Updating this a couple days early for this week. Early gift to you guys, there won’t be an update on Tuesday.
Chicago’s Chinatown. I hadn’t been to the south of Chicago in a long time, so I was expecting a lot of big changes to the city itself in the past one hundred and forty-nine years, but I guess not much has changed, I think. The same old arched gateway that was so common in eastern architecture was still standing, that much hadn’t changed.
Hanging underneath it in bold letter was a sign saying,Welcome to Chinatown. The same old nostalgic smell of chinese food with strange concoction of herbal medicine still drifted through the air, along with numerous signs of chinese advertising their shops. Beneath them were scores of asians congregating outside, minding their own business.
If I had to guess, the most major change to the shopping district are the buildings. If I remember correctly, they were just two to three story buildings, but now it seemed to range between seven to ten story buildings. Even with all that had changed, the busy streets, the flashing neon lights, the yelling and shouting of people talking, and the drug dealers that still shadily sold drugs in the corner of the streets as if they are exchanging food packages.
Yep, not much had changed. The only apparent thing I could say that changed quite a bit was the cars, they were floating a few inches off the ground without any wheels. The majority of the people were sitting in the back, while the car drove themselves. Luckily, their hairstyles and clothes weren’t too wacky and strange, thinking about going around with crazy hairdos wasn’t something I wanted to do. I was actually glad that it wasn’t too crazy.
They were only four of us today, Simon didn’t come because he had a side mission with a different team somewhere else, while Crystal stay behind to do field testing on the suit that she was creating. Thank god that none of us were wearing that ugly, gray clothing that was so common for us inside the Seventh Sanctum. It made us look more like we belonged in some kind of institution than just normal people. We were given simple, everyday clothes, and all of us had Crystal’s prototype Dragon Scale underneath.
From just wearing the suit, our ability to survive jumped up fifty percent, and she did make the suit a bit more futuristic, and less spandex looking, all while keeping the snuggly fit. Crystal had added some extra thickness around the chest and shoulder, and all along our necks, groin, knee caps, wrist, elbows, and especially the spine area, culminating the entire thing into a very plated look. Though, somehow the only thing we didn’t get was the helmet that I asked for, which made me slightly upset that my head wasn’t protected. Supposedly, the reason we didn’t get one yet, was because she didn’t have enough time to create one from scratch, because of all the upgrades that she had done on the suit.
“This damn thing is riding up my ass.” Timothy grumbled. He was wobbling as he tried his best to pull down whatever was bothering him. “Does this even work?”
Majority of us, except Marcus, were wearing a simple black or blue jeans, printed t-shirts, and a hoodie. Nothing too flashy, but more earthy colors to keep us from being to noticed. Only Marcus had a flashy biker jacket and pants that he was wearing, making me wonder why in the world did he have to wear that. I guess it was his preference, but still, the look that we were given were quite amusing.
People literally scattered out of Marcus’ way and peeked at the corner of their eyes as they gazed up at him. Now that I think about it, we’re being stared a lot more than usual, maybe having Crystal here with us would make it more eye catching. I don’t know, but their stares were making me feel a bit uncomfortable. Also, maybe it was because of the sword that I had on my hip that made us look even more out of place. It was as if we were like wild animals that were parading down the streets on chains, and Marcus was the tamer.
Another downside of all of this was that all of us had a bangle on our wrist that told us our location. We couldn’t just snap it off and run away, these bangles were our lifeline and our death warrants. If we forcefully removed it, the chips in the back of the head would freeze our body, leaving us unable to do anything but lie still on the floor until someone picked us up. Our chance of getting back out would also be revoked for god knows how long, and right now, I was actually enjoying the freedom that we had. Plus, having a communication device directly to the Crystal was reassuring, especially because we could get back up if we’re in deep trouble.
“Quit, walking like that.” Jones grunted, not liking how Timothy was doing a weird dance that tighten his walk and made him walk on his tiptoes. “You look like you’re picking your ass.”
“I am!” Timothy hissed. “Having this thing riding up your ass is something that you’d want to get rid of as well.” He grumbled, until finally he relaxed with a relieved expression in whatever he just did.
Jones looked at him funny and shook his head, rolling his eyes in the process. Marcus was ahead of us, weaving through the building until we stopped in front of a five story building. It was a dingy building, and the moment we walked in, we all could smell the harsh smell of piss and trash.
The walls were dirty and graffitied, the stairs were half broken, and with one slip up, anyone would probably get impaled through the chest from the sharp metals that twisted outwards up into the air. Every step we took up the stairs, it annoyingly squeaked. It wasn’t just a slight squeak, it cracked and busted a bit more, giving an loud annoying sound that told us of our presence. By now, I bet the demon actually knew we were coming.
“Marcus, you sure it’s this building?” Jones asked, his hand slid up the side of the broken rail. He twisted his neck, and glanced up towards the partially lit stairway.
“Yea, got some new intel that cut down our search by a lot. No use in wasting unwanted time, searching all over the city for a damn cat-”
All of us snapped towards the sound, Marcus had his handgun raised up at him, pointing at the poor little kitty that was sitting on top of the stairs. Jones and Timothy followed pursuit, there hands on their gun as if their life depended on it.
Even I had my sword halfway drawn, ready to use if necessary, and when I saw the little white tabby kitten with its head cocked to its side, I couldn’t help but stare at it. It was just so cute!
“Meow~” It let out a small chirpy meow that was saying to us that it was harmless. Timothy and Jones relaxed and stared at the cute kitten with a frown.
“I don’t think it would possess a kitten right?” Timothy half chuckled, but wearily look at the kitten, hoping it wouldn’t just come pouncing at them.
“You don’t know that.” Marcus still didn’t put down his gun, he waited for the little kitten to move, eventually the kitten hopped down onto the lower stairs, continually making towards us as if it was unafraid.
It awkwardly plopped of its way down the stairs, struggling for a bit before it rolled, and stared upwards with an adorable sound. Holy cow, this kitten is too adorable. This was like an academic award performance if this was a demon. Perfect, priceless, and heart wrenching movable. My hand was slowly inching over, unconsciously, towards the little kitten that meowed for attention.
“Don’t.” Marcus grunted towards me with his hand raised up.
“Meow?” The kitten head tilted to the side, telling us that it didn’t quite understand Marcus’ word.
Jones squatted down, and reached over, picking up the little kitten in its hand. It purred as it head rubbed against Jones finger. “I think this one is normal.”
Marcus frowned at Jones who didn’t listen to him, and gave out a disgruntled sigh. “Next time, when I say don’t touch. Don’t touch.” He growled towards Jones.
“Sorry, I had a feeling that it was fine.” Jones stated with a sloppy smile, he was having a blast with the little kitten in his hand. “Hey, buddy.”
“Meoooowww~” The kitten rolled in his hand so he could touch its belly.
“It’s a girl.”
“How do you know?” Timothy look over his shoulder, glaring at the furball as if it was an actual demon itself. He suddenly sneezed at Jones, causing Jones to jump forward in disgust.
“Ah, gross. Really man? Really?” Jones had the kitten half way up into the air, while he glared at Timothy. He shook himself as he caught some kind of deadly disease and stepped away from him.
“Sorry, I have slight allergy to cats.”
“You should’ve said something,” said Marcus, not liking the thought he might go into shock. “You have an epipen on you for just in case?”
“Yea, I actually do. Always carry one on me.” Timothy patted the side of his pants.
“Good, we don’t want you to go into shock.”
“Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as seafood. Man, that shit can kill me.”
Jones was thinking over what Timothy had said, I got the feeling that he was mauling over Timothy’s weakness for a moment, and even felt a slight bloodlust like intent from him as well. I got up, and snatched the kitten out of his hands, diverting Jones’ diabolical thoughts. The cute furball was like a small gift from heaven from this dark dingy building. So soft. So cute! Damn it, look at its large eyes!
“Hey!” Jones called out in outburst, annoyed that I had stole the cuteness out of his hands.
“So, cute.” I tickled the little bastard as it cutely swatted at my hands. Kittens, they were my favorite animals to keep around more than dogs. I loved dogs just as much, but kittens were hands down my favorite animals to take care of and play with.
Jones reached over, trying to get the kitten in my hand, squishing my head against his armpit. I swatted him away, annoyed that he was taking my alone time with the kitten in hand.
“Quit horsing around you two,” Marcus commanded, annoyed at our stupid theatrics, “we’re going to break up into two teams.” He started to climb back up until we got to the second floor.
“How are we going to split ourselves?” Timothy was the one who asked first before Jones could.
“You’re coming with me.” Marcus grabbed the back of his Timothy’s clothes, dragging him towards the left.
“Okay. Okay. Quit pulling me, jeez!” Timothy stumbled backwards as he was roughly pulled.
I was stuck with Jones, who was still bent on taking the kitten out of my hand. I stuffed the little furball into my front pocket, where the kitten stuck out its white head from the side.
“Yes. Yes. Stay in there, Daisy. You’ll be safe and sound.”
“Daisy? You gave her a name that quickly?” Jones asked surprised. He stopped, bothering me and followed behind.
“Yea, what about it?”
“No, I just thought you would name her Tyger or something.”
“Absolutely not.” Tyger. Why in the world would I give it my last name? I’m not that arrogant, and this furball doesn’t look like a Tyger anyways.
“It would match her perfectly.” Jones chuckled. “You’re a cat person aren’t you.”
“What?!” I felt embarrassed in how I acted. Only when it came to cats, I go a bit crazy. Honestly, maybe coming to this demon hunting right now wasn’t a great idea, I didn’t even know what I was even hoping for the minute I got here. “Well…..you know…”
“Doesn’t matter. At least we got another animal lover here. Coming here to wipe out cat demon doesn’t sit too well with me. If possible, I would like it if we can save them.” He grunted. “Well, let’s check this area for any possible demon cats.”
I nodded, making sure Daisy was tucked in. My finger reached in and pushed in her head, so she wouldn’t fall tumbling out. Still, she wouldn’t listen and stuck her head back out as if she was some whack-a-mole, popping out every time I push her head back in. It got old fast, and I gave up entirely. She just wouldn’t listen.
“If you get gobbled up by a demon cat, it’s your loss.” I grumbled towards Daisy.
“Yea, yea. Just because you’re cute doesn’t mean you get away with everything.”
“Pft. You don’t say?”
I felt a bit stupid, talking to Daisy as if she could understand. Even still, she replied to my question as if she knew the answer to life itself. Then she suddenly bite me, completely through the suit, causing me to yelp in pain.
What the hell?! How the hell was she-? Did she-? I was just completely appalled. No, wait. I’m bleeding. Is this even possible!? How in the world was this possible?
“Mew?” Daisy tilted her head.
“Bad kitty.” I hissed, shaking my finger in pain. I definitely need to talk to Crystal about making it animal proof next time. Crap, that hurts. With the pain subsided, I searched around.
The walls were plastered with thick layers of white goo and dust. Even the paint was peeling off in large blotches, bringing out the wooden textures of the building itself. Debris was littered on the floor, broken chairs, cabinets, and even on some half bent sofas. Creeping through the broken door to my left, I carefully picked up my leg, and hopped over a half broken sofa that blocked my path.
Upon entering, an old grand piano was still standing in the middle of the room. Bright sunny light entered from the side as it casted downwards towards the piano, giving it an eerie feel. There were no other furniture but the grand piano and the broken sofa, but there was an old chinese painting of an elderly woman, half peeled, crooked on the wall.
I couldn’t help but stare at the half torn picture, taking a good look at the elderly woman that used to live here. From the white pearls decorating her neck, and the way that she held herself, I could tell that she was an well off lady. Even though she looked a bit elderly, my guess was that she probably didn’t even hit fifties from the way she look. Trying to figure out the age of the asian race isn’t simple, I have seen older asian ladies who look to be in their late twenties who are actually late forty years old. When I heard that they were forty-seven, I was completely shocked.
“Ting!” The sound of the piano going off snapped me back to reality as I twirled around. My hand grabbed the edge of the sword, and with one fluid motion, I brought it out. These past few weeks, I been working on my swordsmanship a lot more than guns. I had gotten used to using this particular sword mainly because it had saved my ass numerous time in that fight, and training had improved it to the point where it felt a bit more like an extension of my arm.
My eyes squinted, searching for the one that made the sound. There was nobody present, but myself and Daisy. I choked it up as nothing, and just when I was about to turn around again, the piano key went off.
“Ting. Ting. Ting.” The piano key went in an upwards scale into a higher pitch.
“What is going on?” I worded, not liking how the piano key was just spontaneously playing by itself. Was there possibly a ghost here? I hope to god there wasn’t one. Shit. I don’t do to well with ghost or do I know how to vanquish one.
I bit my lower lip, not liking where this was going. The only sunlight that was coming through the half darken window, suddenly flickered as if something ran across it.When I turned, there was nobody there.
“Ting. Ting. Ting. Ding. Ting.” The piano magically played by itself. I froze, my sword was brought up in front of me. My heart was beating quickly, my mind was alert and wary at thought of what was possibly going to come.
The simple staccato like sound of the piano started to change into a full out song with nobody there playing it. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. How was this possible? This is technically impossible. Is there some kind of contraption that’s making it play by itself or is something really there playing it?
I didn’t wanted to find out, so I started shuffling backwards towards the door quickly. A mellow, haunting music continued to play, giving me goosebumps all over my body. Suddenly, I bumped into something. Twirling around in a vicious whirl, my sword flashed forward in a sideway cutting motion.
“Woah!” Jones cried out, he stumbled backwards, trying not to get cut in half.
My sword dangerously stopped a few inches away from his neck area, stopping short a couple centimeters away from decapitation.
“It’s me! For christ sake! Don’t kill me!” Jones fell backwards into the wall with a thud, breathing heavily. His eyes were wide, showing the whites of his eyes.
“Jones! Shit!” I cursed angrily. The thought of possibly killing him wasn’t something that I wanted on my conscience. “Don’t sneak up on me like that!”
“Sorry. Sorry. Was that you play-” He was on the ground. Slowly, he got up, but stopped halfway when he saw me in front of him.
I hurriedly leaving the room. I hopped over the sofa, not even looking back. The whole piano playing by itself kept me on edge, making me feel like there was something evil in the room. Jones quickly followed. He was actually a lot faster then me in getting out of the room.
“Who’s there?” Jones asked, his finger pointed towards the door where we came from.
“Nobody.” I hissed.
“Shit.” Jones quickly pushed himself against the wall, his hand was on his gun, with fear plastered on his face. He was staring intently towards the direction of the door.
All of a sudden, the music abruptly stopped. Followed after, a crashing sound of piano keys being jammed angrily together could be heard. Both of us froze, we knew that wasn’t part of the music.
“Meow.” Daisy squeaked, followed by an angry hiss.
The light in the room flickered, and all of a sudden it went dark. How that was possible, I don’t know. I didn’t wanted to find out.
An animalist purring sound close to a tiger’s voice could be heard, followed by another jamming of keys. I rushed towards the side of the door and pushed myself as flat as I could. Jones gave me a bugged out eye look, he then motioned his head towards the side, telling me to take a look. I shook my head, saying no. He bobbed his head a couple more times, while we both went into a full blown bobbing head war with each other. We look absolutely stupid, neither one of us wanted to look at what was in there. My imagination was already going wild at the possibility of what could be in there.
I lost the head bobbing war, and I took a peek. “Oh my go.…” There was a lion size black demonic cat with large sabertooth like teeth, curling out of its mouth. Powerful muscles decorated every inch of the cat’s body, black mist shimmered into existence, pooling around its body like a scarf. Its tail wagged back and forth slowly as it sniffed the air.
When I turned back towards Jones, I mouthed a couple incoherent words, because I was shocked. Jones stare at me dumbly, shrugging his shoulder, telling me that he didn’t understand. My hand did a funny motioning movement, trying to explain to him how big this monster was.
He finally gave up trying to decipher what I was saying, and finally peeked out from the side before he let out a startled gasp. His body tightened, he whirled around towards me with jaws partially opened. Even his face paled to a lighter shade of brown.
I knew that, being overly worried wasn’t going to get me out of here alive. My best bet was to pull myself together, calm myself down, and clear my thoughts. This was what we came here to do and make use of the device that Timothy had created.
Breathe. I took my own advice and did what I thought.
I glanced down, brought up my hand with the wristwatch. The wristwatch had changed quite a bit after Timothy had tinkered with it, changing into a more sleek form. My finger quickly dialed through the different options, until I arrived to what I was looking for.
Here I go.
The watched stopped at a word that states in big, black, bold letters: Mind Linker. Next to the word was a brain design with electricity coming out from the side. I had to wonder what exactly this function was, but the way Timothy explained it was slightly confusing. So far, it was supposedly a device that was going to allow Normal’s to see what we saw by projecting the image into their minds. It will break the illusion that the demon cast onto the Normal’s mind, which causes the demons to materialize into the physical realm.
It was a complicated mumbo jumbo that I didn’t quite get, but the radius of this device was supposedly half a mile. Timothy was still working out the kinks of extending the radius, but right now he said it might fry our brains or something like that. The second function to the watch was to train our mental powers and control our magic just like the Dragon Scale Armor. Pressing the button, I felt a slight discomfort of a throbbing migraine, which left me a bit uncomfortable.
I wasn’t sure if it was supposed to do that, but it’s definitely something I needed to tell Timothy to fix. The screen changed to “Synchronizing”, counting up to one hundred percent. When it finally hit one hundred, the brain logo popped back up, showing the number of mental power that I had. Twenty-five. Not too bad or the best, in which case it’s the third highest out of the whole group of Ouroboros.
I think Zheng had a mental power of over thirty. Supposedly, Normal’s usually have around 5-10, just awakened have around 10-20, and the advanced ones go past 20-30. Any higher than 30 are considered stronger. Timothy has a hypothesis that this was where the mundane worlds seriously became magical. Past fifty to seventy is considered Myth Demon type in their true form, while 90-100 was considered God realm, whatever that means.
The brain logo even had a battery logo that told me how much mental power I had left before I hit rock bottom. In which case, it could lead to a horrible migraine, blackout, or worst death from overusing it.
When the brain logo flashed a one hundred percent in red, I heard a startled yelp followed by an angry growl by the demon. I don’t know what Timothy’s device just did, but it certainly pissed it off.
A ear piercing roar blasted through the room, shattering the glasses in one howl. My ears rung in pain as my hand raised up to cover it. Eventually, when the howling stopped, another howl echoed off in the distance, answering the first.
This was bad. Really, bad.