Previously: Dramatis Personae
Malabon City, Philippines
"Your faith wavers."
The Consultant sat across from the Filipina seeress Angara, remembering not to lie. It took a lot of concentration.
"My faith wavers," she confessed finally. "The Grey Oracle foresaw the death of Daos."
Angara raised a perfectly waxed brow. "Yet he lives."
"So you confirm then, that Nicolao Daos is the Umalagad whose arrival you prophesied?" the Consultant pressed.
Angara was amused. She had gone over this countless times with countless people. "I can neither confirm nor deny the present incarnation of this Umalagad," she replied simply. "Like all who our blessed with the Sight, my inner eye has its limits."
"Yet you were the one who foretold his coming," the Consultant insisted. "You were the one who assured us that an Umalagad had been sent to fend off the demons."
"This is true," Angara nodded. "But I never confirmed their identity. I understand that Daos is a remarkable man who's accomplished and overcome so much, but there are many soldiers in this war of ours and you can't ignore them simply because you've chosen to believe he's The One, old friend." She tilted her head to the side. "Besides...I thought you said your faith in him had wavered."
"I'm no longer certain that he is who I thought he was," the Consultant begrudgingly replied. "I have invested much time and many resources in him, calling in favors from across dimensions."
"As well you should," Angara assured her. "He has been worth the investment, old friend. He has shown himself worthy of every gift and favor you've bestowed upon him. You should not have lied to him about his fate."
The Consultant laid her head in her hands. "I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe. If he's truly a just normal human being, my protection over him is finite." She actually started to tear up. "I fear for him, Angara. I've never feared for him before, but now...."
"Existence is finite," Angara told her soothingly. "Even for one as long-lived as you. You must go back to him. You must beg his forgiveness and make things right. He will need you again before long, and you must be there for him."
Nicolao Daos was trying to enjoy his breakfast his breakfast when he felt a hand strike him hard in the back of his head. He turned to see his fuming partner and roommate standing behind him.
"What the hell was that for?" Daos demanded.
"That's for slipping me some demon date rape drug and then leaving me on the couch while you ran off half-cocked to get yourself killed!" Dominador Ona barked. "That was some bullshit, Daos! I'm your partner! I'm supposed to have your back!"
"I know," Daos conceded. "I know, okay? Trust me when I say I'm never leaving you behind again."
"Oh, bite me," Dominador growled pulling up a chair at the small dining table. "I thought we'd gotten past this. I get that you were a lone wolf for a while, but news flash, dude: not everything is about you. A lot of people are counting on us - last I checked this whole town is counting on us - and you don't get to just die your way out of the mission, Daos!"
"Dominador, trust me....I get that now."
But his partner wasn't even close to finished. "I had a dream you drowned, asshole," he went on, serving himself some soup and noodles. "But it was a cool, because I totally had your back and saved the day."
Both of Daos's hands went still. He felt his appetite suddenly vanished as his seemed to stop beating.
His next words came out very light and tentative. "And...how exactly did you save me?"
Dominador was irritable. "I dreamt that water...spirit...thingamabob was pulling you under, so I dove in, dragged you out, and did CPR."
Daos stared at his partner for a long while, unable to breathe. So it was you, he thought grimly. Somehow you were able to leave your body in order to save mine. He'd been in denial since he'd come home from the ordeal and experienced his strange vision in 3D. But now that denial was rapidly coming to an end.
"So what happened anyway?" Dominador finally asked.
Daos felt awkward. "I, uh...I drowned."
"And?" the junior detective demanded.
"Um...I got over it."
Dominador scowled. "How?"
Daos shrugged uncomfortably. "I can't say. I just...did."
His partner snorted. "Well, Hyun-jun's gonna be pissed. He has to go back to the 'Underground' - whatever the hell that is - and tell everyone the infamous Daos lives. Guess all that rumor about your being an Umalagad is true after all."
Well...yeah, Daos wanted to tell him. Except I'm not the Umalagad, Dominador.