Chapter 3:

Ghost of the Bedroom

The Ghost of OtherWorld Vol. 1: The Flame Knight of Ember Palace


The sirens of police cars and ambulances alike were frequent in the ears of Souta, but more than them the fear in his soul, and the anger in his eyes where much more frequent. There was him, his classmates, Yuriko and the intruder. The situation was something that he'd never imagined would happen.


As the tears streamed down her cheeks, and he saw the silent cries for help coming from his friend he did the only thing he could manage. With the mental count of three, He charged his schools intruder.


***


"Ahhh!" Souta was seemingly forced awake by his mental torment. He sat up from his resting place, The couch?


It took him a moment to recall what exactly was going on, and why. Souta sat upright on the couch and rested his head in his hands. His entire body seemed to be overheating, then again, he was in his school uniform. That fact probably had some role in that, and his dream?


Souta shook his head, Doing his best to forget about his dream. Maybe it would have been easier, if he wasn't recalling a legitimate incident. He sighed to himself and made his way into the kitchen. Pouring himself a glass of water, he glanced outside. The phenomenon had ended, night had fallen and the world was sound asleep. He pulled his phone from his pocket to see that it was roughly three in the morning. He took a seat at the empty kitchen table, drinking his water he thought of Rina. He missed her.


Maybe the thought made him sound childish, but it was true. She was as good, even better than family, and she was always there when he had nightmares relevant to that incident. Always offering her his support, now he didn't have her. He continued to lightly sip at his water, loosening his tie, and unbuttoning the first few buttons of his shirt. He needed to change.


Souta stood up from the kitchen and stretched out his arms, thoughts on the day to come surfaced. It was summer's official start, and he had nothing to do.


That girl..


His eyes widened as the recent events replayed in his mind. He'd found that girl, he'd been forced to bring her here because of the Moonlight Miracle. His line of sight shifted towards the staircase leading to his bedroom, where she was resting, hopefully healing.


How was she doing?


His question wasn't exactly answered, but his expression turned dreadful as a wave of flames erupted from the upstairs area and down the staircase.


"What in God's name!.." Souta rushed to a nearby cabinet and grabbed his fire extinguisher. It was there due to the fact that he'd only recently gotten the hang of cooking without the room being set aflame. At the moment that was unimportant, he rushed up the stairway and readied the extinguisher, but gave off a confused look as he saw there was no fire. But he'd seen it. Souta scratched at his hair, wondering what had happened, or what he'd seen.


"Maybe I'm going crazy," He joked to himself. But then discarded the fictional idea as a light made itself visible through the cracks of his bedroom door. The light was orange, the same shade of flame, and by the moment grew increasingly brighter. As Souta saw it he readied the fire extinguisher and rushed inward, fearing the fire that may be inside.


He busted through the door, and glanced in a full 360 degrees looking for the fire, but stopped at a 180 degrees turn as his eyes landed on the girl he'd saved. She stood in the light of the moon, her vision directed at the wold outside the bedroom window. Souta glanced at her, then at her feet where her clothes lay. Souta's eyes widened, and his face became flustered. He wanted to turn away at what he saw, yet he was compiled to look. The girl, the same one he'd seen and carried home today was stating out of his window at the world below, but more importantly she was naked, and even more importantly, she was on fire!


Souta was worried, he wanted to help the girl, but he immediately noticed that she wasn't in pain. She was okay. A warm layer of light flame surrounded her body. Her hair which was still braided seem to mix in with the fire, as if the two were one.


"..."


The girl turned to face Souta, and a wave of confusion, then embarrassment, then anger washed over her. She covered her breast, (which were a medium size) with one of her arms, and the other she extended at Souta. Her palm was set ablaze with flame, and somehow he knew it was about to be projected at him.


"No!" the girl screamed and shot a ball of white hot flame at Souta, who barley jumped to the side in time.


What the hell was that?! He wondered as he saw his singed shirt.


"Your unforgivable pig!" the girl screamed. "Pervert!" she shot another ball of flame which soared over Souta's head and set the wall ablaze.


"Jesus!" Souta said and rushed to extinguish the burning wall, shooting the flames with the fire extinguisher until there were no more.


"You...you idiotic perver--" Before the girl could finish her comment her words ceased, and she collapsed to the floor. Unconscious. The shield of fire that surrounded her died down and all the light in the room was gone.


"Hey.." Souta said, weary to approach the girl. "Hey!" he called as he realized she was knocked out. He shook her lightly by the shoulders, and tapped at her face, but she wasn't coming to. Souta couldn't think of what do, He couldn't think in general. Sweat beaded his face, his eyes were wide.


"She shot fire at me.." he mumbled to himself, looking down at the beautiful, but clearly dangerous girl he was harboring. "What to do?.." he couldn't just leave her, clearly she wasn't in a good condition.


Carefully, he picked her up, ignoring (or trying to) that her exposed body was pressed against his chest. He shook off all the lecherous thoughts that may have been trying to fully form in his mind and set her down in his bed again. Covering her body with the sheets he went to leave, but was caught by the unconscious girl.


"What?.." Souta questioned as he tried pulling away from the girl, but her grip around his wrist wasn't loosening. It was as Souta was struggling against her grip that a seal appeared on the surface of her wrist. A red circle with strange symbols embedded into it began to glow a bright red. It was in the next instant that a similar seal formed on Souta's hand. Only the symbols covering his were different, and his glowed golden in comparison to her red seal.


"Whats...going..on.."


Souta couldn't do anything as the two seals shone so bright, the gold and ember fusing together to send a wave of blinding light throughout the room. The second the light disappeared Souta felt lifeless, exhausted, like he hadn't slept in days and had ran several miles without a break. Without any other options, Souta collapsed next to the unconscious girl, he quickly lost his grip on reality and plunged back into his dreams.


***


"S..Souta, please...help me." Yuriko asked reaching a hand out . The young Souta was paralyzed at the sight that lay before him. Yuriko, One of his most treasured friends was standing only a few feet away, The thin barrel of a handgun pressed against the side of her head, Tears were constantly sliding down her cheeks.


"Get down on the ground, you little shit!" The intruder shouted. His face was covered by a pair of sunglasses and a bandanna. But even with the outfit, Souta could see the serious expression he concealed . "I said get on the floor, or this girl gets it!" He tightened his grip around Yuriko's arm, and she yelped in pain as a reply.


Souta was enraged that anyone would hurt such a sweet person, Yuriko would never hurt anyone, and yet this man was handling her like she deserved death.


Without saying a word, Souta dashed forward, catching the man off guard as he didn't expect him to rush forward. Souta was able to shove Yuriko away from the man, freeing her from his grasp. In the next second Souta destroyed the man's "Pride" By sending his foot in between the man's legs. He lost his grip on his gun, and fell to the floor in response. Souta scrambled towards to the gun, picking it up. He held it in his shaking hands and pointed it at the man, who was groaning on the floor.


"Souta!" Yuriko rushed into his arms and began sobbing.


"It's alright, Souta said, "Your safe now."


***


"Yuriko.." an overly tired Souta groaned as he slowly opened his eyes, which immediately widened with surprise as he realized the girl, the same girl from yesterday was cuddling to his body as she slept next to him. She shifted as she slept, slightly moving, but now letting his face stray away from it's position, which was in her breast. Maybe things wouldn't have been all that bad, only he had no idea who this girl was, and she was very much naked!


"Um.." Souta mumbled, which was muffled by her bosoms, "Please let me go.." He tapped at her shoulder, which caused her to slowly open her eyes. For a moment she didn't seem to mind, as if this was the "normal" For this girl, But as realization washed over her her eyes widened and she went to scream, but upon instinct Souta clamped his hand over her mouth, not wanting to make a scene. The way their bodies moved, he ended up hovering over her, Her breathing deeply a scared expression consuming her.


"Listen," Souta was doing his best to remain calm himself, and gather his words. "This isn't what it looks like, this is all a huge misunderstanding. Please don't scream." The last thing he needed was people in his neighborhood calling police because of the cries of help coming from his house.


The girl nodded at his words, "Thank goodness, you understand. I'm glad."


Souta removed his hand and the second he did she let out a high pitched yell of "No!" and slapped him with enough force to send him off the side of the bed.


"Oh," Souta groaned and rubbed his head, as it appeared he'd collided with the wall. "Why would you do that?!" He complained. "This is all a misunderstanding!"


He stood up and was met with the girl who covered herself with Souta's bed sheets. "You unforgivable pig, I'll never forgive a pervert such as yourself!" She took one of her hands away from the sheets and held an open palm. In an instant it was set ablaze with a ball of white flame.


His eyes widened, and in an instant, recalling every single impossible event that had happened the day prior. And now, with her hand blazing with flame, it proved that nothing was a simple figment of his imagination.


"Burn by my flames of purification. I will cleanse the world of your filth. Lewd beast!" With a flick of her wrist, the ball of flame shot itself at Souta.


He needed to move, he needed to do anything to prevent getting hit, but his body was frozen. Was this it? Was this how he was destined to die? As the bolt of fire closed in on him, he closed his eyes, ready to accept his harsh ending.


"..."


After the next few seconds, Souta realized he wasn't dead. He hadn't died, he felt no pain, no burning that which he should have. He opened his eyes, even now he wished he hadn't, because what he saw was...horrible? Incredible? Souta couldn't think of a description to match the scene.


A few inches outward from his body, surrounding him from all sides was a golden ward. It was more of a bubble-ish figure that wrapped itself around Souta. When he looked down his palm was glowing. A golden seal, a seal with strange ruins embedded in it. The seal seemed like it was engraved in the center of his palm.


"What?.."


He pushed his hands away in confusion..in fear.


"What is this?" He whispered.


"Y...you're a ghost?!" The girl demanded with wide eyes.


Souta went to face her through his shield of golden energy, and he saw that her attack, her ball of flames was forcefully pressing against his field of protection. Like rushing water, it rush as if nothing was blocking it, but it wouldn't go through Souta's wall of golden energy.


"I..I don't understand." Souta stuttered. "What's happening?!"


[VADE! SPIRITUS AUTEM IGNIS!]


A deep and unfamiliar voice rang in Souta's ear. As the odd words were said, the flame that was forcing against the wall of gold was absorbed. From his perspective, it appeared that the light bent itself around the fireball and then caused it to disappear in a shower of dust. Like sparkles.


The moment the flamed had gone, the shield of gold also vanished.


"Y...you...how?!" The girl stared wide eyed at Souta, and was having trouble getting her words out. "That was a S level fire spell, and you blocked it off as if it were nothing...w...what are you?.."


He was beginning to wonder the same thing.


[Isn't it obvious, Princess Harada?]


The same deep voice from the few moments prior asked. Souta attempted to locate where it was speaking from, but it appeared to be coming from every direction. Almost like it was inside his mind.


"Y...you, spirit, you know who I am?" The girl, "Princess Harada," as she had been called said glancing around the room.


[Why of course, It was you who allowed me passage into this lad's soul after all..well what was left anyway.]


"What do you mean?" Souta asked, "'What was left'?"


[So you don't know..]


"Indeed," Princess Harada readjusted the sheets that covered her body. "What do you mean?"


[This boy, Souta Okada, found you nearly dead after you made your spiritual jump into this world. He proceeded to tend to your wound, but there was nothing he could do that would make much difference. At least it hadn't. See this boy is grand, rare, even by our supernatural terms. Okada possesses healing abilities of both mortals and ghost.]


Her eyes widened, "Are you saying that he's..."


"What?" Souta asked. "What I am?"


[Yes, Souta Okada is a Aalok. The healer of both worlds, bringer of life, offerer of the soul.]


" Aalok haven't been seen since the great war, how is it one is born now?"


[Even as a mortal Souta was blessed with the ability to ascend to the levels of the Aalok, he just needed a push. When tending to you, a ghost, his abilities activated, and he gave you a large portion of his soul. It is appropriate to say that you two are bound by a rare and ancient contract.]


"That just..." Princess Harada took a seat at the edge of Souta's bed, probably to avoided falling over.


"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Souta said, doing his best to interrupt the two. "I don't want this, I would like to keep all my soul if possible."


[It is not. The contract has been form, there is no going back. You two are forever in each others care.]


"And what about you?!" Souta said. "Explain what you are."


"He's a spirit, of course." Harada faced Souta. Her expression said that it should have been obvious. "Once a ghost is born, or in your case, created, a certain spirit will inhabit the ghost soul and form a partnership with them. Normally the spirit depends on which of the five kingdoms you reside in. I can't say what determined you to get this certain spirit."


[Eh hem,] the voice made a sound like it was clearing its throat. [I have a name, and I expect you to address me by it.]


"And that is?" Souta asked.


[I am Gadreel, a spirit of healing and equality.]


"Equality?" Harada asked.


[Yes, like all spirits I posses world destroying power, but am limited to the abilities of my partner. The point is, I have certain special abilities and such, but can only activate them when the terms are equal. When its a fair deal, so to speak.]


"Not so great when battling." Harada said.


Souta's eyes turned to her as she stood up, "What are you doing?" He asked.


"Turn your head!" She demanded, "I am forming my clothing. And if you peek I'll turn you to cinders, understand?!"


Souta nodded, and turned his head and body. Although he now was facing the window and could clearly see her in the reflections it presented. He watched in the glass as she dropped the sheets, revealing her medium sized breast, and her elegant legs. Her skin was almost snow white, and looked as smooth as pure silk.


Before Souta could take in anymore of the scene she called, "Ambriel!" And her body was engulfed in flames. After a few seconds the flames vanished and she stood, fully clothed. Just as Souta had seen her the day before, wearing a long red and black dress, Her hair seemed to braid itself over her right shoulder, just as it had before.


She looked dazzling.


"That's better.." Harada breathed a sigh of relief, but her eyes narrowed as she saw Souta eyeing her.


"What are you staring at?" She asked.


"No..nothing, I just thought you looked great in those clothes.


" W...what are yo..you saying!? Idiot!"


Souta mentally sighed, he had only complimented her.


"Now!"


When Souta realized what had happened, Harada was only a few inches away from him, a gentle push and their lips might have met.


"You, Souta Okada, and his spirit Gadreel will accompany me, we're going to the Astral Zero."


"The what?.."


[I'd really recommend not.] Gadreel said.


"The what?" Souta asked again.


[You aren't fully healed, also Souta isn't prepared for any type of battle.]


"You are correct.." Harada mumbled.


"What's the Astral Zero?!" Souta asked for the third time.


"Its the only realm that a spirit can enter and there be no violence, neutral territory. I'm heading there now, but Gadreel makes a valid point..."


Harada began pacing.


[I don't mean to be the bearer of bad news, but we appear to have trouble.]


"Trouble," Souta asked. "What do you mean by that?"


No sooner had the words left his mouth there was an explosion. Like a small meteor had landed in the street outside of his window..there was an indent in the asphalt and from the flames a humanoid figure emerged.


"He's here!" Harada hissed. "I didn't think they'd go to such lengths to get me home.."


"What....who..." Souta was doing his best to process what was happening.


"The kingdom..they sent him to bring me back."


"Who's he?!" Souta demanded.


"My brother, the Seribral Assassin."