???: A… okay? We have to leave! Nex, please wake up!
A human girl with platinum blonde hair tugs at his shirt, pulling it with a frown. Nex groggily shakes his head, remembering that it’s only a memory. He stands up in the blackness, wincing in a sharp and sudden pain while his Grimoire glistens on his right arm. While gripping his own he looks down at the younger version of himself, which is consumed by a living and strange darkness, concentrating all over him. The older Nex blinks.
He brings his eyes back up from the heap his younger self is, to look at the remains of the area, spotting the glowing runes on the concrete ground and the crests on the wall.
The scenery alters, swirling into a crimson distortion, as he suddenly witnesses a scene of devastation before him.
All around him are screams, penetrating the air, male and female, adults and children. Nex stands in the middle of the paved street, hearing the crackling of flames that consume everything and tear the residences asunder, caving in loudly. People climb over metal and wood debris passing right through him as they stampede away from something crimson glinting in the distance where airships steadily draw near. With his head pointing at the light, he continues to pace along the street, until he comes up to the kneeling younger version of himself that hunches over in a solemn way, cradles something smaller than him; a person with the bright hair, and someone else buried in an unrecognizable mound.
Younger Nex: This isn't what I wanted... why did it happen like this?
The real Nex stares at his counterpart and hears a snap in the distance of wood being stepped on.
A man walks up to them, their face hiding in the darkness only momentarily. The person's mouth opens and a wicked voice pierces his thoughts and stops his hands cold, opening his eyes wide the boy looks behind to see a figure standing before him with its head cocked and a cruel, wide grin present.
???: What’re you looking about for? There’s nothing here for a lost puppy like you. Wait over there and watch like you do best…
He lowers to the boy, eying the girl while that smile twists.
???: I have one final thing to do.
Even though his words were full of scorn, that crescent-like smile widens as Nex feels the unrelenting cold winds of despair pass him by.
???: Someone like that person isn’t needed in the world, damned remnants of that “God’s” dying ideas to challenge the way this world is...somehow they still keep popping up. But, all of em will disappear from the world soon enough. (Looks at Nex) You know why?
Younger Nex shakes his head, keeping a scowl of fear and anger all at once.
???: I thought it was obvious enough. Because the only one who's going to bring "change" to this god forsaken waste of a world is people like you, and people like me.
Nex: (Outside the memory) Akuhei. I never did understand what the hell he was rambling about here... but I would eventually.
“Who” that’s pretty much the only thing he could utter, but no sound comes, only the words from the other man.
Akuhei: Who am I…? Oh... right you don’t remember yet. So, I don’t think you understand a word of what I’m saying, do you… Nex. (Gestures to the grounds around them without remorse) darkness devoured the life of this city, and it's only the beginning of a fate you can't begin to stop!
Among all the nightmares he could have had...Nex flashes back to that mental image where he stood in shadow with a singular eye of burning red against a pitch sclera.
Nex : Damned bastard must've screwed with my head that night. But after that point… (raises his arm and looks at the shell) I don't remember much. Every time I try to remember certain pieces it's like a restriction activates in my mind.
He slowly comes back to and forces his eyes open.
Nex : … ungh. (shakes his head seeing a bright flash) How...where the hell--
First thing he's greeted with, is an overwhelming light... it was too damn bright, Nex thinks to himself with a severe scowl.
Nex : (To himself) That’s right, I used it again... grimoire… someone is talkin'...
Something mutters in his background in a haze of white and making his eyes shut tight in a wince once more.
Myri : Are you okay? (Blinks looking down at him from a chair she sat in)
A soft yet worried gaze comes to his attention-- The concerned expression she wore served to annoy him, his head hurt, the grimoire still sent residue influences throughout his mind, and he wore a scowl saying he didn’t wish to be bothered.
Nex : Tch… stop lookin' at me like that. (presses his hand outward over the lighting) That look is, annoying…
In his present white coat, Reiga sat nearby while Siegfried opted for more distance away from the others.
Siegfried: (to himself) That was grueling...
They were within a medical sector previously used by the military, but due to the recent events, no one dared to bother questioning the fact Nex was in it in fear.
Nex lies out on one of the beds as he gathers his bearings.
Reiga : You know you’ve been out for about a day after what you did back there.
Nex : A day? (Pushes himself up and scowls)
Siegfried : (Folds his arm sighing) Well, well look who took their sweet time waking up…
Nex: Guess it’s been a bit long since I’ve done somethin’ like that.
Siegfried: The only thing that’s been long, is how long I have been forced to bear with dealing with these people, much longer than I’d of preferred.
He openly complains.
Reiga : (Shakes his head at his wording) No one said you had to stick around… could have left like Sylar did.
Siegfried : (Shrugs his shoulders) I didn’t want to stick around, but I have questions that need to be answered by Nex.
There’s a popping sound as Nex runs his index finger through his coat’s collar and snaps it back. He takes a minute to check his wounds, but they all closed over his recovery period.
Siegfried: Listen Nex, what the hell energy was that you released from your grimoire?
Nex : What? (looks at Siegfried and glares) You ask me that, after what you did?
Turning his body, Nex’s feet hit the ground and he stands up, swiftly walking right over to the Brigadier who still looks at him with his arms crossed, his brow raised and not a hint of intimidation with his head pointing at his former friend. Myri can only watch the silver-haired male use the moment to get out his frustration.
Nex: Far as I’m concerned the only reason I even used the damn Grimoire is because (points at him, his scowl strong) you nearly got yourself killed! Why the hell should I answer anything?!
Siegfried : (Rolls his eyes and turns his head) Tch… calm down for a second, will you?
Reiga : (Holds his head and sighs) Please, and again… technically...both of you--
Nex : (counters angrily) Shut up! No one asked your opinion.
Reiga : (Sighs thinking to himself) Why do I even bother with those two.
Siegfried: It was my choice to stay.
There’s no hint of shame to his words, only conviction while he dips his head.
Siegfried: I took the risk and I almost paid for it, but at the very least as much as it pains to say this… (pauses as he folds his arms and sighs)
To Nex's hot temper, Siegfried responds with a serious look; though grits his teeth to swallow his pride with his next words.
Siegfried: I have to thank you for releasing your grimoire; thanks to that the energy I absorbed, it allowed me to deal heavy damage to Zaezel.
Nex: Yeah doesn’t change the fact it was a-- (pauses hearing his words as a scowl returns to his expression) Wait...you absorbed that energy I got from the Soul Harvester?
Siegfried : Yeah, I did. Didn’t really have much choice in that matter… (Shakes his head as his eyes glance off to the side) As if I didn’t I probably would’ve died, (refocuses on Nex and brushes it off) but either way it worked in my favor.
Nex seems a bit offset the moment he hears that, and growls slightly, but keeps himself composed.
Nex : Tch. (Firms his stare ) Sieg, that energy is drawn from the Boundary from the source in…
Nex: (Hesitantly) A Gate… one made a long time ago. I’m surprised you even had the ability to access it.
Reiga: What exactly are you talking about here, Nex?
Nex: You know the corruption caused by Seithr? It’s linked to that, apparently… where desire in souls turns into power…
Siegfried: Desire turning into power huh? Sounds like my kind of place. So if I desire to beat you, it’d give me the power to do it?
Saying it with a bit of a smirk, his voice perks up. Nex, however, doesn’t find the thought amusing, glaring at him in a disapproving manner.
Nex: Don’t even say shit like that, you moron. You got only a taste of it, and you shouldn’t have even had that.
Siegfried: (Sighs, blowing out air as he turns away from Nex and shrugs outwardly) Here we go…
Nex: The source my Grimoire is connected to a power that’s better left alone, it can destroy the mind. Don’t you ever desire that kind of power, you hear me?
Reiga: Can one of you answer me instead of arguing?
Siegfried : What's done is done… nothing can change that. (Looks at Nex) That energy felt… dangerously alluring, yet nothing bad has happened from absorbing it.
Myri : (Offscreen as Reiga looks back over ) Is that why you... changed like that?
Nex goes silent for a moment as he moves and takes his sword from off against the wall, placing it away against the strap on the back of his black jacket.
Nex : That’s...somethin' different. That’s somethin’ I don’t understand either. (Looks at Siegfried) Drawing power from the Boundary is already dangerous enough as is, what that energy is can destroy you eventually. I don’t mean by death either. (Scowls strongly as he peers in warning)
Siegfried: I don’t really feel anything different, maybe you’re just overreacting as usual.
Nex looks at the shell on the back of his hand after hearing Siegfried.
Nex (To himself) I'm not overreacting. I have a source myself, my Grimoire. And, anyone with a damn brain could feel the dangers of absorbing energy like its own. (Outloud with a scowl) There are other sources of that energy...there has to be, wouldn’t you think? (looks at his hands)
Reiga: Other sources?
Nex: The grimoire isn’t the master source, it was made to become a source to tap into that power, to collect it alongside the Azure. (clenches them before he lowers them to his side) And those sources, no matter what the government might say-- are still around.
Reiga : Wonder if the appearance of Zaezel has anything to do with this. Explains why he was so damn strong if he’s drawing on destructive power like Nex… he might know something about those sources.
Nex: I’m pretty sure Zaezel is after one… Our power is different but drawn out from the same place. But, his mind and body are completely devoured by seithr and that energy.
Reiga: I have to stop him either way. (To himself) Although I already lost to him...
That thought made Siegfried nearly laugh, but he keeps it to himself and turns his attention elsewhere.
Siegfried : (To himself) Mr Prodigy defeating Zaezel... no way in hell that rookie will beat Nex or me to that.
Nex : (Walks back forward and frowns ) If you do happen to find what those sources are, don’t screw around with em.
Nex walks past him and goes toward the door, while Myri stands up and looks at him.
Myri : (looks at him in concern ) Hey, where are you going?
Nex : I don’t have a reason to stay here do I? I’m leaving for the branch and the restricted area soon, at the highest level. Zaezel’s going there as well anyway… and I’m not going to let him stand in my way.
Reiga : Just try not to kill everyone in the area next time… once we leave I’m--
Nex : (Glances at him and Reiga stops talking) If you want to get yourself killed by Zaezel go right ahead. You fight him you may die. You fight me... you will die. Take it as a warning.
Nex leaves through the sliding doors and Myri lets off a long sigh as she falls back into the chair.
Reiga : (Mutters as he stands up) I’m surrounded by such wonderful people…
Siegfried : (Folds his arms) Like you’re better company. It’s a wonder you’re still alive...
Hearing the Brigadier's needling comment, Reiga retorts with a shake of his head in objecting fashion.
' Reiga : You had to absorb that weird energy to do anything to Zaezel. I actually managed to damage him with my own power. (sighs as he looks away)
Reiga remembers the strike of his blade leaving a wound to Zaezel as the Azure Sin Subject grew furious with it.
Reiga: ...Though to be honest I have no idea how I did that, it just sort of happened to react.
Myri : You managed to harm Zaezel without relying on that energy?
Siegfried rolls his eyes at the conversation.
Siegfried : (To himself) Just luck. And all luck runs out, he’s green as ever still just relying on the power he doesn’t even understand. (Outloud as he speaks in condescending tone) Tch… Perhaps our Mr. Prodigy actually managed to use his own skills, but that’d be asking too much. The only reason you've probably managed to harm Zaezel is due to the fact you got him with a surprise attack.
Reiga : I survived...to me that’s all that matters. I’ll figure out how to better utilize my potential later…
Amiss all the chatter, a transmission begins to make its way to Siegfried’s attention, and Reiga gains an abrupt scowl hearing it.
Akuhei : (Transmission) Brigadier where the hell are you, you vanished off the map…
Siegfried : (To himself) Ugh… And now the second worst person I'd rather avoid.
Akuhei : You’re not going to die, are you?
His question brims with fake concern, making the blue-haired young man lower his head with a distasteful look grow across his face as his superior continues to speak.
Akuhei: I caught the tail end of that conflict with the terrorist Zaezel. And heard you fought Azure 0, how hard that must’ve been for you.
Siegfried : No sir, I’m not dead, although at this point… I’m not sure whether it’s hell or not.
Akuhei : (Transmission) Oh was it that bad?
A slight growl comes from Reiga as he overheard it and cuts into the conversation.
Reiga : Forgive me “sir” but if you were there why the hell didn’t you do anything?
Akuhei : Does this conversation concern you, Lieutenant? No, it doesn't.
Reiga: It does when you’re considered among the strongest in our ranks…and yet you did nothing. Even I know that you’re an ultimatum against Nex.
Akuhei: Daddy tell you that? Well shit, I don’t even care anymore…
Reiga: Well I do. And Nex freaked out about Akari, I want to know-
Akuhei: Oh for fuck's sake... how about you ask the Marshal, ya know, the one who built her!
His eyes squinting, Reiga turns away and goes quiet.
Akuhei: Now listen, Brigadier… whatever crap you’re tied up in with the Lieutenant drop it because I need to speak with you, and you alone.
Siegfried : ( Frowns shaking his head ) Alright then… I guess since you asked so “nicely” I'll drop everything I'm doing, just tell me where I'll be there shortly.
Akuhei sends the coordinates to the device and it makes a red dot on the spot near the branch, not within it, not in the restricted area, simply outside of it near a facility used for research and development in the area--A research sector, that had been closed off.
Akuhei : Very good. By the way, Lieutenant, get on with finishing Zaezel; he is wounded, after all, and we don’t need him getting into the Restricted Area.
Reiga : ...Yes Sir.. ( Closes his eyes ) By the way--
Akuhei : ( Sighs ) If you continue to pursue matters that don't your proud daddy will be the least of your problems. Understand? Excellent, now get to work Lieutenant.
With that, he kills the feed, and a frustrated Reiga sighs.
Reiga : Never answers anything.
Siegfried : Then you’re fool for expecting him to answer things, especially if you haven’t earned them, Lieutenant. Now then I must be on my way…
Reiga : Earned them? I doubt it has anything to do with that. He doesn’t like me, I mean considering what he said to me last time we talked.
Siegfried begins to leave, having no reason to stay here and his questions answered.
Myri : Siegfried? Doesn’t it bother you at all, that your superior is someone who is a person who took everything away from you?
Hearing her voice, the young man's steps on the tile stop but quickly continue. Myri frowns, but remains persistent and tries to explain once more.
Myri: Nex told me that after Imyo died… that they took you in their ranks. (lowers her head slightly) How can you manage to work with people like that? Aren’t you worried?
Reiga : The Brigadier, “worried”? Yeah no, he doesn’t care… trust me on that one. (Gets up and walks away, leaving to push open a door) You’re wasting your breath on that guy Myri.
Siegfried : “Worried” huh…? (Crosses his arms with a shrug) I don’t see why I should be... sure I do blame the NOS for everything that's happened to me, but...
Myri : But... what about things that you wanted to do? Before all this? (looks back up at him) I’ve learned all kinds of things outside of the government…to the point I’m staying with Nex willingly now... don’t you want to know what you might not know too?
Siegfried : No… I have no need of learning anything else other than what can be provided by the NOS. I had no other plans aside from what Nex is now doing, I thought I could too...but now... there isn’t a point in that. (Shrugs turning his head)
Myri : (She walks back up to him) But Imyo wanted you to fight them. (gets in front of him as he walks) but now, you’ve joined them and are even fighting Nex…(Shakes her head) I refuse to believe that this is what you wanted. So why?
Siegfried becomes a bit annoyed with it.
Siegfried : (To himself) The hell did Nex tell this girl? (Outloud in a discontented way) You’re annoying… (Frowns giving her an annoyed glare) Do you give Nex this much trouble?
Siegfired: Asking about things that have nothing to do with you, in case you haven’t noticed, Imyo is dead…(Myri looks down for a moment at his words) I don’t have to carry out his wishes anymore. (Bitterly) And despite being nothing more than a pawn on this grand chessboard we call life, nothing matters. So shut up and get out of my way, you eyesore!
Myri : (To herself) That glare… his voice was so cold…
Put into a bit of a stunned state, Myri lowers her head and Siegfried swings his arm through the air in aggression and moves right past her and through the doorway. As he disappears, Myri sits back on one of the chairs in the empty room with a sullen frown.
Myri : (To herself) Is it the Azure doing that…? Or something else… (Offscreen) ...Him and Nex…
A quiet Nex turns his head to notice Siegfried leave the building and he puts his arms over the railing.
Within the Liberated City KukunochiArea 00 -Sector 0 HQ-
Nicaiah: What a bunch of bullshit!
The angered commander yells and slams the report on the desk, ruffling the bangs of her mango-colored hair with a long sigh, and throwing her head back with a growl.
Nicaiah: How could they be concerned over Nex and Sylar at a time like this…no doubt that they’ve been talking to the Hierarch again-- those damn pricks. And putting Komyo in this much danger…
Slamming her hand down on the console in an act of frustration, a report is slung away. On the side of the report, there was a name, “Valetha”, and the request in large red letters- eliminate.
Nicaiah: This sure has become a mess… I admit Valetha is getting out of hand but…
An abrupt knock on the door causes her to poke her head up.
Nicaiah: Come in.
She gruffly replies, twisting her chair around to the metal doorway that has a couple lights flash by in a pattern until the two main sections pull away to open. There, in the entry standing to face Nicaiah is the mercenary beastkin, Bitoku.
Bitoku: Commander, is now a good time?
Nicaiah: I wouldn’t have let you in if it wasn’t. So?
Bitoku: It’s about what Valetha said…I’m honestly nervous to ask you this, but I…
Adjusting her position in her chair, her hands intertwine by the fingers and she leans in looking Bitoku’s direction.
Bitoku: (Takes a deep breath in) Valetha, she mentioned you knew about the causes and reasons surrounding Wadatsumi… do you?
Nicaiah: ...Yes. I do.
Bitoku: Can you please tell me? What was Mujihi there for that day? And why did my parents… why did Valetha kill them?
Nicaiah exhales a long sigh at her seemingly endless questions. There is no easy answer, and after the commander thinks over the reprucussions, she comes to a decision.
Nicaiah: It isn’t anything you want to know about.
Bitoku: But I do want to know, I wouldn’t have come in here if not!
Nicaiah: (firmly) No. Drop it.
Her tone is harsh as she quiets the beastkin, before leaning back into her chair and calming down.
Bitoku's face becomes wrought with a sulking sorrow, and the beastkin holds her head low, unable to reply. Staring at that look causes Nicaiah to tilt her head away and sigh once more.
Nicaiah: Pouting won't get you anywhere. I want you two to track down Valetha. Serza will be on another mission, so I'm entrusting this to you.
Bitoku: Trust me, (looks back up with a small glare) I’ve got no issues with beating down that skank. And if I do, I want to know what happened back then...no matter what it was.
Gripping her forehead with a prolonged groan, Nicaiah weighs the thought in her mind. A couple seconds pass until she answers the mercenary.
Nicaiah: ...Alright, fine. Getting this situation under control is pivotal to the higher ups, so just make it happen.
Hearing her answer, Bitoku's expression loosens once more and she breathes in relief. Soon two sets of paper with runes inscribed on it are passed to her by the grumbling commander; Bitoku's hand reaches out to pull them in to take the time to look it over.
Nicaiah: Give that one on the right to Serza.
Bitoku: Why are Sylar and Nex targets in this report...?
Nicaiah: Do you want the long version or the short?
Nicaiah: (rests her head in her hand) They want Nex because he’s got the Azure and they believe he’s tied to some outlandish idea he'll save the world; they want to have him purge the world of "evil" preventing souls from going back to their natural state and helping the world change. A (grimaces in irritation) certain higher up won’t shut up about it...be thankful you’re not involved in that.
Bitoku: Noted… it sounds a bit creepy. I knew Sylar was our enemy but any reason to why?
Nicaiah: Sylar... they’re targeting him because he’s waged war on us in the past, responsible for destroying several sectors and sabotaging projects, granted he got his ass handed to him when Sector 51 caught up to him... (bites her lip and shakes her head) and that man so despises us...and me. We used to have a better relationship, but...
Bitoku: Sylar did all that-? Oh wow...
Nicaiah: Doesn't matter... Sylar isn't your problem. By the way, I got your most recent report, but what saved you from getting killed by Zaezel...?
Bitoku: Oh, that? (Quickly comes to attention) It was nothing, just, luck...certainly nothing more than that.
She gives a nervous chuckle while scratching the back of her head, then quickly steps out the door heading toward the descending path, facing the commander all the way out the door. Nicaiah makes a confused expression, before shaking her head at a loss and returning to her business.
A fox beastkin's red ears twitch as he presses his back against the wall while looking over to the man sitting casually in a metal chair at a round table with his hat hiding his eyes.
Serza: Can feel your stare you know. It's quite a curious one.
Mujihi flinches with surprise when the man detects him, but his eyes dart away. As soon as it happens, a bit of a grin appears on Serza's face, lifting his head up slightly as he speaks in his mellow tone.
Serza: Do you need something?
Mujihi: No. Not so much need, but I have to ask...you were known as the Eye of Yamorochi in the NOS a long time back, right...?
Mujihi looks back to Serza, with a determined look on his face, despite the fact his pupils were small as they were when he felt a familiar presence.
Serza: I suppose that was my alias before I left, yes… (puts his hand out with his palm up as he looks his way) simply does wonder for the reputation.
Mujihi: Were you ever in... Akitsu?
Serza: (eyes glint before he blinks) I was likely there...at some point, I imagine. The SIA tends to move around everywhere in the world.
Mujihi: Well, do ya remember some kid talking about the view? To the point, he had to clarify that he wanted to ignore the wastelands?
Stepping a little closer, Mujihi felt like he is going nowhere with his questioning, fearing of hitting a dead end. That fear only increases when the jade eyes of Serza close closer into a squint of disinterest.
Serza: I’m sorry, where exactly are you going with this…? I didn’t sign up for twenty questions, and I must be going.
With those words, the chair is pushed aside by the green-eyed man's right hand while he stands up, adjusting his dark-gray uniform and starts a nonchalant pace to a right corridor.
He quickly puts his hand out, spreading his fingers and wiggling them in a desperation as he tries to gather his thoughts.
Mujihi: I’ll be quick then. Did you see me that day?
Suddenly, Serza slows his steps toward the hallway, turning his head to the younger male without any inattentiveness.
Seeing it as a signal to continue, Mujihi makes his words haste to get his point across.
Mujihi: ...Because looking at you, you look quite familiar to someone I met that day, and I feel something familiar with you.
Serza: … (coils his head and chuckles slightly) I think falling unconscious might of messed with your head a bit. Though, I guess your thought isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility…
The man admits, dropping his shoulders and tilting his head in mock surrender to entertain Mujihi's notion.
Mujihi: heh, you may be right, (rubs his head) I may be crazy...but (points his index finger out at him with his right hand) I’m determined.
Mujihi grins at Serza, as much as he tried to play an upbeat confidence, he was genuinely concerned with where Serza’s words lay. His hand returns to his side, while he awaits Serza's reply; his tail swishing side to side in apprehension. That lean man slips a smile once again, until turning around to give Mujihi his full attention, staring at his eyes directly.
Serza: I suppose you are.
He finally responds, and Mujihi releases his held in breath.
Serza: (Adjusts his hat with the tip of two fingers) I heard that Akitsu was the target of a NOS assault due to mercenary forces being in the area, among other things. Among them was your father... my condolences, by the way.
Mujihi: ...Thanks, Serza, that’s all I needed to know…..but this also confirms something else.
Mujihi: You said among them it was just my father. My mother and sister are possibly out there...you helped me in confirming my theory.
Closing his eyes in thought, Mujihi shakes his head once in affirmation.
Mujihi: I don’t hold your past actions against you either… it was all in the past, and I didn’t know who you were back then...I guess I could say it’s ironic. But I have no right to judge.
Mujihi ends his words as he looks out the nearby window, showcasing the lab areas, his ears twitching when something else comes to mind.
Mujihi: Still, to think it was you that day… that’s kind of crazy in hindsight… I mean, I couldn’t tell since you were younger. You were about our age, older a little maybe…?
Serza: Well during those years, the three were training me. Letting me handle an operation on my own. Unfortunately, that was during the time Ophius was taking its toll on my mind.
A younger Serza is seen with eyes that were deep red and slit in like a snake's as he stands in an SIA uniform alongside the three other men, Akuhei, Lukain, and fasado. Ophius, the emerald sword glistens in an eerie light.
Serza: (Sighs in a reluctant way) So my apologies that my test ended up getting Tekina killed.
Mujihi: You were trained by them? (Looks back at him with perplexion) Actually, that somehow makes sense… since Nex seemed a bit uneasy around you.
Serza: Nex and I have met many times...but he doesn't trust me. Due to Ophius.
The sound of approaching steps are heard, but Mujihi simply continues his conversation with Serza.
Mujihi: Well, still, if it really was your weapon turning you against us that day, then I can’t really… hold anything against you. (Scowls quickly) Still hate the three douche bags though.
Serza: You have your right to.
Mujihi: But hey, the fact I know some of the truth...(his expression lightens up) that kinda helps me out and eases some worry!
Bitoku sighs to herself as she taps on his shoulder, suddenly the leader realizes his partner is right behind him with a slightly displeased look in her eyes.
Bitoku: ...Mujihi. Stop ignoring me.
Mujihi quickly looks back at his companion who glares at him slightly, and he makes a sheepish grin in response. Taking the opportunity to end the conversation, the green-eyed LS member quietly begins to depart down the corridor; but again halts when Bitoku looks his way.
Bitoku: (Hands a paper to him) Nicaiah wanted to give this to you.
Serza: Ah... was just about to go speak with her.
Sticking the papers in his suit's inner pocket, he returns to his task heading toward a stairwell leading up through the base. Gradually, the sounds of his feet hitting the metal steps dull until they're barely audible.
Mujihi: So... (turns to face Bitoku) how’d that talk with Nicaiah go?
Bitoku: I’m pretty sure she was dodging the topic… but speaking of dodging, we dodged a bullet.
Mujihi: What bullet?
Bitoku: Almost let it slip that Sylar helped us out.
Mujihi: That... could have been bad, I'm assuming. (slightly uncertain) Isn't he technically LS' enemy?
Bitoku: Considering the guy waged a freaking war on them! And I thought you had problems with Sector 51's management, but Sylar might just have it out for them more.
Mujihi: Seems so... damn, but he honestly seemed harmless. But, maybe that's because we haven't upset him.
A thought occurs to him that causes a grimace to appear as the two begin walking side by side to another section in the building, people passing them by with carts holding lab supplies and containers.
Mujihi: ...Uhm, our mission doesn't involve him, right? Please say I'm right.
Bitoku: No... just Valetha. And I want to get it done so I can learn about Wadatsumi...
She walks ahead in a seemingly foul mood with heavy steps; Mujihi also squints in an almost pained way, sighing while he follows her toward the medical center.
Siegfried trudges along to the area he’d been requested to meet his superior. His mood soured by the conversations as the breeze whips his sapphire hair in its cool gusts. The touch of the night creeps along the horizon and the main city levels are behind him.
The area wasn’t that far out of his way, and the man makes a certain hasty pace to it with his tattered cape being tossed in the blustery winds while the bottom of his boots hit the rocky faces of the earth.
Within a few paces around the remains of the area, Siegfried has thoughts on the energy he’d absorbed.
Siegfried: (To himself) I used that energy, for my own purposes and I survived it. I was stronger than anyone ever gave me credit for, time and time again I prove that I'm stronger than most. (Scowls) Even Nex can't deny it now.
???: My, that's such a serious look on your face right now.
Upon hearing the mocking voice needle him, Siegfried picks up his head and looks around is surroundings a couple times.
Akuhei: Deep in your own thoughts, as usual, Brigadier General Schtauffen?
The shadowed figure suddenly comes to right up to his sight. Spotting him as the General stands back against the metal face of the entrance to the facility that's directly in front of him. The uniform he wore is struck by the breeze, its emerald and serpentine designs on the ends seem to shimmer with a presence as ominous as his own.
Akuhei : I was getting quite bored… Hmm…?
Siegfried soon feels the heavy stare of the man boring into him, the faintest sight of his serpentine irises are caught and seem to peer at him. Soon it becomes uncomforting, forcing the blue-haired official to speak up in an unsettled manner.
Siegfried: (Squinting at him with a frown of irritation) ...Sir?
Akuhei: Ah. Right...
There's a smile on his face, to which the Brigadier quickly sighs and bluntly directs a questioning stare.
Siegfried: What is it you called me here for?
The grin along Akuhei's face lowers only slightly when the words hit his ears.
Akuhei: (Steps ahead and looks at him tilting his head up slightly) You absorbed that energy, didn’t you?
Siegfried : (Frowns in disdainful mannerism) Does that really matter at this point…?
Akuhei: That’s bad Brigadier…(from the corner of his mouth as it twists into a grin again) not good for a symbol of our world order to be utilizing and harnessing the destructive natures of the Boundary. It can twist a mind...
Siegfried: Without that, I would’ve died.
He counters in a quick growl.
Siegfried: As much as I hated to rely on such powers… There weren't any other options at that moment.
Akuhei : Oh, of course, there weren't. (shrugs with his palms to the air with a shrewd chuckle) I don’t really care. Hell, it made you stronger didn’t it?
Siegfried: (Folds his arms and ignores the question) That wasn’t why you called me here.
Akuhei: (Lowers his hands, and then smiles slightly in a dark intent) No, it wasn't.
His smiles...always having that twist to the corners of his face, they were never a good sign-- Siegfried thinks while biting his tongue. Maintaining his composure, he questions his superiors true intent to calling him here.
Siegfried: What was it really that you wanted?
Akuhei: You failed to complete your mission. Komyo and Nex run free as a result of your incompetence—And this is what you get for that…
That slight grin widens as Akuhei moves his hand through the air as though sweeping it.
Siegfried's eyes follow Akuhei's hand motion, but it wasn't the place to pay attention to-- from behind a void opens and Leviathan strikes Siegfried. All that could be seen is the shadow of its blade-like fangs as they snap down with an unsettling crunch against his flesh just next to his throat and into his back.
Siegfried : Grah!
Stumbling forward, his head whips down while giving a groan.
Siegfried : (Moves his hand to the wound as his teeth grind) Tch… you bastard…
Cocking his head to the right, Akuhei chuckles in a conceitful way, before he takes casual steps toward the Brigadier and stops by the slouching younger male's shoulder. Lifting his gaze with his right hand, the General squints but maintains that grin while speaking in both disdain and amusement.
Akuhei: Don't give me that look, you little shit...
The smile twists up the corners of his face, making Siegfried grunt in disapproval.
Akuhei : You’re the one who screwed up, not me.
Scowling while his head is shoved to the side by Akuhei's palm, Siegfried quietly looks back to the man and straightens out begrudgingly.
Akuhei: Disciplinary measures aside...don't screw up again. Komyo is to be caught, preferably before she gets to Nex.
Siegfried: What's so important about that woman?
Akuhei: It's just easier to deal with a potential problem beore it can become one. Not only that... I heard that they might use her as a way to sway Nex to their side. The Sector being so desperate to get the Azure to use against us wants to make our biggest threat their ally...
He begins to walk away, turning from the man once more while Leviathan slips back into a suspended emerald crest and disappears into shadowy green hazes.
Akuhei: Don't let her timidness fool you, she does stand against our government's ideology, you know. (Looks back to him) One day that could become a problem. Just like to them, our Prodigy could one day become a problem.
Siegfried: Nex won't listen... he despises both governments.
Akuhei: Whether he does or doesn't...
Words trailing off, Akuhei points his head to the building behind them which is surrounded by caution signs.
Akuhei: You see this building here?
Still in pain, the Brigadier puts his eyes where Akuhei's hand leads him to look.
Akuhei: It's an old research facility that was in use during the Third War where people were studying the Seithr Phenomena with an old system we no longer use. Some of our members will be gathering some data on the replicated Gate's system here, among other things. Your job is to make sure that it all goes smoothly.
Siegfried: Which means...
Akuhei: Guard it, Brigadier. Anhilate everything that comes here until buisness is completed.
Siegfried: Annihilate, huh...
Akuhei: Yes, “Annihilate”. (Begins gesturing with his hand in various waving motions) Destroy. End. Kill. (leans in with a pressuring smile) Let those flames in your soul just run absolutely wild! Punish every last one who dares to threaten your objective.
Siegfried keeps his stony expression while Akuhei straightens back out.
Akuhei: That seems to be what you do best in terms of your history. An objective shows up, you take advantage of it. Simple enough to understand?
Siegfried: (Crosses his arms in thought) Hmph...as much as I dislike you, that's finally a plan I can get behind.
Akuhei : Now, now, I wouldn’t ask this of you if I wasn’t certain you’d be able to handle it. So I’m going to give you a taste of what we know to give you a bit of a buffer…( looks at him, narrowing his eyes) You want your “Power of Azure” to really shine?
Siegfried: (Raises an eyebrow) My “power of azure” to really shine…? What’re you talking about, isn’t my Azure the same as it was before…?
Akuhei: You don’t understand do you… (walks back up to him and glances at the sword with interest glimmering in his irises) the Azure’s power you draw on is determined by how strong your desires for it are. That’s how some people survive as possibilities while they’re within the Boundary, or live through the process of drawing on that power to make their chance stronger...(grins) and why others don’t.
Siegfried merely listens to the words of his superior with a hardened expression.
Akuhei: (Paces in front of him while not removing his piercing stare) You’re not weak by any means are you Brigadier?
Siegfried: Tch. (Scowls, shaking his head in annoyance) I'm not weak.
Akuhei: (Tilts his head up with a satisfied grin) Exactly. You overcame the ordeals of the Boundary once already.
Surprise blankets his expression only briefly before Siegfried scrunches his brow in suspicion while his superior chuckles at his expense.
Akuhei: Wondering how I know that, aren't you? Well, I am in the SIA. But your eyes tell me you're not going to buy that. (Pockets his hands and closes his eyes) We've known that before you even came to the NOS... but I suppose that isn't my place to explain.
He then points to the building one more time.
Akuhei: On the topic of your Azure, though...go in there sometime and take a peak. That place is pretty old, who knows what you might stumble on. You've got my permission to go in.
Siegfried: Coming from you, I don't know if that makes me want to or not.
Akuhei: (Shrugs one shoulder) Your choice, kiddo.
Siegfried: (Unsheathes his sword as he fixes his stance) Well, if that's all… I suppose I'd best get to work, I'd rather rely on my own skills... Unlike the Lieutenant I don’t have to rely on dumb luck or surprise attacks, no one and I mean no one is getting past me.
Akuhei: So be it, the higher ups are counting on you.
His steps draw away from Siegfried, transitioning from the manmade metallic ground to the rocky path.
Akuhei: Now, I have some matters of my own to see through... Enjoy yourself now.
Making a mock wave to the Brigadier, Akuhei begins walking back toward the city, leaving a contemplating Siegfried behind at the facility. Curious, he gazes over his shoulder, tilting his head up to look at the massive door with crests inscribed on it along with magic runes. Giving a huff, he stabs his blade to the earth and waits quietly as darkness blankets the courtyard.
Legna: (Offscreen) My, what a loathsome man... that child he spoke with has no idea.
A refined voice speaks, holding her eyes partly shut while looking on to the vision of Akuhei moving toward the city.
Legna: There is little that can be done about his situation…
A solemn tone hangs in her words, but she turns away and looks out to the skyline.
Legna: And yet, Nex continues to try and keep his word to help that boy… still, something more important is to be done now that matters are moving ahead.
In her hand is a small statue that she moves her fingers across, the clay object in the shape of a feline can be seen in her right palm. There's a single blustering gust, and Legna disappears.
Where she appears is what looks to be an area occupied by rubble. She takes dainty steps through a growing field, which has become overgrowth over the remains of a modest little building. But the Seithr doesn’t penetrate the air, almost as though something prevents it.
Legna: It took me this long to gain enough strength to finally come back here. Now that the NOS is no longer focused on this spot, but Kagutsuchi and that beast Zaezel…
She has a somber smile cross her expression and closes her eyes. Lifting her head, the vampire begins speaking to the air as though someone could hear her, and amusement flutters in her delicate voice.
Legna: You’ve been anchoring yourself here… you stubborn man.
A ball of energy appears nearby the wreckage, and a voice answers.
???: You know full well I don’t have a choice in the matter, after all, Rachel would have killed me if I left you to deal with this alone.
Legna: Implying I can’t handle matters on my own are we? Perhaps I should just let you stay here rather than give you another chance?
Her lips twist into a smile, the vampire saying it half teasingly while turning her head up and looking away while folding her arms. She then fixates her eyes on the orb that comes winding back to her sight.
Legna: In truth, I am glad you’ve survived… at least in some measure. Although it looks like you’ve been shattered heavily...
???: After I made a fool of the snake how could he leave me be? My being a target for the NOS was just an excuse for him, and it’s because this is bigger than all of us, not because you're not capable.
Legna: Perhaps… there is no point in lamenting over past mistakes. Ones like us can’t speak of it now much, either way. This world is paranoid of its demons buried away coming back to haunt it. You’ve joined what it believes are threats.
Legna’s eyes close slightly, but there's an uncharacteristically nervous pause in her tone while she directs a question to the light orb.
Legna: But thankfully… I don’t sense malice in your soul against this world. I am correct, right?
???: No, I’ve fought for this world for so long; no matter what they’ve thought of me it would take a lot more than death to change my mind now.
The resolve in the being's voice puts the vampire's worries at ease.
Legna: Good. That trait is such a rarity in a soul now… but I do know of others, just very few with the people in this world becoming more inclined to just simply give up.
???: I figured I'd be dragged back into this again, it was just a matter of when.
She sighs, closing her eyes in heavy thought, resting her hand on her cheekbone.
Legna: The NOS’ desire must be dealt with, and an evil as maleficent as despair will emerge and devour everything if action is not taken to change things.
Legna looks as the spirit takes shape of a cat beastkin, whose eyes flinch when he hears her words about that “evil”. The vampire continues to speak, walking through the grass and the remains of the house.
Legna: Yes… I am afraid that 'possibility' is still rearing its head through those “patches” on the Boundary; people are still seeking its power, desiring it… as idiotic as mankind may be, and in this world, where there is no connection to "gods" and only mankind's arrogance, I can not simply allow them to delve into their despair. (Lowers her head, letting out a sigh) As their struggle would affect the Azure…
A little giggle escapes her lips, the vampire amusing herself with the thought about her own words.
Legna: Hm hm… perhaps that makes me a bit manipulative. Interfering with humanity, or maybe I’m becoming more attune to this cursed role.
???: You're merely going into the role your mother and the rest of us intended for you, you’ll need that little bit of cunning if we get more involved again.
The light chases after her, floating around while the two continue to converse.
Legna: Hm… yes, my only wish is to succeed this time. And so, I saw it necessary to bring you back in our game… even if your mind certainly has been ripped into by that infernal weapon.
???: Must be pretty important if you're dragging an old soul like me into it. (Remorsefully) Although, I must admit he did quite a number on me.
Legna: Oh yes. But, I will not require you to remember everything right away, instead, I need you to help me with two individuals.
Her delicate steps suddenly stop, while golden bristles of her hair sway in the breeze. Swaying her head to look over her shoulder, Legna notices the puzzled look on the spirit; in response, her own gaze becomes grim.
???: Ah... it feels like I should know who you’re talking about but I just can’t reach it, the snake was more thorough than I had hoped in tearing out my mind...
Legna: The man who holds the Azure Grimoire, Nex. The other has yet to learn her role that this world has for her...I suppose you could call her part of this World's Desire, the desire mankind made...
???: A wildcard in this whole thing eh, as for Nex I’m … worried, Imyo’s death may have been the last straw for him, are you sure it’s possible to pull him back?
Legna: The man has been met with despair time and time again, even after Imyo’s death he dealt with situations most unpleasant. But he has yet to give in... I think that alone is sign enough to try.
Letting her bright eyes close completely, the vampire clears her thoughts to envision the man in question.
Nex stands with his back turned while looking away, one side of his body consumed by the Grimoire and covered in physically present constructs growing over his arm while a small blue light struggles to survive in his body. All around him, are beasts that grow from the darkness surrounding him and a red energy sits underneath his feet while there’s blue far above him.
Legna: It is not just in his hands, this time. It is up to the world to take a chance with him, to let things move ahead, instead of allowing the fear of the future and memories of a bleak past to control the world’s desire. That girl… is a vital part of that chance for not only him but many other souls.
Sighing when she breaks her concentration, the golden-eyed girl dips her head.
Legna: If the world takes a chance with him… perhaps he and others will learn to forgive it.
???: Someone who has been through as much as Nex does not change easily, though, I should wait to see for myself how bad everything is before I should say anything too bitter.
Legna: Although he is partly consumed, he mustn’t rely on the power within the Azure Grimoire to grant him his own strength. It is not something I wish to witness again… the desires of this world will consume him and others torturously.
The Observer grimaces a bit at the thoughts, but quietly calms down.
Legna: No matter your reservations to him, he has to overcome the world’s endless desires, but he won’t succeed unless helped.
???: We can’t force him to change though, or else we may just push him farther down the path, plus if he learns ….
His words seem to trail off as his ears lower, hesitating to say his thoughts.
???: ...At least thanks to our past efforts his memories won’t be a problem.
Legna: That is true enough… ever since that time he's had no issues with those memories. The only episodes the Grimoire had were those caused by individuals tampering with it, and even then no one reached it. (Closes her eyes) I only hope that continues.
???: Considering all the effort we’ve put into securing it I should hope not, and if the Grimoire ever does manage to reach him it may be impossible for us to bring him back so I'll be sure to check everything is secure once we meet up with him.
Legna: Yes, just be prepared. He won’t recall you, he won’t understand, and he is likely to reject the situation.
???: ... I’m used to not being remembered, I will do what I must as I have alway done. After all, I can’t let everyone’s sacrifices be in vain.
Legna: (Smiles, facing away from him once more) That will have to do, then, as I’ll be relying on you a bit longer. Shall we be going?
???: (Smiles) Of course kiddo, looks like it’s your turn now to bring me back into the world, isn’t fate funny sometimes.
Legna gives an acknowledging nod, then concentrates while releasing a gust around the two as a golden glyph opens up; the girl spreads her hands and the two vanish into the portal.
A quiet Reiga lies on his back along the face of one of the down beds, his right hand straight above reaching to the ceiling while his opposite arm is curling behind his head picking it up to a resting position.
Reiga: Time to really get focused… have to make the others in the Council proud, most of all my father. I just hope I can live up to their expectations.
The light-blue hue light vanishes from his hand as he lets off a quick sigh in a somber acceptance.
Reiga: (Sits up as he places his hand down on the bed) Probably has only been luck that I’ve gotten this far…
He recalls his blade’s edge translucent slicing through the body of Zaezel.
Reiga: (Blinks thinking to himself) I have to think that I can stop that guy, but my Azure is just a replica given by the NOS. So how is it that it did so much?
He pictures it in his mind, piecing the memory together back at their old home while he was still in classes.
Reiga: Um, hey, Dad?
The white door to an office cracks open part-way and a younger Reiga peaks his head in through the slit. At the desk with his back to the boy is an older man with similar red hair, he looks out through a single-pane and large window in the room. Upon hearing the boy's voice, his head turns to the right and over his shoulder.
Yyntal: Oh, hello, Reiga. Something on your mind?
Reiga: Yeah... you said you wanted to talk.
He quietly peeps and steps toward his dad with a hesitant pace.
Yyntal: I do. I heard about what happened in your class today from the Marshal directly.
Reiga: (frowns and coils his head) Are you mad...?
Yyntal: (Shakes his head) No.
The man faces his son and closes the gap between the two with a couple long steps.
Yyntal: I want you to show me before I talk to you about it. Can you do that?
Another sigh passes the boy's lips, eyes clouded with doubt. He finally nods at Yyntal, placing his right hand out and flipping it over, uncurling his fingers to allow his palm to be seen. Within it, a wispy greenish-blue light is seen hovering about, casting a light on the two's faces.
Yyntal: So it appeared...your power with the Azure.
Reiga: What is it? Is it bad?
Yyntal: No, no...it isn't bad.
His words reassure Reiga, but a consuming confusion still plagues his gaze.
Yyntal: It just is the beginning of your responsibility of upholding the value in our bloodline. One in our legacy...this power has been used in the NOS to protect our world. It's a great honor, and they chose you to hold it.
He puts his hand on his son's shoulder, causing Reiga to pick his head up and look at his Dad.
Yyntal: And with a person who has a pure heart and desire, it can do incredible things.
Reiga: Oh right. I heard that from Marina. Never place your desire on the Azure… lest you invite… something that shall create the world’s destruction… I think. Something like that…
Yyntal: “Never place your desire on the Azure, lest you invite the seeds of corruption that shall create the instruments to the world’s destruction.”
Reiga: Oh, right...
Yyntal: Reiga... remember never to tarnish this gift, or the responsibilities, the values we hold with it.
There's a sternness to his voice, while Reiga stares at his dad.
(Back to present)
Amiss all his thoughts comes a slightly painful sensation as he feels something crash into him from behind.
That joyous voice is all he hears as the girl presses his body forward onto the soft bed with a childish laugh as she holds his white coat with a friendly touch.
Akari: (looks at him with a cheerful smile as she holds onto his coat fondly) I’m awake now, Reiga! Akari is ready for action!
Reiga: Wha-! (Closes his eyes as he coughs and lifts his head with Akari glued to his back) A-Akari?
Akari tilts her head in a confused manner as Reiga mumbles.
Reiga: You know I’m still really sore… if you could be just a bit more careful, that’d be great…
Akari: Oh, sorry… (Sits back up from him and smiles) Hey, did everyone leave?
Reiga: Yeah, they headed out. (rubs his head as he pushes himself back up) Thanks by the way, for staying in the room. I didn’t want Nex freaking out when he saw you again… (murmurs) god knows where that would have gone…
Akari: (Frowns and shakes her head) I don’t understand it… it only happens sometimes. But don’t worry about it, (grins, at ease with it) I’m okay when I’m around you.
Reiga: (Smiles as he sighs and sits over the bed’s edge and looks at his hand) Well that’s a good thing… still should probably get that looked into.
Akari peeks over, looking at Reiga's hand and the faint glow of blue becomes noticeable once again.
Akari: Is something strange?
Reiga: Huh? Nah...just thinking about this power, I want to tap into it so I can succeed in my battle with Zaezel.
Akari: Um… I think it has to do with your soul? (Tilts her head as she thinks about it) The Marshal said you had an interesting soul… I’d talk to him about it.
Reiga: (to himself) My soul huh...
???: Beast of Sin, Nex Azure 0!
Nex's eyes open in slight annoyance as he hears his name, the man raises his hand to the side of his head, tilting his temple against his palm and sighs.
Nex: Who is it this time...? (Looks down from the railing with a look of disinterest)
A women of light violet hair and a decorated uniform stands below him, her eyes staring at the rebel on the metal balcony, squinting toward him with an intense dislike.
Mysteria: You might have stopped Zaezel briefly and defended us from Seithr Beings, (shakes her head as she gestures out with her spear) but I refuse to believe that you're still any kind of good in this world. (Closes her eyes with a frown) What my eyes saw in you... can not be changed.
Nex: Ugh... (rolls his eyes and sighs) Yeah fine, whatever. I recall tellin' you not to look in my eyes when my power is unstable but you didn't listen.
Mysteria: (Opens them with conviction) I've now acknowledged you as the darkness that exists at the core of your blackened, sinful soul.
Nex: (Messes with his collar as he listens with a defiant look as he straightens his stance) Did you come to bore me with a bunch of shit I've heard a million times? What do you want—to fight me? To "Slay and catch the monster"? (Sardonically as he scowls) I'd rather not kill anyone, I'm not in the mood...and I don't devour you stubbornly righteous types.
Mysteria: Wicked Demon. You follow the wrong cause, you use the Azure to threaten our world... when it is meant to be used to help our world into peace.
Nex: Actually the Azure isn't meant to be known by the majority of the world... you all just decided what it 'should' be used for.
Mysteria: The Grimoire corrupts you, compels you to go against our world.
Nex: The Grimoire is evil, and you're a slave to the government and their ideal desires, what else is new.
Mysteria: You will not threaten what I hold dear in this world, I saw what you tried to do to harm them. No... I saw what you will do. I won't let it happen.
Her sudden increase in tone prompts the rebel to direct a glare at her. There's a tense silence between the two, but Nex hears the sliding doors on the lower levels open, breaking his thought.
The one who walks through the doorway is Myri, her eyes widen when she spots the events. Her sapphire-colored hair is tossed by the wind as she quickly comes out in the open in a small jog.
Myri: Mysteria, Nex?
In that moment, the tension loosens.
Gruffly, Nex gives off a sigh as he leans against the wall behind him, and gradually he lets go of his sword. Mysteria gives another look to him before she puts her own weapon away with a quick and graceful twirl.
Myri: Is something wrong? She nervously asks, looking at the two.
Mysteria: (pulls her hair back and then shakes her head) Nothing, I just was speaking to that man, but he did nothing but growl. (Sighs) I still don't understand why you'd go with him.
Myri: It's a personal choice Mysteria...
Mysteria: I'll respect that for the time being.
Saying it in acceptance with a small sigh, Mysteria voices a new question.
Mysteria: Is Reiga still here?
Myri: (Nods) Reiga is okay, he's with Akari in one of the back rooms.
Mysteria: (Smiles as she hears it) Oh, thank goodness.
Mystria (cont.): (Voice Only) Please be cautious around that man Myri, and anytime you feel you need to get away from him, just let me know.
The comment causes Nex to roll his eyes.
She walks by Myri to head through the doors, and Myri's eyes close with slight concern.