Trials of the Junsuikaoni: Battle of the Elementals (Book 1)

Noah Gremory's life changed forever the day he discovered he was a Junsuikaoni Demon, a supernatural being believed to have been extinct after the end of the Cursed War. He lost everything, but when he arrived at the Academy, he would find he was exactly where he was meant to be. Now 18 and in his final year at the Academy, Noah and his friends are faced with their final exam; The Battle of the Elementals. All must pass the test to graduate, but only one can be the victor and get the glory. Can Noah rise to the top while faced with memories of the past that haunts him? Can he break free from the watchful eye of Ouran, a mysterious student who seems to have a strange obsession with him? Above all, will he finally come face to face with the demon who destroyed his life and is out for blood? This is the first chapter of Noah's journey, as he fights to stop the hands of fate and change his destiny.

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5. A New Awakening and a Mysterious New Frenemy?

“Hah!” Noah wakes with a start, his eyes popping open and his arms shooting up. He breathes heavily as he looks around at his surroundings. He notices a white curtain surrounding him and a metal bed frame, which holds the mattress and white sheets he lies on. There’s a table to the side and it holds some water and what seems to be aspirin and as if to remind him, Noah’s body suddenly feels heavy and pain shoots through his head, causing him to clutch it in agony. “Ow! What the hell?” His head seems to pulsate.

“I see you’re awake.” Noah turns his attention to a woman dressed in a black one-piece dress, wearing a triangular headpiece. He realizes this is a typical nurse’s outfit and, therefore, he must be in the clinic.

“What happened? Why am I here?” Another surge of pain travels through his head and he squints “Ow!”

“I’d be happy to answer your questions, but first take these.” She hands him the aspirin and water. “I think you’re going to need those before you’re ready to talk about anything.” She smiles pleasantly.

Noah looks at the aspirin, momentarily wondering if he should trust her. It could be poison for all he knows or even a date rape drug. He just might pass out and wake up chained to the wall in her basement. However, on seeing her genuine smile he can tell that she’s not harmful and that his imagination is getting the best of him. He takes the items from her hand and gulps down the pills. “Thanks.”

“Of course.” Her Turquoise eyes seem to gleam, even through her glasses and her matching hair up in a bun, with loose strands at the sides, are really amplified by her smile, which seems very warm and reveals perfect teeth. Her skin is pale, but also seems to glow and she smells of flowers. Noah can’t help but feel as though he’s seen her before, perhaps in passing? If she’s the school nurse, then obviously she’d be around. Yes, he’s certain he’s just seen her walking the halls though she looks pretty young, so it may be that she’s new and hasn’t been around very long. Was she a previous student? “See something you like?” Noah snaps out of his thoughts and blushes as he realizes he had been staring.

“I…sorry. I was just thinking that I may have seen you around before. I didn’t mean to stare.”

She chuckles sweetly, a sound that despite being so normal made Noah’s heart flutter. “It’s ok, I don’t mind if it’s you, Noah.” She glares flirtatiously at Noah for just a moment and then quickly changes the direction of the conversation. “Well, I’m sure it wouldn’t be that unusual to see me around, I do have to leave the clinic once and a while.” She smiles as she says, “I’m flattered you’d notice little old me, though.” She chuckles, but then with a suddenly sad expression she says, “it’s nice to be noticed for something other than my looks you know? That’s why you’ve always….” She seems distant and lonely.

Noah’s heart feels heavy as if he’s seen that look before, a long time ago and before he even realizes it, he’s touching her arm as he says, “A pretty girl like you shouldn’t look so sad and lonely, so smile ok?”

Her eyes suddenly go wide and her lip begins to quiver as her eyes begin to water. “Noah…do you…?”

Noah snaps back to his senses and quickly withdraws his hand as he stutters. “I, I’m sorry, I…I don’t know what I was thinking just now. I don’t go around grabbing girl’s arms and saying cheesy stuff like that, especially when I don’t know them at all. I swear!” He’s extremely flustered. What is with me?

“Right…we don’t know each other at all do we?” She looks pained for a moment but then cheers up. “Oh well, I guess we’ve gotten to know each other a little now right?” She’s back to being pleasant.

“Uh…yea, I guess that’s true.” Although she’s smiling, Noah can’t look her in the eyes. “Um…anyway, why am I here? I remember being out on our training exercise and fighting, but then…nothing.”

“So you don’t remember anything? Hmm, well maybe that’s a good thing. I’m not really sure what happened out there either to be honest. General Tahno just brought you in here passed out and told me to let you rest in a bed. I asked what happened, but he said it was nothing I needed to worry about and left. Your friends were here as well, but he sent them away when he left, saying he’d be back later.”

“Sounds like him alright, he’s always such a secretive jerk. Thanks anyway.” Like a sudden rush, he feels a familiar intense hunger come over him, causing him to clutch his stomach. Dammit, not now!

“Oh my, are you alright? Do you need a couple of more aspirin? Perhaps you need more rest?”

“No, I need….” He pauses, unsure of how to phrase it. “Do you have any tomato juice around here?”

“Tomato juice?” She seems confused and Noah isn’t surprised since she wouldn’t know what he’s actually asking for as a human and it’s certainly not tomato juice. She has a sudden thought.

“I’m not sure about tomato juice, but I have something you might like instead.” She gets up and steps out from behind the curtain. “Be right back.” She closes the curtain and Noah can hear her steps as she moves away from the curtain and over to the fridge. She opens it up and he can hear her rummaging through it. “Ah, there it is!” She closes the door and five seconds later she’s back inside the curtain. “It’s not tomato juice, but cranberry juice. I think you should like it; I know I prefer it myself.”

Noah takes the can of cranberry juice graciously but feels foolish for thinking that she’d know he wasn’t actually asking for juice. The tomato juice he wanted is actually pig’s blood, a vital necessity.

“I’m sorry if it’s not what you wanted, but I’m afraid I don’t have this special tomato juice you’re looking for. Just give the cranberry juice a shot, though, if nothing else it’ll be refreshing.” She looks at her watch. “Oh my, I have to be going, I’m supposed to be supervising a rugby match right now, but if you need more aspirin, it’s in the cabinets over the sink. If you need more cranberry juice, there’s a couple of more to the back of the fridge, so help yourself. I’ll be back in a while if you need me.” She pulls back the curtain and steps out. Before closing it, with a smile, she says, “I’m so glad I got to see you, Noah. I do hope you’ll come see me again, my door is always open.” Her expression becomes slightly seductive, but as quickly as it came, she was gone, but it was enough to make Noah’s heart race.

What is wrong with me? Why do I feel like this? He asks himself these questions, unsure of what to make of his sudden emotions. He’s never met anyone who makes his heart race or act like a school boy in love. Not since...no, that was a long time ago so he won’t bring up the dead from his past. Even Lili, despite having a genuine care for her, doesn’t make him feel like this. So why does this stranger make him feel so uneasy?

He pops open the can as he contemplates, deciding that he might as well drink it since he had it and places it to his lips. He takes a large gulp and as the smooth liquid slides down his throat, his eyes go wide in surprise. He looks at the can again and it does say cranberry juice, but it’s not like any he’s had before. In fact, if he didn’t know better, he’d think this WAS tomato juice. However, it’s got a much stronger taste and he starts to wonder, could this perhaps be…human blood? He chugs the rest down.

He’s never had human blood before, so he can only infer, but he’s heard that it tastes more or less the same as pig’s blood, just stronger and tastier, which is what this is. He finds it hard to believe it, though, as she seemed normal, Nurse…Oh yea, he never actually got her name. He settles on the idea that this must be a strangely potent brand of cranberry juice or something, but regardless of what it is, he’s starting to feel better by drinking it. So he decides to accept her offer and drink the other two, which taste just a strong and delicious. It’s so good in fact, he feels like he wants even more. He rummages through the fridge, but can’t find more. It seems that was the last of it to his disappointment.

“Need some more?” Noah jumps at the sudden voice that cut through the silence and spins around to see who had spoken. He sees a guy…at least it could be, though with his long eyelashes and gentle face, he could pass for a girl as well. However, his chest seems flat which would signify guy, but his pants show no indication of that normal slight bulge most guys would possess and so now Noah’s just confused. This person, with long black hair in a braid to the back, a wide spanning bang covering half of their face such that only one blue-green eye is exposed and two small braids to the side, smirks mysteriously.

“Who are you?” Noah looks at this person with a look of confusion, who returns a sly gaze and smile.

“The name’s Ouran, Ouran of Tourer Kenai and to save you the trouble of asking, I’m a boy…but also a girl. So in other words, I’m genderless and have parts that are both male and female. Is that enough?”

Noah has so many new questions brought on by his initial, but all he says is, “which parts are which?”

Ouran suddenly laughs out loud and with an amused grin responds with, “you’re so bold! I love it!” With impressive speed, Ouran grabs Noah’s hand and pulls him behind a bed curtain and closes it behind them. She then proceeds to unbutton her uniform top, making Noah snap back to reality.

“Hey, what are you doing? Don’t just randomly drag me in here and start taking off your clothes.”

Ouran looks genuinely confused. “If I don’t take them off, how could you possible see my body? You wanted to see which parts are which right? Well, I’ll show you, just give me a moment.” He continues.

“No-…” Noah begins to protest, but he finds that his curiosity has gotten the best of him and so he just watches quietly as he has removed his bottoms and he’s staring at her nude body. He gives him a quick glance from head to toe and then turns away, no longer wanting to violate his privacy, even if he’s ok with it. It was exactly as she said, she’s got a chest that could pass as that of a very flat chested woman and his genitals are smaller versions of the normal male and female anatomy. It’s just… “Amazing!”

Ouran is visibly surprised for the first time. “Wait, you don’t think it’s gross or disgusting or that I’m a freak? I mean it’s not normal for people to be like this, human or otherwise, so why would you…?”

“I don’t think it’s gross at all, I mean, it’s just who you are. It’s not like you can help how you’re born. Trust me, I’d change myself in a heartbeat if I could, but, unfortunately, I’m stuck in this cursed existence for an eternity. Just be happy you can hide your affliction and live a fairly normal human life.”

Ouran has been caught off guard and can hardly believe that the man she’s idolized for so long is actually saying such kind words. “I wonder if you’d still say that if you saw my true form?”

“True form? Is this not your true form?” Noah is effectively confused once again.

Ouran changes his expression from flattered to one of sinister amusement and she suddenly moves forward and leans over Noah who’s sitting on the edge of the bed. “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” He whispers this into Noah’s ear, making him shudder and causing him to become flustered.

“Hey! What are you doing? Put your clothes back on, I’ve seen enough!” He turns his head away.

Ouran lets out a chuckle. “Oh, where did that boldness go Noah, it was one of your best qualities?”

“Just put your clothes back on before someone comes in and sees us. They’ll get the wrong idea.”

“Ok, ok. Though I wouldn’t mind personally, but if it’s what you want then I’ll comply Helios.”

Helios? Noah is intrigued by this unusual name that Ouran has just called him and he also recalls that he’d said something about a true form just before. He decides that he should ask for better clarification. “What did you mean when you mentioned your true form? Also, you introduced yourself as Ouran of Tourer Kenai, what is that exactly? Oh and most importantly, why’d you call me Helios, who is that?”

“Wow, you just lay all the questions out there huh?” Ouran buttons the final button of his top. “I would’ve thought all of those questions would be obvious to someone like you as a fellow Bakemon.”

“Bakemon? What’s that?” Noah feels as though he’s heard it before, but he can’t remember where.

“Wow, you really don’t know anything do you?” Ouran sits on the bed beside Noah and leans back with one leg over the other knee. “Ok, I’ll give you a crash course in your heritage and all things Bakemon.”

Noah feels as though he may be opening a can of worms he shouldn’t, but curiosity gets the better of him. “Ok then, tell me everything you know, though I’m not claiming to be whatever a Bakemon is.”

“Yea I got it, I’ll let you play oblivious for a bit longer.” He pauses for a moment and then starts. “Ok, so first things first, a Bakemon is a term that the humans of the New Age have coined to refer to people like us. We are the abnormals, mutants, damned or whatever you want to say. Ultimately, Bakemon is the group of beings that have breached the limitations of mere humanity and have risen to a higher state of being. I think the most commonly used the term would be supernaturals or more so, monsters. We are the things that children’s nightmares are made of and those that plague the happiness of many societies.”

Noah is very intrigued. “Wait, so are you saying that there are other beings out there other than Junsuikaoni? They’ve never talked about anything else in all of our lessons, so how could that be?”

“As if they’d discuss such despicable things in such public institutions. They wouldn’t even talk of the Junsui if they weren’t such a huge threat to them. We’ve always been there, it’s just that we tend to stay low key. It’s how we’ve survived all this time. Though I’m sure there are loads of others who don’t even know what they are, just like I didn’t before. Now I almost can’t believe that any of it’s real.”

Well, maybe it’s not, maybe you’re just crazy. I don’t know why you keep grouping me with you anyway. I’m not a Bakemon or whatever.” He does his best to sound convincing but fails terribly.

“Helios, let’s stop the pretext, you and I both know you are not human. You’re no more human than that cranberry juice is actually cranberry. I get why you have to keep it a secret from the rest of the Academy, but you don’t need to with me because you and I are the same. In fact, I feel as though we’re soulmates.”

“Soulmates? Hold on there dude…or whatever, you and I are definitely not soulmates or anything of the sort. I’m not going to say either way if I’m what you claim, but if you’re so serious about this stuff, then please enlighten me and tell me what you are. I’m eager to hear more about these Bakemon.”

Ouran smirks. “You’d love to know wouldn’t you? However, I’m afraid we’ve run out of time.”

“Huh? What do you mean? I’m not on any-.” Just as he starts to say this, he hears footsteps approach.

“Noah! Are you up yet you lazy bum?” Tahno snatches open the curtain, revealing the two. Everyone is surprised to see the unfamiliar guest. “Well, what a surprise. Am I interrupting something?” He smirks.

Noah rolls his eyes, realizing that he must think Ouran is a girl. Well, she technically is, but also a boy… it’s just so confusing to Noah, but for now he just sets him straight. “No! This is just…this is Ouran.”

Tahno looks at him skeptically, but then shrugs and reaches out his hand. “Nice to meet you, I’m-.”

With a loud smack, Ouran swats his hand away and scowls. “Don’t you dare touch me you, cretin!”

Tahno is slightly surprised at the unexpected reaction, but doesn’t flinch is the least. “Ok then.”

The others, including Noah, look on in horror at the one who dared to strike the great General Tahno and face him head on. The room is silent as the two stare each other down in sheer intensity. However, Ouran finally breaks her gaze and stands, facing Noah. “It seems we’ll have to talk again another time Noah; I’ll find you when the time is right. Thanks for everything.” He emphasizes that final word in a very flirty manner and then leans down to quickly kiss his cheek, making his face turn red.”

Ouran turns and without another word to any of them, she walks out, but not before giving Lili a side glance and a gloating smirk, to which Lili returns with one of confusion. But Mai understands and gives Ouran the appropriate glare right back, making Ouran grin in a sinister delight as she exits the clinic. “Who was that dude? Was that a guy or…?” Nik asks with reasonable confusion and intrigue.

“That was…well that was just Ouran.” He wasn’t sure of what else to say to them, especially since Ouran may want to keep her particular condition a secret. However, most importantly, he finds himself quite curious to just who Ouran really is. Is he a friend, or a potential enemy and what of these Bakemon? He decides he has to know more, even if it leads him down the rabbit hole of despair.

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