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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7. Aftershock, Chaos, Depression

There is silence as the previous activity in the Elite Junsui Task Force living sector dies down. Everyone is silent as the door shuts behind Tahno, who just walked out in a fury. Even Gunther, who is normally quick to diffuse tense situations such as these finds himself unable to say a thing, instead choosing to continue hugging Lili who still sits on the floor. She’s no longer crying, but she’s silent and won’t look anywhere but down at the floor, especially not at Mai. Mai however, won’t stop looking at her, desperately wanting to say something and comfort her, but she’s not sure what to say. What can she say after saying such terrible things that she wants to say she didn’t mean, but she’s not sure she can. If she’s being honest, she’s really not sure why she’s so fixated on Lili, be it for love or simply the desire to protect her, she just knows that’s she’s never been angrier or more confused than she is now.

Nik sits up with his fists clenched and his teeth gritted and thinks about how unfair Tahno’s punishment is. Finally reaching his limit, he starts to take his anger out on Noah, who he blames the most.

“What the hell Noah? I mean seriously, way to ruin everything for us all because you had to thaw the ice queen. Mai is always calm, cool and collected, which is why she has that name, but you just had to screw it all up by pissing her off! For what, to prove you were right about something that’s none of your business? In fact, now that I think about it, this whole damn thing is kind of your fault because you-.”

Noah, who had gone back to longing with his music, sat up with a renewed anger and shouts, “because I what? Because I was bleeding out and on the brink of DYING and the only way I could save myself was to transform. Because I became an out of control monster that almost killed us all? Is that what you were going to say? If so, you should really think about your role in all of this because I’m pretty sure you were the one screwing around during your fight. What I did was just the cherry on top to the situation that was already messed up before it even got started because we’re a shitty team, or not team actually!”

“Well whose fault do you think that is, Mr. Team Leader? Last I checked it was the General’s fault if his unit was not up to the required standard since it was his job to manage it. So maybe you need to reevaluate your own performances before critiquing ours, or give it up as you obviously can’t handle it.”

“Give it up to who, you Mai? You’d love that wouldn’t you? Honestly I think you’ve been resenting the fact that Tahno gave the position to me and not you because you think you’re more capable than me.”

“I am more capable than you, but that’s not my point at all. I’d have no problem following you if I felt like I could really call you my leader, but I can’t because you’ve done nothing but tolerate us all these years. You say we’re an exception, but the truth is we don’t really mean any more to you than before.”

“You know; she has a point Noah. I always liked to think that I was the first person to ever become a real friend to you, but honestly I’ve started thinking that I was kidding myself all this time. I mean yea, we joke around, but most of the time I feel like your jokes are your true feelings that you just try to cover up with laughs. I don’t think you’d ever risk your life for me and thinking about it in all honesty, I wouldn’t do that for you either. I do think you’re a cool guy Noah, but I really don’t see you as a true friend and definitely not my leader. If anyone should be leader of this team…well, I think it’d be me.”

Noah almost feels a tinge of pain at Nik’s harsh words, but he immediately stifles it and finally lets go of restraint, no longer holding back on his true feelings. “Wow Nik, I never thought you’d turn on me that quickly. The fact that you think our friendship has been a lie all this time is sick, but thank you. Thank you for reminding me that I don’t have friends for just such reasons, because they are never true. They pretend to be loyal, but then as soon as the opportunity arises, they stab you in the back and try to take what’s yours. That’s why you befriended me isn’t it? You were just waiting for the day where you could sneak in and steal the leadership position from me. It’s not secret to any of us that you think you’re the best leader of all, you try to order us around all the time, especially during training. I just never objected because honestly, you were doing me a favor. I never wanted to be bothered with this leadership shit in the first place, I only did it for Tahno’s sake. But you know, I don’t give a shit about Tahno right now or any of you fakers. You don’t want me to be your leader? Fine then, I’m out. You and Mai can fight each other to the death for it for all I care, have at it. Maybe I can be rid of both of you pains in my ass!”

“I don’t want your position; I’m not interested in being a leader of anyone. I’m only here to do as I’m told and follow orders. Nik can have it if he wants, but don’t think for a second I’ll like you. I’ll follow your commands just as I did Noah, but I won’t worship you.”

“Aw, how honorable of you. Just like the good solider they’ve trained you to be. You’re the poster child of this entire academy and the council’s agenda. You’ll surely make them proud. Congratulations Nik, looks like you’ve got the job. I’ll tell Tahno I’m out first thing in the morning.” He grabs his coat and starts towards the door, finally influencing Gunther to say something.

“Noah what are you doing? We’re not supposed to go anywhere remember. Tahno said so just now.”

“Oh, I hadn’t heard Gunther, thanks for the update.” The sarcasm seethes through his teeth, causing Gunther to look down in embarrassment, much to Nik’s disapproval.

“Yo! Don’t be a dick to my roommate! Unlike you, he’s a real friend that I can actually count on.”

“That’s great, then why don’t you go start your bromance already, we all know you like to put out.”

Nik’s eyes go wide at Noah’s harsh jab and Noah almost wants to take it back, but his pride refuses to do so. Nik goes silent and then he stomps off towards his bedroom and Gunther quickly follows. Noah knows that Nik’s struggled ever since he publicly came out as gay to fit in and definitely to find interested guys. The few that he has managed to discover are either complete jerks hiding in the closest or man-whores who know he’s pretty “easy” and take advantage of that. The thing that’s worst is that Nik knows that these guys are using him, but he so desperately longs for true love that he lets them in the hopes that one day he’ll find “the one”. Despite how aggressive Nik is on the outside, inside he’s probably the most sensitive of them all, even Gunther, who’s often perceived as the flamboyant gay one until they see his harem of girls that follow him everywhere he goes. They really are an odd duo, as their outsides completely contradict who they truly are inside. It’s actually very fascinating to see.

“Wow, way to hit below the belt Noah. Careful, your inner demon is showing. You’ll be found out.”

“Fuck you Mai! At least he’s honest about it. Better than living a lie and in denial.” Noah’s anger flares once again and he finally makes his way to the door, but stops when he feels a tug on his shirt.

“Where-, where are you going Noah? It’s late and we’re not supposed to leave inside the academy after 8, even to go outside on the grounds. You’ll get in trouble with Tahno and the council too. So please-.”

“Jesus Lili!” He snatches his shirt from her grip. “Just stop it already with your goody two shoes attitude, I can’t deal with it that right now! I’m sick and tired of always having to comfort you and boost your confidence, don’t you think 4 years is more than enough time to move on already? I know it sucks to have your body violated and such a way, but it should be clear that not every guy in the world wants to assault you, no matter how cute you think you are. Don’t you ever think of the nuisance it is to me every time you come to my room. Every time I have to do my best to control myself from beasting out on you? You had no idea right? Yea, that’s because I’ve been stifling the urges to ravish you and tear you apart. None of you know what it’s like to smell your blood every single day and not take a bite out of your neck or just to stay in control of this THING inside of me. So please forgive me if I want to get away for a few moments!” Noah finally notices the tears in her eyes, invoking Mai’s wrath.

“Hey, don’t you talk to her like that! Who do you think you are? How could you say such terrible things? I guess we know how you’ve really felt about it all this time, you were doing it to “help her” you said? This isn’t helping her; this is destroying her! It may not be my place, but as her roommate at least I have to look out for her. So I’m taking the initiative to call things off. I won’t let you touch her again.”

“Oh you don’t have to worry about that, I’m done, we’re done. She’s all yours.” He rushes out instantly.

“What a jerk! You’ll be much better off without him Lili, so don’t cry over him, ok?” Mai looks down at Lili who seems absolutely devastated and she instantly feels her heart tighten in remorse. “Lili I-.”

“It’s ok Mai, I forgive you. I know you didn’t mean to hurt me, so you don’t have to apologize. It’s ok.”

No it’s not. I should’ve never said such hurtful things about you. I’ll do anything to make it up to you.”

“Then kiss me.”  Her tone is cold and lifeless. She’s lacking her usual enthusiasm and flair.

Mai’s eyes go wide in surprise. “What? What are you saying Lili? Why would I…?”

Lili shifts her position so that she’s on her knees facing Mai, putting her face closer to hers. “I said kiss me. You said you’d do anything right? So I’m asking you to kiss me, please. I need you.”

When Mai doesn’t move, Lili moves to place her lips on Mai’s, but coming to her senses, Mai stops her.

“Lili, stop this. You’re obviously distraught right now and looking for comfort in inappropriate ways.”

“Inappropriate, to who? What’s wrong with a girl kissing another girl? It’s just a kiss. It’s just sex. It’s not like it means anything anyway. So don’t worry about what’s right or wrong, it’s purely physical.”

Mai looks at her friend in sadness, into the void of her emotionless eyes. She’s always had a feeling, but now she can clearly see that Lili’s long history of sexual abuse has destroyed her and any concept of love she may have once had. She see’s physical and sexual contact as just things to be enjoyed and not as deep, personal expressions of love like Mai does, or at least aspires to experience, but not like this.

“No, that’s not right Lili, not at all. You’re not thinking clearly right now. You just want to find comfort and for you that means offering yourself to whoever is around that you trust. It was Noah, now it’s me.”

“Well that’s what I do, it’s all I’m good for. This, sex is the only thing I know how to do and well. I’ve got nothing else to offer since I’m so weak and bothersome. I’m just a worthless piece of trash.”

“Enough of this! Stop talking down to yourself! You are very special Lili, you’re amazing and I’m gonna make sure you always know it. For now though, let’s get you to bed.” They get up and make their way to their bedroom. Once there, Lili begs Mai to lie with her and she obliges seeing no harm in that.

“This means something more to you doesn’t it? Lying here with me? I mean more to you don’t I?”

Mai is caught off guard, but she manages to stutter out a response. “I…I don’t know. I’m honestly not sure how I feel about you, but I think I need to think about it. For now, I don’t know.” She really didn’t.

 

~“Ugh!!!!!! That stupid, freaking, jerk! I hate him and stupid grey hair and eyes that pierce my soul. I hate his arms and abs that are so perfectly toned he could be sculpted. I hate his athletic build that he has without even trying. Oh and that stupid, cheeky grin and laugh and, and…ugh I hate him!” Nik smashes things around the room, turning it in a space of complete and utter chaos before finally settling down on his bed. “He’s such an ass. Does he even consider other people’s feelings? How could he say something like that to me? He pissed me off so much he made me lie and say things I didn’t mean at all. I’d do anything for him without a second thought, because we’re friends. But now he hates me and thinks I hate him. I don’t know what to do. Tell me what to do Gunther! You’re my best friend, so please…”

Gunther can see tears welling up in Nik’s eyes, catching in his pillow as they fall. He’s seen him cry like this many times over the last 4 years, every time he’s used and dumped by a guy he believed was “the one.” He’s only every shown this side of him to Gunther, which is why they truly are best friends, he knows him better than anyone else, even himself.

Knowing him so well, Gunther raises his eyebrow in intrigue and then in a tone of disbelief says, “Nik, dude…do you like Noah?” Nik blushes and turns his head into his pillow with a grunt. “No way, you seriously like him in THAT way? Are you like…in love with him?” Gunther’s mind is in chaos.

Nik groans into his pillow and in a muffled tone responds. “Stop saying that already, it’s embarrassing.”

“Since when? I mean when we all first met, you said that you weren’t into either of us. You said he wasn’t even your type. So how is it that you suddenly like him now? Is that how it works?”

“Ugh, Gunther come on, use your brain man! Obviously I was lying. He’s exactly my type, I didn’t even know I had a type until I met him. It’s tall, lonesome and emotionless apparently. It’s because I like him that I’d ever put up with his boring ass. It’s just that I know he would never feel the same way, so I’ve never made any advances. He’d never take me seriously anyway and just call me a gay loser thinking I was playing around. It’s pretty clear he’s only in to girls with what he does with Lili, I seriously envy her. Though sometimes I wonder if he even really likes girls outside of Lili because I’ve literally never seen him show an interest in ANY girls, let alone guys. I swear I’m half convinced he completely asexual and may never love anyone, I’m not so sure he even can. Maybe that’s why he and Lili could do that together so easily; neither of them know what it means to love and aren’t interested in it at all.”

Gunther never would’ve imagined he’d be hearing such a revelation, but he tries to support Nik in the best way he can. “Well, I’m sorry for what happened, but I believe in your friendship with Noah, so I’m sure he’ll come back. When he does, even if he won’t love you like you love him, at least you can still be friends. That’s what’s most important right?” He’s not sure he’s convinced himself let alone Nik. Nik simply groans again and continues to sulk in his pillow. He hates how out of control Noah makes him feel. That chaos is his heart is the one and only thing he can’t control and it burns him to the core.

 

~Noah sprints down the hall and down the corridor that leads to the main stairwell. Their living sector is big and personalized for their use only, therefore it’s on the basement level of the academy along with their main training sector. You could say they have that entire floor exclusively to themselves as only those with special clearance have access. Which means they can’t have visitors unless they bring them down themselves, though Tahno frowns upon that so no one does it, not that they have friends anyway.

He quickly and quietly makes his way up the stairs and sneaks down the corridor of the 1st floor that leads out back. The door is always unlocked and so this is a spot that he tends to come to a lot, especially if he needs space to be alone or think. Just as he makes it outside, the building nausea that he’d been feeling over the last hour or so finally overtook him and he vomited his entire dinner up.

Once he had nothing left, he sat against a wall and tried to breath in the fresh air to settle his stomach. It helped, but he still felt queasy. He wondered if maybe all that commotion stressed him out so much that it made him sick or maybe it was the food he ate. Or maybe it was that cranberry juice from earlier, it’s the one thing he had today that he’d never had before. However, just as he thinks of the cranberry juice, he feels an overwhelming hunger pang take over and he wishes he had some right now. “Ugh, why…?”

“My, it’s happening faster than I thought it would. You really were deprived weren’t you Helios?”

Noah looks up to see a familiar shadow. “Ouran? What are you doing out here? Who’s Helios?”

“The one and only and I was looking for you silly. I’ve come to finish our conversation from earlier, I told you I would find you when the time was right didn’t I? Well then time is right now. But first…it looks like you need to eat and quickly too.” He holds out his hand. “Come with me, I’ll help you.”

Noah looks at his hand with hesitation. “How do I know I can even trust you and that you’re not going to take me somewhere deserted to kill me? Besides, where would we go, we can’t leave the academy.”

“Oh please Helios, as if you’d die so easily and I’m not interested in killing you… in the bed perhaps.”

Noah finds himself a bit weirded out by her flirtatious dialogue but at the same time he thinks she can be trusted, at least for now. “Ok, I’ll go with you, but just know I still don’t trust you completely.”

“That’s fine, you will soon enough. For now, let us go, take a trip down the rabbit hole.” Off they go.

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