Wings of Unity
The Void Clearers were divided into four different divisions depending on their specializations – the Black Wolves, generalized tactics and the bulk of the Void Clearers; the Devil Dancers, reconnaissance forces and snipers; the Iron Angels, the vehicle operators and pilots; and the Storm Ravens, elite Troopers tasked with the most difficult missions.
With the Black Wolves being the most populous division of the Void Clearers, they were also tasked with handling the flood of new Troopers wanting to prove themselves in the Void, and unfortunately, due to the high influx of recruits – there were massive amounts of lives lost.
These new Troopers – filled with inspiration and dedication – have never experienced combat in the Void before. Most of the time, these new squads take up missions that initially require amounts of experience, but their success and survivability rate is at an all-time low.
The Black Wolves are responsible with recovering the dead, and only those who survive the trials of the Void are allowed into their ranks.
Sergeant Tomasu of the Black Wolves took a few steps forward and looked around – finding the fog from earlier to have vanished. He saw dozens of Harvester Runners laying dead across the concrete of the parking lot that led to a burger store.
“Form a defensive perimeter around the area,” Sergeant Tomasu’s deep voice resounded throughout the area. He gripped onto his M22 Assault Rifle and took a few more steps towards the burger store. “We lost contact with that rookie squad over an hour ago, this is the area they last reported from.”
Troopers of the Black Wolves spread out across the wide area, double-checking each Runner to make sure the undead stayed dead.
Construct walls were set up around the area, successfully creating a layer of protection in the perimeter.
“Sergeant,” a voice spoke out. Sergeant Tomasu turned and saw Trooper Hokiyama by his side. She took glances around as well and sighed. “Do you really think that rookie squad is still alive? They were… In the middle of the fog…”
“Hmph,” another voice said. Trooper Gobei stepped towards Sergeant Tomasu and Trooper Hokiyama, his hulking figure towering over the two. “How could they not have known that the fog meant there was a large horde of Harvesters nearby? Rookies are dead the moment they mess up like that.”
Sergeant Tomasu let out a sigh. “I’m not sure… I…”
“Sergeant! We found casualties!” a Trooper shouted from across the parking lot.
The three hurried over to the Trooper who found two bodies clad in Alliance Space Command armor laying in a gigantic pool of blood. A huge body of a Harvester Stalker layed atop. One of the fallen Troopers was half the body of a male, with visible bite and scratch marks indicating he was being devoured.
The other body was a female Trooper whose body had been in the process of being eaten by the undead.
Trooper Gobei huffed. “The horde consisted of Harvester Stalkers? Damn… These kids really didn’t have a chance – although, they did manage to kill one…”
“Two Troopers…” Sergeant Tomasu said. “Damn it. Trooper Hokiyama, scan them.”
Trooper Hokiyama kneeled and put her own M22 Assault Rifle on her back, grabbing a scanner that was attached to her thigh. She held the hands of each body and scanned them, and the light bar turned green while a beep sounded.
“Uh…” she squinted at the scanner. “The male is Trooper Hayato and the female is Trooper Rin, the leader and medic of the rookie squad, respectively…”
“That leaves only Daitō and Noriyama left,” Sergeant Tomasu frowned underneath his helmet. “There’s a chance they could be alive, otherwise we would have found their bodies already.”
“They were bit,” Trooper Gobei added. “Eaten, actually… Is there a chance they’re going to turn into Harvester Runners?”
The two bodies started to shake violently in an uncontrollable fashion. The four Troopers took steps back away from Hayato and Rin and aimed their rifles at them.
“Get back!” Sergeant Tomasu shouted and gritted his teeth. “They’re turning!”
Their eyes flashed red and Rin stood up from where she laid, claws beginning to spurt out from where her hands once were.
Her bloodied mouth opened.
“RAAAAAGH!!!” the undead Rin screeched out, only to be shot in the head by Trooper Hokiyama. They turned their attention towards the top-half of Hayato moving around, an elongated claw ready to attack.
The undead Hayato lunged at one of the Troopers, being shot by Sergeant Tomasu in a flash.
“Da-damn it…” Sergeant Tomasu cursed. “We were too late…”
Trooper Hokiyama exhaled. “Sergeant, I hate to be the pessimistic one, but I’m not sure if the other two are still alive at this point…”
“We can’t give up looking yet,” Sergeant Tomasu said. “It’s our job to confirm if anyone is still alive. Colonel Ozaki wants proof of it.”
Sergeant Tomasu took a step towards the bodies of Rin and Hayato, seeing a shiny object by Hayato’s body.
“What is this?” he asked himself as he kneeled down to pick it up – a golden medallion with an eagle on it. “A lucky medallion, I’d assume… Ah, geez, kid…”
He sighed and placed the medallion onto his hip, where it magnetized to his armor.
Another Trooper ran up to the three, her voice almost out of breath. “Ser-Sergeant, we found… We found the other two Troopers from the rookie squad. There’s… A sur-survivor inside the burger sto-store…”
“A survivor?” his eyes widened underneath his helmet. He looked at the Trooper. “Have the others set up a defensive perimeter! Get a transport ready for this survivor. We’ll go get them.”
“A-ah… Si-sir… I wouldn’t…”
Sergeant Tomasu grimaced. “You said there was a survivor, right? I gave you an order, Trooper! Get a transport ready!”
The Trooper saluted Sergeant Tomasu and the three made their way into the burger store, finding the body of a Harvester Raider and another Trooper in the middle of the dining room. Trooper Hokiyama scanned the body and revealed it was Daitō.
“He won’t turn because he was shot by the Harvester Raider,” Trooper Hokiyama said. “No type of infection was spread.”
“… These kids really encountered a bunch…” Trooper Gobei said with the shake of his head.
Sergeant Tomasu and the two Troopers approached a body in the corner of the dining room, a young girl who was surrounded by blood. The three of them recognized her as Noriyama, the scout of the rookie squad.
“She’s… Still alive…” Trooper Hokiyama gasped before kneeling next to the wounded and battered girl.
Trooper Gobei frowned underneath his helmet and slowly shook his head. “Sh-she… Hasn’t turned like the others.”
“You only turn if you succumb to the injuries inflicted upon you,” Trooper Hokiyama said.
Noriyama looked at the three Black Wolves, her eyes filled with immense amounts of fear and suffering. The three stared at the girl, finding her completely dismembered yet she was still alive, and not turned into a Harvester Runner. Noriyama’s breathing was sluggish and loud as it echoed in the room that the three Black Wolves were in.
“Nori-Noriyama…” Sergeant Tomasu felt his voice lower. “I’m… I’m sorry…”
He examined her more and found most of her left leg missing, her torso ripped open to reveal her innards, and her right arm was severed and in a short distance away from the rest of her – Noriyama also had numerous amounts of bites pierced into her armor.
“Pl-please he-help…” Noriyama coughed blood in between her words as she held her bloodied hand out towards the trio. “I… I-I’m… So sca-scared… I don’t… Wa-want t-to die…” her voice quivered as she began to cry.
“There’s nothing we can do for her now, Sergeant,” Trooper Hokiyama said. “She… She needs to be sent to peace. She’s only suffering now – I’m surprised she’s made it this far with her injuries.”
“Do it,” Sergeant Tomasu nodded. He looked on as Noriyama had tears roll down her eyes. “Noriyama? It’s time for you to rest…”
She slowly shook her head to confirm her understanding of what was going to happen.
Trooper Hokiyama returned the nod and pulled out a syringe from a supply pack wrapped around her waist. She inspected the syringe before inserting it with ease into Noriyama’s bloodied neck. The girl’s brown eyes widened as Trooper Hokiyama squeezed on the syringe, injecting the girl with the serum. Noriyama’s pupils slowly shrunk and her eyes closed.
“And… She’s gone,” Trooper Hokiyama said as she checked the girl’s pulse and lowered her head. “It’s safe to say her death wasn’t painful… Yet she was suffering up until this point… May her spirit rest in peace.”
“That’s the entire squad accounted for…” Sergeant Tomasu frowned as he let out a frustrated sigh. “Mark them as killed in action, and Trooper Hokiyama…”
“What do you want me to do, Sergeant?” the woman asked.
“Contact Colonel Ozaki and… Send a report to the Headmistress of the Miyamoto Academy,” Sergeant Tomasu shook his head. “This is the seventh squad of rookies from them we lost this month…”
Trooper Gobei carried the battered body of Noriyama out of the burger store and Sergeant Tomasu had glanced back into the store, frowned heavily at the bloodied scene, and shut the door behind him.
This was the life of the Black Wolves.
I opened the door to the locker room, allowing Yukino, Ayano, Tomoko, and Sayaka to enter. I followed behind them and the door shut behind me. Taking a glance around, I found the locker room to be in a more spectacular condition than what it was in last year.
I turned my attention to where the four girls took seats at, a lounging area next to sets of lockers divided by gender. Along with them, there were a few others in the room that turned their attention towards me – some were sitting on the silver benches next to the leather couches and a couple were leaning up against the lockers in the near distance.
Ayano let out an exasperated sigh and sunk into the leather seat she sat in with Yukino. “Man! This is the life of a Miyamoto Academy student? Comfy chairs and a nice locker room? We must be the luckiest!”
“Aya-Ayano…” Yukino said. “We also need to pay attention to Kitaru-senpai…”
“That’s right, Ayano-san,” Sayaka added with a polite smile.
I heard munching sounds and saw Tomoko chewing on what seemed to be a chocolate chip cookie. She giggled excitedly and took another bite, visible cookie crumbs across her mouth. “Thank you for letting us stop by the cafeteria to get more cookies, Kitaru-senpai!!!”
“Uh…” I grinned. “I don’t recall stopping by the cafeteria, Hirasawa-san…”
Ayano cleared her throat. “She actually ran all the way there and back when you went to use the restroom.”
I felt a bead of sweat roll down my face.
These… First-years are so… Unruly…
“We-well…” I began. “Let’s get started with roll-call to make sure that everyone is present.”
I walked over to a terminal that was near the lounging area. I entered my name into the system and out popped a list of the tasks assigned to me to complete as a team leader.
Introduce the team to each other and show them where they’ll be living in the Village. Sounds easy enough! Let’s do this, Kitaru.
I scrolled down to the emblem of the Miyamoto Academy – a pair of silver-colored wings – followed by a list of the names on the Blue Team.
“Alright! First up is… Yukino Akiyama?”
“Pre-present…” I heard Yukino’s soft voice say.
“Here!” Tomoko’s high-pitched exclaimed.
Ah… A new name.
I spotted a large, muscular boy sitting next to a bespectacled boy on the bench, raising his hand into the air. His short buzz cut-styled dirty-blonde hair and light-brown narrowed eyes gave him a menacing appearance. We made eye contact and he nodded.
“Here, sir,” he said, voice matching his intimidating form.
Sir? Seems promising.
“Moving on… Erika Kyōyama?”
“Standing,” a deep, feminine voice said.
I turned towards that voice and found a girl with midnight-blue hair leaning up against the lockers. She wore a black scarf, and the sleeves of her blazer were folded upwards to reveal black armguards. She wore additional lower-thigh guards over her black socks, and her eyes were closed.
Reminds me of the ninja from Itsuko-san’s tests… Scary…
“Alright, next… Ayano Sasaki?”
“I’m here! You saw me earlier, remember?” Ayano heartedly laughed out.
I heard someone clear their throat and noticed a blue-haired, dark-blue-eyed girl sitting near Tomoko.
“Here and ready to learn!” she exclaimed in a bright, energetic voice that took me off-guard.
“Present!” Her manner was distinguished and confident.
“And finally, Tatsuharu Watanabe?”
Someone cleared their voice and I noticed it to be the bespectacled boy next to Nobu. He pushed his wide-framed glasses upwards and smirked.
“I am present,” he said.
Jeez, this guy sounds so… Annoying, for some reason.
“Alright, well,” I faced the first-years before me. “I’m Kitaru Ozaki, your team leader for the year. How about… We start with introducing ourselves to each other?”
Tomoko’s hand immediately shot up into the sky and I nodded towards her.
“My name is Tomoko Hirasawa!” she said with a smile. “It’s so nice to meet all of you, I’m looking forward to being friends with you all! My family are all loyal servants to the Prime Commander, and we keep his mansion nice and tidy! Mmhmm!” her self-satisfaction showed on her face. “Oh, uh… I really enjoy eating sweets! Again, I hope we all get along!”
“That was very nice, Hirasawa-san,” I let out another nod and the team clapped for Tomoko. “Who’s next?”
Ayano grabbed onto Yukino and wrapped her arms around the black-haired girl, grinning wildly. “We’ll go! The name’s Ayano Sasaki, and I might as well introduce Yukino Akiyama! Sorry everyone, she doesn’t really enjoy talking a whole lot!”
Yukino’s face turned red with embarrassment before she nodded in agreement.
“So!” Ayano continued. “The two of us met when we were younger, and we’ve been inseparable ever since! We were bound to go to different academies… But thanks to my grandma, we were able to attend the Miyamoto Academy – and I’m eternally grateful for that!”
Her introduction left everyone in the room staring aimlessly into some profound void, unable to find any appropriate reaction. I cleared my throat, trying to dissolve the obvious discomfort the team seemed to be feeling. Erika looked up and she finally opened her eyes, revealing crimson-red eyes that were filled with experience.
“Ah… Kyōyama-san,” I said. “Would you like to go next?”
She dug her face into her scarf. “Ninjutsu and majutsu – the two ways of life that have been with my family since time immemorial… I’m a ninja. Ever since I was old enough to walk, I was taught how to fight. These pity introductions have no use for me… As I can easily say – I know how to kill you a thousand times over.”
Her lips curved into a devilish grin. Even as the team’s leader, I felt a vague sense of anxiety creep over me.
“If I don’t find you worthy of acquaintance, then you should fear me.”
“ALRIGHT!” I clapped my hands together to cut Erika off, feeling nervousness overtake me.
“That’s really not an introduction…” Tomoko said dourly, scratching her head.
“At least include your name,” Ayano whined.
I cleared my throat again, unwilling to hear anything more from Erika. “Ummm… Maybe we should move on…”
“Me!” a bright voice interjected. Sayaka raised her hand, stood up and brushed her bangs away from her face, keeping her politeness the entire time. “I’m Sayaka Takimoto! My father is Captain Hiroshi Takimoto and my mother is a master surgeon! I was born to become a staple in the Alliance Space Command’s ranks, but I came here to Miyamoto Academy to learn medicine instead.”
Sayaka’s smile turned into a soft frown.
“I like helping people. I didn’t want to upset my father, but I chose this academy because of the medical program here. I suppose when I finally graduate, I want to become a field medic. There are people out there who need my help!” She closed her eyes and resolutely held her fist to her chest.
“W-well,” I began, feeling that I should reciprocate her energy. “I guess we’ve found our team medic!”
“Re-really??” Sayaka’s blue eyes brightened.
I nodded. “That’s right, Takimoto-san. Would anyone like to go next?”
“I would, senpai,” replied a confident voice – Mika had raised her hand in the air.
I nodded, and she politely smiled.
“Hello, everyone,” she said with a soft voice. “I’m Mika Satō. Cooking is one of my passions… I’ve always been a fan of cooking TV shows ever since I was young! Saikyo yaki, marinated perfectly in the summertime is one of my favorites… But I also like home-made mizutake in the winter… Tensoba with daikon oroshi… Balanced flavors which capture the spectrum of the palate!”
She paused and cast her eyes downward briefly, before looking up again.
“I was raised by my mother and father… Until he passed away when I was ten. He taught me how to make my first dish – tonkatsu. I miss my dad, but I’m grateful for the life he’s given me… I like to imagine he’s still here with me – cooking by my side.”
“Wa-wait a second…” Tomoko held a finger up. “Mika-chan… Was your father… The great Kei Satō!? The same Kei Satō who had his own national cooking show on TV? Awesome!”
“Whoa…” Ayano’s eyes widened. “I remember that show…”
“He’s been regarded by my family many times for his own famous, yet secret recipe of saikyo yaki!” Sayaka added.
Mika stifled a giggle before slowly nodding her head.
“It’s nice to see that my father is still well-known,” she smiled. “I’m glad.”
“Now I’m hungry… When’s lunch?” Ayano groaned, and the rest of the team looked as though they were lost in a culinary fantasy.
Tomoko let out an exasperated sigh. “You tell me, Ayano-chan! I’m starving!”
“Thank you, Satō-san,” I said, feeling as though her sincerity merited acknowledgement.
“Please, Ozaki-senpai, call me by my first name.”
I raised an eyebrow at her before shrugging it off.
“Alright then, Mika-san. Now, who will go next?”
Tatsuharu cleared his throat and pushed his glasses up.
“Considering that only Nobu and myself are the only ones left, I may as well give my introduction. Thus far, many of the opening remarks have been noticeably lacking in coherency – an interlude of intelligibility would be welcome, I reckon.”
“A-alright, Watanabe-san…” I said, motioning for him to begin.
“Very well. I am Tatsuharu Watanabe. For every phenomenon encountered in the universe, there is a rational explanation. Therefore, I rely on reason to make extrapolations about the world.”
“Right… Why don’t you continue with your introduction, Watanabe-san,” I asked, my hand over one side of my face – unhappy to be going through his introduction.
“Understood. I prefer to spend my free time doing calculus… I’m especially fond of optimization and rate of change problems. If not that, I would be reading one of my favorite mangas.”
I looked at Ayano as she yawned, stretching her arms to the sky.
“Great… A nerd.”
“I find that to be a grossly inadequate assessment.”
“How does geek sound?” Tomoko suggested with a laugh. I stifled a chuckle and Tatsuharu turned towards the brunette.
“Intellectual would be more appropriate,” he corrected, his nose rising into the air somewhat. “Prodigy might be a precise description, as well… Or, perhaps, genius!”
“How about a self-absorbed fool? Surely that would fit you,” Erika spoke up, a sly smile spreading on her face.
Tatsuharu scoffed. “So, says the one telling us she’s able to kill us all a thousand times over – that sounds more foolish to me.”
“Oh, yeah?” Erika raised a brow and turned red with anger, although she kept her composure. “You dare insult me?”
“Intelligence trumps brute force.”
Erika took a step closer towards Tatsuharu. “You pest, I’ll make sure your death is as dishonorable as possible!”
“Hmph, such a threat, yet I see no weapons in your hands!” Tatsuharu laughed. “What are you going to kill me with, your invisible katana? I laugh in your face, Kyōyama-san!”
“My fists,” Erika cracked her knuckles and took another step towards Tatsuharu. The bespectacled boy’s eyes widened under his glasses and he cowered behind the giant Nobu.
“Sen-senpai!?” he exclaimed.
“Di-Didn’t we just meet…” Mika grimaced.
Tomoko leaned forward. “Yeah, but this is some good entertainment before we go on a snack break!”
“Tomo-chan, I don’t believe there are snack breaks… Sorry…” Sayaka said to the brunette.
I suddenly felt a rush of adrenaline. “CUT IT OUT!” I yelled harshly, in a thunderous voice that I had never heard from myself before. “There’s no need for fighting. We’re a team – that means we respect and watch out for one another!”
“In other words, you can bash his face some other time, Erika,” Ayano said.
Erika punched her fist into her open hand, frightening the gulping Tatsuharu.
“That’s… Not what I had in mind,” I responded, bringing my hand to my temple in frustration.
“Now this is funny to watch,” Mika giggled.
“Agreed, Mika-chan!” Tomoko smirked.
“I’ve deduced that the present scenario bears a high risk for a certain adverse outcome,” Tatsuharu whimpered. “Broken glasses and a bruised face… Irrefutable.”
“Nobu!” I exclaimed, laughing nervously, wanting to shift the team’s focus. “How about you go?” I turned towards the muscular boy and nodded.
Nobu returned the nod and stood up from where he sat, saluting me.
“Nobu Ishibashi of Class 1-4, sir. I follow orders. On top of those two things, I can bench a total of one-hundred and eighty-three kilograms, without breaking a sweat.”
He flexed and patted the biceps on his left arm, huffing approvingly.
“Interesting…” I remarked, somewhat perplexed. “Is that all you have to share?”
Without turning his head to look at me, he nodded and continued examining his biceps.
“Well, I guess all that’s left is me,” I said.
I took a deep breath before beginning.
“I’m Kitaru Ozaki, your team leader. I’m a second-year here, in Class 2-1,” I began, with confidence. “It’s going to be hard to live up to last year’s Blue Team. We earned special recognition from the Headmistress herself, for our exceptional teamwork,” I motioned towards the wall, where, hanging over the desk, was a certificate bearing ornate, flowery insignia.
“Not only that,” I continued. “We garnered a mission success rate of 83.5 percent! Last year we were led by Junko Nagasaki, and we came only in second to the Green Team. So, let’s give it our best this year!”
Tatsuharu raised his hand.
He steadied his glasses. “I was listening to the Headmistress and I noticed two of the twelve team leaders this year are second-years. Typically, they’re third-years… You and Yusa Tachibana. Although, for Yusa Tachibana, it makes sense – she’s the Student Council President. But, for you, Ozaki-senpai…”
“Oh,” I said. “The Blue Team didn’t have any prominent third-years to carry on.”
“So, it seems,” he said, seemingly unimpressed.
“… That’s the only reasoning I have to give,” I said to him.
“Is that so?” he rubbed his chin. “Or could it be because your father is the Colonel Kyōsuke Ozaki of the Void Clearers? Or could it also be because Akane Ozaki is a seasoned veteran teaching at the Miyamoto Academy? There are definitely things at play here, Ozaki-senpai.”
Geez, what is it with this guy? Showing no respect at all!
“Just where are you going with this, Watanabe-kun?” Sayaka asked.
Tatsuharu scoffed. “I’m just pointing out this certain instance to you all. It might be possible there’s foul play in the air as Ozaki-senpai being our team leader.”
“He’s crazy, I’m telling you,” Ayano said, shaking her head at Tatsuharu. “Flat out crazy.”
“Look who’s talking!” Tomoko said, unwrapping a ball of mochi and beginning to eat.
“What do you mean, ‘look who’s talking?’” Ayano said with indignation. “At least I do something other than eat pastries!”
“All of you talk too much,” Erika groaned, her tone scathing. “I’m trying to meditate here.”
This is too much.
I caught Yukino staring at the screen behind me that showed the names of the Blue Team.
“Kitaru-senpai,” she pointed. “It looks like there’s more past the list of names…”
I turned around and I scrolled down, finding one additional name far below that of the list. I read the name out loud and gasped.
“Sha-Shadow?” I muttered.
“Eh? Shadow?” Tomoko asked, her mouth full of mochi.
“Who’s Shadow?” Ayano asked, her face bearing a confused expression.
“It’s the last name on this list,” I answered, I myself baffled. “Are we missing someone?”
Suddenly, the sound of soft footsteps grazing the floor emanated from the darkness of the room’s seemingly unoccupied corner. Into view walked a boy of medium height, whose face was concealed by a peculiar black mask. He wore black gloves and a black hoodie underneath his navy-blue blazer.
Erika gasped, obviously shocked by his unnerving, unanticipated presence.
“Are you Shadow…?” I asked.
He nodded his head in affirmation and I gulped. Even his eyes were shrouded by a pair of black goggles – I noticed my mouth becoming dry out of nervousness as I tried to respond.
“D-do… You have a… A name? I-I mean a real name.”
He shook his head from side to side.
“Improbable!” Tatsuharu called out. “No one can register at the Miyamoto Academy without a name and a surname! ‘Shadow’ is, likely, nothing but a nickname!”
Shadow turned towards Tatsuharu and the latter gasped, shrinking back in his chair. A small droplet of sweat rolled down the bespectacled boy’s face.
“Ve-very well then! I find it perfectly within reasonable calculation that Shadow-san does not have a real name!”
Shadow nodded towards Tatsuharu before turning his attention back to me.
“I couldn’t even sense his presence…” I heard Erika mutter to herself. “How could I be so weak? I have to keep training!”
“Well, Shadow…” I said to him. “Would you like to, uh… Introduce yourself to us?”
He shook his head and took a few steps back, engulfing himself in the darkness he was once in.
“Shadow – that’s the only name I was given from them when he was enrolled,” the Headmistress explained. “An expert marksman and his overall combat percentage is above-average. He’s a welcome addition to the Miyamoto Academy.”
Akane Ozaki took a seat across from the Headmistress in her office. She looked out the window and saw nothing but the ocean and the blue, cloudless sky.
“Is that what I was called here for, Headmistress?” she asked, batting her gray eyes as she turned her attention back towards the Headmistress. “To discuss Kitaru’s team?”
“Not exactly, Ozaki-chan,” the Headmistress smiled. Although she smiled, her face was filled with years of experience that accounted towards her age. “You’re here to discuss your brother’s overall condition.”
“I see,” Akane leaned back in her chair and folded her arms across her chest. “Him and Yusa Tachibana… Don’t you think they’re quite the… Opposite pair?”
The Headmistress smiled. “I chose Tachibana-chan to be the Student Council President, Head of the Disciplinary Committee, and leader of the Black Team because I trust her abilities in those positions. However, with Ozaki-kun… He’s a completely different story – he was in the wrong place at the wrong time to become the leader of the Blue Team.”
“Hey… I didn’t know we were going to be trash-talking my brother.”
“You’re exactly right, Ozaki-chan! They are complete and total opposites,” the Headmistress chuckled. “If you look at their records from when they were first-years, Tachibana-chan far surpasses Ozaki-kun in every way possible… But…”
“But Tachibana-chan highly lacks the social skills needed to be doing all of the work I’ve given her. Ozaki-kun, however, I can already tell by our short interaction earlier today that his heart is in the right place,” the Headmistress smiled. “And if I am correct, Ozaki-chan – your brother will always have Tachibana-chan’s back.”
A beeping sound rang over the intercom.
“Hmm…” Akane slowly nodded in acknowledgment. “But why?”
“Because opposites attract!” the Headmistress smiled once more. “Allow me to get that.”
“Opposites attract, huh?” Akane rubbed her chin and looked away as the Headmistress pressed a button on the intercom. “We’ll see how they work together, then.”
“Yes, Toyosaki-chan?” the Headmistress said to the intercom.
“Headmistress,” Toyosaki said over the line, her voice grave. “There’s a report coming from Colonel Kyōsuke Ozaki of the Void Clearers. It’s… Important.”
“Send it away, Akane Ozaki is with me at the moment,” the Headmistress said.
A pinging sound emerged and the Headmistress and Akane turned their attention towards a screen that descended from the ceiling of the Headmistress’ office. The screen lit up with life and a list of names came up, and Akane read the title of the report out loud.
“Miyamoto Academy graduates – confirmed to be killed in action…” Akane read with a sad tone. “N-no way…”
The two women eyed the screen and all the names and immediately, the room fell into complete silence.
“The seventh squad from our previous graduates…” the Headmistress frowned. “Hayato-kun was one of our top team leaders last year for the Green Team…”
“There’s so many of them…” Akane gasped. “And this is all from just the past month? Just…”
The Headmistress shook her head before pressing a button to turn the screen off. “Ozaki-chan… You know the reality of combat in the Void – you were there for a couple years.”
“I know, but, all these students…” Akane said. “We taught them all…”
“It’s… Heartbreaking, I know. What I wanted to show you today, was this,” the Headmistress said, effectively changing the subject as she pressed a different button to turn the screen back on.
A video played where a boy with black, slicked-back hair looked at his surroundings. He creaked open the door to a room before walking into said room.
“This was earlier today, taken right after we had spoken to your brother on his status as the Blue Team’s leader for this year,” the Headmistress said. “Tachibana-chan was waiting outside the Administrative Building.”
“Kitaru…” Akane said before leaning forward in her seat. “Just what exactly is he doing in the room with the Divine Weapons?”