Like a thunder on a clear day. Suddenly Teramoto herself decides to step forward and speak, taking everyone by surprise. And it is not words of denial but of admission: "it was me".
All eyes are now focused on her, and it is almost as if the air itself froze.
What the hell is she thinking? Is she not escaping? Did she decide to confront the beast that is just waiting for a chance to devour her? Did she realize the inevitability of her fate? Is this a signal of surrender, or the prelude of a bold strategy?
Satsukawa: "So the occultism club is behind this after all."
He smiles with confidence, because he is smelling victory in the air. But is it really so, Satsukawa? You would do better not to lower your guard.
Teramoto: "That's correct. We were the ones who brought these girls there."
Satsukawa: "There's much you need to answer for, Maaya Teramoto."
Teramoto: "I'm aware of that, and I intend to explain everything."
Satsukawa: "Are you the one who spread the rumor about the demon haunting the abandoned shed?"
Teramoto: "That's not a rumor, I've bound the demon in that place myself."
I think I just heard Nagaoka growling something. I am not sure what he said exactly, but it was probably not something nice. The reactions among the people on my side are divided between outrage and amusement. As for me, I am enjoying this immensely.
Satsukawa: "So you still claim that it's all true?"
Teramoto: "That's correct."
Satsukawa: "Are we actually supposed to believe that some kind of ancient Babylonian demon is trapped inside a P.E. shed of a Japanese school?"
Teramoto: "If you were wondering why I and everyone else never wanted to talk about this, I think you've just answered yourself."
I know I was supposed to keep quiet, but I just could not help it. This girl is clever! She just took Satsukawa's words and used them against him, anticipating his next move. This was one of the hardest questions to answer: why all the secrecy if there isn't anything bad to hide? And she made Satsukawa himself prove the plausibility of her chosen explanation! Of course they had problems explaining something that unbelievable!
The smile disappeared from Satsukawa's face. I told him that he should not let his guard down! Oh wait, I didn't actually tell him, but this is what he gets for ordering me to keep my mouth shut!
At any rate it seems that nobody paid much attention to my reaction, so no harm is done in the end.
Satsukawa: "All right, Teramoto, why don't you try to explain me the situation."
Teramoto: "It's a very long story and I'm not expecting you to understand it nor to believe it. I will tell you the same things that I told to every person that I've brought there, if that's your wish."
Satsukawa: "I'm listening."
Teramoto assumes a serious expression and takes a deep breath. Her eyes close for a few seconds, and when she opens them again, they are filled with pride and authority. She is no longer a mere high school student, she is a medium, a seer, a person gifted with the power to connect to the unseen world. I am almost drawn into her world and I must fight it back.
She sure has a talent for theatrics, this is what she must have repeatedly done for months in front of many girls of this school, and now we are going to witness it.
Teramoto: "My name is Maaya Teramoto, I am the heir of a family of Shinto priests. The spirit world is vast and mysterious, and originally it was powerful and deeply connected to this land. Spirits resided in almost every thing, they were all around us and we called them kami, our ancestors have been aware of their presence since ancient eras. However the knowledge and the wisdom that allowed us to coexist peacefully with them faded with time. The spirits of this land grew weak, and the people gradually begun to forget about their existence. But many and of various nature are the creatures of the world beyond and while some are good and benevolent, some are not. This weakened land, stripped of the spiritual power that once protected it against malign influences is now rotting and decaying. The balance is broken and even a small turbulence in the flow of existence can create a fertile soil for ancient evils to prosper and grow.
Though it is rare nowadays, there are still people that retain the power to perceive the spirit world and to sense the evil that lurks within. I have inherited this gift, as it is certainly dormant, but still present, in my bloodline.
When I first came to this school, a strong mystical weave, a pulse, overwhelmed me. At first I didn't understand, for I had never perceived such power before. I was struck by a devastating fever and for several weeks I've been bedridden, tormented by excruciating pain and horrible visions. But it was because of one of those visions that I became aware of the truth. A forgotten story was revealed to me by the lost souls that are still bound to this cursed place.
It happened several years ago, during the last war. There was a school on these grounds, a school that existed even before the Mitsugi institute was founded. But the war is merciless and cruel, and the fire of vengeance of the american forces laid waste on this city, burning to dust all that it stood on its path. Hundred of thousands the buildings and the houses that were devoured by the fiery wrath of our enemy, hundred thousands those whose bodies were charred. Among these victims were the students of the school that once existed were we stand.
The sudden and simultaneous loss of so many souls shook the very foundations of the spiritual world, and that turbulence weakened and warped its fabric. That was the sparkle that granted an ancient evil lost in the depths of time the chance to rise once again. I do not know all the particulars, for the spirits themselves ignore them, but somehow a small statuette excavated from the ruins of Babylon had found its way to Tokyo. Traveling many seas, passing from hand to hand, it finally reached this place. Maybe it belonged to a teacher who was obsessed with the ancient civilizations of the west, or maybe it was a student, it matters not. What's really important is that the statuette represented a demon, the demon of the southwestern wind! And on that day, the wind that fed the flames of destruction blew from south-west!
If you are wondering how this idol looked like, you just need to go to the abandoned shed and see it for yourself. For the statue you can find there is an almost exact reproduction. The original is now lost, as it was burned along with the corpses of many students and the entire building that hosted them.
This tragic event created the conditions for the ancient demon to regain strength through the idol that represented him. Souls contain enormous spiritual energy, and so many were released at the same time. They were more than enough for the demon to revive himself, he devoured them in one gulp, and once again he was back to the material world! However, even if he regained his existence, he still missed his original strength and powers. The demon couldn't even move freely, for it was only on that very place that he could sustain his own existence in that delicate form. Many more souls and much more spiritual power was necessary for his full revival! But the day after, there was nothing but burned earth and ashes all around. Ironically, the very flames that revived the demon, also erased all forms of possible nourishment for him. For many years after that day, the demon starved and cursed his destiny. Through extremely improbable circumstances he was revived in this world after millennia of oblivion, and he was bound to disappear again without accomplish a single thing, without even a single living being noticing. But luck was once again on his side, because humans unaware of his presence decided to build another school, right where he was bound.
The demon is wicked and cunning and he planned to slowly draw life force from the students of this school without alarming them, until he would regain enough strength to escape this place and defeat any attempt to be exorcised. This is why nobody noticed anything strange for years, but as time passed, the demon grew impatient, and he became bolder and more daring. Strange incidents happened, chaos and discord spread among the students, and many mysteriously fell ill. When I first arrived, this school was on the verge of a major crisis. The demon's revival was almost complete!
But even with his millenary wisdom and knowledge he couldn't foresee that in this place and age a human with the power to perceive the spiritual world could still exist. The souls of the burned students that he bound to himself noticed me first and all at once they tried to establish a contact with me and to warn me about the great evil that was about to be released on the world. That was the cause of my strange illness. When I finally learned how to control the flow and to protect myself from its deleterious effects, everything became clear. The demon had to be stopped, and only I could do it. I founded the occultism club in order to find all the necessary help that I required for my task and to teach others about the great danger within this school, so that even after my graduation there would still be people knowing what to do in order to keep it under check. After many researches I've finally found a way to bind the demon into an even smaller area so to render it harmless. I chose the abandoned P.E. shed as the place where I would perform the ritual, since it was an isolated building of this school and nobody had used it since several months. The magic circle you have seen there was drawn by me as part of that ritual. Even now it traps the demon and prevents him from extending his influence outside.
However the demon is still strong, he had time to regain much of his original powers since the Mitsugi institute was founded, and the magical circle that binds him needs to be constantly replenished of new spiritual energy. This is the reason behind the frequent rituals that the occultism club takes on that place, and the reason we need to involve so many persons. We need to alternate the people offering their spiritual energy, else they'd grow too weak and the demon would surely use that to his own advantage."