(Well, here's the next chapter. )
-Chapter 2: The Holy One-
The raging wind and snow felt like a thousand whips and stones striking against his body, but there was something that was hurting him worse. The pain he had caused Misono, enough to actually empty a whole clip from a .45 handgun on him, and the hardships that family would certainly face due to Takeshi’s actions.
“It’s not the first time I had hurt people. It wasn’t the first time I had killed men and women with family, friends, even lovers. It wasn’t even the first time I had killed them in front of said people. But it never got easier when I had to do it.'
He had walked a great distance through the blizzard, over hills, past frozen lakes, and the occasional corpse of an unlucky passerby. Of course, out here in the wastelands, it wasn’t uncommon to stumble upon a corpse or two; even a group of corpses were as common to him as spotting a stray cat hunting for food.
“Back when I was a kid, these wastelands used to have towns large and small. Of course, the enemy hadn’t penetrated our borders yet.”
He came upon a gated junk yard, a shack that seemed as though it would fall over in this blizzard stood feebly in the very center of the junkyard surrounded by various machines and junk that had accumulated over the years.
While walking towards the gate, his foot stepped on something metallic and round, in a junkyard with a blizzard going on, something like that was to be expected. Or at least it would’ve been, had he not noticed the chains on the gate were cut. Takeshi raised his foot to see the lock lying uselessly in the snow covered ground...someone was inside.....
‘Looks like I’m not alone.’
He thought to himself, he reached into his cloak and pulled out the revolver. He checked the barrel to see how many bullets were left; the old man who had the gun before only loaded about 4 bullets, having fired 1 that made 3 left. That seemed like more then enough, but Takeshi didn’t survive this long without having back up plans. He took his knife with his other hand while holding the handle of the gun, and aiming forward.
He slowly pushed open the gate, looking around cautiously as he moved towards the shack door.
‘The sound is being drowned out by the blizzard; will they try a sneak attack?’
He made it to the door without a single problem. However, he wasn’t out of the danger zone just yet. In fact he may have been in more danger than if he was outside. The shack would make fending off multiple combatants difficult because of the small size of the shack, being about the size of a cheap motel room. He turned the knob, as the door’s lock disengaged. Someone other than him had definitely been there, and they must’ve been trained because they were able to disarm all the traps he had left in case someone tried to break in before. Even the back-up door was lowered. Though it looked like a weak little shack made of cheap wood, that was just a cover. The inside was reinforced with military grade steel, and the door had a special code that only an elite hacker or someone who knew the code would figure out.
The lights were out inside the shack, it was darker in there then a ninja’s birthday party. Holding the gun at the ready, he reached over to the light switch by the door. One flick…nothing, still dark.
‘They disabled the circuit breaker.’
He slowly moved through the darkness, placing the guitar case down by the door. He took a gunXknife defensive stance, as he looked from corner to corner, he realized something; this wasn’t a simple break-in for a one lucky wastelander, no…this was a trained professional, locating his residence, breaking the lock, disabling the traps, figuring out the code for the door even disabling the circuit breaker, someone knew Takeshi would appear. Someone…had been waiting for him. The question was, 'who'?
He was distracted by an old picture with a glass frame, he gazed into the frame for a long time.
He suddenly rolled forward just as a scythe passed overhead, he hand-sprung back onto his feet to avoid the bladed chain at the end of the scythe’s shaft.
He dove forward to grab the gun and knife, he was able to grab the gun but narrowly avoided having his hand sliced off by the scythe. With the gun in hand, he rolled over to aim at his assailant, only to have his wrist grabbed and moved as he was forced to fire 3 shots away from the attacker, now with a useless gun and his hands tied up, he swept his left leg over his right leg which followed his left leg in a spinning motion to knock the attacker off their feet and release his hands.
While still having that momentum he used the same hand spring to jump towards his guitar case, which he had left half open, while facing his assailant he reached into the case behind him.
His assailant rushed in like a wild boar, scythe ready to cleave off his head.
But Takeshi was prepared this time. Instead of backing away from the scythe he moved in just as the strike passed by.
He was now so close to his assailant he can clearly tell it was a woman.
The only thing that prevented them from pulling their scythe back and cleaving off Takeshi's head was Takeshi's close proximity. But that wasn't important, what was more important was what was in hand:
A black-bladed Jian sword with a curved tip held in a backhand grip being pressed against the women's neck. A single move from Takeshi's hand would mean the woman's end.
"I see you haven't gotten rusty, Takeshi-kun."
Geez...what is it about visual novels that make me feel like I know what the character is thinking, and feeling.
When a visual novel does that, than you know it's done it's job correctly in putting you in the main character's shoes. You know, before the crippling annoyance of reality sucks you back in.
Ah, I do enjoy the Tsundere types~ )
-5 minutes later-
The room looked very much like a 1-room apartment, there was the door to the west, a small area where one takes off their shoes was the first thing seen. Take a step forward, and there's a bigger room. There was a bed in the right-hand corner of the room, a drawer with a desk lamp right on top of it.
Directly across from the foot of the bed was a small TV being supported on a box with the wire plugged into a socket behind the box, coincidentally if one were to move from the bed to the TV they'd see a small opening into another room directly right of.the bed, that room was quite small and cramped. Judging from the cupboards, fridge, stove, and sink, it must've been a kitchen.
To the left side of the bed was a large work desk at the very back, rather there were few papers there. What was there was a whole bunch of pictures in frames...
About halfway from the entrance to the kitchen, in the main room, and to the left was a closed door. The sound of running water was clearly heard through the room.
He lied down with his hand draped across his face, through the crevices of his fingers he could clearly see the faint bullet marks in the ceiling, this shack/cabin was reinforced with military grade steel after all, 3 rounds from a revolver wouldn't barely dent it.
The sound of running water stopped, "Ah~I needed that." the bathroom door opened, "Miss me?" She asked.
He looked over to the girl covered in a white towel.
Her body was slender and curvy, he felt that if he were to squeeze her she would break in half. Her body didn't look a day over 17. She had short hair with the one strand of hair falling low to her shoulders wrapped in a purple ribbon.
She peered at him inquisitively with deep orange eyes.
"Jeez, I was waiting there for about 30 minutes before you showed up." She pointed to the space above the bed on the ceiling.
"Sorry, I had..." His memories flashed back to Misuzu, "An incident to deal with." Before he realized, the girl was on top of him, pinning his arms to the bed.
"Hey...Takeshi...do you remember my name...?" She asked, moving her face closer to his. Their noses practically touching...
"Ayasaka....Misuzu..." Takeshi said in an expressionless tone.
"Correct...!" She said softly, as if waiting...but when nothing happened, she sighed to herself. "Hey, how does this situation make you feel?" She reached for the towel which covered her body, tugging at the top teasingly. "Do you wanna see more?"
"......" He remained silent, he freed one of his hands and pushed her shoulder gently. "Sorry, I still can't do that." He stood up from the bed and stretched.
"Really?" She turned over, now upside down she looked at him with a confused look, and than she made an expression that suggested she just figured something out, which she frowned over, "Wound's still fresh isn't it...?"
". . . . . ." He knew who she was talking about, but didn't acknowledge it, he merely moved over to the desk and scooped up a picture frame with Misuzu and the Lavender eyed girl in it.
From the angle of the picture, it looked like Misuzu was holding the camera, and pulling the Lavender-eyed girl by the arm and forcing her to take the picture with her. It was clear from the expression on her face that it was annoying to her, which was the exact opposite of Misuzu's expression.
"Those days...they seem so long ago don't they...?" He said unconsciously...
"Yeah...I guess we've all had tough times..." She was now sitting cross legged, away from Takeshi. Her shoulders shook slightly, as if she was recalling a memory. "None of us...should've had to go through with any of that...heh... 'your reanimated have been infected with Stigma, as you know, there's no cure...so they must all be eliminated...' so stupid..." She wiped her nostrils.
Takeshi remembered those words all too well, as did everyone in the Corpse Collector Unit. "Yeah, 'you're the only ones who can do it, you know their weaknesses and you have the abilities to fight on even level, do them a favor and give them a warrior's death.'" He looked over to Misuzu. "I'm sorry, we shouldn't be talking about the past...the best we can do is remember the good more than we remember the bad...right...?" He quoted Misuzu's words days after the death of her own Reanimated.
"Heh-heh...AHAHAHAHAHA...!" She suddenly burst out laughing, swiping her hand across her face. "That's right...I feel stupid, seeing as how I was the one that said those words." She took a deep breath and turned back to Takeshi.
"Anyways, I didn't come here to reminisce on old times. I'm here to bring you to the capital, orders from the top...I'd really prefer if you came cooperatively." She stood up from the bed, reaching out to Takeshi...
"The capital....what for?" He asked, putting the picture frame down and turning back to her.
"Classified orders, they just told me to retrieve you. So...what's it gonna be...peace or resistance..." She lowered her hand slowly, "If you want, I can just report that you were killed by a scavenger in your sleep?"
"No." Takeshi cut her off sharply. "I'll go..."
(Wow, I posted a whole bunch of posts today, didn't I? )
-December 16th, 20XX, 9:48 AM- (12 years ago.)
His previously dark vision had suddenly went all white, for a moment he wondered if he was dead. Until his vision came into focus, he found himself lying on a bed in a white room, there was an IV line stuck into his arm and some life readings on the machine by the bedside, his left leg was suspended in the air and covered by a sturdy cast. Curtains were drawn by his bed, and a window was open to the right of the bed, between the bed and the window was a 3 drawer cupboard..
A sound clicked on, nearby.
He sat up and looked around curiously, searching for the origin of the sound.
"Please do not move." A female voice rang out. The curtain appeared to reveal a woman in a white nurse's dress. Her long, golden hair falling just past her butt.
As if know what Takeshi would ask, she answered with a smile and an angelic voice, "Don't panic, you were in an accident and have been asleep for 3 days."
"Ah...I see..." Takeshi settled back in the bed, he suddenly shot back up urgently, "What about everyone else?!" Takeshi asked in a panicked tone.
The woman frowned, her violet eyes falling to the floor and looking away. "Roughly 80% of the students have either been KIA or have sustained injuries that render them useless in combat."
"A number, gimme a number!" Takeshi ordered urgently, the percentage didn't give him much.
"26 students...of the original 32 are unfit for duties.The death toll is 94%, meaning...24 of the students are currently deceased, the other two are in critical condition with a 5% chance of survival. Of the ones who survived, their bodies have been damaged extensively, it may take many months for them to full recover." She said quietly...
"I see..." Takeshi settled down, tears started to form in his eyes. "Ah, this is unsightly...a man should never show his tears to others. That's what my dad always said at least."
"Sorry...do you wish for me to return at a later time?" She asked with a sympathetic look on her face.
"Yes please, I just...want to rest right now..." Takeshi said, as he turned back to the woman she was gone. Like some sort of ninja, and the curtains were drawn once more. Strange. He hadn't heard her leave...
"Ah." He had just remembered, he didn't ask her name.
"Death had ignored my existence yet again...I had survived once more...why...?
I remembered someone once told me, 'those of us who survive have a great purpose we must fulfill', than does that mean those who die before their time had no purpose but to die?
I remember thinking to myself, how long will it be before their deaths fade from our memories...?"
With nothing to do now, he started fiddling with the contents of the cupboard next to him, starting from the bottom. It was then he saw that his right hand was wrapped in a cast, he was a little surprised that he didn't notice that sooner.
There was nothing in the 3rd drawer, maybe some dust and...nope, just dust...
The 2nd drawer had an empty composition book, but with no writing utensils the only thing he could do was throw paper around. Of course, trying to rip paper out of a composition notebook was both an arduous and irritating task, as the paper never perfectly ripped from the spine.
So, he tried the top cupboard, and sure enough he found a little square mirror.
"...." Taking a deep sigh, he took the mirror in both hands, staring at his reflection to see if anything had changed since the accident:
His facial features had remained relatively untouched. His forehead was bandaged properly now. He wondered if he'd changed at all?
His light brown hair was unkempt and spiky, going past his chin. He started to wonder if he should cut his hair sometime? Nah, he'd grown so used to his natural spikes and partial gravity defiance that changing it could alter his whole appearance.
His eyes were a dark shade of gray, a very unusual trait to him considering his mom had blue eyes and his dad had brown eyes. He never really thought about it, his eyes always did make him look lazier than he was.
He looked down to his body, not needing the mirror for that. He was in excellent physical condition, due to the martial arts training. It hurt to breathe, so there was a good chance he had a few fractured ribs.
He sighed to himself, he wanted to get up. As far as he could see, there were no crutches or wheel chair accessible. He did have an emergency button by the bed, but it was probably bothersome to someone.
With nothing to do, he tried to sleep to pass the time...
'Of course I couldn't sleep...every time I closed my eyes, that incident played like a movie on a loop. It made me sick to my stomach, and then...everything went black.
I couldn't hear anything.
None of my senses worked...
I felt at peace, wondering if this is what death felt like? Did my classmates feel peace like this? What of my family?
Lights appeared in the darkness, they looked like stars to me...this was great...and I never wanted it to end...I never wanted to wake up....
Of course it was...
Death was a lonely feeling...but I'm sure it would pass...'
A soft melody played...it was beautiful, but sad at the same time...
'Like a blade against my skin...this sound pierced through me...
It was quiet at first, but it became so much louder. Until it was the only thing I could hear. I felt the uncontrollable urge to go to it.
I felt the sadness from the song, and I wanted to go to the player, I wanted to find them no matter what...'
A light took over his vision, growing larger with each passing moment.
"At that moment...I thought I understood something about the player...
They were alone...just like me..."
He opened his eyes to find the sound was still playing, probably not too far away either.
He was still in the same room as he fell asleep in, only to find he'd been sleeping for about an hour.
Never mind that, he wanted to find the source of the noise.
It seems someone removed his IV while he was asleep, didn't want that to come out accidentally. He got up from the bed, only to fall flat on his face moments later. Apparently, his other leg had sustained some damage.
He rose from the waist and gripped onto the bed's railing, he pushed himself towards the window, careful not to accidentally fall off. He then used his shoulder to keep himself up as he moved along the wall to the door across from the room. He found a pair of crutches by the door
He followed the sound like a zombie following the scent of flesh. He passed by various patients, but avoided what he thought was staff, for fear that they might try to stop him and bring him back, which would prevent him from meeting the player of the melody.
He came upon a door down a narrow hallway.
The door was different from all the other doors, it seemed to be made of a reinforced metal, it was sealed by a hatch as well. A label by the door which read:
"Restricted Area, Authorized Personnel only."
Made him hesitate at first, but his hesitation was blown away by the melody coming from behind the door. He placed his hands on the hatch, turning it with all the might he could muster with his one uninjured arm.
In the rational side of his mind, he wondered if these people needed better security in this particular area....
He stepped through the unsealed door, the corridor had about 3 doors on each side, it didn't look any different from the previous hallway. But the melody was definitely a lot stronger then before....now that he thought about it, how could he hear that melody from that far away and through a sealed door...?
This was a question he had stopped to think about...or so he thought, his legs had apparently moved on it's own. He came upon a simple wooden door, with a nameplate nailed to the door which read:
He opened the door slowly, like a domino effect the melody stopped.
He came into a large white-painted room, there was a two person bed on the left side of the room, along the right side was a closet and 3 rows of bookshelves, about...90% of the stuff on the bookshelf were books, others were miscellaneous items such as a snow globe.
There was a desk by the door.
Some clothes on the floor.
He saw in the very back, a piano and a window in the left-hand corner. But that's not what he was really looking at...
There was a girl sitting at the piano.
She wore a long dark dress which was a lighter shade than her long black hair.
By her body...she looked no older than a high schooler...
She had a cold glare directed at him, with those unnatural lavender eyes of hers.
She was shorter than him by about half a head, her body was slender and cat-like. Her existence was simply...something he'd never seen before.
It was than something clicked in his mind, "You're...that girl from before..."
Though she didn't have that white spot in her hair at the moment, and her eyes were slightly lighter than the last time they met. It was definitely the same girl...
She continued to stare at him with that cold glare of hers.
". . . . ." She didn't respond at all, she merely turned her back to him and continued playing, "You interrupted me."
"Ah, sorry." Takeshi quickly apologized, taking about 3 steps towards her, until-
"Not a step further." She said in a harsh tone that made Takeshi stop dead in his tracks. "I have not given you permission to be here."
Takeshi held up his hands in apology once more, realizing how rude it would be to invade this girl's boundary any further, still he had a few things to say;
"Hey, you're the same girl from before, right?" He never got an answer to that question before.
". . . . ." Again she didn't answer, she simply started playing again.
"Uh..." He wondered if she didn't hear him, twice? Probably not...so then, maybe she was ignoring him? Well, he was sure she was the same girl.
"Anyways, thanks for saving me back than."
She seemed to have missed a key when those words were said, destroying the peace and tranquility of the melody like a bomb would.
She turned back to Takeshi, an annoyed look on her face, "Understand this...I did not save you out of the goodness of my heart." A smirk appeared on her face as she said this, "It's simply because you who survived are needed to 'tame' us. In other words; if we had lost you people, we lose out on precious time meant to teach you how to kill people." She crossed her arms and looked away, "But you're not that valuable, you're like us...Expendable soldiers..."
Her words cut into him like a knife, they were cold and sharp. She held nothing in reserve in her explanation.
"On another note...if it was up to me, I'd have let you all die out there."
( Next post time...! )
The force of her words were strong and harsh, it made Takeshi feel sad, like it was supposed to. He wondered if he should go? That would've been exactly what she wanted, he was about to leave when he remembered the last words she said to him before he passed out...
It didn't add up to what she was saying now, maybe...she just didn't trust people in general, maybe she had high walls around herself and wouldn't let anyone penetrate those walls. Maybe...if Takeshi did the opposite of what she said, she'd open up a little more?
Worth a shot...
"Hey...a while back, why'd you say those things?" He asked, a little embarrassed to actually repeat it.
"What things?" She seemed to have no recollection, having already gone back to the piano.
"You know, uh..." He scratched the back of his head, "When you asked to use me as a pillow." His cheeks started turning red.
She seemed to ignore him, until she responded, "Were those my exact words?"
"I don't remember." He responded quickly, "But it was something like that."
"It seems you've mistaken my reasons for being close to you." She seemed to be thinking of what key to hit next, "You must know, I'm a Reanimated, a corpse brought back to life to save the still living, an expendable resource. However, I am a special case. For example, I have the ability to absorb the life force of those around me to speed up the healing process, keep me alive, or make me stronger. Normally, a Reanimated would need to a Handler to tap into their full power, however, I take the life force of other things to make me stronger. You might even say, I'm someone who will never need a Handler."
"Eh? What does that have to do with anything?" He asked in the politest way he possibly could.
". . . . ." She didn't answer.
". . . . . ." Neither did he. "Well...?"
"I'll let you figure it out." She looked at a clock on the wall.
"....?" About 20 seconds passed before Takeshi finally said; "Ah!" He understood now. "So...that time..."
"Took you long enough, at that time I was stealing your life force and distracting you by acting out of character to speed up my healing process." She said this with a smirk and a cruel tone of voice.
Takeshi had realized, this girl was quite dangerous. What if this girl had taken more then what she needed? Would Takeshi have woken up?
'Is she evil...?'
"Hey," She suddenly spoke out, "Why are you still here? Judging from your attire, you're not supposed to be here. So give me your reasons for being here before I throw you out." She was probably speaking literally too.
Takeshi suddenly became flustered, "Ah, well, you see...I heard this noise, er, I mean, sound and-"
"Sound? From where?" She suddenly became interested.
"It came from...here-"
"Where were you at the time?" She seemed even more interested.
"Uh..." He paused, trying to remember where he had been, "I think...East Wing?" He remembered seeing that on a sign he passed by.
". . . . . ." She was silent now, staring at him intently.
"?" Takeshi couldn't tell what she was thinking at all.
Suddenly she spoke, well, laughed actually, "Fu-fu-fu-fu...you are invading my area, but, I won't throw you out...I find it odd that you were able to hear my song, and I wish to know how? So, from this moment on, you will do everything I tell you to, are we clear?"
"Eh? W-Why do I-"
She placed her hands over her chest, a sweet smile appeared on her face, "Please, I need you..."
". . . ." That cute face was just overkill to him, as if he'd been hypnotized, "Alright." He responded. It was too late to take back his words now...
"I found out later, that she was very good at doing that..."
(Dere-tsun, dere-tsun, dere-tsun, tsun, tsun...!
I'm probably making this flashback longer then it needs to....
For one reason only.....
-December 17th, 20XX 5:23PM- (12 years ago.)
"If I remember anything from that day, it would be the snow. We were hit by a surprise snow storm while we slept. I remember it was snowing because, that girl, Noihara Hazuki, had made me; an injured 14 year old in crutches, go all the way to the library...halfway across town...check out a whole bunch of books...and carry it back with my teeth."
He finally made it back to her door, he placed his arm over one of the crutches so he could knock on the door. After about 2 minutes, he heard the words:
He turned the knob and pushed the door open slowly, "I bwot da tuff!" (I brought the stuff) It was hard to speak with something in his mouth.
"Come over here and hand it to me." She held out her hands while sitting at her window (There was a hollow space in the wall where someone could sit in front of the window).
He mentally sighed as he moved closer to her, he held out the bag of books with his mouth.
"That's disgusting, put it down." She said with an annoyed look on her face.
He placed one of the crutches under his arm yet again, to hold the bag of books, which he held out to her. "Here."
"Good little slug." She had apparently taken up the act of calling him various names besides his actual name. She took the bag from Takeshi, looking through the contents with a dark smile on her face. That smile eventually faded, now hardening and turning into an annoyed look.
She directed that look to Takeshi.
Takeshi felt a chill run up his spine, "Wh-What? I got what you asked, didn't I?"
". . . ." She sighed to herself, "Such a useless little worm." She took out one of the books, a hard-covered gray book with an illustration of a black tree and a red crescent moon.
"Tell me, what is the title of this story?"
"Uh?" He looked closer at it, "Half-moon rising." He didn't understand what was the problem?
"What's the author's name?" She shot yet another question at him, the look on her face not changing.
"Yumiko Akane." He raised one eyebrow, faintly remembering a small detail he'd over looked. He took out the piece of paper in his pocket, and read it to himself. "...!"
He stared at the paper in disbelief, not wanting to say what he already knew.
"I've already read this book, the one I wanted to read was a book of a similar title by the author's sister who took over her work after the author's untimely death." She explained in an annoyed voice, she put the book back in the bag and just tossed it on her bed, "Useless little ant." She laughed at him.
". . . ." Takeshi felt that his self esteem would be completely destroyed the more he hung out with this woman, and yet, he kept coming back....he worried that he might be a hidden masochist.
-December 18th, 8:37PM-
The snow storm had continued into the night, as a kind gesture the hospital was passing out hot chocolate to anyone who wanted one.
Takeshi had just gotten out of the small line of people, he was about to take a sip of the deliciously warm drink, until he spotted two people, enjoying some hot chocolate together.
"..." He unconsciously stared at their happiness over his own drink. His eyes drifted to the ceiling... "Maybe she'd enjoy a cup?" He was of course talking about Hazuki. Since she always seemed so angry at him, maybe if he continued being nice to her, she'd return some of that kindness too...?
He turned back to the counter to ask for another cup, and to his surprise it was the first nurse he saw when he woke up.
"Ah, hello there." He greeted casually, and was greeted with the same response. "I was just wondering if I could get another cup?"
"Eh?" She cocked her head to one side with a confused look on her face, "But you already have one...shouldn't you finish the one you already have?"
"Oh, it's not for me. So can I?" He asked as politely as he possibly could.
"Hm..." She seemed to be thinking deeply on this, "It's...against the rules to give someone a cup if they already have one on them...but it's for someone who is unable to get it themselves...this does not compute...." Smoke seemed to be coming out of her head, her image started to go fuzzy.
"Eh?" He couldn't make heads or tails of this situation, wait...was she going to explode?! He began to worry, wondering if he should stand back or say something, and then-
"Eimi, ID Code: Tanaka Aizawa, system's administrator commands on, override last command...!" A 20-30 year old man came running down the hall, spouting off some some unknown command.
Suddenly the nurse stopped moving.
"Override code accepted...reset initiated..." Within 10 seconds, she went back to normal. "Ah, Aizawa-san, did you need something?" She turned to the older gentleman.
With a sigh of relief, and a pat of his own back, he said; "Yes, actually I would like a cup of hot chocolate for my friend here." He pointed to Takeshi.
"Ah, then please take one." She was unable to lift the cup because she had no body, the man took the cup and a tray to go with it. He took Takeshi's cup, "Come with me." He directed towards Takeshi.
After about 10 steps, the man stopped in front of a row of wheel chairs.
"Here, you'll need this." He attached the tray onto the wheel chair and helped Takeshi in, while putting the crutches in the back pouch.
"Thanks," After saying his thanks, Takeshi placed his hands on the wheels. Being in a wheel-chair felt weird, but at least he didn't have to hold the tray. "So...I'm guessing...an AI?"
"Yep...built her myself...she's still in development, but she's pretty useful..." He looked to Takeshi and smiled a wide smile, "But enough about me, your girlfriend's waiting!"
"G-G-Girlfriend?!" Takeshi wanted to turn invisible now, actually, he had wheels instead...so he wheeled himself away while the man laughed at Takeshi's escape.
As he wheeled himself to Hazuki's room, he started thinking to himself...
'Girlfriend...that's ridiculous...I'm just being a nice guy...' He suddenly stopped, 'Wait...why am I doing this anyways? Is it just because she saved my life...? She's cruel, controlling, and unforgiving, amongst other things...so why do I keep going back to her?'
He found himself in Hazuki's room once more, there was no light in the room, but he did see Hazuki sitting at her window staring intently at the night sky.
"Hey, Noihara-san," He used the honorific, "I brought you some hot chocolate." He pointed at the warm drink on the tray in front of him.
". . . . ." No response from her.
When she didn't respond, Takeshi began to wonder if something was wrong?
"Hey, did you know there's an AI nurse? It really surprised me earlier!" He laughed at the end, he was trying to get her to speak by saying something completely off topic.
". . . . . ." But again, there was no response.
He began to grow concerned.
She wasn't even insulting him like she'd usually done. This wasn't like her at all, of course he'd only known her for a few days. But this unexplained silence made him uneasy. He just wanted to hear from her again, even if it was in the form of an insult, he just wanted to hear something from her...!
"Noihara-san...?" He said quietly, cautiously moving towards her.
"...Takeshi..." She spoke out, saying his name for the first time ever, "Who are you?"
"Eh?" He responded simply.
She turned her head to him, with an expressionless look on her face she asked, "I'm asking you, who are you?"
"What do you mean? I am, Shinkurou Takeshi."
"Is that so?" She stood up, now advancing on Takeshi like a predator stalks it's prey. "So then," She knelt down to his level.
Her face was so close to Takeshi, he could smell the breath escaping her open lips.
She touched his cheek gently, "So then...if you were to lose this piece of skin, would it still be Takeshi...?" She asked in a low voice.
"Eh?" Before Takeshi could make heads or tails of Hazuki's words, she had cut him with her fingernail. Right across the cheek, it wasn't deep but it was enough to draw blood.
She stared at the blood on her fingertip with an apathetic gaze, "Undoubtedly, this is part of Shinkurou Takeshi. Rather, it was you. Now it is nothing, and overtime, your scratch will heal and you will have forgotten about this injury."
Her hands shook as she spoke, "A funny thing memory..."
"Noihara-san...?" Takeshi began to become worried, he reached out to her unconsciously....
With inhuman speed, Hazuki had grabbed Takeshi's hand and forced him to the ground. Pinning him down with the weight of her body, she closed her hands around his throat...
"Speaking of memory...if I were to kill you now...would anyone be around to remember you?"
"No-Noiha-GAH!" He struggled to breathe as Hazuki's grip tightened around his neck.
"So tell me, Takeshi..." Tears began to form in her eyes, little droplets falling gently onto Takeshi's cheeks, "Would anyone remember you?" Her voice started to crack...
His vision started to go dark as he stared into Hazuki's crying face, "Tell me...WHEN SOMEONE IS DEAD, AND NO ONE CAN REMEMBER THEM, WHAT THEN?! WHAT PROOF IS THERE THAT THEY WERE HERE?!" She was literally shouting now.
Her voice quieted down a little as she started speaking again, "Ah...I really hate you..." her hands shook as she squeezed down on Takeshi's throat.
"I hate you so much..."
Her grip tightened even more.
He wanted to speak, but he couldn't, "Hazuki..."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!!!" She slammed his head even harder. "THE ONE KNOWN AS NOIHARA HAZUKI IS DEAD, SHE'S BEEN DEAD FOR MANY YEARS NOW!!!"
Her grip started to loosen...
"And no one...remembered her...she had no family to miss her...no friends she didn't kill to survive...she was born with nothing, and died with nothing." She slammed his head, "death would've been a blessing to her...but even that was taken away from her. She was forever bound to this fate, never able to escape...chained to this rotten body..."
For a while, the two just laid there...
Hazuki's hands on Takeshi's throat and pinning him to the ground with her own weight...to break the silence, she spoke, "Hey...Takeshi...do you want to die with me...?" She asked him in a sincere voice, she laid against his chest, listening to the sound of his beating heart. "Or...will you simply kill me...?"
The words cut through Takeshi's mind like a blade, he kept hearing those words... "Kill me..."
"I...I can't...?" He spoke in a steady voice, a cough escaping his lips as he gasped for breath.
She lifted herself up, pulling Takeshi with her.
"It's easy...see..." With a tear-filled smile, she took Takeshi's shaking palms and placed them around her neck, "We are not that hard to kill...we just take longer than others...if you squeeze hard enough, I will die soon..." She said softly...
"I..." Takeshi was uncertain.
He could see her suffering, and how much she wished to die. It must've been hard for her, to live only to die, and come back to life only to be told to fight in order to live.
But on the other hand, regardless of what happened in the past, she's alive right now. She's breathing, she's pleading, she's crying, isn't that proof she's alive? Doesn't she deserve life when she had none when she was alive?
Half his mind wanted to, but the other half couldn't. Without realizing it, he had begun squeezing......
After about 10 seconds, he let go, "I can't do it!" He scooted back away from Hazuki. "I just...can't kill you...Noihara-san..."
"You won't kill me?" She asked, moving nothing but her lips.
"I won't." He answered without delay. "I don't know your circumstances, but...isn't it enough to be alive? You were given a gift that few people can ever attain, another chance at life. I don't believe you should just throw your life away like it means nothing to you...!" Without realizing it, he had raised his voice at her.
"....Heh..." A single laugh escaped her lips. "Takeshi...I think I understand a little more about you..." She looked directly into his eyes, and smiled, "You're a hypocrite...."
The first time i started reading your work, you were mostly writing action, not really focusing on people inside but mostly outside, not much giving descriptions of surroundings, or situations only the appearance of your characters.. you were still good even then. Cus the way you write action was really satisfying.
i literally watched you expand and grow in your work and now you become something i dream of becoming: you are now a story teller.
you got emotions there, you got descriptions, very vivid and detailed ones, you got sarcasm, you got humor, you got fiction... a flowing, catching flow of events...
your brain facinates me now. i cant really understand how you do this but that doesnt stop me from being filled with admiration.
i am glad i wasnt here long enough to read these before bcus this way i had a chance to read a very long post which really left me flabberghasted when read one after another... it felt like reading a book. and guess what: its a book i would certainly buy.
anyway now go and write some more. i am running out of compliments. and i always thought of me as "picky one"... its weird i met some of the most talented ppl i know through here... you, yuki, bibble06......
(I can't believe I had to rewrite this 3 times. )
A sweet voice whispered gently into his ear, "Takeshi~ time to wake up."
". . . ." He didn't speak, in his mind he was saying; "Go away and let me sleep."
"If you wake up...I'll give you a special r-e-w-a-r-d~" She blew into his ear, "Takeshi~"
"Shut up, you're annoying." While half-asleep, he grabbed onto her and pulled her down onto the seat.
"Nya!" She let out a slight yelp, a moment of silence passed before she finally said; "Ara, you're being so forceful, what if someone were to pass by and see us?" She placed her hands on his cheeks, "How bold..."
At this moment, he was well aware of the situation....
". . . ." He took a quick moment to observe his surroundings.
They were in the back seat of a black sedan, the doors were closed and the windows were rolled up. But he knew where he was...
They had finally arrived at the palace, it was where the war council made their base of operations, and where the leader of this country inhabits.
He found himself pinning Misuzu to the seat, from the way it looked it seems as though he was assaulting her or in the middle of 'getting it on'.
He quickly got up and sat at the very edge of the seat.
Misuzu cast him a disappointed look, "Why couldn't you have stayed that way for a little while longer." She sighed in defeat.
After fixing her clothing she stepped out of the vehicle...
"Well, come on then."
"Right." Takeshi opened the door himself, staring intently at the palace.
It was modeled after the castle in Osaka, in the main path leading up the entrance were rows and rows of cherry blossom trees. Because it was winter, they wouldn't bloom. Despite the rest of the country's current look, the main city and the castle were the only places that were hardly touched by the war...
'How long it's been since I was back here...?'
i can understand why you re-write this three times... i am guessing you have trouble writing naughty stuff and its quite intriguing considering how well you do it
nicely done chapter... tho a little short
I just...wrote so much...and just randomly...the window closed on me, now I have to rewrite it.....
I'll take another stab at writing up the next part tomorrow.
I'll just give a quick preview of what's to come.
Some explanations on who's who, some recent history on the country, some high tensions, and the appearance of her highness.
(Okay...lets try this again...!
Ah, if anyone wonders where I go for days...I'm usually working on another project.
If anyone's interested in some details, it's a manga I plan on either selling or getting published. )
The two of them were now on an elevator going up.
Takeshi remained by the door while Misuzu held onto the railing, facing the wall, she tapped on his shoulder and pointed to where she was looking.
All Takeshi saw was empty wall...then it was revealed the wall they were facing was see through and facing the city.
"I go up this way a lot, so if anyone knows how to get somewhere in the city, it's me~" She pointed to herself proudly, "Seeing the city from a bird's eye view like this has it's benefits when you have a good memory, right?"
"Yeah, I guess." Takeshi turned away from the view, going back to his original spot.
She looked over to him quizzically, "Height sickness?"
"...We used to drop down in giant metal boxes from above the clouds into heavy enemy territory...if I was scared of heights I would've found every excuse I know to get out of those missions, or at least approach from the ground." He looked to the elevator indicator, letting them know which floor they were on. "I just don't like seeing how a lot of the city is still feeling the effects of the war, years after it's end."
At this she grew silent, "I don't want to spend too much time talking about the war, Takeshi." She said silently, in a voice unlike her own.
"Sorry." Takeshi knew, better then most people at least, the war was a touchy subject for Misuzu. But not just Misuzu, most of the Handlers who were still alive didn't like to talk about the war, or their former partners...
It's only natural.
"Old wounds don't always heal as quickly as we like...they still leave scars even after the damage is past, and then when we look at them, we're reminded of the pain that was inflicted on us...some wounds never heal, others just hurt less.
We all learned that lesson the hard way."
Takeshi needed a new subject to talk about, he looked to the top of the indicator, at the last number which was separated by a small wall between the numbers.
"How's the empress?"
"Not sure," She shrugged, "I don't have clearance to go up to that level, the only ones who do are her personal servants and the High Council."
"Is that what they're calling themselves now?" Takeshi remembered the High Council, they were the ones who gave 'that' order, "Well, there's no war so it wouldn't be right to call them the "war council", guess they're trying to make themselves seem less hostile?"
"People still call them the War Council when talking to each other, though they prefer to be called by their official titles or simply, 'The council', anyways, the Empress." She took a deep sigh, "I'm one of the few Handlers who are still on active duty, and yet apparently I'm "unholy" and will "taint" the Empress' purity. Not just Handlers though, everyone who's not the Council can't go anywhere near her. We're not even allowed to look at her without permission."
"Did she make these rules?" Takeshi had never really talked or seen the Empress before, so he was a bit curious as to who she was.
"I don't think so, she spoke to once...seemed like a very nice girl to me." The bell dinged, signaling their arrival. "Ah, we're here." They had stopped on the floor before the last, this is where the Council was...
(Alright, this part's kind of short because........
. . . . .
Enjoy! *Runs to hide.*)
Misuzu entered a code in the keypad which opened the giant iron doors in the hallway.
"So what do they want from me?" Takeshi asked, he had some ideas as to what they wanted, but he wasn't 100% sure. For all he knew, they could open fire on him as soon as the doors opened.
"They just told me to track you down." Misuzu answered quickly as she finished entering the code, "I don't think it's anything terrible, otherwise I would've had the order to terminate you." She laughed at the end of her sentence as the doors slowly creaked open.
"How many have you terminated?"
". . . . ." She didn't answer, "Come on then." She pulled him by the wrist into the room. "High Council, I brought him."
The room was spherically shaped, a judge's stand (didn't know what it was called, it's like a table mixed with a courtroom judge's stand) was positioned at the very back of the room.
There were no windows in the room, only 9 armored men. (The armor looks like a cross between Medieval Knights and Samurai Armor).
Each suit of armor was customized in a different way, just from their armor Takeshi could read their personalities. He had rarely had extended interaction with them, but he did know this much...
They had abandoned their emotions long ago, only a few of them had risen to the ranks from the bottom, those were the ones which Takeshi partially respected. The others had risen through...other means...
It was said their armor amplified their human abilities to near superhuman levels, meaning they could even be on equal combat terms as Handlers.
The one on the far left spoke first, "Excellent work...you may go now."
Misuzu looked to Takeshi, then back to the council, "May I ask what you plan to do with him?"
"...It is about his last assignment, the details of which I do not feel like sharing to you..." The helmet covered his face, but it was clear that he was starting to get annoyed.
"Now begone from our sight." The 3rd from the right pointed to the door, he spoke in a raised voice. It was clear that he didn't like Misuzu, possibly because of her blood.
"With all due respect, 'sir', I do not wish to leave. I'm off duty right now, and I wish to wait for Takeshi here."
"I order you to-"
"Sir, you and I should both know, this was my last assignment as a tracker. As of this moment, I'm no longer under your orders. Right now I'm just a woman who's waiting for her friend to take her out for some drinks, that is all." She leaned against the wall, glaring at the High Council.
Takeshi remembered how she used to be, she had an upbeat personality, but apparently she's gained a defiant side of her too. It was probably due to what they forced her to do. Takeshi was similar. He held no like for these guys either, hell, if they were going to ask him to do another assignment despite Takeshi being honorably discharged, he'd refuse without a second thought.
He snapped his fingers, about 2 seconds later, spots on the wall turned over to reveal soldiers in black armor. (Looks like a futuristic SWAT).
"Insubordination will not be tolerated, exit the room now or you will be fired upon." He raised his palm as the soldiers aimed their guns at Misuzu.
They weren't like regular soldiers like down below, these were 'special' types. From an early age, they were bred for the purpose of fighting and taking orders. They had more training than most Handlers, and the intensity of their training was about the same if not tougher. It was said that just one of them could take down an entire squad of infantry on his own with just a rusty knife. However, their physical capabilities were still far off from the level of Handlers. But a whole group of them had the best chance to take down a Handler who's lost their Reanimated...
Takeshi contemplated stepping in, when reaching into his pocket for his knife, he remembered...they had stripped him of any weapons before he got to the door. Even Misuzu had no weapons. He looked back at her and saw that her eyes were void of emotion, similar to the way Takeshi looked when he was about to shed the blood of his enemies.
"...Small fry...you think you can handle me..." She spoke in a low voice, a dark smile appearing on her face.
"...Hold your fire!" The council member in the center suddenly spoke up, at his command, the soldiers lowered their guns.
"Misuzu-san, please forgive my colleague for his rash behavior...he seems to have forgotten how to pick his battles wisely. If you simply wish to stay and not interfere with our conversation with Takeshi-san, than you may stay." He spoke with kindness and understanding, the kind of voice which could calm a raging storm...like what was just about to happen.
Misuzu seemed to calm down.
"Thank you, sir..."
"Now then..." He looked over to Takeshi, "On to business...."