Chapter 3:

Forbidden Word

Forbidden Words


We waited for all of the guards to pass and leave before we came out from where we were hiding. It did not take long though, there were just two guards who followed Shu then after that, all we could hear were the pitiful coughing of the operators of the camera.

"Let's head out." I stood up and waited for Domino to stand up too, but even with a wall blocking her view, it looked like she was still watching our leader from afar. "Domino, come on. He trusted us with this."

Maybe that was enough to get her back to focus on our task since she finally stood up and even went in front of me to lead our attack. I was right, there were really no other guards who could protect the room, the last ones were the ones who ran after Shu. We only saw operators who were covering their mouth and nose to keep them from inhaling the smoke, but not just that, I noticed a window that they opened to air it out.

But before the smoke lose out completely, Domino quickly worked it out. Not a long time was wasted and she already knocked them all out. We both removed the mask. "Hurry, sit on it. I'll stand by on this door in case other guards caught on to what we're doing."

As she said, I immediately sit on one of the controller's sit then looked around the buttons and switches. Since we started going rogue, I had done a fair share of intelligent work, and understanding working computers were one of them so this was nothing new to me. Yet this is my first time handling a working camera control so it will still take a while.

The earlier operators were knocked out completely that not even a groan could be heard. Domino was just standing quietly in the doorway while I was trying to figure out how the controllers work and where the camera was placed. Time passed just like that but out of nowhere, I heard some words from Domino.

"I still don't trust them..."

"Hm? What did you say?" My focus on what I was doing was broken, and since I heard it from the woman who rarely speak, it took my curiosity and made me stopped on continuing what I was doing. "Sorry, could you repeat?"

"I still don't trust them. The other ones on the group beside us here and Shu." She was crossing her arms like she was impatient about something.

"You mean Mahika, Yoona, and Plash?" I was still holding on to the manuals and on some of the controllers, but after hearing that clearly, I dropped it all off for some time. "Huh? What do you mean? Why? Beside Plash, Mahika and Yoona joined us for a quite long time now, and they haven't done anything suspicious."

For another time, I saw a reaction on Domino's face again, a reaction that we rarely see. It was hard to explain but it was in the middle of anger and sadness, but with both of her hands released, it looked to me that she really wanted to reveal her point so much. "That's what I find suspicious! Mahika was a hooligan when we met him, then suddenly joined us without any real end goal. We met Yoona after we attacked the place where she was working, but instead of being angry, she offered her help even to this day. Then there's Plash who was even a leader of a troop that could have seized us, but he instead let us go from his trap and even joined us after."

It was like a trip down memory lane that it made me realize how long we've been together. But before I could even reminisce more, she continued. "They joined us with a different goal in their mind. It just happen to cross and Shu already let them in." She paused for a second then return a little calmer. "I'm talking about this with you cause I know you joined him too for the sake of supporting his only goal to the end. I know you'll understand me if I said that in a critical moment when Shu really needs our help, I don't trust them jumping in there."

This is the first time I heard what was going around in her head but to think that it was a negative one. But she had a point, their reasons were so incomprehensible that it would be really hard to trust them with Shu's goal, however, there was one thing that explained it all. "You don't need to, because Shu never did expect them to."

"..." Domino tried to rebuke my words but she ended up realizing it too.

"He agreed when they said they wanted to join, but he never gave them a condition to help him on his goal. Mahika only wanted a wider battlefield. Yoona had nothing so rather than dying, she chose to join us. And Plash saw our life as a great adventure. They had different reasons, and they weren't obliged to follow his words, but they chose to, and lent him their help." It made me smile just thinking about it, and to share that feeling of happiness, I looked directly into her eyes. "Not just them, we too are like that."

Unfortunately, it meant different to her. "No, it's not! We're different! We're here solely to support him. Right when he lead the escape and took us with him, the purpose in life he gave to us is the reason we're following him!"

"Calm down. Calm down." I did not expect her attachment to our savior that day for her to raise her voice like this. "You're right, we were really thankful to him when he took us when we were directionless and did not know anything to cherish the life we were spared. But as I said, just like them, we are not obliged to follow him, but we choose to and lends our help."

She did not say anything in reply. She only looked at me with her sad and angry face that little by little changed back to her usual unreadable face. I'm not sure if it was a good sign that she understood me or not but I followed it up to be sure. "But to be clear, it's not like I've thought of leavingー"

I did not manage to end what I was saying. It was interrupted by a loud sound. 



"Wait! It's not on him, it's in here."


It was fun. Rampaging through every room I'll be able to pass while running from the guards that were increasing in numbers. I guess I was successful in getting a quarter of their military might's attention.

But knowing what I did to their earlier comrades, they became more aggressive. They would try to hit me with their batons with a force that could break a bone of a kid instantly. Unfortunately for them though, I'm elusive enough for their strikes only to be able to hit the air, then I would counter those missed hits no matter the case.

That's when they started drawing their guns, even still, they said they will practice maximum tolerance saying that they're not there to avenge their comrades but only to apprehend me. So I chose to stop attacking them for now and lead them back to the parking area, a wider area where I should be able to move more.

"Ahahaha c’mon, get me! You can do it Ahahaha!"

I ran past the last place where my cold victims were, but I guess they already brought them to another place hoping to cure them. In here, I could use the cars as a cover from the possible firings later, but that won't be enough so I needed to split them. The tactic I'd use is called divide and conquer.

I jumped to one of the cars and started hoping for other ones. It gave me more distance from them.

But now that I'm on top of the cars where I could get a better visual of my surroundings, I noticed something. A few of the cars had their side shields smashed. It finally occurred to me.

Big Sis's task

While hopping, I looked around more, searching for a lovable mature woman. I've already noticed the cameras not moving for some time now, since I was actually thinking of showing off in front of each. Given that, and the pattern of the broken shields, I believe she was still in here.

But the guards started splitting up and took every available route towards me. "Quick, surround him! He should be getting tired by now running and jumping for more than half an hour, still be careful and watch every little move he does." One of the leader-looking guards ordered them.

He wasn't right when he said that I must be getting tired, it's more like I'm getting sloppy because I'm stressing about how should I continue with the possibility of Big sis being around. I'm not really accustomed to fighting while protecting someone since I reflexively evade attacks. And with them already going around, to me it became a game of who would be able to find Yoona sis first.

I continued hopping to each car until I heard a shriek to my left, far left. It was Yoona sis, but I'm not the one who stumbled with her, it was one of the guards who was already ahead of me running on the ground.

"Yoona sis!!"

As I shouted, I rapidly threw my knife to the guard. The guard being confused to the woman alarmed at him was helpful since he did not move, and so it easily pierced through his neck as I purposely targeted causing him to slowly go down while his blood was gushing out.

I quickly ran, or hopped rather in her direction. "Could you pick my weapon!" It was meek and cute when she nodded and ran after the lying body.

But as I shifted my direction, all the guards did too. "They know each other! Subjugate her too!"

Unfortunately, the guards were nearer to her than me. "Raise your hand!" Shouted one of them to Yoona sis who just managed to pull out my knife.

"Damn it!" I cursed, regardless, I continued going in her direction and planned to run with her, and even ignoring the sudden sound that burst throughout the parking.


A sound of a magic gun firing, similar to the old classic gun. A sound that I was accustomed enough for it not to faze me at all. But the guards who were holding each did.

"Idiot! Why did you fire already!"

"N-no I didn't."

"Who was it?!"

At last, a wrong decision. Instead of continuing on pursuing us, their leader confirmed who did a wrong move first. And same as their leader, they all paused and look at each other first.

It was an opportunity for us. "Yoona sis, let's cover there first." I took her hand and ran to the car beside her. "You're not hurt, right?"

"Mm. How about you?" She shook my knife to remove the blood dripping on the blade.

Now that I'm with her, I got back my wits and smile again. "Of course I'm fine. They're not enough to give me even a small wound."

She only smiled as a reply.

"I'd like to play with them more but we need to finish this quick now. A magic gun was already fired, it should mean that they're being aggressive on one of us already. And dragging this around will just give them a way to contact a better group for fighting."

"Is it?" She finally gave me my magic weapon. "Then should we try my forbidden word here?"

I giggled hearing that. "Thanks, Yoona sis. You're really kind just as I know you."

"Mmm. No, I'm not. I'm just returning the good things you've done for me. Cause you see, I grew up believing that kindness is just an act of investment for a better benefit." She said with a bitter smile, but after a second, her smile that I loved watching came back. She then reached for my right hand. "Bond."

Number 1 showed up on my right palm and at the same time, I felt lighter but stronger. "I'll be sure to remember that." But in contrast, she looked like she lost some energy, nevertheless, I prepared to go out.

"You heard that?! We're not kidding here, we'll shoot you if you move suspiciously again." We could hear their footsteps surrounding us. "We've lost too much already, so don't expect a good treatment from us."

"Eeeh, that's cold of you." I heard the nearing footsteps stopped, which just showed how cautious they were. But I did not give them a second, I left the car we were hiding at and charged to one of them. "Fine, I'll just need to keep you from shooting then."

After I pass through, the poor guy grew a piece of thick ice on his neck.

"You damnー" I did not let them end their words, I jumped past the car and went to the two guards who were still near the car where Yoona sis was hiding. I struck my magic weapon to one of the guard's chests and used the person as a shield. I walked the person over to the other one and reached for his hands holding a magic gun. I struck his elbows with my knee.

"Aah!" He cried, but he can still kick or bite so I did not stop there. I reached for his hair and used it as a hold to smash his head a car's side shield then I held to his collar. I pulled him upward and the leftover glass struck his neck.

I struck out my knife and again, ice grew from where it was planted, then before leaving, I borrowed both of the guards' batons.

"Yoona sis, stay away from here." After saying that, I threw both of the batons to the fire sprinklers and started running around.

"What are you doing?!" Asked the leader of the guards, getting irritated by my tricks. "Okay that's it, I'll take responsibility, open fire at will!"

Responsibility, the reason he won't permit them to shoot me. A coward leader who could only think of consequences, but maybe after his buddies went down easier than he expected, he finally changed his mind. "What a clown."

My speed was faster than I could normally do, thanks to Yoona sis's help. Their aim couldn't follow my track. It was also visible on their faces that they were agitated.

"Aaah!" One of them went down instantly with a block of ice born from his neck.

I heard their leader clicking his tongue.

I continued hitting and running around them. "Ahahaha! Isn't this fun?" With the number of bodies getting cold in two ways increasing, the temperature in opposite started decreasing. But it looked like they were so focused on me that they had not yet noticed it and them getting scared to be my next target just made it worse for them. And because of that, they started huddling, a way to stop me from picking on them one by one.

My setup was almost completed, I just needed to confirm Big sis's location. As I searched with my eyes, I saw her worriedly watching me while hiding on one of the staircases afar. I smiled.

Before coming here, we already had learned some of the guards' abilities and weapons which includes their magic gun. From Yoona sis's knowledge, they were using a magic gun that produces heat and fires it. It's not ideal to shoot it inside the facility where they might damage their items, so it must also be the reason they were holding back.

So using that knowledge, I came to an idea to use it against them.

I looked on my right palm, it already had a number 3 on it, and it's also starting to fade. It was almost time. This power I borrowed from Yoona sis will kill me if I went longer than 3 minutes so I really needed to pack this up now.

Lifting up one of the guard's bodies, I stood above one of the cars. "I'll be using this guy." I mockingly told them while grinning.

"Damn you!"
"At last he stopped!"

All of the guards left simultaneously pulled the trigger of their magic guns to shoot me who was openly standing. At the same time, their leader finally noticed it. "No, wait!" But it was already late.

I jumped while holding the body, and given my small stature, it was enough to cover me from the incident I was anticipating.


They exploded. An explosion that resulted in a great impact made me fly backward, but thanks to my meat shield, it did not do enough damage to me.

As I positioned, I came flying in Yoona sis's direction. And when I fell down, I used my hands and feet to land safely on my front then immediately ran to Yoona sis.

Just the same, she also ran to me but a little bit struggling. "Plash!" We hurriedly tap each of our right palms. "Payment!"

As soon as she yelled that, I felt like I lose all of my strength that I nearly fell to the floor. But she quickly caught me.

"You should rest now." She hugged me as if to help me feel comfortable and to make me sleep.

I was so tired that I couldn't even speak a word. I only made a sound, "Mm" and started sleeping soundly.


"That was just the appetizer, right? Now can I have my main dish now?" The big guy stepped forward confidently with his hands raised to shoulder level.

The light revealed our enemy that I wasn't able to observe better earlier. A male with a height that I assumed was 175 cm that abled him to look down on all of us literally. He had a wide grin expressing his happiness, but to us, was just an addition to his threat, looking at us with his big eyes like we were an actual tasty edible food. He had a chestnut-colored skin, a color skin that was on a little dark side, but that won't stop anyone from noticing his massive and obviously trained muscle, big enough to make us, guards who also trained our body, nothing. And lastly, the weirdest but the one that made him distinguishable, his outfit that only consisted of leaf-shaped fabrics.

The one on his hips was worn like a skirt that covers down until the middle of his feet and knee, while the one wore on the upper part of his body covers from his neck to his hips. Each of the leaves could separate from each other so whenever he would raise any of his limbs, his body would still be covered.

That weird outfit would be normally funny to look at, but at this time, it just added to our fear. He looked like he would bite on our flesh if he had the chance.

"So, which of you is supposed to be my meal?"

Our senior, Mr. Kouji, who was only staring at his friend's lying bodies finally spoke. "How dare you!" He dashed to the big guy with his right fist raised. When he struck with it, his enemy only caught it with his left hand easily.

"Weak." He looked at our senior's eyes directly while smiling, then let out a punch to his stomach.

"Ugh!" Our senior fell to his knees but his fist was still on the big guy's gripe.

"That's how should a punch feels. C'mon, do it again!" Like he was actually teaching Mr. Kyouji, he let him have the same distance he had earlier, but that was by using a kick that threw Mr. Kyouji's body near from his original position.  "Stand up, try punching me again. Use that distance again to get some force!"

It was only two strikes but that was enough for a senior guard to struggle standing up. "You damn delinquent!" He shouted, but this time, he did not rush immediately. He first took out his baton before going.

"Hahahahaha! So you don't know how to throw a punch!"

The baton was struck. It landed on the guy's jaw.

"And even using a baton, you were still not able to hurt me." He was unfazed. Again, he directly looked at Mr. Kyouji's angry eyes. "You're nothing at all, just like many other people I've beaten."

His big palm grabbed our senior's face, and used that to lift him then slammed him to the ground. He did not end it there, he kicked him for a long time like a bully tormenting a weaker kid. The earlier arrogant Mr. Kyouji now looked pathetic.

"See? He's nothing." He picked up the baton, and using his bare hands, he broke it into two. "So, how about you? Is there anyone of you who's feeling a little stronger?" He scoffed.

"No." That's the only thing my friend Haruki could say. While Sato wasn't able to muster up any strength to even speak.

"L-let's run from here." I held Sato's arm and pull him, and with Haruki, we ran outside of the room.

But as expected, he followed us. "You scared? Hahahahaha!"

We slowly became faster and faster while he only walked at the start then started jogging toward us when we got farther from him.

We were so scared that we forgot to fight back with our magic guns. But as for me, the thought of him being faster than me pulling out a possible effective weapon scared me to even try it.

"Help us!!" I shouted while running. Luckily, we soon bumped with other guards who were ready for some action, maybe because of my report earlier, and where all three of them were holding their magic guns.

They quickly noticed the guy that was seemed to be enjoying following us. "Hold it there! Don't move from there!" One of them shouted.

Instead of following, he daringly continued running in our direction. "Hahahahaha! Another snack!" He was so fast that before they could even fix their aims, he was already in front of them.

He grabbed and pulled one of them, and just as he said, he treated the poor guard as a literal snack. He bit on the guard's neck, so deep that blood started gushing out and the person quickly lose the strength to stand and was just thrown out to the side. The already startled guards got more confused and terrified.


Before one of them could even act, his fist already turned their view to the side, the person's head felt the punch and the body immediately fell down.

The only left-out guy tried to back down but his hands were grabbed and were instantly broke, dropping his weapon. He was then raised through his neck that made him struggle to breathe so he tried to kick the intruder. But that was all for naught, the big guy only returned his sight on us, the kicks, unfortunately, turned to a series of signals that made us known if he was still conscious or not.

"They're already done. Go back to your running." He said like it was our normal routine, nevertheless, we followed it and went back to running, this time, with all three of us running on our separate routes. "Hahahahahaha!" That laugh was too terrifying for Sato that his feet gave up.

He dropped the person he was holding. "Target lock on!" His speed was dauntingly fast.

"Sato!!" We could only shout his name.

"No! No!" Sato tried to crawl and get up but a kick was faster to raise him up, just higher than what he wanted to. He writhed when went back to the floor. "Uuurgh."

"How dare you!" It was reflex, but as soon as I realized it, I did not move. Fortunately for Sato, the big guy changed his attention to me.

"Courage? Sometimes that's enough too." He charged to me next. "Here I come!" At that instant, Haruki instead took the hit. He was still conscious but the sound when he hit the floor was loud.

"What are you doing?!" Even though it was obvious that he was reeling, he still smiled back at me.

"What a bunch of weaklings. Hahahahahaha!" I felt anger towards the big guy; disgust towards my weakness; and sympathy towards my friends.

"You're just a villain! You're not strong at all! You need to be purge! You should die!" I shouted with all my might. I released all the energy left on me. But that only made me lose all my strength on my knees and I pathetically fell down to my back.

The only description I could think of his smile was wicked. It was blood-curdling. He slowly approached me, this time, taking his time.

I gave up everything. I wanted to say that I accepted it all but the frustrating thought of being taken out by this maddening guy was the only thing I can't handle.

He stopped just in front of me, with a frown like he was suddenly displeased. "You look like you have something in you so I was saving you for last, but maybe I was wrong." That was it, he did not waste any more time and attempted to kick me like some pest, but he stopped midway.

"There they are!" Several guards showed up as a hero. Ready to take down the monster. Yet the monster started grinning again.

It felt like I only blinked once and it's already done. The guards were. It was peacefully done, they never had the chance to shot any of their magic weapons, they were already on the floor before they could even properly aim. The only one who was standing beside the lying bodies was the one I called a villain.

"It's Mahika, the strongest of them all."

He was bathing in blood smiling. I watched him from afar with my friends lying on both of my sides.

"You damn intruder!!"


I finally pulled the trigger of my gun. The first gunshot rang out on the whole building. And as I aimed correctly, the fire shot pierced Mahika's heart. But it did not felt like I've already ended it, I only breathed heavily.

Even with the wounds, he walked slowly in our direction. That made me alert again, and grasp the magic gun harder than before.

"My name is Mahika, you better remember it! Hahahahahaha!"

He started running so I prepared my aim again, but that is until I noticed something wrong. Something I didn't want to believe. His wounds closed up at once. I lose the grip of my weapon. "You're a monster!"

"Michio! Run!" Both of my friends shouted in unison. And like it was already planned, they both forced their selves to stand up and pushed me. I did not want it but my feet followed their request.

I ran to the easiest and nearest exit I could find. Hysterically and pathetically, while listening to some bodies being smashed without any pity.



I made a sound using two made of steel objects that I got in the room I was hiding. As I intended to, one of the guards followed the sound I made. The very same guard that I manage to escape their vision from earlier. I heard that he split up with the other one to find me, which is still good for me, as long as they won't come back to the camera control room again.

As soon as he stepped inside the room, I surprised him by pulling his right hand down and grabbed his neck with my thighs, we both went down to the floor with my submission. He was still in a shocked state so I used that time to make my submission fruitful, I quickly raised my hold on his neck to allow my right hand to be inserted between his legs, and then held on to his left thigh.

It was completed. He did not know what to do first, to escape from my lock or to take a hold of any of his weapons on his waist. But he did not know that the time wasted to think was the same time he was left to be conscious.

When I confirmed that he wasn't moving anymore, I stood up and peeked on the door, and to my surprise, the other guard was already walking towards the room I waited.

"There you are!"

Before he could catch up, I ran again to getaway. When I looked back, I saw him checking the room I was in, he probably saw his lying comrade since he stopped following me for a while.

I took a corner but it was a close hallway, the only place I could hide was either of the two rooms and since I was rushing, I picked randomly, the left room. I tried to hold my breath to hide my presence.

Even if it was careful, his footsteps still echoed through the hallway. "Those rooms are both storage rooms. There’s no other door or window there that can be your exit." I only listened to his next move.

"Hey kid, let’s stop this game. Both of the rooms are small so I won’t need to search for a long time, so if I’m wrong, I can quickly go to another room or chase you quickly if I hear you running from the other room." He was correct, when I scanned the room, I only saw boxes that were piled up. The only thing I could think of to get away was to get him by surprise. He kept on talking but I only listened and waited.


The other room was forced open. To be honest, I was startled at that sound that I nearly tackled the door, a reaction if he opened the door of this room instead, but he did not. But the other door being opened means that this room is next so I prepared for a surprise attack.


A sound of a magic gun being fired rang on the building. It reminded me of Mahika's group on the first floor and Leto and Domino on the same floor. I felt a feeling of rush that made me move on instinct. I opened the door and when I saw the startled guard, I immediately kicked him to the wall. I tried to end it soon with a right punch to his face but he was able to dodge it.

He's no longer in the shocked state so I backed off, but when I saw the magic gun he was holding, I quickly stepped forward, but before I could follow up, he tackled me from below.

I nearly got knocked out to the ground if I did not evade to my left. When I saw his body leaning, I took that opportunity to knee kick him then struck the back of his head with my right elbow.

With that, he dropped his weapon against his will. I did not waste any time to get the gun out of his reach by kicking it inside the room I was in earlier. I intended to follow up my attack but seeing that he just lose his grip on the weapon but was still able to stand, means he would still be able to counter my next action, so instead, I chose to mock him.

"Now we're equal."

We continued brawling for some time. But during those times, I tried many times to make him say my trigger word, but given his kind attitude, he never did. Things even went out of what I wanted and I got slammed to the floor.

He quickly mounted me and used the knife that was equipped on my left wrist to stab my left shoulder. I manage not to make a sound from it, but I wasn't able to stop my face from writhing.

“Have you learned your lesson now? You are at that age and you still can’t stop deluding. You really thought having some puny knife and using that street fighting is comparable to a professional? My son is better than you. He knows his limit clearly.” He took out a handcuff from his back and locked it on my right wrist. “What are you even thinking lurking here for. There’s no important secret to discover here, just some regular armories and supplies.”

I know what position we were in but I still manage to smile hearing that. No secret. Of course, I knew that, after all, I know that Dr. Tokuichi only used this facility to escape his identity as a former researcher from a hidden facility.

“That was a good lesson mister, I’m sure to remember that as you turn me over. Not that I’ll actually turn over easily though, I have some friends you see. I can just get out from the transport before even I can even read my prison room number. Then as valuable as what you taught me, maybe I can visit your son someday and teach him that too. I think he also needs to know it while growing up.”

“You said even a stab is nothing, let alone some broken bones and slashes. So you won’t complain if I move your knife and widen your wound, or just break all your four limbs, right? Actually, those are healable… So should I kill you here instead?”

Kill. My trigger word. The word I waited for him to say to activate my new weapon. “At last you’ve said it! Let’s see what will I discover." I felt truly happy. "Now it’s time to truly kill you!”

He tried to move my arms from my shoulder to widen my wound, but before he could do it, I lifted my lower part of the body to escape from the mount. I removed the embedded knife on my shoulder and quickly stood up.

At the same time, he stood quickly too and charged with a left punch. I held on to it and just like he did to me earlier, I used it to give him a shoulder throw to slam him down to the floor. And as soon as he gasped, I stuck a round item to his neck causing him to groan for some seconds. When he finally stopped wriggling, I put my knife near the free space of his neck.

"No funny movements or this would end faster."

"What's this?" He asked, and as I said, he did not move any further.

"Nothing much, just a toy I found with my friends. It doesn't have any public name yet, so we decided on one. We named it forbidden word." He only looked at me with confusion in his eyes. "I have a request, can you tell me a word you're fond of?"

"Is that a threat?"

I scoffed. "Well, I don't really mind if you think of it that way."

It took a while for him to say anything like breathing first while staring at me. "...Familyー"

Just when he said that, the Forbidden Word lit up, but compared to what I've seen before, the color was different. The one I've seen was just pure white light, but this time, it was red. I quickly backed off and observe to see what would happen.

It was just one second that passed, then the magic item already started its punishment. "W-what's this! I can't feel anything down my head!" All his limbs started becoming limp. He struggled with his head, but other than that, nothing moved to his will.

I had a mixture of feelings watching it. I felt excited looking at the weapon's potential, but I also felt terrified imagining what could be our punishments.

"No! I need to move! They need me to protect them!"

Thanks to that monologue, my senses returned. I need to finish this quickly to return to Leto and Domino immediately. "Don't worry, I'm sure it will wear off after some time. But you see, I can't afford to let you alive." I walked then crouched beside him. "Cause I'd like to get this thing from you, but if you stayed alive, it will stick to you forever."

I wounded his left arm with my knife, but he did not even flinch, maybe because he still can't feel anything. "Die." He looked to me as if asking why didn't I stab his organs instead, but slowly, his head lay down. I picked up the magic weapon on his neck and stood up. "A wound is susceptible to any poison. And my poison is enough to kill anyone even with just a small wound."



As soon as I came back, Domino was the first to welcome me. She was standing behind Leto who was sitting, both were watching the screen where it showed what the security cameras were looking at.

"Are you guys fine? I heard a gunshot earlier."

"We're fine. That gunshot did not happen on this floor, it was on Mahika's. But he's fine."

I only nodded hearing that. "Also, while I was running here, I heard an explosion. What's that?"

"It's on the parking area for the worker's personal vehicles. But the cameras on it were caught on the explosion, so all we have for now is this." Leto pointed on one of the screens. "It's a little far away from the place where it happened, but you can still see here the damage."

The scattered vehicles were obvious, but I needed to go nearer on the screen to understand what were the other things that looked messy. "Those are guards, so did anyone in our group did that?"

"We nearly missed it, but we happen to see who was the culprit for that damage. It was Plash, but we also saw Yoona in the same area."

I was sure Yoona did not have any weapon at all, while Plash did not have any explosive weapon on his arsenal, just his magic knife. So it made me wonder how they did it.

"Anyway, Shu, we found him." Domino broke my thoughts.

"Him, you mean the doctor?!"

"Yeah, here." Leto yet pointed to another screen. It showed a man in formal clothes, packing some of his things. It made him stand out, because looking at other cameras, it showed an empty room, while the cameras on the hallway showed running employees, maybe because of the next to next gunshot and explosion.

But instead of being happy, my face got serious. "Yeah, that's definitely him." It wasn't visible, but I felt like they got happy hearing it from me. "Domino, you've already understood the hallways, right? Then could lead the way, let's go to that room. But in case we miss him, Mahika and others below should be able to spot him since there are only a few of those employees."

"Leave it to me." Domino walked out of the room and Leto stood up.

"Let's go."

We started running. On our way, some of the scared employees bumped into us, and given our clothes, they quickly recognized that we were not from there and they would ask who are we. But before they could shout for help, I quickly slashed their open necks.

"We're near." Domino notified us.

As we were running in a hallway, one man far from us suddenly took a corner in our direction and met us. He was surprised but he still managed to turn back.


We sped up.

The man took a peek behind him and asked. "Who are you?!" He looked desperate while running.

"Domino. Throw your knife."

As I ordered, she stopped for a second, drew the knife on her left leg, and threw it. As accurate as she is, it hit the man's leg. It was deep enough that it made him fall to the floor.

"Aaargh" He writhed.

I stopped just before him, while Leto stopped in front of him. With just the two of us, we surrounded him.

"W-who are you?! What do you want from me?!" He was breathing rapidly. "HEEELー"

Before he could end the word help, I kicked his chin. I did not do it because I was scared someone might really help him, it was because I just felt annoyed.

"Hello doctor, long time no see." His response was just a glare. "No reply? That's cold of you." I looked amuse.

Domino finally caught up and picked up her combat knife.

"You look familiar." The pathetic man on the floor said, looking confused.

"Eeeeh, so you can identify your puppet soldiers, but rodents look all the same to you."

The man did not say anything. He only looked on our face, confused.

"What a poor memory, Dr. Tokuichi."

The man, Dr. Tokuichi, grew his eyes bigger. "Who are you? Why do you know me?"

"Doctor..." I walked around him, and as I do, he followed me with his eyes. "You were so happy at that place whenever you discover something new. You enjoyed talking with your coworkers. I could even remember you talking about treating your juniors when they shared their works. So why did you changed your job?"

"How did you know that? We were sure that we've already erased all the documents about it."

I snickered. "Really? Then I guess that's the reason no one lends us any help."

His eyebrows tweaked, he was further puzzled.

"It's really disheartening knowing that you have forgotten about us."

"Wait, when you said puppet soldiers, do you mean her?" His wits as a former doctor started to come back. "Huh? Are you saying you survived!?"

Domino did not react but as for me, I laughed. "Did you really think that surrounding the whole area around the facility is enough to stop us from coming out alive?"

He looked like he was finding it hard to breathe. "T-then who are you?!"

"What, so you don't know who started the rebellion?" I stopped beside him, released my knife on my left wrist, and stabbed him on his shoulder. "It's me, No. 26!"


"Don't you remember me?" I raised him using his collar. "The kid you opened the body. The kid you played your hands with. The kid you were mesmerized whenever he cried. The kid you had inserted something inside his body god only knows what was it. Don't you remember me!"

He did not speak. His face was a mixture of feeling the pain from his shoulder and surprise from what I said.

"Where are the others. I know you're not the only one who was outside of the area when it happened. So where are they?"

"I-i don't know." I turned the knife on his shoulder a little and he quickly screamed from his pain. "Aaaah I said I don't know!"

I reduced the pressure on the knife. "Is that so, then how about the substance you put inside me? You should know it."

He only breathed to prolong his life but did not answer my next question too.

"Then how about on No. 10."

"No. 10?" I used my head to point him to the person above his head, Leto. "You're alive?!"

Leto did not answer. And even when I looked at him too, he did not show any expression that noted a certain feeling. He was just looking at the man I was grabbing with a blank face.

"What's with the question? I'm asking you here!" I slammed him to the ground and raised him again. "If you're not answering then maybe I should help you to remember things, like what we experienced at that time."

"Noー Aah!" I drew the knife from his shoulder and slammed him to the ground at the same time, then stabbed his other shoulder. I slowly turned it. "AaaaaAAAH!!"

"You still remember this girl, right? One of the girls was trained from an early age. Just to protect stupid nerds like you." Again, I drew the knife from his shoulder, his breathing became more erratic.

"I-i don't know anything anymore! I don't have any paper about that any longer, and I have already forgotten what were the things we've done to you. After the failure of the research, they started firing us! That's the reason I'm in here! I'm not using this as a cover, this is my actual job now!" I stood up but still looking down on him. "I've changed. I have a wife and a kid now! So please, spare me! Please forgive me!"

"Hmmm, you know it's hard to track you. We've done so much effort just to find you. So forgetting and forgiving is a biiiiiit hard, you see."

Using his bleeding arms, he raised his upper body and then raised both his arms. "Then just kill me! That's how it gonna end up anyway, right! But please, just do it quick. I'm really sorry for what I've done, so please just end me as quick as possible."

"Oh really!" Instead of ending him as he requested, I went farther from him. "You're requesting for a quick one after all you've done to us. Treating us like an animal for an experiment. Our feelings and howls did not matter."

I stopped in front of Domino and crouched down. "Why did they even pick females as their kid soldiers, males are naturally physically stronger, so was there any reason for that?" I stood up and faced him again, walked towards him.

"All the kids on that facility was never treated as a human after we were born." I paused. "So as revenge, it should be fine if treat you too as something that's lower than human before you die, right?" I revealed a combat knife, Domino's knife.

I stabbed him on every part of his body. Just like how we howled when we were being studied, he screamed from his lungs, his bloody lungs.

After that, I stood up, but I wasn't done yet, I kicked him like I was trying to combine him to the floor. His scream from his pain grew weaker and weaker.

"To be honest, that's nothing from what we felt. You're already dying just from that, but for us, we weren't allowed. Experiencing that, I started thinking. That maybe, killing is the most merciful act in the world."

He was barely breathing, but I still stabbed with my own knife through his neck. "Die."


"I'm sorry about that Domino, I'll clean this before returning it to you."

"No, don't mind it. You can return it anytime."

"I guess we're back to zero," Leto commented.

"I'm sorry about that too. Just when we've found one that wasn't able to run from us, I already end him before he could even blab anything useful."

"Well, being able to get one of them is good enough too, we'll just need to work it out again."

I only nodded at Leto's positive comment. I stretched my body like it was just the morning. "Well then, I guess we should meet with Mahika and others below."

I started walking and I heard the two of them following me. We were all ready to end it happily until we bumped into someone we know.

"Plash, you look really tired. What happened."

It was unlikely for us to see him catching up his breath but he was there, struggling for it. "Yoona sis and the gorilla... They're caught up in a confrontation..."

"Oh, that's Mahika with Yoona, right? Then it should be fine." Leto lightly spoke his mind.

"No, that's not it... Their opponent... I know he's strong..." He looked at me seriously. "But that's not just it... he has the new weapon too... The forbidden word."

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