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This page, A and K Chapter 12: The Broken Music Box, is coming of age. The current canon and/or the writer's writing has improved since then, making this page relatively obsolete. Please take into account possible plans for a complete overhaul to this page for future use.

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Kei is awoken to some hurriedly shaking him.

Shigure: Kei, get up, please!

Kei groggily sits up in bed and yawns.

Kei: I'm awake, I'm awake, what is it?

Shigure: Its Aria!

Kei becomes wide-eyed and hops out of bed.

Kei: Show me.

Shigure leads Kei to the front entrance. Aria lies on the front porch in a bloody heap. Kei is stunned by what he sees.

Kei: Get her inside.

Shigure: What a-?


Kei and Shigure quickly take her to the dining room where they lay her down gently. Kei quickly grabs medical equipment from a nearby closet. Bandages, stuff to clean the wounds, and a spare blanket and pillow. Kei and Shigure make her as comfortable as possible before he sets to work on cleaning and bandaging her wounds. Kei would hand it off to Shigure for the more sensitive spots so he could be respectful. An hour passed in all. Most her entire body was wrapped. Her eyes were covered as well.

Kei: Well, we're done.

Shigure: Is she going to be okay?

Kei: Don't know. She's probably lost a lot of blood.

Shigure: Kei, we can't let her die.

Kei: I'm not going to let her die.

Shigure: Who could've done this to her?

Kei: Probably one of the people from 'the branch'.

Shigure: Why would they do this?

Kei: To send a message. They're serious about taking me out, when Aria couldn't do it, they took her out, but she seems to be alive, just barely. I wonder...

Shigure: about what?

Kei: How did she end up on our doorstep? There's no way she could've gotten here under her own power.

Elsewhere, Rin is walking through a dark room. A man speaks from within the shadows.

???: Still had a soft spot for her, huh?

Rin stops for a moment.

Rin: What are you talking about, Michel?

Michel: You know exactly what I mean. You moved her body so Kei would find her.

Rin: ...

Michel: You still have a soft spot for that girl.

Rin: It served your purpose, did it not? You sent your message to him to be weary of you.

Michel: Hmph.

Rin walks away from him.

Michel: (I'm keeping my eye on that one.)

Back at Kei's home, Kei and Alexandria were now in the backyard. Alexandria had seen Aria's body and Kei had told her to come out to the backyard.

Alexandria: What happened to her?

Alexandria looked worried.

Kei: Our next opponent will not be as merciful as Aria was.

Alexandria keyed in on the word he used, merciful.

Alexandria: You mean to say, the next person we fight...

Kei: Won't stop until we're dead.

Alexandria looks disappointed.

Kei: Meaning we have to kick your training into high gear. I'll leave Aria to Shigure.

Alexandria: High gear?

Kei: You have to be ready in case he attacks you.

Alexandria: You think he would?

Kei: I'm not leaving anything to chance.

Alexandria: Okay.

Alexandria was worried, but Kei wasn't about Alexandria be hurt by this new opponent.

Kei: Let's go.

Time passes and night falls. Kei carries Alexandria home on his back, he lays her on his bed and pulls up the covers for her. Then exits the room. He comes back into the dining room to see Shigure. He sits down opposite her.

Kei: What's the word?

Shigure: Her breathing has stabilized, other then that, it'll take time for her wounds to heal.

Kei: I expected as much.

Shigure: ...

Shigure was unusually quiet.

Kei: Something on your mind?

Shigure: Perhaps I should join your training.

Kei: You?

Shigure: Is there a problem with that?

Kei: Well no, but...

Shigure: I can just jump in, I've got some basic training.

Kei: Basic training?

Shigure: A year ago, I took some self-defense courses.

Kei: I can understand why, but Shigure...

Shigure: If they come after me, I'll need to learn how to fight.

Kei sighs. She had a point.

Kei: Then let's see what weapon you can use.

Kei stands up and retrieves a set of weapons. There were several weapons there to use.

Shigure: So you really are a weapons master.

Kei: I learned how to use several weapons, my preferred weapon, however, is my sword. Of these weapons, which one do you feel most comfortable using?

Shigure looks at the set of weapons. She sees several that she fears could harm her if she tried to use them. She picks up the Bo staff. Kei seems relieved to see her pick up that weapon.

Shigure: I guess I'll use this.

Kei: That's a good weapon for you.

Shigure: You think?

Kei: I'd be okay with you learning how to use that.

The two retreat to the backyard, and use a light on the backyard to illuminate their quick session. She gets a feel for the weapon's weight, but it was clear that she would still have a lot to learn.

Kei: At the very least you could use it without hurting yourself.

Shigure nods.

Shigure: We can do training after Alexandria goes to bed.

Kei: Sure.

Shigure begins to show surprising maneuverability with the weapon. She keeps her hands near the center as she twirls it easily.

Kei: Huh, maybe this weapon was good for you.

Shigure: It does remind me of the the stick I'd use to twirl.

Kei: Stick?

Shigure: When I was younger, I'd find a stick and just mess with it. That would also include twirling it like a baton.

Kei: Huh.

Kei was surprised. He didn't know about that at all. The two then retreat back inside and Kei returns their weapons to their holding places. The two then sit back down at the table.

Kei: Only retrieve that weapon if push comes to shove.

Shigure: Huh?

Kei: I don't want to drag you into all of this if I don't have to.

Shigure: So you're going to train me in using the weapon as a self-defense.

Kei: These people are from the library, meaning they could have any sort of different kind of weapons, even ones we've never seen before.

Shigure: ...

Kei: They could have Nox Nyctores, Grimoires, things normal weapons couldn't stand against.

Shigure: Oh, right...

Kei: We'll have to be careful. Aria isn't weak by any measure, whoever beat her up so badly was intent on not letting her live, and if it caused that much damage to her, I'll certainly have to keep my eyes peeled.

Shigure seems a slight bit worried now.

Kei: Of course at the same time, they have the element of surprise.

Shigure: Since we don't know their headquarters.

Kei: Right. We just have to wait.

Shigure: Maybe Aria could tell us?

Kei: That's a possibility, but its possible that where she was stationed wasn't their headquarters.

Shigure: True...

Kei: So we'll have to wait until she's better, or wait until the next attack, whenever that'll be.

Shigure: But maybe Aria will join our side now!

Kei: You were always a glass half-full person, weren't you...

Shigure: You don't think she will?

Kei: She doesn't like me for one, and she's my rival.

Shigure: I think you give her too little credit.

Kei: ...we'll see...maybe she will have a change of heart, maybe she won't. For now, its just about making sure she gets healthy.

Shigure: And preparing us for the battle ahead.

Kei: Right.

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