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Thread: Purity Desecration - an original story

  1. #1
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    Purity Desecration - an original story

    Hi everyone, this is my first time trying my hand at writing and posting stories online, so I hope that everyone can give me some advice and guidance. This is the first part in what will hopefully be a complete story, if enough people want to read it . So, here it is! Hope you guys enjoy it

    22 August 2018

    Too much has changed.

    I gaze down, sixty metres below. So many of them, just waiting.

    This wasn’t what I wanted.

    So many weapons. They came prepared.

    I didn’t ask for this.

    Prepared for a fight. But not for what’s coming.

    So I’m going to make this right again.

    “Sound of silence, dead of night...”

    Just how, I do not know.

    “Veil of brilliance, winter’s might...”

    It started with them, so it’ll end with them.

    I pause, casting an appraising eye at the sky. A majestic night, vibrant with stars. The moon holds court, surrounded by its subjects, all gazing. Peering down at us, this spectacle. I couldn’t have asked for a grander audience.

    They must have an answer.

    “Dance of silver, elegance fraught...”

    I must be doing all these for a reason.

    It’s a cold night. The wind rides, speed and stance unmatchable.

    A search for truth.

    “Songs of saints, all for naught...

    Maybe it’s too late.

    I close my eyes and breathe. The air tastes sweet.

    If so, I’ll do it for the future.


    Takashi Enzo, twenty-six, has been working with the corporation for four years, hating every minute. It’s never been easy, not for Enzo. In those four short years, he’s seen and done many things unforgivable, although he has never silenced any one in cold blood. That is the only concession allowed him.

    Sighing, he settles on a nearby bench. The rifle rests heavily on his lap. He fingers it with a weary hand. What happened to that young man, he wonders? The one with dreams, hopes and a yearning for the future. The one with Anri. In a fitting flourish to melancholy, he glances up at the stars, hoping for a little guidance.

    What he sees startles him. Something is falling towards the ground, fast. Focusing his thoughts, he tries to make out the object. As it draws closer, he sees it. A woman, dressed in white and blue, wielding a... scythe?

    “Look out, on to-” is all he manages, before the blade slips through him.

    Too slow. I fell three of them before they even notice me. As the cacophony of gunfire screams through the sky, I draw closer to my target. These bullets do little to annoy me. Any that are actually on target I simply deflect.

    Fifteen, twenty, thirty... I lose count. They’re out in force tonight. My scythe ripostes endlessly, going through person after person. Bodies fall behind me, an orchestra of shouts and gasps. I barely notice.

    Battle has become an instinct for me. My body takes over, leaving me free to think. As I cut down each combatant, I begin to wonder. What do they feel when I approach? When the gleam of my blade blinds them? Are they sad, because of what they have yet to do? Afraid, because of what is to come? Bitter, because of their own weakness? Angry, because without me, none of this would have come to pass?

    Anger. It’s not like I know it.

    I glance at the heavens. Clouds. The banquet has set and the curtains are closing. The moon stares back, unwavering.

    Shinjuku Gyoen, such a pretty place, marred now by the fallen bodies of a hundred men.

    The night is silent now. I walk towards the last man. Not even a man, really, still a child. A tightly gripped pistol in his trembling hands. His face is one of pure terror. Terror I can understand. As I draw closer, he lets out a shriek and drops his weapon, tears now running down his face.

    Right in front of him now, I stop. And smile.

    “Don’t worry. It’s done now.”

    I touch my fingertips to his heart, and his terror is no more.

    Nothing moves. My goal is within reach. It took us a good part of a year, but we finally located the final Chain. Rather ingenious, to hide it within a tree. Only Kanda could have traced it here. How, I still do not know.

    It’s a cold night. The grass crushes beneath my feet. A cherry blossom. How fitting.

    I crush a hole, right in the trunk.

    “Quite a sight, and not a single one dead. Impressive as always, Ally.”

    I spin around, caught off-guard, like so many times before.

    There he stands, leaning ever so casually, that warm smile fixed on his face. I breathe a sigh and grin back.
    “What’s impressive is how I never hear you coming.” He laughs, running his hand through his hair.

    “It’s because I’m always there. Right in your heart.” I groan softly. Somehow he never tires of our banter. But I have to admit, it warms me up, considering what I do. Especially on a night like this.

    “Yes, yes, you have permanent residence here.” He laughs again and walks up next to me, examining the tree.

    “So, it’s inside, then,” he whispers. I nod. Without a word, he thrusts his hand inside, reaching for the gift within. Slowly, he pulls it out.

    A silver necklace, resplendent in the moonlight, with an amethyst inlaid in the centre. Intricate patterns adorn the chain, a message long lost.

    “This is it.”

    “Looks like they failed.”

    “I didn’t expect them to stop her. Frankly, even some of the Hex Vanguard would have problems against her.”
    “You seem to think quite highly of them, don’t you?”

    “They have proven themselves worthy on many occasions now. Even as we speak, Isamu lies, unable to move.”

    The first man sets his glass down.

    “The view here is spectacular.”

    “Of course, I wouldn’t deign for a lesser place.”

    His counterpart strides over and sinks into the revolving chair, whirling around to gaze at the same skyline.

    “It’s a beautiful night, no?”

    The man doesn’t respond. Outside, the city sleeps, at peace with itself.

    “They have all the keys now,” he finally says.

    “I know.”

    “It starts tonight, then.”

    “I would assume so.”

    The man picks up his glass and empties it.

    “You’re right. I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful night.”

    It’s been a long time coming. I try to think back to the day it started. I thought I would have forgotten some of it, but no, every detail still burns vividly clear. How they came in and took everything from me. The man who did it. The man who laughed on his way out.

    And yet, I harbour no hatred for him.

    “It’s time, Ally. We’ve worked so many years for this.”

    I glance at him, in all seriousness now, focusing on the necklace.

    “Why did we work so hard for this?”

    He turns, momentarily stunned.

    “We all have our own reasons. The Holy Night, revenge, love, family. Ask Tohru, Erie, or even him. They will all have their own answers.” At this, he unconsciously touches his locket. I glance down at my own, aware now that it’s truly my own curse.

    “Let’s head back. We need to get the others.” I nod.

    “The final battle of this nefarious war is finally here.”

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  3. #2
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    My Foolish Stand

    Hi guys, this is the second chapter, enjoy!

    23 August 2018

    The Final Stage, as we like to call our base, is actually a luxury apartment located right in the centre of Tokyo. With its fancy decor, shining lights and even a small pool on the rooftop, it’s the pristine example of hiding in plain sight.

    It took us all of thirty minutes to return, during which the witching hour struck.

    Each time I open this door, for one sickening instance, I imagine the worst. I see my comrades motionless on the floor, dead. Tohru, so strong and dependable, his body ravaged by countless bullets as he tried to protect everything he held so dear. Erie, still so young, her clear, azure eyes rounded in shock, a single bullet straight through her head. Even him, so powerful and peerless, overwhelmed and murdered, his body still standing as his pride refuses to falter despite death.

    But as the door swings fully open, all my fears scatter into the dust. Newspapers and magazines cluttered on the dining room table, coupled with takeout boxes and plates. Shoes haphazardly strewn around the room; innumerable memorabilia adorn the living room, from chandeliers to statues to chairs to who-knows-what. Soft golden light pours down, casting a lovely glow on the white-washed walls.

    On the huge circular couch are Yuuma Tohru and Erie Layfield, locked in deep and intense combat. Two glasses sit on the glass coffee-table untouched, a sparkling ring beneath.

    “Not tonight, Erie! It’s my win! Perish!” Such is the concentration that Tohru is pouring into their digital discourse, that he fails to notice our presence. Erie lets out a small sigh.

    “Tohru, it’s just a game. Get over it.” With those words, she proceeds to devastate the living hell out of his character, before turning over to us, beaming.

    “Ally-ne! Kanda! You’re back!” Without warning, she launches herself over the couch, a human cannonball. Smiling, I reach out and catch her. She’s still so light, so small. Still something I have to protect. Tohru, who had spent the last five seconds gawking in shock at his character’s demise, finally registered our presence.

    “Oh, welcome back. We have some food, if you’re hungry,” he says with his customary grin, casually waving towards the crushed boxes on the dining table.

    “Uh, no thanks,” I reply, letting Erie scoot off to pick up another piece of chicken.

    This is my family now, a surreal bliss in the tumultuous world we actually live in. My first family has since become a distant memory, foggy and disparate. All I remember is my mother and her final words to me.

    Do what you must, Ally. Never forget me, who loved you most.

    “Where is he?” Erie points towards his room, still munching.

    Steeling myself, I knock.

    27 September 2013

    I’ve been alone for nearly nine months now.

    The world has changed considerably. Nothing is as before now, not with this new power blessed upon us.

    But is it a blessing? Or a curse?

    I do not know. All I know is that it took my family away.

    These nine months have not been easy. Torn from my previous life in Shinjuku, I sought shelter with one of the many communities formed following the fallout. The only way I have been able to carry on has been to dedicate every modicum of my being to caring for the people here.

    Despite the havoc wreaked upon me, I have not come away empty-handed. I have found myself in possession of soothing magic, something that has proved invaluable in uniting our downtrodden group. From dusk till dawn, I walk the grounds, laying to rest the many fears of our community, assuring them a future. It is a promise I cannot keep.

    Late at night in my own quarters, I haven’t been able to sleep. Something within me is... missing. Ever since that day, I have not felt the same. Specifically, I haven’t been able to feel anger. Not when I see the children starving, not when I see men brazenly robbing the weak, just for a scrap of food.

    Not even when I recall my family’s murder.

    Footsteps approach. I gather myself. The person knocks.

    “Come in.”

    Takeshi, our leader, enters. Tall and strapping, his powerful physique emanates strength, a symbol of morale of our camp. With his crew-cut hair, jet-black eyes, rigid nose and austere jaw, it’s obvious that he’s not one to joke around with. When he volunteered to assume responsibility of the refugees, no one had any objections.

    “Ally, I thought you would be awake.”

    “I was just getting ready for bed.” A lie, not to make him worry.

    “Ah. I will make this short then.” He glances around, looking for a seat. I offer my bed. “Thank you,” he says without a smile.

    “As you know, we are in a terrible state. Supplies are low and people are scared. Frankly, I do not know how long we can hold out.”

    “What about the government? Can’t they help?” He gives a grim smile, staring into his hands.

    “They’re too busy with their own problems. What happened last year came too suddenly, too unexpectedly. Recovery has been minimal for the past ten months.” I glance at him.

    “But you have a plan, I suppose.” He shifts slightly, looking up.

    “I have a contact. He has a way to get into Tokyo. There, we’ll be able to find more food, more medicine, better places to live in than this slum. A way out.”

    “That sounds fantastic, but you don’t seem happy,” I observe.

    “I’m sure you know the reason, Ally. Counting everyone in this camp, the number comes up to over a hundred. There’s no way every one will be able to come.”

    “So you’re leaving the weak,” I say quietly. He shifts again, this time more noticeably.

    “It’s not my choice. I knew when I took up the mantle that there was no way I could help all of us. Everyone knew that, Ally. You knew that.”

    “No, I didn’t,” I whisper. “Every day, I walk the camp, telling everyone that help is on the way, telling them to believe in us, in you. And they did, when they looked up and smiled at me, that small glint in their eyes.” I stare straight into his eyes. He turns away.

    “Please do not try to change my mind, Ally. This is the only way I will be able to help anyone. I understand if you’re angry, but my decision on this is final. This sin is on my head.”

    “Surely you didn’t come in so late just to inform me of your decision.” He turns back, surprised.

    “Isn’t it obvious? I want you to come with us. Your gift of peace will surely prove invaluable to us when we get there.” I stand.

    “There is no way I will leave the people here,” I say, surprised by my own convictions. I had not realised my attachment to this place. Takeshi sighs.

    “I thought that would be your answer. But think about it. With us gone, you cannot hope to protect this camp. Even if you stay, the chances of everyone surviving are slim to none. It’s... not a smart choice.”

    “Then I will fight to the end with them. Consider it my foolish stand.”

    “So be it. We will leave next week this time. Until then, I will try everything in my means to secure as much as possible for the camp. If you wish to join us then, you’ll be more than welcome.” He left. I stare at the closed door, aware that the last hope for our camp had just walked out.

    Over the next week, Takeshi fulfilled his promise, working day and night to source for supplies essential to us. The women and children saw this and were all the more comforted, believing that they were in capable hands. I carried on my daily duties, easing the minds of the camp.

    At last, Friday night came. There was great bustle within the camp as the men loaded up the stores they would need for the trip. The rest were understandably confused. Takeshi came up to me.

    “This is your last chance, Ally. I do not wish to lose you.”

    “You already have.”

    As the last vehicle drove off, I felt a terrible void in my heart. I had spoken strongly, but what could I do for these people now?

    “Hey, Ally, where’re they going?” I glanced down. It was six-year-old Kaoru, full of innocence, her eyes wide with question. I felt tears start to form.

    “Just out to get us more food, they’ll be back soon,” I say, the lie clawing its way out of my throat.

    “Bullshit. They abandoned you.” I spin around. It’s a young man, tall as me and well built. His long hair was tied up in a ponytail, the fringe extending past his clear, green eyes. His features were soft, radiating warmth and kindness, though right now they were set in anger.

    “Who are you?” For a split second, he seemed shock, but it melted away as he put on his most propitious grin.

    “I’m Aihara Kanda. I’m here to save your camp.”

  4. #3
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    My Duty

    Hi guys, here's the third chapter, enjoy! Story's moving a little slow, so I appreciate your continued support . Hopefully I'll be able to tell it to the end

    23 August 2018

    The door creaks open, a tacit invitation. I enter.

    His room is nearly bare, a stark contrast to the messy living room. A single bed lies flushed to the right corner of the room, while a table and chair sits facing the window. A simple fluorescent light illuminates him, leaning over in his chair with elbows on the table, chin sitting on his interlocking fingers.

    “What?” a single harsh syllable.

    “We’re ready.” He doesn’t move, still staring out the window.

    “I understand.” A dismissal, by his standards, yet there is more I want to know. So much more, I don’t know where to begin. He continues to ignore, having ended the conversation. For so long, nothing moves.

    “Why?” I whisper, unable to control any more.

    “Only because,” he replies.

    “Why do you fight?” I carry on doggedly. I know he hates me. Well, he hates everyone, but he seems to have something special for me.

    “That is none of your concern. Please leave my room.”

    “This will be our final fight together, yet I still know nothing about you.”

    “Let’s keep it that way.” I stare in silence. They say the strongest bonds are forged through fire. We’ve been through hell together, but here we are, distant as day and night. I turn to leave.

    “My name,” he says, unmoving. I stop.

    “Shin.” That’s all I’ll get. But even so, at least I understand him just a bit better, this person whom I’m irrevocably connected to. My left eye burns.

    When I leave, he is still in the same position, never having moved once.

    The ocean still flows.

    I try to rest.

    Some things have remained untouched.

    I stare at my ceiling.

    The prestige of this planet is untainted.

    My eyes won’t close.

    So, why do I fight?

    So many years have passed.

    If I have something so important to protect, why do I not kill?

    The other side of a pillow is always cooler.

    But if there is nothing for me to fight for, what have I been doing for the past six years?

    I wonder if it’s the same, the other side of my life.

    Why now, am I questioning this?

    If I hadn’t accepted, but chosen to leave instead.

    Isn’t it too late?

    Where would I be now?

    I will see this through.

    Who would I be with?

    The world will not change, with or without me.

    Could it have been?

    So I will do what I want.

    The word lingers on my lips.

    Because in the end, it won’t have mattered to the world.

    A man I thought I had lost.

    But it will have mattered to me.

    “Takeo,” I whisper, a tear falling. I flip the pillow.

    21 February 2014

    The last of them has left. I gaze around at what remains. All that had been left behind by my former family. Once more, I’ve been left alone. Well, not exactly alone.

    “Ally-chan~~!” Kanda’s voice, bright and cheery. I smile to myself. Nothing has gone as I’d planned, but that’s what happens in life. Only his support has gotten me through, and for this I’m grateful.

    He’s carrying bags of food and drinks in one hand, frantically waving with the other, a gigantic grin on his face. He looks so funny, so comical that I can’t help but laugh out loud. Nineteen and still children, both of us.

    He stops in front of me, free hand now running through his hair, still wearing that pair of jeans, sandals and his black shirt, as he always does. He holds up the bags.

    “It’s time to celebrate! Ce~le~brate!”

    The camp is ours now, with everyone gone. We head to the watchtower, a hastily built wooden structure in the middle of camp. It’s the highest point, with a view stretching all the way across town. I pop open my can and drink deeply.

    “Slow down, we have plenty,” he grins.

    “Well, I’m thirsty. You sure took your time, didn’t you?” I take another sip.

    “It’s not exactly a short walk, is it? Besides, I had to avoid some of the locals.” The local gangsters, led by one Kuroshima. I shake my head.

    “Our camp may be safe now, but the rest of the town is still at their mercy. I wish we could help them.”

    “Hey, one thing at a time, Ally. For now, be glad that everyone got away,” he smiles. I smile back, gazing out over the town. He tosses me a sandwich.

    “Eat up; you’ve been working all day.” I tear it into half and pass him one.

    “Just as much as you have,” I say. He laughs out, a goofy sound.

    “Well, that’s true. Even more than you, I would say,” he teases.

    “Don’t push your luck there, mister,” I growl back jokingly.

    On the day that he arrived, Aihara Kanda told me that he’d save the camp.

    Now, five months later, the entire camp has been liberated.

    His plan had been incredibly simple: leave the camp. I’d stared at him, thoroughly un-amused.

    “That’s your plan?”

    “That’s right,” he’d replied smugly. Then, he’d taken out something that I hadn’t seen for a long time from his bag: a laptop. Flipping it open, he’d shown me his entire plan, from the gathering of resources to the route they would take. I’d shaken my head.

    “We don’t have the manpower, literally, to carry this out. All that’s left in the camp now are the women and children, many of whom are starving.” But he’d smiled again.

    “You think I came unprepared?” With that statement, he’d whistled. Nearly twenty men had appeared, walking towards us while I watched with mouth agape.

    “These fine men will work with us, provided we give them shelter, food and bring them along with us to our next destination.”

    “Who are you?” I’d whispered. He’d laughed and beamed back.

    “I’m your friend, Ally.”

    Over the next five months, we slogged feverishly, a glimmer of hope guiding our way. While the women tended to the daily needs, the men gathered resources from locations that Kanda gave them. How he’d known about those locations was a mystery. Nevertheless, they were accurate, and eventually they’d gathered enough to last them the trip to a neighbouring town, one that was doing far better.

    When I think back, I still cannot believe it. It was such a simple plan, a five-year-old could have thought of it. But we’d managed to pull it off.

    Just this morning, we’d loaded up the last of the supplies. Then I’d made my announcement.

    “I’m staying.” The rest had been shocked, but I explained myself.

    “You’re all safe now. Kanda’s friends will take care of you once you arrive. But look at this town now. Kuroshima’s men have been gaining power and now they nearly control the town. I cannot leave, not while everyone else suffers.”

    Understandably, there’d been tears, including my own. After all, this had been my family for over a year. Kaoru, the innocent little girl; Noriko, the shy young lady; Youko, like a mother to us all; Yuuta, always there to lend a helping hand. Yet, it was precisely because of them that I realised my duty to help anyone who needed it. The town did not deserve any less than them.

    The sun is setting now. A fiery orange glow glorifies the town, burning it into a landscape. I place a hand on Kanda’s. He turns, startled.

    “Thank you,” I whisper, “for everything. For staying here with me, even now.” His face turns red, and he quickly tries to rally.
    “Hey, who else is gonna keep an eye on you?”

    “So, what’s the plan now?”

    “You’re asking me? You want to save everyone, not me.”

    “Yeah, but you have the fancy tech.” He sighs, turning to stare at the setting sun.

    “I will need to call in a favour. A man I know.” He glances at me. “But not tonight. Tonight we rest.” I nod.

    So we sit together, chatting and laughing, our hands clutching each other’s hopes, watching the brilliant glow fade to a shimmering black.

  5. #4
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    Just a job

    Chapter 4 is up, enjoy!

    23 August 2018

    Its 3am in the morning, and everyone is busy as hell.

    “Sector B, come in! Squad 3, move on to your positions! All V-gunners check your weapons! Move fast!” Men in distinct black-red light armour scurry about the loading bay, checking systems and rushing to their respective areas. Commanders bellow out orders, helmets tucked safely under their arms. Increasingly frenzied technicians sprint all over, trying to get everything in order. The smell of sweat, the sound of chaos, the sense of dread; these permeate the air. Vehicle engines rev; rifles are readied. Tension is thick.

    Thirty metres above in the control room, three men are having coffee. One of them peers down at the spectacle below, an expression of glee on his face. His many necklaces dangle as he strolls about.

    “Look at them, all so busy!” He sips his coffee, still walking, scanning from left to right. “As if they can actually stop them!” His companion, a young man in a green suit paired with a red tie, looks up, his long white hair falling back.

    “It’s their job, Veil. Just like it’s ours to make sure nothing happens to this place.”

    “Well, most of them are going to die on the job, then,” he says. The second man fires a piercing gaze.

    “You sound like you don’t care.”

    Veil turns around, deadly serious.

    “No one cares more than me.” They hold each other’s look. Then Veil laughs and flicks his wrist. “I know you’re just joking. You must know me by now, Searing.” Searing smiles back, earring gleaming in the light.

    “Actually, I don’t know much about you, do I? And neither of you have a clue about me either.” Veil scratches his head, a look of pondering on his face.

    “Well that’s true. We just work together.” Then he grins again, the bright smile of a careless teenager. “But it’s not too late to start!”

    “You have a point there.”

    Searing joins his colleague, eyeing his long black robe covered with countless silver digits, warily. “So... do you ever wash your robe?”

    “Yep, every week.”

    “I see.”

    “Removing all these is a pain.”

    “Why remove them?”

    “They rust.”


    “What about your suit, do you change it?”

    “Yeah, I have a few sets.”

    “Are you... trying to look like Christmas?”

    “Yes! It’s my favourite holiday!”

    “I... see.”

    At this, the third man sighs. Putting down his newspaper, he jumps up and puts his arms around both men.

    “Guys, we’ve been working together for over four years, risking our lives for each other. Don’t you think you can be a little more familiar? It breaks this old man’s heart, you know?” He grins, glancing at both men, who stare back.

    “Kaito, I know you mean well...”

    “And that you treat this place as home...”

    “And us as your family...”

    “And that you’re middle-aged, so you don’t care...”

    “But please...”

    “When you’re around us...”

    “Hmm?” he asks, still beaming away.

    “Put on some damn clothes!”

    It’s time. I get up and walk to the living room. Everyone else has already assembled on the balcony. Erie is sitting on Tohru’s broad shoulders, laughing as if we’re going on a trip, her shoulder-length purple hair bouncing with her exuberance. Tohru is telling her a story with exaggerated gestures, using his “sage-voice”, as he likes to call it. I look on, a smile unconsciously warming on my face. A portrait of father and daughter.

    “Ally, you’re here.” Kanda, already carrying his blade, is leaning on the railing. Well, I assume he has a blade under the cloth wrapping. After all, I’ve never seen him use it.

    “Yes, I’m ready. We can leave now.” I walk over and pour a glass of water, drinking deeply.

    “OK. Remember, everyone. We’re doing this at the most silent time of the night, so as to minimize casualty. Tohru, you’re on range support duty. Erie, you’re the emergency extraction. Stay with Tohru unless we call you.

    “I understand,” Tohru replies.

    “Yes sir, yes sir!” Erie laughs. Kanda turns back to me.

    “Ally, you’re going for our second objective. I’ll be heading straight for the first.” I glance at his neck, the ruby amulet safely nestled beside his locket.

    “I know.” Finally, Kanda looks at Shin.

    “I don’t presume to command you, Shin, but I trust you’ll be helping us.” Shin looks back, a clear and controlled anger in his eyes, though towards who, no one can say.

    “Don’t worry, I know what to do.” Kanda stares up to the moon.

    “Well then. Let’s begin.”

    “I see three squads, six armoured vehicles and two ground emplacements. Boy, they sure prepared well for us, huh?” Tohru groans and straightens up, passing the binoculars to Kanda. “You wanna see for yourself?”

    “It’s OK, I trust you.”

    “And I bet you also trust me to take out those emplacements.” Kanda grins at him.

    “You, my friend, are a mind reader.” Smiling back, Tohru opens up one of the three cases he lugged out here. Grunting, he withdraws the bazooka inside.

    “No problem, I got you covered.”

    “Good man. OK, Ally. I’ll take out the armoured tanks. The squads are yours. I nod, a nervous feel rumbling in my stomach. Even after so many fights, I still haven’t gotten used to it. Kanda notices and smiles.

    “Come on, how many fights have you been in? You’re still scared?” I smile back.

    “Yeah, scared that you won’t make it.” At this, he laughs.

    “Well, isn’t that an honour for me.” Just like that, my tension ebbs away. “But do be careful. They are not like the ones you faced at the park.”

    “If you people are done chatting, I’d propose we get a move on.” Shin stares below, his expression unreadable. Kanda turns, focused once more. He checks his watch.

    “It’s 3.15am now. Let’s try to wrap this up before daybreak, shall we?” We walk to the edge. I wait for the command, but it doesn’t come. I look up to see Kanda looking expectantly at me. I sigh.

    “No, we’re not going to recite your ridiculous battle ritual. I did it at the park and all it did was make me feel stupid.” His expression turns comically sad.

    “Fine. On my count, then.”

    “Three...” I feel my heart beating fast.

    “Two...” This is it.

    “One.” We jump.

    The corporation’s building is 70 stories tall. Every day, it’s employees report to work on the first 69 levels, doing what multinational companies do. However, no one reports to the 70th level. It’s blank on the blueprints and the elevators do not reach it.

    That’s our aim.

    “By the way, Kanda, are you using your weapon today?” I shout over the roar of wind in our ears. Free-falling from over 50 stories is kind of fun after all. He beams and shakes his head, withdrawing a... rolling pin. In so many years, he’s used all kinds of things as his weapons; staplers, cutlery, pencils, all manners of everyday items. Probably only his ability could make it work.

    “Fire away, Tohru!” He shouts into his headset. I hear the woosh of missiles soar past us.

    Just as we land, the missiles detonate onto the emplacements.

    The fight has begun.

    “Fire! Fire everything you’ve got!” And they have plenty. From automatic weapons to laser rifles, they’re armed to kill. Well, I’m not ready to die.

    Just like that, I’m weaving through a web of fire, my scythe dancing on its own, deflecting as much as slashing. Looks like they still aren’t good enough to stop us.

    “Squad two, form a line! Squad three, give them cover!” Well, it seems that they are more than the usual gangsters we’ve encountered thus far. The Hex Squadrons, private armed forces of the corporation. I leave another body on the floor, the last member of the first squad.

    Behind me, the tanks are in shambles. Before they could even get a target, Kanda had already blown two of them away. Now, only one remained, trying in vain to get a lock on him. Somehow, watching a man use a rolling pin to batter a tank makes me want to laugh.

    Shin, of course, is just walking towards the door. Anyone unfortunate enough to have gotten in his way is already unconscious, and the remaining forces are not going to focus on someone who doesn’t seem interested in them. I sigh. It would be faster if he was helping me. I glance at the two squads of determined men.

    “Dissonance.” Instantly, the men stop firing. I know why, of course. They’ve suddenly forgotten why they were firing. A gift of peace, Takeshi told me. This temporary solace is all I can grant them, though. I breeze through them, my scythe going through each one. The ability to take their will to fight. Peace.

    And with that, silence falls.

    “3.18am. Not too bad.” Kanda comes over, tossing away a piece of the last tank he dismembered. I don’t reply. I can feel someone looking at me. A fearsome presence. I glance up.

    There, at the tenth level, three men stare down at us.

    “Up there,” I whisper. “Those are our real enemies.”

    “The Hex Vanguard.” Kanda looks up at them as well. “That’s quite the magic I feel. These guys won’t be easy.” I nod. We walk up to the door; gateway to the end.

    “By the way... was the guy in the middle naked?”
    Last edited by beepo; August 20th, 2012 at 11:44 AM.

  6. #5
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    Beneath the moonlight

    Hi guys, here's chapter 5, enjoy!

    23 August 2018

    This lobby was designed to impress.

    Here we are, right inside the enemy’s base. The place is huge, with ceilings stretching nearly six metres high. Ivory pillars loom, solid and suave. Marbled black tiles gleam like clear rivers, matching the clarity of the crystal glass structures. Pot plants litter the expanse, vibrant colours breathing life to the lifeless place. Behind the spotless counter, a mini fountain sighs, just below the corporation’s logo. Passageways extend from either side, leading into the heart of the building.

    “Tohru, we’re inside. Stay put with Erie, we’ll be out in a flash. I’m switching off now.”

    “Understood.” A click, then silence.

    We survey our surroundings, a luxury cage.

    “Left or right? Lady’s choice.” Kanda stares hard, trying to make out any details of either path. Failing, he shrugs. “I guess they lead to lifts. You do remember our plan, right?” I stare daggers at him.

    “Yes. After all, we came up with it together.” Kanda laughs, a familiar sound, right before we put our lives on the line. I find myself wondering if I’ll ever hear it again.

    “Just checking. I assume Shin has already moved ahead to engage the enemies. Hopefully he can buy us some time to get to our targets.” He looks down the corridors again, exuding doubt. “I’d advise you to take the stairs, since the lifts are likely rigged, but there’s no guarantee the stairwells are safe either.”

    “Don’t worry about traps. Take the lifts. The fastest way to end this is to confront them head-on.” Kanda chuckles, runs his hand through his hair as usual.

    “Looks like being with me has rubbed off on you. Always take the simplest way out, huh?”

    “Stupidity is contagious,” I smirk. Before he can reply, I dash off down the right passage.

    The truth is, I can’t take any more of that casual chatting, not when either of us could die today. I don’t want to run from that fact, pretending that everything will be fine.

    Kanda was right. I stand now in Lift Lobby 2. Fancy name.

    I press the button and wait, possibly for my Charon’s ferry.

    He’s not dense. Ally is afraid of the coming battle. Of course, so was he. But not for himself, no. Even the Hex Vanguard is no match for him, he knows this.

    It’s Ally that tugs at him, a constant nagging worry. He’s noticed her mood changes recently. Pensive; brooding even. Something has been weighing on her mind, but she hasn’t found it necessary to talk to them. No matter what, though, it’s a distraction, and something like that could cost your life in battle. He shakes his head, a wry smile. The irony, if he was to let this affect him.

    A soft chime heralds the lift’s arrival. He steps in, all too aware of the dangers. Glancing at the panel, he presses right for the top. Number 99.

    One short of the jackpot.

    The door closes; the smooth ascent begins. Kanda leans back on the railings. No point tensing up over nothing. He looks at his reflection on the silver doors. A smiling face, concealing a thousand lies. His connections to Ally and Shin, what he knows about them; even his tangling complexities regarding the corporation.

    They have no idea just who Aihara Kanda truly is.

    But it matters not. Within the week, everything will have been settled. Then, he can lay all truths bare. Start a new life, maybe. A new life with Ally by his side, not to mention Tohru’s everlasting friendship. The man knows almost everything about Kanda, his closest friend.

    But Erie and Shin will not be there. He wishes more than anything that he can prevent this, but he knows that it cannot be.

    They will disappear.

    Steeling himself, he glances at the level display. This is no time to be distracted. The display reads 85. Nearly there, then.

    90, 92, 95... The lift glides to a stop. But there’s a problem.

    This is level 98.

    And there’s a man smiling at him.

    “Hello, Kanda-san. My name is Kaito. Do remember it.”

    This isn’t funny.

    Shin looks around him. He is in the lift lobby of a regular office floor. A faint light illuminates the otherwise dark level. To his right, glass doors lead in to the office itself. To his left is the emergency exit. As far as he can tell, he is at level 66. The lift had stopped by itself, despite his previous choice. An enemy is near.

    All the lifts were stalled. Seeing no option, he crosses to the doors and pushes. They swing open smoothly, arms poised to embrace. Or to grab hold.

    He turns right at the corridor, walking straight in. No need to bother about caution. The enemy already knows he’s here, is probably surveying his every move.

    As he thought, it’s a regular office space. Cubicles house the various workspaces of the employees. Stacks of paper on each desk, personal computers all around, trinkets to make them more at home. Nothing unusual here.

    Suddenly, something flies at Shin. Unfazed, he catches it between his fingers.

    A metal ornament, much like those they sell at souvenir shops.

    “Come out. By yourself, or by my hand, your choice.” Silence, then a snicker. Finally, full-blown laughter. Shin stays quiet. Such tricks won’t force his anger. “Three, two, one.”

    “Hold it,” calls a voice from the darkness. A young male, from the sounds of it.

    Without warning, the lights come on. Shin doesn’t react. The voice’s owner claps.

    “You’re a calm one, aren’t you, Shin?” Shin looks at him, a young man in an overcoat, covered with countless metal ornaments. Multiple necklaces dangle from his neck. Medium-length spiked black hair frame a youthful face. He hops down from one of the tables.

    “How rude of me. Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Veil. I’m here to kill you.” Instantly, he’s moved to Shin’s side.

    Fast, undoubtedly strong.

    Shin blocks his elbow strike with his palm, noting the strength of the blow. Smiling, Veil launches a palm to his mid-section. Shin pivots on his left, allowing the attack to go through. Seamlessly, he follows with a kick to Veil’s head.

    Veil leans back, letting the momentum carry him into a back-flip. Still smiling, he launches back at Shin, a powerful straight fist. Shin parries easily, stepping to the side. He tries for a knee to the abdomen, but is blocked by Veil’s left palm. Swiftly, Veil lashes out with the same hand, another elbow strike, trying to catch Shin by surprise. Unimpressed, Shin catches it with his right, forcing his opponent back.

    At this, Veil laughs, before jumping right back in with another flurry of blows. The two clash, fluid motions reminiscent of a dance. Under the moonlight they fight, evenly matched, both unwilling to let loose their true strength without knowing the other’s.

    Finally, Shin tires of the charade. As Veil lets loose another straight fist, he meets it with his full force. Bone on bone, flesh on flesh. A sickening crack.

    “That’s quite enough. Now both our right arms are injured. It’s time to bring out our abilities.”

    Veil looks back, the smile clean from his face. Two fractured fingers. That’ll slow him down, all right.

    “Very well, then.” As Veil closes his eyes, Shin feels a pulse of magic emanating. The next second, he is nearly overwhelmed by the sheer force of his power. All around, tables are wiped clean as their contents scatter into the air. Crashes fill the air as computers and chairs slam into the cubicle walls. The whole floor begins to shake. And abruptly stops.

    “Magic unlocked.” He picks one trinket off his jacket. A spear. Before Shin’s eyes, it morphs, now a fully lethal version of what was just a toy.

    “Matter manipulation? An interesting ability.”

    “The last you’ll see.” Veil lunges, a frontal stab. Shin dodges easily.

    Or, he thought he did. He puts his hand to his side. Blood. Not a deep wound. But still, it hit, when he’d be clear of the weapon.

    Even worse, he’d stepped further at the last second, when he’d sensed the danger. If he’d merely sidestepped, the weapon would have gone clean through. Veil is smiling now.

    “So fast? I thought you were better than this.” Shin stares back. And laughs. He lifts a single finger to his lips. A light touch, a faint smear of blood.

    “Now we’re talking.”

  7. #6
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    Trust them

    Hi guys, chapter 6 is up! Bit short this week, sorry!

    23 August 2018

    “What do you think they are doing now?” Erie asks, tugging on Tohru’s sleeve. He looks up from his scope, sunshine grin in place.

    “Probably trashing the place before coming back.” He reaches out to tousle her hair, smooth shiny strands of lavender wonder; nothing like his wild grass patch. “Don’t worry, nothing can get those guys.” She isn’t convinced. Of course, she’s smart enough to see when he’s giving a form response.

    “Don’t lie to me, Tohru. These enemies are powerful, aren’t they?” she says, eyes piercing. Tohru knows better than to carry on. Sometimes he sees her as just a little girl; the one he lost. So much so that he forgets how she’s fought her way through with them for the past years. He sits up with a groan.

    “Sorry.” They sit in silence, each pondering their comrades. Until now, Tohru has never doubted that they would return. Mission after mission, they had come back, not even a scratch on their clothes. This visage of invincibility had never wavered, until now.

    He stared at the building. Total silence on the outside. God knew what was going on inside, though. He reached for his locket, opened it gently. The five of them mirrored back, Kanda all smiles, Ally beaming, Erie leaping in the air, Shin sighing in the back. And him, arms around all of them, truly content in the moment. His family, after his first.

    “They will come back,” he booms, confident this time. Erie looks up, startled. He grins at her.

    “Are you really sure?” a slight plead in her voice, he could tell. A child needing validation; assurance. She’s still so young, after all. He nods.

    “Trust. I trust in them,” he smiles. “So should you.” Gingerly, he wraps her up, a small bundle of warmth. And he feels her muffled nod.

    I’m puzzled, to say the least.

    Kanda hasn’t moved from his spot for the past ten minutes. I can feel his magic, a powerful presence, unmoving from level one. Well, at least he isn’t injured.

    And I have my own problems; six of them, to be precise.

    I stand now on level sixty-one. My mission is simple: information. We have no idea who we’re going up against, while they know everything about us, from our abilities to our birthdays. So, here I am, at the corporation’s storage level. If there’s any information to be found, it will be here.

    Except that all I see now are six doors, spaced identically in a semi-circle. A classic trap.

    We were expected, that much is obvious. However, I have nothing to work with.

    “Well, it seems I got the lady. Lucky me.”

    Man, I’m sick of being snuck up on.

    My stalker stands at roughly one-eighty. Splendid white hair frames a city-street face, handsome but unremarkable. What stand out, though, are the clothes. Green with red? Really?

    “Forgive me, I have a certain infatuation with Christmas. Hence the colours.” He explains, all smiles.

    Well now, I’m quite sure I hadn’t spoken out loud.

    “No, you didn’t. I just have exceptional hearing.” He stands with hands in slacks, totally at ease.

    “I guess there’s no sense in me being quiet, then.” I tense, ready to call my weapon. He frantically waves his hands.

    “Please, I have no intention of fighting you. That’s not my job.” He gestures towards the doors. “I believe your own lies behind one of those doors. Go ahead, enter.” I make no move. There’s no way I can trust an enemy, after all. He sighs.

    “Forgive me, I haven’t introduced myself. Searing C. Veyres, at your service. I assure you; no harm will come to you behind any of those doors. In fact, let me lead you to the correct one.”

    With swift steps, he crosses to the third from the left and pushes, revealing total blackness beyond. With a Cheshire grin and a twinkly wave, he disappears.

    Looks like I have no choice here. Into the dark it is.

    Shin is bleeding from at least a dozen places.

    Veil stands smugly, surveying his opponent.

    “Are you not going to unlock your magic? There’s no way you can win right now.” Without warning, he tosses his spear. Shin steps to the left. Another cut appears on his right arm, blood welling up.

    “Why so stubborn? I’m taking it easy right now, but I don’t have all night.” From behind him. How did he get there? Shin smirks, a clear contradiction to his battered body.

    “I’ll figure out your trick yet.” Kicking off, a right-hook towards Veil. Except that he’s not there.

    “Where’re you aiming?” Another cut, this time on his left leg. Shin stops, analyzes the situation.

    He’s reading his enemy totally wrong. Be it his movements, his strikes, even his position, nothing is as it seems. A cloaking skill? Disorientation? Teleportation? Any of those is possible. Unless...

    “This isn’t a simple trick, Shin. This is top-tier magic. More, apparently, than is needed to deal with the likes of you.” He’s getting impatient, Shin can sense that. He’s going to strike soon.

    Veil sighs. “I don’t have time for this. If I make it fast, I can still rush to the others. Hopefully, they’re having more fun than I am.” He lifts his spear, emanating magic. He plans to make this his final strike.


    Shin closes his eyes.

    Magic force can’t be seen with the naked eye. It can only be felt. However, with enough concentration, a skilled user can gauge the flow with his mind’s eye. A tangle of lines and splashes. Blue for the background, red for Veil’s magic. He can see it, the attack.

    He leaps.

    “Interesting.” A small crater mars the floor. Veil’s spear lies in the epicentre. He turns to glance at Shin, who’s staring at him, the same smirk on his face.

    “Like I said, I figured out your little trick. Perception magic. Powerful stuff.”

    Veil laughs, a loud, unhinged sound.

    “You’re making me very angry, Shin-san.”

    Shin doesn’t reply, merely lifts his right hand.

    “Blood magic, unlock.”

    From afar, Tohru and Erie stare in shock, as the sixty-sixth floor glows bright ruby, casting a crimson haze in the still night.

  8. #7
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    This is hell

    Hi guys, sorry for not posting last week, was real busy. Anyways, here's chapter 7, so enjoy! I'll try to scan a drawing of Ally next week too, if I can manage to get it out!

    Something is amiss. Kanda can feel it, a tingle in the back of his mind, an itch he can’t quite reach. And there’s no time to figure it out, not with the enemy staring him in the eyes.

    “Kaito, was it? I’m Kanda, pleased to meet you.” Middle-aged and slim, the man wears a slightly gaunt look, accentuated by the dark rings beneath his eyes. Short, messy jet-black hair obscures a lined forehead, looking more an overworked employee than a member of an elite covert organization.

    Kaito smiles, taking a step forward, his slippers slapping on the cold, hard floor.

    “Glad to see that we’re on first-name terms. Now, please, turn back the way you came from.” In no way an imposing figure, but his threat is clear as ice. So is Kanda’s mission.

    “I’m afraid that’s impossible. There’s something I have to do here.” Again, that same unshakable sensation. Something is very wrong.

    “Something to do with that necklace, I know. Give it up. It’s impossible.” He takes another step forward. Kanda tenses.

    “I’m sorry, but you won’t be stopping me.” He blazes forward. One strike will be enough.

    But his left arm won’t move. Kaito sighs.

    “Don’t you remember? I already broke your left arm.” And just like that, a searing pain flares through Kanda’s left, leaving him gasping.

    How? He didn’t even touch me.

    But the feeling is undeniable. His left arm can’t be used anymore. Instantly, Kaito is by his side, arm raised for an elbow strike.

    “By the way... do recall that your left leg is injured as well.” A sharp impact on his shoulder. His legs give way.
    For the first time in years, Aihara Kanda has been floored.

    It’s totally dark in here. I have no clue where I am.

    I take a tentative step forward. The echoes of my heel permeate the room. It feels like a large, empty space.

    Well, that’s helpful.

    “Light,” I intone, and illumination slowly spreads over the room. As I had thought, it’s a fully empty room, completely white. Which brings me to the question: what could I possibly do here?

    “Now, don’t be hasty.” Suddenly, my light is extinguished, plunging me into darkness once again. I wait. It’s apparent that I’m not in control here.

    Abruptly, light returns. But the room is no longer the same. The walls have disappeared, opening into a boundless field. The land stretches for miles and miles, melting into the horizon. Greenery surrounds me, a vast land with a peerless view. The sky... impossible, but there it is, a cloudless blue sky, clear and pristine. Flowers sway with the wind, from marigolds to lavenders and every other colour in between; a collage of nature.

    I remember this place. It is hell to me.

    Something terrible happened to me here. Ironic, of course, the beauty of this field. I lost my most important friend at that time, someone even dearer to me than Kanda. Every horrific detail of that day, burned into my mind. To end his life with my own hands... it took everything I had. Under this same sky, the same sun glaring brightly, witness to my blood-stained hands. I have never thought about that day. Until now.

    “Takeo, I’m sorry,” I whisper.

    “Haha, it’s OK, Ally! I asked you to do it after all.” My head snaps up, looking around manically. It’s impossible, but this voice...

    There’s no way he could be alive, not after what I did.

    His smile, as he asked the impossible of me.

    My tears, as I knew my answer.

    Ally, this is not your fault. Forget about me, this place, everything.

    How he handed me the dagger.

    How I plunged it in, all the while crying, wailing as I’d never done before, as the blood flowed down my trembling hands.

    How I wrapped him in my arms, determined to stay with him till the very end.

    Everything he said to me, his final words.

    How, as he started to fade, a single butterfly fluttered by, hovering between us.

    Beautiful. Just... like... you.

    There he is, that unmistakable physique, the same unkempt hair, the well-worn shirt he had on that day. The necklace I gave to him.

    “It’s been too long, Ally,” Takeo Ki, a ghost of two years past, stands before me.

    “Blood magic, huh. So that’s your specialty, is it?” Veil stands wary, unsure of Shin’s strength. Shin stares back, eyes gleaming red.

    Slowly, each of his wounds start to close up, leaving no trace of his injuries.

    “Recovery magic. I guess cutting you won’t do any good.”

    “Nothing you do now will save you, idiot. Rageflow, unleash!” At his command, a wave of blood surges forward, disintegrating everything in its path. Sensing danger, Veil leaps, staying on the roof instead.

    “Killing people with your own blood... how macabre.” Shin doesn’t reply, launching another attack instead. It strikes the ceiling, cracking deep into the concrete. Blood drips from the remnants.

    “Still, doesn’t matter if you can’t hit me. You thought you figured out my power? You don’t know the half of it.”

    “You literally make my blood boil, Veil.” At this, Veil laughs.

    “Well now, I didn’t know you had a sense of humour.” At this, he strikes, seven spears from seven directions. A wall of blood rises, burning the weapons from existence.

    “No matter your power, you can’t touch me now.”

    “Seems like we’re at an impasse, then.” Shin smirks, a taunting gesture.

    “It doesn’t matter if I can’t tell where you are. I just have to destroy everything.” At his words, droplets of blood rise from the ground. They surround Shin, slowly revolving. With a wave of his hand, they scatter, each one a deadly bullet.

    He surveys the outcome. Plenty of damage all around the office, but no Veil. That is, until he hears footsteps behind him. He’s squatting, holding one of the droplets between forefinger and thumb. Whistling, he looks up from the projectile.

    “Dangerous, that was,” he grins.

    Impossible, no one can hold my blood like that.

    Veil looks around the office, sighing.

    “Well, that was much more fun than I’d expected, but we have to stop now. Any more damage and the bosses will have my head, not to mention my pay for the month.” He laughs again, a genuine sound of mirth this time. “I haven’t laughed so much in a long, long time, Shin-san. I do hope to meet you again.”

    At this, Shin readies to deliver another blow, but realises his futility.

    He’s long gone, leaving no trace behind.

    He can’t remember hurting this much in a long, long time.

    “Stay down, Kanda-san. I don’t have orders to kill you, so I do not intend to do so. Just stop trying to advance.” Kaito is sitting beside him now, totally at ease.

    “Aren’t you underestimating me a bit? I am the enemy, after all.” But the truth is, Kanda can barely move. He doesn’t know how, but Kaito has managed to disable him almost without touching him. But somehow, it feels... wrong. Kaito glances at him.

    “I don’t see you as one, Kanda-san. I have nothing against you. It’s merely my job today to prevent you from going forward.” He yawns, stretches.

    This... isn’t right. That’s what Kanda realises. His body isn’t broken. Somehow, it just thinks it is. If what he thinks is true, then...

    “Kanda-san, take my advice. It’s not smart to fight against the Corporation. I’ve seen countless people try to do it and they all ended up dead.” He withdraws a cigarette from his shorts and lights it up.

    “I’m not like them. I know how to do it.” Kaito laughs.

    “What makes you think those people didn’t? They had resources, money, information, strength, even magic. And each one of them was erased from existence.” He takes another long breath. “I know your past, Kanda-san.”

    At this, Kanda starts. No way. There was no way this man knew who he was before.

    “Come on, did you think you were the only one who worked with them? They had plenty of contacts, me included.”

    “Then you know why I cannot stop here, don’t you?” Kaito looks him, straight in the eyes.

    “Atonement, then? Or should I say... redemption?”

    “Salvation.” He stares, then laughs, exhaling smoke.

    “That’s impossible for people like us to achieve. Leave it to the messiahs.”

    “I used to specialize in the impossible. That’s why they called me in before.” Kanda breathes. He has one shot at this, before he’ll be killed instantly. He knows who this man is, now. Someone extremely dangerous.

    “I thought we called them miracles, what we did. Man, that was a long time ago... Now I’m just some corporate stooge, it seems.” He tosses his cigarette away, at the same time Kanda makes his move.

    “Strength, unleash.”

  9. #8
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    A memory

    Hello, here's chapter 8! Do enjoy, guys. About the picture, my art really sucks so I'm not gonna rush it. If I ever do get to my friend's place to scan it in, I'll let you all have a good laugh xD

    This sedulous peace, crafted over so many nights, broken in an instant.

    I can’t tear my eyes off him, this apparition of guilt; a man that I had long given up, yet somehow never given up on. It’s fake, an illusion of the enemy’s; the dead don’t rise, no matter how many other miracles we’ve witnessed. But the heart supersedes the mind. Fervour overcomes logic.

    “Please, leave me alone,” I whisper, tears steadily descending, eyes unmoving. He chuckles, a sound that I haven’t heard in years, so very different from Kanda’s.

    “How cold, Ally. That’s all you have to say to me?” He approaches, holding my gaze evenly. I stumble back, unable to bear this closeness. It’s amazing how something so false can hurt so true. He widens his stride, breaking into a run.

    So near me, I can feel his breath; his warmth, blanketing my chills. He stares at me, all mirth gone from his eyes. I look back, my heart slowing.

    He grabs me, an embrace so tight, so full of feelings, transcending death itself.

    “I’ve missed you so much, Ally, so, so much,” he cries, voice choking on each word. I’m stunned; this wasn’t what I’d expected. Slowly, my hands lift, gently holding his broad shoulders, my fingers tracing his trembling frame.

    “So have I, Takeo.” We hold our position, a thousand questions burning, unwilling to break the magic just yet.

    Slowly, we begin to let go. He glances at me awkwardly, embarrassed by his own outburst.

    “So, uh,” he begins, scratching his head sheepishly. “How’ve you been?” I smile. No matter how he came to be, whether this is an act, regardless of if he’s even real. This is Takeo Ki, the first love I can remember. Those gentle eyes, the comedic gawkiness, complemented by an unconscious grace; all memories unearthed from the depths of my mind.

    “I’ve been great. We’ve been through a lot, but it’s been really fun with the guys, despite everything.”

    “That’s great to hear. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be there with you.” I reach a hand to his cheeks, clearing his tear-stained face.

    “Don’t ruin it, not now.” I grab his hand, pulling him towards the slopes, ignoring his surprised yelp. Running, scrambling, reaching for the top, something I’m all too familiar with. I hoist myself over the edge, overseeing the entire field.

    “It’s so peaceful here, isn’t it?” Takeo clambers up beside me, brushing his pants off. A wistful grin settles in, as he surveys the same sight.

    “Yeah, I’d forgotten how this place was.”

    Shin stands silently, awaiting the elevator. The previous battle disturbed him greatly. After Veil’s abrupt departure, he’d sifted through the debris.

    There’d been no sign of Veil ever having been there.

    Even trying to detect any signs of magic, he’d been unable to discover any flow that resembled his. Like Veil had never been there.

    Looks like I wasn’t even close to deciphering his power.

    The only thing he’s sure of is that the fight is over. He closes his eyes, focusing on Ally and Kanda.
    “Tch. Not one, but both of them, stuck in an enemy’s realm?” Not a problem, probably. They should be out soon enough. After all, Kanda’s fully fired up.

    Just then, the elevator opens. Smiling, He enters, free to pursue his own agenda.

    We sit together, stretched out on the vast plateau. We used to do this nearly every day, those carefree days long cast behind.

    “Are the others well? Kanda, Tohru, Erie and Shin?”

    “Yep, everyone’s fine.” He sighs, stretching long and hard.

    “Man, I miss those guys. It’s really been too long.” I remain quiet, hesitant to ask the next question. A morbid thought, if there ever was one.

    “So... where have you been, these past two years?” There, it’s out now. Surprisingly, he laughs, looking at me with a huge grin.

    “Why, in your mind, of course.” He hops to his feet, hands on hips. “Peregrinating the vast universe that is Miss Ally Leyfeld’s inner thoughts.” He looks down at me “You must have realised by now. I’m nothing more than a mirage from your memories.” I smile sadly. Of course I knew that.

    “If you’re something conjured by the enemy, what’re you doing right now, standing around? Shouldn’t you be trying to kill me or something?” He furrows his brows, deep in concentration.

    “This might not be convincing coming from me, Ally, but that man... I wouldn’t be so sure that he’s an enemy. Well, seeing as he was the one who conjured me, of course I’d say that, haha!” he adds ineloquently. But I myself am starting to have my doubts. Conjuring Takeo may well have been a ploy to distract me, but he didn’t strike me at my most vulnerable.

    “Then, what are you doing here?” He ticks at his chin, looking for the correct words.

    “See... I don’t really know. It’s not like I was given any specific orders. Right now, I’m Takeo Ki, with all the same memories, thoughts and characteristics as the man you remember. The times we spent together fighting the Corporation, my friendship with Kanda, the fight I had with Shin in the mountains, our time together in that bath... oops. Yeah, I wasn’t supposed to say that. But what I’m trying to say is, no matter how brief, how manufactured, there’s no denying it. I’m real right now. I’m alive.” I listen, mouth agape.

    “Well, yeah, that sounds like the Takeo I know, rambling on without thinking.” I stand up as well, joining him. “But while that’s all beautiful and nice, what am I supposed to do here?” He holds up his hands in surrender.

    “Don’t ask me, I was never the intellectual.” I chortled. There was an understatement, if there ever was one.

    “Maybe... maybe you’re here to help me. To remind me why it is that I’m fighting so hard,” I say softly, lost in the serenity. He folds me into another hug, this one gentle and quiet, full of the Takeo I knew so well.

    “A recharge, huh? Yeah, I noticed. You’d been quite down these past few weeks.” I start, surprised that he actually knew. “Yeah, don’t ask me how this guy’s powers work. Maybe I came from your memories, so I kind of know how you’ve been feeling and thinking. It’s all foggy, though.” He sits back down, patting his thighs. “Anyway, come on down.”


    “Don’t give me that. I can tell you’re still confused.” He flashes his smuggest grin.

    “I’m gonna help you through this little crisis. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be doing my own memory justice, would I?”

  10. #9
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    Hi, took a break from writing last week and didn't get much done either this week lol. Just a short update, will try to write more often! Enjoy!

    This time, Kaito’s the one with a broken arm.

    He grimaces, staring at the unscathed Kanda, now all fury and vigour. Surreptitiously, he tests his right arm. Not irreparable, but still seriously damaged. He curses inside, chagrined by his lack of awareness. An elementary mistake, underestimating an opponent, especially one of this calibre.

    “Move aside, now. I won’t kill you on account of past ties. After all, we did work for the same people. Not to mention that you saved my life at Nagasaki.” A ghost of a smile illuminates Kaito’s face.

    “Nasty business, Nagasaki. So, I take it you know exactly who I am.”

    “A man of magic, they called you, before magic truly existed; someone who could manipulate the entire area of operation. A man who, alone, influenced the outcome of countless missions and battles.” Kaito pops a fresh cigarette with his working arm, lighting it up.

    “Exaggerated, all of those stories. I was merely good with information.”

    “Modest as always, Providence Kaito.” Kaito lets out a bark of laughter.

    “Well now, it’s been quite a while since I’ve been called that. Most of my colleagues just call me old man now.” Kanda takes a slow step forward. Such a foe warrants extreme caution.

    “So, when did you figure out that your arm wasn’t really broken?” he asks, taking a long drag. His composure hasn’t wavered, despite Kanda’s counterattack. His arm is broken, that much Kanda is certain of.

    “When you were talking to me about messiahs. I realised then that only a god could have broken my arm so easily.” Kaito grins, stick hanging between his lips.

    “Modest, aren’t we? I assume you know the rest as well, then.”

    “This isn’t the corporation’s building, it’s a manufactured space. I’ve been stuck in the lift lobby ever since I entered. Also, the building doesn’t even have 100 floors. All of these were traps, designed to snare me.”

    “Well, colour me impressed. Pardon me, but I’d clap if both my arms were still working.” He takes a step towards Kanda as well, locking eyes.

    “Now, there’s only one question left. Can you get out?” At this, a chill runs down Kanda’s spine. A feeling of dread he hasn’t felt since those days of espionage. It makes him smile, a genuine one, not the face he puts on for Ally, just to stifle her worries.

    Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the time to indulge in a grand battle, as much as he’d want to fight against the strongest agent there ever was.

    “I learnt a lot from studying your profile, Kaito. Even though we never met, you could be considered half my teacher.”

    “I’m flattered. The most prominent killer of that era actually held me in such high regard.” Kanda’s grin widens. He can barely hold his excitement in check now. To think that such a powerful opponent existed, someone who knew his background. He thought he’d murdered them all.

    Think of Ally, idiot. You’re doing this for her.

    The thought clears his head, staves off his bloodlust. He looks at Kaito.

    “Oh yeah, another thing. You projected yourself into this space from a remote location. So, if I destroy this space, you have no way of reaching me, do you?” he asks, the facade of Ally’s Kanda slipping back on. “The most important thing I learnt from you is this: Always put the mission first.” Kaito’s eyes widen slightly, surprised for the first time.

    “Damn it, you noticed, huh. Well, I guess our little fight is going to be postponed.” He takes one last puff, flicking it into the air. Without warning, he charges, but they both know it’s too late.

    “See you next time, God,” Kanda whispers. “Strength maximum, Deliverance!” As his fist strikes the floor, the makeshift space cracks, blinding light flooding from beyond the crevasses. The last thing he sees is Kaito, wearing a knowing smile, already mulling his inevitable battle with the devil as the world fades to white.

  11. #10
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    Hi guys, this is the last chapter for this arc, Emancipation! It hasn't been easy committing time to write this story, but as long as people out there enjoyed it, hey, it's worth it. Hopefully, I can hear more from readers, regarding their thoughts on the story so far. I know my writing hasn't been consistent, and sometimes standards drop when I rush, so I have to say a thanks to people who continued reading despite that. I'll keep brushing up on my writing, so look forward to further chapters!

    And, as usual, do have fun reading!

    “The mission was a success. They’re returning.” The older of the two settles into the archaic armchair, gazing at the Monet hanging opposite. His companion is poring over the computer, running some program or other that he’d never bothered to understand. Such things are better left to the younger generation.

    “Hmm, everything’s ok, then?” the youth mutters absentmindedly, not even looking up, absorbed as he is in his task. Facing obstruction, he grunts, assailing the keyboard even more vigorously, determined to outgun his opponent.

    “Yes, although there were some hiccups along the way.”

    “But everything is fine?”


    “Well, that’s all that matters.” His face screwed in intense concentration, the younger man’s fingers fly over the keyboard, seemingly oblivious to everything else.

    “Just what are you doing?” He glances up, ever so briefly.

    “Trying to win an online auction.”

    A halcyon silence surrounds Kanda, only the distant fountain’s frothing audible. He’s free from the trap, able to move on to his goal now.

    But he can’t move, not just yet.

    The drain of utilizing magic can be taxing, even more so when executed to the extreme. People experience different fallouts; some puke, others faint, there’s the occasional euphoria, and so on. For Kanda, it’s immobilization, something potentially fatal, one of his only weaknesses, albeit one unknown to anyone else.

    Right now, though, it just gives him more time to think.

    He’s thoroughly underestimated the Hex Vanguard. The first opponent he fought was too easy, making him overconfident. Clearly, the higher echelons of the group will not be brought low with such ease.

    Regardless, the first part of the operation went smoothly enough. Sure, he almost died, but it turned out fine in the end. Focusing his energies, he reaches out to the other two. They seem fine, if a little thrown. Well, considering what he faced, he assumes the other two didn’t exactly have it easy either.

    Finally, the paralysis breaks, freeing his movements. He enters the lift, relishing this victory over the Corporation, a key piece in his machinations.

    Soon, it’ll be over, for better or worse.

    Much as I enjoy the obsequious tendencies of the Takeo from memory, I know that it cannot endure. As his hands run through my hair; the feel of his touch, the scent of his skin, all memories that I’d never dreamt of re-experiencing. All distractions from what I’m truly here for. I am in a war, after all.

    I grab his hand, stopping him. He glances at me, startled eyes melting to a reluctant understanding.

    “Well, I can’t say I didn’t expect this,” he sighs, leaning back, hands against the floor. “You have to go now, don’t you?” I avert my gaze, unable to look him in the eye, something to break my wavering will.

    “You’re just a memory, no matter how much of an incredible one. I have a real world to return to.”

    He turns my head gently, gazing into my eyes. Medusa never stood a chance, not with him around.

    “Two years ago, we gave up everything we had, in order to escape everything else. For six months, I had the most wonderful time of my life with you.” I feel tears forming, unable to speak. “It was the Corporation that, once again, got in our way. All that I’ve stood for, that I’ve cared for, has been put through hell by the Corporation. Even my life, they took in the cruelest way possible; through you.”

    He leaps to his feet, stretching towards the heavens. “And so, Ally Layfeld, I’m formally requesting of you this.” He draws in a deep breath, eyes closed. When he opens them, the determination is nearly blinding. “Destroy this vile organization. Obliterate anything and everything that it stands for. Leave not a trace of it behind. Do it,” he whispers, “for me, Takeo Ki.”

    The tears flow freely now, but I refuse to falter. I meet his gaze, a peerless glint to an unbridled flame.

    “I swear, as the 4th generation head of the Layfeld family, to destroy the Organization, in the name of Takeo Ki, who gave his everything for justice.” He leans forward, gently kissing my forehead, a final goodbye.

    “Hey, who knows, this might not be the last time we meet,” he grins enigmatically, vanishing before I have a chance to clarify.

    Just like that, my little fairytale has come to an abrupt end.

    They are already there, waiting for me.

    Shin and Kanda, both safe and sound, if a little roughed up; Erie and Tohru, here to pick us up for the return trip.
    “So, I take it everyone achieved what they came to do.”

    Kanda smirks, holding up the necklace, gleaming bright in the moonlight. He tosses it into the air, where it disintegrates into dust, a shimmering haze hanging in the sky.

    “The ritual has been activated. The first key has turned.”

    I nod, aware of the implications. There is no turning back now.

    “Let’s go, then. Our war with the Corporation starts now.”


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