Sovetskiy Plombir
deculture
The 49th Name Part 1
The 49th Name Part 2
The 49th Name Part 3


(Encompassing approximately pages 101-124.)

In front of the goddess statue, Jerome slowly turned around. What is it, Serge? Why have you called me out here?

We cant talk in the mansion. There, you never know who could be listening from where. Serges voice rang false. He seemed agitated, and even Doug could hear his heavy breathing. There was an unpleasant smile on his face, illuminated by the moonlight.

Why did Serge call the master out to

Shh. Flustered, Doug covered Colettes mouth.

Fatherhave you come out to kill more people tonight?

What!? At Serges words, Doug unthinkingly raised his voice. This time, Colette put her small hand over Dougs mouth.

Fortunately, the Dreselle father and son, perhaps too intent on their conversation, showed now sign whatsoever of noticing them.

What are you talking about? Jerome countered calmly, completely unperturbed.

Serge slowly licked his lips. I saw it. Ive followed you when you go out at nightand seen you kill them. Youve killed dozensno, at least a hundred by now, havent you? Youve been burying them. In the forest beyond that statue. Shall I dig one up?

Judging from Serges confident tone, he didnt seem to be lying. Then Jerome killed those missing people. So the Akuma is Jerome? thought Doug.

II cant believe the kind master is a murderer. But why? whispered Colette, trembling.

Serge had taken on a triumphant tone, and his words spilled out. If this is found out, its all over, no matter how much of a key local personage you are. Besides, Id rather not have my father put to death for mass murder. So, what do you say about retiring from the public eye?

Jerome remained silent.

You can live out the rest of your days in luxury in your villa in Orleans. Hand over your estate to me. Isnt that a good idea? So give me that diamond pendant. Serge extended his hand.

Serge. Jerome finally spoke. I have another good way.

What? Serges face twisted unpleasantly.

Beneath the moonlight, Jeromes mouth split like a crescent moon.

When he saw this malicious smile, Serges expression grew anxious. The sinister aura of menace projected by Jerome made chills run down the spine even of Doug, who was hiding.

I could kill you.

Mmf!

Doug, who had been expecting this, swiftly put his hand over Colettes mouth.

Whawhat are you talking about, father? Serge must have thought that there was no way Jerome would kill him, his own son, but now the mask of confidence was stripped from his face and a look of cowardice visible. As slow as he was, even Serge now sensed the danger to himself, and drew back step by step.

Jerome froze, and his eyes rolled back in his head, revealing their whites. His body began to tremble as if something possessed it. Doug reflexively pulled Colette close. Although Colette clung to him all the while, she kept her gaze boldly fixed on Jerome.

The awful moment when a human transforms into something inhuman was nearly upon them.

In the next instant, sharp rock-like protuberances burst from Jeromes body as if unable to hold back any longer.

Colette gasped.

A jarring mechanical noise broke the silence of the forestJeromes skin split away, and the Akuma emerged into full view.

A Level 2 Akuma! Doug shouted without thinking.

It resembled nothing more than a porcupine made of glass. Its four feet planted on the ground, the Akumas entire body was covered in sharp, translucent shafts, shaped like prisms, that looked as if they would come flying toward Doug and the others at any moment. Bathed in moonlight, the Akuma shone silver, like a gigantic crystal ore. However, this shape evoked not beauty, but fear.

Th-the master Colette whispered in a trembling voice.

Doug stared at the Akuma that had cast aside its human skin and shown its true nature. Whenever Doug saw the fiendish shape of an Akuma, he was filled with horror. A hateful evil weapon, created from sacrifice of a human being and a tragedy

Even overwhelmed by the Akuma before his eyes, Doug did not fail to notice a small rustling sound. Alertly looking towards the direction the sound had come from, he saw a man stagger into the garden. His large build and shabby clothing were familiar. It was one of the men whod blocked their path earlier. He was bleeding from the forehead.

Serge, they were too strong! Having yelled this, the man saw the Akuma in the center of the garden and stopped short, quailing.

Reacting to the mans voice, the Akuma puffed out its body. The translucent shafts protruding from it took on a dangerous light.

The moment that the man, whod realized the danger, turned heel to run, a protruding translucent shaft fired like a missile.

Gah! Blood flew from the mans mouth. The sharply pointed shaft, as long as a mans arm, had accurately stabbed through the mans body. The shaft sticking from him, the man fell to the ground.

Aaaugh! Serge screamed and rushed to hide behind a nearby statue.

The Akuma turned to survey the garden. Then, lumbering slowly, it peered between statues as if playing hide and seek.

Colette clutched at Dougs chest.

Its all right. Rabi will be here soon, so dont worry.

Rabi? Colette said doubtfully.

Thats rightRabi is an Exorcist who battles Akuma, and hes really strong. Doug recalled the sight of Rabi gracefully swinging his hammer and defeating Akuma.

II dont trust him. That boy, Colette said in a rush. Hes always smiling, but only on the surface. Inside his heart, hes very cold. Im sure it would be easy for him to abandon others.

What a wise girl, Doug thought once more. She hadnt just been almost hit with a hammer, shed been observing Rabi closely.

A girl who worked among adults with all her strength, who lived doing the best she could. Although young, she had naturally come to possess the sad habit of being good at reading peoples expressionsjust like Doug.

Of course, compared with Doug, who may have lost his parents, but had the fortune of being raised by relatives, Colette was suffering more.

No, Rabi is sure to come, Doug declared emphatically. What Colette had said was true. However, that was not the whole of Rabi. Rabis come to save me when I was on the verge of death before. Hes sure to come this time, too. Doug stroked Colettes hair soothingly.

Just then, he saw that the Akuma was approaching them.

Oh no, at this rate itll find us. I have to buy time. Colette, you hide here! Doug sprang from behind the statue.

The Akumas eyes swiveled to focus on him. Doug raised his arms wide to draw its attention and set off running.

Having discovered prey, the Akumas eyes glittered, and it leapt forcefully from the ground. An air of menace, like that of a starved beast, rose from its body.

Rabi, come quickly! Doug prayed fervently while running between statues in a zigzag pattern to keep the Akuma from drawing a bead on him. To think that when I first met him, I thought he was so untrustworthy.

Rabi had approached with a closed heart and a smile that was only on the surface. Doug had even sensed hatred in his eyes

A shaft shot out, and a nearby statue flew to pieces. Shaking off shards of stone, Doug kept running.

But that one timewhen Doug had been chased by an Akuma and ended up alone, Rabi had come to save him, regardless of how Doug was hiding inside a building on the point of a very dangerous collapse.

I dont understand the reasons, but Rabi places distance between himself and others, a distance that he will not cross. But he does feel for others. Thats why hes sure to come for us this time, too!

Augh!

Taking a hit from a shaft, the statue before Dougs eyes shattered. Doug, who had stopped reflexively, met eyes with Serge, who had been hiding behind it. They stood still for a moment, at a loss for words.

Doug! Colette came running up. She had a desperate expression, as if shed been unable to stand hiding any longer.

Its too dangerous, Colette, get back!

But Colette threw herself into Dougs arms.

Colette! What are you doing here? yelled Serge, but at sight of the onrushing Akuma his face twisted. Aauuugh, get away! Serge roughly grabbed Colettes arm and dragged her away from Doug.

It happened in an instant.

Aah!

In spite of Colettes scream, Serge lifted her and forcibly held her towards the Akuma.

What are you doing!? In a panic, Doug tried to tear Serge away from Colette. However, perhaps because his life was at risk, Serges strength was formidable, and he kept ahold of Colette.

Youre using this girl as a shield? You should be ashamed!

Shut up! This my servant! How I treat her is up to me! cried Serge, froth flying from his lips. His eyes were bloodshot, his puerile and selfish inner character vividly revealed.

The Akumas body began to glow.

Watch out! Half-falling, Doug threw himself in front of Colette, who was being used as a shield. He spread his arms, protecting Colette.

Will my body really hold out as a shield? Doug clenched his teeth and stared at the Akuma.

The Akumas body shone once again.

Doug felt as if Death stood beside him, raising his scythe. He felt despair surge over him like a tidal wave.

Oh God, if you have any mercy in Your heart, at least protect this girl! Just as Doug screamed this within his heart, a familiar voice echoed through the garden.

Doug! Colette!

It was like a beam of light shining through the darkness.

Rabi! Doug yelled from the bottom of his heart, as if driving away his despair.

He saw red hair coming towards him like a torch. Behind Rabi, the Bookman was also visible, running lightly towards them.

He did come for us! Rabi! Be careful!

The Akuma turned to face Rabi and the Bookman. It shot the shafts towards them one after another like missiles.

Rabi and the Bookman leapt from the ground and sailed lightly through the air. The shafts stabbed into the empty ground.

Having dodged the attack, Rabi and the Bookman touched down in front of Doug and Colette.

Are you two okay? asked Rabi.

Yeah, somehow or other. Doug felt as if hed fall over as relief filled him.

Theyd come. The only ones in the world who could defeat Akuma.

Sorry were late! There were too many of those guys, so it took some work! said Rabi.

He and the Bookman intently watched the Akuma, which planted its feet firmly in the center of the garden and let out a ferocious roar.

A Level 2 Akumaa formidable opponent, Rabi. The Bookman looked at Rabi.

Rabi met his gaze and grinned. It was a trustworthy smile that kept away the slightest hint of fear. Leave it to me! But before that

Rabi seized the arm of Serge, who was still using Colette as a shield. Are you hiding behind such a small girl? Rabi tore Serges arm away from Colette, then looked down coldly at him as he froze. Youre not even worth punching.

Released from Serges hold, Colette, threw herself into Dougs arms.

You two get away from here and hide behind a statue, the Bookman said.

Doug nodded at the Bookmans words and took Colettes hand.

Rabi took ahold of his hammer. He swung it lightly, and all at once it became larger. You take care of Colette! Holding his hammer, which was now the size of his body, in one hand, Rabi advanced on the Akuma.

While grasping Colettes hand, Doug gazed at Rabis receding figure. The same old Rabi, not showing any particular eagerness.

Seeing Rabis unconcerned figure was enough to make Doug feel relieved. Doug let the tension leave his body.

Serge stealthily tried to flee the garden, causing the Akuma to react. Displaying a leap unimaginable for its colossal body, it blocked Serges path.

Aaaugh! Save me!

Leaping between Serge and the Akuma, Rabi swung his hammer sideways. The hammer whizzed through the air, making a direct hit on the Akuma. There was a loud ringing sound, and the Akuma staggered.

Are you okay, Serge? Rabi asked.

Serge met him with a glare. Wh-what are you doing here? You came for the diamond, didnt you. Godammit, I told them to kill you, the useless bastards! Serge may have become unbalanced, for he yelled the last to himself, spittle flying.

A few centimeters from where he stood, one of the Akumas shafts stuck out like a spear.

Aaaah! After a momentary silence, Serge seemed to lose his nerve completely, and let out a scream.

So you were the one who hired those ruffians? Rabi regarded the shaking Serge with disgust. I dont want to save the likes of you, but unfortunately Im an Exorcist.

Rabi hefted his hammer. Its my job to defeat Akuma! Rabi leapt in the direction of the Akuma, which was rushing towards him headfirst. Hah!

Swinging his hammer high, Rabi hit its silver body with a blow that had all his strength behind it. The Akuma went flying like a ball, taking down trees as it fell.

Oops

However, there was no sign of damage as the Akuma immediately leapt up from between the trees. Rabi had felt his hammer hit. But the shafts covering its body bore not a single scratch.

This is sure a tough Akuma.

The Akuma curled into a sphere like a ball and began spinning in place like a top.

Its coming, Rabi!

The moment the Bookman spoke, shafts came shooting out in rapid succession from the Akumas body, which was spinning at a high speed. The sharp shafts rained down indiscriminately in all directions.

Agh! Rabi went down on one knee and used his hammer as a shield. One after another, the flying shafts hit the hammer and bounced back. Keeping himself firmly in place, Rabi desperately blocked the fearsome attacks.

The flying shafts pierced the earth to encircle Serge, who was curled in a fetal position, unable to move.

The rain of shafts stopped. The Akuma, completely bare now that it had shot all its shafts, was swaying. Sharp projections broke out from its body once more.

So it was reloading. Rabi swiftly stood. Now its my turn!

Rabi leapt with all his strength and soared high. With the light of the moon shining in the dark of the night behind him, Rabi raised his hammer high.

With a crash, the hammer hit, caving in the Akumas side.

A deafening roar sounded, and the Akuma crashed into the earth. The ground split, creating a vast crater, as if a meteorite had fallen.

As clouds of dust rose up, Rabi grinned and touched down. Thats about it.

Fool! came the Bookmans voice sharply.

Rabi realized that the Akuma was no longer in the center of the crater.

Above you!

The moment Rabi looked up, he received a dull blow to the face. The bandanna around his head was torn off, and Rabi was slammed into the ground.

***

Rabi!

Rabi having sustained an attack from the Akumas sharp claws, remained prone. The Bookman seized Dougs arm firmly when he tried to run up to Rabi. Those who are not Exorcists must not get involved in battles with Akuma!

Doug looked at the Bookman sharply. But I cant just leave him to die! It was clear to anyone that Doug was prepared for death.

The pandas rightleave this to me.

Rabi!

Rabi stood up unsteadily. A trickle of blood was running from his forehead. Its surprisingly agile considering how heavy its body looks. I got caught off-guard. Licking the blood that ran from his mouth, Rabi lifted his hammer once more. A seriousness, foreign to the Rabi who was always cracking jokes, filled his expression. A tension surrounded him, a tension that seemed as if it would burst forth if one touched him.

Doug swallowed.

So youve finally started concentrating, foolish pupil, murmured the Bookman.

Big hammer, small hammer. Rabi stopped his hammer short. Grow, grow

Reacting to his words, the hammer became enveloped by light. A dull vibration resounded.

Rabi spoke slowly. Grow.

The instant the word left his mouth, the hammer grew yet larger.

Whoah! A cry involuntarily escaped Dougs lips.

It was a remarkable scene. The hammer, wreathed in light, was now the size of a house. Rabi, who had about the same build as Doug, was holding it easily. At this extraordinary sight, not only Colette, but Doug, who had seen Rabi fight before, held their breath.

Now then, can you withstand this one?

When it saw Rabis hammer, the Akuma gradually gathered the crystals covering its body into one, leaving its legs visible. The crystals became a single giant shaft with a sharp point.

Rabi regarded the Akuma, which looked like a strange unicorn. A contest of strength? Just what I wanted.

Rabi leapt.

He lifted his hammer to meet the Akuma, which was heading straight towards him.

Aaaugh! Swung like a bat, the hammer collided violently with the Akuma.

With a crumbling sound, cracks appeared in the Akumas body.

This is the end! Rabi hit the now-unmoving Akuma with his hammer.

Riingwith a clear and beautiful sound of destruction, the Akumas crystal went flying into pieces. Rabi gave a victorious smile.

The transparent shards scattered, reflecting the light of the moon. At this fantastic sight, like wildly dancing silver butterflies, even the crouching Serge was captivated, his mouth open.

It seemed that Serge, miraculously, was safe despite having been in the middle of such a fierce battle.

He has the devils own luck. Its true what they say about ill weeds flourishing, thought Rabi.

Rabi! You did it! Pulling Colette along by the hand, Doug came running up.

:Hey, Colette, were you okay? asked Rabi.

Yes. Doug protected me, so I was fine. Colette looked up at Doug with eyes full of trust.

Rabi put a hand to his head. Man, this sappy love talk is hurting me the most!

Doug tightly hugged the wryly smiling Rabi.

Rabi was a little surprised by the fervent embrace of Doug, usually so reserved. Whoa, Doug, arent you hugging the wrong person?

Thank you. Because you and the Bookman came for us, Colette and I are still alive. Im truly grateful. Dougs arms tightened around Rabi.

Dougs honest feelings of gratitude slowly filled Rabi along with his warmth. Rabi patted Dougs back. Im an Exorcist. Taking care of Akuma is my job.

Will your wound be all right? Pulling back, Doug put a hand to Rabis forehead.

Yeah, its just a scratch.

But to defeat a Level 2 Akuma so easilythats amazing, Rabi.

Not really, theyre pretty easy. As Rabi swelled out his chest, the Bookman hit his head from behind. Ow!

Dont get carried away, you amateur!

Now, now, Bookman. He did defeat it, after all.

The Bookman snorted at Dougs intercession. Hes too soft! And he slipped up!

At that moment, Rabi stepped on something hard. Looking closely, he saw that it was a silver chain. Around it, glittering shards of diamond were scattered.

It was the pendant that Jerome had been wearing. It appeared that when Rabi had defeated the Akuma, the pendant had shattered along with it.

Well, lets go back. Rabi patted Dougs shoulder.

Rabi.

Rabi turned at the voice calling his name. Colette was staring up at him intently.

Thats the first time youve called me by name, Colette. Whats wrong?

I was thinking that its just like Doug said. Youll come for sure. And youll defeat the Akuma, he said.

Rabi looked at Doug in surprise. Doug gave a carefree smile.

Thank you, Rabi, said Colette.

At her words, Rabi threw his chest out shamelessly. Indeed. Try to be properly grateful! he said with great exaggeration, trying to make a joke of it. The complete trust Colette and Doug showed in him caused some warm emotion to well up unexpectedly, and he was trying to hide it. Now then, lets go!

The four of them, with Rabi in the lead, left the forest with its flying bats behind them.


***
Note: This is not the end of the story. There will be one more section of about 25 pages.