Trials of the Junsuikaoni: Beginnings (Book 0)

Noah Gremory never wanted much out of life and has always enjoyed living humbly with his mother and older brother Caleb in their small textile district of the Wakaba Prefecture. You can say his life is nothing other than ordinary with the exception of just one thing…he lives in a post-apocalyptic world of demons. 450 years after the end of the “Cursed War” of the Junsuikaoni demons, which took the lives of billions and destroyed most of the planet, the world has been reborn, but the threat of the Junsuikaoni still remains, leading to a strict system of control for those afflicted. Noah never paid much mind to these things, as it had nothing to do with him, or so he thought. However, on the day of his 12th birthday, something changes in him. This leads to a series of events that propels Noah into the center of this world of demons that he doesn’t really understand and sets him on his path of destiny. Will Noah come out of this journey unscathed or will he succumb to the darkness?


3. The Awakening

“The super soldiers saved the town by destroying the monsters and then they all lived happily ever after.” Maggie closes the book and places it on the night stand. “Time for this super solider to sleep now, go on.”

Noah snuggles under the covers and as his mom tucks him in he asks, “Mom, do you think I could be a super solider? I mean I already have powers and stuff, so it could happen right?” His eyes are full of excitement.

Maggie just smiles and strokes his hair as she says, “You can be anything you want to be Noah, but I don’t want you going after any monsters. I know the idea of having powers is exciting, but in reality, it’s impossible.”

“No it’s not! I did it, I swear I made the pot and stuff float. Caleb saw it too, didn’t you Caleb? Tell her.”

Caleb looks up from his game long enough to say, “I’m not really sure what I saw honestly, it was so fast.”

Noah pouts. “You’re totally lying Caleb, you know you saw it. You even said that I could be a Junsui.”

Caleb looks up to see his mother look at him in displeasure and he looks back down. “I was just joking idiot.”

Noah looks away, annoyed by Caleb’s lies and whispers under his breath, “I really did do it though.”

Maggie strokes Noah’s cheek and with a voice of compassion says, “Don’t be so down sweetheart, even if you don’t have powers, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a hero. There are many things you could do to save people. You can become a doctor or even an enforcer like you brother wants to do, there are endless possibilities.”

Noah continues pouting, but then has a moment of realization. “So then I could become a Junsui Hunter if I wanted too right? I remember one day at school, a scientist from the academy who came to talk to my class once said that there have been some normal humans who could become hunters just by wielding cursed weapons of the fallen Junsui. So if I could wield one of those weapons, I could fight with the hunters!”

Caleb laughs out loud. “No you couldn’t doofus, I remember getting that speaker back in 2nd year of middle school too and he said only humans with an affinity for the weapons could wield them. They’d basically have to be humans who had demonic potential inside of them and could handle the curse of the weapons. Only a select few can do it, in fact, I’ve only heard of one man from Wakaba who could do it. I forget his name though.”

“Those are just myths they come up with to excite you kids and make you think you could achieve anything. In reality, they’d never let normal humans like us get anywhere near cursed weapons or the academy for that matter. The only ones allowed to enter the academy are the marked children and the officials of the academy council. No humans outside the council have ever been allowed to step foot inside. I know the idea of the Junsui Hunters seems very enticing, but you must understand Noah, that’s not an occupation they chose and by no means is it exciting. When the marked Junsui children are born, they only have two fates. They will become hunters or they will fall to their corruption. Once their fate has been determined, they are cursed to battle endlessly with the corrupted who were exiled to the wilderness and attempt to attack humans. There is nothing fun or honorable about it at all. I wouldn’t want that for you, I like you just as the angel you are now.”

Noah looks down in disappointment, but he can tell his mom is only trying to think of his safety, so he quickly cheers up. “I guess I didn’t think of it like that, I understand now mom. I won’t say those things anymore.”

She smiles and kisses his forehead. “Thank you. Now get on to bed.” She stands and walks over to Caleb, kissing his cheek. He scrunches his face in annoyance, but she knows that he actually doesn’t mind it. She shuts off the lights and as she closes the door, she says, “Sweet dreams boys, I love you both very much.”

Noah. Noah jolts awake and looks around his dark room. He doesn’t see anyone and Caleb is fast asleep, but he’s certain he heard someone call out to him. He looks out the window and sees what appears to be a figure with red eyes, but just as quickly as it was there, it was gone. However, he feels compelled to follow it.

He quietly sneaks out of bed and tip toes out, taking extra caution as he passes his mom’s room and leaves the house quiet as a mouse. He’s lost sight of the figure, but after looking around for a moment, he sees it again near the forest where it disappears. “Hey wait!” He runs after it as quickly as he can, hoping to catch up, but he reaches a clearing in the middle of the forest instead. He once again looks around for it, but he can’t see it anymore. He starts to think he had just been dreaming and suddenly felt a chill. “I need to get back home.”

He starts to run back, but then he hears it again. Noah. He whips his head back and finally sees the figure again, but unlike before, it’s standing still. “Hey, who are you? Were you calling me? Do you live here?” He waits for an answer, but the figure says nothing, so he starts walking closer. He walks towards the figure until he’s only inches away. Looking at it closer, it doesn’t look like a real person, just a shadow with glowing red eyes. Noah’s eyes lock on the figure’s and suddenly he feels as though it’s looking through him; into his soul. Why can’t I pull my eyes away? Just when he feels as if he might break, the figure touches Noah’s chest and then suddenly Noah finds himself fading into darkness. Just before closing his eyes, he sees a boy grinning at him.

                                # (Gremory Family Home, South Sector, Tekisu District)

“Caleb! Caleb!” Maggie screams Caleb’s name as she shakes him until he finally opens his eyes.

“Mom, why are you yelling? It’s so early.” He sits up in the bed and continues rubbing his eyes.

“Where’s Noah? I woke up and saw his shoes were missing. I came to check on him and he was gone.”

“Maybe he just went for a walk or something or maybe he went to visit Rachel. He done that before.”

“No, I already called Margaret to see, he’s not there and the girls are still asleep. Rodney’s coming here now.”

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal mom, I mean its Noah, he’s the last person who’d caused any trouble.”

“That’s not what I’m worried about!” She sees the look on his face and realizes she’s shouting at him. She sits on his bed and takes his hands in hers. “I’m sorry Caleb, I didn’t mean to startle you, it’s just…” She stops, unsure if she wants to tell him everything, but decides that he’s old enough to know. “You see, the thing Rodney wanted to speak to me about yesterday was about one of the girls here in the district. She lived with her grandmother in their cabin on the far end of the village, so not too many people knew her as they generally kept to themselves. Now you mustn’t repeat what I’m about to tell you to anyone, but apparently she was murdered.”

Caleb’s eyes get big. “Murdered?” He never thought he’d see a day it actually happened. He’s heard about them from school, but they don’t happen in Wakaba much, definitely not in Tekisu. “What happened to her?”

“It appears she was brutally assaulted, but what’s most troubling isn’t that, it’s what may have done it. According to the investigators, it seems the murderer may be an Ancient Junsui, though they still aren’t sure.”

“No way! Those are supposed to be extinct aren’t they? Sure it’s not a rogue academy Kusaru or hunter?”

“No, it’s not. They’ve found several bits of evidence to prove it’s not the Modern Junsui demons. Besides, no Kusaru has ever gotten loose before as the academy weeds them out before they have the chance to turn. The hunters would never do something like this either, especially since they’re instructed to never use their demon forms unless they have no other choice. Finally, they are only Pseudo demons because of their powers, not true demons like the Ancients who became fully transformed demons and were immortal. It can only be an ancient.”

As they take everything in, there is a knock at the door. Maggie jumps up and goes to answer it. “Oh Rodney, thank you for coming so quickly. You didn’t see him at all yet did you?” She looks at him expectantly.

He shakes his head in shame. “No, I’m afraid I haven’t seen him yet. I took a quick look on all the district boarders just before the forest, but got nothing. I’m in the process of forming a team of my deputy enforcers and any other men who’re willing to volunteer. I promise you that we will find him though, I swear on my life.”

Tears start to form in her eyes, though she tries her best to hold them back. Caleb watches his mother in pain over her worry for Noah and he can’t help but feel uneasy himself. He makes a sudden decision. “I’ll go too.”

They look at him in surprise, not having expected him to volunteer. Maggie shakes her head. “No, you can’t.”

“I want to go mom. I want to look for Noah and I can probably navigate the woods much faster than the other guys since I’m probably the youngest. No offence Mr. Stinson. Please let me go, I promise I’ll be safe.”

She starts to shake her head once again, but Rodney cuts in before she can. “I know you’re worried about his safety Maggie, but to be honest, he’s right. I think we could use a young guy like him out there and he probably knows Noah better than any of us will. It’s times like this that brothers are supposed to help each other right?”

Although she’s still hesitant, she realizes that he’s right. She hugs Caleb tight and says, “You better come back you hear me, both of you.” Caleb nods and hugs her back before putting on his shoes and leaving with Rodney.
                                                                # (North Forest, Tekisu District)

Noah feels himself swaying slightly and hears the sound of footsteps crunching on the ground. He feels really weak, but he’s able to open his eyes just wide enough to make out a face, but it’s hard to tell since he’s wearing a hood. He’s being carried by this man and his head is leaning against his chest. Somehow, this feels very nostalgic and comforting to Noah. Have I done this before? He tries to reach his hand up and touch his face, but he doesn’t make it far before it drops back down. He feels so weak and feels as though he’s going to pass out.

The man smiles and says in a gentle voice, “It’s ok now. I’ll protect you. Sleep, just sleep now.” He blacks out.
                                                               # (Northeast Forest, Tekisu District)
Caleb runs through the trees as fast as a cheetah, looking around as he does. He tries to think of any place Noah may have gone too. He was glad that he could finally put his running skills to use. He’s won first place in every running competition at school, one of his most exciting accomplishments. If only it could get me a girlfriend. Just as he starts to laugh at his own joke, he hears something up ahead and slows down to avoid alarming it.

He comes up to a clearing and hides behind a bush, scoping out his surroundings. He sees something hunched over something, it looks sort of like a human, but more like an animal and it appears to be eating. Just as he’s convinced it’s just an animal eating another animal, it perks up, revealing its full body. That’s a human! He falls back, startled and snaps some branches, alerting the person to his location. It stands up tall now, and Caleb has no more doubt about it. It’s definitely a human, though his face is morphed into something gruesome and it looks like he’s no more than Noah’s age. For a moment Caleb wonders if it could be, but immediately dismisses the thought. Noah would never be a monster like this. Though thinking back to yesterday, he has slight doubt.

The boy starts to walk towards him, eyes glowing bright red and his mouth curled into a vicious snarl. “More food, yummy.” He licks his lips, which are still covered in his lasts victims blood and gets closer to Caleb. Terrified, he tries to move, but he’s frozen stiff. The demon gets closer and closer and Caleb cries out, prepared to be devoured. However, there’s a sudden gust of wind, that sends several trees and foliage flying and the skies turn grey. A blast of wind shoots past Caleb and directly towards the demon, but he dodges it. “Aww, he ruined my fun.” He jumps into the trees above. “Don’t worry ok? I’ll eat you for sure next time.” Then he’s gone.

Caleb shakes intensely, still in shock from how close he’d been to dying and the monster he just saw. He was certain that must have been the Ancient Junsui mom told him about, who murdered that girl from the district and now someone new. He hears footsteps approaching, and sees someone walking towards him with what looks like a body. Reflexively he thinks it might be another demon and so he yells out and backs away.

The man just looks at him in amusement. “Calm yourself boy, I’m not here to hurt you. I wouldn’t have bothered to save you if I wanted to kill you. I just want you to bring a message back for me.”

Caleb calms down enough to finally get a better look at the man. He’s wearing a hooded cloak, but from what he could see, he had really blue eyes and super white hair, he looked kind of like an angel in the sunlight. He finally noticed that the body he was holding was Noah, finally giving him the courage to speak up. “Who are you and why are you holding my brother? Put him down now!” He tries to stand, but he’s still too weak.

“I’m just a wanderer. I’m only passing through and now that I’ve got what I came for, I’ll be on my way again.”

“What did you come for? Where’d you find Noah anyway? You said you saved me. Are you a demon too?”

“You ask a lot of questions kid, but I don’t have time to answer them. All you need to know is that once I’m gone, your village will be safe. However, I’m sorry to say, I’ll be taking Noah with me. It’s the only way.”

“Take Noah?” He slowly registers what he’s saying. “No. You can’t take Noah. Who do you think you are?”

“Listen kid, you’re out of your depth here. If it weren’t for me you’d be as dead as that poor girl over there. There are many things going on around you that none of you understand and even things with Noah that you won’t understand either. If I can, I promise to bring him back one day when this is all over, but for now we must go, for everyone’s sake. I’m not asking for your blessing, I just wanted to make sure you understood that Noah will be in safe hands with me and to offer my proper apology for having to take him from your family. Now you should get home before anything else shows up.” He looks down. “You need a change of pants as well.”

Caleb looks down to see that his pants are wet and he realizes he wet himself in the midst of his fear. He turns red from embarrassment. However, he notices that the man has started to walk away with Noah and he realizes he has to save his brother. He promised mom he’d make sure they both came home. He finally finds the strength to stand and chases after him. “Stop! I’m not letting you take him, I don’t care who you are!” He grabs him.

The man flings his arm back and sends Caleb flying backwards with a blast of air, causing him to fall back down. He continues walking away, but he suddenly hears voices approaching. “Dammit, they’ve found us.”

“Caleb!” Maggie comes running over to Caleb as he struggles to get back up. “Oh sweetheart, are you ok?”

“I’m ok mom, but Noah.” He points at the man who has now stopped walking, but hasn’t turned around.

Rodney notices the man and runs up behind him, taking out his stun gun. “Turn around slowly sir.”

“You’re making a mistake. If you don’t let me walk out of here now, I promise you’ll regret it. People will die.”

“Is that a threat?” He walks closer and puts the gun against his back. “I said turn around, and drop that boy.”

The wanderer weighs his options. He could blast them all back and make a run for it, but that’ll probably just make them pursue them. So he decides he’ll have to go along for now and either convince them to let him go willingly, or he’ll sneak away later. “Ok, you win.” He turns around. “I’ll stick around for a bit, I just hope you won’t regret it.” He hands Noah over to a deputy and allows them to cuff him. As they walk back to the village, the wanderer turns around just long enough to see two figures in the trees, then they’re gone. They’re here.

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