Monday, December 13, 2010

Quickening – Chapter 3

Midnight, August 1st.

The underground storage room seemed somewhat smaller now with the huge supercomputer installed there. Isma had been making large improvements in the demon summoning program Ohara had stolen. Of course, he also had the skills of the software engineers under Shimazaki's control at his beck and call. Still, materializing the "digital" Set had proven to be more difficult than expected.

"Saint, how is it going? Has there been any progress?" Shimazaki's voice sounded somewhat impatient.

"This program has too many defects in it! Summoning a demon is a two step process; first you need to create a magnetic field in which to call it forth, and then you can help give it form. However, this program completes the process in a confusing and complicated way!"

"But wasn't the demon called Loki able to take a body using that program?"

"Set is a lot more powerful than Loki. The amount of data that needs to be processed is gigantic in comparison. Furthermore, if you try to run the program straight-up, low-ranking demons get their data mixed up with Set’s, making it even more difficult to give him a form. I'm trying to add my own improvements to handle the data more efficiently, but it's not enough to give Set a body yet. Anyhow, to start with, I'm going to try to separate and materialize those low-ranking demons first."

Sitting in the middle of the Solomon Hexagram, Isma started to type on the keyboard. The magnetic tape started clacking as the reels began to spin and the display flashed wildly. A musky smell filled the room.

"Yod, Heh, Vav, Heh."

As the low voice sounded, a milky white droplet formed on the display.

"Oh, at last!"

Not moving an inch, Isma and Shimazaki gazed at the screen. The condensation increased until it seemed to cover the screen and it slid onto the floor. Two tiny white snakes, small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, started to slither across the ground. As Shimazaki started to bend toward them, an expression of suspicion on his face, Isma yelled at him.

"Don't get near them! If you value your life, that is!"

"What are these puny little snakes?" Shimazaki asked, dissatisfaction clear in his voice.

"They are Apeps, venomous serpents that serve Set."

"What kind of power could these little snakes possibly have?"

"Apeps enter into the bodies of humans, dissolve their spinal cords with their poison and then replace it with their own bodies, becoming the victim's nervous system and controlling them completely."

"I-is that so...?" Shimazaki gulped and took a step backward.

"Apeps are like receivers that Set can use to control humans from a long distance. Depending on how one used them, they could be more useful than any kind of raw power, no matter how great..."

His eyes mere slits, Isma studied the two small squiggling vipers as one would precious jewels.

On the manor’s second floor, Ohara stood in a large room that lacked any furniture other than a bed. She opened the curtains of the window and saw the moon reflected in the water amongst the reeds of the swamp. Facing the moon, Ohara whispered.

"Loki...."

Ohara had no home to return to. According to the report from one of Shimazaki's underlings, they were investigating her house in connection with the incident at Jusho High.

Nobody knows the truth. No, even if someone told them, they'd never believe it.

As if in response to her call, the embryo inside her moved.

Does a fetus less than three months old usually kick this much? I might be giving birth to a child with an unfathomable amount of power. Since it's Loki's child, I'm sure it'll be beautiful....

Closing the curtains and moving away from the window, Ohara sat down on the bed. Sitting alone at night like this always made her thoughts turn to Loki.

It's hard to believe that just a few months ago I was hoping to get married like a normal person. Loki, where did you go...?

Her intuition told her that the demon she loved was dead. However, she did not want to admit it. She couldn't believe that anyone in the world could possibly replace Loki.

Nakajima, Shirasagi, if you still live, I'll make you suffer just like I have!

Ohara bit her lip until it bled. Though she had not noticed when, green scales had started to grow on the back of her hand. At some point, demonic power had started to flow through Ohara's own body.


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