David had spent a better part of the day explaining to Yassine what the Calcarea machine did, but after realizing that Yassine couldn’t fully grasp it’s awesomeness, David decided that it would be best to show him.
“Come with me.” David instructed and the two of them made their way to the schools garage, which was being turned into their new lab.
Yassine saw a few trucks and hundreds of containers that littered the area behind the main school building.
The garage was only several meters from the main building so David and Yassine didn’t have to walk far and after a minute or so, they arrived at their destination.
Ichika Kobayashi had already laid out the groundwork prepared most of everyone’s equipment.
David shared Ichika's mentality when it came to being cautious.
The council was not an enemy you’d want to show your hand and so David agreed that a percentage of their resources remain hidden.
Yes, the council would be able to see their activities via their extensive information gathering tactics, but still, David felt a sense of comfort knowing that they had at least one or two aces in their sleeves.
The two then walked towards a certain container.
David entered a pin on the keypad located on the door and opened the container, revealing a large man sized crate.
Yassine helped David pull the crate out from the container.
David undid the many bolts found on the crate and opened it, revealing a dark grey human shaped robot.
It looked so menacing that Yassine instincts immediately took it for an enemy.
“Don’t worry, it’s off. As you can see, the Calcarea machine fits right into that socket. But I haven’t been able to figure out how to program the damn thing.” David said as he jammed the Calcarea machine into the socket.
Yassine could hear a feint hum coming from the robot, so he backed away slightly.
“Look. It powers the robot but does nothing beyond that.” David said as he smacked the robots head.
Yassine looked the robot over. It looked well built and sturdy enough for combat duty.
“How many of these do you have and where did you get them.” Yassine asked.
David closed the crates cover and redid the bolts.
“I have six. Actually these were recovered from the hands of a rogue scientist about two years back. His name was Jonathan Ross and the council made him build robots that could fight against or even kill Aethon’s. But after some time he decided to go off on his own and develop them by himself. Even you could guess what happened next.” David said as he pushed the crate back into the container.
“They killed him?” Yassine asked.
David nodded as they made their way back to the school.
“Yep, after some time, the council gave the robots to Yamamoto seeing as they killed the only man who knew how they worked. Yamamoto never liked the council and so he shelved the project and anytime they asked for a status report, he’d just say that he was too busy.” David explained.
Yassine digested this information. It then dawned on him that he was participating in a war against the council. He didn’t regret choosing Kiochi’s side, but the thought of getting killed off made Yassine nervous.
“Don’t worry, after the crap Yamamoto just pulled, it’s unlikely that the council will be conducting any small scale assassinations. We have emerged the realm of open warfare and the use of propaganda amongst other things. They might kill you, but rather than being slowly tortured for information, they’ll just blow you up.” David said.
Yassine couldn’t tell if David was trying to comfort him but his nerves had indeed calmed slightly.
The two made it back to the school and Yassine could hear the whining of a familiar voice.
“Go on to the war room, I’ll catch up.” Yassine said as he walked towards the living quarters.
There he found Rin and his mother and it looked like they were having a heated argument.
Yassine was a firm believer in minding ones business but he also didn’t like seeing families in discord.
Yassine approached the two.
“You still haven’t told me why it’s necessary for you to outwardly defend him. The council will mark you as a primary target if you do and Kiochi might not be able to help you next time!” Rin said.
Yassine noted how Rin said Kiochi’s name. He was well aware about the death of Mr. Takahashi, he even bore witness to the gruesome state Izanagi left Rin’s father in, but Yassine also understood that blaming Kiochi wasn’t going to change anything.
“It’s not just getting Yamamoto out that’s important. The people will need competent leaders once we uproot the council. Or do you think that everything will be perfect once we destroy the very organization that keeps the world turning? Besides, I’m not going to do anything that will directly make me a target.” Ms. Takahashi said.
“You want to help lead the new world? Dammit, our cause really sounds rather fanatic the more I think about it, hehe.” Yassine said with a chuckle.
“Yes. Think about it. The council has it’s tentacles even within the world’s governments. Those governments help supply food and other necessities to billions of people. Who do you think will help those people in the new world?” Ms. Takahashi asked.
Yassine wasn’t the most knowledgeable when it came to world politics, but he understood that what they were doing was going to have a lasting effect on the world and the people would suffer if nothing was done.
“Umm- I think it would be smart to have a system ready in the case that the worlds governments collapse, but I also agree that you might not be the best choice to spearhead all this.” Yassine said.
“Ah ha! That’s what I was trying to tell my son here. I wouldn’t need to be the head of the movement. An avalanche starts with but cascading soft snow right?” She said.
Yassine smiled painfully at her enthusiasm.
“You know what? Let’s talk to Kiochi about all this later right? Yeah, that would be best.” Yassine said.
“Mmm… I don’t see why he’d need to get involved, but ok.” Ms. Takahashi said as she walked away.
Yassine sighed deeply.
“She’s trying too hard.” Rin said coldly.
Yassine didn’t know how to respond.
“If she truly wants more time with me, then she’ll stay here, where it’s safe.” He added before letting out a defeated sigh.
“You wanna grab something to eat?” Rin asked.
Yassine panicked. He didn’t know Rin that well and felt kind of awkward, especially after witnessing the argument between Rin and his mother. But Yassine also couldn’t decline. He considerd himself to be a pushover at times.
“Yeah, sure. Let’s eat. What are they serving at the cafeteria?” Yassine asked awkwardly as they made their way to the renovated cafeteria which was basically the school cafeteria.
It was located behind the schools lobby and so it was only a short walk from where Rin and Yassine were.
“I think it’s rice and beef curry.” Rin said.
“Sounds good.” Yassine said.
He’d be lying if he said he wasn’t hungry and David’s lectures often drained the energy out of him.
Rin and Yassine arrived at the cafeteria, got their servings and sat on the nearby benches.
The cafeteria buzzed with life as the mercenaries turned construction workers savoured their lunch.
Rin quickly cleared his plate before Yassine could even reach the halfway point.
Yassine finished his food and noticed that Rin was staring into the distance.
Yassine really didn’t want to ask what was bothering him, but at the same time knew that Rin was going through a tough time.
“Something wrong?” Yassine asked.
Rin’s eyes narrowed.
“It’s nothing.” Rin said.
Yassine could have left the conversation there, but he felt really bad for Rin and so he decided to pry a little.
“Thinking about Kiochi?” Yassine asked and almost immediately,
Rin’s innocent black eyes were replaced with black beads that oozed with malicious intent.
“I was trying not to think about him actually.” Rin hissed.
Yassine knew that he had stepped on a landmine and so he tried to steer the conversation away from Kiochi.
But just as he opened his mouth to speak, Rin spoke.
“It just keeps bugging me that he’s basically not human.” Rin said.
Yassine tried saying something but was cut off again.
“Does he feel like us? Does he think like us? He’s powerful and so I’m sure that he thinks that he has a unique perspective on things. Or maybe I’m just jumping to conclusions. But then again… you’ve seen it, haven’t you?” Rin asked.
Yassine’s eyes were wide open and his heart rate was slightly higher than normal.
“That form of his. That black, terrorising form. The very form that scared everyone here into working for him. I… I hate it. It would be easier to relate to him if he were human. But- he isn’t.” Rin said angrily.
Yassine remained silent.
Rin let out a deep sigh before standing.
“Thanks for eating with me.” He said as he walked away.
Yassine was left alone with his empty plate and increased heart rate. He thought back to when he first met Rin. Rin looked like your typical young man. Energetic and full of life.
But the Rin he had just seen was far from typical.
Yassine could actually feel the hatred coming from him. So much so that it silence him.
Yassine wondered if being a Kynigoi played a part in Rin’s current coldness, but he couldn’t draw any conclusions as he didn’t know much about the Kynigoi.
Yassine returned his plate to the serving table and left the cafeteria. He went up to the war room were he joined David on his conquest to harness ethereal energy. But even though he and David spent most of the day working, Yassine could never erase Rin’s hateful eyes from his mind.
Kiochi had spent his day observing the retraining of the mercenaries and the Kynigoi trainees.
Their numbers had been greatly reduced, so he had to focus most of his efforts on creating a small, but effective group of soldiers. He had also gotten a phone call from Tiaan Schmitt and they discussed the state of their men.
The problem was that Tiaan, in the fashion of a true hired gun, requested compensation for the loss of his manpower.
Kiochi consulted Ichika and then later agreed to Tiaan’s terms.
Ichika Kobayashi was in charge of financing Kiochi’s army and seeing as she had received most of Yamamoto’s assets, she was more than capable of providing the resources they’d need.
Kiochi went over some paperwork that detailed the division of labour. He noticed that there was an almost complete lack in personnel that specialized in information gathering. He wrote a note on the document and filed it away.
Kiochi let out a deep sigh.
‘You would know.” Kiochi remarked.
Their next target was Vestibule Beta and he didn’t even know where to begin looking and that’s why he wrote the note on information gathering.
Yes, Yamamoto had managed to find Vestibule Charlie, but Yamamoto had many connections within the council and Kiochi had none.
Yes, Yamamoto had transferred all of his wealth to Ichika, but even she couldn’t gain access into the ranks of the wisdom holders.
Kiochi leaned back into his chair and thought about the next phase of their plan.
Yamamoto had left them almost nothing to work with and so Kiochi and the others would actually have to work to get the results they sought.
The day went on and Kiochi did some more paper work.
Why didn’t he use smart devices and other useful networking devices to speed up the process of managing his men?
Well, Kiochi and everyone in his little army had the paranoid idea that the council would somehow get a hand on their information if it were stored on the internet and so they ripped several pages out of history and used analogue tactics to store and share their information.
[There’s something I want to test out tomorrow if you don’t mind.]
‘What is it?’ Kiochi wondered.
[Oh, nothing big. I just want to test if we can use our cocoons to modify the human body freely. What are the limitations? Are we limited to healing only? Those are some of the questions I want answers to.]
‘Mmm… I was looking for volunteers for an intelligence gathering unit, maybe we could have them take part in your experiment. This will solve both problems.’ Kiochi suggested.
[Works for me.]
Eve said as Kiochi tidied his desk, went to his room and hopped into his bed after undressing. He wasn’t physically tired but all of the thinking and planning he had done took it’s toll on his mind.
The sun was setting outside and so Kiochi decided to take an early nap, but not five minutes passed before he heard a knock on his door.
“Who is it?” Kiochi asked, half wishing for no one to answer.
“It’s Mai.” Kiochi heard.
“Come in.” He said.
Mai Hashimoto entered his room. He could tell from the wetness of her hair that she had recently showered.
Kiochi sat upright as Mai gently closed the door and walked closer to the bed.
“Could I sleep here tonight?” She softly asked.
Kiochi’s heart still hadn’t become accustom to this type of situation so it continued to beat at an accelerated rate.
“Y- yeah, sure.” Kiochi said as he scooted over.
Mai removed her one piece, took off her boots and climbed onto the bed with Kiochi Who deduced that she felt more comfortable sleeping with him, but still found it incredibly challenging to sleep with her so close.
Mai found a comfortable position a little further from Kiochi, who rejoiced, but then she scooted closer towards him. He could feel her moist skin rubbing against his and his nose was mere centimetres away from her hair.
Kiochi remained completely still and avoided touching her where possible.
A minute or so passed, then she suddenly turned to face him.
She looked Kiochi dead in his eyes and this caused Kiochi’s heart rate to skyrocket. He could see her beautiful brown eyes right in front of him and he could feel her breath on his chest.
Mai leaned in closer, but Kiochi shifted away. He could see a slight frown forming on her face.
She tried moving her face closer to his again but this time something else stopped her.
Kiochi heard an explosion in the distance.
It sounded like gun fire.
Kiochi and Mai jumped out of bed, got dressed and ran into the war room.
There they found everyone waiting for them attentively.
“Situation report!” Kiochi barked and Johan gave him a sharp salute.
“A couple of trucks rammed through the main gate and dropped off several Kynigoi. Casualties are yet to be determined and they don’t seem to be moving towards the building.” Johan reported.
Kiochi squeezed his temples in frustration.
“Sorry, sir. We should have-"
“No, don’t blame yourself. We should have set up an information gathering system the moment we arrived. For now, let’s focusing on minimizing our casualties.”
“Yes, sir!” Johan said as he stormed out the room.
“But you didn’t even give him orders.” Yassine said.
“He’s a mercenary. I’m sure he knows what to do when someone comes for what’s his. As for everyone else, stay sharp. We need to figure out a way to-“
[I can help with that. If we’re still alive tomorrow, I’d like to start out little project. It’ll help.]
“A way to what, sir" Yassine asked.
“Never mind, it’s not important right now.” Kiochi said.
[Sir, there is a group of Kynigoi that are proving especially tough to kill. Actually, none of them have died yet. Requesting immediate support.]
A voice said from Rin’s walkie talkie.
Rin looked at Kiochi intently.
Kiochi didn’t like the way Rin was looking at him, but that issue would have to be resolved at a later date.
“Rin, follow me. We’ll support our men. I’m guessing that the S ranked Kynigoi have joined the battle. Everyone else, stay alert, we don’t know what the council could be sending our way next.” Kiochi said as he and Rin rushed out of the war room.
The two silently descended down the stairs and dashed out of the reception room.
What greeted them was a chaotic scene.
The trucks Johan described were being used as cover by the Kynigoi and since this attack came as a complete surprise, many of Kiochi’s men had died before they could get their hands on their weapons.
Kiochi and Rin dashed into the midst of the battle and Rin gunned down any nearby Kynigoi with his assault rifle, Kiochi did the same but focused his attention on locating the team of S ranked Kynigoi.
The two mowed their way through several Kynigoi before finding what they were looking for.
Kiochi saw three people, dressed in trench coats, casually walking through the battlefield.
It looked like regular bullets weren’t affecting them, but Kiochi wanted to test this, so he tapped on Rin’s shoulder as they hid behind one of their construction trucks.
Kiochi pointed at one of the Kynigoi. Rin understood completely and fired at the Kynigoi’s head.
The bullet pieced the air and rushed towards the Kynigoi but popped like popcorn as soon as it made contact with it’s target.
Rin and Kiochi stared at the unbelievable sight.
“Come out, captain Blood Steel! I know you’re out there.” One of the Kynigoi yelled.
Kiochi and Rin exchanged glances before emerging from their cover.
Kiochi didn’t know what the council was up to, but he was sure it wasn’t good.
Not counting the S ranked unit, the council had sent Kynigoi who were fairly weak.
Kiochi wondered if they had a bomb or something planted nearby. If that was the case, Kiochi and his army would have been finished before their next mission even started.
The Kynigoi in front of the others gave a polite bow.
“Pleased to meet you. My name is Riley, this is Emily and that sour looking fellow is Yu-Jun. It’s truly an honour.” The man said.
Rin still had his gun aimed at the man who introduced himself as Riley and Kiochi had his hand on the hilt of his Nodachi.
‘Eve, can you activate the first Kamaitachi form without showing that it’s active?’ Kiochi asked.
[Yes, but your movements will be impeded to some extent.]
Riley and Kiochi stood face to face in what was the schools parking space.
Riley had no animosity in his eye’s but Kiochi still registered him as a hostile.
Then, in an instant, Riley flung something at Kiochi.
Kiochi used every muscle in his body to dodge it, but the object Riley threw shattered as soon as it hit a nearby wall, making Kiochi realize that it was just a piece of brick.
“See? See what I told you? This guy is a legend! Such movement is something only the gods themselves could have engineered!” Riley exclaimed.
“Can we kill him already.” The sour looking man named Yu-Jun said.
“I have to agree with Mr. Grumpy pants. Dexter will be mad if we don’t.” The beautiful blond woman known as Emilia said.
“Fine. Hey, captain blood steel!”
Kiochi wasn’t sure if Riley was just mocking him or truly respected him.
“Why don’t we battle it out? Three versus one.” Riley asked.
“That’s sounds a bit unfair. Can Rin help me out?” Kiochi asked.
“Who? That guy behind you? Sure.” Riley agreed.
The two Kynigoi behind Riley assumed their battle positions.
Rin kept his gun aimed at Riley, but then suddenly Riley vanished and the next thing Rin saw was Riley reappearing next to Kiochi with a fist headed for Kiochi’s face.
Kiochi dodged Riley’s punch, but at this point, their movements were too fast for even a Kynigoi like Rin to see.
Kiochi sent a punch towards Riley’s gut, but was stopped by Riley’s other hand.
Emily and Yu-Jun joined the fight and each sent perfectly coordinated strikes towards Kiochi.
Rin did what he could and shot a few bullets at them but they casually popped as soon as they touched their targets.
Kiochi tirelessly dodged their strikes, which were only getting faster and more powerful. He could tell because their bodies began emitting more heat and their trench coats were torn to pieces by the sheer speed and force of their own movements.
“See? This is what a truly killed soldier is capable of! Simultaneously tackling obstacle after obstacle as though it were second nature! Come on!” Riley yelled ecstatically.
“Shut up and focus!” Yu-Jun yelled.
The three gradually pushed Kiochi closer to a nearby wall as they barraged him with attacks, none of which seemed to land on their target.
“Rin! Go help the men!” Kiochi yelled.
Rin knew that anything he did wouldn’t have an effect on the fight he was witnessing since Kiochi had entered a realm far above that which even Kynigoi could reach. Normal Kynigoi had no place there so Rin ran off to the assistance of his fellow soldiers.
Kiochi then realized that he was on the loosing side of this battle.
Slowly, their attacks were landing and a successful punch on their side led to a chain of attacks.
Kiochi then unshackled his second form from it’s restrictions. His skin darkened and millions of spikes formed a pelt around his skin. A dark grey membrane formed around his head and his fingers were replaced by razor sharp daggers.
“What the?” Emily gasped.
“Yes! This is what I’m talking about!” Riley exclaimed.
“Shut up and kill him!” Yu-Jun yelled.
Emilia tried to punch Kiochi in the face but Kiochi grabbed her wrist and pulled her towards him.
The spikes on his skin extended and they all rapidly started piercing her as she got closer to him.
Millions upon millions of spikes pierced into her body as she violently convulsed due to the insane amount of pain.
“Aaahhhh! Don’t-!” Emily screamed as was continuously impaled.
Riley clicked his tongue before kicking Emily free from Kiochi’s grip and he and Yu-Jun dashed to were she had rolled where he picked her up.
Riley examined her wounds and they looked far more severe than Riley had hoped.
Meanwhile, Kiochi’s spikes began shrinking and rolled over into their neutral positions.
“Good one, cap’n! What other tricks are up those spiky sleeves?” Riley asked.
The membrane around Kiochi’s mouth dissolved, revealing an almost shark like mouth, filled with rows of needle like teeth.
“You’ve got to be kidding me!” Riley exclaimed.
“Riley, I’m going to use my ability!” Yu-Jun yelled. His face was pale and his clothes were ripped to pieces.
“No! Dexter told us not to. Plus, captain Kiochi’s present is almost here.” Riley said.
Kiochi noticed that Yu-Jun looked slightly relieved after speaking to Riley.
What present? Kiochi wondered.
Riley grabbed Emily’s body and walked away from Kiochi.
“Goodbye for now, captain Kiochi. I hope you enjoy your gift from above.” Riley said as he pointed towards the sky.
Kiochi looked up into the night sky and he noticed a small black dot above the clouds.
‘Eve, Can you see that?’ Kiochi asked.
[Yes, it’s a drone.]
Kiochi looked back down and saw that Riley, Emily and Yu-Jun were gone.
Also, all of the enemy Kynigoi were retreating.
They got into their tracks and left the school grounds.
Kiochi looked back up into the sky.
[I think it just dropped some bombs or something and their dropping fast]
Kiochi thought about what he could do.
Nothing was going to stop those bombs from dropping.
Kiochi wished that someone would magically grab them out of the sky and toss them away.
Wait a minute!
‘Eve, divert all ethereal energy to my legs! Reinforce them as much as you have to.’ Kiochi instructed.
[DIVERTING ETHEREAL RESERVES TO LEGS]
[KLIPSPRINGER MECHANISM: READY!]
Kiochi felt his legs twist and convulse as they assumed their new form. He didn’t have time to look and admire them and so he crouched, flexed his muscles to as far as they could go, then he heard a strange clicking noise.
He felt the intense energy within his legs.
Whatever kept his legs locked in the crouched position unlocked itself, sending him flying upwards.
“Whoa!” Kiochi exclaimed as he rapidly gained altitude.
The back dots that Kiochi assumed were the bombs grew bigger and bigger within Kiochi’s vision.
He continued rising and eventually lost all of his momentum, but by then he was high enough to need a parachute to land.
Kiochi saw the bombs in front of him.
They were two large warheads that must have been jam packed with explosive material.
Kiochi hadn’t planned on what he was going to do at this point and the ground was approaching pretty quickly.
[I have an idea.]
Eve said as multiple black veins popped out of Kiochi’s body.
They attached themselves to the two warheads and brought them closer together.
Eve then encased the warheads within a cocoon.
‘That won’t do much! They’re set to explode once they hit ground level, not on impact.’ Kiochi informed Eve.
She ignored him and soon afterwards, Kiochi heard a pop within the cocoon.
Kiochi heard multiple pops that were followed by massive surges of energy within Kiochi.
‘What are you-'
Kiochi felt overwhelmed by the sheer heat and quantity of energy Eve was pumping into him.
Kiochi’s once black spikes started glowing red hot as the energy Eve pumped into him increased.
The spikes eventually became white hot and then Kiochi finally realized some of what Eve was trying to accomplish.
As Kiochi’s body grew hotter and hotter, his spikes grew longer and wider as they dispersed the heat from the energy Eve was absorbing.
Kiochi then noticed that the ground was now only meters away.
“EVE!” Kiochi screamed.
Then suddenly the bottom of the cocoon burst open, releasing a large amount of stream.
The explosion of steam sent Kiochi flying upwards again before he finally fell to the ground, with a reduced amount of force.
The amount of steam released when Eve opened the cocoon would have cooked any other person, but fortunately Kiochi had grown used to being a human heat sync.
Kiochi slowly got up and saw that he had blown himself far from the school, but he didn’t care as long as it spared his men an explosive death.
Kiochi slowly walked up a muddy hill who’s grass had been boiled down by the steam. His spikes were still red hot but they were slowly losing heat.
Kiochi now looked like a tall spikey golem from the nightmares of children. His clothing had been completely destroyed, but fortunately for him, his genitalia were covered by a dark grey membrane.
Kiochi walked and walked for several minutes until he reached the schools entrance.
There he was greeted by two anxious guards who quickly realized that he was their commander and so they called for help and he was led to the medical bay in the schools east wing.
There, his spikes sunk back into his skin as the medics watched in awe. His skin regained it’s human like appearance and he passed out on the bed.