Something was throbbing. It was a slight rhythm, but was definitely there.
Nakajima had awoken earlier. He had felt warmth, and felt as if he wanted to remain immersed in sleep for just a little longer. Struck by a wave of sentimentality, Nakajima slowly opened his eyelids. He found that his arms were wrapped around Yumiko. A bittersweet fragrance drifted from her body.
Hesitantly, Nakajima spoke."Yumiko..."
She showed no response to his breath, but she had definitely returned to life. Her formerly torn mouth had returned to its lovely original shape, and her slightly opened lips shivered slightly as she breathed. Her eye sockets were now covered with well-formed eyelids, and her cheeks had a slight pink hue to them.
Nakajima's impatience was enveloped by an untainted presence.
"Don't worry. She will awaken soon enough."
Turning around, Nakajima saw Izanami standing above him. Though her hair was matted with green blood, her shining, beautiful expression, full of kindness, calmed his soul.
The goddess opened her lips. "I will take care of her for a while."
Nakajima was perplexed by her statement.
"It will not be long; only until I strengthen her enough so that she can fight demons."
"Fight demons? But Loki's dead!"
The goddess approached, took Nakajima's hands and looked into his eyes. White light shone throughout the space in front of his eyes, and all color vanished from his field of vision.
"Look at this scene, Akemi." Her voice full of worry, Izanami's voice hinted at the gravity of the situation.
As Izanami's fingers grabbed Nakajima's hands, an image clearly formed amongst the white space.
In the Jusho High CAI room that Nakajima was so familiar with, Ohara was sitting at a terminal, talking desperately.
"Loki, why won't you answer?"
Gripping the microphone as she faced the silent computer, the image of Ohara trembled. Turning the power on and off again and again, she tried to run the demon summoning program. But the host computer's magnetic tapes remained motionless. Only the fans of the air conditioner disturbed the silence of the CAI room.
"Ooh..." Ohara stooped over and grabbed her lower belly. All the blood drained from her face. As if a sign that she was carrying the child of a demon within her, scales had started growing on the white nape of her neck.
"Don't kick!" Ohara whispered, scolding the new life growing within her.
As Ohara continued typing on the keyboard with a hopeful look on her face, the magnetic tapes started spinning as if mocking her on a whim.
"Loki, is that you!?" Ohara's eyes glimmered with joy. She tightly gripped the microphone.
"I've been worried about you, Loki!"
At Ohara's words, the magnetic tape slowed its spinning, almost as if it were hesitating. As Ohara cocked her head in suspicion, a low, hoarse voice sounded from the speakers.
"I am Set. Are you the one that calls me?"
"Set? I'm looking for Loki. Loki, please respond. Where are you?" Ohara's hysterical voice echoed throughout the CAI room.
"My name is Set. You are insolent to call the name of another..."
As Izanami let go of Nakajima's hands, the image dispersed, and in its place a gloomy space spread out before his eyes. Sweat from his temples trickled down his neck.
"Set!? That's the most powerful evil god from Egyptian legend!" Nakajima's voice was shaking.
"It's not just Set. Many demons have sensed the pathway you opened to their world, kindling their ambition to conquer the human world. More than just a handful of demons are looking to make an alliance with you...."
Izanami's voice was solemn and full of gravity.
Trying to push indecision out of his mind, Nakajima closed his eyes and spoke.
"This is all my doing and I have to reap the seeds that I have sown. My mission now is to find a way to close the passageway to the demon world and do so."
"Well spoken." Izanami's expression softened slightly. "It will be difficult, but I am confident your efforts will eventually pay off. I cannot descend to the material world myself so I cannot fight alongside you. However, I will give you Hi-no-Kagutsuchi instead. He is a god that will lend you great power as a sword of flame when you are in danger. Hi-no-Kagutsuchi's power is a force to be reckoned with even amongst the gods of Yamato, and will surely help you."
As he listened to Izanami, Nakajima could not help but feel anxious about the still-sleeping Yumiko. Perhaps she knew what he was feeling since the goddess gently put her hand on his shoulder.
"I will give this girl my power. And when she has gotten strong enough to defend herself on her own, I will return her to you. You'll wait that long, won’t you?" Not waiting for an answer to her question, Izanami turned away from Nakajima.
"Soon a messenger from Yomi will come to pick up your friend. Until then, enjoy your brief reunion." With a smile, Izanami quietly lay on top of the dais. She vanished as if dissolving into the very air; ashes in the form of a human figure remained behind on the stone slab.
"Izanami..." Nakajima reflexively started toward the disappearing vision of the goddess; a familiar voice called him to a stop.
"Nakajima-kun, you kept your promise to me!"
Turning around, he saw Yumiko looking back at him, her chocolate eyes filled with kindness. Delicate and pure, she leapt into Nakajima's waiting arms.