Chapter 15:

The Hunt

The WTP Club

By the time Glenn arrived at the factory, Bane's plan had already failed. Glenn, who was of course unaware of this, was still clinging to the hope that Va would make it out safe and sound. 

"How are things going?", he asked anxiously as he entered through the curtain.

"I can’t tell you", Sousui replied, staring spellbound at Lenin's screen "It's strange. The device indicates that Va is inbetween Keiichi's and Landini's houses right now."

"Doesn’t that mean that everything has worked according to plan and that she's on the run with the laptop now?" Glenn asked tensely.

"I don't think that’s what it means", Sousui objected "Va is definitely moving too slowly for someone who is fleeing."

"Maybe she's waiting for someone, the police or something", Glenn continued in hope.

"That’s a possible explanation but it doesn’t seem very likely to me", Sousui reasoned "Why would she wait so close to the houses of her supposed enemies?"

"So you mean she's being held?" Glenn noticed nervousness rising in him.

"In public? That doesn't seem plausible to me either. The whole thing is just confusing.” Strained, Sousui scratched over his head and pondered what other options could be possible.  

"What if she's underground?" Emily joined the conversation, making Sousui listen up.

"Right!” Sousui exclaimed "That could be it. He looked at Lenin’s display again and noticed that the dot had been moving a little. "She's probably hiding", he continued "That would explain the slow movements."

"Then we should help her!" Glenn shouted.

Sousui hesitated. After all, Va had ordered them not to call in the police until 1 pm. A glance at his phone told him that it was only 6:30 am.

"Sousui!" Glenn became upset. "What are we waiting for?"

"Va knows what she's doing, I trust her", Wark now spoke up "If she says she doesn't want the police to be notified until 1 o’clock, we should listen to her."

Glenn was in disbelief at his friends' inaction. He shouted "I don't believe it! Va might be in serious danger and you want to wait and see!?”

Sousui and Emily tried to calm him down.

The dot on the display representing Va's position started moving again.

"As far as I can tell, Va is not being held captive. She's moving too freely on the map", Sousui explained. Then he turned to Glenn and cautiously suggested "Maybe, as a compromise, we can agree to call the police if Va hasn't moved at all for some time." 

"She might already be dead by then!" Glenn screamed, coming up with the wildest possible scenarios in his head "You heard those crazy guys on the recordings. And then she's also with Bane, who threatened me with a knife out of nowhere and for no reason at all! We have to act now!"

The rest of the group, however, disagreed and was not persuaded by his arguments.

Glenn ragingly stormed out of the headquarter.

Outside, he started beating a tree on the factory grounds before disappearing into the woods.

It took an hour for Glenn to return. Getting some fresh air had done him good and he seemed calmer again.

"I'm sorry for my overreaction earlier", he apologized a little embarrassed as he came back into the clubroom.

"It's understandable", Emily replied placatingly "People do crazy things for love, I told you that already."

"I'm not sure I really want to know but… are there any updates?", Glenn continued hesitantly.

Sousui nodded. "Sikh just got a call that today's training is being moved up and that he is expected at Landini's place in four hours."

"What does that mean?", Glenn asked.

"Once again, I have absolutely no idea and neither do Emily and Wark", Sousui replied dejectedly. 

"But it’s certainly positive to have Sikh being near Va", Wark added "Sikh will also take his phone with him so he can call us at any time if he and Va need help."

Glenn nodded, it did indeed sound like a positive development of things , though it definitely couldn't be a coincidence that Landini wanted to move up training today of all days. Glenn took a deep breath, sank down on a beanbag and snuggled into one of the blankets they had taken with them the day before.

Sikh got a final briefing to make sure he had understood everything before heading off to Landini. Sikh, who still had a hard time identifying his clan's questionable statements as such, was firmly convinced that only a misunderstanding was responsible for his WTP friends talking so badly about the Trusted Alliance. He simply hoped to find Va safe and sound and then clear up all the misconceptions.


Arriving at Landini's house a few hours later, Landini opened the door with a smile and greeted Sikh in a friendly manner. He absolutely did not strike Sikh as someone who would keep a girl locked up in his basement.

"Why are we playing so early?", Sikh asked as he followed Landini into the gaming room. 

"Because we have a very special guest today", Landini explained "Someone who will elaborate on the realization of our goals. "

"Our gaming goals?"

"No. Of course I'm talking about our goal of getting together with the great girls, those who are not spoiled."

Sikh didn't quite understand what Landini was trying to tell him but had already learned what always received a positive reaction. So he exclaimed "Ahh! Anime girls."

"Exactly!" Landini smirked, holding the door to the gaming room open for him.

Except for Keiichi, all clan members had already shown up and were whispering about what would happen now and who the guest could possibly be.


"The dot is moving toward Landini’s house", Sousui shouted at the same moment at the other end of the town. He gathered the others around Lenin and exclaimed nervously "What the hell is happening?"

Everyone stared spellbound at the screen.


Landini's gaming room had a second door, in addition to the one leading to the stairs, that neither Sikh nor any other of the clan members had ever entered. When asked what was behind it, Landini had said that only a bunch of random items were stored there. 

But now, suddenly, the door handle was being pushed down from the other side of the ominous door. The next moment it opened and the spectacularly announced guest entered the room.

"Va!?" Sikh was about to shout her name out loud but held himself back at the last moment. He assumed that Va would probably not want him to reveal himself as a friend of hers.

Apparently, he was wrong. Without saying a word, Va suddenly pointed at him and Keiichi, who had come into the room behind Va, began to walk toward him threateningly.

Sikh no longer understood anything. What was happening here? Perplexed, he looked at Va, hoping to get some sign as to what he should do.

Va, however, just looked at him blankly.

"Sikh, can I speak to you alone for a moment please", Keiichi said sternly.

Sikh nodded in confusion and followed Keiichi past his whispering clanmates, into the door from which Va had appeared. Before leaving the room, he gave Va one last helpless look, hoping that she would respond in some way, but Va had already turned her attention to other matters.

The last thing Sikh heard before Keiichi closed the thick steel door to the gaming room was Va announcing "I'm about to tell you about an impressive project!" 


The dot on Lenin's display, showing Va’s current location, came to a stop.

"Va must be right in or under Landini's house", Sousui explained in confusion. He glanced at the clock and realized that the clan meeting must have already begun.

"Do you think Va is with Sikh and the rest of the Trusted Alliance?" Wark asked.

The rest had no answer.

"I'm calling Sikh now!" Glenn shouted "After all, Va didn't forbid us to do that."

Before anyone could object, he had already pressed the button to do so on his phone.

"The person you are trying to call is unavailable at the moment."

"What the hell is this!?" Glenn exclaimed angrily. His pulse started racing again. "Why did he even take his phone with him if it is turned off?"

"Maybe this is the first meeting where the clan's true intentions are revealed", Sousui speculated "And maybe this time they took the participant's phones away to take security precautions."

"Do you think Va is going to be..." Wark's words stuck in his throat; his voice sounded shaky.

Glenn's pupils dilated. The text message from Keiichi popped into his head again.

"I know I shouldn't have touched you like that." 

In panic, he jumped up and shouted "I have to help Va instantly!" Within seconds he had ran out of the room again.

"Damn it Glenn, wait!" Sousui shouted, wanting to run after him.

Emily, however, held him back. "Let him go! You won’t be able to stop him. He’ll just beat you up if necessary.”

Sousui took a deep breath and nodded. Emily was probably right. "That idiot", Sousui muttered as he lowered himself back onto his beanbag.

Glenn dashed down the moss-covered road and rushed through the overgrown trail that led to the wooden bridge.

"Va! Va! Va!" he gasped "Hang on!"

He had tunnel vision and was delirious. All he could think of was to protect Va from these madmen as quickly as possible. It just so happened that he oversaw a root on the ground just before he arrived at the bridge.

Glenn stumbled and fell on his nose. He was bleeding slightly, and his hands were scraped, but that didn’t keep him from getting right back up. All of a sudden, though, he felt a stinging sensation on the side of his neck.

Glenn lowered his gaze.

Horrified, he realized he had a paper-thin arrow stuck in his neck. He quickly pulled it out and looked around paranoidly. Behind a tree, he suddenly spotted a face that looked very familiar. None other than Smoke was lying in wait for him.

Before Glenn had a chance to act, Smoke had already fired off a second arrow with a bow. It again landed directly in Glenn's neck. Glenn felt himself getting dizzy and his muscles failing. He tried to fight the feeling but had no success.

"Va! Va! Va!" he shouted again, but his voice was failing more and more. "Burn in hell, disgusting bastard!” he scolded with his last strength.

Then he lost consciousness and sank into the bushes.

Meanwhile, on the factory grounds, Sousui, Emily and Wark were still oblivious to what had happened to Glenn and Sikh. Sousui just stared spellbound at the dot, which seemed to have stopped moving for the time being, and consulted with Emily and Wark about whether or not to call the police now.

He was in a quandary. On the one hand, he didn't want to violate Va's orders. On the other hand, he also didn't want to be responsible for them waiting and watching while potentially terrible things were done to Va.

Hence, he was increasingly inclined to call the police. 

As he was about to dial the number, he noticed a rustling outside the building. Had Glenn come to his senses after all and returned to them? As upset as Glenn had been, that seemed unlikely.

Sousui straightened up and pulled the curtain aside. No one was to be seen outside. Astonished, he looked in all directions. He could have sworn he had heard something. Suddenly something shot at him through the broken window pane and hit him right in the neck. Sousui staggered backwards away from the window before falling to the ground.

"Oh my God Sousui!" Emily screamed in panic and quickly removed the arrow from his neck. Then she tried to prop him up and shouted "Help me, Wark! We've got to get out of here fast!"

Sousui seemed dazed but was still conscious.

With his arms over their shoulders, Wark and Emily limped out of the clubroom as quickly as they could.

In the anteroom, however, they were already expected. Landini and Smoke, armed with a bow, were leaning against the factory entrance, blocking their way.

The simulation from the day before was suddenly threatening to actually become reality. 

Luckily, Wark had learned his lesson and brought a knife with him. He let go of Sousui, pulled out the knife and headed straight for their enemies. Caught off guard by this sudden attack, they backed off.

"You have to run away by yourself!" Sousui gasped to Emily, feeling his powers fading "You can't allow them to catch you. You have to call the police! We're dealing with some really bad guys here!"

Emily didn't want to leave Sousui behind at first, but then quickly realized that it was indeed the group’s only way to still stand a chance against this cult.

She let go of Sousui, whereupon he promptly dropped to the ground. Then she ran straight into the large hall opposite the factory entrance. Although Wark had pushed Landini and Smoke back, she probably wouldn't be able to leave through the main door. She would have to find another exit. 

Panicked, she tried to open a gate at the end of the hall, but it didn't move an inch. "Crap", she cursed and ran out of the hall, into the corridor through which the group had walked on their exploration tour to the factory roof. Behind her, she kicked up large clouds of dust.

Wark, meanwhile, was doing his best to keep the attackers at bay. He had positioned himself in the doorway to the hall and was watching the movements of their enemies intently. 

Smoke and Landini had regained their composure. They briefly nodded to each other, then Landini took out a knife too and strode menacingly toward Wark.

Wark looked back and forth between Landini and Smoke. Keeping track of both their actions turned out to be sheer impossible. At that moment he wished that they had made more battle preparations in the WTP Club and was unsure what to even do next: straight up attacking or remaining in position?

Suddenly an arrow flew at him that missed by only a fraction of an inch. Wark had to duck to avoid being hit. Landini took advantage of this to quickly knock the knife out of his hand and throw himself at him. Wark had a deja-vu from the day before, where Va had kneeled on him. At least this time he had performed much better and had actually helped the group out.

He glanced at the clouds of dust behind Emily. Now he had to count on her anyway. He felt Smoke ram several arrows into his neck, before Landini let go of him. Then everything went black.