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In an unspecified dark room, Rin and Aria stare at each other.

Rin: ...

Aria: ...

Rin: It has been two weeks, do you plan to keep delaying your fight?

Aria: No, sensei.

Rin: Do you feel that you are not sufficient up to the task?

Aria: No, sensei.

Rin: Then why do you hesitate?

Aria fiddles with her fingers. To be truthful, she hadn't wanted to attack just yet. She wanted to be fully prepared. With her lost in thought, she is surprised when she feels Rin's warm touch as her arms wrap around her.

Aria: S-sensei?

Rin leans her lips into Aria's ears.

Rin: Unless you can't bare to leave me.

Aria blushes immediately.

Aria: S-sensei, I appreciate everything you've done for me. I feel like I'm ready to fight now.

Rin: I look forward to hearing word of your success.

Aria runs off, but a looming figure in the darkness looks on.

???: Your 'pupil' better do well.

Rin: Worry not, she'll do as is instructed.

???: Yeah? Your pupil better kick his ass. Otherwise, I'll skin her myself.

Rin: Touch a single strand of her beautiful hair and I'll be the one 'skinning' you.

Meanwhile, Alexandria and Kei had just finished their ten mile run.

Kei: I'm impressed, you've managed to run the full ten miles today.

Alexandria: I'm getting stronger every day!

Kei: Keep it up then, because you still have plenty of training to go.

Alexandria: So when do I get to weapons training?

Kei: A little early to be thinking about that, isn't it?

Alexandria: I'm not ready yet?

Kei: There's still plenty to do before I start training you on a weapon.

Alexandria: Like?

Kei: For one, figuring out what weapon to teach you on. And there's still plenty of martial arts training left in your future.

Alexandria nods.

Kei: (But I will have to teach her sooner or later, if she is going to help, she'll need a weapon to fight.)

Shigure waits at the entrance to the house. Kei frowned at seeing her. Knowing now who had killed Mitch, and explaining the circumstances to Shigure had been difficult. The only thing she had said to him about the matter was that she would support Kei and Alexandria in every way she could. She also wanted to find out why Mitch knew about this so-called 'branch' of the library.

Kei: Hey, what's up? Wasn't expecting to see you out on the front door.

Shigure: I just wanted to greet you at the door, a warm welcome waiting to meet you.

Kei: You don't have to.

Shigure: It was just a bit lonely inside the house.

Kei has a tough time responding to that. He understood that Shigure was feeling a bit lonely now with Mitch gone.

Kei: Shigure, has anything happened with that bar that Mitch owned?

Shigure: No, not yet. The officers are still trying to do stuff with it.

Kei: Well, while its still closed, why not take it over?

Shigure: You want me to take over Mitch's bar?

Kei: Why not?

Shigure: That was Mitch's thing, I wouldn't know how to do that. I'm thinking of just letting someone buy it.

Kei: Well, think about it, at least, the property does now legally belong to you according to Mitch's will.

Shigure: I know.

???: I hope I'm not interrupting anything.

Kei's eyes widen and Alexandria and him to turn around. Aria stands there.

Aria: Its time for your swan song Kei.

Kei sighs.

Kei: So, time for us to settle our little squabble, huh?

Aria: Grab your weapon Kei, we settle this today.

Moments later, Kei has his sword in hand as he prepares to battle with Aria.

Kei: And there's no way I can convince you otherwise?

Aria: For my sensei's sake, I will win.

Kei seem confused.

Kei: Your sensei? You've never had a teacher before.

Aria: Rin has taught me more in these last two weeks so that I could defeat you once and for all.

Kei: Wait, Rin? The girl with the crescent moon curls on the front of her head?

Aria: The one and the same.

Kei sighs again.

Kei: Very well, I'll meet your challenge.

Aria prepares her kunai to fight. Kei stays put, waiting for her to make the first move. She does. She charges toward him and attempts to strike his chest. Kei easily deflects each strike. He notes that she is a bit faster and stronger then before.

Kei: (Whatever Rin taught her, she's gotten stronger.)

She suddenly brings her knee up into Kei's chest, and it catches him off guard. He staggers backwards and quickly brings his sword up to defend as she pushed against him with her kunai.

Aria: I will defeat you today.

Kei forces her away from him.

Kei: It isn't the first time you've taken orders like a dog.

Aria: Don't talk about Rin like that!

Kei: ?

Aria: It isn't like that at all!

Kei: No?

Aria: Rin has done everything she can for me, since she's taken me under her wings.

Kei: (Something of great significance has happened between the two of them.)

Aria: For Rin's sake, I WILL win, there is no other choice.

Kei: No other choice?

Aria: If I return without killing you, they'll eliminate me.

Kei: (What? Kill her? So fast? Do they feel she's not worth it?)

Aria: To them, I'm an outsider. But Rin...she...

Kei: (Rin made her feel special, I see.)

Aria: So I can't let her down, not now!

Kei sighs for a moment.

Aria: D-don't look down on me!

Kei smiles.

Kei: And to think I thought you were simply focused on me.

Aria: Huh?

Kei: Aria, tell me. Why do you keep coming after me? Because you were ordered to?

Aria: Ordered to? Well, this time yeah, but before...

Kei: Our rivalry has been greatly one-sided. I usually win, but you do seem stronger because of Rin.

Aria: See!

Kei: So why do this?

Aria: Huh?

Kei: Why not find a nice place with your sensei so you can train?

Aria: ...are you looking down on me?

Kei: I am not. I simply misunderstood you. Seeing only one side of the die doesn't constitute seeing all sides. I could see a two and never know anything else existed on that die except it. But when its rolled or observed, I can see each of its faces, one through six.

Aria: What...are you trying to say?

Kei: Let's end this stupid rivalry.

Aria: ?! What?

Kei sheathes his sword and sits down.

Kei: I refuse to fight you any more.

Shigure and Alexandria are stunned.

Shigure: (Get up, please get back up. Aria will kill you if you give her this chance!)

Aria walks closer to Kei. It would simply be easy to slash his throat and kill him just like that, and yet...that thought didn't feel right. Her grip tightens on her blade.

Aria: You're mocking me...I know you are...

Kei: ...

Aria puts the blade right at his jugular.

Shigure: Kei!

Aria: It would just be so easy to kill you right here, right now.

Kei and Aria stare into each other's eyes. Aria's grip begins to loosen.

Aria: But...I...can't...

Shigure: ?

Aria: It would be a hollow victory. I could hold no pride in defeating you in such a way. So I'll ask you, draw your sword again, let's continue.

Kei: I will not.

Aria: Tch. Don't you get it? The others won't be this merciful!

Kei: (The others?)

Aria: The Branch will see to it that everyone submits to them, just like everyone used to when the NOL was still around! You and that murakumo unit over there couldn't hope to survive!

Kei: That murakumo unit over there has a name. Her name is Alexandria. She is not a 'thing' to be used, nor is she a 'thing' to be abused. I will treat her like every other normal child who deserves a childhood. I swore I'd protect her.

Aria: (Swore?)

Kei: Someone like you can understand that, right? I won't let Alexandria fall into the wrong hands, no matter what happens.

Aria's blade falls from her hand, and pierces the ground right in front of Kei's legs. She uses both hands to grab Kei's collar.

Aria: You're a masochist! You'll be inviting pain like you've never known! All to protect some girl you barely know?!

Kei: I promised. I don't go back on a promise.

Aria lets go of his collar.

Aria: You are nothing but a fool. A fool!

Kei: What does that make the one who chases that fool?

Aria: ...

Kei waits for her response.

Aria: Very well...

Kei: ?

Aria: I surrender. You win.

Kei sees a tear stream down her cheek.

Aria: I can't go back. They'll kill me. So I'll go into hiding. You better stop them, or else...or else...

Kei nods.

Kei: You have my word and my promise. I will defeat this 'Branch'.

Aria flees away. Shigure runs up to Kei.

Shigure: Are you okay? Nothing hurt?

Kei: I'm fine. I'm fine.

Shigure: You sure?

Kei nods.

Shigure: Good.

Shigure slaps him hard across the face.

Kei: OW! What the he-?

Kei turns back to Shigure to see her crying.

Shigure: You idiot!

Kei: ? Shigure?

Shigure: How could you do that?! Just leave yourself so open that she could just kill you without a second thought.

Kei: But it was...I mean I knew...

Shigure: I don't give a damn! I can't bear to lose you too, Kei. I don't want to see anyone else die!

Kei: Shigure...

She hugs him as she cries into his chest. Alexandria looks on, seeing what was happening.

Alexandria: (Kei stopped fighting, and she left. I guess...not all fights are won by weapons.)

Meanwhile, back at the dark room where Rin awaits good news, she is greeted by someone who keeps himself hidden in the shadows.

???: Bad news. Aria's gone rogue.

Rin: ...

The other man sneers.

???: What I tell ya? That bitch couldn't do a damn thing. She's just a weakling we hired to make it an even twenty.

Rin: So what will happen now?

???: One of us will be tasked with eliminating her. And Rin, you will not be necessary for that task.

Rin understood why. She was too close to Aria. She might let her escape.

???: Please, let me do it. I am the next one up anyway.

???: If that is what you want.

The two men quietly leave. Rin still standing there amongst her thoughts.

Rin: ( safe...)

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