Prologue: The Dark Web

The Dark Web

 

 

 

Deep in the bowls of the internet, buried under millions upon millions of pages from search engines, there was a link to a page that any who would find it would consider it a conspiracy theory or just pure fantasy. After all, would anyone believe that any of this were true?

But… heh, they were real. No one just believed it. They have no reason to. It is fake as far as they know.

What am I talking about, you ask? Well… the page is home to dozens of claims and blueprints, but we’ll focus on a few of them. One was for a mech of considerable size and power, with it’s cockpit rested in a hall in the center of the machine.

The second was a claim, that there were aliens visiting Earth long before the Hesk arrived. They have been mistaken for mythical beasts that became part of mythologies. Among one of them was a certain race of foxy humanoids.

The last was another blueprint, this one of a weapon of mass destruction. Shaped like a playing card diamond, the weapon only had one thing written on it.

Total Annihilation.

And in the corner were the symbols of two nasty organizations: The Murasakiiro no Shi and the Mosurum Obsicors.

 

A yellow surge of data appeared in the center of the web page and slowly grew in size and shape. It unfurled like a butterfly emerging from it’s cocoon, taking on the shape of a yellow mantis with more armaments then a battleship.

The head of the mantis twitched as it activated. It looked towards the screen and hissed, data dripping out of it like slobber. It roared loudly, lunging at whoever was looking.

2: Intro
Intro

Begin Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MO60ahwc8FI Crossing Field (English version by LeeandLie) – Sword Art Online OST

 

 

0:00.

            Computer coding of 0’s and 1’s floated down from above. They reached the middle, forming a word in binary coding. A flash came from behind, and the binary coding changed into the word;

 

 

 

eTu’nes.

 

0:11.

            Fui, dressed in her white and blue school outfit, walked by herself with schoolbooks in her arms while the rain fell around her in her grey world. Her ears were drooped and her eyes were filled with tears. She closed them and tears fell, mixing with the rain.

 

            En floated his way through the electric currents of the world wide web, making his ways to parts unknown. Behind him were other A.I.’s of various avatars and programming, also coursed along the currents.

 

            The two of them stood back to back to each other in a dark void as the grey world around them washed away in the rain, leaving them in a black, wet void.

            They turned around and looked at each other as a light shown down from above.

            Fui raised her right hand and En his left paw. They touched the other. Their bodies phased though each other, igniting a spark between them.

 

0:46.

            En came apart like a dismantled suit of armor. The parts shot towards Fui, who was floating in a intense rainbow void with sparkles floating around. The parts attached to her body, forming purple armor with a golden trim.

 

The armor was sleek, snug, and aerodynamic and barely showed off Fui’s body. In fact, the armor was hiding the face that she was a girl at all, except for the lower torso area; that was still hourglass shaped.

            There were indents in the inner thighs to increase speed. There were little ‘wings’, similar to Hermes’ except built into her armor and not sticking out, on her shins and her thighs. They were curved back. There was a strange-shaped gem on her chest with a gold trim around it. The shoulder guards were pointed upward and shaped like curved shields, with a gold emblem right in the middle. There were little wings on the side of her abdomen, again curved backwards.

            There were breaks in the armor, allowing the joints to move. These were the neck, the area where the arms connect to the torso, same with the leg. The knees and elbows, however, didn’t get that. Instead, there were stylish knee and elbow guards on the outside, while the inside had the exposed under armor.

            The helmet completely covered her head, with a huge silver visor over her face. Her ears were covered by the armor, making it look like she has horns. Her hair and tail stuck out, but they were colored black, not golden-blonde. A golden crown was on the forehead, which extended back. Between that was a small blue gem embedded into the top of the helmet. There was another crown, except this one was split in two and on both sides of the head. 4 small indents were built under the crown to allow less wind resistance. There was a golden neck guard covering the nape.

 

With the armor completely covering her, eTu’nes spun around a few times like a ballerina before striking a epic pose. Big green eyes shown out of the visor, creating a light that blinding the area.

 

1:17.

            The two of them fell out of the sky towards Neo Tokyo, the shining metropolis of Japan. Beneath the raised waters was the old Tokyo.

 

            Lyric, in a school uniform, turned around and smiled brightly as she waved both arms over her head. She laughed as she ran over.

 

            Sezawa, and his lieutenant Hesemara, drove down a highway dangling underneath Neo Tokyo. The lights blared as it chased down a fleeing suspect.

 

            Imita leaned on the counter of her bakery, smiling as she gave a gentle wave.

 

            Playing a tense game of soccer, Alkaid moved around a opposing team member and kicked the ball right into the net. He thrust his fist down in a cheer.

 

            Elis, in a school uniform, leaned on the side of the school fence with a piece of grain sticking out of her mouth. She felt someone watching her and looked. She snickered, took out the grain, and gave a two fingered wave.

 

            Igamura leaned on his rifle and moved the kitty’s paws, making it wave at passersby.

 

            Kiryu and his gang walked down the alleyway in downtown Shibuya. He had a pipe in his right hand and a scary look on his face.

 

Playing a intense game, Kristen physically moved her body along with her duelpad controller, even though that won’t help her PC battle better. She won the match, causing her to cheer.

 

            Holo floated in the main computer of the Hesk Enclave. Around him were dozens upon dozens of technical lights, showcasing every technical detail and standpoint of the city.

 

            Fui lowered her head and held her hand over her heart as spirit portraits of her friends and family flickered beside her. She closed her hand into a fist and snickered as she looked up, opening her eyes.

 

1:59.

            In the middle of a city intersection, eTu’nes swung her fists around rapidly, taking out Yakuza thugs in rapid succession.

The bad guys fired guns at her and came at her with bats, pipes, knifes, and brass knuckles. eTu’nes moved at inhuman speeds, taking them out quickly.

With a flick of her wrists, her hands clanked around, forming into a clawed handle. A concentrated laser blade came out. She crossed them in a X before going to town on the thugs.           She dodged the lasers with ease as she cut though the bats and pipes like they were nothing. She sliced though the thugs, but they weren’t dead. They were stunned into unconsciousness.

She slashed left and right, cutting everything around her. She sliced though a entire truck, cutting it in half. She grabbed one of the halves and tossed it into another truck, sending it onto it’s side.

She flipped up and gave a nasty roundhouse kick to a thug’s face, knocking out all his teeth.

A thug aimed a RPG at her and fired. She flipped over it and swung her swords to destroy it.

She landed and leaped off a thug’s shoulders up into the air. With another flick of the wrists, the swords changed into rectangular guns with scopes and a blocky magazine on the bottom. She spun around like a ballerina, firing in all directions, taking out bad guys left and right.

 

2:32.

            Deep in a dark meeting room, lit only by candlelight, the leader of the Yakuza sat alone in the shadows. He snapped his eyes open, revealing yellow eyes, slited like a animals. At rapid speeds, the candles were extinguished, leaving only the eyes.

 

            In deep space, the gargantuan spaceship belonging to En’s creators slowly made it’s way towards earth, passing over the rings of Saturn. The captain of the ship, also in shadow, peered out the view screen at the stars and towards the slowly approaching blue marble.

 

            In a robot factory outside of the city, a fresh bot just off the production line stood idle. It’s eyes began to glow. A outline appeared around it’s endoskeleton, a outline similar to eTu’nes.

 

            Standing atop the Tokyo Skyfree in the middle of the night, a lone figure in a teal-colored cloak looked out at the lit city.

 

3:00.

            Fui sank into the deep black darkness of nothingness. The armor stripped away, showing her bloodied and beaten. With no strength, she sank to let oblivion take her.

            En’s paw wrapped around her hand. Two small hands joined his, grabbing Fui’s hand as well. Light shown out, turning everything white.

 

3:13.

            eTu’nes bounded out of the white light and towards her foes. Not losing any momentum, she took care of them all.

            A 30 foot tall Mecha armed to the teeth swung a giant fist at her. She ducked underneath it and cut up, slicing off the fist. She spun around, delivering a nasty chop to its back, sending it crashing into the ground.

            A human-sized mosquito-like alien attacked her with laser guns in each arm. She zipped left and right, dodging htem all before jumping up. She sliced though the wings and jumped of it’s head.

            She landed on the head of a frilled salamander-like alien and jumped off that as well. She turned around and fired into its back. The salamander swung around with a giant hammer. eTu’nes blocked it, pushing her back.

            She spun around and kicked into the face of a alligator-shark hybrid alien. It pulled out a couple of giant hammers and swung at her. She flipped over them, cut off the heads, and swung one into the face of the alligator, and another towards the salamander.

            She rolled on the ground and blocked an attack from the robot, which had taken on a skin like eTu’nes, only black. The real one pushed the robot back, flipped over it, and kicked it in the head. The robot spun around and fired its own guns at her. She blocked it, sending her flying backwards.

            eTu’nes skidded to a halt on top of the bakery. She sensed a powerful and looked up.

            The cloaked figure stared down at her from Tokyo Tower, it’s cape moving in the wind. In it’s right hand was a double-ended scythe.

            The two of them stared each other down for what felt like an eternity.

            eTu’nes flicked her wrists, summoning her swords.

            The figure spun it’s double-ended scythe once.

            The two of them leaped at each other, getting at the other instantly. Both the figure and eTu’nes swung their weapons. They hit, causing a shockwave that spread for miles.

 

3:45.

            Fui sat by herself atop the visitor’s center of Tokyo Tower. Her legs dangled over the side as she leaned back on her hands, looking out at the sunset that illuminated the countryside in a golden glow.

            En approached her from behind and sat on her left. Fui chuckled and scratched his head.

            Lyric and Elis sat down on her right side. Lyric wrapped her arm around Fui’s neck, getting in close.

            Kiryu leaned on the steel girter while his gang just stood behind the girls.

            Imita daintily sat down beside En while Sezawa, Hesemara, and Igamura stood beside the gang. Sezawa had his arms crossed while Hesemara and Igamura had their hands behind their heads.

            Holo hovered beside them, floating in his little water bubble.

            Alkaid and Kristen sat down beside Elis and let their legs dangle.

            Fui looked around at her friends and family and smiled, feeling their warmth and support. She and En looked at each other and both of them snickered. They shared a fist bump with each other before looking out at the sunset with everyone else.

3: Chapter 1 For those not here; catching up the ones gone
Chapter 1 For those not here; catching up the ones gone

Chapter 1

For those not here; catching up the ones gone

5/30/2175 A.D.- 5/30/150 A.H.E.

 

 

 

             

            “Finally…. This took forever…”

            Putting the last of his trophies on a shelf, Alkaid tossed his last moving box into the closet of his new room and dusted off his hands. He had just now finished up since he had to finish up some things with the new school, such as finishing up forms and getting things set up with the coach.

            He had moved to Kyoto to live with his older sister for the next few months while their parents got a divorce. They’ve been fighting for weeks on end, and just recently, things had turned violent, so he left early to avoid getting caught in the middle and ending up with a cut cheek or a broken wrist.

            His older sister was a Judo instructor and lived in a dojo on the outskirts of the city near the forests with her son Itsuki. His room was traditionally Japanese, complete with hardwood floors and sliding doors. She had mattresses put in, but all the fixin’s were still in the closets.

“You finished in there, Alkaid?” His sister called from the other room.

“Yeah, I finished up, Kuroki.”

“Good to hear. Lunch is almost done, so if you don’t want Itsuki to get all of it.”

His phone on the nearby table began ringing. “I’ll be there in a minute.” He picked it up and saw that it was Emiko calling. He answered and walked out the room, entering a hallway of paper-thin walls, literally, and more hard wood floors. The entire place was built around this concept. “There you are, Emi. I was wondering how long I was gonna go without a phone call.”

“{Hi, Alkaid. It’s nice to hear you too. Did you get those pictures I sent you?}”

“Yes I did, and you looked fiii-iiine. Meow.” Emiko giggled flirtatiously on the other side of the line. “I wish I was there in person to be with ya. It sucks I missed Sanja Matsuri.”

“{Yeah, and you left at a really bad time for other reasons, too. The day after you left, there was this insane chase though the streets of Minato. The cops were chasing a bunch of street racers that went all over before they were finally stopped on Rainbow Bridge.}”

“Wow. Sounds like I missed a lot.” He commented as he walked by a zen garden- a small smooth rock field where one goes to meditate and channel energy.

“{That’s not the half of it. eTu’nes was involved in bringing those punk racers in and….well… she was… different.}”

“Different? How?”

“{She was BRUTAL!}” She enthusiastically exclaimed with a laugh. “{And I mean that in every sense of the word. She swooped in on this Halojumper bike and wrecked shop! She destroyed the cars they were driving. She sliced them in half, blew up their gas tanks, one hit a pagoda while another hit a garbage truck. I know it sounds tame, but trust me, if you saw the news footage… you’d be going ‘whoa!!’ just like everyone else did.}”

 “Why did she do all that?”

“{No one knows, but I bet this guy named Matsuo does. I don’t know what he did to piss eTu’nes off, but she was beating the ever living daylights out of him. With the beating he got, I’m amazed he’s still alive. She was about ready to kill him but, somehow, Fui’s dad talked her out of doing it.}”

“That all sounds terrifying…” He commented, reaching the door to the dining room.

“{It was worse if you saw the footage…they censored it, but you could feel each blow. I guess this proves that eTu’nes is a human under all that armor and she can snap.}”

Alkaid opened up the door and went inside. The kitchen units- the fridge, the freezer, the stove, the oven, and the sinks are all modern. The table in the center, however, was not. It was one of the old ones where you had to sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Sitting around the table was his older sister Kuroki and her two sons: 5 year old Horita, who had just started kindergarten, and 1 year old Itsuki.

Kuroki is 9 years older than Alkaid and Fui, coming in at around 26. She went to the same high school her little brother went to and met her high school sweetheart Ame Keno, who was in the same class as her when they started. It was love at first sight. They married a few days after they graduated and moved to Kyoto. She works as a Judo instructor while Ame works as an electrician. She’s gone with a more traditionalist style to bring up her sons to be respectful, proper, kind young men, having them wear clothes of old like kimono’s, something that will almost certainly go out the window with Alkaid here.

Kuroki looked up from her plate, chopsticks sticking out of her mouth, when she heard him come in and frowned when she saw him on the phone. “I thought I told you not to bring your phone to the table. It’s disrespectful.” She said with her mouth full.

“So’s talking with your mouth full.” Alkaid retorted. “Besides, its Emiko. I can’t hang up on her.”

“I don’t care if it’s the Emperor himself- no phones at the table.” She took another bite of her food.

Alkaid rolled his eyes and kept talking while grabbing his pair of chopsticks. He looked down at lunch and saw that it was curried rice. “So, how was the Sanja Matsuri? Did those street racers ruin it?”

“{No, that whole mess was in Minato. They were nowhere near Akasuka. Besides, it took place the day before, so any damages that would’ve been done would’ve been taken care of by now. as for comparing it to last year’s…. It wasn’t as great, but it was still pretty good. There was a couple… surprises.}”

“Like what?” He took a bite of his meal.

“{Well, one of the head priests this go-round was a Hesk. I thought they all worshiped that Valloo guy.}”

“Voullattua.” Itsuki making a gargling noise as he slammed his hands on the table. Horita and Kuroki  chuckled at his cute actions. They weren’t gonna stay cute for long. He had a stinky surprise.

“{Thank you- I knew it was a V name.}”

 “And who’s to say they can’t convert?” A foul smell entered the room, one that made his face twist in disgust. The baby had dropped a dirty bomb and it was nasty. Horita plugged his nose while gagging. Kuroki got up and picked up the baby to go change him. “We humans do it all the time.”

“{Yeah, good point.}”

“So what was the other surprise?”

“{Well, Fui’s mom, that baker- she didn’t have a stall this year. She had one every year to sell her goodies, but she didn’t have one.}”

“Huh. That is strange.” He took another bite once the smell died down.

“{None of them were there- no Fui, no cop dad, no baker mom, no Lyric, not even that new girl. They never showed up. I figured her mom would show up because she’s a Buddhist and I figured Elis would be there to learn about it, but no one. They weren’t there.}”

“Maybe they didn’t have time to make it this year. Maybe Imita had a big order she needed to fill and you said Sezawa was at the same place as those racers- maybe he was filling out paperwork that needed to be done. As for Fui and Elis and Lyric, they probably went that new arcade opened up nearby and lost track of time.”

Emiki’s reply was more somber and the last few times. “{Actually… we know the reason… when Fui and Elis came in this morning, they looked like hell. It’s like something had ripped out their souls and turned them into sad, depressing zombies. Fui looked the worst- I don’t think she’s eaten or slept in days. She even went and quit track and ship class. I think she’s shutting down in every aspect of the term.}”

The door to the kitchen opened back up and Kuroki and Itsuki returned, with a fresh diaper installed. “Why? What could’ve happened to make them turn into that?” She didn’t reply. Hearing about it was hard enough, but telling someone else was harder still. “Emiko?”

“{…………It….. it’s Lyric…}”

“What happened to Lyric…?” He responded with raising concern. It caught the attention of the other three in the room.

“{…. She… she was involved in a terrible accident… she’s in a coma…}” His eyes went wide in shock when he heard the news. It wasn’t long ago when they were talking. “{Fui and Elis couldn’t speak, but that wolf of Fui’s, En I think it was, told us what happened. Those racers I mentioned? And that Matsuo guy? He plowed though a road only meant for foot traffic and…. And he hit her dead on going full speed and just drove away. It’s bad, Alkaid… real bad. It’s a miracle she’s still alive. The coma was bad enough, but she has a ton of injuries inside too- really bad ones.}”

He could hardly believe this. That sweet little girl in a coma because of a hit and run driver? It sounds horrific. He can only imagine how Fui and Elis are feeling. The poor girls must be devastated. “What happened?” Horita asked.

He remembered he was in his sister’s kitchen. He put his phone down for a moment and rubbed his eyes, still trying to accept this as real. “Um… you know that girl Fui I told you guys about? The girl with the fox tail and ears?” He and Kuroki nodded. “… her little sister was in a hit-and-run. She’s in a coma with really bad injuries.” Kuroki gasped in shock and fear, covering her mouth. Horita was stunned too, but he barely knows who this Fui girl is outside of stories Alkaid told them. Alkaid got up off the floor and grabbed his phone. “I’m, un… I’m gonna be out in the zen garden.” He walked out, leaving the two of them to watch him leave with concern.

Alkaid walked out into the zen garden, leaning on a stack of smooth and polished black stones bigger than him. He took a few moments before replying. “How…. How’s Fui?”

“{Absolutely terrible. She is taking this really hard- they were so close and tight knit, and now to see her sister in such a state… gods, I can only imagine how she’s feeling. And Elis is traumatized by the whole thing- she had a front row seat when it happened... they’re both still in shock and… I don’t blame them. I just learned of this now and I’m shocked.}”

“You can add me to that list.” He sighed as he slowly slid down onto his back. “I left at a really bad time.”

“{I know… right now, Fui and her parents need all the support they can get. Fui’s health was bad already, but this… this is gonna send her off the deep end worse than that mental breakdown…}”

            Falling backwards onto his back, Alkaid groaned as he rubbed his eyes again. “I wish there was something I could do to help…”

            “{Well, we both know a kiss from you would cheer Fui up immensely, if not help her get her out of that depression.}”

            “… you’d really let me kiss her?”

            “{Under the circumstances, yes. We both know she cares deeply about you, Alkaid. Heck, she loves you. With a lot of support from her biggest crush in this time of crisis, it would lift her heart and spirits.}”

            He pinched his eyes hard. “And here I am in Kyoto…I never should’ve left…”

“{It wasn’t your fault. No one could’ve predicted this would happen. As for you, you had no choice. Your parents were getting nasty. I’m not blaming you and neither is Fui- it was just really bad timing.}” She sighed sadly. “{It’s no wonder eTu’nes snapped. She must’ve heard about this and decided to end their circuit before it could get any worse.}”

He was gonna reply but something she said made him go from shocked and sad to inquisitive. “… wait a minute…. You said that Lyric was hit by some guy named Matsuo…”

“{Yes?}”

“… and Fui is absolutely devastated by this whole thing.”

“{That is correct.}”

“… and eTu’nes snaps, destroys a bunch of cars, and nearly kills the same guy who hit Lyric...”

“{That is t—}” It slowly began to dawn on her as it did for Alkaid. “{…… wait… you don’t think…}”

He sat up off the gravel. “Yeah. I think Fui is eTu’nes.”

It’s clear to hear that Emiko thought that idea was even nowhere near remotely true. He can tell in her silence. “{Nooooo. There’s no way. She’s so sick and fragile and frail and…… why… what made you think that?}”

“I didn’t even start thinking about it until you brought all that stuff up, but… looking back on everything, it all makes sense. Around the same time eTu’nes showed up is when Fui got that A.I. from the Hesk. I don’t know how but I think wolfy is the key to it. And eTu’nes is rarely active on school days and only shows up at night, when everyone is asleep. Except on weekends, when she is out for longer periods of time. Then there’s that explosion in Koto. Fui had her mental breakdown the morning after because she failed to stop it and prevent all those deaths, including Kaguya’s. Our classmate, remember?”

“{I remember.}”

“Now, during the time Fui was out because of that, there was no eTu’nes until whatever happened to wreck Mori Tower. Now there are those racers. Lyric gets sent to the hospital and eTu’nes goes on a rampage, taking out the racers responsible and sending them to the hospital as well.”

He could hear that she was having trouble claiming this as true with all the stuttering he was hearing. “{Bu… wh… bu…. Let’s say your theory is true and Fui is eTu’nes. Why would she hide it from everyone?}”

“It’s the classic hero cliché- their code of conduct- they keep their identity a secret so that the bad guys won’t go after close loved ones; I.E. her parents, Lyric, you and me. would you want some gang members coming after you because you go to the same school as the one giving them strife?”

“{……. Well, that explains a large amount of comics. And you are right- I don’t want to become some druggies bait to lure her into a trap.}”

“Exactly.”

“{But regardless of whether or not she is eTu’nes, she is in a really bad place and you should talk to her. Try to cheer her up. She could use all the help she can get.}”

Kuroki came out of the kitchen. She rolled her finger to get his attention, signaling him that it’s time to go. He wondered how long he was out here- must’ve been awhile. “I’ll get on that as soon as I am finished up with getting ready for the new school here. I just need to be fitted for my new soccer uniform and I’m ready to go.”

“{Oh… ok. Well, be sure to talk to her soon… hearing your voice would really cheer her up.}”

“I know. Bye. Love ya.”

            “{Love ya too.}” She ended the call on her end. He shut off his phone, put it in his pocket, and got up off the gravel, heading towards his sister. Reaching her, they headed though the dojo towards the other side. Her car was parked outside the gate to the place.

            “Horita and Itsuki are already in the car.” She explained. He slowly nodded, still trying to accept all that’s happened in his absence. “Is everything alright back home? With your friends?” She asked with concern.

            He slowly shook his head. He wasn’t gonna sugarcoat this. “… no, everything is not alright, sis… Lyric’s accident has really gotten to them, but Fui and Elis are hit the worst.”

            “What happened with them?”

            “… Fui… according to Terora, she’s pretty much shut down. She’s not eating, she’s not sleeping, she’s shut everyone out, she quit track and shop class… I’m worried about her.”

            Kuroki tried to recall who Fui was in all the stories he told. “Fui… Fui… she was the sick girl, right?”

            “Yeah. Very sick. Until she got En, she couldn’t even run without the risk of either her illnesses or the Hesk implants going haywire and killing her. She’s only had a few friends: Me, Igamura, Lyric, this gamer from America she knows called Kristen, and Elis. Now that Lyric’s in the hospital fighting for her life… gods, I can only imagine what she is feeling right now. Her and Elis.”

            “And who is this Elis you refer to? Is she new?”

            “Kinda. She’s a transfer student who came a couple months back. She’s a nice kid... but I think she’s gonna suffer the worse… She was there when it happened. She saw Lyric getting hit. Fui only caught the aftermath- Elis caught the whole thing.” He sadly sighed as he hung his head. “I shouldn’t have left… I should’ve asked Oficona or Ifune for a place to crash… then I could’ve helped them…” He slowed to a halt and leaned on one of the supports, rubbing his eyes to try and stop tears from forming.

            Kuroki returned to him and looked him in the eyes. “You had no way of knowing this would happen. What’s done is done. Going over what should’ve been won’t change things. It’ll only make you hate yourself more. Besides, I don’t think mom or dad would’ve given you the option to move in with one of your friends. They would’ve hunted ya down and forced you to pick a side like they almost did with me and Elani.”

            “Yeah…..” He said depressingly.      

            She glanced away from him for a moment. “… you know, you could go back to check up on her, if you want.”

            “With what money? I spent the last of it on the bus ride here.” He gently pushed her hands off and sighed, rubbing his forehead. “Let… let’s just get going. I could use the distraction.” He headed for the door.

            “Do you love her?”

            He stopped before he got near the door and looked back at her. “What?”

            “Fui. Do you love her?”

            What kind of question is this? “Of course I do. She’s like a sister to me. We’ve been though a lot since kindergarten. We’re got this unbreakable bond between us. I worry about her and how she’ll react. I don’t have romantic feelings for her, if that’s what you are asking. Why are you even asking anyway?”

            She wasn’t gonna say. She’s a bit of a mischief maker when it comes to the politics of romance. She always thought he and Fui would make a cute couple. “Oh nothing. But it distracted you.”

            “…. Oh, sneaky. And here I thought Elani was the sneaky one.”

            She walked past him and opened the door to the outside. “Oh, he’s not the only one. I can be sneaky myself.” She headed out towards the car, pulling out her keys as she walked.

            Alkaid exhaled while pursing his lips to the side, nodding along with her assessment. “You’ll get no argument from me.” He said to himself, closing the door behind him. “You’ll get no argument from me…”

            For those wondering who this Elani fella is, he is Alkaid and Kuroki’s older half-brother on their dad’s side. 31 years old, he’s become a world traveler and a archeologist and as for his sneaking skills, he’s the king at Hide-and-Seek. He helped uncover ancient ruins deep within the Central and South American rain forests and helped some associates solve the mystery surrounding Amelia Earhart. Spoiler Alert, she and her co-pilot Noonan staged their disappearance during their final flight, landing safely on a deserted island and living out their days in peace and relaxation. He’s currently leading a expedition into recently excavated crystal caves in Sri Lanka.

 

            Meanwhile, in America, with her room lit up only by the light from her computer, Kristen, all dressed up in her pajamas, bit into a churro as she surfed though the internet, pop-rock music in her ears via earbuds. She was just killing time before she got tired enough to head to bed. Truth be told, she’s waiting for a update on World of Sorcery to finish loading up before heading to bed. This was just to past the time until then.

            “Huh… crystal caves in Sri Lanka….didn’t know they had ‘em …” She muttered to herself, pursuing past the articles on this one news site she frequents every so often- Universal News Outlet, or U.N.O. They post articles and stories from around the world.

            “Oh… gas prices are gonna go up in Germany…” She scrolled past that.

She had been playing solo on the VRMMO for the past few days now. Fui had been a no-show for some time. She knows she does the eTu’nes business, but that’s late at night. According to a world clock, it should be noon over there right now. She should’ve at least texted her.

She continued scrolling past articles, only reading the titles of each one and muttering them to herself. She got curious what Fui had been doing the past few days since she hadn’t been on. She scrolled up to the search bar and typed in eTu’nes.

The top searches weren’t of articles she expected. She expected good stuff and praise, but instead…

“[Friend or Foe: property damage and wanton destruction latest in a line of eTu’nes’ actions. …. A menace to society: this armored cancer has to go…?]” That got her undivided attention. “What the hell did you do, Fui…?” She scrolled down and clicked on a article marked ‘eTu’nes finally snaps: goes on the aggressive offensive and attacks a group of street racers, sending one to hospital.’

The paged loaded up and she read it. “[On May 28th, a group of racers, racing illegally though the streets of downtown Minato, Tokyo, Japan, were attacked in a uncharacteristic fashion of local vigilante eTu’nes. All six cars were destroyed in brutal fashion, with one crashing into a pagoda and another into a garbage truck. One of the racers and their apparent leader, Matsuo Akojin, was beaten within a inch of his life by the armored vigilante for reasons witness and officer Sezawa Yamataka won’t divulge. Earlier that day, Matsuo was involved in a chase by a rival street gang for possession of Nitrous Cans, a chase that ended with him losing them, but in his escape hit 9-year-old Lyric Yam…]” The churro fell out of her mouth when she reached that part. She can hardly believe it. Lyric was hurt? She continued reading. “[… Yamataka, daughter of the previously mentioned officer. She was swiftly taken to the hospital, where she has survived, but is in critical condition and has… lapsed into a coma…]”

She sat back in her chair, dumbstruck by what she just read. “… god, no wonder Fui snapped… if that was my sister…” She shook her head, not even wanting to think about that happening to anyone she cares about, and read the last bit of the article. “[The trial for Matsuo and the other racers are set to begin on June 5th.…..]”

She rubbed her forehead, still trying to reel it in that this is real. There is nothing false about this. She exhaled loudly, holding her hands in front of her mouth. “Poor Lyric…” She said with her mouth still covered. “No wonder Fui hasn’t been on… she’s in mourning…” She ran her hands back though her hair. “… at least she’s still alive…” She looked at the article again, focusing on the word ‘coma’. “… hopefully she’ll wake up soon…”

She looked at the clock on her computer and saw that it was 2 in the morning. She needed to get to bed before her mom yells at her for staying up too late. Again. She checked on the download rate and saw that it was done. She didn’t even notice it was until now.

She looked at her phone before yawning loudly. “I’ll call Fui tomorrow…” She shut off her computer and went to her bed. “I’m in no condition to talk to anyone right now… nothing good ever happens after 2 A.M.” She plopped her head on the pillow and closed her eyes, worried that Fui will do something stupid.

“Don’t do anything stupid, Fui… for your own sake…”

4: Chapter 2: The Days After
Chapter 2: The Days After

Chapter 2

The Days After; the world continues to turn

5/30/2175 A.D.- 5/30/150 A.H.E.

 

 

 

 

There are no words to describe the sheer pain and hollow heartache being felt. Fui, detected, emotionally drained, and lost without meaning, wandered down the cold streets of the city, just going where her feet lead her, not even bothering to look up from her feet. Around her, everything lost all meaning. Buildings, people, signs, cars- they were all blurred, colorless masses that held no meaning anymore.

Nothing felt right- not the air she breathed, not the ground she walked on, not even the clothes on her back. Everything felt… heavy, without purpose, without emotion. She had given up on the world. They were just there.

Seeing her sister like this brought her to one dark conclusion: It’s all pointless.

Despite everything she is doing to help, everything is getting worse. The Murasakiiro no Shi is showing no signs of slowing down, the Mosurum Obsicors are still out there hunting her, innocent people are still being hurt or worse, and her own sister was a victim. She and En decided to continue being eTu’nes at Lyric’s behest. She even gave them their name by stretching out En’s name. She was always their pillar of support and their moral center.

How can Fui help the people of the city fight back against a out-of-control criminal organization if she can’t even save her own family?

“Look out!” Someone yelled.

Fui snapped back into the cold reality and saw she was in the middle of the street and the lights had just turned. There was a car heading for her. Moving on instinct, she bounced back out of the road and onto the sidewalks.

She didn’t feel anything. Not afraid for almost being hurt or shock she was in the middle of the street without her realizing it. Nothing.

She’s lost all emotion.

“Are you crazy?!” the person who called out to her shouted. “You could’ve gotten yourself killed!” Fui got up off the ground and just walked on without so much as a thank you to the guy who kinda saved her life. “Un, thank you? Sheesh…”

            Slumping along like a zombie, feeling as dead and desolated like one, she was able to make it to a bus bench and sat down on it. The world continued on around her as she just sat there, ignoring everyone that came by her.

            “(You could’ve said thank you to the guy.)” En said in her mind, with his bust appearing in the usual upper left-hand corner of her vision.

            “(I would’ve been fine….)” She responded emotionlessly.

            “(No we wouldn’t have. In case you forgot, you aren’t indestructible.)”

            She wants to ignore him, but it’s hard to do that when it’s someone speaking directly into your mind. “(Just be quiet…)”

            En exhaled in exasperation. She had been like this for the last few days, not bothering to listen to anybody. They understand why- that doesn’t make it any less rude. “(Fui… I know you are hurting, but you can’t shut people out like this. It’s rude. We’re trying to help…)”

            The 4:13 bus rolled up and hissed to a halt. The doors opened up, allowing passengers off and allowing new ones on. Fui got up off the bench and entered the bus. “(I just want to be left alone…)”

            “(Fui…)”

            She tossed some loose change into the toll box and sat as far back as she could, wanting to stay as far away from people as she could. It took everything just to get though school. It was too early for her and Elis to go back.

            Right… she forgot about Elis. They haven’t spoken much since Lyric’s accident. En theorizes that Elis blames herself for letting Lyric be hurt like this and thinks Fui hates her. Whatever the case, she didn’t look pleasant when they arrived at school in the morning. Like Fui, it’s not like she’s eaten or slept in the days since then, but it looked like Elis was worse. Her hair was a big mess and her clothes were all winkled and he could be wrong, but her eyes looked all bloodshot and jittery.

             It wasn’t just Elis and Fui who were having difficulties about this- Sezawa and Imita were having problems as well. Sezawa was thrown himself into the police force, working nonstop, bringing in all sorts of criminals. He only stops to eat and sleep- that’s it.

            Imita was worse off. Seeing her daughter in such a sad state broke her down. She’s been in a nonstop baking frenzy, creating enough sweets and goodies to fill up the store shelves and then some. And she’s still going. Their neighbors and associates bought what they could to help with things, but it’s hard to keep up. Some are getting sick to their stomach. They can’t handle this much sugar and flour in so short a time, even if it is to help them out.

            Everyone they know and everyone in the neighborhood are doing what they can to help them out in this rough time. Several had experience about losing a loved one and know how they are feeling.

            Resting her head on the window, Fui watched as the world outside passed by. Living like this, so heartbroken and emotionless, is no way to live. It’s terrible and makes you even more depressed.

            En’s never seen the effects of a tragic event affecting a family. Now he is and finds it awful and heartbreaking. Seeing them all crack like this is distressing. He wants to do something to help, but he can’t do anything other then offer consoling words. Coma’s are far outside the realm of A.I. manipulation. He had to do something.

            And he got it. He retreated into a private section of the wrist monitor. He pulled up a blank screen and began working on blueprints for something that could help in the long run.

 

 Jupiter.

The biggest planet in our solar system and named after the Roman deity of the same name- the god of the skies and thunder and the King of the Gods, it serves as the halfway point of the solar system as the 5th ‘true’ planet. Each planet is known for one thing: Earth has life, Mercury is the closest to the sun, Uranus... has that unfortunate name. Jupiter is known for having the Big Red Spot, a giant storm that had been raging for centuries.

At least, it was.

A imposing, mammotithic shadow passed over the gas giant. The gravitational pull of the gargantuan vessel pulled the gasses away from the planet, disrupting the natural flow of things as the gasses mixed with the asteroids that had been pulled from the rings of Neptune and Saturn. 

The Red Spot was pulled away from the planet, becoming a mist as it was pulled towards the mammoth vessel that passed it by. In just a few minutes, it had become a thing of the past.

The footage of Jupiter’s new and permanent change was being observed by those at NASA, who have been monitoring the approaching juggernaut of a spaceship ever since it arrived in the system. With the exception of the director of NASA and her closest and trustworthy compatriots, who had been giving the footage and Intel to the governments, no one at NASA knows why that thing is here or who it belongs to. All they know is that is big and it is coming.

Though comparing it to Jupiter puts it into perspective.

“Geez…. That thing is ENORMOUS!” The director at NASA, a 33 year old from Boston, gasped. All the other staff and crew can hardly believe it either. There was no way a ship can be that big and have enough of a gravitational force to effect Jupiter of all planets.

“How the hell are the armies supposed to take that… THING out?!” Another exclaimed. There’s no word grand enough, or even right, to detail the size of that monster ship.

Another technician, this one from the Hesk race, resembling that of a Amphioctupus Margintatus, was slowly starting to lose hope. He was born on Earth, so he doesn’t know what it’s like to lose a home. “Earth is doomed. There’s no way to skirt around it. Earth is doomed, doomed, doomed.”

“Don’t be dramatic…” The director attempted to comfort, but even he felt hopeless. There is no way Earth can stand up to something that size. Even if they launched every missile and bomb of every make at the thing, they wouldn’t land a dent in it, and this is including modified Hesk weaponry. “… We still got time to come up with a countermeasure.”

“Does anyone even know about this thing?!” One of his trustworthy cohorts, a California bred Hesk resembling a Argonauta Argo, exclaimed. He too was sworn to secrecy, but that doesn’t stop him from making a scene. “Outside of other space programs, I doubt anyone knows that ship is coming…. do they?”

The director could tell them that the Governments of the world are working on a plan to get the Argalith’s away from the planet, but she was sworn to secrecy to avoid inciting a panic, though once the ship gets closer and becomes visible in the daytime sky, panic will ensure anyway. “I would… certainly hope so. We’re talking about a ship bigger then Jupiter here- even amateurs on their rooftops can see this thing! What we’re looking at is possible a invasion ship of a grand scale.”

Murmurs began to circulate, not of the invasion, but still of the ship. “I didn’t know they could build them that big.”

“Neither did I…”

 “Well… the galaxy is a big place.” The director said. “And according to the Hesk, we’re in the middle of the galaxy’s Dead Sector. Plenty of dead worlds to mine to oblivion. Though… I fear to know how much it took to make something of that size. Or if there’s more than one…” That caused some of the crew to shiver in fear at the thought of there being more then one of those planet-sized behemoths. “That said, no one outside of this base is to know of this ship.”

“But sir… they have a right to know.”

“I know, and I agree, but we should avoid causing a planetary riot. If people learned about this thing coming, they’re be panic on a grand scale, the Cuban Missile Crisis would pale in comparison.” There’s a scary analogy for them. It worked at convincing them. “So, remain hush hush on this until we know about what is going on. When we do… someone will inform the public… or they’ll look up and see the moon and a giant triangle in the sky.”

The crew looked back at the video og the approaching vessel and returned to gossiping among themselves. “My money’s on option 2.”

“Ditto.”

“I bet the governments have a plan all worked out on how to deal with these things. Hopefully.”

The director groaned a sigh as she rested her head on her control board. How can they be so calm with a potential invasion right on their heels? The benefits of youth, she figures. She wishes she could tell them they have a plan to placate them, but she can’t. She knows WHY they are coming, but cannot divulge the information.

 

Most of the electronic intelligence organizations in the world- lead and coordinated by the five biggest, Pakistan’s ISI, India’s RAW, Israel’s Mossad, America’s CIA, and Britain’s MI6- were working around the clock to find the reasons why the Argalith’s were coming here: the 9 smart A.I.’s the Hesk acquired from the Argalith’s before their homeworld’s destruction:

Verut, Baset, Chromium, Tanten, Arlyt, Fevent, Ses, Carrion, and En.

They had found and obtained six of them, but the remaining three- Baset, Carrion, and En, are still missing. They have a trace on Baset, but Carrion and En are being surprisingly elusive. Carrion’s covering his tracks but is getting sloppy, but En seems to have completely disappeared without a trace. His last location was Japan, but that’s a big place. It would take the remaining time they have to find him there, if not more.

If they can find the last three A.I.’s, they can prevent a planetary invasion by just giving them back to their creators- no fuss, no muss. If they can’t find them… bye bye, modern civilization. Earth would become a Argalith territory and half the population would be killed as an example.

They need to find them fast.

 

Latched to the underside of the massive Argalith ship, a pair of cryopods beeped with flashing red lights, with their occupants waiting for when they can finally wake up from their 5000 year slumber. Until then, they would dream their endless dream.

 

 

 

Estimated Time of Argalith Arrival: July 7.

 

 

 

“She just up and quit on us?” one of the track runners, a self-absorbed and cocky prude, asked the larger group, who all nodded as they stretched and got ready for today’s practice out in the fields. The runner was late and just heard about Fui’s decision to quit now. He knew about the other stuff, but not this.

“Yeah.”

“And before we go up against that team from Takikawa? Is she serious?” He started to receive angry glares from everyone for his heartlessness and selfishness. “Un.. I mean, I know it sucks royally that her sister is in such a bad state and all, but she can’t just quit her obligations, right? She’s one of our best runners. I mean, I’m good, but I’m not her.”

“She’s in mourning.” Terora explained, hiding her contempt for this asshole. “Lyric being in the state she’s in really hit Fui hard; she even quit shop class too, remember? Fui never had many friends, so she and Lyric were really close. How would you react and feel if your own sister was in the same situation?”

“Cheer.” He bluntly said, resulting in some disgusted reactions from the rest of them. “What? She’s always mean to me.”

“You wouldn’t be saying that if it actually happened… jerk.” Terora scolded. The runner threw up his hands and scoffed as he walked away.

“Is he for real?” Another of the runners asked, shaking his head in disbelief. “Is he really this heartless?”

“I’d say more focused on his own self-image then anything.” Another responded. “He doesn’t seem too heartbroken over Fui and Lyric’s situation.”

“Just ignore him.” Terora said, not wanting to focus on him anymore. “There are always people out there who lack empathy and concern. A bunch of Baka’s is what they are.” Most everyone nodded in agreement.

Their coach came strolling onto the field with clipboard and whistle in hand. He blew hard into the whistle, catching their undivided attention. “Alright everyone, line up!” He bellowed. Everyone followed his orders and lined up. “Right, I know most of you are upset that one of our runners up and quit on us, but we cannot blame her for doing so. I’ll admit I was heartbroken too when someone I knew was sent to the hospital when I was her age. I do not fault her for leaving us. Instead, I wish her and her family luck.” Everyone agreed with him. Until Lyric wakes up, it will be hard for Fui and her parents. “That being said, her leaving us did leave us short one runner, and with a match against Takikawa coming up tonight, we have no time to find a filler. So, everyone is gonna have to work their hardest to fill in for her. Got it?”

“Yes, sensei!” They all proclaimed.

Before they got started, Terora raised her hand. “Un, sir.”

“What is it, Emiko?”

She lowered her hand. “First off, it’s Terora. And to what I was gonna say, Fui’s family is gonna have to pay for all of Lyric’s medical expenses, right?”

“It won’t be cheap. Why ask?”

“Well, I was thinking, maybe we could hold a food drive to raise money for them. To show her that we care for our departed teammate and want her sister to make a recovery. We can help in some way, can’t we?”

Though it began as hushed murmurs, everyone began to agree that that was a good idea. Even the coach thought it was good. “Hmm… that’s not a half bad plan, Terora.” She smiled widely. He put down his clipboard on the nearby bench. “Alright. Here’s our revised itinerary for practice today. Instead, we’re gonna jog on down to the bakery Fui’s mother owns and buy as much as we possibly can and bring it back here, where we will sell during the game tonight to the audience and the other team and their visiting audience. Whatever’s leftover we can sell at school tomorrow. That sound good to everyone?” There were no objections, though a certain self-absorbed racer didn’t like the idea of carrying anything that would sully his clothes. “Alright then. Let’s get going.”

One of the runners went off in a different direction. “I’ll go tell her friends in shop class about this- see if they’ll get in on it.” He said before running off to go tell them.

“Hey, Terora. Hold on for a moment.” Their coach called out. She looked back and made her way back to him. “That was a good idea you had, but I thought you hated Fui.”

“I did, but things change. That’s just life. And who wouldn’t feel sympathy for someone who had a tragedy?” He lightly nodded in agreement. “Besides, Alkaid was getting annoyed with it and if I didn’t stop, he’d break up with me. Didn’t want that to happen.” She ran off to catch up to the others.

 

Having reached her destination via bus, Fui walked down the hallways of the hospital where her sister was staying, heading straight for her room. En stayed inside so he doesn’t make any other patients freak out from there being a wolf in the hospital. That and he wanted to continue working on his blueprints.

It was a struggle just to walk though these hallways due to how she was feeling. Every breath and her lungs burned from crying too much. Her heart had been shattered and hollow since then and hasn’t healed since. She was a walking zombie at this point, struggling to make it though the day.

She reached Lyric’s room, which was at the end of the hall, where the doctor in charge of her was standing in front of, talking to several nurses whilst holding a medical chart. The nurses nodded to him and walked off. Fui had gotten to know him from all the last three day’s she’s been here. His name is Amesh Kapoor, a medical student from India studying abroad. He’s in the top 20 of his class, so he knows what he’s doing. He turned to leave but saw Fui approaching. “Ah… Ms. Yamataka. Come to check on the patient?”

“Yes.” She coarsely said. Her throat hurt from all the sobbing she did. “How is she?”

“Well… no changes yet. We stopped the swelling from the impact area, so that’s a progressive note.”

“Good… can I go see her?”

“Yes, but you should know, she was having some breathing problems earlier, so we put her on a respirator.”

A hard lump lodged itself in Fui’s throat. That was painful to hear. “I… I see…. gotta do what ya gotta do to keep people alive, right?” She tried to joke. It was stale.

“Right.” he took a few steps away before doubling back. “I should also let you know, you don’t have a lot of time. Visiting hours are over in 10 minutes.”

“Ok…” Fui said. She approached the door and went inside.

            Heart Monitors beeped their steady tone and the respirator pumped oxygen into the poor girl that is Lyric Yamataka. It had only been three days since her hit-and-run accident and she has shown no signs of waking up yet. Her entire body was bruised and broken, with certain parts more so. There were splotches of red in her long blue hair- dried up blood nobodies able to wash out yet due to her fragile condition.

            It hurt to see her little sister reduced to this state. It wasn’t that long ago Lyric was laughing and enjoying playing that stupid card came she couldn’t understand. Now she’s struggling to stay alive with all these machines hooked up to her all because some racer needed to get greedy.

Her mind flashed back to that day, when she saw Lyric in a pool of her own blood after being struck by Matsuo’s car. It’s all she can see and all she will see before Lyric gets better. She remembers it with haunting detail. Every time she sees it, it breaks her soul even further. This should not have happened, and yet it did.  

            “Oh Lyric…” Fui choked. She sat down in one of the chairs in the room, lowered her head in sorrow and shame as her backpack fell off her shoulder on its own, and pushed her nails into her knees. “Why did this have to happen…?”

            En popped out of her and slowly walked over to Lyric. It hurt him too, seeing her like this. He watched plenty of movies and shows where someone suffered an accident and was sent into a medical emergency. He hoped it would never happen in real life, but it did, and it was someone who truly didn’t deserve it. “Bad things always happen to good people… especially those who don’t deserve it…” He turned and headed back to Fui. “But at least Matsuo didn’t get away… we made sure of that…”

            “I know…” She croaked. Even though she never went through with it, the guilt of almost killing Matsuo and severely harming the other racers gnawed away at her. In some cruel twist of fate, they were even in the same hospital. Fui wanted to go down there to Matsuo’s room and punch the ever living daylights out of him, but refrained from doing that. She already damaged him enough during her rage, something she never wants to go though again.

            “… are you gonna go to his trail and speak?” En asked.

            She rubbed her hands on her the opposite upper arms, feeling uneasy. “… I don’t know… I’m afraid if I look at him again, I’ll snap again and do something I’ll regret…”

            “It’s still a week away, so… you got plenty of time to decide…”

            “Yeah…. I know…” She curled up in her chair, not wanting to talk about this further. Her eyes were sullen and sunken. She was tuning him out now, as she always does when she gets like that.

It hurt him to see Fui so depressed. They’ve only been together several months now, so he doesn’t know her life story, but this is the saddest he’s seen her. Course, the reason why was clear as day. He missed Lyric greatly as well. “…. You know… I read somewhere that those in coma’s are still weary of the outside world.”

“What?”

“That’s what I read. She won’t be able to respond, but… she’ll still be able to hear you.”

“… and you’re sure?”

“I hope I am. Humanity as a whole talk to the dead all the time via their graves or something you use to remember them by or during special times like Dia de Meurtos. If you believe those who have passed on can still hear you when you speak to them, then she would most certainly hear you as she is now.”

Fui lowered her arms and looked over to her sister. She misses her greatly. She always brought a warm smile to everything. And En’s right- Lyric should be able to hear her. She grabbed the chair, holding it behind her as she crouch walked, and slowly made her way. She reached the bed and placed the chair down behind her.

She anxiously rubbed her hands on her thighs. “Um… hey, Lyric… I hope you can hear me with all these machines going… it’s, um… it’s been a bad three days… I know it’s worse for you, but everyone else is suffering too. Dad’s been working nonstop- I think it’s his way of coping with this. On the plus side, he’s had one of the better sprees in his career. I’ve never seen the police station so full. … Mom’s taken this pretty hard. She’s been baking non-stop. There’s so much overflow, it’s gotten up into the family area. Thankfully, it doesn’t last long since a lot of people come to show their support by buying everything, so… you got your medical bills covered ... your friends back in school miss you. They would’ve come, but they have school and chores and there was Sanja Matsuri. En’s been doing… something. He hasn’t told me what, but he’s gone quite a bit. ………… I think the worst among us is Elis… she hasn’t been right since that day… she’s been…. She’s really bad… I never saw her look so lost… can’t say I blame her… she was there when it happened…”

Fui grabbed Lyric’s hand, the one not with an IV needle sticking in it, and held it. She wanted to cry, but she cried so much over the weekend, she’s run out.  “We miss you, Lyric… I miss you… I’ve felt empty with you gone… Please wake up… please…”

There was a knock at the door. She looked up and saw one of the nurses. “Visiting hours are over.” She said before walking off.

“oh… o-ok…” She got out of her seat and went over to grab her backpack. “Um… I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Lyric…” She walked over and kissed Lyric on the forehead. She still felt warm, which was good. If she was cold, she was…. well… you know. “Please… wake up…”

           

            Unbeknownst to Fui and En, they were being observed by their enemy- the Mosurum Obsicors. She was being observed by Olho Morto and Drevan, a couple of their senior members. Drevan is a native Japanese flamboyant man with a crappy mustache that would make D-Grade movies look good in comparison. Olho was a cold stern Portuguese woman who’s got ice in her veins.

            While they seem ordinary, they are anything but.

            Olho scoffed at the image she was seeing. “Unbelievable… a monster feigning to have emotions because it’s host is bed ridden. They make me sick…”

            “Really? She looks genuinely sad to me.” Drevan said, taking a bite out of a slice of cheese pizza. “But I forget, you have no emotions.”

            “Emotions are for weaklings.” Drevan rolled his eyes, taking another bite. “She thinks she’s so smart, pretending to have feelings, thinking we’ll go easy on her. She just makes me want to kill her even more.”

            Drevan slowly shook his head, flabbergasted at Olho’s cold attitude. “Wow… I fear to know what happened to you when you were young to make you like this.” She gave him a sinister glare as he took another bite of his pizza. “Monster or not, that’s still her sister in there. I’m sure even monsters feel something when someone in their family is in danger.”

            “Monsters don’t have families. They don’t feel. They are not human- therefore, they are abominations and should be destroyed.”

            “I know, I know- tenants of the Mosurum Obsicors and what not. But she seems genueincely sad to me.” He took another bite of his pizza, knowing that she stopped listening when she brought up one of their tenants. He got annoyed and figured they could be doing something else, and they can. There’s an assignment they can do that isn’t observation. “Now, If we can just move on to our next assignment in loooooooovely Baja and let O’lim handle this, that would be alright by me.”

            She lowered her binoculars. “You are not gonna let up, are you?”

            “It’s almost summer and that means swimsuit season. We may be monster hunters, but we’re still human and I have needs, dang it!”

            She groaned loudly as she hit her forehead on the binoculars. “uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuugh… you’re not gonna give up, are you?”

            “nope.”

            “…………….. UGH! Fine! We’re go to Baja to deal with the kraken.” She got up off the roof and put the binoculars away. He scarfed the rest of his pizza down as he got up as well. “I swear… you are just as bad as a sloth.” She disappeared in a flash of dark ice.

            “…and yet, you’re still an ice queen.” He commented before following in a flash of flower pedals. 

5: Chapter 3: Struggling to Cope; a girls broken heart
Chapter 3: Struggling to Cope; a girls broken heart

Chapter 3

Struggling to Cope; a girl’s broken heart

5/30/2175 A.D.- 5/30/150 A.H.E.

 

 

 

            Grey clouds rumbled outside, perfectly casting the mood of what could potentially be forever. It was a perfect metaphor for what Fui felt- grey, cold, and depressed. It would’ve been more perfect if it was raining, but the forecast didn’t call for that until late at night.

Her entire world had turned grey since that day, and barely any color was visible to her. She had given up on finding the goodness and positivity of life. There was none left to be found. Over her speakers played a depressing song perfect for the situation: ‘Broken Soul’ by Evangeline. It was appropriately named: it was a slow rock ballad about how events lead the ‘character’ of the song to a broken heart and soul, like what had happened with Fui. Except there aren’t any hospitalized siblings in the song.

            All Fui had done was lay in her bed, looking at nothing as the world rolled on by. The only times she was forced to get out was the bathroom, school, and visiting Lyric in the hospital. Other than those three times, she’s in bed, looking into nothingness. 

            En was in his own corner of her room, working on blueprints for a special project of his. She figures it’s his way of coping, not that she cares. She stopped caring about many things that day.

Fui made so little movements and made such little noise, it was like she wasn’t alive anymore in the usual sense. Her stomach growled from hunger- she hadn’t eaten in days. She smelled the pastries coming from downstairs, but she ignored it. Food has no taste anymore.

En heard her stomach growl with his hyper hearing. He had been growing increasingly concern about her actions lately. No food, no sleep- he’s worried she’s harming herself over something that is out of her power. It wasn’t her fault her sister was in the accident, but she’s destroying herself like it was.

He sent his blueprints away and floated over to her. “Fui… you should really eat something…”

“I’m not hungry…” She emotionlessly responded.

“That’s a lie. You haven’t eaten since your Hesk appointment. You’re starving yourself for no reason.”

She rolled away from him, facing the wall. “I said I’m not hungry…”

“… Fui, I’m linked to your implants, remember? I can see your stomach- it is running on fumes and begging for food. On top of that, have you been sleeping at all lately? You have some bags forming under your eyes.” She didn’t respond. He angrily frowned. He floated up over her. “Fui, what you are doing is self-destructive. You keep going down this path, it will have lasting repercussions.”

“…like my life? It’s been nothing but a repercussion since the moment I was born… the universe hates me…”

“That is far from true.”

“Then why would it hurt Lyric…?”

“Because bad peo—wait, I think we already talked about this before.” She pulled the blanket over her head, shutting herself away from him and away from the world.  He sighed in sympathy. This girl is gonna be the death of him someday. He sat down on the bed. “… you can try to shut me out, but I’m gonna stay here.” He laid his head down.

“Promise.”

A silence fell over the room that lasted for the rest of the afternoon. She heard a commotion downstairs, sounded like someone bought a LOT of Imita’s baked goods and was moving boxes full of the stuff, but that’s it. That was the only sound they heard for some time.

 

Hesemara bumped open the door to a convenience store with his behind, carrying a dozen small cups in his arms. He made his way to his and Sezawa’s squad car. He put most on top of the car as he struggled to open his door. “Come on… come on…” He grunted as he struggled to open the door with only a single finger. He was failing. He huffed in annoyance before knocking on the door with his knee. “Hey, Sezawa, gimme a hand here.” No response or action came. “Sezawa?” He ducked down and peered inside. Sezawa was nowhere to be seen.

That could only mean one thing.

Hesemara exhaled a sigh. “Here we go again…”

Where was Sezawa?

Well… why not ask the druggies he had just busted by kicking in their door to their decrepit apartment, covering in a nasty mess and a horrid smell that would make a strong person vomit.

This was his 6th arrest today and 21st overall in the last several days. Ever since Lyric’s accident, he had become a workaholic. While he’s set a new record in the number of arrests over the weekend, it’s making everyone at the precinct worry. He’s barely taken a break, nor has he gone home to sleep. He’s slept in his squad car and only for a couple of hours. Cyui has tried to make him go home and rest, but Sezawa hadn’t budged an inch.

He’s that stubborn.

Everyone there have come to the conclusion that he doesn’t want to go home because that would make accepting what happened to Lyric. Seeing her empty room, knowing she’s gone for lord knows how long, fighting for her life- it would make any parent feel bad. But refusing to confront it and throw yourself into your work is not the right answer. They have tried to get that into his head, but, again, he’s stubborn as heck.

In a unintended plus, Cyui had looked over the evidence Sezawa uncovered before Lyric’s incident, about Goto going against orders giving to him by the Prime Minister on bringing eTu’nes alive and instead going on the offensive with intent to kill. Cyui looked it over with a dumb A.I. that can read lips and it came to the same conclusion En did: Goto’s going against orders to kill their only ally in Tokyo’s fight against the Murasakiiro no Shi.  He tried to confront Goto about it, but he hadn’t been in for several days- he or his task force, meaning they must be on stake-outs.

But back to what’s happening right now.

Sezawa called up a police van to haul all these drug-raddled losers in. “Take them in for processing. They were on very illegal substances.”

“Yes sir.” The cops in the van said before closing the doors, driving back to the nearest prescient to take them in.

Rubbing his head and grunting with exhaustion, Sezawa made his way back to his cop car. His anti-crime spree, all these days awake and doing nothing but work is starting to catch up to him.”Where to next, Hesemara?” He tiredly asked as he opened his door to see Hesemara in the drivers seat.

 “I don’t know where I am going afterwards, but as for you,  am taking you home.”

“I don’t need to go home… I need to… need to…” He couldn’t finish. He was too exhausted. He leaned on the car as he felt fatigue take it’s ugly toll.

“Get in the back.” Hesemara said. Sezawa did just that and climbed in. Now he knows how his perps feel when they’re in the back. Hesemara turned on the car and headed straight for Minato. The traffic was decent, so it wouldn’t be long. He glanced at the rearview mirror and saw Sezawa trying to stay up. “… Sezawa, why are you beating yourself up like this?”

“What?”

“Being a workaholic and getting little to no sleep. You’ve been working for almost three days straight. You had to have known you were gonna crash at some point.” Sezawa looked away, not wanting to talk to him. “… This is because you don’t want to accept what happened to Lyric, isn’t it?” Sezawa sighed deeply, creating fog on the window.  “Look, I know this is hard for you and the girls, but acting like this won’t help Lyric. The only thing you can do is accept it and move on. She’s not dead- she will come back, but if she sees the three of you destroying yourselves over something you had no control over, she’ll become as depressed as the rest of you. The only thing you guys can do is accept this.”

Sezawa sighed again before finally talking. “… You don’t know what it’s like… when you see this little life you created and raised in such a sorry state… something inside you breaks…”

Hesemara stayed silent. He doesn’t know what this is like, nor does he have any close resemblance to it. “… You’re right… I don’t know what it’s like. But I do know Lyric wouldn’t want you all to be acting like this. To repeat what I said, you have to accept it and move on with your life. Isn’t it what she would want?”

He’s got a point. Lyric would want them to stop beating themselves up. “Yeah…”

“Then do it. Stop destroying yourself.”

Sezawa wants to- he really does, but it’s hard to move on from a tragedy this bad. Still, it’s what Lyric would want. Even when she was sick, she was still a ball of positivity.  “…I’ll try… I’m not promising anything… but I’ll try…”

“… it’s not great, but it’s better than nothing.”

The car reached Minato and headed straight for Odaiba. They reached the bakery and saw a group of school students in gym uniforms leaving with boxes full of goodies. They watched until they were out of range, wondering what that was about.

“Didn’t expect that.” Sezawa commented.

“Must be for a fundraiser.” Hesemara said as he opened up his door. He went to the bakery door and opened it up. He went inside and was at a loss for words as to how many goodies there are. There are towers up to the ceiling, boxes filled to the brim; the display case was full to burst. “What the heck…?”

Sezawa came in next and was also at a loss for words. “Wha…….” They heard noises coming from behind the wall of cooked flour and flavoring. They tilted to the left to peek inside the kitchen and saw Imita in a craze; her hair was a mess and she was in some sort of baking demon mode as she was working at breakneck pace. “Un…. Imita…? You ok in there?”

“Must keep baking. Must keep baking. Baking, baking will help. Baking will help. She’ll get hungry and want to eat. She’ll want to eat, so all these bakes…. Yes…”

“………. I think she’s gone to the bad place.” Hesemara commented.

Sezawa took a few steps to the right to avoid her gaze. “Yeah… I was hoping this wouldn’t happen again…”

“This happened before?”

“When her aunt died. She could not accept what had happened and… did this.” He gestured to the wall of goodies. “One thing I learned from back then is to just let her do this until she runs out of ingredients, which by the looks of it is any moment now. Then she’ll accept the situation and cry.”

“That really happened?”

“Cross my heart.” He took a box full of treats- they were both feeling hungry. He started up the stairs towards the family area. He stopped halfway up and kept Hesemara back for a moment.  “Just… don’t look her in the eyes when she’s like this.”

“Why?”

“… let’s just say you’ll get sick before the hour is up.” He started back up again. Hesemara scratched his head in puzzlement before following him. Once he had his fill, he was gonna leave to head back out on patrol.

 

Fui and En stayed where they were all day and well into the night. There was no sound except for the song coming from her stereo. Nothing happened for the rest of the day, until her phone started vibrating on the computer desk. En lifted his head when he heard it go off. “Your phone is ringing.” He told her. She didn’t move. Realizing she’s not gonna get up and answer it herself, En floated over to the phone. He picked it up and brought it over. “Wow. Wasn’t expecting a call from him.”

“What…?” She coldly replied.

“It’s from Alkaid.”

And just like that, there was a spring back in her step and life in her eyes as she tossed the blanket off with her feet, got upright, and snatched the phone out of his paws. There was a small semblance of color back in her world. Strongly faded, but it was there. She brushed back her hair and perked up her chest. “How do I look?”

He had no response to how fast she had recovered or how she’s making herself look presentable for a phone call. Human’s are so weird. “… like someone who’s gonna talk over a cell phone.”

She rolled her eyes and answered the phone. “Hello?”

“{Hey, there’s my favorite girl.}” Alkaid said.

Fui giggled like a little school girl. He called her his favorite girl- step one to getting him for a boyfriend complete. En took a few steps back- this was a immediate change of mood and tone that strongly hints at her bipolar disorder being a thing. Least his theory is being proven. “Hi to you too, Alkaid.”

“{How are you feeling?}”

“I’m feeling fine.” En exclaimed loudly with a laugh. That is a huge fat lie. She mouthed at him to shut up. He ignored her and went to work on his blueprints in the corner “How, how’s Kyoto?”

“{More natural and spiritual then Tokyo, that’s for sure. I swear, there are more temples then there are sidewalks. I’m living in this dojo outside of town and it is very traditional. Gonna be useful when summer rolls around- all those easy open slides are gonna be a live saver, though I wish they’d installed more plug outlet, and I know for a fact that you are not feeling fine.}”

“What do you mean?”

He hesitated to respond, knowing that she’ll drop it as soon as he brings it up. “{… I know about Lyric…}”

And just like that, the grey came back. The color that remained came from the phone itself, but it was faded. Her heart sank as she slumped back onto the wall, hoping to avoid talking about this, but that clearly wasn’t the case. “W…. when did you find out…?” She asked, working hard to hide her broken heart.

“{Earlier today, Terora called and told me what happened, but I wasn’t able to call you till now. I had to finish getting things ready for my first day at the new school. Terora… didn’t skimp on the details. I looked up news from Tokyo when I got home and… she was right. ‘Local Girl, 9, on critical life-support following hit-and-run by illegal street racer.’ It went into further detail, saying that Lyric was hit near Tokyo Tower and that eTu’nes went after the racer and his cohorts and that she was really brutal too. Destroying one of the cars by tossing a motorcycle into it? Effective, but way over the top--- I’ve gotten off topic.}” Fui covered her eyes with her free hand, using it to hold back tears that were forming. The wells were filling up again. “{…you ok? You haven’t said a word.}”

“What do you think, Alkaid?” She replied with a faint sob. En caught that and looked her way. “It’s been terrible since the first second… Lyric’s barely hanging on for dear life and I can’t do a damn thing about it…” En went back over and comforted her. She wasn’t even trying to hold the tears back anymore. A fresh stream came out of both eyes. “This is the worst pain I have ever felt, Alkaid… I want it to stop, but it won’t…”

“{… I wish I knew what to say to make you feel better… this never happened with Kuroki or Elani, so I can’t say I know how you feel… how’s Lyric doing?}”

She lightly sobbed with each breath she took. “Bad… so many things in her are broken, punctured, or down-right annihilated… and she’s been stuck in a coma since then… she’s had 4 surgeries since the accident… that was three days ago… feels like a lifetime ago…”

“{…Fui… I’m so sorry…}”

Fui sniffed as she worked to cut back the tears, but she knew by now that she can’t stop them. “It’s not your fault, Alkaid… nobody saw this coming… gods, it still feels raw, like it just happened a few seconds ago… you have no idea the kind of pain I’m feeling… it’s horrendous… be glad you have never felt this pain before…”

“{I know… kind of. It’s not the same, but it still hurt. I did lose a dog when I was five and that hurt me bad. I loved that dog. But… the thing about pain is that… is that it won’t last forever. Given time, you’ll be able to heal and move on. Just like her. Her wounds will heal and she will wake up. It’s just a matter of time, but your heart will heal.}”

Fui wiped her eyes were her thumb. “You… you really think so, Alkaid? You truly think I’ll be able to… move on from this and heal?”

“{I hope so.}”

“Thanks…” She wiped her eyes again.

“{How are your parents dealing with this?}”

Better then her, but also worse. She never saw them in the states they are in. “Dad’s… he’s become a workaholic. He’s rarely home. He’s always on patrol, dealing with bad guys. I think he’s trying to clean up the streets to prevent more people like Lyric. He’s doing a good job, though. It’s only been 3 days, but he’s taken in a record-breaking 33 criminals.”

“{Wow. I will admit, that is impressive. And what about your mom?}”

Fui hesitated talking. Her mom was in a bad place right now. “Mom… I think she’s losing it. She’s been baking nonstop- there are so many sweets and baked goods now, she’s forced to use the storage closet and the stairwell we rarely use. Everyone we know has been buying them to help us pay for Lyric’s medical bills, but she has so much, I think everyone’s getting sick. She hasn’t stopped- she’s on the verge of running out of all her supplies.”

“{Everyone has their own way of dealing with tragedy. They either become a recluse to live in their sorrow or they try to ignore the pain by doing… well, like what your parents are doing- throwing themselves into their work or hobby.}”

“… Yeah….”

“{Trust me- Lyric will get better. You said it’s been three days, right?”

“Yeah.”

“{Then she is out of the worst of it. It’s the first 48 hours that are the most crucial. If she made it through the weekend, she’ll be ok. Just remember that when she does, she will need your help more than ever. If she’s out for longer than a couple of weeks, she’ll start to suffer from muscular entropy and be forced into physical therapy to gain back muscle mass.}”

“How do you know so much about that stuff?”

“{I watch a lot of medical dramas.}”

“Clearly.” She said with a light, airy chuckle. Her eyes had finally dried up, leaving them all puffy and pink. “Thanks for calling, Alkaid…”

“{It was no problem. I care for you, Fui. You and Lyric are like sisters to me…}” She heard Kuroki in the background, shouting ‘hey!’ angrily. She asked earlier that day what Alkaid felt about her so no reason she should be so angry. Alkaid ignored her and continued on. “{…Lyric will pull though. She’s a trooper.}”

Fui slid down onto her back, holding her beating heart. He cares about her. That’s the first step on the road to love, but things could still go wrong. She kept her composure and tried to push that aside, however hard it was. “Yeah…. she is. Talk to you later…?”

“{When I can.}” He was about to turn off his phone on his end when he recalled what he and Terora talked about earlier. “{Wait. Before I go… there’s something I have to ask.}”

“What is it?”

“{Are you eTu’nes?}”

Fui’s face ‘melted’ from a sudden case of ‘oh crap’-itis. En heard that too and bounced up off the ground like a prairie dog. This is not good. This is not good at all. Its bad enough Kristen and Holo know, now Alkaid does? Should she even keep this secret identity thing if people are gonna find out about it? Still, there is a chance she can play it off. “Heh…? What? What are you talking about? I’m too frail to be in such high-tech armor and bust heads night after night. Besides… what proof do you have?”

“{Well… no proof, but a lot of logical deductions. Like how eTu’nes showed up at the same time you got En. Then there was that lightshow when she made her first appearance, which happened right in Odaiba and on your street, and the fact that she always operates at night, and on weekdays has a time limit of midnight. And when you had your mental breakdown and were out for a week, eTu’nes was nowhere to be seen. And now Lyric is sent into a coma, resulting in eTu’nes going ballistic and trashing the cars of an underground street racing circuit, almost killing one of them- Matsuo, I think the article said. Now tell me, why would eTu’nes go ballistic over a girl she had never met? There are other kids who get hurt, yet Lyric and a bunch of nobody street racers are what set her off.}”

            Fui bit her lips, glancing over to En who did the same thing. He’s pretty much got them pegged with facts that all line up if someone bothered to connect the dots, which he did. They can deny it all they want, but he’s got them in a corner. Nothing they can do now but come right out and tell him. He’s figured out all the connections- may as well confirm them.

            “Alkaid…. You are good… you’re right- I am eTu’nes.”

            There was no response on his end for a moment. Maybe he was taking some time to let it sink in that this timid and fragile girl he’s known all his life is now a hero known throughout the entire city. “{Whoa…. So it is true…?}”

            “…. Yeah.”

            “{Wh… why didn’t you tell anybody? This is huge!}”

            “Because, Alkaid, I don’t want anyone else to know. If anyone found out who I am, they could go after those I care about and I don’t want that. You, Lyric, Elis, my parents, and everyone else- I don’t want to put them in harm’s way. So… so please, keep this a secret. Nobody else must know.”

            “{But--}”

            “Please!”

            He could hear the worry and fear in her voice. It is true that bad people will likely use this info to go after her friends and family in order to force her to do something. He’d probably make the same decision himself in her shoes. “{… ok, I’ll keep this a secret.}” Fui breathed a loud sigh of relief. This week has been hard enough already- she doesn’t need him blabbing everyone from here to Okinawa about her secret. “{But does anyone other than me know? Just curious.}”

            “Lyric did the day after me and En first… combined, if you want to use that word, but that’s not why she was hit. Matsuo stole some nitrous cans and was running from someone who wasn’t chasing him and…. Well, you know both results from that. and thanks to Lyric, Kristen knows.”

            “{Kristen? Oh, your gaming friend from Chicago.}”

            “Yeah. And the only other one who knows is Uncle Holo. Lyric and En had to tell him what triggered my mental breakdown. And now you do. And since I heard her voice, I’m assuming Kuroki knows as well.”

            “{…. Whoops. I’ll have a talk with her when we’re done.}”

            “{Which is now.}” Fui heard Kuroki say. She heard a scuffle, like Kuroki was taking the phone out of Alkaid’s hands. “{You’ve been on this phone long enough. Any longer and you’ll get a tumor.}”

            “{Geez. Fine. I swear…}” There was more scuffling. He must’ve taken it back. “{I’ll talk to you tomorrow, Fui. Kuroki’s gone into mother hen mode.}”

            “It’s ok. And Alkaid… I mean what I said. No one can know about this. I’m trusting you. If you tell someone, I’ll never trust you again.”

            “{I know. Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with me. There’s a ton of secrets I’ve been keeping- this just became the major one.}”

            “What secrets areyou keeping?”

            “{If I told you, they wouldn’t be a secret anymore, would they?}” Fui gently giggled to herself. He’s got a fair point. “{Now I gotta go. Kuroki’s giving me the stare. Bye.}” He turned off his phone.

            Fui turned hers off and set it down beside her. That entire conversation did not go how she envisioned. “…… well… that happened.”

            “And now Alkaid knows.” En said as he laid down on the bed. “Was it wise to tell him the truth about us? It was risky enough letting Lyric and Kristen know.”

            “I know it’s a risk, but what choice did I have? He pieced together everything. I’m honestly amazed it took someone this long to figure it all out. You’d figure more would know- the clues are all right there.”

            “True, but not everyone can be obsessive.”

            “Clearly you’ve never been to a fan convention…” She muttered.

            “What I mean is is that not everyone will take time out of their day to play connect the dots on eTu’nes private life to try and find out who she is.”

            “True. But… then again, you’d be surprised what kind of people are out there.”

            “I know. Millions of people in Tokyo and I end up living inside a girl with enough cybernetic implants to be legally labeled a computer server.” She gave him a lidded glare. “What? I was just saying.”

            She sighed as she pinched her eyes. “Yet… you make it sound so… derogative.” She got out of her bed to head to the bathroom.

            En pursed his lips to the side, knowing he messed up somewhere. “… Yeah. She’s pissed.” He looked out the window and saw the city lights coming on. Except for one area on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. There was light, but it was red and flickering, kind of like fire. There was another flickering red light that popped up on a adjacent street. “… That can’t be good.”

           

            His guess was spot on. There was a fire going on- a pair of fires raging in a section of Odaiba on the other side the bay. However… these fires are just bait. They are a bunch of abandoned cars ignited by gas and matches and they were set on purpose in order to draw a certain hero out.

            “You sure this will work?” One of the officers asked.

            Goto stepped towards one of the fires with crossed arms and a snicker. “Oh, trust me. She won’t ignore something like this.”

6: Chapter 4 True Intentions; Goto’s true colors
Chapter 4 True Intentions; Goto’s true colors

Chapter 4

True Intentions; Goto’s true colors

5/31/2175 A.D.- 5/31/150 A.H.E.

 

 

 

 

            Watching from the coziness of his plush and comfy chair, the leader of the Murasakiiro no Shi watched each screen on the wall before him. Each had a separate thing showing and they were all different- stock statistics, the status of current projects, the jobs some of his forces are currently doing, and so on and so on.

            On one of the screens was Fui, who was currently being informed by En about a strange fire and blackout in the section of Odaiba across the bridge. Another was a live feed from a miniature probe out near Jupiter, showing the giant Argalith vessel as it slowly made its way to the planet.

            Out of the two of them, the Argalith’s were a bigger problem. They will discover him and try to kill him for all the things he had done out there.

            “… They… are going to be a problem.”

            “What will, sir?” A holographic image appeared behind him. Appearing as a butler with a leopard tail, colored blue and flickering, the A.I. bowed to him.

            “The Argalith’s. You don’t see them approaching?”

            The A.I. looked up and saw the giant ship passing by the Gas Giant. The sheer size of it didn’t fill it with confidence. “My my… they do pose a problem. If they arrive, they could learn of the Diamond and cause all manner of problems.”

            The leader pressed a button on his chair, summoning up a martini. “I’m sure the foolish human governments have noticed this beast by now. If not, they are stupider then I thought.” He took a sip. “And if they did, they’re likely marshalling up a plan to deal with them- gathering armies or retrieving their precious A.I.’s.”

            “Like me, sir?”

            “No. No. Knowing them, they want the Smart A.I.’s- they’re the more valuable and expensive due to how powerful they can be. Have you seen Baset or Tanten? They are tasked to do a lot of things. You, while being a copy of a Smart A.I., would be classified as a Dumb A.I.- not as powerful; well, you were before I copied and modified you. Dumbies are a dime a dozen and not as valuable. Smarties, though… they’re worth their weight in gold. Although I am impressed they sent the Reaper to get them back. Seems a bit overkill, if you ask me.”

            The A.I. walked over with his arms behind his back. “What can you expect from my original’s creators, sir? They always go over the top when it comes to even the simplest of tasks.”

            “Yes… I know.” He turned his attention to Fui and En, who had now merged into eTu’nes and bounded out the window of the bakery and into the night sky. They were gonna be in for a hell of a fight with her. eTu’nes is strong, but how strong is she truly, he wonders? Getting En back from her is gonna result in a hard fight that will likely result in her death, not that he’s worried or anything.

            That said, while he doesn’t want to give the girl some inkling of support, he cannot let the Argalith arrive too soon. They’ll put a hamper on the Admiral and the Diamond projects. They are nearing a crucial point in their development and the Diamond itself still requires the nuclear materials he has his lieutenant hunting for and if they arrive that soon, he’ll have to put them all on hold to avoid being detected. He will also need to hide all his forces so that they won’t lead them back to their hideout.

            He leaned back in his chair, rubbing his finger and thumb on his chin. “Alen, how long do we have before the Argalith Reaper arrives?”

            He ran though the numbers in a couple of seconds. “At its current rate and speed, it will arrive at Earth in approximately 1 month, 5 days, 11 hours, 54 minutes, and 2 seconds.”

            “…  around July 7, huh?”

            “Give or take several days. They will arrive within the timeframe, to be sure.”

            He tapped his fingers on the armrest. “… and what would happen if I were to drop my entire supply of my special EMP’s? Minus one for just in case purposes, of course.”

            Again, he ran though the numbers in mere seconds. “Complete system shutdown. Their ship would be dead in the water. Why?”

            The leader pressed some buttons on the chair again, bringing up a map of the solar system. IF they are at Jupiter right now, the halfway point between the gas giant and Mars would be the Asteroid Field, something that will be useful. In 11 days, they’ll be passing though the Asteroid Field, passing by the Dwarf Asteroid Planet Ceres. They’ll have to slow down so they can avoid damaging their ship from the asteroid impacts. He’ll have plenty of time- by his calculations, given how the Argalith operates, he’ll have until mid-September until they truly arrive after his presents go off.

“I have an idea… something that will buy me time. If I leave on the 10th… I can arrive at the Asteroid Field by the time they reach Ceres. I can drop my little goodies and be back before anyone’s the wiser.”

“You better hope so for your sake. Don’t forget, you have to attend that Benefactor’s ball Prime Minster Takamui is throwing on the 9th . Your ‘human’ self has to attend, remember?”

He exclaimed in groaning aggravation as he held his head, rummaging his hands though his hair. “AAAAAAAAAGH!!! I forgot!! Gods, the Diamond can’t be finished fast enough!!” He hit the back of his head on the chair. “ugh………. I’m gonna need to put on that abysmal disguise again… I hate humans.”

“And I’m sure if they knew who your ‘human’ half is, they’d hate you too. But for now, if you want to keep up appearances, you need to go. After all, you did contribute to her campaign.”

“Ugh….. Triple lives…. They are a nightmare…”

 

“And there we go. No more cast.” The doctor removed the cast Omogo had around his leg. Kiryu was there with him as it was taken off to give him moral support. The kid was excited to finally be rid of that thing, and good timing too: it was itching like crazy. “Now, since you were bed-ridden for several weeks, it’s wise to go though physical therapy before you try going out for triathlons.” He joked before heading out the door to check on his other patients.

“Lucky for me, I’m not planning to.” Omogo said as he finally scratched his itchy leg. It felt so good. “Ooooooh yeah. I needed this badly.”

Kiryu softly chuckled as he patted his former gang member on the shoulder. “Scratch away, you little monkey.” He headed for the door. “I’m heading out.”

“Where are you going?”

Kiryu stopped at the door and gave himself a little smack on the forehead. “Right. I didn’t tell you the last time we met.” He turned around and headed back. “A few days ago, when I was getting my cast removed, who should I run into up on the roof but Fui.”

“Fui? Is she sick?”

“No, but I think she’s emotionally destroyed, least that’s the vibe I got when I last saw her. It’s her little sister Lyric. She got the business end of a hit and run and is now in a coma on life support.”

“Oh goodness.”

“Yeah. I never saw Fui look so broken. Anyway, I’m gonna go check on her to see if she’s doing ok.”

Omogo wasn’t buying that for a minute. If there’s one thing Kiryu is good at, it’s trying to find ways to get ahead. “You just want to see if she’s your type, don’t you?”

Kiryu pretended to be offended with a loud, gasping exclamation. “What kind of person do you take me for? I’m offended! Besides, she’s 9.”

Omogo scratched his 5 o’clock shadow covered chin as he snickered perversely. “Hehe… Then using her to get close to Fui, perhaps?” Kiryu gave him a mean glare as he crossed his arms. “I won’t deny it- Fui’s hot, like really hot, supermodel hot, but un… I don’t think she’s your type.”

Kiryu rolled his eyes while slowly shaking his head in annoyance. “And did it occur to you to think that I’m doing this to try and be a good samaritan?”

“Riiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Whatever you say, lover boy.” Omogo teased before getting back to scratching his leg. Kiryu groaned in aggravation before heading out. 

           

            That day…

            The day of Lyric’s accident remains as vivid in Fui’s mind as it had just happened seconds ago. It always plays out like a tragic movie with a heavy orange tint. All the time, she sees her sister on the ground, broken and bloodied. She can remember flying into a fit of rage and causing a lot of damage in her pursuit for revenge.

            And she sees herself attacking Matsuo, beating him within a inch of his life while is wrecked car was strung all over the bridge. She wanted to kill him that day and she still does- he deserves to pay for what he did. But she was able to control herself and he lived in the end, with her blades instead hitting the concrete divider behind him, leaving a melted hole.

            A hole that is still there as she, in her eTu’nes gear, looked at the site where it ended. With the exception of that hole, everything had been cleaned up- the pieces of the car, the motorcycle she used to destroy it with, the nitrous cans, all the blood and scorch marks- gone. It was as if it never happened.

            But it did- Lyric will be a painful reminder of that, as will that hole, but they will be repaired. Lyric will get better and wake up and that hole will be filled back up. Sadly, she knows only one of those things will happen.

Sitting atop one of the bridge’s towers, with her whole world having returned to the grey black-and-white existential crisis movie it once was, Fui looked down at the site, breathing shallowly. It hurt to look at. “I should’ve killed him…” She closed her hands into fists. “I wanted to… so much. I never wanted to kill anyone before, but he… he pushed me to my breaking point. I wanted to kill him. I still do.”

“{What stopped you?}” En asked, his portrait in the upper-left corner of her vision.

She took a deep breath and unfurled her fists. “…… it’s not what Lyric would want. She would never forgive me.” She slowly turned around to head away.

“{There’s no sense beating yourself up over this.}”

“And what would you know?! You are just an A.I.! You don’t have any emotions! You don’t know what it’s like to live though tragedy!”

“{…………}”

“Sorry… I shouldn’t have snapped like that…”

“{No…. I understand why… but Fui… you need to remember that I may be a program, I still have emotions… and I did go though tragedy! There is one thing that I wish I could go back in time and prevent, but I never can and will, so don’t tell me I don’t know what tragedy feels like—I know what it feels like!!!}” He growled at her with steam huffing out of his nose while she remained silent. She was not expecting that can of worms to open up. He realized what he did and calmed down. “{……….}”

She senses there’s a history here, and by the sounds of it, it did not end well. “Did…. Something happen?”

He looked away from her, feeling ashamed and dejected. “{I don’t want to talk about it… at least not now… now come on. We got a strange district to investigate.}”

Knowing him, it’s best not to press into this for now. Would be better that way for them both right now. “… sure…..” She got up off the floor and looked towards the district in question.

Odaiba is split into two halves; the one Fui lives, simply called Daiba, in is in the Minato Ward. Across Rainbow Bridge is the Shibaura Pier, a series of high rises and skyscrapers famous for its night life. That makes it all the more strange that it is suffering from a black out. And it’s not all of Tokyo or even all of Minato or Odaiba that’s blacked out- it’s just that one section. What’s stranger still is that the only light are a pair of flickering orange blooms dancing like fire.

Whatever is going on in there, it cannot be good. It could be the Murasakiiro no Shi trying to take the district for themselves as a base or something, or there could be mass riots and looting. That last option sounds the more plausible- no matter where you are in the world, if you get drunk enough, you will do stupid things like this.

She didn’t want to be out here, dealing with eTu’nes stuff with Lyric as she is, but as En said when he convinced her, it would distract her from the pain.

“What do you think, En?”

“{Based on available evidence, of which there is little since traffic and security cams are out, it’s likely riots, though there hasn’t been any calls for rioting near as I can tell. I don’t know why the people here would want to riot- last I checked, this was a prosperous district.}”

With a running start, she jumped on over to the next tower, the one closest to Shibaura, to get a closer look. “You’d been surprised. People don’t need a reason to riot; they just do it. Besides, last I heard, this was once a HEMLOD town. They may’ve come back to run a demonstration.”

“{HEMLOD? Those ‘Hesk leave our planet’ protestors? Really? They had a base here?}”

“From what I heard, yeah. They were run out long before I was born- their neighbors had finally had enough of their bull and chased down out of Shibaura and out of Tokyo. To be honest, I don’t think HEMLOD’s been in Tokyo for ages.”

En groaned in displeasure as he placed his head on his paw. “{I just don’t understand humans sometimes. The Hesk have been a part of the world for 150 years and they’re still protesting that they should leave? Why? The current batch weren’t even around when the Hesk came- they were born into this current world, so why would they have a reason to want them gone?}”

“Where does any hatred come from?” She backed up to get a running start. Reaching a good spot, she ran to the end and leapt off towards the district in question.

 

Kiryu yawned as he walked down the hallways of the hospital. He had been here for most of the day checking in on Omogo and Tamalyua. Now it’s getting close to midnight and he wants to go home and snuggle in his bed and read a good book. But first, he went to go check on Lyric. He’s been curious as to what she looked like anyway. After asking around, he was able to learn Lyric’s room number.

When he got there, however…. It was not a pretty sight. Not because she was heavily injured, on life support, and in a coma. It was because she was having troubles that were making her machines beep wildly. The doctors in her room were stabilizing her to the best of their ability.

Nurses came rushing in. Kiryu got out of the way as they rushed in. “What’s going on?” He asked one of them.

One of the nurses stopped and talked to him. “We don’t know. She started having a seizure out of the blue. They stopped that, but now she’s crashing in a number of other places. We don’t know why.” She rushed back in to assist.

Kiryu looked back in, watching them work hard to keep that little girl alive from whatever is now ailing her. He’s debating on whether or not to tell Fui, but he should. She deserves to know. But first, he should wait to see what happens. Just to be safe. It’s heartbreaking, seeing a little girl suffer like this. He never met Lyric before and he wants to someday.

 

eTu’nes landed on the outskirts of town and walked right in. Strange enough, there were no cars going into the district, nor did she see any leaving. Rainbow Bridge was oddly void of any traffic, and that made En suspicious. Adding fuel to the fire was there were no people on the sidewalks or in the streets. Shibauba is known for its nightlife, yet there’s none to be seen. No neon lights or open clubs or even a get-together. There is something going on here, he thought. 

Fui could feel that too. There was some bad juju in this place. She felt goosebumps run up her spine, making her shiver with a mixture of dread and anticipation. It was getting so bad, she summoned up her guns for protection.

“I got a bad feeling about this.” She said as she looked around, watching for any sign of movement.

En nodded along, feeling as anxious as her. “{Me too. It’s like… someone came and sucked this district dry of any life.}”

“There’s not even any dogs barking or a slot machine cashing out.”

They neared one of the streets that had the flickering orange light. It danced along the walls and sides, illuminating the empty street. She walked onto that street and found the source: it was a raging fire built out of a bunch of cars all piled together like charcoal in a BBQ.

“A pyramid of burning cars?” She asked aloud, scratching the back of her head- er, helmet.  “Ok, my guess is going from HEMLOD to a strange cult that seemingly everyone in Shibaura is a part of.”

“{I don’t think it’s a cult.}” He zoomed in on the license plate of one of the more grounded vehicles, showing her the license plate of a old bus. “{Look. It says 2030. And all the other cars have similar dates too- 2007, 1993, 2088, 2049. And they’re all clunkers- I see no engine parts or mufflers or even a steering wheel, meaning someone got these from a dump and dragged them all the way here and lit them on fire. And I bet that the other fire is the same way as this one.}’

“What? Why would anyone do that?”

Suddenly, she was blinded by a bunch of floodlights that snapped to life from the rooftops, behind her, and in front of her. She grunted as she covered her eyes. Even with the light shader on the HUD, it was still overwhelming. It even blotted out the light of the fire.

“Why indeed?”

She could see a figure in the light approaching her. Her eyes were having trouble focusing to the intense light. The figure waved its finger, signaling the lights to be dimmed.  Thanks to that, her eyes were able to adjust and she was able to see who was approaching her. It was someone she met only a couple times before, but she remembers who he is from all those policeman balls Sezawa took her and the others to.

“Goto?” She asked.

Goto came to a stop with his arms behind his back. “So you know who I am.”

She needed to come up with a fib and fast. Luckily, En already did by scanning his face and bringing up a police database. At least it’s a true lie. “Yes. I scanned your face and accessed the database after you dimmed the lights. You work for the Tokyo Police.”

“Yes I do… and that is all you need to know.”

She had so many questions right now, but only one was the more prudent at the moment: where was everyone? “What did you do with everyone here? This district is known for its night life, and yet there’s only burning piles of cars? Where did everyone go?”

“Gone. Heh, it’s amazing what a falsified report of a Murasakiiro no Shi attack will do. It didn’t even take much to convince them.” He began pacing back and forth. “I must admit… you are an interesting figure. You appear completely out of nowhere, and in a light show that blacked out Minato no less, and immediately became idolized by the weak and innocent.”

“Well, I didn’t ask for it. I do what I do because it is right, not for any fame. If I was going for fame, wouldn’t I have revealed my true identity by now?”

“I don’t care about your reasons. Your appearance has caused a lot of damages over the months, with the biggest being a battle at the Mori Tower with fellas with teal cloaks and Oni masks. You destroyed an entire floor and damaged a nearby construction site. All that proves is that you are powerful.”

“None of that was on purpose. It was in the heat of the moment. You try thinking clearly with all that adrenaline pumping into your head.”

“Alright. I’ll give you that. But it doesn’t change the fact that you are powerful. And recently, with those racers, you revealed that you have a limit and can snap.” The increased audio receptors in the helmet picked up the sounds of magazines being clicked into their slots on guns and hammers being pulled back on pistols. This was a setup, both Fui and En concluded.  “We can’t have something like that running around.”

“What are you talking about?”

“You have proven that you are too dangerous to be kept alive. You need to be destroyed before you could turn on us and massacre an entire city. I’ve been given a kill order from the Prime Minister herself, issuing your termination.”

She took several steps back, closing her hands into fists that dimly glowed. She was gonna need to get out of here fast. “And why would the Prime Minister order my death?”

Goto reached behind him and pulled out a portable grenade launcher- a Tiger Shark 10. Its reputation as a vehicle killer has been well deserved, and in this situation, way overkill. “Why don’t you ask her? Oh wait, you won’t be able to. Because you’ll be dead.” He took aim at her. “Let her have it!!” He ordered.

 

Begin Song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu94eOQqYP4 Enfin Apparu – Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic OST

 

All the gathered officers open fired on eTu’nes with all guns at their disposal. All the bullets and grenades collided at the point, causing a small explosion that created a lot of smoke. An unscratched eTu’nes flipped out of the smoke and took pot shots at the cops. She made sure she aimed only at the guns- Goto may be the cause of this, but the others are innocent. She hopes.

True to her aim, she took out several assault rifles and a couple pistols. She spun around sideways and shot, taking out a sniper rifle.

When she landed, she heard the sound of screeching tires. Bursting though the fire was a armored APC, complete with a minigun turret. The automatic turret took aim at eTu’nes and fired.

She leaped away, bouncing off the window of one building and onto the rooftop of another, where there were several SWAT members waiting for her with stun batons and shields. They charged at her. She summoned up her blades and charged back.

Like with the guns, she didn’t do anything to harm them- they’re just following Goto’s and Takamui’s short-sighted orders. Dancing around them with ease, she sliced though one of the shields, carving it in two before deactivating it and punching the SWAT member in the face. She hopped over the same trooper and gave a roundhouse kick into another’s backside.

One of them charged at her from behind with her baton active, but eTu’nes caught that as it was swung. She tore it out of the cop’s hand, tossed it away, and gave a solid kick into the stomach, sending the cop onto the floor.

From the adjacent rooftops came a crossfire of lasers and RPG’s. She pushed all the cops surrounding her away before leaping into the air, letting the RPG rounds strike where she was. She spun around like a helicopter blade, taking out the cops and SWAT members on the adjacent rooftops.

From the streets below, two more APC’s arrived on the scene and fired so many lasers up at her, it was a light show. She covered herself from the barrage, but sooner or later, the armor will fail. It cannot take this much fire forever.

Summoning up her blade in her right hand, she swung around, deflecting the blasts that came her way. She summoned up her gun in her left hand and took aim down at the APC’s. She fired once. It hit it square on, but it had little effect. She fired again and again and again. On the 7th shot, she made headway with the vehicle shutting down. She spun around and fired the same amount of times into the 2nd, taking it out.

Landing on the roof of the last, she hopped up, replaced the gun with another blade, and sliced down in a X, cutting it into four pieces.

She landed effortlessly on the road only to be hit square in the chest by a shot from Goto’s launcher- firing with a vacuum-like thoomp. The force was powerful enough to launch her back into the wall of one of the buildings, leaving a perfect imprint as she was embedded.

She gasped in pain as she fell out of the imprint. She coughed loudly as she held her chest. She looked down and saw that it was damaged, with exposed wires and broken plates.

En was freaking out. The only other person to do this was Venator, but he had help from whatever supernatural elements he had. This is from a grenade launcher and it hurt a lot worse. “{Holy shit!!}”

“{We may be in trouble.}” Fui said as she pulled herself up off the ground. She saw Goto coming her way, firing again. She summoned up her guns and fired, destroying the grenade in mid-flight in a spectacular explosion.

eTu’nes covered herself from the smoke and shrapnel, but since it was so far away, it didn’t have as bad an effect on her. it gave her some time to run some preliminary scans on the damage.

 “{Please tell me it’s not bad.}”

En bit his lip. “{It’s bad. That grenade must’ve been filled to the brim and packed tight. It caused a lot of damage that will take a long time to auto repair.}”

“{Assessment?}”

“{Avoid taking more hits like the plague. Thanks to this, we’ve lost our edge in our defense. The right hit will take us out permanently.}”

They heard the sounds of Goto firing again. A grenade came in through the smoke, but they were prepared for this one. She ducked down, avoiding it. It, however, hit the building she left the imprint on, causing an explosion with a powerful enough shockwave to propel her forward. Using that to her advantage, she summoned up her blades and got ready to swing.

Goto was waiting for that. He dodged out of the way of her swings and hit her in the back of the head with a billy club. She yelled in pain, rolling along the ground until she stopped in front of a multi-story parking structure. .

He chuckled to himself as he swung the club around. “You know… I was expecting more. You are a famed hero, yet you seem to be taken out by a club and a grenade launcher. I thought you were invincible.” He placed the club under her, lifting her head up by the chin. “Peh… You are just a weakling underneath all that armor, aren’t you? How can you be a threat?”

eTu’nes scoffed with a tsh. “Well… you seem to have forgotten something.”

“And what is that?”

She grabbed his foot. “I’m pretty tenacious!” She pulled and twisted it, flipping him over onto his back while simultaneously taking off his shoe and sock. He tried to get up, but was blasted in the side towards one of the APC’s. She got up and ran into the parking structure behind her, knowing that the pillars in there will offer some protection.

Somehow unaffected by the shot, Goto popped up off the ground, grenade launcher still in his hand, snarling like a feral animal and with a face to accompany it. “Ooooooooh…. That prick dies tonight!” he loaded several more grenades in before running in to give chase. “No one follow me! I’m gonna take care of this on my own!!” He shouted to his squad as the lights went out in the garage.

They were in no position to help him give chase anyway. Most of their weapons were out for the count.

 

The plan was to go up to the third floor and hid behind something inconspicuous enough, wait for Goto to go up to the fourth floor, then run like hell. That was the plan, but the damage to the armor prevented that from being a thing. It was making it hard for her to breathe, so running was difficult. With no other course, they hid behind a pillar. They made sure to cut the power to give them the cover of darkness by blasting the circuit breaker. Good angle on it, too.

Fui gulped as she grasped at her chestplate, trying to lessen the push on her chest and get some air flowing though. “En… do something…” She huffed.

“{Auto repair is already going to work, but it’ll be some time before it’s fixed. It would go faster if we weren’t in armor form, but that’s not a option with all them gunning for us.}”

“I can’t breathe…”

“{I know. Take short breaths- it will lessen the compression.}”

She did just hat and it helped. Kinda. It was still pressing down, but it wasn’t as bad. “Times like this make me wish I was smaller…” En tilted his head in perplexity, puzzled by what she meant.

They heard a loud explosion coming from the other end of the parking garage’s first floor. She peered from behind the pillar and saw Goto slowly and menacingly walking though the garage with launcher in hand. He had a smug grin on his face- a sick and twisted pleasure that he’s close to killing her, to be sure. The explosion was from a 2170 Cadillac that was now in flames and pieces.

“eTu’nesssssssss…” He hissed in a sing songy manner. He reached into his coat pockets. “Come on out there, eTu’nesssssssssss….” He fired another round, taking out a BXV Thunderbird motorbike. “It’s time for you to die…”

“{Why is he hissing?}” She thought to herself, fearing any noise would bring him to them. “{And why is he acting weird? He acted fine outside, now he’s talking weird and destroying cars indiscriminately,}”

En pulled a quick scan on the guy, but since they were too far away from the guy, he wasn’t able to get a scan in. “{Dammit, I can’t tell. I need to be closer in order to scan him and that’s clearly not going to happen.}”

Another explosion came. This one was a bit too close for comfort as he had destroyed a bus for a nearby senior center. eTu’nes covered herself as a door almost hit her. En attempted to zoom in to get a scan going, but all he could get was how many grenades he had left: 4.

That zoom in, however, revealed something about Goto they were not prepared to see.

“{… no way…}” He gasped.

“{What?}”

“{Look at his ankle…}”

Fui gazed down at her attacker’s ankle and saw something they did not expect: the symbol tattoo of the Murasakiiro no Shi – a purple nine-tailed fox. She was utterly dumbstruck by this shocker. This was a cop and one of her father’s compatriots, and yet he’s working with the same bad guys they’re trying to take down.

“{No…. way…}” She pulled back behind the pillar, wrapping her head around this. At the same time, he pulled a small gem out of his coat. “{He’s with them?! He’s one of the bad guys?!}”

“{So it would seem…}” En mumbled loudly. “{It’s rather ingenious if you think about it. With him in the police’s payroll, he can inform them whenever the cops are coming. And that tattoo is in a perfect hiding spot too. No one would think to look there. and adding on; he became a bad guy when he started trying to kill us!!!}”

They heard Goto chuckle loudly to himself. He lowered his launcher and glanced around. “Alright, girl… now I see what they see in you. You are a major threat. And you are spot on- you are pretty tenacious… Kitsune…” Fui’s eyes went wide. There are only a certain group of people who call her that. She peaked back out from behind the pillar and saw him standing near the exit with a red gem over his head. “But… you won’t be escaping today…”

He tossed it down into the floor. It imbedded itself into the ground and glowed brightly. A burst of energy shot out in all directions, putting a protective sheen on any and all exits. En didn’t need to scan things to know what’s going on: this is a force field meant to keep them in. It also cast a light that illuminated the dark floor, casting shadows.

Goto vilely snickered as he saw eTu’nes shadow being cast. “You won’t be able to escape today.” He dropped the launcher and extended out his left arm. “I’ll will succeed where Venator had failed.” Fui’s eyes went wider. Just how many of them are there? and the implications…are the Murasakiiro no Shi and Mosurum Obsicors connected?

Knowing this will only end one way no matter what she does, she got up and stepped out from behind the pillar to see energy flicker in his hand. She may as well get some information out of him before his weapon is formed. “Who are you, Goto? Are you really a cop or is that just a cover story?”

Goto scoffed sharply enough to cause spittle to shot out. “Yes I am, but my true loyalties lie to my brothers and sisters in the Mosurum Obsicors.” The energy began to take shape, once again as a double ended weapon like Venator’s and the others. “I am of the Gravstein and you shall pay for your crimes.”

“What crimes are they?”

The weapon began to form, with the double ended blades taking on a cylindrical shape. “You know what they are, filth…” The weapon glowed brightly, taking on its final shape. The shaft was like the others, but the ends themselves were unexpected: they would shotguns- shotguns with a rounded quadruple barrel like a Gatling gun. They were simple in that design. The bayonets were another story. The curved sickle blades seem to be ripped straight from Ancient Egypt. He swung it over his head once before pointing it towards her, grasping it with both hands. “I, of the Gravstein rank, will end you.” He lunged at them with incredible speed. Not as fast as Venator, but still faster then any normal human.

Time slowed down in their perception, allowing Fui and En a chance to quickly talk. “{I don’t’ believe this… he’s with them?!}” She stammered.

“{We can talk about that later. Right now, we need to think of a plan to get out of here, and if that thing he threw down IS a force field, we need to take care of that before we can leave.}”

“{I know, but we also gotta deal with, what did he call himself, Gravstein?}”

“{Yes, and I think I already have a plan. He may be among their ranks, but he’s moving a lot slower then Venator and that zombie-looking fella. My guess is that he’s been so ingrained in his cop cover, his skills has diminished over time. That may be our advantage. And as for his weapon… I never saw that model of shotgun before. It must be custom made, but it looks very recent, so it can’t be made from Damascus Steel, but it may still have the high vibrations, which could make the shots very dangerous. As for the bayonet’s, they appear to be Ancient Egyptian.}”

“{And in case you forgot, we have a damaged chestplate that’s making it hard for me to breath, let alone move.}”

“{We just need to be faster then him.}” His eyes darted around the floor as he began to formulate a plan to get out of there. “{Got it. We just need to dodge him and get some potshots in while going for that gem in the floor. Destroy it or extract it and we can hightail it out of here.}”

Time slowly began to creep back to normal speed. “{Hope you’re right about this, En, otherwise my head’s gonna be on this guy’s silver platter!!}” She finished just as time went back to normal, ducking down to avoid his swing.

He skidded to a halt, spun his weapon around, and fired out of the guns. True to its design, it’s a Gatling shotgun with lasers flying about everywhere and causing some major damage, and due to this being at a high vibration, the shots packed extra damage, slicing though pillars and such.

eTu’nes moved to the best of her ability, given the problem with the armor. She summoned up the blade in her left hand to deflect whatever shots she could, but there were so many, she couldn’t deflect them all and got struck good in several spots on her body. She spun around and fired a few aimless shots towards her foe, but they were intercepted by the lasers coming from him.

She got down and slid behind a patrician, but that didn’t last long as it was soon turned to rubble, forcing her to move. There was no safe space to hide behind- they’d get turned into debris immediately. All she can do is keep moving and wait for a opening to go after that gem.

            Not watching where she was going, she tripped over something and landed facefirst on the ground. The impact caused the chestplate to push harder on her, making it harder to breath and actually hurt. She looked back with a pained grunt and saw that she had tripped over Goto’s grenade launcher. That may just give her the opening she needs.

            She grabbed it with her foot and tossed it up into the air. She leaped up, rolling in the air before catching it. Goto cursed himself out for forgetting about that. Landing on the ground, she took aim at him.

            “Let’s see how you like it, asshole!” She shouted before firing it’s entire arsenal, the last three grenades in the chamber, in rapid succession.

            Ceasing his fire, Goto spun his lance around, slicing one grenade up into the ceiling and smacking the second into the ground. He wasn’t fast enough to get the last one. He covered his face with his coat as it hit, blowing up and sending him into a truck behind him.

            With this being a perfect opportunity, eTu’nes made a beeline for the gem. Not knowing how much time she before he got up, she got down on her back and slid along the ground, nabbing the gem. There was a brief shine before the barriers disappeared.

            Goto got himself out of the truck, thankful he turned his dragon-scale robe into a coat, and went after eTu’nes, who had just grabbed the gem. Seeing him coming, she bolted for the exit.

            “{He’s gonna catch us!}” She shouted.

            “{No he won’t.}” She heard a strange clicking coming from her back. “{Hope this works.}”

            “{Hope what--}” The entire armor began to crackle with electric energy before disappearing and rushing away like a electrical surge, zipping around like a sporadic bolt of lightning. “{--WOOOOOOOOORKS!?!?!}” She shouted as she was swept away at the speed of light.

            Goto stopped in his tracks, snarling like a animal. That’s a new trick and one he won’t be able to follow. She moved too fast to follow. “Dammit…” He snarled. He looked at the grenade launcher and kicked it away into a partition, embedding it deep within. “You live this time, eTu’nes… but you’ll run out of tricks sooner or later.” He sent his weapon away and pulled down his pant leg to cover up the tattoo before heading out to report to his squad. He already had a cover story written out for this.

 

End Song.

 

            Far enough away to stop doing this move, the sporadic bolt of energetic lightning appeared over the rooftop of a arcade near Fui’s home. She yelled as she materialized out of the bolt, rolling upside-down into the side of a air conditioner. Steam hissed out of the armor like out of a train. After that was done, the armor glowed and separated back into Fui and En- her still upside-down on the conditioner and him sitting on top of it.

            “Ow….” She groaned.

            “Sorry. I guess I miscalculated.”

            “What the hell was that…? I feel like I got shot out of a cannon.”

            “Eh, you’re not far off. We A.I.’s are able to travel at the speed of light like energy moving though wires. It’s how we’re able to move so fast. I didn’t know if we could do that in the real world or if organics like you would survive, but I felt that your implants would allow you to survive. Thank Voullattua I was right.”

            She rolled forwards onto her front, thankful to finally be out of that armor. Still hurt like the dickens. “You…turned me… into energy?”

            She’s not too wrong, but she’s not exactly right. “In a sense. What we turned into was a surge- a bolt that zips all over the place. In short, we moved at the speed of light while looking like a hyper bolt of lightning. Although…” He looked at the air conditioner and saw she had left a impact. “We still have some kinks to work out.”She groaned as she hid her face on the rooftop. “It’s useful.”

            “I’m not denying that.” She replied with her voice muffled. “But if that…” She pointed to the air conditioner she hit. “…is gonna happen every time we do it, I suggest we do it somewhere soft, like a pillow factory.” She lifted up her head. “But we got bigger fish to fry.”

            “Right. Goto.” She got up off the ground, rubbing her hurting back. “I have to admit, I didn’t see that coming. To think he’s a member of the Mosurum Obsicors and working with the cops as well.”

            “You know what this means, right?” She asked. “They could be anywhere, they could be anyone. My teacher could be one of them, the prime minister, the admiral of a nearby US fleet, even Mrs. Heltia across the street- they could all be among their ranks.”

            He crossed his forearms as he working and processed all the information. “You’re right. And if they’re anything like Goto, they got their tattoo’s hidden in places no one would think about.” He looked to her, knowing she was thinking the same thing. “This also means we can’t trust anyone outside of your parents and sister. They could be among them as well. Alkaid, Elis, even Kristen could be among them.”

            “But they’re my age. Why would they be among them?”

            “I don’t know, but we need to be cautious around everybody.” He floated on down to her, bringing up a picture of Goto’s ankle with the tattoo. “What worries me are the implications here. He has the same symbol of the Murasakiiro no Shi.”

            She was already thinking about it during the fight and knows where he is going with this. “Could… could they be the same organization?”

            “… It sure seems that way. There’s more going on then we realize, Fui. That much is clear. There’s just so much we don’t know, but as for this… it sure seems that they are on the same side.”

            “And this thing?” She held up the gem she took from the fight. It was shaped like a diamond seen in poker cards. It had changed from red to yellow- almost like it’s gone dormant from not being in use.

            “I… don’t really know.” He muttered. “I’ll have to look though everything I have to find what this is, but… for now, I don’t know where that thing is from.” She held it up to the sky. It sparkled like the stars. “It could be useful to us, though.”

            She lowered down the gem and looked at him. “How so?”

            “Our own personal shield. The armor doesn’t really have one, so having this could be useful. Once we learned how to use it, that is.”

            Fui looked at the gem again. Having a personal shield around the armor would be useful in the long run. She’d be able to take a lot more hits before things got really dangerous. It would be better to have it then get rid of it. “Good thinking, En.” She put it away in her pocket. “But we should know what it is before we try using it.”

            “Good call.”

            Fui got up off the ground and dusted off her behind. En retreated back into her before she starting climbing down the fire escape ladder on the side of the arcade. If nothing, this was a needed distraction from her sister being in the hospital. Too bad it won’t last long.

7: Chapter 5: The Longest Day
Chapter 5: The Longest Day

Chapter 5

The Longest Day

5/31/2175 A.D.- 5/31/150 A.H.E.

 

 

 

            The following morning, once again, Fui got no sleep and isn’t eating a single thing. Even after what happened last night, following that shocking reveal and battle against Goto, when she should be sleeping and eating the most, she neither ate nor slept, and it’s starting to take its toll. Her eyelids were so droopy, it won’t be long till she needs tape to keep them up. Her stomach is now void of all contents and is begging for food.

            Even if she was about to eat and sleep, it went out the window when she and her parents were called to the hospital early in the morning. If she was going to eat and sleep before, she won’t now as they received information about Lyric’s condition that turned her black-and-white world into a depressing, lifeless grey.

            Sezawa lowered the chart he had been given, completely shocked by this new information. “A tumor on her liver?!” He exclaimed loudly in his daughter’s hospital room.

            “That is what the tests showed.” Amesh confirmed as he took it back.

            Fui’s face saddened as she grasped her comatose sister’s hand. Now things were going from bad to worse. Imita was not with them in the hospital. She was still at home, on a baking binge. It’s clear to everyone she cannot handle tragedy well.

            “How can she have a tumor? She’s only 9.” Sezawa continued.

            “There’s no age limit on diseases, officer. And nobody knows what causes the creation of a tumor, only that cells will gather and multiply out of control given the right… or rather, wrong, circumstances. All we do know is how to remove them. She’s going to need surgery to have it removed.” He tapped his pen on his pad. “Has she been sick before?”

            “She was not that long ago. Been vomiting and running a low fever, but she got better a few days before… this. She had chicken pox when she was in kindergarten and colic when she was 2, and several times she ate too much sugar, but that’s about it. Why bring this up?”

            “Just curious about her health history. Sounds like she had been healthy, though I’m sure her cholesterol isn’t that happy with the sugar. It is possible that the tumor caused the fever and vomiting she experienced.” He cleared his throat. “In any event, sooner we get this out of her, the better.”

            “Will she be okay?” A desperate Fui asked softly.

            “80 percent certain she will. We caught it in a early enough stage to where it hasn’t done any major damage or settled in and where we can safely remove it, but as will all surgeries, even simple ones like an appendectomy, there are risks involved. Thankfully, with Hesk technology, surgery equipment has come a long way, but when you need one as precise as this, you need experts.”

            Fui grasped his sister’s hand tighter. If this will help make her sister better, she’ll do what she can to help. “I… know one of the lead Hesk scientists personally- Holo. I can talk to him; try to convince him to allow us to use one of their tables. Would that help?”

            To say Amesh was flabbergasted was a understatement. This would help out so much. “That would help immensely. But how do you know Holo?”

            Fui looked away from him and back to her sister. “……. I’d rather not say…”

            “Alright. I will not pry.”

            Amesh went to leave from the room when he was stopped by Sezawa lightly grabbing his shoulder. “Just… for the record… just what kind of tumor are we dealing with here?”

            “Like I said, we caught it early enough to where there’s no immediate danger, but, if it was left unchecked, it would’ve been cancerous.” Imita gasped as she covered her mouth. “But again, we caught it at a early stage to where there’s no immediate danger.”

            Fui gripped her hand tighter. “And yet, she had a emergency last night.”She pointed out.

            “…. Yes, she did. Her vitals were going crazy. But she’s ok now, and as soon as we get rid of that tumor, all that will be left is for her to heal enough to take her off life support and for her to wake up from her coma.”

            En, who had been remaining silent this whole time, felt like he had to chime in when he discovered a inconsistency. “Wait… she had surgery in the last few days. How could they have not noticed the tumor during that?”

            “That has two answers. For one, the tumor is on the other side of the liver, facing the spine, and compared to the rest of her body, her liver is fine. And secondly, most of Lyric’s damages are to her upper torso and head and all the recent surgeries are focused around there.”          Sezawa moaned a sigh as he rubbed his forehead. This was giving him a headache. Why are so many bad things happening to his youngest child? She did not deserve any of this. “…Fui… head on to school… you’re late enough as it is.”

            Is he serious right now? She wants to stay by her sisters side, not leave. “But dad…”

            “Please, Fui? It’s been a long enough day as it is and we haven’t even made it past 8 A.M. You can’t stay here.”

            She wanted to yell at him, arguing that she wanted to stay, but she didn’t feel like it. best to just listen. “… Ok, dad…” She got up from her chair, grabbed her backpack, and headed out the door with a depressing walk. En followed not too far behind.

 

            Back on the Argalith scout vessel that had been hiding behind the moon, the crew on the bridge had been watching Fui’s antics for the past few months, and when they saw Lyric get hit, they were just as shocked as her. Once again, only their outlines could be seen.

“This is getting depressing really quickly.” The pilot commented.

“Real depressing.” The weapons specialist said.

“I’m surprised the Hesk haven’t stepped in yet.” The sensor specialist said.

The door to the bridge hissed open as their captain walked in. Before, he would berate them for watching Fui and everything revolving her rather than gather intelligence on the planet for when the Reaper arrives, but he could care less at this point.  “They’re miracle workers, but they cannot heal unconsciousness. The best they can do is heal the body and wait for her to wake up on her own. If she ever will.”

“Oh, I hope so. Cute little girl fighting for her life- it’s just not right.”

The captain sat down in his chair. “I know…” He switched off the screen, not wanting his crew to become overly depressed while also earning their shouts. “Be that as it may, we still have a job to do.” The crew groaned before returning to work. The Captain slowly shook his head and sighed to himself. “(Kids…)” He sat up. “Now, are there any updates on the surface?”

“Plenty.” The sensor technician responded. “They got their armies mobilizing. The official word is that they are conducting wargames, but we all know it’s in response to us.”

“Well, clearly. What else is going on?”

“Well… it seems that they got the A.I.’s, except for En, Baset, and Carrion. We know where En is, but the other two are still… up in the wind, as the humans would put it. there’s also some strange energy readings.”

“Energy readings?”

“Yes. Coming from Japan- from two locations, in fact. One is in the middle of Tokyo, while another is in its countryside, from the Nagano Prefecture, deep within its mountains. I haven’t been able to locate where exactly they are, though. What you heard is what ya got. Also, there have been some strange power fluctuations coming from… the planet itself?”

That didn’t sound right- the entire crew on the bridge knows it. A planet cannot have power fluctuations. “Power fluctuations? What do you mean?”

“Well… that’s what it looks like, but I don’t understand how the land itself would be having power fluctuations. The sensors flare up, then they seem to… surge into one point. They are centered on the chain of islands they call Hawaii- specifically, the island of Ni’ihau, off the coast of Kaua’i.”

“I don’t think they’re gonna be able to investigate it.” The weapons specialist said. Since he had nothing better to do, he’s decided to learn all he can of Earth. He brought up a image of the island- it was completely flat with very few hills and trees, and even fewer houses. “Ni’ihau is called the Forbidden Island because the islands owners have made it so. Except for natives to the island, anyone assigned to the US naval base located there, or government officials, nobody is allowed access to the island outside of helicopter tours and closely supervised ground tours and hunting safari’s.”

“So it’s not entirely forbidden.”

“No, just… secured.”

The sensor technician chimed in again. “Sir, that fluctuation I mentioned, it’s bigger then I though. It seems to be spread over the entire chain, from Midway to the Big One, and even out past there. And it’s not in a circular area, but the entire chain. The focal point is Ni’ihau, but… I can’t tell if it’s the island itself or that crescent-shaped tiny spit of land off its coast. All I know is something is going on there, centered on that island.”

The captain sat back in his chair as he went into a state of thought. This is truly bizarre. Never in the history of the universe has a planet experienced a power fluctuation. Come to think of it, he never heard of any fluctuations that seem to surge into a single point.

Something strange is happening on Earth and they have no answer.

 

            Back at school, things were proceeding as they always do. Fui was running late for morning roll call, not that she cares. Gegonia was calling out the names of everyone in class. Elis was among them, but she had her head buried in her backpack to silently cry.

“Ms. Terora?”

            “Here.”

            “Mr. Teulua?”

            “Here.”

            “Mr. Velcos?”

            “Here.” A Hesk student replied.

            “Ms. Yamataka?” No response. He shouldn’t be surprised, given all that’s happened to her, but he is. “Ms. Yamataka?” He, and the rest of the class, looked to her desk and saw it empty. “Where is she?”

            The door to the classroom opened and she walked in. “I’m right here.” She said. She made it here that quick thanks to eTu’nes being able to leap long distances. Cut a half-hour bus ride into a 3 minute hop. “Sorry I was late… I had to head to the hospital…” She slid her backpack off onto the floor and rested her head on her desk.

            That brought a air of silence into the room. It’s never a good thing when a hospital is involved. “Oh… that’s… understandable.”

            “Any updates?” One of her classmates asked.

            She rubbed her tender eyes- she had been crying during the trek here and stopped before coming in, so they were red and puffy. “They, un… they found a tumor behind her liver.” The reactions from her classmates were a mix of horrified gasps, stunned silences, and exclamations of fear. One of the students even said ‘Man, the hits just keep on coming.’ He’s not wrong- between Fui herself and Lyric, it’s like the Yamataka children are on a major bad luck streak. “She’s going in for surgery soon.”

            “Is it the bad kind of tumor?” Another classmate asked.

            “… if it wasn’t discovered in time, it would’ve turned cancerous… but they found it in a early enough stage to remove it without repercussions, so… a silver lining amid this never-ending sea of bad news.”

            “Yeah…” Terora said. “Take whatever good news you can get, right?” Fui nodded in agreement, still upset about earlier. “That reminds me…” She reached into her backpack and pulled something out. “We got a present for you.”

            “A present?”

            “Yeah.” She tossed it over to her. Fui caught it instinctively and saw that it was a plastic bag full of cash- 84389 Yen (749 Dollars) to be specific. “We bought a ton of your mom’s goods yesterday and later turned them around and sold them during the track match yesterday to their team, the home audience, the away audience. We made a good amount of cash. It’s all yours. It may help Lyric some, right?”

            Fui had no idea what to say. This was so unexpected and yet so helpful. There wasn’t a lot they can do with this, but the simple gesture of it was more than enough. Tears formed in her eyes but she wiped them away before they could fall.  It warmed her heart to see all her friends stepping in and helping however they could. It even brought a little color back into her life. it wasn’t much, most things were still grey, but this was a start. “I… this is…I… thank you… from the bottom of my heart… thank you.”

 

            Nobody was having a good day today. Everyone seems to be having one really terrible day. The screams that echoed throughout the Murasakiiro no Shi base was proof of that. It was so loud and horrible, most of the goons had to cover their ears or head outside to avoid listening to it.

            It was not a good time to be Goto. Failing to kill eTu’nes, and losing the gem, has earned him the ire of their leader, and he was rightfully pissed. Not because of the eTu’nes thing, but because he lost that gem, among other things.

            Electricity surged though Goto, filling him with intense pain that made him scream to the high heavens. His clothes had holes burned into them from the electrical attacks he was being subjected to.

            “You absolute idiot!!” Their leader shouted, holding in his hand a double-ended weapon. It was obscured in the shadows, just like him. “How the hell could you lose that thing?! Do you know how valuable it was!?!”

            Goto coughed as he struggled to stay awake. His body was telling him to shut down and pass out, but he wasn’t having none of that. “I… I didn’t know… it was that important.”

            The leader lightly laughed to himself, holding his head as he did. “You didn—he didn’t… hahahahahahahahaha… he didn’t know it was important…. Hahahahaha…” His laughter quickly soured as he shot another surge of electricity at Goto, causing him to yell in pain again “HOW WAS IT NOT OBVIOUS, YOU MORON!?!” He stopped the attack, letting Goto pant and breath as smoke hissed off his body. “That gem is one of a kind! Why do you think it was in a glass case in the deepest part of our Japan vault with a personal hand written note that said ‘Do Not Take’?!”

            His body still hurting, Goto struggled to get up, but couldn’t get past kneeling. “I thought… I thought it would help…it almost did until she outgunned me…”

            His leader pulled up video from the fight, more specifically, to the point where eTu’nes was gaining the upper hand by grabbing the grenade launcher. “More like she outsmarted you. Serves you right for leaving a grenade launcher on the ground. And such a smart move, revealing that you were a part of us and then fail to kill her. Real smart. Now she knows and whoever is under that armor will be extra cautious around you.”

            “I thought… she was gonna die right there… it seemed like a perfect time and…”

            The leader shut him up and pinched his eyes in annoyed aggravation. “Just… shut up… you are giving me a headache…” He sat down in his plush throne of a chair. “… You do know… this means that your police department will investigate you.”

            “Investigate me? For what reason?”

            “For getting three APC’s fried, a bunch of firearms destroyed, and a biggie called disobeying the Prime Minister’s orders. Once news of this breaks, she’ll be on your ass faster than you can say ‘bad bust’. And then there is me…” He got out of his chair and made his way back over, his weapon crackling with energy. Goto slowly crawled away as his boss slowly loomed over him.  “… I did not give you any orders to attack her. I gave that to Venator because of how close they’ve gotten when Venator’s out of uniform. Everyone else is on observation duty until ordered otherwise because this is a unique Kitsune we’re dealing with. And I set my new friend here…” The zombie-like member of their organization stood in the comer like a statue. “… After her to test him out. I want her dead, but I’m being logical about it. If we’re exposed to the world, we’re doomed. You know that- we all know that, and yet you went rogue with this stunt and that video you put out, claiming we’re coming for her and any monsters in town. We did not need any advertising!” Goto reached the back wall and the leader’s weapon was right on his throat. “You are 0 for 2 right now. Make one more mistake and you know what I will do to you.”

            Goto gulped out of fear. He could feel the cold metal pushing on his Adam’s Apple. “Y-yes, Grandmaster…”

            A few tense seconds passed before the grandmaster sent his weapon away into the void. “Good… now get out of here…” He let Goto get up and run past him, rushing for the exit. The leader pinched his eyes with a groan again as his A.I. appeared.  “I swear… I should’ve let him die at Nobunaga’s hands when I had the chance…”

            “So what now, sir?”

            The grandmaster, heading back to his chair, moved some fingers up to rub his forehead. “First… I’m gonna take some pills for this headache… then I’ll come up with some clever way to kill that moron if he fails for the third time… after that…”

            “After that, you got that benefactor’s ball Takamui is throwing for her contributors in her election campaign.” The A.I. interjected. “Remember? I reminded you yesterday.”

            He fell back into his chair, exhausted by this. “Right… that. Then there’s the Argalith ship… and I don’t know what I’m going to do about eTu’nes…”

            “While we’re on that topic, why didn’t you tell Goto that eTu’nes was really this Fui girl? All the others know, including Venator, who is getting a little bit too close for my liking. Why didn’t you tell Goto?”

            “Because he doesn’t deserve that kind of help after the bull he pulled last night. And it’s not my fault no one in Tokyo is putting the pieces together. How many girls in town have a tail? Only her. It’s their fault for believing it’s an accessory. I swear, humanity is a bunch of morons…” He rubbed his head. “Ugh…I need a drink…”

            “I’ll get your gin and tonic ready…” The A.I. passive aggressively said.

 

            Curled up in a ball, Fui sat alone in the corner of the school grounds where she always ate lunch, but for the past few days, it had been depressing eating here. It’s just not the same without her sister on the other side, eating with her. It’s just not right. All she wants is Lyric back.

            En was out with her, sitting beside her, worrying about her. She should be eating, but once again, she’s electing to destroy herself from the inside. He tried arguing this morning, but he gave up. He knows full well that Fui is stubborn as all let-out. What concerns him is that there are no signs of hunger depravation yet: no erratic movements, a lack of energy, or trouble thinking.  The implants must be helping with that, he theorizes.

            Instead, he turned his attention to that gem they swiped from Goto. He looked though the entire historical and mythological databases he could find, but he was having trouble trying to place it down. The gem was a pure ruby the size of Fui’s thumbnail shaped like the diamond on a playing card. He cannot find any mention of this anywhere, forcing him to expand out to other areas.

            Fui sighed depressingly and put it away. She doesn’t want to dwell on it. “Hey…” She heard a voice behind her. She looked back and saw a little blonde girl on the other side of the fence. “Lyric’s sister…right?” She timidly asked.

            Fui worked though her memory to try and remember her from somewhere. She eventually got it: this was Lyric’s friend Ogo Hetora, another avid Bellua Rumble fan like her. They always talk about it every day. “Oh… Hetora, right?”

            “Yeah, that’s me.”

            “Why are you over here? Don’t you have friends to eat with?”

            Hetora sat down on the grass. “I was, but… I saw you and you looked sad. Everyone knows you eat over here with Lyric, but… with her gone…” Fui curled up tighter. “… well, I figured you’d want some company today. A dog isn’t really a proper eating companion.”

            “I take the form of a wolf, thank you very much.” En replied, not deviating from all his research.

            Hetora was stunned he could talk, but Lyric talked him up so much, she shouldn’t be surprised. She’s surprised she was true to begin with. “Whoa. A talking electrical wolf. Lyric was right.”

            En rolled his eyes, annoyed they’re going though this song and dance again. “Yes yes yes, I’m a A.I., I like in Fui’s body, help her live, etc etc etc. Now please talk about something else. I’m doing research here.”

            She didn’t mention he was a prick, though. “Is he always like this?” Hetora asked.

            Fui slowly shook her head. “Not all the time.” She heard something slither though the fence. She looked down and saw a granola bar still in its wrapper sticking though. She looked up at Hetora, who insisted she take it. “Why are you giving me this?”

            “You don’t have a lunch.” She looked to the ground around them. She came without food again. “You must be hungry.”

            She doesn’t’ know the half of it. Fui took it and looked at it. It was a natural energy bar, strawberry flavored. “Thanks…” She softly replied. She slowly peeled away the wrapper and forced herself to take a bite so she doesn’t insult her. Hetora sat next to the fence and opened up her bagged lunch, taking a bite out of a apple. It was awkward and silent without anything to talk about. “So… I hear you and my sister are avid Bellua Rumble fans.” Fui begrudgingly asked.

            Hetora swallowed her apple before replying. “Darn tootin’, we are. We have some intense battles- she wins some, I lose some, but it’s all in good fun.”

            “Sounds like it.” She forced another bite of the bar. “Wish I could get into it, but the rules and stuff go right over my head.”

            “It’s not that hard to figure out. Even my brother could, and he’s only 4.”

            Even toddlers are into this game? She will never understand how kid’s minds work. “Then I guess it’s just not for me.”

            “Makes sense. Nobody can like everything.” Hetora took another bite of her apple. She chuckled to herself as she remembered something funny. “This one time, I was trying to get Lyric into this super corny show called Ef.”

            “Ef?”

            “Yeah. You’d figured it would be a longer title given what it is, but what can you do? Anyway, that show is so corny and so bad; it falls under the ‘it’s so bad, it’s good’ category. The costumes and monster designs are so bad and the aesthetic last century, it’s like someone whacked them with a ugly stick one too many times. I tried to get her to watch an episode, but she just couldn’t. It’s like she was bro--” She stopped herself short when she realized the gravity of what she was going to say. “Un… sorry…”

            “It’s ok…” Fui depressingly replied. She wasn’t even trying to eat the granola bar anymore. “I know what you were talking about…”

            Hetora hit her head on the fence, realizing how much of a idiot she was just then. That last part probably made things worse. “How… how is Lyric? Is she ok?”

            Fui curled up tighter, like a snake. It would be easier to tell her the truth but she was just a kid. She didn’t want to send her into the same state of depression she’s in, so… “She’s…. doing fine.” En stopped what he was doing and glanced her way. “Lyric’s a trooper… she’ll pull though. Miraculously, while she is in a coma, she only had a couple bones cracked, and those can heal while she sleeps. Whether or not she’ll wake up is…. another story entirely.”

            “Oh…” Hetora stopped eating and put down her apple. “I… see…”

            Fui looked back at Lyric’s friend before putting the granola bar down. She doesn’t feel like eating again. “I know… this is terrible…” She said, referring to this whole mess.

            “Why did this even have to happen…?” Hetora shivered as tears fell down, staining the dirt. “We were gonna watch the newest episode of Bellua Rumble that day and I was gonna show her this rare card I got in a expansion pack. I don’t know if I’ll ever see her again…” She hit her hand on the ground. “It’s just not right…”

            “No… it’s not… but the monster that did this won’t get away with it. He’s going to jail…” She closed his hand into a fist, digging up dirt in the process, thinking about how close she was to ending him. “That much is certain…”

            “It won’t change anything… Lyric is still hurt and… and…”

            “I know… but he won’t hurt anyone else. We can take solace in that fact…”

            It didn’t help Hetora feel any better. “I guess…”

            “… Hetora, I promise you that she will wake up. She’s got some of the best care in the city and, later today, I’m gonna pull some leeway with Holo, see if he’ll find some way to help her heal and wake up faster.”

            The girl looked back at her. “Holo? Isn’t he the Hesk leader guy?”

            “Leader of the Tokyo Enclave, yes, and a skilled doctor and surgeon.”

            “How are you gonna get him to help Lyric?”

            “He knows me. He’s what kept me alive.”

            “Oh. Right. I guess I forgot. You’re super sick and he made you into a cyborg.” Fui… begrudgingly nodded. It’s not that far off from the truth. “Well… at least he can help her.” Hetora reached into her bag to pull out a sandwich when she felt plastic. She remembered she got something for Lyric. “Oh. Can you give this to her?” Fui looked back and saw that Hetora was handing her a pack of cards though the fence. “I got Lyric an expansion pack. I would give it to her myself, but I’m being dragged to my uncle’s up in Saitama for his birthday after school. Can you give this to her?”

            Fui took it and looked at the front art. It showed a epic-looking centaur with a pair of glowing broadswords bigger then it. “I will.” Hetora smiled.

            En floated over, shocking the little girl, but not too bad. “I hate to rain on the parade here, but lunch is almost over.”

            “What?” Fui looked at her wrist monitor, which had a built-in clock and saw that he was right. Time passed quickly while she was talking to Hetora. “Oh, Geez, you’re right!” She got up off the ground and En returned to the wrist monitor. She put the pack of cards into her pocket while seeing that Hetora is still eating. “Don’t you need to get going to class too?”

            “I still got a few minutes before lunchtime is done.” Hetora commented.

            “Ok.”

            Fui started to job back when Hetora called out to her. “Hey.” Fui stopped and looked back. “Thanks… for talking with me.”

            Fui lightly smiled. “… Same here. And I mean what I said- Lyric will get better… it’s just a matter of time.” Hetora slowly nodded in agreement. Just a matter of time… Fui gave a little wave before running back to the school so she isn’t late for the next class.

            “{Why didn’t you tell her Lyric was worse off?}” En asked.

            “{Because she doesn’t need to know that. She’s only a kid. I don’t want her suffering as badly as I am. Besides, I think her mother would hurt me if I told her the truth. She’s a scary lady. Really scary.}”

            “{Really?}”

            “{Really.}”

           

            “She’s getting worse?” Alkaid asked. It was lunch time over there at the Kyoto high school as well, but it had just started whereas his old high school is just starting to end. When Terora called, he had to go find someplace private, and since everyone would be eating, the restroom seemed the obvious choice. Terora did the same thing at her school.

            “{Yeah. I don’t think she’s eaten at all since it happened. Her stomach’s gotten so small, I swear I’m seeing the lights from her implants. And I don’t think she’s gotten any sleep either. I’ve never seen her eyes so black.}”

            Sitting down on a toilet seat, he leanded forward and pinched his eyes. Why is Fui doing this to herself? “Damn… she’s killing herself… doing this crap won’t change what happen or bring Lyric back…”

            “{I thought you were going to talk to her.}”

            “I did… we had a real long conversation last night… but I don’t think I’m gonna be enough. Talking to a childhood crush won’t bring you back from depression that easily. She’s… she’s gonna need some major help.”

            “{What, like a therapist?}”

            “Or a psychiatrist. She sounded pretty bad.”

            “{I didn’t even notice her voice…}” She sadly sighed on her end. “{Why is that family suffering so bad…? What did they ever do to be the lightning rod to so much pain?}”

            Alkaid slowly shook his head. He doesn’t know the answer either and it hurts. Knowing that she is suffering and not being able to do a damn thing about it hurts. “I don’t know… and I wish I knew how to help… they deserve better.”

            “{Yeah…}” A long silence fell over htem for awhile, long enough for someone to come into the same bathroom and use it. It was after that guy left when Terora spoke. “{Ok… we need a subject change… were we right about her being eTu’nes?}”

            Before he answered, he poked his head under the stall walls to insure he was alone. He was. “Yep. She confessed. She’s out there kicking butt and taking down bad guys. I’m truly surprised- you wouldn’t imagine someone so timid being such a badass.”

            Terora was flustered in her response, flabbergasted that their theory was actually true. “{Same here. Wh—Fui?! Really? Our Fui?}”

            “Really really. And don’t tell anyone. She begged me to keep this a secret… which I broke by telling you. Shit!” He hit his head on the door in front of him.

            “{Don’t worry… I won’t blab. And technically, I kinda already kinda knew. This is just confirmation.}”

            He lifted his head off, rubbing where he hit. “Guess that’s true.”

            The school bell could be heard over Terora’s side of the conversation. Looks like this is over for the rest of the school day. “{Sorry… that’s the bell. I gotta get going to class. We’ll talk later.}”

            “I know. Bye.” He ended the conversation and leaned forward, rubbing his head. All this stuff with Fui and Lyric and eTu’nes is giving him a headache that is really taking its toll. “Poor Fui… I hope she gets help…”

 

            The remaining hours passed by slowly for Fui. Way too slow- it was almost an eternity. The pain she feels makes everything feel longer and more strenuous. Instead of going home like she always does, she hopped on a bus that was heading downtown. The stop was a block away from Tokyo Tower, so she would have to hoof it to the Enclave. It was on the bus ride over that En was finally able to determine where the gem came from after what felt like months of researching. Since they were on a bus, they talked in private. What he came up with was truly surprising as she would not have thought about this.

“{Jericho?!}” Fui exclaimed in pure surprise.

            “{That’s my best guess.}”

            Fui pulled the gem out of her pockets and looked a tit. “{But why Jericho? Out of all the myths and legends in the world, why do you think this is from Jericho?}”

            “{Honestly? … I don’t. But given that this gem protects people and erects forcefields with a tough-as-nails sheen that is extremely hard to break, and Jericho is one of the few places that are known for being near invincible, you can try to piece it together yourself.}”

            “{You do know Jericho was destroyed, right?}”

            “{I never said total invincibility, I said near invincibility. I know it’s a long shot, but it’s the only explanation I could find. If it’s not from Jericho, then… then this gem can only be not of this planet.}” He looked up to the skies. “{It could be from out there in the galaxy. It could’ve hitched a ride on a Hesk ship, or as a shooting start, or some other means.}”

            Fui looked at the ruby, holding it between her pointer finger and thumb. “{Either way, a device that can give a personal shield to a person or a entire building floor would be mighty useful. But it’s gotta have limitations, right? Everything has a limit.}”

            “{True. Working off the assumption that this is from Jericho… in the tale, the Israelites, fresh out of Egypt, walked around Jericho once a day for 7 days with the Ark of the Covenant. On the 7th, they blew ram horns and shouted loudly, destroying it. Working off that, we can assume the gems are not keen on loud noises. It could crack them or destroy them.}”

            Fui put the gem away. “{Good thing none of our enemies have sonic weaponry.}”

            “{Yeah. And since this is just a gem all by itself and not part of the walls, it’s likely that the power is… minute. After all, it only covered the exposed areas in that parking garage instead of covering the entire structure from top to bottom. Other then probably hating loud sounds, it probably won’t last long under long of pressure and concentrated bombardment. Again, working off the 7 days thing, I theorize this could last 7 minutes before it shorts out.}”

            “{If you say so. At least that’s 7 minutes where I won’t be getting my butt whooped.}”
            “{Assuming I’m right about the gem being from Jericho theory.}”

            “{Right.}”

            The bus came to the stop and she got off. She made her way to Tokyo Tower in silence, becoming one with the crowd as she just wanted this all to end- her pain, Lyric’s suffering, her parents breaking down, all of this… she just wants it to end. She doesn’t want any more badness to come into their lives.

            Her feeling of depression got worse when she got to the base of the tower. The entrance was on the other side… and directly across from the elevator down was the foot traffic street where Lyric got hit. She remembers coming out of the Enclave to find Lyric on the ground in a pool of blood. Now, the spot where she was hit was still cordoned off by police tape. It hurt her coming back to this awful place. And somehow, it hurt worse in her train of thought.

            “{This is all my fault…}” Fui whined, on the verge of tears.

            “{No it wasn’t…}”

            The tears came dropping out. “{Yes it was… if I wasn’t so angry at you, Lyric wouldn’t have been worried about me and she wouldn’t have come here to find me comfort food and… she’d still be the same little girl I remember… and not hooked up to life support machines…}”

            “{Fui…we’ve been over this…. what’s done is done. I wish things were different too, but we can’t change things now. All we can do is hope…}” He heard his voice crack, which surprised him. She didn’t catch it, so heplayed it off. It could’ve been a glitch in his system. “{… hope she’ll wake up.}”

            “{I know… and I’m tired of repeating this whole song and dance too…}” She headed straight for the elevator. “{I just can’t help getting emotional…}”

            “{Nobody is blaming you. It’s a bad situation out of our control and it’s someone you care deeply about. And as for the blame, it’s solely Matsuo’s fault.}”

            Fui crunched her arms into fists hearing his name, remembering his involvement. “{Yeah… it is…}” She said under her breath, hiding the hatred in her voice for him. “{And he will pay for it.}”

 

            Deep in the bowels of the Hesk Enclave, in his own personal quarters, Holo was taking some time to relax after a long, long day, reading a book recovered from the ruins. Like the rest of the Enclave, his room was repurposed from the sunken remains of old Tokyo. His place was originally an apartment in downtown Edogawa, now repurposed for Hesk habitation.

            His relaxation was cut short before it began when there was a knock at his door, which was surprising because Hesk don’t knock, at least not underwater. It must’ve been a dolphin that got lost or a piece of litter that fell from the upper city. He floated over to open it when a voice came.

            “Uncle Holo? You in?”

            It was Fui. What would she be doing all the way down here, he wondered. “Fui?” He responded as he floated over to the door. He opened it up and saw her standing there, her entire body encased in a air bubble. How else could humans go to the Hesk Enclave? “What are you doing here? You never leave the tower… or even visited me, for that matter.”

            “I know, Uncle Holo, and I’m sorry for appearing unannounced, but… but I need a huge favor.”

            He gestured her to come in, which she did. He had a good feeling he knew what this favor was. “If you are going to ask me to remove En, I told you before, I can’t without the process killing you.”

            “No no no…it’s not that. We made up. I’m here… for another reason.” She sat down in one of the water-soaked chairs, burying her face in her hands. “… It’s Lyric… she… she’s not doing good…”

            That made him worry. Something bad must’ve happened to her. “Lyric? Has something happened to her?”

            She lifted her head up. “You didn’t hear?”

            “No.”

            “Strange- it was on the doorstep to the tower.” She cleared her throat to get rid of the frog. “The…. the other day, when I demanded you remove En… I went back to the surface and… and I saw my sister, lying in a puddle of her own blood…. She was the victim of a hit and run…”

            That frightened him significantly. “Oh… oh dear.  I heard someone was in a accident up there the other day, but I didn’t know it was Lyric. Is she alright?”

            Her face scrunched up in sorrow as she looked away. “B… barely. She’s barely alive and on life support. She’s in a coma and suffered a ton of wounds… I don’t know if she’ll ever wake up…” She was about to cry, but steeled herself. She shouldn’t cry. “This morning… it got worse… they found a tumor behind her liver. They found it in its early stages, so we can remove it, but…”

            “But what?”

            “… They want someone professional to perform it since it’s still a life-threatening operation, and they need one of the Hesk machines to do it… so…” She glanced up at him, wondering what his answer will be.

            “I think I get where you are going with this. You want me to use our medical machines to help her by removing the tumor and repairing any damages she may have gotten.”

            She somberly nodded. “… That’s about it.”

            It didn’t take long for him to reply. He could see that this is causing harm to Fui, seeing as she is malnourished and sleep deprived, and hearing about a little girl in such a state is depressing in of itself.  His answer was pretty much a given.

            “Of course I’ll help her. I don’t want her suffering just as much as you.”

            Fui burst up and gave him a giant hug. “Oh, Thank You!!” She emotionally responded.  “You have no idea how much this means to us!”

            He felt uncomfortable. Hesk’s are not fans of hugging- makes them feel uneasy and vulnerable to stabbings. They’re medical experts, not touchy feely’s. “You do know this won’t wake her up from the coma, right? The best I can do is repair her body.”

            “I know…” She let go of him. “I know. But… but at least it’s a start.” She wiped her eyes to get rid of happy tears forming. “Thank you… from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Truly.”