Chapter 12:

Round the Twist

Half-Paid Heroes

The offense squad members, currently having nothing to do due to people's distrust of the law, were also participating. Just after they began to float the first time, Ella began to suspect this levitation was Kirikagura's doing, but before she could check on him, the other staff had already decided Alex would.

Yuki, meanwhile, was embracing the birdcage and whimpering a single word over and over: "Valentine."
Alex entered the room, only to find Kou bent over a feverish Kirikagura. Sudden movement caught her eye, so she peered at the street below to find a blonde girl, about Kou's age. The blonde was holding a plastic doll with blazing red hair and similar-coloured scribbles all over its face, but otherwise dressed like Kirikagura was currently (in pyjamas of a mint green shade). While Alex's attention was focussed on her, she held the doll by the throat, causing Kirikagura to scream and be lifted into the air by an invisible force.

The levitation phenomenon assisted Kou as he slammed the window open, leapt out and pulled on his transformation device. However, because he hadn't been watching how he was going to land, he awkwardly landed on his side, prompting the girl to run off as he clambered back to his feet.

"Kou, don't go after her!" This was Alex, who had leapt down after him and barred his way. "I know you're worried about your uncle, but-"

There were only the sounds of rustling cloth as Kou escaped his restrictive clothing and shoved her aside, disappearing in a blur of black.

"That boy. He may be inexperienced, but he's too rash, just like the younger members of our Company..." she sighed.
When she caught up to them, the catboy had a ferocious look in his eyes as he interrogated the blonde. A short coat of black fur covered him where he should have been completely bare.

"What do you want with my uncle?!" the teenager demanded, claws pointed at the girl's throat. The doll lay facedown on the pavement, while the girl was lying face up. Kou was poised on top of her as if they'd fallen with the boy on top of the girl (which was highly likely to be the case).

The girl, with her teeth gritted and azure eyes wide in terror, shook her head in confusion wordlessly. As Kou retracted his threatening pose and stepped away, Alex turned the doll over to find it was now missing the scribbles from its face...
Kou brought the girl back to the Company to apologise to his uncle, but even after she left, the levitation continued to happen.

"Who's doing this then?" Ella mused, and in response, Yuki pointed to the cage. The bird's eyes were gleaming with a soft pink light as it beat its wings impatiently.

When the man opened the cage, the budgie landed in front of it. The bird's body and limbs elongated until what was in front of the Company workers was not a bird, but a brunette girl in a lime green Chinese-style shirt, leather flats and white shorts that went to mid-thigh. Her plaited hair dangled behind her like a pendulum as the rose glow faded from her eyes.

"The winged tactician, seeing all that occurs! Heart Wisdom!" the former bird declared (even though in human form she lacked wings).

Gerry Hines