The dust starts to settle, and in it revealed a figure holding against its own against the attack that Howard’s puppet armor had thrusted upon it. The figure stood there without an attire, and under the candle-lit street the audience consisting of Karen, Sakaki, Arthur, Iris, the boy, Elizabeth and Howard is upon the rood of a building, they could not find any special features on its body that could help them deduce what demon it is, or if it indeed is one. It has no hair, no ears – just a mouth on its head and grey skin on a blank slate of a humanoid creature.

Everyone looked in awe. They could not believe what they were looking at. No demon in any records had described something as bone-chillingly uncanny as what is standing in front of them. The Karma had the same thought “is that creature even a demon?” whilst the children felt a rush of unfamiliar air, giving them goosebumps and the first instincts were not of curiosity, but of flight as their fight or flight response had been triggered for the latter.

“Intriguing… Tell me, how did you know exactly where I am,” the figure spoke.

So, it does speak. And it shows curiosity with that question. This creates more questions than answers. What is it? Where did it come from? What spawned it? Arthur asks these questions in his mind. Asking it questions would not be a dashing task. Will it even know the answer to these questions? Like he had said, it had created more questions than answers.

“Answer me,” it prompted again.

“So what Howard said is true, you can speak,” Arthur then pointed towards the ground directly underneath the figure. There lays a piece of sharpened metal, like from the pointed end of a sword. The figure looked down and smiled deviously.

It had no eyes, so how could it even see? Is it using magic? The thoughts ran through every Karma’s mind.

“Ha… Ha… So that is the power of your Will.”

“I simply had it positioned underneath you. I knew where you were based on the movements of the chimeras,” Arthur answered.

“Conceptual weapon users are truly something else entirely. But had you considered this? That boy… He hasn’t given you his name, has been frightened with reason, and traumatised beyond recovery. Look.”

No… Karen immediately knew what the figure was talking about.

“Iris!” she shouted, “Do not let him open the ca-”

Too late – the boy, with his shivering hand, tore through the paper seal on the case, opens it up and grabs the dagger within.

“Even I would never want to deal with someone who is cursed. But my work here is done,” the figure then recalls his chimeras and leapt onto the roof of a nearby house and made its way from the sights of the demon that was about to be born.

And that brings us back to the current predicament.

Karen had successfully snatched the dagger out of the Shade’s grasp, with none of the consequence of holding a Will that one was not passed on to.

Sakaki forced Karen to drop the dagger and reprimanded her, “Are you dumb?! That is risky! What if something similar had happened to you? What if you turned into a Shade? Have you thought about how Iris and I would have felt? And obviously, I would have to take on two Shades!”