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?


4. The Truth of the Prophecy

# (Tekisu Enforcer Station, East Sector, Tekisu District)

“Now, I’m going to ask you once again, who you are and why have you come here? What’s your intention?”

The wanderer sits in the metal chair with cuffed hands resting on the metal table in a small interrogation room. The walls are also metal and from the looks of it, reinforced, which will make a quick escape difficult if he’s locked inside. He looks at the potbelly enforcer sitting across from him dead in the eye and in a serious tone says, “Sir, I respect your authority and understand that you’re just trying to get to the bottom of things; I commend you for doing such an excellent job, however I must insist that you release me and let me leave with Noah in tow. Something quite sinister is on its way and if it’s set loose, your citizens will die. It’s only after Noah, so if I take him with me, we’ll go far away and it will follow, sparing your town and everyone in it.”

Rodney, looks at the wanderer in aggravation. Ever since he was brought in 2 hours ago, he’s said nothing but those words over and over. He can see that this man is quite serious, but the fact that he is and seems to know so much makes him all the more suspicious. What could possibly be coming and more importantly, how is Noah involved. He furrows his brow and rubs his temple, finally reaching the point of exhaustion with the interrogation. He looks once again at the man and says, “I don’t care how many times you say the same thing, I will not let you out of this room until you tell me who you are and why you’re here for Noah!”

The wanderer watches as the man begins to lose his composure, banging his fists on the table. He’s unphased by his actions and simply continues to stare. He realizes that this man takes his job seriously and so isn’t going to budge. Sighing in resignation, he decides he’ll tell him what he wants to know, he doubts he’ll believe much of it anyway, but it’s his only chance of getting out of here freely. “I’m going to try and make this a quick explanation as every moment we waste here is another step closer they’ll get to us.” He removes his hood.

Rodney can finally see him clearly, this man with the snow white hair and sky blue eyes. He looks young, perhaps around 21 and he’s got a softness to his face despite trying to speak sternly. This is not an evil man, somehow Rodney can just tell. However, that doesn’t change the fact that he attacked Caleb and tried to kidnap Noah. He regains his intimidating gaze and leans in with his arms on the table. “Go on then, let’s hear it.”

The wanderer takes a deep breath and then begins. “First, let me properly introduce myself. My name is Mikael, son of Lord Cain. Secondly, my business here is to take Noah back and guide him on a proper path. Thirdly,-.”

Rodney puts up his hand and interjects. “Hold on a minute, Lord Cain? Who in the world is that? Normally you’d give your first and last name as introduction, not the name of your father. Is he royalty or something?”

“We don’t have time for petty questions Sir, please just allow me to continue. My family does not have a surname in our lineage, we are simply called by our first names and noted as sons and daughters of the Lords. My father is not royalty in your human definition of the word, but he’s one of the head Junsuikaoni Lords of this region. Now, as I was saying, there is a very dangerous Kusaru Junsuikaoni approaching with a horde of-.”

Rodney interrupts again. “Whoa, hold on there. Junsuikaoni? Are you saying you’re one of the marked ones? I wasn’t aware the mark could be somewhere other than the hands, yours of which are bare. How is it possible?”

“Again with the frivolous questions? I’m not of the modern Junsui children you refer to, my lineage is much more significant than that. I’m from a long line of Ancient Junsuikaoni who’ve lived in isolation for centuries. Your race assumed that we’d perished, but we did not, we just simply became discrete. If I may anticipate your next question, in the interest of his safety, I left Noah in this village for protection, promising to return when the time is right. The time is now right and so here I am and yes, as you may discern, Noah is indeed my son.”

Rodney sits back in his chair, not quite sure what to think of everything he just heard. Is this man serious? Is he truly one of the Ancients? More importantly, how can he possibly be Noah’s father? That would mean….

Mikael watches as the enforcer tries to register what he’s said. Just as he thought, he doesn’t believe what he’s hearing and he’s prepared to ask many more questions for better comprehension. Perhaps this wasn’t the best.

Rodney looks back up at Mikael and determined to get answers asks, “What exactly do you mean Noah is your son? Are you saying that you are the one who left him on Maggie’s doorstep 12 years ago? If so, why?”

Mikael lets out a very audible sigh of frustration. If I don’t tell him everything we’ll never get out in time. He looks at the enforcer and says, “I’ll shall start from the beginning and tell you everything. I can’t imagine you’d still have questions afterwards, but even if you do, you’ll have to save them. That’s my condition. I’ll tell you what you need to know, but once I do, you set me free. Are we in agreement?” Mikael holds out his hand.

Rodney looks at his hand in hesitation. He wants to know everything, as it just may solve the mystery of the murder and more, but he’s also unsure if he should trust him. Even more so, depending on what he says, he may not be able to actually set him free. However, his curiosity wins out and he shakes Mikael’s hand. “Agreed.”

“First, I feel the need to immediately clear up a misconception. It is true that sometimes Junsui were born when faced with death, however it’s not true that they had to devour humans to survive. Those who became Kusaru did indeed do so relentlessly, which is why I’m sure humans of that time may have assumed it was a requirement, but they never had to, they were just driven to it by their corruption and were not strong enough to resist. On the other side, Karyuhdo could resist, but some chose to eat humans. There were many Junsui, both Kusaru and Karyuhdo who chose not to devour humans and lived off normal food. However, to be at full strength and maximize our healing, we required nutrients only present in mammals. However, live animals sufficed just as well, so ultimately, the Ancient Junsui could go their entire lives without touching human flesh. Most Junsui had to pick a side, but there were some who were not permanently bound to their faction. Your history likely calls all Kusaru monsters and all Karyuhdo good, but that’s not completely accurate. Sometimes, Kusaru could be good and sometimes Karyuhdo could be bad. There were some who didn’t fit into either side at all. It was all very subjective to the Junsui and how strong their will was. This was more prevalent in children.

“All Ancient Junsui could reproduce whether they were Kusaru or Karyuhdo and they could mate with fellow Junsui or humans. When a child was born of two Junsui parents, they were full Junsui and had the same demonic characteristics as their parents and typically differentiated at birth. When a child was born of mixed parents however, there were two possibilities. They’d be half Junsui, or they’d be human; though this was a rare occurrence as the Junsui trait was a dominant one.  The souls of half Junsui children did not differentiate immediately. They would grow up similar to that of any human child, however upon puberty, they would pick a side based on the quality of their souls. This is similar to your Marked Children, but the difference is that Ancient Junsui were born as true demons even as children, just with more human qualities. Unlike the Marked Children, they were still immortal and could transform into demon form at will. It’s actually quite likely that the Marked Children are decedent from the Ancient Junsui, however centuries of mutations and interbreeding have diluted the penetrance of the Junsui trait, making the Marked Children superhumans rather than true demons. Their descendants were likely the few remaining Junsui who went into hiding and mated with humans in secret, which is why your founding officials likely believed the Junsui had been eradicated. One thing both groups share however, is being bound by a single element. The Marked Children need weapons to amplify their power, since they can’t withstand the strain of channeling it through their bodies. Those born human are typically normal, though they may harbor a tolerance to demonic energy allowing them to use cursed weapons.”

Mikael pauses, giving the enforcer a minute to absorb everything, as he’s certain he just rebuked all the things he was ever taught. He looks at the man, looking as confused as one would be if their world was undone.

Rodney looks at Mikael in shock. There are so many questions going through his mind, but he can only think of one thing to actually speak. “Does that mean Noah was born a Junsui or is he one of those rare human types?”

“I should finish explaining everything first, then I’m sure you’ll understand. You see my family began with one of the last few pure-blood Kusaru and Karyuhdo Junsui. The Kusaru Leader’s son was furious when his father was defeated by the savior and wanted desperately to get back at the Karyuhdo. He came across a divine monk who prophesied that a Supreme Kusaru would one day be born of a lineage that was perfectly balanced between corruption and purity. This meant that one parent had to be the purest of Karyuhdo and the other had to be the most corrupt of Kusaru. When the extremes were perfect, they would produce a child that would be the purest of all Junsui, capable of bringing total destruction to the world as its most powerful Kusaru. However, that monk failed to tell him the full story, wanting him to skew fate towards the side of evil as he was a corrupt monk. The truth is, that child would be the purest of all Junsui, but that also means he could be a Supreme Karyuhdo as well. His soul would be so perfectly balanced between corruption and purity, that he was unbound to the laws of the Junsui. He had the potential to become whichever side he chose. So basically, this child was under the direct control of whoever had the power to raise them according to their will. This fact is the mistake that’s haunted me for many years, but I’m getting a bit ahead of myself.

“Getting back to the leader’s son, he believed what the monk had said and decided he’d breed that child. So he looked for the purest Karyuhdo woman he could find and seduced her; ultimately leading her to become pregnant. As fate would have it, this woman was said to be the daughter of the Great Savior. He forced her to become his wife and they moved into a castle high up on a mountain, so no one could ever find them and she couldn’t escape. He also brought along that corrupt monk, who’d be able to determine if their child was the one. She eventually gave birth, but the child was not the one and so he continued getting her pregnant, in the hopes one would be it. She had four children, two boys and two girls, but none were the chosen ones. However the monk said the odds would stay greatest if the bloodline remain concentrated. So he forced his children to pair off and begin mating, in the hopes one would birth the chosen one. This began the practice of inbreeding over multiple generations all in the hopes of finding this chosen child. The search continued all these centuries later.”

“As it would turn out, my sister and I gave birth to that child.” He sees the enforcer’s eyebrow go up in thought. “I know what you’re thinking, but Noah is not this child. My other son, Judas, Noah’s twin brother, is the child. However, that doesn’t make Noah any less important. You see, one additional aspect of the prophecy, was that just as a child destined to become the Supreme Kusaru would rise, The Messiah, would rise and be destined to stop the Supreme one. It’s very much based on the law of nature that states there can be no darkness without light. When Noah was born, our house monk said he was human, like my first born son had been, because he felt no energy, whereas with Judas, he felt more power than he’d ever felt. They were going to send Noah away just as my first born and so to avoid that I stole Noah and fled, ultimately leading to me leaving him in this village. It was not until years later that I discovered the monk had been wrong. Not only did he fail to mention that Judas wasn’t necessarily destined to be evil, but he also realized too late that Noah may be destined to be the Messiah, which means he has the power to destroy the Supreme. However, just as Judas could have been manipulated in either direction, so can Noah, as they are both unbound Junsui. This is a double edged sword however because no matter which had become the Supreme, the other would likely be destined to become the Messiah as a balance mechanism. The only way I may have been able to stop it is if I’d taken both Judas and Noah with me that night and raised them to be good. If I had, the prophecy would have never come to pass.

“So I’ve made two mistakes. I left Judas behind to be raised by my father and sister, who are both extremely corrupt, guaranteeing his destiny as the Supreme, but I also failed to realize  Noah is the only who can stop Judas and I left him defenseless, to grow up thinking he’s a human and endangering his only known home. I apologize for that. Judas and his mother are determined to corrupt Noah or kill him if ultimately they can’t, but either way they’re after him. So I must go before it’s too late. I will raise him to be good and become the Messiah and stop his brother. I regret that it has to be this way, as I would’ve never wished for my own children to be mortal enemies, but it’s already too late. This prophecy will come to pass, so I now must make sure good comes out on the other side and evil is destroyed from this world, even if it’s at the cost of my son’s life” Finally finished with his story, Mikael looks at the enforcer; whose face is frozen in disbelief and holds up his hands expectantly. The enforcer just looks at him, not able to say a word.

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

Maggie sits beside Noah’s bed, watching her precious son sleep. She’s in agony watching him in pain. When he was brought home, he was weak, feverish and barely responsive. The town doctor came to examine him and said it appeared to be a sort of Flu, likely from him being outside in the forest all night. She advised that he rest and drink his fluids as often as possible, but he hasn’t been responding to any of her attempts. He just lies in his bed, breathing heavy and sweating profusely, though he’s cold as ice. Holding him close is all she can do.

Caleb comes into the room, holding a bowel of hot broth. “I made some broth mom, I thought it might be good for Noah to have. Is he still not waking up? Maybe we’ll have to force feed it to him so he won’t dehydrate.”

Maggie looks up at her son. She may dote on Noah more, but it’s times like these that she remembers how precious her oldest boy is to her too. “Thank you Caleb, I appreciate it. Let’s see if we can wake him first.” She places her hand on his chest and gently, but firmly rocks him as she softly calls him. “Noah sweetheart, wake up now. Noah. Noah.” He doesn’t respond, but Maggie feels her heart jump as she rests her hand on his chest. I can’t feel his heart! She notices how pale he looks and begins to panic, thinking the worst, however, just before she reacts, she feels the pulse of a beat beneath her hand. She pushes more firmly and finally takes a breath when she realizes his heart is beating again. It must have just been in my mind. She looks up at Caleb and says, “I think you’re right. We’ll have to force some of it into him otherwise he will dehydrate. Let’s prop him up.”

She puts her arm underneath his head and prepares to raise it up, but just as she’s making the motion, the power suddenly goes out. Caleb tries the switch, but it’s futile. “I think its busted mom. Maybe a storm is coming?”

She stands up and just as she does, they hear screams echoing outside. “Goodness, what’s going on?” She hurries to the window and peeks out. What she sees is enough to send her into paralyzing fear. “Oh my god.”

Caleb starts to walk over to his mom, but then he hears the bed creak. He turns back around and begins to tremble in fear at what he sees. Memories of his forest encounter flood back and suddenly he screams. He falls backwards at his mom’s feet and she finally has enough strength to turn around, but she collapses to her knees when she does. She holds Caleb and they both tremble in fear as something who looks like Noah stares at them with eyes red as blood. His face has morphed into something sinister and he appears just like a monster.

                                          # (Tekisu Enforcer Station, East Sector, Tekisu District)

“Well what are you waiting for, let me out! Can’t you hear them, the screams of your people? They’re here!”

Rodney finally snaps out of his daze and remembers his deal. He decides to keep his word and release him under his watch, but just as he reaches for the keys, a deputy busts into the room. “Sir, we have an emergency!”

He explains and Rodney yells out in surprise, “No, it can’t be!” He runs out, forgetting all about Mikael. The door closes behind him and locks. Mikael curses under his breath. He’ll have to do this the hard way after all.

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