Tale of Souls Chapter Twenty Four
Dinner was over. My face was actually stuck in a pile of lasagna, so the theory that I was safe to walk backward meant nothing evidently. I blinked and pulled my face out of it, and noticed there was a note by my plate.
‘Walk out on dinner again, and I will divorce you when this is all over. I don’t care how depressed you are, that was horrible.’
Ok, worse off there was a sharpie pen right by it. Memory serves, this is when I’m in big shit trouble and my brain’s finally opening up and I can finally try and remember more things. Because I remember how hard it felt the last time I did this. Which means this is around the age I was when Mike went back in time to plant the seeds within everything and everyone. This was also around the time Mike went back in time to save Shiro and Saitou respectively. Mike’s only a couple years older than me, but he’s been around the block due to his abilities.
“I told you I don’t date leftovers.”
My heart sank, my anger level started rising and then I bolted up from the pile of lasagna and threw the sharpie pen at the voice I just heard. Wishing that it was just a vision, wishing that it was indeed just a memory – It landed in a human face. Wishes don’t work that well when they’re things you don’t need or want the way you thought.
“What the hell do you want Terrin?”
“I was warned I needed to see you, because I have information you need.”
“And like you’re going to give it to me after all these years?”
“Believe it or not, I’ve been around these walls working for the sanity and safety of everyone. I gave up being an indirect jerkwad to you – I just figured i’d play the jackass role when you pulled something stupid at the last minute. Your husband’s pretty fucking pissed off, so no – I don’t date leftovers.” Terrin laughed, “And I may swing, but I’d be more apt to pick up Rana than any of the rest of you.”
“Because he’s Lily?”
“No, because he doesn’t bite when I walk into the room. You’re all lily, it’s just what facet of yourselves reacts when I come into a room these days. I’ve babysat for your twin nephews more often than you know, and I have babysat your devil of a niece before. The thing is I just don’t tell you, Ryan or Kristoff – I don’t need my head lobbed off.” Terrin sighed, and took a backpack he’d been wearing off his back and placed it on the ground and unzipped it. He brought out a dusty old tome and handed it to me, before taking it back. “First, wash your face – then dry it off and then you can take this.”
“Because you’re fucking dripping of ricotta, cottage and shredded cheese. I may be your ex boyfriend, and I may be a nightmare of yours – but you’re your own worst enemy, and your habits don’t change. Clean up and i’ll share the knowledge that Tensei’s been hoarding, and I’ll keep my end of the bargain with Inuko.” Terrin scoffed, putting the tome back in the bag and picking me up by my arm and dragging me into the kitchen, “nevermind you’re too fucking slow come on – let’s go, we don’t have all day.”
“Can you not, i’m thirty eight years old goddamnit, you haven’t been near me in this capacity since our twenties and then before that before they stole me and made me into a fucking weapon – and you never did anything to stop that did you?” I snarled. I don’t know why i’m always so antagonistic towards Terrin, there’s no reason to be anymore.
“I had no choice.”
“Look, you can’t rely on your memory, you know better than anyone else you can’t. It’s unreliable less because of mental health, and more because time’s been fucked since the beginning almost. They’ve gone further back and further back and across longer stretches of it every time. I’m at fault in one timeline, because – ok well technically i’m at fault in several. Yet not for what you think.” Terrin grabbed the washcloth from the sink and wet it down, and stood me near the counter. I could sense that he wasn’t trying to be mean, nor that he was trying to replace my husband. In the past he was my protector – in the past he was the thing that kept me together when my visions happened.
“What do you mean?” I blinked as he carefully, softly wiped my face clean. I expected him to use the dobie pad and scrape my eyeballs out. I don’t trust myself anymore, why should I trust him?
“Because after the first time I fucked up and was a horrible shitfuck, I asked Mike to let me go back and redo everything. I asked him to tell me what I’d done in the past and tell me to harden up and stop being so rude. I also told him to keep the ruse up so I didn’t ruin everything, which was why I’d stayed away for all this time. Stand still, I’m not done – you managed to get noodles up your damn nostril.” Terrin sighed, dragging a couple of scraps of lasagna noodles from one of my nostrils and drying my face off with a dry tea towel. “ Ok let’s go back and sit down, I’m aware you’re an adult and you could’ve done this yourself and I’m sorry I took over like Sai would have.”
“Nah, Sai would’ve put me in the shower clothes and stood there with the water turned on yelling at me in japanese.” I snickered, “My barriers are down, and i Just remembered that. It’s like a nightmare that I remember almost everything, but I’m happy it doesn’t hurt.”
“I’m not sure I want to know.” Terrin laughed, he motioned for the two of us to go back to the table where there was a vacant, clean spot to sit at.
“So what’s the information you’re here to share with me?” I sat down and watched as Terrin walked over to grab the backpack and come back over.
“I had to risk my life to go back and get this, since you can’t legally cross portals to do this shit anymore. They didn’t even accept Terrin’s royal exemption card when I threw it at them. They chased my ass until I managed to get the book from the guard on the other side.” Terrin smirked, and grabbed the tome out of the bag, “Sadly the kingdom’s been razed but this is their prized possession and their endgame manual. It’s also Royal property, so they’re stealing our- I mean .. Arashi and Illyara tech.”
“What, wait – you mean Warai?”
“No, Warai is a more modern kingdom – they’re descendants of the Illyara yes, which is why technically this is Izuchi and Makoto’s as much as it is Tensei and Reiko’s.”
“Wouldn’t that make it yours?” I questioned, because I don’t remember the laws of the soul mirrors, let alone the fact that we’d actually gone back once and watched everything go to shit before I was a walker.
“Yes and no, I don’t descend from them – so the only reason I adjacently am allowed to hold this is because I have permission. I’m not him, I didn’t let him take hold of me like I did the first two times – more or less, I didn’t force him to take me after the first two times. I wanted to control Reiko and protect her like I did Lily – and that didn’t work the way I’d expected – so by the time I got a clue with Mike, I stopped doing that.” Terrin opened the book and showed me the photo that was on the inside. “I know you don’t want to remember us, but I keep it with me as a reminder of what not to do.”
“Nah, it’s sentiment. “ I took the photo and looked at it, “This is, it’s… it’s from before I became a walker.”
“It’s long before that, it’s the last time I saw you before they took you. You were just about to turn seventeen, and I didn’t see you again until after that a few months later. The first time when I took this photo you were only held back so you could recover. I hear this last time his sister accidentally gone back too early and may have caused an early death. Hopefully this book will solve that and the folding.” Terrin flipped the pages a bit and sneezed, “Nobody dusts this shit anymore.”
“Why is the book in english?” I peered into the pages and noticed the text was in latin, or rather in latin script – but full english. I wasn’t aware they were using English when this book was written?
“This is the revised edition, it’s not an original. It was found in the Warai libraries historical section when I snuck a ride to Hoshii illegally. I was on contract to find it for Makoto, who knew that if it stayed on Hoshii it would eventually end up in not only Izuchi’s paws – but in the paws of the Makara’s as well.” Terrin grinned and laid the book out on it’s spine, “There’s another edition of this in Mako’s office, but he’s too young in time to know how to read Ancient Illyara, and Tensei refuses to teach me ancient Arashi.”
“I’m amazed he refuses.”
“It’s the deal with refusing to bond with him, in order to help – he’s a stubborn bastard. He could’ve defected had they given a him a good deal, and I’m not stupid enough to fall for that.” Terrin sighed, and pointed to the page in question, “This isn’t a direct translation, so there’s bits missing – but I think between you and I we’ll get the just of it.”
The pages weren’t missing anything, they hadn’t been updated since the first folding. At least the first folding any of us were aware of even if we weren’t a part of it. They’re missing the part where my niece goes rogue, and we’re hours out from her murdering everyone at home. We’re missing the bits of how if we don’t prevent her now, all that’s going to be left to fight with is the front lines.
“I don’t understand why we’re reading this.” I rubbed my eyes and sighed, “Aren’t we just sitting ducks?”
“No, on the contrary – just because we’re missing small information from here – doesn’t mean we’re sitting ducks. We won’t win easily even with this information, but look – this page itself explains how to survive a time tsunami, and how to retain your inner self from it.”
“It’s basically telling you to have a soul bond.”
“Shit wrong chapter.”
“Got the chapter on Aura going rogue and wanting to cleanse the world by eating salad?”
“Actually, in a sense yes – I was getting there, because there’s been a legend in the books about a shifter who walks back in time to reap the souls of the mourning. The name isn’t entirely the same but it’s eerily close, ‘Eer-ura’ which is proven in here to be an Ancient Illyara way of pronouncing Aura.” Terrin was either lying or I just wasn’t paying attention anymore.
“So you’re saying Yasuo and Ryan basically wrote their daughter into this like a fucking mary sue?”
“No, I’m saying it was a coincidence. They used the English word, which has a totally different meaning. The original meaning was reaper, and the modern one means gentle breeze or something close to it.” Terrin sighed, “I remember babysitting once and her telling me her name meant Loud Fart.”
“Oh she’s so her father’s daughter” I laughed, and slammed my head onto the table and shook my head. It hurt, but it was a good hurt. “Ryan would’ve told her that just to get her to shut up, it’s a trick mom would’ve used on us. Weirdly as a kid, mom used to say our name meant Funeral Flower just to shut us up.”
“I remember that, I was over at your apartment once before all this shit started – and I remember trying not to laugh when we were talking about it.” Terrin put a hand on my shoulder and smiled, “Hey, I have a lot to make up for – things I did wrong the first time, and things I lacked to even explain to you later on – when it’s all over can you forgive me?”
“When it’s all … over? We’re not even sure if we’ll even see next week let alone tomorrow.”
“When we wake up tomorrow, can we start on a better path – I’m not expecting absolute, I don’t expect to be your best friend ever – but this animosity isn’t healthy for anyone. When we figure this out, will you?” Terrin smiled.
“You’re asking me. Have you asked the others? Have you asked Ryan, who’s acted as if he’s been the oldest – have you asked Rana who’s literally the incarnation of Lily? Have you asked Kristoff who holds the largest grudges and lets you know about it?” I growled, “It isn’t about whether -i- can, it’s about whether we’re going to get through this and you’ll get a chance to ask everyone. Redemption could be on the cards, but you have to ask the right people, the right questions. Yea sure, the time was yesterday – but everything you’ve done, you haven’t asked any one of us directly. Do that and you’ll have your answer.”
Terrin sighed and flipped the pages again and moved to the page with the most information we were hoping for. He was hoping for a quick redemption, but after everything – the things i’ve been remembering, there was no quick redemption. I remember him practically keeping us from seeing Mike, because he was abusively possessive. I remember him keeping us from feeling anything – because he’d look at me, he’d look at Inuko, and he’d look at Rana, Ryan and now Kristoff like he was still our protector.
Worst of all, I remember him physically and sexually abusing us before we were kidnapped and created into a weapon that – has yet to be fully used by the wrong side. There’s no telling when the bomb’s going to go back off and we lose the fight. So no, I cannot let it go – I can’t become a butterfly and just fly away. You’ve left me broken inside, and even my own goddamn husband can’t pick up the pieces when you’ve smashed them again. I mean for fucks sake we were only fifteen!! The one thing separating our experience with the timeline where none of this shit happens, was the person who was abusing us, and the age they were when they abused us.