Chapter 8:

Support Squad

Warground Kaleidoscope


Meanwhile, there was a familiar rat person lurking near the borders. He went straight to 'the slums'.

His handling of the new cane weapon he'd stole had become much better since that failed heist.

On the way there, Garnt asked him quietly:

"You'll regret taking her sympathy."

"…What?"

"I mean, you know 'his' goals." Garnt shivered when he thought about the leader of their group.

Their organisation wasn't exactly 'friendly'…

"Don't you say anything." Ron put a finger in front of his lips. He looked at the three others with him.

They all nodded in response.

"B-but… a war might start soon. The expanse is just a stepping stone to get to New Faustus."

"Do you think I don't know that?"

"That…"

"Just leave me be."

The room turned silent. An oppressive aura started to suffocate the subordinates he took with him.

He realised the negligence of his actions…

The 'Beastkin' and regular citizens of Slum City had been banned from entering Rosemary Expanse. The former was because they were seen as a threat, and the latter due to a certain incident.

Unfortunately, the identification records of the common residents in the city had been damaged.

Most people there had lost their 'identities'.

This made it possible for the enemies beyond the Lower Region of the Earthland Domain to be breached. Spies from the Underworld had the possibility of entering their ranks unnoticed.

It was a hard decision that General Ironheart had reluctantly agreed on. He had no other solution.

The man only hoped that they'd eventually be integrated back into the Rosemary Expanse.

All they needed was time to verify them…

…but what would happen in the meantime?

Anima appeared in droves in Slum City. Without the regular culling of them in key places, it would be a wasteland. Moreover, the situation was just getting worse with time. More and more were appearing.

One day, the Executioners will reach their limit…

The only reason they could stay somewhat calm was thanks to the relief from the 'deities'.

There were people living in Old Faustus with abilities that were far beyond that of humanity.

They served as the frontline and final defence.

Ron couldn't even think about what would happen to Slum City should that 'Household' disappear.

*Ding~*

There was an alert coming from his phone, and he looked down at his pocket. There was a long text.

After reading it thoroughly, a smile appeared on his face. His subordinates looked confused by this.

"Looks like I'm getting promoted."

"Looks like the world's ending… I mean, again."

"Garnt, can you stop being a smart-ass?"

"What can I do? Anyway, you gonna tell that girl."

"Which?"

"The one who always follows you around. Why didn't you take HER to to this heist instead of me?!"

"It's dangerous…" When Ron said these words like a worried father, Garnt did a double-take at him.

"…Is she you're daughter?"

"No way."

"Don't 'No way' me! She's not just small. That mute girl looks young. You didn't pick her up, right?"

"Don't make this weird. Coco became 26 last week. I'm not old enough to have a girl that age."

"She's what?!"

"I even gave her the name 'Coco Metropolitan'. It's a good one. Don't even tell me that's a bad name."

"It's a bad name."

"It's not!"

"Why 'Coco'? Why 'Metropolitan'?"

"Coco beans were my first theft in life, and I met her at a station. Those two names fix perfectly!"

"…I have a lot of questions, but… Why beans?"

"Food is tastier than money."

"Sounds legit." After that, the rest of the crew started to join in on their meaningless squabbles.

A feeling of intimacy was shown between them.

Ron's efforts were finally getting recognised within the community. 'Black Fang' was making him an executive. It made him think of bringing back his old friend Tiny down at the bar for some drinks.

Little did he know that his call would be accepted like the mercy of an angel. Jonna was now broke.

It'd take a long time before he can renovate the place and fix the cracks in the walls of the club.

Some time passed after that incident…

Anya found the lovable sister she was looking for.

Though it wasn't in the way she was expecting.

"What happened to you?!"

"…Nothing." There, sitting with her face in her phone in an alley, Xian Xiao Wu turned dazedly.

A USB was stuck into a connector on her phone.

Whatever she saw on there definitely wasn't what she wanted to see. It made her second guess…

However, she wasn't going to say anything now.

'Is this really real?' Whether Tiny was screwing her over or not was also a thing to be thought about.

Seeing the girl with glowing red eyes, Anya felt like she was reverting to the way she was as a kid.

"You found your mom?" As a sister born from a different mother, she always knew about her goal.

That dream to find answers about the mother Xia never knew. The lioness had never once given up.

Rather than asking for details, the little red hood walked up to the girl without speaking too much.

She grabbed her shoulder and told her straight:

"Are you finally going to go meet her?"

These words sounded like they didn't need to hear her answer. Whatever she answered, it'd be fine.

The blonde bombshell noticed her sister was holding back. She wasn't going to ask for clarity…

Only wanting to stay. Only wanting to share.

Being there when it counts…

"No." The red glow in Xia's eyes started to vanish.

The sun started to rise, revealing her beaten figure and bruised appearance. Dirt, blood, and grime all over. The stench of cigarettes was strong, but Anya knew that probably had nothing to do with habits.

Still, she couldn't help but start to teared her up.

"You're cruel…"

"…" Xia put the phone away and scratched her head. She felt awkward seeing her sister's face.

"You got into a fight."

"I'm fine!"

"B-but… you shouldn't hurt yourself."

"Sorry…! I won't do it again. Promise!"

"You said that last time." Anya wasn't going to believe those words up front. Her eyes were sharp.

This gaze made her sister a bit nostalgic.

Xia remembered when her baby sis was a lot more dense and indifferent. Having the state of a child.

Now, there seemed to be maturity in her voice.

Was it deeper now…?

"My baby little sis, don't you worry now. I'm not interested anymore. You're my focus now." She spoke while stretching her body. When she finally approached, a palm naturally fell on her black hair.

"I'm not 'little', or a 'baby' now, sis…"

"Really now~?" She happily patted Anya's head.

"Yeah."

"Have you made any friends?"

"…Not really."

"I told you they were needed for you to grow."

"Hmph… I'm fine without friends."

"Loner."

"Am not!"

"Told you. They're needed for you to grow up."

"I don't need them to do that! I.Drink.Milk…!"

"Crybaby." This comment made Anya run out of quips, because she was still drenched in teardrops.

She suddenly felt a warm and comfortable embrace. That older sister of the past had grown...

The pats she gave on the back made Anya feel off.

She retreated and held her head rebelliously!

Xia walked past her while she was in a daze to take in some sunlight. Her body felt better immediately.

The first lights of day fell onto her body and erased the bruises from earlier. Yellow sparks had ignited.

Little red hood recognised this power without any explanation. It was all part of Simon's inheritance.

She looked like a fish finally being put back in water. Like the night just wasn't suited for her.

Her mood also seemed better after letting go of her past. She seemed more adventurous now.

"You tired, baby sis?"

"Nope! So… Where to?"

"To the bath first. Gotta wash this smell."

"Right." Anya rented a room so they could groom themselves before meeting Irene at the Academy.

The day of providence had come for them.

It was their first day of work, and Irene wasn't about to let them meet the students immediately.

She sat them down in her office in front of a table.

"These are for Xia." She put a thin stack of papers in front of her, then continued: "These are for you."

A really thick stack of data was thrown down.

Enough to make Anya whistle in sheer wonder.

"What's with the difference?" She didn't expect there'd be so much. How would she read this…?

"You don't have to memorise everything here. Just make sure you remember the important points."

It didn't look like Irene was about to let them go.

"Sucks to be you~" The blonde lioness laughed and immediately got started in reading the details.

Little red also flipped to the first page, but…

…she immediately closed the reports.

"Did I just read 'Tooth Extractor'?"

"Apparently, my student is still being called 'Mad Dog' even now. This guy also became the leader?"

"Same, but…" Anya opened the reports again and skimmed through the pages: "He mellowed out."

"Mine sound so interesting~! They somehow fit my personality. Did Celest plan this?" Xia smiled.

"Just read through these reports and leave."

"Can't we take these with us?" The lioness felt remembering everything was gonna be a chore.

"Student information isn't supposed to be shared so easily. You both have to keep their privacy."

The 'Hell Instructor' made herself very clear.

The blonde bombshell was the first to leave. She waved her sister goodbye for the meanwhile.

The little red hood hadn't lifted her head. Instead burying herself in the papers and reading intently.

When she was done, her face looked down as she walked through the hallways to their own 'base'.

The place she would be staying from now on.

Taking a deep breath, she knocked on the door.

There wasn't a sound inside. Almost as if no one was inside. However, this possibility wasn't viable.

Her students should've been told of her time of arrival. There was no way they'd have gone out.

Especially that former 'Tooth Extractor' guy…

From what she had read, this team she was in charge of had some pretty high qualifications.

A war medic and battle engineer closely related to the 'Logic Industry', which really valued science.

She was a certified genius with a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ). Someone who refused job requests.

Even though she had the qualifications of leaving this squad, she stayed behind for her friend.

A rare magic user that came from a seclusive clan.

His family even acting as mercenaries in the past.

The youth who was also called 'Tooth Extractor'.

And last was the sniper from a fallen lineage originating from New Faustus. One with good eyes.

The team wasn't complete yet and was probably the smallest in the academy. It was filled with the people who had 'special circumstances' or had personality problems. A fact that made her reel.

She didn't expect her former Headmaster would place her with the 'weirdos' of this Academy.

The well-known information network for the rest of the students. Also known as the 'Support Squad'.

Seeing that no one was opening up, Anya put her hand on the door closed her eyes with purpose.

She focused on the energy inside of her.

Not the Fire Qi coursing through her veins, but the more ethereal energy others could barely sense.

She called this energy 'Crimson Lightning'.

Or for a more common name: 'Bio Electricity'.

It was the inheritance passed down by her mentor that had many uses. Being so mouldable as it was.

One example was 'Extrasensory Perception' (ESP).

Even without her five senses, she was able to use her 'Seventh Sense'. The skill to sense bio energy.

With this, she was able to grasp that there was someone on a computer not far from the door.

She couldn't find the sniper, but it looked like the dreaded team leader was upstairs in his own room.

Meaning: They were ignoring her!

Of course, that didn't mean she was going to let herself be locked out. It was her first day of work.

'Good thing I asked for a copy.' Anya pulled out a key from her red and black dress to open the door.

The slight clicking sound of a door opening was heard, but the one on the computer didn't turn.

Little red opened her eyes to see a total slob casually sitting in front of multiple bright screens.

The room was in complete darkness…

"You'll hurt your eyes if you don't turn on the lights." Anya nagged, but she was still ignored.

Her hand reached out for the switch…

*Tap*

The moment it was pressed, the little red hood's eyes widened to see the mess of this wasteland.

Who lived in this kind of unhealthy environment?!

Even after switching the lights on, the girl on the computer hadn't acknowledged her existence.

She was talking on a microphone headset.

"Take some shots from another angle. The buyer might want a refund if we don't get this right."

The computer wiz was probably talking to her teammate, who was likely already on the field.

From the first person view on the monitors, it looked like the sniper was the one doing the work.

Was it fine to disturb them just for introductions?

Anya decided against it. She sighed, believing it was better to clean up. The mess was too horrible.

She'd nag about this to their faces later…

The new tutor rolled up her sleeves, put on a face mask, and decided to get to work on this mess.

Her students not even noticing she arrived…

Momentie
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