Where Destiny Slumbers
She arrived at the restaurant late. By 5 minutes no late, a smudge on her honor. She wore her business skirt, platform, leggings, leather jacket, and crop top she walked in. Eyes went on her as she walked by the waiter simply saying “I’m expected” and headed for the table of her current client. Sitting at the table, she picked up the menu to read it. The waiter that had tried to stop her walked over, stuttering “M-ma’am… You ca-” but her client interrupted him with a stern voice saying “My reservation did list two… there she is. Leave it- no, miss feel free to order anything”. Chuckling, she responded amused “I’ll simply have a cola… oh, and some filet mignon. I’ve never had the pleasure”. Nodding, the waiter turned and left. Setting the menu down, she smirked and said “Well thank you. I appreciate the gesture”. “Think nothing of it. I want the job to go well” the man responded, setting his own menu down and picking up the red wine he had aside and took a sip, stating “Welcome to Amami City, How are you enjoying it?”. She hummed, saying “Okay. Technologically, it’s very convenient. Magically, it’s inconvenient”. Before her client could react, she reminded him “I was promised that it’d be convenient for both”. Sighing, her client stated “I admit. We’ve had… difficulties… in establishing the magical side of things. We’ve got the Manitou Network up and running… but our prana supply isn’t installed. Kadokura has run into a problem… which means we have it by proxy”. Smirking, she responded “Ahhhh… I see… and if you’re calling me, then the problem is specific”. Nodding, her client stated “Indeed. We have two divine-class phantasmals blocking the installation… we need them removed. I don’t care how”. Whistling, she responded “Not even wanting materials? Alright… I’ll consider that part of the payment. That said... I suppose for an advance, give me ten million yen. The price upon completion is completely open to the valuation of the ingredients I gather… oh and I’ll accept any geas to be honest about the value”. Shaking his head, her client stated “No, no… You are a distinguished mercenary even among the association. I trust your judgement. Besides… short of demanding over a trillion yen, we can foot the bill. The gains we will achieve through the Amami Project are massive”. Nodding, she responded “Perhaps… still. Luckily, my normal rate is simply one hundred thousand yen per hour… oh, but I only begin my job once onsite. Transit to it won’t count”. “Thank you, miss Toma” her client responded as she stated “Of course, Akuma. Now… one more thing… part of my payment, deductible of course, is the allowance to commit violence in your city after the job… I’m expecting someone to come in, and I wanna kill them”. Nodding, Nishi stated “That can be arranged. If we have an agreement… it’s at Site C. The details are on this thumb drive. Present it to the clerk at the front desk of the administrative building in Nikamaimon. They will have one of the societies guide you there”. Nodding, she accepted the thumb drive and said “Of course. Thank you”. At that, Nishi put down a credit card and left. The waiter served her dinner and used the credit card to pay. “Mmmm… maybe it's the city but this is good steak…” she commented, eating it. Once she was done she stood and left heading for her accommodations. She needed to go over the data, rest, and prepare for the next day.
As she was driven via smart car to the site, she went over everything. Site C were ancient Japanese ruins found within caverns covered by the administrative building in Nikamaimon. These ruins match studies suggesting what the entrance to the supposed underworld of Japan could look like. At least the part that existed in physical reality. Further, it's configuration aligns with many different practices of magecraft. To the point that theoretically it will bolster the magecraft of literally any foundation practiced within. As for the phantasmals, all they knew was one used harrowing winds while the other used water. Obviously, she decided on water. After all, she was a former member of Wandering Sea before defecting and specialized in water magecraft. She’d never accept a mere phantasmal, no matter its lineage, defeating her in water magecraft combat. Yet she couldn’t be too confident. The ruins would give them both a boost, opening possibilities they normally didn’t have the luxury of. However she had one it wouldn’t. Mystic codes. She went over her five that she brought. First her spiral seashell earrings. Gifted by a magus in ancient Greece and gifted to a servant, it was passed down a family until she was paid to slaughter them. She claimed them as a reward. Then she had a wand rumored to have been owned by the witch Cerdiwen, though her research confirmed it was certainly owned by the chief of bards Taliesin who did practice magecraft. She had her Victorian era half-cloak which was a specialized mystic code that would create gusts of wind to improve her mobility if provided prana folded up. However her most prized mystic codes; A specialist mystic code that immobilized her target as though caught in the gaze of medusa and a hand mirror that had the prana of ten generations of her family. Nevermind her trump card. Smirking, she stated aloud “This job is in the bag. Maybe if it had been a fire or earth phantasmal, I’d be worried… but one of water is no issue”.
As she arrived no one was waiting for her but she expected that. It’d be strange for an entourage to be waiting for just a woman. Heading inside, she did as instructed. The clerk looked at her, then nodded and said “Please, go into the hall over there and enter the third room on the right”. Nodding she simply walked to the door the clerk pointed to and opened it. Before her were a series of halls with men in suits walking up and down them, entering and exiting doors… yet the third was never even given regard. Some gave her looks but as she reached for the door, they ignored her as though she didn’t exist. Of course she knew why. A bounded field, a subtle one, was making all who had a line of sight with the door disregard anything to do with it. If she were to leave, they’d only regard her once she was a sufficient distance decided by the parameters laid within the field. Opening the door, she entered the room and saw a man in a suit waiting for her. “Miss Tomo. I’ve been waiting. Please, this way” the man greeted her, heading to a fireplace, grabbing the sword affixed to a mount on the wall above, and pulling down like a lever. The fireplace flipped places with a strange-looking platform and the man got on, saying “Please, stand next to me. We will descend shortly… oh and you may want to put on your mystic code”. Nodding, she donned her half cloak and earrings. Holding her wand, her false mystic eyes pendant, and her hand mirror. Stepping on the platform began to descend and it hit her immediately. Mana filled the air. “The… no, this amount still pales in comparison” she said, gasping a bit at the feeling of an increase in mana. “Yes… these ruins were actually discovered at the start of world war 1. The society was using that war as cover to openly search for any way to get advantages over the meddlesome kuzunoha… then we found these rins” the man explained. Humming, she responded “I see… so why only now utilize them?”. Smirking, the man stated “That implies we haven’t. Study into them led to our revolutionary spell ‘Field’. The one spell that can operate regardless of foundation… even those lacking one”. She whistled again, stating “A multi-foundational spell? That’s actually impressive. Then again you all are my highest paying client so I shouldn’t be surprised”. Chuckling, the man stated “Aw, don’t worry about it hon… the surprise is always great”. Staring, she responded “Always?”. Looking at her tensely, he responded “E-err… y-yeah… admittedly, I wasn’t supposed to let on but… you aren’t the first… we’ve already had 5 freelancers die from these things…”. Frowning, she sighed. Nishi held out on her. That was bad. It meant he wasn’t being honest… It made her suspicious. However she was here and if she completed her job in these conditions then it’d look good. So she kept her silence and the man took that as she meant it; She won’t say a thing if he won’t.
Once the lift stopped after descending 500 meters, she saw a great hall before her and red gates that looked like they had just been constructed… yet she felt her connection to her foundation increase as the man stated “This is it. We call it ‘the Gates of Yomi’. Ahead lies ‘the Walk of Shikome’. At the fork, you’ll want the right path for the water phantasmal”. Looking at the man as she stepped off she responded “Thank you… oh, what about returning?”. “Simple. I’ll send a familiar periodically. If I see a corpse or you returning I’ll prepare accordingly… if I see a battle I remain. I’m far enough back that I’ll be unaffected” the man stated as she turned away saying “Gotcha… well, it won’t take long” before heading forward into the darkness. “Oji” she whispered, forming multiple balls of light alongside her. Despite her specialization in water magecraft, she was capable of basic spells from other elements. As she walked she enjoyed the feeling of more mana. It was similar to the dream she once held… the feeling of the Reverse Side of the World she accidentally fell into as a child… she frowned remembering her life. How her dream was to discover that sense of wonder and mystery again. However, a few key events led to her realizing it was impossible. First was her and her former master and adoptive father meeting a man named Fantasma who revealed the truth of it; How bureaucratic and oppressive the society of phantasmals that Summoners contracted were. Second was the discovery that the Age of Gods returning to humanity was practically impossible. The texture was based entirely on what ‘humans’ thought of as ‘right’ and ‘how things worked’. Further, travel between textures was near impossible. Those two facts crushed her dreams. Yet… this place was slightly wearing down her pessimism.
Of course there was more. Another reason she sought that texture. It was due to how the world worked and an event. Her adoptive father, named Fabro Rowan, had his existence altered. A man named Sid Davis, wielding power from the Age of Gods, altered his existence into a phantasmals and prevented rejection… Yet, that annoying novice priestess Rei Reiho destroyed him. If it weren’t for that dark robed king that intervened, saving him in exchange for complete trust, she’s sure he’d be dead. She’d met him again after it was finished… of course the cost was that she’d never see him again. He’d go to the reverse side as his body was permanently damaged and without an amount of constant prana akin to a magus from the age of gods he’d die… and that was only possible there. This devastated her and she sought revenge since… She's suffered forty five losses and only two victories since. If what she suspected was ahead, then she had an edge against her in the next fight. Materials to form a noble-phantasm class mystic code. Normally, finding a noble phantasm was practically impossible… but if the phantasmal ahead was equivalent to a leviathan, then the sheer prana it held would allow her to weave any spell. Here, that would guarantee her to imprint her ultimate spell into it… that would make it so she could never lose. After all, her magic relied on her ability to vocalize her chants. If she couldn’t, then she’d die… what made it troublesome was that her ultimate spell had twenty verses with five optional verses to improve the power. The only help she had was channeling the power of the phantasmal that she harbored within her soul that could halve the chant by performing off-verses for her. Even then, that left a minimum of ten verses. Even so, she was skilled enough to create the circumstances against most foes… except Rei Reiho.
The further she walked, 200 meters now, the more she felt it. The mana shifting. From neutral elementality to water and air. Intermingling here. It made her damp but also easier to breathe easier. She knew now that she’d be at her strongest here than ever before. Even in full submersion she couldn’t hope for these conditions… though that was related to the richness of the mana in the air. Then she saw it. The forked road. Staring between the paths, she could feel the water mana flow from the right while air mana flowed from the left. If she were an air specialist, she’d go left. However she was in the water and moved right. After all, the water mana benefitted her just as much as they’d benefit the phantasmal. Moreso due to it burning prana to generate a beneficial environment while she merely benefited from it. “Tavaḷaiyiṉ nuraiyīral, mīṉiṉ iṟakkaikaḷ, nīr itayam!” she chanted, feeling her body alter. Gills formed in her neck, creating a new system of breathing. This was due to the air itself becoming like that of water. Favoring hydrogen more than oxygen. Eventually she laid eyes on it and smiled in satisfaction. Before her was a truly strong phantasmal. It was made of solid ice yet moved like flesh. Emerald-colored eyes stared at her from atop the 10 meter figure, with various limbs flowing out. She identified 4 arms as it moved into a standing position, asking “Who… disturbs Katal Kulantai?”. “I am Naomi Tomo. I’ve been hired to move you… guessing based on your setup, that ain’t happening”. “No…” the figure responded “I have no desire to… are you challenging me?”. Smirking, she responded “Yep. I was hoping for that. It’ll let your body persist long enough for me to harvest from you”. Nodding, the phantasmal stated “I, Katal Kulantai, of the Drake tribe that is part of the Dragon Clan… descendant of the veritable Tiyamaj, goddess of salt water”.
Instantly she unleashed her first spell. As Katal filled the space with real water, her gills ensured such a thing did not impede her as she quickly chanted “Nir Vetlu” while her inner phantasmal chanted “Neptiyun Patai” causing a thin razor of water pressure to shoot forth. However Katal responded by attempting to catch it with some of their tentacles. However she was already preparing, holding her wand out and chanting “Neptiyun Patai, Antlantasin Itti!” while her phantasmal chanted between and after “Katal Annaiyin Acirvatam, Marpin Valiyakat Tallunkai!”. Just as the tentacles redirected to her, the spell she chanted funneled through her wand and released. What was normally a four verse chant became equivalent to a six verse chant. The spear moved like a bullet and pierced the gut of Katal. Screaming it hesitated as she smirked, quickly waving her wand chanting yet again with her phantasmal “Uyir Muccu, Pirappin Pani, Uraiya Vaikkavum, Virivu Amaitiyakiratu, Amaiti Nittiyamanatu, Tontaravu Tataiceyyappattullatu, Pani en Atikaram, Katal en Kalam, en Caktiyal, Unkal Iyakkam Cil Vaikkappattullatu!” water shifted around each limb. They not only froze but the phantasmal went still. “M-mortal! What trick is this!?” as she responded “I’ve sealed your movements… attack is now impossible. To finish this…” she stated, pouring prana into her false mystic eyes. They flashed and the phantasmal froze completely. No sounds were even made. Smirking she chanted “Vajkkai Katal, Atmakkalin Nati, Kettal Irantavataka Iruntatu, Unarvu Nankavatu Anatu, Atlantisin Atikarattal, Katalin Aciyutan, Elu Rajakkal en Viruppattirku Kattuppattavarkal, En Puravalar Ennutan Urutiyaka Nirkirar, Enatu Tolviyai Nirakarikkiren, En Etiriyai Ati” while funneling prana into the false mystic eyes of imprisonment. Meanwhile her inner phantasmal chanted “Manatin Nir, Mutal Mantiram Parvai, Munravatu Mantirattai Unarunkal, Marrum Aaintavatu Mantiram Teksccar, Neptiyun Natcattirattiliruntu, Nan elu Katalkalaiyum Alaikkiren, Enakku Munnal en Etiri, Verri en Acai, Verrikkaka nan Pirarttanai Ceykiren, Mulu Nilavu Rani!” in unison, lancing between her chants so the full spell could be stated. Once she finished the ice began to emit lights that froze almost all it touched… all save her. “Thank you… Cantiran Cikappu Kanni” she whispered, thanking the phantasmal inside her. Once it was finished, the phantasmal was fully frozen.
She walked out whispering in a chanting fashion “O Tannir Katti”, a blade of water forming. She stabbed into the ice where the spirit origin would be and with a nod began to cut out that part. She also for good measure began to cut it into pieces to gather it together. She could always recombine and restructure them later. All that mattered was that the prana and material she gathered survived. Before she could react however she felt something change inside her… then she felt it. Sea water in her throat. She almost threw up for some reason. Then she in a panic realized the problem; her water breathing spell wasn’t working. She was choking. She vomited as she tried to breathe. Her spell failed to register that she wasn’t breathing… then she looked and saw the eyes of the phantasmal stare at her with a hateful gaze. “Foolish mortal… I will not die so easily… you bested me… but I’ll take you with me! I cannot allow a mortal victory as a proud dragon and the descendent of Tiyamaj, goddess of salt water!”. Eyes wide, she realized her folly. Tiyamaj could easily be another name for Tiamat, the primordial mother. A being that was the primordial sea that made life itself… an evil of humanity. If she had known she was fighting such a phantasmal she’d never have attempted this. As she felt the last of her oxygen depleted, she begged her phantasmal to intervene… and then she sensed it. It was dead. Something had killed it. As it had supported half the spell, it of course could only half-work… as she died she regretted her arrogance. Perhaps… if she had just been less arrogant… she wouldn’t have died so tragically.