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Echoes of the Mirror 1.4 ‘Manifest’

*Authors Note*

In this particular series, it should be noted that there is a heavy focus on sexual themes, violence, and traumatic events.

These are meant to challenge the main character's views on the world and his relationships. 

That being said, If your someone who's okay with that, I'd really appreciate it if you want to check it out and leave some feedback.

Thanks! =^.^=

***
1.4

 

After the park, Kira and I decided to go to the main street and peruse the shops there. It was nearing the end of the week, so almost every store was getting in new stock. This was, to most of the residents that lived here, the most exciting time of the week since almost nothing else was worth noting in Hira.

I saw Kira peer through one of the shop windows.

“Cute~!”

Walking over, I peered over her shoulder. In the window, there was a little old stuffed bunny that the antique store got ahold of.

“That?”

She nodded her head as I pointed to the item in the window.

“That looks pretty old Kira… even if you got it I don’t think it would last much longer.”

She didn’t seem to care about this. Her body drooped down the glass as she let out a sigh.

“I wish I could buy it, but I already spent my paycheck this week…”

“Well, there is always next week. I personally can’t see anybody else buying that raggedy thing.”

“Okay…”

Peeling herself off the sidewalk, Kira slowly began to walk away from the glass with slumped shoulders.

-Hmm…

Oh?

“Anyhow Kira, why don’t you check out the library and pick out those books you wanted. There’s a shop I gotta check out real quick.”

Kira looked confused but didn’t ask any questions. Instead, she just nodded and gave me a smile.

“K!”

-Almost…

-Aaaaannnddd… She’s gone!

Are you actually going to buy her that...thing?

Walking into the antique shop, I saw various new items lining the shelves. The only two people inside the store were me and Miss Yamada’s grandson who was at the counter.

-Yeah. Why wouldn’t I?

Just seems a little cliche…

Going off into the corner, I picked up the rabbit from the window. The once grey fur was now beige in color and it had two little buttons for eyes. Despite the fact that it was old, I did have to agree with Kira, it was extremely cute.

-Shut up. She never asks for much and I already missed her birthday 2 years in a row now. I might as well be spontaneous and do something nice for her.

After walking up to the counter and forking over a good size of my paycheck, I finally managed to walk out the door. Wrapping the rabbit up in a paper bag, I placed it under my right arm.

You never got me a rabbit…

-I’ve only known you for a few days. Besides, you want a live rabbit. I’m not going to go out and buy a cute bunny just so you can kill it.

Hmph!

My familiar seemed frustrated with me, but I personally couldn’t summon the will to care.

Walking down the street towards the library, I suddenly stopped... I felt eyes on me... Something was following me. I closed my eyes and tried to inspect the presence to no avail.

I can’t feel an aura, but there is definitely something following you… It's making an overwhelming effort to hide its presence.

Letting out a sigh, I decided to act like nothing was happening. I wouldn’t have any idea how to go about confronting my pursuer and even if I did, there was little I could do after that.

I cautiously continued to walk down the street towards the library. As I approached the small building, I saw a smiling Kira bust out of the single door facing the street with a large stack of books in her hands. Noticing me, she beamed brightly, hugging the books tight to her chest.

“Got what you wanted?”

Kira nodded happily.

“Mhm!”

Looking me over, she noticed the bag under my arm and tilted her head to the side in curiosity.

“Did you buy something Haku?”

“Oh... Yeah.”

Stooping over, she began to prod and inspect the bag I was holding.

“Watcha’ get?”

“Just a few pieces of clothing... Nothing special.”

Her eyebrows furrowed as she put a finger to her mouth, obviously thinking about something.

“Oh... Okay.”

Why not give it to her now?

-Presentation is key.

If you say so…

-I do!

Kira suddenly glanced off into the distance behind me for a moment as if she saw something... Looking back to me, she smiled.

“Oh, Haku, do you mind if we stop somewhere real quick?”

“Not at all.”

Kira and I started walking towards the west side of town. However, instead of going towards the housing area where Kira lived, we came upon an empty lot secluded from the rest of the town by a thin line of scattered trees.

As we began to walk further into the lot, confusion began to overwhelm me.

“Hey Kira, what are we doing--?”

Suddenly, she stopped.

“Flash…”

The sky above us let out a thunderous noise as a bolt of lightning fell from the sky and penetrated the ground behind us.

“EEEEP!!!”

As I heard a loud squeak from behind me, Kira turned her head slightly, showing a soft gold glow from her eyes.

“I don’t appreciate you following around Haku like that… It’s aggravating.”

I turned around to see Himari crawling backward on the ground scared out of her mind.

“P-Please d-don't hurt me!”

It looked like she was on the brink of tears.

“I-I w-wasn’t s-stalking or anything! H-haku said I c-could c-come with you guys...ummm…”

This was due to your actions…

-Yeah… I know… I’ll deal with it.

What Himari said was true, and if Kira pushed her any further I speculated that the chances of her wetting herself were high.

Stepping in front of Himari, I put a single hand out towards Kira.

“Kira, stop! She’s telling the truth. I did invite her.”

Having stopped Kira for the time being, I turned to Himari.

“Himari... I think what Kira wants to know is why you were following me without making yourself known…”

Her eyes began to well up.

“I-I’m n-not v-very good at ummm… T-talking t-to people... I-I w-was g-going to c-confront you...b-but I-I was scared…”

Pathetic.

-Play nice.

My thoughts on her haven’t changed from before… Something is extremely off about this girl.

-What? The fact that she’s extremely shy? Give me a break!

Kira calmed down a little bit and the glow in her eyes began to fade. She tilted her head to the side and gave Himari a welcoming smile.

“Why didn’t you just say so!”

-And you don’t find that strange?

I never said that.

Walking over to Himari, Kira helped her off the ground and dusted off her dress.

Soon after this situation, we found ourselves walking around aimlessly with Kira asking Himari a never-ending barrage of questions. Feeling some curiosity myself, I decided to butt in and ask a few of my own.

“Hey, Himari…”

“Y-yes?”

“How did you manage to hide yourself that whole time?”

“O-oh... Ummm... Like this…”

Himari stood still for a few seconds and spoke.

“Fade.”

The pact mark on the back of her neck glowed a purple hue and what looked like a shadow wrapped around her body.I stared in awe as her body slowly started to fade and disappear.

“See?”

Fading back into existence, she made herself fully visible again. This seemed to make Kira excited.

“COOL!”

Kira threw her arms out, grabbed Himari and rubbed her face against hers.

“U-Uum!”

Himari could only stand there with a flushed face as Kira squished the life out of her. Suddenly, I remembered something that she said earlier.

“Oh, didn’t you say you needed to go somewhere?”

Himari hesitated.

“A-actually, there was just someone I needed to talk to real quick... B-but umm... I already did before I met up w-with you guys...so umm... I-its fine…”

-Strange…

As Kira went back to asking Himari questions, I started to feel my phone buzz in my pocket. Taking it out, I looked at the caller ID and answered.

“Hello?”

“Haku!

“Hey, Alex. What’s up?”

“Where are you right now?”

“Just hanging out with Kira and our new friend, Himari.”

“WWWHHHHHAAAATTTTT!!?!?!?!”

Alex yelled so hard into the phone I almost dropped it. This made Kira and Himari turn back to look at me with confused faces.

“OUCH! DON’T DO THAT!”

“Oops. Sorry, Haku. I’m just surprised…”

“About what?”

“Well, Himari is a loner and doesn’t really talk to anyone... To find her hanging out with you of all people…”

“Hey! I can be fun!”

“Suuuuuurrrreeeee you can….hehehe.”

“Screw this... I’m hanging up.”

“Nononono! Wait, Haku! I’m sorry! Anyhow, do you guys want to meet up and we can go to the field or something?”

I looked over at the girls, confusion was written across their faces.

-A klutz, an introvert, and a force of destruction… I wonder what could go wrong?

“Yeah, I guess that’s fine…”

“Great! Meet me at my place?”

“Sure.”

I ended the call and put the phone in my pocket.

*Sigh*

It seems things are about to get interesting…

-Please don’t talk.

“You guys want to come with me to swing by Alex’s?”

This question seemed to invoke a nervousness in Himari.

“Okay!”

Shouting this, Kira threw her arms up in excitement. This seemed to only further Himari’s anxiety by the look on her face.

“Umm... Sure…”

Despite the uncertainty in Himari’s voice, we took this as a group consensus and headed towards the Matsumoto estate, Alex’s house. Approaching the gates of the eastern-style home, we were greeted by Alex who was leaning against a nearby lamppost wearing a t-shirt, cardigan, and jeans.

Noticing us, she put up a hand and gave us a small wave.

“Yo.”

Before I could even say ‘hi’, Kira already ran towards Alex and began accosting her as per tradition.

“I... Can’t... Breathe…”

Alex’s voice was barely audible as she struggled underneath the weight of her best friend.

“Umm... Does she always do this?”

Looking behind me, I noticed that Himari was clinging to my sleeve.

“Essentially.”

“Oh…”

It was obvious that Himari wanted no part of what was taking place in front of us. I didn’t blame her.

When Kira finally decided it was time to stop rubbing faces, Alex picked herself off the ground. Dusting off her jeans, she looked around.

“Where’s Himari?”

Lifting the arm that wasn’t carrying Kira’s present, Alex spotted Himari’s face from behind me. Still trying to hide herself, it almost felt like she was shaking.

“Hi…”

Alex could only sigh and scratch her head at the meekness Himari showed.

“Definitely as shy her reputation lets on…”

“Yeah but she’s really nice~!”

As Kira said this, she beamed brightly at Alex and grabbed her arm. I could hear Himari let out a squeak from behind me as Alex looked at me with a smile.

“Well... We might as well head off.”

...

As the four us headed off to the field, I could feel reluctance building up inside of me.

Nervous?

-Of course.

Why?

-Well... I haven’t been to the field since then.

It’s not like it’s going bite.

Letting out a sigh, I turned to Alex.

“Why are we going to the field anyway, Alex?”

Ignoring the obvious nervousness in my voice, she smiled.

“To do a bit of sparing perhaps? Kira and I haven’t had a match in a while, and I’m kind of interested in seeing how Himari fares.”

“Ummm... I-I’m sorry... I can’t fight…”

Kira and Alex looked at her in disbelief. Looking at the ground embarrassed, Himari moved closer to me.

“Ummm... Well, it’s not like I don’t want to… It’s just as a, ummm... A darkness-spirit user... I have no physical combat strength…”

“Oh yeah…”

Alex put a finger to the side of her mouth and thought for a moment.

“Darkness users are all about illusion…”

Himari nodded her head in shame.

“Oh well. At least Kira and I can go at it.”

This seemed to make Kira even more excited than usual.

“K K!”

When we finally got to the field I decided to leave Himari with Kira’s present and go off to the shrine while Alex and Kira sparred.

Don’t you think it was rude leaving Himari behind?

-Why do you care? I thought you didn’t like her. Anyhow, it can’t be helped. I want to see something.

As I went through the path to the shrine I noticed my blood trail was nowhere to be found. This wasn’t that peculiar though… It’s rained at least once after the incident.

When I finally made way to the front of the shrine, I gave it a push with my left foot.

*Click*

Bending down, I swung open the hatch that was underneath. Before me was the corridor that got me into this situation.

Are you going back down?

-Yeah…

I turned on my flashlight and began stepping down the stairwell.

Why?

-I’m curious what’s down there. Last time I went down it was pitch black and I couldn’t see anything because I was going into shock.

Luckily I made it to the bottom of the stairwell with no injuries. With the hardest part done and over, I walked down the corridor and stepped into the giant round room that followed. Walking into the center of the room, I pointed my light down. There was a giant magic circle carved into the stone floor.

It used to be the town well I believe.

-Oh?

They carved that circle beforehand, trapping me here before they sealed it off.

-Wait, what were those chains that were here? Was that your physical form?

No. Those were the chains of fate.

-Chains of fate?

A gentle reminder from the Gods…

-How so?

To remind me that I was forsaken.

I stood there feeling a bit of pity to the spirit that bound to me.

-What were you forsaken for?

Wanting to stand as an equal with my peer.

I was taken back.

I don’t need your pity. Now the same chains that bind me, bind you. What acted as my crown in the land of hollows, shall now act as yours.

As I was about to question my familiar what it meant, I saw a faint glimmer from the corner of well that was once the center of chains. Walking over, I saw a rusted katana impaled in the stone wall.

-What’s this?

My fingers caressed the grip of the blade.

Ah… That was my sword from long ago. When I was sealed inside this well, that was the object I forced my spirit into so I could prolong my existence.

I contemplated removing it as I felt the hilt.

Take it.

With a light tug, the blade came easily. The blade itself was rusted terribly but felt as light as a pencil.

The blade you now hold is a cursed one. It will not break and will remain forever sharp.

Inspecting the blade I highly doubted this. However, I was enamored with the idea of bringing it home with me, thinking it might make a cool decoration.

Careful. Wounds made with that blade will not heal…

It was fortunate that I heard this before I ran a finger across the blade to check its sharpness. Thinking back to the girls I left at the field though, they would definitely question where on earth I picked up such a thing…

This town is an old one. You could easily say you found it in the woods.

-True… Is there a scabbard though? Carrying around an open blade back home through town might cause problems…

I see… How about this?

The back of my hand glowed a dark red hue as what seemed to be a dark cloud of smoke arose from my bandages. From this smoke, I saw a single rusted chain come forth and wrap slowly around the blade. As the smoke dissipated along with the chain, in its place was a matte black scabbard that looked like unpolished obsidian.

-Perfect… Thank you.

With that, I turned around and started to exit the well. As I pushed the shrine back into place, I heard screaming off in the distance.

-Himari!

I started running as fast I could to the field. It was probably just Kira trying to cuddle her or something, but I wasn’t keen on taking chances… Though, ironically, what could I even do if something was actually wrong?

Returning to the field, I couldn’t see hide nor hair of the girls.

I can feel the strange girl’s presence… Off to the left… Under the trees.

Taking off as fast I could, I soon caught a glimpse of blue from behind a bush. Curled under the foliage, grasping her knees and shaking, was Himari.

“H-haku…”

I knelt over and picked her up to lean her back against a tree. Noticing wetness on my arm and a strong scent of urine, I glanced down at Himari’s dress to find it completely soaked through.

“I-I'm s-sorry... Haku... Please...save me…”

Himari’s words were completely in disarray due to her crying. I could tell that whatever was going on here was serious. I contemplated picking her up again and escorting her back to town… But with an unknown danger lurking around, not to mention the lack of Alex and Kira, doing such a thing would put Himari and me in more danger than necessary.

-Any ideas on what’s going on here?

I could sense my familiar surveying our surroundings.

I can feel a strong presence nearby…

-What is it?

Given the immense aura, I can only assume it’s a Demonica.

I froze.

A Demonica…? Here?

-What class demon?

Hmm… Greater.

My eyes widened in horror.

Lesser Demonica by themselves need a team of at least 5 to take down due to their immense resistance to magic…but a greater demon?! That would require the whole town!

It would appear your friends are trying to hold it off until reinforcements arrive…

*CCRAAAAACK*

Turning my head towards the sky, I could see brilliant streaks of lightning pierce the clouds.

-Kira…

I looked at the girl in front of me.

“P-please d-don't leave me…”

I felt bad, horrible even, but there wasn’t much I could do.

“I’m sorry Himari... I’m going to have to leave you here just for a little while, but I’ll come back for you.”

With this, I took off my sweatshirt and wrapped it around her shaking body. While I knew this wouldn’t do much, It was the only thing I could think of that would provide some sort of comfort.

Turning around and running towards the middle of the field, I saw the culprit…Making its way through the line of trees across the field was a hideous abomination.It had the look of a giant rotting wolf emanating a black smoke that stood 3 stories tall. Its head turned towards me. Several red spots donned the area where its eyes should have been. Opening its mouth, it revealed at least 12 rows of sharp and jagged teeth.

I wanted to turn tail, grab Himari and escape, but I couldn’t move my legs. I was paralyzed with fear. As I looked onward, I spotted Alex falling from the sky, about to deliver a kick to the demon’s head.

Lifting up a single rotting clawed paw, the demon swatted Alex out of the air with immense force, leaving only a cloud of red where her body once was. Arcing violently backward, Alex was shot to the ground with a crack. Her limp body skidded and tumbled to a halt only a few meters away from me.

I quickly regained my senses. Without catching the demon’s notice, I ran over, threw her on my shoulder, and ran over to the tree where Himari was hiding. Placing her on her back I quickly began stripping her, looking for any wounds that would be life-threatening.

It seems her familiar prevented any grievous wounds… However, her prana is severely drained. Regardless… She’ll live.

I felt relieved by this.

“Haku... Please... Run…”

Alex’s face looked pained. Unable to make myself do as she asked, I stripped her of her cardigan and placed it under her head to make her more comfortable.

“Please…”

Turning my gaze back to the field, not being able to bear seeing my friend in her current state, I saw Kira sprinting towards me.

“Quick! Hide!”

She quickly dropped a leg and skidded to a bush near Himari.

“I’m sorry, Alex… I couldn’t hold it off.”

Kira’s expression was filled with anger and regret. I could see that she was gripping her upper arm with a single hand. Putting a hand on her shoulder, I looked into her eyes.

“Are you okay, Kira?”

She looked towards me and only gave me a pained smile.

“Nothing life-threatening…”

It seems her prana has been drained quite a bit too. Her arm is also fractured.

I grimaced. My friends were out there risking their lives and there was nothing I could do. As Alex tried to stand up, Kira put a hand out to stop her.

“Alex, don’t!”

As quickly as she tried to get up, she fell. Feeling helpless, she began to cry.

“I... Don’t think I can fight anymore…”

This was an impossible situation... The only two people that could fight were now completely debilitated.

Soon, the demon turned its gaze towards us.

“Haku! Run! Leave us!”

As Kira shouted this, Himari began to fall into hysterics. This made me panic. As I started hyperventilating, I felt a hand grab the hem of my shirt… It was Alex.

“You have no way of fighting back, Haku… Take Himari and leave...”

With tears in her eyes, I saw Kira nod her head in agreement.

“Haku... Please…”

I glimpsed over to Himari who was rocking back and forth in place. I knew I couldn't just leave them… No matter how terrified I was.

Haku-

-Can we do it?

Do what?

-Can we beat this thing?

-Answer me!

If you were to try and summon me, it would be your demise.

-FOR ONCE AS A FAMILIAR ANSWER ME DIRECTLY! CAN WE BEAT IT!?

There is a way we could while minimizing the risk to your prana but--

-How.

Haku-

-I am your master… you will obey me and answer me.

So be it…

...

Call my name and call me forth as your mantle. This will materialize me inside of you...Doing so will grant you direct control over all my powers.

Walking a fair distance from the girls, I began undoing my bandages. I could feel them staring at me.

Let it be known that if you push yourself past the power I have available…

Letting my bandages fall to the ground, I put my sword before me and laid my hand on the grip.

...You will die.

I began to speak…

“I am the will that drives you…”

I could feel my body shake in fear as I recited what I knew of the full summoning incantation.

“I call forth to you who obeys…”

I tried to steady my breath.

“Act as my blade and I shall be your wielder…”

I could hear Alex’s voice from behind me.

“Haku...What are you-?”

-Give me your name…

My name…

“Grant me your power as my mantle...”

I could hear Himari scream from behind me as the demon approached.

...Is Lilith.

“COME FORTH! LILITH!”

I violently ripped my blade from my scabbard as my hand erupted in a red light.

*BOOM*

A violent gust of wind blew back everything around me in a violent shockwave. The ground beneath me shook as a dark smoke poured out of my body… The chains of fate broke free from the earth around me and encircled my body.

I could feel something manifesting inside of me. Around my neck a giant shackle took place as a collar, nearly covering my mouth. My canines grew larger. The chains that encircled me now floated freely, clothed in a black smoke.

I walked forward without fear, I became one with Lilith. My familiar’s thoughts entwined with mine, blurring the difference between who was who. The chains slithered at my feet as I walked towards the demon. My mentality had completely changed. I only felt an overwhelming rage… Bloodlust consumed me.

...

I stopped short and gazed up at the demon before me and held out my blade.

“I will devour you.”

The demon shot forth with an open mouth. Just before its teeth could reach my face, I moved to the side and slashed open its stomach with demonic speed. Maggots and coagulated blood poured from the wound as the demon let out a roar. As it turned towards me I gave a wave of my left hand and a chain shot out of the ground piercing the demon’s neck, incapacitating it.

I jumped onto its back as chains erupted from the ground and began to bind it, wrapping around its decaying body and forcing towards the ground. I slowly walked up its neck. Planting a single foot on its head, I raised my katana.

“Die.”

I forced the entirety of the blade into its skull.

The demon let out a pained roar as it fell onto its side. Jumping off its head, I landed a short distance from where it lay. Facing away from the demon, I raised an open left hand. As I slowly began to close it the chains that bound the demon tightened. I could hear its flesh being torn. With a final turn of my hand, I quickly closed it the rest of the way, making the chains completely tear through the remains of the enemy.

As I flicked the blood off my blade and sheathed it behind my back, the demon's body exploded into ash. Holding my arm off to the right as I walked, the ash blew forward and encircled me as it wrapped around me and entered my pact mark. I had devoured its prana.

I found myself in front of the girls once more. None of them spoke. The terrified looks they had before could not compare to the looks they had now.

There are people coming…

I looked off into the distance and saw specks fast approaching the field.

*sigh*

I looked back towards the girls near my feet who were desperately trying avoid touching the chains.

*snap*

I snapped my fingers and a cloud of black smoke encircled us. As the cloud circled faster and faster, it soon became impossible to see anything outside of it. When it dissipated, the surrounding environment changed to my apartment.

Seeing that all danger had passed, I held out my right hand.

“Return to me.”

All the features I had gained during the summoning had reverted back to their normal state as a black ash returned to my pact mark.

“Haku…”

One of the girls reached out to me. As I opened my mouth a spurt of blood greeted my throat. I fell backward and lost consciousness.