April 17th, 3184
Tuesday - Noon
From within my hands, a black scythe forms into existence. The invisible energy surrounds me and fills me with power. From across the arena, Ena spreads her hands out across as two orb-like drones fly out from behind her and hover just above her hands.
“Make me move from my spot and I’ll forfeit,” Ena announces, “But I’ll force you to your knees before you can even try.”
In response to Ena’s challenge, I dash toward her, ready to swing my scythe. When I get within range, I take my swing for her arm and aim diagonally. Right when I think I’m about to make contact, it feels like I hit a wall. Looking at what got in my way, I see that it was one of her drones.
Distracted with the one against my blade as I try to push forward, I don’t notice Ena’s second drone swing around her as the hole in the center of it glows red, aiming for my torso. I push back against the one drone and try to jump out of the way of the shot.
Without warning, the drone fires its shot, much faster than I had anticipated and I tightly pull my scythe blade toward me to at least block the shot. With a bang, a laser escapes the drone and fires into me and the scythe, knocking me across the arena on my back.
My head bashes against the ground as I fall. Taking a glance at the blade, I see there isn’t a single scratch. The shot isn’t that powerful itself, but it does really knock you back. I rub the back of my head as I crawl my way back up.
“How do you like my Gemini,” Ena mockingly asks, tilting her head.
“They’re lovely,” I say dryly.
Now that she gave a little showcase as to what her Gemini can do, she sends them both out on the offence. Barreling toward me, I duck and roll under one of them and swing for the other, knocking it off course. Seeing an opening, I dash for Ena, who wears a grin. With my hands trailing behind me, I pull my scythe forward to swing.
Except I can’t. My scythe, seemingly getting caught on something, pulls me back and nearly dislocates my right shoulder as I’m thrown to the ground, letting go of the scythe. I look behind me to what held me up and see the Gemini drones balancing the blade on top of them, flying it high above the arena. Unable to do anything but watch, the Gemini fly up to the beams on the ceiling and gently hook my scythe on one of them.
Still on the ground, I swing my head to Ena, expecting an attack. But there isn’t one.
“What,” Ena asks innocently, “I told you I wouldn’t move from this spot. It’s not like I can attack you from this distance. That’d be breaking the rules.”
Realizing what she’s doing, I look up and see the Gemini are already closing in on me. If I had just ignored Ena, I could have simply knocked her off balance to quickly win this match.
But that wouldn’t have been satisfying anyway. This girl needs to be punished. It’s not just the one time she’s bothered Kiyoko and I, it’s literally any moment we cross paths. Ena is like this with almost everybody—everyone except for her two followers.
Ena comes from a rich and royal family and thinks she’s above everyone else. She needs to be taken down a peg and simply moving her from her spot wouldn’t be enough—if she’d even uphold her promise and forfeit, which is unlikely. Rather, she needs to be beaten down a peg.
The Gemini drones, barreling toward me, don’t intend to stop any time soon. With little time to react, I manage to jump out of the way, but not out clean. One of the drones was able to ram into my leg, which didn’t hurt that much, but it changed my trajectory, causing me to land directly onto my right shoulder, making me grunt in pain as I landed.
“Running out of options, are we,” Ena mocks.
I slowly make my way up, rolling my shoulder.
“I’m just getting started,” I reply.
Except, she’s right and she knows it. There’s not much I can do. The only way I can win the match is by doing that. And that’s simply something I just can not do. So what other options do I have? Get knocked around by her drones until I eventually can’t stand? If only I could reach my scythe, I’d be able to do something again.
Much like pulling our Soul Weapons into existence, the only way to return them is either if they get damaged enough, the user becomes unconscious, or we simply unsummon them. The problem with the last option is the user must touch their Soul Weapon in order to return it to the soul. I hate to admit it, but Ena is smart. She’s got the skill and power but lets it get to her head.
As the Gemini drones continue to fly around me as I dodge them, one slams into my chest and I try to grapple it down. Not before long, I’m suddenly slammed behind as the second drone crashes into my back, causing me to lose my grip and fly to the ground.
But that encounter gave me an idea.
Blocking and dodging the Gemini, I eventually get into position and grab one of the drones from underneath. Because they’re being powered by energy from the soul, they don’t need engines and jets to fly so I’m able to grab anywhere without getting burned—well, anywhere but its face.
Right on que, I nearly lose my grip as the drone tries to shoot me off. With the extra power from my First Gear, I’m able to pull myself up on top of the drone, making it go out of control. As the other one tries to swing at me, I lean and spin the drone I’m on to dodge.
At the moment, I’m simply flying in the air like a maniac, but these drones aren’t just free roaming, they have a proper movement they have to abide by. After spinning and struggling on top of the drone 12 feet in the air, the second one came up from below, trying to knock me off.
Just before it made contact, I pushed myself off of the drone I was riding and grabbed the second one by its eye canon. Now dangling from the drone with one hand and thanks to its momentum, we’re flying even higher than before. I'm so close to the scythe as it dangles from the ceiling right before my eyes. Just before I’m able to grab on to the handle, my vision gets blinded by a red glow coming from the drone I'm holding.
Before the drone shot, I pulled and launched myself up toward my scythe. With a bang, the drone fired its laser. Inches from missing, I grab ahold of the handle as I dangle from the ceiling and contract in pain. Looking down at my hand, it's covered in blood with a few fingers looking like they want to fall off.
Unable to care about injuries like that at the moment, I grab the scythe with both hands and start swinging myself back and forth until I’m able to do a complete flip and unhook the scythe from the beam. Now falling dozens of feet in the air, I attempt to brace for impact in any way I can as my feet crash against the ground as I tuck into a roll. Barely making it, I flip a few times before swinging the tip of the scythe’s blade into the ground, slowing me to a stop. Without a moment to gain composure, Ena speaks.
“Oh, wow! Puppy did a trick,” Ena celebrates, placing her hands together, “Do another!”
Okay, now I really want to beat her down a peg. Now that her drones are in the air, in a blitz, I make a dash toward her and swing my scythe around me and aim for a horizontal slash. With more power than I had previously done before, I swing my blade into—Her drone?
Matching my speed, one of her Gemini flew toward her to defend the attack. Stuck mid-swing, I keep pushing, attempting to cut through the drone. But nothing. It’s barely even budging. With a light sound behind me something pierces my back.
Coughing up spit, I drop to my hands and knees and look behind me. The remnants of a blue glow faded from her second drone’s eye. A smaller but more powerful shot rather than a big and forceful shot came from it.
“Oh,” Ena wonders, “Did the puppy wish to kiss my feet in forgiveness?”
Ena slips her left foot out of her heel and places it up to my face. We stay there for a moment as she patiently waits for me to kiss it and beg for forgiveness. Just wanting a victory at this point, I grab my scythe with my bloodied hand and hook it from behind her, ready to pull back and knock her down.
Before I can do much, however, Ena instantly extends her foot, and kicks me in the nose, making blood fly out of it. I stumble a few feet back as I look up in shock.
“That is just disgusting,” Ena exclaims, “You’ve got blood on my foot, gross!”
Completely ignoring me and the fight, she pulls out a rag from her breast pocket and starts wiping her foot. For some reason a deep anger boils inside of me as I dash toward her.
Instantly, her two drones fly in front of me and push me back. As I desperately try anything to reach Ena so I can strangle her—or whatever will happen if I make contact with her—the drones continue to shoot at me and knock me around until I become stuck in a battle of strength against them as they try to hold me back. With my right arm extended, I try anything I can to get past them to get to Ena.
From out of nowhere, a deep rumble fills the room and slightly vibrates the ground beneath. With the drones in my way, I vaguely see a purple glow from out of my right hand. That can’t be—
My scythe starts to shake and bounce on the ground as the rumble gets louder and louder. Suddenly, the ceiling to the training grounds collapses on top of everyone. Students jump out of the way of the debris as Ena’s drones stop and we both shoot our attention to the sky.
There’s something in the falling rubble.
With a crash, whatever caused the roof to fall landed on the ground just behind Ena. She trips on something as the room fills with smoke from the sudden debris. Unable to see anything, I can feel Ena’s Gemini disappear. Since she was across the arena that means she either commanded them to move away or she’s—
A sudden deafening roar fills the room so strong it shakes my heart. What kind of monster is this? It feels like a similar immense pressure, almost like what I felt in my dream.
Due to the numbness of the pain, I didn’t even feel it, but something was in my hand. It feels familiar. It’s... my scythe? But how—it was just behind Ena, wasn’t it? As the smoke slowly clears the room, I can start to see my scythe. The tip of it is covered in blood. But whose?
I’m able to make out a large shadow from within the smoke as it slowly fades away. Thinner and thinner, the smoke eventually dissipates so it’s nothing but a thin film across the room. And standing in front of me is—
An actual mythological dragon. The other student’s screams finally hit my ears as they began to escape the scene. Ena and I are left standing—No, only I am left standing. A couple feet in front of the dragon, a large pile of rubble lies with a well-cared hand that sticks out of it. That’s her.
Without thinking, I dash to the rubble. When I get there, I start desperately digging and throwing whatever rock I can away to get to her.
“Ena,” I scream, “Ena, come on. Come on!”
For some reason, for Ena of all people, a couple tears start to fill my eyes as my desperation grows more and more. From above me, at speeds I can’t comprehend, something glowing red pierces down. I only have time to close my eyes as I let the inevitable happen.
A loud splatter fills my ears as liquid soon starts dripping on top of me. Opening my eyes, I look up to see Takashi standing above me with his arm shielding us from the attack. Blood. A lot of blood flows down his arm.
“Get her and go,” he commands, “First Gear.”
Two clones split out of him as both of them help pull the rock off of her. The two of them acting as a wedge, I have enough space to drag Ena from the rubble. I grab Ena and hold her in a bridal position as I run off, looking behind. Her body is bloodied and it looks like a couple bones are broken, but thanks to the extra durability from being in her Gear, she should only be unconscious.
On top of the deep red dragon stands a man covered in black and gold armor. Behind him stands a large staff with a glowing red orb hovering above. Every few seconds, it takes a shot at something—presumably one of the students.
He’s massacring us all.
Most of the students run while they can but some like Takashi stay to fight and help evacuate. Most of the students that do help fight are too focused on the dragon and don’t even notice the man standing on top.
With Ena and I out of the way, Takashi uses his clones to boost him up to the man and gives a punch mid-air. With a wave of the knight’s hand, Takashi vanishes. From behind the man, Takashi reappears, going in for a kick to the head. This time, with a turn of his head, the knight’s eyes glow red and Takagi instantly vanishes.
Jumping from beside, another Takashi appears to the knight's side as Takashi’s hand starts to seemingly glitch out. With the wave of a hand, the knight summons a glowing sphere as it swoops in and knocks Takashi away. The sphere didn’t move that fast but despite that, Takashi was thrown halfway across the room, crashing in front of me.
Startled, I nearly drop Ena as I stop in my tracks to look at what the knight did to send Takashi flying like that. Other students finally get their chance to attack, some with projectiles, others with blades, blunt weapons and raw magic. Nothing they do seems to even phase the mysterious intruder, let alone its dragon..
From behind me, I feel a shockwave as Ryuu shoots himself directly at the knight with his volcanic-looking fists. In the air, he prepares for a strong sucker punch, ready to knock the knight to the ground. The knight raises his hand and from behind him a large translucent hand made of some kind of energy forms. The large hand grabs Ryuu’s fist as he’s left dangling in the air in front of the knight.
The hand then turns Ryuu around so the rest of the students can see him.
“Let this be a lesson to you all,” the knight with a deep voice says, “Feel the wrath of agony.”
As soon as the man spoke, everyone in the room froze. From in his hand, the knight materializes a long dagger. The large hand slowly pulls Ryuu closer as the knight prepares to pierce Ryuu with his blade. As Ryuu struggles to escape, he starts to yell something.
“Second Gear: Eruption”
Right as Ryuu activated his Second Gear, the knight plunged the knife deep in Ryuu’s back. Not a moment after, Ryuu starts to glow red and melt into a bright, dense liquid. From within the liquid, a fist suddenly emerges from it, aiming at the knight’s head.
The fist of red liquid scrapes the knight's head as he attempts to avoid the attack. The knight, unsummoning the large hand, jumps back as his helmet starts to melt. The knight quickly takes off his helmet, throwing it to the ground. Underneath the helmet lay a middle aged man with hair pushed back and a short beard. He doesn’t look impressed at what had just happened.
The glowing blob of thick liquid flops to the ground. After a moment of stillness, it starts to come together to form what looks like a human. After the details came together, Ryuu, unscathed, stood there with cracks of lava all around his skin—not just at his hands like his first Gear. He then looks back briefly before marching his way with a grin to where Takashi and I are.
“I did more damage than you,” Ryuu exclaims, fingers pointed at Takashi, “Suck it!”
Takashi looks from the knight and back at Ryuu.
“I’ll admit it, that was impressive. But how about this,” Takashi says as he shakes to loosen up, “Second Gear: Infinite Soul.”
He then gets low and slams his palms into the ground as dozens of clones start to crawl out of his body, running in any direction they can. Some of the clones help any straggling students as they try to escape. Some assist the other students as they attempt to take down the dragon, and the remaining clones go for the man standing on top of it.
Ryuu stands there, looking at all of the clones going every which way before crouching into a ready position.
“Oh, I’m not going to let you have all the fun, ninja,” Ryuu exclaimed before starting to dash to the knight.
Before he could dash, however, a voice calls out to him.
“Stop,” a male’s voice yells.
From behind us comes two students, a guy and a girl, both presumably in their third year. The guy had short red hair with a slim but muscular build. The girl had straight black hair in a ponytail.
“Sorry we couldn’t help immediately, there were some injured students,” the girl apologizes.
“All of you, stay back,” the guy orders, “We’ve got him. Takashi, focus your clones on helping the students.”
The guy walks past us as the girl follows behind before she turns back to us.
“I’m Kuna Hama,” she introduces with a smile before pointing to the guy with her thumb, “And he’s Asaka Juzo. Third years.”
With the introductions over, they continue their march to the villain.
“Third Gear: Hollow Caliber,” Kuna says as she extends her right hand.
Suddenly, a large sword, just as tall as her—if not taller—forms in her hand as she swings it around as if it was as light as a feather before resting it on her shoulder. Being a third Gear, though, I would have expected something more flashy.
“Third Gear: Compound Unity,” Asaka announces.
Unlike Kuno, nothing physically changes and he doesn’t summon anything. Again, it feels a little anticlimactic.
Thanks to all of Takashi’s seemingly infinite clones helping the students, the only ones that remain are the six of us among the few other students that stayed to help fight. The staff that once shot at stray students, now automatically focuses on Takashi’s clones, making it very ineffective.
In a flash, almost as if she teleported, Kuno appears behind the knight, already in mid swing. Keeping up with her speed, he summons a much longer blade than what he had previously used and blocks her attack. The two of them continue crossing blades faster than the eye can keep up with as Asaka slowly marches his way toward them.
Suddenly, Asaka’s body starts to bulge up in random spots and grow almost as if something under his skin is expanding. He grows bigger and bigger, becoming more monstrous as each second passes until he’s matched and even grows larger than the dragon that used to tower before him just moments ago.
Sensing the danger, the knight grabs the large staff which shrinks to a regular size after touching it. He swings like a blade at Kuno as she blocks the tip of it with her large sword. Instantly, with an unknown force, she’s sent flying across the battlefield before getting caught by the monster that is Asaka. He places her on his shoulder as he goes in for a punch.
The dragon, using the top of its head, slams into Asaka’s fist, matching its power as they have a match of strength. While this happens, using the staff, the knight shoots out dozens of glowing orbs and sends it to Asaka’s body. Kuno jumps down in the line of fire as her sword starts to transform to become something much smaller but something much sharper.
As the orbs fly toward her, she cuts the first few in half, but is unable to keep up with the amount and spread at which they’re being fired at. The ones she misses go directly into Asaka’s body and seemingly get absorbed.
Understanding what’s happening, Kuno yells to Asaka.
“Watch out,” she warns before looking at us, “Get cover!”
Both Ryuu and Takashi move in front of me as Takashi summons dozens of clones to act as a human shield while Ryuu summons a wall made of magma and lava from the ground. The giant Asaka starts to glow from the inside as Kuno attempts to finish off the knight in hopes of killing him before the orbs explode.
It was too late.
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