Chapter 12:

Chapter 10 - Critical Awakening

Wings of Unity

Massive amounts of gunfire and explosions surrounded Ren as she ran forward towards the group of Storm Ravens that were ahead of her who were engaged in combat with the Harvesters.

Originally, she was on the Eastern side of the Dark Sector they were in, securing it with a separate group of Troopers, but she was radioed a distress signal by Kenta and his Troopers from the Western side.

In a heartbeat she had found herself heading towards Kenta to help them. It had been a couple weeks since Lieutenant Zenko was transferred to the Miyamoto Academy by Colonel Ozaki on a classified task that only Zenko knew the details about, leaving the rest of the Storm Ravens under temporary command by Ren and Kenta.

However, without the presence of Zenko, regarded as humanity’s most powerful majutsu user, the progression that the Storm Ravens usually made to secure Dark Sectors drastically decreased – and the number of dead Troopers showed it.

“Kenta,” Ren said into her radio. “Get your heads down.”

“Roger that, Ren,” Kenta’s voice replied. “Everyone, get down!”

Ren could see the massive horde of Runners ahead and she saw the helmets of her fellow Storm Ravens duck into a crater. She picked up her speed, panting heavily with every step she took. The ground beneath her was cracked Earth, littered with rubble and holes.

She came close enough to unleash her majutsu – the fury of the need to defend her comrades boosted her power as well.

Royal Flush,” Ren coolly said as she hopped over the debris. She brought her right hand forward and five cards made of majutsu materialized in between her fingers. Ren aimed at the incoming Runners and let the cards go from her fingers.

The cards detonated and multiple explosions enveloped the Runners, evaporating them. Seeing that her attack bought them time, Ren found an opportunity to reassess the situation at hand with Kenta.

“Ren!” Kenta exclaimed as Ren stood in front of them. The woman looked at the small number of Troopers that were standing before her, and she felt her heart slowly drop as she could’ve sworn that earlier on there were more of them.

“Where’s… everyone else?” Ren asked him.

Kenta slowly shook his head in sorrow. Ren let out a small, understanding nod.

“I see. Come on, we have a Dark Sector to secure…” Ren let out an exhausted sigh before looking away towards the dark, cloudy sky. “I wonder how Zenko’s doing over there…”

“All units, be advised… the…” a nervous voice in their radios sounded. “The World Eaters are moving…”

The Storm Ravens looked to the dark skies and saw that the giant World Eater starships that belonged to the Harvesters began to leave the Battlezone that they were in. At first thinking that the World Eaters were amassing towards the Storm Ravens, that wasn’t the case at all.

“They’re leaving…” Kenta said in a soft voice. He activated his visor to scan the World Eaters in the far distance and he gasped in surprise. “I just scanned their trajectory…they’re setting course for…”

“The Lightkeeper Forcefield,” Ren said. “We need to get out of here, now. If what I’m thinking is correct, the Haven could be under grave danger – they’re going to need our help. Kenta, rally as many of the Void Clearers as you can.”

“Wait, what? But the fight is here,” Kenta said. “What could possibly be so important that we need to head back towards the Haven?”

Ren looked over at him.

“They’re going to attack the Lightkeeper Forcefield in order to break through into the Haven.”


The birds chirped as the sun shone bright in the sky. I felt the soft touch of the grass beneath me brush against my gloved hands. I looked up towards the cloudless, blue sky and let out a sigh of relaxation at the sight.

Moments like these always feel like paradise…

My short rest was interrupted as Zenko appeared, hovering over me. His eyepatch glowed with a bright red light and he batted his emerald-green eye at me.


“Remind me again, just how did you end up here on the ground?”

“Umm…” I let out a nervous chuckle. “I don’t know.”

He held out a hand for me to grab, and I took it. He pulled me off the ground with ease, and I was standing in the Holographic Arena – locked in a simulation. I saw Yusa walk towards us, holding tightly onto her right wrist.

“Yusa?” he called over. “It seems Kitaru here doesn’t remember what happened.”

“Simple,” Yusa remarked as she grimaced in pain while shaking her right hand. “I knocked you to the ground as per usual, except this time I landed a hit with my Construct.”

“Is that so?”

“She sent you flying nearly fifty yards, Kitaru,” Zenko said.

“… Is that so?”

“Yes, idiot,” Yusa winced at the pain once more. “I knew you were hardheaded, but geez… that hit really messed up my wrist.”

“Why did she hit me, sensei?”

“It’s Yusa’s turn to work on her skills,” Zenko said.

And then it all came back to me.

Since Zenko has become our mentor, we’ve learned quite a lot from him and his experiences out in the Void. He’s shown that he’s hesitant on his stay here at the Miyamoto Academy and has openly voiced it, but he’s been making his presence worthwhile not just for Yusa and I, but everyone else as well.

He’s taught Yusa and others how to properly control the amount of power they put into casting their Constructs for maximum usage and better timing.

For myself, he’s shown me the fundamentals to majutsu and the toll it takes on the user’s body, in addition to having it attached to a Divine Weapon. While it multiplies the power of majutsu greatly, it also harms the person if too much power is used at once.

To balance out everything, he has given us days where we focus on specific things with specific people – and everyone else does their best to help achieve that person’s goals for the day.

I just happened to be a test subject for Yusa to concentrate her Constructs on for the day.

“You should go ice that, Yusa,” Zenko told her. “It won’t do anyone good if you’re injured. You’re dismissed for the day, great work.”

Yusa took a step back and bowed to him, before giving me a look and leaving Zenko and I behind.

Huh? What’d I do this time?

“Geez…” I scoffed. “I’m surprised she hasn’t said anything about you calling her by her first name, sensei.”

“Any particular idea why Yusa hates you?” Zenko asked me as we watched Yusa leave the Holographic Arena.

“No idea at all.”

“She calls you an idiot all the time.”

“… I know… I’m reminded every day that I’m an idiot.”

“As much as I can show you two how to master your capabilities, there’s always going to be an absence in teamwork and communication if this keeps up,” he turned to face me, his glowing eyepatch giving way. “There’s a huge difference in the Void between strength and working together, and most of the time, working together is what’ll help you survive.”

“I’ve tried many times before, sensei,” I said to him. “It’s as if Tachibana-san will never see me as an equal. Sure, she’ll agree that we’re going to have to work together as instructed by the Headmistress, but…”

“There’s also a difference between willingness and obligation.”

“How do I get through to her, sensei?”

“Hmm…” he rubbed his masked chin. “Have you maybe…tried having lunch with her?”

I cringed.


“Uh… what?”

“You heard me, Kitaru. Try having lunch with Yusa one of these days, I’m sure it’ll help you better understand her outside of the Holographic Arena and your dormitory,” Zenko shrugged. “You two have been tasked by the Headmistress to reshape the school to prevent any more unnecessary deaths… maybe getting lunch with Yusa is the first step to that.”

“I’m… not following along exactly, sensei…” I felt a bead of sweat roll down the side of my face.

“The two of you are forerunners to the future of combating the Harvesters and preventing them from annihilating humanity. You need to work together in a positive attitude to achieve that first, Kitaru.”


“Ice your body, it’ll help prevent you from feeling any type of pain tomorrow morning,” he said to me.

“Thank you, sensei,” I bowed to him. “I’ll do so.”

I began walking away from him.

“Ah, actually… may I have one more word with you, Kitaru?” Zenko asked me. I looked back at my mentor and nodded. “I was only briefed that you simply… touched Danketsu, and that was how you acquired your powers?”

“Correct, sensei.”

“This may be a weird question, but… did you happen to come across any type of spirit when you touched Danketsu?”


“I did, sensei.”

“What exactly did that spirit tell you?”

I took a deep breath, preparing myself to tell Zenko everything that Itsuko had told me while I was inside of Danketsu. I began telling him everything, starting with who Itsuko was, what she had told me, the trials I had to go through to prove myself worthy to become the new guardian of Danketsu, and what Itsuko had tasked me herself – to find the other Divine Weapons before they fell into the wrong hands. I also told him that the place to find out where those Divine Weapons were located was to start at the grave of Shichirōji Yokumoto, the great Divine Hunter of the Majutsu War.

“Shichirōji Yokumoto’s grave…” Zenko repeated to me in thought. “I see. Well, I have some research I need to do. You’re dismissed for the day, Kitaru.”

Zenko began walking away from me, heading towards the exit of the Holographic Arena.

“Wa-wait, sensei!” I called him, and he stopped dead in his tracks. “What… what are you going to do?”

He glanced over his shoulder. “I’m going to find out where Shichirōji’s grave is. If you’re going to save the world, it’s definitely not going to happen if we’re both stuck here running simulations every day at the Miyamoto Academy. Have a good rest of your day, Kitaru.”

He resumed walking away from me.

“Yo-you too, sensei…”

“Oh, and,” he shot me a wave. “She eats at the garden near the edge of the school by the Village. Don’t tell anybody else where that place is.”

I nodded my head.

I watched as he disappeared into the day. I looked back up at the cloudless, blue sky, finding myself lost in my thoughts.

He’s right. I’m no use to anyone at all right now if I’m here. But… trying to have lunch with Yusa?

I exhaled deeply.



I walked into the garden and I looked around, finding beautiful flowers and bushes littering the area, with the sound of sprinklers spouting water nearby. I took a deep breath in and found the breath-taking smell of nature around. I took a few more steps and heard the sound of birds chirping around – it was as if I was in a paradise.

Looking around the beautiful garden, I saw a familiar face – her blank look as I spotted her silver-hair and golden-yellow eyes looking at her food before taking a bite out of her sandwich.

Zenko-sensei was right.

I found Yusa sitting by herself on a bench near the fountain, eating the same food from the cafeteria I had on my plate. I took a step closer, and she noticed my presence – a deep blush forming on her face as she was taken aback by me being there.

“Tachibana-san?” I found the silver-haired girl looking up at me, her face filled with surprise as I stared at her. “What are you doing?”

“Wh-what does it look like, Ozaki?” she gestured to her plate of food, her face still a deep red. “I’m… I’m eating lunch! What do you wa-want? Are you here to annoy me as you usually do?”

“Er… no, I was actually out here just walking around,” I said to her. “So, is this where you eat your lunch normally? Out here and by yourself?” I asked as I took another step closer to her.

“Ye-yes,” she stammered, something I’ve never seen from Yusa before. “It’s so I can enjoy my lunch in peace and think about… anything… related to the Student Council and the school.”

“I see,” I said with a smile. I looked at the bench, then back at her. “May I sit down with you, President?”

“E-eh!?” she gasped, her golden-yellow eyes widening once more. “I… su-sure! Go ahead, sit down! But I don’t see why you should, considering that lunch is almost over… and we have to go back to class soon!”

I raised a brow at her before letting out a shrug. “I think there’s still plenty of time, Tachibana-san, but if you really have a problem with me sitting here, I can leave you alone.”

“I… I don’t have a problem with it…” she said in a hushed voice, looking away.

Geez, Tachibana-san, what’s going on with you? You’re acting… super weird.

I smiled at her and sat down on the bench next to her, and I noticed there was a huge amount of space between us. Glancing over at Yusa, who kept her stare forward, I chose not to bring it up, as I didn’t want to discomfort her.

“How did you know I was here?” she asked me.

“I… had a feeling you would be here,” I said, not disclosing the truth.

“So, it seems…”

“This is a nice place, Tachibana-san,” I said to her as I unwrapped my sandwich and took a bite out of it. I spoke in between chewing. “How’d you find it?”

“Ozaki, please… finish eating first before you talk,” she replied in an annoyed tone, as if she was back to normal. “It’s rare for anyone to come here, since it’s so secluded from the rest of the campus. This is where I’ve always eaten my lunch, and sometimes dinner, since last year.”

“Wow…” I said as I swallowed my food. “Having this beautiful place to yourself? Don’t worry, Tachibana-san, I’ll keep my mouth shut about this place. I’ll even act like I didn’t even come here in the first place! Just so you can continue your ritual. Heh!” I smiled.

“Um…” she spoke up. “I… wouldn’t mind if you came every now and then, actually…”

“You sure?” I said as I raised a brow. “I don’t want to disturb you though.”

“As long as you’re not an idiot,” she narrowed her golden-yellow eyes at me, her voice booming once more. “How dare you even be here right now! I can’t even believe the worst luck I’ve been given… that you, out of all the students here on campus, had to stumble upon the garden!”

Ah… Tachibana-san is back… yay.

“Wh-what!?” I widened my eyes at her. “Do you want me here or not!?”

“Well, since you’re here!” she shouted, her voice louder than before. “YOU MIGHT AS WELL STAY!”

Just… what is… going on…

She took a deep breath and let out a sigh, before continuing to eat her sandwich.

I’ll take it as that’s her way of telling me she wants me here.

I took a bite out of my sandwich before glancing over at Yusa one more time.

You’re weird, Tachibana-san.

“You know, outside of the Holographic Arena and being busy with duties all the time…I’ve noticed we’ve never really… hung out normally, Tachibana-san,” I said with a smile.

“Maybe if you weren’t such an idiot when I see you, that’d be different,” she rolled her eyes at me. “I don’t believe I’m capable of handling you 24/7 just yet.”

Yet, huh?

“Even though we live together, huh?”

“… I try not to remember that, Ozaki.”



Zenko yelled.

I fired my majutsu shot from my hand and watched as it zoomed through the air, colliding with a horde of static Runners in the distance. The majutsu blast tore one of the Runners into pieces while the rest stood idly.

“I got it!” I felt a smile form on my face. “I’ve never sent a majutsu blast that far before!”

“What did you do differently?”

“I… inhaled and focused simply on what you told me to do – find a specific target, channel my energy towards that one target, and then release,” I said to him.

“Perfect form, Kitaru,” Zenko nodded. “From these past few weeks of training, you’ve definitely shown a lot of progress from when I first met you.”

“Now, if only he could work on his progress in other things,” Yusa said as she walked up to us.

“And that is, Yusa?” our teacher asked her.

“To maybe not be too much of an idiot,” she quickly said.

“Typical…” I muttered.

“What was that?”

“Oh, nothing, Tachibana-san,” I shrugged.

“I thought so,” she narrowed her golden-yellow eyes at me. “At least he didn’t cry this time.”

“I-I didn’t cry the other times!” I said, taken aback by her words. “I was just… I concentrated too hard and I messed up!”

“You’re doing great, both of you are,” Zenko stated to us with a nod. “By this rate, we’ll be able to head out into the Void in no time.”

“You seem to want to head out as soon as possible, sensei,” Yusa remarked with a small frown. “You can’t rush us just because you want to leave.”

“It’s not that, Yusa,” he said. “There are other things in the world right now that are happening, and we can’t just continue spending our time here when you’d learn more out on the battlefield – experience it live.”

“... And will the chance of us perishing be worth that?” she asked.

“It’s not,” he shook his head before turning to me. “No lives are worth what this world is going through right now, Yusa. I believe that you’d be able to make a difference, it’s just a matter of time as to when you can prove it on the battlefield.”

“You think we can?” I asked him.

“With Danketsu?” he scoffed and his eyepatch glowed bright green for a second. “I think you’d be able to save the world, Kitaru.”

He thinks that too?


I walked by myself along the stone path of the Miyamoto Academy towards the Holographic Arena. With what Zenko had said the other day, about me being the one who can save more lives in the Void, I felt more pressured than when I had first acquired the powers of Danketsu and Itsuko spoke to me.

Do I really have that type of power within me? Can I really be the one?

I thought of what the others would think if they were to hear my thoughts, I know ever since we met Zenko, the Blue Team has been training harder than ever before – they’ve showed a lot of progress in their combat capabilities, and I believe that if we were to face real combat someday, they’d be more than prepared.

But what if we end up like Hayato and his team?

I thought back and remembered the faces of those young Troopers I had met, and I remembered seeing their names marked as killed in action. Those that had so much faith in their abilities but still ultimately failed.

Could we turn out to be like them?

Picturing the faces of the Blue Team and Yusa, I shook my head in disagreement.

No, we can’t end up like them. I won’t let that happen.

A leaf flew down in front of me, landing on top of my shoe. I looked up and saw the trees that began to shed the leaves from themselves, showing the new season that we were now under.

The smell of nature took all my worries away and I let out a deep sigh.

I just have to keep hoping for the best.

“Kitaru-kun!” I heard a familiar voice.

I turned around and found Chizuru walking towards me, a small smirk on her face.

“Ah, Chizuru-chan, it’s nice to see you,” I smiled.

“I feel as if I haven’t seen you in forever, Kitaru-kun. You’re a bit busy nowadays, huh?” she said. “A Lieutenant is now personally training you, along with Tachibana-san.”

“It’s… a bit rough for me still…” I rubbed the back of my head. “I’m sorry, it’s been hectic for me lately with everything that’s happened.”

“Definitely a big jump for you, though. I’ve taken notice that your team is starting to build a lot of chemistry with each other, I wish mine were the same sometimes…” Chizuru looked away. “I usually just see them during training and after that, it’s as if we’re complete strangers.”

I nodded my head. “I’m afraid to say that the Blue Team isn’t just your average team here, I can’t say if that’s a good or a bad thing.”

“It’s the best,” Chizuru smiled.

I returned the smile and I looked at Chizuru.

The only one who I could have truly called my only friend here.

“Thank you for being my friend, Chizuru-chan.”

“And thank you for saving me that one day, Kitaru-kun. I still owe you that.”

“Yamamura-san!” I heard a girl shout.

I turned towards the voice and saw a group of girls waving down Chizuru.

“I met them during one of my classes,” Chizuru said to me. “Would you like to meet them, Kitaru-kun?”

“Maybe next time, Chizuru-chan, I have to meet Lieutenant Zenko again today for another training session,” I explained to her. “I’m going to learn how to manifest my majutsu properly so I don’t overwork my body.”

She smiled once more and nodded.

“Good luck, Kitaru-kun!” she said. “I believe in you!”

I watched her join the group of girls and they walked away. I was back to my stroll alone, towards the Holographic Arena.

I just hope it’s nothing too tiring today.

A loud siren jarred in my ears and I felt my heart begin to beat faster in a state of panic and wonder, never having heard of this siren before. Around me, I could see that the students were also filled with the same emotions I was.

What’s going on?

“Ozaki,” I heard Yusa’s voice and I saw her rapidly walking up to me, and I could see the Blue Team trailing behind her. “I found them in their classes. The Headmistress is going to announce everyone to go to the Holographic Arena immediately, let’s go.

“Senpai, what’s happening?” Tomoko asked, her mouth still filled with sweets while she talked.

“Are we in danger?” Mika asked with a worried look on her face.

“I… I don’t know, I’ve never heard this siren before.”

“All students and staff, please report to the Holographic Arena as soon as possible,” the Headmistress’ voice sounded on an intercom nearby. “This is not a drill.”

“That’s our cue,” Yusa said. All around us, students began to make their way towards the Holographic Arena quickly. We silently made our way to the Holographic Arena ourselves, with only the ringing sound of the sirens in our ears.

With the loud sirens coming to a close, I found myself gathered in the Holographic Arena with the entire school – and I stood with the Blue Team, Yusa, and Zenko as a giant monitor above us showed video playing from the Lightkeeper Forcefield.

The image cut to the other side of the Lightkeeper Forcefield into the Void, where in the dark gray skies it looked as if there was something falling down.

“It’s… a Meteor Shower…” Zenko’s eyes widened.

“A Meteor Shower, sensei?” I asked him.

“For the many years the Lightkeeper Forcefield has stood as our protector and effectively shielded us from the Void,” he began. “A Meteor Shower is a massive attack orchestrated by the Harvesters that would be targeted to breach the Lightkeeper Forcefield. They send hundreds of debris filled with the undead from space to the Breach.”

“So…” Ayano gulped. “Those aren’t… just meteors?”

“Filled with the undead…” Mika repeated.

I could imagine the Alliance Space Command forces in the Void being rained down upon by the Harvesters and I frowned.

“I’ve read about these before…” Tatsuharu’s voice spoke up. “It’s used as a type of suicide attack on the Lightkeeper Forcefield as well…a majority of the Harvesters sent will be evaporated by the energy from the Lightkeeper Forcefield upon impact…”

“That’s correct,” Zenko said with a nod. “No Meteor Shower has ever successfully penetrated the Lightkeeper Forcefield before. However, the Troopers that are stationed at the Breach…”

“They have a hell of a fight coming to them,” Erika said.

“In cases like these, we’ve suffered major losses,” Zenko shook his head. “And it doesn’t help that we already have such a high percentage of death in the Void.”

“The Meteor Shower! Look!” someone yelled.

As we watched the recordings of the mass amount of rocks and debris clashing against the Lightkeeper Forcefield, it appeared as if with every single meteor that came, the Lightkeeper Forcefield began to dwindle in strength, and its energy walls began to flash.

“What’s… what’s happening?” Yukino asked.

“It’s losing energy,” Zenko said. “It’s not going to stand for long with this amount of meteors crashing against it. The Lightkeeper Forcefield… will collapse at this rate, but there’s only one thing they can do.”

“What is it?” Nobu’s face was grave.

“They maximize the energy of the piece of the Lightkeeper Forcefield, but that requires… glasses? I know you know this.”

Tatsuharu sighed. “It requires that other pieces lose energy in order to do so. Meaning, one piece of the Lightkeeper Forcefield will be severely underpowered, and there’s a chance anything can break through it while it is.”

“The Lightkeeper has stood for nearly a century… it can’t be touched… ri-right?” Mika asked.

“Do you know how much power it requires to function every day, scratch that, every hour?” Tatsuharu scoffed. “More than you’d think. It was a matter of time before it would collapse completely.”

Exactly according to what Tatsuharu said, the Lightkeeper Forcefield flickered rapidly, and it was visible that one part of the shield transferred all of its energy to the part that was being bombarded heavily.

One of the rocks diverted its course towards the weakened part of the shield, crashing through it and leaving a trail of fire behind it – successfully making its way into the Haven.

“O-one made it through…” Ayano said in a soft voice.

Commotion sounded all around the Holographic Arena and there were screams of shock and surprise. The sole meteor that broke through soared through the air of the Haven, and we helplessly watched as it made its way towards a city near the Lightkeeper Forcefield – the populous city of Urasaki.

“N-no...” I whispered.

The meteor crashed into the tall buildings that stood in Urasaki, sending debris flying that destroyed the city streets below. The camera panned into the streets of Urasaki, where civilians were running around in a state of panic.

“Was… was that it?” Yusa asked.

In the blink of an eye, out from the debris of the meteor, Runners emerged. The mutated, bloodied, and dirtied undead jumped out from the meteor with speed, and began to attack the civilians nearby.

I could hear the students around me talk in frightened voices, loudly saying their opinions and fears about what was going on. The camera cut the feed it was giving us, and the screen turned black.

The Holographic Arena was in complete silence, and I could feel that everyone was assessing the situation at hand.

“Harvesters are in the Haven!” someone screamed.

“We’re going to be killed!” another voice shouted.

Everyone began screaming in a quick panic, with the teachers around trying to reassess everyone.

Before I knew it and the situation grew out of hand, the Headmistress made an appearance at

“Students, please,” the Headmistress held her hands out to get everyone’s attention. With everyone in a state of disorientation and panic, nobody was listening to her. The Headmistress let out a sigh and brought out an H45 Pistol – aiming it to the air and firing it. Everyone grew quiet at the gunshot, then turned their attention towards the Headmistress. “I know we’re facing a dire situation here...but if everyone can remain calm, we’ll figure out something.”

“There’s no way she can get everyone calm here...” I said.

“We’re going to be filed back into a safe area in Nishimura until everything is taken care of. Pair up with your homeroom teachers, and please make your way to the exit of the Miyamoto Academy where we’ll then move as one,” she said. “We’ll be taking shelter there until the situation is under control.”

“Under control?” a student around me asked.

“This is crazy… this is crazy...” another one muttered under their breath.

Although the student populace was obviously shaken up from the turn of events at hand, they proceeded to organize themselves in lines to exit the Holographic Arena. Zenko, Yusa, and the Blue Team remained by my side and I looked around, finding the Headmistress begin to walk towards me.

“Ozaki-kun,” the Headmistress said to me. “They’re going to need your help… I’m going to be sending you and Lieutenant Zenko there as soon as possible. I’ve already received the orders to do so, and there are Cranes on their way here to transport you two to Urasaki.”

She gestured to her side and I saw my sister walking towards us.

“You’re going to need this, Kitaru,” Akane-nee said to me as she carried a glass case with her. Upon further inspection I found that the glass case in her hands contained Danketsu inside of it. My eyes widened in surprise. “Don’t worry, the Headmistress got approval for Danketsu to be used.”

“When the Lightkeeper Forcefield has been breached and there’s an immense threat of Harvesters in the Haven, the higher-ups really do scramble,” the Headmistress said with a smile that was also filled with concern. “Just make sure you bring Danketsu back in the same shape, okay?”

I gulped and nodded before I brought my arm out to grab hold of Danketsu. I grasped onto the sword, and the normal power that I’ve felt before was absent. I could feel nothing but hollowness coming from the sword, as if it was powered off.

Wh-what… Danketsu… What's wrong?

I started thinking about it, what if the sword itself wasn’t truly mine to begin with? As if it was just a fluke, or something that was lucky...or what if it was all just a dream? But that doesn’t explain my majutsu...

“Well?” my sister asked me, bringing me back to reality. “Are you… going to take it or just stand there?”

“Uh… ye-yeah...” I tightened my grip on Danketsu and took it from her hands, sheathing it and placing it over my back.

What’s happening?

“This is how it’s going to work, Kitaru,” Akane-nee explained. “You’re going to go with Zenko here and put a stop to whatever’s happening at Urasaki. This is your first taste of combat, and while you’ve grown in power and skill… still be careful, okay?”

“Ri-right… I won’t let you down, Akane-nee...”

“You’re still my little brother first, Kitaru,” she said with a soft, concerned smile. “Mom would have been so proud of you… And dad trusts you enough with your progress to be able to send you out there with Danketsu.”

“Dad’s sending me...?”

“That’s right,” she said with a nod. “Do your best… I know you’re going to make a difference.”

“Make a difference...” I repeated after her, thinking about Hayato and his team that I met on the first day of school. “I hope I will.”

“And hope’s all you’ll need,” she said.

“Let’s get going, Kitaru,” Zenko said to me with a nod. I returned the nod to him and began to follow him towards the exit of the Holographic Arena, leaving a concerned Yusa and the watchful Blue Team behind.

I heard dozens of footsteps rapidly follow behind me and before I knew it, I saw Yusa and the Blue Team standing around me. I looked around and saw the looks in their eyes – filled with wonder, fear, and curiosity.

“Ozaki,” Yusa said as she stood in front of me. “I’m not going to let you go alone.”

“Tachibana-san, I’m not going to let you get into this mess just because I have to go,” I said to her.

“Listen, to think like an idiot such as yourself is going to be able to head straight into a fight like this without someone to look after them, you must be out of your mind,” she said to me.

“But… Tachibana-san… I can’t let you...”

“Did I ask you for permission?” she folded her arms over her chest. “No, this is me telling you that I’m going to go with you.”

Damn it, Yusa…

“Al-alright…” I nodded.

“Senpai?” Yukino asked. “I thought we were… a team?”

“We are, Akiyama-san, it’s just –”

“Then why are you leaving us behind, Kitaru-senpai?” Tomoko asked with a sad look on her face. “You don’t… want us to go with you?”

“Hirasawa-san, this… I don’t want to put your lives at stake.”

“If so, then what have we been training for, Kitaru-senpai?” Mika raised a brow as she took a step forward. She gestured to everyone else in the Blue Team. “We know what we signed up for the day we enlisted at the Miyamoto Academy – and I get it, we’re not the best team around.”

Nobu pounded his chest. “We can finally be able to truly prove ourselves!”

“I know you’ve all been working hard!” I replied. “It’s just…”

“I thought you believed in us, Kitaru-senpai?” Sayaka asked me as she brushed her blonde bangs to the side and batted her teal eyes. “Do you not believe that we’ve trained hard enough for the moment?”

I just don’t want them to get hurt.

“You’ve even said it yourself, senpai,” Tatsuharu pushed his glasses up. “We’re a team – which means we respect one another, and we watch out for one another!”

Everyone in the Blue Team agreed with Tatsuharu, each of them letting out their own confirmation and their intent of going along with me into battle.

“I hate to say it, but I agree with dipstick,” Erika folded her arms over her chest. “And on the other side, I’ve been itching for some real combat. I’m growing tired of fighting these simulated enemies – my katana desires real blood.”

“Okay, edgy, but I agree with Erika on some level about this,” Ayano shrugged. “Also, if one thing we’ve learned from you, Kitaru-senpai – it’s that we’re all stubborn as hell! There’s no way we’re going to let you leave without us!”

“Right!” the rest of the Blue Team said in unison, with Shadow nodding his head.

Yusa chuckled. “At least you taught them something.”

“Funny…” I groaned. “Wait, I’m stubborn?”

“Well, senpai?” Ayano raised her arms. “Are we going with you or are we going to have to force you to let us go with you?”

I looked at every single one of them and I saw that they all had looks of determination written across their faces.

“Zenko-sensei?” I looked at him and his eyepatch flickered. “I’ve already tried to persuade them not to go…”

“This is your team, Kitaru,” Zenko said with a nod before hastily walking away. “I’m just here to teach you how to use your majutsu. We leave in five minutes – Cranes are already on their way to pick us up.”

I looked back at the rest of the Blue Team with Yusa and I sighed before nodding my head.

“Alright, everyone…” I said as they gathered around us. “This is it – now, I know this is going to be the biggest change in your lives so far, but I just want to let every single one of you know… we can do this. Believe in yourselves and in each other. Be safe out there and watch each other’s backs, and most importantly…”

“LET’S KICK SOME HARVESTER ASS!” Ayano screamed at the top of her lungs.

“Harvester butt!” Tomoko shouted along.

The Blue Team did their own types of cheers as they began to run after Zenko with excitement. I looked over at Yusa with a raised finger and she raised a brow at me.

“… Don’t get out of hand…” I said.

“I, for one, think you taught them well. Not too bad… for an idiot,” Yusa said with a small smirk.

She walked away to follow everyone else and I held onto Danketsu tightly, looking down at the inactive Divine Weapon.

Now isn’t the time for you to be so shy… we have lives we need to save.

Taylor Victoria
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