Chapter 14:

Dual Ego (Shiro Shizuko) - Part 2

Mages and Dragons in a New Land? They Obviously Haven't Seen a Modern War Man! Book 2


Truth

The girl was an anomaly.

Something different.

Something new.

A freak of existence itself.

After all, your demons are something to be afraid of. Something to hate. Something to shun.

She didn’t just have a demon in her.

She was a demon herself.

The people treated her like a time bomb ready to explode on thier faces at any given moment. She went through all that while having that naggy, hurtful, hateful, stupid thing inside of her.

That voice. That voice that haunts her. It’s why she was going through this after all.

As forgiving as she was, she hated that thing with all her heart.

–--

She oddly remembered her birth. The last of the quadruplets to be conceived. She vaguely remembered the horrified faces of the people in the room. She remembered the coldness she felt as she looked into the eyes of who she thought was her father.

Those kind eyes… He had such kind eyes. That was the only memory she had of him. And yet during that moment, she had cried. Something about him had bothered her until this present moment.

It probably had something to do with the feeling she felt at that time. The feeling of something creeping inside of her. Growing… maturing… lurking.

Waiting.

She watched herself cry as her father tried to comfort her. She couldn’t hear what they were saying but the looks of horror from the nurses and the midwife suggested that they were afraid.

Afraid of her.

She watched as her father waved the nurses and midwife away. The authority in his form reminded her of Kazumi. She felt herself grow sad at that thought. She continued to gaze and the petrified bunch of people scurried away, not looking back.

She took a moment to survey her surroundings. It was the first time she was seeing all this - the dark gloomy room with a huge bed and a table with a picture on it. The place overlooked the dark desolate, uninviting cityscape outside - and yet it felt so familiar.

More like home.

She watched her father walk toward her mother’s tired physique. She watched as she was being caressed gently by those warm hands. The warmth overtook the cold feeling she felt.

This was her mother. Shiro Hikari, the “light” in her life. The one that supported her through all of the things she had endured.

“Hikari.” said her father, “Are you feeling better?”

His voice was cold but reassuring.

“Yes, Morax.” she replied with a grin looking all hyped up, “I’m all good! How is she doing?”

“I really had hoped that she could’ve been normal like the other three but…”

“Yeah…” her mother’s face turned grim.

“She has one in her.” Morax said in a matter-of-fact way, “It will make her life hard. It’s true intentions are what we don’t know about. It’s unfortunate that I won’t be around to support her.”

“Do you really have to go?” her mother pleaded, “You could come to Alynth. You could live with us. You could-”

“I belong here.” Morax interrupted, “I am a demon, a monster to the others. No one will approve of us. It would cause you despair and I don’t want you to feel that way.”

Hikari sighed, “I…see.”

Tears flowed from her eyes. Morax slowly hugged her.

“It will be fine.” he said, “You will be fine without me. They will become strong too.”

“Yes..” Hikari smiled, “They will be good people just like you are.”

Morax’s ice-cold eyes melted. He had a sad smile on his face. Planting a kiss on her mother’s lips, Shizuko watched her father pat her little head.

“Be good now..” he said, “You will have a lot of hardships. But remember that there will always be those that support you no matter what you are. Learn to protect the people you love and absolutely do not have a failure of an existence as I had…”

The sound of dry winds were only heard as a portal swallowed everyone except him.

‘Goodbye, Kazumi, Rin, Harumi, Shizuko…” Shizuko heard him think, ‘Papa is going to a faraway place. We won’t be seeing each other anymore. I know you just saw me and I know you won’t remember but just know that I’ll always be with you four.’

‘Goodbye Hikari.’ he continued, ‘You saved me many years ago from my death. We have lived together since then. You taught me to see the world in a new light. For that… I’m indebted to you.’

‘I know it must be hard for you all. But I have no other way. You five deserve better. I’ll just be a bother and a nuisance for you all…’

“Live…” he said softly, “I am truly sorry for this…”

---

“So that was our father.” the Voice said, “He was pathetic for a demon.”

Shizuko couldn’t process it all. As she stood among the dark void surrounding her, she could only ask herself.

‘That was my father?”

“Morax.” the Voice explained, “One of the Thirteen Generals of Seth. He was also a Ronin. He was different from the other demons. He wasn’t consumed by rage like the others. On the contrary, he was benevolent. He’s nothing like how his cruel-looking physique makes him up to be.”

“He sounds like a great person…” Shizuko said.

“More like he was pathetic! Kindness brings about a person’s downfall. He was a prime example. He tried saving you all and that got him killed, mocked. His status didn’t matter. It’s all because you and your sisters exist. I see where you got his stupidity from.”

A scene weaved into fruition. A grey landscape. Barren trees, the surroundings in pitch black flames. A girl held onto another one as a pool of blood was beginning to form around her. She cried as the other person was slowly dying in her arms.

“I know for a fact that you remember this scene very well, yes?”

She sure did. This was when Kazumi died.

“She died trying to save another. Her kindness led to her demise. But let’s not forget whose fault it really was.

Shizuko’s face turned grim. She knew exactly what the Voice was talking about now that the missing piece of information was revealed.

‘Demons resonate with other creatures of the realm.’ she thought.

“Congrats, girl. Look who finally caught on.”

The sight of her sisters’ dire situation disappeared as the shadows gave way to an odd lone figure.

A little boy with pitch black wings, his eyes as dark as the infinite void itself, his wings as beautiful as a tapestry, fragile but strong.

Everything fell silent before the little boy. Lights dimmed, sounds faltered, the whole world seemed to bow down before his presence.

‘What is this pressure!’ Shizuko thought, ‘Who is he?’

She felt herself bow as he stared down at her. His eyes looked lifeless and yet they felt so familiar.

“Arise.” his voice boomed. It sent shivers down Shizuko’s spine. The Voice was unusually silent now.

“Greetings, Shiro Shizuko… and Ms Demoness.”

–--

Shizuko stared at the boy with disbelief. Who was he? How did he know her? She had so many questions.

“Stay quiet girl!” the Voice shot at her, “Just shut up!”

“Listen to the Demon, girl.” the boy interjected. He applauded Shizuko with an unnerving smile as she stood up.

“Let me commend you on figuring things out. But you got one thing wrong.”

The boy put an arm around Shizuko and led him deeper into the reforming scene. To where Harumi was, carrying Shizuko in her arms. But then the scene burned before her revealing a lone boy in the shadows.

The same boy that Shizuko was standing next to.

“I, Valak, caused the deaths of the one you held dear! It was because of me that your sister died.”

“And I did add a touch of emotional manipulation.” he added, “After all, your mind went blank when you did it. Like the monster you are! Resonating with me, made you awaken!”

The next words, although calm and cool, began to instil fear into Shizuko’s mind. Shizuko didn’t know what was worse; the fear creeping up on her or the psychotic, ecstatic look on his face.

“After all, I am your older cousin.”

Before Shizuko could react, a flick of his finger grounded her. Pain shot from her back and it was more painful than any common backache. Nausea accompanied the pain but Shizuko somehow managed to stand.

‘Life Flare’ she thought, casting the healing spell. As the pain was lessening, she took the moment to step far back.

Shizuko was shocked. The intense amount of pressure he generated overwhelmed her. She was feeling despair and hopelessness. Negativity overpowered her spirit.

“Girl! Don’t let him get to your head. He’s playing with you!”

‘Well I’m used to it.’ she thought to herself, ‘I’ve been played with many times…’

“Dumbass! What are you doing?”

“Can’t you see what I’m doing?” she asked as she moved forward.

‘I will not let this happen!’

Gritting her teeth, she walked as feelings were welling up inside her… Hate, despair, grief…

Rage.

She raised her bow and took aim.

‘Calm down…’ she thought, ‘Breathe…’

Exhaling, she shot an arrow at the centre of it all, the eye of the storm. Sure enough, Valak was distracted by the shot. He had to break his focus to dodge it. Shizuko took the moment to make a run towards the little demon.

With a scream of rage, she focused some Light Magic on Valak, the attribute she wasn't good at would probably do something against him right?

But his unnerving grin diminished all hopes of it happening.

“Just kidding~”

The arrow was split into two with just a flick of his finger. With a cold stare, he grabbed the girl by the neck.

“Well, it’s been fun, dear Raizel… Oh you are Shiro Shizuko here, aren’t you? Well then, Shizuko, it’s time to go-”

But he was surprised to see her struggling still. A large amount of Light Magic shot out of her palm but was immediately grabbed by Valak.

“This would make a good ‘light’.” he joked, “But, oh well.”

Opening his mouth wide, he ate the ball like a child eats a fruit.

Shizuko was baffled, “Y-you…” she managed.

“Mmm!” he exclaimed with joy, “That’s some pure magical power you got there… Since I can’t make you my pet because Morax will be mad if I did, I guess I’ll just have to kill you.”

His grip tightened around her neck. Shizuko felt like she was losing breath. Her mind went blank, she was deprived of feeling, of any sort of emotion…

“Goodbye, little cousin.”

---

As the cold, dark, eerie void swallowed her, Shizuko saw all the memories of her past. All the times she spent with her sisters, all the times they have looked out for her, all the wonderful times she had.

But she also saw all the times she was harassed and looked down upon, her own people hated her, her own blood was killed by her. Even with the bitter reveal that the one responsible wasn’t her after all, she still felt responsible.

After all, in the end, the deed was done by her and her alone.

Is this… death?

She felt her own voice echo through the darkness. She felt light-headed, free even.

She saw a familiar figure in the distance, its back facing her.

I’ll be joining you then… It’s for the best.