B2 — 32. Game Changer

Diane swore harshly as she briskly walked through the halls.  I cannot believe I was so blind…  Everything was a lie!  To think I aided in the raising of a Devil to this plane, and a Duke at that!  How will this change the world’s power structure?

The Senator has been confined to his quarters, locked behind some form of demonic seal…  I knew I should have investigated Ainmire’s long lifespan more thoroughly…  I got too swept up in the resources and knowledge he provided.

She took a deep breath to calm herself.  Where has Ranglor been in all this mess?  He vanished shortly after we started our prep work for the arena…  He could help me destroy all this Eye business.

She slowed, arms crossing under her bust as doubt crept into her heart.  Should I, though?  Perhaps it could be used against Bathin…  Would it affect him?  The way he acted…  It might.  It’s so dangerous though…  Ranglor would do it.

Her mind came to a screeching halt, blankly staring ahead as she thought about the researcher.  Wait…  Could he be doing something with the Eye?  It would be like him to run an experiment.  Dammit!

Pulling out her tablet from her side bag, she gained access to his system files with her clearance, throat constricting as she saw several logs posted.

Activating the first, she listened in building trepidation:

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The Eye Experiment, log one:

I’m dubbing this series The Eye Experiment.  Upon sight of this visual virus, subjects experience sudden fear; a massive spike in adrenaline follows with heart rates ranging between two-hundred and two-forty.

After a time, the heart rate begins to drop noticeably.  Subjects then experience a mass of psychological changes; screaming for aid while smiling in absolute serenity… seemingly experiencing a sense of psychosis.

Subjects can only describe this Eye if it is obscured within sections; if not viewed in partial, the subject will experience a form of total paralysis within all functions, including bodily.

It is always a single eye, never plural; it has purple, red, and black within it, as described by the exposed subjects.

There is a purple pattern inside a black sclera that some have described as indented within the screen or bulging to envelop them.  This purple alternates in complex designs that move around the outer blackened area and could not be explained before fading; I suspect it is the cause for this paralysis effect, broken if interfering with the pattern.

Many of these subjects were of the Germanic werewolf hybrid class.  The results may vary with human subjects as the high stress might cause cardiac arrest without the werewolf strand’s strengthening of the body.  It might also change since the Germanic werewolf virus could conflict with the visual virus…

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Further testing required.  I will continue the study at a later time.

Diane bit her lower lip as she activated the next recording, briskly moving to the areas of the facility he frequently utilized:

The Eye Experiment, log two:

I have set up an experimentation room on floor seven with several colleagues I trust—with me are doctors Jenis, C. Smith, Olive, Pecker, and Shovel.  For safety reasons, we will be only livestreaming audio to other research parties observing.  If the video recording proves safe, I will send the results to each of those that request it.

We were able to administer sedatives to a few of the remaining werewolves that broke free and have moved them into the room with care.  We have also managed to apprehend a Wolfwere that was trying to escape, which will be the main subject of the planned operation—subject name, Devin.

Doctor Shovel has proposed a fascinating test to see if this virus can affect a patient that has had an infected organ surgically implanted.  Diane will be brought into the circle when the surgery is complete for a more… occult related evaluation.

We will be using a werewolf subject as the donor; infecting it moments before the surgery.  Proper high resistant restraints and sedatives have been prepared beforehand.  We will be adding a layer of the infected werewolf’s skin around the exposed eye before extraction, as a precaution, and if Devin is sane, and safety permits, we may remove it with care at a later date.

Face ashen, Diane ran to the room they were using.  You never knew when to let it rest!  Even I would not do something this reckless.  If the Devil finds out what he’s doing…  Could I be added as an accomplice with Ranglor mentioning my name?  You fool!

She burst through the doors, having to utilize admin rights given its sealed protocols, rage twisting her face.  “Ranglor, cease this—”

Her throat caught as she stepped into a pool of gore; organs and blood coating everything as dozens of body parts littered the space—werewolf, and human.

Sitting on a table with thick broken straps sat a teen; he looked at her with a blank stare, his left eye was open, but showed skin covering the transplanted organ.

“Diane…  Why do I see everything?  What are they…  Change, shift, molt, devour, search, search, search, hate, love, peace, chaos, Sora…  Why look at Sora?  She runs, spite, death, life, revolution, destruction, creation—all—I see, all!  Make it stop!”  he screamed, twisting a severed arm, skin ripping.

“Truth, fear, horror, equity, ecstasy, agency—consume… consume all!  They’re originating… they’re arriving… they’re moving!”  His face darted to her.  “We’re coming.”

Diane’s legs collapsed, her wards torn to pieces as a force expelled from the boy’s concealed left eye, hands—countless hands—formless, reaching for her, caressing her, loving her, ripping her apart, rebuilding her.

She blinked, looking down in bewilderment at the blood that stained her—not her own—it was everywhere.  “What…”

Bones trembling, she noticed bare feet in front of her, soaked in red and standing amongst the ravaged limbs of corpses.

“Diane, I see the design.  I see you.  You’re so small—fragile—a speck.”

She didn’t dare look at him.

“I see…  There’s so much.  Benjamin, a pawn, moved on strings of delicate silk.  Bathin, desperate—war is on the horizon.”

She flinched as his hand flexed several times along her scalp, skin tingling.

“Yes, you are needed, Diane.  I need you to fix me.”

* * *

Bathin snarled as he glared up at the ceiling; he sat in a comfortable chair in Gerard’s old office.  So many unexpected events…  Fleurety won’t be pleased.  There was so much riding on that girl…  We could have conquered Hell with that one deal—beyond it.

Several hours had passed since the Vulpes had escaped the base.  He glanced down at the savage burns and rips in his flesh that were still mending.

Why would the wolf remain and fight…  Why stay until I gathered enough energy to throw him into the first layer of Hell?  Even at his most powerful, enhanced by the Herald, he could only hold me back, which means this has less to do with him and more with the Herald’s plans…

A Founder, sacrificing himself for a Primordial’s plan?  It’s absurd, and breaks the treaty…  Why have not the other Founders stepped in with such a blatant disregard for rules?  They’re sticklers for their rules…  Something has changed that I’m unaware of.

And what are the chances of me meeting Githa—of all Nekomata—here, right when it was within my grasp?  The Firebird…  He must be of Homā… too dangerous to let live, but the curse and consequences that would follow from the Founders.

I would rather stay as far away from possible, yet I don’t have Sora as a shield any longer.  I could have a subordinate wait to hunt him…  That Son of Homā…   Manipulating things so they could enter the Vulpes’ dimension instantly upon exiting the facility, and a link being so close…  Was there always a portal this close?  I need a new plan.

A curious grin split his lips as a spiritual presence entered his radius, far more impressive than his and an almost uncanny addition to the game.

“Bathin… it’s been a while.  Imagine my surprise when I felt you nearby when someone utilized the portal to the Vulpes Realm.”

A dark chuckle shook Bathin’s smoldering chest.  “It has been quite some time.  I’ve heard of the troubles you’ve been causing Inari.  Hmm…  I wouldn’t expect you to be operating so… openly.

“Mmh-hmm-hmm…  Especially considering what I know…  Oh, she’d have it out for a traitorous head like yours more than any other at this moment; although, I suppose you have been on her hit-list for ages without detection.”

“I’ve caught wind of some Myōbu that will be paying you a visit shortly.”

Bathin’s grin expanded, knowing where he was going with the conversation.  “This will be fun… and could work out in both our favors.  So many interesting things are happening, just when I get back to Earth.  He-he-he…”

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