Chapter 1:

Knot 0.5 - Link 1 : Entrapped Amidst Fear And Incandescence... The Knot And Link Allied Under The Parasol Of The Heavens!

SLATE[=]GRAY - The OELN Series


********** LINK 1 **********

A hand…
…ties into another.

*Yank!*

“—Quick,
ototochan!”.

Pulled,

“We need to get outta here—now!”.

Kessetsu-

“Wha-a-!?”.

falter
as he may,

*Tchk Tch-Tchk TchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

is forced
to keep up
with the dire urge.

*TchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

Addressed
as “ototochan”;
an eavesdropper would justly mistake him
for a child.
However,
his average-tall,
nimbly muscled frame
and sternly defined face;
currently bearing grave unease,
proves the reality
of his mid-teens.

*Squeeze!*

Led
by the hand—

*TchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

—he tails his twin sister,
Rensa;
her much softer,
childly face,

“…!”.

stiffened
with vexation.

*TchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

Their running steps distrustfully tread
on grass oddly tinted
by a blood-red glow.
So stunning
and intense,
it not only coats the stretch
of grassland containing them
—from the trees
and bushes
to the sandy patches roughed
by stone
and rock—
but their scuttling forms,
too;
the effect close
to the safelight
of a photographer’s darkroom.

“…!”.

Through his already fitful mind’s eye;
Kessetsu watches—

*TchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

…as the distance parades
off
without him.
Amidst such futility bluntly cavorting
before him…

“Kg-gh!”.

—his expression tightens
from added frustration.

High above,

*Glow!*

the full moon watches
as the siblings intersect the vast,
lightened field.
Its dust-like outer glow,
however,
already struggling
to enliven the thick blackness enclosing it,
holds naught contest—
—to the hexagon inexplicably floating
beneath it.
Fashioned
from pure,
red light;
the glowing shape’s breadth extends hundred-and-fifty feet
from its midpoint;
responsible
for the light-shedding dominance pouring
over the teenagers
plus their surroundings.

Sited directly
below,
like a reflection
on water,
is a second hexagon.
With a ninety foot gap
between the first;

*Glow!!*

it coats the ground
with an even stronger blaze
of red.

Overhead,
this deceptive allure
—its shape close
to a giant gift box made
of light—
blazes
amid what would else be deemed an eerie night.

*TchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

Still giving chase,

“*pant*-*pant*-*pant*”.

Rensa facial unease remains fixed—

—to the area
outside the massive hexagons outspread both
beneath
and
above her
and her twin.
Unlike most
of the field;
this intended region sits free
from the red brightness immersing them.

“Th-the barrier’s…v-virtually complete!
—Damn it!
If we don’t escape its radius soon,
we’ll have no way of stopping the Tsukumogami!”.

The frustration
from her forethought-

“Kg!”.

detains her expression.
Irrespective-

*Grip!*

—she squeezes her brother’s hand tighter as they hurry
for the ‘exit’.

*TchkTchkTchkTchkTchkTchk*

However-

*DH-OOOFFV~VHhhh~!!*

an underground outburst suddenly throws their surroundings
into a maddened quake.

*Skh-rissh*

Skidding
to an immediate halt,
they drop their alarm-

*DDRRddrrDDRRddrrDDRRddrrDDRRddrr~!*

to the wavering ground.

A red-

*Flash!*

“!”.

“!?”.

then lifts their faces;

“*gasp*!”.

“Huh!?”.

…filling their bloated eyes
with a bright redness.

“I-im…possible…” Rensa fearfully murmurs…

…for conceitedly positioned
before her
and her brother…

*DOOM!*

—is a towering,
rectangular ‘wall’.

*FLARE!*

Glowing
with a translucent,
ruby-red hue;
it stands fused
between one
of the adjacent,
five-sided slots edging the hexagons.

“—The barrier!
I-it’s…at its final stage of completion!”.

Rensa can only yield
to her horrid realization.
Too busy gaping
at the ‘wall’ made
of light—she does not notice the ground now sedated
below her.

*Snatch!*

“H-hey!”.

Yanked
by the wrist,
she hurriedly arranges her running steps—afore raising her peeved face.

*TchkTchk TchkTckTchkTchk*

“What the hell’s going on,
oneechan!?”.

Tightly holding
on
to his sister’s wrist;
Kessetsu plays the leader this time as they rush
for the outside
of the hexagons.

*TchkTchk TchkTckTchkTchk*

“This…—this isn’t right,
dammit!” she barks;
seemingly
to her own fret.
“I was overly sure we had more time than this to escape the barrier’s radius!
An animated spirit shouldn’t be capable of fashioning something like this in such an overly short time!
Th-there’s…—there’s just no way!”.

“…!?
“Escape”…?
“Barrier”…?
What are you blabbering about,
oneechan!?”.

“—This Sanction is the Hexagonal Barrier of Emotional Synchronization,
ototochan!
Even though it’s function is pretty straightforward,
it’s still considered overly life-threatening and,
for that reason,
was utilized only during the Exalting War!”.

“L…life-threatening…?”.

“—Yes!
You see,
through combined effort,
a palette of Haikan would fashion the Hexagonal Barrier of Emotional Synchronization—thus,
entrapping themselves along with the enemy!
The barrier would then synchronize all the Nenki within its radius before channeling it to the strongest Haikan—or,
the ‘strongest host’!
While the ‘strongest host’ was free to use the synchronized Nenki however they desired,
the rest of the entrapped Haikan
—stripped of their Nenki—
had nothing else…except their arms and legs…

—to fight to the very end!”.

The callousness
of such a method,
along with being present
during its formation,

“!!”.

easily doubles Kessetsu’s dread.

“…!?
S-so…you’re saying the Tsukumogami is...trying to trap us inside here…?” he asks;
peering
back
over his shoulder.

His chasing sister just nods her stern face
in response—

“!!”.

—alarming him even further.

*Swing!*

“B-but…—there’s still a chance,
oneechan!” he says;
his vexed face aimed frontward now.
“The Tsukumogami’s just an animated spirit!
Even if we do end up trapped in here,
and the Nenki inside is synchronized,
you’re still the ‘strongest host’ being the Haikan!
I-I mean…there’s zero chance Nenki can be channeled to an animated spirit!
Th-that’s…—that’s just impractical!”.

*Brood…!*

Rensa’s weepy remains dropped
from listening
to her brother.

*Grind!*

After locking her jaws
for a few seconds…she states,

“I’m not sure how,
ototochan,
but…being the fashioner of this barrier in the first place suggests that the ‘strongest host’…”. The girl’s averted eyes now spill over
with self-resent. “…that the ‘strongest host’ isn’t me,

…but the Tsukumogami…!”.

A wave
of terror,

“!?
Wh…w-w-what!?”.

crashes
against Kessetsu’s heart.
He then attempts
to protest when-

*Flash!!*

the hexagon
beneath them ignites brilliantly.

*Tch-Chk*

Freezing,

“Huh!?”.

“Wh-wha-!?”.

the twins dump their fear
to the blazing ground.

Thereupon,
four rectangular forms,
also made
of pure,
red light,

*S~h~yuu… S~h~yuu… S~h~yuu… S~h~yuu…*

emerge,
one
by one,
from the outermost reaches
of the base hexagon.

“…!”.

“…!?”.

Dreadfully;
they watch as the rectangular forms
—starting
from the one closest
to the first,
self-erected ‘wall’—

*S~hwiff! S~hwiff! S~hwiff! S~hwiff!*

—hurriedly slide
upward.

*Click! Click! Click! Click!*

Melding
into the each
of the five-sided edges
of the above hexagon;
their attachments-

*Fooshh~…*

…discharge a gush
of light.

The vast opening,
which all this while stood vacant
between the hexagons,
is now sealed shut all round
by the lucent,
five-walled barrier.

Shortly after,

*Gleam*

…a dot
of white light emerges
at the structure’s core.

*BURST!*

Spanning the interior
like a surge
of lightning,

“!
What the-!?”.

“OTOTOCHA~N!!!”.

the siblings shield their faces as the sheer white conceals everything
in sight.

The hexagonal enclosure now sits
at the heart
of the field-

*BLAZE!!!*

like a colossal bigtop
on fire.

Before long…the intensity
within it fades;
unveiling two forms as the leads
to its incarcerating cabaret.

One
of them,

*Fade…*

…being Kessetsu.

*Tremble Tremble*

Warily,
he moves his arm;

“! H…h-huh…?”.

baring the disbelief
of realizing himself still intact.

“—Ototochan!”.

*Swing!*

That surprise veered—

—he finds his sister’s comforted-

*Smile…*

Her unhurt sight,

“—Oneechan!”.

grants him minor joy.
Yet…his glee,

“*groan~*…”.

…is quickly dulled by
a dire realization.

“Na~ oneechan…?
That flash…
I take it that’s the barrier’s way of telling us its formation’s complete…na…?”.

The sister is pushed
to agree
with a forlorn-

*Nod*

“—Damn it!”.

Riled;
Kessetsu begins assessing the barrier’s interior.

“How on earth can the Tsukumogami be the ‘strongest host’,
oneechan—you’re the Haikan!!”.

“Ototochan…”.

“Nn~ngg-g~hh~…—tch!
Screw it…!
I guess we have no other choice,
but to find another way out this barrier,
then…!
Got any bright-”.

“—There’s no longer a way out,
ototochan!!”.

“!?”.

The boy’s words are sliced short
by his sister’s sudden sharpness.
So,

“*groan~*…”.

through a face showing clear touchiness;
he asks,

“Does this barrier at least have a weak point…or,
something we can work with…?”.

“Even if it did,
how do you expect we break through it,
ototochan!?
This is the Hexagonal Barrier of Emotional Synchronization!
Fashioning something like this during the eighteen-hundreds demanded the Nenki of at least twenty skilled Haikan!
And,
not just that,
but it also took them hours to complete its formation…—a-and those were only half the size of this one!
Nn~ngh…—damn it!
I still don’t get it!
How can a barrier this massive be created in such little time by a single individual…—wh-who isn’t even human,
for goodness sake,
let alone a Haikan!!”.

“Damn it…!”.

“*groan~*…
And even if I could use my Nenki…I wouldn’t be able to poke a peephole into this barrier to look through with…!”.

*Jolt!*

The shock caused
by her detailing,

“—W-wh-whoa!
Wait…!”.

…quickly alters
to confusion.

“What do you mean…*gulp*…“if” you could use your Nenki,
oneechan…?”.

Upon that question,

*Brood…!*

…the shadow
of dread creeps
over Rensa’s face.

*Lift…*

Opposing her brother’s uncertainty
with a face sucked
of all faith,
she tells him,

“I already told you,
ototochan…”.

“…!?”.

“For a Sanction like this to maintain and strengthen its formation…virtually all my Nenki has been synchronized and channeled…

—to the Tsukumogami!”.

“!! Wh-w-wha…!?”.

One twin’s gut tightens—as the other turns her bittered face
away.

********** TO BE TIED **********

[Author's Note: Enjoyed your sample of Slate[=]Gray: the OELN series so far? Well, actually, this's just the BAREBONES of it all! If you'd like to FULLY experience what S[=]G is really all about, why not email us at finalanimosity@gmail.com, and we'll be more than happy to issue you with, what we call, the "Upgrayded" version! These professionally structured, A5-sized chapters are perfect on tablets and support many important features that the simple txt. format can't. We're talking iconography, an optional, more YenPress-like format, italicized onomatopoeia, right-aligned text that reads downward; fusing the Western YA fiction format with Haikau, amongst other, totally unique enticements—all for your reading pleasure to be the very best! For now, though, continue enjoying Slate[=]Gray on Honeyfeeds! We look forward to hearing from all of you!

Best regards,

K. Aikyou]


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