Chapter 7:

The Story Continues

Densetsu: A Beautiful Day


Fresh scarlet fell upon her cheeks. Coming to realization to the victor of the fight, the sense of guilt developed. Her contribution may have changed the outcome.

She stared into his lifeless face which was filled with melancholy and doubts, and the impaled enemy slowly coming closer to him. Noel had seen that face before because she used to have it.

A world without monsters was unheard in Densetsu. To think it existed in the Outside World despite the stories. His presence was living proof this world existed.

She wiped the tears away, and she stretched her leg forward. Extending her arm to him, Noel shouted with a glorious cry.

“Don’t give up, Kotaro!”

With whatever remaining life he had, Kotaro had come to realize he was on the verge of death. He gazed upon those azure eyes. They stretched their feeble-hand branch to each other, and a bright, yellow light emerged upon contact.

Both Yuuki and Riku witnessed the green skies disperse, rain slowly pouring upon the land. This phenomenon led to one conclusion; the Infinite Loop had been broken at last.

He regained the strength to remove NEW’s grasp on him, and he grabbed hold of Noel’s helping hand. Kotaro turned his head to NEW, who began to disintegrate within the depths of flames.

His eyes stared no further, unable to bear witness a humanoid machine burning into cinders. Tears flew from NEW’s face moments before she was ablaze, her arms tried reaching for him. Never to be seen again.

“Free at last,” the shrine maiden mumbled before her blank face transformed into a smile.

“Were you worried about another loop? Who would’ve thought someone as powerful as you would be so worried.”

Riku released a deep breath and rolled her eyes. “You should be careful with what comes out of your mouth. You know what I’m capable of.”

“Besides…” Riku added, “did you know this would happen? Is that why you sent Noel?”

Yuuki shook his head. “Not at all. Like you, I was tired of doing the same thing.”

“So you did know about this.”

“I didn’t. Truthfully.”

“I’m so sorry, Kotaro!” Noel sobbed. “I shouldn’t have let you fight that girl all by yourself!”

Her azure eyes met Kotaro’s, and his face flushed scarlet. Such a puppy look had weakened him into submission, forcing him to stare away.

“Noel, you can stop crying!” He couldn’t stop her tears.

The battle against NEW proved more than he could chew. The wound to his chest healed, yet he recalled the sting. Kotaro felt a strong connection within this world. The thoughts snowballed his anxiety. What answers would he discover the further he walked down this path?

He wasn’t sure.

“Your job is over. We’ll take care of this from here on out.” A rift opened behind them, both Yuuki and Riku coming out of it. “Because NEW has been stopped, the barrier no longer blocks our passage.”

“Do you want us to come with you?” Kotaro asked.

“Not necessarily. The gap yokai will return the both of you back to the shrine,”

“I didn’t agree on that,” commented Yuuki.

Noel wiped her tears. “Good, it’s getting hot in here. I feel like I’m having a stroke.”

“Weren’t you crying moments ago?” Kotaro responded.

“Kotaro,” Riku called.

“Yes?”

The shrine maiden slowly turned her head to him. “You still have questions you want answers for, don’t you?”

He nodded.

“After I take care of this, I’ll try my best to answer all of your questions.” She nodded to Yuuki, who created a portal underneath their feet. Then, one for himself.

Alone, the shrine maiden proceeded to the next room. The dark hall felt endless, but the rustling sound of an engine echoed across the hall. The emitted noise only grew louder.

Lights illuminated toward the dim path, approaching a large sphere spinning rapidly and creating an undesirable stench.

“So this is what’s causing those smoke. For what reason?”

She analyzed the sphere, her eyes widened to see its true nature. Project Devices, humanoid machines mainly used for combat. Young girls were used as test subjects in order to create the ultimate weapon.

All sense of humanity was removed from them, their identities changed, and their entire existence remained a mystery until now.

“Whoever the culprit is, I will put a stop to them!” The shrine maiden struck the sphere with her sheer strength. “If there is a way to reverse your transformation, I will do it! But the least I can do is give every one of you a peaceful resting.”

Destroying a single construction connected to the main core caused a reaction. Devastation erupted from the building, yet despite the destruction, the shrine maiden remained unharmed.

The absence of tears dried for Kotaro. It was hard to hold her head up high. She soared the skies, enduring the pain. The others waited for her at the shrine.

“Now that the incident has ended, why don’t we celebrate in the shrine?” Yuuki suggested.

“Celebrate?” Kotaro responded.

“As long as you clean up the mess, I’ll allow it,” Riku answered.

Hours had passed so quickly as they worked hard to decorate the shrine. Torches illuminated the place, creepy masks hung around the pillars, and food stands were ready for all guests.

The moon had arrived under the quiet shrine, followed by the songs of crickets, and the owls uttering a hoot.

“So, what’s your first question? I’ll try my best to answer it.”

Kotaro took a deep breath. “Tell me about NEW. Do you know anything about her?”

She anticipated this question. “The Project Devices were weapons used in ancient times in order to defeat the Serpentine Void.”

“The Serpentine Void?”

“It was a creature full of reiki energy. A black beast that knew one thing from its birth. Destruction. Other gods from different pantheons such as Zeus and Odin tried slaying the creature. Even the Legends like Yuuki helped, but not even their strengths combined was enough to kill it.”

“So the Project Devices were created to defeat it?”

“You’ve seen Noel’s bow?” Riku mentioned.

He nodded.

“Extermination Weapons and the Project Devices were a part of the Serpentine Void, thus was able to counteract against the beast; however, there was a cost. For starters, both the Extermination Weapons and Project Devices required a host. One that would be alive.”

“Human experimentations…” Kotaro concluded. Hearing this reminded him of his history class.

“That’s correct. They may lose their humanity, yet the soul remains intact. Combined with the reiki energy of the Serpentine Void, the equation now becomes a weapon of mass destruction. You fight fire with fire, essentially.”

“Can’t you do anything about it? What about your government?”

“Where the Kamiyama Shrine Maiden stands, she is in the toughest spot…” Yuuki intruded on their conversation. “Like the Legends, our presence is kept anonymous. But the shrine maiden is treated as a saint sent from the Heavens. She serves as the bridge between humanity and God. If she supports a country or two, the hegemony between two great forces will clash, and war is bound to begin.”

“Essentially, if one country gains an upper advantage, the other will do everything at its cost to overtake them,” Yuuki added.

“I never told you, but in Densetsu, there lives four nations: Infernia, the land of the western summer, Sylvia, the land of the eastern spring, Glacia, the land of the northern winter, and Petra, the land of the southern autumn,” said Riku.

He recalled Noel mentioning “Sylvia” and “Infernians” during their encounter against the guards. “Noel was fighting two Infernian guards. They also mentioned Sylvan Supreme Jones. Is he responsible for this incident?”

Silence emerged in the shrine. Both Yuuki and Riku stared at each other, yet not a word was spoken. “Did I say something wrong?”

“No, you didn’t. In fact, you helped us.”

“Now that we know the sylvan supreme is involved, that explains why there are Infernian guards in Sylvan grounds,” said Yuuki. “So he is willing to intoxicate his people in order to create more weapons? How interesting…”

“Who’s the Sylvan Supreme?”

“Similar to your world’s leader, the supreme acts as the nation’s leader. He represents its people as a whole,”

Before Kotaro could ask more questions, a dense fog emerged from the shrine entrance.

“Where did this fog come from?”

Their entire feet were covered by the fog. Kotaro began shivering in mere seconds. Ghostly breaths echoed across the shrine.

Standing around six feet, a shadowy figure slowly approached the shrine maiden from behind.

“Riku! Behind you!” Kotaro called.