With deep concern and troubled thoughts, I enter the sports hall.
I barely recognize it.
All of the wonders, minus one, are there and it seems like each of them brought a personal part of their realm inside.
Around Kyumi, the ground glimmers like when light falls through the water, and I think I see seashells and sand spreading there.
The nurse, on the other hand, makes it look like flickering lights illuminating the white floor of some horror hospital at night.
Below the boy, I can see a prepared running track, while Doreo has apparently brought some library stashes with him.
Oh, and Hanako sits in a whole toilet stall.
I hope she isn't getting bullied for this.
Also, everyone I sent out has gathered as well.
While I still have some issues with Doreo that I should address, for now, I'd rather focus on the task at hand.
Any distraction might make me fail my act.
And I intend to make it worthwhile!
The moment I step inside the hall, living shadows follow me, crawling over the entire outer walls, ground, and ceiling.
It comes especially easy to me, as they, with almost no resistance, spread along the ever-present veins that grew already everywhere on the campus.
Soon more sinister, fleshy stuff, inescapably grows within the dark, giving a testament to how much I already established my presence here.
The only part that I intentionally leave free is the area where everyone gathered.
Naturally, this instantly causes the intended reaction of dread and intimidation that I aimed for while walking inside with Zika behind me.
It also helps to draw attention away from my quivering lips and panicked eyes.
I mean, the whole room just turned into a very gross nightmare!
That's frickin scary!
Everyone else present admits to this with their simple intimidated reaction.
All but one...
"He-ey! Iori!!!" (C)
She's shouting while waving at me, jumping up and down.
Read the mood!
I need to establish an impression of power and sovereignty here!
And we're still talking about me!
Okay, okay, calm down, Iori.
My voice is surely far too shaky at the moment, so I think I have to back it up with power.
"Welcome, wonders! I'm glad that you all made it!" (I)
Okay, that should've done the trick.
At least I can still draw from the experiences from last time.
While I'm at it, I think my demon form might be more fitting while I'm trying to establish I'm not someone to be messed with.
I barely have to think that thought before darkness crawls up my legs, along my torso till my neck, and snakes down my arms.
Also, I feel a stretching sensation in my back and legs and my hair grows down to my hips.
This isn't my usual form?
Why the heck am I wearing a long gown that apparently consists of tar?
And why the greater heck am I walking on heels?!!
For the first time, no less, but without having any issues with the balance?!
And... Oh my god, did my chest just gain a size!?!!
Is it because I wanted to look particularly impressive?
This form isn't as easy to move in, but for sure I'm taller and, as my eyes on the walls tell me, kinda overall more awe-inspiring.
No idea who came up with this, but if I find them...
No, I need to concentrate!
With long strides, I walk up to the assembled, without even giving them a glance.
Mostly, because I concentrate on the ground, as despite this unnatural sense of balance I'm still mindful of the possibility of falling with these... shoes?
Not sure, I think these attachments might be part of my body.
Anyway, with those particularly long legs, I quickly cross the distance.
"S-so is this your true form?" (nurse)
Wow, if I can tell that the faceless horror nurse is scared, I did something right here.
I raise an arm and Zika speaks, with her human guise also dispelled.
"Quiet! You speak when you're allowed to. Not as you please!" (Z)
Oh my, isn't that too much?
However, Zika instructed me that I can't do "too much" which is the only reason why this is going so far.
As standing on these heels is problematic balance-wise, despite the convenient adjustment, I decide to help myself to something nice.
It's one of the only neat perks that comes with my problem-filled existence.
I can create anything I want in an instant.
So with a thought of mine, the darkness around and below me rises, manifests, and becomes solid in the desired form, creating an obsidian-like chair below me.
It's also perfectly angled, so it grows in a way that directly supports my bum.
The only issue I'd have with it...
Why all the sharp edges, spikes, and blades jutting out on the sides?
I only wanted a chair, but instead got the most ominous throne imaginable.
At least the armrests are free, so there's no risk of injuring myself.
Everything else I would've reclamated as a design flaw.
Also, I can't complain about the comfort.
I might be able to deactivate all unpleasant sensations, but this doesn't mean I can't appreciate the comfort that this seat perfectly aligns itself with the contours of my butt.
As weird as this is, it's also kinda nice.
I just need to pay attention not to shift too much on this throne, as this would worsen my dignified impression.
It kinda works out, as the ghosts all seem too intimidated to act without my permission.
Yet a single moment later I need to give it my all not to freak out and blow my act.
Why the heck is Zika now cradling herself next to my left leg like a cat!?!
"We need to make it look convincing. If I'd stay behind you it may make you look controllable and weak. We can't have that!" (Z)
This is still no reason to make me look like some kinky pet owner!
"Me too!" (C)
And without further ado, Chiaki jumps on my lap, leaning herself against my bosom.
W! T! F!!!
Promptly, all the darkness and living flesh around us, corresponding to my inner feelings erupts, and only a single quick, saving thought can prevent the little island in the middle where the others are left from getting flooded away.
"Whoah! You're cool!" (C)
Are you fucking aware how close you're to teasing me to rip this place out of reality?!
And stop stroking my chin!
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"Chiaki! Stop this!" (I)
"Tsk, fine. Just thought it would fit the mood." (C)
"I won't comment on you two making out, but I'm not sure how long the other wonders will be fine with looking at you while you do it." (Z)
Seriously, I didn't plan to!
Just good that this current form of mine is apparently quite good at keeping a straight face.
Though, I have no idea what I should do now.
"Now listen and speak after me: Wonders. I called you for one simple reason! Your hunt on human souls can't continue. It displeases me and this should be all you need to know." (Z)
Now I need to say something and absolutely shouldn't forget to put the echo into my voice to divert attention from my rising panic.
"Ahem, w-wonders! I called you here for a reason. Your attacks on humans are a problem and I can't allow them to continue." (I)
I think it works.
"B-but we can't! Our rumors bind us and we can't change our essence!" (nurse)
"I don't want to be someone else. I like myself!" (running boy)
"B-but we shouldn't. We can't win!" (Kyumi)
"Maybe we should hear her out. She has some convincing arguments." (Doreo)
At this, he points at all the stuff in the hall that threatens to annihilate them.
"We'll only change your rumors far enough that you don't have to kill anyone." (I)
"I would like to add, that you don't have a choice on the matter if you don't want to end like the charred man." (Z)
"Wh-what happened to him?" (Hanako)
"You all feel it, don't you? He's gone. Completely eradicated out of existence. Anyone else who wants to challenge her?" (Z)
Now they should be more prone to listen.
"I already sent someone to each of you. In the following days you can talk further with them and we'll work something out that's fine with you." (I)
I really hope that I could convince them.
"So, with this, everything should be clear. If you'd excuse us now. You can take your nightmare room down now, Iori." (Z)
Well, I think this could be for the better.
At once, all the darkness drifts towards me.
I pay special attention not to affect Chiaki with it and soon the room looks as pristine as before.
Aside maybe, from a lingering afterimage that will drive any psychic that investigates here insane.
"Y-you can go now." (I)
And they truly waste no time to escape each in their own way.
Kyumi sinks into the suddenly waterlike ground, the boy just runs as quick as he can, Doreo vanishes in a tornado of books and paper, the nurse flickers away with the light, and Hanako closes the toilet stall which starts to fade.
Okay, this was pretty successful, right?
Did Chiaki just take a selfie with me!?