It was over. The noise around me was quieting down and a distressful silence engulfed me. My body was drenched in sweat, and I couldn’t stop shaking. The sun was going down and the sky was slowly turning a pinkish-purple colour. We had been fighting and struggling for the entire day. I could hear sirens in the distance and people were rushing all over the place. Himura walked over to me and embraced me. His body’s warmth made me realise how exhausted and dejected I was. He didn’t say anything and kept holding me in his arms. The voices of Yu and Takumi could be heard in close proximity. I swallowed hard and placed one hand on his chest to gently push him away.
“Ayumi, are you okay?”
Takumi asked troubled. I lowered my gaze while nodding my head. That’s when I noticed that I still had both of my legs. They were both still attached and intact. Rin popped out of Takumi’s jacket and jumped into Himura’s arms. Her eyes were filled with tears. He tried to calm her down by holding her closer and caressing her head. I felt faint and had to grab on to Yu who was standing right next to me. One after the other, Sayuri and the others made their way over to us, including Kawaguchi. Their bodies were a mess, and you could see that they were hurt. I knew that everyone wanted to talk about what had happened, but no one was in the mood nor had the energy left to do so.
“Let’s go and help the others. We need to get the ones who are injured to the hospital.”
Ohta suggested and the others agreed. But before we left, our reunion was abruptly interrupted by someone loudly clapping their hands. We all hastily turned around to see who it was. I was still on edge and so were the others. A tall man in a black and white military uniform walked out of the trees.
“What a bloody mess you have created.”
He said with his deep voice and continued walking closer to us.
“That is why I suggested from the beginning to not build these senseless schools. They just kept giving everyone who had a Paroxys a false dream of becoming a hero. What a let-down this was.”
His messy, white hair that was half-gelled back was swaying in the wind as he pulled out a box of cigarettes. He had three scars across one of his eyes and his tanned skin was glowing in the sunset. His white gloved hand took out a golden lighter and lit up the cigarette that he had put in his mouth. He took a drag and blew out smoke afterwards.
“Major General Voltra.”
Another deep voice called out to him. It was the principal who was rushing over.
“Children, go get yourself treated. Hurry! I have brought ambulances and medical staff. They are waiting for you.”
He said worried after taking one look at us.
“Kadenokoji-san, I would like for you to explain this situation. How did this happen?”
The man took another drag and stared the principal down.
“I am tremendously and sincerely sorry. I have failed as the principal of this school. I let my students and fellow Outliners get hurt. We never expected such a large scale of an attack from our enemies. I was a fool.”
The principal apologised and bowed his head.
“Are you talking about the giants?”
The man’s high arched eyebrows lifted as he looked down upon our principal. Before he could answer him, I stepped forward.
“How do you know that?”
The man took a last drag and threw the cigarette to the ground to then crush it with the heel of his black combat boots.
“That there were giants? Since when you have been here?”
The principal grabbed me by my arm, but I shook him off. The indifferent look on the man’s face was my answer.
“I asked, since when have you been here? Since when have you just been watching us?”
I screamed at him.
“Since nearly the beginning.”
I felt my stomach drop.
“We were informed quite early on and got a distress signal as well from one of the teachers who work at this school.”
“Then why didn’t you help us? You’re with the military, aren’t you? Do you know how many died?”
My feet started moving on their own.
“It’s the result of your own incapability. Don’t push the blame on to others.”
A vein popped out of my forehead and my eyes were filled with tears.
“What did you just say?”
I said while standing right in front of him.
“You piece of-“
Before I could finish my insult, his gloved hand grabbed me by my lower face, but that was fine by me. I forced my mouth open and bit on to his hand. My teeth were sinking into his flesh. His white glove was slowly turning red.
“What an insolent little brat you are. If you don’t let go of me, I will kill you right here, right now.”
His grey and sage green eyes met mine. I was not planning on letting go. My hammer was still in my hand. His muscular arm flexed, and he tightened his grip. It felt like my jaw would shatter into a million pieces, but I still refused to let go.
“What do you think are doing?”
Yu, Himura, Kawaguchi and Takumi had surrounded him with their Paroxys activated.
“Let go of her, right now before I blow your head off.”
Himura said while placing the barrel of his gun against the back of his head.
“I think you are forgetting that you owe me one, Himura Jun. Or should I change my mind and take away that little girl you care for?”
I glanced towards Himura, but he didn’t even flinch. He kept his stance and so did everyone else.
“That is enough. All of you, stop it right now. It is my fault and no one else’s.”
The principal voiced and grabbed the man’s arm to make him let go of my lower face. The others stepped away too, except for Himura. I stumbled back, but the principal caught me. The man took off his glove to look at the bite mark that I had left.
“Jun, I said to stop.”
The principal warned him, but he would still not listen.
“I won’t. He is going to take Ayumi away.”
The man turned around to face Himura while putting back his glove on.
“It is your choice, Himura Jun. Should I take Moriuchi Ayumi or Moiruchi Ayumi and Rin.”
Himura’s face tensed up and his eyes widened, glaring at the man before him. I had never seen him like this.
“I don’t know what this is about, but I’ll go with him.”
I had decided and got in between Himura and the man. We were in no position to start another fight, especially with the military. If it meant they would go away quietly, then I was willing to go with them.
“What are you saying?”
Yu asked angrily. He came over to me and grabbed me by my arm. Sayuri and the others were disagreeing with my decision as well. I kept quiet. The principal made the man promise to safely return me, otherwise he would not agree to let me go. According to the man, there was no time to lose, and some soldiers made me get into a military jeep. The door was closed behind me, and the engine was started. My hammer had been taken away from me, and as I was staring out of the window, the sun disappeared behind the horizon. The sky had turned a dark blue and the stars became visible one after another. My body was in pain and tired. A headache had crept in, and my eyes were falling shut. I wanted to go home and sleep on my bed. Only one other soldier was sitting in the back with me. As I was thinking about Uehara and Yabumi-sensei, without noticing it, I fell asleep on the cold, hard seats of the jeep.
My eyes were crusted over, and it was painful to force my eyelids open. My body was cold and shivering. My breathing was shallow, and the headache was still lingering. I heaved myself up and sat down. The walls around me were made of stone and the place was overgrown with plants. Water was dripping from the ceiling and little light was coming through from a small window that was barred off half-heartedly. The metal bars in front of me indicated that I was imprisoned. I had no recollection of how I got here and when or by whom.
“You’re finally awake! Thank god! I swear I thought you were dead!”
Someone shouted excitedly. It made me jump and I frantically looked around me.
“Who said that?”
My voice echoed and bounced off the walls. My question was answered by footsteps that were coming from the same cell I was in.
“I said that.”
A boy with black hair and a band-aid on his cheek emerged from the shadows. He was wearing a black silk scarf around his neck and a dark blue fanny pack on his shoulder. His purple graphic t-shirt was baggy and so were his black trousers. He was wearing colourful running shoes which matched with his colourful snapback cap.
“Who are you? And don’t come any closer.”
He stopped in his tracks. The multiple small rays of light that were coming through the window lit up his frame and I could see a big smile appear on his face. The tips of his hair were dyed in blue, and he had an undercut. He was smaller than me and younger. My body relaxed and I sat down again. He didn’t seem to be a threat and actually looked quite innocent.
“I’m the newest member of the RIP.”
He said overjoyed and crawled over to me.
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