My father used to tell me that pain is the proof of existence. It let's you know when you're being hurt and more importantly it let's you know you're alive.Without it people will live only in haze of useless living.
Don't give me that look, I'm no masochist... at least I think I'm not. I'm definitely not enjoying the situation I'm in.
Why am I saying such weird things?
Well, The night after I ate the bead that grandpa gave me I slept well. At around 3:00 though I woke up in cold sweat, feeling cramps all over my body. Have you ever had a cramp? Imagine having a cramp in every muscle you have all at the same time.
There was pain, then there was torture. I think even without telling you know what I'm feeling.
It felt as if my bones were cracking under the pressure of my muscles and that my muscles were tearing itself apart. Black blood was running from my nose and due to my struggling I fell off from my bed to the hard wooden floor of my room.
At around 5:00 am or so the pain receded. It felt longer than it did really. Like that I decided to find the old man instead of waiting for him.
"∆∆∆∆∆∆∆~" As usual I couldn't understand the whispering so I ignored it. I looked at myself in the mirror covered in sticky black blood, I couldn't help but think that perhaps I bit off more than I could chew.
Oddly enough, I felt really good an hour later. My muscles were sore as sore can be but they felt energized somewhat. I just chalked it up to a blessing and went to that park.
I looked around for a bit hoping that the old man was somewhere around these parts.
Even though I said I'll look for him I actually have no experience in this sort of routine. I read a few detective Conan manga as a kid. That's the extent of my knowledge regarding detective work.
That's why I spent the morning wandering around like a fool. Just as I was going to give up though things changed.
"Fufufufu, You look well." The beggar said to me, from the back. You probably misheard it but I gave off a manly bellow from the suddenness of his appearance.
The beggar, should I be calling him master, looked like he did from that time. Unchanged really.
"Grandpa, what was that thing you gave me?" I asked. His eyes wrinkled as he gave me a wide smile,gesturing towards a bench all the while.
As we got seated he began talking.
"In every type of written human history there are mentions of Gods, Spirits, Divine beasts... Things of legend, of myth." He said, his voice was soothing and it was even of a higher quality than even the teachers at school. He definitely got my attention.
"Every culture has it's religion espousing virtues and what not, more importantly praising godlike beings, warning us of monsters that lurk in the dark."
"They were real. In fact they were something of more substance than you and I. They are existence that the world was meant to hold. We humans are just as animals to them as animals are to us." He continued. What was he saying? Gods and spirits were real? Divine beasts? I'm not a particularly religious person so I looked at him with a bit of skepticism.
"Humans of course worshiped them, at first. As you know however human nature is a fickle thing eventually we grew envious of their power.People discovered ways to bind these divine beings and use their powers." If I didn't experience the things I did because of that bead I'd have called this grandpa crazy. Instead I chose to give him the benefit of the doubt.
"Bind them? So the gods disappeared because humans took them as slaves?" I asked.
"Don't be silly, gods are akin to sons and daughters of creation. No matter what we do we can't take them on so casually. We took the weaker spirits and divine beasts though. Usurped their power, took their divinity and made it ours." He said giving me a toothy grin. I didn't say anything as my mind whirled through what he was saying to me.
He gave me time to process things, I eventually asked. "Didn't the gods get angry?"
"Fufufufu, of course they did! They descended to the earth from the heavens,when spirits and divine beasts began falling one by one. They smote those who dared to steal from the heavens but... they were too late to act. Within the time they ignored us, four great humans emerged, holding power on par to even the eldest of gods. Thus these four forced the gods into hiding ending the era of the gods." He stood up arms wide open and exclaimed.
"Young man, you are a person who received a sealed divinity. You are someone who devoured what was meant for the heavens!Thief! Usurper! They call us. It doesn't matter how lowly a name they give us because in the end we were conquerors!" Grandpa stared right into my eyes.
His formerly black eyes shining bright blue. I felt my very soul stirring up as if excited from his speech.
"That bead I gave you is something leftover from days of unrest. Given your unique usurpation I thought it would be best for you." He said calming down thankfully.
Unique usurpation? I felt dizzy all of the sudden. My mind can't handle all this revelations. Is this how a manga protagonist feel like?
He sat down again and began to explain.
Usurpation is the ability of a human to take and use the divinity of divine beings. It differs from person to person, some people has a variation that makes their usurpation unique to them.
It can be classified into three basic categories. Domination, Integration and Coordination.
Anyway Domination is the type of usurpation where the usurper overwhelms the divine being and controls them in some way.
Integration is the type usurpation that deals in taking the power of divinity into yourself. Basically it's buffing yourself.
Coordination usurpation is any type of usurpation where the usurper needs to coordinate with the bound spirit or beast that they had. However if you gain the cooperation of a spirit or divine beast then you'd theoretically be stronger than someone using the other two types.
Apparently my usurpation fell into the Coordination bracket. Obviously the class of usurpation where you need the help of the usurped isn't that highly valued. In fact I'm surprised it can even be called usurpation.
Gods, spirits and divine beasts should in default loath their usurpers so they won't cooperate with someone essentially stealing from them.
"Are you sure I'm not using integration?" I asked the old man, I'm pretty sure that I became stronger than ever that one time I used the bead's power.
"Oh, these eyes of mine aren't yet obsolete young man. I clearly see you are a coordinator." He said a matter of factly. "Which reminds me, has the spirit in the bead talked to you yet?"
"It tries every now and then but I usually couldn't understand it unless you count that time when I first ate the bead." I explained, perhaps he knew what to do?
I myself feel like having some kind of spirit with me is a bit off putting. By the way the term spirits encompass a large amount of beings.
Unlike gods who are borne from worldly concepts like 'heat' or 'thunder' spirits are borne from human thoughts. Ghosts, Ayakashi and whatever isn't a god could be considered as spirits. There's also divine beasts, but those are just creations of gods like that Cretan bull in Greek mythos.
"Hm, is that so? Let me take a closer look." He said eyes peering into mine, and I felt as if an unknown force slammed into my very being. I stand rooted to the ground even though I felt like I was hit by a wrecking ball.
Grandpa lifted his hand gingerly using his index finger to trace a symbol over my right arm. As soon as his finger touches my skin a burning feeling followed. Not in my skin, I felt it burning my soul. It's hard to explain the feeling so I'll refrain for now.
When grandpa finished parts of my skin blacked to form what looked liked an eye. The eye blinked at me.
I groaned piteously from the pain and the implication of what he'd done. Shiori's going to kill me.
I looked at the tattoo of an eye on my arm, I definitely looked unsightly. I'm going to be branded as a criminal for my entire life? Is this my karma finally telling me it had enough and I should suffer more?
"You probably offended heaven in another life. Salutations it is good to finally talk to you.~" A voice whispered in my ear or perhaps more accurately my mind.
"Gueh?!" I exclaimed,I'm hearing voices in my head. Grandpa looked smug, he probably figured he succeeded.
I addressed Grandpa first, since I can probably talk to the voice in my head whenever.
"You gave me a tattoo! Can I have it removed?" I asked him desperately.
"Young man, that mark is a auspicious one! Worry not I am a meticulous worker, I was successful in opening up your spirit perception. That tattoo will vanish once your own perception can handle the strain, for now live with it and take care of it.”
“What are you saying? How can you mark someone so casually?” I asked him again.
“If you’re like that then It’s best that I leave for now. Come find me when you’re calm. I’m sure that spirit-kun will answer all questions while I’m away.” He said giving me a toothy smile before a gust of wind forced me to close my eyes. When I opened them again that old man was gone.
Was I simply going crazy?
“If you ask me, you were crazy to eat a sealed divinity without knowing what it is.” The voice in my head told me.
“You! Do you know how to get rid of this?” I ask pointing at the eye staring back at me.
“Oh, dare you take that tone with me? I am after all something above your mere human existence.” The voice asked in a jolly tone but I could hear the hint of steel behind it.
I felt like he was testing me, it didn’t matter I’ll answer as I should. “Even though you say you’re above me isn’t it you that is sealed inside me? Tell me if you know a way.”
“Hahahahaha! I approve you do not cower, this lowly spirit will then answer your question. This ‘Tattoo’ will move according to your wishes simply think it and it will move somewhere not so obvious.”
I sighed in relief. I did as the spirit said and the eye swam through my skin as if it was water. I eventually placed it near my chest.
“Now before we discuss important matters, what will you do to your unwanted visitors?” The voice asked me. Unwanted visitors? Saying that my head swiveled there was no one I can see.
“Tsk, tsk. I heard you’ve done in the three bosses.” An arrogant voice called out. A guy was hiding from one of the trees that littered the park.
When he emerged a couple of thugs also came out. One, two, three... “Fourteen all in all.” The voice in my head gave out helpfully.
Mimisaki Takumi. That 2nd year guy, who was rumored to be trying to overthrow Aki. Another delinquent, unlike Aki though and his cronies this guy had a charming face. In fact if he isn’t seen with other delinquents you’d mistake him for an upstanding student, I heard his grades aren’t bad at all too.
“Why don’t I see what kind of strength you have.” He said giving me a charming smile, his eyes forming a U-shaped. Oi don’t say something so dangerous so cheerfully.
“What do you say little monkey, why don’t we show them the meaning of superiority?” The voice in my head cheerfully suggested as well.
Thus my life as a delinquent began earnestly.
Note: Tattoo's are not common in Japan, usually it is only Yakuza that have tattoo's. Visible tattoos are disdained to the point that having one can get you fired in your company. This is due to japanese culture, they once used tattoo marking as a sign of punishment for criminals. Hope that clears why Yamato is so adamant on removing the tattoo.