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Re: Pray [A Certain Magical Index]

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Mirage, Apr 11, 2019.

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  1. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: End
    Mirage

    Mirage Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Warning: Contains questionable materials.

    Summary: Shokuhou Misaki prays over and over again for the strength to forgive herself as she gradually finds herself willing to do anything just to keep Kamijou Touma by her side, and more importantly, for him to never find out what she has done.





    Misaki wanted to be like Kanami on TV. Not Magical Girl Kanami saving people like a hero, but ordinary Kanami with loving parents who did not treat Kanami like a slave.

    "The dishes aren't going to wash themselves, you stupid girl!" said a plump middle-aged lady.

    This fat bitch was her "stepmother" who must have sold her hideous soul to the devil in exchange for an equally hideous monster willing to marry her.

    Misaki lowered her head as she entered the kitchen. She wasn't going to let anger destroy her image of a meek little girl in front of her "step-parents". Only a meek little girl would be allowed to leave house and buy groceries without any fears of her running away.

    By the time Misaki was done with the dishes, her bitch "stepmother" had already left the house for karaoke with her bitch friends. The meeker Misaki appeared in front of them, the more joy they got from forcing her to do humiliating acts such as licking the floor on all fours in exchange for a small scoop of her favorite vanilla ice cream.

    "Uncle Hiroshi, may I please leave the house to get some groceries for Aunt Hiroshi?" said Misaki as she averted her eyes away from that monster's creepy smile. He usually interprets it as fear, but it was really sheer disgust to the point where if she looked just one second longer, she might actually stab her fingers into his eyes and then finish him with the sharpest blade in the kitchen.

    The monster closed the curtains and made sure the door was locked, "If you're a good girl, sure."

    Misaki took off her clothes slowly, piece by piece before she knelt down on all fours.

    ===

    A large tub of vanilla ice cream was what Misaki needed to forget the bitter aftertaste in her mouth as a portable printer connected to a PC spat out images after images inside a private internet cafe room.

    The Internet was a vast world filled with knowledge, but she had too little time to explore, so the only way was to buy time and money with her body. Misaki hated what that monster would always do to her body every single time, but it was also that monster that taught her the value of her body. It was apparently valuable enough to get money for spy cameras connected to a cloud server and a portable printer.

    Misaki left the internet cafe room for a small police station armed with a brown A4 envelope just across the street. It may be difficult to convict someone of sexual abuse in Japan, but she had evidence so clear that any lawyer who takes her case would win without a doubt.

    Kagurazaka, the area she lived in was rather peaceful, so there wasn't anyone else around inside the station other than the two bored police officers on duty.

    "Please… please save me from this nightmare," said Misaki, her voice trembling as if she would burst into tears any moment. It wasn't exactly an act to garner sympathy, but more of her choosing to reveal her vulnerabilities at the right moment.

    A police officer opened the A4 envelope, and to Misaki's surprise, the officer seemed to be rather nonchalant as he looked through the pictures.

    "Are you sure you didn't use any photo editing tools to frame an innocent man?" said the officer.

    Misaki shook her head, "Please believe me. Whatever you see in the picture is true! I even have-"

    "Alright, that's enough." said another police officer as he chucked the A4 envelope and the pictures into a paper shredder, "Mr Hiroshi is a respectable businessman who took you in out of kindness and I won't allow an ungrateful brat like you to ruin his life."

    Misaki stomped out of the police station. Fine. Maybe the police station in Shibuya will take her case more seriously!

    From the corner of her vision, she noticed a man following her. Was that monster secretly in cahoots with the local police and had that man on standby to follow her if evidence of him sexually abusing her appears?

    Misaki sprinted into an alley. She took off her necklace and hurled it into a dustbin. This necklace was a special USB stick in disguise manufactured by Academy City, a city with technology 30 years ahead of the world. Even if her cloud server was hacked into by Academy City's technology, she still had this necklace as her final backup which she must retrieve by Thursday morning before the garbage collectors arrive.

    Waiting at the exit of the alley was that man with a gun pointed at her.

    "What do you want from me?" said Misaki as she inched backwards. There was no way she could ever outrun a bullet, but maybe if she inched backwards enough, she could leap sideways and disappear from that man's view.

    The man pulled the trigger, and Misaki fell to the ground paralysed. There was nothing she could do to fight back or scream as the man stripped her and stuffed her clothes into his bag. He was someone hired by that monster Hiroshi to follow her as soon as she left the house. Whatever she had been planning was never a secret. No wonder the police were so nonchalant when she showed them the evidence. They were all in this together!

    "I'm not here for your necklace," said the man with a smirk, "I'm here for you. You've had your fun with so many men that one more wouldn't matter, right? I promise to leave you alone for good once I'm finished."

    Tears leaked from the corners of Misaki's eyes.

    Just a shitty deal where she gets nothing in return. Nothing to cry about. Nothing to cry about...

    Yet the tears won't stop flowing.

    ===

    Kamijou Touma walked through an alley to avoid the crowd in the bustling street of Shibuya, known to be the most energetic district in Tokyo. Not everyone he touches is doomed to be cursed with misfortune, but he'd rather not take that risk. There was nothing to be afraid of when only the most desperate of people would be willing to rob or assault him.

    Touma felt something sharp pressing against his back.

    "You must be new here," said Touma. "Or you simply have nothing else to lose."

    "Shut up and hand over all your money!" said a male voice.

    Touma turned around to see a disheveled man with tattered clothes. The man must be so poor that the knife he was holding with grimy fingers was yellowish and rusty. Touma ignored the man's desperate screams for him to stop moving as he casually reached into his pocket.

    "Good luck," said Touma as he dropped a few thousand yen on the floor. A weak attempt to make himself feel better for destroying the lives of many innocent people just by touching them, but an attempt nonetheless.

    Bluish electric currents shocked the man unconscious. Touma read about Academy City, and how that incredible city actually managed to produce espers, or people with supernatural abilities, but to see one in person was still quite the experience.

    "You alright?" said a girl who was an esper that could shoot lightning out of her fingertips.

    "I should be asking you that question."

    "What? Do I look not alright to you?"

    "You just shocked a grown man unconscious! How is that alright to you?!"

    The girl laughed, "Oh, he'll be fine after a hour or two. Trust me, I've done this over a hundred times."

    She was definitely not alright. Mentally, at least.

    "You are?" said Touma.

    "Misaka Mikoto. And you?" said Mikoto with an outstretched hand.

    "The last time I shook someone's hand, he was admitted to the hospital for six months when a tree fell onto him. My name is Kamijou Touma by the way, the boy who brings misfortune to whoever he touches."

    Mikoto grabbed hold of his hands just like one of the many who didn't believe in things like "luck", but that doesn't make her immune to the fact that something horrible was probably going to happen to her soon. Maybe less horrible than the others since she wasn't normal, but the opposite could also be true.

    "You need to change your backward superstitious thinking," said Mikoto, "Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action. Have you ever wondered if there's someone behind all the unfortunate things that happens to whoever you touch?"

    Touma blinked. The idea of someone screwing over whoever he touches on purpose had never really occurred to him. If that someone really exists, then why would he or she do that? Drive him out of Japan to where?

    Sparks flew erratically out of Mikoto's bangs.

    "What did you do to me?!" said Mikoto.

    Touma shielded himself from a stray lightning bolt with his right hand. The lightning bolt vanished without a trace. He couldn't exactly remember why his right hand could negate supernatural powers, but it had something to do with one of his previous lives who dealt with dragons.

    Mikoto's electric outburst calmed down when a necklace fell out of her pocket.

    "I told you so. Bad things happen to people who touches me," said Touma.

    "Huh, I had no idea that this necklace was technology from Academy City."

    "What do you mean by- oh god."

    The necklace, despite its small size, was sophisticated enough to project a video onto the wall. He even recognized the girl in that video. She once appeared briefly in a news article for having star-shaped irises. Meanwhile, the man in the video was a rich businessman who organized an event once or twice in Kagurazaka together with his father Kamijou Touya.

    Mikoto switched off the necklace with a confused frown, "That was a really weird video. Do you know what's going on in that video?"

    Touma shook his head because it was easier than explaining. He envied Mikoto for not knowing that the video she just watched was clear evidence of a man sexually abusing a young girl. It may not seem that way because the girl wasn't in tears, but not everyone expresses their pain through tears.

    "I shouldn't have expected much from an idiot like you."

    A man stepped out from the shadows. He was dressed like how one would expect from an agent in a generic spy movie with a black suit and sunglasses. Anyone wearing sunglasses at night was either someone from Academy City or a psychiatric hospital.

    "Please hand over the necklace to me," said the agent. "I'm from an organization in Academy City tasked to retrieve technology smuggled out from Academy City."

    "What organization?" said Mikoto. "Judgement? Anti-Skill? I'd prefer to hand it over to Anti-Skill myself once I return to Academy City."

    The agent took out a tablet displaying Mikoto's profile as a Level 2 Electromaster, "Please don't make things difficult for me."

    Mikoto reluctantly handed the necklace over to the agent, "Fine."

    "What's wrong?" said Touma as the agent disappeared into the shadows again. The agent did seem rather suspicious just from his looks alone, but Touma wasn't confident of going against a trained agent with a gun probably hidden somewhere in his suit.

    "You wouldn't understand since you aren't from Academy City. Anyway, I just have a bad feeling about this," said Mikoto before waving goodbye.

    It did not matter to Touma where the necklace went because handing it to the police would do absolutely nothing. That man in the video, which Touma remembered now as Hiroshi Goro, had a certain influence in the police force due to his connections. That fucker also almost succeeded in framing him for murder because of the influence he had.

    Touma had his ways of ensuring that the girl would get the justice she deserves. Actually, there was just one way. A fist across that disgusting fucker's face!

    The agent reappeared from the shadows, "Perhaps I could be of assistance if you want to find that girl."

    "What exactly are you?" said Touma.

    The agent lit up a cigar with an amused smile, "If I told you I was actually a golden retriever controlling this artificial body from a distance, would you believe me?"

    "I suppose a talking golden retriever would attract too much attention to whatever you are doing."

    If it's Academy City, even a fish who could fly and talk wouldn't be that surprising. In fact, a talking golden retriever was just boring compared to what Academy City can do. It has technology 30 years ahead of the world after all.

    "Right now, you're the only one who can save that girl, but you have to find her first before it's too late."

    ===

    Misaki sat alone in an abandoned church wearing clothes that a dog offered her out of nowhere by chance. If there was really a God, has He abandoned her just like how the people of Shibuya had abandoned that statue of Jesus Christ now covered with grime and dust? For a while, she was happy with life in Milan with her mother until the Mafia kidnapped her and killed her mother for trying to save her. This must be the moment that God for whatever reasons decided that she wasn't worth the effort anymore and abandoned her.

    Sure, Olly the Octopus and his friend Silvia saved her from the Mafia using magic like Magical Girl Kanami, and of course it wasn't fair for them to be her new adoptive parents so they sent her to Japan to live with someone they thought would at least treat her like a human being, but God had already abandoned her at this point, so of course nothing good came out of this arrangement.

    Misaki hugged her knees in tears. The moment the police finds her it's all over. The monster Hiroshi would never let her out of his house ever again. Her limbs would be chopped off to stop her from escaping!

    "I don't deserve this… I'm a good girl who did nothing wrong..."

    If there was something wrong she did to piss off God, then it would be her refusing to go to church every Sunday with her mother because she wanted to watch Winx Club instead. Would a miracle from God happen if she said sorry and promise to go to church every Sunday from now on?

    "You alright?" said a boy with black spiky hair around her age.

    Misaki jumped out of the bench in shock. The boy appeared right beside her without a sound. She frantically wiped her tears away, but maybe she should have kept crying to earn some valuable sympathy points from him.

    "I'm fine, thank you."

    "Are you lost? Do you need me to call the police?"

    "No! Don't call the police, please!"

    "Are you a runaway child criminal or something? A shame that there's no priest here for you to confess your sins."

    Was this boy… mocking her?! It would seem really awkward if her reply to his snarkiness was a sob story about being sexually abused by a monster.

    "Your hairstyle is the most pathetic imitation of Takahashi Hideo I've ever seen. Are you here to seek forgiveness from God for offending everyone with your hideous spiky hair?"

    The boy chuckled, "Come on, it's not that bad. Besides, if God exists, then he must be a pretty shitty asshole for allowing so many bad things to happen."

    Misaki hurled a shoe at the grimy and dusty statue of Jesus Christ. If she was strong enough, she would have also hurled the bench. "You have no idea how much God screwed me over just because I didn't attend church every Sunday. If you can hear me God, not even you are above karma! You'll also burn in Hell with those damned souls you call sinners!"

    The boy climbed onto the altar and pushed the statue down. Jesus Christ broke into half with a resounding bang. "Feeling better?"

    Misaki didn't know what came over her when she hugged that boy. An overwhelming desire to express her gratitude because it had been so long since anyone treated her nicely without demanding for sex in return? Or was it something more than that?

    "Don't worry. Everything will be alright," said the boy.

    No, everything won't be alright when the police arrives. They had every right to return her back to that monster Hiroshi. There was nothing the boy could do unless he had some kind of magic that could force the police to bow to his will like what Olly the Octopus did to the Mafia.

    "My name is Kamijou Touma by the way. What's yours?"

    "Misaki. Shokuhou Misaki. Wait… are you that Kamijou Touma? The legendary god of pestilence?!"

    Touma forced a smile, "Yeah, that's me. Not a fan of that title though."

    "You have no idea how you've just saved my life!"

    The police sirens and the red flashy light through the broken windows was no longer her end. Misaki walked out of the church with her hands locked together with Touma. That wiped the monster's phony concerned smile off his face.

    No police came after her or Touma as they left through a side-path. In their eyes, she was now also cursed with the same type of misfortune as Touma just by coming into contact with him, or that whatever misfortune that was going to happen to her soon would also affect them as well. Even that monster Hiroshi must have thought the same and decided not to take the risk. No police nor that monster would want her around Kagurazaka anymore. She was finally free thanks to Touma.

    Misaki never expected a boy cursed with spreading misfortune to others wherever he goes to be someone so carefree in the sense that he refused to let his curse not take away his rights to be himself. He was someone she could at least respect even if he was still an asshole for calling her a runaway child criminal when she was actually a victim.

    It would be nice if she could keep on holding his hands even as the light drizzle turned into heavy rain.

    "It's raining," said Touma.

    "I know."

    "You must really like the rain."

    Misaki nodded. To hold hands with a guy she likes under the rain was a romantic fantasy come true.

    "No regrets?"

    There was no way she would ever regret this.

    ===

    It took Misaki three days before she recovered from flu and fever. She was an idiot for not realizing that people can get sick from being in the rain for too long, but Touma didn't have to rub that fact into her face by chucking yet another pack of instant oatmeal porridge into a shopping basket. Throbbing headaches were nothing compared to the agony of not being able to eat anything sweet.

    "I've already eaten that for the past three days already! Are we going to be eating this for the rest of our lives?!" said Misaki.

    "Of course not. Unless you really like oatmeal porridge..." said Touma as he placed a strawberry ice cream cone into the basket with a playful grin.

    Touma may look around the same age as her, but he seemed to be much, much more mature than he looks. Perhaps he was also like her, a child forced to grow up in a cruel world to survive.

    Not everyone Touma touches gets cursed with misfortune, but because he didn't want to risk it, he had to do grocery shopping at an 24 hours convenience store with a self checkout kiosk past midnight where everyone was asleep. If he was actually in pain from living such an isolated life, then he had done a great job in hiding it behind a mask through his carefree attitude.

    Misaki devoured her strawberry ice cream cone as she sat at the park bench beside Touma. "Maybe magic might have a cure for your curse. I know a guy who used magic when he saved me from the Mafia during my time in Milan. His name is Olly the Octopus."

    "A talking male octopus from Academy City who can somehow survive on land?"

    "No, that's just a nickname I gave him. I don't remember his real name, but he knocked out a group of thugs just by looking at them. It was the coolest thing I've ever seen! So I named him Olly the Octopus because it's like he had invisible arms that knocked everyone unconscious."

    "Any idea how we can find Olly the Octopus then?"

    Misaki frowned. Olly the Octopus certainly didn't leave his contact number with her. In fact, he didn't even have a phone, and she was also an idiot for not asking how she could contact him if she ever needed him.

    Touma leaned back with a smile, "It's okay."

    Misaki wondered what was Touma hiding behind his smile as he stared at the starless night sky. She had only known him for three days, so it probably wasn't nice of her to ask about his personal issues, but there was at least one thing she could do for him.

    Misaki kissed Touma on his cheeks. People might call her naive or stupid, but she still wanted to believe that Touma isn't like the others who would treat her nicely just to have sex with her. If she hadn't fallen into despair yet, then there's no reason for him to.

    "That's… that's uh, sexual harassment. I can sue you for that," said Touma, his cheeks tinged red with embarrassment.

    "Not if you're cute."

    Touma reached behind her ears and pulled out a small cherry blossom flower, "Flowers for the cute girl?"

    This magical moment between her and Touma was overwhelmingly beautiful yet tragically short just like that cherry blossom flower. If their time together was destined to be like a cherry blossom flower, then when it all ends, could she achieve an ending with Touma without an end?



    Author's Note:

    I thought of putting this story in the NSFW section, but then I decided that people over there are more interested in graphic description of sex, which this story probably won't ever have.

    This story is really about a girl who becomes so insecure with her own dirty past that she's willing to do anything just to make sure Touma stays by her side, but you probably would have figured it out from the summary.

    Anyway, I hope you like the chapter.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
    Oniele likes this.
  2. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: Sinner
    Mirage

    Mirage Your first time is always over so quickly, isn't it?

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    Hiroshi Goro waved the prostitute out of his hotel room before pouring himself a glass of red wine. Sex with a minor wasn't that much of a difference with an adult if they were both cute. The legal ramifications however was a different story.

    Satoshi, the man he sent to retrieve Misaki's clothes attached with nano spy cameras and the necklace, wasn't answering his calls. Maybe those people from Academy City finally managed to arrest Satoshi for illegally smuggling their technology out and sell them for millions. The problem now was what those people would do with the necklace and Misaki's clothes. If he was lucky, they would just delete the videos found in the necklace and the nano spy cameras and refurbish them. If not, they might choose to blackmail him for even more money.

    A spiky-haired boy smiled before hurling a fist across his face.

    Anyone touched by that spiky-haired boy named Kamijou Touma would be cursed with misfortune.

    And he had just been touched by that boy!

    Touma sprinted out of the room abnormally fast without making a sound. He must be wearing some sort of specialized clothes from Academy City.

    Goro smashed the wine bottle over the TV screen. That bastard Kamijou Touya finally decided to make use of his son's curse to gain an advantage over him. If only Touma was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment! Fucking dumb juries who insisted on upholding the law despite knowing that this boy was a walking plague who would infect everyone with misfortune.

    The end of the world is near for as long as Kamijou Touma remains alive. And when the end arrives, no amount of praying to their gods is going to help.

    ===

    The city below Touma from a rooftop stood alive with flashy neon lights and people despite the ungodly hours. Kabukicho was not called the 'Sleepless Town' for nothing after all.

    A teenage girl in a lab coat who introduced herself as Kihara Yuiitsu nodded satisfactorily as she scribbled down notes on her clipboard. In exchange for borrowing the experimental suit tentatively named as Hard Taping to deliver justice to that rapist Hiroshi Goro, Touma had to sit through an interview with this girl with regards to his experience when wearing the suit. His only complaint was that his muscles felt particularly sore after a short while, but it turns out that this was an unintended side effect which they were trying to fix for several months already.

    "Thank you for your cooperation," said Yuiitsu before leaving the rooftop.

    Yuiitsu was a niece of the agent he met three days ago at the alley.

    "So… were you a human turned into a golden retriever, or a golden retriever enhanced with human intelligence?" said Touma to the agent whose real name was Kihara Noukan and not Agent Smith from a classic movie called The Matrix.

    Noukan lit up a cigar, "Let's just say the Kiharas would rather revive me as a golden retriever than to let me die."

    "I think I can understand how you feel."

    The power in his right hand like the Kiharas, would rather revive him in a different form than to let him die and leave for another person until a suitable human host was born again.

    "It's not that bad being a golden retriever once you get used to it. The day I ended my life was the day I decided it was fine if I wasn't human anymore."

    "Let me guess, because of a woman you loved?"

    Noukan exhaled a puff of smoke, "Yes."

    Out of the countless lives Touma had, he was only human three times with his current life as the third one. His first human life was so long ago he couldn't remember anything. His second human life though, was 1700 years ago. The memories were vague, and the only thing clear enough was the back view of a… woman.

    "Love can be such a burden sometimes."

    "Speaking from experience? Young people like you nowadays mature faster than I expected."

    Touma rubbed his temples to ease his headaches. The memories were becoming clearer now. He ended his second life because of a woman he once loved like Noukan. It was a odd feeling that might be related to his second life who dealt with dragons, but if it wasn't for that woman, he would have ascended as a god who could end this world with just a thought.

    ===

    Misaki dusted off a laptop she found inside a cabinet near the TV. Touma was out doing his midnight shopping at that convenience store despite making a large purchase at one go yesterday midnight enough for a week because there were some stuffs he 'forgot' to buy.

    The screen lit up. As much as Misaki wanted to know the truth behind his 'midnight shopping', she had only known him for four days. A laptop needs time to be ready for use. Same thing with Touma. Be patient and slowly but surely Touma would reveal more of himself to her, provided she play her cards right. Was he really that nice to let her stay in his house for as long as she wanted, or was it all just a facade?

    Misaki successfully logged into her secure cloud server. Touma thought his bad luck destroyed the laptop the moment he switched it on, but it was just the laptop being an asshole. Come to think of it, the TV was also another asshole who would refuse to switch on if it was Touma. The only entertainment Touma had left was books, and true to his bad luck, books happened to be something he hated. Comics were okay though.

    All of her saved videos containing evidence of that monster sexually abusing her was deleted. The only thing left was a note from a person who signed off as a Kihara.

    If it makes you feel better, the person who raped you at the alley is dead.

    How nice of the person who hacked into her server to leave a name. It would have been better if that person at least provided a picture of that rapist being torn apart limb by limb though. It doesn't really matter anyway. She was already free from that monster thanks to Touma.

    Misaki shut the laptop down when she heard the creaking sound of the front door being opened.

    Touma plopped himself onto the sofa. What kind of 'midnight shopping' could possibly exhaust him to the point where he was about to fall asleep at any moment?

    "You didn't even buy anything," said Misaki.

    "Something happened along the way."

    "What happened?"

    "An opportunity to punch that fucker in the face."

    Apparently, the monster Hiroshi also attempted to frame Touma for murder because he wanted Touma to disappear from this world. Touma decided that enough was enough after hearing her partially true story of that monster physically abusing her whenever she wasn't fast enough to tend to he and his wife's needs.

    Touma chuckled, "I think I deserve a reward for that."

    Who was she kidding? All men were the same. They just only want one thing when they decide to be the hero. She was dumb and stupid to think that Touma would be different.

    Misaki knelt down in front of Touma with a smile, "Sure."

    Before she could reach for his pants, he grabbed her arm and helped her back to her feet.

    "Could you make me a bowl of oyakodon? I'm starving like hell over here."

    ===

    Misaki could finally let herself cry freely as she chopped onions in the kitchen. There was no way Touma could possibly be that nice to her without demanding sex. It might also be possible that he has no idea what sex was given his age, but the way he looked at her wasn't confusion. He knew what she was about to do. Must have somehow secretly read too much of his father's porn magazines.

    Cooking a meal for someone worth it was true happiness she hadn't felt for a long time.

    ===

    Satoshi found himself chained to a bed, spreadeagled and naked. He remembered being chased by an Academy City agent before a flash bomb went off, and then he was knocked unconscious by someone.

    "Anyone here?" said Satoshi.

    Also, why was he stripped naked? If it was punishment for smuggling Academy City's technology to the outside world, he should have been shot dead by now.

    A muscular African man appeared with a monster dildo. He had muscles so huge he looked like he could tear people into half with just his bare hands. Even the wooden floor shuddered in fear as he walked.

    "Finally awake, ching chong?" said the African man. Or African-American judging from his accent.

    "What the fuck is going on here? Why am I being tied up like this?"

    "That's because you've been a really bad boy."

    "I don't understand what-"

    Satoshi howled in pain as the African-American man rammed the dildo up his ass without any lubricant.

    "First, I'd like to thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to teach this motherfucking rapist a lesson on empathy. Amen," said the African-American man.

    Anguished screams filled the air as the African-American man proceeded to violently destroy Satoshi's anus with that monster dildo of his.

    ===

    Misaki served tea to Touma's parents, who came to visit him after their holiday in Europe. There were many people who wanted to kill them just for being Touma's parents, but none of them ever succeeded. It was like God had been protecting them from any harm and from Touma's misfortune in secret. Because of that however, Touma decided it was best he lived alone to satisfy the desires of those indirectly affected by his misfortune to see him miserable and isolated from everyone.

    Misaki flashed a grin at Touma's despairing look. His childhood must be filled with many embarrassing events she could laugh at.

    "Mum, you know I love you right?" said Touma.

    "You have nothing to worry about. Now go inside the room with your father while I have a nice chat with your girlfriend over a cup of tea," said Touma's mother.

    Girlfriend as in a friend who happened to be a girl, unfortunately. With enough time, that can be changed to romantic partner who happened to be a girl. Touma's parents seemed to like her a lot, so that's half the battle won already. What was there not to like about? She carried out her duties as a housewife, even though she wasn't exactly one, flawlessly.

    "Please just don't show her that video," said Touma.

    Touma's mother laughed, "You have my word."

    Kamijou Shiina, who was Touma's mother, took out her smartphone and started showing Misaki pictures after pictures of Touma when he was just a toddler. It was a time when Touma had no idea how much misfortune he would bring to people just by touching them, and so, the smiles he had as a toddler was the most genuine smile Misaki could ever see from him. How long has it been since Touma felt true happiness?

    Shiina paused at a picture where toddler Touma was standing with his preschool classmates, "I've never considered myself as a religious person, but I've been praying everyday to God for Him to not let Touma live the rest of his life alone," and then smiled at Misaki, "I'm so glad that you're here with him."

    "Touma may have destroyed many lives with his misfortune, but his misfortune saved my life. My psychopathic abusive parents are so paranoid about me spreading Touma's misfortune to them that they finally left me alone in peace."

    It was a common saying among many Catholics that God always has a plan. Did God really murder her mother and put her through so much just to ensure that she was in the right situation to meet Touma? The simpler explanation was that God was an asshole and he did all this just because he could.

    "Let's make a small deal," said Shiina.

    "A deal?"

    "Try to get Touma out of this house more often, and I'll tell you about the video that he doesn't want me to show anybody."

    Misaki offered a handshake, "Deal."

    ===

    It wasn't very hard to get Touma out of the house if it was a midnight stroll in Yoyogi Park because no one in their right mind would be there at such an ungodly hour. The goal, though almost impossible, was to eventually get Touma out of the house during the day.

    "What's the difference between a snot and a broccoli?" said Misaki.

    "Shut up."

    "You only told your mum not to show the video, not that she couldn't describe the video in words."

    The video was just Touma telling a really lame joke to his parents, and for some reason he seemed to be really embarrassed about that joke. Anyway, he should be embarrassed because that joke was just... bad. The answer to the joke was that there's no difference. Really? No difference?

    "Think about it," said Touma, "If I put snot or broccoli into your bowl of ice cream, you'd feel equally disgusted, right?"

    "I'd go bring you to see a psychiatrist because you clearly have issues. By the way, that's pity I feel for you, not disgust."

    Touma got a drink from the vending machine and tossed it over to Misaki with a smile, "Very practical. I like you."

    Misaki would have been fooled by his smile if she hadn't noticed Touma pressing the option for a vegetable juice and muttered how unlucky he was when a strawberry soda came out of the machine. Still, the cold soda was not cold enough to soothe the burning sensation on her cheeks. It wasn't fair how a casual compliment from Touma could make her feel that way so easily.

    "Tell me more about your family and your childhood in Italy. It's not fair that you only know about mine," said Touma.

    Her childhood in Italy before the Mafia appeared wasn't very interesting. Every day, she would just stay at home and watch TV while her mother was out at work. Sometimes, they would go to church together for Sunday evening services.

    Her family though, was more interesting. Her mother was Japanese, and her father was British and not Italian. She was an 'accident' from her mother's one night stand, but God always has a plan as her mother always says, so she was instead a gift from God even though an accident would be more accurate.

    "... I think my father was from the Birdway family, or at least that's what Olly told me. It's a rich family, so they probably didn't want another person to fight over their assets and refused to take me in. So Olly looked into Japan, and that's how I ended up with my step-parents."

    Touma ran his hand through Misaki's hair. He may be looking at her, but Misaki could tell he was really looking at someone else.

    "How could I have forgotten… you have the same hair as her," said Touma.

    Misaki leaned closer to the point where their lips were almost touching, "Who is she? Your ex-girlfriend?"

    "It's complicated."

    "Yes or no?"

    "I don't-"

    Touma grabbed the blade of a knife with his right hand. It happened so fast that Misaki didn't even see his hand move.

    The terrified figure holding an improvised crossbow was that monster Hiroshi Goro, unkempt and dressed in tattered clothing. A far cry from his usual disgustingly impeccable self. He scampered off into the trees like a sewer rat.

    "Are you alright?! Do you need me to call the ambulance?" said Misaki. There was so much blood dripping from Touma's right hand.

    Touma dipped his right hand into a river, "Don't worry about it."

    If he was bleeding, there must be a wound. After washing off the blood, there was no wound to be found on his right hand.

    "You can do magic?" said Misaki.

    "What exactly do you even mean by magic? Like using mana to cast spells or something?"

    Olly did explain magic as the conversion of life force into mana which then can be used to cast spells, but Misaki felt that there was something much more to it than what Olly was willing to reveal.

    "It's probably not magic then," said Touma. "I may not remember much, but I'm sure that the power in my right hand isn't magic."

    "Then what is it?"

    "You'd think I'm crazy, but the power in my right hand can do far more crazy things than what you've ever seen."

    Misaki extended her pinky, "I promise I'd believe anything you say."

    "Alright..."

    Apparently, Touma had past lives because the power in his right hand would keep reviving him in different forms. Out of those past lives, only three of them was him being human, with this current life as his third one. Or was this all just a psychological trauma caused by his apparent misfortune?

    Touma grabbed her hand, "Let's go. It's not safe here."

    "So that girl who has the same hair as me, she's like your ex from 1700 years ago?" said Misaki as they quickly made their way out of the park.

    Like with all mentally ill patients, it was better to play along with their delusions. Of course, there was a reasonable chance that what Touma said could be true, and if that happens, then she would score massive points for being one of the few people who believed in him.

    "If she's the only person I remember, I guess she must be someone really important?"

    Misaki swore she would someday also become someone important to him-

    A gunshot rang out.

    Misaki clutched the sides of her abdomen to stop the bleeding as she crumpled to the ground. It appears that her short-lived happiness with Touma was coming to an end.

    Touma stood shell-shocked and almost in tears, a rare display of vulnerability from him. He tried calling the ambulance, but as expected from his misfortune, the phone chose not to work at this critical moment. He hurled the phone down and crushed it with a foot.

    "I... didn't expect for things to go so wrong," said Touma.

    "You found my necklace, didn't you?"

    Touma nodded.

    Misaki reached a hand towards Touma with whatever strength she had left to wipe the tears off his face and ended up smearing his face with blood. There was so much more she wanted to tell Touma, and yet 'Thank you' was all she could manage.

    She should have figured it out from the start. Touma went to great lengths to isolate himself from society because of his ability to curse people with misfortune by touching them. It would take more than a simple story of being physically abused by step-parents for him to intentionally curse someone.

    Olly's appearance from a yellow burst of light surprised Misaki. Even as he healed her wounds using magic, her mind was still slipping away. A pity that she couldn't remain awake to find out what was Olly talking about with Touma beyond him telling Touma that she would be fine once she wakes up.

    ===

    Noukan went through Yuiitsu's findings with a metallic pair of extensions from his golden retriever body as a pleasant scent of eggs and bacon drifted from the kitchen. Her hypothesis was that Kamijou Touma's unnatural reaction speed for a 8 year old should be sufficient for him to save his partner Shokuhou Misaki from an ambush attack based on data gathered when Touma wore the still experimental Hard Taping suit.

    First phase of the experiment. A specially engineered crossbow that fired a knife at approximately 300 km per hour. The result was him catching the knife without a problem.

    As the first phase was extremely successful, the second phase of the experiment shall be conducted. This time, a gun that fired a bullet at approximately 3000 km per hour. The result was a failure as expected.

    Distance of weapon from Kamijou Touma in both phases have been kept constant throughout at approximately 500 metres. In conclusion, Kamijou Touma may be faster than most humans, he is unlikely to be fast enough to dodge bullets.

    Yuiitsu served a plate of eggs and bacon to Noukan with a smile, "So, what do you think? I was really looking forward to him actually catching a bullet. What a shame he was such a disappointment."

    Noukan grabbed a piece of bacon strip with his metallic extensions, "I guess it's a matter of preference, but you should refrain from killing your experimental subjects unless it's for a very good reason."

    "That seems very un-Kihara like. Are those rumors of you turning into a failure like Uncle Kagun true?"

    "Have you ever considered that there might be more value in keeping Shokuhou Misaki alive than the results from your frivolous experiment?"

    Yuiitsu pinched off a piece of bacon strip from Noukan's plate, "Is there something about Shokuhou Misaki that I don't know?"

    "Like I said, it's just a matter of preference. I like to keep my experimental subjects alive because I get more insights from them alive than dead."

    "That's an interesting way of looking at things. I'll... keep that in mind."

    Noukan slapped Yuiitsu's hand away before she could steal another piece of bacon from his plate.

    Yuiitsu pouted, "Alright, alright," before waltzing into the kitchen to cook a plate for herself.

    Minus the complete disregard of human lives, Yuiitsu's curiosity did remind him quite a bit of the woman he once loved. It was an open secret that he almost betrayed the ideals of being a Kihara because of that woman who melted the bitter coldness in his heart with love. The day she died was when whatever little that remained of his conscience died as well.

    Or so he thought.

    Letting Yuiitsu have her fun with experimenting on Hiroshi Goro was far too merciful of him.
     
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