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Echoes of the Mirror 1.3 ‘Confrontations and Introductions’
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.
It seems that the accident last night became the news of the entire school. While most of the school felt bad for what happened to me, there were indeed some that found me the culprit.
"Why didn't he just move?"
"He saw Itsuki running in that direction!"
"What else would you expect from a failed summoner?"
"I wonder if his father was just as useless."
I couldn't help but find the whole situation humorous. While no one really paid attention to me here, the second that something unfortunate happens to me, I become the talk of the town... for better or worse.
I wasn't able to meet-up with Alex during lunch since she and Kira had a practical test, but luckily I was able to get a text through to her to let her know that I would be waiting for her after school.
I stood outside the double school doors off to the side with my hands in my pockets. Taking out my phone, I glanced at the time.
-She should be out soon...
As students passed by, I caught them sneaking glances at me, whispering amongst each other. Despite the fact they were probably talking ill of me, they were acknowledging me to at least some extent... It was an odd feeling. I felt like an only child that started misbehaving because he just gained a sibling. A child whose only wish was to get his parents to acknowledge him in any way he could. Even though it wasn't the ideal sort of attention, I was willing to take any attention I could get.
While the mysteries surrounding last night eluded me, I couldn't help but take comfort in the fact that I'm a summoner as well. The long years of not being able to find a pact-spirit were over.
Finally, I saw Alex leave the double doors with hands clutched to her chest.
She looked at the ground, guilt written across her face.
My heart hurt a little as I looked at her… It wasn't often that I saw her like this... It seemed wrong.
I tried to give her a reassuring smile. This seemed to relieve her just a little.
"Shall we get walking, Haku?"
The smile she gave me was a weak one, but nonetheless, it was much cuter than the look from before.
We found that the main street would be a nice place for a stroll, even though that the length of the school days meant it was already dusk outside. As we walked past the various stores, I noticed that Alex kept staring at my bandaged arm with a sad look on her face. In response, I shook my head, trying to alleviate her guilt.
"It's not your fault, Alex."
She kept her gaze pointed towards the ground and sighed.
"It is my fault... I knew you were standing there... If it wasn't for me you wouldn't have even been there!"
This situation was obviously tearing her up on the inside… I needed to try and comfort her in some way.
I crossed my arms and looked up at the sky.
"Whatever happens, happens. Accidents happen all the time..."
I could hear Alex beginning to sniffle at my side.
"...I don't think that what happened to me was anybody's fault. Also, Alex..."
She looked at me with tears in her eyes. Meeting her gaze, I put on an apologetic look.
"...I'm sorry. I really am... for what I said. I was in shock. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings... It's just hard sometimes you know? I got caught up in the moment and I made you cry. I'm sorry."
Alex shook her head, putting on a smile.
"No, Haku. I'm sorry... I've always been trying to push you to do better. Your status in life shouldn't be measured by how much you study, or by whether you're a summoner or not. You may be gruff... and a little mean sometimes... But I think you try harder than all of us."
While she did always try to push me to do better, I couldn't find that as any reason to be angry with her. I like to believe I'm a pretty intellectual person. I could tell she only did it because she cared... That's just the type of person she is.
Straightening herself up and aggressively wiping any tears from her eyes she began to speak.
"SO! Starting today I'm going to support you 100%, no matter what happens! Haku is Haku, and that's what makes you an incredible person!"
She finished her little speech with a wink and a thumbs-up. In response, I could only chuckle. Scratching the back of my head, I tried my best not to scowl. I honestly couldn't imagine what would be remotely 'incredible' about me, but I decided not to retort for fear of ruining her mood any more.
I saw Alex take out her phone and look at the time.
She put a hand to her mouth with wide eyes before looking over at me with a smile.
"Sorry for cutting this so short... I need to get home, my mother already finished dinner..."
While I did wish I had more time to try and comfort Alex for a little bit more, I could already see that she was showing a bit more of her natural glow. Besides, I did have to meet with Kira soon…
I smiled reassuringly and nodded my head.
"No problem, let's try to get together and do something this weekend."
This made Alex blush for some reason. Slowly putting her phone back into her pocket, she met my eyes with a nervous gaze.
"Actually... will you come too? I'm sure my mother made enough for all of us... After all, it has been a while since she's seen you."
I cringed a bit on the inside... This wasn’t an idea that I was keen on. I tried my best to put on a face that didn’t look revolted by her offer.
"Sorry, I have to meet with Kira later."
Alex looked disappointed, but she accepted this with a weak smile.
"Alright, well... I guess I'll see you later then..."
As Alex turned away and walked off towards her house, she looked over her shoulder and spoke.
"By the way, Haku. You should come see my grandmother soon, she's worried about you too."
As she gained distance, she gave me one last wave before turning around the corner on the sidewalk.
The Matsumoto family was a scary thing. Akari Matsumoto, the head of the family, was Alex's grandmother. If anyone could see through my lies and infer what happened, it would be Granny.
I decided to put this out of my mind for the time being… I made Alex feel better. That was all that mattered.
Remembering the situation at hand, I still had to get back to the school to pick up my motorbike and meet Kira at the middle school.
As I began walking I saw a shadow on the top floor of the antique shop to my right. I stopped and looked up to see Miss Yamada looking down at me from her window. It looked like she was speaking but it was impossible to hear what she was saying.
Squinting my eyes, I tried to read her lips.
"No... Turning... Back..."
As I figured it out, she had turned away and closed her blinds. This made me furrow my eyebrows and scratch my head in confusion.
-What does she mean by that?
Getting on my motorbike, I started it up, left the school’s parking lot and began to head towards the middle school.
Why would she want to meet me there? If this was a confession it would have been far better to just meet me at my apartment…
The buildings flew by as I roared down the road. Passing several houses and small shops, I soon saw the school on my left.
I could feel tension and anxiety build up inside me.
-Here we are...
Putting on my blinker, I pulled over to the small lot normally reserved for staff. As I put down the kickstand I could feel my hands beginning to shake.
-Come on, Haku… It’s just Kira.
Getting off the motorbike, I took in the scene of the small school that I used to go to… It was a simple single floor building built out of the same brick as everything else but painted yellow. From what I was told it used to be an office for something or other before it was renovated about 30 years ago.
I started walking over to the other side of the building which contained a fairly large courtyard with a single cherry blossom tree in the middle. Nearing closer, I saw Kira in an eerily familiar white sundress staring off into the distance under the tree. Even though the sun was already setting, I could see a single beam of light show through leaves and illuminate her face… The scene was almost poetic.
-This is it…
Taking a deep breath, I approached her. Only a few feet away from her, she spoke out to me without even turning her head.
She slowly sat down underneath the tree and patted the ground next to her, signaling me to sit.
-This... Isn't good.
As I sat down next to her, she started to speak with a soothing voice.
"Do you remember going to school here with me?"
I laughed a little bit, albeit nervously.
"Of course. How could I forget?"
I tried to search her face for an idea of what type of mood she trying to set... Her eyes were distant, staring off into oblivion.
"It seems like forever ago..."
As she said this, she tilted her head to the side and took in a deep breath.
"Well, it was quite a few years ago."
"I'll always remember those times though..."
A faint smile crossed her lips.
It wasn't very often that I see Kira reminisce… Something was weighing heavy on her mind. I could see tears beginning to well in her eyes.
"You were the only one that stood up for me..."
Reaching over and taking my hand into hers, she turned her head slightly towards me.
"Ever since then we've been friends right, Haku?"
It looked like she was in pain. Seeing her like this made me feel like crying...
"Yeah, you were my first friend here. That was back when I was living at the group home. "
Kira smiled a little at this.
"I remember when you used to rant to me all the time. Voicing every complaint that you had about this town... All the people that didn't accept you... I just stood there and listened... happy to be there."
This made me scowl a bit... Just where did she plan on going with this?
"Yeah, well luckily I stopped doing that quite a while ago..."
My statement came out colder than I intended. I didn't mean to snap at her, but she had an odd habit of bringing out my inner emotions.
She frowned, letting out a slight sigh.
"I know, Haku... That's what bothers me..."
-So that's where you planned on taking this...
"I felt like we always used to be there for each other. If we needed to cry, we cried... if we were angry, we'd yell... Even if there was something horrible we couldn't tell anyone else we'd at least tell each other and support one another."
I never stopped her from crying on my shoulder, but it was true that over time I tried to keep my issues away from her. My problems weren't something that could be solved by crying about them.
"Maybe we've just grown past that... grown up... Maybe we've finally learned to accept the way things are."
Kira looked towards the ground with a certain bitterness as she heard this.
"No... That's not true at all."
It seemed that there was a double meaning behind what she just said.
"...Your face hasn't changed since then, Haku. The same problems are tearing you up inside and you refuse to let anybody bear your pain with you."
-My problems aren't your's, Kira... Why can't you just let it be...
"I've always been there for you, Haku, yet you won't let me anymore... You've distanced yourself and it really really hurts. Do you know what it's like to see someone you really care about in so much pain? Watching... knowing that you can't do anything about it?"
I gritted my teeth.
The guilt I felt now was nothing like I experienced before.
Kira looked towards me with a serious face.
"What... am I to you now, Haku?"
I turned my face away from her gaze and clenched the fist that wasn’t holding her hand.
-Why Kira... why now?
"My best friend..."
This clearly wasn't the answer she was looking for. She slowly removed her hand from mine and placed it on her lap.
Her voice cracked... She sounded like she wanted to cry. Glancing over at her hands, I saw that they were tightly intertwined and shaking.
"If I ask you something... Will you answer me truthfully?"
"... I'll try..."
She stared deep into my eyes.
"Why did you lie to me about going to the clinic?"
My heart began to race.
There's no possible way she could have known… I have to try and keep up the facade.
Her eyes suddenly became fierce... Scary even.
She took out her yellow 'Magical Moe Girls' school bag and set it on her lap. Undoing the zipper, she reached in and pulled out the contents.
In her hand was Alex's bloodied blazer from last night.
My eyes widened in horror.
"I found this on the path last night..."
I thought back to when I tore the blazer acting as my tourniquet off my arm…
"Alex called me last night... The second she did I went looking for you."
My heart started beating faster.
"I followed the trail of your blood all the way to the fork in the path..."
-How much does this girl know exactly?
Kira let out a sigh as she put the blazer back in her bag.
"I don't know what happened on that path... But I wish you would tell me..."
I looked down at the ground in silence. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that Kira was crying.
"Do you not trust me anymore, Haku?"
-Please, Kira... please don't do this...
I was torn. I wanted to tell her what happened, but I couldn't… I barely understand what happened myself!
Despite everything she said, there was a very clear reason that I couldn't tell her my feelings or secrets anymore… I love her. I love her enough that I didn't want to drag her into my bullshit. I refuse to let her be guilty by association. Even if it hurts her, even if it makes her cry, even if leads her to hate me and everything I stand for… I absolutely refuse to let her get involved.
"It's not that I don't trust you, Kira... It's just something I can't tell anyone."
Kira was obviously not satisfied with this answer… However, she didn't argue.
She looked heartbroken. If I had to think of a resolution, it'd be that I never make her look like this again... It was just too cruel.
Kira slowly stood up and looked at me.
"Just promise me one thing?"
"That you'll tell me one day?"
Her eyes pleaded with me.
I still looked towards the ground.
"Yeah... One day..."
She positioned herself in front of me, lifted up my chin with a single hand so that my eyes met hers, bent over, and pressed her lips against mine.
We stayed like this for a moment. The feelings inside my chest became conflicted as I felt the warmth of her lips against mine. Whether I liked it or not, she finally made her confession.
Before I could even respond to what just happened, she already turned away from me.
"I'll be waiting..."
She quickly took her leave and left me alone underneath the cherry blossom tree.
-That went well...
Despite everything that happened along with the feelings I felt, there was a certain amount of relief. While Alex was easily placated, I at least managed to get Kira off my back for the time being… I thought briefly back to her kiss and shook my head.
There was still more that needed to be done first… Well, at least one last thing…
I arrived home and locked myself in my apartment. Standing in the middle of my living room with my blinds closed, I threw my blazer on the couch and began to undo my bandages. Lifting my arm out in front of me, I began to speak...
You don't need to do that...
My breath staggered as my eyes widened.
My soul is linked to yours now, you don't need to summon me to speak to me.
I froze for a moment.
Part of me didn’t believe that this was actually happening. I wanted to believe that everything that happened before was just a dream. Yet just as before, I heard the voice… Though this time, I could tell it was coming from inside of me.
That's unnecessary too… My my, you don't quite understand summoning at all, do you?
-Just what exact-
The voice in my head responded to my internal thoughts.
-You can hear me like this?
Quite better than I could if you spoke aloud, actually.
-Then why wait until now to speak?
Hahaha… You looked like you were having a tough time… Didn't you just say to yourself this morning that you wanted more time to 'wrap your head' around things?
-What are you?
Your familiar… 'Master'...
-That's not what I meant.
Of course, it isn't! But isn't this more fun?
-If you won't answer me that, then answer me this, what exactly happened last night?
You made a pact with me just as you died, obviously… You're rather slow on the uptake, aren't you?
-Then how did I get home?
I took you home. I'm powerful enough to do that amongst other things...
-How is that possible? I've never seen a familiar with the ability to do that.
I’m not like other familiars. My magic is unlike any other… I assume you came to that conclusion earlier did you not?
Then what's the issue?
It was obvious that whatever familiar I made a pact with was not keen on answering my questions. If I wanted answers, I'd have to try and be more direct.
-What type of familiar are you?
-Are you a darkness familiar?
Not quite... hehe.
-That must make you... a Demonica...
-If that's the case... Why aren't I dead?
Hmm? Why would you be? That wouldn't be beneficial to me at all.
-Demonica feed on prana.
That is correct.
-So I should be dead...
Incorrect… We also feed on mana. Hira is quite the manawell, with the background mana here being... favorable...
-So I can use you to my heart's content.
That is also incorrect… After being sealed away by those forsaken 'summoners' for a few millennia, I have lost a significant amount of my power. Right now my existence is... stable. However, physically manifesting myself would be most... Unfavorable.
-What do you mean by that?
The will of a familiar's master is absolute… The background mana here keeps me fed well enough. However, If you were to try and summon me as you just did not long ago, I would have no choice but to feed on your prana so I could obey your will and manifest.
-Does that mean it's impossible for me to use you?
No. As my master, you can tap into my branch of magic; Necromancy. However, trying to use any magic beyond what I have power for will lead to the same fate.
I also have 'innate' skills as a Demonica that may also suit your... 'tastes'...
I suddenly realized one important thing I failed to ask...
-Why make a pact with me if it serves no benefit?
Oh~? That's not true at all Haku~! Hehehe.
I've been sealed away for quite a while! A pact is a much stronger magic than the seal that they used. If it wasn't for you, I'd still be locked underneath that shrine.
While I may not have a will entirely of my own now… I do quite enjoy bloodshed...
We Demonica see and smell more than the average familiar… I wouldn't dream of serving a master whose destiny is mundane. Your destiny, however... reeks of bloodshed...
-What do you mean by that?
I look forward to seeing your potential Haku… You should sleep now. There will be plenty of time for more questions...
With that, the voice in my head went silent.
I made a pact with a Demonica. While I never really listened in class, I did know that they are extremely powerful spirits...
Time to time, lesser Demonica invade Hira, but taking one down requires at the very least team of 5. Even then… The fact that whatever Demonica I made a pact with could only be sealed says quite a bit. Sealing was not something that summoners can do. The act of sealing something requires a mage, a group of them.
If the town of Hira was forced into recruiting mages to seal something, that means the entity I made a pact with was so powerful and destructive that destroying it was something that carried no possibility.
By choice or not, I was indeed a summoner. I could only assume the head families knew of the spirit sealed below the shrine, and everyone knows that even associating with a Demonica was a taboo beyond redemption… However, since it's impossible to reject a pact-spirit, I came to the conclusion that It would be wise of me to study harder in practical classes.
I may not be able to tell anyone I have a familiar, but as a summoner, I still have the responsibility of learning how to use my pact spirit. I can't physically manifest it, but I can tap into its branch of magic. Normally this is used for mundane things, but if I'm tapping into the necromancy branch, one would think it might be just as effective.
Finishing this thought, I went to the bedroom and got ready for bed.
It was Saturday. Three days had passed since the event with Alex, Kira, and my familiar. Altogether things went over pretty smoothly since then. People have gone back to ignoring me and Kira and Alex treat me similar to the way they did before... though Alex has been a lot nicer than usual and Kira seems to want to hang out daily now. However, there have been some other... changes... to my everyday lifestyle...
As I finished putting on my jeans in my bedroom, I took the bandage off the top of my dresser and began wrapping my arm up to my fingertips.
How long do plan on wearing that horrid thing?
Don't you think you've been putting on this facade for a little too long?
Despite being a Demonica, my familiar has been awfully chatty. While the presence it originally presented me with was a dark malicious one, now it just reminds me more and more of a teenage schoolgirl.
I paused for a moment.
-Do demons even have genders?
I put on my sweatshirt and finished getting ready for the day.
Are you not going to ask?
-Didn't plan on it.
I slowly paced my way into the living room and grabbed a canned coffee from the fridge and opened it.
Are you not the slightest bit curious?
-Can't say I am.
Finishing my drink, I headed for the door.
I rested my hand on the doorknob.
-You've never physically manifested before. For all I know, you're a hideous blob. And if you are indeed a hideous blob, why would I care what gender you are?
Heading out the door and locking it behind me, I proceeded to walk down the stairs and around the bookstore.
For your information, I am not a hideous blob! I am an all-powerful Demonica, capable of leveling this town! My true form reflects my powerful capabilities! If you were to summon me, you would tremble in fear!
Reaching the sidewalk out front, I put my hands in my pockets and observed the beautiful day presented before me. The sun was high in the sky and there was a pleasant breeze.
-Okay, then all-powerful demon... Teleport me.
-You heard me. Tel-e-port me.
-Oh? Something that the all-powerful demon can't manage to do?
I told you already! MY POWER IS WEAKENED MORTAL! I used what little power I had to get you out of that chamber! I keep telling you I need either a constant feed of mana, or at least a bit of prana! But no! My useless 'Master' won't even let me take the life of a squirrel!
I couldn't help but laugh out loud.
Why are you laughing!? Stop that! If you want your teleport so bad, be a good master and fetch me a pigeon or a puppy or something!
My familiar finally went silent in aggravation and after a bit of walking, I finally came up on the outside of the Nakajima household. Outside the door of the western style, 5 bedroom house was a smiling Kira wearing a bright yellow sundress and sandals with a big straw sun hat that had a bright pink bow on it.
My eyes widened in horror as Kira ran towards me. Throwing my arms up in front of me in defense, she tackled me to the ground with an embrace.
I could feel all the air rush out of my body as Kira pressed herself against me.
Blissfully ignoring my suffering, Kira began rubbing her face against mine.
"I haven't seen you in so long!"
"What!? You literally just saw me yesterday!"
Slowly regaining my ability to breathe again, I struggled with trying to get Kira's dead weight off of me...
"I know! It was terrible!"
Embracing me even tighter, fake tears began to well in her eyes.
What an aggravating girl.
-Shut up, no one asked you.
After Kira finally let me go, I stood up brushed off my jeans.
"So, where to today?"
I could see the gears turning in her head as she put a finger to the side of her mouth and thought hard.
All... Powerful... Demon...
Nodding my head and giving her a smile, Kira and I started to walk further towards the west side of town towards the small park.
I could see Kira peering at my arm with curiosity.
"Why are you still wearing that bandage? Shouldn't your arm have healed by now?"
I told you.
"Ah... Well... The cuts were pretty deep and I keep managing to open them again. Hahahaha..."
Kira started walking backward and gave me a smirk with mischievous eyes.
"What type of strenuous activity could you possibly be doing with your right arm that would cause the wounds to open? Hmm~? Haku~?"
-SHUT UP NO ONE ASKED YOU!
"Eh... No idea what you mean."
I tried to remain calm and rational as I said this. In response, Kira just laughed.
"If you say so... Hehehe."
I changed my mind. I like her.
After talking back and forth with Kira about the more mundane things in life, we finally reached the park. It wasn't that big. It was only 75 meters around and had a few flower beds and benches with a few trees spotted around. However, this little spot manages to garner a significant amount of attention... Though that's mainly due to the lack of better options... But on a weekend, there was no better place to be.
Kira plopped herself onto the nearest bench with a thunk.
Reaching into her bag, she gave me an adorable smile as she held out a fairly large bento box.
I sat down next to her and took a sandwich from the lunch she made.
"Thanks for the food." We both said as we clapped our hands together.
Kira was actually quite a good cook. Far better than me.
As I ate a corner of my sandwich I noticed a girl sitting alone on a bench across the park.
"Hey, Kira, who's that?"
Kira looked up at me with a mouth of food before squinting her eyes and glancing over at the girl on the bench,
"Please chew your food, Kira."
Kira finished chewing and took a glug from one of the drink containers she brought.
I looked over at Himari. She was wearing a white and black lolita dress and had light blue long hair with bangs that hung in front of her left eye. If I had to guess, she was a little shorter than Kira, so probably only 5'3? It was hard to tell but I assumed she had a little smaller than average bust.
Stop being lewd.
You were looking at her breasts.
-Not in that way! I was just observing her!
If you say so...
Anyhow it seemed strange that she was sitting all alone.
"Know anything about her? Not that it's any of my business. Just curious."
Hearing my question, Kira put a finger to her mouth and thought for a moment.
"Hmmm. She's from 4-C...mmm... I believe she has a darkness pact-spirit? Honestly, I can't think of anything else."
"Is she your type?"
There was a certain amount of nervousness in her voice. I put my hands up in defense.
"Nonononono. I was just curious that's all!"
Giving me a mischievous smile, Kira struck a cute pose.
"Am I your type?"
Seeing my reluctance to answer her question, she began to pout.
"Oh come on don't be that way, Haku!"
Finally finishing our lunch, Kira hopped off the bench and gave a little pirouette.
"I'll be right back."
"Where are you going?"
For some reason, this made Kira's face red.
"T-that's not something you ask a lady, Haku!"
Are humans always this strange?
-Only that one.
I watched as Kira scurried off to who-knows-where.
"Ummm... Excuse me..."
I jumped in surprise as I looked around in panic. In front of me was Himari, the girl I was observing not that long ago. She looked like she was shaking as she stood there and held her hands together firmly in front of her.
"O-oh! I-I'm s-sorry... I didn't mean t-to s-scare you."
She looked off to the right, trying desperately to avoid eye contact.
"It's okay. What brings you over here?"
"W-well ummm... I uh... N-noticed you staring at me earlier...ummm... And I wondered i-if there w-was something you n-needed f-from me."
She must have thought I was being a creep and came over here to tell me off. Well...try to tell me off anyways.
"Oh. I'm sorry. I wasn't trying to be rude. I just noticed you were sitting over there all alone and I thought that something may have been wrong."
She took a deep breath and steadied her speech a bit, but she was still clearly nervous for some reason.
"N-no it's fine. I normally come here by umm...m-myself... I-I don't really have any friends s-so that's just how things are..."
"Oh. I'm sorry. Anyhow, I'm Haku. Haku Maeda"
"H-himari... Himari Shimizu... Nice to m-meet you."
I felt bad just leaving her all alone. She seemed nice.
"Listen, if you want you can hang out with us. I mean... Kira is a little ditzy and annoying... But she's nice."
"N-no... T-that's okay. I have to go s-soon. B-but t-thank you anyways."
I looked over to see if Kira was on her back but I didn't see her.
"Okay, but if you change your mind-"
I looked in front of me but Himari disappeared.
I looked behind me to see Kira laughing.
"Don't do that! Anyhow, did you see where Himari went off to?"
Kira looked puzzled.
"Wasn't she on the bench over there when I left?"
"Yeah but...ugh... Nevermind."
Kira gave me a strange look but immediately changed to a smile.
"You ready to go Haku?"
As we left, I looked over my shoulder to see if there was any sign of Himari.
That girl is giving off a weird aura... I'd keep your distance...
I turned back around and walked with Kira.
-Strange aura huh?