Chapter 10:

Chapter 9 - A Guardian and Mentor

Wings of Unity


That voice… It’s familiar…

I opened my eyes, and I found my room shrouded in darkness, only a hint of the moonlight shining through the slightly open shutters. I heard light snoring and I turned over in bed, Yusa in deep sleep on the other side of the bed.

“Kitaru,” the same female voice spoke up.

It can’t be… mom?

It was as if the voice was coming from outside the window.

A blurry image came to mind as I tried to remember what my mother looked like. I shook my head and sighed as I slowly brought myself out of bed, trying my best not to wake up the sleeping Yusa.

I walked over to the shutters and I popped them open a bit more, finding myself looking out of the window of the dorm. In the very far distance, I could see the forever glowing orange energy wall that was the Lightkeeper Forcefield.

An owl sitting on a pole right outside the window caught my attention. Its snowy white feathers gave off as if the owl was glowing.

As if it knew I was staring at it, it slowly turned its head towards me.

My palms pulsed a bright blue light from my majutsu before returning to normal.

“You have a long road ahead of you.”

I know, mom. I just feel… so lost with everything. I don’t know what to do most of the time, and I often question my own validity as to why this is happening to me…

“You’ll find your way eventually, I know you will. You just have to trust those around you to help you, but more importantly – trust yourself, Kitaru.”

Mom… I…

I felt the frustration in not being able to even remember what my mother looked like.

I miss you.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve seen you, my sweet boy,” her tender, soft voice said. It was so familiar, something I haven’t heard in forever. “You’ve grown a lot.”

Akane-nee did her best to raise me by herself since dad wasn’t around!

I smiled at the thought of my sister.

“So she did,” I heard my mother laugh. “I am so proud to see how far you’ve come with everything. Even now, I see you’re struggling, but… I believe in you.”

Mom, I don’t even know if I can do what everyone’s expecting of me… what if I fail? What if… I can’t make you proud?

“You’ll be okay, Kitaru. You and your sister have made me so proud already, there’s no change in that. I know you’re going to try your best, and… well, it looks like you have friends that will help you along the way. I’m glad.”

But… what if I need you?

“Just remember that even though I’m not there now, I’ll always be with you within your heart, Kitaru.”

The owl suddenly took off from where it sat on the pole, and I watched as it flew off into the night sky, eventually disappearing into the distance.

Thank you, mom…

I let out a sigh and I closed the shutters completely.

“Ozaki…” I heard Yusa’s voice speak up. I looked over at her and I saw her still fast asleep, turning over in bed, but a restless look on her face. “Don’t be such an idiot…”

Ah… she’s talking in her sleep? Of course, she’d say something like that…

I made my way towards the bed to return to sleep.

“But…” Yusa spoke up again in between a snore. “…I… you…”

Huh? Tachibana-san?

I laid back down in bed and stared up at the ceiling.

“Don’t leave, Ozaki…” Yusa said once more before she turned one last time in bed. I glanced over at her and saw that a peaceful look returned to her face before her light snoring resumed.

I felt my lips smile at the sight of that.

I’m not going anywhere, Tachibana-san.




I glanced over and saw Yusa staring at me with an annoyed look on her face. I looked around and saw that we were in the room of the Student Council and I remembered what we were here for – a meeting on the status of the students.

“Yes, Tachibana-san?”

“Did you hear what I just said?” she asked me. I shook my head and she let out a deep sigh before pinching the bridge of her nose in annoyance. “As I just said, we’re going to be comparing the percentage rates of the students that graduated last year. Unfortunately…”

“This meeting we’re holding isn’t going to be…on a brighter tone, to put nicely,” a deep voice that belonged to Hirano Nakamura – the Vice President of the Student Council, despised by Yusa for an apparent deceitful attitude. “The first percentage rate we’re going to be looking at today is how many students graduated last year… and another percentage rate of how many have currently been killed or wounded in action so far in the Void.”

“That’s correct, Nakamura-san,” Yusa said with a resentful nod. “As you all may know, in recent years the Alliance Space Command has been sending every able-bodied person out into the Void. For the reason as to why? A committee has voted on that.”

“That same committee is the one who has been making very… unfortunate decisions that affect the war we have going on with the Harvesters,” Hirano spoke up in a way that seemed to have cut Yusa off from what she was saying. “We’ve all been tasked with properly overseeing the training of the students this year, that way more experienced Troopers are created – hopefully lessening the losses of lives in the Void.”

Murmurs came about from members of the Student Council.

Yusa cleared her throat.

“Senji, your report?”

“Ah, yes, Tachibana-san!” Senji stood up from his seat and the eyes of everyone in the room fell on him. “Over two-hundred students graduated from the Miyamoto Academy last year… and from what has just been updated last night… fifty of them have been killed in action so far. With another twenty being critically injured during combat…”

The voices of the members of the Student Council emerged again on the subject, everyone concerned not just for the safety of the students but of their own as well.

That’s too many… and just from our school only…

Hirano frowned.

“In reminder, our job is to ensure the proper training is given to the students but… we’re not going to be able to save everyone,” Hirano muttered with a sigh.

Yusa grimaced.


Hirano turned to Yusa with a raised brow. “What was that, President?”

“You’re wrong,” Yusa scowled. “Ozaki and I have specifically been given the task to make sure nobody else that leaves this school doesn’t just go to the Void to be killed. Those of you who sit in this room have taken an oath to make sure this school and the students who attend it are protected.”


Yusa pointed at me. “Him and I? We’ve sworn ourselves to make sure that even after the rest of you have given up, we continue to protect them. Especially now that Ozaki wields Danketsu.”

“President, don’t you think you’re being a bit… overdramatic?” Hirano almost let out a small chuckle. “Just because that second-year over here has somehow obtained majutsu power from Danketsu, doesn’t necessarily mean he can live up to what’s expected of him.”

Excuse me?

“Silence, and take a seat,” Yusa commanded in a loud tone and Hirano was taken aback, but he nodded in confirmation before sitting down. “Leave it to us to figure out what to do to make sure the students will be properly trained, and the rest of you will enact our will. Your thoughts, Ozaki?”

I gulped and looked around at the dozens of eyes.

“We’re… going to do our best.”


Erika sprinted towards Shadow as the blade of her katana trailed against the metallic floor, sending sparks flying in its wake. She lifted her weapon and raised it towards the masked boy, and the sparks were launched in his direction.

He staggered back, avoiding the attack, and raised the ninjatō in his hands towards Erika’s katana. The two blades met and were locked in a stalemate, the strength of neither opponent giving way to the other.

Erika suddenly leapt backward, causing Shadow to lose balance for a split second. She then charged at him once more – Shadow parried her unrelenting series of swipes and dices, and more sparks flew from the contact of the blades. The rest of the Blue Team and I watched breathlessly – neither of them had even managed to touch the other’s combat armor as of yet.

One-on-one melee was a practice instituted by Junko Nagasaki, the previous leader of Blue Team. I had merely mentioned that fact when Erika ‘volunteered’ herself and asked for a challenger, to which Shadow accepted with the slight nod of his head – all before I could explain that I had not actually suggested it. Nagasaki-senpai had been a formidable, intimidating team leader who could easily command her subordinates with a single glance.

Since one of my tests to become Danketsu’s guardian relied on me defeating Itsuko in melee combat, I’ve since then practiced to hone my melee skills. For one day, since Danketsu was now my Divine Weapon, I could possibly wield it in combat.

I watched as Shadow went on the offensive, lunging towards Erika.

I heard a small grunt from Erika as she blocked his attack and staggered back, before skillfully leaping backwards and somersaulting into a kneeling position, the gray and black colors of her armor blurring for a moment.

“They’re good…” Ayano remarked as she stood next to me. “Like, terrifyingly good.”

“Uh-huh…” Tomoko mindlessly responded as her eyes were glued onto Shadow and Erika. A series of sharp clangs reverberated from the blades as they struck each other.

“We already knew they were crazy at melee combat, but this…” Mika awed. “This is something else…”

“It’s like they’re dancing,” Sayaka said.

I instantly thought about Itsuko and I nodded my head.

“You’re correct, Takimoto-san,” I replied to her.

The commanding clang of the two blades clashing drew everyone’s attention back towards the fight. I looked and saw Erika swinging her katana at Shadow, knocking his ninjatō out of his hands – which flew through the air and landed a few feet behind her, rattling on the ground. Erika sliced again towards Shadow, who evaded the attack by a nail’s length, the point of her katana almost grazing his neck.

I felt my heart pound in my chest as I watched. This easily rivaled the most advanced sparring I saw last year on the Blue Team.

How heart-racing…

Erika lunged at Shadow once more, but he slid past her and elbowed her in the back, making her stumble forward briefly. He recovered his ninjatō and took a stance with his weight on his front foot, which I recognized as being an advanced melee tactic.

Erika charged, gripping her katana tightly in both hands, and Shadow sprinted towards her at an equal pace.

Their blades met forcefully and with unsettling volume, before Erika let loose a flurry of frighteningly fast attacks. Shadow blocked them all; when Erika finished her sequence, the tips of their blades were at each other’s necks. They held this position for several seconds, and I could see the blades shaking with the fatigue and excitement of the combatants.

“Stalemate,” Erika said as she clenched the katana in her hand. Shadow continued staring at her before he nodded his head and withdrew his ninjatō. Erika did the same with her katana, which she sheathed over her back before taking a few steps away from him. The two of them bowed towards each other before walking over to us.

“Wow…” Sayaka said in astonishment. “They tied… they’re of equal strength.”

“You owe me some credits, Yukino,” Ayano demanded, nudging the girl.

“Eh? I don’t remember making a bet with you.”

“It was a fight of dizzying suspense and adrenaline,” Tatsuharu spoke. “Though it is comforting to note there is someone to keep Erika’s brutish sentiments in check!”

“What’s that, Watanabe?” Erika commanded as she walked over to her captivated peers.

“Oh, it was nothing, nothing at all!”

Erika turned towards Shadow. “We’ll do this again, Shadow. And I will ensure that your defeat is honorable…though there is nothing honorable about defeat, perhaps you will find some meaning in it!”

“Alright, everyone, return to formation,” I said with a nod.

With swift and precise understanding, the Blue Team formed a line standing side-to-side with each other.

“Your team’s getting better,” a voice exclaimed. I turned around and I saw my sister walking up with Yusa trailing behind her. “I’m impressed, Kitaru.”

“Ah, Akane-nee!” I smiled brightly. I watched as her face turned red with anger and I corrected myself. “Ozaki-sensei! It’s… it’s good to see you!”

“Looks like your team’s trying to kill each other seriously this time?” Yusa remarked. “They didn’t start with you first, Ozaki?”

“… Funny, Tachibana-san,” I frowned. “Anyways, what are you two doing here?”

“I’ve got a little… idea in mind,” my sister explained with a slight smile upon her usually serious face. I felt small beads of sweat begin to form at the top of my head at the thought of what my sister had planned.

“I… haven’t necessarily agreed to anything yet,” Yusa said.

“I believe you’ll enjoy it more than my brother here will, Tachibana,” my sister nodded, and then she turned to the rest of us. “So far in the past couple months you’ve all been training to fight against Harvesters in the Void.”

I looked over at Yusa and she shrugged, and out of the corner of my eyes I saw Senji and the rest of the Black Team walking towards us. They then lined up next to the Blue Team, and Akane-nee walked forward.

“Ah…Ozaki-sensei?” I asked her.

“Both the Blue Team and the Black Team will engage in an objective combat simulation where whoever captures the objective first wins,” my sister said, and we all were overcome with surprise. “Although this will be team versus team, you will also have this combat simulation with the presence of Harvesters.”

“Does this mean I’ll be able to beat Ozaki to a pulp, Ozaki-sensei?” Yusa asked nonchalantly.

Eh? Why are you so calm about that?

“Correct, Tachibana-san.”

Yusa nodded, then turned to me. “You’re dead.”


“Ah… sensei, question?” Sayaka raised her hand, and my sister nodded towards her. “Won’t… we actually be hurt by the bullets from our weapons?”

“You’ll be using a type of ammunition called simunition, which will only sting and cause a small amount of pain to you – however, it will not penetrate your armor,” my sister said. When she looked at nobody else raising their hands for questions, she nodded. “You. Tatsuharu, was it?”

She pointed at Tatsuharu and the bespectacled boy proudly took a step forward.

“Why, yes, Ozaki-sensei. And may I take this opportunity to formally introduce myself as the Blue Team’s genius and tactical–”

Without warning, her arm made an imperceptible fast motion towards Tatsuharu's face – a very light tap-like noise occurring.

“I… I can't see anything!” the curly-haired boy yelped. “What… What has happened? Sayaka-san… Nobu-san… my dear companions… has the end finally drawn tonight?”

“Whoever ends with Tatsuharu’s glasses is the victor,” my sister deviously smiled. “Simulation 75-D, activate.”

Out of nowhere the metallic floors of the Holographic Arenas shifted to a mix of green grass and pavement. I looked around and along with the mix of the sun shining above, there was a suburban neighborhood with dozens of houses now.

“Very… homey,” Mika spoke up.

“This makes me hungry,” Tomoko pouted.

“Reminds me of when we were younger. Right, Yukino?” Ayano nudged the raven-haired girl, who nodded in agreement.

“All it lacks is the smell of real grass,” Nobu said.

“I… I literally can’t see anything, anyone,” Tatsuharu whimpered.

“Try putting your helmet on, Tatsuharu-kun. It should fix your vision until we get your glasses back,” Sayaka helpfully pointed out. Tatsuharu put his helmet on and he let out a sigh of relief.

“Let’s not forget our objective now,” Erika coldly said. She looked around at the Blue Team, then over at the Black Team. “You wanted to show them what we’re made of, right? We’ll do it.”

My sister began walking away with Tatsuharu’s glasses. “Combat begins in ten minutes. Best of luck to you all.”

Yusa and Senji exchanged nods before they walked past us.

“Ozaki,” Yusa simply spoke as she walked by.

“Ta-Tachibana-san…” I nodded to her.

“Good luck, Kitaru-san,” Senji said with a smirk. “… You might need it.”

“… Excuse me?” I narrowed my eyes at him. I felt a spark of anger at Senji, but I shook it off as he walked away.

I watched them walk away, watching Senji walking side-by-side with Yusa. I scoffed then turned back towards the Blue Team.

“I hate that guy, senpai,” Ayano said. “Right, Tomo?”

“Right! Hate!” Tomoko gritted her teeth, revealing her tiny fang.

“Orders, sir?” Nobu asked me.

I took one last glance at Yusa, Senji, and the rest of Black Team.

“We take them down… but try not to break Tatsuharu’s glasses.”

“Ah, thank you for looking out, Kitaru-senpai!” Tatsuharu said. “You are a man of greatness, truly! Looking out for the genius of the Blue Team, very admirable of you.”

I raised a brow at Tatsuharu and Erika walked up behind him, then she proceeded to smack him upside the back of his head.

“Let’s go, dipstick,” she scoffed. “For some reason if there’s a shatter in your glasses… It was me.”

“… Dipstick? Broken glasses?” Tatsuharu gulped. “Senpai… my assumptions of my glasses being broken have drastically risen…”


“TAKING HEAVY FIRE!” Mika shouted as she took cover behind a car. Bullets ricocheted and zoomed by her, and she propped her M22 Assault Rifle up, firing blindly up the street.

I took cover behind a car on the opposite side of the street. Massive amounts of gunfire echoed and I looked over and saw the Blue Team returning fire.

Bodies of Runners littered the streets we were fighting in, and we had yet to detect where Tatsuharu’s glasses could be. The entire combat simulation I thought to myself and wondered why Akane-nee would be running us through this simulation with Black Team fighting against us while being under siege by Runners.

There’s only one reason Akane-nee would want to do this… the Insurrection.

“Look, senpai!” Ayano’s voice brought me back to the action. She held what seemed to be a squirrel in her hands. It looked at me, batted it’s black eyes, and chirped. “His name’s Jeefson!”

“Jeefson!” Tomoko repeated from far away, avoiding the bullets that were being shot at her. “It’s cute, senpai!”

“… Jeefson…”

The bullets then shifted to Construct electrical blasts from the Black Team.

“Oh, look!” Mika rolled her dark-blue eyes. “They went from bullets to Constructs! Great, guys, we’re totally pinned here!”

“In addition, it’s the Black Team…” Tatsuharu added. “The majority of members on its roster are complete masters when it comes to Constructs that are attributed to lighting and electricity…”

“Oooo!” Tomoko exclaimed. “Lightning! Awesome!”

“No, no! Not awesome!” Mika replied with anger.

“Nobu-san? Could you please do something about this?” Sayaka politely asked the hulking man. Nobu nodded and stood up, winding up his M213 Minigun and before we knew it, he hailed down bullets upon the Black Team and the Runners that got in the way.

Hmm… they count on each other now and they know when to call on one another. We have seriously gotten way better.

A Runner appeared out of nowhere and neared Ayano, who still had Jeefson in her hands. Before the Runner could attack Ayano, it was shot down by a stray bullet coming from Black Team. Ayano let Jeefson go by instinct and peeked over her cover.

“Hey, thanks, Hotaru-san!” Ayano waved.

“No problem, Ayano-san!” I heard a faint voice reply.

More bullets zoomed by and Ayano ducked back into cover.

“He-hey!” Ayano exclaimed. “Not cool, Hotaru-san!”

“Sorry, Ayano-san!” the same faint voice replied.

I peeked over and saw a majority of the Black Team up the street. I looked around them and saw that Yusa, Senji, and a couple others were missing from their ranks. I raised a brow, then turned to the rest of the team.

Where could they be…

“OW!” I heard Nobu exclaim, and the sudden hail of bullets from his M213 Minigun came to a sudden stop. He was clenching his foot in hand, now sitting down on the pavement. Sayaka rushed over and began tending to Nobu while Tatsuharu took cover next to him.

“Apologies, Nobu-san!” Tatsuharu said. “The vision assistance on this helmet isn’t as good as real glasses!”

“AND YOU SHOOT ME IN THE FOOT!?” Nobu’s deep voice thundered.

“Senpai,” Yukino’s soft voice intervened.

I looked back over and saw a new horde of Runners approaching, their combined screeches contaminating the air.

“Akiyama-san, do you remember what you did last time?” I asked her, to which she nodded. “Could you do it again?”

“I haven’t used it since the simulation… but, I’ll… I’ll try,” she said. She took a deep breath and stood up. “Raven’s Mercy!” her hands lit up with the same purple majutsu flames from last time and she did her attack.

This time her majutsu attack both annihilated the Runners and pinned Black Team down, giving us a few seconds to breath and adjust ourselves to going on a counterattack against them.

“Have Kyōyama-san and Shadow found a lead as to where Tatsuharu’s glasses could be?” I asked Ayano, and the auburn-haired girl shook her head.

Senpai, some of the Black Team is flanking around… Shadow and I failed to intercept them in time,” Erika’s voice said over the radio. My eyes widened and I looked around, seeing nothing but dead Runners.

So that’s where the rest of you went…

“Oh… Kitaru-san!” I heard Senji’s annoying voice resound in my head. I turned around and saw him rushing me, a combat knife in his hands. My eyes widened and I felt energy surge through my veins. “I told you that you’d be needing luck!”

My hands lit up with power and I fired majutsu blasts at the rushing Senji. He moved out of the way of my blasts and I could see that there were other Black Team members trailing behind him.

They’re going to break through our lines… if they do, then it’s all over!

Before I knew it, a midnight-blue hue zoomed by me. Next thing I knew, Erika had locked Senji into a melee combat with her katana against his combat knife, sending sparks flying in the air with a loud clunk.

“Forgive us, senpai,” Erika said in between her teeth. “We let them slip by us… it won’t happen again.”

Shadow appeared from out of nowhere and jumped into combat against the charging Black Team, knocking their weapons out of their hands. He kicked one of them away with a powerful blow and shot his SR1 Sniper Rifle to eliminate that student, and then quickly brought the butt of his weapon back to hit the other student in the chest.

With the third Black Team student charging Shadow, the silent marksman kneeled down and aimed his SR1 Sniper Rifle at the student, letting out a thundering shot from his weapon that eliminated the student.


“NERD!?” Tatsuharu quickly remarked.

I looked over and saw the squirrel, and indeed in his teeth were Tatsuharu’s glasses. Jeefson chipped at us before he began scurrying away. Glancing back at the Blue Team as they were locked in combat with both the Runners and the Black Team, Erika ushered for me to run after the squirrel.

Taking off after Jeefson with speed, I felt the commanding clanging of my footsteps as I ran. I panted, setting my sights only on the squirrel.

He ran through the backyard of a house, and I heard some snarls. I glanced behind me and a few Runners were in pursuit. I grabbed onto the H45 Pistol that hung on my waist and stopped, turning around and shooting at them – gunning the Runners down in a matter of a second.

Holstering my H45 Pistol, I turned around and saw that Jeefson was now gone.

That little bastard… where did you go?

With the gunfire in the distance I searched around the neighborhood I was in, finding no trace of Jeefson anywhere. I heard a little chirp and followed it, taking cover as I heard voices talking.

“Did you hear that one Blue Team idiot said the squirrel had the nerd’s glasses,” a male voice said.

Idiot? Nerd? Okay, nerd is understandable for Tatsuharu… but Ayano isn’t an idiot.

“Kitaru-senpai ran after it, so be careful,” a second male voice remarked.

Scouts from the Black Team… I’ll have to eliminate them before they get to Jeefson.

“Remember, he has the power of Danketsu, he’ll be a powerful opponent,” a female voice said.

Aw… flattering.

Without wasting any more time, I jumped out from where I hid, activating my majutsu.

“There he is!” the three of them turned around and I shot one of my majutsu blasts at them – hitting one of the students in the chest and I watched as he fell to the ground with a thud.

The other two students opened fire at me, then used their jump-packs to assault me. With their momentum in the air, their fists lit up with a red lightning. “Elemental Construct: Thundering Fist!” they both shouted and soared downwards.

I jumped out of the way with the usage of my jump-pack and they slammed into the ground, sending a shattering wake with their combined power.

Before they could begin to attack me, the familiar chirps from Jeefson sounded. The two Black Team students and I turned to the source and saw Jeefson standing on the side, as if he were watching us.

“There it is!” one of them pointed.

Brought back to my senses, I saw that I had an open opportunity. I unholstered my H45 Pistol and fired multiple shots at the students, eliminating them.

The squirrel took off and I followed him once more through the neighborhood. After taking a quick turn, I ended up losing him once again, but this time I was able to narrow my search down in the amount of space available during this simulation.

I found Jeefson standing still in the middle of the street, and I could see Tatsuharu’s glasses in his teeth. He chirped and then began running away from me, and before I could chase after him – a bullet had zoomed by me.

I looked towards where the bullet had come from, and I found a menacing Yusa standing on the opposite side of the street from me, a rifle aimed at me.


“Hey, Tachibana-san! I haven’t seen you at all!” I smiled. “It’s good seeing you!”

“Don’t be so friendly! We’re enemies!” Yusa shouted. “We’re supposed to eliminate each other, and you being the idiot you are says it’s good to see me? Hah!”

I frowned at her. “It’s just a simulation! I mean, we’re friends!”

“We are not friends.”

“Just what is wrong with you, Tachibana-san!?”

“Why don’t you ask your dear old pal Chizuru Yamamura that?” she gritted her teeth, then pointed her finger at me.

“WHAT!? Is that what this is about!?” I felt myself get angry. “Is that why you are being completely rude to me, quite notably more rude than usual… and just being different in general?”

Yusa scoffed. “There’s more to it than that, you idiot!”

“But… I’ll always have your back!”

“Ozaki… do you really think we’re friends?” Yusa scoffed. “You know nothing about me, yet you’ve come under the assumption we’re this close? You really are an idiot. No, not even an idiot now… you’re a dumbass, Ozaki.”

“Wh-what?” I asked her.

Elemental Construct: Lightning!” she shouted.

She brought her hands down, and out from her pointed fingers came sparks of electricity – headed towards me. My eyes widened and I rolled out of the way of the incoming attack, effectively dodging it.

“So, we’re really doing this, huh!?” I said to her. “Hachiman’s Armor!”

Yusa ran to the side, equipping her M22 Assault Rifle and began firing at me. The bullets zoomed by me, and I felt some of them ricochet off my armor. I brought my open palms towards her, sending out majutsu blasts.

Yusa dodged them with ease, taking cover behind a pillar and she continued to shoot at me. She reloaded her weapon and pressed forward, M22 Assault Rifle in hand as more gunfire emerged coming from her.

She jumped towards me and her fist began glowing with a red spark. “Elemental Construct: Thundering Fist!” and she slammed her fist downward on the ground.

The earth shook and I was launched into the air, letting out a small shout as I flew. I caught myself, landing perfectly fine as I slid backwards from the force of her attack. Before I knew it, she was already rushing me with her fists.

Who knew Tachibana-san was this fast!?

She gritted her teeth, and I could see pure anger within Yusa’s golden-yellow eyes. I was caught off guard, and she let out a yell before she swung her fist at me.

I blocked her attack with my forearms, and we ended up in a series of attacks that I struggled to block. I missed one of her attacks and she jabbed me in my stomach – pushing me back, and next thing I knew, I felt the force of a kick to my chest send me flying.

I landed on my back with a huge thud, and I brought myself back up to my feet.

Elemental Construct: Volt Swipe!” Yusa yelled and she swung her arms around in a fashion that sent a line of electricity out from her fingers towards me. I felt the impact of the Construct attack hit my majutsu armor and it coursed through my body.

The jolt of electricity had me shaking rapidly, but as soon as it entered my body it had exited, causing a small pain in my back.

“What are you doing, trying to kill me!?” I shouted at her.

“Hmph!” Yusa grunted. “I just might!”

Yusa ignited her jump-pack and boosted to the top of a building. I flanked around her, and I had my opening to hit Yusa with majutsu to eliminate her.

From her attacks… she’s got to be out of power. Got you, Tachibana-san.

As I was about to use one of my majutsu blasts on Yusa, I watched as she lost her balance from the rooftop she was standing on.

The glowing lights from my palms disappeared and I gasped loudly, feeling my heart race as she began to fall.

“Wh-whoa!” she exclaimed.

“YUSA!” I shouted, running towards the silver-haired girl as she fell. Time went by in slow motion and before she could hit the ground with a hard fall – I felt her in my arms. “Yusa… are you okay?” I asked her.

Her golden-yellow eyes widened and she gasped. “You-you caught me!?”

“I-I told you t-that I’d have your back!” I groaned loudly as I felt the weight of Yusa on me.

I looked at her and her face turned red, and suddenly I felt the impact of her fist on my face – followed by a swift elbow to my chest that prompted me to drop her.

I heard Yusa fall to the metallic ground of the Holographic Arena, and I fell backwards. She clenched the back of her head in pain and I felt blood begin to pour from my nose and my face began to bruise up.

“Wh-why…” I moaned in pain.

“Be-because!” Yusa strained. “You-you’re an idiot! And-and… never call me… by my first na-name again…”

You call me a dumbass… I save you… then you beat me up? Ugh…

My vision began to become blurry for a second and I saw what seemed to be a pair of feet walking towards the two of us on the ground. With my vision beginning to clear up, I looked up to see who it was, and I heard Yusa groan and she shuffled around on the floor, looking up as well.

It was Akane-nee, with a man wearing a variation of the ASC armor that had a bigger left shoulder pad. I examined him and saw that he had a flying raven emblem on the shoulder pad – a mark of the Storm Ravens.

He wore an eyepatch that covered his right eye, leaving an exposed emerald-green left eye that had a scar over it. A black mask that covered the lower half of his face matched his armor, giving off an intimidating aura.

Ugh… who is this guy? And why is Akane-nee with him?

“Congratulations everyone… nobody won,” my sister proclaimed.

The simulation around us then began to disappear into crystal fragments, along with Jeefson, who let out one last whimper before vanishing into thin air – to which Ayano let out a small cry at. Tatsuharu’s glasses laid idly on the floor, and both of our teams lined up behind us.

“This is them?” the man with the eyepatch asked my sister.

She rubbed her temple and nodded her head, letting out a sigh. “Yes, this is them. Kitaru, Tachibana – this is Lieutenant Zenko – he will be your new mentor.”

He took a step forward, and bent down to his knees, holding out an open hand for Yusa to grab. She did, and he helped her up to her feet in an instant with ease. He walked over to me and towered over me – his demeaning appearance sending chills to my veins.

Zenko held out his gloved hand, and I grabbed it. He pulled me up to my feet and took a step away from Yusa and I.

“The name’s Zenko,” he said as he nodded to Yusa and I. “You can call me either Lieutenant or sensei, whichever is your preference.”

The Black Team and the Blue Team had now joined us, lining up behind me and Yusa as we faced Akane-nee and Zenko.

“Well?” Akane-nee asked Zenko.

“Hmm…” Zenko walked in front of us.

He pointed at me. “Supposed ‘idiot.’ I can see why.”

“Huh?” I raised a brow.

He pointed at Yusa. “Anger issues… lots of them, and she doesn’t necessarily know how to control her emotions.”

“Eh?” Yusa’s face turned red.

“… And their abilities?” Akane-nee asked him.

Zenko pointed again at me. “Poor melee combat but leadership skills show him viable on the frontlines. Knows when and where to use his majutsu, but… very inexperienced.”

“I… I just got them not too long ago!” I replied.

“Hmm…” he ignored me, pointing at Yusa. “Excellent at melee combat. But… same thing with her emotions, she doesn’t know how to control her Constructs.”

“WHAT!?” Yusa shouted, her face now a deep red. “Wh-why..yo-you…”

“Example A,” Zenko gestured to my sister about Yusa.

“Example noted,” Akane-nee rubbed her chin.

“A word, Lieutenant Ozaki?”

My sister nodded, then the two proceeded to walk a few feet away from us.

Yusa looked over at me. “Lieutenant Ozaki? Ozaki-sensei was a Lieutenant?”

The Blue Team and the Black Team had pockets of whispers behind us talking about the same subject.

“Ah… from what I know… my sister served in the Void Clearers before becoming a teacher here.”

“Going from an elite soldier to a homeroom teacher?”

I nodded.

I looked over at Zenko and Akane-nee, and for some reason they began talking.

Zenko gestured towards the two of us. “I get called from the frontlines in the Void to come and train those two… of course I’d be a bit upset, Lieutenant. As of right now my squad is busy securing a Tier 4 Battlezone and I’m transferred… well, here.”

“I know they’re a bit much, but trust me, you’ll get used to them…” my sister scratched the back of her head. “… Although I’m still getting used to them. Either way, Zenko, you know that you have orders to be here now.”

“Orders, huh?” Yusa whispered to me.

“As of right now, I will stand by the orders given to me,” Zenko told my sister. “However, I don’t particularly enjoy the fact that I’m the one that’s called upon to train a couple students that seemingly have no idea what they’re doing.”

“We’re standing right here…” Yusa gritted her teeth in anger.

“Gee, welcome to my world…” I said to her.

“I’m still missing my glasses… senpai, may I go get them?” Tatsuharu asked.

“Stay in formation, Watanabe-kun,” Mika said. “It looks like this is a very serious matter.”

“Looks? I can’t even see a single thing. The whole world is a blur!” Tatsuharu sharply whispered.

“Quiet!” Ayano said.

“Yeah, quiet!” Tomoko repeated.

“I don’t like this, Ozaki…” Yusa told me. I looked at her and sighed.

“You do know why you’re tasked with this, correct?” my sister asked Zenko, to which he shook his head no to. She ushered for him to come closer, and she whispered something to him while pointing specifically at me – in assumption that she was telling him about my majutsu acquired from Danketsu.

Now you whisper? You… you choose to keep that hidden away from us?

I frowned, and the two adults then turned their attention back to us. They walked back up to stand in front of us, and Zenko walked by. He went over to Tatsuharu’s glasses that continued to lay idly on the floor and picked them up.

“Well…” Zenko began as he walked back to us and placed the glasses onto Tatsuharu’s head. “Class is in session. I’ll do my best to train you two – Kitaru and Yusa.”

“Any questions?” Akane-nee asked us.

Yusa raised her hand immediately. “I do. Under whose orders do we follow to now be under the command of Lieutenant Zenko?”

My sister looked at me, then back at Yusa and nodded.

“Colonel Kyōsuke Ozaki of the Void Clearers. Dad’s the one who sent Zenko here, Kitaru.”