Shard type 2, The Fighter
It is a dynamic shard that yearns for perpetual growth. Unlike shard type 1, it is far less stable. It will change on it's own if it feels stuck within the monotony.
It's name comes from sheer power output that the carrier uses to free the enviable amount of [Loose Mana].
Even though both shard types are used in battle, this one never stops fighting. It constantly seeks new battles.
More often than not, women carry this type of shard cause of their dynamic and often chaotic nature. But within that chaos they shine the brightest.
Their mission is to pull The Stabilizer out of it's monotony and ultimately save him from himself.
Bond between two shards is not a relationship that is romantic in any way. It surpassed that status by a long shot.
It is a sacred oath between the carriers that risk their own safety for other's well being.
And in the end, they perish so others may live.
„Kap! Go hard left!“ Ume yelled while gripping strongly a rope that Shiki bit with his beak-like mouth.
They cruised down the wild stream within the [Crimson Core]. Ume was riding the shell on Shiki's back while holding reigns in her hand.
„I can see the apple! Jump as high as you can!“ Ume yelled while pulling the reigns.
Shiki had jumped so high they ended up gliding through the canopy.
Ume quickly grabbed the yellow-colored apple with her lasso on their way through.
„Eat the damn thing!“ Ume stuffed an entire apple in Shiki's face and laughed like a madman.
They blasted through the tree and ended up sliding down the stream again.
„KhmrgalgmhR?“ Shiki yelled incomprehensible words.
„Just one more!“ Ume stroke Shiki's rough turtle-like head.
She noticed an apple sitting on a rock at the part of the river that led to a waterfall.
„Full speed my Kapptain!“ Shiki took her command to his heart.
He submerged his beak into the stream to gain additional momentum and slid at the speed of light towards the apple.
They flew up to the air, leaving the stream far beneath them,using her lasso Ume managed to grab the apple in the last moment.
Shiki ate the last apple with the most pleasure.
They enjoyed the waterfall that was rushing the stream into nothingness while they were falling down themselves.
„Good job, Shiki,“ Ume petted him.
„Don't treat me like a real turtle!“ he complained.
„But you are one,“ she giggled.
The space around them twisted and turned. Tiny cracks filled their surroundings that slowly started to break and fall apart.
„I love this moment,“ Ume breathed in deeply, „when everything falls apart, you see the true beauty of things.“
Shiki sweated harshly.
„One could interpret that differently..“
„Shut up, dummy“ Ume closed her eyes.
When Shiki realized that a severe number of cracks have almost completely filled his vision, he closed his eyes as well.
„And, we're back.“
Usually they would use the room next to their clubroom, but this time they decided to stay in the classroom that belonged to the art club.
„So, how do ya feel?“ Ume asked the boy across the table.
„Much lighter, inspired as well! I think I can manage to finish the painting now,“ said the boy with the glasses as he stood up from the chair.
„Thank you so much for helping my boyfriend! He was really bummed because school festival is coming soon,“ said the girl
Shiki was perplexed by a realization that he didn't hear anything about the school festival until now.
He preformed an aggressive turn towards Ume. The man sought answers.
„Don't look at me, don't care 'bout that stuff“
She squeezed her twintails as if she was drying them from cruising down the stream, but remembered that was inside the [World Within] so she embarrassingly stopped and acted like nothing happened.
She so obviously cares, Shiki thought to himself but didn't say it out loud cause he cherished his life.
„Who puts school festival so close to Christmas, am I right?“ girl giggled and walked to her boyfriend.
Shiki looked at the girl standing across her boyfriend while he sketched the picture.
It was a lovely sketch of his girlfriend, holding a basket filled with apples.
„Job's done, let's go back to the clubroom,“ Ume left the room.
Shiki slowly stood up from the chair, so he doesn't disturb the couple.
When he left the room, Cyn called him out.
„Hey Kappa! There you where.“
When Cyn is standing up beside him he realizes how taller than him she really is.
„Another successful [Crimson Core] I presume?“ she didn't raise her voice. Every word that was coming from her mouth was in abnormal even pitch.
„Yes,“ he replied shortly while shaking his head.
„Was Umeko helpful?“ her tone continued in an equal matter that made him more uneasy.
„She always is,“ he was reminded of their last talk and how he almost blamed Ume for a really stupid reason so he wanted to finish this dialogue as fast as possible.
„Anyway, have you heard of Lotus Medical Institute?“
„That big company? Sure.“
„Well, I worked for them for some time, but there is a doctor, a friend of mine there who would like to meet you.“
Shiki's nervous level peaked it's usual maximum. He prepared himself for becoming a test subject.
„No no no, they won't do anything to you. He would just like to talk, if you want of course,“ Cyn finished her request.
Shiki watched his fair share of movies during his hikikomori phase. He knew exactly how this things always end up.
„Just me or Ume as well?“ he asked quietly.
„Ah yes, of course, she can come too,“ Cyn added.
Shiki was relieved to hear that.
„Here is the address of the institute, just ask for Dr. Chom at the reception,“ Cyn put a peace of paper inside Shiki's pocket and waved her goodbye.
He was left in an empty hallway. Without having his own opinion, the best option was to ask his clubmates for one.
There seemed to be some sort of tension sulking from the clubroom. When he opened the door, Ren and Ume bickered about something. Arriving in a middle of a fight put him in an awful position so he decided to lay low for a while.
„Why didn't you call Omi? You know I have hard time talking to him ever since the tests...“ Ren averted her gaze while chewing on the bottom lip.
„Ya always have excuses not to talk to boys other than Alp, I doubt ya even consider him as a male!“ Ume yelled theatrically.
„Blatant lies! I talked to Kappa many times. Alp is my precious Prime shard carrier,“ with a help from wind that caressed her hair gently, Ren made her statement.
„He's a turtle! MY turtle!“
Ume just noticed that Shiki was sitting on a chair like a .jpeg file, desperately trying to diminish his own existence.
„I think you should get some rest Ume, we will see each other tomorrow“
Ren's amber eyes burned violently but she kept them in check with her stern posture.
„Sure, bye Shiki,“ Ume brushed against Shiki's shoulder gently upon leaving the clubroom.
Shiki needed to talk to her about Cyn's request, but it was too bad of a timing for that now.
„I apologize that you had to sit through this unsightly fight,“ Ren said gently while taking a seat next to Shiki.
„It's okay, Ume explodes easily,“ Shiki wiped his forehead.
„I have heard that your mission was a success, well done,“ Ren made an usual expression.
„Easy-peasy,“ Shiki cursed himself for saying that phrase out loud.
„Anyway, you looked like you wanted to say something. What is it?“ Ren leaned her head a bit and drew closer to Shiki.
The smell of her perfume was oddly familiar. He would recognize that scent anywhere. It was a smell of his first interaction with Cyn in the infirmary. Minus the smoke from cigarettes, of course.
It woke a strange sensation within him.
„Does this mean I can trust her?“
„Or the exact opposite?“
I can still feel her pulse.
„Should I stay?
Why is she not bathing in the sun?
„Why do I want to run?
The lightning didn't strike at her.
Why is my dearest not waking from her nightmare?
You were part of her every plan.
She never complained, so you thought it was fair.
You were so busy with me.
Before your eyes this rose has lost her thorn.
You broke her.
You broke me.
„I don't think it is a good idea to go there, Kappa...“ Ren sighed.
Shiki has lost the track of their conversation and didn't actually remember saying a word mentioning the institute.
He dismissed his blanking out as a counter product of traversing the [Worlds Within] so just acted like they were having a casual dialogue for the past couple of minutes.
„So, I shouldn't go?“ he asked with a raspy voice.
Ren leaned on the chair and stretched her arms. Her slender body almost broke a chord within Shiki's fragile mind but tried to keep his focus on his blanking out in the middle of conversation.
„It is for you to decide, not me,“ she corrected herself at the end and left the room with a simple „take care.“
I guess she was still on the edge cause of the fight she had with Ume, he thought.
Umeko unlocked the door of her apartment with a small key she pulled out of from her stylish bag. It looked like something a model would carry for one night and throw it away as soon as it goes out of fashion.
Her apartment was neatly cleaned, without a speck of dust anywhere. The furniture was as common as furniture goes without any unnecessary house supplies.
Small black kitty with a couple of straight white spots beneath her nose meowed energetically as soon as Umeko had opened a can of cat food.
It was just a one of the cans that was neatly placed in a second drawer among other canned cat food.
„Here you go, Chef“ she petted tiny kitty on a head.
She recollected every time she petted Shiki in his famous turtle mode just like that.
„You are super cute, but turtles aren't bad either,“ she talked to the munching kitty.
„That dumbass Omi...“ she stood up and opened her closet.
It was filled to the brim with neatly placed dresses with an extremely short color spectrum that consisted of black, dark grey and purple color.
Basic dress will do just fine, I'm not dressing up for him, she thought.
She untied her twintails and dressed the most basic-looking dress she could find in a closet, which took a surprising amount of time since it was almost night.
„Come on kitty, we're going for a walk,“ she grabbed the cat that finished her meal and left the apartment.
The area she lived was a quiet one. It was somewhat outside of the center of the town and the nearest person she was familiar with that lived even remotely close to her was Omi.
She thought about what she would say to him while strolling down the street with only a handful of cars passing her by. Long story short, she wavered between playing completely cool and uncontrollably exploding.
She noticed someone sitting on the bench in a distance, that was near her and Omi's „secret spot“ when they where little.
A breath of nostalgia flushed her and she almost started laughing that she was worried how to talk to her childhood friend.
She sneaked to him so he doesn't notice her, but Sunbar detected their intention and started happily waving his fluffy tail....
When Shiki arrived in front of a Lotus Medical Institute it was almost night. An imposing-looking building made the cramps inside his stomach more intense than usual.
He noticed a small booth beside the main gate with a security guard that was busy reading the newspaper.
„Good evening...“ he let out a silent but extremely polite way of greeting a person.
Unfortunately for him, guard completely ignored his presence. Usually he wouldn't mind that, on a contrary, he would prefer to be invisible but this time he had to jump out of his comfort zone and speak up.
„Excuse me? Hello?“ he shouted a bit for the moment.
Shiki's pitch startled the security guard that dropped the newspapers quickly.
„What are you trying to pull here? This is no place for kids,“ guard reached with right hand to his belt.
That action alone made Shiki exponentially more nervous with every passing second.
„I have an appointment with Dr.Chom! Dr.Cyn sent me!“ Shiki used even louder tone than last time.
„Dr.Chom? Let me call him...“ guard grabbed the telephone from his desk.
Telephone in this day and age, and they mocked me cause of my old phone, Shiki thought.
„Okay kid, it seems you're not lying, let me take you to Dr.Chom. I don't want you to wander round here.“
Guard slightly opened the main gates so Shiki could squeeze through and signaled him to follow.
On one side of the building were a series of stairs, leading to the main entrance. He noticed a series of big garage doors on the side that reminded him of a firehouse station.
They climbed up the stairs and entered the building.
It was a pure white, surgically cleaned institution, just as one would expect from an institute of this stature.
Three ladies were sitting in a front desk, that served as a porter's lodge and they were talking something between themselves.
„Sincerest greetings, Ichigo, Mitsu, Hana, the triangle of beauty within this dreadful place,“ a complete and throughout change in guard's behavior confused Shiki.
„Hey banana beard, you got yourself a kid huh?“ one of the ladies teased the guard.
„Not mine Ichigo, I'm waiting patiently for your heart to open up!“ guard made a pose with his hand as if he was playing a part in a play.
„Calm down Bananova, tell us what you need, we're busy,“ the second lady decided to stop the charade at once.
„Ah Mitsu, the cold smile you give me refreshes my burning heart!“ with a similar pose he turned towards the second woman.
Third lady was just sitting and quietly smiling at stressed-out Shiki who already regretted coming here.
„Ohh! You must be Kappa!“ a chubby guy in a lab coat sprinted down the stairs.
„He's a friend of yours, doctor Chom?“
„What a lucky guy!“
Girls spoke at the same time, while the third one was still sitting quietly.
Guard seemed annoyed and furiously put the cap on his head and headed towards the exit.
„Thanks for bringing him here Alfred, go grab us a tea or something!“ doctor shouted at the guard that responded with a forced smile.
Shiki smiled nervously while fighting the air of pure unpleasantness.
„My name is Dr.Chom, I'm glad you're here, let's go upstairs to my office,“ doctor showed him a way up.
„Thank you,“ Shiki muttered.
„Oh and by the way don't feel bad for the guard, he's constantly hitting on our female employees, he deserved it. Outside of that he is actually not a bad person,“ doctor laughed louder than he was supposed to.When they reached the dr.Chom's office, a certain boy slipped through the main gate, while guard was busy at the coffee machine.