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Kieli, Vol. 9 (novel): The Dead Sleep Eternally in the Wilderness, Part 2

Overview

Kieli, Harvey, and their companions are trapped inside the Church's headquarters, which is still surrounded by monsters. But the biggest and most terrifying monster of all turns out to be an old friend-Jude. This is a fight that needs to be won before either Harvey or Kieli can move on, though they have very different ideas on how to go about securing victory...

The manga adaptation of Kieli was named to the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2009 ...

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Overview

Kieli, Harvey, and their companions are trapped inside the Church's headquarters, which is still surrounded by monsters. But the biggest and most terrifying monster of all turns out to be an old friend-Jude. This is a fight that needs to be won before either Harvey or Kieli can move on, though they have very different ideas on how to go about securing victory...

The manga adaptation of Kieli was named to the Great Graphic Novels for Teens 2009 list by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)!

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759529373
  • Publisher: Orbit
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Series: Kieli (novel) Series , #9
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 304,163
  • Age range: 16 - 18 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Yukako Kabei is a Japanese novelist. She graduated from Gakushuin University with a degree in Business Management from the Faculty of Economics.

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Read an Excerpt

Kieli, Vol. 9 (novel)

The Dead Sleep Eternally in the Wilderness, Part 2


By Yukako Kabei

Orbit

Copyright © 2013 Yukako Kabei
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7595-2937-3



CHAPTER 1

WHEN BEGINNING IS BORN FROM ENDING


Back then, living hadn't had any meaning. Every so often, without any warning or any real reason, he'd even caught himself thinking, "Maybe I'll try dying." He'd had one foot in the world of the dead, and yet the other foot had been chained to the world of the living, and he couldn't pull it out; he'd just looked on disinterestedly, sort of like it was all happening on the other side of some window, as the dull, vague world passed him by. Never making any move to walk out into it himself.

Somewhere along the way, though, he'd stopped thinking about trying to die. He wondered when that had happened.

Somehow, on this stagnant, screwed-up planet hazy with gray smog and clouds of sand that was only inching closer and closer to its extinction, he still bumped into people now and then who were trying to live strong and true even though they were just weak humans. People with that kind of vitality had reached out their hands to him. It was thanks to them that he never had chucked it after all.

On his way down the spiral staircase, as he was just on the verge of tripping, thanks to his narrowed field of vision, he caught sight of a petite girl standing a few steps below him. Her fair white face was anxious as she looked up at him, hugging the radio. Her long black hair and her outfit, a black bolero jacket and skirt that reminded him of when he'd first met her, melted into near invisibility in the darkness of the tower. However, her white skin stood out against the gloom, if faintly, like pale snatches of light. At the sight of her, this girl he never lost sight of even in darkness, his face broke into a small, unbidden smile.

"And Joachim ...?" the girl asked, looking worried.

"Mm. Dead."

His tone of voice sounded weirdly casual even to his own ears, as if he might as well be talking about tomorrow's weather. Harvey sighed as he continued. "I'm glad the jerk is finally dead and out of my hair. And he probably wouldn't have liked surviving in that messed-up body, anyway. He was always hanging around me making trouble and getting in my way all the damn time, and then he went and died without even answering my questions, that stupid ... bas ... tard ..." He was blabbering, saying more than he needed to, and then for some reason his voice just trailed away. In the end, the words broke off and Harvey dropped his gaze to his feet.

White hands settled lightly on either side of his face. Delicate, cool hands. When he raised his gaze, he saw her biting her lip as if to stifle something.

Oh, Harvey thought. Maybe she was wearing his feelings for him.

What did he want?

He mindlessly reached out with his left hand and began groping around uncertainly in the darkness, until she caught it gently in her own right hand.

"Are you okay?"

"... Uh-huh. Yeah." He hung his head and rested his brow on the soft black hair spilling over her shoulder.

What was the difference between me and that guy? What made our paths split off? I think he was another me who traveled a different path. A me who never met someone to take my hand when I reach out. That's what he was. This girl's hand had anchored him to the world of the living all this time. Without her hand, I might've lopped off my own arm like that, too. Just like him, without even hesitating. I might've ended my world with my own hands without a second's hesitation.

What was he trying to do? What did he want—?

"He's a stupid bastard," Harvey muttered without lifting his head. His voice sounded a little hoarse.


Episode 1: Jude

"Oh hello. Nice to meet you," were Harvey's first words to Father Sigri when he woke up. Then they just stared blankly at each other for a while, as if neither of them was sure the words fit the situation, and the whole atmosphere went kind of silly. And as for Kieli, she went rigid, cheeks flaming.

Wasn't that greeting just too ... too normal, somehow?

The man Harvey was talking to was a member of the Council of Elders, which made him one of the natural enemies of all Undyings. With his authority, his very next words might be orders to have Harvey killed—for all they knew, he'd killed tons of Harvey's brethren already! But at times like these, Harvey's lack of any hang-ups about people who did him wrong tended to make him say ditzy things like this.

Then Sigri recovered himself and said, with such a tangled mixture of feelings on his face that Kieli couldn't even begin to sort them out, "I see. So you're the ..."

You're the ____. There were all sorts of ways for that sentence to end. All sorts of meanings simmering below the surface.

"Yes, that's me."

And, as usual, Harvey's response wasn't quite normal. The radio let out some exasperated-sounding static, and Kieli was so unbearably uncomfortable that she stayed silent and stared at the floor. She was still at the same fixed distance from Sigri she'd been maintaining all along.

Sigri sat up. He looked as if he was still in pain, but he lightly waved off the hand Harvey reached out to support him with and arranged himself with his back leaning against the wall. "Well, it seems I owe you a lot. I have to thank you."

"That ...!"

Hearing Sigri say that, Kieli's feelings erupted inside her and in a flash she'd lifted her head and cut in. "Th-that's not enough to make us forgive you! It's not ... that ea ... sy ..." When she noticed Harvey giving her a scolding look, all those feelings deflated like a balloon, and she quickly faltered. Sigri clammed up again, too, looking apologetic. A strained silence fell over the tower.

Harvey eased the tension by plopping his hand lightly on Kieli's head and standing up.

"Let's get moving. Can you walk? I'll give you a hand."

"Yes, thank you ..." Sigri took Harvey's proffered hand and got to his feet, and then began making his way down the steps with Harvey's shoulder supporting him. Slipping the radio around her neck again, Kieli stood up, too, and followed them on leaden feet.

I'm sorry, Corporal, she silently apologized. She hugged the radio to her chest as she plodded along, bringing up the rear. Self-loathing weighed heavily on her heart. She'd quickly realized why Harvey, who hardly ever got angry with her, had given her that scolding look.

He wasn't being considerate of Sigri, she thought, so much as he was getting angry on the Corporal's behalf. For all he was totally insensitive most of the time, sometimes he could be strangely considerate about stuff nobody else noticed.

The Corporal'd had a daughter once, too. If a father got that kind of rejection from his daughter ... If he heard words like that from a daughter lashing out at her father ... the Corporal was sure to feel sad.

And yet, at the same time, she couldn't open her heart to Sigri, and she just couldn't control that part of herself. Her heart was ugly, filled with something thick and black.

The radio's horribly warped speaker didn't produce real words anymore. It must be pretty much a miracle that the Corporal was still in there at all. Of course Kieli hadn't blamed Harvey, but Harvey seemed to think it was his fault. He was always attentive to the radio now, listening for any faint static. For some reason, Harvey could apparently hear the Corporal's words in the static that just sounded like meaningless noise to her.

Why couldn't Kieli hear it ...?

Corporal, come on, say something to me, too ...

She wanted him to give her a good scolding in that same old rough tone of his. She wanted him to lead her down the right path in the same old clear and simple way he always gave his opinions. It just felt as if that would clear up all these clouds in her heart in no time ... Because as far as Kieli was concerned, the Corporal was her guardian, and he always would be. Forget about some father she'd known for only a few days and wasn't close to. She still wanted the Corporal.

They reached the bottom of the tower's spiral staircase, went back out into the colonnade they'd come from, and had just entered some other tower Kieli didn't really know anything about when she saw a group of people come running toward them. The figure in the lead, attended by a group of Security Forces soldiers, wasn't in the usual priest's clothes, but rather in the more youthful, simpler seminary school uniform.

"Good, I've been looking for you."

"Yo."

"Lord Sigri, I'm glad you're all right."

"Yes. Good man, Julius. What's the situation?"

The greetings the boy exchanged with Harvey and Sigri were about as brief as it got, but Kieli could still hear the mutual trust in them. Then he turned toward her and gave a somewhat uncomfortable, shy smile. It was the first time they'd seen each other since Kieli had pushed him away after he'd been nice enough to come visit her in the room they'd assigned her.

"Kieli, I'm glad you're okay."

"Yeah ... thanks ..." Kieli answered softly, equally uncomfortable. She didn't quite meet his eye. There was a tiny pause where both of them seemed to be waiting for the other to say something, but in the end the conversation never went any further than that.

Julius took the injured Sigri from Harvey, briskly ordered a nearby soldier to see to his treatment, and then fell into step beside Harvey as he explained the current situation. Kieli trailed silently after them, feeling as though she was the only one being left out of things, unable to even join the conversation.

Apparently the Security Forces were using this tower as their on-site disaster headquarters. In the wide entranceway scores of soldiers came and went, treating the wounded and replenishing the weapons stores and doing all sorts of things. Everyone was working busily. They were led to the command center set up in a room upstairs, where Julius spread out a big blueprint of Church headquarters on the table. According to his brief summary of things, headquarters had been completely cut off from the outside world by the roaming monsters surrounding it, and the Security Forces squads were now split up into two groups: the ones within the Church campus and the ones out in the city.

"Where's the energy tower?" Harvey asked, giving the map a quick once-over.

"Energy tower? Right here; why?" Julius answered, pointing to a big circular section in just about the center of the Church headquarters facilities.

"Did you know an unexploded bomb dug up over in Westerbury got brought here?"

"I've heard about it, but not the details ... What about it?" Julius asked, giving him a quizzical look. Gazing down at the map, Harvey began speaking quickly.

"I'll skip the details, but the fossil fuel inside that bomb is creating this magnetic field that affects them ... and me. I'm betting it's what made them all come out and start rampaging all of a sudden."

"So does that mean all we have to do is take care of the unexploded bomb?"

"Well, it won't magically solve everything. I'm pretty sure we're past that point."

"Then what do we do?"

"Hell if I know. Don't look at me."

Their exchange was a bit over Kieli's head. She let it flow in one ear and out the other, thinking about how she was the only one here in the dark about everything. She thought Harvey and Julius were amazing for blending right in with the soldiers and exchanging conversation with them on equal terms. It irritated her so much how at this time when they all had to work together to get the situation under control somehow, she was the only one who wasn't useful for anything, who built a wall between herself and everyone else and just stood there doing nothing. And she was disappointed in herself, too.

Kieli left them alone and went out into the hallway, just carrying the radio.

She wandered aimlessly among the bulky soldiers' busy traffic, hunching her shoulders. Eventually she found a little window on the staircase landing, which was relatively deserted, and she stood at it and let the wind from outside hit her face. The smells of soot, oil, and gunpowder smoke mixed thickly together in the dry mountain wind. About twelve hours had passed since the commotion began. The sky beyond the mountain peaks was stained with sunset, and the jagged range was beginning to sink into darkness. The heavens burned so red they looked like flames ready to burn out the monsters. When the sun set and it got harder to see outside, the people were sure to be at a disadvantage, and they'd be in even more difficult circumstances than they were now.

Every single one of them was uneasy. Some of them were taking up arms, and some of them were cowering in corners trying to make no sound, but all of them were waiting for the night that was about to begin.

Oooo ... nn ...

A low groan made the tower's outer walls vibrate.

Was that groaning wind from the mountain range really the wailing of the failures?

"Kieli," said a hesitant voice behind her. She turned around to look without taking her hands off the window frame. Standing there was the boy who'd grown so much taller and more mature than Kieli in the six months since they'd last seen each other in Gate Town.

Looking a little uncomfortable, he scratched the back of his head and then bobbed it in a quick bow. "Um, I'm sorry about before."

"Juli, you don't have to apologize for that; I was the one who ..."

But her protest got stuck in her throat halfway through and sort of fizzled out. I'm the one who did something wrong; I'm sorry ... Kieli was irritated with herself. The words were right there in her mind; why couldn't she be like him and just come right out and apologize?

Maybe it was because of the envy and jealousy of Julius that had taken root in her somewhere along the way. That boy who'd still been smaller than her when they'd first met on the Sand Ocean, and a bit of a spoiled rich kid, and a rascal who was always making his dead mother worry—that boy had gotten so tall and grown-up now, joining all the adults and giving his opinions like an equal. He was taking the lead in doing things to protect the capital, protect the people.

Meanwhile Kieli, his elder, was left eating his dust. Look at her, all tied in knots over her father problem and still being wishy-washy about it.

"Um, look, we're ... still friends, right?" he asked reluctantly.

"Of course!" Kieli cried eagerly without thinking. "I mean, if you're not mad at me ..."

"Of course I'm not mad. You've had a really rough time."

Julius's frank smile as he said that made Kieli's own lips lift in a smile, too. They met each other's eyes and smiled together, and confirming that she hadn't lost this precious friend yet lifted just a little of the weight bearing down on Kieli's shoulders. Because she knew she really, honestly did find Julius amazing, and she really did want to cheer him on. It relieved her that she could think that way.

Then Julius dropped his gaze to the floor, darting just a brief glance up at her through his lashes as if he was wrestling with his next words.

"So ... by 'friends,' um, you really do just mean 'friends,' don't you ...?"

"Uh-huh?" Kieli blinked for a few moments, confused by the question, and then piped up with a sunny smile, "Of course! We're really friends!"

Julius's shoulders slumped until his head hung a full ninety degrees onto his chest. As Kieli was starting to get flustered, wondering if she'd said something wrong, he gave her a sort of drained smile.

"Well, I guess it doesn't matter ... I can't win anyway," he muttered to himself. Just then, someone came up behind him and gave his head a good shove.

"No hitting on her behind my back."

"I haven't been!" Julius cried, cradling the back of his head as he turned around. He looked from Harvey, who stood glaring sort of overbearingly down at him from his higher vantage point, to Kieli, who was just bewildered. Then he hmphed irritably, though she wasn't really sure why.

"Julius, sir. We've managed to contact your father," broke in a soldier's voice from the head of the stairs.

"Okay." Julius nodded. He shoved Harvey back with one elbow and then actually stuck out his tongue at him before jogging back up the staircase. Kieli watched him go. Something about the fact that the little rascal part of him wasn't really gone after all reassured her.

And then she noticed that she was alone with Harvey now, which made her uncomfortable for its own reasons, so she quickly dropped her gaze from his in a way that probably looked kind of suspicious. Her own knees beneath the black skirt and petticoat caught her eye. It was almost as if the moment she'd put on these clothes that were so much like her old Easterbury boarding school uniform, she'd actually gone back to being that fourteen-year-old girl. Right now she was wandering restlessly through all the years between fourteen and seventeen: trying to be an adult and act brave, then going back to being a kid when she couldn't quite manage it. She kept bouncing back and forth.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Kieli, Vol. 9 (novel) by Yukako Kabei. Copyright © 2013 Yukako Kabei. Excerpted by permission of Orbit.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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