Chapter 11:



A small municipal park painted over with flowers. Offset north from the center stood a concrete fountain with simple lotus designs. Sidewalks fanned out from the focal point of the fountain to connect the corners. For a mid afternoon, few people occupied the ground.

Just like she wished for, an ideal private place to talk. He looked over the scene of the park and back further to the small rising buildings. “…real world…” The thought had almost made him laugh knowing how much of a strange and ironic statement that was to be said. ‘Most wouldn’t see it as a real world and until yesterday it was just a fake world to me. Strange to think my fantasies could be in the real world.’ He took a seat on the bench and unbuttoned his jacket. There were questions that needed to be answered and he did not have a lot of free time. “Good to talk here?”

She scanned once more and focused. A blue ripple came out from her feet over the ground briefly. “Now it is.” Ayumi had dropped all of her facades that she wore for the public.

Yuki knew that he had countless questions for her, but he had to pace himself. One issue more than any presented itself and an immediate threat. This apparent real world needed some rules. “What was that this morning?”

Chapter 11 – Kasou-ryoku

Ayumi maintained a straight at attention seated position. A rigidity and discipline that he didn’t remember from her before, for how much his memories meant anymore. “That was a manifestation of your power. Though considering your current state, a subconscious one.”

“Current state? Are there stages?”

“Correct. There are three stages most of us go through. The dormant stage is how you were until yesterday. Though I guess considering the sakura blossom, you maybe have been out of that for longer. The next stage which you are at, is what we call the subconscious stage and the conscious stage follows.”

“Subconscious and conscious? You make it sound like the power is tied to mental conditions.”

“That’s quite astute. Our power lives within our mind as such, that means the greatest influence over it is your mental state at the moment.”

“Based on the names, I’m in some sort of uncontrolled condition where my passive thoughts are manifesting?”

“Correct. In the dormant stage, as it sounds our power isn’t awakened. We’re like any other normal human, nothing unique or special about us. Once you move into the subconscious stage, that’s where training and control are needed. Most people can’t just advance to the conscious stage without guidance.

“While in the subconscious stage, we are a threat to both ourselves and those around us. This is especially true for those with vivid imaginations and mental illness. That’s why it’s important to identify it early and get proper training.”

“Which you’ll be providing me.”

“Yes. Your power has started to awaken and the more it’s used it’ll become a flood gate. Your subconscious will start tapping into that power more and more often. Until you learn proper control, your mind will control you.”

He winced a little and the imaginary that came with that warning. “Thanks for the nightmares. Um…can it make nightmares real?”

“Anything. I know of more than a few that died in their sleep.”

His hands went through his hair feeling the stress of the dark world she painted. Such a world hit closer to home for him than she realized. “How do any of you survive?”

“Dream manifestation generally takes a deeply progressed subconscious stage to occur. Given how recent it was for you, you will be safe for a while.”

“That’s not completely encouraging. I thought superpowers were supposed to be fun.”

“Does that answer your question?”

Yuki leaned back resting his head on the back of the bench staring up at the azure canvas half painted in with clouds. Pensive long breathes exhaled as he considered everything. The world she drew for him sounded disturbing and frightening, especially for someone like himself. “Is there any way to remove this ability?”

“It’s part of our brain, any sort of tampering could cause damage or be lethal. If someone did such things, they would have been illegal.”

“Not that simple, figures as much. And you need me as I am. With this um…power, power…I can’t keep calling it something vague and non-descript as power. What to call it…”

“It has a name, Mes–”

“Ryo…ka…no, something cool sounding.”

“We call it, Meso–”

“Hmm, English maybe? No, I’m terrible at English, even if it does sound cool.”

Ayumi stopped trying. Even if she did finish, he clearly heard nothing. So she waited with pinched brow at his fumbling around.

“Ryoku, huh, hm, maybe Kasou-ryoku, yeah let’s go with that!” He tilted his head, still resting on the bench back, over to Ayumi for some feedback. All he got from was a flat expression, not clear if it was disappointment or annoyance. She hid the truth pretty well.

“Our power has existed for two millennia, we have a name for it already.”

“Oh, why didn’t you say so?”

“Your ability to get lost in your head is…impressive.”


“Meso Prosecho is what we call our power.”

“MP for short?”


“M-meso Pro-shesho? What language is that? Like Latin or something ancient?”

“Ancient, but not Latin. It’s an offshoot of Greek.”

“Greek, that’s going to be hard to follow. Can we keep to Japanese? I have enough trouble in my English class.”

“As long as you don’t use Kasou-ryoku…”


“I’ll translate.”

“Awesome! So what’s the next step?”

Ayumi paused to consider the circumstance. The mission hadn’t changed for her. His progression remained unclear and most of all, his potential concerned her. If Yuki had anything similar to his father, the risk to more than just himself increased. ‘I’m going to have to be careful, but I can’t delay long. He could move quickly and put everything at risk.’ Risk analysis became even more critical seeing what he could do already.

“It’ll be training to give you control over your power.”

“When do we start? This is only getting worse for me, right?”

“Indeed. I’ll be ready soon for you. Time is not with us.”

“Right, deadline as well.” Yuki jumped up off the bench to stretch. The metal backing of the bench didn’t exactly fit perfectly to his spine, but he was young. He looked at the park, seeing it no further filled than before. In fact, they had been lucky enough not to have anyone pass by them. “Fortunately, no one passed by to interrupt us.”

“No one would have.”


“I made sure we had privacy.”

Pondering the meaning and ramifications of that, he snapped back to her. “Are you saying you have the power to control people?”

“It’s not mind control if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s just a Law that affects their decision making to dissuade them from picking the park.”

“Sounds like you’re splitting hairs. But the park is not small, it’s the whole city block, like what hundred meters?”

“Two hundred.”

“That sand guy could only do like ten meters maybe?”

‘Impressive, he’s picked up those details already. At least his observational skills are good. That’ll be important.’ Despite the amount of prep she did to investigate him before contact, a lot remained unknown about him. She found more new things about him than she expected, for good and bad. “It’s one measure of someone’s strength, though it’s not as reliable as you can assume.”

New tidbits of information kept dropping for him. Now that he accepted it, his curiosity to understand the power system only grew. His mind continued to paint different ideas of how it worked compared to fictional ones he knew. Some correlations existed, but it remained mostly unknown to him. “I see. Would you say it’s a hard or soft power system?”

“What?” Visible confusion made it across her face. She still hadn’t adapted to all of his different idioms. Much remained to learn.

“Hard or soft, you know like there are a lot of rules with a well defined structure or is it more fluid with the moment?”

“Well…” She went silent as she never considered the perspective. A majority of her life, she lived with said power and training. Everything existed naturally for her in an unquestioned state. “There are defined limits, but part of the growth is creative execution within those limits to still get results otherwise impossible.”

“Sounds more soft than hard, but I guess I’ll know better as you explain things to me more.” The more she talked about it, the more excited it made him. Real or not, he had the same eagerness as finding a new manga or book to dive into and fully immerse himself. Though knowing Ayumi, she would hate the analogy to fiction, again.

Still he had enough different pieces to craft an image in his mind. It sort of made him curious about what her homeland looked like with all of this power. Could it be some sort of sci-fi utopia, or a high fantasy with impossible structures? An endless possibility of creation seemed like a dream. He wondered what the catch to it all was.

More happened than just the powers. The corruption she described, the rigidity of her when she stopped pretending. So many unknowns still that he needed to get a handle on. And the all important remaining question.

Would he follow Ayumi back to become this King they needed?