Some Ishiyoshi moments here... LOL. XD
“Hitomi!” Maki hugged her best friend firmly as soon as she entered their house. Hitomi expected to see Maki’s crying face but it’s not what happened. She saw Maki’s stoic face; the face that she’s accustomed to see when her friend is really angry.
“I saw her… I’m going to avenge my sister’s death!”
“How are you going to avenge her if you have no idea who the killer is?”
“It’s Eri. She’s the one who killed my sister.” Maki replied. Hitomi sighed out loud.
“How can a person, who lived hundreds of years ago, kill Miki? I know that it’s painful to lose an important person in your life… but it’s not appropriate that you’ll blame someone who’s already dead.” Maki shook her head and looked straight in her eyes.
“I don’t know whether she’s alive or dead… but I’m sure that she’ the one who did it..”
“I’m really sorry about what happened to your sister…” Maki just nodded at Rika and Risa. Risa noticed Maki’s swollen eyes. She assumed that Maki must have cried all night long.
“You know… you should rest even for a bit. You know that Miki and I are always bickering…but I know that she’ll rise from the dead to slap you… or something when she sees what a sorry state you are in now.” Maki was taken aback by what Risa said.
“What?” Did you remember something?” Maki pushed Hitomi away and ran towards her room. The three were left in the living room rather confused at the behaviour of Maki. A couple of minutes later, Maki emerged from her room with a large black book in her hands.
“You’re a genius Risa…. I can’t believe that you’re capable of thinking that.”
“Ehh??? What DID I say?”
“I don’t remember her saying anything that’s helpful…” Rika said to Hitomi which earned her a good glare from Risa. Hitomi laughed softly before whispering something to Rika.
“You’re lucky that she just glared at you…. You’ll be no match for her mouth. Only Miki can defeat her.”
“What are you saying to her?!” Risa shouted before glaring at her victim.
“Nothing!” Hitomi replied and then looked at Maki. She saw her flipping the pages of the book as if searching for something.
“I know that Eri-Hime killed my sister. And even though she lived in the 16th century… she came back to life.” Maki showed them a page. There’s a picture of a hand rising from the soil of a cemetery. It was Risa who only got what Maki wanted to say.
“It’s a ritual that brings dead people back to life. That ‘Eri’s song’ at the beginning of the game… It’s like a form of séance that brought her back to life, right?”
“Eh? What séance are you talking about?” Rika asked. She looked at Risa who shook her head. They both looked at Maki and Hitomi.
“A séance is like a form of prayer… or mantra… You usually encounter that term if you’re reading Wicca books.” Hitomi stared at Maki.
“So… you’re reading Wicca books? By the way… what’s that?” Rika asked innocently. Maki tried to laugh even though she’s still grieving over her sister.
“I’m the one reading those witchcraft books… I somehow imparted some occult terms to Hitomi whenever I’m talking with her.”
“Yeah, she’s influencing me to become a weirdo too… Any ways there’s a hear-say that during the early times, shamans use some special prayer to bring dead people back to life.”
“And this is the evidence.” Maki took out from her pocket the small red book which she borrowed from the library. “As you all know… this is a shaman’s book. I didn’t sleep just to read this one… and it’s worth it.”
“Ohh… and I thought that the reason why your eyes were like that was from crying all night.” Risa said out loud. Maki just ignored her and continued to explain to them the contents of the book.
“This red book contains the story of Eri-Hime… and… how to kill a dead person was written here in this book.” Maki showed them the page of the large black book with a picture of a hand rising from the ground. “It says here that in order to kill someone who was raised back to life… you need to drive three nails to its forehead, heart and neck… and then… you must know that person’s most dreaded thing and surround its body with it.”
Rika took the red book from Maki’s hand. She scanned it while Risa stared at the creepy picture of the hand. She diverted her eyes towards Maki. “So, what’s Eri’s greatest fear?” Rika and Hitomi also looked at Maki. Maki shook her head.
“It wasn’t included in that book… That book only contains Eri’s life in the palace. There are torn pages which I guess is an important part to solve this mystery… It made my hairs stand up while I’m reading that… Eri’s really sick.”
“Why? What made you say that?” Rika gave back the book to Maki. She smiled and opened the book.”
“Do you really want to know?”
The girl was walking fast amidst the dark lit corridor. She can hear footsteps following behind her. She quickened her pace but she can hear the sound becoming louder and louder as it was getting near her. She had no choice but to run away. As she turned towards a corner, she bumped into the person she dreaded to see.
“Konban wa, Eri-Hime.” The girl bowed down as a respect for the lady of the house.
“Why are you running away?”
“It’s nothing your lady. I was scaring myself for thinking that I was being followed by footsteps. I guess it’s due to the darkness.” The girl explained. She was sweating profusely at the intense glare of Eri. She hoped that her lady wouldn’t have any idea what she has been doing for the past week. She’s being paranoid at the thought of what might have happened if Eri would find out that she’s a concubine of the daimyo.
“Is that so? Come on, follow me. I’m going to show you something.” Eri turned around and walked away. The girl sighed and followed her lady. She took one good look at the darkness behind her. At least she’s safe for now.
Eri led her towards the large library of the palace. She went directly to a side where there was a large tapestry near the wall. Eri pulled a rope and the cloth moved aside revealing a hidden door. She opened it and led the girl inside. Eri lit up a torch beside the door and opened another hidden door from the floor.
“After you.” Eri firmly said while giving the girl the torch. The girl reluctantly accepted it and went down the dark abyss.
“Are you scared?”
“No, Eri-Hime. I know that I’m with you so I’m pretty confident that nothing bad will happen.” The girl replied. It was the opposite of what she’s feeling right now. She didn’t have any idea that the lady of the house was this mysterious. She thought that Eri-Hime was mysterious because she’s somewhat a loner and unsociable person. It didn’t occur into her mind that her mistress was acting strange also.
“I’m glad to hear that.” Eri grinned. There was a dungeon-looking place straight ahead. The girl opened the door to reveal a room full of blood. Her stomach churned immediately at the horrible sight. She turned back and looked at the angry eyes of her mistress.
“I like this place… this place makes me feel young, beautiful… and desired by my husband.” The girl became cold at the mention of the daimyo’s name. Her heart started beating fast as Eri walked slowly towards her.
“You know.. I’m a selfish person… I don’t want my husband to look at other women besides me to the point that I’ll eradicate anyone who’ll take him away from me.” The girl stepped back but she tripped on a large axe lying on the floor.
“Sorry, I forgot to put it aside after I’ve used it two weeks ago.” The girl’s eyes widened at what she had just heard. A servant maid went missing at that time. She looked around and saw a bloody hand behind a cabinet. On top of that is a kimono drenched in blood.
“So, you’re the one… responsible for the missing women?” The girl looked around to see whether there’s another way out of that dreaded place. Eri took out a ‘Kaginawa’; a tool used by ninjas in climbing. It has a long rope attached to a grappling iron with one to four hooks sticking out. She swung it around until it has gotten really fast.
“I just don’t like to share something which is mine.” Eri said before thrusting the hook to the poor girl. It wrapped around the girl’s neck due to the momentum of the object. Blood gushed out of the wound as Eri pulled the rope tighter around the girl’s neck. The girl tried to scream but it only made her breathing difficult.
“No one’s going to hear you from here. Don’t waste your time, screaming.” Eri took out a cane hidden from inside her kimono. The girl’s eyes widened as she saw how the princess pulled out a knife inside it. She realized that it’s not an ordinary cane, it’s a sealed weapon used by ninjas. A weapon called Shinobi-zue.
Eri pulled the girl closer to her, making the wound on the girl’s neck bleed even more. Due to the loss of blood, the girl’s face was really pale. Her energy was draining really fast. She fell down near the feet of her tormentor. Eri kneeled down and grabbed the girl’s hair.
“What did he see in you? I’m prettier than you… But your blood will make me even beautiful.” Eri licked the edge of her sword like a psychotic who would kill any minute now. The girl was helpless. She let her tears fall from her eyes as she readied herself for her lady’s next move.
“Why are you crying? Aren’t you happy that you’ll be of service to me? You’ll be part of an eternally beautiful woman in history.” Eri scratched the face of the girl with her long nails. The girl wanted to scream in pain but her consciousness was already leaving her. Her formerly pale face was now covered in blood streaked lines. Eri decided to put her to rest. She stood up and threw the other end of the Kaginawa over the protruding steel on the ceiling. She caught it and with all her might, raised the girl until her feet was just below Eri’s waist. Eri fastened the girl’s feet on a rope. She pulled down a lever making the rope move upwards. She stopped it as soon as the girl looked like she was lying on an invisible bed on the air. Eri then tore down the girl’s kimono revealing the pale, slender body.
“No wonder my husband liked you. You have a captivating body. But that’s all. Now, he’s going to look at me the way he used to look at you.” Eri stabbed the girl’s back with the Shinobi-zue which passed through her heart. The blood dripped from the weapon towards the vile princess’ mouth. As she drank some of the blood, she also wiped it to her face and arms while she was praying a mantra. From inside her kimono, she took out a sceptre with a head of a snake, and dabbed it to the girl’s left arm. It left a snake-bite mark.
“Gross... She’s like the girl version of Count Dracula.” Rika commented. The others looked at her weirdly except Maki.
“Eri-Hime is not a vampire. She doesn’t directly bite the necks of her victims though she’s drinking their blood.” Hitomi corrected.
“I know! I’m not pertaining to that Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I’m relating to that Count Vladimir Tepes of Transylvania where that author got his inspiration from writing that vampire book.”
“Rika’s right,” Maki said “that count used to kill all of his enemies and put up a wall of dead bodies so that invaders wouldn’t dare enter his place. He would regularly order that lawbreakers be skinned, boiled, decapitated, blinded, strangled, hanged and, horribly, much more, like impalement. It is also believed that he’s drinking all the blood of those he killed for a belief that he will become immortal.”
“I guess you read that from one of your books right?” Hitomi asked and Maki nodded. “Geez, why am I not surprised. Wait… Vladimir Tepes? Isn’t it Vlad Dracul? The Dracula?” Hitomi asked. Risa laughed at her comment.”
“You’re not playing ‘Castlevania’? The story of the game was based from the history of Vladimir Tepes. Vlad Dracul was his father… Oh yes, I forgot to tell you guys... I’m somewhat amazed that Rika’s friend was able to hack a high security page. I kinda got envious so I’ve tried to hack someone’s e-mail address.” Risa suddenly said. Maki lent Miki’s silver-coated laptop to Risa to use the wi-fi connection.
“So, what’s the relevance of your hacking to this event?” Risa just smiled weirdly at Hitomi.
“I’ve hacked your e-mail and you won’t believe what Asami-chan sent you before she died.”
“WHAT?!? How did you know my password!?!”
“It’s easy... You should not put your birth date as a password.”
“What did Asami-chan sent her?” Rika excitedly asked. They were all seated beside Risa so they can have a good look at the monitor. Risa clicked the link showing Asami’s name.
“A picture of a ghost caught on the web-cam.” The others were shocked to see Asami’s last message.
Konbanwa! This is Asami-chan... I know that we’ve just finished playing the game but I forgot to tell you something. I remembered that Sayumi’s father was a history professor in a university before (No wonder why her favourite subject is History..LOL!). I remembered that she showed me a book when we were in grade 3. She said that it is an original Shaman’s journal from the 16th century which her father got from one of his colleagues. It’s the same as the book from the introduction of the game. The one which has a snake with orange streaks. She said something about a girl named Eri before... Could it be that the Eri-Hime in the game is that same Eri, Sayumi said to me before? Kindly check her house. I know that the book must be in the hidden drawer of her father’s room. I’ve heard that her parent’s will go back three days from now because her mom suffered from a heart attack due to the news. So, I’ll be sleeping now! Don’t get caught by the principal! Goodluck, Oyasumi!
PS. I know why Risa’s with you. She’s playing at the computer room late at night since last week. Don’t tell her that I’ve told you! XD
PPS. Kindly get the original cover of the CD from her parents when they get back (if it’s still in Sayu’s house). I’ve noticed that it’s somewhat different to the one I’ve originally received. Arigatou! <3
There’s a picture attached after the message of Asami. In the picture, Asami was smiling while holding up a peace sign near her eyes. On the background, the hooded person was standing near her bed. Risa zoomed in the picture so they will be able to see its face, closer. They can’t decide whether it’s a human or not for its face resembled a monster. Its eyes were black in color. The face was not proportioned; the left side was bulkier than the right side and it’s somewhat swollen. The face looked like it was slowly decaying for the skin on its left side fell off her face. The upper lip has a cut and it seemed from the texture of its face that it’s bitten by some kind of an animal or insect. They were astounded by what they’ve seen.
“So, what are we going to do to defeat her? We’re not dealing with a live person here.” Risa asked. Maki thought for a while before bringing up an answer.
“Isn’t it obvious? We’ll search Michishige’s house to find the answer.”
“Wait, it will be better if we divide our task right?” Rika suddenly said. “Since there are four of us, I suggest that we form two groups. The first group will search Michishige’s house while the other one will go to the National Library to search for more clues in the archives...” The rest nodded in agreement.
“Hai, let’s do that. Risa and I will go to the library while the two of you go to Sayumi’s house. Let’s meet here at three in the afternoon. We still have at least six hours to do our research.” All of them stood up and went their separate ways.
“Hey, do you know where Usa-Chan Peace, lives?” Rika asked Hitomi. They were walking for almost thirty minutes now and they still didn’t arrive at the place.
“I guess... It’s around this corner...” Hitomi nervously looked at the corner ahead of them. What she saw was the subdivision’s park.
“Where?” Rika raised an eyebrow on Hitomi.
“Gomen!!! We probably made a wrong turn somewhere.”
“You should have said that earlier!” Rika walked faster towards the park.
“Hey! I’m sorry! Don’t be angry!” Hitomi shouted back but Rika just continued walking towards the sitting parents at the bench. Hitomi saw Rika talking to the mothers. They were gesturing something and Hitomi sighed. Rika must have asked for directions.
“I wonder what those two are doing right now.” Risa said more to herself than to Maki. They were now inside the public library.
“Focus here than on them. You search the net while I search the archives.”
“I’ve finished searching the net last time...” Risa whined.
“Then you’ll have to read with me.”
“I don’t like reading... You know... Hitomi should be in my place and Rika and I will be the ones searching Sayu’s house.”
“What’s done is done... You just have to bear with it. Now, let’s go!” Maki pulled Risa inside the library. There were many people in the library. They went to a computer and searched for history books that can be found in the archives section of the library. Risa typed some keywords like 16th century, daimyo, and Eri-Hime. Only one appeared. They looked at each other. It’s in the restricted section of the library.
“This is not good.” Maki sighed. Risa went to the librarian’s desk.
“Excuse me... There’s a certain book that I’m looking for... And I looked for it in your computer’s database and found out that it’s in the restricted area. Is there a way that I can read it? I just need it for my thesis.” Risa put on her ‘begging’ face.
“I’m sorry but we cannot let other people inside that section.”
“Oh no!” Risa whined. “I’ve been searching for that book for almost a week now! How am I going to pass my subject? That thesis will be 40% of our total grade.... Please... let me just read it there. Or you could let a guard watch me as I read it... Onegai.... It’s my only hope!” The librarian sighed.
“Alright, I’ll let one of our security guards watch you.” Risa smiled evilly at Maki while the librarian dialled on the intercom. A moment later, a guard emerged from a door behind the librarian.
“Kindly accompany this young lady to the restricted section. Don’t leave her until she’s done reading.”
Maki was bewildered when she saw Risa entering the door of the “restricted section” with a security guard. Risa put her index finger on her lips for a split second so that the guard wouldn’t notice her. Maki smiled to herself.
“That girl is a genius...”