Monday, December 13, 2010

Quickening – Chapter 1

The Soga Forest Situated is a large wooded area of mixed tree types between Musashino city in the greater Tokyo metropolitan area and Mitaka city. Thickly overgrown with ancient larch and beech trees growing in irregular patterns, this forest is a good place for children to play during the day.

However, the children who play in these woods never go near the reed-filled swamp located in a corner of the forest. This was not only because their parents strictly forbade them from any sort of risky play in the water; the eerie aura given off by the dilapidated old western-style house there enveloped the entire swamp, scaring off everyone who dared come near.

The house originally belonged to a former elite-turned-war criminal from the Second World War, and misfortune befell all who owned it thereafter. Since the last family that had lived there had been brutally slaughtered by robbers, it had been left untouched. Nobody dared to move in.

Amongst the places Shimazaki had proposed to summon the demon, it was most likely Isma's heightened sensitivity as a magician that had caused him to pick this manor.

The underground storage room’s cool concrete walls were completely exposed. A faint, strange smell wafted from one corner. The fluorescent lamp in the ceiling illuminated the not-yet-dry paint of the bizarre reddish-black symbol painted on the ground. It was mysterious geometric pattern, much like an abstract depiction of a bird's eye. A large computer stood at its center. A five-meter-long cable extended from the computer, connecting to a keyboard and display in the middle of a Solomon Hexagram.

"The preparations for the summoning of Set are complete..." Isma's frigid voice echoed off the concrete walls as he faced the screen. Earlier, that screen had displayed pictographs that resembled Egyptian hieroglyphs.

Shimazaki, standing in a corner of the Solomon Hexagram, licked his lips and peered into the display, his eyes full of both expectation and uneasiness.

Isma's bony fingers started tapping the keys. The hard disk whined as it slowly started spinning, and an unintelligible pattern started flashing onscreen. The screen went black. After an instant of silence, an earthquake rumbled, shaking the very foundations of the manor. Shimazaki's eyes darted about the room in terror, but Isma showed no signs of paying him any heed.

"He is here!"

As Isma cried out, the floor around the computer started to crack. Brilliant light shone out of the tiny fissures. A miasma started seeping out of the cracks, but the Solomon Hexagram’s interior was protected from being affected.

A writhing, hoarse voice spilled from the speakers.

"Who calls me?"

"I am thy summoner, Isma Feed."

"I do not know that name."

The voice sounded as if it echoed from the bowels of Hell; Shimazaki, terrified, dropped to the floor, cowering behind Isma's chair. Cruelly pushing Shimazaki away, Isma stood up, as if in defiance of the display.

"Know that I plan to join forces with thee, child of Nut, and conquer the Assiah world.

For some time, silence filled the room.

The hard disk started spinning furiously, indicating that it was handling a huge amount of data. Then the low voice echoed through the room again.

"What do you offer me?"

"Anything thou desirest. However, only if thou lendst me thy power."

"Do you, a mere human, dare to consider yourself my equal?"

"Indeed I do. There is none other than I that can call thee into the Assiah world."

"How impudent..."

As the air around the computer shimmered like a heat haze, a blistering wave assaulted Isma. Before the immense might of that wave of anger, even Isma took a step backwards. The iron girders holding up the ceiling bent like a bow, and the fluorescent tubes of the lights shattered and fell to the floor as dust. Shimazaki fell to the floor, his hands over his head. But Isma showed no fear of the computer and simply glared at it.

"Set, dost thou think that I do not know just how much thy desirest the Assiah world?" At the sound of his soft voice, the fierce wind died down.

"Thy legends still are known to this day--how thou killed thy elder brother Osiris, how thou turned all the all the other gods led by Horus against thee, and how thou fought them all and survived--all in order to make the Assiah world thy own."

"What is it what you wish to say...?" There was some hesitation in Set's voice.

"I have the technology to break the laws that bind thee and thy kind. Joining forces with me would be greatly beneficial to thee as well, would it not?"

"Isma, or whoever it is you are, I vow in the name of Nut to form a contract with you." Set's voice reverberated throughout the room.

For a demon to vow in the name of one ranking above itself indicated an absolute, unbreakable bond. Isma's face lit up with a victorious smile.

"Set, tell me what it is thou wishest."

"Do you vow not to join forces with any demon than I?"

"Very well, if thou vowest to Nut not to join forces with any human other than I."

The demon Set and Isma started to go into the details of forming a concrete contract.

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