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The arrival of Bak’s son had certainly made things far more complicated. It was not as though she had any other option; she  could not leave Bak’s house or he would be killed and she would be as well. So, she stayed put.

There was a lot of nervous energy. She paced the floor, sat down, got up, and then paced some more as though that was going to solve all of the things that had transpired. Kat even braved checking her messages. None from Ameya, though she did try to call her several times with no answer.

She even attempted to reach Ameya’s mother who simply said she had not heard from her. When Mrs. Sou asked if anything was wrong, Kat tried to play it off as her worrisome nature. Which she seemed to accept and told Kat that everything was going to be alright. That Ameya was probably simply off enjoy being young and free. Kat certainly hoped that was the case.

In the end, she broke down and called her mother. “Really mom, I am fine. It was surreal and scary, but I am alright.” There was a pause as she listened to her mother, “I do not know about Ameya. Really I am hoping she skipped out on work and is off doing something fun, but there has been no word yet from her.”

Her mother started talking about how the bodies that they found could not even be identified. Even though she tried to hide her concern, Kat could hear it. “Do not worry. I am staying with a friend.” There was regret at choosing to say that because her mother began to ask a lot of questions and the lack of responses from Kat gave her the answer she was looking for, “No you do not know him. Just a friend mom.” Then she scoffed, “Mom, I am not sleeping with him. Alright alright. I will say ten hail Mary’s and keep my legs closed.”

Thankfully that was about the point a weird sound drew her attention, “Mom I got to go. I need to check on something. I promise to call as soon as I can. Tell dad I love him,” She said as she tried to hurry off the phone and then added, “Don’t worry I will be careful. I love you too.”

Bak’s son had told her that he would explain things when he was done. That it could take several hours, but she had not expected the sound. At first, she was not certain what it was, but it traveled through the entire house. Tentatively, she moved down the hall. “Umm,” She said and then realized she never got the young man’s name.

The house was odd; Kat was not certain she could describe it if she wanted to. For the most part it was all open, with the living room and kitchen in one unified area. Then, there was what seemed like a long corridor, but it was really a bathroom. Right there, just out in the open where anyone can see what you were doing. By the time she reached the end of it, Kat could somewhat see into the bedroom.

“Umm,” She produced the awkward sound as she stepped into the room and then stopped suddenly. At first she was shocked because what she thought she seen was magic, but that was not possible. So, she assumed with a reasonable mind that it had to be some sort of optical illusion or a weapon which just made her angry, “Don’t hurt him.”

His attention fell swiftly upon her and just as quickly as she stepped into the room, the magic, for a lack of a better word dissipated.

Kat had so many questions, but not a moment to ask any of them as Togore and his extremely long legs closed the distance until she was backed into a painting. With force, he slammed his foot to the wall and leaned in, “You’re a nuisance, mouse.”

This man, son of Bak, was not like his father. She could feel the heat radiating off of him. Had no doubt he would harm her, “I…I heard a noise.”

“That don’t give you any right to investigate. Who do you think you are Velma Dinkley?”

“I won’t let you hurt him,” She stammered. “I won’t let you,” She repeated the words and then tried to escape him.

That was about the point he grabbed her wrist and slammed it against the wall with force, “I won’t be as gentle as he is. If you disobey me, I do not pout. I get pissed off and no mousy little…” He stopped talking suddenly.

She started wondering why he halted his words, but then she noticed he was sniffing. Which automatically made her do the same. “You smell like ass and not the good kind,” the young man said bluntly which elicited pink cheeks from Kat. Go…” He said as he pulled back from her, “Take a shower. I will find you something to wear.”

“But…” She tried to interject.

“Please just … please,” He said as he moved toward his father’s closet and grabbed a few things, tossing them to her quickly. “Brush your teeth while you are at it. I am sure he will not care if you use his toothbrush. I know I would appreciate it. After you are done, we will talk.”

Kat was so embarrassed, but glad she was able to shower. She had forgotten that she had been in the same clothing for almost two and a half days. Though she had to wonder if it was really alright to wear Bak’s clothing, let alone use his toothbrush. Still, she did not bother protesting as she caught the clothing tossed at her and slipped toward the shower.

Really it was just a relief to be away from Bak’s son and a moment for her to not worry about what might be going on in the other room.

When she finally stepped from the shower, she felt refreshed with clean clothing and brushed teeth. Though she did not feel at all comfortable using Bak’s toothbrush.  Still, she felt as though she was slightly better prepared for whatever was to come. At least that was what she thought until she stepped into the main room and saw the way Bak’s son was looking at her.

Gathering her courage she found her voice, “What were you doing to him?”

“Exactly what I said I was doing.”

“Are you…” She paused as she considered how she wanted to ask what he and his father were without it coming off as a rude question, but before she could he had interrupted her.

“Whatever silly notions you have in your head about religion and god, just forget them.”

“Excuse me…” She went to protest, but was silenced by a single movement of his hand.

“I am going to assume that the reason you have not spread your legs for my father means you have some sense in that mousy head of yours. With that said, I am going to be about as direct as anyone can be with you right now; no sugarcoating shit. I am just putting it all out there. Everything you know about the religion of men is only a fraction of what there is. To be certain, whatever god you may or may not have heard about does exist in one form or another. Though perhaps not as some almighty being that rules alone in the heavens.”

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Bringing her hands close to her heart she felt a nervous anticipation with each word. “I have believed in God my entire life and you are going to stand here and tell me he does not exist or that everything I believe is nonsense? Who do you think you are?”

“I am Togore. Son of Bak Ishi. Grandson of the God Rin,” He stated simply.

“What…wait…” She tried to put her thoughts in order. She had heard stories. Well more like rumors and gossip that the Ishi were descended from the God Rin, but she never believed that was true. “Rin..are you saying you are some sort of demigod?”

Togore shrugged his shoulders rather casually, “Sure we will go with that. Whatever makes this easy for your brain to comprehend.”

“I don’t want it to be easy,” She gritted her teeth. “I want the truth.”

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She felt uncertain as he crossed his arms over his chest and stared at her. No response. At least none at first and then he stated, “Alright. If this is how you want it. I cannot tell you how it began because the truth is. There are only a few people in this universe that know. The world was not created in six days. There are no angels. There is no single god that rules over all. Billions upon billions of years ago, the universe was created by Kazuma. He was the first.”

“The tales regarding him vary, but he created three gods. Each born from a part of him that brought him unrest; Ryozo, Hisoka, and Rin. The four gods eventually began to battle on what is now called Earth. They tore this land asunder to destroy each other, but there was a moment when Kazuma looked upon a single flower that had managed to survive their onslaught. He gave that flower life and a voice, naming her Tearra.”

“Her compassion managed to calm the gods and eventually they gave birth to the clans of Aslann. They were the first people; the first nation. Kazuma created other lands, other gods to rule over them, but they would have no people until the five gods fell from the heavens and became mortal.”

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“Some gods took longer to make their presence know while others seized the opportunity the first moment they got. Without Kazuma to control the heavens, they were free to do as they wished. Many were content to just stay in their designated areas, while others were bold and enlisted their people to preach the good word and spread their voices.”

“You … you are saying my God was created by yours?”

Togore scoffed, “Kazuma is not my god. He is a selfish monster that will destroy this world and any that would follow because he hates mortals, but yes I am saying he created everything you see and know.”

Kat felt as though she was taking this surprisingly well considering he was telling her everything she knew was a lie and that her god was a bully that decided he wanted power at any cost. Enlisting his believers into spreading his word to acquire areas that were not his. Though she hardly had a moment to consider why it was she was feeling so calm.

“If you need to catch up on the history of the gods, I am sure my father has a book or two around here that you might be able to read. Provided you can understand Essh.”

“I do not know which surprises me more; what you said about the gods or picturing your father having books.”

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Her failed attempt at humor was clear by the expression upon Bak’s sons face. “I am sorry that was…I just  cannot picture him as the type of guy that reads. When Ameya and I joined him and his brother Kin all he wanted to discuss were frivolous things.”

“Do you judge everyone you meet by what they passively talk about with someone they do not know?”

“What? No, of course not. I …. he just seemed like the type of guy that likes to have fun. Cannot really picture him curling up with a good book or anything like that….Not that there is anything wrong with that. I am just going to shut up now.”

“Probably a good idea,” Togore stated.

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There was a great deal of uncomfortable silence that fallowed. Kat had stuck her foot in her mouth just a bit and she was not certain if Togore was waiting for her to apologize. She knew she probably should, but at the same time she did not think she was wrong. Bak was one of those flirty guys that were all bravado. Perhaps though she was judging him too harshly, after all Ameya did most of the talking that night after the festival and Bak may simply have been feeding off of her.

She sighed noticeably, “Ameya has not returned my calls. I have no idea what happened to her. You are telling me that everything I know is wrong and I was saved from a meteor by your father. I feel like I should be having a mental breakdown and yet, somehow I am still standing.”

“I seem to recall being told something about your friend having been in the cake shop. I cannot tell you what happened to her. She may be dead; at this point it is difficult to say. What I can tell you is that was the first strike against the Earth. Kazuma intends to start a war and he purposely had that meteor dropped right on the two of you.”

Kat could not hide her uneasiness as she fidgeted with her hands, “Why?

“There are men and women who can command the very essence of nature itself. They are called Chalta’s. In your English language you might hear words like wizards, witches, warlocks, magicians; essentially they are magic users. What you saw my father do is not uncommon. Among the Ishi there are hundreds of powerful beings that can manipulate and wield energy. That does not include all the ones that stand among other clans.”

“I have lived in Aslann for nearly a year and have never noticed anything like you are talking. It sounds unbelievable.”

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“Yet, you stood clinging to my father while being engulfed in flames,” Togore stated and all Kat could do was tilt her head. He was not wrong. That was exactly what had happened, “Kazuma chose that place and time. He wanted the attack to make the most impact upon the Ishi. Bak is the youngest son of Rin. The last born and his favorite. It was Kazuma’s intent to kill him and because of you, he nearly succeeded.”

“I never asked him. There was no way I could have known…”

Togore interrupted her, “Do you work?”

“Do I…yes. Yes I do.”

“I will contact Nao and have him let your work know that you were nearly killed and need the time off. He will take care of everything. For now, it is best if you stay at the side of my father.”

“I got bills to pay. An apartment I share with Ameya. My stuff…”

“This is not something up for debate. Those watching saw my father save you. That makes you a pawn in Kazuma’s game. Now you either really are ignorant and had no idea or this was your plan all along. Whichever the case, Nao will handle all of that stuff and you are going to remain at Bak’s side no matter what and if you decide to take a trip on your own I will do exactly what I told you I would.”

Kat was not certain what he meant by her plan all along. It suggested she might have played a part in insuring Bak was in a particular position. Her mouth opened to ask, but then Togore began moving. “If you want to know what is going on from here on out, stay close. We can talk while I work, but do not get in the way.”

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