Living and the dead

Chapter 23

"Say Oliver Davis-sensei, what made us different?" Kurogane Kagiri asked with a playful smile on his lips.

"If you think that somehow we're the same then get the foolish thought out of your head." Oliver said. "I'm even disgusted just by the thought of comparing myself to you."

Kagiri chuckled. "In denial are we not? But I know, somewhere in your mind, you also thought of retribution for the person who killed your brother. You want to avenge him do you not?"

"That may be true." He replied. "I'm just a human, and human tend to think of insubstantial things. But I'm not an idiot to succumb on a foolish thought just because I want revenge. Emotions are overbearing, it's the downfall of every human who let their emotion unruly."

His smile widens and the glint of his eyes beneath those glasses shows how he enjoys this conversation. "Does that mean I'm an emotional person?"

"No. You are just completely sick in the head." He said matter-of-factly. "I've come to believe that the most dangerous people are those who feel no regret. Never bother to apologize and couldn't care less about forgiveness." Oliver crossed his arms and glared at Kagiri. "If you still have any emotion, you'd feel remorse towards those you've killed. But a killer getting used of murdering means he already gave up the remaining humanity in him. You're nothing but an empty vessel."

"You know ... I didn't even lay a finger on them. What made you claim that I killed them? You have a very active imagination I must say."

"-Oya, you are the one who has an active imagination. Imagining what I'm saying was only my imagination.-Well it doesn't matter."

Kagiri clapped and nodded slowly. "I see..." He fixed his glasses. "Murderer or not, all humans are the same. They trample each other just to have what they want. They're hungry for power, obsessed with strength. They kill for a reason. They do kindness for a reason. You see, every villain in this world has each own story to tell. But the thing is: this judgmental world accused them so easily. Neglect them, ostracized them, just because they've done something awful."

'Humans huh?' Oliver grunt and his eyes narrowed. "Do you think your reasons justified what you've done?" He said. "Humans have something they call 'free will'. No matter how this world shaped you. Your decisions are yours and yours alone to make. You are the one who'll decide what's good and bad for you. So don't go comforting yourself with so many distorted reasons. Stop twisting the answer to match the problem. You kill, I supposed you're prepared to die"

A rustling sound coming from the high grass alerted Oliver and Lin. When they came here, the two of them already anticipated that Kurogane might not act alone and a companion is most likely to show up.

The movement was rather slow for someone who's preparing for an attack but Oliver knew better than to assume that it was something harmless and putting his guard down would be a bad idea.

Seconds later, a shadow manifested behind the grass and as it slowly getting near them, its silhouette become clearer. It's a human. Not just simple human ... it's Mai.

A moment of nothing...

It feels like time has suddenly stopped...

Oliver's feet were glued to the ground, he didn't understand. The moment his eyes rest on her his whole body trembled upon seeing her state. His vision suddenly change, it was like imitating a moving blurry lens that only focuses on her. She was a mess. Blood was rolling down in her right arm, she has so many bruises and her face and dress was covered in dirt. Some dried leaves were stuck in her hair. She's catching her breath and wincing at the same time.

His expressionless face became rigid, eyes blanked as though he was in a daze. He was motionless and his brain seems to fail functioning until someone called him.

'Noll...' Called the voice inside his head.

'Gene?' He looked at Mai and she nodded.

'Noll, I understand your feelings but you have to calm down.' Gene said. 'Get a hold of yourself. Don't let that guy find any weakness in you.'

Gene's words pushed Oliver back to his senses.

His hand clenched in a tight fist. His brother was right. Showing any signs of weakness is something Oliver Davis cannot do, although the fact that he's human and he can feel emotions too are there, if he has to appear merciless in front of this guy he would do it. Not long ago, he almost fell down on his knees. It pained him to see her ghost form and now, it shatters him to see her in this state. She didn't do anything wrong to experienced such horrible thing.

She doesn't deserve the pain and no one is worthy to put sadness in her face.

"I thought you're already dead." He heard Kagiri say. "I see, you're more stubborn than I thought."

And Oliver tried his very best to keep himself from killing the man.

"And you're more than disappointed to see me alive." Mai said. "I hope you're ready for the consequences because you don't deserve any salvation, you completely wicked person!"

Lin approached her straightaway and helps her to get off of the bushes. He took her left arm and guided her toward the van.

'How careless of him … letting his prisoner escape.' Kagiri grin to himself. 'Does he really want me to go get her myself? Heh...enjoying everything, I see.'

Sirens suddenly echoed from afar making it sound like a cry in the middle of the night. Kagiri frowned and watched as four vehicles halted behind Oliver Davis. He didn't faze even if the headlights is blinding him.

"When we came here ... you thought that we were an easy prey." Oliver said. "I'm going to take this game on a higher level. I hoped you're prepared."

Hirota and Nakai got out together. Four police man followed. And Nakai Saki gasps when she saw Mai.

Hirota stood beside Oliver. "Sorry we're a little late."

He just glanced at the prosecutor. "Just in time." He said.

Hirota came forward and stared at Kagiri with a serious face. Now he have come to face the culprit who made so many people suffer. Seriously ... this man was indeed good looking but something doesn't feel right. He looks human but he gave off a feeling that he's not even one. He shook his head, it must be his imagination.

He took out the paper in his breast pocket. "Kurogane Kagiri-san. For the crime of murder, kidnapping, trespassing and holding a person against their will, I place you under arrest." He opened the paper and showed it to him. "A warrant of arrest has been issued so you're coming with us."

Kagiri chuckled. "Oh my prosecutor, I have no idea what you're talking about." He said, remaining unfaze. "Kidnapping? Murder? Illegal detention?" He gave Hirota a long look. "There must be a mistake. Are you sure that I'm the right person you're looking for?"

"How awful." Oliver said, finally showing his annoyance. "It's painfully obvious why a person of your caliber wouldn't get the respect a proper human would." He looked at Mai. She's already seated at the back of the van while Lin and Nakai-san is treating her wounds. "Eventually, the truth will come out and your judgment will be handed down. When that time comes, you won't be able to escape your punishment. After all, it will be impossible for you to hide the victim's existence after this incident."

"Impossible is the word not registered in my vocabulary."

With the paper tucked in his hands, Hirota slowly walked near Kagiri. The man just smiled at him and offered his hands. His eyes narrowed. Kagiri is unusually calm for someone who knew that he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. Looks like Shibuya was indeed right, Kurogane Kagiri would not let this end rather easily. After this, Hirota believes that something will definitely happen.

"Being extra inquisitive comes with a price, prosecutor." Kagiri told him with a sinister smile. "One day you'll wake up already running for your life."

He handcuffed his both hands and let out a mocking smile. "If I'm scared putting myself on the line, I wouldn't be here arresting you."

"What an admirable public official."

"I don't want to hear that from a person like you." He retorted.

Two police officers positioned behind Kagiri's back and started pushing him forward but the man stopped beside Oliver. "Don't think that you already won the game. Don't worry, since I'll be coming back sometime. I'll be seeing you again very soon and I'll make sure to give you an experienced you'll never forget."

"I'm not even thinking of running away, because... would be a pleasure to see your demise with my own eyes." He said, eyes forward. "I may not look like it but I do hold grudges."

Kagiri grin. "I'll look forward to that."

The two officers resumed pushing Kagiri into the car. He obediently got in and made his self-comfortable at the back seat.

"We will take it from here." Hirota said to Shibuya. "We will conduct interrogation right away. I know we won't get anything from Taniyama-san right now so we will have to use the false statement that you gave us. The false evidence won't be a problem since we made it to strengthen the real evidences. And with that in hand, we'll make it impossible for him to find a way around this."

Oliver eyed Hirota. "Don't go easy on him Hirota-san. That person is nowhere near normal." He said. "Just a warning, don't think about giving him moves that can lose your life. He won't eat, he won't sleep." He shifted his gaze on Mai. "And he won't rest until he gets what he wants."

"What do you mean?" Hirota asked, confused.

Shibuya didn't answer his question but after a few moments of silence he told him to be careful.

Although still disturbed, the prosecutor decided to leave Shibuya. He knew Shibuya is keeping something from them. Something they're better off not knowing. He sighed, get in the car and started the engine. Saki got in, she tap Hirota's shoulder and gave him a nod.

"Mai's alright." She said. "They will take her to the hospital."

He sighed once again. When his eyes looked at the rearview mirror-something he should have avoided—because he nearly flinched when he saw Kurogane Kagiri looking back at him. Purple eyes boring into his and flashing a mischievous glint as if saying 'I can see right through you'.

Hirota gulped as he heard Kagiri speak.

"Don't be so nervous prosecutor." He said in a rather bored tone. "I'm not planning to do something reckless." He smirked. "I am apparently not interested in you. At least ... not yet."


"Lin, how is she?" Oliver asked the taciturn man who was currently mending Mai's wound. A box of first aid kit was open just beside him.

"She has so many bruises in her body and a long gash on her right arm. Her right ankle is twisted, also a slight concussion." Lin informed him still wrapping Mai's arm with a bandage. "I suggest we take her to the hospital."

"Not necessary." Oliver told him, his eyes on Mai.

Lin brows shot up. "-But.."

"Noll is right, Lin." Mai said with a gentle smile, leaving Lin in shock. "If we are to bring her in a hospital, there's no knowing how quick that man will move just to find her." She let out a deep breath and turned to Oliver. "He will leave no hospital un-searched until he can have her."

'What the hell. . .is going on?' Lin asked himself.

"Gene." Noll called Mai.


"Thanking you is not enough for what you've done today. I'm glad that I asked for your help." Noll said, bowing his head slightly.

"Gene?" Lin blurted in surprise.

He smiled at Lin and nodded. "Noll asked me a favor. I know Mai will escape and Noll told me that he needed my help to rescue Mai." He explained. "He disclosed some details of his plan so we could assure that Mai will be here no matter what happened."

'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.'

Naru heard Gene sigh. 'I should be amused right now, it's rare for you to ask for a favor but please, say it.'

'Save your amusement for now.' Naru said. 'I'm glad our telepathy is still working, that aside, Gene can you do something for me? We're short of time and I want Mai to be safe no matter what. Just in case she makes it out of the mansion, can you bring her to me?'

'Possession huh?' Gene fell in silent for a moment. 'Is it really okay?'

'I have to use anything to secure her safety, even if it means using a dead brother.'

Gene chuckled. 'That's not what I mean though, is it really okay? I'll possess the body of someone who is dear to my little brother.'

Naru glared at nothing. 'This is not the time to be thinking about something like that.' He sighed. 'I trust you can do it Gene, we will be waiting for you near the mansion.'


"So that's how it is." Lin mumbled.

Of course it would be difficult for them if they're going to enter the mansion and search for Mai. So Naru asked Gene to wait for Mai until she's out of the place where the barrier is being set. He told him to possess Mai's body and bring her in their designated meeting place.

The succeeding percent of this plan was only twenty percent but Noll trust Gene could do it and he believed that Mai could make it out.

"I'm glad to help, though I thought I'll arrive late, I just got there in time." Gene said, his smile faded soon and his expression turns serious. "There's something I must tell you."

"What is it?" Oliver inquired, hiding his worry under his emotionless mask.

"There's a curse." Gene began said, then looked away for a moment and clenched his fist. "Placed on Mai."

"A curse?" He asks.

Gene nodded, finally looking at his brother. "Kurogane Kagiri wants to make sure that no matter what happens, those who tried to escape would still end up dead."

"What kind of curse is it?" Lin decided to ask.

Gene/Mai's face became troubled. "I don't know. It's slowly erasing Mai's remaining memory." He said. "The state in the Here is beyond bad. The whole place started falling apart and a large void is sucking in the remaining fragments. It's just a matter of time before the void can erase all of it and if it succeeded erasing her memories... ...She will forget how to eat, how to drink and even how to move. Mai will become nothing but a pile of flesh much worst, she might die."

Oliver's lips parted in shock. Several emotions decided to show in his face and he didn't know what to feel anymore.

Kurogane Kagiri made sure that Mai will die either way. If she hadn't made it out he will kill her and if she made it out, she would eventually die because of the curse. There is no escape for her.

"-What...should we do?" His voice came out shaking.

Gene stared at his brother for a moment. This is the second time he saw his brother so shaken, he should be happy that Oliver is slowly changing but not in this kind of way. He's hurting.

"Telling her about her memories of the past won't help either. She has to remember it herself, the only thing we can do is to support her and be there for her." He said. "Fortunately, Mai in the Here managed to wound the seal that separates the real Mai in her memories. As of now, she's still trying her best to insert few memories that could help the other Mai to remember."

That's probably the reason why Mai ended up in their office the last time. She recalled it and her soul decided to wander in that familiar place.

Lin asked Gene. "How much time do we have?"

"Sixteen days." Gene sighed. "Don't worry Noll. I'll do everything in my capability to prevent it from happening." He suddenly winced. "She's waking up. I need to go."

"-Thank you aniki ... and ... take care. Don't die again." Oliver said.

Gene grin. "Wow Noll! I'm inspired!" He let out a chuckle and stood up. "Roger! I'll see you again." He took a step and hugged his brother really tight. "I'll miss you, Noll."

"Stop doing this on purpose, Gene."

Gene stifled a laugh. "I've been found out. Why, you're dying to hug her don't you? I'm doing you a favor."

Mai's body limps when Gene's soul parted from it. Oliver held her so that she wouldn't slide down. He noticed how cold her body was and the blood in her dress made him shiver. She must be badly hurt, inside and out.

He ordered Lin to get a jacket. When Lin came back, he handed Noll his own jacket which is twice the size of his body.

The Chinese man thought that Oliver would wrap it on Mai but he was surprised when the young man started wearing his jacket using one hand while holding Taniyama on the other. After that, he carried her inside the van.

He expected him to lay her at the back seat but Oliver hop on the passenger seat, cradling the sleeping Taniyama. Arms wrapped around the girl. One supporting her head and the other was tugging down the hem of the jacket to cover her body.

Mai let out a soft groan and rest her face on Oliver's chest.

Oliver strokes Mai's hair and tucks her close like he's afraid she'll disappear. He's good at masking his emotions that Lin hardly registered the look of pain in his feature.

Yes, they managed to rescue her yet she's still in danger. Kurogane Kagiri had done a horrible thing. He knew that seeing Mai dying in front of Oliver will cause him so much pain. However, Lin is sure that Kagiri didn't foresee that they will discover about the curse much sooner than he expected.

That's all thanks to Gene.

Lin decided to ask the question that circling in his mind. "Should I prepare the extra room?"

"Not necessary." Oliver replied. "I just need the first aid kit."

Lin cleared his throat and hid his smile. 'No need to cook for breakfast.' The Chinese man drove off, wondering what he should prepare for dinner.

"And Lin, call Matsuzaki-san later. We'll have her check on Mai as soon as possible."

"I understand."

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