Kei, after placing his sword back into his hidden compartment, walks back into the living room. All three girls sit solemnly. Alexandria now sat beside Shigure. Shigure immediately stood up and pulled a handkerchief out of pocket, she wiped his cheek.
Shigure: ...Red has never been your color.
Kei sighs for a moment.
Kei: I need to do research.
He leaves them in the room and departs to his room before closing and locking his door. Even Shigure knew not to bother him right now. Alexandria holds her bunny close to her. Athena kept her mouth shut. No one wanted to break the silence. Shigure sits back down and places her hand on Alexandria's head. She looks up to her.
Shigure: When Kei gets like this, its best to leave him alone.
Alexandria nods quietly. In his room, Kei sits at the desk.
Kei: Pick up.
He growls. He awaits the line to be picked up on the other end, the screen sitting there in front of him. The face of Miwa picks up on the other end.
Miwa: Hello, this...oh, Kei, hello, how are you?
Kei: We need to talk.
Miwa: Hm? About what? The money should...
Kei: Its not the money.
Miwa quickly picks up on his unhappy state.
Miwa: Very well, how may I be of assistance to you?
Kei: You didn't tell me people were going to come after the girl.
Miwa seems surprised.
Miwa: People? What people?
Kei: Are you telling me you don't know?
Miwa: If you are trying to imply that I lied to you, you are wrong.
Kei: This cut on my cheek wasn't from falling from a tree.
Kei: Someone I know very well, a rival at that, tells me that Alexandria has been targeted.
Miwa: Targeted? For what purpose?
Kei: If I knew that, I wouldn't be calling you.
Kei: I want you to be straight with me. Did you give me Alexandria with the full knowledge that she could be a target?
Kei: Answer me, damn it.
Miwa: It was my intent to let her stay with you under the pretense that she had a normal childhood.
Miwa: Alexandria herself is not a normal girl by any means.
Kei: The hell do you mean by that?
Miwa: How do I put this?
Kei: Bluntly, would be nice.
Miwa: Very well, she's a Murakumo.
Kei: Now you're lying.
Miwa: I swear on Makoto's fluffy tail. Alexandria is a Murakumo unit. A failed one.
Miwa: Much in the same way as Noel Vermillion, Alexandria was born into this world, despite their advances, the lab that created her was destroyed. Alexandria was to be the new prototype.
Miwa: With Ragna the Bloodedge no longer around, and the imperator gone, they modeled the new Murakumo unit after someone else.
Kei: Oh? And who did they model it after?
Miwa: The one person with azure that remained.
Kei: ...you can't be serious.
Miwa: Yes, Alexandria was partially made after me.
Kei: And you consented to this? You of all people should know how deadly...
Miwa clears her throat, motioning for him to stop.
Miwa: The intent behind the project was not made known to me until after the experiment.
Kei: You didn't know?
Miwa: A single blasted fool who split off from sector seven stole DNA from Kokonoe from me. His intent was to use it to create a new Murakumo. Instead of the way they had done it with the imperator, he went an alternate route. Altering my DNA to create her, in the same vein.
Kei: The end result of the project was Alexandria.
Miwa: Yes. Much in the same way as Noel was released into the world, Alexandria came to be.
Kei: How long did you plan to keep this a secret from me?!
Kei's raised voice entices another face into the screen. One Makoto Nanaya.
Makoto: Hey watch it pal, don't take that tone with Miwa.
Miwa: Makoto, please, I got it.
Makoto exits the frame and Miwa patiently begins to explain.
Miwa: It was never our intention to let this be known. It was intended to be a secret so that no one would hunt her. Considering the change in circumstances, I'm giving you free reign to train her as you see fit.
Miwa: You asked me before about if you should train her. The child will likely not be for the idea.
Kei: Fine. I'll train the kid.
Miwa: Very well. Training her in self-defense is probably for the best right now. She needs to know how to defend herself should she be caught alone without you there.
Kei: I'll take care of the matter.
Miwa sighs. Voices can be heard in the other room.
Miwa: Sorry, I have to go now. My kids need me.
Kei nods. The call ends. Kei sighs as he lets his body slump in his chair. A Murakumo, Kei thought, of all the things I had to get myself wrapped up in. He had already promised to take care of the girl. He wasn't about to go back on his word. A few moments later, Kei exits the room. He notes Athena had left. This left Shigure and Alexandria in the room. Alexandria sits there watching television. Kei turns it off.
Kei: Let's go.
Shigure's ears perk up.
Shigure: Kei, what're you...?
Kei picks up Alexandria and begins to walk towards the back. Alexandria, unhappy, begins to squirm in his grip.
Alexandria: Where are we going?!
Kei: We are going to train.
Alexandria: Train? But I don't want to ride in another train!
Kei: Not that kind of train! You are going to learn how to defend yourself.
Shigure follows him to the backyard.
Shigure: Kei, stop, there's no-!
Kei turns to her, and their eyes meet. Shigure goes quiet and resigns herself from speaking against this. He wasn't about to budge on this matter.
Shigure: Just don't hurt her.
Kei vanishes into the nearby brush of trees with her on his shoulder.
Alexandria: Where are we going?
Kei: To the starting position.
Alexandria looks really nervous as they get deeper into the forest. The sun being blocked by the trees. He sets her down in the middle of the forest and then begins to leave.
Alexandria: You're leaving me here?!
Kei: If you can find your way out, we'll begin your training.
Kei leaps up into the trees and begins to jump around the branches before seemingly disappearing. Alexandria holds her rabbit to her chest. He'd just placed her here. She wanted to cry. However, she begins to walk the way she had seen Kei take her from, believing it to be the way out. She hears the crunch of the leaves underneath her feet as she walks. Her shoes the only thing between her and the dirt. She hears birds flying around in the trees, each one frightening her less and less. Once she had become accustomed to the sound, it didn't bother her anymore. She hadn't been outside much in her life, but there didn't seem to be anything to be afraid of. She keeps walking, thinking there is nothing to be afraid of. Until a new sound catches her ears. Meanwhile, at the entrance to the forest, Kei waits. His ears too, pick up the sound. Shigure's ears twitch as well. Kei immediately moves into action springing back up into the trees. Alexandria takes off from the beast. All she saw were its menacing eyes but she knew she didn't want to be caught by it. Her heart beats fast as she sprints through the forest. I don't want to be food is the only thought stuck in her mind as she races through. She looks back and doesn't see anything. As she turns back, still running, she goes, face first into a branch. It knocks her straight on her back.
Lying in pain, she hears the beast stepping around her, observing her body. She doesn't move, her body paralyzed by fear. The low growl she can hear as it gets to her head. Her eyes finally catch sight of the beast. A tiger. A very, very, very BIG tiger. Or at least, from her viewpoint, it was huge. She moves her head as its paw swats at her. She lifts her body and takes off running. The tiger in hot pursuit of her. Her breaths hurried as she eventually runs into a dead-end. The branches too heavy for her to move. The tiger begins to walk toward her. Licking his teeth and preparing to attack. Alexandria screams. At that moment, Kei comes flying into the tiger and ties him up. He tussles a bit with the beast but he quickly uses a vine to wrap the beast's legs up. Alexandria sees the end result and is amazed at how quickly he had the beast incapacitated. He moves away from the beast and picks her up and holds her in place on his shoulders.
Kei: You fail.
He begins to walk out of the forest with her. Her rabbit still with her, each step he took he noted that she would look like she was about to cry, but did not. She was seemingly trying to hold back the tears. Whether it was through trying to look strong, or not cry in front of him, he wasn't exactly sure, but as he exits the forest with her. He plops her down in front of Shigure and then begins to walk inside. Shigure turns to him.
Shigure: Honestly, Kei, was that necessary? You could've gotten her killed!
Kei: She failed. If she can't survive the forest, she won't survive my training.
Shigure: Your training? You call that training?
Kei shakes his head.
Kei: She's not fit to train.
He starts walking back inside. However, he feels something pull at his pants. His head slightly turns to see Alexandria standing there, trying to stop him for a moment.
Kei: Hm? You wish to speak to me?
Alexandria nods. He sighs again. He honestly didn't want to hear complaining from the little girl about being scared of the forest. He knew she was scared. The whole point of the training was to see if she could survive in the forest, not to mention escape it unharmed. If not for Kei's quick actions, who knows what could've happened.
Alexandria: Don't give up on me.
The words she says surprises him, surprises Shigure. She didn't want to give up?
Alexandria: I know I'm a scaredy cat, but I want to keep trying.
Kei sighs and decides to issue a warning.
Kei: Very well, but the training won't be easy. I won't take it easy on you because you're a kid or a girl. I'll put you under the same training I do.
Alexandria swallows. She offers up her retort.
Alexandria: I don't care.
Kei: Look, I...
Alexandria: I don't care what you say! I want to be strong! I want to save people! I don't want to be afraid!
Kei is surprised by the sudden outburst. She had been quiet so far as he had known them. It was straight from her mouth though. He took it at face value.
Kei: Fine, in the morning, we start. Bright and early.