With the source of the feed Kon used tracked, it led the group of three to a lumber mill. Sawdust hung in the air all around. It had been recently used. With the nightfall, all the workers had likely gone home. Not a single person remained around. It seemed, however unlikely, that someone would have had to be involved to hide someone in such plain sight such as this. As the sawdust tickled Kei’s nose, he sneezed.
Kei: (sniffling) Great. It had to be a lumber mill.
Nick: Kei is allergic to sawdust, sir.
HJ: That’s the first time I heard about someone being allergic to wood, or at least sawdust in this case. Is there a history about it?
Nick: Far as I know its just Kei.
Kei: I’m the lucky one person who has an allergy to sawdust. I can’t explain it so don’t ask.
HJ: All right.
HJ: The sooner we get through here the better. I don’t want Kei to be here longer than neccesary.
Kei: Please and thank you.
With the sawdust lingering in the air like little clouds of pollen, the three hurry only to hear a familiar voice.
???: I must say, I am very impressed you found me again so quickly.
The voice came over the speakers of the lumber mill.
HJ: Thanks for making our search quick…. Why don’t you show yourself?
Kon: Now HJ, what would the sport in that be? You all are doing so well on your own!
Kei: Cut the crap! (Sneezes) Just show us where you are!
Kon: Oh my, have a touch of the sniffles old dog?
Kei: Oh shut up!
HJ: Answer the question…!
Kon: See HJ, this is what I like about you, always to the point, just like my associate.
Out from behind a nearby conveyor belt, Isao steps into a nearby light on top of the conveyor belt.
Isao: You were victorious in the first battle. My honor will only allow me one defeat. If I lose again, I will submit to you.
Nick: (Thinking) Oddly...honorable…
HJ: So a rematch is an order Isao?
Isao: Of that, you are incorrect.
HJ: I see… I assume you wish to fight Kei then. Unless you advise against that as well considering allergies.
Isao: My opponent this time, will be Nick.
Nick seemed surprised he had been picked. Kei seemed almost relieved.
Nick: Can I ask why?
Isao: I could not call myself honorable if I fought an opponent who was fighting an opponent already.
HJ: Heh, well Nick. I’m counting on you not to fail all right? Besides, in this case I do have a few things to talk with Kei about. If he doesn’t mind of course.
Kei: I don’t. (sneezes) Go get ‘em Nick.
The two head off leaving Nick alone with Isao.
Nick: (Thinking) You’re getting revenge on me for that time I left you to get lost in the woods, aren’t you Kei?
Nick turns around looks at Isao.
Isao: Your friends have left. It is just you and I now.
Nick pulls out his gun. He double checks to make sure it is fully loaded.
Nick: Just because its just me, doesn't mean I'm not just as tough as them.
Isao: Then draw your weapon.
Nick aims and then utters one word.
Nick lets the gun fire its first round. Isao easily cuts through it, and it splits in half.
Isao: How simple your attack is.
Nick: Are you so sure?
Isao turns and ducks under two more bullets. He had cut one in half.
Isao: What trickery is this?
The bullets hover in mid-air next to Nick.
Nick: You didn't think I'd go out with a fight, did you? My bullets have all sorts of uses. I think this trick is one of my favorite.
Nick points at Isao. The bullets fire away at him. Again, Isao cuts through both of them.
Isao: Your bullets are no more.
Nick: Same mistake.
The bullets keep flying all around him. Isao understands that if he keeps hitting the bullets, they'll multiply. But if he doesn't, he'll get hit.
Isao: Cheap tricks.
Nick: Not at all. It simple arithmetic. You've cut my bullets six times. Two to the sixth power, is sixty-four. Next up, Self-Destruct.
The Bullets self-destruct on Isao. They leave a couple of marks on his body.
Isao: Are you quite finished with your tricks?
Nick: Not real…
Another person walks in.
Rin: You are done.
Nick: So much for honor.
Isao: What are you doing here, Rin?
Rin: My job.
Isao: This is a one-on-one battle, stay out of this.
Rin: I was ordered to ignore your complaints.
Nick: Fine then, I'll take you both on.
Meanwhile, Kei and HJ begin searching through the Lumber Mill for clues, HJ begins to speak to him.
HJ: Kei, considering yesterday, didn’t you notice that Alexandria knew me right then and there when she saw me?
Kei: She did, but didn’t she already know you through Miwa and Makoto? (sneezes)
HJ: Thats what I assume. I needed to ask since that goes to my main question. When did you find her?
Kei: I found her in Mitch’s bar. It was raining outside so he invited her in out of the rain.
HJ: I assume he had something non-alcoholic for her. I just want to know for sure… I can probably trust Mitch if I knew him well enough.
Kei: Mitch was a good dog. He had pups of his own. He knew better than to give a minor alcohol. He worked in that bar ever since the old war we fought in. Man gave it to him in his will.
HJ: I see. I’m at least am willing to call Mitch friend if I ever met him… sorry for my tone but I barely knew him. But, to continue on the main subject. What have you and Alexandria been doing since you two met? Miwa and Makoto didn’t exactly keep me informed unlike Bullet. I am concerned for her well being too. It’s something that comes naturally being a father.
Kei: I take no issue with your tone. I would be weary of someone I didn’t know. Miwa and Makoto have sworn me to secrecy, but since you are here. I have been teaching her how to fight, at her own request. I’ve been trying to keep her safe while fighting these flunkies like Kon, trying to take A for their own twisted desires. (sneezes)
HJ: Heh… I see. ….I’m gonna pretend I didn’t hear that in front of them though, Trust me if they found out you told me neither of us would hear the end of it. I may be their friends but even I don’t want you getting grilled by either of them. In seriousness though I’m impressed by her willingness.
Kei: I can understand. (sneezes) I’d rather like to not be on those two’s bad sides. I would not have begun training her if she was not willing. Despite her shortcomings, she has refused to give up or surrender in regards to her training. Perhaps its because of the friend she met that she wants to save.
HJ: Someone she wants to save? What’s their name?
Kei: A girl, about her age, named Terra. She’s had a past I do not envy.
HJ: A past you don’t envy??? I won’t go into details….
Kei: I tried to save her father, but he was already too far gone. He refused to accept anything but death. Despite trying to reason with him, his weapon had already driven him too far insane.
HJ: I see… I assume he himself had something similar to a Nox Nyctores, or perhaps that weapon Isao had.
Kei: Isao...I don’t know, but he doesn’t strike me as the type of man who would willingly go along with any plan. I can understand him, simply because I have my own honor code. I think when the time is right, when the opportunity presents itself.
HJ: Heh, I had that feling too since he stabbed that TV after he ‘lost’ his battle with me… I hope what he intends to do with Kon if Nick wins is something to help us get closer to, and arrest him.
Kei: Call it a hunch, but if Kon is the mastermind criminal you make him out to be, I would expect him to have an ace up his sleeve. (sneezes)
HJ: bless you. But yeah, you may be right. Though this man isn’t unlike the kinds of villainous freaks I’ve faced.
Kei: I’m well aware.
HJ: Well let’s keep going. I’m all ears if you got questions for me.
Kei: I’m sorry, but I don’t have much to ask of a legend like yourself. All I hope is that…
Kei seemingly stumbles on to a door. Despite his allergic reactions, he takes note that the handle of the door is broken. He quietly motions to HJ, then puts his fingers to his lips, hoping to take whoever might be in the room by surprise. HJ nods, slowly readying his armagus, charging electrical energy. He soon starts counting down from 3 with his free hand. When HJ finishes his count, the two rush in only to find only a recording sitting there. However, Kon had slipped up in his set-up. Kei takes note of a clue that could lead them exactly to where this woman is. HJ sighs as he pockets his armagus.
HJ: Ya think this might have been a trap?
Kei: If it had been a trap for us, then it would have probably already sprung. Kei pockets the clue. Kei: We should get back to Nick.
HJ: Best plan of action, if anyone decides to get in our way I’ll do my best to keep them off us, hopefully with non-lethal yet still harmful force.
Kei: If nothing else, I have plan of action. But it’ll involve all three of us. The clue Kon left behind might lead us to him. It’ll heavily depend on you and Nick though. I assume I can count on you.
HJ: Heh, you can definitely count on me… Let’s just hope where he might actually be….doesn’t involve sawdust or wood. Not poking fun at your expense, just so you know.
Kei: Non-taken. (Sneezes) If the plan works, we might be able to catch him, or at least stop him before he takes this any further.
HJ: Yeah. I bet Shigure would be glad to know that much… She’s depending on us to come back alive.
With that, the two head back to Nick, only to find him on the ground. He grumbled underneath his breath. A second person had joined Isao. Rin.
HJ: ...Tch, didn’t think you’d show up around here.
Rin remained quiet.
Kei: This is the trap Kon sprung. He knew we’d be trying to find out a way to look for him.
Isao, however, looked disgusted.
Isao: Hmph. Two-on-one. This was unfair odds.
Kon: Oh please, Isao, you’re way too stuffy.
HJ: At least he has morals, unlike SOME people… Tch, criminals like you make me sick Kon… and managing to get someone like her in on this just adds wood to the fire...
Kon: Your cheap taunts will not buy my neck, HJ. Why don’t you tell her yourself Rin?
Rin scowls. There was certainly something wrong with this picture.
Kei: Now I get it.
HJ: Get what?
Kon: Isao, Rin, return to me so that we may revel in our victory.
Isao, still disgusted, turns from them.
Isao: I take no solace in this victory.
Isao and Rin retreat quietly. With Nick not badly injured, the three exited out of the lumber mill. Kei breaks the news to the other two, now breathing easier free from the sawdust.
Kei: I have a plan, that I’m going to need the two of you to carry it out. Our victory, and potentially the capture of Kon depends on it.
HJ: Heh, care to elaborate on this plan?
Nick: Yeah Kei, fill us in?
Kei: It’ll go like this...