April 17th, 3184
Tuesday - Noon
With an explosion too bright for the eye to see, Asaka erupts in a white light sending bits of him flying everywhere. Despite the size and apparent force of the explosion, I didn’t actually feel any shockwave. But I did feel something. Something deep within.
Like a flashbang, my vision turned white, slowly returning to normal. With caution, both Ryuu and Takashi lower their shields to see the aftermath of the blast.
All that remained on the battlefield were the wounded students spread throughout; Ryuu and Takashi as they stand in front of me, prepared to continue the fight; Ena, held in my arms; Asaka’s remains scattered across; and him—the knight, with his dragon nowhere to be found, holds Kuno’s limp body by the throat as he slowly levitates high in the air.
“Enough of this childish nonsense,” he commands, “Is what I’ve done really not enough for you to come out?”
He waits from a response to whomever apparently lies in the shadows.
“Alright,” he continues, “I’ll kill another student, I suppose. However many I need to for you to show your face, then.”
His right hand that holds Kuno glows a bright red as it burns her skin. Her body, once unconscious, wakes up to the sudden pain and squirms to free herself from his grasp. Suddenly, from the left, a bright orb shoots toward the knight, blinding him and the surrounding area.
Something shoots up toward the knight and misses, falling down to the other side of the battlefield. After the flash disappeared, the knight and Kuno—No, just the knight remains suspended in air. Shooting my attention to what landed, I see a bloodied and tattered Asaka holding Kuno in one arm as his left, now looking monstrous, dug its claws into the floor to slow his movement when landing. Asaka releases his grip from the floor and gently sets Kuno on the ground.
“You’ll be okay,” he whispers to her, “Just rest.”
“You’re still alive,” the knight questions.
Slowly walking forward, Asaka responds.
“It wouldn’t be much of a Third Gear if I get beat that easily.”
The knight scans Asaka as he continues forward.
“I'm not sure how you mimicked my attack, but it seems I had misunderstood your power, boy.”
With Asaka’s return, hope fills into the hearts of the students as they get up and ready to continue the fight. Takashi and Ryuu march forward, side by side, willing to put their life on the line.
“You’re wasting your lives,” the knight says, “But if this is what it takes. So be it.”
The knight raises his right hand and speaks.
“Second Gear: Headhunter.”
With a snap of his fingers, energy starts shooting out his hand as it transfers to the students. As they charge and home in on him, the energy wraps itself around them, binding them in a painful knot. From all around me, their screams fill the room and my ears.
With a wave of his fingers, more energy flies out in spears as it pierces the students in various places. They’re all dying. But why not me? Am I their only hope?
This is the only way. If I don’t do it, they’ll all die. I set Ena down from my arms as I take a couple steps forward, extend my right arm as I grip it, and yell.
“Second Gear: Soul Drain!”
As a cloak forms around my body, a purple energy starts to expand from my hand, creating a deep vortex. With a glance in my direction, the knight speaks.
“That seems dangerous,” he says before waving his hand.
Suddenly, energy shoots from his hand, heading straight for me. With a flash of a light blinding my eyes as pain fills my head, I fall unconscious. Into darkness.
I snap my eyes open and find myself in yet another void. This time, beneath me lies a large purple vortex that spins endlessly.
I don’t have time for this.
I sense energy outside of this void, I hear the screams and cries, I can feel the pain of those who fall. Wake up. Just wake up! I can’t waste my time like this, just wake up—
My eyes snap open once more as I return to the battlefield. Two students I don’t recognize drag me away as everything feels like it moves in slow motion. The sky now a deep grey as if a storm is arriving, I see the knight still hovering in the air as he focuses on someone. Scanning the battlefield, I see many students get dragged off as I am. The unconscious or perhaps deceased students that lied across the ground are no longer there.
In the center of the battlefield, however, stands a woman in a French maid outfit. With her hands extended, a large face of a clock made of energy floats in front of her as the knight sends a barrage of attacks toward it. Despite the power and damage his attacks previously had done, once they touch the clock, it appears that they disappear.
“Enough of this,” the maid yells, “Why are you attacking my students?”
“Why,” the knight scoffs, “It’s because you took everything from me. So I’ll take everything from you!”
With that, his attacks became more intense as he threw everything he had at her. As the clock absorbs his blasts, the maid whispers something before yelling.
“Stop,” she exclaimed.
All at once, the smoke on the field froze, the breathing of the students stopped, and the energy that once flowed through the air had paused. Even my thoughts aren’t in control anymore. It's all completely frozen in time.
Within a single, infinite moment, time continues.
The knight and maid are suddenly gone as the students continue to carry me away to safety. Looking down at myself, I finally see my wounds. Not only do I have the battle marks from the fight with Ena, but whatever the knight did to me left binding slashes and bruises all throughout my body. Realizing the state it’s in, pain suddenly rushes throughout my entire body and into my head. The world around grows blurry and darker until I can no longer keep my eyes open.
Darkness. No dream, no void. Just emptiness. It’s a good change of pace compared to what I’ve recently been dreaming about. After an indeterminable amount of time passed, I woke up. Again. This time, in an unknown bed covered in a blanket. I look around to find myself in the school's infirmary. Every single bed is occupied with unconscious students, bruised and covered in bandages much like myself. I feel a pressure coming from my right and look down to see a certain someone sitting in a chair, leaning on on my bed, sleeping. Kiyoko.
I sit there in silence, watching Kiyoko as she sleeps, as I attempt to shift into a more comfortable position but am welcomed by a sudden jolt of pain as I try. Determined, I slide my way up and sit up in the bed, Kiyoko still asleep. As I do, my right hand, wrapped in bandages, shakes. I gently placed it on her head, petting her hair.
Now only realizing it, Kiyoko seems to be unscathed—and thinking about it, I don’t remember seeing her in the crowd. Perhaps she was there but farther out? And Miho wasn’t there either. I suppose I’ll ask when the time comes.
Since the school is still functional and I don’t hear any sort of chaos from outside the halls, I take it that whoever that maid was took care of the knight.
Who even was he? And that dragon—it just disappeared after the explosion, how could something that big just disappear like that? And how could it even exist to begin with? There’s too many questions to be asking, but there’s only one that truly matters: Why did he attack us?
He mentioned something about feeling ‘the wrath of agony’. It’s not like any of his attacks were emotional based or anything—for the most part, they were all just really powerful attacks. Perhaps he was looking for revenge and that’s why he wanted to find a certain person. Could that maid woman be the person he’s looking for, and if so, why was she even here?
And on one final note; his Soul Weapon. Or rather, Soul Weapons. He had a staff that could target the students and daggers that could transform much like Kano’s could. A soul weapon is the power derived from the soul and unless those are both just one single weapon, that man must have had multiple souls within him. That just doesn’t seem possible.
Pulling me from my thoughts, a voice to my left speaks.
“You’re Kurayami, right,” the male voice asks.
I spin my head over to see Asaka lying in the bed directly to my left. Surprised by the sudden question, I stutter, my voice hoarse.
“Yes,” I answered, “And you’re Asaka Juzo. Thank you for what you did.”
“You can call me Asaka,” he nods, “And it's not like I really did anything. I still got beat just as bad as the rest of you. I wasn’t strong enough and let people get hurt.”
Asaka looks across the room to the bed mirroring his. Lying in it rests Kuno Hama, the other third year that helped fight the knight.
“Is she okay,” I ask.
With a pause, he looks down at his hands. His left hand, the one that was once monstrous in design, shakes. Grabbing his left hand with his right, he attempts to calm it down as he speaks.
“I think so,” he pauses, “I mean, I don’t know what I’ll do if she isn’t.”
Asaka moves his gaze to Kiyoko, partially lying on my bed.
“What’s her name,” he asks.
“Kiyoko,” he slowly repeats, “She was one of the first people I got out. That staff was really focusing on her for some reason.”
“You got her out,” I ask, surprised, “I’m sorry. Thank you very much.”
He nods his head in response.
“By the way,” I continued, “Did you happen to see a guy? Kind of short. Has blonde hair?”
“Hm,” Asaka ponders, crossing his arms, “No. I don’t recall seeing anyone like that. Was he in the crowd when the man appeared?”
“I’m not sure. I had assumed he would have watched my fight with Ena, but I didn’t see him anywhere.”
“Well, if you’re worried if he’s… not with us anymore,” Asaka says, nodding his head to a bed in the corner of the room, “That girl there.”
The girl in the bed had long brown hair with a silver streak down the side, lying with her eyes closed.
“I saw her die.”
“What,” I exclaim, startled.
“The staff. It fired a beam that went straight through her heart. She dropped dead instantly. But now? She’s fine.”
“Maybe the maid did something,” I blurted out without thinking.
“Maid,” Asaka asks, confused.
“You know, the maid. She saved us in the end. She stopped time or something—maybe she rewound some of the wounds.”
Asaka lays there, thinking about what I had just said.
“I don’t recall any maid. After being bound by the energy, I just remembered the pain. But that’s about it. Next thing I knew, I woke up here,” Asaka pauses, “But maybe the woman you speak of did have something to do with that.”
Asaka and I lay in silence for a few minutes, letting the time pass by. In my head, I flip through the events of today—if it’s even the same day. It all started with the fight with Ena. Asaka must have been in the audience, too, no? Otherwise, how did he arrive so fast? I glance over to him as he lies in his bed, eyes closed, fast asleep.
During Ena and I's fight, the knight and his dragon arrived. Ena slipped, and got buried. For some reason that I still can’t understand, I cried for her. All of a sudden, it felt like an old friend in danger and I rushed to her side. But speaking of which—I scan the room and look at each bed individually.
Ena isn’t in any one of them. I may not like her, but I never wanted her to die. But much like the one girl that Asaka swears had died, is very much alive and is lying in a bed just a few feet away. So maybe Ena's okay, too.
Suddenly, I feel movement from underneath my right hand. Kiyoko’s head turns as she slowly opens her eyes. Seeing me looking down on her, Kiyoko jumps up, almost knocking her chair over.
“I’m sorry,” she exclaimed.
With the sudden yell in the room, a couple patients woke up, including Asaka as he looked over at Kiyoko with one eye. Kiyoko quickly darts her eyes across the room as she speaks.
“I’m so sorry,” she apologizes in a hushed voice.
Face bright red, she grabs her chair and quickly sits in it as she looks down at her hands. My chest fills with pain as I try holding in my laugh.
Looking back at me, Kiyoko starts speaking, still in a quiet voice.
“Are you okay,” she asks, concerned.
“Well, I’m not dead? So I guess I’m as good as I could hope for.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help,” she apologies once more, unable to look me in the eye.
“Look,” I say, “It’s okay. Not even the collective of the second and third years could do much against him. I didn’t even get a chance to use my Second Gear, either.”
“You used it,” she exclaimed, voice still hushed.
“Well, yeah. Desperate times.”
“But,” Kiyoko looks down, “You promised.”
“I promised not to lose control. I didn’t.”
With a pause, Kiyoko starts to nod her head in affirmation.
“Speaking of which,” I continue, “The fight with Ena. How’d you think of it?”
Kiyoko’s face glowing, she speaks.
“Oh, it was great! The way you used her drones to get to your weapon was super cool!”
Noticing that Kiyoko had raised her voice, she shrivelled down in her seat, returning to a hushed tone.
“You couldn’t get to her often, but if she wasn’t such a—,” Kiyoko stops her own sentence before saying anything too harsh, “You would have remained a bit more calm and composed. And of course, if that didn’t interrupt the fight, I’m sure you could have made a comeback.”
Looking over at the other students, I’m quickly reminded of the mysterious woman I saw during the fight.
“Hey, Kiyoko,” I say, looking her in the eyes, “Did you see a girl in a maid outfit by chance? She does something with time?”
“Oh,” Kiyoko says as she looks at the foot of the bed, “Yeah. I'm not sure what you mean by that 'time' part, but the maid. She’s… Well, it’d take a bit too long to explain. I’ve been told that she’ll speak to the injured students after they recover. Just know, however, she’s here to protect us. But I have an off feeling about her."
Silent, I slowly nod my head. Here to help us? It does seem very coincidental that in the one time our academy had an attack, she just happens to be near to save us. I suppose I’ll get my questions answered after I recover.
Kiyoko and I spoke for a while before night fell as she had to return to her dorm. Apparently a few days had passed since the fight and it’s already Thursday. Thinking about it, Kiyoko still hasn't brought up what she wanted to talk about over the weekend. I suppose I'll ask her about it next time I see her.
For now, however, I shut my eyes and enjoy a long, peaceful night’s sleep.
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