2 The Ceremony (Prologue 2)

[Main Task: Ancient Goddess

Task Objective:

1) Go to women's restroom, enter the farthest stall, wait for the system to trigger event.

2) ???

3) ???

Task Reward: System Permanently Bound to Host

Failure: Loss of System]

This is the task given to me by the system. Is the system just a hallucination brought about by years of medication? Maybe, but in that event, the worst-case scenario is I awkwardly sit in the women's restroom for a while.

With that, I proceed into unknown territory, the women's restroom. Other than myself, everyone else should have left the office for the night, so no one should ever know.

'Hmm, better check that no one else is really in there.'

"Hello, anyone in there? I am about to lock up for the night..."

After waiting a few moments, no answer. Without further hesitation, I go in.

'Huh, pretty much the same as the men's restroom. Actually, taking a closer look around...'

"Maybe, a little dirtier than the men's restroom?"

As far as public bathrooms go, these are much nicer than those you'd find in the United States. The biggest reason I call them much nicer? Well, that's because the doors go almost to the floor, the walls between toilets are actual walls, and there is no crack between the door and door frame.

This is in contrast with most public bathrooms in the U.S., where you can accidentally make eye contact with other people while sitting on the toilet. Other than that, there isn't anything special like a bidet, squat toilets, or anything like that.

According to the task, I need to enter the stall farthest from the door. Hastily I make my way to the farthest stall in hopes of quickly leaving this place. Despite knowing that no one else is here, I still feel a bit uncomfortable.

Slightly confused about what I am even doing, I put down the toilet seat lid and sit. Almost immediately, I hear the monotone voice of the system.

[Proceeding to trigger paranormal event using hosts talent <Paranormal>.]

[Ding!]

[Main Line Task: Ancient Goddess

2) The System has used your talent to trigger the "Aka-Manto" event. To continue, please proceed to answer with any color other than red, blue, or yellow.]

Okay, let's come back to the whole talent thing because there was something much more urgent said.

'Aka-Manto event? Isn't that the urban legend about the evil spirit who haunts public women's restrooms...'

Just after that thought passed through my mind, I notice a red fabric between the bottom of the stall door and floor.

'What?! Someone is in here!'

There should be no one else in the building, and I am sure I did not hear anyone walk in since I arrived.

**Knock. Knock**

With a deep and flat voice, the 'man' proceeded to say, "Hello. I noticed someone came in, but this stall is currently out of paper. So I was going to ask, would you prefer red or blue paper?"

As a horror buff, of course, I have heard the Aka-Manto urban legend! The legend goes that a spirit will sometimes appear in a public women's restroom, asking whether the occupant wants 'red' or 'blue' paper. If the occupant chooses red, they will be flayed or cut in such a way that it'll look like they're wearing a red cloak. If they answer blue, the occupant will be strangled to death, causing their face to turn blue. I never looked into this particular legend in-depth, so I am not sure what to do right now.

Immediately in my heart, I scream, "System! What the hell is going on?! Are you trying to kill me?!"

[Host the purpose of this system is not to kill the host. The system asks the host to please reread, and proceed with the task.]

**Knock. Knock**

"Excuse me. Red or blue paper?"

This damn system, according to the task, I am supposed to answer with a color that isn't red, blue, or yellow. What happens if you say yellow? Well, no need to think about that right now. {1}

I muster my courage and hope that I didn't receive a malfunctioning system.

"I...pu....purple?"

For a moment, everything is dead silent. If a needle hit the floor right now, it would sound like a nuclear bomb went off.

**Click**

With a light click, the latch on the stall door is unhitched.

'Oh, shit!'

I subconsciously turn my head looking for a way to escape. This stall I once called "nice" now feels more akin to a coffin.

Slowly the door opens, revealing more of the red-cloaked figure. The figure is tall and slender with bony hands wearing red gloves. The face is veiled with a hood and a white mask that gives off a translucent silvery fog shrouding any additional details. The legs they...they seem entirely nonexistent!

Although silent, I could feel the resentment toward my response flowing off its figure.

I do all I can to put distance between myself and it, but the maneuverable room is minimal. All I can manage to do is move to the area between the toilet and the wall. I have watched hundreds of horror movies, but being in one is an entirely different experience.

At this moment, the only thing that fills my mind is endless curse words.

Looking at my feet, I notice the floor has started showing cracks, and the toilet has begun to sink into the floor. I glance over at Aka-Manto, but it no longer seems interested in closing the distance.

I stand on the tips of my toes, doing everything I can to stay away from the cracks beginning to appear on the ground. Suddenly the toilet falls into an abyss leaving a large hole. From the abyss, I can feel unbelievably intense heat, and the strong smell of sulfur greets senses.

[Ding!]

[Main Line Task Name: Ancient Goddess

3) Enter Dimensional Rift. Successfully Survive the Inheritance Ceremony.]

"Dimensional Rift?! Survive the ceremony?!" I yelled.

With that thought, the ground beneath me continues to break. The area around my feet finally collapses, and weightlessness quickly takes hold of me.

What greets my vision is a long dark tunnel. At the end of the tunnel, I can see an endless plane of fire: burning piles of corpses, monstrosities, and screaming fill my eyes and ears.

"Hell! That is literally Hell!"

[Host Has Entered Dimensional Rift.]

[Hijacking Dimensional Rift...Success!]

[Altering Destination]

Suddenly the hellscape disappeared and was replaced with a dark black platform. A blood-red pentagram encompasses the entirety of the platform. At each edge, there is a dark red crystal embedded in complicated altars. In the center of the space, a particularly bright light floats.

"System, tell me what the hell is going on!?"

[...]

Like nothing was said the system completely ignores me.

Gently I fall to the center of the pentagram. Turning my head, I could see countless stars subtly illuminating me and my surroundings. I try to stand, but other than turning my head, I am entirely unable to move.

[Beginning the Inheritance Ceremony.]

With those words, a bloody smell permeates the air. The pentagram glows brightly with a dim red light.

[Begin Host Transfiguration.]

The five altars light up brightly. The previously solid crystals take on a liquid form and begin flowing along the lines of the pentagram and in my direction.

[Blood Altars Successfully Activated]

The liquid crystal solution surrounds me and begins to force its way into my mouth, nose, eyes, and ears.

"It hurts! It hurts!" Despite my best efforts, I couldn't help but yell.

I could feel and even hear my bones break and my flesh tear. Wherever an opening in my skin appeared, blood would spew out while the crystal solution would pour in. My body visibly began to shrink in size. My once short brown hair grew rapidly, turning white, while the rest of the hair on my body quickly fell off.

For what felt like hours, the process gradually lost momentum. The ground around me, along with my body, is covered in my blood.

[Transfiguration Successful.]

With the systems message, my skin began to reabsorb the blood that had long turned cold. Without the blood, a pale white and delicate figure in loose clothing is exposed to the air.

Above me, the once motionless light begins to descend upon my body.

[Fusing Ancient Goddess Soul Fragment with the host]

Suddenly an intense pain like my very being is being ripped apart and reassembled takes hold of me. Despite every cell in my body wanting to scream, I couldn't manage even the smallest sound.

[Fusion: Success!]

[The Inheritance Ceremony was a Success!]

[Main Line Task: Ancient Goddess - Complete]

[Begin Binding of System: 1%...30%...60%...100%]

[Evil Goddess System Successfully Bound]

Memories, thoughts, information, and emotions fill my mind. Exhausted and unable to bear more, my consciousness quickly faded.

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