The school was still settling from the massive earthquake that ripped through the ground. It specifically targeted the school and nothing else, disappearing not long after the building. Dust clouds billowed out from the debris choking off the screams of students. There was a deep rip through the new and old sections of the school.
For the moment, none of the students had anything more than minor injuries; however the collapsing ceilings and fractured structure made it unsafe to stay. Teachers started leading them out to the safety of the ground, most still not certain what happened. They believed that a real earthquake had struck.
“Yuki Hayashi!” Demosthenes’ voice pierced through all walls. His repeated demands only confused the students further.
Chapter 57 – To Challenge Those that Threaten
Yuki became paralyzed in fear hearing Demosthenes booming through the school. ‘I thought he was dead! Didn’t Ayumi kill him? Did he have a fake like the last one?’ He tried to move his legs, but his body remained in his seat. As everyone else in his class had fled from the room, Yuki sat at his desk appearing unaffected by the threat.
Saki quickly whipped around from her place. She stood alerted by the vibrations, when the school suffered its attack. The voice wasn’t one that she recognized, but her mind immediately went to the one thing that she knew. ‘An assassin’s come for Yuki! During school?!’ She looked down at Yuki seeing him frozen. It made her pause, getting the feeling that it was more than just fear that held him this time. A heavy lead weight grew in her stomach. She rushed over to the scattered windows hoping to see the assassin through all of the chaos.
Hiroshi took refuge on the floor when the earthquake hit, but was left confused with the aftermath. ‘Why is someone calling out to Yuki? What’s going on?!’ The other students tried to get him to leave, but it had left him stunned. Only Kazuhiro and Tatsuya stayed behind trying to pull Hiroshi up to his feet. They refused to leave him, attempting to drag him out by his arms.
Yumi along with everyone else had been pulled along with the teachers. She wanted to stay, but couldn’t disobey the teacher. The wave of students swept her away. Yumi saw Yuki left behind and tried to reach out with her hand towards him. “Yuki!”
Across the school on the lower floor Fumiko escorted students out of the school quickly. The lower floors started to crack and groan from the stress of losing the central supports. ‘What’s going on now?’ A couple female students bumped into her, snapping her out of her momentary trance. “Are you two alright?” She offered hands out to them.
Ayumi acted frantically, trying to wake up Yuki. She yanked on his uniform futility until she collapsed to the ground. Tears were already starting to stream down her face. “Yuki! Please, wake up!”
The cries of Ayumi pulled Saki back into the class. She ran and hopped around the cracked floor. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Hiroshi. She expected that Yuki would have come out of his terror, but it was tightening around him. ‘Yuki’s what’s going on? What’s got you so scared?’ Saki grabbed him up from his chair and carried him over her shoulder as she bent down to get Ayumi’s attention.
Yuki fell further into the void of his fears. ‘It’s really him! I know it!’ Hundreds of spears felt like they sent through him each poisoned with a limitless horror. The pain crawled under his skin like snakes. He tried to claw at his own body to relieve his tortured shell, but nothing moved. ‘I can’t beat him! I don’t want to die! He’s going to kill me this time!’
‘Yuki…please…don’t hurt anyone…you’re a kind boy…show them…’
‘Mother!’ His mother's voice became distant from him. He could suddenly move his body, starting to chase after the fading image. His hand stretched out pleading for her to stay with him. ‘Don’t leave me! I promise I won’t fight! So come back to me, mother!’
‘Yuki…please…don’t hurt anyone…’
Yuki ran until his heart pounded and she was still fading away from him. He collapsed in the blank empty tunnel that he found himself in. His arms and shoulders were hung over with his back bent down. ‘It’s all my fault! She died because of me!’ Yuki tightened his fists, pounding them into the ground. ‘She’s gone because of me! I killed her! I killed mother!’ The world shattered around Yuki leaving only a black void to surround him as he went deeper away from reality.
‘You’re a kind boy…show them…’
‘No, I’m not!’ Yuki clinched his hands around his head falling further into the ground. ‘I’m not kind! I only know how to hurt people!’
‘You don’t have to hurt anymore…’
‘I’ll comfort you so you don’t have to do anything anymore, Yuki.’
‘Mother…’ A warm glow surrounded him, providing peace to his troubled mind. All of his thoughts disappeared granting him silence. He did not want to leave.
“Hurry, you guys!” Saki shouted to Kazuhiro and Tatsuya, still struggling with Hiroshi. His zoned out state was uncharacteristic of Hiroshi. ‘I can’t carry them both and neither of them look that strong. Damn it, Hiroshi!’ She wound up a fist. It did not take them longer to figure it out. Both dived for opposite parts of the floor as Saki whacked him hard in the face sending him through several desks. “Damn you, Hiroshi!”
“Gah! I’m sorry, Saki! I won’t do it again!” Hiroshi jumped to his feet from the desk that he was laid out on. Kazuhiro and Tatsuya looked between each other, embarrassed not saying a word. It took another moment for Hiroshi to become confused and nearly angry. “Wait! What’s going on? I didn’t do anything this time, Saki!”
“You’re daydreaming in the middle of an earthquake! You’re making your friends worried!”
Hearing it from Saki had made him step back in shock. He looked over at the two of them on the floor with relieved faces to see that he was back to normal. Hiroshi rubbed the back of his head. “W-Well I…I’m sorry, everyone!”
Kazuhiro and Tatsuya picked themselves up off the floor and joined him. They were smiling, glad to have him back. However, the building suddenly shook again making them all fall to brace themselves. It felt as though another earthquake hit even stronger than the one before. Ceiling tiles began to fall down on desks with lights popping. The floor began to develop cracks even as far as they were from the center of the damage. There wasn't much holding the building together once the second earthquake came to an end.
“Yuki!” Saki looked over to check on him with the building settling again. It caught her off when a wave pulsed out of him. There was only a second to react. She looked over at Ayumi just as the entire floor disappeared underneath them. A moment hung for them before they realized they were going to fall. However, the time never came and they all looked around at each other to find themselves slowly descending to the ground.
“Ayumi? What’s going on?”
Ayumi looked over at Saki narrowly as though she was considering her action. “His Field is removing everything within its radius. It seems he’s placed into it a low gravity Law as well.” She came to a graceful landing in the grass of his Field while his friends fell over, not prepared. The earth suddenly began to shake once more, but this time it came from Yuki. Stone and earth pierced through the Field surrounding Yuki before falling against each other in a rough pyramid. The ground still shook though as Ayumi realized that he wasn’t stopping. “Get out of here everyone!”
Saki trusted Ayumi’s words enough to flee. However, Hiroshi looked confused along with his friends leaving them stuck where they stood. Ayumi raced over to them as even larger stones rose up from the earth to cover on top. Layers upon layers were being summoned to encase Yuki with them losing ground fast.
“You three need to run now!” shouted Ayumi in a demanding voice that they had never heard before. They blinked for a moment before acknowledging her command and sprinted away. It was just in time as the earth underneath them was torn violently away with larger blocks of stone.
Slowly the earth stopped shaking allowing the dust to finally settle. A massive pile of rock and earth, nearly half as tall as the school, stood where Yuki had landed. Most of the students were across the street keeping their distance. A hemisphere cut out of their school barely larger than the stone that surrounded him. Saki and Ayumi ran up to the edge. It appeared that the school and earth were almost merged together with how close they were to each other.
Saki pounded on the stone trying to reach Yuki buried inside. “Yuki! Can you hear me?! We’ll get you out!” Ayumi grabbed Saki’s shoulder. “Ayumi, what’s going on? Can you do anything?”
“This is of his own doing, Saki.” Ayumi thought back to the time that she was first training him. She had seen this defense used before. ‘I don’t know if I can’t break this.’
Saki turned around facing her, with Hiroshi unknown to her joining them. “You can use your power to cancel this, right?! That's how it works, right?”
There was a pause in Ayumi’s words, not the quick reply they were expecting. “It’s different this time. Normally, Yuki’s Field stretches out to its usual length. However, it’s barely larger than mine right now. He subconsciously focused his Field into a smaller area to strengthen it. His Field strength is already unnaturally high, like this he’s made the perfect defense. I’m not strong enough to cancel this.”
“What?!” Saki stared back at the stone mound. ‘…why Yuki? What’s wrong? This isn’t like you…’
“You know what’s going on don’t you?” Hiroshi stepped up from the sidelines. A determined look filled his eyes expecting an answer from him.
Ayumi raised her hand to Hiroshi’s face. “This doesn’t concern you!” An explosion behind her took her by surprise, knocking her into Hiroshi and sent the three of them to the grass. The black cloud burst over them covering the entire school grounds. A dull ringing was left in their ears when everything passed. Ayumi turned over to see the stone unaltered. Her eyes narrowed for a moment in calculation.
As the wind blew out the smoke an aged man in a businessman’s suit stood on the school ground. Demosthenes made his appearance. She clicked tongue in annoyance at seeing him still alive. “A fake…Should have guessed from someone like you.” Her snow Field was immediately released around her and sword in hand.
“Eudokia…” His grass Field appeared quickly covering a significantly larger radius compared to Ayumi. A spear formed in his hand, politely waiting. He rubbed his chest recalling what had happened before. “I can admire your resolve to a quick battle, but you’re not my opponent. I’m only here for the false King.”
Saki understood the way their powers work well enough to see that Ayumi was out classed by this new assassin. She ran up alongside Ayumi taking a defensive stance. There was a momentary look from the corner of Ayumi’s eye at Saki. “This one’s beyond you. I’m not about to let you do this alone. We’ll protect Yuki together!”
“Hrmph…do what you want.” Ayumi ran over to place herself between Yuki and the assassin. Her sword held out challenging Demosthenes. “He’s the true heir! He’s your King, our King! And I won’t let you kill him!”
“Yuki’s my friend! I won’t let you hurt him!” Saki joined Ayumi at her side. While her words sounded sure her body questioned their resolve. It shook on instinct, knowing something she didn’t.
Demosthenes closed his eyes briefly carrying a warm smile to his face. He opened them and focused on the two girls that stood in his way. “I commend your resolve and bravery. However…” The words trailed off as he sprinted forward with his spear in both hands. His eyes held firm with no mercy to be given.
‘You’re safe in here, my son.’
‘…mother…’ Yuki smiled warmly in the comforting arms of his mother. He felt completely safe with her. It came as inviting like nothing he experienced in the last two weeks. Nothing would be hurt by him.
‘And I won’t let you kill him!’ whispered Ayumi’s voice through the stone dully echoing in the tiny chamber. It sparked a moment of doubt in Yuki’s heart.
‘Yuki’s my friend! I won’t let you hurt him!’ Saki’s voice said weakly.
Yuki turned his head up, his mother’s arms still wrapped gently around his shoulders. Painted roughly on the wall was the scene outside. He could see Ayumi and Saki standing in front and between them Demosthenes further away running towards them. “No! He’s too strong for you! You can’t win!” Yuki tried to stand up to reach out to them, but he was held back.
‘…You’re safe here…’
“I-I’m safe…” He began to close his eyes once more, but was stopped by the sound of weapons clashing. Demosthenes exchanged several quick parries with Ayumi before he caught an opening in her and ran her through the stomach. Blood sprayed across the stone as she collapsed to the ground struggling to get to her feet.
Saki was next with only speed keeping her alive, but only for a moment before she was cut down. A deep gash lined from her shoulder down across her chest. They were both taken down with almost no effort. Demosthenes stood finished looking through to Yuki. Yuki’s eyes were shaking violently seeing them both lying there. “Saki! Ayumi!”
Ayumi fought to get back on her feet. She coughed up blood sprayed over her sword. It shook in her weak hand. Barely able to stand, Saki staggered forward with stubborn determination. “No! Stop you two! P-please…” Yuki struggled against the arms that held him back trying to reach for them. All he was shown was a flash of the spear as blood sprayed through the air with both of them collapsing. “NO!”
“…mother…I-I…” Yuki collapsed to the ground with tears beginning to build in his eyes. The helplessness that he felt grew into a weight in his chest against his pounding heart. He couldn't look anymore.
‘You call yourself a man! Attacking someone already injured!’ Hiroshi shouted dully through the walls.
‘We won’t let you hurt our friends anymore!’ Kazuhiro declared standing next to Hiroshi.
‘This stops here!’ Tatsuya added standing opposite Kazuhiro.
“No! Guys stop! W-why?!”
‘I-I won’t let you hurt Yuki!’ Yumi bravely said suddenly joining them.
‘Right!’ said Katsumi, smiling.
‘Yeah! Yuki’s our friend!’ Kaede announced jumping in beside them.
‘You’re violence ends here!’ Fumiko roughly spoke standing behind them and still being seen. They were soon joined by others from Yuki’s class and other students. All of them gathered in front of the school standing to protect Ayumi and Saki who had fallen with Yuki behind them.
Yuki didn't know what was happening anymore, stunned by the sudden surge of classmates that were standing up for him. Everyone that he thought just ignored him. They were protecting him. He could not move. “W-What should I do, mother?”
Demothenes outside narrowed his eyes seeing the changing situation. He pulled back his spear letting it rest at his side. Then he closed his eyes, taking a long moment of pause. Those around him waited uncertain about what was going to happen next. The tension in the air slowly built as the man remained ever still.
“This is truly distasteful. I pray you can look away, my King, for what must be done. We’re out of time…” He snapped his eyes back open staring into the crowd. “For the King!” He thrust up his hand into the air snapping his fingers. The sound pulsed through the crowd. Suddenly, the charm on Kazuhiro’s bag that hung at his side lit up before exploding violently in the crowd.
“NO!!!” Yuki screamed in horror.
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