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31 Trials From Hell

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Thirteen black candles burned bright, as their flames fluttered in the slight breeze that swept through the graveyard. Each of the candles had a different demonic symbol carved into the wax, though the dark made it hard to see any of them. Within the centre of the circle, right beside the headstone, Gackt was chanting a spell. He didn't look like the sort of man to be in a graveyard at night performing magic and hadn't even bothered to dress for the occasion, choosing stylish but comfortable clothes just like he always did.

“Aracinia metrapho symorium mestalese hiforce.” Gackt chanted hearing the sound of a motorbike engine in the distance but insistent on finishing the spell. The demon had to be summoned, there was no choice, he just couldn't live like this any longer. Without him life had no meaning or purpose and he would have no reason to carry on.

As Gackt chanted the motorbike grew closer and he wondered how loud it must be to sound so near, the road was a good 100 meters away but it sounded like the bike was half that distance. He ignored it and continued, knowing he only had a few more lines to go.

“Metaclese hejora queta.” Gackt chanted, opening his eyes startled as he felt a rush of wind pass him, the bike was here and as he watched it's rider swing the back wheel around, leaving a large skid mark in the damp soil and knocking over three off his candles. “What are you doing?” Gackt screamed at him, feeling his blood boil. How dare this biker interrupt him? Did he not know the importance of what he was doing here? That he wasn't in the mood to be messed with? Glaring at the bike Gackt sudden realised that it looked familiar, somebody he knew owned a bike just like that, someone he worked with perhaps? He really couldn't place the bike with it's owner though, maybe he'd only seen it in a car park?

Getting off his bike, the biker approached Gackt, looking intimidating in his biker leathers and helmet. Both men here knew Gackt, who looked like a model, was really the tough one who would win any possible fight they might have. Wordlessly he pulled off his helmet, glaring at Gackt with anger that was beyond anything Gackt had seen in a mortal man.

“What the hell Gackt?” You demanded, Gackt recognised his friend now and had finally put a name to the biker.

“Get lost You,” Gackt snapped. “I need to complete the ritual, unless you're a demon?” Something about You right now did look otherworldly and he had been summoning a demon here. Perhaps this grand entrance was a demons way off making themselves be known. It was lucky the grass was so wet and the candles had gone out, or they would have a fire on their hands right now, You really should have thought things through before attacking his circle with the bike.

“Do I look like a demon?” You demanded. “I'm here to stop you summoning one, what the hell do you think you're doing? Black magic isn't something you should be playing with!”

“I don't care You! I don't care about anything except getting him back!” Gackt screamed. “I can't live without him, I don't care if my soul goes to hell or if I have to kill a thousand men just to restore the life of one. I’ll do anything the demon asks, if he can just return Kami to my side!”

“That's good to know.” Spoke up a cheerful voice, as a man approached Gackt, stepping through the gap in the circle near the motorbike with a devilishly handsome smile. He was the demon Gackt had summoned, how else had he come from nowhere, and though he looked pleased with Gackt he couldn't help but give You a disgusted glance. “I'm Chachamaru, you called?”

“I never finished the ritual.” Gackt replied, stunned as he took in the demon who was nothing like he had expected. He looked like a nice man, with long light brown hair and was dressed in nothing special, just jeans and a tiger striped t-shirt. There did seem to be power radiating out off him through, in a ethereal kind of way.

“I know, but I was listening. Unlike some people I'm polite enough to let men finish before declaring my presence.” Chachamaru explained. “So you want your old lover back? Is this him here?”

“It is,” Gackt replied smiling for the first time since Kami had died. It had been two weeks but he already felt like he was living in hell. There was nothing Chachamaru could take that could make his existence worse.

“You can't have his soul,” You interrupted. “I'll think you'll find he's mine.”

“Why, because you got here first? You weren't even invited.” Chachamaru scolded.

“No, he's branded,” You retorted. “You'll find that's my seal on his soul.” Frowning Chachamaru grabbed Gackt's hand and whispered a few words, watching as a blue mark appeared resembling a hook but with two extra lines, like wings, sprouting out just above the curved end. You's symbol without a doubt but such things could be erased.

“What is this?” Gackt demanded, staring at the glowing blue mark and then up at You who smiled sheepishly at him.

“Sorry, I'm not human either,” You admitted. “I'm a Valkyrie and you're one of my warriors.”

“Valkyrie?” Gackt repeated. “Wait the ones who sent Vikings to Valhalla?”

“We send warriors to Valhalla, if you feel like calling it that,” You corrected. “And you're a warrior.”

“Because I know martial arts?” Gackt asked, growing even more confused.

“You have a warriors spirit, even in this life.” You corrected.

“You reincarnated him?” Chachamaru interrupted. “You can't mark a living soul unless they were marked before.”

“Valhalla isn't like hell, if a warrior gets bored and asks nicely enough then I do my best to keep them happy.” You replied. “And after 500 years Gackt was bored.”

“But you know, a living man can change!” Chachamaru exclaimed delighted. “I could break your seal right now and Gackt would have to be judged again!”

“Well there is that risk,” You admitted. “But Gackt won't make a deal with you.”

“Don't talk for me,” Gackt snapped. “I want Kami back and I don't care about this mark one little bit!”

“Yeah You, you're not wanted,” Chachamaru scolded, wrapping an arm around Gackt. “Now a normal deal I’ll give you so many years to live and then the dogs will harvest your soul and you will suffer in hell, but I like you. I think I’d like you to be on my side. So what do you say, 40 years with Kami and then come work for me?”

“Wow!” You exclaimed stunned. “You'll really offer anything to steal Gackt away from me.”

“What can I say? A demon always wants what it doesn't have,” Chachamaru replied. “Gackt and I are going to get along great.”

“Not necessarily. I have a counter offer.” You replied. “Gackt what if I take you into the underworld and we find Kami's soul, or the deity who owns it, and ask for it back?”

“You can't just do that!” Chachamaru snapped. “You're no god, you have no power!”

“If Kami is in a heaven dimension then we can.” You retorted. “I'm sure of it. Do you not remember Orpheus, who sang for Hades to return his lost love?”

“Gackt don't listen to him, he's crazy! For the record even though Hades said yes, Orpheus still failed. He wasn't allowed to look back but he did anyway.” Chachamaru pointed out.

“Doesn't matter, Gackt is stronger than Orpheus, he's one of my warriors.” You declared. “We will find Kami, get him back and you two can live happily together, without either of you going to hell.”

“What if Kami is in hell?” Chachamaru interrupted.

“Kami isn't.” Gackt retorted with such confidence in his conviction that nobody could ever sway him to believe otherwise.

“What if he made a deal, like you're doing now?” Chachamaru asked, not at all expecting Gackt to react with an angry assault of punches and kicks that hurt so much the demon had to disappear and relocate at a safe distance, just to avoid the man's assault.

“Kami is a good man! You take that back!” Gackt screamed at Chachamaru, who muttered an unconvincing apology as he watched Gackt warily from his safe distance.

“He's a demon Gackt, don't let him anger you.” You encouraged, resting a hand on Gackt's arm sympathetically. “I'm sure if you believe Kami was so good then he would have been judged the same, there's many heaven dimensions out there and one will have taken him.”

“I want to ask for him back, like you suggested.” Gackt replied. “But I need to know, what's the catch? Why are you helping me?”

“Well first because I won't loose your soul to him,” You replied firmly. “Secondly because you were one of my best warriors and I need you and third... I just like you I guess. You were a good man for the most part in both of your lifes and Kami made you happy. More than you ever had been in Valhalla.”

“There is a problem though,” Gackt commented. “I hadn't thought of it before Chachamaru offered me a place by his side, if the afterlife exists then so does external existence. What is decades on earth together, if you then have eternity alone? I want Kami to go with me when he dies a second time, to be with me in Valhalla.”

“I can't promise that, he'll be branded just like you are and unlike Chachamaru I don't have the power to break a seal.” You explained. “Besides, and please don't get angry, Kami is hardly a warrior.”

“See Gackt, you should make a deal with me.” Chachamaru spoke up with a smile. “I have power, I'm a top level demon you know. Think off me as a CEO, whilst You has no more responsibility than the man who delivers the mail.”

“My soldiers spend half their time doing as they please, my generals have the power to walk around the after life, do this and you will deserve promotion anyway. You could be a general and spend half the time with Kami if you liked.” You offered, relieved when Gackt turned to him smiling.

“If that's what you have to offer, then we have a deal.” Gackt replied pleased. “Just call me Orpheus.”

“I'd rather call you Gackt.” You replied laughing. “Now come on, let's get you home and into bed so that your body is safe whilst your soul explores the afterlife with me.”

“You're making a mistake, this won't work,” Chachamaru warned. “But don't worry, I’ll be waiting for the moment when you give up. Just call my name and I’ll be there.”

“I will never call your name.” Gackt retorted angrily. “How dare you suggest Kami was anything less than good?”

“To be fair, I don't know the man.” Chachamaru pointed out but knowing he had lost for now he decided it was best to leave. “And people can be surprising. Even ones you're sure you know well.” He added, before walking away, disappearing as if swallowed by mist and darkness.

Accepting the helmet from You, Gackt put it on and got on the bike, wrapping his arms around the other trusting him to drive safe, to keep his soul safe and to keep his end of the deal. Making a deal with a demon would have been bad but at least he knew what demons were like. He knew nothing about Valkyries, though didn't they decide who died on the battle field? Was You really an angel of death? No, he had to trust him. You hadn't given him reason to doubt his word and it seemed his motive was simply to hold onto his own investment. That was understandable, though it did make Gackt wonder, if this was his second life who had he been in his first and why could he not remember any of it?