The gloomy clouds over the forest were foreboding. At any moment, it seemed the clouds would begin its downpour. The three of them, HJ, Kei, and Nick continue to walk through. It seemed like a set-up to Kei. As they walk forward, they find an old abandoned warehouse.
Kei: Another abandoned warehouse…of all the damn…
The thought of walking into another abandoned warehouse made him unhappy. The last time he had set foot in one, he had watched a man die. This one, however, smelled discretely like a trap.
Nick: This is the place HJ's map led to.
HJ: ...I’m getting that feeling… I mean, yeah this is where the map pointed to, but…
HJ sighs heavily as he stared at the warehouse. He tried to avoid thinking hard about it.
HJ: ...let’s be careful about how we go about it. This goes for both of you.
The three of them continued forward. Chains were locked around the doors as they approached. That seemed an odd thing to have around something that wasn’t in use.
Kei: Get the feeling that someone doesn’t want us here.
Nick: How about we let ourselves in then?
Nick pulls out his gun and aims accordingly. He shoots, and the chains become engulfed in fire. The chains melt away from the doors. Kei simply smirks.
Kei: Still using that old thing, huh?
Nick: Its served me well, can’t let go of this old gun.
HJ: Heh, you and me both in a way nick.
HJ quickly pulls out his armagus, which changed from it’s handgun form to it’s beam saber form.
HJ: I’d have cut them myself after I freezed the chains. But nick beat me to it with his own means.
The three walk into the abandoned warehouse. As they walk, the three stumble upon a chair with a single light above it. There were cut ropes around the chair.
HJ: ...Tch, I get the feeling someone was held here...
Kei: Or at least recently.
???: You would be right.
The three turn around to see a TV screen. The light from it lit up the room a small bit.
Nick: Who…? An eighteen year old man, sits there. He had a snow hat on his head. His grey eyes stared at them. He wore a loose-fitting t-shirt, blue jeans, and black dress shoes.
Kon: Allow me to introduce myself, I am Kon, also known as number 16.
Nick: So you're the one who kidnapped Nicole?
Kon: I am. So sorry you had to come all this way for nothing. But we had the sudden urge to move.
Kei: Tch, liar.
Kon: See, we knew people we're getting close, and I'm not much into fighting myself. That's what he's there for.
Another man steps out from behind the tv, from within the darkness. He wore a white tank top, a pair of black pants, and white shoes. His spiky grey hair sat on his head behind his headband. In his left hand, he wielded a katana.
Isao: I'm here.
Kon: Here’s your first shot, number 18, do your best
The TV goes black. Isao turns to them.
Isao: Sorry, but I have an obligation to someone to oblige his request.
HJ: Tch, just using you for his dirty work...
Isao: You think I don’t know that?
HJ: Just an observation…
Isao: You’re not wrong in your observation. But there’s not much that can be done. Don’t let the grey hair fool you, I’m not old. I just don’t really care what my hair color is. I’ve trained for years with this weapon. I’m sure you, HJ, would understand what kind of weapon I wield is.
HJ: You got a transforming weapon I assume?
Isao: Not a transforming weapon, but the kind of weapon I wield. The kind that your wife, and your old pal Ragna once wielded. Weapons the NOL holds in great esteem.
HJ: Tch, the ars magus.
Isao: Correct. Unlike Jin or the fool that Kei defeated before, I am not controlled by my weapon. I have used it to submission.
HJ: ...Jin wielded a Nox Nyctores. Not an ars magus.
Isao: I was making a reference not comparing our weapons.
HJ: Tch, still it’s better that I at least make sure facts are right.
HJ had a disdainful look in his eyes
Isao: This is nothing personal. Orders are orders. But here are the ground rules, it will be the best out of three. The three of you against me in one on one battles. Since the odds aren’t in my favor, I get to choose who I fight, and I choose, the man who once fought alongside Ragna the Bloodedge. (pointing at HJ) You and I will be the first duel.
HJ: ...Heh, I could use some exercise. Don’t think I’m just a bumbling fool like you’ve heard from the past… I’m a lot different from me back then.
Isao: Quite the contrary, I’ve heard many rumors about you. About your successes on the battlefield.
HJ: Huh, didn’t think rumors like that were floating around.. I’m flattered, but that gets nowhere with me.
Isao: Flattery, huh? You’re the one who wanted those rumors to be true by the sounds of it, but it doesn’t matter. Let us begin our duel.
Kei: (Thinking) I know I’ve seen or heard about this man before. But I can’t put my finger on who he is.
HJ: Tch… all right. Nick, you and Kei stay back for now. If things go down south, you’re tasked with getting in touch with Bullet…
Nick: Sir that’s not a job anyone wants…
Nick and Kei take a couple of steps back.
HJ: What’s wrong with talking with my wife? It’s not like she’s at that time of the month… (Thinks for a moment) ….okay Yeah I’m gonna get set on fire for that remark.
Nick: Sir, to elaborate, no one wants to tell your wife about what happened if you should die in battle. Or do you forget what she went through before?
HJ: Right.. sorry for misunderstanding.
Isao: If you’re ready…
HJ: Heh. *takes his battle stance* Ready when you are.
Isao does so as well. He takes a stance and holds his katana parallel to his head. Kei suddenly remembers who the man is.
Kei: (Thinking) It couldn’t be...The famed silver samurai? But, I read he vanished…
HJ doesn’t waste a single moment, quickly his armagus’ blade quickly became engulfed with electricity, and he quickly dashes towards Isao, dragging his blade across the ground. Isao, holding his Katana between both his hands, brings down his weapon toward HJ as he comes towards him. HJ quickly swings his armagus’ blade upwards, attempting to clash with Isao’s blade. Electricity crackling as he swung his weapon.
The electricity suddenly vanishes.
Isao: My weapon nullifies any other weapon’s abilities.
HJ: Heh! Interesting. Might put us at a fair advantage..!
HJ quickly broke the clash before attempting to strike again. Isao is quick to use his own sword to nullify HJ’s weapon once more.
HJ: I am intrigued at the nullification ability! I assume it was created like this before you had found it?
Isao: You would be correct.
HJ: “Would be”?
Isao: The weapon in my hands was created specifically with me in mind.
HJ: Heh, so I assume you had a hand in creating it then?
Isao: I did.
HJ: Heh, quite funny, my brother had his armagus created with him in mind as well, though he himself received it as a sort of gift. It’s funny how we have similar stories behind our weapons despite many differences.
During the battle, Kei and Nick sneak away, in hopes of finding a clue. As they look around, they find the main office of the warhouse.
Kei: Ten to one that's where we should start.
Kei kicks the door open.
Nick: You realize I could've picked the lock.
Kei: What fun would that be.
Nick, sighing, walks in anyway. Kei and Nick quickly look around, and to Nick's luck, he finds an incoming signal.
Nick: We're in luck.
Kei: What did you find?
Nick: Don't know if Kon is leading us on, or if he's getting sloppy, but the TV out there was still sending a signal.
Kei: Or he's watching the fight between Isao and HJ.
Nick: That's possible too. We are talking about a criminial who has a vested interest in all of this.
Kei: Can you track it?
Nick: Give me a moment.
Meanwhile, HJ quickly decided to change up his plan of attack, quickly planning to do a quick kick to the face. Isao, watching HJ’s movements, sees the kick coming. He takes one hand off of his Katana and uses his wrist to block the kick. He then places his hand back on to his katana. HJ quickly steps back, he seemed somewhat worn out, but he was still battle ready.
HJ: You can see my every move… damn, you’re one of the better opponents I’ve faced..!
Isao: (wincing a bit) Not too bad yourself. A little more power behind your kick, and I would’ve been forced to use only one hand with my katana.
HJ: (Thinking) one hand you say…? I could try and use that to an advantage.
HJ grins as he returned to his battle stance, before quickly taking a different stance, similar to a fencing stance, his armagus in his right hand.
Isao: (Thinking) A change in his stance…?
HJ: (to himself) If he fights on equal ground 2 two handed...let’s see how a two-hander goes against a one hander…
Isao: Are you still planning your strategy over there?
HJ: If I said ‘yes’ would you really care?
HJ quickly dashes in, taking a small jump he readies an overhead strike with his armagus’ blade, no elemental energy was around it due to Isao’s nullification ability with his katana.
Isao: Can’t say I would, but was curious none-the-less. (Thinking) I can’t see any elements or any powers, he’s coming at me straight on.
Isao prepares his weapon, and keeps a close eye on HJ’s movements. HJ soon brings his weapon down, his eyes gleamed at Isao with intent.
HJ: (thinking) when the blades clash, that’s my chance!
Isao lets his weapon clash with HJ, unsure of HJ’s intent.
HJ: Now, Dyuramu!
HJ quickly let’s his armagus blade flow, this time with ice engulfing the blade. Isao’s eyes widen, as his sword and hands are clasped in ice.
HJ: I got you now…!
Isao backs away.
Isao: (Thinking) Very clever, he waited until our swords clashed.
HJ quickly returns to his main stance, he kept a straight scowl at Isao.
HJ: Will that be enough from me? Or do you still wish for more?
Isao: What an empty bluff. Do you even understand what you did?
HJ: Tch, even if I answered would ya really care about it?
HJ quickly backs away, still keeping himself ready.
Isao: All you did was glue my hands to my weapon.
HJ: ...Tch, all it really does is leave you from blocking any physical attacks. Though if your reflexes with that thing, despite being glued to it with the ice, are near god-like you may stand a chance.
Isao: (Thinking) He has a point, I’ll have to be careful, all my training may have not prepared me for something like this.
Back at the room, Nick was just about finishing tracing the signal.
Kei: Good lord, does it always take this long?
Nick: You could stand to be a little more patient.
Kei: You could stand to be a little faster.
Nick: Oh shut up.
Finally, Nick has the coordinates of the signal, he writes them down on a nearby piece of paper. He then pulls out a small police notebook.
Kei: You really carry that around with you?
Nick: You were expecting me to pull out some high-tech device?
Kei: (Blinks) Yeah, actually...
Nick: Forgive me for being old-school.
Nick finishes writing the coordinates and puts his notebook away.
Nick: Come on, let's get back to HJ.
Kei nods. Meanwhile, HJ rolls his neck, despite his confident smirk, he still seemed dead-set on the fight.
Isao: Excuse me, one moment.
Isao breaks the ice around his hands using a nearby steel beam. He smashes it against it, and the ice shatters.
HJ: ...Okay I should’ve seen THAT coming from a mile away…
Despite that, because of the ice, his hands were numb, it would take some time for his hands to warm up and get the feeling back in them.
HJ: … (thinking) All right, it’s likely he’ll do that again if I use ice...I need to try a different approach to this tactic, and then this time use electricity or fire… I can’t combine them, that’d result in an explosion…
Isao: No more games. Star Slash!
Isao slashes, as if drawing a star, creating arcs of energy waves surging towards HJ. HJ quickly reacts, striking the ground with his armagus’ blade, suddenly ice spikes appear to trail towards the waves
HJ: Trails of Ice!
The attacks seem to cancel out.
Isao: (Thinking) Knew this would be a tough fight, but still...fighting against HJ wasn’t something this group was counting on.
HJ: (Thinking) Kei and Nick better be safe out there. They’ll likely be next up if he sees no need to fight me anymore…!
Isao: I’ll tell you what, block my next attack and you can say you won.
HJ: ….really..? I’m not that desperate for victory.
Isao: Don’t lie. We’re both a bit tired here. And any of our next hits could be the deciding one.
HJ: You got me there. I myself would like this to end, though I never thought you’d be one in that situation to be in agreement.
Isao: Believe me, I’m not one who enjoys a fight.
Nick and Kei return just in time to hear that.
Kei: (Thinking) So he has an honor code.
Nick: (Thinking) I think he’s on the wrong side here too.
HJ: Define ‘fight’ in this case…
Isao: So what do you say? Do we have a deal?
HJ: I’m gonna be weary of this, but if this makes things end quicker… *quickly readies himself* I’m all for it.
Isao prepares his sword. HJ takes a defensive stance, his armagus blade still normal rather than charged with an element.
Isao: Slash Net!
Isao using the remainder of his energy, and creates a large cargo net of energy. Something that would chop someone up into ice cubes if it hit. HJ quickly reacted, striking his armagus into the ground a small beeline of thunder strikes travels to meet the Slash net
HJ: Thunder Reactor!
Isao: (Thinking) What is this?
HJ: (Thinking) That net looks like it could kill a lesser man…
The attacks cancel out. Isao just smirks.
Isao: Very well, it seems that I have lost our match.
HJ: Heh, seems you have...you fought very valiantly.
The screen kicks on again.
Kon: But he still lost. Return Isao. We have other things to take care off.
The screen cuts out once more.
Isao: Do forgive me, my ‘handler’ has recalled me.
Before he leaves, Isao cuts the tv screen in half. He seemed obviously irritated at the man. Isao quietly fades into the darkness. HJ stared, shocked at how the TV was cut easily, he soon turns to Kei and Nick.
HJ: ...you two all right?
Nick: While you two were coming to blows, Kei and I searched for clues.
HJ: What did you find…?
Kei: Hopefully a clue, though its thanks to Nick. He tracked the signal coming in. Did you get a hit, Nick?
Nick: I did.
HJ: All right. Where’s the source..?
Nick: I’ll show you the way.
HJ: All right, besides I can use the walk… I got a few things I ought to ask Kei about.