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Rocknarok Story Remastered

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Saechika
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Rocknarok Story Remastered

Post by Saechika » Sun Sep 29, 2013 3:04 am



Over the course of writing the pilot story, I noticed many fatal flaws and points that made it unable to properly flourish as a complete story, and it seemed very much like a fan-fiction or a project done for fun.

I would like to keep away from that as much as possible.

To keep the ball rolling on our story, I'm going to completely change every flaw I can find, while maintaining the original theme.

This is the topic where Rocknarok Story Remastered will be put on.

Stay tuned.

STATUS:ONGOING
To some who might be wondering, please be patient as I am facing important exams this year. I am still working on the Story, which will take longer. It's slow and steady from now on, until the end of 2014.

This first post will be a compilation of various information regarding the characters.
Spoiler
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Shirogane Jeramu
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Kurogane Reiji
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More Concept Arts to come soon.
Yato Sig
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Gift from Kei
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Saechika
Articles: 0
Posts: 203
Joined: Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:00 am
Location: Lying down under a tree

Post by Saechika » Tue Nov 26, 2013 5:08 am

Chapter 1 - Infection
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Higashima City. A vibrant, modernized city with colorful people. Rich or poor. Regardless of social status, everyone in the city lives their lives peacefully. A major stronghold of political and technological power.

It was in this city that my-

Or should I say

OUR

Story began.

It was a life-changing event.

In fact, when I look back...

I wonder what would've happened if this story took a different turn.

I can't even imagine it.

Pardon the dull speech and monologue. I hope I haven't bored you.

Our story began in Higashima city. The City of Modernization.
"Have you spotted anything strange as of late?"

A shopkeeper, unsuspecting, is caught off guard by a sudden question.

He turns around, spotting two hooded people. One in white, one in black. Both with long cloaks that cover their entire body.

"Can I help yo-"

"Answer the question."

The shopkeeper registers the fast response, but doesn't give off any signs.

Of course he would. He's a pro assasin working undercover.

He's had several jobs taken, and always completes them without fail.

But he sure is taking his guise as a shopkeeper serious. Still, he hides his expressions too well. For a pro hiding expressions like a normal person wouldn't. He lacks practice.

Maybe I will have to repeat myself.

Before the one in white is able to speak, the shopkeeper replies, as if having read his mind.

"I see. Interesting."

The shopkeeper eyes the two people in front of him one by one. Slowly, analyzing them.

"I have no information that might catch your attention, but I do sense something malicious behind the city these days. With the major anniversary being held today, I'm sure you two... would be thrilled."

Both of them remain speechless.

Until silence passes for five seconds.

It strikes them that their suspect has nothing else to say.

"Okay thanks for your contribution to mother justice. No I'm just kidding. You've been of great help, still."

The white one gives his thanks and leaves with his partner.

"I'm soooooo thrilled right now."

The black one scoffs.

His partner replies to his lack of response.

"Please, those assassins eat too many fortune cookies. Sensing something malicious... not funny at all."

The black one nods in agreement, followed by another statement.

"But, I have to say I'm in agreement with him."

"Yeah. I hate it when those fortune cookie people are right."

"Why?"

The white one sighs at his partner's question.

"Because it means fortune cookies are right."

The both of them begin to laugh at the joke as the city's people drown them with the voices of excitement.

The Higashima City anniversary begins in 4 hours, at noon.

And so will the first chapter in our very ridiculous story.
A lone young man walks around the ruins of the city. Searching for something.

People scream.

Fires burn.

Explosions are heard.

> It's hard to look for him like this. Ugh...

He speeds up, breaking into a sprint.

Scarred across the right eye, with sharp hazel eyes and spiky brown hair, the young man comes off as a scarred warrior. Goggles are strapped above his forehead, with a brown leather jacket covering his tattered white shirt. Above his legs covered by long brown pants is a belt holding two swords in place. His right hand has a gauntlet, while his left has a black fingerless glove. Fur is present on the collar of his jacket and end of his jeans.

The young man desperately pushes past people rushing in the opposite direction, heading deeper towards the core of the city where the attack began.

Survivors have pretty much evacuated, but this young man isn't a survivor.

In fact, you can call him a wanderer.

This wanderer's name is Yandols Zeon X.

> Where could he have gone!?

"Looking for someone?"

He looks behind him, at the source of a voice. A female voice.

A young teenage woman wearing a long coat stands nearby with her arms crossed. Holding a halberd with her left hand, she eyes our wanderer with eyes of suspicion. On a closer look, she has hazel eyes the same as Yandols, with long black hair that reaches to her waist. Unlike most girls, she wears blue sports jeans with yellow lines, suggesting that she's prepared for something.

In the current situation, a fight.

"I am. But why aren't you evacuating? Are you a fighter too?"

She doesn't show the slightest hint of change in expression or body language. She maintains a calm disposition as she answers his question.

"Indeed I am. There are many fighters in this world, made to combat various forms of Darkers."

Darkers.

Humans and Darkers exist in this world.

Darkers are creatures from the realm of darkness, originally intending to live in peace. However, complicated things happened, and the dark creatures began invading our world on a large-scale.

Ability users amongst the humans rose up to counter the darkness, and eventually a huge war broke out. One hundred years ago, the Human-Darker war finally ended, both sides suffering from casualties.

The Darkers have begun to gather their remaining strength, and it is predicted that a new war will break out, one that will decide the fate of the world.

"But you... I need to know your reasons. There is a company that conducts various experiments on humans, and I want to know if you're part of them."

The girl reaches for her halberd and steps into a battle stance, all the while calmly analyzing the older person before her.

The young man sighs.

"I understand your suspicion, but I am just a wanderer who lives as a fighter. I go around accepting odd jobs as a way of living, that is all. Right now, I'm looking for my partner, so please, I have to go."

The young woman lowers her weapon and straps it to her back.

"I'll help you out then. It just so happens I've been wandering for a while now, looking for clues to the company."

"I see. It might only be for a while, but I am pleased to meet your acquaintance. My name is Yandols Zeon X."

"I'm Aizirk Mayune."

So the girl says as she walks up to him and asks him another question.

"What does your partner look like?"

Walking through the burning ruins of Higashima City, Yandols contemplates before answering.

"He's just a child. A ten-year old. He holds great power, but cannot control it. He's wearing a light blue hoodie jacket with the hood shaped like a frog."

The girl known as Mayune stops running and looks at him.

"I've seen that boy before. He's on the other side of the city. When the first explosion was set off, he was at the racing track. I doubt he knows much about what's going on apart from an attack. Nor do we, but if he's under heavy pressure and fear... then he might be at the same place."

> Fear?

"Not good. Please, lead me to the racing track, using the best route that you would know of."

"I got it. Follow me."

Mayune leads her new ally into the direction of the racing track.
"I find it weird."

"What do you mean?"

"Why do you think the company is acting on this city?"

The two cloaked figures walk in another part of the ruined city, discussing a matter known only to themselves.

"I don't know myself. But, if there are Darkers here, we cannot simply ignore it."

The black one states so as his partner stops walking.

"I understand. We have to kill two birds with one stone. Can you wait here?"

"Sure. I'll look around the city. Where are you going?"

"Scouting. With my power, it's as simple as one two three."

"Go ahead, then."

The one in white disappears from view instantly, leaving his partner behind.

After a short moment, the black one also disappears, this time into his own shadow.
A boy sits all alone in the middle of a race track, curled up like a ball. He shakes so violently he could create an earthquake if he was a titan.

"Nopihina!"

Yandols leaps over the railing separating the spectator seats and the track, with Mayune following behind him. Both of them approach the little boy.

"I'm here, Nopi. Nothing to be afraid about."

Yandols puts a reassuring hand on his partner's head, calming his partner down instantly.

"Zeon..."

Mayune notices that the child has heterochromia, a red eye on his right and blue eye on his left. He also has dark blue hair that can be mistaken for black without a proper source of light illuminating the blue.

"Let's get out of here first. The city is under attack by unknowns as we speak."

Nopihina nods as his partner grabs his hand and leads him out of the stadium, with a stranger following behind him.

He decides not to ask until a later time.
-
"Like I said, we're getting nowhere!"

"Be quiet, sister."

"Agh geez, if you're that smart, why don't YOU lead the way!?"

"You be quiet too."

"Wha- but she was the one who started it!"

"Onee-san, I told you just the two of us would be enough! This stupid boy can't even-"

"Ah I've had enough already!"

Three individuals are walking casually, absorbed in their own business.

One is a very young and petite young girl with silver hair. She seems to be at the age of 13. Her long silver hair reaches all the way down to her knees, where her white victorian dress also ends. She has the looks of a spoiled young girl at first, but her dark red eyes and powerful glare suggest otherwise.

She is the one who is busy bickering with another person.

This other person is a young man taller than the other two, standing as the tallest. He has messy brown hair and blue eyes with feline pupils. Wearing a sports jacket and baggy jeans to back, he looks like a person fit for athletics.

The one in the middle who stops their conversation is another young woman who is taller than the girl, but abit shorter than the guy. She wears a simple t-shirt with a vest over it, the vest sparkling and shining as it reflects light. Paired with long black hair that reaches her shoulder, she exerts an aura of authority over the other two.

"Enough already. Father assigned us here to look for any signs of Darkers, but you two are busy bickering over trivial matters. Instead of clues or heads on Darkers, you're busy looking for directions to god knows where. Step your game up!"

"Sorry, nee-san." the younger girl apologizes.

"Ah I got it I got it, my dear cousin." the guy sighs with sarcasm.

"Raiser, why do you think Darkers would attack Higashima city?"

The guy looks at his cousin, who called his name.

"As this place is a stronghold of political power and technology, crippling a city like this would prove to be a big lost to us humans, so..."
-
"Their aim is to cripple our political power, technological advancement, and indirectly, our morale."

Mayune nods in agreement as Yandols figures the puzzle out.

The trio managed to get out of the stadium and discuss some matters, but their hearts are far from ease.

"Though... isn't it... abit weird?"

Yandols looks at the boy standing beside him, who is only half as tall as he is.

"We haven't seen any bad guys since we left."

The remaining two's eyes widen in shock.

"Shi-"

Mayune completes the sentence for him.

"It's a trap!"

True to the statement, dark shadows leap out from the opening of deserted alleyways and burning rubble.

Several dark creatures appear, skin colored black as night. With several spikes protruding as they hunch, they look to be a cross of werewolves and humans, twisted together to form one of thousand different breeds of Darkers.

"It's time for battle, Nopihina. Do not let your guard down."

Yandols draws his sword that was strapped to his back, the longsword serving as a bane to all dark creatures he had encountered on his journey.

"Y-yes!"

Nopihina takes out a small toy mallet that kids would use to play with, and channeling some sort of thought, the mallet grows to half his own size.

They initiate the first move.

Yandols steps in towards the nearest group of Darkers, sword in hand. Swinging his arm at impossible speed, he easily cuts the air separating himself and the Darkers, creating a powerful after-effect blast of wind that blows his enemies off their feet.

His partner isn't lacking as well. Small as his size may be, the young child easily darts between the two enemies he engages, all the while carrying the big mallet with both hands. Searching for an opening, the child decides to change his strategy, stopping mid-leap and landing on the ground.

His enemies take the bait and thrust at him with their claws instantly, but he ducks, allowing them to impale each other.

The child does not hesitate or hold back, swinging his mallet, he smashes both Darkers into the wall of a nearby building, knocking them out.

Mayune takes a brief moment to regain her composure.

> These two... they're not wanderers for nothing.

She spins her halberd round with her right hand skillfully, displaying not only mastery, but also danger to her enemies.

Three darkers circle round her, unsure of what to do. Slowly, they step in, searching for an opening in her stance.

But no such thing exists.

She deftly switches to her left, spinning the halberd three times to gather momentum. Finishing her third swing, she immediately swings it at the nearest Darker to her left, slamming it into the one in the middle.

Caught off-guard, the third Darker panics and moves into the offensive.

Mayune sidesteps, spinning the halberd with her left hand again, as if spinning the long weapon was a habit. Mid-spin she brings it down on the Darker, smashing it face-first into the ground.

The three of them leap back, gaining some distance from their enemies.

Several other Darkers appear.

"Looks like this will take a while." Yandols grits his teeth.
"I hear the sounds of battle from over there!"

The trio from earlier, composing of the two sisters and one cousin; run towards the sounds of battle.

The boy seems to be the one doing the task the easiest, his footwork light and quick, carrying himself across the path ahead with great ease. The other two girls follow at a slower pace, but exhibit no signs of exhaustion despite their faster-than-average speed. Especially the youngest sister. Despite her body being frail, she doesn't slow down at any way. She runs alongside her older sister just fine.

"I hope there's a bunch of good people handling that, and not some random chumps from the organization."

The young man named Raiser leaps up a streetlight with great ease, hoping to get a good look from afar.

"Hmm... I can only make out several Darkers... can't see the people fighting them."

He jumps off and lands in front of the two girls.

"Shouko, what do you suggest we do?"

The older sister known as Shouko ponders for a moment, biting her thumb.

"Hikari."

Shouko looks at her younger sister, the silver-haired Hikari.

"What do you think? Should we help those people out?"

Hikari smiles.

"Of course we should."

Raiser sighs as he walks away from the both of them to get a head start.

> I don't know why Shouko has to ask Hikari when she's older and our operation captain, but sure, I'll play along. These two sisters are driving me crazy.

Done with the distractions, the trio proceed back to where they were.

Running towards a battle.
-
Up above the running trio, the figure cloaked in black looks down.

Standing on top of a building, nobody knows how he even got there.

Then again, nobody saw him to begin with.

He leaps off the building, plummeting to his apparent death.

His body changing and shifting, he turns into a mass of dark black energy, disappearing into the shadows cast by two buildings. Scaling up the shadows cast on the walls, he reappears in his cloaked form above the building and continues running after the trio, albeit above the building where he cannot be seen.

That is.

Until.

> !?

He stops running immediately, stopping right in time before a Darker bursts out of the shadows in front of him.

Two other darkers burst out from the shadows, joining the first one in circling him.

> Great. Shadow walkers like me.

They circle with caution.

"If you think that play of musical chair can make me dizzy, then you're doing it wrong."

He holds his left hand out, creating a black scimitar made of darkness.

"I suppose you and your kind forgot how deadly this thing can be."

The three Darkers hiss at the sight of the blade, letting out a sound of pure disgust and hatred.

"Hey now... be quiet."

He looks down at the streets, where the trio are getting further away.

"I can't let you ruin this now, can I?"
Yandols ducks under a claw swipe, narrowly avoiding being scarred on his face again. His attacker withdraws and attacks with the same hand, this time aiming at Yandols's heart.

Yandols spins his sword in his hand, catching it Reverse-grip.

With reflexes unknown to normal humans, he easily blocks the attack with his blade, holding it up in front of him at the last moment.

Stunned, the Darker takes a split second to recover from the defensive move, which is more than enough for Yandols to perform his counterattack.

He twists his wrist, knocking the Darker's hand up with the blunt side of his blade. Left wide open, the Darker is effortlessly cut across the abdomen by the wandering swordsman.

With nothing to hold the dark essence inside its body, the Darker dissipates into dark energy and fades away.

Behind him, Nopihina darts, performing a dodge roll as a Darker blows the ground he was previously standing on with a powerful thrust.

Nopihina gives up on a fair fight.

He throws his mallet up into the air, which has returned to the size of a toy mallet. Exerting his power over it, he wills it to grow larger, which it does.

The mallet grows up to two times the size of the mutant creature, casting a huge shadow over it.

Hissing, the creature fails to react in time as Nopihina wills his weapon to fall, crushing the Darker.

Nopihina picks up his weapon and prepares for another fight, but sees none. He looks behind at Yandols, wondering what could have happened. His partner's surprised look tells him this is something they didn't do or cause.

Mayune rejoins the two, looking around her in suspicion.

"They got away. Any idea what happened?"

Yandols and Nopihina shake their heads, unable to answer her question.

But someone else does.

"They retreated after sensing us. The fact being that they cannot take us down with their current numbers, they went to get reinforcements."

The trio turn around, looking at another trio. Their numbers and team members are inverted, with one girl on one side and two girls on the other side.

"Swell fighting, you guys."

The one who does all the talking is a brown-haired young man.

"Yeah, thanks, I guess."

Yandols initiates the conversation and thanks on behalf of the other two.

One of them eyes Yandols.

"Are you from the organization?"

A young woman in the middle of the trio directs the question at the trio opposing her.

"Organization?"

The word leaves the mouths of Yandols, Nopihina and Mayune at the same time.

"I see you know nothing, forgive me if I've asked anything weird."

The girl bows.

"Ah... it's alright. We're just travelers who met each other today during the attack. I'm Aizirk Mayune."

Mayune keeps the ball rolling in order to extract more information.

"I'm Shouko. Shouko Hoshikawa. This here is my younger sister, Hikari."

Hikari steps behind her sister, wary of the three strangers in front of her.

"Pardon her, she's a shy girl until she gets used to other people."

"Yeha. Real shy when she bosses me aro-"

Shouko gives the young man next to her a kick to the knee, causing him to kneel on one leg.

"This guy who loves saying 'yeha' is my cousin, Raiser Hoshikawa. Please don't mind his rudeness."

"I got it. I'm Yandols Zeon X."

Shouko tilts her head abit, looking at the boy hiding behind Yandols.

"Ah, this is my partner, Nopihina. He's a shy one too."

She nods.

"We just happened to be here on an odd job, to search for a person. But we got separated halfway during our search, and that's when the first explosion happened."

"I see..."

Shouko extends her arm at the older person in front of her, looking at the young man in the eyes.

"As you are travelers, I would like to form an alliance with you. To get to the bottom of this mess."

> She puts her complete trust in a stranger like me, who might backstab her?

"Are you sure about this?" Yandols asks.

"I am. You three are definitely not the ones behind this mess, so having a few extra hands will help out."

Yandols looks at Nopihina and Mayune, both who nod reassuringly.

He shakes Shouko's hand.

"Alright. We'll help out."

Raiser steps in between them.

"Hey, sis. This is something I've been keeping in for awhile, but we're being followed."

Shouko shoots a look at Raiser, her eyes searching for confirmation.

Yandols looks at Raiser too, not sure of what to do.

Before any of them can do anything, a powerful screech rocks the entire area.

A screech so loud and powerful it rips the ground apart, causing the six fighters to throw their hands up to cover their ears.

> A sonic attack!? - Shouko
> Crap, Nopihina won't be able to take on an attack with such force! - Yandols

"Hrk..."

Raiser groans.

"That's not the guy who followed us..." Raiser looks around.

After a few seconds which seemed like an eternity, the screech stops.

"That was just a warm-up, leave this to me!"

Raiser's quick wit and instincts allow him to leap ahead of the other five and search for the enemy.

He chains three motions by playing around with his fingers, forming special patterns.

Done with the three hand seals, Raiser places his hand on the ground, sending a special pulse through it.

Another few seconds pass, and Raiser finishes his scan.

"The guy's behind the building 10 meters to our left."

> An attack of such magnitude that we were unable to pinpoint its location that close? - Shouko

Raiser performs a dodge roll, evading into a proper line of view. Locating a dark mass and shadow with his good vision, Raiser's hands move swiftly across a horizontal line, throwing three kunais that seem to appear out of nowhere into his hand.

The kunais strike home, impaling themselves into the enemy.

Letting out another powerful screech, the Darker's sonic scream tears apart the building it was hiding behind, easily causing it to collapse. The structure collapses with great impact, wrecking everything near by and whipping up a dust cloud that obscures the fighters' visions.

Having expected that, Yandols shields Nopihina's ears with his hands, putting the child's safety above his own. Shouko does the same for her sister, while Mayune does her best to keep on her feet.

"Yeha... that's right. Come out, come out." Raiser juggles three kunais skillfully as the Darker's rage is temporarily put on hold.

> I wonder if he has a lisp or he's just saying yeha on purpose. - Mayune

The Darker emerges from the dust cloud, revealing its form to the six fighters.

A powerful form with black wisps emerging from every part of the body. Gigantic razor sharp wings, glowing red eyes and sharp fangs. The Darker is the form of a Bat mutant, easily more grotesque and stronger than your average bat. It stands roughly the same size as a normal human would, but the power it gives off is definitely different.

"Tch, a high-class one."

Raiser pulls out a short strip of paper from inside his jacket and imbues his power in it. Glowing red hot, Raiser pulls out four other same strips of paper and does the same.

The Darker looks at him with fury, determined to make him suffer.

Letting out another powerful scream, this time the other five hear just a normal scream instead of the previous two hypersonic blasts; the main force of the scream directed towards the ninja known as Hoshikawa Raiser.

Smiling, Raiser performs four hand seals and stomps the ground, erecting a wall of thick earth to protect him.

But.

The creature's scream tears through the wall of earth easily, blasting him with powerful force.

Not only his ears hurt, but his body also feels like he's been struck with a powerful blast of air which makes it hard for him to breathe.

Thrown off his feet, Raiser is send flying across the air into a nearby building; but his quick reflexes allow him to flip midair and land on his feet before he crashes.

"Okay, I forgot that it's a blast of sound AND air."

Before he can even think of a new plan, the creature flaps its wings, taking off into the air. Aiming at the other five, the creature screams again, this time fanning the attack with its wings.

Unprepared for the new attack, the five fighters are shot to the ground, crushed by the air pressure and force of the scream.

All the while Yandols and Shouko shield the younger ones with their body, not allowing the full brunt of the attack to reach them.

> Shit, no!

Raiser breaks into a run immediately after seeing this, determined to pull off a counter attack.

Darting, he throws another set of kunais, this time tagged with the five slips of paper he attached. The kunais reach for the creature, but the creature flaps its left wing to blow them away.

Expecting it, Raiser forms one single hand seal, detonating the explosive seals mid-air. Instead of creating huge-scale explosions, the kunais are propelled and fueled by the explosion, allowing them to shoot past the strong winds and pierce the Darker.

The Darker screams again, this time blasting everyone including Raiser.

> Not... good! How can we take this guy down without getting close to him!?

Yandols thinks of a way, but cannot possibly come up with a good plan, with him being a swordsman.

Mayune herself is out of reach even with her halberd, and Shouko is busy protecting her sister.

"Sis, I can fight!" Hikari urges.

"I know, but we need to get some shelter first. We'll begin the counterattack once-"

Another supersonic scream stops Shouko from speaking any further.

> Shouko has to protect Hikari, which I understand. This leaves me as the sole ranged fighter for now. I'll-

Raiser is about to form hand seals when he notices something at the back of his mind.

> This!

Separated abit from the other five, Mayune is out of reach the most, with a dark alley between her and Yandols. Out of that alley, a dark figure shoots out from the shadows, flying directly at the Darker.

> What now!?

Yandols notices it at the corner of his eye.

The dark ball of shadow disappears and reforms itself in the shape of a cloaked figure in black, about the same height as Raiser is. Holding his hand out, the figure charges towards the flying Darker with his right hand in front.

The Darker's scream suddenly disappears, leaving everyone in absolute silence.

Smiling, the cloaked figure forms a ball of black energy in his left hand and blasts the Darker across the chest, burning a hole through it which allows the dark energy inside to leak out.

The Darker immediately recognizes danger and flies away, flapping its wings with whatever energy it may have left.

The cloaked figures doesn't let things go.

Putting both hands together, the cloaked figure fires a blast of darkness almost instantly, blasting half the Darker's body away.

Now truly defeated, the Darker gives out a final scream before dissipating into thin air.

The cloaked figure gives a cocky scoff and descends to the ground, landing several meters away from the six fighters.

> Wow, he's as good as we are. I hate to admit it, but he's the one person we needed to deal with that flying nuisance. A mage type.

"Whoa... I didn't think there were people like you who still existed."

The black figure lets out a compliment.

"Not only did you hold your own, but if you had my powers, you would've defeated that Darker easily."

Getting on their feet, the small alliance eye their savior.

"Hey, no need to worry. I'm just a passing by fighter like you guys."

"More like, stalker. You were tailing my cousins and I just now, lolicon."

Shouko slams Raiser's face into the ground, annoyed.

"Watch what you say around other people."

The figure cloaked in black just laughs.

"Interesting bunch you have here. Let me introduce myself."

He takes off his hood, revealing a youthful face the same as Raiser, a young man around 17 to 18 years of age. He has turquoise green eyes and white hair, with a bizarre 'tribal'-ish mark on the left side of his face. He smiles confidently at the six individuals before him.

"No need for your introductions. I know it's rude to eavesdrop, but I'm on an important mission here myself."

Shouko interjects.

"Are you from the organization?"

His eyes widen.

"I see. You're our client. Fancy meeting you here. Yes, that's right. I'm from 'The Organization', S-Class, Kurogane Keiji."

"S-Class?"

"Yes, you heard me right. I'm S-Class. One of the limited given authority to tackle Darkers of any threat level."

Mayune steps forward, having something to say.

"Threat level? What's that?"

"I'll explain later, but for now, I have a job to do."

The six fighters look at him as he announces his mission.

"I've just received direct orders from the higher-ups, and they request every surviving fighter, with or without ties to The Organization, to leave the city with haste. We will need as many fighters as possible to combat them Darkers, so yeah. That's the gist of it."

"I don't think I should trust you, you lolicon." Raiser's eyes narrow.

"I'm just following orders. I had to tail you three because you were strange. Never know when another person can be an enemy."
-
Eventually, the group of six give in and follow Kurogane Keiji as he leads them outside the city. Now walking as a group, Keiji stands at the front of the group, seemingly bent on doing his job and avoiding contact with the other six.

Mayune is busy getting along with Shouko and Hikari, glad to meet female fighters like herself.

Yandols, on the other hand, eyes Keiji with mixed feelings. Raiser also does the same.

"Hey, Yandols."

The former looks at the latter, wondering what he has to say.

"It might be rude saying this, but for a wanderer, you sure are quite... uninformed about things."

Yandols relaxes.

"Ah, it's that, huh. Well, Nopihina and I have been wandering around as long as we can remember, so we don't really have time to catch up on news and stuff like other people can."

"I see, sorry to hear that. It must've been tough. Want me to fill you in?"

"Of course. Tell me what you know, starting from this 'Organization'."

Raiser nods.

"Centuries ago, the Human-Darker War reached the climax. Humans and their latent powers, Darkers with their mutant devil genes. One side to protect peace everlasting. One side to destroy peace everlasting. The Humans successfully repelled the Darkers, albeit suffering from heavy damage. Darkers went into hiding, slowly rebuilding their lost forces and awaiting the day they would resurface to fight. The surviving Humans with special gifts, better known as abilities or powers, formed 'The Organization'. The Organization's goal is to monitor any Darker, and to see if they need be destroyed."

"Well, that's what I heard from my uncle at least." Raiser grins.

"I see. And your uncle is the father of Shouko and Hikari?"

"Correct! We're of the Hoshikawa Company. Dedicated to studying the gifts and powers of humans, we are the first batch of successfully created power-users, our powers originating from science and not from nature. In short, you can say we're espers."

Yandols nods in understanding.

"That's cool, Raiser. How was the experiment?"

"Oh, it was okay. They conducted tons of tests for 4 years, ensuring that nothing would go wrong. Once they were 100% confident that the project would work, the three of us signed up and BAM! Here we are now."

"I haven't seen your sisters fight, though."

Raiser looks at them, smiling.

"Yeah, well. Hikari's a frail child. It's something she has had since young. Shouko is also overprotective of her, so yeah. Those two drive me crazy sometimes, but if they get into a fight, whoa, I wouldn't want to be the enemy. How's Nopihina for you?"

"Ah... Nopi."

Yandols glances at Nopihina, who is walking between the three girls. They have taken a liking to the young boy, and Hikari is starting to befriend him.

"He's like me. A wanderer. He has crazy strength. He was in the midst of a village attack when I found him. I helped him and we began traveling together; helping each other out."

"Whoa, so he's some kinda super-strong kid?"

"No... that's not his true strength. In fact, I would like to keep him off the frontlines if possible."

"Why?"

Before the conversation can proceed any further, a powerful primal roar rocks the entire area, causing our seven heroes to look around in wonder. Pinpointing the source of the roar, it comes from the hill up north ahead of them, located at the exit of the city.

"How many times must this happen in one day?" Raiser sighs.

"Let's hurry."

Not waiting for them, Keiji runs immediately, leaving the others to catch up.

"Oi lolicon! Hold up!"

Raiser and the others follow suit.
Two individuals stand atop the hill, with a monstrous entity before them.

One wears a lab coat and glasses, coupled with well-made black hair slicked back and sinister grin.

The other stands beside him, being half a head taller. He is more muscular and wears a black tuxedo and three earrings piercing his left ear. He has gold eyes and spiky brown hair.

The monstrous entity is a gigantic Darker two storeys high, muscular and titanic in nature. It easily fits the description of a berserker, and its presence will be able to make anyone mistake it for a titan Hercules. One thing that sets it apart is the dark energy wisps that normally leaks out from a Darker, this one has sickly green tints to it.

Opposing the two men and the gigantic monster is the figure cloaked in white from before, this time his hood is not up, his face shown to his enemies.

With dark crimson hair that reaches all the way to his shoulders, twin sideburns of shorter length frame the side of his face; allowing his crimson eyes of the same color to stand out.

"Well well... one of The Organization's hounds?" the muscular one asks.

"Who knows? That's a question you have to answer yourself."

Grinning, the muscular human leaps into combat, his hand clenched into a fist. Punching the ground as he lands, he creates a powerful shockwave that blasts the ground ahead, targeting the red-haired person.

Redhead simply shrugs as the attack misses him by a hair's breadth, slamming into a tree and knocking it down.

"Mother nature would be angry." he sighs.

"Ancient, be on guard." the one in the lab coat instructs.

"Understood, master."

> Strange... I missed...?

The man known as Ancient prepares another attack, this time slamming the ground with both fists to create a shockwave twice the size of the previous one.

"I wonder if that's all you know."

The attack miraculously misses him again, this time blasting away a row of trees instead of just one.

> !?

Redhead does a hop in place, surprising Ancient. In an instant, Redhead appears right in front of him and gives him a kick to the gut, sending Ancient sprawling on the ground.

"How... did he even..."

Before he can even move, Redhead holds his hand out and performs a slamming motion in mid air. As if one with him, the air above Ancient crashes down on him and flattens him, causing him to grunt in pain.

Ancient lets out a quick battle roar and shatters the hold on him, leaping back on his feet.

"Not bad, you broke free of my ability." Redhead smiles.

> This... is not an ordinary fighter.

"Looks like you deserve more than 10% of my power." Ancient snarls.

"Oh my, and here I thought using 20% of my power was enough. Looks like you're tougher, huh?"

Ancient decides to take a defensive approach.

Weird energy forming at his hands, he thrusts with open palms forward, sending a blast of air that tears everything in front of him to pieces.

Redhead holds his hand forward, waiting for the wave to approach. As soon as the wave reaches him, an invisible field projects and deflects the air wave, completely destroying its momentum and dispersing it.

Ancient decides not to let things continue. He retreats back to his master's side.

"An S-Class... from the looks of it." his master comments.

"You're the company, aren't you?"

"Yeah. We are." Ancient grins.

> For him to say that so casually, these two are confident. I must be careful.

"You seem to be quite powerful, for your age." Ancient smiles again.

"Indeed. We'd love to play a little bit longer, but we have no time to deal with you."

Having said that, the shorter of the two snaps his fingers, causing the monstrous Darker to give out a loud roar that is strong enough to blow the trees in the area back. Even the red-haired Organization member is forced to stand his ground with all his might.

Using the chance, the two individuals activate a special mechanism, allowing them to fade from view slowly.

"No!"

Unable to do anything, the Organization member can only look on as the two enemies disappear from view.

> Tch, I have to do something about this giant first!
The seven fighters approach the area where the roar was heard coming from. To their shock, they see a lone young man teleporting around the vicinity, avoiding blows from a gigantic Darker easily towering above them.

"That idiot, he got himself into trouble." Keiji sighs as he sticks his hand into a dark portal that opens up beside him.

"Who's that?" Shouko looks at him.

"He's Shirogane Jeramu. My partner."

> Oh sure, Black and White. Two partners.

Raiser shrugs as that thought crosses his mind.

*Note: Kurogane can mean black steel/iron while Shirogane can mean white steel/platinum*

Keiji pulls a gun out of the portal, made of pure silver and able to withstand any kind of internal pressure.

"We should att-"

Keiji holds his hand out.

"I don't mean to be prideful, but let us Organization members handle this. I just need more time to see your abilities before I allow you all to participate in battle."

Yandols and Mayune look at him, understanding his point. Shouko and Raiser, on the other hand; are itchy to get a battle started.

"Ah, Keiji!"

The red-haired Shirogane Jeramu teleports in front of his partner.

"Hey, I need help."

"I can see that."

"No not that. I need help to lure this guy to an open space, preferably down at the city ruins."

"I know your plan. Alright."

Keiji pulls his gun barrel back, loading half a dozen bullets into it. Shirogane, on the other hand, simply stands still.

"Need a distraction? We'll help."

Raiser and Shouko ready themselves for combat.

"Let me ask you something, can I take that thing down?"

Yandols's question is straightforward, directed at the two Organization members that are more experienced than he is.

Jeramu looks at the person standing before him, pondering.

"I don't even know myself. I can feel your power, but sorry, this guy is different from a regular Darker. I cannot compare well enough. Please forgive us if we're holding you back."

He redirects his vision to the creature that approaches them slowly.

"He seems to be... different. He might be more dangerous than others of his own kind."

"So we just need to lure him to an open space."

Raiser puts his hand on Jeramu's shoulder.

"Care to let us help out?"

Jeramu smiles.

"Of course, I'd be happy to."

The Darker reaches them, now raising its fist to deliver a blow. Noticing this, Keiji and Jeramu spring into action faster than anyone else can.

Leaping into the air, Jeramu seemingly disappears as he invokes his power again. He appears atop the Darker's head, giving it a good stomp.

Roaring, the Darker gently places its gigantic hand on its head, with the small amount of effort required being enough to smash a small human into pieces. A smart move acknowledged by the ones present.

Jeramu simply disappears again, landing on the giant's hand after it touches its head.

Keiji pulls out a small rock with a symbol carved on it, a rune.

He invokes the power of it and projects a larger symbol of the one on the rock, easily the size of his body. Taking aim, he pulls the trigger on his gun and fires a bullet that travels through the rune gateway.

Receiving the power from the rune, the bullet transforms into a straight beam of light that pierces the side of the Darker's abdomen.

The Darker simply shrugs off the attack and moves in for the kill at the others, ignoring Jeramu.

"Time to run."
Leading the gigantic Darker down to the ruins of Higashima City, the group of eight fighters run down the hill as fast as they can, the giant's one step equivalent to five of theirs.

Crushing flowerbeds and plantlife, the monstrous entity bears down upon them, slowly gaining the advantage. He draws ever closer to them, and once ready, he'll annihilate them with a single blow.

Even after reaching the streets of the city, it doesn't change the fact that the giant has the advantage over size and distance when pursuing them.

"Oi Lolicon! What's this plan your partner has!?"

"Shut it, ninja boi! We'll have to gain some more distance befor-"

Raiser and Keiji's short argument is cut short when the giant's huge fist plunges into the ground, sending them flying. Remember, kids. Running at the back of a group when being chased by enemies is a bad thing.

Running further ahead, Jeramu ditches the remaining seven fighters as the five stop to help Raiser and Keiji up their feet.

Stopping at roughly twenty meters away from the group that's catching up, Jeramu slaps the right half of his cloak away, his left hand reaching for a katana strapped with a chain to his long black leather pants.

Drawing it out, he reveals the form of his weapon. A katana with pure white cloth covering the hilt like a regular katana would have, with shining silver making up the blade. A set of words are inscribed on the katana, but it is difficult for the others to make it out from where they are approaching from.

He begins to chant silently to himself. Raiser, with his supersensitive hearing, is able to pick up bits of what he is saying.

"... is my power. My power is ..."

"Oi lolicon, what's he doing?"

Keiji is tempted to deny the lolicon part, but for now decides to discuss the plan at hand before he loses his life.

"He's going to unlock the limiter placed on his ability, but it'll take some time. We need to stop this guy from moving. He probably knows what's going on already."

Overhearing this, Yandols speeds up to join the both of them up front.

"Hey, if you need to stop him from moving, I can help with that."

"Huh?"

Stopping in his tracks, Yandols draws his sword and waits for his new comrades to run past him before commencing his attack.

Swinging his sword round, he gathers strength in his arms as his sword gathers momentum.

Timing it right, he grabs the sword without disrupting the momentum, immediately changing from grab to slash, cutting the air apart to form a sword wave that soars all the way to the giant. Applying the same slash as Yandols had done to the air, the sonic boom creates a huge gash in the creature's abdomen. Combined with the blast Keiji released earlier, the creature now stops for a brief moment before resuming its journey.

Taking note, Yandols repeats; slashing thrice more in different angles and directions to keep the enemy busy.

"He doesn't seem to be affected by the loss of his dark energy." Raiser notes.

The creature launches another attack, a punch directed at the one who just slashed him.

Darting between the two, Mayune swings her halberd so fast it is only visible as a blur. Holding it in front of her, she endures the blow of the giant with the help of her halberd, the spinning weapon serving as an obstacle the giant cannot bypass even with its strength.

Witnessing this, Yandols's eyes widen.

> Crazy strength... she's quite special too.

Behind them, Jeramu continues his chant to release his limiter.

"Now is the time... to ... all boundaries!"

Mayune manages to deflect the blow, withdrawing alongside Yandols. Buying time for them, Shouko summons two small machineguns that resemble handguns, better known as sub-machineguns. Fired up at her debut time, she channels the power granted to her as she fires away with her gun; blasting several holes into the Darker with bullets of light.

He doesn't slow down the slightest bit, nor is he affected by the loss of his Dark energy. In fact, the wounds Keiji and Yandols gave him seem to be regenerating slowly.

"Looks like this guy can't be defeated by energy loss unless we make him lose a huge amount in one go." Shouko grunts.

"My name is ......, the one who splits body and soul!"

A burst of power explodes from Jeramu, alerting the other seven fighters with the exception of his partner. Teleporting again, he appears directly in front of the Darker with his katana drawn, in a ready-to-cut pose.

"This ends now!"

Slashing horizontally, he seemingly does nothing to the giant, which is understandable due to the length of his katana. Being a regular sword, Jeramu himself would be unable to cut the giant in half with his sword.

But that is proven wrong.

The giant's body is bifurcated, splitting into two. But the giant feels no pain.

Feeling nothing but its substance leaking out in huge quantities, the giant lets out a roar of fury as it is once again bested by humans not even half its size.

Dissipating into nothingness, the remains of the creature lets out a roar of anger before finally disappearing completely.

"Wha..." Raiser freaks out.

"The heck did he just do..." Mayune drops her halberd.

"What a monster." Shouko shoves her weapons into her jacket.

Landing on his feet, Jeramu reaches for a crucifix that he wears and holds it tightly with his left hand.

"...... collapse on yourself."

> I can't seem to make out those words that he's saying completely.. it's like he's keeping everything related to his power a secret.

Raiser scratches his head as Jeramu's aura of power disappears.

Walking up to them, Jeramu bows low.

"Sorry for the trouble."

Raiser looks him, surprised at his attitude compared to his partner.

With the eight fighters gathering around each other, they begin to eye each other.

The trio of Yandols, Mayune and Nopihina.

The Hoshikawa Trio.

And the duo from 'The Organization'.

Unsure of what to say, they can only stare at each other. They had only met each other, but as fighters plunged into a situation where a sudden attack by the same enemy has them work together for seemingly similar goals; it would not be an overstatement to say they make a good team.

"So..."

Looking at the people around him, Yandols asks a question.

"What now?"
Chapter 1 - End
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Post by Saechika » Thu Dec 05, 2013 6:09 am

Chapter 2 - Interaction
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"Agh. I hate this."

A young man walks in front of several other young people. With a black cloak, white messy hair and turquoise eyes with tribal markings beneath his left eye; his name is Kurogane Keiji. He wields a short tanto, a short blade that Ninjas and sometimes Samurai use. While a tool for assassination in the old days, Kurogane Keiji uses this weapon as means of physical self-defense as he specializes in ranged combat.

He cuts away the branches and vines that stand in his way.

"Why did we have to choose this path?"

His partner walks behind him, all the while putting up with his grumbling. He has long dark crimson hair that reaches to his shoulders, with eyes of the same color and a white cloak in contrast to his partner's black. Unlike his partner, who is full of energy, the crimson-haired Shirogane Jeramu is drained of most of his energy, walking slowly.

He kept silent. Normally, he would argue with his partner and use every chance to make his partner look bad, but saved it for later.

Walking beside him is a young man roughly around his age, with brown hair and feline blue eyes. He stands slightly taller than Jeramu, around 4 to 6 centimeters taller.

"Hey, Jeramu. Where are we going now?"

Jeramu's eyes roll to the side, eying the individual named Hoshikawa Raiser.

"We're headed to the next town, Taiwa. Far off the north-west woods of Higashima city is a neighboring small town that receives some decent support from Higashima. With Higashima's destruction, we're supposed to head over to Taiwa town and wait for orders."

Having finished his explanation, Jeramu sighs and takes a deep breath. His exhaustion is apparent to Raiser.

Walking behind him is Yandols Zeon X, a wandering swordsman. He is accompanied by a recent acquaintance, Aizirk Mayune; a female fighter with little known about her except her insane strength that she showcased during their earlier battle with a powerful bizarre Darker. She has a halberd strapped to her back, which she shows no sign of weight acknowledgement despite the weapon spelling HI I'M HEAVY all over it.

"So I guess we're stuck like this for now. With these guys." Yandols notes, looking at the two Organization members.

"I'm not sure if I trust those two. There's much to know about The Organization and their members, I cannot relax."

Yandols shares her concern, but refrains himself from allowing too much doubt take control of his heart until the time is right. He observes that Raiser himself is getting along well with the two Organization members, hoping to extract more information.

Tagging along behind them are three other individuals. A young woman the same age as Mayune, holding two children's hands. One is her sister, Hoshikawa Hikari; and the other is Nopihina, partner of Yandols Zeon X.

Shouko sighs as she holds the two children's hands tightly, making sure they don't end up lost.

Cutting off the next branch, Keiji takes note of a village down at the bottom of the hill; their destination made apparent.

"Oh boy, about time." He smiles.

Joining his partner, Shirogane Jeramu takes a deep breath and looks down at the villagers who are busy working hard. News of Higashima's destruction must have reached them by now, because they're working harder than usual.

"Well, I suggest we find an inn first." Jeramu looks at the group behind.

Nodding in agreement, the remaining members join Jeramu and Keiji as they resume their journey down the hill, headed for Taiwa town.
"Two separate rooms for eight. Anything else?"

"No. Thank you."

"That will be a total of 200 Zenny."

"Very well."

Jeramu turns around and stares at Keiji.

"Where's my money?"

"What money?"

"The 1000 that we split from the previous task. I'm supposed to keep that for another 2 weeks before we receive the next pay due."

"Oooooooh."

Keiji looks at his utility belt, and found out that the wallet was missing.

"Think I dropped it during our previous battle." He said flatly, as if he didn't care of the lost item.

"That's it, you're dead." Jeramu cracks his knuckles.

Overhearing their conversation, Raiser hands Jeramu a 100 zenny bill.

"Our share." He jabs a finger at the direction of his cousins Shouko and Hikari.

Jeramu nods and takes the bill off his hand.

Yandols digs around his tattered wallet for a bill. Scarred from years of traveling, Jeramu and Keiji notice the wallet's condition is on par with the master. Torn and tattered but still functional.

He hands Jeramu 50 zenny.

"Will do."

Jeramu accepts and adds it to Raiser's share.

Keiji pulls out a 25 zenny bill.

"What's this? A joke?" Jeramu smiles wearily as he sees Keiji's donation.

"It's my share."

"YOU'RE PAYING MY SHARE!" Jeramu slaps Keiji's shoulder.

"Wu-"

"Until you get my wallet back, everything is gonna come off your wallet. Since you keep all the money inside there to rot whenever you have the chance, sparing abit won't KILL YOU... right?" Jeramu threatened, emphasizing on his partner's stinginess.

Keiji looks at his partner in the eye, blinking once or twice to feign comical stupidity.

"No."

"That's it, you're dead."

The other six simply mind their own business as the two Organization members get into a mock fight.

"I wonder if they're really as good as they say they are." Raiser rolls his eyes, noticing that the two had contrasting personalities since they met.

"We just have to trust in them for now." Yandols adds.

Done with the registry, the woman at the counter informs the group of their check-in.

"Is there anything else you would like?"

"No, it's fine. Thank you." Jeramu smiles as he receives the keys to the room.

The team of eight walk across the hallway to the stairs.
-
Yandols opens the door to his assigned room, taking note of the structure and layout.

Layered with a classical eastern design and postered with beautifully painted paintings of trees. Small bonsai also decorate the table and side of the room. There is also a sliding door on the back that leads to a balcony view as they are on the second floor. It shows a river and the mountain beyond.

"Wow... well done." He nods.

"Heh, we paid the big bucks for this. Would be bad if it wasn't worth it." Keiji comes up from behind and throws his adventurer's pack on the floor.

"Shut it, you lost 2 weeks worth of my money. I don't want to hear anything related to money out of your mouth." Jeramu retorts.

"You're joking, right?"

"I am. But well, I'm still angry at that."

"I'll go look for it later."

Raiser notes that the two partners get along well.

> They're not partners just for show, huh.

Yandols doesn't carry much except his money and weapons, a classic for a wandering swordsman.

Jeramu and Keiji on the other hand, have a special way of doing things. Both of them have a small circular object that glows when invoked. All their travel items are taken out and stored into thin air, as if it were magic.

Raiser carries with him a bag of extra change of clothes, but it only seems to be able to last him for about a couple of days.

"Hey, if it's possible, I would like to gather everyone in the room for a bit, if you don't mind." Jeramu looks at Raiser.

"What, why are you looking at me for?" Raiser steps back slightly.

"He wants you to go get the girls." Keiji jabs his thumb at Raiser.

"Okay, fine. I'll do it." Raiser sighs.

He walks out of the room into the left side, heading towards the room where Shouko, Hikari, Mayune and Nopihina are supposed to spend the night in.

Yandols looks at Jeramu, who gives out a long sigh.

> One is polite and respectful, the other is more upbeat and impulsive. Both of them seem to be rational in thinking, though. They're not some 'Organization' S-Class members for nothing, I guess.
The three girls and Nopihina fill in the sides of the table, with Yandols and Raiser sitting near the sliding door leading to the outside view.

Shirogane Jeramu sits in front of the small group assembled before him, with his partner nowhere to be seen.

"Where's lolicon?" Raiser looks around.

"He went to look for my wallet. Well, I had him held responsible for losing it, so yes." Jeramu sighs.

The remaining six look at him with astonishment.

Raiser lifts an eyebrow and smiles, expressing his surprise.

> Heeeh, he made that guy actually do such an annoying job. Then again, isn't it like, 6 p.m. already? I wonder if that guy's gonna be alright.

Shouko decides to break the ice and ask a question.

"So, why have you gathered us here?"

Jeramu looks at her and realization sparks in his head.

"Ah, I'll begin, then."

He breaths in a deep breath before opening his mouth to speak again.

"First of all, I would like to apologize if my partner and I have dragged you into an unpleasant situation. If it is okay with you, our client, I would like to withhold no information from the three wanderers we ran into."

Shouko ponders for a short moment.

"I don't see why not. Let them know whatever they need to, as you see fit."

"Thank you, Hoshikawa Shouko."

Jeramu reaches into his travel pack and pulls out a holographic board.

"First of all, our Organization. We're -"

"We get the gist. Raiser explained to us about your Organization back in the lobby." Mayune interjects.

"I see. That cuts me some slack then."

He slides part of the board aside, scribbled with notes about his Organization.

> This guy sure is, 'organized' when it comes to his 'Organization'. - Mayune

"About half a year ago, we found a mysterious breed of Darkers. Like the giant just now. It doesn't only possess dark matter in its body, but also a greenish sick tint is present that makes it so much stronger than usual. We know this as the 'Virus'. I know, it's a funny name, just going around naming it Virus. But this is serious. Our members gathered information regarding a certain 'Company' that's actually creating this virus and spreading it to Darkers."

Yandols is shocked when he hears of this, but he loses his response once he looks around.

> I know Nopihina might not understand, but why are the others so calm about this Company?

Jeramu, having noticed the same, looks at the others.

"I see most of you are familiar with it. My clients, one thing. But you, Aizirk Mayune?"

Mayune shifts uncomfortably in her seat before replying.

"I... have something to settle with them. That's all."

"I see."

Jeramu rests in silence for five seconds before continuing.

"Earlier, before you people arrived, I had met with the apparent top of the company. They were controlling that huge Darker. One man in a labcoat and glasses, neat hair and dark feline eyes. I assume he's their leader and president. His sidekick is some brainless muscle named Ancient, from what I could hear."

"Ancient!?" Mayune's eyes widen.

"So you know him. He's got some crazy spiked brown hair and three earrings. Some kinda punk who's no joke. Very strong." Jeramu's eyes narrow.

"That's him alright... the guy I'm after." Mayune grits her teeth.

Jeramu closes his eyes and redirects his attention back to his holographic board. He slides another portion off.

"The H.A.S.O.N. Company. Keiji and I have been keeping an eye on them for this past half year, and they're finally making their move in public. They're going to spread this virus out more, and eventually Darkers will destroy us. That's why the Hoshikawa company decided to request a meeting with The Organization's members. Kei and I, at the moment on our half-year long mission, were given the task of meeting up with the Hoshikawa's representatives."

"That's right. And we're supposed to discuss how to take the company down." Shouko follows up.

Nobody else spoke a word after that, allowing their discussion to sink into everyone's hearts.

"Is there anything you people would like to ask?" Jeramu looks around.

> Wow I do NOT like being a host. I'm shaking in my boots here.

He takes another deep breath.

"I see you're tired, Jeramu. We should all get some rest and move to the next town past the forest tomorrow." Yandols suggests.

"I'm tired." Nopihina yawns.

Jeramu looks at the clock hung up at the room.

> 6:30...

"Well, let's go bath and rest up. We have lots more to talk about tomorrow." Jeramu smiles.

"Yeha. Le's get going." Raiser leaps onto his feet.

Shouko takes her sister by the hand and heads out first, followed by Nopihina and Yandols tagging along behind. Mayune and Raiser follow suit, leaving Jeramu slightly behind them.

Jeramu looks outside the sliding door, off at the horizon.

> Hmm... the dusk sun is really one thing. The light reflected on the surface, as if the river water was reverberating. Nice visual effects. All the work of an Almighty God.

He smiles and moves out of the room behind his other new comrades, failing to notice several forms appearing from the river waters.

Malicious, dark forms.
Jeramu is in the private bath area, uninterrupted by anyone else. Because the private bath is rare and commonly occupied, he took the time to wait and wait until there were no more people inside before he went in for his bath. By now, everyone else in his small group had already finished, with the exception of his partner who hasn't made it back yet.

He tests out the water with his feet before submerging into the water, leaving his head out in the open to breath.

"Good hot spring. Very good..."

He enjoys the water as the warm feeling soaks into his being.

Looking up at the open sky, he notices the stars shining brightly above him.

"Hmm... I wish moments of peace like this lasted forever. Battles rage day and night, it's so easy to forget how it feels to be in a state of stillness and quiet acknowledgement."

He smiles as the sound of crickets chirping bring about a sense of peace inside him.

"Wow, dude! Those swords are neat!"

"What, I should express my surprise at you and your array of ninja equipment."

"This kid's crazy strong too, swinging that mallet around. He almost squashed me just now!"

"Hahaha, Nopihina's hiding some crazy strength beneath that appearance. Don't look down on him."

He smiles.

> Those guys can be heard from the silence here, huh. I wouldn't be surprised, as this bath is located between the guys' and girls'.

He closes his eyes and enjoys the peace and quiet that he has.
-
"Hey, wait."

A girl with silky long black hair and crimson red hairband stops in her tracks, her back facing the speaker.

"I'm sorry I didn't say anything. It's just, higher-ups ordered me not to say anything. I had an obligation to keep things a secret."

The girl scoffs at the speaker's excuse.

"Well. Just leave me alone."

"I have to leave tomorrow. Are you sure... you want things to end this way?"

The girl doesn't reply.

"I might not even come back. So... this is how you say farewell. And I thought... you of all people would understand."

The speaker turns his back on the girl and walks away, not speaking another word.

"It's because..."

The speaker turns back and looks at the girl.

"Nevermind."

The speaker sighs.

"I'm sorry. Ruri."

"Just go. I don't want to see you again."

"Farewell, then. My lady."
-
> Hmm?

Jeramu opens his eyes and looks around himself.

> A dream... huh. That was nostalgic.
> !?

He stops and listens attentively.

"The crickets... have stopped their humming."

He listens and focuses harder.

"Not... a sound from the animals."

Birds let out cries in the distance.

> It's only... 7:30. What-

A blast rocks the entire area. A house nearby seems to have exploded into flames.

Immediately, he invokes his power and teleports out of the bath area into the changing room with his towel wrapped around. He looks for his clothes and hurries to put them on.

"This is bad. Very bad!"
Shouko leaps behind a big piece of rubble as another explosion rocks the area. Nopihina cowers and shakes in fear beside her, where she does her best to comfort him.

"Hey, it'll be alright. I'm here with you." She puts a reassuring hand on his head.

Yandols leaps and cuts through two wolf-like Darkers with ease, his two swords paving the way in the battlefield. Raiser just downs every enemy with a swift kunai throw.

> We need to do something about this.

Yandols looks around, hoping to find some sort of way out of their current situation.

"They're coming from somewhere... but where...?"

Mayune spins her halberd skillfully twice, then pummels a Darker into jelly.

"If only we had a clue..." she grits her teeth.

Hikari and Shouko finally get their debut in battle, and make no mistakes in doing so.

Spinning her sub-machine guns round her index finger, she pulls the trigger at precise timings aimed at the group of dark enemies before her; no matter jump or duck, every enemy is brought down during each pull of the trigger. She casually spins them faster and faster, her finger pulling the trigger each time the gun faces the enemy's direction. Her shots of light easily pierce through their dark substances and destroy them without a trace.

Her sister isn't lacking in ability and skill, wielding two oddly shaped short-swords that are considerable in width. She cuts down each Darker to size, her crimson eyes darting round to search for the next one to cut down immediately after she does one in. Eventually, she hops a few steps back, tired of a physical battle. She extends her hands out and sends the remaining Darkers flying with dark explosions from the ground.

Nopihina continues to shake, scared by the roars and cries of the attacking Darkers. Yandols notices his friend in fear and quickly dashes towards the boy.

"This is bad! Any more of this an-"

A Darker shoots at him like a bullet, knocking him down. Stunned, Yandols struggles to summon his strength to wrestle against the beast.

Shocked at seeing his friend in trouble, Nopihina's fear begins to take a stronger hold on his heart.

> ... no... no!

Yandols's true concern lies in his friend's well being.

The Darker is hell-bent on ripping his face apart, Yandols gritting his teeth as the Darker's strength begins to overpower his.

> If only I could reach my swords...!

He grunts in desperation.

Raiser is struck by a Darker's heat breath, the dark creature breathing deadly flames. Managing to avoid being burned badly, Raiser struggles to gain distance between himself and his enemy.

A nearby house blows up, blasting bricks high up in the air. Noticing the danger, Mayune leaps for Hikari and tackles her friend, saving her from the falling rubble.

Shouko is about to help Yandols out, but a Darker also tackles her and knocks her to the ground, leaving Nopihina to fend for himself.

With everyone out and unaccountable for, Nopihina's fear reaches new levels.

He begins to shake harder and mutters to himself.

"Nopi! Stay with me!" Yandols struggles to comfort his friend.

The Darker hisses and applies more force on Yandols, attempting to crush his body.

> Hrk! I can't let it end like this!

"Everyone get down!"

Answering his thoughts, a sword slash suddenly flashes above him.

Not only him.

The fire-breathing Darker is also cut in half, with Raiser lying down on the ground thanks to the earlier warning.

Mayune and Hikari, originally buried by rubble have their loads cut off and they burst free.

The Darker attacking Shouko is also cut in half horizontally.

Shirogane Jeramu stands in front of the inn, having used his mysterious power to cut all the Darkers in half. In fact, he also slashed the buildings and everything near the vicinity of his comrades in half.

"... collapse on yourself."

He reseals his power, his limiter once again applied as his power returns to normal.

He dashes for Yandols and helps him up.

"I'm sorry I'm late. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine, thanks to you. I owe you one, Jeramu."

The remaining group members gather around him, all of them bruised and injured but remain unharmed from serious damage.

All except Nopihina.

"Where's Nopi?" Yandols panics.

> Huh? He's... concerned?

Jeramu notices his anxiety and realizes leaving the boy is dangerous thing to do.

"Nopi!" Yandols dashes off immediately, leaving the group behind.

"Whoa, hold up!" Raiser dashes after him.
-
The group runs around the burning town, desperately looking for signs of the boy in pajamas.

Jeramu and his sharp eyes scan the entire area of his surroundings, every detail of the map observed thoroughly before he moves on. All of this only takes him a few seconds. All the while he teleports and teleports and teleports in midair, as if he was jumping midair.

> !?

"Over there, that small building. I see his pajamas standing out. Darkers are part of the jumbo package though."

He disappears from his position up in the air and lands on the ground, already running. As if he had been running midair all the time, which he hasn't.

> This guy's power is really mysterious. He speaks so softly during his limiter unlock, and won't even reveal the slightest detail about it. Heck, it seems handy. - Mayune

"Those Darkers will tear him apart. We need to hurry." Mayune suggests.

"Oh I'm not so sure about that." Yandols warns in cold sweat.

"There's a reason why I don't what him to get afraid and try my best to keep him off the frontlines."

He begins to sweat as he says that. Not as in sweat literally, but in cold sweat.

As they get closer to Nopihina's location, just before they are able to turn and move around the building to the back; the Darkers at their designated location are sent flying.

> My worst fears came true!

"Hurry!" Yandols urges them.

They reach the back of the house, spotting Nopihina standing with his back hunched.

"Hey, kid! There you ar-"

Before Raiser can move a step forward, Nopihina disappears from view.

> !

With a snap of his finger, Jeramu seemingly uses his power to teleport Raiser away as a blur of motion happens right at his previous location. Nopihina, with his giant mallet, smashes the ground where Raiser was previously standing into pieces.

Instinctively, the other fighters get back as Raiser leaps off a nearby building and rejoins them.

"Whoa. That is NOT cool." Shouko eyes Nopihina.

His features have changed greatly. His eyes are narrowed, his normally quiet and still mouth twisted into a sinister wide grin. His heterochromic eyes seemingly glow and emit a special trail of aura that follows his vision. His pupils have also changed into a more twisted, feline shape.

"Yeha... this is bad." Raiser swallows hard.

Mayune looks at Yandols, whose face is full of concern.

"What's with him?" She asks him.

Yandols looks at her, then back at his friend.

"He has a very unstable second personality. Usually that personality is always asleep and dormant, but when he is under very heavy pressure and fear..."

"He goes buckwild." Raiser finishes the sentence for him.

"That's never a good thing to hear about someone." Jeramu readies a stance.

Nopihina growls, like a beast. His other personality apparent and dominant. His eyes show no signs of his light, only his inner darkness.

"His other personality craves survival, like a beast. He only wants to destroy everything that threatens him." Yandols further explains.

"Hey, we're not threatening." Raiser points out.

"Not if he cannot tell the difference between ally and foe."

Raiser's head hangs in disappointment.

Nopihina's hiss catches their attention.

"So... any ideas?" Raiser looks at Yandols.

"Yeah. Let me handle this." Yandols draws his two swords from his waist.

He eyes his friend, who looks at him with fear and pure instinct.

Yandols leaps high into the air, a superhuman jump that has every watcher's eyes widen. Noticing the high jump, Nopihina hops back a few steps, only to have his friend dive down directly from the air on him and pin him down.

Yandols stabs his two swords through Nopihina's sleeves, holding the berserk boy down. He leaps back and unsheathes his great sword, which is pulsing and glowing with blue energy.

Nopihina bursts free with unpredictable strength that one wouldn't expect from his small size. Yandols's two swords are flung high into the air.

> !

The boy reaches out to his mallet in his hands, the toy-sized mallet growing up to several times his own size. Yandols's twin swords remain

"Impossible, I already powered my swords with the sealing flow!" Yandols grits his teeth.

Nopihina disappears from view, appearing in front of his friend a split second later and smashing him into a nearby building. The building explodes from the sheer impact, sending more rubble flying.

"Oi Yandols!" Shouko yells his name in concern.

"Right here."

She turns to her side and nearly yells out in shock when she sees Yandols standing beside her with nothing but a bleeding right arm. Everyone else standing near also expresses their surprise. Except for one person.

"Thanks for the save." Yandols nods at Jeramu, who nods back silently.

"Do you still want to handle this alone?" Jeramu's eyes roll over to look at Yandols.

"I will."

Yandols dashes off again, Jeramu smiling with his eyes closed.

> He doesn't want to drag us into his problems. That's why... - Shouko
> How noble, but also reckless and inconsiderate. - Hikari

"Heeeeey, I think we should help." Raiser looks at Jeramu, then at Mayune.

"Perhaps. But, he wants to take care of this on his own. I want to help out myself, but we have to show respect for other people too." Jeramu looks on at Yandols.

> Respect for others... huh. He's like a warrior who values honor. - Mayune

Nopihina swings his gigantic mallet again, his friend somersaulting midair to avoid it. Placing his palm on the mallet, Yandols pushes himself off to gain altitude as the mallet strikes more thin air.

The boy's instinct gets the better of him. Quickly reverting the mallet back to toy size, the boy throws it upwards into the air, once again increasing the size. The huge mallet crashes right into Yandols. Stunned, he drops back down to earth.

"Okay, that's gonna leave a mark." Jeramu sweats. He reaches for his katana at his waist.

"Let me..."

Yandols struggles to pull himself up, struggling to recover his senses from the fall.

"I'll handle this." He manages to stand up, still struggling to balance.

An eerie sound echoes.

The shadows around darkens.

Out of the shadows, a figure leaps out.

"Ah, Deja Vu." Shouko notices.

Kurogane Keiji manifests himself in his human form, high up in the air where he extends his open palm forward. He shoots several tendrils of shadow that binds the boy in place.

"You won't mind a LITTLE help, won't you?" he smiles.

Yandols's energy returns upon seeing the hope in despair. His greatsword glows blue again, the same with his two swords on the ground. He stabs his greatsword on the ground, then quickly kicks the ground from his present location.

Propelling himself forward, Yandols does a roll and grabs his two other swords skillfully. He stabs them on the ground, forming a delta with his greatsword as the head of the triangle.

"Desist!"

He gives the opposing a command and the triangle glows with an intense blue light. Clutching his head with both hands, Nopihina begins to growl and roar, his primal sounds beginning to get softer and softer.

Until it stops completely.

His eyes return to normal, the shine of consciousness returning.

Everyone smiles with relief.

Everyone present, that is.

Nopihina looks at Yandols, then realizes he doesn't remember much about what had happened recently.

"Sorry." his eyes begin to form tears.

Yandols places a reassuring hand on his head. His smile also reassures his friend. Raiser, Shouko, Mayune and Hikari also gather around him.

> Lolicon and redhead are not around...

Raiser looks around.

> They sure are fast.
Jeramu and Keiji rush towards the riverbank near their inn, spotting hordes of Darkers.

"Wow, great. Just great. I can NOT believe this." Jeramu clicks his tongue.

"You seem to be on edge lately. Chill out." Keiji whistles as a ball of shadow energy forms at his right palm.

"It's not easy to chill when I'm constantly using my full power. I don't want to get any more exhausted than this." Jeramu's eyes narrow.

"I'll help you out with this, then. Aight?" his partner laughs.

Both of them then enter a stance.

A horde of Darkers. In front of them. Enough to rip them to shreds. Mindless beasts as they were, if let loose, all hell on earth would be unleashed. Only skilled fighters could take them on, but clearing out many enemies...

It wasn't a specialty everyone had.

Except that these two can.

"... is my power. My power is ..."

Their limiter unsealing begins.

"Now is the time... to ... all boundaries!"

Jeramu clutches his crucifix necklace tight as he says that.

"Now is the time to ... all obstacles."

Keiji's tribal markings on his face begin to glow.

"My name is ......, the one who splits body and soul!"

Jeramu draws his katana.

"My name is ......, the one who finds his mark!"

Keiji brings his gun out from his black hole.

Both of them look on at the horde of enemies.

Jeramu swings his katana.

Keiji pulls the trigger, aiming high up into the air.
Crickets sound.

Sunlight pierces through the transparent glass of the sliding door.

Shirogane Jeramu's crimson eyes are revealed as his eyelids move up.

He looks around.

Raiser is sitting upright on his futon, yawning.

> He just woke up, huh.

Keiji stands at the balcony, looking out at the river. Earphones are plugged into his ears, shutting the world out.

> He's up early...

Jeramu spots Yandols stepping out of the bath.

> And he's ready.
> Hmmm... that was a rhyme... wasn't it?

He closes his eyes and turns away so the sunlight doesn't shine on him.

> Back to slumberland.
-
Raiser Hoshikawa stretches.

The group had changed to more casual clothing to look like regular citizens, deciding to keep low. With a spare change of clothes from Raiser, Yandols manages to blend in with them as well. The group walks uphill the small valley near Taiwa, headed for the next town, which is actually a city.

"Next stop's my dad's place." Hikari smiles.

> Heeeh, she sure is happy when she mentions her dad. Interesting.

Jeramu smiles in acknowledgement.

> Parents, huh.

"Finally we can meet our client." Keiji smirks.

"It sounds as if you were making light of Shouko being our client because you didn't deem her old enough to be our client in which she actually is the representative of the company."

"I hate it when you deliver punchlines and jokes. You talk too fast." Keiji playfully punches his partner's shoulder.

Shouko opens her mouth to retort, but stops.

Yandols stops dead in his tracks.

So do the others.

A figure stands in front of them.

In the forest path, a dark figure whose black body is magnified by the sun's rays. A strong shadow, casted upon by a strong light.

Red and black fang-like sharp designs decorate his body, with long arms and legs and a twisted jester face.

"Bad." Jeramu reaches for his katana.

"Morning fights are bad?" Raiser spins a kunai round his finger.

"Not that. This guy's bad news." Keiji snarls at the enemy.

"High intelligence Darker. A notch above Mutant-level Darkers we fought for the past few days. This guy's threat level is Devil."

The group reach for their weapons as the maleficent figure's twisted mouth twists even more.

Into an unnerving smile that makes their blood crawl.

"Kehehehe."
Chapter 2 - End
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Post by Saechika » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:29 am

Chapter 3 - Illusion Part 1
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A creature dark in nature stands before a group of eight individuals.

The body is painted with red and orange linings that form 'tattoos' all around the black body of the creature. With a mouth as twisted as the markings on the body, and two twisted eyes of the same kind.

Kurogane Keiji and Shirogane Jeramu are in a state of readiness, putting up their stances.

"Threat level, Devil. A Darker with intelligence. May not seem like much, but he's definitely a notch above the 'Mutant' threat levels we've faced so far." Keiji explains without taking his eye off the enemy.

"Well, we're used to taking care of these kinds of threat levels. Just keep an eye out." Jeramu assures his comrades.

The Darker's smile breaks wider.

He waves his hand, causing two batons to appear. He begins to juggle them as they catch fire.

"How... quick to judge."

The team of eight lift their eyebrows as their alleged enemy begins to speak. The creature's voice is cold, filled with malicious intent. His voice sends chills down their spines.

"It would seem like... I'm being underestimated here."

Keiji pulls the trigger on his gun, firing a bullet that passes through a rune symbol to become a beam of darkness. The creature merely swats it away.

The Darker laughs.

He begins by throwing his two batons overhead, seemingly throwing them into the skies insntead of the humans before him.

Scoffing, Keiji charges forward with his left hand stuck inside a black hole. Reaching for the Darker, he withdraws his left hand to reveal a tanto in reverse grip. He leaps at the enemy in order to initiate physical combat, which the enemy complies.

Swiping his clawed hand, the Darker's speed matches Keiji's as they clash. Immediately after making contact, their weapons slide off and they swing to clash again.

> Tch, not bad... this guy...

Keiji and the Darker begin exchanging attacks at a faster rate, the repeated sound of steel clashing with organic metal reverberating in the surroundings.

As the look on, none of them manage to see what is about to happen.

The Darker smiles, his hand growing larger as he does. Too late to dodge, the Darker swipes hard at Keiji and sends him flying back to his comrades.

Waving his hand upwards, the Darker summons the two fiery batons above the team's heads before bringing his hands down. The batons burst into flames and form a flaming cage that traps the eight inside.

"Oh wow. Remind me not to stand still when someone on my team engages an enemy." Raiser rolls his eyes.

"It's all cool, we were being cautious." Jeramu helps his partner up.

"Not COOL, dude. We're gonna get roasted into tomorrow's lunch."

Hikari and Nopihina begin to feel the heat as they stagger.

"He sure is intent on burning us up. It's like ten times a sauna here." Mayune wipes her forehead.

"Hey dude, can't you like, teleport this flaming cage away?" Shouko looks at Jeramu.

"I wish life was that easy." Jeramu grits his teeth as the heat begins to get to him.

Raiser smiles.

"Well, time for my showtime."
The Darker smiles for the millionth time.

"How... quick. I guess they weren't as formidable as the master said they would be."

"I guess your master's quick. Quick to jump conclusions that is."

The Darker whirls around to see Raiser Hoshikawa, Yandols Zeon X and Shirogane Jeramu standing unharmed.

"So uh, mind telling me what's up with the master?" Raiser juggles his kunais.

"How..."

"No, not how. Wrong answer." Jeramu readies a stance.

"Heh."

The Darker decides to drop his act. Instead of trying to feign ignorance, he replaces it with a different mask of emotion.

"Tell me... how did you get out?"

"No time for idle chatter." Raiser tosses his kunai past the Darker, barely missing the creature.

To intimidate, not to kill.

"Very well." The Darker lets out a sigh.

"My name is The Trickmaster. I was sent by my master to gather information on you."

"Your master, huh. I see H.A.S.O.N. has hierarchy over their infected Darkers." Jeramu whistles.

The Trickmaster gives out a chuckle. A very cold chuckle. Every time he utters a word, it is enough to freeze a person cold.

He juggles his batons again.

"I don't know how you got out, but this time you won't be getting out."

"Huh, we don't look trapped, do we?" Raiser looks at Jeramu in order to provoke his enemy.

"You're already trapped in my coffin."

The ground bursts into flames, forming another cage of fire that surrounds the three.

Raiser smiles.

So does the Trickmaster.

"Well well... let's see how you get out of-"

The cage of fire disappears into pure smoke, apparently having been vaporized. This sudden phenomenon causes the Trickmaster to step back in angst.

"Wha-"

The smoke clears to reveal a hunched Raiser and his two friends. Raiser lets out a deep breath, his left palm placed on the floor.

"Ninjas aren't all about throwing kunais, you know." he smiles.

"And I'm not all about petty tricks." Trickmaster snarls.

He tosses his batons and thrusts his clawed hands forward, sending forth streams of fire along the ground and air. Unfazed, Raiser simply puts his hands and separates them, forming three hand seals in quick succession.

The ground in front of him spews out geysers of water, extinguishing the Trickmaster's fire streams upon contact.

The Trickmaster hisses.

In the other fire cage, the flames begin to disappear as well.

To reveal all the remaining members unharmed.

"Ambush fail. Don't think we needed that in the first place." Keiji rolls his eyes.

"Looks like he's not gonna tell us anything." Mayune looks at the enemy before them.

The Trickmaster raises his two clawed hands and slams them both on the ground, causing the ground to rock and spew out fire geysers.

Jeramu sighs and draws his katana.

But Keiji steps in out of nowhere.

"What're you doing?" Keiji looks at his partner.

"Gonna end this."

"I know how you feel, but higher-ups will kick our butts if we recklessly show off like this. As much as I want to show off..."

Jeramu clicks his tongue.

"Have it your way."

On the other hand, Raiser stomps on the ground; causing a water sphere to burst out. Extending his hands out, he pulls his hands to opposing sides, causing the sphere to divide accordingly and explode in a horizontal radius.

The geysers collide with the water and vaporize.

> They vaporized any fire they made contact with instantly. Definitely not normal. - Keiji

By this time, their opposition had jumped high, displaying tremendous strength. As the Trickmaster moves in to land, a shot of light pierces his chest and leaks his dark substance out.

> !?

Kurogane Keiji stands with his gun barrel smoking.

"I'm the one who always finds his mark." he blows.

The Trickmaster regains his composure and makes a run for it.

"He's not dead you idiot." Raiser dashes after the Trickmaster with Yandols and the remaining members following him.

"Nice try, don't cry." His partner pats him on the shoulder.

"I really don't like your rhymes sometimes." Keiji looks at his partner as they run after their teammates.

They chase their enemy.

Into the next town.
Elsewhere, in a dark room; a shadow shifts across dim lights.

> Found it. Now to get this guy out befor-

"Hey dude, that's not cool."

A man dressed as a security guard stands at the unlocked door, looking at the shadowed figure. He chews on a chewing gum, arrogantly and intentionally making loud sounds in a vain effort to annoy the opposition.

"Now you see, that thing there belongs to us. We can't let you waltz in and take it."

The thief lets out a yawn as the security guard blows a bubble.

"I don't understand why you're making such a dramatic show. I mean, you're the one working as a security guard just to steal this thing. In the end this thing's still stolen, just not by you." the thief shrugs.

The security guard's bubble pops.

"So... you know. Who are you?"

The guard does his best to eye the person before him, his body figure and form can be made out without any other details.

"None of your concern." the thief smiles in the dark. Somehow, his pure white teeth gleams and reflects in the light.

He raises his hand, shooting a sticky bar that sticks onto the ceiling and deploys four other sticky mini-bars to strengthen the grip on it.

"Adios muchachos." the thief smirks.

"Like I'd let you get away with that."

The security guard invokes on his power, creating a purple colored black flame that burns and consumes the air in a sickly way; the flames dancing as if they were drawing blood.

Before he can do anything else, he is struck from behind. A gunshot.

Not just any gunshot.

He looks behind him to see his back is slightly burned. Nothing else has happened, only a burning shot that chars his uniform black.

"Wha-"

Another figure flashes past him and knocks him out.

The thief reaches the ceiling and retracts his sticky grappler, leaping off his vantage point to the steel railings on the stairs that lead to the roof.

"To quote, I'd say..."

"Like I'd let myself break in this place alone."

The moon shines on him as he chuckles playfully. His two accomplices join him as they walk and jump off the roof, obscured by the shadows.
Keiji sits down with a glass of ice water in his hand, taking a sip as soon as he is seated comfortably. He wears a plain white shirt and comfortable black cotton pants. Raiser joins him, with a glass of coke in hand. Raiser wears a traditional pajama, a long sleeve blue shirt and blue pants.

"I can't believe we let that guy get away." Raiser grumbles as he drinks from his glass.

"Tough luck, huh. We almost had him too." Keiji follows suit.

Yandols looks at them and shrugs. He wears a brown shirt with the words DASH inscribed on it.

"We couldn't help it. There wasn't much that we knew. Next time we know he's using fire-based attacks. We'll be prepared."

"IF there is a next time."

All three pairs of eyes turn to the bathroom, where Shirogane Jeramu walks out. He wears a long white bathrobe. His long red hair is still wet, glued together by the water from the shower. If not for his voice and powerful stare, anyone looking at him from behind would mistake him for a woman.

"Ah, you haven't cut your hair for the past 8 months." his partner notes.

"I know. It's getting irritating. Because we're always on the move and I don't like regular barbers." Jeramu furiously attacks his hair with vicious rubs using his towel in an attempt to dry it.

Giving up, he wraps his towel around his head like a turban and sits down with Raiser and Keiji.

"Your sideburns are longer too."

"Well... yeah. I'll find something to do about it." Keiji plays around with his sideburns.

"Raiser's hair looks normal."

He notes that Raiser's brown hair is of average length, the sideburns barely passing the ears and the back reaching the end of the neck.

"Oh, yeha. This kinda hairdo pretty much suits my style." Raiser grins.

Both of them nod slowly in understanding.

Yandols looks at Jeramu.

"What do you mean, if?"

Jeramu looks at Yandols before remembering his earlier statement.

"By now he could be on his way back to his master. And when that comes to pass, our fighting techniques, no matter how little we revealed, will be exposed and they'll have plans ready for us. Our usual tactics will need to be changed, and we're not even sure if that Trickmaster will be coming back for a visit."

Yandols nods slowly.

"We'll figure things out when the time comes." he makes a final decision.

Jeramu shrugs.

"We'll see."

He looks outside the sliding door, down at the city known as Kyoten City.

They had reached Kyoten while pursuing the Trickmaster, and decided to stop at the Gajou Hotel for the night.

"It's tomorrow, huh." Keiji drinks from his glass of cold water.

"Yeah. I didn't think the Hoshikawa Company would be located here. We were near Higashima when we got the request, but now I see how the three Hoshikawas could have arrived as quickly as we did." Jeramu pours warm water into his glass.

"Well, we'll get things sorted out tomorrow."

Jeramu invokes his nifty item and materializes a map out of nowhere.

"That's some neat stuff I've been wanting to ask about." Raiser points at his circular energy core-looking item.

"It's a D-Porter. It opens up a dimensional storage that allows us to store whatever we want in it." Jeramu holds it out to let Raiser get a better look.

"Cool. Where can I get one of those?" Raiser looks at the D-Porter with great interest.

"Organization."

"Aw, man."

He spreads the map out on the glass table to take a look.

> Higashima was located here, south of a small valley that led to Taiwa. Off from Taiwa we headed north-east to Kyoten, a big city. From Kyoten, three routes branch off. East, West, North. East would lead to the ocean parts, where the beaches and stuff are. There we can also cross the Suave sea to the Asiro Union...

"What's he doing?" Raiser looks at Keiji.

"Trying to chart our course. If we ever need one." Keiji casually replies.

> Westward leads to the super wide grasslands, Kuuryoku grassland. Windmills and small villages powered by wind exist there, and they're one of this region's main source of raw material. Spanning from grain to other farm goods... then more eastward leads to more cities.

"He seems to be quite good at this." Raiser notes.

"No, really. He's just looking at it so hard his eyeballs will pop out. I assure you, his geographical sense when not looking at a map is zero."

> North... leads to more cities. I think there was a wasteland there... oh yeah... there was.

He finishes his inspection and looks at the map at a full view.

> That Trickmaster couldn't have gone far. He's traveling by foot, not with super dark teleportation powers. H.A.S.O.N.'s company should be in this region.

He looks out the window, staring at the ocean far away.

"Looks like we're gonna have to get busy."
Nopihina sleeps silently, not a sound made except for his faint breathing. Mayune tucks him into bed before sitting down. She wears a yellow sports shirt and sports pants. Shouko dons a orange shirt and blue shorts, despite her status. Hikari, on the other hand, reflects more of her company. She wears pajamas of the finest silk, comfortable in and out.

Shouko, Mayune and Hikari look at him before starting a conversation.

"Your hair is long, Hikari." Shouko notes.

"It's okay. I can manage."

> Yeah, that's long... even my hair only reaches my waist. How long has it been since she had a haircut makeover? Or did she never have one? This is interesting.

"Dad will be overjoyed to see us safe and sound in person. I've already notified him that we're on our way back." Shouko informs her sister.

Hikari's face beams with joy.

"Speaking of your dad." Mayune starts.

"We're going to see your dad tomorrow?" Mayune looks at Hikari.

"Yup!" she exclaims happily.

Shouko smiles.

"We're going to have a long day ahead of us. I suggest we get some sleep soon." Shouko suggests.

"Eeeeh? Just a little bit longer, pleeeeeeeease." her younger sister looks at her with pleading eyes.

"Okay..." Shouko sighs with a smile.

The three of them redirect their attention to Nopihina. His face is quiet and void of all signs of consciousness, breathing steadily and slowly as he dreams.

> He's... so cute...

"I think... we should talk about ou-"

Before Mayune can finish, the sound of someone knocking on their door is heard. Loud knocking, in fact.

> ?

"This late in the night? We even put the 'don't disturb' sign." Shouko notes.

She walks up to the door and peeks through the peephole at the door.

> I cannot see anything.

"GET HIM!"

The sound of a command comes from the outside. Noticing the order given out, she quickly opens the door and allows the person outside to enter.

Hoshikawa Raiser ducks and rolls into the room, upon which Shouko slams shut instantly.

"What are you even doing!? Aren't you supposed to-"

Shirogane Jeramu appears beside her all of a sudden, causing her to let out a surprised gasp.

"YOU'RE DEAD THIS TIME. SOOOO DEAD." He cracks his knuckles.

"HAAAAAAH!?" he looks at Raiser.

Shouko, Mayune and Hikari look on with uncertainty as Jeramu threatens Raiser in a voice louder than his usual tone.

"Not getting caught by ya."

Raiser runs for the sliding door and opens it to the balcony, jumping off immediately.

Mayune's eyes widen.

"He's trained to do that. Even though it's the 7th floor, he'll survive by some insane acrobatic skills."

"Sorry, who?"

Jeramu snaps his finger and Raiser appears at the ceiling, as if he were teleported mid-fall. He crashes down onto the carpet.

"Ha...ha...ha... Raiser Hoshikawa."

"Hello, Mr.Bushido."

"That's it for last words?"

Jeramu grabs Raiser by his collar and drags him outside of the room.

"Sorry for the trouble." he bows his head when he passes by the girls.

"Apology accepted." Raiser smirks.

"I'm so excited to throw you into the toilet bowl."

The three girls look on as Jeramu drags Raiser away.

Kurogane Keiji walks past.

"Where did YOU come from?" Shouko looks at him.

"I was chasing them, but I got lost."

"What happened... exactly?" Mayune's eyes narrow.

"Let's just say Raiser accidentally knocked over a cup of boiling hot water and immediately made a run for it."

"He needs to learn how to apologize..." Shouko's palm flies to her face.

"Jeramu may seem like he's a quiet guy and all, but in truth he's real passionate. Once he gets worked up, it's hard to stop him. Like he's On Fire."

With that, Keiji runs back to his room, leaving the three girls in a cloud of dust.

> ...

Shouko closes the door and locks it.

"Mom was right when she said 'don't open the door to strangers'." Hikari sits down on the bed she's supposed to share with her sister.

"Mmm. I didn't expect Jeramu to get so worked up. He's that kind of 'quiet until you get to know him' kind of guy, huh."

Mayune nods in agreement with Shouko's comment.

"By the way, Mayune."

"Hmm?"

Shouko looks at her comrade in the eye, demanding honesty and sincerity.

"You're pretty strong. I won't demand a reply if you don't feel like it, but how did you stop that Titan's attack?"

Mayune gives a surprised 'oh' and fidgets around in place.

She takes a deep breath before speaking.

"Well, let's just say something happened. I'll tell you guys about it some other time."

Hikari and Shouko nod slowly.

The three girls redirect their attention to Nopihina again.

He sleeps on, the earlier commotion having no effect on him whatsoever.

> Still... cute...

Shouko clears her throat.

"I think we should all get some rest, lest we be tired tomorrow."

"Agreed." Mayune yawns.

She lies down on the couch, opting not to use the same bed as the child to allow better sleep. The two sisters sleep on the second bed, both of them playing around before getting some rest.

> Sisters... huh.
-
"Hoooo....haaaaaah"

Raiser lets out a long yawn as the group walks out of the elevator to the main door of the lobby.

"This is what happens when you pick a fight with other people late at night." Shouko sighs.

Raiser shrugs while smiling, revealing that he's already gotten better with Jeramu.

"It was a joke." Raiser grins.

"Yeah. Don't worry, Shouko. It was a real joke when I almost flushed him down the toilet." Jeramu smiles wearily, remembering how they eventually let things slide without stirring up a bigger commotion.

"Please don't mind him." Shouko shakes her head in disappointment.

The group stops outside of the hotel, at the taxi stand. While waiting for a ride, Nopihina glances to the right to see a crowd of people outside a building.

"So many people." he points out.

The group looks in the direction where Nopihina is looking, their interest piqued.

"Ah. It's an expo. They're supposedly holding this for the whole day." Shouko recalls a flyer she read about earlier in the morning.

"What it about?" Yandols looks at their trusty informant.

"Nothin' much. We'll drop by later, if you guys want to."

At that moment, their ride arrives.

And not just any ride.

A pure white limousine decorated with silver ornaments, silver handles and linings.

"Whoa." Mayune blurts out.

"Tadashi, thanks for coming." Shouko greets the chauffeur, who winds the car window down.

"No problem, my lady."

Tadashi looks out at the new faces.

"Please make yourselves comfortable as our trip will be ranging around half an hour."

"Thank you." Jeramu bows his head before they enter the luxurious vehicle.

> Ceheh, I had expected this kinda thing to happen when we heard of our client; but never such a grand limo. - Keiji sweats in sight of the interior.
> As expected of the Hoshikawa Company. Their wealth is not to be taken lightly. Their contributions to society too. Now... their contributions to my job pay... that's a different story. - Jeramu considers the grave situation of poverty that he is in.

The interior is as well-done as the exterior gives out in terms of looks. Decorated with sofas and small curtains to cover the windows, a small neon light generator hangs at the center of the vehicle. There are also a few small shelves inside holding several drinks, of which include alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

After everyone makes themselves comfortable, Tadashi steps on the gas.

As their journey goes on smoothly, each of the eight individuals keep themselves busy.

Shirogane Jeramu and Kurogane Keiji wear their cloaks even in the car. The rest of them don their travel attire from the first few days, apparently having washed and dried their clothing during the afternoon break they were given the day before.

Little did they know their dressing code would play a bigger role in the very near future.
"Whoaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..." Mayune's jaw drops.

The interior of the Hoshikawa Company is completely underestimated by our five visitors. Rich people decorated their buildings with expensive ornaments, but the Hoshikawa Company is completely pro-science. With layered glass walls that can change their transparency for multiple uses and thermal-adapting air conditioners that help provide the best condition for work. A stronghold for scientists.

"Holy... this is just wow..." Keiji looks around, feeling intimidated.

> Anyone who'd attack this place is plain crazy. I'll give them that.

Jeramu on the other hand does his best to hide his excitement.

> Looks like stuff just got real... now we're talking...

He noticed he was smiling in pure excitement, and decided relax his body.

Yandols and Nopihina look around them normally, eying every detail of the place. If they had awe, they showed certain signs of it. But there was another feeling that was more dominant. The others certainly shared it too.

Intimidation. If anyone were to go up against this company, what would the results be?

Or rather, if the company was hostile towards them, how destructive would things get?

It's a good place to have an alliance with, but a bad one to make an enemy out of.

The very thought crosses the minds of the five others as they follow the Hoshikawa siblings into the elevator.

> Like many cliche movies and TV shows, I'm pretty sure the director's floor is at the top.

Keiji looks at Shouko, who jabs the number button with her thumb.

"What. 5th floor?" Keiji blurts out softly.

His partner shoots him a look.

"Obviously not what you think it is." Jeramu smiles with his eyes closed.

The elevator door slides open and a company worker hands Shouko a small stack of papers.

"Thanks."

The door closes and Shouko presses on the button with the number 30 on it.

"How much money do you think it cost for this?" Keiji pulls out a calculator from his D-Porter.

"You must really be bored out of your mind." his partner shakes his head.

Shouko and her sister can only giggle at the two of them as they head up to the top-most floor of the building.
Hikari Hoshikawa is the first person to greet Hoshikawa Gunzou with a hug, tackling her father with joy.

Chuckling, her father pats her on the head as she clings onto him.

"Hikari, don't forget we have guests."

She just nods happily and stands beside him, her hand holding onto his.

Gunzou eyes the five strangers in front of him.

> Five... they came this far. I was worried the three young ones would have a hard time getting back here on foot, but I never expected that five additional people make such a big difference. Their travel was safe. No signs of severe injuries, just minor bruises.

Shirogane Jeramu and Kurogane Keiji step forward.

"An honor to meet you, Mr.Hoshikawa Gunzou." Jeramu bows his head. Kurogane Keiji, to the surprise of the other members who traveled with him, also lowers his head.

"Ah, I take it you're the young men sent by Trinity?" a light bulb of realization pops in Gunzou's mind.

> They're... young. No. Skills make the difference... no matter how young these boys may be.

"Indeed. We're the ones tasked with the elimination of the H.A.S.O.N. Company. On the justified and proven charge that they are intentionally experimenting on not only humans, but also Darkers and mutating our Dark enemies. This will ultimately lead to the end of mankind." Jeramu explains.

> !

Everyone present with the exception of Gunzou, Keiji and a clueless Nopihina, express their immediate surprise at his statement.

"Wha-" Mayune begins.

"Mutation?" Shouko looks at Jeramu.

"Let's leave the explanation for later." Gunzou gives his eldest daughter a reassuring smile.

"So..."

"Shirogane. Shirogane Jeramu." Jeramu bows his head again.

> Shirogane...? THE Shirogane...?

"You're Meirin's son."

Jeramu nods.

"And you are...?"

"Kurogane Keiji." Keiji introduces without the slightest hint of the playful air he usually emits.

> Kurogane... is this fate?

Gunzou's expression darkens as he eyes the duo from The Organization. After a brief moment he shifts his attention to the other three.

"And you three are the wanderers I presume?"

Mayune and Yandols nod while Nopihina hides behind his friend.

"If it is okay, I would like to collect battle data from all of you." Gunzou moves towards a machine on the right and begins to type on the keyboard.

"Uh, it's cool but how do we do that?" Yandols looks at Gunzou.

"You don't have reports?"

"Dad, they're wanderers." Shouko's shakes her head.

Gunzou's face blanks for a short moment before snapping into realization.

"Oh. Right."

Shirogane Jeramu and Fujiwara Keiji pull out a holographic tablet from their D-Porters with their respective data in it.

> Name, age, origin... -

Raiser's thoughts are caught off short when he spots something.

> Power.

Jeramu and Keiji hand their data to Hoshikawa Gunzou, their faces serious and stern.

"I will make sure this data returns to you after I analyze it." Gunzou gives a reassuring statement.

"Please do. It is very confidential. We were only able to bring it out because Trinity allowed us to." Jeramu bows his head in appreciation.

"Indeed." Keiji agrees.

Gunzou nods.

(I can't see their powers... they're quite secretive about this.) Raiser fidgets in place.

"The three of you, can you follow me to the lab to your left for a bit?" Gunzou looks at Yandols, Nopihina and Mayune.

"Sure." Yandols complies.
Jeramu, Keiji and Raiser sit outside the lab in the room they were in, the remaining individuals inside the laboratory.

Jeramu stares out, past the glass windows of Hoshikawa Gunzou's office. The bright blue sky brings forth a wave of peace to his being.

Keiji fidgets in his seat, constantly looking down at his black shoes or adjusting his coat.

Raiser simply sits with his arms behind his head, staring off at the ceiling.

"They sure are taking their time." Keiji bends down to rub some dust off his shoes.

"Yeah." Raiser shrugs.

"No kidding." Jeramu doesn't avert his gaze.

......

"Are you guys hungry?" Keiji brushes dust off his coat.

"Yeha." Raiser yawns.

"Yeah..." Jeramu sighs.

......

"Wanna grab some fast food after this?" Keiji adjusts his coat.

"Yeha- STOP THAT SERIOUSLY!"

"Eh?"

Raiser's palm flies to his face at Keiji's reply.

"He's saying that you're an annoying person who cannot be quiet for just five seconds." Jeramu shifts his attention to the two of them.

"And-"

"And also you're a whiny little boy who keeps looking for something to do like adjusting your jacket and intentionally doing so so that people will notice that you're bored and ask you to do something and because of that your head is in the clouds because nobody is gonna bother with what you're doing so just give it up." Jeramu interrupts Raiser.

> That... was not exactly what I wanted to say... but it works I guess.

"That's mean." Keiji sighs.

"Pfft. Your annoying me everyday is more evil." Jeramu rolls his eyes.

"Great success."

"Raiser, let's throw him out the building."

"I second that." Raiser rolls up his sleeves.

"Wuh- wait what?"

"No no no no wait."

"STOP!"
Yandols steps out of the scanning room. No, more than a room, it looks more like a cylinder. A cylindrical room.

"Thank you." Gunzou looks at him.

"If it'll help you with anything you need help with, I'm fine." Yandols picks up his two swords and greatsword.

"Who's next?" Gunzou looks at his eldest daughter.

"Me."

Aizirk Mayune steps forward from behind Shouko and Hikari.

> This girl...
> When Shouko handed me a report of the battle they had, I honestly couldn't believe it.

He eyes Aizirk Mayune from top to bottom.

> She stopped a full-force punch from a mutated Darker, not to mention one the size of a Titan. No. The Darker was at least, at least a Titan-level Darker. I understand if the two from the Organization could handle it but..
> For her to stop a punch like that...

"Papa?"

Gunzou snaps back into reality.

"Ah, my bad."

"Just enter the room and the scan will begin." He instructs Mayune.

She nods and walks in slowly.

A cylindrical room that could fit at most two people. A blue glowing light lines the back of the crampy room.

> What do I do now?

The blue light flashes all of a sudden, causing her to step back.

The light then begins to scan her from top to bottom.

> Oh... so that's what it does.

"You may come out now."

> Okay- wait what?

Mayune pushes the door open and steps out of the cylindrical room.

> That was... fast.

She joins Shouko and Hikari standing behind Gunzou as he awaits the results.

"How was it?" Hikari looks at Mayune with earnest.

"Uh..."

> How was it? It was just some bright flashlight room...

"On my first scan I felt super nervous!" she giggles.

"Oh... me too. Abit, I guess." Mayune replies.

Shouko looks at her sister with a smile.

"She was nervous finding out if her powers were successfully transferred or not. It worked out, in the end."

Mayune looks at Shouko, then back at Hikari.

> They really get along well. I can see Shouko dearly holds her sister in her heart.

"We should be done here, right?" Shouko looks at her father.

"Eh? You want to leave already? How mean." Gunzou sulks.

Shouko gives her father a kick to his knee.

"I understand your feelings, but we can always drop by tomorrow. It's not good depriving these guys of their enjoyment as well. I'll take charge of showing them around the city." Shouko scolds her father.

(Waaaah, such authority) Mayune looks at Shouko in awe.

(Much wow...) Yandols raises an eyebrow.

"I get it." Gunzou look at the results of the scan.

"Let's go." Shouko looks at Mayune and Yandols.

"Yeah."

As they walk out, Gunzou stops his daughter.

"Shouko... keep an eye out."

His daughter looks at him with a slight bit of surprise.

"What's wrong?"

"Here..."

Gunzou hands Shouko the data.

> This... huh?

"Is this really the full results of her scan?"

"Yeah. Nothing's wrong with it."

"It seems wrong."

"I meant the machine had nothing wrong with it."

"Say that sooner, papa."

Shouko looks at the four walking out, and looks back at the report in her hands.

"I'll... do something about this."

She hands the report back to her father, who looks at her as she walks away.
-
Sounds of water dripping can be heard.

Shouko and Hikari sit opposite to each other, each of them dressed up for an occasion.

Hikari wears a sparkling blue dress with a matching hairband of the same color, her wrists bearing silver bracelets on both arms.

Her sister, on the other hand, wears a yellow dress that bears a different design than her sister's. She ties her hair back with a matching yellow ribbon that gives her an energetic and youthful impression.

"Mayune sure takes long when it comes to showering..." Hikari slumps on the table.

> Mayune...

Hikari looks at her sister, who doesn't reply. This is not common, as her sister will always do her best to keep her on track.

"Shouko-nee, what's wrong?"

Shouko snaps back into reality and looks at her younger sister.

"Ah... it's nothing. Y-yeah... she's taking longer than usual." her eyes dart to the side to avoid her younger sister's gaze.

"I know right..."

Shouko glances towards the direction of the bathroom, where the sounds of water can be heard.

> Mayune... are you really...?
"Maaaaaaaaan... I wonder what's up with the exhibition." Raiser walks with his hands on his heads.

He wears a long-sleeved jacket along with a black undershirt. His body build can be seen, muscular and well trained.

"We'll see... we'll see." Jeramu replies with a smile. His is a smile of anticipation and excitement.

He wears a red scarf to keep himself warm, wearing a matching simple long-sleeve black shirt that is made of simple fabric. His blue long pants remain unchanged ever since his first meeting with his new companions.

"This might seem out of topic, but why are you wearing a scarf, Jera?" Yandols looks at his ally.

He is wearing a forced change of attire, as a wanderer has limited options. Raiser and Jeramu took him out to a nearby mall for some shopping earlier. He now dons a black overcoat with a proper collar shirt and tie. His black pants are also brand new.

"The same reason you're wearing an overcoat." Jeramu smiles with his eyes closed.

"I'm wearing this because I like them."

"Yeah, I like sca- wait what? I thought you were wearing them because it's cold." he looks at Yandols with disappointment.

"It's cold?" Hikari looks at him teasingly.

"Shiver me timbers." Mayune joins in.

"Don't mind him. He feels cold wherever he goes. His body temperature's got issues." Keiji speaks up casually.

His attire is different from his partner's, wearing a leather jacket with a fur collar to keep himself warm. He also dons a black undershirt like Raiser's and trademark black pants.

"Like you're one to talk. You're feeling cold too." Raiser rolls his eyes.

"Hey, I resent that." Keiji turns to look at Raiser.

As they approach the museum, Jeramu takes notice of a young man walking past him. His crimson eyes meet the young man's that are brown in color.

> Hmmm...

Jeramu turns away after a moment. The young man keeps his eye on Jeramu longer before he turns away.

> That guy's... pretty good.
The museum has a plethora of exhibits on show, ranging from jewellery to old OOParts. Situated opposite a tower, the museum holds for its visitors a valuable experience despite its size.

"Well... I have nothing to say." Raiser quickly drops his sentence.

"This event we have now consists of a collection of some wealthy guy who went around the world digging out funky stuff that he likes." Shouko announces to her group.

"Interesting." Jeramu smiles.

"Is it?" Keiji looks at his partner.

"No I'm just saying that because I don't know what else to reply." Jeramu's smile fades.

"Interesting is such a mainstream answer. We always see that in TV shows." Raiser laughs.

"It shows that people who make scripts are too simple-minded." Jeramu closes his eyes and smiles.

"Let's just ignore those three and move on." Shouko urges the others to move on.

Keiji, Jeramu and Raiser stop their conversation before going after their friends.

"That's mean. I thought only Raiser was not worth your time." Keiji jogs after the group.

"It's because you're such a mean person, using 'not worth your time', that they chose to put you in Raiser's category." Jeramu teases.

"You're quite evil for using 'Raiser's category' yourself, you know." Keiji rolls his eyes.
-
The group decided to split up, each group heading to different sections. Yandols and Nopihina decided to stay behind near the entrance while Mayune, Shouko and Hikari left to witness a holographic tour.

Raiser, Keiji and Jeramu left for the Ooparts segment.

"I have to say, OOParts just boggles your mind. How did people of ancients actually manage such old-fashioned yet creative technology?" Raiser poses a question for his two comrades.

"I'm more interested in why people of our current times fail to develop creative technology." Jeramu whistles.

"How pessimistic. We ARE making progress." Raiser looks at him.

"I'm being frank. We're just heading in one direction. Technology. Energy. Core. Processor. Nuclear meltdown. Boom."

Raiser laughs at the mention of boom.

"All jokes aside, I feel like it's so predictable as to what we'll have 20 years down the line. No new discoveries. Well there are, I won't say they're not creative. But at the same time it's as if we're just exploring what's limited of what we don't know. Like our discoveries are being limited the more we find new ones."

"Do you seriously believe in that?" Raiser looks at him.

"No, I don't. More like I don't want to. But yeah, when I look back; there's more potential. I just feel that there's something lacking."

"It must be the descendants of Nirvana and Mu." Keiji nods.

"It must be Kei smoking drugs. Mu is a video-game continent." Jeramu sighs.

"Nirvana isn't."

Their arguement stops as they reach the OOParts section. All three of them shift their focus to the exhibits, looking at the display of ancient objects not supposed to exist at the old times.

"Ooooh look. An old sword. This thing's actually emitting a special aura!" Jeramu points out.

"Looks more like a stone slab just shaped into one." Raiser shrugs.

"It's like saying a steel slab shaped into the shape of a sword isn't one." Keiji pushes Raiser's remark aside.

"Okay, it's still a slab of rock to me. Looks too old to be a sword." Raiser waves the reply away.

"Well, that's kinda harsh. This is actually quite well forged out of ancient rock, and the fact it bears magical properties allows it to be classified as an OOPart, like our human gifts."

An unknown voice cuts in out of nowhere into the conversation, a strong voice that bears confidence.

The three boys turn around to see another young man the same age them. Opposed to Keiji's cunning features, Raiser's youthful appearance and Jeramu's stern outlook; he bears more charming features. The three boys are taken aback momentarily by the young man's charms.

He has dark brown short hair that curls slightly at the front, with sharp blue-colored eyes. He has a smile on his face, brimming with confidence instead of emotion. He wears a white shirt and long black pants.

> Whoa, who is this guy? Seems like a ladies' man.

Raiser immediately grows bored.

> Looks like some dude from a bishounen anime.

Keiji lifts an eyebrow.

> This guy... have I seen him before?

Jeramu struggles to remember.

The young man chuckles.

"Sorry, was I being rude?"

Snapping back into reality, Jeramu is the first of the three to brush the young man's apology off.

"No, not at all. Your deduction is... very well pointed out if I'd say so myself." Jeramu struggles to speak.

> This guy is just so familar.

"Hahaha, I have an eye out for these kinds of things." the young man chuckles.

"I see. Who might you be?" Raiser tilts his head in amusement.

"My name is Tsuki Tako. Pleasure to meet your acquaintance." the young man grins.

"I'm Shirogane Jeramu, pleased to meet you too." Jeramu offers a handshake.

The young man smiles and shakes his hand.

"This guy with white hair's my friend, Kurogane Keiji. The guy over there's Raiser Hoshikawa." Jeramu opens up quickly.

"Nice to meet ya'll." Tako extends his hand to the both of them.

"Yeha."

"Ossu."
In another section of the museum, another event is being held. People gather around to take a seat on the floating hologram chairs, having the opportunity to get a ride to witness the tour of a new energy resource.

The ride showcased the discovery of a new method to fuse antiparticles together, then through the link create even more methods of fusion that succeeded in breaking way for a new energy resource particle that could be used.

"That was awesome." Shouko stretches as walks across the hallway leading back to the main hall.

"Yeah!" Hikari skips happily alongside her sister.

Mayune can only help but smile. The sight of the two sisters brings about a heartwarming wave on her.

"Have you heard? I heard the Moon Gang's going to-"

> !?

Shouko turns her head at the mention of a name.

"Shouko-nee, what's wrong?" Hikari looks up at her sister with confusion.

"There's something I want to confirm."

Shouko picks up her cell phone from her pocket and begins to dial. Before she can finish her task, someone bumps into her.

"Ow!"

Two voices echo at the same time.

A small boy, roughly around Hikari's size, falls on his rear. Shouko, on the other hand is unfazed. Her eyes were closed due to the unexpected collision. As she opens her eyes, she gets a better grasp of the person she bumped into.

The small boy has black hair that frames his eyebrows, with dark green eyes. He wears a zipped jacket with blue and white as the primary color, along with white outlines. To go with it he has brownish-white shorts.

"Sorry, are you alright?"

Shouko extends a hand to the young boy, helping him out.

"Ah yeah, thanks."

Another young boy comes running up to the first, a look of panic on his face. He has wavy blonde hair and wears goggles with red outlines and silver rubber holding it in place. He has green eyes like his friend, albeit in a lighter color. He wears a tattered grey jacket with a blue undershirt beneath, along with an equally worn out red scarf. With matching grey shorts, the end of his shorts are colored bright brown, along with the outlines that decorate his jacket.

"Sorry! Sorry!" the latter bows and quickly drags his friend away.

The two boys leave so fast the three girls have nothing to say.

"What was that about?" Mayune looks back as they disappear into a turning.

"No idea... anyway..."

Shouko finishes dialing and holds the phone up to her ear.

It takes a few seconds for the person on the other side to pick up.

"Tadashi. The Moon Gang's data I asked for a few weeks ago, yeah. I need it now."

"They're planning a heist here. We need to hurry."

"Okay. I'll meet up with you at the entrance."

Mayune and Hikari look at a worried Shouko with concern.

"What's wrong, Shouko?"

"This is bad."

Shouko grits her teeth.

"We might just get into some trouble here."
-
The four young men gather at the main hall, seated at a table with drinks prepared.

"And then you see, the excavation at the north was a success."

"Ah yeah, I've read about that. It was a good read. I hope they put those on expo soon."

Jeramu and Tako exchange interests and opinions at great speed, both of them getting along well.

"I never knew he was the friendly type." Raiser looks at them.

"Well he isn't. He's very withdrawn, he doesn't know what to say. He has difficulty relating to people, that's why. He's afraid of saying wrong things. That's why when he finds people who think like him, he feels that he can hold back less and make more room for conversation."

"I see..." Raiser folds his arms.

Tako and Jeramu laugh all of a sudden, surprising the other two.

"Yeah, that find was hilarious. It was not an OOPart, but an artifact." Tako laughs.

Raiser sweatdrops.

"Is he a big fan of things like this?" Raiser jabs a finger at Jeramu.

"Nah. He's just... interested in random stuff. I don't know." Keiji sighs.

Before they can continue on, the lights in the whole museum go off, plunging everyone inside into darkness.

"Wha-!?"

The lights go back on again, then off again.

"What's going on!?"

> !?

Jeramu, Keiji and Raiser get up on their feet as fast as they can, their trained eyes piercing their surroundings.

A sudden shout sends the entire floor into panic and people start running.

> Great, of all times we have a panic NOW. People are so... ugh. So stupid! - Raiser clenches his fist.

"Tako!? Where are you!?"

Jeramu searches frantically for his new friend, but sees no sign of him.

"Jera, we have to go now. Let's regroup!" Raiser urges him.

Reluctant, Jeramu nods as he accompanies his two friends to the entrance.
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Saechika
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Post by Saechika » Sun Mar 16, 2014 1:30 am

Chapter 3 - Illusion Part 2
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Yandols holds onto Nopihina's hand like an older brother would, ensuring his friend won't get lost again. People rush past them, all thrown into a panic by the sudden blackout.

"They sure are freaking out just because the lights went off. Are they scared?" Nopihina looks at his guardian.

"You could say that."

> Though... this museum has enough power to host a bunch of holographic exhibits and contain items like OOParts. I doubt a blackout could ever occur here, there must be a backup source to supply enough energy. And if there is, the chances of one happening is most unlikely.

At that same time, the two separate groups join Yandols and Nopihina, coming from separate directions.

"Whoa, fancy meeting you guys here." Raiser speaks up.

"Very funny, save it for later." Shouko replies.

Shouko fidgets around in place, concern written all over her face.

> I've never seen her like this before. Despite only being together for somewhat a week or so, Shouko is in a panic?

Mayune looks at her friend with concern.

"This is somebody's work, isn't it?"

All eyes turn to Jeramu, who breaks the atmosphere and mood.

"I mean... a regular blackout wouldn't cause such a panic. In fact you'd have to be part dumb to actually run out just because a blackout occured. I heard it. Someone let out a scream, instantly throwing everyone into panic. And it's not like it wasn't planned out. In a normal building a scream would hardly have any effect, but as we're in a place with so many valuables, a single scream can lead to a huge misunderstanding that causes everyone to evacuate."

Jeramu speaks calmly and rationally, his thoughts flowing out as he pieces the situation together.

"Uh... yeah." Raiser struggles to speak.

"It's the Moon Gang. Getsudan."

Now everyone turns to look at Shouko instead.

"I overheard some people talking about it earlier. Said they were planning for a heist."

"Moon Gang? Wuzzat?" Raiser yawns.

"It's because you never pay attention to what I say you're asking this now." Shouko sighs.

Yandols gives it some thought before speaking.

"I've heard of them before. On a radio broadcast. They're a gang of thieves who steal valuable items right?"

"Yeah. Valuables belonging to rich people."

"So, what're they doing here?" Mayune poses the question to Shouko.

"We'll find out soon."

No sooner had she said that, a honk sounds several feet away from them. Tadashi arrives in a different car, this one a slick, well-designed car made for breezing through the road at high speeds.

"This is the information you want." Tadashi hands his lady a holographic tablet.

"Thank you, Tadashi. Help the people get organized, the police should be here soon. Have them all calm down or it'll just end up being a bigger ruckus." Shouko instructs.

"Will do."

Tadashi drives away, looking for a place to park his car.

"He sure is rich." Keiji whistles at the car.

"Well, when you're working as a driver for my uncle. Yeah. He's like my uncle's right-hand man." Raiser shrugs.

"I can see that. So are you as rich as he is?" Jeramu teases.

"Nope. Sadly even the three of us don't earn as much as he does."

"Because he's working and we're not, genius." Hikari rolls her eyes.

"Save it, all of you. Come and check this out." Shouko urges them.

"The Getsudan is formed by revolutionary thief Getsuga Kaitou, the Moon's Fang. They stage out heists with flashy bombs and all sorts of things that draw attention to themselves before they escape."

"They? There's more than one?" Yandols points out.

"Yeah."

Jeramu begins to leave the group, walking back inside the museum.

"Where are you going, Jera?" Yandols looks at him.

"There's something bothering me. I need to go look for it." Jeramu states.

His voice is void of the usual calm composure that he showcases, replaced by a voice full of uncertainty and doubt.

"I'll be right back."

The moment he says that, he warps away with his power. Disappearing into the main hall of the museum several yards away, he warps again and is nowhere to be seen.

"Really, doing whatever he wants..." Shouko sighs.

She turns to look at the others.

"Let's go. We have to stop this heist."

"Yeah."

The remaining 7 members dash after Jeramu, ready for some action.
Jeramu lands on the ground, having 'warp jumped' to his location.

> This room... I never knew it existed. Were they planning to showcase what was inside here?

As his eyes dart around the dark room, he sees a familar sight. A young man with brown hair crouching at the corner of the room.

"Tako!"

Tsuki Tako looks behind, spotting Shirogane Jeramu running towards him.

"Jeramu. What brings you here?" he asks.

"Heh, I came to find you. I couldn't see you running out with the crowd, so I thought you must've been here too."

"Ah, I see. Thank god you came." Tako laughs.

"Yeah. Indeed."

Jeramu's voice darkens.

"Thank God, for giving me the knowledge to stop you."

"Huh?"

Tako looks at Jeramu.

"Jeramu... what?"

"Tsuki. Tako. Moon Kite. Your name. It's so familar... to Getsuga Kaitou." Jeramu's eyes narrow.

"You're suspecting me?" Tako looks at Jeramu with shock.

"Yeah. I mean..."

Jeramu lifts his hand and clenches it into a fist. Nearby, two glass shelves explode into glass at the same time he does so.

"Your two accomplices over there seem to be quite skilled at keeping silent."

Out of the glass shelves two boys step out. The darkness makes it hard to distinguish their faces.

"Tako. You're the Moon Fang, aren't you?"

Tako, shocked to the core, drops his facade all of a sudden. His look of confusion changes into the confident smile he first had when meeting Jeramu.

"Pretty smart of you. Jeramu."

"Your name is one thing, but your knowledge of artifacts allowed me to deduce the culprit could only be you after I pieced both together."

The crimson-haired swordsman summons his katana out of nowhere, the weapon appearing the moment he holds his hand out.

"You're an ability user, Jeramu. If you harm a powerless person like me for no reason, you'll be sent to jail."

"That's okay."

Kaitou raises an eyebrow at Jeramu's quick reply.

"I have clearance to do whatever I want. And... when we met you said something. The fact the OOPart has magical properties allows it to be one, just like OUR human gifts."

"Only power users know their abilities are referred to as gifts." Jeramu gives Kaitou the same confident grin.

"I could be lying." Kaitou protests.

"Let's find out."

Jeramu's reply is lightning quick, hand-in-hand with his next action. Drawing his katana, he slashes at blinding speed across himself, his power allowing him to cut the entire room across the same angle his slash went through.

The two boys and Kaitou immediately get down on their stomaches, the slash passing through the place where their upper bodies had just been.

(This guy is freakin' serious about cutting all of us in half!) Kaitou sweats.

Jeramu sheathes his katana as the three get up on their feet.

"You're one crazy guy..." Kaitou shakes in cold sweat.

"I could say the same to you." Jeramu expresses his surprise at all three dodging his attack.

The two boys hidden in the shadows leap from their positions at that moment, launching an attack on Jeramu. One throws a chain while the other fires a glaring shot of light from a gun.

"How naive."

Jeramu holds his left hand out towards the incoming attacks, extending his power to them. Pushing the mental trigger, he swipes his hand across, warping the chain and gunshot behind him where they collide with each other and explode.

The two boys land on their feet, still obscured by the shadows. Only Kaitou's features remain seen in the darkness.

"Interesting power you have there. Care to tell me about it?"

"We'll see." Jeramu smiles.

He holds his left hand out again, this time towards Kaitou.

(Something's coming... what's he trying to do?)

Jeramu withdraws his hand once and pushes forward again. A powerful wall of force collides with Kaitou, pushing him back and crushing him against the wall the same time Jeramu's hand is thrust forward.

> !

Kaitou slumps to the ground, knocked out.

"Such a drama king, really."

Jeramu waves his hand upwards, Getsuga Kaitou warping in front of him after he does so.

(Wha!?)

"As long as you're in this room, you're under my control." Jeramu looks at all three of them.

(Not only did he see through the fake, he even knew my position?)

At that moment, the rest of Jeramu's companions burst into the room, having found the door.

"So this is the room where the- oh he's here." Raiser notices.

"Shouko, light." Jeramu shoots her a look.

"Oh, okay."

Taken aback, Shouko nods and uses her powers of light to create a ball of light that explodes and illuminates the room.

The two boys are revealed, being the exact same duo who ran into the three girls in the hallway earlier.

"You!"

"Oops." the boy with black hair gulps.

"Sonic, you idiot. I told you not to hurry, see who you dragged in now?" the blonde haired boy scolds.

"Hey, it's not my fault you're so slow, Django. You drag your feet on stupid things." Sonic retorts.

"You guys busted the plan. Really now.." Kaitou's palm flies to his face.

"Ah! Octopus!" Keiji points at Kaitou.

"His name's supposed to be based on a Kite, not an Octopus, you lolicon." Raiser's head hangs in disappointment.

Smirking, Kaitou leaps high into the air, his superhuman agility catching them off guard.

"It's been fun, but adios amigos. I've got what I came for after all."

Kaitou's right hand shoots a sticky grapple hook to hang onto the roof while his left hand reveals a hidden gem emitting a blue glow.

"An OOPart gem..." Yandols notes.

Sonic and Django leap in unison, wanting to grab onto the steel pathway located on the wall that leads to the upper door.

"I told you already."

Jeramu swipes his right hand across, the three of them instantly vanishing from their positions onto the ground where Kaitou once stood.

"Tch." Kaitou clicks his tongue in annoyance.

Before he can act again, the sound of a gun cock alerts the three of them. Keiji steps out from the shadows, his gun pointed behind Kaitou's head.

"I say you don't move. Or you'll lose some very important things that can help you in staging a heist." Keiji threatens.

Jeramu warps himself forward, putting the tip of his katana's scabbard to Kaitou's throat.

At the same moment, Raiser holds two kunais on both hands to the throats of the two boys.

"What a pinch." Kaitou chuckles.

"Why are you doing this, Kaitou?" Jeramu demands.

The Moon Fang Thief laughs.

"There are times in life where you have no choice."

"There's always a choice."

"Not for me."

"You didn't try."

"I know I didn't try hard enough, but-"

"There are no buts."

"We'll see."

Kaitou kicks Keiji's knee and flips over, aiming another kick at Jeramu which the swordsman barely dodges. He throws a smoke bomb at the ground, the whole room filled with an opaque gas that obscures the vision of the 8 fighters.

"It's no use!" Jeramu exclaims.

He spots them fleeing through the upper door, already on their way out. Extending the reach of his power, he wills to teleport them; but to no avail.

"Wha!?" Keiji notices.

The smoke clears as the eight of them are left alone in the dark room.

(My power didn't work. No... it did. They weren't there. They were just illusions.)

Jeramu clenches his fist hard as the other seven hang their heads in disappointment.

(How did they do it? More importantly, when did he swap with a double?)
Chapter 3 - END

Trivia
-
"Tsuki. Tako. Moon Kite. Your name. It's so familar... to Getsuga Kaitou." Jeramu's eyes narrow.

Tsuki and Getsuga are the names for Moon and Moon Fang respectively in Japanese, whereas Tako is Kite. Kaito is an alternate way of pronouncing Kite in Japanese, using a literal pronounciation. This goes with Kaitou, where only the o at the end is dragged longer.
-
"Ah! Octopus!" Keiji points at Kaitou.

"His name's supposed to be based on a Kite, not an Octopus, you lolicon." Raiser's head hangs in disappointment.

Tako is the name for both octopus and kite in Japanese.
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