Chapter 9:

I'll do anything to see you again

The Aftermath of the Magic Apocalypse

Standing before me is Ken. His face is covered in sweat, and his attire has dark splotches. Did he really just run here from headquarters?

“Mana, thank God you are ok.” Ken rushes to me and hugs me tightly and pats my back.

“Ken..too...tight. Can’t...breathe” as I frantically try and push him away but his grip is too strong for me. I gasp for air once my body is freed.

“Sorry, sorry.” as Ken releases his grip and steps back from me, his face now frantic at realizing. “I was so worried, but I should still have better self-control. Are you hurt anywhere?” as Ken scans he head to toe and pats my body.

“I’m fine, I’m fine” as I agitatedly swat Ken’s hands away like pesky insects. “Hans protected me last night.” After taking a moment to compose my thoughts, “More importantly, What are you doing here? How did you get the approval to leave when we have the big conference in a week?” I ask, my curiosity got the better of me.

Ken gives his signature slick smile and says “Heh, I didn’t. But when I read the report you submitted this morning, I took one of the company cars and rushed over here. Of course, I was stopped at the checkpoint to the settlement because Kaiba alerted all settlements so I left the car there and rushed over here.”

I put my hand to my face and sigh. “I’m not sure if I should be pleased or pissed. Did you have to create unnecessary drama?” as I look at him and give him an annoyed look.

“Awww, and here I thought you would be touched by my actions, a fool checking up on his girlfriend’s wellbeing.” Ken flashes

“You still haven’t passed my standards to let you call me your girlfriend.” as I grab his cheek and pinch it gently. “Maybe if you weren’t smiling like you won a poker game, the gesture might have moved me. That smile of yours killed any points you might have earned.” I give him a smile, let out a laugh and release the grip on his cheek.

“Well, at least my actions got you to smile. You had such a melancholic look when I first saw you.” as Ken rubs his pinched cheek with his hand.

“Yeah, I’m fine. Thanks for worrying about me and coming to check on me.” I give him a stern look “But, did you really have to cause such a ruckus to do that?”

Ken pats my head and give me a gently look. To me, that look feels like one he would give as he consoles a pouting child. Is this from his experience courting so many different women?

Speaking in a gentle tone, “Well, maybe if you had called in to report, I might not have gone to such extremes. I’m sure everything will be fine. I plan to go back now. I’m sure the company will forgive me when I say you were the reason I went rogue for a bit. Worst case, I will get suspended after the big conference next week and lose out on pay. You won’t mind supporting us from your income, huh Mana?” as Ken kneels to the ground and looks up at me with a pleading look.

I give him a pat on the head and give him a gentle smile. “I’m sure you have some savings to tide you over since you don’t have to pay for your dwelling. Isn’t that why you choose to live in the company dorms? If your finances are that dire, I’m sure some of your exes would be happy to let you mooch off them if needed.” as I give him a devilish smile.

Ken stands up and dusts himself off. Not that it really matters since his clothing is soiled in sweat from his rush here. He sighs “Oh well, worth a shot.”

“No, that shot lowered my overall evaluation of you today.” I give Ken a teasing smirk. “Heh, well, looks like your time is up since your escort is here. I will pray your sentence not be too heavy.” as some of Kaiba’s security agents approach us.

One of the agents says “Mr. Abrahms, I hope your visit to your girlfriend was worth all the trouble you put yourself in. As much as we would like to give you more time, we can’t let you linger here any longer.”

“Oh yeah, Totally! See you later, Mana.” Ken gives me one last confident smile and starts to walk away with the agents.

“Make sure to report I had nothing to do with his actions. I was only his motive, nothing more.”

“Not to worry Ms. Viotto. We did check all ingoing and outgoing communication since last night and saw you had no contact with Mr. Abrahms. We also eavesdropped on your conversation where he admitted he did this of his volition. We already cleared you from having put him up to this.” the same agent says while shifting the glasses on his face.

That’s security for you, so thorough.

“Awww, not even a goodbye.” Ken says with a snicker as he walks with the security team.

“Your line before was cooler. You should have stopped there.” I say in a smart alek manner. Some of the agents let out a snicker as they escort Ken away.

I guess it was a mistake to not report in this morning, even if Ken’s actions are an extreme reaction. I guess the one good thing about this incident is that hopefully it will make my manager more willing to accept the proposal I have to make to her. I will consult with grandpa first.


Finally, back at home, ‘Beast’ is still asleep. If I knew it slept this long, I might have had the security team come back with me to take him to Kaiba Corporation. No, if they came unprepared, and ‘Beast’ were provoked by their actions, to still have a home would be the best I could hope for. I can’t risk putting Mahad or Milky in danger.

“Mahad, thanks for watching him. Do you mind keeping an eye a little longer while I consult grandpa and my boss about taking him in? Did you notice anything strange?”

“No problem sis. He’s been asleep this whole time. Maybe it’s because he is still recovering from his injuries, but my gut is telling me he wouldn’t usually sleep this long. After you are done with your meetings, take over the watch so I can prepare him food. I’m not sure if what we have left will be enough for tonight’s dinner, I will need to do some shopping later. I did make you a lunch since you plan to stay home today.” as Mahad points to a container on the table.

“Thanks Mahad. Hopefully, just 30 minutes is all I need. Grandpa won’t take long, if I can even get a hold of him. It’s my boss I’m not sure about. Ken came to visit me, but he didn’t get approval and she might blame me for that.”

“Just date him sis. Any guy who would risk getting fired for you is worth a shot.” he lets out a snicker.

“Hah, I guess that explains why he thought I would be impressed. If he gets fired, that’s another mouth to feed.” I say with a sigh.

“I admire how practical you can be sis. Does your brain not allow you a chance at romance?” Mahad gives me a curious look.

I put my hand to my chin “Well, if Ken is any indication, I think after a year there, I should feel properly settled in full time at Kaiba Corporation. This time would be the worst possible time to start a relationship since we have the conference in just over a week. Though I think he goes far too overboard in his pursuit of a relationship for my preference.”

“Hahaha, sis, such a serious answer to a rhetorical question. It's killing me." As Mahad grips his stomach in laughter.

After some seconds of laughter and a bewildered look from me, Mahad calms down. "Romance rarely comes when the timing is convenient for you. Did you forget your first experience was in a situation you would never expect?” Mahad laughs like a hyena once again. My face must betray how disgusted I am to be reminded of that painful memory when I am desperately trying to forget.

“Don’t remind me.” as I give him a glare. I trudge upwards to my room setting aside that bitter memory and preparing for the discussions I need to have. I can only hope my timing to consult Grandpa lucks out.

In my room, I take out a compact sphere. I grip it tightly like a stress ball for 10 seconds. It’s metallic luster changes color to a bluish glow. It unravels into pieces and assembles itself in a circular pattern that is big enough to surround a person, a column of gentle blue light shooting to the ceiling. Taking a deep breath to clear my head, I step in to the column of light.

“Research Bureau Analyst Mana Viotto, please connect me with Broderick Abreo, head of Research Bureau of Kaiba Corporation Compound 77.”

Authentication of Analyst Mana Viotto verified. Please standby. Connection request approved by Broderick Abreo. The gentle blue light surrounding me has been replaced by images of a windowside office in Kaiba Corporation.

“Hello Mana. I’m relieved to see you appear to be okay. I was worried after reading the report that you were attacked you would be down and out for a while.”

Getting up from a simple desk is the professor, the man who took me under his wing as an apprentice when I was just 13 and the man who I owe my career as a researcher to. He has a big beaming smile on his face as he sees me.

“Hello grandpa. You look like you made a breakthrough.” I say as I return the smile.

Author's note: Apologies for the delay in publishing chapters. What I thought was going to be 2 chapters ended up being double after writing. The good news is daily uploads for the next few days :)