Trials of the Junsuikaoni: Rise of the Junsui Hunters (Book 2)

Following a painful betrayal, Noah has succumbed to the pull of his demon side and as a result, he has become emotionless and indifferent to the world. He's determined to become stronger and unlock the full potential of his demonic powers, however as he does this, he's pulled deeper into darkness and further away from his humanity. He will struggle to decide if he will push himself to his max at the sacrifice of his humanity in order to face his brother Judas or if he'll stand with his friends, who've gone through changes of their own, as they rise to become an Elite Junsui Hunter team and rid the world of hostile Bakemon one monster at a time. This is the second chapter of Noah's journey to stop the hands of fate and change his destiny.

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7. A Tale of Two Prophecies

            “Mason…come on now. We really need to be getting ready if we’re going to catch that movie in time before our reservations. We can’t be late for that because it took me calling weeks in advance just to get the reservation for tonight. Ha! Oh Mason…really….” Rebecca gasps as Tahno continues to mess around with her despite her insistence to stop as they lie in bed.

            He finally takes a moment to respond. “Why bother to go then? I’m having much more fun with you this way. We can skip the movie and just go to dinner. Or we can skip that too.”

            As he continues to kiss her all over, she replies, “No! Absolutely not. I will not have you spending your 26th birthday in this bed all day, even if it is with me. I’m not going to let those reservations go to waste either. You understood when I said I had to put all that effort in just to make them right? If you want to skip the movie, then fine, but then we can walk around downtown instead until dinner. Either way, we are getting out of this bed. Is that understood?”

            Tahno sighs deeply as his forehead rests on her stomach and then with a side glance he finally yields. “Ok, if you say so.” He sits up. “I didn’t realize I was dating my mother.”

            “Humph! You wish I was your mother. Though now that I’ve said that, I’m a bit concerned about how you might see me. You know what they say about boys who were forced to grow up without their mothers….” She looks a bit uncertain, as though she’s had a realization.

            Tahno embraces her. “Don’t you dare make that face or say such ludicrous things. I’ve had the misfortune of seeing my real mother a long time ago and although I never spoke with her directly, seeing the way she was as I watched from the shadows as she devoured Noah’s human mother and then taunted him afterwards; well, needless to say I wasn’t impressed. She’s a monster and I’ve never once thought I wanted to have her in my life.”

            “Well, that was clearly after you’d already grown up, so that doesn’t change the fact that you grew up feeling abandoned all those years. More importantly, she devoured his Mother?”

            “No, that’s what I’m saying. Even growing up, I never once desired to know her or my father for that matter.  My human parents were all I’d ever known from the beginning, so to me, they were my parents. I only found out I had been adopted years later when they told me, but by then I didn’t care. However, once I lost them I came to hate my real parents, not yearn for them.”

            “I suppose that’s sensible, but psychology doesn’t lie. There’s probably a part of you subconsciously that yearns for a mother, not necessarily your real mother, but even your adopted mother. Either way, you were left alone from a young age and were forced to raise yourself. So it’d be only natural for you to desire an older woman who has motherly tendencies like I do.”

            Tahno sees her face become sad and he becomes angry. “Why do you always do that?”

            “What do you mean? What am I doing?” She looks at him with confusion.

            “The constant self-depreciating! I swear, you’re always looking for a reason to justify why I’m with you. You always bring in these scientific or philosophical reasons as though me telling you that I’m here because I love you is a lie. Get it through your head woman! I’m not interested in you because you’re older or more mature or because I want you to be my mother. I’m here because I love you! Nothing less, nothing more, understand?” He grips her tightly.

            Seeing the sincerity in his eyes, Rebecca finally accepts his words and smiles. “Ok, I understand. I promise I won’t say those things again.” She leans her head into his chest and they sit together like that for several minutes. She then says, “Seriously though, you watched her devour his mother? What the heck were you doing hiding? You should’ve saved her!”

            “There was nothing I could’ve done. Even if I had jumped out of those bushes and tried to intervene, she would’ve struck me down in an instant and that sadistic little shit of a brother of mine would’ve finished me off. I could be of more use to Noah by giving him a place of sanctuary and helping him somehow pick up the pieces of his loss. I could do that better than anyone because I knew just how it felt to have your family ripped away by monsters like that. That’s why I brought him to the academy after the fact and became his guardian. It’s not how I initially intended to carry out my plans, but it was how it went, so I tried to make the best of it.”

            “Ok, I guess I understand, but what exactly was your plan? Why did you need Noah in the first place? I mean, I remember you mentioned it before and how you’d made a deal with your real father to let you have him for a time before he came for him again, but why? He wanted him, you wanted him, but why? What makes Noah so special?”

            Well, this might be a bit out of your range of knowledge, but in the Bakemon world there is a certain prophecy that says a Supreme Junsui Leader with a purely corrupted soul will rise up again and rule over the human world once more. Only the Savior with the purest of souls could stop them. Now when I say pure I don’t mean good, but rather neutral. This Savior would have equal proportions of a corrupt and good soul, such that they would cancel each other out and their soul would be undefined. Meaning, they had no ties to either side and therefore could objectively end the Supreme’s uprising. However, because their souls are undefined, they could be pulled in either direction, both of which would lead the world to ruin once more. My father believes in this Prophecy, in fact; his entire lineage was formed on that very concept. His sick excuse for an ancestor had mated with the purest of Junsui woman, said to be the daughter of the old Savior and then forced his children to mate with each other for the sake of birthing this new Savior. Every generation following him continued the process and then my parents gave birth to Noah and Judas. It was clear that Judas was pure evil and so it’s quite likely that he is the Supreme, where Noah on the other hand was born with virtually no detectable Junsui properties and so they assumed he was human and planned to cast him out like they did me.

My father stole him before they could and left him with his human family. It was only after that anyone had realized he was so neutral, that they couldn’t detect him easily. Eventually, Judas and our mother tracked Noah down, but rather than kill him then or take him back, Judas thought it’d be fun to make it into some sick game and so they let Noah become the man he is today and even now, Judas still waits idly as Noah continues to become stronger, only willing to fight him when he becomes worthy. It’s all just a real sick game of cat and mouse I think. Regardless of that fact though, my father feels that the only way to ensure Judas’ defeat is for Noah to go with him and train. He claims it’s because only he can show him what it truly means to be a Junsui and teach him to adequately release his powers, but I know that he just wants to make him a goody two shoes like him as he thinks the only way to combat pure evil is with pure holiness. I think he’s wrong though as the prophecy clearly states that only a neutral soul can defeat the Supreme and that pushing the Savior in one direction or the other will only lead to ruin. But he won’t buy it. He says that true goodness and holiness can never lead to ruin.”

“Wow, that is all a bit much for a simple human like me. I think I was able to follow it though. So what’s your plan then? You say that you don’t agree with your father and that his take on the prophecy is wrong, so what do you think? Do you believe the prophecies literal words or do you have your own take? How is Noah going to be useful to you exactly?”

“I don’t believe in that prophecy at all to be honest. I mean, I don’t see how they can be so sure there even is a Supreme Junsui leader let alone that Judas is the one. I mean yea, he’s clearly evil, but does that say for sure he’s this so called Supreme? What evidence do they have beyond the simple fact that he’s evil? Who’s to say there’s not an even more evil Junsui demon out there somewhere? I think both my parents are too full of themselves to think they gave birth to both this Supreme Junsui and the assumed Savior. I mean it’s obvious that Noah is a one of a kind Junsui and I do believe he’s got a calling, but not as this Savior my father is so obsessed with. Rather, I think he could be the Messiah, the one who’s destined to end the Bakemon.”

“The Messiah? Ok, now I think I’m lost. What’s this Messiah and why is it Noah?”

“Ok, well I’m sure you’ve heard of this prophecy, though to us humans it was just a folktale they told when we were young. It was this story that even spawned some of the various adaptations like the Avanar. Did you ever read those comics or watch the cartoons?”

“I think I remember my older brother mentioning it once, but I never shared his interests so I’m not very familiar with it. It was a concept similar to the Marked Children right?”

“Right, that’s exactly what spawned these stories, was the emergence of the Marked Children. Just as it occurred in real life, in the Avanar comics, human children would be born in nations that specialized in a certain element, though in a raw, nature based form and develop abilities aligned with those relevant elements. It was only through scientific investigations that we later realized these children were mutated decedents of the Ancient Junsui Demons. It was also discovered by a reliable historian that way back during the time of the Cursed War, as the Junsui fought amongst themselves, the humans were looking for a way to not only stop the Junsui and end the war, but rid their world of all monsters, that they would later call Bakemon.”

“Oh, I think I know this part of the story! They sought out Leonardo, the world’s most revered blacksmith who had a brush with death at the hands of the Bakemon by killing them with his sword. They asked him to craft the ultimate weapon that would kill the Bakemon King, ultimately ending the existence of all Bakemon. It was believed this Bakemon King was neither human nor Bakemon, but rather they were…a god who could command all the natural elements, making them most associable to the Junsui. Only a holy weapon could kill a god and so it had to be crafted with the essence of all elements. The only way to do this was to make a sword in multiple parts, imbedding an elemental crystal of each element into the steel of each part of the blade, leaving only the base handle undefined. However, because the elemental crystals were so pure, only those who could influence the specific element could touch the relevant piece. However, this angered those that had entrusted him with the task as they felt he had doomed them since the only beings that could control the elements in that way were Junsui Demons. When they asked him why he did it that way and his answer was this. “Only when the Junsui have seen the error of their ways and agree that the world would be better off without them, will their reign end and will the Bakemon King allow them to be free.” After this moment, Leonardo suddenly transformed and they had realized finally his true nature. He was the Bakemon King and he had been testing them to see just how far they might go to end the reign of the Junsui and the Bakemon. He then broke apart the sword into five pieces and sent them with his loyal guardians across all reaches of the world and then disappeared. The people were devastated, but it also made them see their sin. It made them consider the question of, “Should one species be allowed to dictate if another species lives or dies?” They realized what the Bakemon God was trying to get them to see. That a species should govern themselves and respect other species to do the same in their own way. This was The Bakemon King’s way of addressing the problem that was the Junsui Demons. Of all the Bakemon, they were the only ones who posed an active threat, even to this day, and thus, the only ones who need the option of being removed from existence. But this should be their decision to make, not humans or any other Bakemon. That’s the story I remember anyway. Not sure where your Messiah and stuff come into play.”

“Wow, I’m impressed, you know your folklore. You covered most of it to be honest, all that’s left is the prophecy itself. The prophecy that I’ve been researching is this. The Messiah who can control all four elements, will unite the sword with the help of his four disciples, who will join their respective elemental sword fragments with the undefined final fragment and only when the sword has been formed will it activate and be useful against the Bakemon King, who will appear at that moment. However, before that can happen, the four disciples would have to pass a Trial against each of the guardians who protect the fragments. Only with the death of his four guardians will he appear and only the Messiah has the power to destroy him, but to do so, he will have to face a Trial of his own to deal the final blow. Once the Bakemon King has been defeated, he will be rise again and exterminate all Junsui forever, leaving just the peaceful Bakemon who will continue to live silently in their underground nation.”

“I see! So this is where Noah and his team come in. You believe that Noah is this Messiah and the others are his disciples. You wanted them to form a team and become strong so that they could face these trials and recover the sword fragments, so that Noah can unite them and destroy the Bakemon King, ending the threat of the Junsui Demons forever. I get it why Noah is needed as he clearly is the Messiah as he’s the only one who can control all elements, but why the others? Wouldn’t it have to be actual Junsui that recover the sword fragments? That’s the way the Bakemon King made the sword. He specifically made sure that humans couldn’t be involved.”

“That’s just it babe, they’re not humans. They’re not exactly Junsui either, but in between, hybrids. The fact that they can control the natural elements in nature and not just within them is a testament to that fact. No other marked children have EVER been able to do that, even with Junsui blood in them. Scientists have done all sorts of experiments to test these things and no matter how much blood normal marked children would drink; they’d never really develop that ability. They were simply healed, but still were limited to their inner elemental force. However, those four have been able to do it all their lives, they just never knew they could nor did they know how to do so. However, in stressful situations, they could do it without even trying, I saw this first hand with Lili the time she freaked out on me. She was able to control the air around us in her panic and this was long before she ever had a drop of Noah’s blood. Ultimately, I realized that these kids were always hybrids, and Noah’s blood just enhanced them, making them the only perfect Junsui hybrids. This fact is why they’ve always been different and why they were out casted by their peers. This drove them closer to their destiny, to Noah. I knew they were special when I first chose them, but it was only after they were all together that I knew they were indeed the ones I was looking for. Since then I’ve been training them to be strong and preparing them for their greatest mission, the eradication of the Junsui Demons. It’s what the world needs.”

“I understand, but honey if they do this, doesn’t that mean that they’d, Noah would….”

“That’s right. If this mission is successful, Noah will die. However, the others should survive because they’re only hybrids and I’m certain that their human blood will spare them.”

“Do they know about this already? Especially Noah, does he understand what it means if this mission is completed? Is he actually ok with that? What if he changes his mind, will you let him? I don’t want to make you sound cruel, but are you sure he’s doing this of his own will?”

“They know. I told them after that incident and they were all on board, even Noah, especially Noah. He hates the Junsui even more than I do and will do whatever it takes to destroy them all, even if it leads him to his own demise. He’s so eager, he wanted to go right then and there, but I told him that they needed more training. He needed to unlock his full potential and the others needed to learn how to control their newly discovered powers. So I spent that year giving them rigorous training and I even had my father come in and help them with their powers. Here we are a few months after that year and they are putting their training to good use. I felt that making them into an Elite Task Force of the JHF would give them the stamina and drive they needed to start such an arduous journey that will lead them all across the world and give them their greatest challenge yet. They are sure to be tough, those Trials of the Junsuikaoni.”

“Wow, that sounds so heavy. I’m surprised that those kids could take it so well. I mean even if the others won’t die from the Junsui extermination, they could still die in these Trials. I mean, I’d imagine death could be a risk since it’s meant to protect such a sacred item right?”

“It’s true, it’s possible they could die. However, they’re prepared for that. They can’t back down when Noah is ready to give it his all and even sacrifice his own life for the sake of humanity. I told you before, they are a real team now and they respect Noah as their leader. Just as disciples serve their Messiah and are willing to throw down their lives for him, they are willing to put their lives at risk, if it’s what they’re master needs. Besides, they feel even more indebted to him as he did save their lives after all. They are connected by his blood running through their veins and that’s not the type of bond you break so easily. They are bound for life.”

Rebecca takes it all in and finally comes to accept his words. She can see he’s committed to this cause and wouldn’t put his kids at risk unless he truly believed in it and in them. She chuckles under her breath, at how much Mason seems like he really is their father, preparing his children for battle. She’s sure he doesn’t wish to be them at risk, but will for everyone’s well-being. Similarly, his kids will carry out this mission for him because they respect him and he’s been the only parental figure they’ve really known or connected to all these years. Yes, the relationship between those six is a very strange one, but it’s strong and Rebecca realizes that she can’t possibly not root for them. She too resolves to help them in whatever way she can, even as a simple human. “Ok, let’s get dressed now. We’ve missed the movie, but we’ll make our reservations. Move it mister!” She pushes him up and with a grin, he follows her commands.

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