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Caliber was already back on her path after her call with Aiko and Flamme. Her arms were crossed as she thought over the conversation. She may look steamed on the outside but she seemed rather worrisome in her head.

Caliber: *thinking* Talk to her as if she were a puppy? I honestly wish I could do that.. I doubt I’d even get the chance if it somehow came up to me.. Wait why am I thinking like that? Of course I can do that! Just I’m very tough with conveying my emotions. Maybe that's why I seemed pushy or probe-ish.

Caliber sighs as she shook her head. Adjusting her scarf she kept moving, still stewing over it in her mind.

Caliber: *thinking* Will she ever let me explain myself? Or let alone forgive me?? I doubt it, but it’s worth a shot.

Caliber soon stops, noticing someone far off she starts waving to get their attention. The girl waves back as she comes closer.

Caliber: Good, we managed to stay alive in one piece.. Anything you heard that might be of use?

Akane: Stuff I asked to be passed to you when I was on the airship.

Caliber: Then I likely got it. I woulda got here sooner but… I kinda am re-evaluating some of my life choices from childhood.

Akane: I never regret anything.

Caliber: Uh, not life choices that resulted in you giving my brother a black eye. This is...personal re-evaluation.

Akane: Again, I never regret anything.

Caliber: …

Caliber sighs as she put her face in her hands.

Caliber: I forgot, you weren’t aware of what happened two years ago between me and her.

Akane: I don’t need to know. Its not my business.

Caliber: I still need someone to talk to about it that I can trust. Aiko sorta showed me the way but, I doubt I can do it alone.

Akane: I’m probably not the person to talk to then. I’ll say this much though. Action first, questions later.

Caliber: Yeah.. Right. My apologies for kinda bringing myself down there. We still got our trail to follow. Let’s hope we don’t find any inconvenient bumps along the way.

Caliber starts walking again, her scarf flowed against the wind as she decided to start conversation.

Caliber: Pardon if I sound personal but, have you heard anything from Michio or Alexandria lately? Wait, ignore that first part that doesn’t sound personal in the slightest somewhat despite your relation to Michio.

Akane: My relation? I guess he is my cousin, but we barely ever talk.

Caliber: Huh, so no clue either? Last time I saw them was when they were in Yabiko. They seemed up to their arms in Alexandria’s apology tour. I don’t blame her though, she...nearly killed everyone…

Caliber shakes her head, looking back on those memories made her heart fall deep. She felt as if it were a mental reminder of the world’s hatred, personified.

Caliber: But considering what’s going on though. I won’t be surprised if Sector Seven gets involved in this, or let alone the red devil.

Akane: Here’s an idea, let’s not bring up that again. Alexandria is working hard to repair her image. Let’s leave it at that until we have to. As for Sector Seven, who knows.

Caliber: Fair point.. Though if Tager does show up. I say we make a break for it. If Kokonoe wants any potential rivals wiped out, she’ll likely send Tager. Though why I’m even thinking that is probably too much a stupid idea anyways. She’s not crazy enough to kill anyone in her way.

Caliber just sighs heavily, she tried to make a positive topic but she felt every time she tried it’d fall flat on its face and return to a negative light on said topic.

Caliber: And this is why I can’t hold a conversation.

Akane: You can’t hold a conversation? I think you’re the most negative person here. (Looks at Caliber) I’d be more inclined to respond if you weren’t like a fifty-pound sack of potatoes.

Caliber: Replace 50 pound sack of potatoes with two ton lead weight. *chuckles* Then again self-deprecation does that.. Though I am definitely not that heavy. Unless you were playing at a jab at my chest.

Akane: You’re not my sister. It would be insensitive to talk about YOUR chest. The point I’m making is you’re too negative. Cut the dead weight and just chill out.

Caliber: I can try.. Besides it’s easier with more people. Though I do have a question.. Have ya ever went sightseeing before?

Caliber places her arms behind her head. The topic had been brought up per Akane’s suggestion to try and chill out. She soon smiled a bit.

Caliber: Asking since I heard there’s a pleasant snowfall this season in Otoko.

Akane: I’ll pass. I’ll pitch the idea to Mitsuko though if you want to travel with bookworm, because if you knew me well enough, you know I don’t like cold weather.

Caliber: Right, thought you were a snowboarding person. I hate the cold too but even I like treading the mountains. Though if that’s not your thing we could go to one of the Izumo region cities.. Aside Torifune, I doubt the military academy would like tourists.

Akane: Surfing. Not snowboarding. I like the beach. Maybe you could take Aiko snowboarding. She’d like that.

Caliber: Heh, I might as well take her to Akitsu then. It’s closer, and to be honest I’m kinda tempted to drag Matt along. I think he has a crush on her.

Akane: Ya think? If he had the backbone to tell her, maybe they’d actually be in a relationship.

Caliber: Yeah, then again this is the guy who was stupid enough to cross Ame once in his lifetime. So I’m sure he’s more scared of Ame than actually admitting it. If it were mom telling me this, she’d say that he’s the perfect gatekeeper of sorts.

Akane: He’s just got a lot to learn.

Caliber: As blunt as it is. I agree with you, and so do I when I think on it.

Akane just crosses her arms and sighs.

Caliber: Hey it’s not like I don’t have skeletons in the closet. I’m pretty sure you do too.

Akane: (Shoots Caliber a look) Don’t talk about things you don’t know about.

Caliber: Noted. (places hands in her pockets) ...I think it’s best we get going if we haven’t started moving already.

Akane: Yeah, probably.

Caliber soon rolls her neck and starts walking. Despite any lingering thoughts she kept her eyes focused on their destination.

Caliber: I’m just praying we don’t get a lot of attention set onto us. I don’t want any official organizations on either of us. Though we’re bound to meet the MOR if they’re possibly involved in this project.

Akane: Shut up. Negative thoughts will get you nowhere. We just have to go and do it and take out anyone who gets in our way.

Caliber: Right. (to herself) I doubt just punching everyone gets us far in the long run, but in the short term goals. I could use a good fight… I need catharsis. (looks off to the side) How much farther until we hit the next city?

Akane: I thought you had the map...

Caliber: ! Oh right!

Caliber quickly pulls out a small tablet, which she soon expands to make a map of their route to the 22nd city. A blinking red dot showing their current position.

Caliber: All right, so if we’re here. *points to the red dot* and Mizuha’s all the way over there, our next city seems to end up at *tracing a trail to their destination* Akitsu Otsu…? Huh, seems like we may need to find quick transport then unless we know a good shortcut through there.

Akane: ...exactly how much did you have this actually planned out?

Caliber: I had little time but I improvised. (nervous chuckle) Besides I was late to the party when it came down to it. So don’t go blaming me for all of this.

Akane: That’s like saying ‘I ate all the cookies’ and saying I don’t know.

Caliber: ...Just so you know, that actually happened to me once.

Akane: (Annoyed) Will you just figure out where we’re supposed to go?

Caliber: (exasperated) I’m doing my best, dammit! (returns attention to the map) Okay so if we go from here, (mumbling to herself) we can quickly get out through there, head through the 12th city, then quickly go through the next 3 cities after that by monorail… After that we can travel by foot to the next city. Then 5 more cities then by monorail, and we’ll be there in about exactly 3 days. (stops to catch her breath) … (nods) I think we got a good path set.

Akane: So a lot of dead time to deal with, joy...

Caliber: As much as I would like staying in the cities along the way for a quick bite to eat I’d at least prefer to be efficient. *crosses arms* Besides we still need to plan out how exactly we’re gonna find everyone. I don’t plan doing any of mom’s ‘interrogation’ tactics either.

Caliber soon closes the map, now prepared for the journey. Soon she begins walking off. Akane follows behind.

Caliber: Sorry about all the hassle, I’m gonna be honest it’s my first time doing something this big. And not training excursion big.

Akane: (Thinking) At least your mother knew where to go… (To Caliber) Didn’t you plan this all out in advance way beforehand?

Caliber: No… Why ask?? The only thing I exactly had planned in advance was destination and that we were both going. I had no idea how exactly we were gonna get there from where we met. As well as how long it would take.

Caliber sighs dejectedly as she kept walking, her footfalls stamping against the rocky pathways

Caliber: I’m pretty sure by now mom would already have gotten there and taken care of it… Then again I’m me, not Bullet… And sometimes alike minds can think differently.

Akane: You call your mother by her first name?

Caliber: (deadpan) I was using that for comparison purposes, Akane. I don’t call her that in passing or in conversation.

Akane: Was just saying...

Caliber: You do it too… But you actually have a reason for that, to avoid confusion between them.

Akane: Well yeah we have a point. We have to differentiate between who we’re talking about. If I just said mom, then both of them would come running. For you to call your mom by her first name, just sounds odd I guess.

Caliber: I wouldn’t blame you. It’s like calling my dad by his real name rather than his alias. Then again it’s more that he dislikes it nowadays rather than it being odd. And only.. One person knows it aside everyone who’s probably heard it at this point.

Akane: Yeah but everyone calls him HJ.

Caliber: Exactly, because he’s used to it. He’s made that name for himself now.

Akane: Yeah, I know I know. He’s made his living from hunting down criminals and the like. Didn’t he have a vested interest in police stations or whatever?

Caliber: That was after he had me and Matt… But you’re right with that, he did want to go into law enforcement to make a difference after what happened in the past.

Akane: Still weird. Miwa-mom was always talking about it, though I don’t really know why.

Caliber: ..I’ll ask about that later, I don’t want to bother her. Maybe when this is finished.

Akane: I’m sure Izumi knew...

Caliber: I’d ask her, but I know we’ll find her on the way, so we’re bound to get that answer. (shakes her head) ...Another thing, Akane… Did I ever tell you that you were like a sister I never had? Because if I haven’t… you pretty much are.

Akane: Oh...uh...I guess? I mean my whole family is sisters, but I guess all you had was Matt, huh?

Caliber: Yeah… I admit I did want a brother but it feels weird not having a sister… Then again if I were Matt I’d feel the same saying he feels weird not having a brother.

Akane: Believe me, having siblings is not what its cracked up to be, especially sisters.

Caliber: No need to go into details if you don’t want to. We both can vouch as older siblings that it’s tough being the role model for the younger ones.

Akane: (Dismissive) Yeah, role models.

Caliber: …? Why’s that-- (stops herself) Nevermind, I probably shouldn’t of mentioned it.

Akane: Just understand what you’re asking for.

Caliber: I’ll keep this in mind…

Caliber soon stops seeing someone headed their way, wielding some sort of oversized blade.

Caliber: … (eyes slightly widen) Akane… do you think he’s with the MOR?

Akane: Even Matt wouldn’t be that stupid.

Caliber: What makes you say that? And I know Matt isn’t that stupid despite his shortcomings in the smarts department…!

Akane: That was a roundabout way of saying he is stupid but not literally. Matt wouldn’t just join forces with the MOR knowing everything we do about them. Don’t you think?

???: You know I’m not this Matt kid, right? Whoever you’re talking about must look a lot like me then.

The man, who had gotten a lot closer, soon shoved down his oversized blade into the ground, clad in mostly black attire, aside a loose fitting shirt, a pair of purple eyes gazed at the duo.

???: I’m actually surprised people are on this trail, I thought the federation had this place closed off for illegal activity inspection.

Akane: (Thinking) Damn it Caliber. Leave it to you to put us right in the middle of a bad situation. (To the man) Listen, we want no trouble.

???: I see, I guess you two got lost?

Caliber: In a manner of speaking, yes.... I can tell you’re not with the MOR considering how.. well… How do I put it?

???: Nice? Polite? Not a complete heartless ass? Yeah, people get me confused for them a lot… I’m surprised they haven’t told you about me as of yet..

Caliber: They?

Akane: Sounds like you’re really not in the mood for entertaining company, so we’ll just get out of your way.

???: Really? Because if you think of me as that way you two would’ve been men… I’m willing to at least help you get to the Izumo regions if you stick with me… By the way I don’t think we’ve given name’s yet…

The man gave off a small reassuring smile to the two. Despite his appearance, he seemed overall to be a good man.

Akane: So you’re going to help us get to the Izumo regions? So a couple of questions then first. One, why should we trust you? Two, who are you? And third, why should we believe you?

???: For one, I’m actually a good friend of one of your parents, in fact we went on a date once…

Caliber: !

Kagura: As for who I am.. The name’s Kagura Mutsuki, of the Mutsuki house in the Duodecim… You likely heard about my uprising in the past.

Caliber: Can I punch him, Akane? Because mom said NOTHING about dating this man!

Akane: Easy Caliber. This one we have to keep on constant watch. Makoto-mom told me all about this one.

Kagura: So she told you about me… I guess it’s nice seeing offspring of people I’ve known… So tell me, miss… Akane, right? Mind if I ask about Makoto… She’s hopefully been well.

Akane: She’s married. Thanks.

Kagura: I can see that, I hope she’s found someone she can devote her life to. As for you *turns to Caliber* I assume you’re the daughter of someone I haven’t known that well, right?

Caliber: Y-yes, mister Mutsuki sir… I’m the daughter of the precinct chief in Yabiko.

Kagura: I heard about him, yes. I heard a lot about him… Also I heard about how in the past he was somewhat like me.

Akane: Oh shut up. There’s no one who’s a bigger pervert then you are.

Kagura: You wound me, *low chuckle*

Caliber: … *suddenly gauntlets flare up* Call him that again Mutsuki, and I won’t be held accountable for any bodily harm.

Akane: Easy, Caliber, as much as he is a pervert, we can’t turn down assistance from the ‘Black Knight’. It would provide us at least a safe haven of travel.

Kagura: Right… Just calm down.

Caliber sighs as her gauntlets lose their flare.

Caliber: Right.. So, Black Knight. Mind if you find us a safe place to stay for the night?

Kagura: gladly, I’ll see if I can’t get an ars magus vessel to set sail for your destination in the next few days. What’s your destination?

Caliber: The 22nd Hierarchical City of Mizuha…

Akane: I’m sure you could get us that far, right Black Knight? Or are you so much of an old fossil now that you can’t even get that far?

Kagura: I assure you I’m not old despite the old bones.. I’ll gladly assist you with your travels, I might see if I can’t get in on the action too. Just be prepared for a rude awakening tomorrow. Hibiki is off today and he’s probably gonna yell at me over why I brought you two with me. Probably asking for answers if my old ways have caught up to me.

Caliber lowly snickers at Kagura’s predicament.

Caliber: I admit I’ll be able to explain everything the next day, but don’t get a bright idea Mister Mutsuki.

Akane: A couple of ground rules for you. No touching either of us. If I even get the ‘hint’ that you’re trying to come on to or flirt with us. Your ass will be on fire so quickly you’ll be begging for water.

Kagura: ...Noted.

Caliber: And on another note, call my dad a pervert in the future… Expect a few choice punches to your chest… I suggest you do as we say.

Kagura: Y-Yes ma’ams… I’ll scout ahead to my headquarters in Akitsu-Otsu… You two stay a safe distance. For both our sakes. (to himself) I’m glad it’s Makoto’s and not Jinny’s kid I’m with… I can deal with fire and punches, not the cold and sharp wits…

Kagura soon walks off on his way, after waiting a bit Caliber starts walking after him.

Caliber: He doesn’t seem to be a bad guy when you manage to have him on a leash, you know?

Akane: Its whether or not he chokes himself trying to get off of it is the question.

Caliber: Still, gotta admit, he’s quite polite with what he’s doing for us… I’ll be honest if he had to deal with Takao I think he’d be pissed meeting with Kagura.

Akane: Takao would have made him an ice sculpture by now.

Caliber: if he hadn’t already… (chuckles) Let’s keep that between us, okay? I don’t wanna be an ice sculpture either… I’m pretty sure Matt will attest to it if you asked him.

Akane: Him being an ice sculpture once before, really doesn’t surprise me.

Caliber: True, it’s Matt we’re talking about… I just pray none of Matt’s friends learn about that… Or if someone did then I hope it’s not Tokatsu… He looks like the kind of guy who’d punch a guy just for looking at his friends wrong.

Akane: Doesn’t really matter to me. Only thing I’m worried about is keeping this dog on his leash. All the pervy stories Makoto-mom told me, wouldn’t surprise me if he tried something.

Caliber: agreed.. Well let’s pray tomorrow his leash is tightened.. It sounds like Hibiki is Kagura’s morality limiter in case of his perverted personality.

Akane: From what Makoto-mom told me about Hibiki, he kinda is the guy who does keep Kagura on a leash.

Caliber: I wouldn’t be surprised. I’m tempted to contact someone for advice on ‘how to keep perverted man on his leash’, but I don’t want Kagura getting more scared.. He may be a perv, but he’s got good intentions.

Akane: Won’t stop me from lighting him like a torch if he does anything funny.

Caliber: Well imagine him in front of Ame… I think Matt has it better off than Kagura if he was where Matt is… But enough on that, we got a bit of a ways ahead before we can rest.

As Caliber and Akane, now accompanied by Kagura, headed towards Akitsu Otsu, Tokatsu was busy with a commlink. After the situation with Tabor had passed, he felt it was best to try and come in contact with someone.

Tokatsu: … (I hope she’s been alright in these past few years… It’s been too long)

A woman grumbles as she sits there in her undergarments. She has her eyes closed as she speaks seemingly intending on hanging up right away.

???: Hello you’ve reached my place. I’m not available at the moment and I want to go back to sleep, so please leave a message after the tone...

Tokatsu: Really now? That’s a way to greet your old acquaintance. (to himself) She hasn’t changed a bit…

The woman stops and opens one eye to see Tokatsu.

???: Oh, its just you. (Yawns) I thought it was something important. No you can’t come over to my place.

Tokatsu: I was more intent on calling you over here, in truth. But I can see you’re busy, just like you’ve always been, Catriona.

Catriona: I’m always busy Tokatsu. Or have you not figured out how my ‘cat’ naps work in the years you’ve known me. (stretches) Now will you just cut to the chase? I have other ‘mice’ I have intentions of chasing today.

Tokatsu: No need to tackle this ‘mouse’ immediately, but I need you in the 22nd city of Mizuha… Turns out there’s a government project with the 13 Nox Nyctores going on. We’re gathering a lot of help and since things are getting exciting, I thought I should involve you.

Catriona opens her other eye and stares at Tokatsu.

Catriona: Meh, this chase doesn’t interest me. From the sounds of it you already have a big group of people anyway, so you’re going to have to sweeten this deal for me to help you.

Tokatsu: *sigh* How much am I gonna have to pay you? I’ve gotten enough money in my lifetime after we’ve disbanded so I think I can give you some of my earnings.

Catriona: Well, let’s see, there’s the cost of travel, the cost of having to assist you, the cost of helping a group, the cost of lost income from chasing your ‘mouse’ over my other ‘mice’ otherwise known as a priority fee, bringing you up to a minimum grand total of at least one million platinum dollars.

Tokatsu: … (to himself) I didn’t know she was this steep nowadays… (to Catriona) Will that be up front or after it’s all over? Because in either case, I have about double of that.

Tokatsu lets off a small smirk to Catriona.

Tokatsu: So what do you say? A reunion is in order?

Catriona: Put at least the amount in my account for travel and food and I’m on my way to collect.

Tokatsu: Deal. I shall do so immediately. Pleasure doing business with you… And on a sentimental level, it’s nice to talk with you again.

Catriona: Don’t get mushy on me Tokatsu.

With that, Catriona ends the call.

Ventus: Heh, looks like you’ve been busy.

Tokatsu: ! How long were you standing there, Ventus?!

Ventus: Long enough… I’m surprised you’ve got a connection or two outside of here…

Tokatsu: Well she’s an acquaintance, now if you’ll excuse me I need to go pay her. I’m surprised her prices have steepened since we’ve worked together.

Ventus: Heh, you two must’ve been a powerful team.

Tokatsu: Don’t flatter me. She’ll likely crush you for that.

Ame: And this girl has done business with you before?

Tokatsu: We were mercenary partners, yes. We both got paid back then before we saw it necessary to part ways.

Ame: And what caused this parting of ways?

Tokatsu: Everyone got skeptical, this was before I met Flamme in Mizuha… Everyone kept shaming us considering they lumped us as a couple. Seeing us both as tools within their own eyes. Me just for being what I am, and her for being in a relationship with me.

Ame: So she broke up with you to essentially earn her own fortune in the world. And it sounds like she’s done well for herself.

Tokatsu: Yep, I’m actually quite impressed with her… She’s a bit on the nocturnal side so she’s not exactly the most active person in the day… Trust me it’s not easy getting her up in the morning. Even Matt’s easier to wake up. Speaking of which, what’s his condition?

Ame: Asleep? I haven’t seen him in a while.

Ventus: That incident did do a number on him.. I’d be unsurprised if he’s still out cold.

Tokatsu: …

Ventus: Pun not intended.

Ame: So when should we expect this Catriona person?

Tokatsu: Less than a week, two to three days.

Tokatsu soon exits the room, presumably to add funds to Catriona’s accounts. Orie and Elettrico walk in, both rather confused.

Elettrico: What’s with Tokatsu? Did he get a call from someone?

Ame: Rather he called someone named Catriona. Are you aware of this person?

Elettrico: Flamme told me about her a little bit, but even she doesn’t know much aside of her being, so far, the only human before now to gain Tokatsu’s respect.

Ame: Hmm...from what he said, she’s become a bit more expensive.

Elettrico: I wouldn’t be surprised if she was that pricey even with Tokatsu.

Ventus: Well, in either case. Let’s hope she’ll be able to help. I think the grand total was about a million platinum dollars, right? I admit we made a lot of money, Elettrico, but I’m sure Tokatsu has about more than just enough to pay her.

Ame: He offered her two million platinum dollars.

Ventus: ...Okay yeah I think that’s about everything he’s made alone.

Tokatsu soon returns.

Tokatsu: Finished…

Ventus: I guess paying her went well?

Tokatsu: Yeah, it went as smooth as usual for me.

Orie: I never knew you were with another mercenary before.

Tokatsu: It’s a bit of a story but I’ll save it for later… I’m gonna check on Flamme… I hope to god she isn’t dead. Ventus, Elettrico, you go with me as well… She’s our leader, as her team it’s best we make sure she’s all right.

Ventus: Right…

Elettrico: Okay.

The three soon left the room, leaving Orie and Ame.

Orie: So is Aiko okay?

Ame: She’s fine.

Orie: Good. I’m glad to hear she’s okay.. I think Flamme is all right despite what happened… Though I hope Aiko won’t hold it against her considering the bug.

Ame: Aiko is not the type to hold grudges against people.

Orie: Fair point.. I’m going to check on Matt… Shall we go?

Orie slowly starts walking down the hallway, turning back to Ame. Ame follows right behind.

Orie: I assume Cassandra and Xavier are resting as well?

Ame: Xavier is meditating on the roof. Cassandra is taking a nap in her room.

Orie: So busy recovering in their own ways… Good to hear. *knocks on Matt’s door* Matt? You awake?

Matt: (from the other side) Barely… If you need to come in just be quiet… I still got a splitting headache.

Orie: (to Ame) I guess the blunt force is still lingering…

Ame: To be expected.

Orie: How long until it’ll be gone, Matt?

Matt: An hour or two at the least. The sooner it’s gone the quicker we can return to the field when everyone’s ready… Please tell me that Aiko and Flamme are okay...!

Orie: They’re both fine, we assure you.

Ame nods.

Matt: Good! I wasn’t told the full details when I asked Ventus…

Orie: I see, well get back to sleep.. We’ll come for you in an hour’s notice.

Matt: Thanks… ow.

After a short moment sounds of Matt’s slumber were heard. Orie sighs with relief.

Orie: Thank goodness he’s all right.

Ame nods again.

Orie: Is something wrong, Ame?

Ame: I had nothing to say. So I simply didn’t speak.

Orie: I see. The silence often makes me think something doesn’t sit right with you. But I can understand your reasoning.

Ame: If there is nothing for me to openly speak about, I will keep my silence. Orie: I can get behind that…

Soon Flamme exited her bedroom, her head and left arm bandaged.

Flamme: Is Aiko all right??

Ame holds his arms out.

Ame: Easy Flamme, easy.

Flamme stops herself.

Flamme: I’m sorry… I’m just worried… I’m afraid I’ve hurt her… I have no idea what happened to me or Elettrico.

Orie: How do we put it delicately?

Ame: Aiko is fine.

Flamme: Thank goodness.

Orie: Well what happened to you… Tabor put some sort of bug into you both.

Ame: Seemed to be some sort of manipulation at the very least.

Flamme: Explains why neither of us could control our actions… I’m glad to hear Aiko’s okay.

Orie: Matt was worried about the both of you. He’s resting right now, but he needed to know that you and Aiko were safe.

Flamme: ...That’s rather kind of him. Tokatsu informed me of Catriona coming here… It’s no surprise to me that he needed her help…

Ame: You’re not surprised?

Flamme: This is Tokatsu we’re talking about here. With something big like this he’d always try to find a way for her to get involved. I guess it’s because of their previous partnership. I wouldn’t blame him, they were quite a great team until they were forced to part ways due to the public…

Orie: I see.

Ame: Anything you can tell us about her?

Flamme: Well for a start, and I probably assume you know this, but she’s the first human Tokatsu ever got to respect. Otherwise you’d have to ask him.

Ame: Understood.

Flamme: In the meantime. I’m going to brew some tea. Do either of you want any?

Orie: I’m good, thank you.

Ame: Jasmine would be lovely.

Flamme: All right. If Aiko wishes for it, I’ll make her some iced tea.

Flamme soon leaves for the kitchen, Matt soon walking towards Orie and Ame, rubbing his head.

Matt: I’m gonna be honest, splitting headache beats being turned into an ice sculpture

Ame: Understood. Though you never should’ve attempted to make Takao angry.

Matt: I didn’t intend that, he just overreacted. Though I’ll admit on realization I probably deserved it.

Orie: I assume this happened in the past?

Matt: Yes… I don’t like talking about that moment very often.

Ame: You’re the one who brought it up.

Matt: If I didn’t have this headache Ame I’d probably fail at defending my point, but I’m not going to… For many good reasons.. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going back to bed…

Matt soon leaves for his room, Orie nervously giggles.

Orie: I have to admit Matt reminds me of myself at his age.

Ame: How so?

Orie: I dunno, I guess you could say he’s got a bit of bluntness and brash tone to his personality… But seeing he was worried about everyone. It kind of fit how I felt about things back then. I had a blunt viewpoint but I was about as caring as I am now.

Ame: Hmm.

Orie: What is it?

Ame: Matt definitely has some rough edges he needs to smooth out, but he’s getting there. If he turns out anything like you, I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Orie: Thank you, Ame… I’m glad you think that. Anyways, I decided to switch groups around for our next excursion when everyone is ready. Aiko is going with you this time around so you can ensure her safety. That’s all I shall tell you for now. I felt like it was better to inform you now rather than later down the line.

Ame: Understood.

Orie: I’m going to see if I can’t make lunch for you all. If you’d be so kind, ask the others if they could meet with us in the livingroom in about an hour.

Ame nods and heads to speak with the others.

Orie: (to herself) ...I hope we can at least get a better start on our attempts.

Ame knocks on the door for one of the people that he had been instructed to speak to.This proceeded down the line as he would say:

Ame: Meeting in the living room in one hour.

After that hour had passed, and after lunch and drinks had been handed out accordingly, everyone soon saw themselves in the living room, ready for the meeting in question.

Tokatsu: So what do we have planned to discuss, now? Aside informing everyone who is uninformed of my ally Catriona’s involvement. I’ll explain more about that later for those who are curious.

Ame: Orie, perhaps you could lead us since you’re the one who asked me to gather everyone.

Orie: Yes, that’s right. Thank you

Orie bows her head before she decides to start the meeting officially.

Orie: Well as we discovered over the course of the past few hours, we managed to learn what exactly had come over Flamme and Elettrico after Tabor had left. As it turns out to be some sort of manipulation device, a bug if you will. While the controlled retain their personalities, yes… Tabor still has complete control over their actions.

Flamme just looks away dejectedly, heavily sighing as she shakes her head.

Orie: But he likely doesn’t know it, but we can get rid of them if we isolate the bugged victims and extract them.

Xavier: If I may speak, I don’t think his intention was to manipulate the both of you.

Cassandra: I agree with Xavier. I think the goal was to just cause a distraction so that he could do as he pleased. He likely wanted a reason to keep us busy.

Ame: (nodding) I concur. If he had really wanted to manipulate the two of you, he would have stuck around for the pleasure of seeing his handiwork.

Matt: That I agree with… Despite me not seeing what had unfolded after I was rudely knocked unconscious. So with what little I have to go by. If he needed more than a distraction, he’d have fought us himself.

Tokatsu: Even then it seems he’d let that doll of his do the work rather than fight us head on. If he did I bet that body of his is frail.

Matt: He’s not frail, Tokatsu. I should know, I did go up against him… He’s got the strength to one up even the strongest of fighters.

Ame: (nodding) Matt is correct. He is deceptive and strong. Clearly there is more to him than meets the eye.

Flamme: Those eyes of his though… Surely they can pierce into someone’s soul if he gazes long enough.

Matt: I’ll be honest he doesn’t give me that feeling for one sole reason… If my head could fetch it from the memory logs.

Matt takes a moment to think to himself, soon continuing with his statement.

Matt: To me, Tabor may be strong, but he’s a pale imitation to the person he tries so hard to emulate.

Xavier: You mean to compare him to the original man who used a ‘doll’ then. The infamous Relius Clover.

Matt: Bingo.

Tokatsu: Didn’t Relius have a son?

Matt: Ask dad on that, he knows him personally...

Xavier: Carl Clover. My master spoke of him as a ‘former’ apprentice.

Matt: Considering what he likely is doing now. I hope he makes a positive impact in this world, unlike Relius.

Orie: I see.. I assume Carl wielded the original nox nyctores Nirvana, correct?

Matt: Technically it’s second wielder, yes. The first one you could say has been long gone.

Ame: Supposedly.

Matt: I’d ask what you mean, but that’d stray off-topic…

Orie: Yes, let’s try to stay on focus here. Anywho, on to our next topic in the meeting, I had spoken with Ame already on this but I was planning a change in our groups… Mostly to ensure Aiko’s safety should Tabor show himself again.

Tokatsu: A fair choice, yes. I like that idea. Who did you have in mind?

Orie: For one, I plan Aiko to join with Ame’s group, So she will be accompanying him for our next excursion.

Matt: I don’t blame either of you for that decision.

Aiko: I’d like Matt to join our group.

Matt: !?

Orie: Why is that, Aiko? Wouldn’t you be more safer?? What if Tabor had bugged Matt if you run into him?

Flamme: I won’t let that happen, Orie… He may have gotten me, but I’m not letting it happen to anyone else..

Tokatsu: (to himself) Heh, Aiko seems dead set onto it.

Ventus: Well in either case we’ll do our best to keep her safe..

Aiko: Ame, Matt, Flamme, and I, we’re a group.

Flamme: Are you sure that’s the best idea?

Matt silently shrugged, unable to respond out of both dumbfoundedness, and slight pain from his headache, resorting to a bag of ice to keep it at bay.

Ame: I second Aiko’s idea.

Ventus smirked slightly as he looked to Elettrico

Ventus/Elettrico: We third the idea.

Flamme/Matt: You guys too!?

Orie giggles slightly at the scene.

Orie: I guess this had little change to the idea I had in mind…

Tokatsu: Ventus, Xavier, you’re both going with me then. If things go bad we can have Matt back us up. Is that clear with your group, Ame?

Xavier/Ame: Understood.

Orie: Then Elettrico and Cassandra are with me then. the rest of you find us when Matt is needed for back up. That way we can stay together with little trouble.

Matt: You say it as if you had this all planned out

Matt gives off a teasing smirk to Orie.

Orie: I’m not just any old police girl, Matt. I got the tactic in my blood… Anyways, we have our marching orders. We leave in an hour… Make your preparations now, and don’t hesitate to ask any questions.

Tokatsu: Actually, if I may. Since I did forget to formally mention this, within two days, I’ll be meeting with my former partner, Catriona. I expect all of you to be well-behaved, all right? I don’t want her getting a bad first impression of all of you… Though to be perfectly honest at this point I’d be unsurprised if she has little to any notice of our ongoings here.

Matt: You say it like you got a crush on the girl.

Tokatsu: It’s been too long and I want to give her a warm welcome. No problem with that, right?

Matt nods as he walks back into the kitchen.

Matt: Heh, alright. Well I look forward to meeting her, Tokatsu. Thanks for the heads up.

Ame: We are all clear of our roles, then.

Flamme: It appears so, Ame. Are you ready to continue our mission?

Ame: I am.

Flamme: And what about you, Aiko? Are you ready for whats about to continue?? I’d ask Matt but he’s likely going back to nursing his headache.

Aiko: I understand what’s going to happen.

Flamme: All right then. In the meantime you should probably get ready. We’ve all had time to recuperate from Tabor’s distraction. Now’s our time to take action. I’ll be getting my equipment ready… Ventus, Tokatsu, Elettrico. It’s best you three do the same.

Tokatsu: Affirmative

Ventus: got it.

Elettrico: Right behind you.

Orie: Yes, I’ll get to that myself in a moment. *nods*

Flamme: take as much time as needed. We have the hour to ready everything. The rest of you, feel free to discuss the plan amongst yourselves one more time. we’ll be doing the same while we prepare.

Flamme soon exits, with Ventus, Tokatsu, Elettrico, and Orie following close by. Matt soon exits from the kitchen, still keeping the bag of ice to his head.

Ame: Are you sure you’re okay with what you proposed Aiko?

Aiko: Yes, I think it’ll be for the best.

Matt: I did plan having Aiko switch over honestly. Mainly to ensure her safety if my group ever encountered Tabor again. (crosses arms) though this did beat the idea I had of three groups and me just going in alone.

Ame: I do think its better you go with a group Matt.

Matt: Elaborate. I understand the essential ‘it’s dangerous to go alone’ aspect of this kind of thing, but you gained my curiosity.

Ame: We’re talking about a man who can manipulate people. Its safer to be in a group.

Matt: You make an excellent point. (crosses arms) Considering if he finds me alone, plus my azure, could probably equal certain doom for the operation. And seeing how hard it was for Flamme and Elettrico to fight it’s abilities, I doubt I’d have an easy time too. (nodding)

Ame: At the very least others can cover you.

Matt: Yeah.. and I’m expecting myself to do the same in that situation for the rest of you.

Ame: I would hope you would be able to do that much.

Matt: Heh, well considering the lives on the line, I am hoping I can do more… All within my own reasons, of course… Just if he decides to use me, just brace yourselves, my azure’s still a bit rough around the edges in terms of raw power, so I don’t want to use it unless necessary.

Matt calmly twirled his armagus a few times before placing it in his pocket.

Matt: But I’m betting you both will put your training to the test if it comes to that. Don’t hold back on me, all right?

Ame: The same kind of training I hope you’ve been doing.

Matt: Heh, I’ve been doing that.. It’s mainly learning to use it in tandem with my azure is what my main lessons have been these past years.

Ame: I hope that you’ve at least not let any new powers go to your head.

Matt: … (to himself) Please tell me he’s joking… (shakes head) I assure you I’ve been making sure of that, sir.

Ame: I have to double check since you, at one point, had the sheer guts to stand up to me.

Matt: Replace ‘guts’ with ‘sheer audacity and disrespect’ and you got it accurately. (to himself) aaaaand that’s gonna bite my ass in the future I just know it.

Ame: If you can somehow channel that guts, you might be just as good as your dad.

He pats him on the head and exits the room.

Matt: … (to Aiko) I’m gonna be honest.. He’s gotten better, he still sorta scares me, yeah… But I honestly feel like I’m able to be myself around him.

Aiko: He’s probably softened just a little bit from having his own child.

Matt: I see… I’m sorry that I couldn’t attend the birth considering what I’ve been up to… Is it a he or a she?

Aiko: She is doing just fine.

Matt: Glad to hear that.. I guess you’re an aunt then, since she’s Ame’s daughter, and by extension your niece.

Aiko: Yes, that is correct. Its part of my responsibility to take care of her too when I’m home.

Matt: Heh, I guess she’s a handful sometimes?

Aiko: (Playfully sarcastic) I don’t know Matt, why don’t you ask your mother how much of a handful you were as a child?

Matt: Dad already told me that 2 years ago before he sent me back out, heh… I guess you were a handful too when you came around. (playful smirk)

Aiko: All little kids are.

Matt: Heh, I guess we can both agree on that, we both have older siblings and you could say we’re both runts of the litter. I guess you could say the same of Mitsuko and Shizuka too, they’re kinda like us in a way.

Aiko: Except Mitsuko is really smart, and Shizuka can transform into an adult version of herself.

Matt: I was thinking to go with my theme but—Wait what about Shizuka? (eyes widen in surprise)

Aiko: You didn’t know? She likes to show it off when she can. Its a power she gained from this whole thing because she got forced into fighting. Especially after all that stuff with her getting infused with negative energy and such.

Matt: I see, I was more or less busy searching for my sister all that time, and being dragged with the son of Jin really dragged me down.

Aiko: Well, its Takao, its really not that hard to figure out how’d he act.

Matt: Fair point, but I didn’t know much of this from the start, me and Caliber got snagged along for the ride near the climax of it you could say… It wasn’t all that fun if you ask me, though I do think it was then that Ame referred to involving me having the guts to stand up to him. (shakes his head) But I can see how it surprised me.. Has she managed to control this power efficiently?

Aiko: Well, for one, Ame thought it was good for you to stand up for yourself, just never to your teacher.

Matt: I can see how he saw it as a good start… But I’m thinking more on the second part than the first in that memory. And trust me you should’ve seen what went down after that… I think someone accounted that I ‘fainted’ out of fear. Which wouldn’t be far off considering I was essentially a dead man walking.

Aiko: That and Shizuka can control her new powers just fine. Not that Makoto or Miwa would want her going out and using them right now...

Matt: Yeah, she’s still too young if I had a say in it. She still has her own life… They already have Akane and Izumi out fighting their own battles with the government, and so have we in a case or two. I don’t blame them if they don’t want to lose their younger children.

Aiko: Well, after that whole adventure Mitsuko doesn’t really want to fight. She’s got her eyes set on other things, and who knows about Shizuka. But you’re right about that much, they don’t want to lose their two youngest.

Matt: I understand that… Mom wasn’t too keen about sending me out after they learned about my azure. I can definitely see how and why too… They did have another son who wielded the azure before.. Not an artificial azure like mine. It was more natural like Miwa’s or Izumi’s azure. Or more specifically the actual azure grimoire…

Aiko: And we’re talking about your mother sending her only son out. Its challenging for parents.

Matt: Yeah, and I’m the younger between me and my sister, 4 years apart and we act like twins on occasion. Boy how the times change. So… Mind if I ask, why exactly did you want to stay in a group with me? I’m rather curious considering Orie likely made the changes for your safety.

Aiko: Because I trust you.

Matt: …!?

Matt’s eyes slightly pop out from her response.

Matt: I’ll be honest I don’t even consider myself trustworthy… Why put your trust in me??

Aiko: Because I’ve known you for quite a while. I believe there are good things in you.

Matt: I’m gonna be honest that’s the last thing I thought I’d hear out of someone at times considering my upbringing and rebellious streak… But thanks, I’m.. rather glad you think that of me. I’ll admit I always saw you as someone I could talk to… I still remember back then when we met, and you were with Michio if I remember correctly.

Aiko: Yeah, back then.

Matt: Yeah, but enough reminiscence. I did have something else I wanna say, but… I’ll save it for another time. For now we should probably ready up. It’s likely ten minutes til we meet up in our groups. And it feels just like it was 5 minutes after we departed to prepare.

Aiko: Yeah, I understand.

Matt: Well then, I hope you’re as ready as I am.. Because this isn’t just a plain mission for me. It’s still my training regiment, and I should finish my third year off perfectly.

Matt soon moves off close to the house entrance, mostly to get out of everyone elses way, motioning for Aiko to follow him.

Matt: You may wanna stand over here, mainly to avoid being bumped into.

Aiko is confused, but does so anyway.

After a moment everyone had poured into the room, ready with their equipment and other preparations.

Orie: So is everyone set?


Flamme: I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Ventus: Just about *taps his foot onto the ground, his greave making a metallic noise of sorts.*

Tokatsu: I’m ready for the mission.

Elettrico: I just feel like going all out!

Ame: We are all ready then.

Matt: (nods) right. We have our groups, and we have our orders. Let’s carry them out, meet back here in one piece, and report what we learn. All we can do right now is observe the enemy’s actions.

Flamme: Heh, you got that flare, Matt. I can feel it.

Matt: Flattery gets you nowhere.

Soon Matt exits the house, pocketing his hands with a grin that says ‘I’m ready to face the world’

Tokatsu: Heh, he seems energetic. I guess one of you gave him a peptalk while we prepared. (looking to Ame and Aiko)

They look at each other and then back at Tokatsu and shrug.

Tokatsu: Well it’s a thought. See you both when we meet back up. Xavier, Ventus, get moving!

Tokatsu quickly hurries out westward, Ventus grinning as he looks to Xavier.

Ventus: Heh, I guess Matt’s not the only one that’s prepared, let’s see if your ninja tricks can keep up! (quickly hurries out, his greaves slightly propelling him forward via their winds)

Xavier appears right beside him as they go.

Xavier: You’ll find I have trained diligently in the ninja arts.

Ventus: Heh, I guess we’d work as the perfect team then!

Elettrico and Orie smile as they look to Cassandra and Lucky

Elettrico: You two ready?

Cassandria/Lucky: Ready.

Orie: All right. I’m hoping we can get through this quickly.

Orie and Elettrico hurry off westwards, Flamme giggles as she looks to Ame and Aiko.

Flamme: Well come on, I don’t want us to keep Matt waiting. He’s likely wondered what’s taking us. (gives off a small smile)

Aiko and Ame follow behind.

Matt turned around, his smirk widening seeing them close by.

Matt: Good, was afraid that I went too far ahead…!

Ame: Yeah right.

Matt: Oh let me have my fun, Ame. I know it’s a mission but I think we all can loosen up.

Flamme: He’s got a point, this may be a serious matter but I think if we keep level heads and stay calm in the situation we’ll turn out fine. Right, Aiko?

Aiko: Yeah I think so.

Matt: Heh, well all things considered we still gotta be focused… That’s still key.

Flamme: Right. Focus on the objective.. We’re likely along the way might find materials that could relate to any of the nox nyctores, so please pick them up as you go. We’ll need them to make supplies scarce.

Matt: Good thinking. Ame, you take the lead from here, honestly if anyone could do a better job leading this group I’d say it’d be you.

Ame: Understood.

Matt soon steps behind Ame, following on his word.

Matt: Just say the word and we’ll get the materials in sight.

Ame: We must do our best.

Flamme: Well I guess we can’t do anything less then.. Because can’t really let them find any stray materials that we miss. I just have my doubts that they’ll send just the main heads of the project if they need to stop us.

Matt: (*sighs*) well they can’t let ‘em get killed if they’re the brains, right?

Xavier: Then we must be cautious not to let them find us or let them get in our way then.

Tokatsu: Definitely… and if they do, we might as well show them the door.. *cracks his knuckles*

Orie: Well we could at least take some of them prisoner if we need information with their plans.. Then again I’ve got no idea if the MOR would train their troops to be tightlipped about their covert operations.

Ame: I imagine they would.

Matt: well we got lucky that we got info from their databases last time, Orie.. I get a feeling you can do it again given their mooks decide to go after us and leave your group with an open terminal.

Orie: Well I don’t doubt that possibility but I dunno whether to be worried or confident.

Aiko: Don’t worry, I’m sure we’ll be just fine.

Matt: I agree, I think we can afford to stay positive about this..

Elettrico: yeah, if we keep ourselves positive we might get more than just more data files or materials out of this! Maybe we’ll meet more allies!

Ventus: Yeah, that’s definitely a positive idea.

Xavier: A positive outlook will do wonders.

Orie: It definitely does.. We should eventually split into our groups to cover more ground.

Matt: Yeah, but for now since we’re all together we at least got more eyes to look out for anything we could grab for, and others to keep look out for anyone trying to ambush us.

Ame: We must protect each other for sure. No one should walk alone.

Tokatsu: Right, otherwise we’d be taken out by either sheer numbers or other means that might be consequential.

Cassandra: So are we going to get going or are we just going to sit here talking about it then?

Matt: I think we should do the more productive action…

Tokatsu: my group will take the left. (*quickly starts moving westward from the group*)

Ventus: I guess one of you guys might take the right and the remaining will take the center then.

Flamme: seems to be the case, yes.

Xavier follows Tokatsu quietly.

Ventus: all right.. We’ll report in if we find any trouble in the way… Best of luck to you all.

Ventus quickly hurries off after Tokatsu and Xavier. Orie already readying her blade and firearm.

Orie: I guess my group can take the right.. I’m sure we can take care of things ourselves, but we’ll let you know if something arises..

Orie soon starts making her way off to the eastward pathway, Elettrico soon following her, doing a few stretches as if to ready herself.

Elettrico: See you all when we’re done!

Cassandra nods and follows them.

Cassandra: Good luck to you all!

Matt: Likewise.. (*nods before grabbing his armagus*) All right. So we’re going straight ahead then…

Flamme: May as well.. I advise we all be careful, the MOR knows about what we’re trying to do possibly, so I want to avoid any of their men giving us trouble.

Flamme soon readied her blade, soon hurrying down the center way. Matt huffed slightly as he slowly started following behind her.

Ame: Are you sure about all of this?

Aiko nods.

Ame: Very well. Let us go after them.

Ame and Aiko quickly follow behind the others.

Flamme was looking around as the group had kept moving, probably to catch anything that could pass off as a threat or to find any materials lying about that the MOR could have missed. Her ears twitch about as she picked up a small noise

Flamme: ..! Everyone, I got a bad feeling that they might have sent out the troops.. You all might want to get ready incase they try to ambush us..

Matt: This early? I guess they really want to wipe our small team out if they want to keep their project on the rails.. (*shakes his head*)

Flamme: I wouldn’t be surprised, but we can’t let them get the other groups if they want to start with us..

Ame: We can handle ourselves.

Aiko simply nods.

Matt: Yeah, you’re right..

Flamme soon stops in her tracks, quickly taking her battle stance

Flamme: They’re headed this way..!

Quickly Matt takes his battle stance and takes note of a trail of sparks headed toward them.

Matt: Flamme watch yourself!

Flamme: ..?! (*quickly strikes her blade into the ground, a small pillar of flame appearing to halt the advance of the sparks*)

Erreku: Damn it, I’m actually surprised you idiots saw me coming this time.. Then again I dunno if it was the heightened senses or what that led you to figuring me out. The beastkin suddenly enters from an alley, with a somewhat confident smirk as his weapon crackled with electricity

Ame and Aiko stop, with Ame in front of her. They wait patiently, because as of right now there was no need for them to enter battle

Erreku: So it seems that the little red panda who took our files now has some more, eh.. ‘reliable’ back-up… Good to see someone’s taking good care of her at least. Especially after what I had heard..

Matt: If you’re referring to our encounter with Tabor, then shove it. He’s not our priority right now as much as personal reasons are concerned, step aside.

Erreku: Nah, why should I if we’re enemies, kid? There’s no point.. Where are the blueprints?

Flamme: they’re not with us.. You won’t be getting them even if you beat us down.

Erreku: Oh really now? (*quickly readies his glaive for combat*) care to test the waters with that theory?

Matt: … (*to himself*) Flamme don’t do anything rash, damn it..!

Ame: Then why bother with the small fry if you’re intent on finding the files. You won’t find them here.

Erreku: Well Hono’s probably also trying to find the files as we speak, but I’m sure he’s probably having more success anyways considering I got left here..

Flamme: why the disdain?

Erreku: None of your concern.. By the way think fast

Erreku quickly flashes a wide grin as he then throws his glaive into the air, before quickly moving through to attempt and strike Flamme, Matt quickly moving in front to try and parry the strike, the beastkin quickly snaps his fingers, the glaive quickly striking down between them, a lightning blast from the impact sending Matt and Flame backward. Ame and Aiko keep their distance as Matt and Flamme end up in front of them.

Ame: Can you fight?

Matt: after what just happened I’m not sure if I’ll be feeling anything for a short moment..

Flamme: Me neither… That armagus certainly has an interesting aura about it… The fact he can make it act as a makeshift bolt doesn’t help matters..

Erreku: Heh, I can’t exactly reveal that secret madam hothead.. But you and that kid need to die, unless you want that wolf to fight in your place.. He doesn’t look so tough to me.. (*grabbing his glaive and twirls it for a moment before returning to his stance*)

Matt: (*to himself*) ..well you’re gonna be sorely mistaken if you think Ame ‘isn’t so tough’..

Ame moves in front of them. He cracks his knuckles then loosens his neck.

Ame: So, looking for a fight are we? If you’d prefer to fight me, you’ll find I am not so weak an opponent that you can defeat me by yourself.

Erreku: Heh! Don’t blink or you’ll end up like the hothead and the human piece of scrap! Let’s get this game on!

Ame: Try me.

Erreku: Heh..

Erreku quickly makes his approach, quickly jumping off the wall he raises his glaive, quickly pointing the end out to try and strike Ame with an overhead slash. Ame sidesteps the attack and throws a punch square into the body of Erreku. Letting him fly away after the punch and not even attempting to follow that.

Ame: Did I forget to mention that Kokonoe gave me some nice little tools for me to use? Makes my punches really hurt.

Matt’s eyes slightly widen in shock, while he didn’t expect the blow to be rather powerful, all Matt could audibly do as a reaction was a small gulp, probably out of fear.

Flamme: How long have you had those..??

Ame: Trade secret. Promised not to tell.

Flamme: very well then..

Erreku eventually manages to return to the group, visibly shocked at the strength of the punch

Erreku: Okay I’m not going to assume that you’ve been perfecting your punch because that is pretty much horse crap!

Ame: Believe what you want, young’un.

Erreku: Tch, I’ll be honest I doubt the little ice princess has anything to really show off if she hasn’t even done anything to stop me so far..

Matt: grrgh, don’t you try and say things like that to her..!

A sharp tip of an ice pillar appears right next to Erreku’s face.

Aiko: You know what they say about assuming, don’t you?

Erreku: …?! (*to himself*) ...god damn it next time I’m going for the sloth’s group I can’t believe what I’m seeing here.. (*out loud*) well I admit that’s impressive but are you sure you can dance across a storm?! (*quickly attempts to throw his glaive skyward, probably to try the same trick he did against Matt and Flamme*)

Ame: Oh, that old trick?

The ice pillar stretches and encapsulates the glaive in mid-air, freezing it over completely.

Aiko: Thanks for the practice. It was almost like what Ame had me do. Except that’s called ‘clay pigeon shooting’ or whatever.

Erreku: … god damn it..

Matt: Heh, so, give up..? (*slightly winces from the lingering pain*)

Erreku: tch, I’m not giving in this easily… I need to find those files.. (*to himself*) Though how I’ll do it unarmed is definitely another story..

The lower half of Erreku’s body become encapsulated in ice.

Aiko: Oh, and by the way, you not moving, makes for a pretty easy target to freeze.

Ame begins to walk towards him.

Ame: Will only say this once, you can tell us what we want to know, otherwise I’m sure Kokonoe would love to see these tools of hers she gave me for my fists, get dirty.

Erreku, rather shocked at the current situation (no pun intended) sighed heavily.

Erreku: (*to himself*) just gotta give ‘em false info… nothing hard (*outloud*) so… what do you need to know?

Splitting off from the ice, a very sharp piece evolves to press against Erreku’s neck. It slightly presses against it.

Aiko: Mind if I take a little insurance out on this deal?

Ame: Let me explain. When you lie and when you tell the truth, are two very completely different things. When you tell the truth, you’re quite calm and things are fine, but when you lie, your body reacts. Your heart beats faster, your mind races. So the moment Aiko senses you’re lying, well, have you ever seen a frozen fountain of blood?

Erreku: ...I’d rather not be the living example, get your questions over with.

Ame: Matt, if you would please.

Matt: gladly… (*slowly managing to get back up, before quickly helping Flamme to her feet*) ..all right then. If I shall begin, let me start with our first question..

Erreku: (*to himself*) this ought to be good.

Matt: What Nox Nyctores are you planning on completing first, we already have two possibilities between Yukianesa, and the Arcus Diablos Bolverk...

Erreku: ...We’re probably going to start with Yukianesa, we managed to collect enough materials to attempt and create it, all we really need now is a few souls with cryokinetic powers to really hold the ‘ice sword’ aspect. The bolverk is more complex because we have no idea how to really recreate both guns without forcing them to limit their wielder to be emotionless, just as we still have to worry about Yukianesa making it’s user...well...have a creepy insane complex of killing.

Matt: ...Is he telling the truth, Aiko??

Aiko nods.

Ame: I agree as well. Bolverk would be more complicated to put together than Yukianesa, mainly because Bolverk was tied into Miss Noel’s emotions.

Erreku: Yeah, that chick with the eye.. I dunno if there’s any laws that could allow the use of a chrono phantasma… but I’ll be honest I don’t think it’d be the smartest idea for our project.

Matt: All right then.. Next question, do you have any intention of, among other nox nyctores, to recreate the Phoenix Rettenjou..?

Erreku: Hell no. I tried actually pledging that to the man who gave us the green light but he was strictly against that.. Same could be said with the Ouroboros if you wish to ask about that.

Matt: I wasn’t going to, but that does answer what can’t be done with the project…

Flamme: Besides, isn’t the rettenjou also the possible cause of the day of destruction??

Erreku: That’s exactly why he threw that idea out the window, we can’t get rid of all seithr unless we want our project to be like a train wreck.

Aiko nods again.

Ame: Because of the man who held that weapon, it would also be difficult to implement. Even Bang knew little of its intentions.

Matt: and really my final question, since I’m sure Ame definitely has questions of his own.. What are you planning to do when you create them all? I doubt mass production will be a good goal because you’d need many souls for that unless you have a transmutation process from a nox nyctores to a regular garden variety ars armagus…

Erreku: ..! Well.. you got me on that one, because personally I’ve got no good plan myself..

Matt: and I’ll be perfectly honest, I think you should be lucky your choice was the nox nyctores rather than the ars armagus… And what of the lux sanctus??

Erreku: I intend the murakumo to be our last project.. Certainly our most powerful weapon needs the best of souls to wield it, no….?

Matt: Well at least you are smart about that kind of thing. Someone who’d try to collect a bunch of souls all over a murakumo would be boneheaded unless you were sure you’d have an easy victory...

Ame: Aiko?

Aiko nods.

Aiko: No lies...yet...

Matt: Well Ame, I’m sure you have questions for our canine here right..?

Erreku: don’t call me a canine you piece of—

The ice presses against his neck.

Ame: I wouldn’t finish that sentence if I were you.

Erreku’s eyes slightly bulge as the ice pressed against his neck, sighing heavily as he attempted to calm down

Erreku: right, sorry… please continue.

Ame: What are the plans of your employers?

Erreku: we’re gearing their elite troops with our recreations of the successful nox nyctores, pretty much.. We have to skip some like we mentioned the rettenjou and ouroboros.. Some of them are still in the air like Deus Machina or the Muchorin…

Ame: So fabrications. Even then, never live up to the real things.

Erreku: well what can we do? I doubt most of them are still around in the world.

Ame: That’s fair enough. And what are your plans going forward? Find the files?

Erreku: Yeah, they were taken from our base from the kid’s first raid with that cop and hothead’s mercs.. I’d go for those blueprints too but we got many copies..

The ice presses against Erreku’s neck.

Aiko: He’s lying.

Erreku: Hey I ain’t lying by the fact we have a bunch of copies, damn it…!

Matt: Are you really so sure about that? Maybe I could be lying about the files if you’re so worried about them

Erreku: Stay out of it..! You already asked your fill of questions—

Flamme: Both of you, enough..! I personally have no idea what kind of files you’re seeking, but fact of the matter is if you’re lying again that I’ll gladly watch the ice sculpture fill with your bleeding body..!

Matt and Erreku quickly share an aside glance before quickly silencing themselves.

Ame: The truth of the matter is, he’s likely got some sort of sneak attack planned for when we release him. We could simply just let him melt naturally when we’re done with him, letting Aiko completely freeze him over. Erreku: !

Matt: I like that idea..! Though I personally never really froze someone, I’d like seeing if our ices could probably work on the same target Aiko.. If that’s all right with you anyways.

Aiko: That’s not really the best idea Matt.

Ame: Mixing Aiko’s ice with anything else would be a bad idea. Simply put, too many cooks spoil the pot, as the saying goes.

Matt: fair enough. After you freeze him up we’re going to find Orie’s group, they should hopefully have their side under control.

Erreku: (*to himself*) ...This ain’t gonna go well.

Flamme: I’ll make a connection and tell them our progress.

Flamme soon makes her way further down the path. pulling out a small tablet to attempt and contact Orie’s group

Aiko: Sorry, this will be a private conversation.

Aiko lets her ice completely encapsulate Erreku. With Erreku frozen solid, Aiko finally takes a deep breath.

Ame: Are you alright, Aiko?

Aiko: (Nodding) Yeah, the ‘truth ice’ just makes me really tired.

Matt: I have to admit that’s impressive… How long until you think he’ll melt..?

Aiko: Considering the ice is reinforced, and it took me forever to get it perfected...I’m guessing about 72 hours?

Matt: ...heh, three days he ain’t getting back unless he’s lucky that his hotheaded grizzly bear partner finds him.

Flamme: pretty much. What about that glaive, same time or will it melt even slower..??

Aiko: It’ll take a little less, but if it melts naturally, it may either split all the ice away from him, or split him.

Matt: …I’m gonna preemptively pray that it splits him in half. Orie: (*over transmission*) isn’t that a bit morbid..??

Matt: Well I dunno what could be more morbid than that, you tell me..

Flamme: What’s your progress, Orie?? We got the info we needed from Erreku and now he’s frozen solid..

Orie: It’s up to you really, Matt.. but still I don’t think it’ll be easy getting to our location unless you can avoid everything they placed as security… Then again Elettrico wanted to destroy it and I’m not sure how she’d be able to do that..

Matt: I think he’ll be fine.. Should we assist??

Orie: It’s up to you really, Matt.. but still I don’t think it’ll be easy getting to our location unless you can avoid everything they placed as security… Then again Elettrico wanted to destroy it and I’m not sure how she’d be able to do that..

Eletricco (*off-screen*) I wish we had some sort of strength amplifying spell at least..!

Cassandra: (*off-screen*) I told you I’m not good at amplifying spells!

Matt: Well anyways, I’ll probably meet up with you guys soon! Just be careful all right?

Orie: Right, Please, feel free to divulge us in what you learned when this is all said and done, okay?

Flamme: right. (*ends the transmission*) all right. So, I think we can retrace our steps up to where we all split off and then go the right path, which was orie and her group’s path right?

Matt: Yeah.. I think it was the right anyways.. (*pocketing his hands*) I still sorta need to recuperate after what Erreku did with that thunder strike.. (*sighs as he starts walking*)

Aiko moves towards Matt as she follows.

Aiko: Matt, give me your hands.

Matt: ? Sure..

Matt soon sets his hands out. Aiko grabs his hands with hers and closes her eyes. Ame simply watches.

Matt: ? (*to himself*) ...I’m not sure what to do..

Flamme silently watches alongside Ame, soon sheathing her blade after a moment. A light blue glow surrounds Aiko and then Matt too.

Flamme: ..Any idea what she’s doing, Ame..??

Ame: I’ve got a good guess.

Aiko: Refresh.

Over a quick couple of seconds, Matt is completely healed.

Matt: ...Huh.. (*quickly blinks*)

Flamme: I guess that must’ve done something to help him.. (*to herself*) I guess Aiko knows more than just ice techniques..

The glow fades.

Aiko: Its a quick healing technique. Like when you get cold water when you’ve been working hard.

Aiko then blushes.

Aiko: Uh, Matt? You can let go of my hands now.

Matt: Oh, sorry.

Matt quickly lets go and nervously looks off to the side.

Matt: I have to admit though I feel a lot better than I was a moment ago.. Thanks.

Aiko: Your turn Flamme!

Flamme: Heh, very well then.

Flamme soon lets out her hands for Aiko. Aiko puts her hands in Flamme’s and does the same exact thing as a light blue glow envelops them.

Aiko: Refresh.

Matt: (*to himself*) it certainly can do wonders...

Flamme calmly holds her breath as the aura had held around her. The glow fades again.

Aiko: You’re all healed too, Flamme.

Aiko tries to move her hands again, only to find that Flamme too seemed happy to be holding hands with her. Aiko blushes again.

Aiko: Uh, Flamme, you can let go now. (slight laugh)

Flamme: ..right, sorry (*quickly lets go of Aiko’s hands*) I thought it would heal me as long as there was contact…

Matt: Yeah, that's what I thought too, just to be honest..

Aiko: (*To herself*) You’re both liars. You both just wanted to hold my hands. Do both of you have a crush on me? (*out loud, she snickers*)

Flamme: well anyways, let’s get back on track.. (*returns to walking*)

Matt: Yeah.. Just don’t go too fast on us all right?? Besides I’m sure that if we’re slow enough Hono might catch us, and I wouldn’t know where he’s turning up..

Ame: Understood

Ame and Aiko continue walking with them.

Aiko: So what’s our next course of action?

Flamme: I’m thinking we should head for Orie and her squad’s position, wherever they are it seems to be another data facility if we’re lucky enough. If we can get through that well have more files to really use as a basis of going about our next move. I don’t know if we’ll find Hono or what, but it’s our best move for now.

Matt: Very well then.. What of Ventus and his group?

Flamme: They can take care of themselves, if they manage to spot Erreku should Hono somehow melt him free, we’ll send you their way..

Matt: Very well then.. And what of Tabor should anyone find him?

Flamme: same course of action.. I admit it ain’t the best idea but it’s all we got.

Aiko: Then what about us, what shall we do?

Flamme: it’s really up to you and Ame.. If you want to assist Matt then go right ahead, or if you think Orie’s group could need extra firepower then you can stay with her group.

Aiko: I think it best if we stay with you guys.

Ame: I concur. The two of you seem to need us.

Matt: Well given that you pretty much punched Erreku across the alleyway, and with the lie detector ice that you and Aiko worked with.. I personally would like both of your guys’ help..

Flamme: very well then.. Well anyways enough talk for now, we still have to complete our mission.

Matt: Right then..

As Flamme’s group had continued retracing their steps to aid Orie’s group. The group in question were currently walking through a corridor in the MOR facility, which had seemingly been rather quiet.

Orie: ..I’m surprised no one else has come to detain us yet..

Cassandra: Let’s not jinx it.

Orie: right, sorry..

Elettrico: It’s rather tightly packed though.. (*sigh*) so what exactly are we looking for again?

Orie: we’re finding another terminal.. I know there is a room with the more common file folders with the project but I don’t think that’ll be wise to split up for now…

Cassandra: Not exactly the best fighter, so its probably for the best.

Elettrico: very well. But don’t worry Cass, we got your back!

Orie: She’s right.. (*sigh*) but I’m surprised that they got info from Erreku… I wonder how they managed to get him to talk..??

Cassandra: Got me on that one, I dunno.

Orie: Well anyways.. we shouldn’t be too far from the terminal.. I think I’ll be able to crack the code like I did last time.. (*looking around the corridor before noticing a door at the end of the hall*) That might be the door to the terminal room…

Elettrico: Well what are we gonna do if it has a failsafe??

Orie: May as well take the direct approach

Orie quickly hurries to the door, looking at a small keypad to the side of it, before looking at the door it’s connected to.

Cassandra: Think you can do anything?

Orie: Well I could try pressing buttons at random since I didn’t steal anything off of those passing guards. But I don’t want to trigger the failsafe should it have any.

Elettrico: So direct approach..??

Orie quickly readies her handgun, before pointing it at the keypad

Orie: direct approach.

Cassandra places her hands over her ears.

Orie: All right… Double shot!

Quickly Orie fires two blasts into the keypad, disengaging the lock, and setting off the failsafe alarm

Elettrico: Is the lock still there?!

Orie: It should be disengaged!

Elettrico quickly proceeds to ready a strong electric punch, before quickly striking the left side of the door, causing it to fly off it’s hinges into the wall in the next room.

Cassandra: (*To herself*) So much for the direct approach...

Orie: All right, Cassandra stay with me. Elettrico you stay on guard and take out any soldier you see that tries to capture us!

Orie quickly entered into the terminal room and quickly started the hacking process into the terminal, soon pocketing her handgun. Her rabbit ears suddenly perked up, probably to heighten her senses or otherwise show her focus.

Cassandra: I’ll do what I can to support.

Orie: Thank you, Cassandra.. I definitely appreciate that.

Elettrico soon makes her way back to the door to the terminal room, met with an astonishing amount of armed soldiers.

Soldier #1: Hey, you three are trespassing on military property!

Soldier #2: Now if you put your weapons down and walk away we may turn a blind eye, or we’ll have to take you in by force!

Electrico: Heh, force you say..?? I may as well set my weapons down and—

Quickly, Elettrico socks the first soldier in her reach with a strong punch to their nose. Her tonfas quickly materializing as they crackle with electricity.

Soldier #2: ...Uhh-uhmm we can sort this out—

Electrico: Nah, sorting it out ain’t my thing…

Orie was still focused on the hacking, but suddenly stopped as Elettrico quickly began to hold off the small battalion that was waiting at the doorway to the terminal. Sighing heavily her ears slightly droop

Orie: Well, nonetheless, after I’m done here, we need to help Elettrico, I don’t think Flamme’s team might get here in time if we get overwhelmed so quick.. Pardon me for asking but.. Can that familiar of yours fight?

Cassandra: I can imagine so.

Orie: Well, nonetheless, after I’m done here, we need to help Elettrico, I don’t think Flamme’s team might get here in time if we get overwhelmed so quick.. Pardon me for asking but.. Can that familiar of yours fight?

Lucky: Just point me where I need to go.

Orie: Well head towards the door we went through and you might be seeing a pile of unconscious soldiers. That’s where ya need to go! (*quickly pointing to the door, before returning to hacking*)

Lucky barks in response.

Elettrico: I could use some help here!

Elettrico had been busy dodging gunfire from some of the more bulkier foot soldiers in that area of the government area, and any attempt she’d take at throwing a punch would promptly be countered by a rifle butt to her head. At that moment, Lucky bursts through the door. Seeing multiple soldiers still up and giving Elettrico trouble, he begins to howl. A sonic howl that would render most unconscious.

Elettrico: ...ow..

Elettrico takes a moment to rub her forehead, probably as a result from the many counterattacks she’s suffered, before taking notice of Lucky.

Elettrico: I guess you did that huh?? I have to admit a howl like that sounds something more like a wolf’s territory, nicely done..!

Lucky: Hey, wolves were my ancestors. Dogs howl too, y’know.

Elettrico: Okay fair point. (*shakes her head*) well c’mon! I’m sure a dog and a cheetah might render the odds in our favor.

With a quick motion, Elettrico’s tonfas quickly crackle with a surge of electricity, grinning wildely she quickly strikes her battle pose.

Elettrico: shall I make the first strike or should you?

Lucky growls before responding to her.

Lucky: Please, be my guest. I’ll happily take leftovers.

Elettrico: All right then…!

Elettrico quickly dashes back through the doorway, quickly throwing a punch to the nearest soldier in the room, before quickly grabbing them and slamming them to the ground, leading to a cycle of grabbing and smashing in rapid succession, before kicking the dazed man toward the familiar

Elettrico: He’s all yours..!

Lucky, charging towards the man, surges towards him like a ball of light. Lucky collides with him like a pinball, knocking him out, before he lands squarely on all four paws. Lucky barks in response.

Elettrico: That was awesome..! And Cassandra taught you all that?

Lucky: She was the one who created me, sure. Doesn’t mean I can’t learn a few tricks watching shows in my spare time. Elettrico: Well wherever you learned that, it’s nonetheless impressive

Soldier: That’s as far as you two are gonna go..

Suddenly more soldiers managed to corner the duo, guns aimed at the both of them, Elettrico was unsure how to really ‘respond’ to this situation.

Soldier: Now if you’ll kindly stand down, hands over your head, we’ll probably find a peaceful solution to this mess… Same with your pet..!

Lucky: I suggest covering your ears Elettrico.

Elettrico: I know my ears ain’t as sensitive as a rabbit but, all right.

As Elettrico was told, she quickly places her hands over her feline ears. Lucky’s eyes glow and suddenly, multiple dogs, looking exactly like Lucky appear in the room.

Soldier: What the hell?? I don’t remember there being so many dogs here.!

All at once, fifteen dogs in all, all do a sonic howl, resonating with each other and shattering any glass in the room.

The Soldier, and his many cohorts, all reel to the ground, covering their ears from the staggering noise of the howl, Elettrico was wide-eyed at how 15 dogs could do quite the damage, ignoring the many glass window shards there were not on the ground.

Elettrico: … Wow.. Nicely done.. Hopefully that’ll discourage anymore of those mooks from stopping us…

With the soldiers knocked out, the other dogs vanish, and Lucky lies down exhausted.

Elettrico: ... ! (*quickly kneels down*) Are you all right?!

Lucky: I’m fine. Just because I’m a familiar doesn’t mean I have an endless amount of power y’know?

Elettrico: I see… I guess even you all need your rest… Well nonetheless, I’ll have your back til we get out of here… I just hope Flamme and them get here in time… Not that they’d probably never take notice of your howling and the broken windows… and these guys. (*gestures to the screaming soldiers on the ground*)

Lucky: May be dog tired, doesn’t mean I can’t be useful. Still have a dog nose, and have these guys’ scent, you can use me as a sensor, just need to pick me up and carry me. Elettrico: I can do just that… Hopefully you probably have Flamme’s scent, or something that’d seem more familiar to you.. (*carefully tries picking up Lucky*) So, which way do I need to go..?

Lucky places his muzzle in the air, and sniffs.

Lucky: Flamme and Cassie aren’t that far away, if you want to meet with them, you’ll want to go left. If you have other plans, go right.

Flamme: Cassandra is with Orie, so she’ll be fine hopefully… So right it is!

Elettrico, without a moment to hesitate, quickly hurries down the rightmost hallway, calmly dodging any stray gunfire that was aimed at them along the way. Lucky keeps his nose in the air. Growling at the sign of danger, or simply keeping his ears open otherwise, he tried to guide her to safe passages.

Elettrico: How much farther?! This gunfire is getting on my nerves and I’m REALLY tempted to give more of these mooks a piece of my mind!

Lucky: Just a short bit away. Just through the next door.

Elettrico: All right..!

And quickly with her reflexes, Elettrico quickly punches the door off it’s hinges, causing a pained yell from the other side of the door.

Elettrico: ...Oops… Sorry bout that

And the person on the receiving end of the punched door had been Matt.

Matt: At least tell us before you punch a door off it’s hinges again!

Lucky: You couldn’t expect her to know for sure it was you. I may have a good sense of smell, but even I’m not psychic.

Flamme: Well what’s the situation, you both definitely seem on edge right now..

Lucky simply watches.

Elettrico: Well, to start from the beginning, we managed to get to the terminal, Orie is probably still hacking it as we speak, Cassandra is with her and me and Lucky here decided to do some spring cleaning… I got overwhelmed and he helped me, So after that I decided to find you guys.. What took you so long anyway??

Flamme: Well, aside having to extract info from the enemy nothing kept us waiting… Though I’m pretty sure the door that smashed Matt might just be an inconvenience compared to Erreku’s lightning shock from earlier.

Lucky: Doesn’t mean he can’t recover.

Matt: Well given his sun bear wields fire—ow… I’m sure he might melt him free from Aiko’s rather interesting ice prison...oww..

Matt, after a big of struggling, manages to push the unhinged door off of his person, standing back up he simply does a few neckrolls and hurries to regroup.

Elettrico: ...Well nonetheless hopefully they should be done by now...

Lucky’s tail wags loosely.

Lucky: I trust Cassie, she’ll help Orie get it done.

Matt: I wish them the best of luck…

Elettrico: We should contact Tokatsu ASAP, if anything His group might be the one to find that Hono guy…

Flamme: good plan. I’ll gladly get that over with

Flamme, with a few swift motions with a communications tablet tries to get a stable connection going.

Matt: Well whatever situation hopefully we all can get there with no trouble… (*to himself*) though I admit I don’t think I can simply walk off a door flying at me...

Lucky barks at Matt.

Matt: ? (*quickly shifts his attention to Lucky*) Yo?

Lucky: Thinking poorly invites misfortune.

Matt: I have not been thinking that poorly.. Then again—Actually I’m gonna keep my mouth shut before I prove you right..

Tokatsu: A good thought to have… What’s your situation? Where’s Orie and Cassandra?

Lucky: I was sent ahead to help. Tokatsu: I guess they’re still busy hacking at the terminal… Well anyways… Flamme, what’s your group’s status?

Flamme: A majority of us are fine… Matt got hit by a door on accident so he’s taking a moment to recover… Ame and Aiko managed to get info out of Erreku before we got here.

Lucky simply rests his muzzle on Elettrico’s arm.

Tokatsu: Well good to see we got info… We’re currently on the trail of a..rather surprising person in our midst.

Flamme: Did you find Hono?

Tokatsu: Actually, not him, though to be honest I’m expecting him…

Ventus: Turns out during our search we managed to find a few stray materials and in collecting those we probably might’ve had a glance at finding Tabor...

Flamme: you found that masked man? What direction was he headed?!

Tokatsu: Last we saw he was headed west from here so...he might have gotten far..

Matt: ..I’ll probably head your way…

Flamme: But I thought we agreed to stick with Orie’s group until they finished.

Matt: I know but with tabor around I ain’t risking them getting bugged

Tokatsu: Aren’t you still in pain?? You should get to a doctor…!

Flamme: I think Aiko might have it covered if she’s able to...

Tokatsu: Well, whatever you say… Matt, you better get here ASAP, because we might need you to help incase we get the sn bear on our tails… Tokatsu Out.

With a swift motion the screen blacks out, Flamme quicky placing it away afterwords…

Elettrico: Well, I’m gonna go find Orie and Cass and tell them Lucky and me found you guys… You all can probably help us with standing guard if anymore mooks decide to get in our way.

Flamme: Yeah.. I’m definitely sure we all can help.

Matt: Well anyways, I need to go..

Matt quickly turns around and heads in the other direction, hands in his pockets.

Matt: I’ll be back as soon as I’m done…

Flamme: You better come back in one piece, Matt.

Matt: I intend to…

Elettrico: I’m sure he can handle himself, Flamme.

Flamme: But that injury… it might get in the way…

Elettrico: Stop thinking like that, that’s not healthy.. (*busy trying to open another communication link*)

Lucky hops out of Elettrico’s arms.

Elettrico: You feeling any better, Lucky?

Lucky: Enough to walk on my own, and didn’t want to stop you from doing what you need to.

Elettrico: Thanks, good to see you’re feeling a bit better… By the way, Flamme.. did Ame and Aiko stay back or did something happen?

Flamme: I honestly don't know, but hopefully they’re fine…

Orie: Hello? Am I coming in just fine?

Elettrico: Just fine, Orie.. We found Flamme’s side… well..sans Matt because he just left… How’s things over there?

Lucky: Is Cassie okay too?

Orie: Things are just about done here.., and Cassandra is just fine, Lucky.. She definitely made the situation a lot less straining… We should be on our way to your position now...

Lucky’s tail wags happily.

Flamme: Well good, hopefully you guys don’t have to go too far since your communication device should have a map function…

Orie: Yeah, we’re using that as we speak, by the way, why’d Matt leave? You did say he was there before leaving right?

Elettrico: Yeah..about that… (*slightly hesitates*) turns out Tokatsu found Tabor.

Orie: He’s still lurking in Mizuha??

Flamme: seems like it… Cassandra, do you have anything that can be of use from the terminal after you and Orie had finished the hacking process?

Cassandra: Depends on what you need.

Flamme: we need coordinates to the main government facility, this is again just a smaller base with an info terminal.. Hopefully in due time it’ll be of use for when we’re finally ready to put an end to this damn project.

Cassandra: Can try.

Flamme: well nonetheless take your time.. We don’t need it immediately. Anyways when we meet up, we’re going to see if we can’t get back without any trouble,... Matt’s still injured so with whatever he has to do, he better be careful...

Eventually after splitting off, and meeting with the other team, Matt was hurrying down the alleyways with Tokatsu and Xavier, hurrying down to try and track down Tabor, who was their current target.

Tokatsu: Dammit, he’s too quick for us, even without that time manipulation power!

Matt: We can’t just worry about that now, we gotta find a way to slow him down, or let alone stop him! Xavier, any good ideas?

Xavier: Tracking down Tabor is like tracking down a slippery eel, you can grab at the eel all you like, but you will never be able to keep it within your grasp.

Matt: So essentially you’re saying, “you got no good idea how to catch him”

Xavier: No.

Matt: Well the help is appreciated, but here’s an idea I’ve been meaning to try for a while.

Tokatsu: What kind of idea is th—

Matt quickly stops himself

Matt: Improvising.

Tokatsu: Oh no.. Xavier, get yourself prepared for whatever stupid idea he’s got going now.

Matt quickly positioned himself. He pointed upwards, signaling that he intended to try and catch Tabor by using the rooftops to cover more ground.

Xavier: You intend to fly?

Matt: No, I intend to have you guys toss me up. I ‘WISH’ I could fly..!

Tokatsu: Okay the plan isn’t as stupid as I thought.

Tokatsu got himself ready, hands cupped to try and propel Matt when ready. However he was unaware of the blade wielding Hono hurrying up fast behind them.

Matt: On three we—Behind you!

Tokatsu: Behind us?!

Tokatsu quickly rolls out of the way, readying himself for a counterattack. Xavier rolls away.

Hono, despite missing the two quickly readies his blades and strikes them through Matt

Matt: Agh…!

Hono: Dammit, missed my targets. Ah well, you’ll suffice for now!

Hono quickly let his flames alight through the two blades. Slashing Matt quickly all that Matt could do was endure the pain. Soon he was grabbed by Hono’s hand, wrapped around his neck.

Hono: Heh.. Just weak and pathetic. Why did the government think you could stop me.

Matt: Tokatsu...Xavier, get going!

Hono quickly headbutts Matt, the latter growling angrily in pain.

Hono: They won’t save you… No one will. Be glad your little friends stopped production so quickly. If they didn’t I’d have put you in Yukianesa’s arctic dungeon….how would it feel, being an ice sculpture, before being SMASHED! *strikes Matt’s gut* Into tiny little human pieces..!

Elsewhere, Sapphire jacket swaying slightly with each step, a young man walks alongside a girl of long midnight hair. The pair had been traveling though heard rumor of activity in the MOR. The scowl across the man’s expression served to note that leaving anything unattended that had to do with that government would never be a smart move.

???: I wonder if it was a good idea to split everyone up…

???: Tch… everyone needed to have time to themselves, besides it’s given me somethin’ else to think about besides what happened back there.

???: ...Don’t let the words of either of them get to you.

???: I know that…

His response is more of a growl of annoyance at the thought of the two people. After a sigh he asks in a sharp tone while pocketing his hands in his coat, maintaining a slight scowl as his eyes remain focused.

???: Anyway, why’re we here again…?

???: Because there’s rumors the MOR is up to its ill deeds in this area, though inadvertently…

???: So a group with the MOR huh...guess it isn’t surprising.

Hono: Any last words before you die?! Afraid that the slacker won’t save you?!

Tokatsu: Xavier, We have to do something, but we can’t just leave Tabor to his own devices… He might re-bug them!

Xavier: I think Tabor is the least of our worries right now.

Tokatsu: Least is an understatement…

Hono: Oh, you finally decide to try and act on the situation? Well you’re too late! If you even make a single BLINK. I’ll burn this kid alive… *looks to Matt* Any last words?

Matt only grinned, despite his immense pain he felt as if something was about to happen in his side’s favor

Matt: You can kill me, but don’t think you’ve won

Hono: Tch, cocky brat! *quickly knees Matt*

Matt: grrgh… Just wait, don’t think you’ve beat us. When I fall, there will be someone much worse to take my place...

Hono: And who would that be..?

Further off, the mysterious duo happened to find the scene in question occurring

???: Wait, hold on…

She stops in her tracks as she spots the two people, her eyes suddenly widen as she sees the battle.

???: Isn’t that...Matt…?

???: God dammit… go figure.

The young man steps out until a gentle tug of his partner keeps him from going, then he turns his head with a slight scowl of annoyance.

???: Wait! Is it really a good idea to give away our presence--? The MOR will know we’re here!

???: Who gives a damn at this point! Gonna fight em anyway!

???: But--!

Rue throws her hand out as she chases after the young man who jolts forward, his sapphire jacket whips behind him as he picks up speed. With a growl he holds out his hands with the hilts of his blades forming in them, swinging them outward as they gain an azure sheen and ambience which radiates strongly.

Kaemyn: Hey jackass, try this--!

He leaps in and strikes with full force of a spiraling downward slash bringing an azure serpent’s maw down on the beastkin holding matt by complete surprise.

Hono: What?!?

Hono was taken aback by the shock as he was struck by the serpent, losing his grip of Matt in the process, who landed flat on the ground. Tokatsu quickly hurries towards Matt, taking note of the two new faces at the scene.

Tokatsu: Who the hell are you guys??

Hono: That’s my line! Who the hell are you two?! You’re not like anyone I’ve seen before...

Hono’s rage alights as his swords soon set ablaze. Probably due to his pyrokinetic powers.

Xavier: Well now, this is a party...

Tokatsu: You don’t say?

Hono: Answer me!

Kaemyn: ...Well this isn’t surprising… Matt’s still gettin’ into trouble as always.

Running a hand through his ash black spiked hair, he looks at the group without shock, his companion Rue seems a bit concerned at the situation unable to fully understand it.

Rue: Matt? When did you, why didn’t you tell--?

She stops when Kaemyn’s sharp tone interrupts her.

Kaemyn: Worry about that later.

He turns around to face their attacker once more and brings his swords out to stance turning a scowl at the beastkin.

Kaemyn: You’re looking at the ones behind the “Resistance”.

He remarks with derision, twirling the blade till it stops with the point toward their foe.

Hono: ...I thought your ranks got decimated!

Tokatsu: Resistance?? I thought they died out, never to be seen or heard again..! Are you the new leader?!

Kaemyn: To make a long story short, yeah, they did die out. One of their leaders was still alive and put me in charge of it.

Hono: So one of them ran to live another day… Tch

Tokatsu: Heh, good to know an original mind is behind it. You yourself don’t seem half bad for a fighter… How about we go at this sun bear together?

Kaemyn: Don’t have much a choice here.

Hono growls as he quickly dashes towards Kaemyn and Tokatsu

Hono: I’m a grizzly bear, dumbass!

Tokatsu quickly readies his stance, gloves glowing brightly he blocks the blades, his hands were able to grab the blades bare handedly without burning his hands.

Hono: How?! How are you--?!

Tokatsu: My ars armagus gloves wield ice. Essentially being able to make my grip cold enough to withstand your flames with little to any reaction.

Kaemyn’s blades generate the azure gleam along them once more as the bolts of azure dance along their edge in increasing quantity before he releases a piercing slash which brings an energy serpent with it forward toward hono.

Kaemyn: And the reason I’m leader, is because I have the tool to fight em with.

Hono kicks Tokatsu off of him, and quickly attempts to counter the serpent with a flame wave.

Hono: leader or not, I will crush you, as well as that pathetic brat..!

Tokatsu: I don’t think so, we need Matt alive to stop you..!

Kaemyn: Keep dreaming jackass.

While the serpent pushes through the fire before fading—Kaemyn flips his body up into the air, hilt’s of his swords held tight and then swings his blades in sequence sending twin serpentine azure bolts down at his foe which burst in azure energy on contact.

Hono’s blades clang with Kaemyn’s strike, the two skid back equidistant from each other.

Hono: Heh, be glad you got me and not Erreku. He’d have made mincemeat of you all rather quickly…!

Hon quickly takes his chance to try and attack Matt, who at the current moment was still out cold succombing to his injuries. Tokatsu quickly stands in front of Matt, quickly following with a right hook, only for Hono to counter with by slashing at his torso.

Tokatsu: Gagh…!

Kaemyn: Alright wanna go, lets go.

He rushes back in bringing his body into a full swing while carrying his leg into a strong kick enveloped in azure aura, meanwhile he brings his sword down in a blue after trail of the same energy for a focused close range burst.

Rue: Matt hold on…

Rue quickly moves to him and readies her own weapon in the case she needed to defend him, the spear of light materializes with the particles she summons in a bright flash.

Matt slowly felt his senses return to him, slowly standing back up he looks around.

Matt: Thanks.. I honestly didn’t think either of you were in Mizuha.. Then again I doubt either of you expected me either.

Rue: No we didn’t. We only just got here hearing the MOR had activity in the area… we haven’t heard from you in 2 years… since that time Kaemyn has been fighting underground battles and in other cities to refine his azure’s power, I imagine you can guess why.

Matt: Yeah. But that actually fits with my explanation. I too am refining my azure...Just why my parents didn’t want it going public is probably beyond me.

Rue: Refine it? Are you trying to develop an—no, forgive me, I was thinking outloud.

She then remains quiet as she thought about that, she knew something of that concerning azure—but didn’t feel now was the time to discuss it.

Matt: ...I just mean to get a better grasp of it. Not like it had anything inside it. This azure was relatively untouched when it entered me. Then again this is still relatively new info to Xavier here. *gesturing to Xavier*

Xavier: Whether new or old is irrelevant, all information is useful.

Tokatsu: indeed, and speaking of useful information, we can’t waste anymore time with this guy. Tabor’s up ahead. And considering what happened with our last encounter, I fear without us being able to stop him, he may re-bug the others!

Rue: Its not important… it just pertains to Azure in general and what the MOR discovered it could—Tabor?!

Her eyes widen at the mention before Kaemyn’s own blades stop dead in their path before he growls.

Kaemyn: Tabor...of course. Screw this then! It’s just a waste of time if he’s on the board.

Kaemyn scowls before he releases a last shockwave, driving the blade to the ground before he jumps away and rejoins the others.

Xavier: We’ll have to press on now that we have the return of our old allies to assist us.

Tokatsu: Acquaint me to them later when we’re not gonna get killed by the sun bear.

Hono: GRIZZLY!

Hono quickly attempts to headbutt Tokatsu, but was quickly grabbed and thrown over Matt’s shoulder. Soon Matt looked back the way they were intending to go.

Matt: I would’ve said ‘let’s go to the rooftops’, but I think we’re too late to try that. Tabor’s gotten more distance thanks to Hono’s sidetracking.

Xavier: Then we’ll simply have to make up the time.

Tokatsu: Wait, do you have an idea? Because last time Tabor said exactly the same thing and then BAM, time manipulation and mechanical bugs.

Xavier: I simply meant by running fast. I am not one who knows how to create such things.

Tokatsu: Sorry.. I’m still trying to remove that memory from my head.. Anywho, Matt. Seal this alleyway before Hono catches up.

Matt: On it!

Matt quickly starts conjuring an icy-blue aura about his armagus, quickly he strikes the ground, a large ice wall towering to the rooftops.

Matt: it’ll work for now.

Tokatsu: All right, let’s get going.. We got Tabor to deal with before Erreku catches up as well!

Xavier: Then let us kick up our heels and get our cardio for the day!

Tokatsu: I like the sound of that!

Tokatsu quickly hurries off down the alleyway once again, dead set on catching Tabor.

Matt: .. *looks to Kaemyn and Rue* I’ll explain the short version of the tale later, but as for Tabor.. The guy can slow down time and apparently he’s made mechanical mind control bugs.

Matt soon hurries off after Tokatsu.

Xavier: (To Kaemyn and Rue) Forgive the short introductions, but I am more comfortable knowing the two of you are around to assist in this endeavor.

Rue: Its alright Xavier. We’re happy to help, right Kaemyn?

Kaemyn: If he’s around, then…

Kaemyn didn’t seem responsive as he gains a severe scowl, thinking to himself as time moved around them.

Rue: Kaemyn…

Her voice suddenly snaps a troubled Kaemyn back to his senses.

Kaemyn: --?

Rue: Kaemyn lets go, there isn’t time to spend on possibilities—we should help them.

Kaemyn’s brief troubled look vanishes hearing her and he quickly turns.

Kaemyn: Tch, I know that...

Soon the group had managed to catch up to each other, and eventually they managed to finally catch up with Tabor, despite the distance he had gotten it hadn’t taken them very long to find him.

Tokatsu: That went relatively quick..

Tabor: Hm? Back so soon?

Matt: We considered ourselves lucky we had an unexpected save.

Kaemyn: …

Rue: Yes, it was a fortunate thing we were able to intervene.

Matt: Now let me get this out of the way for Kaemyn’s sake.

Matt glares intensely at Tabor as his question comes out.

Matt: Is the man with the chains of fate involved?

Kaemyn steps out next to Matt lowering his head into a sneer as his hands clench tightly and his voice drops to levels of hatred.

Kaemyn: I suggest answering, cause when it comes to that bastard I like my answers. I owe him for last time.

Tabor: The chains of fate? Who exactly do you refer to?

Matt: ...Don’t play dumb, asshole. You know who we’re talking about! Your partner in crime! The guy that showed up after Neikan decided to die and leave the scene!

Tokatsu: *to Rue* who is he talking about??

Rue: The Second in command of the—

Kaemyn snaps in the middle of her words as his eyes grow small in his rage.

Kaemyn: That bastard of a snake—Ire!

Rue: Kaemyn calm down I told you already—I highly doubt Ire would bother with this...

Matt: I’m only giving benefit of the doubt. Because Tabor’s involved. If he’s here, there’s no doubt Ire could be close by.

Rue sighs.

Rue: I was trying to keep him calm Matt…

Matt: Again I had to get it out of the way. Even if I didn’t. He was bound to probably learn if Tabor wanted to flap his lips about. In which in that time he could plant a bug in one of us and have said bugged person fight the rest

Tokatsu: Why the deductive reasoning? And trust me, Rue.. The bugs are a serious threat.

Rue: I’m certain, still Kaemyn’s emotions spiking is something I really wish to avoid in truth, that’s why I kept it out of his head.

Matt: Right..my apologies for that.

Tabor: Are you quite finished?

Matt: ...

Tokatsu: No. I still have one question. Have you already started the smelting process?! I’ve noticed a severe lack of MOR infantry around this sector..!

Tabor: I’m afraid that information is strictly classified. Unless you would prefer to take it up with my secretary?

Matt: ...If ‘secretary’ is secret MOR codeword for ‘nasty ass bullshit tabor bug’...then I’d rather not.

Tabor: My, the stupidity is contagious.

Matt: I’m paranoid, asshole. You ever have the feeling that somewhere you may just appear from the bushes and plant a bug in our hair while we’re not looking and then walk off and go about your day while the bugged victim is going nuts? All because you were too busy doing your job, and then going to do other daily routines. Like your grocery shopping, dry cleaning—

Kaemyn: What… The hell?

Tokatsu: Matt, we get it!

Matt: ...Basically you’re just too lazy to fight us yourself. So either, you can tell us what we want. Or you can fight us. Like a man.

Kaemyn: Did you really have to say ALL that?

Tokatsu: Trust me, the stupidity is contagious, but it somehow manages to make sense when you put it together.

Kaemyn: ...Whatever then…

Tabor: My, what long-winded speeches you have. I simply care little for what you have to say. Spouting off utter nonsense and non sequiturs that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. By my secretary, I simply meant my Deus Ex Machina, Alexis. You are simply one who has nothing better to do.

Kaemyn: Are we just going to talk all damn day? He isn’t going to just GIVE the info you know.

Tokatsu: I’ll be honest I think I have a good counterplan thanks to the spare time that long-winded speech gave us. We’ll need at least half of us focusing on the puppet, while the others face Tabor directly. Don’t get too close though, he can still plant bugs even without his puppet’s time manipulation if it’s already in use.

Matt: And do you think the others will figure out what we’re doing if they manage to catch up?

Tokatsu: Hopefully. As long as we don’t mention dry cleaning and groceries we’ll be fine. Anywho, there’s five of us, so either way we’ll still outnumber them. We’ll just need one of us alternating between Alexis and Tabor. Anyone volunteer for that?

Tabor and Alexis turn away.

Tabor: Pah. I’ve simply had enough of this foolishness.

Tabor begins to walk away.

Tokatsu: … *to everyone, in a hushed whisper* on three.

Xavier: I do not think this is a good idea.

Kaemyn: This really sounds stupid to me… I’m thinking like Tabor that I should just walk now…

Rue: Kaemyn…

Kaemyn: Tch, seriously...can we just figure this out?

Matt: Yeah I agree with Xavier, this is Tabor, Tokatsu..

Tokatsu: The man bugged Flamme...

Matt: Can the vengeance wait?! The man worked with the biggest doucheprick snake in the planet and even I’m not punching him over their shared insults… I say we just...Go find the others, tell them what we found. And just...go back, and live to fight another day..

Tabor vanishes on the narrow street with nothing more left to interrupt him from his next destination.

Kaemyn: (Rolls his eyes annoyed) Well that was anticlimactic...

Xavier: What we need is a plan of attack, not just for Tabor, but for everything.

Tokatsu: That’s all we can do for now. Come on, let’s contact Ame’s side.

Matt: I don’t think anyone’s gonna like the probabilities here… Given Tabor got away and.. to be quite fair we got some explanations to get out of the way as well… Given the whole nox nyctores project is going on… I’m actually relieved you’re both here..

Matt shrugs before continuing

Matt: But I doubt we really slowed them down if they have the means to make their first one…

Rue: (Frowns in thought as she blinks) That’s… why we’re here actually.

Kaemyn: Yeah, Rue thinks it was worth lookin’ into, so here we are. You getting into trouble as usual with that Azure of yours.

Matt: Not that I exactly wanted to.

Tokatsu: Didn't you say you found the blueprints in a dark alley??

Matt: ….Okay maybe I did this time… But again you get the idea. I still haven’t gotten a big idea how to use it… A good thing too given what it is and what I still have burning in the back of my mind...

Kaemyn: (Folds his arms and taps his foot as he looks around) Alright, so, you guys have a place of operation? I don’t know about you but I’d rather not get found by another group of idiots who are behind this. Besides Tabor they don’t seem to be much a threat yet...

Rue: We shouldn’t underestimate their abilities. Tabor and Ire wouldn’t work with individuals who weren’t of use. But, I think Kaemyn has a point… we can talk more where it’s safer.

Xavier: I agree.

Matt: right then.. Let’s do that before we get caught off guard…

Ventus:I’ll contact Flamme then and make sure she and the others know about this.

Tokatsu: the sooner we’re home the better, I’m sure our new allies might like hearing what he’ve got so far.

Tokatsu had already starting making his way down the path. Matt was rubbing against his lower chest for a moment, still sore from the knee strike he had taken prior.

Kaemyn: Allies huh… (To Rue as he leans over to speak only to her) Not exactly the group I was expectin’ to work with...

Rue: (Frowns at KAemyn’s attitude) Kaemyn, they’re offering us a place among them. Besides I told you how important this was. You can stop your pursuit after the main government for a while.

Kaemyn: (Looks up as he sighs) Yeah fine…

Rue: Thank you for allowing us to offer our aid. We’re grateful, and happy to help.

Ventus: it’s no problem…

a moment later a screen popped up

Flamme: Ventus. Whats your status report.. did you catch Tabor?

Ventus: Sadly no, however we found more allies against our lovely government.. Turns out they know Matt too.

Flamme: That’s good. I’m glad to hear that

Ventus: we’re heading home to brief them on our situation.. Hopefully everything else is safe then

Flamme: good then, we should be back shortly.

a brisk movement later the communication was cut off, the green sloth beastkin rubbed his neck and started walking

Kaemyn: (With a slightly troubled expression as he thinks to himself) This is going to be a pain- I’m not that great with people I don’t know. I’m more comfortable with the others… ah well, guess Rue is right, can’t hurt to help these people.

Rue: I suppose we should introduce ourselves more thoroughly. I’m Rue, this is Kaemyn. We’re two escaped convicts from the MOR, in the middle of building a rebellion against them to free mankind from their command. But even a branching project like this can’t be left alone, so when I heard about it we immediately were going to look into it, as Kaemyn’s Azure is actually needed to defeat one of them. So it’s good that we’re not in this alone.

Ventus: I’m Ventus, a sloth beastkin with wind conjuring greaves. It’s nice to make both of your acquaintance.. Tokatsu’s kinda too far ahead but he can explain himself better.

Matt: it’s gonna be a fun story getting to know each other I bet…. -shrugs before walking off, still keeping an arm over his wound-

Kaemyn: (Sarcasm) Oh yeah. Tons of fun.

Rue: Don’t mind him, he’s a good man at heart. Just a bit uneasy around people… I’m sure we’ll enjoy getting to know all of you.

Ventus: likewise.

Matt: (to himself) if this got their attention god knows what the MOR is planning.. (outloud) I just hope that we can get a lead and go onto our next move after we get you both up to speed..

Elettrico: So you found more people??

Matt: King of Disasters.. Well if the man got that kind of moniker, a lead shouldn’t be too far… We can discuss this when we get home.Right now we can relax.

After a long travel, with Matt leading the way, both sides eventually returned safely to Orie’s residence, Matt was already a bit concerned due to his wound, but he didn't let it cloud his thoughts over the current situation at hand.

Electrico: So you found more people??

Matt: -nods- yeah they’re friends of mine..

Aiko looks at Kaemyn and Rue.

Aiko: I feel like I know these people from somewhere…

Kaemyn: It’s a long ass story how we met Matt so just not gonna go into that… all you need to know is that we’re here to help you take down these projects. Stay out of my way, I stay out of yours. We’re good now on intros right?

Rue: (Sighs) What Kaemyn means is we’re happy to help, this is a dangerous project if Tabor and possibly other high names are involved. We couldn’t stand idly by, and our skills are at your disposal, after all, the MOR is bound to know of our presence now. So it’s probably best we make a mutual effort - safety in numbers.

Flamme: good idea..

Matt: Yeah, I pretty much do that on my own already. But I can agree a mutual effort makes all the difference, even if we all are split up and all over the place

Orie: It helps that we cover as much ground as need be, that's what makes it so effective.

Matt: agreed… So care for a recap and what your team found..?

Kaemyn: Yeah go ahead, just one sec. (Looks at Aiko) Have we met? You look familiar for some reason… (Notices Cassandra and Ame further back) Oh hey, haven’t seen you guys in awhile…

Rue: Cassandra, (smiles as she comes over and dips her head) its so good to see you’re alright, I hope you’ve been well.

Ame: It has certainly been a while Miss Rue and Master Kaemyn.

Aiko: I’m Ame’s sister-in-law, Aiko, I think we’ve met before, but its nice to meet you again if we haven’t!

Lucky: Cassie is doing just fine! She’s working as hard as she can, but she’s still got a ways to go.

Cassandra: Lucky’s right in that regard. Still trying to get over everything that happened…

Rue: Yes there’s certainly been a lot of… difficult times. And they’re not going away any time soon. But it’s great to be with others we know.

Kaemyn: I’ve been too busy with Satoru and Leon’s training regimens to get me ready to become the leader of the Resistance. I… honestly don’t mind being away from that for a bit… this is good practice probably… (to Matt) Go on whenever you’re ready.

Matt: right then. To essentially break things down. When I first got here I stumbled on this project by curiosity. I overheard something but I paid it no mind..

Orie: and then you ran into me moments after and told me about your findings, correct?

Matt: yup, in a sense after that we already had flamme’s team on board and what we know so far, thanks to some assistance from Aiko. They’re probably smelting for either Yukianesa or Bolverk.. I at least can confirm there are two excluded nox nyctores’ from this project if it provides any relief.

Aiko: Smelting?

Kaemyn: That isn’t good...

Ame: Making Bolverk or Yukianesa again, they must be desperate indeed, or foolish.

Aiko: (with a confused look on her face) Hey, hold on, what is smelting?

Rue: Do you mind if I explain, Matt?

Matt: Go right ahead. As long as we can get the idea out.

Rue: Smelting is the process of creating a weapon from souls by combining them into a single form. To put it simply, it creates a Cauldron as a link to the Boundary and the intended core soul. The Cauldron are then turned into weapons by Magic- such as the Nox Nyctores. Sadly, the process to do this requires a large amount of souls to be sacrificed to the process…

Kaemyn: And, destroying the Cauldron and its creation can only be done with the Power of Azure.

Ame: Do you remember the history you learned from Miss Miwa, Aiko?

Aiko: ...did I fall asleep that day?

Ame: (Sweatdrop appears on head) Aiko…

Aiko: Hold on give me a second...if I remember correctly it was something that happened to Noel, correct?

Ame: Yes.

Aiko: Then I remember it briefly…

Ame: Do you remember what happened exactly?

Aiko: Not at all…

Ame: Did you fall asleep when Miss Miwa was teaching you history?

Aiko: I think Miss Miwa let me sleep when I fell asleep…

Ame: (Thinking, to himself) You are too soft on this girl, Miss Miwa… (Turns to Kaemyn, aloud) Kaemyn, or Rue for that matter, could you please explain what happened to one Noel Vermillion?

Kaemyn: Ah… yeah. I can.

Matt: I could use a small refresher myself honestly..

Ame: (looks at Matt) Honestly you two, do you both fall asleep when people teach you things?

Matt: To be fair its been a long time since I actually had a school lesson. -nervously shakes his head-

Kaemyn: Well one Nox Nyctores was created from the girl who had Azure herself - a take on the Murakumo with the ‘god killer’ Kusanagi. A bastard named Yuki Terumi had pushed her emotions unstable then the Cauldron was summoned to bind her to the weapon. Smelting the girl with her hate and despair… they say stronger weapons are made this way by filling their cores with anger and sorrow. Ragna the Bloodedge would be the one to help set her free when he used his Azure’s power to negate the tempering of her soul to the weapon. Basically we need to be careful ‘who’ is smelting what, and what emotions or powers are involved… it can make all the difference.

Aiko: (confused) Hmmmm...so you’re saying bad people could make me into a mura...a muraku...a weapon?

Kaemyn: Uh… not exactly… there’s… requirements as far as the Murakumo go.

Ame: (sighs openly) Aiko...please pay more attention in Miss Miwa’s history classes…

Aiko: (openly confused) Requirements? You mean like it has to be on a Friday or something?

Kaemyn: (Sweatdrops thinking to himself) Wha…? I don’t understand… (outloud) No, not like that… I mean uh… I can’t explain this without getting really dark… and I don’t know if we wanna go there.

Matt: ….I could explain but even then I might have some details messed up.

Ame: (exasperated) Aiko, you don’t satisfy any of the requirements, let’s leave it at that. (thinking, to himself) I will need to start attending Miss Miwa’s history course to make sure Aiko is paying attention. (to Matt, aloud) Matt, what proof have we obtained that Bolverk or Yukianesa is being made and not one of the other weapons?

Matt: well for one they are a few of the more ‘iconic’ nox nyctores among the thirteen, and two.. We did find enough materials to prove its either of those. I fear we might not have stopped the process of either, but hopefully we hindered them enough.. As far as outright banned weapons go. They are down the Phoenix Rettenjou, the weapon of Xavier’s master, and the Ouroborous… A nasty weapon.

Kaemyn: Thank god they don’t have that damn thing. I’m pretty sure the MOR has that one.

Matt: trust me, Kaemyn if they do, they don’t need two of em. That could be why though.. Everything else is fair game…. Since well.. the gigant takemikazuchi is still in space they cant possibly make a hand cannon from that thing.

Xavier: Master refused to give up Rettenjou, I understand why. It is tied to his master. It has sentimental value to him.

Cassandra: But why resmelt weapons? What happened to Bolverk and Yukianesa? Did they remain with Noel and Jin respectively?

Matt: As far as Noel goes…??? The bolverk from my understanding is gone with the wind. Yukianesa is a story best left for someone else. I personally don’t know Jin well enough to ask him about the thing.

Flamme: as for resmelting weapons goes… they need it for the convenience, and these are weapons that lack the power the nox nyctores had on its wielders from what I understand...

Cassandra: Then there’s no way it could have the original power those weapons had, that’s a fool’s errand!

Matt: true, but they still see it as a way to provide cheap imitations of otherwise strong weapons. To be fair I’m glad they can’t easily mass-produce them… That’s more a fool’s errand than resmelting… And you can’t expect the government to walk up to your door and ask for a nox nyctores....

Tokatsu: People would immediately be suspicious.

Ame: Even so, cheap imitation or otherwise, those weapons would be dangerous in the wrong hands…

Kaemyn: That’s an understatement… I don’t buy them simply wantin’ to create imitations for the sake of it. But guess we’ll find out.

Matt: So in a sense it’s a good thing I caught wind of it when they were in early planning I suppose. If we’re lucky we can stop em before they get to their big finale...should they have one...

Kaemyn: Hopefully they won’t get to that point.

Elettrico: Agreed! And hopefully we won’t run into that Tabor guy again if we do that!

Matt: Don’t be so sure.. We will probably see him again.

Kaemyn: Isn’t that obvious…? Like I said if he’s involved there’s probably more to this.

Matt: There’s still something you don’t know, Kaemyn.. You probably remember me saying something about a bug, right?

Kaemyn: (Frowns while he rubs his head) Yeah although it was difficult to really get it during those speeches of yours. I got the basic point… they’re a mind control device yeah?

Matt: Correct.. First time we ran into him he decided to toy with us with the sort of thing.

Flamme: It...wasn’t exactly good given what extent of power he has over our bodies…

Elettrico: Yeah… it took a piledriver to knock us out.

Matt: I couldn’t see what happened in specific.. but if he can do it with more than one person at once?? I dread what power he can have at his disposal if he grabs someone with the power of azure like you.

Rue: ...

Kaemyn: Can we just not talk about that-? I get I’m cynical sometimes but come on, I don’t like that kinda thought.

Matt: Right.. Sorry ‘bout that.. But still it’s something to be careful about. But if we can end this project swiftly, we won’t have to worry about it.. Again I’m grateful you both managed to save us some time on this matter.

Kaemyn: (Sighs) Way to make me paranoid. But yeah, Rue asked me to come so guess I’m stuck now.

Matt: Not necessarily ’stuck’ per se. I know you’re not one for staying in one place..

Kaemyn: Yeah… no offense to you guys but I’m not one for the whole… sticking in a giant group thing. I don’t mind helpin’ but. I like to have my space.

Tokatsu: I agree..

Matt: Well I can get behind that, I wasn’t planning to force you two to stay for the rest of this operation, act as free as you want but keep us informed on anything you find that can help.. All that I ask I suppose.

Kaemyn: Yeah, can do that I guess…

Matt: good, then. Glad we at least worked that out. -sigh of relief-

Xavier: Then how shall we proceed?

Matt: I say we proceed as planned.. Kaemyn and Rue could essentially be their own unit. In a sense they’re our wild card if you think about it.. they could send their heads for the project for them while we’re still gathering info and they won’t know what hit em.

Ame: Aiko and I will operate as our own team, we would also be appreciative if Flamme came with us.

Flamme: very well. -nods- I gladly accept that.

Matt: -to himself- so if we split correctly…. -shakes head- I can’t numbercrunch right now...

Kaemyn: Well, I can certainly act as the power and sabotage what they do with my Azure. I’m experienced in dealing with this kind of thing, especially the Cauldrons. So we’ll head out and see what we can find.

Kaemyn rises from the chair pulling himself into a stretch as he takes the hilt of his sword, gives it a twirl and sheathes it with the opposite across his belt.

Kaemyn: Good to see all of you, I guess. Be careful out there.

Matt: Likewise Kaemyn, and godspeed.

Xavier: Much luck to you Sir Kaemyn.

Kaemyn: Later Xavier and Ame.

Rue: We’ll keep in touch. Cassandra, Ame, Xavier, its good to see you’re all well. (nods to them) And for the rest - a pleasure to meet all of you and I hope we can stop these projects.

Kaemyn: You commin’ Rue?

Rue: Yes, just one moment. Wait for me outside.

Kaemyn gives a confused look before he shrugs it off with a sigh and exits out the doorway.

Matt: ..? Is there something we need to discuss in private..??? Because….

Tokatsu: don’t get yer hopes up I figure it’s about the mission.

Rue: ...What…? Exactly… what is he referring to-? You’re lucky Kaemyn is outside...

Matt: he’s screwing with me… He’s been like that. What is it you need to tell us?

Rue returns to normal and sighs before speaking in a grim tone.

Rue: Well… I told you I brought Kaemyn here to help with this. But… there is a real reason I did this. There is one project I know of- you absolutely will need him for which is why I brought him. And one I’m also concerned for his safety for. I don’t want to tell him, because it could trigger an unfavorable response. As you know, unstable emotions are a concern with Azure users… so I ask you not to tell him what I’m about to share with you.

Matt: ...Understood.

Ame, Xavier, Cassandra, and Aiko nod quietly, while Lucky seems to listen intently.

Rue: I know what the Lux Sanctus Revival attempt is… this Lux Sanctus though, it isn’t just a revival…it’s a prototype to an idea to improve the Murakumo into a new blade for the MOR. I wouldn’t be surprised if they send this girl who holds this potential to join the conflict. The Murakumo work with the Azure to empower one another, and that’s my largest concern. The MOR certainly has a larger plan for this one… so I was hoping to stop this as if they make such a blade Kaemyn’s Azure and his emotions will go insane, cities could be endangered- its... (Frowns as she shakes her head as her voice shakes in worry) I… I don’t wish that to happen, so I beg of you Matt, all of you, help me stop it. I don’t think I can on my own...

Matt: and here I thought they were savin’ it for last… -cracks his knuckles- you got my help, Rue.. Besides if anything, I don’t think they’ll get far once we're through with ‘em.. You can count on me.

Flamme: you have my blade as well.

Rue: I don’t know when they plan to use or make it, I just know it’s a looming threat and why I came here. I wanted to find help… I will do everything I can to stop the other projects as well. I just ask your aid with this, and am grateful in advance.

Matt: well we got more than enough time.. Hopefully if info arises we’ll piece it together You’ll have to be careful yourself.. Who knows what you might run into out there..

Aiko: Yes, please be careful Rue.

Rue: Yes… I hope we can nip this in the bud. We will be cautious. (Closes her eyes with a small smile) Thank you. It is truly a relief to be able to trust all of you.

Matt: yeah.. I agree. You should get going. We all need to rest and prepare..turns out Tokatsu has a friend showing up soon

Tokatsu: he’s right...

Rue: Of course, farewell for now.

With that she leaves to go follow Kaemyn and comes to his side, he glances to her and the two head down the path into the dense forest.

Matt: ...heh, so that answers a few things… I’m looking forward to their assistance.

---End of Volume 2 Scene---

Meanwhile, in the Mizuha sector base of the MOR, two people were busy overseeing what could be said to be Mizuha’s cauldron, one of them a human, the other a wolf beastkin.

???: How the hell did they even get this cauldron? I’m surprised it even got here undamaged.

???: All I can really say is it’ll be useful for when we enter the final phase involving the lux sanctus. I wonder who the guy with that under control is at. Does he even have a suitable catalyst?

The two were interrupted by the loud opening of the doors behind them, only an eerie green light lit the room.

???: That’d be me.

Said in sinister tone with a hint of amusement the one who steps forward has piercing neon eyes stare straight through the two as he walks past them and looks at the cauldron with a wide toothy smile, not even noticing the others.

???: Ah, the cauldron arrived without a damn scratch… perfect as always!

???: It’s a miracle it even got through, sir.

???: Yeah, those guys would never figure it out. Even since the first facility raid they haven’t found this out!

Soon Erreku and Hono entered the door.

Hono: So it got through without any trouble? I’m surprised how dedicated you were to the point of actually getting it here!

???: Call it a test… besides not like I have anything better to do. The work of such a “high position” is nothing more than a shitty bore. Haahaa! Aah it’ll be interesting to see how it comes together--!

He turns around and his jacket moves slightly showing off the neon serpentine designs on it as he keeps his grin.

Erekku: Well let’s hope that friend of yours gets here, from what I heard he managed to even put time manipulation into the Deus ex Machina of his.

Hono: Heh, Gokkan, Kaze… You two know what to do. the two unknown members, now revealed soon started walking out the door.

Hono: It’s surprising we got Yabiko’s crooked detective and his more sane partner in crime here…

Erreku: Don’t be so sure...I’m a bit suspicious of them. We’ll keep an eye on them for now. And uh. *points to the serpentine figure* You, make sure the soul process is ready to begin, we need Yukianesa and bolverk ready, no rush. I know you need all the time in the world. And what’s your name?

???: (To himself) Tabor is here then...

His grin drops into a slight scowl listening to the two ramble while he thinks, before answering the two.

???: Yeah yeah. Believe me I couldn’t care less about the others… or this little game you have going. I’m only here to test the last one—the fact you have my help is a miracle in itself. I’m only doing it because there’s something of interest in it for me and because the plaything is playing it safe by staying away…

The grin returns as he speaks the next words.

Ire: I’m Ire...second in command of the MOR.

Erreku: Heh, I’m surprised even you have interest.. I hope we can be great friends Ire.

Erreku soon leaves, Hono, Gokkan and Kaze following him.

Ire: Friends? Kheheeh...

Ire’s eyes gleam before he looks back at the cauldron with that widening grin of ill intent.

Ire: Lux Sanctus: Murakumo huh…? I have no interest in a basic build… but—Perhaps its what the unit needs to get back to functioning right; and your catalyst will be a perfect test! A Lux Sanctus might even make it interesting enough for the plaything to show up eh? Heheheahaa!

--Volume 2: END--

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