Ah, this is the end
Yet still, their expression remained blank, save for a tiny smile that started to blossom on their pale lips. Blood was seeping, like a river at rush hour, from their right chest. There, a large, jagged wound ripped apart their skin down to the bones. The crimson seeped into their snow white robe, and a feeling of numbness settled on their limbs. But they embraced death as exorcists’ instinct. When you step out to kill the dead, you become the dead.
They could feel their life ebbing away out of their body. The sight of death felt familiar, and nostalgic, a scene they simply had forgotten long ago. They could feel the heat of the blood flowing, the pulse of the heart hammering but weakening with every contraction, and the endless flow of life pouring out.
They took a glance up, up towards a young woman. A woman who had put them into this state, a woman who was a sister of a trusted friend, a woman hailing from a clan who hunted exorcists. Yet the woman didn’t show intense glee, nor any sense of victory over their defeat.
Exorcists are the origin of all magic and power, the strongest of all, they say. Powerful beings who could see and hunt apparitions. Yet here lies the last one, dying by the hands of all the arts they gave birth too, just like a human dying from a gun they fashioned. Very much deserved, after all, how else can a human die?, she thought. But she couldn’t help but feel a little guilty in her heart, a stone weighing on her consciousness. And that little brother of hers, what would he say if he saw her now? She closed her eyes, and pity overtook her bloodlust. She sheathed her sword and left, without dealing the final blow.
The figure watched her retreating back. They closed their eyes, quietly reflecting on this mess. Where did it all start?
The dense mist reflected the silhouette of a young adult. If one looked properly, they could perhaps see the shadow flashed in and out, like a blinking light. One moment they saw it clear as day, the other second it disappeared completely and reappeared ten feet away. What a pity there was no one to look at the skill for even experts would be in total awe. The bell tower chimed once, 1 AM in the morning. The neighbourhood was strangely silent—one could hear a pin drop a mile away. After a while, the shadow stopped at a doorway. The wooden door was moist and battered up from last night’s rain. A shower of water poured down from the rooftop as the figure stepped inside.
The pale light shined upon their face, and the people in the bar stood up in shock. They were a stunning beauty, and there is no other word to describe them. They looked like a star that fell from heaven and was granted life. They wore plain yet dazzling clothes, with a soft white cloak that shines like the moonlight. Their beautiful white hair shines even in the dampest of light, but even that pales in comparison to their earrings. On their right ear they had a glowing pearl dangling from one piercing, on the left was a sliver string looped around two ear holes. Their right hand gripped a scythe, giving their cold and emotionless vibes a more deadly tinge.
One man broke the silence by snorting in the wine. He raised his head, and smirked condescendingly at the figure.
“Little guy, this is not where you should be. Go home and play with your toy cars,” he laughed, and drank his mug of beer.
The mysterious figure didn’t respond to his words. They walked calmly to the counter and put down a red coin etched with a drawing of a bird onto the table.
Wordlessly, the barman gave them a sheet of paper, another commission to hunt.
At the same time, another student was studying late at night. He slowly dripped his own blood onto a strange magic circle. The circle brightened for a moment, and then faded away. The boy frowned and inspected the circle some more.
Through the light of the candle one could see his overwhelmingly beautiful face. Emerald green eyes shone brightly behind his glasses. His ebony black hair barely reached shoulder length hovers in the dark, supported by the weak draft coming from the open window. He was wearing his school uniform, a block coat and pants with a white shirt.
The boy poured his heart and soul into the magic, every bit of concentration to find out what was wrong. Nothing seemed to be able to distract him from that moment, it was just him and the magic.
A fluttering of wings broke the invisible spell in the air. The boy snapped back to reality at once. A messenger pigeon has come with news. The boy opened the note, and read it for a moment. In a wild and sudden state of euphoria, he stood up. A face that was so serious just a minute ago was covered in a blooming youthful smile. He had just received news; there were traces of the White Reaper again.
The white haired figure sat on top of a building, calmly looking down upon the quiet city, as if they were waiting for something. The clock on the bell tower slowly clicked to 3 AM. One chime rang around the city, rolled around the buildings, and echoed past the mountains. At the same moment, the figure jumped down. A dusty wind blew, and they disappeared.
They find themselves in an alley, it feels quite familiar to the city before. Although a bit cracked, it was the same cement walls, and the same old-fashioned dim street lights. But this time, something feels off. The cold air seemed more wild and untamed. It lashes out fiercely, whipping the cloak like a tornado to a house. However, they stood unfazed within the violent wind, with eyes as frosty as ever. Emotionlessly, they pull out their scythe, and, with no warning, slash the air.
A chilling scream erupts, shattering the air. The buildings around shook violently, threatening to collapse at any moment. The figure still stands unfazed by the noise, as if they hadn’t heard it in the first place. As the strokes of the scythe got quicker and more deadly, the shrieks layered the air multiple times. The trees and buildings around them had already shattered into fine dust.
After a while, the movements stopped and the wails began to fade. The figure frowned, and looked around in the dust. A few seconds later, an owl approaches them. It hooted softly and disappeared. The figure turned around and followed the owl out.
From afar, the black-haired boy saw a blurry figure clad in white on a building. It was such a beautiful sight. The white cloak fluttered in the wind in stark contrast to the dark mist of the dreamless night. But he wasn’t only fascinated by the charming beauty, but also the person themself. There were no words to describe what he was feeling at the moment. Years of hopeless searching, excited by the slightly mundane news of an exorcist, any exorcist.
The word exorcist rolled around his thoughts, a word so queer on his tongue yet so incredibly familiar.
He had first heard it pressing his ear against the door of his father’s bureau. A young twelve year-old boy who had a certain curious and rebellious nature couldn’t resist eavesdropping on a conversation. It was then that he overheard a word so rarely spoken: exorcists. From there, curiosity got the better of him. A fateful meeting with a clueless exorcist clad in a white cloak It wasn’t a dream. It was a cupidity, an insatiable greed within himself, implanted by the rebellious nature of a teenage boy, that propelled him through moments of where all traces were lost. Greed turned into a habit, a dream, and adoration.
But another gust of dusty wind blew, the figure in white was gone.
The figure in white walked slowly back to the bar. Another commission done meant another comfortable month. However, a black haired boy blocked their way to the bar.
“Are you what they call the White Reaper?” he asked, but it sounded like more of a declaration than a question. No reply. They walked past him in silence, save for the soft hoot of the owl acknowledging his existence.
However, the boy was persistent, refused to admit his defeat. He raced in front of them and blocked their way for the second time.
“Wait, can you please teach me exorcism, how do you hunt ghosts?” he pleaded forcefully. His eyes were determined. A goal so close, yet so hopeless. He felt like Tantalus trapped in hell, with crystalline water and ripened fruit just out of arm’s reach. The sight of the exorcist was such a tantalizing sight, the torment driving the boy insane. His eyes darted to the exorcist, determined to succeed.
“How I hun’ hosts?” they asked. The speech was quiet and muffled, yet mumbled hastily. They seemed to shy away from the thought of speaking itself as they struggled to continue, “I-I don’ really know, I jus’ do it”
The boy nodded slightly, then moved aside to let them continue their walk. From then on, the boy would follow the exorcist everywhere. An unspoken bond of friendship was forming between them. While they didn’t talk much, they began to trust each other.
“I’m going to be away for a few weeks,” the boy said in passing, during a commission a few months later. The exorcist nodded, and continued hunting.
“Try not to wander too much, it’s quite dangerous,” he added in hindsight. The boy was about to tell the exorcist that his clan, famous exorcist hunters, were planning to hunt them down. But perhaps it was because he was scared that they would leave him if he told them about his clan, perhaps he didn’t want to worry them too much, or perhaps it slipped out of his mind, the truth came untold.
The next time the boy saw the exorcist was within an abandoned village, where they looked coldly back upon him.
To be continued…
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