, it wouldn't help her much to defend herself from Kagiri but it's better than to have nothing. As per wisps' instruction, she shoved it inside her pocket and picked the sewed blanket after that. She sighed and looked up the window.

That man was a criminal who simply cannot be hated. He has his own reasons for doing things but was his reasons really are enough for him to forget how he really was? However, she's not stupid to stay with a person who kills people just for the sake of one wish. She also has something she wanted.

A small gust of wind made the blanket swayed a little. It was not an ordinary wind, it was chilly that seconds later her hands are already cold and clammy. The sudden drop of the temperature only mean one thing: someone is inside. She can feel it. Something awful is coming!

'Run!' A loud voice echoed in her mind.

But before she could ask what's happening a large hand grabbed her waist. Sudden pain burst into her hip unto her abdomen. It felt like the large hand was gripping her insides and pulling it out. The pain was intense and she couldn't do anything but to let out a loud agonizing scream.

A loud scream reached Chou's ears. And a terrifying scene greeted him when he turned to the corner. He could faintly see the dark aura surrounding the whole hallway. The place became foggy and he couldn't make out a thing other than a blurry shadow standing a bit far from him.

The shadow took a step and Chou's eyes widened in fear when the moonlight revealed the shadow's identity. His silver hair was shining like it's a gift from the moon itself. His eyes reflect danger and his emotion tells that he was ... glad.

"Ani-ue..." He greeted him. "It's been a while."

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