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
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."
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.
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."
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."
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Shouko looks at her younger sister, the silver-haired Hikari.
"What do you think? Should we help those people out?"
"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.
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.
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."
"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."
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
"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.
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.
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."
"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."
"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.
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."
"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'."
"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?"
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."
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.
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.
> 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.
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.
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?"
"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."
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.
Looking at the people around him, Yandols asks a question.
Chapter 1 - End