Chapter 2:

Playing Around

Forbidden Words


PART 4Bookmark here

Back to the communication room, while we were eating, we used the time to ask what Mahika felt at that time he attached the new magic weapon we acquired. But coming from him, we understood almost nothing specific. All I can remember was that information kind of flooded his brain, like the trigger word and what power will activate, and how the pain it gave him differs depending on his use of onomatopoeia.Bookmark here

Then after we were all done eating our share of foods, a half loaf of bread each, we continued talking about the said weapon, with exception of Plash who excused himself for needing to go to the bathroom. I took the initiative while most of them were still drinking from the bottles.Bookmark here

"So we now know that Mahika has no knowledge of the punishment when the information poured into him. At first, I was planning to see what's the punishment too, but given the great power it offers, it might be too big of exchange so we're better off saving that for later."Bookmark here

"You're right. But that gave us Mahika, equipped with it, we got an ultimate human weapon." Calling him a weapon might offend him, so Leto took a glance at Mahika who was in the corner scraping his teeth from leftovers stuck on his teeth. But it looks like he did not take it negatively but rather, he took it gladly while nodding and revealing his bright smile.Bookmark here

"So the only thing we are left to do is to try and use it too. And I want each of us to use it."Bookmark here

I expected all of them to give a quick "Of course!" reply but instead, only two of them gave a positive response. Leto looked at me like he was feeling sorry for something, while Domino looked at me like there was something questionable about what I said. "The two of you. Why, Is there any problem?"Bookmark here

"Shu..." Domino looked at me in the eye like she was trying to tell me something just with her eyes but not understanding what was it, I signaled her with my hands to continue using her mouth. "...No. Never mind."Bookmark here

Not just me but everyone had a confused face but soon I stopped wondering about it and started getting some answers from Leto this time. "How about you?"Bookmark here

With a wry smile, he voiced his worries. "A-ah... You see... I've already tried it."Bookmark here

My eyes grew bigger in surprise. "You tried? What? The magic weapon?" I started pondering what could be his trigger word. He's one of the longest people I knew in the group and given his personality, I would say his way of living his life is not something I can describe in one word. He's not simple as Mahika. I also don't know his goal in life and why he still chose to accompany and stayed with us.Bookmark here

"W-well, it fell off. It did not attach itself. I'm not fit to be one of its wielders." Leto forced a smile, but it's visible that he was feeling down with the result. "Sorry Shu, I want to be more useful to you, but the weapon said no." He laughed weakly while rubbing the back of his own head.Bookmark here

I wasn't sure what to feel about the thing he said. I wasn't sympathetic towards him, because I still believe that he'll still be useful in the group as one of the support. And I did not felt questioning his statement, after all, I really expected that not all of us will be able to wield it. But since he was feeling down, as the one who leads them, I felt the need to encourage him but our older sister took the role faster than me.Bookmark here

"You shouldn't be burdened with that way of thinking. Remember, ever since I joined the group, you taught me all the things I need to do to support them too. So even now, I can't still imagine how it was when there was just you. You're already capable on your own, so don't feel down." The way Yoona lifted Leto's spirit felt contagious, that most of us unconsciously wore a smile.Bookmark here

But after realizing it, I wore my usual serious face. "Yoona's correct, you don't need to mind it that much, and you already know it, that we expected that not all of us will be able to use it. It's just a hopeful wish that all of us will be able to."Bookmark here

"I see. But I'll still do my best to help you guys!" I did not really need him to tire himself out for the sake of the group but hearing that was still reassuring and made me comfortable to trust him more.Bookmark here

"Now we're all in agreement now, right? If there's no more concern, then start preparing yourselves. Rather than doing it one by one, let's just do it all at once. Let's just wait until Plash comes back." I stood up and picked up the open bag containing the foods we ate and the magic weapon we collected earlier.Bookmark here

One by one, they all stood up too. I gave one weapon to Domino and then Leto to be pass to Yoona.Bookmark here

"Speak of the devil." Mahika blurted out.Bookmark here

Coming in from the door was Plash. "Did I miss anything?"Bookmark here

"Domino, can you pass this one to him." I reached another copy of it to Domino. "You're right in time, we are just beginning. We are about to see if any more of us will be able to wield the new weapon. Take this and try it too."Bookmark here

Domino was slow to move like she was hesitating or something, but she soon did it anyway and gave it to Plash.Bookmark here

"Oh, so I'm already doing it huh. Big tree, later I'll show you my new power immediately and show how more amazing it will be!" Like a kid who was bragging about his soon toy, Plash pointed his finger to his target of insult.Bookmark here

It was another name but the supposedly big tree answered. "In your dreams. I know the weakness of it too, all I need to do is to stay quiet!"Bookmark here

"As if you can do it you big mouth gorilla." Plash yet called Mahika another name.Bookmark here

"By the way, as a caution, I want you all to attach it where it can't be easily seen by anyone lest we encounter people who know this thing." Everyone nodded and acted like they were all about to attach it where their clothes will be able to hide it. "On my signal."Bookmark here

Leto looked at me with great anticipation while everyone was just waiting as they prepare.Bookmark here

I removed my jacket's hood covering the back of my neck and lead the start. "Let's do this."Bookmark here

I saw all of us do it. Plash attached it inside his polo, in the place of his stomach. Domino was almost the same as me, but she placed it just a little lower since that's all her vest can reach. And lastly, Yoona stretched her sweater and buried her arm inside, it looked like she was attempting to place it just above and between her chests. I wanted to watch them more, but the pain kicked in and made me curled down.Bookmark here

To be honest, It was less of a pain but more of an unpleasant feeling you wouldn't want to experience every day. It was so intense that like what happened to Mahika, an obviously strong guy, it made me close my eyes too and hold on to my head.Bookmark here

I was sure no one was talking to me, but I can hear a voice inside my head saying something to me:Bookmark here

KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL
KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL KILL
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It happened in just about 5 seconds but it felt like forever. When it ended, I was about to lay low my hands but then a sudden surge of information shocked my brain. "Aaack!" It felt like something was about to pierce through my head from the inside so I pressed in my hands harder.Bookmark here

At that time, the information of what power I got became known to me instantly. What would happen if the enemy utter my trigger word and what were the limits.Bookmark here

This time, it's true and finally done. I opened my eyes and the first to welcome me back to reality was the floor I was facing. I realized again how unpleasant it was, for me who went from standing to kneeling down. But as a leader, I wanted to show them I'm capable of it and tried to stand up as fast as I can manage.Bookmark here

When I stood up, the only one who was left on the floor was Yoona, while others were standing still. "What happened?" I looked at Domino and Plash. "How about you? Are you done?"Bookmark here

Plash was forcing a smile while Domino was just looking down, evading the looks of my eyes. They were both holding the magic weapon that was supposed to be attached to their bodies.Bookmark here

"So you two weren't recognized too..." Including Leto, that was half of our group now. "But how about Yoona?" I looked in her direction, she was still on the floor, with both of her palms touching the ground.Bookmark here

She slowly raised her head and smiled. "Don't worry, I did it too." Including Mahika, that was half of our group too. But that was enough for me to regain my composure.Bookmark here

I smiled thinking about the possibility this weapon gave us. "Okay, that's enough. Tomorrow, as planned, we will attack another facility. The one where Dr. Tokuichi should be. And if possible, I'll try something there too."Bookmark here

"You're really cruel, we're feeling down here you know," Plash said that but he was back to being his usual playful and cheerful self. Bookmark here

After I started talking, Domino looked like she regained her composure too. "But it is Shu's decision, our leader, so I'll follow. And we really intend to do it even without this thing anyway."Bookmark here

Plash who seemed to always have a comeback wasn't able to retort anything this time. He could only sigh but with a smile. "Fine, you win. Feel free to order me. Throw me into the fray."Bookmark here

"After packing up here, we'll scout the facility once more in the morning but when the night comes, that's when we'll sneak inside." I raised my hands and closed them slowly like I was crumpling something within my palms. "That's the time when we'll clutter and mess them inside. But as the priority goes, we'll make sure to search and capture Dr. Tokuchi."Bookmark here

Yoona stood up with a determined look but without a kind smile anymore. Leto, just like anytime, was ready to join anything I wanted to start. And Mahika was just laughing.Bookmark here


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PART 5Bookmark here

At the exact time of 8:00 PM, we sneak into one of the container trucks that we'll be droved into the building. It was a storage facility and had three floors on it. The first floor had the biggest space since most of the cars come and go in it, but not just that, it also acted as storage for things that were too big or too heavy to be lifted up and be moved on the second floor. Talking about the second floor, it was a floor full of small rooms intended to store every other smaller item. And lastly, the third floor was a floor full of office rooms, but not just that, it also had rooms for those who would stay and could act as a temporary house for those people.Bookmark here

But even before we did the morning scouting, we've already looked at it for days. Basing on what we learned, regular workers will leave starting from 7 PM, and when 8 passes, the only ones who would be left were the guards who would also start driving in the trucks. But other than them, there were also people who would be left on the building, those who rarely goes out. Those people have a job that entails them staying in the building and take care of the stored items. There were only a few of them and they were mostly the ones who use the third floor. But all of those are nothing to us if not because of one person. Among those people who stays in the facility, was Dr. Tokuichi. A person we were looking for, a former scientist I wanted to greet and spend some time to talk with.Bookmark here

The truck we were in finally stopped moving then after some seconds, several loud smacking sounds of the roll-up doors reverberated. That was the sign that they've closed the whole storage facility from the outside. Bookmark here

Inside the dark truck, a light enough to light up the whole space was lit up. It was one of Leto's magic items. He did not stop there, he then brought out a drawn map from his bag and gave it to me.Bookmark here

“We'll split into two groups: Mahika, Plash, and Yoona on this floor; Leto, Domino, and me on the upper floor. On this floor, just lead the guards and clean up them later then wait on our further calls.” When I said call, I did not mean through an electronic or any machine used for contacting someone. We'll just either tell them in person (like me ordering someone to go down again and tell them a message) or just shout it out. “Yoona, stay on this floor too and look for Tokuichi's car, and check if there's anything important in there. And as for us, we'll search for him on the upper floor. Am I clear?”Bookmark here

Everyone nodded with the exception of Mahika. "I like my job here, just wreaking havoc, but there's just one little problem. And by little problem, I mean that little insect. If we're doing that, then going solo is better."Bookmark here

"Don't worry, I don't like the idea too." Plash immediately agreeing to disagree.Bookmark here

Before Mahika could get his turn on the starting turn-based talking down battle, I quickly gave them a reason to stop it. "Fine, then do it however you want. Just make sure to be successful on your own task."Bookmark here

Plash had a relief look while Mahika was grinning widely almost saying that's what I'm talking about.Bookmark here

It became quieter. Not just us, but the outside too. "Let's get out now," I ordered.Bookmark here

Mahika led our exit. With a strong kick, he destroyed the lock of the container's door. We heard a guard saying "What's that?" and thus Plash rushed outside by jumping. But contrast to him, Mahika just walked down comfortably while laughing loudly.Bookmark here

I heard all the guards, present at that time, start wondering who the people were. In the midst of the confusion, Mahika started running in the opposite direction on which Plash ran earlier. Because of that, all of the guards chased them. But that was according to our plan, to place their attention out of us, the group who will go up.Bookmark here

We initiated on sneaking up, leaving Yoona on the truck.Bookmark here

It was a long and hard way, not just the guards, but we also needed to pass on the moving security cameras. Yet we continued running until we reached a dark shade.Bookmark here

"Leto, where are we?"Bookmark here

"Here." He pointed at the drawn map. "The nearest stair is the first corner on our right."Bookmark here

"I see. Let's go."Bookmark here

Following me, we ran to our right till we finally saw a stair. We moved up but a guard was standing atop. "There you are!" The guard shouted while holding a baton stick. Instead of coming to us, he only waited for us to come up.Bookmark here

But before we could be on the same level the guard was in, Leto threw a ball-shaped thing that had a magic circle lighting up in it, it exploded. It was weak, but that was enough for the guard to be surprised and be off-guard for some seconds. Domino jumped ahead of us and took the guard's arm that was holding a weapon, she broke it and lastly, threw the person down the stair far from where we were coming up.Bookmark here

"It looks like the guards already got the gist of it. Should we take out the people working on the security camera first?" Asked Domino.Bookmark here

"That might be a good idea. If we manage to take over it and use it to our advantage, then finding the professor should be easier by then." As we spoke, we were then officially stepping on the second floor. "If I'm correct, going in that direction will lead us to that room. Am I correct, Leto?"Bookmark here

Leto who just put something in his bag looked at the map. "You're right. But it's really far. We'll need to pass several rooms to reach it."Bookmark here

"Leto, I think you forgot that we're trying to search for Dr. Tokuichi here. Searching him in this building full of rooms. So we already expected to pass many rooms."Bookmark here

He was flustered. "T-that's not what I mean."Bookmark here

I showed a playful smile. "I'm kidding. I know what you mean, it just shows how far it is. But controlling the security cameras will lessen the burden on Mahika's group too, so we better do it given the chance."Bookmark here

Leto was only able to nod with a small hint of hesitancy. It looked like he did not expect me to break a joke in the middle of what we were doing.Bookmark here

Agreeing on that, we all continued running. Fast but as quiet as we can to lessen our possible pursuer. But it appeared to be that the shout of the earlier guard alerted the ones on the second floor. As we expected, there were only a few of them, but all of them were still armed, so we were careful to escape their vision.Bookmark here

While we were hiding, one of the guards slowly walked past us, but he was laxer compared to others so we were able to hear his conversation on his radio.Bookmark here

"We haven't found the one on this floor yet, how about you?"Bookmark here

"The small one is too energetic, we can't catch him, while the other one already took down three of us. If you're sending some backups, better send it to the muscle guy. He's on the storage room for steel beams."Bookmark here

The guard muted himself to prevent his voice from being heard all over the radio. "Three?! What the hell! So that was the reason everyone was coming down."Bookmark here

Looking back, almost all of the guards we sneaked past were not really trying to look for someone on the second floor, rather, they seem to be rushing in the directions where the stairs used to go down lie. I also felt that the guards surveying the floor are diminishing as time went by. This means that the one in front of us was one of the few who were trying to guard the second floor against the rumored intruder. (Rumored because I was confident that we did not show up in any of the cameras, they should have only known us from the shout earlier that did not really give away our numbers.)Bookmark here

That was a piece of good information and we need to take advantage of that. I came out of where we were hiding from. The lone guard was surprised, just the same, so was my comrade. I dashed forward then jumped to take the guard with a roundhouse kick.Bookmark here

“Gah!” The guard fell to the floor and gasped, but before he could learn what hit him, I followed it with a kick to his head. That ended his consciousness.Bookmark here

“You are fast.” Unexpectedly, a praise from Domino.Bookmark here

“Not yet on your level though.”Bookmark here

They both came out from where we were hiding but as a caution, they looked everywhere if there were more.Bookmark here

“As you can see, none. It looks like Mahika and Plash are certainly taking the spotlight here. We can expect a lesser number here.”Bookmark here

“Then should we run straight to the camera control room?” Leto asked.Bookmark here

“Yeah, let’s do this fast. Still, be cautious, they’re still armed with magic guns. Assuming we meet another one, I’ll act as a decoy, while both of you go straight to the camera control room.”Bookmark here

The first one to try to question my decision was Domino. “But you’re the leader-”Bookmark here

“It’s fine. I’ll go back immediately. I still remember the whole map anyway, so I won’t be lost.” I continued walking, a way to stop her from dragging out the talk. “Or are you saying I’m too weak to be on my own?”Bookmark here

From my back, I heard a weak response. “It’s not like that…”Bookmark here

I ignored it anyway and started running, and soon heard their footsteps too. It did not take long after that and we manage to locate where the room was exactly. We were already near the camera control room, we just need to take a corner to the left.Bookmark here

“Wait, I can hear some people. I’ll go first, stay on that shade.”Bookmark here

“Okay.” I only heard Leto’s reply, none from the lone female with us.Bookmark here

While crouching, I went forward slowly as soundless as I could, and stopped just before the corner. I only saw two guards standing in front of the open door, a door to enter the camera control room.Bookmark here

I took out a ball-shaped magic thing from my back pocket. It was the same as what Leto has thrown, generally called a magic bomb, but it has a different effect from the earlier one. These things act just like the old bomb, but the difference is that it’s reusable after some time while it still had some charge, that’s why Leto picked up the earlier one before we completely stepped onto the second floor. Before I began any action, I signaled Leto and Domino again to wait.Bookmark here

I suddenly stood up, a little noisy on it to gain their attention, and followed it up by throwing the magic bomb lousily in the middle of the guards and me. Thick smoke came out from it.Bookmark here

“Ah! It’s not an exploding bomb. Damn, I‘m wrong!” I bit my lower lip and slowly walked backward.Bookmark here

“It must be him, the one they were talking about who sneaked past this floor.” One of the guards said loudly then both of them ran to me.Bookmark here

Before I dashed to run away, I took a glance at my two allies, checking if they’re still not moving. Because of the dark shade, I did not manage to see them clearly, but I was able to see a hint that they were covering their mouth and nose.Bookmark here


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PART 6Bookmark here

After being apart from everyone, I stayed inside the container truck for some time. To be honest, I don’t know when should I start doing my task: Searching for Dr. Tokuichi’s personal vehicle. And even if I do, I’m actually scared that some of the guards might found me. But I knew better than anyone that this is a rare chance for me to show off my knowledge. So I forced myself to peek outside.Bookmark here

It was quiet, and there was no sign of any guard patrolling the area. I finally stepped out of the truck.Bookmark here

When the attack started, all the cameras started to move too, but this time, all of the cameras I could see were just staying in one area each. That made me decide to walk around and start my task after a long time.Bookmark here

I walked while evading the vision of the cameras. My task was to search for the professor’s personal vehicle, but looking around, all I saw were only large container trucks. It’s definitely not this area where it would be parked so I tried looking on my copy of the map.Bookmark here

If you’re wondering how did we get a copy of the building’s map, it was from when Shu and Plash sneaked into the back of the building, specifically, the emergency stair where a copy of the building would most likely be stuck on a wall. It wasn’t really a military base, so the security there wasn’t really tight. Unfortunately for us though, all they could get was until the second floor, because, unlike other establishments, emergency stairs were being used by the workers, that is when they’re trying to dodge their job and rest for some time. That was the reason they were forced to copy in a hurry, trying to stay away from being seen by any of the people inside. They manage to get a complete copy of the first floor, but on the second, they mostly rushed it and just relied on Shu’s memory.Bookmark here

We had some ideas on where some of the places were, by connecting the puzzles we have. Like by looking at some of the people working inside, we learned one of the workers was working on the security camera, so following the direction the person always took, by watching outside of the windows available, we pinpointed that the security camera’s control room should be around there.Bookmark here

Going back, I looked onto the map and checked which places could be the possible area where personal cars would be parked.Bookmark here

“To my left?” I followed the map where it pointed, still wary of the security cameras. “Hm? If I’m correct, this is where Plash ran to.”Bookmark here

Reminded of that, I walked more quietly. I was trying to listen if there’s a hint of an ongoing fight. It was a long walk, but fortunately, I did not hear any violence even once.Bookmark here

“I’m correct! This is the place.” I wandered my eyes around and took my time strolling like I was just searching for something to buy in a store.Bookmark here

I peered in every windshield of different cars. If the inside of the car is dark, I would use my hands to keep the light from reflecting my own figure. If it’s suspicious enough to be the professor’s personal car or it looked like there’s something usable for us inside, I would break the window and get what I found. But whenever I do that, I would always crouch first and tried to listen if there was someone who heard the crashing sound.Bookmark here

Actually, I personally didn’t know Dr. Tokuichi. I heard that only Shu, Leto, and Domino knew the person in question, the same people who first started the group.Bookmark here

I only knew the professor’s face because I saw his face from time to time on a picture, from a list of people who were associated in some important research at that time when I was still living my life as a researcher. It was a life that was far easier than what I’m doing right now, where we would occasionally search for a place or materials that would help us continue living our lives.Bookmark here

It’s not the life I wanted to live but I had no choice. When they found me out alive, I offered them my help rather than surrendering my life. It was my only chance to continue living, and it was on Shu’s kindness that he let me live and join them. It was a short negotiation, but as a result, I’m alive and still able to study the things I could have my hands on.Bookmark here

However, from my perspective, I deemed it as a curse. Just like my past senior professors, their kindness was more like a debt I needed to pay. So I did everything to return their kindness to me. I used all my knowledge to support them that I felt like that they already trusted me as much as I wanted them to.Bookmark here

But that won’t stop there, so even today, I wanted to show them that I could do this simple searching while they’re all doing each of their hard battles.Bookmark here

“This is it!” I shouted with pure happiness and immediately turning to be shy when I saw my own face on the window’s reflection. At that time, I stopped caring if anyone would find me out, that was after gaining more confidence when I continually crashed more windows of the cars.Bookmark here

In front of the driver’s seat, lay a picture of a family. It was composed of a baby that on my estimate, was below 1 year old, a mother carrying the child wearing a beautiful smile, and a father with no expression at all (that reminded me of Domino's usual demeanor). I knew the face of the father in the picture, it was Dr. Tokuichi.Bookmark here

With the broken window, I inserted my left hand and reached for the handle to open the car’s door. I looked at the nearest one first, the small compartment. When I opened it, all it had were packs of cigarettes and nothing more.Bookmark here

Next was the mess in the back row seat, the scattered papers. But to me, those could be the biggest item I could get. I skimmed through it all. Most of it was about the inventory of the items stored in this building, some were the approval of the shipping and others were just about the cost of the storing per item.Bookmark here

In a way, those were important papers for the one who’s running this storage facility, but to us, all of it was just mere papers. It made me wonder, why papers like that were scattered on the back row seat. I checked the back compartment, but it was totally clean compared to the back row seat like the use of it was reversed.Bookmark here

At this point, I’ll end up having no use for them. Thus I circled around the car and thought of what more could I do.Bookmark here

I inspected every nook and cranny of the car. At last, that was it, that was what I needed to do to make this searching fruitful. Under the seat beside the driver’s seat was a secret hiding place. There, I saw a small and brown container. If I would to compare it to an object I knew, I would say it looked like an eyeglass container, just a little longer.Bookmark here

My curiosity sparked off, and it’s not like I needed Shu or anyone on the group’s permission to look inside. I opened it but I had a delayed reaction. My thinking process loaded first, searching what could be the use of the item inside.Bookmark here

I pondered for an answer for a long time. I took the family picture and looked at both of them. I can’t think of a connection, but as a researcher, my instinct was telling me there should be.Bookmark here

The place was all silent until something broke it.Bookmark here

“Ahahaha c’mon, get me! You can do it Ahahaha!”Bookmark here

From the wide hallway, Plash was running in my direction. But it wasn’t just him, running with him, or rather, running to catch him, was a group of guards with magic guns pointed at him.Bookmark here


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PART 7Bookmark here

From inside the truck, I leaped, passing by an existence that seemed to be something that came from an old era, and came out. I ran towards a guard that was a little confused, but as I was getting nearer and nearer, he came back to his sense.Bookmark here

He was about to take out a baton he was wearing on his hips. It didn’t seem to be a magic weapon, maybe because they don’t really expect a big attack on this facility and just gave them a simple weapon to protect the building from a simple thief or anything petty like that. Even so, I still did not let him drew it by kicking one of his legs to make him kneel.Bookmark here

But as a guard, he’s still wearing a thicker cloth and that helped him lessen simple damage. He was conscious and more guards appeared hearing his shout.Bookmark here

I smiled. “Uh oh, I guess it’s time to run…” As if to mock the guard in front of me, I flicked him on his forehead, and then I started running.Bookmark here

Most of the guards had their attention to the guy who was stupidly laughing loudly, but I still got some of them including the one I flicked.Bookmark here

I still remember some of the locations on the first floor. Since our task here was to fight alone, I needed a place where I’ll be sure to be advantageous. I knew how the big guy fights, and he’ll surely stay in one place, so that would give me a lot of choices if I would want to stay away from him. But if I stay in one place too, I’m sure they won’t treat me as a threat enough for them to send more guards to my location. Combining those reasons, there was only one answer, and that is to run around the first floor, visiting every storage room and wreck havoc inside of each.Bookmark here

“C’mon, follow me. Let’s start our adventure!” There were 4 people who joined and ran with me.Bookmark here

As for my first victim, or location rather, was the place where they store parts of temper tents. When I entered the big door, I saw several aluminum rods that were lined up on my left. It was either straight or curved. On my right, were fabrics that were folded and hanged. Other materials were on the far more back of the big storage room.Bookmark here

I drew my magic knife and went to my right.Bookmark here

“Hey, what are you doing!” Shouted the guards who were able to catch some distance from me.Bookmark here

Temper tent’s clothes are thick enough to withstand light scratches from wild animals, so if you’re trying to slice it, you’ll need a really sharp item and you will need to exert enough force to go through it. With that knowledge, I did not think of planning to actually slice it, I was just thinking of scratching it, after all, these goods that were still new would have their price decreased if someone would ever look to appraise it or be deemed as secondhand if they saw some damage on it no matter how small it could be.Bookmark here

While running, I had my right hand raised while holding my magic weapon. It did not pierce through, but it gave a visible scratch to the hanging clothes.Bookmark here

“Stop that! That costs a lot!”Bookmark here

“Ahahaha, then make me! Try to stop this playful fox!”Bookmark here

When I took a peek behind, I saw two of them going in another direction. They were planning a pincer attack. But I let them do their thing and continued my prank, even added a zigzag motion to my arm to add an artistic design to the items.Bookmark here

“Stop this already, or we will use force to make you!” One of the guards from behind warned me.Bookmark here

“Then do it!”Bookmark here

As if they were just waiting for that certain reply, one of them who was in a different direction jumped, trying to take me down with his body. But as I was already known in our group, acrobatics is my specialty, so simple body take-down is not enough to stop me. I jumped so high for my entire body to get above from the guard, midair, I used the person to jump forward and continue running.Bookmark here

“Ahahaha, if you’re that slow, then you won’t be able to catch me.”Bookmark here

I said that but I was already nearing the end of the room, where other smaller materials were all piled. And when I was finally at the end, I stopped. “Unfortunately for you, I’m far from done.” While they were still a little far, I wasted my time kicking all the materials and scattered them around. “Ahahaha!”Bookmark here

The one who jumped earlier was a little behind the three but since they all stopped just before reaching me, that person caught up to them. “Playtime is over. But I need to say that what you did was far from a mere prank, kid. We’ll make sure to give you the same headache we’ll get after our own taste of scolding.”Bookmark here

One of the guards drew his baton while going towards me, but he put it behind as if he was just using it as a threat than showing that he’ll surely use it to apprehend me. The scattered materials made it for him to walk slower while the guards behind did not relax at all and were just waiting until I got apprehended.Bookmark here

When the guard’s hand was about to reach me, I reached it first, pulled back while using my right leg to trip the guard. It was fast enough for even a trained guard, not to be able to react accordingly. The front of his body smacked to the ground full of lying tent’s materials. Most of it was hard objects so the hard groan made sense.Bookmark here

Before the other guards could even run to me, I went first. It was a short distance so I needed to do something about their reach. I swung my knife and made them step back which gave me some little space between them. I used that opportunity and slipped between them. At that moment, they acted like they wanted to catch me using their bare hands but my swinging knife kept them from doing so.Bookmark here

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Again, we were back to our group running, back on the outside. While running, I met more guards tasked to control us on the first floor. Like I was a traveling pirate, I started recruiting them to join us. More friends joined us.Bookmark here

"Ahahaha our numbers multiplied, come, let's play on those cars." Our next location was the parking lot for the employee's personal cars.Bookmark here

I jumped to get up above one of the cars. "C'mon, follow me!" I continued hopping to each car happily.Bookmark here

"No! Don't do that!" Just the same, they told me again to stop my pranks when they lack the power to do so.Bookmark here

It kind of reminded me of my days before I chose to join Shu's group. When I had a position in the military and was always being called a prodigy. At those times and at my young age, I was able to do many feats that only a few adult commanders could do. But given my fun-loving personality, many of the higher ranking people had a hard time believing it was wise giving me my own unit to command. They doubted where would I end, and said that it was all luck. But given my achievements, they couldn't afford to remove me from my post.Bookmark here

There were also people who believed in me, the reason I was able to get a high position in the first place. But all of them were people who were just trying to suck on my achievements and position. So once when I met Shu and his company and learned their adventure, I joined them straight away.Bookmark here

Even though I was still under someone, I felt more freedom. Because of their lack of numbers, they were forced to assign me to heavy tasks if need be. And since I've met them on a battlefield, where they were the one who was attacking while I was the one who was defending, they knew my ability and chose to trust it.Bookmark here

And just like what they trusted me to do, I displayed my ability. Some of the guards dashed forward before I can even reach the last of the cars. At that time, all of them were holding their own batons, ready to use force to catch me.Bookmark here

"We heard that the other guy already took down 3 of us so we have a reason now to use some force. Still, you're just a kid, so we will still give you a chance to surrender unharmed. You just need to come down there and let us come to you after. No strange moves." The guard who said that looked like a wolf leading his pack, hunting a rabbit who was enjoying his time.Bookmark here

"Okaaaay~"Bookmark here

I went down as they said. "Now you come to me," I said with a bewitching smile.Bookmark here

They paused for a second looking annoyed but came anyway. One of them pulled out a handcuff from their back. "Give me both of your hands."Bookmark here

"No. You give me your hands if you don't want to get hurt badly." I tilted my head to show arrogance.Bookmark here

"That's my limit." The guard used his left hand to reach for my collar when his right hand was busy with the handcuff.Bookmark here

But before it could even reach my collar, I caught his hand first. Just like my trick earlier, I used it and pulled the guard to trip him, and just like that, it was another success.Bookmark here

I did not end it there. I stopped the other guards who already drew their batons and were about to launch an attack on me by slashing their chests.Bookmark here

Several agonizing voices echoed on the large space. It must have been hurt more because I already activated my magical weapon. The magical knife that frost everything it slices.Bookmark here

"Playing tag with me would be better for all of you here." I walked comfortably between them. "But you just won't stop talking nonsense. I don't want to play with you anymore." Faster than a blink of an eye, my knife licked everything on its reach. Everyone who was standing except me got frozen in their place, it was because they were either had too many frozen wounds to move or they were just standing dead and frozen.Bookmark here

The only alive guard can't believe what he saw, it made him speechless and motionless. "I'll just go around here, okay? Tell others to come and play with me, and I'll make sure to entertain them."Bookmark here


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PART 8Bookmark here

I was with my coworkers who got the job on the same batch as me when we saw the big guy running from our seniors.Bookmark here

"Huh? What's that?"Bookmark here

"The youngsters! Come! Follow us. Watch how you should deal with a real perpetrator." Shouted Mr. Kyouji. He was leading three more of our seniors despite not having any real authority over them, after all, they came to the company at the same time. He was a really loud person, he would always boast his past experience from his past jobs, which could also be the reason the people behind him believed in him and followed whatever he said. Nevertheless, I was pulled to follow them.Bookmark here

"Oooh, he looks scary," Sato said, one of my coworkers that I got to be friends with.Bookmark here

"I know right? He looks like he can break our batons bare-handed." Haruki added, just the same, someone I got friends with.Bookmark here

"Looks frightening right? But people like that who believe in their appearance so much always end up being nothing at all." Mr. Kyouji sharing his knowledge from his experience.Bookmark here

It came from his own experience, so he must be telling the truth, but something still bugged me. How could an obvious big guy like that, be able to sneak inside this facility. Sure, this is not a heavily guarded building, but at night, we, the guards, make sure that no petty thief would be able to creep inside. So he must not be like other muscle guys Mr. Kyouji knew.Bookmark here

Not much time passed until the big guy finally tried to hide in one of the storage rooms, specifically, the storage room for steel beams. "Look, he's scared of us. But of course, I won't let him off just because of that. Let's go!" Following Mr. Kyouji, we followed where the guy hid. Because of the earlier gap, he was able to go deeper into the room before we could catch him. We were still able to hear his footsteps though, roaming the wide room, but that was the only clue we had, his location wasn't visible because of the massive shelves occupying the wide space.Bookmark here

"Hiding here won't do him good. I'll teach him how wrong of him to choose this building to do his looting." He had both of his hands resting on his waist, but suddenly raised his right and talked in a commanding tone. "You newbies, back off. Watch from afar. You, go to the left. You, go to the right. And lastly, you, go search on the center." Except for us, it must have been insulting not having your name be called out by your colleague who just assumed his leadership yet they listened and were about to follow him. "Don't attack the guy though, just smoke him out. Let me be the one to teach him."Bookmark here

They were gone at once but we could still hear their footsteps. Just like the big guy's, we could guess that they were far if the sound became a little more distant and weaker that if we started talking, then it'll surely be covered.Bookmark here

"Hah, now I'm getting excited. I wonder what fight would we be able to watch."Bookmark here

"It's Mr. Kyouji we're talking about here, you know? Forget about a good match, I'm looking forward to how pathetic that intruder we'll be later."Bookmark here

Our senior only smirked hearing that.
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"Just be quiet, your voices are keeping us from listening on their- Huh?" Before I could end what I was saying, all the lights in the room turned off. The only light we had was from the outside, coming from the open door where I and my friends were supposed to watch.Bookmark here

"A petty trick suitable for a petty thief. Not enough to faze me though." He talked with his head held high. "Now what?"Bookmark here

Just like he said, he wasn't fazed at all, he just waited for the guy's next action. We listened to the weak sound of footsteps going around the now dark room.Bookmark here

Those quiet times lasted long until a loud voice broke it. "Am I being hunted down?"Bookmark here

We would know it if it came from any of the three coworkers that was sent earlier if it sounded familiar, but it did not. It sounded threatening even without any threatening words.Bookmark here

"I guess you're a little different from the others. Yes, you are being hunted right now, any problem with that?" Our senior answered the guy's question.Bookmark here

"Not really, it just kind of reminded me of my past." I can't see his face but I can feel that he had a smile on his face remembering that past.Bookmark here

"Hmm, you're a weird kind, huh. The type who loves mouthing first before they put their next words on their fist, also the type I like disciplining." Mr. Kyouji scoffed. "Well, what about telling those stories."Bookmark here

"Hahahahaha!" I did not expect for it to sound so loud with the shelves blocking the possible echo but I guess most of the things stored inside were objects that could help in rebounding sounds. "Of course, I love talking!"Bookmark here

Instead of continuing, he paused for a second. It sounded like he was dragging something but after that, he started talking again. "You see, before being like this, someone who lurks in these kinds of buildings, I was just a man who loves fighting. And because of that, I got infamous on my place."Bookmark here

"Public enemy... I've encountered numerous people like that. Their proud stories did not end up lasting after meeting me though." It sounded like he was just talking to himself. It wasn't loud enough for the big guy to hear it, but we were able to hear some of it.Bookmark here

"So when they got fed up, they started accumulating their leftover soldiers and started hunting me."Bookmark here

Suddenly, we heard a slamming noise then running footsteps came after. We were shocked by the unexpected noise except for one of us. "Now what, did he stumbled on some of the items and got startled?" Our senior chuckled quietly and after that, he asked the supposed to be startled, guy. "Then what? You turned your tail, escaped from your town, and started wandering? Then I guess I should have pity with you?"Bookmark here

He did not answer immediately. We waited while listening to a far weaker sound of footsteps.Bookmark here

"Hahahahaha!" Again, the loud laugh reverberated on the whole room. "No no no, you've got it wrong. I love those times when they tried to hunt me." It was faint but I think I heard another sound of a heavy fabric being dragged. "Those fools got confident with their numbers and their weapon arms. But after encountering me, they realized who was the one being hunted."Bookmark here

At that moment, the breeze of the cold air felt terrifying. Those words made us, the youngsters, tremble from where we were standing, the possible farthest place from the big guy. He had my back on us but it looked like the smirk on his face went down, but he must have felt that we got terrified so he tried to take back his self. "What does that mean? Are you telling me you're different from any of the guys I've met in my past experience? Are you telling me you're that strong?"Bookmark here

The dragging sound got nearer and nearer until another massive laugh was released. "HAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA!" It felt like the whole room shook with that noise. "And now you got it right!"Bookmark here

We knew he was near, or rather, he was at last in front of us but not yet visible. But before his body took a bath on the light, there were objects that were thrown at us and made us back off a little, including our senior. Because of the available light, it did not took us a long time to comprehend what was thrown to our direction.Bookmark here

I immediately took my radio and raised it near my mouth. But the perpetrator came out that it took me some will to start talking on the radio. It sounded lacking but that was all I can let out from my throat. "E-everyone! W-we need back up! He already took down t-t-three of us!"Bookmark here

A.A.Androun
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