Chapter 12:

Seven Deadly Sins part B

Crimson Core

Shard type 2, The FighterBookmark here

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.Bookmark here

It's name comes from sheer power output that the carrier uses to free the enviable amount of [Loose Mana].Bookmark here

Even though both shard types are used in battle, this one never stops fighting. It constantly seeks new battles.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Their mission is to pull The Stabilizer out of it's monotony and ultimately save him from himself.Bookmark here

Bond between two shards is not a relationship that is romantic in any way. It surpassed that status by a long shot. Bookmark here

It is a sacred oath between the carriers that risk their own safety for other's well being.Bookmark here

And in the end, they perish so others may live.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

„Kap! Go hard left!“ Ume yelled while gripping strongly a rope that Shiki bit with his beak-like mouth.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

„I can see the apple! Jump as high as you can!“ Ume yelled while pulling the reigns.Bookmark here

Shiki had jumped so high they ended up gliding through the canopy.Bookmark here

Ume quickly grabbed the yellow-colored apple with her lasso on their way through.Bookmark here

„Eat the damn thing!“ Ume stuffed an entire apple in Shiki's face and laughed like a madman.Bookmark here

They blasted through the tree and ended up sliding down the stream again.Bookmark here

„KhmrgalgmhR?“ Shiki yelled incomprehensible words.Bookmark here

„Just one more!“ Ume stroke Shiki's rough turtle-like head.Bookmark here

She noticed an apple sitting on a rock at the part of the river that led to a waterfall.Bookmark here

„Full speed my Kapptain!“ Shiki took her command to his heart.Bookmark here

He submerged his beak into the stream to gain additional momentum and slid at the speed of light towards the apple.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Shiki ate the last apple with the most pleasure.Bookmark here

They enjoyed the waterfall that was rushing the stream into nothingness while they were falling down themselves.Bookmark here

„Good job, Shiki,“ Ume petted him.Bookmark here

„Don't treat me like a real turtle!“ he complained.Bookmark here

„But you are one,“ she giggled.Bookmark here

The space around them twisted and turned. Tiny cracks filled their surroundings that slowly started to break and fall apart.Bookmark here

„I love this moment,“ Ume breathed in deeply, „when everything falls apart, you see the true beauty of things.“Bookmark here

Shiki sweated harshly.Bookmark here

„One could interpret that differently..“ Bookmark here

„Shut up, dummy“ Ume closed her eyes.Bookmark here

When Shiki realized that a severe number of cracks have almost completely filled his vision, he closed his eyes as well.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

„And, we're back.“ Bookmark here

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.
Bookmark here

„So, how do ya feel?“ Ume asked the boy across the table.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

„Thank you so much for helping my boyfriend! He was really bummed because school festival is coming soon,“ said the girlBookmark here

Shiki was perplexed by a realization that he didn't hear anything about the school festival until now.Bookmark here

He preformed an aggressive turn towards Ume. The man sought answers.Bookmark here

„Don't look at me, don't care 'bout that stuff“ Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

She so obviously cares, Shiki thought to himself but didn't say it out loud cause he cherished his life.Bookmark here

„Who puts school festival so close to Christmas, am I right?“ girl giggled and walked to her boyfriend.Bookmark here

Shiki looked at the girl standing across her boyfriend while he sketched the picture.Bookmark here

It was a lovely sketch of his girlfriend, holding a basket filled with apples.Bookmark here

„Job's done, let's go back to the clubroom,“ Ume left the room.Bookmark here

Shiki slowly stood up from the chair, so he doesn't disturb the couple.Bookmark here

When he left the room, Cyn called him out.Bookmark here

„Hey Kappa! There you where.“Bookmark here

When Cyn is standing up beside him he realizes how taller than him she really is.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

„Yes,“ he replied shortly while shaking his head.Bookmark here

„Was Umeko helpful?“ her tone continued in an equal matter that made him more uneasy.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

„Anyway, have you heard of Lotus Medical Institute?“ Bookmark here

„That big company? Sure.“Bookmark here

„Well, I worked for them for some time, but there is a doctor, a friend of mine there who would like to meet you.“Bookmark here

Shiki's nervous level peaked it's usual maximum. He prepared himself for becoming a test subject.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

Shiki watched his fair share of movies during his hikikomori phase. He knew exactly how this things always end up.Bookmark here

„Just me or Ume as well?“ he asked quietly.Bookmark here

„Ah yes, of course, she can come too,“ Cyn added.Bookmark here

Shiki was relieved to hear that.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

He was left in an empty hallway. Without having his own opinion, the best option was to ask his clubmates for one.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

„Ya always have excuses not to talk to boys other than Alp, I doubt ya even consider him as a male!“ Ume yelled theatrically.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

„He's a turtle! MY turtle!“Bookmark here

Ume just noticed that Shiki was sitting on a chair like a .jpeg file, desperately trying to diminish his own existence.Bookmark here

„I think you should get some rest Ume, we will see each other tomorrow“ Bookmark here

Ren's amber eyes burned violently but she kept them in check with her stern posture.Bookmark here

„Sure, bye Shiki,“ Ume brushed against Shiki's shoulder gently upon leaving the clubroom.Bookmark here

Shiki needed to talk to her about Cyn's request, but it was too bad of a timing for that now.Bookmark here

„I apologize that you had to sit through this unsightly fight,“ Ren said gently while taking a seat next to Shiki.Bookmark here

„It's okay, Ume explodes easily,“ Shiki wiped his forehead.Bookmark here

„I have heard that your mission was a success, well done,“ Ren made an usual expression.Bookmark here

„Easy-peasy,“ Shiki cursed himself for saying that phrase out loud.Bookmark here

„Anyway, you looked like you wanted to say something. What is it?“ Ren leaned her head a bit and drew closer to Shiki.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

It woke a strange sensation within him. Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

„Does this mean I can trust her?“Bookmark here

Her. Bookmark here

„Or the exact opposite?“Bookmark here

I can still feel her pulse.Bookmark here

„Should I stay?Bookmark here

Why is she not bathing in the sun?Bookmark here

„Why do I want to run?Bookmark here

The lightning didn't strike at her.Bookmark here

Why is my dearest not waking from her nightmare?Bookmark here

You were part of her every plan.Bookmark here

She never complained, so you thought it was fair.Bookmark here

You were so busy with me.Bookmark here

Before your eyes this rose has lost her thorn.Bookmark here

You broke her.Bookmark here

You broke me.Bookmark here

Run..Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

„I don't think it is a good idea to go there, Kappa...“ Ren sighed.Bookmark here

Shiki has lost the track of their conversation and didn't actually remember saying a word mentioning the institute.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

„So, I shouldn't go?“ he asked with a raspy voice.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

„It is for you to decide, not me,“ she corrected herself at the end and left the room with a simple „take care.“Bookmark here

I guess she was still on the edge cause of the fight she had with Ume, he thought.Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Her apartment was neatly cleaned, without a speck of dust anywhere. The furniture was as common as furniture goes without any unnecessary house supplies.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

It was just a one of the cans that was neatly placed in a second drawer among other canned cat food.Bookmark here

„Here you go, Chef“ she petted tiny kitty on a head.Bookmark here

She recollected every time she petted Shiki in his famous turtle mode just like that. Bookmark here

„You are super cute, but turtles aren't bad either,“ she talked to the munching kitty.Bookmark here

„That dumbass Omi...“ she stood up and opened her closet.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

Basic dress will do just fine, I'm not dressing up for him, she thought.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

„Come on kitty, we're going for a walk,“ she grabbed the cat that finished her meal and left the apartment.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

She noticed someone sitting on the bench in a distance, that was near her and Omi's „secret spot“ when they where little.Bookmark here

A breath of nostalgia flushed her and she almost started laughing that she was worried how to talk to her childhood friend. Bookmark here

She sneaked to him so he doesn't notice her, but Sunbar detected their intention and started happily waving his fluffy tail....Bookmark here

„...“Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

He noticed a small booth beside the main gate with a security guard that was busy reading the newspaper.Bookmark here

„Good evening...“ he let out a silent but extremely polite way of greeting a person.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

„Excuse me? Hello?“ he shouted a bit for the moment.Bookmark here

Shiki's pitch startled the security guard that dropped the newspapers quickly.Bookmark here

„What are you trying to pull here? This is no place for kids,“ guard reached with right hand to his belt.Bookmark here

That action alone made Shiki exponentially more nervous with every passing second.Bookmark here

„I have an appointment with Dr.Chom! Dr.Cyn sent me!“ Shiki used even louder tone than last time.Bookmark here

„Dr.Chom? Let me call him...“ guard grabbed the telephone from his desk.Bookmark here

Telephone in this day and age, and they mocked me cause of my old phone, Shiki thought.Bookmark here

„Okay kid, it seems you're not lying, let me take you to Dr.Chom. I don't want you to wander round here.“Bookmark here

Guard slightly opened the main gates so Shiki could squeeze through and signaled him to follow.Bookmark here

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.Bookmark here

They climbed up the stairs and entered the building.Bookmark here

It was a pure white, surgically cleaned institution, just as one would expect from an institute of this stature.Bookmark here

Three ladies were sitting in a front desk, that served as a porter's lodge and they were talking something between themselves.Bookmark here

„Sincerest greetings, Ichigo, Mitsu, Hana, the triangle of beauty within this dreadful place,“ a complete and throughout change in guard's behavior confused Shiki.Bookmark here

„Hey banana beard, you got yourself a kid huh?“ one of the ladies teased the guard.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

„Calm down Bananova, tell us what you need, we're busy,“ the second lady decided to stop the charade at once.Bookmark here

„Ah Mitsu, the cold smile you give me refreshes my burning heart!“ with a similar pose he turned towards the second woman.Bookmark here

Third lady was just sitting and quietly smiling at stressed-out Shiki who already regretted coming here.Bookmark here

„Ohh! You must be Kappa!“ a chubby guy in a lab coat sprinted down the stairs.Bookmark here

„He's a friend of yours, doctor Chom?“Bookmark here

„What a lucky guy!“Bookmark here

Girls spoke at the same time, while the third one was still sitting quietly.Bookmark here

Guard seemed annoyed and furiously put the cap on his head and headed towards the exit.Bookmark here

„Thanks for bringing him here Alfred, go grab us a tea or something!“ doctor shouted at the guard that responded with a forced smile.Bookmark here

Shiki smiled nervously while fighting the air of pure unpleasantness.Bookmark here

„My name is Dr.Chom, I'm glad you're here, let's go upstairs to my office,“ doctor showed him a way up.Bookmark here

„Thank you,“ Shiki muttered.Bookmark here

„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.Bookmark here

When they reached the dr.Chom's office, a certain boy slipped through the main gate, while guard was busy at the coffee machine.
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