Chapter 20:


Densetsu Kenshi: Beginnings

   “Reaper’s Paradise: Hell’s Ambition!”

   I launched into my attack.

   I let my rage and hatred for these people flow out and simultaneously converted it into spectra energy, manifesting as wicked green flames all over my body.

   Thermo Corp. fought back. Swordsman after swordsman flung themself toward me only to be cut down and then burned.

   They noticed that they couldn’t do anything against me like this, and they retreated a little bit.

   “Inverse Rift!” One of them called out.

   He pulled an eidolon out of his rift. It was a small little dragon and he placed it on the table next to him. Several other swordsmen got behind the table and I could sense a strong flow of spectra energy from them.

   What are they doing?

   I sensed their energy flowing directly out of them and into the eidolon. The dragon started to grow. It grew rapidly and was soon the biggest thing in the room, almost hitting its head on the ceiling.

   “Tch. You’re gonna need more than that to stop me. Besides, what are you going to do when I kill it right now? What are you gonna do after my two other friends show up?”

   I taunted all of the swordsmen. They really weren't worth my time or attention, but it felt good to get some of my anger out on them.

   Mitsuki and Maekawa-sensei still hadn’t shown up to the party. It was entirely possible that they were having trouble at the other entrance with the guard. I had lucked out and only had to talk to Izumi-chan for a little bit before she let me in.

   The dragon reared its head and opened its mouth releasing a giant ball of flame toward me.

   I dodged, and readied my sword to quickly end this fight.

   I took a deep breath and summoned as much spectra energy as possible.

   “Reaper’s Paradise: Abyssal--”

   My mouth dropped open in shock.

   “Infinite Rift!”

   A certain sensei floated in the sky and called out an ability that I had never heard before.

   Several Inverse Rifts opened up all around him and wicked looking daggers emerged and shot toward the dragon. The dragon was currently paying attention to me, and didn’t even notice Maekawa-sensei until it was too late.

   The dragon let out a glorious roar of pain as the daggers penetrated deeper and deeper inside its body.

   “Infinite Rift: Four.”

   Maekawa-sensei repeated himself but this time added a number to the end.

   The resulting change in his attack was drastic.

   Everytime the daggers appeared in a rift, they shot out and stabbed the dragon. But then they disappeared from the body and appeared in another separate rift and launched back at the dragon. They repeated this process while getting faster and faster each time. An untrained eye could tell that it was the definition of a finishing move.

   The dragon didn’t last much longer after Maekawa-sensei’s second attack. It roared in pain and anger for its last moments of existence and slowly dissolved into nothingness.

   I ran over to Maekawa-sensei’s shadow and called out to him. He was still in the air so I couldn’t make direct contact with him.

   “Sensei! I’m glad you’re okay! Where’s Mitsuki?”

   He looked at me and smiled.

   Ah, he’s smiling. She must be okay.

   He stared at me and said with no emotion in his voice, “Infinite Rift: Five.”

   I cocked my head in confusion. There weren’t any more threats now that he was here. It seemed like it’d be total overkill to use that attack on some scrubs from Thermo Corp.

   But my calculation was wrong. Completely and terribly wrong. There was still one more threat to Maekawa-sensei. He wasn’t a threat to me, but in the eyes of Maekawa-sensei, he was the object of all of his hatred and spite. I’m talking about myself, of course.

   I saw the dark voids open up all around me. Before I even knew it, Maekawa had surrounded me with Inverse Rifts. There were so many I couldn’t count them all, but I knew they were all around me. Above me. Behind me. In front of me. To my sides. I was lucky that there were none underneath me. That’d be a problem for my posterity.

   The daggers slowly slid out of the rifts and then instantaneously flew at me.

   I couldn’t dodge them.

   It was worth it to dodge them.

   I knew the consequences of working with Maekawa and had already accepted this. I didn’t know that it would come in this form, but I realized that he was every bit shady and suspicious as he looked and acted.


   My throat opened up and let out a blood curdling scream.

   Blood flew out of every limb of my body as the daggers repeatedly stabbed me, occasionaly embedding in my bones.

   I couldn’t stop screaming. My throat soon went dry but the pain still forced me to scream emptily.

   The metallic taste of blood poured into my mouth as Maekawa switched his daggers to target my face and upper body.

   Time wasn’t passing, and I suffered through this torture.

   I wanted to know why. I wanted to confirm the lengths that Maekawa went to in order to be in this situation right now. My desires were strong, but for right now they were replaced by the pain of every single muscle and piece of my body crying out in pain.

   “Maekawa, that’s enough. We need him alive for now, regrettably.”

   Amidst my pain I heard a familiar voice address Maekawa.

   “Ha. Just let me do it right now, okay? I’ve been waiting for this for a while now. You guys are the ones that inconvenienced me in the first place, okay?”

   “No. The boss wants him alive, regrettably.”

   “Is the boss even going to show up to this carnival you’ve got going on here? Huh, what’s it gonna be Kitaro-kun? If he doesn’t show up I’ll just kill him right now, okay? He literally means nothing to me now.”

   “Maekawa, do not tell us how to do our jobs. You’re just a temporary hire, you have no influence here.”

   “Oh? Is that so? I take it that that means you’re planning on breaking our deal then, okay? If I really had no influence, I wouldn’t be able to take this eidolon and then wipe out your entire organization later on.”

   “Stop this useless arguing and even more useless torture. We have to maintain a code of conduct when it comes to this kind of stuff, regrettably.”

   “Yeah yeah yeah, whatever. If I don’t keep it up he’s going to heal and then he’ll really fight you guys, okay?”

   I listened to the conversation between those two men as the daggers continued to stab me and hold me in place. I was going in and out of consciousness, but I was able to understand their conversation for the most part.

   Maekawa wasn’t wrong. I knew that for certain. He wasn’t wrong in saying that I'd heal up right away and unleash everything I had on them.

   Currently, Shoko was using her near infinite supply of spectra energy to heal all of my vital organs and the bare necessities to keep my body running and my mind conscious.

“Y-you… y-you tricky bastard!” I said as drops of blood came flying out my mouth.

   “Oh, so you’re awake! Even better! What did you hear, okay?”

   Maekawa challenged me as he sent his blades even deeper into my body.

   “Y-you… agh… you’re a liar… agh… and a crook!”

   “Ha. Seems like you really have been hanging out with Takenaka lately. I always thought it might come to this. After all my efforts to shut him up he ended up spilling the beans to you didn’t he? Tell me, okay?”

   Maekawa brought a blade up to my neck as if he really was serious in slitting my throat.

   “Haaa… haaa… you won’t do it… it’s not worth it for you…”

   “Hmph, you’re right. You’re my beloved student after all. More importantly it wouldn’t look good on my reviews as a sensei if someone found out I decapitated a student, okay?”

   “Trash… you piece of trash!!!”

   I tried to scream at him and insult him but my voice was still barely able to come out stronger than a whisper.

   “Just shut up and sit still, okay? Oh? Do you still have something to say? Hear let me help you with that, okay? Try tasting steel mixed with your blood. No, no, don’t move!”

   Maekawa taunted me devilishly and shoved a dagger straight into my mouth.

   I looked at him and saw that he actually was enjoying this. It was terrifying to see, because his face was happy and his laugh genuine, but his eyes were those of someone so used to torture and murder that they only relfected his indifference to the situation. His indifference to me.

   I thought back on everything that led me to this moment. I could confidently say that my life wasn’t flashing before my eyes. It was a conscious action to think about what led up to me being tortured by my former sensei in the middle of a work party for a global criminal organization.

   My memories settled on that conversation I had with Takenaka just a few average days before tonight.

   “Now, let me explain the reason why you carry the largest target on your back. Let me explain the King’s Roulette.”

   “The King’s Roulette? Sounds like a gamble,” I said to Takenaka.

   “Yea, it is quite the ploy designed for the foolish man.”

   “So what does it have to do with me?”

   “I’ll explain in detail. First, O Seiji-san, thou knowest how to determine how powerful an eidolon is?”

   “Uhh, I think so. There’s like that percentage system that some people use. I haven’t heard about it in a long time, so I’m not exactly sure how it all works.”

   “That’s fine. As long as you are familiar with the percentage, and the distinction between positive and negative spectra energy, thou will be capable of understanding.”

   “Right. Sorry for the question, but the difference between positive and negative spectra energy?”

   “One is positive. The other is negative. That is the difference.”



   “Anyway, what were you going to explain to me?”

   “Ah, right. The King’s Roulette. It’s a myth that claims that whosoever possesses all of the strongest eidolons in the world, will receive the power of a god for the rest of their life.”

   “Woah… that sounds intense. Wait! How do you gain possession of more than one eidolon? Is that even possible? I’ve never heard of that before.”

   “It is possible. Many people do it to have more spectra energy and therefore become more powerful. However, the King’s Roulette is generally viewed as a myth because very few people can actually control the power of an eidolon. The amount of people that can control the power of an eidolon in the King’s Roulette is even smaller. O Seiji-san, excuse me for my mathematics, but I’d say that the percentage of these people that are alive would be somewhere around 0.01%. Do you understand just how difficult the King’s Roulette is?”

   “Th-that’s insane. And has anyone ever completed it?”

   “No. That’s why it’s called a myth. But the rumors around the first swordsman suggests that it is possible.”

   “Wow. And so why does this put a huge target on my back?”

   “Thou art a host of an eidolon. I fear that thou may even be the host of an extremely powerful one too.”

   “Yeah, I guess I am a host. But even if I can host just one, that wouldn’t mean it’s possible for me to host another one, right?”

   “Correct. But your judgment lacks depth. O Seiji-san, dost thou really think that those people that are capable of hosting more than one won’t come for you and try to rob you of your eidolon?”

   His words struck a chord inside me. It was extremely likely that sooner or later people would be knocking on my door trying to persuade me to either give them Shoko, or they would try and take her by force. That was something I absolutely couldn’t let happen. Shoko was living inside me, and I lived for her.

   “How do I recognize these kinds of people?” I asked.

   “Excellent question, thou art on the same page as I. There is a certain technique with spectra energy known as sealing. I’m sure thou hast not learned about this yet--”

   “No, I know what it is. Please continue.”

   “Right. Oftentimes the seals are placed in visible forms, like tattoos, brands or sometimes scars. Think hypothetically here, O Seiji-san. If you met a swordsman that was extremely powerful and still covered in seals, would you be their friend? Or would you choose to distance yourself from that person so you never see them again. Which would it be for thee, O Seiji-san?”

   “I would never want to see that person again. Given what’s at stake for me, I absolutely can’t let people get their hands on the eidolon I’m hosting.”

   “O Seiji-san, do you know anyone that might fit this description?”

   “Maekawa-sensei comes to mind.”

   “And now that you know, will you continue to associate yourself with him? Will you continue to get closer and put your trust in a man that is most likely actively scheming to rob you of your eidolon? O Seiji-san, I’m only worried for you. I’ve known Maekawa for several years and he will not hesitate to act upon his worldly desires.”

   “You think he’s trying to plan something to try and pull a fast one on me?”

   “I absolutely would not put it past him. If he approaches you with a plan, go along with it for as long as necessary, but be prepared for him to stab you in the back. Metaphorically and physically.”

   “Trust me for now. I don’t know the relationship between you and the eidolon, but I suggest spending more time with it in order to train and gain more experience about your life moving forward. And remember, if Maekawa offers you any sort of plan, accept it initially, but make sure you go through with it as noncommittal as possible. It may be dangerous, but it’s the best way to prevent him from taking advantage of you and your eidolon.”

   Takenaka wrapped up his explanation about the King’s Roulette with that piece of advice and moments later Maekawa appeared at my house and offered me a plan to get revenge on Thermo Corp.

   Maekawa really cut me a sweet deal, dragging all of my emotions into the conversation to manipulate me. He made me look like a dancing fool. A fool dancing in his greasy palm. A dancing fool that smiled when he cheered me on and kept dancing when he asked for more.

   Now that I was here and experiencing the repercussions of his con first hand, I realized that he probably wasn’t lying to me the entire time. Or really he had just mixed enough half truths with his lies in order for me to chomp on the bait and follow him right into this trap. I do believe that Thermo Corp. was targeting me, and that they were responsible for the eidolon in the forest and the hydrangea hydra at the school. The biggest surprise was that Maekawa was actually working hand in hand with Thermo Corp. to take me down. After my chat with Takenaka I figured Maekawa would target me for personal gain, but it seems like I was caught in the con long before I even knew his name.

   Despite being nearly trapped completely by his plan tonight, I did have a contingency plan to get out of this mess. I only hoped that I would be able to make it out of here with Mitsuki and Takenaka. I didn’t want to count out Takenaka just yet. He must’ve rubbed off on me a little but, because I was praying with all my being that he’d pull through. Somehow, I knew he would.

   As for Mitsuki, I had no idea where she was, but I had a sneaking suspicion that she was alive and well, just probably unconscious or something. So, maybe just alive. I don’t count unconsciousness as being well.

   Outside my thoughts, the conversation between Maekawa and Kitaro had started to die down and turned into idle chit chat. Maekawa still kept all of his daggers pressing themselves farther and farther into my body and repeating that on loop.

   I was just about ready to pass out from the pain, but I knew it wouldn’t be any good for me to pass out now and give up. I had a backup plan. A backup plan that was nearly foolproof. A spunky backup plan named Shoko.