The Return of Calamitous K
Last time, on ACMSSFF Z
"Bwahaha! I, Ajim-uh Frieza? Eh, guess I can play Frieza. Anyways, you pathetic worms can't ever beat me! Bwahahaaa!"
[By the power of Greyskull! You won't-]
[Oh. Sorry, it's been a bit.]
"Uh, what does the scouter say about his power level, Vegeta? ...Um, Accelerator?"
"I'm not screaming this."
"IT'S OVER 9000! ...That's how you do it."
"Oh yes Oneesama! That was perfect!"
"Um, why is my line just 'make up something but with Namek'? What even is Namek? Whoever wrote this must have some poor creative ability~."
"Honestly, what the hell is this trash? I only came because I was TOLD that Aleister would be here and if I don't see the Board Chairman soon, I'm going to use Dark Matter to tear all of you apart and sew you together into the biggest meatball humanity has ever seen."
"...I'll just see myself out."
"Wh-GET BACK HERE YOU BASTARD!"
"Owah, think I'm going to head to the Railroad Cafe and have my maids treat their master~"
"Nice! Mind bringing m- OW! Maika!?"
"We're going home.
"Heeheeheeee! The heroes and the villains are certainlllly active aren't they?"
"In the first place, what even is this?"
"Yeah. It's honestly getting tiring to have the author force us to do this weird recap that isn't even a recap at all. That and I don't wanna be Frieza anymore. Kumagawa?"
[Welp! Sorry about that folks! This was supposed to be a proper recap...well not really but the author poured so, so, soooo very little effort into this so uh. I dunno man. Keep on reading I guess?]
It was black. A void. Eternal nothingness outside of time and space. A complete and utter null from which no one could ever imagine life to exist.
And yet it makes perfect sense that such a paradoxical being as Ajimu Najimi would be there, seated at a table and enjoying her afternoon tea.
"Thank you for the intro, author-san! Even if that was a pretty odd one. Though I insist you call me Anshin'in. You should treat the ones you hold hostage, I mean, borrow more kindly, y'know! But now, for something completely different for you readers and no, I'm not referring to the fact that there's been an update at all. Before this chapter you'd see good old Edd, or Aleister as that weirdaboo likes to go by these days, plotting and scheming in his standard fashion before I come and chat with him for a bit. Since I have decided to end that business with him, I figured I should take some responsibility and continue as one half of the mysterious schemer shtick!"
She picks up her cup and takes a sip, eyeing the contents before putting it back down again.
"Kumagawa, as author-san has mentioned, has been in this story for just a bit longer than what he's been written into thus far. Oh! And that isn't just because the author was too slow on coming up with original ideas to actually write that part first! Or too slow to even type two goddamn letters BUT there's no way THAT would happen, right? Moving on from the obligatory roast, that setup is what will take some level of precedence for this story arc. There will be vampires, old characters from this series, new ones made up by the author that one can only hope won't be of the donut steel/Mary Sue variety, and a hint of things to come!"
She sighs and leans onto the table with her hands propping up her face.
"Well, I'm fairly certain that's all that needs to be said. Without further ado, here's your irregularly scheduled chapter!"
The sun shines into Kamijou Touma's room on this lazy Saturday afternoon wherein all was peaceful.
[Yes, yes, Kumagawa here. Outta chips again, Index-chan? That's the 15th time in the past hour or so. Where do all those calories go? That nun's outfit you got can only hide so much, y'know?]
"Hmph! My perfect memory is constantly taking in all of the information around me, so clearly the calories are going to my brain! That's just science after all!"
Now, this is completely false. If the resident owner of the apartment was around, he'd likely call bullshit and bemoan the misfortune of having to maintain an active black hole. However the house-sitter, as it was, is not someone near educated enough to call that bullshit for what it is.
[Well I guess if it's in the name of science then that's fine. Who am I to piss on the wheels of progress!]
With a snap of his fingers, the empty bag became filled once more.
"Yay! That All Fiction is the best!"
[I'd say it's the 'worst' actually but that's too easy of a play on words to use so I won't say it at all!]
Such was the easygoing life that Kumagawa has had in being Touma's stand-in.
For the past few days or so, Kumagawa Misogi has been attending school and taking care of Index. Surprisingly, he has actually done a decent job of it. No one, save for Fukiyose Seiri, was any the wiser apparently. In the case of Fukiyose, she thought something was amiss from the moment he got there. Perhaps it was the tone of his voice or maybe it was the way he would seem to nearly snap his own neck to turn away whenever she catches him looking at her.
Home life was different however, as Kumagawa had decided to not pretend with Index from day one.
Which likely helped ease the scalping beast of a nun from the ill impression she had gotten of him from their first meeting.
Well, that and the never-ending amount of food and drink he supplied her.
Currently, Index sits in front of the TV with her cat, Sphinx, while Kumagawa watches from the bed behind her, propped up sideways.
[Geeze, I dunno why Touma-kun thought you'd be more of a hassle than you are! How could he ever deny such a cute nun her happiness?]
"I know! Touma doesn't appreciate how low maintenance I am!"
In a hospital bed not quite far, far away, Touma feels a disturbance as the two become as thick as thieves.
A knock at the door rouses the two from their idleness.
[...I don't wanna.]
Here's where the little bit of friction in their relationship springs from. These two, cursed with the sin of Sloth, tend to get into this sort of a passive aggressive start before their fight goes towards a Cold War wherein neither of them feel any sort of urge to answer the door whenever anyone comes around.
[You get it.]
"I did it last time."
[...You get it.]
With a slurred groan, Kumagawa yells out to the door.
[WHO IS IT!?]
There's a pause, then more knocking.
[...You get it! I'm the one who's been giving your gluttonous little ass all the sweets and junk food you could desire!]
"No! I've been the one that has had to clean up and by groceries! So I refuse to miss a second of Magical Kanamin! Go! Get! It!"
[How do you think I feel!? Oh to hell with it.]
With a snap of his fingers, the front door is no more.
After a moments hesitation, Kihara Enshuu enters.
"...Is that really a wise thing to do, Kumagawa-oniichan? I could have been an assassin you know."
[Meh, who would really care enough to come assassinate me and be polite enough to knock? Noone that's who and that guy is a world away doing his old pop songs probably! But enough of that. What's cookin'?]
Enshuu raises an eyebrow.
[WAZZAAAAAAAA! ...Is that one too old? I weep for your generation. How's it hanging? Though that one wouldn't really apply to you huh? Y'know, with the lack of things to hang off you and all. Uh what's kickin', kitten? What's up, buttercup? What's the deal, banana peel? How now, brown cow? What's shakin', bacon? What's the hub, bub? What's the word, bird? Do ya know what I mean, jelly bean?]
Before he could continue his rhyming tirade, Enshuu raised her hand to halt the stream.
"Take it easy, sleazy."
Kumagawa shoots upright from where he had been laying down.
[Enshuu-chan? Did, did you just reply to me with something funny?]
"Hm? Was rhyming not the theme you were going with?"
[I mean, yeah, but I just thought you were gonna splatter my brains for wasting your time or something.]
"I only did that because you made one of the few in this city that no one would want angry at them lose his mind at the both of us. You may be a Minus and all but you went too far."
[Ehhhhh? But you were handling Accel-kun fine enough before that.]
"Maybe but that was before you made him use those wings. Anyway, are you really going to just sit here all day again today, Kumagawa-oniichan?"
In response, Kumagawa slumps back onto the bed and wraps the blanket around him by rolling around and around with it until it hugged tightly to him.
[Yer goddamn right! I've been losing out on my much needed downtime ya know?]
"So you plan to let Ajimu continue with her plan while you turn into some kind of worm that looks like they should be controlling the spice flow?"
A complex expression darkens his face for a moment before he sinks his head just a bit deeper into his cocoon.
[...Another synonym for doubt is fear. Fear is the mind-killer.]
"Oh? You've read Dune?"
[Yeah? C'mon now, I might be an idiot but I love to read. Even my Skills are named with literary references.]
Enshuu moves up to the bed and sits, her eyes on the TV as she speaks.
"I suppose that makes sense. But that still doesn't answer my first question."
[...I just wanna rest up for now. She's waited longer than anyone can imagine. Whatever she's got planned, I don't think will happen anytime soon. Relatively speaking. I'll just wait a bit more.]
"Hn, hn. And what if she dies tomorrow?"
Enshuu glances away from the show to see Kumagawa's eyes narrowed at her. This exchange continues for a tense minute before he groans back upright with mumbled self-loathing.
"Damn it. The wording is different but it figures that my own words would come flying back into my face eventually. Typical."
"Hm? What was that?"
[Nothing. Well even if I want to make a move, what can I do? I'm still no closer to figuring out how she's going to kill herself so how can I stop her anyway?]
"What about her Terminals?"
[Heh. I seriously doubt they would be involved. Her last attempt, that I know of, had involved everyone we knew. And that was what stopped her then. If she wasn't so close to the heart of the events that gave her the opportunity, she probably would have succeeded. Which was the main reason why I didn't bother to try messing up her plans too much since I figured them to be doomed to begin with. That and she still hasn't shown up yet. There must be a reason.]
The previously ignored Index turns to the two, now that their show was playing commercials.
"What are you two talking about?"
[Ah don't worry about it Index-chan. We-]
The little nun gets to her feet and stomps her way over.
"Hey! You've been taking care of me for awhile now. And you've helped Touma out too so I want to help you however I can."
[Listen, this is some deep, dark shit I'm wading into. In the first place, if Touma knew I involved you-]
"Hmph. That doesn't matter. It's by my own choice that I want to help."
Kumagawa scratches the back of his head anxiously.
[I mean, this isn't really an area that I think you CAN help with anyhow. This has nothing to do with magic.]
Index smiles with eyes full to the brim with sympathy.
"Well I can't understand if you don't tell me anything. Besides, maybe you can't figure it out for the same reason this person was stopped last time. You're close to her after all, right?"
[...Not exactly. She's not the type to allow people to get close, no matter how she acts. But...you may be right about MY being too close.]
"Okay! This world does operate alongside magic so her plans may use that to some extent. Let me be a neutral soundboard for you to bounce ideas off of."
Kumagawa relents to Index's persistence, with a bit of a softer smile. He spends the next hour or so explaining everything. How Ajimu tried killing herself before. How she was stopped by Medaka. How he left his world and everyone in it to come chasing after Ajimu. Everything Kumagawa felt was relevant, he told Index, while Enshuu would occasionally make the odd comment to elaborate on parts that he couldn't fully explain or to get him back on topic from his usual tangents.
After they had finished, Index only responds with two words.
Enshuu comes back from the kitchen with a couple cups of coffee, passing one over to Kumagawa. Of whom was still wrapped up in his blanketed cocoon as he sits on the bed.
"Figured you might need something to jump start that rusty hamster wheel you've got up there."
[Pretty sure I'd need to stick a fork into one of the wall outlets for that but, Index-chan, what do you think about it all?]
"Well, you're right that I can't use my knowledge on magic to help."
[Yeah. ...I figured. Thanks any-]
Index stops Kumagawa with a few prideful chuckles.
"But that doesn't mean that I don't have any idea at all."
Enshuu raises an eyebrow.
"If that 'magic' stuff can't help then what are you thinking of?"
"This Ajimu thinks along the lines that this is all just some kind of fan made story or something right?"
"Then you just have to see things through her eyes! From what you've said, I can guess that she has power on par, or even greater, with a Magic God so she may be able to warp reality into being more of a work of fiction. What allowed her to almost kill herself before?"
[Uh? I don't really know. Pretty sure it was because she thought the story was going to end with Medaka-chan's first ever loss.]
"Close. The possibility of the story ending is involved but I think the real catalyst was Medaka losing. She was supposed to be 'a character that cannot lose' right? Her loss breaks that character trait completely."
[Oh I understand completely now.]
Enshuu and Index both look over at Kumagawa as he sips on his over-sugared coffee before speaking their thoughts at the same time.
"Do you actually?"
"I figured. Ajimu can only, truly, be allowed to die under very specific conditions. The first, is the ending to the story. The second, is by breaking elements of the story."
[Breaking them? Why does she need to do that?]
"I think...it's because she views herself as being completely integral to the story. If certain ironclad things that exist in the world are broken, she may see that as a loosening of the bonds that restrain her. In that way, she's working in a similar way to a ritual...though something on that scale is almost unheard of. Something like that combined with an ending to this story can give her an opening. Which is likely why she hasn't shown herself yet. There's no sense in risking her being stopped by you or someone else until the time is right. Unfortunately, that's where my ideas stop on for now."
Index's face grows melancholic but it becomes twisted with surprise as a pillow hits her in the face.
"Knock off that sad puppy look ya dork. I didn't have anything to really work off of before now. Honestly I was just going with the flow so I could try to gleam SOMETHING from it but now I might just be able to get a head start on my suicide-crazed enemy. So thanks, Index-chan!"
"You're welcome but...well what could you do with that right now? I gave you what could be the driving factors in her plan but that doesn't give you anything specific. We don't even know how she'll be able to pull all of that off."
[Maybe not now, no, but I can use that info once I interrogate some Terminals of hers.]
Enshuu raises an eyebrow.
"I thought you said they wouldn't be able to give you anything."
[I say plenty of things and I change my mind more often than I spew bullshit. Anyway, I doubt any of them are really kept in the know about what she has planned, but she IS still using them for something. I'll be able to figure out how close we are to the core of her plan by however much resistance I find with the Terminals.]
"The number or strength may not be an indicator of anything though."
Kumagawa's grin grows from within the confines of the blanket.
[The more enemies there are, the surer we can be of being on the right path. Just as it is with video games, it is the same in real life.]
After a quick shower and change of clothes, Kumagawa heads out into the city with Enshuu and Index following along. Kumagawa hums a cheerful tune as Enshuu moves closer to him.
"So how are we going to find anything by aimlessly walking around like this? Also.."
She glances back at Index, who was distracted by a restaurant ad, and hushes her voice.
"Why bring her along?"
[Oho? Is that jealousy I hear? Don't worry Enshuu-chan! Your spot, as my adorable little sister type of character, is one that cannot be taken by anyone!]
"Haaah. Stop playing around and answer me. She's going to be more of a liability in a fight with Terminals than anything else."
Kumagawa scratches the back of his head as he replies.
[Not necessarily. I mean, it's possible that Anshin'in-san gave some magic Skills to some people. If that's the case, then she may be able to help out in some fashion or another. Those Skills may not obey the rules of this place when it comes to how they operate on a technical level but there may be some loopholes she could use. As an added bonus, she's got the perfect sort of perspective I need for all this. I have no real knowledge, per say, on what is and isn't normal around here. Also, I'm still having to somewhat act as Touma-kun's double. We could come across some nerd that can teleport behind me and 'nothing personnel kid' my ass. If I use my screws on him and someone Touma-kun knows sees that, then the jig is up. With her around, I can know how to act if someone that knows him comes up to us as well. Well, as long as it isn't a teacher then I may be able to do something to convince them not to tell anyone but then I may involve them in my problems like I have with Index-chan. And that's no good.]
Enshuu raises an eyebrow.
"So it has nothing to do with the fact that she kept insisting on coming along and you being unable to tell girls 'no'?"
[...That's irrelevant. Stop strawmanning me.]
"That word doesn't mean what you think it means. It's not even a real word."
[Inconceivable. The prowess of my vernacular skills are very good!]
"Your desperate need to actually pay attention while you go to school in Touma-oniichan's place aside, why list so much? ...What are you hiding?"
Kumagawa stops, his back stiffened for a second before relaxing, replying without turning.
"...Well whatever. How are we supposed to find any Terminals like this? They aren't exactly falling from the sky or anything."
He spins with a grin to face her.
[Watch your words. You tempt fate like that and we'll have exactly that happen. Or maybe it won't because I just said something about it? Well whatever. Just by me existing, we can be sure some kind of trouble will makes it's way by me sometime soon. If all we did was stay inside and look for clues on the internet or something, my effect as a magnet for danger lessens. Plus, we've got my Skill Out buds searching for clues too. We're bound to find something soon.]
From behind them, Index calls out as she watches a television on the inside of an electronics store window.
They walk back to where she was at to see what was on the screen. There was a news report about strange happenings around the city as of late. There have been a rise of attacks in the night in areas where Academy City's security didn't quite reach. But it wasn't as though the people being attacked were of the unsavory sort you'd find in such places. Footage from just before they would wander into these areas show these people almost appearing as though called into these places in a daze. No one has died, as of yet, but these people have all been shown to have lost a substantial amount of blood.
Enshuu speaks up in a rather bored tone.
"Hm. It's probably just some minor criminal group trying to either make money off the blood somehow or they may be trying to steal someone else's research that the victims may be involved with."
"...I'm not sure about that."
Enshuu turns to Index with a skeptical look.
"What're you talking about? Do you think this is vampires or something?"
"To be honest, it may just be. They are something of a myth even to the magic side but their presence is still something that can be felt in a way."
"If they aren't even the sort that you 'magicians' can really acknowledge as existing or not, then why even bother to consider it? Are you the sort that thinks the Earth to be flat just because you can't go out into space to see that it's round for yourself?"
"That applies to you as well, you know. Just because you haven't seen a vampire for yourself that doesn't deny the possibility of their existence."
"So should we prepare to take on Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster as well? Just because we can't prove without the shadow of a doubt that they won't show up in this battle with the vampires, doesn't mean we shouldn't get ready right?"
[Well there's no need to go that far, Enshuu-chan. Everyone already knows that Bigfoot doesn't exist after all.]
"...But Nessy is?"
[Dunno bout that. But what I do know for sure is that vampires are real. Or at least they're real in your world.]
Enshuu and Index look at Kumagawa with unamused exasperation and shocked awe respectively.
"Please stop joking around, Kumagawa-oniichan."
"I'm not. I've actually met a vampire before I met you in that snowy city."
Index balks even more.
"So they ARE real!?"
[Well, I dunno how many more there are in the world but there definitely isn't enough of them to pull off something on this scale. Besides, it really wouldn't be in their best interests to be so public in their actions. The one that I had met was something of a rare case in that regard. The others of her kind are far too reclusive and cautious at this point to come out of whatever holes they hide in.]
"So if it isn't vampires in this case-"
[Then we've got Terminals with some kind of vampiric Skills up to some weird shit. Imma get Matoi to find me some of the most recent crime scenes so we can see if there's any clues around.]
Enshuu, ever the logical thinker, remains doubtful.
"This may have nothing to do with the Terminals or something as outlandish as vampires. We shouldn't be wasting our time on this."
[Oh c'mon Enshuu-chan! Stop being such a stick in the mud. I mean, you live in a city with technology straight outta sci-fi books with people that have superpowers, Index-chan comes from a different side of your world where magic and spells are commonplace, and I'm basically an alien from another universe with powers that can't be explained by either of your systems. Is something as small as vampires really that far into the realm of impossibility?]
Enshuu frowns but otherwise has nothing to say.
Off in the distance, a figure watches the trio from around the corner of a building.
"...I knew it."
Beside an open window, letting the breeze roll over him, Kamijou Touma rests on a chair in his hospital room. For the past few days, he hasn't really done much but recover from the insanity Kumagawa fueled into the Agitate Halation situation. He had been the one to entice Kumagawa into taking his place as something of a body double while he recovers but even so, he can't help but worry a bit. He closes his eyes for a moment as he uses his left hand's finger and thumb to rub the bridge of his nose.
"Heh, well you are definitely on the right track with him but he hasn't done anything to mess with your image of being a mild mannered citizen."
Touma opens his eyes and lowers his left hand in a careful, deliberate, manner. Silence hangs in the air along with his anxiousness that has been kicked into overdrive because of the cruelly sweet voice that spoke so close to his ear. After a few more tense moments he gets up from his chair while swinging his right hand out behind him from where he had heard her but-
"Not yet anyway. But wasn't that, just now, quite rude?"
He finds only air and the source of the voice, Najimi Ajimu, sitting at the foot of his bed. Sighing, he lowers his hand and sits back down, with the chair facing so that he can talk face to face with her.
"...Well considering all that bloodlust you flashed at me last time, can you blame me?"
"Why are you here? Trying to convince me to join forces with you again?"
"Hmm. You may see what I have to say as that way but no. I've given up there. I'm not some stubborn Saturday morning cartoon villain here. You're interesting to me and I'm bored. That's all this is really."
Touma raises an eyebrow.
"Just a whim?"
Ajimu shrugs her shoulders.
"Just a whim."
"And you expect me to believe that?"
"I don't care what you believe. Well, at least as far as to your expectations of me. Rather, I think I need to readjust your expectations of that loser we are both acquainted with."
"I already told you, you aren't going to change-"
A loud sigh from his uninvited guest halts his train of thought as she falls back onto the bed.
"Maybe I should make it clearer. See, I've never been one to take others seriously...perhaps because they don't themselves? Well no matter. I don't care about what it is people do to try to stop, oppose, or fight me. What ever word you use to pretty it up, it makes little difference to me how good or evil they are. How strong or weak they are. If they win or lose. None of that or anything else can really stop me from doing what I want. What I'm trying to say is that it makes no difference to me if you continue to believe in Kumagawa's faked goodwill towards everyone in this world or if you don't."
"Then why bother at all?"
With a groan she throws herself back upright to stare with mock annoyance at Touma.
"Because I'm so BORED. Geeze! You're about as good a listener as this shitty author! If he ever did actually listen to my kind advice, people wouldn't have to wait 521 DAYS on his shitty writing to drain their brain cells. Well that is if he has any waiting after this damn long."
"Ah pay that no mind, Kamijou-kun! That's just the sort of relationship the author and I have. He lets me vent my frustrations so he can kick the crap out of himself. Just business as usual!"
"...Is this 'author-san' some sort of masochist?"
There's a brief moment of silence as she stares holes into Touma's face before she, once more, throws herself back onto the bed, roaring in laughter and kicking her legs wildly. After a bit, she finally calms down and rolls over to look him in the eye.
"Oh my, Kamjiou-kun! You shouldn't speak so poorly of him like that! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for it but that may turn out badly for you."
"How? You do it and he seems fine with it."
"Well that's likely because he intends to have me 'beaten' at some point so a bit of badmouthing is okay. Not that he even has an idea of how that'll happen. At any rate, you're free game for him to mess with, y'know?
"I thought I was the main character? Shouldn't that mean he would want to keep me around?"
"Well that narcissism is a fre-ahem...nice change of character."
There was an odd bit of aversion there but Touma's gut decides against asking questions and moves on with the already odd conversation.
"Not really. Kumagawa seemed to think that I was the main character so that's why."
"You are for the main series. But you also have a tendency toward misfortune. Do you not think he'll take advantage of that if his opinion of you sours?"
Touma looks up at the ceiling and darts his eyes around to random spots, much to Ajimu's amusement.
"...Uh, author-san? Please don't. I'm already plenty unlucky so it's not like you NEED to add more if you're angry at me right?"
"Hmm, I dunno Kamijou-kun. This author is a sensitive soul and all. He's the type to get happy at seeing just two references to this piece of work, one a site that is obscure though interesting for him and another from a Russian imageboard. He can accept me saying things about him because he's a self-loathing individual and abuses my 4th wall breaks to vent that out but if more characters jump in on that..."
He looks back at her with sweat starting to slowly roll down his face.
To this, Ajimu only smiles. Touma stands up with a force enough to knock his chair back onto the floor.
"Author-san, no, Author-sama! I apologize for everything! Please! I can guarantee that my life is plenty unlucky as is! I can only take so much! Ah! Don't take any of that as a challenge! I'm sure you can make it worse so please don't!"
Another bout of Ajimu's raucous laughter startles Touma but she settles down quicker than the last time.
"Hahahaaa. Ah that's enough of torturing the author, Kamijou-kun. Thanks for show though."
"Oh yeah. He does enjoy a certain level of meta in some of the stories he reads but this though? This is making him physically cringe to write it out. Especially since he's got the main character pleading for him so earnestly to take it easy. It likely makes him feel like he'll be seen as abusing the meta to try to lord himself over the characters in the story. I can almost see what he imagines the readers to be thinking at that part."
Her hands go up to the sides of her face as she pantomimes a horrified expression.
"Ohhhh noooo, they'll probably think that I'm now the type to throw a self-insert OC in and change the story around to my self-insert flirting with my waifu!"
Touma picks his chair back up and sits.
"...Isn't he overthinking things too much?"
"Well I did say he was particularly sensitive about these things. He tries way too hard to keep things to it's original setting. Though in the long run that may be my personal bias getting in the way there."
He raises an eyebrow at her ominous wording but she just flicks her hand in a way of saying not to bother asking.
"Anyway, it honestly is just a whim."
"I don't completely believe you but after you went on abusing the author like that, I won't question it for awhile."
Ajimu holds back a few chuckles.
"But why me? Kumagawa's got plenty of people closer to him, doesn't he?"
"He isn't really close to anyone here. This version of him is too determined to stop me for that."
"What do you mean? Version?"
"Are you being serious? Well I suppose that while you may be a good learner, you are an exceptionally slow one. Guess I'll break it down for you. You are in a fanfic. Fanfics are stories created around the writer's fantasies of a particular story, stories, or even just select characters. Hell, more than half are less about the series they originated from and more about the author's own twisted whims. This may not seem like much from their perspective but what about us? Kumagawa and I are human beings from an entirely separate series from yours but it doesn't stop there. We are of an entirely separate existence of humanity. To you all, we may as well be aliens with all things having been considered."
Touma nods his head with all the understanding of a person that does not understand a damn thing.
"Couldn't have said it better myself. You aren't so bad author-san. Even if your work ethic sucks massive ass in the writing department."
"Shut up. My point, in all of this, is that Kumagawa and I are living proof that other universes, possibilities, realities, or what have you. I don't presume myself to be THE one and only Anshin'in-san so why should I presume this Kumagawa to be THE one I know? Well it's not like it'd matter if he was the same one or not, Kumagawa is Kumagawa. There's no cure for that!"
Her cheerful giggle after all that left Touma feeling fatigued. Other people, he could almost understand. They all had their reasons, messed up or wrong by his reasoning, but still. Ajimu, he was beginning to see as exactly what she called herself earlier.
Even so, he didn't want to give up on saving someone just because he can't see their perspective quick enough.
"Ha! Kumagawa may fake being close with some of these people so well that he half-believes it himself, but that's not the truth of it. He'll have fun and play but if I were to show myself, he'd use anyone and everyone he thinks can give him some form of an edge over me."
"He's told me as much. That's nothing new. He's already done just that plenty of times with me."
"Ahh but that's in situations without me being directly involved. You severely underestimate his insanity."
Ajimu sits up to look Touma in the eye with somewhat of a more serious expression on her face.
"Obviously. Don't you find it at all strange how he can die so many times but come out of it smiling? How he can smile so clearly when he's torn and crushed? That's not something a sane person does."
"Some might hear that description and say he'd be a hero, especially after all he's done to help."
"Oh? So, considering all the times you've gotten the shit kicked out of you and came out of it with a smile, does that make the two of you the same? Are you, Mister Notahero, among those that'd be called a hero just from that description?"
He opens his mouth to speak but, with no words find their way to his tongue to do so, he closes his mouth with a frown instead.
"The truth is much more complicated than just a mere description. While you may wind up doing good just by doing what's right by you, he bumbles his way into doing good sometimes just by doing what's wrong by him and everyone else. Take the last time you two were together, for example. Instead of standing and fighting by your side with Fremea behind you, he chose to fight against you."
"That was a part of the plan!"
"Really? Do you honestly think him to be the sort that plans anything that does good? He's classified as a Minus for very good reason. His current 'plans' now involve some hundred odd Skill users. How is he controlling them, by the way? How do you know it's not total anarchy? How do you know he hasn't armed the wrong people with powers that could kill countless innocent people?"
"Because he's almost too conscious about using his OWN power, why would he bother doing something so reckless!?"
"He's only careful about it for the moment because he doesn't want to risk losing me to infinity again."
"Aren't you going back on your own words with that? If he was seriously that careless about how he uses his powers or what he does then he wouldn't care at all about losing you again!"
"Half right but still wrong. You really don't see him for what he is but, I suppose that should be expected. Every joke has it's hidden grain of salty, bitter truth to it after all. If I did wind up leaving from this series, he'd probably collapse from the shock and anger of having to find me all over again. But he would get back up and come for me, of course, because that's the type of guy he is. He's got an iron will and is always on the verge of giving it all up. He's a good loser and a sore one. He's good and evil. He's a walking contradiction in nearly all aspects of himself. And he understands all of that about himself while making no moves whatsoever in fixing his broken self. How could someone like that ever be trusted to be sane and rational in even 1% of his decisions? How can you trust that he won't actually irrevocably destroy everything you hold dear just to get to me?"
The words cut straight down to one of his worst fears that had been growing over the past few days concerning Kumagawa. Kumagawa is someone that cannot be predicted accurately in his actions or even by them. He could smile as he looked you right in the eyes before impaling you on a screw. Which would later turn out to be how he was trying to save you from someone else that would've given you a fate worse than death. Maybe things would be better with his help. Maybe worse. The answers were better left to a throw of the dice than any sort of logical conclusion.
Could such a variance be trusted to be of any benefit to keep around?
Kumagawa has become someone that Touma believes to be trustworthy in his wildcard nature but Ajimu was right. Touma hasn't truly seen what Kumagawa can and will do should the end to his goal be in sight. So far, things have worked out. For better or for worse. How would things turn out should Ajimu appear right before Kumagawa? What if his plans for beating her involved the others Touma cares for? Even if All Fiction could right any wrong he commits, Touma would never accept a situation where anyone he knows has to get hurt, die, or worse just so he can have his way.
There is no right answer but so many wrong ones come to mind. As such, the words that come from Touma's mouth serve more to drive Ajimu back, in terms of argument, than they do to actually counter her points.
Touma gives and exhale of the nose before looking at Ajimu with all the will he can to hold his frustration at bay.
"You know, for all that you badmouth him, you seem real proud of him."
Ajimu scoffs and knowingly smirks at him.
"You know, for all your righteousness, you sound quite a bit like him."
Touma's mind freezes as her smirk turns into a domineering grin.
"I don't think you understand the scale of what you're talking about in the first place. But then again, neither does he. The difference, I think, is in how much it matters to the two of you as individuals. Well, that's all the time I have for the moment. I'll see ya later, Kamijou-kun."
She begins to walk away but then stops before turning to him.
"Ah! It may be in your best interest to check up with the loser himself. Might change your mind some."
With that, she exits the current narrative.
Touma gets up and walks over to the nightstand, picking up Kumagawa's phone. They agreed that if someone were to call, it'd be safer for Kumagawa to use Touma's, since it'd make it easier for others to catch onto their ruse.
"I'm just checking in. This isn't because she's got me riled up or anything ok? ...Right."
He dials his own number in. After a few rings, a somewhat frazzled sounding Kumagawa answers.
[Oh! Sup man! It's ah not really a good time at the mo.]
[No reason really. Just out and about right now. If someone you know comes along and happens to overhear me, it could get awkward y'know?]
"Well...that does make sense. I was just wanting to see how Index was do-"
The sound of Index yelling was cut off, as though the one on the other end had hurriedly clapped his hand to the receiver to halt the noise from coming through any more than it already had.
[...So...it's not what you think.]
"...You aren't involving Index in something dangerous?"
[Not what I would have thought of at that sort of a cute cry but uh noooo! Definitely not! Who do you think I am? I am what I am and what I am is me. Therefore, I simply am.]
"You aren't going to randomly babble at me to get out of this."
[...See, that's where you were supposed to ask, Am what?, and then I say, exactly, because see it's funny and kind of a shitty joke on how I can make things into nothi-]
"Where are you?"
[Ahem. A possible vampire den. But everything is fine! Index and Fukiyose are perfectly fine!]
Touma pulls the phone from his face to stare blankly at the wall before returning it to his ear.
[42 Wallaby Way?]
"Just...send me your gps info so I can get over there."
He presses the end call button and stares blankly at the phone screen before going to rub his temples.
"I know you have crap luck and all but...could you have timed your usual craziness any worse?"
Since he had been faithfully staying at the hospital for the past few days, the nurses became more lax in their watch over Touma so sneaking out wasn't a problem at all. The real issues came when he arrived at the warehouse and saw Index, Kumagawa, and Enshuu arguing about how to deal with the unconscious Fukiyose on the floor. Presently, the guilty three kneel on the floor while Touma stands over them.
"So from the top, without the two of you yelling over each other, why is Index here?"
He glares over at Kumagawa who looks away guiltily.
[...It was her idea.]
"WH- NO IT WASN'T!"
[OH, SO IT WASN'T YOUR CHOICE TO FOLLOW ALONG!?]
"YOU DIDN'T STOP ME!"
[SEMANTICS! SOPHISTRY! I NEED A REFEREE FOR THIS! AND A DICTIONARY!]
With a wince at the sudden shout, they quiet down.
"Enshuu...san? Can you explain?"
"...I came over to try to get Kumagawa-oniichan back on track for fighting Ajimu-san's plans. I managed to convince him but we had no clue where to start. Index-chan offered her help which was honestly better than what we had. So we went out. Index-chan followed and Kumagawa-oniichan did nothing since he can't say no to girls."
[I can too!]
Touma glares, Kumagawa mimes zipping his mouth shut, then he motions for Enshuu to continue.
"We came across some report about night attacks where people have been found with blood drained from them and these two came to some consensus that it might be vampires."
[Not exactly. They're probably just Terminals with some sort of vampiric Skills. Real vampires wouldn't be so daring.]
"So then you've-"
[Yup. Met a vampire before. Pretty hot one actually.]
"Huh. Wasn't so sure they were real even after Aureolus Izzard saying that he was going to use one before. But I guess it makes sense that they would be. Don't think Himegami can really lie about her Deep Blood in the first place."
Enshuu smacks a hand to her forehead out of frustration.
"Oh come on! Am I the only rational one here!? Vampires! We're seriously talking about vampires here!"
Kumagawa places his hand on her shoulder as he looks on at Touma with pity.
[Now, now. While I can safely say they are real, other people may use the myth surrounding them for their own personal fun. You shouldn't so callously attack poor Touma-kun's little imaginary life like that.]
"What. Are you saying I'm some kind of chuuni or something?"
[Well you maybe lacking in some extra belts and black trenchcoats, but you certainly have the cursed power trapped in your right hand part down. Besides, how is anyone supposed to take a name like R.E.O Lizard and that Engrish sounding power name seriously?]
"AND YOU DON'T SUFFER FROM THAT AS WELL? WHAT ABOUT THOSE SCREWS HUH? HOW DO THOSE HELP YOU?"
[Yo momma, yo daddy, and yo bald headed granny.]
Touma rubs at his head with both hands as he grumbles inhuman curses toward the kneeling fool and was about to smack the smirk off his face but the waking groans of Fukiyose pulled all their attentions.
"Guh...what just-ah. THE IMPOSTER! I KNEW YOU WERE A FAKE! Wait, Kamijou? What's going on here?"
Touma sighs before glaring over at Kumagawa.
"Well that was my next question."
[Uh, weeeell. After we got here and started looking for clues, she just sorta jumped out at us. At which point I might've maybe sorta...smacked her over the head with the head of one of my screws. Oh wait, is that ironic? Just want to know since I'm still trying to figure out what that word actually means.]
"You...I don't even know how to react to that."
[Oh come on! Was it really so wrong a thing for me to do? Absolutely. But we're in the middle of a possible vampire den! If I see some shadowy figure jump out around the corner, they're probably gonna get bonked over the head at the bare minimum. How was I supposed to know she was stalking us like some kind of creep?]
Fukiyose throws herself upright in anger.
"Creep!? How can a fake like you call me a 'creep' after all the times I've caught you staring at me!?"
As Touma and Fukiyose aim their animosity at Kumagawa, he looks to the floor with a pout.
[Not my fault she has such ridiculously sized boobs. If anything, that's on her.]
"Wha-HOW CAN THAT BE MY FAULT!? ACTUALLY, WHY HAVE YOU BEEN COMING TO OUR SCHOOL DRESSED UP LIKE KAMIJOU AND TRYING TO ACT LIKE HIM?"
The misfortunate duo look at each other uneasily. Kumagawa eventually just shrugs and stays silent for Touma to explain matters. He left out a good bit of detail concerning Kumagawa and instead said that he was simply a friend that had snuck into the city some time ago. A desired result would be for Fukiyose to chuckle and let it go with a, 'Ah, so that's how it was huh,' but really, why would that ever happen?
At this point, the only ones kneeling were Touma and Kumagawa while Fukiyose stood over them. Index and Enshuu sat in some folding chairs they found and simply watched on. Fukiyose spent a good half hour yelling and lecturing before eventually calming down with a heavy sigh.
"You...have got to be the biggest idiot I've ever met. What if I hadn't kept all this to myself and told the teachers? You might get out with some punishment assignments at the least but your friend would've gotten kicked out the city. What would you have done then, Kamijou?"
"Well...I don't know. I'm sorry, Fukiyose."
She nods approvingly at his apologetic bow before glowering at Kumagawa.
"And you. You nearly ruined his whole idiotic plan by staring at my...breasts for almost the entirety of these past few days. Never mind all the other shadiness I catch you running off for during breaks. What I had said before was certainly the least Kamijou could get for this but the possibility of him getting expelled is a much higher event. You maybe carefree enough to play vampire hunter on your time off and hit people over the head hard enough to render them unconscious but would you really feel that way if he had his life destroyed for it?"
He really wanted to reply with something like, 'School's for nerds anyway,' but what she had said had honestly hit a bit close.
She was unsatisfied with his reply but his feelings about it came through well enough so she nods at this as well before turning her head back to Touma.
"Hm, hm. Good. I'll keep this a secret from the teachers but as soon as you're well enough to go back, this little doppelganger strategy is over for good, understand? If I think it's happening again, I'll treat you, Kumagawa, like the identity thief you are and beat the sense into you."
[Is that a threat or a promise?]
She looks on at his excited expression in shock and disdain.
"...Kamijou? How is it that you can only get friends like this? Are you some kind of King to these perverts that flock to you?"
"I'm not a pervert! I'd really like to know why this keeps happening myself!"
[Hold on there. If anything, I'm gonna be the King of Perverts. I don't even care if I have to fight Blau to death for that right.]
Touma lunges over and starts fighting Kumagawa to prevent him from digging the hole they were in any deeper. Fukiyose just shrugs and starts to walk off.
"I'm too tired at this point to break up another fight between idiots. Well, since things weren't as bad as I thought it was, I'm going to head home. Try not to cause anymore trouble, ok?"
She starts to leave but pauses next to Index and leans in to whisper.
"You should keep an eye out for him. Touma was supposed to pass out flyers but HE went and took all the printers in our school to the gym because he felt that he needed it. He had students I hadn't ever seen pass them out and put them up. I know that sounds pretty innocent but...just be careful around him alright?"
Index nods with something of a blank expression before Fukiyose turns and leaves. Enshuu tapping her shoulder brings her back to the scuffle in front of her.
"How long do you think they'll be at this for?"
"Hn...I don't think they'll stop actually."
"Yeah. I figured as much."
Enshuu casually stands up and folds her chair as she drags it over towards the brawl. The two made no indication of noticing the sounds of metal on concrete as they fought. She stops a few feet away before hurling it straight over and at the wall nearest them. This time, the sound snaps them out of their battle frenzy.
[Judas Priest, Enshuu-chan! What if that hit one of us!?]
"Had to get your attention somehow. Besides, we should really move onto the matter at hand. So could you both please stop this childishness for long enough to have Kumagawa-oniichan explain how he met this supposed 'vampire'?"
Touma stands as he brushes the dust on his hospital pants off.
"I'd really like to know that myself."
[Hmmmm. Well, I guess I can tell y'all a bit about it. But I'm not going to be able to talk long about it since I'd like to get to looking for the supposed 'vampires' that were here.]
Kumagawa grabs the chair that Enshuu threw and sets it upright before sitting down.
[Like any good story, this one starts with a bit of mystery to it.]
Hong Kong, China
The narrow streets thrums with the anxious coming and goings of it's residents. There were looks of worry on each passerby and their movements were hurried as though they were trying to make each second count for some unknown reason. As Kumagawa bites into a dumpling filled with meat of a dubious nature, he raises an eyebrow.
The old cook at the food stand looks up from his stove over to Kumagawa.
"What? I already gave you free food and a seat at my stand because you pestered me so damn much. What else could you possibly want?"
[Ah! Sorry, I'm kind of a forgetful guy so thanking you might've slipped my mind. Thanks again for feeding this weary, broke as hell traveler! But well, I was a bit curious about the atmosphere around here. What's got people in such a rush?]
The man turns back with grunt at Kumagawa's thanks and continues his work in cleaning up his kitchen as he replies.
"You seriously don't know? There's a war going on up in Russia between them and Academy City. Folks are worried that things could spread from there. They're saying it's going to be World War 3. Can't say their worries are completely misplaced but I'm too old to care at this point."
[Ohhhhh, right! The war! How could I have forgotten about that? Hahahahaha...um, how could there be a war between a whole country and just one city? Is this just history repeating itself with the Great Emu War or what?]
The man stops and looks back at Kumagawa in disbelief.
"Son, do you not know what Academy City even is? How in the hell is a young man like you more out of touch than me?"
[Haha, well, looks can be deceiving I guess? But never mind that, tell me more about this place. It sounds pretty interesting!]
"Alright look, I've already given you more than plenty enough. I don't know what kind of game you're playing but I won't have it. Finish your food and get moving."
Seeing that he wasn't going to get any more out of him, Kumagawa scarfs down the rest of his food and gets off the stool he was sitting on.
[Ok, ok, that's fine old man. Gotta ask one last tiny, little question. What was in those dumplings?]
The cook was fairly fed up with Kumagawa. He had been trying to close up before the joker rolled up to his stand and was forced to listen to a 2 hour long sob story that he was certain was completely made up. Between having to serve him free food to shut him up and all the badgering that was done as the food was being made, the cook had no reservations about keeping his cool around someone that wasn't even a customer at this point. As such, the cook thought up a way to lie and keep this hellion away from his store for good. He ducks down and reaches behind his stove for a few moments before yanking out a dead rat by the tail, slamming it onto the counter. Kumagawa looks at the animal for a few moments with wide eyes.
Kumagawa continues staring as he nods his head in understanding.
[Rat...huh. Well that was some pretty good rat, old man! Thought it was something I hadn't had before since the meat tasted a bit pungent. I might have to come by for some more later on when I have some money to pay for it. I'm gonna go now but you stay safe old man!]
As he walks off, the cook starts to feel a bit bad. Granted he was severely obnoxious but he was still grateful, even in spite of believing that he had been fed rat. These feelings wear off in an instant as the rat spasms to life within his hand and scurries into various kitchen utensils with loud clangs and shouts from the old man. Kumagawa smirks a bit without turning back.
[Shows him for serving me rat of all things, bleh! ...Well, it was kinda alright though. Maybe it'd be better as jerky or something. Hmm. I feel like if I think any more about it, I may wind up getting some pretty strange tastes. That and there's bigger things afoot! How is there a war between Russia and some city? Man, I've managed to wander into a weird world this time. Not the weirdest but still pretty weird. Haaaaah, I kinda hope Anshin'in-san isn't around. I really don't want to have a conversation about me eating rat. That'd be too embarrassing to-]
Something slamming into Kumagawa's chest stops his monologue. As he looks down, he sees a white haired girl wearing what appeared to be a red shawl that covered her entire torso.
[Ow, hey! Should give a guy some warning before you make his heart skip a beat like that!]
The girl remains silent as she glares at him, her eyes occasionally darting to her left and right.
[...Haha, it's a pick-up joke because of how you uh ran into me and because you're cute. Haha...if you don't laugh, it's not going to be much of a joke, y'know. It'd be just creepy and weird since I'm just talking on and on and on and now the jokes ruined so this is just making this whole monologue that I'm going on with pretty pathetic huh. Haha!]
She gives him one last glare before walking away. Kumagawa sighs and scratches the back of his head before looking back to where the girl had wandered off, losing her in the crowd a moment later.
[Failed joke aside, that's a pretty clear plot point I think. It's not often that a cute girl like that isn't related to some strange plotline of one sort or another. If anything it'll be a good opportunity to try another joke out, I suppose.]
With his self-help pep talk out of the way, Kumagawa disappears within the crowd.
As the white haired girl enters the back-alley, she looks back out to the street. Seeing that she hasn't been followed, she sighs and pulls out a cellphone.
"...I'm at the entrance now."
Soon after, 3 men walk out from the two buildings next to her. Among them are a younger man, dressed very much like a stereotypical tourist with a Hawaiian shirt, buttoned up, and khaki pants that were tucked into a pair of snow boots that had an iron, curled tip to the front of them. The only thing that could make him an atypical sort was a quiver full of arrows that hung from his hip and the bow he holds in his right hand.
"Do we really need to be so cautious? I doubt it even knows we're coming."
"It might, it might not. If we're going to exterminate this creature, we'll need every advantage we can get. Besides, it'll likely be able to see your clothes for a mile away with how damned bright they are."
The second man playfully punches the tourist in the chest, though there was a bit more force than was meant as he nearly falls back from the blow. This man was more inconspicuous in his attire, wearing a black hoodie and sweatpants, but his large stature as well as the bright, silver chains he has wrapped around his wrists and hands make him far from being incognito.
"Now, now, let's try to keep some level of professionalism here gentlemen. We're here to slay a beast of myth and legend. It's not a vacation."
The last of the men was quite old, as seen from his full, bushy white beard. His clothes were of a sort you'd more commonly see on someone homeless for all the tatters and rips in the fabric of his long-coat. His weapons of choice being a plain woodaxe handle, with numerous Cyrillic letters carved into it, and a sword that hangs from it's scabbard on his back.
The tourist gives a chuckle as he rolls his eyes at the old man's words.
"Says the guy that spent all of last night bouncing from bar to bar. Seriously, how do you manage to put that much liquor down?"
The girl looks over at the old man, expressionless, to which the old man smiles and laughs nervously.
"Come now, Agnessa, what we do in our own time to gather information shouldn't be any sort of a bother, right? It did allow me to narrow down our search for the beast by quite a lot."
"What you do is your business but if we start getting unwanted attention because you've been doing drunken sermons again, I'm reporting you as soon as we get back to Russia."
The white haired girl, Agnessa, immediately turns after this and walks over to the entrance to the city's sewer system while the old man grows pale, much to the amusement of his two comrades.
The larger one laughs heartily as he claps the old man's back.
"Not to worry, Master Nico, our lady may submit such a report but she won't allow anyone else to handle us other than her!"
"Yes. But that's exactly what has me so fearful, my joyous friend. She'll be the one to mete out the punishments."
The tourist grins as he whispers just loud enough for the two to hear.
"I dunno man. getting 'punished' sounds like-"
"Like you want to be locked up in the church's old Iron Maiden for 2 months?"
He didn't turn to see her as she spoke but he can certainly feel the daggers coming from her eyes as a chill runs up his spine.
"Ahhhhhh, so we know where the creature lives down there?"
"Not exactly, no. But it is useful to know that it has created some thralls for the sake of defense out of this city's citizens. There should be enough for a standard army."
"Right...uh how is that good again?"
A cruel smirk slides it's way across Agnessa's face.
"The more obstacles our Lord places before us, the more resistance we face, the surer we can be of getting closer and closer to that monster. Does the Lord's will scare you that badly?"
The others grow smirks of their own to match hers. This was how the Annhilatus, Russia's magic organization vowed to protect the world from the abominations that stalk among them, works. Or to be more specific, it was how HER squad operated. For them, an army is little more than a chore for them that they happily accept.
"Nico and I will take point. Though of course, you'll still be behind me. Watch for threats from above and heal us when necessary."
Nico gives a small bow.
"As you wish, my joyous commander."
She looks to the large man.
"You'll be with Andrei in the back. Maintain a 15 foot space between you two and us in the front. I have no other special orders except this. Any enemy you see, crush it into dust."
Gorain chuckles darkly at this.
"You'll be our support. Do as you will, I trust in your capability, but don't go running off. You may be here as the Patriarch's eyes but you are still under my command."
"I'll do my best to remember that."
"See that you do. That is all for the moment. Stay on your toes and may God protect us all."
With that out the way, the 5 of them enter the labyrinthine abyss below the city's streets.
These sewers were not the ones that the current citizens of Hong Kong use. They were created around 50 years ago as a means to combat growing populations combined with the need to have hidden avenues of travel for their military in case of invasion. They were put out of use in recent times as they couldn't use them for sewage anymore, or at least not in any kind of an efficient way. For the most part the only ones that had been using these tunnels were the cities homeless.
Agnessa gives Andrei a questioning look after his report.
"Well, unfortunately, our prey had to get it's stock from somewhere."
Her knuckles go white as she clenches her fist but all the rage you could see on her face was in her eyes and the slight furrowing of her brow. She was used to this occurrence but she could never accept it.
They continue traveling for a time before Agnessa halts in her tracks. The other 4 behind her come to a stop as well but with more hesitation in their step.
Gorain steps forward to see what's wrong when she whirls on him with a glare.
"...How many are present in our party right now?"
"Hm? Should be 5 right?"
The shawl changes color from red to grey as she tears an ornate, ancient sword from underneath the fabric and slashes down at what the others thought to be empty space.
[Ah, ah, ah! Nice arithmetic you did there but please! Please stop! I'm not an enemy here!]
With his hands clapped around where he had caught her blade just before she could split his skull open, Kumagawa grins.
Gorain breaks the ground underneath him as he moves to eliminate the threat. The silver chains around his fists turn red-hot as he brings his fist down on Kumagawa. Screws spring from all around the tunnel with the points aimed at every one of their vital points, stopping the others instantly. Agnessa flicks the shawl up and as they graze the screws, they shatter.
In the next instant, her blade was on his throat. His screws pressing into her neck.
"Hm. You're oddly skilled, spawn of Lucifer."
[Huh. Never been called that before but I like the ring to it!]
"...What manner of beast are you? A Wendigo?"
[Uh I wouldn't know about where you went after we bumped into each other earlier. I'm not some kind of stalker!]
"Hm. That's right. We did meet earlier."
Kumagawa's face goes blank as though his brain just crashed. Agnessa considers ending him but in less than a blink of an eye, the screws vanish as though they never existed in the first place, and Kumagawa tackles the girl with profuse tears coming from his face.
[Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou, THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING ME! OH I'M SO HAPPY! Still kinda peeved that you didn't laugh at the wendigo joke since I've been sitting on that one since I was 5 years old. Don't exactly expect to hear the word in normal conversation but...WELL FUCK ALL THAT, THANK YOOOOOOOU!]
Agnessa tries to squirm out of the bear hug he had her in but he was clinging too tightly. She glares over at the others.
"...Well, don't everyone jump up at once."
With that, they snap out of the jarring effect that Kumagawa's attacks have and worked to pull and pull until she was finally free. Kumagawa sits cross legged with his hands on his shins as he rocks back and forth with his captors surrounding him, weapons at the ready.
"Meh. Let's just take him out now. He'll just become a pain in the ass later."
"Andrei. You mean to say that we should slaughter on of Christ's flock?"
Nico clenches his woodaxe handle as he turns to him but all Andrei does is shake his head.
"He managed to fool us ALL for quite sometime and he had us dead to rights with whatever magic he's using. He only stopped so that he could tackle and hug our commander."
"No, Gorain. I'm saying that he clearly has some ulterior motive for following us."
Nico strokes his beard in contemplation.
"What do you say, my joyous commander?"
Agnessa looks down on Kumagawa without any expression on her.
"You say you aren't an enemy, yet you attack us."
[Is a guy not allowed to defend himself? You guys are pretty scary to fight so can you really blame me for reacting that way?]
"Suppose not. But you have yet to prove that you aren't an enemy."
[Oh. Yeah, that's true. But no words I have will ever convince you guys right?"
"That, too, is true."
[So maybe I just lead the way, well with y'all pointing me in the right direction anyway. That way any traps or ambushes will be triggered and used against me instead of you all!]
"Hm, a fine offer. It's perfect for an agent of darkness to take advantage of our ignorance to lead us all into various traps and ambushes."
[Aw c'mon now, chunni girl! I'll even swear on a pinkie promise!]
Before she could react to that, a portion of the tunnel wall, ahead of them, collapses. Low cries and hurried footfalls could be heard from there, getting closer and closer.
Andrei notches three arrows and fires them at the ceiling near the hole in the wall. As they hit, bright flashes of light fire off as they light up the space. Hoards of pale, sickly men and women came scurrying out with fangs bare and hunger in their eyes.
"Goddamnit! I told you we should have killed him!"
[Hey, they woulda appeared with or without me. It's not my fault.]
In the instant their attention was turned; Kumagawa had moved away from his spot on the floor to around 20 feet down the tunnel, situating himself between the Annihilatus squad and the approaching hoard.
[But this does give me a chance to help out AND prove that I'm one cool cucumber! So feel free to sit back and watch the show, my joyous little commandant, the price of admission is one date with yours truly!]
By this point, the hoard had drawn closer to him. Without any notice, he was above the crowd with a few dozen screws firing off on them. The clamorous discord of large metal screws impaling the concrete around them stunned the few that could avoid the screws but the debris that flung about from the mighty impacts being made, flew out at speeds great enough to cave in some of their skulls.
Kumagawa lands in the middle of the group that he hadn't rained hell upon, screws in both hands. The vampiric hoard attempts to lunge upon him, their lust to fill their bellies with his flesh and blood causing drool to fling from their mouths. In the span of a few seconds, he had taken out three of their lot but the numbers were too many. Soon after, Kumagawa was covered with the ravenous creatures of the night as they tore him limb from limb.
Hundreds of screws come from the walls and nearly fill every bit of space in that portion of the tunnel, causing the blood and entrails to become pulped upon the edges of them. Then, it all disappears, leaving only Kumagawa, standing.
[OH HOLY SHIT I'M FINALLY FREE! Jeebus H man. That's the first time I've died like that. Ugh! So goddamned gross! Ahhh, at least that move worked out. Was afraid All Fiction was going to put me back before the screws could go away. THAT would be a shitty death. Whew! Uh, how are the others doing back there? I didn't hear any applause…]
Dejected, though grinning bitterly, he looks back to see that they ran into an ambush from behind. The numbers there were less than what he had to deal with just now but the squad should've been overwhelmed just as Kumagawa had been.
"Acquire a peaceful spirit, and around you thousands will be saved."
On these words, a glow fills Nico's body, the vampires nearby repulsed by it's aura. He kisses his woodaxe handle and mutters something indiscernible. As he swings it at the dazed creatures, the points of impact cause great parts of their bodies to explode into sprays of salt. The sword on his back suddenly springs out of his scabbard and starts cutting down the ones behind it's master, flitting through the air on it's own accord.
Andrei, with a pair of skis protruding from the front and back of his snow boots, speeds along the curved walls, and fires countless arrows covered in ice. As they make their mark, they explode within the bodies. The icy shrapnel hits the ones surrounding, causing them to freeze over shortly.
The frozen statues of vampires get completely shattered with single swings from Gorain. Vampires of a warmer variety run up and get blasted into flaming bits and pieces. One vampire manages to tackle Andrei off his skis, sending him sliding along some of the ice created from his zipping around. Several more take advantage and run toward him before a blinding flash of Gorain's red-hot chains come whipping out, cutting them all in half at the bellies.
"Told you they'd be attracted to your loud shirt."
He grins as he offers a hand to Andrei who takes it with an embarrassed grin.
"Yeah, guess they just can't get enough huh? Speaking of, how many has our fearless leader got?"
"57. I see you got a few as well. Good job."
Andrei snaps to see Agnessa walking up, cleaning her blade off with a part of the shawl.
"...Should wear a bell. Jes-"
Nico smacks him upside the head with his woodaxe handle.
"DO NOT USE THE LORD'S NAME IN VAIN!"
Andrei rubs his sore head.
"Don't have to give me a damn concussion over it, old man."
"Regardless. I can forgive your earlier offense, the heat of battle can cause errors in judgment, but do not lose such sight of yourself."
Andrei looks to Agnessa for help but all she does is smile and cross her arms.
"Don't look to me. Look to God for forgiveness."
[Or you can just go find sympathy next to syphilis in the dictionary. That's my personal fav of all the polite ways to tell someone to fuck off! Hahaha!]
Agnessa casually turns her head to Kumagawa, who appeared behind her and on her left, while the others jump in suprise.
"Speaking of people in need of bells, how did you manage to take all of those freaks out?"
Andrei gives a cautious smile in return of Kumagawa's dangerous one.
[Weeeeell, I'm kind of wondering the same about you guys. What kind of uh spellcraft was that? Where did you pull those skis from?]
"Heh, didn't have to."
Andrei clicks the heels of his snow boots and the curled tips of the front shoot out while another pair with flattened ends come from the back.
"Andrei Skathiski, Surveyor of the Patriarch of Moscow and all of Rus'."
[Oh damn, nice title. Kumagawa Misogi. Uh. Dude of Dudes? Fuck that was a lame one. Sorry! I'd put in more effort but I'm kinda bummed little Aggy-chan didn't congratulate me first.]
Andrei claps a hand on his shoulder with eyes full of empathy.
"I know. I know."
Kumagawa looks at his compatriot of spurned love and puts his hand out for a handshake. Andrei looks down and ferociously shakes.
"By the whites of your grand old beard, Master Nico. Have you ever seen someone manage to mosey up to that guy so quickly?"
"Not sure, my joyous friend. But...I don't think him to have hostile intentions at this point. He could have just used the ambush to escape or kill us all if he was an enemy of ours."
The three Annihilatus members look to the one in command.
"Hm. Suppose we could use a wildcard in our deck. Even if that means we gain yet another joker. How about it, Misogi?"
[RUFUGGINGKIBBINGME!? FUCK YEAH! HOW'S THAT FOR PROGRESS, BOYS N' GIRLS! I HAVE A GIRL CALLING ME BY MY FIRST NAME WITHIN SUCH A SHORT TIME! AHAHAHAHA! I LOVE THIS PLACE!]
There was a bright, crimson light that filled everyone's vision. Once it cleared, Kumagawa was no more. His body had been reduced into a great puddle of blood that had splattered the Annihilatus squad, almost nearly covering them all. His clothes lay in the pool, soaking in it's previous owner.
"OUR PREY IS UPON US! READY YOUR-"
Agnessa's battle-cry fell on deaf ears, she saw no will to fight in any of them. They were elite magicians trained for battle with vampires but this was on a level that they had never so much as imagined. Fear of the unknown paralyzed them.
The clicks of shoes against concrete echo across the tunnel, making it's source unknowable. Agnessa's shawl changes color but never settles on one as she grips her sword in front of her. The shawl, a modern recreation of the Coat of Many Colors, could protect her depending on color changes. Red for fire, grey for physical attacks. But it can't maintain a protection between the changes very well. It only does so now because the shawl couldn't discern where the threat was or even of what kind. Agnessa was only vaguely aware. But not enough.
Her shawl suddenly pulls her across the concrete for about 15 feet and then quickly wraps completely around her body.
"Wow. You Annihilatus cowards can't get enough can you? Gluttonous little fools."
Agnessa winces as her stomach gets filled with almost enough pain to make her pass out.
"H-how? How is..."
The clicks draw just beside her. She looks to them, seeing shining black leather shoes. Looking up, there was a beautiful, long red-haired, tan-skinned woman in a suit.
"Hm? Ah. Are you under the impression that I can use your discount pope's special spell? Not sure how a pawn like you knows about your king's spells but it doesn't matter. I've repurposed it based on the previous iteration. Well and I mixed in something interesting that I found in my recent vaca in Iran. Such a lovely country, this time of year."
A slow moving blood pillar pushes Agnessa up off the ground as another pillar comes down from above and moves her until she matches eye level with her enemy.
"Hello! And what is your name, little dead girl?"
"...I'll not share...my name with a beast like-"
Rage suddenly spikes so high in her that migraines coat her head with pain to match her stomach.
"Oho. Ever consider taking anger management classes? They might help with that."
The blood from all of the other vampires surges up on the other 3 of the squad and carries them over and places them in blood pillars as well.
"Y-you….can't….manipulate blood this way."
"Uh well, I mean. I already have? Not sure what kind of high ground you think you have but,"
A throne made of blood surges from under her, raising her off the ground as she crosses her legs and sneers.
"I'm the one that has the high ground!"
[A prequel reference here of all places?]
The voice comes from behind the vampire but all she does is chuckle as the blood throne she sat upon sprang spikes all over. Her mirth ends when a screw grazes her shoulder, causing her to leap away. With but a motion the blood moves to it's master's feet while Kumagawa lands on his feet, a screw in his right hand.
[A surprise to be sure-]
"Can you really say it's a welcome one though?"
Kumagawa's face splits itself in a smile.
[Hey! You can't just beat me to the punchline like that!]
He throws his screw but the blood moves just as fast to direct it into a wall.
"Oho? You mad, son?"
Kumagawa grips his head with his hands.
"Oho ho ho hooooo. He is mad as hell! Hahaha!"
Kumagawa projects screws and fires them off at the vampire. She smirks as the blood attempts to direct them away but the shear force of their violence was enough to tear past, forcing her to redirect the blood to carry her out the way at a blinding speed.
[Madder than heck, actually. Hell is a curse word according to my Momma.]
"...My name's Eva. What's yours, little heckhound?"
[Joe momma went to college.]
Screws burst from the ceiling and blood leaps up to push them away. Eva's attention was on the ceiling, to which Kumagawa took the opportunity to charge in with screws swinging for the laughing vampire's heart.
"J-Joe! Hahahaha! What the fuck? College? Hahahaha!"
Blood drips from where they hold back the screws, flying into sharp points to put as many holes into Kumagawa's body as they can. He runs Eva all the way through on his screw while the bloody daggers blow holes through him, using his own blood to hurl him down the tunnel again.
Eva's hole in her chest heals over in next to an instant while Kumagawa's death is made nonexistent.
"Pfft! Oho man! Please tell me your name! I'm about THIS close to making you my right hand with comedy like that."
[Aw fuck, don't say that now! I'm already trying to get little white hair over there to date me; I don't want to have to choose!]
"So don't. Just turn her after I turn you."
Kumagawa blinks in awe.
[You wouldn't uh mind having to uh er...sshhhaaare?]
"Not really, no."
[Uh, I uh, I mean….isn't that illegal or something?]
"What? HECK nah."
[But…well she might not uh want to?]
[Fuck dude, you're right.]
"Broken clocks, toejammed socks, and all that."
[Don't think that's it though. Don't even know what kind of Swahili you spout out just now.]
"Look, you in or nah?"
Kumagawa puts his hand to his chin to stroke as he thought. After some time he nods at Eva with an evil grin.
In an instant faster than she could manipulate the blood, he goes to smash the edged side of his screw into her head.
But she only smiles.
Bloody symbols form out of every molecule surrounding them, causing a great invisible force to throw Kumagawa into the hole in the tunnel wall.
All the blood that wasn't holding the Annihilatus squad returns to her feet and glides her towards her captives.
"Now, where were we-"
The sound of large amounts of metal being torn accompanied by the sound of whatever it was crashing into the ground reverberates from the hole.
[HEY EVAAAAAAAAAA! MY NAME ISN'T JOE MOMMA WENT TO COLLEGE, ACTUALLY!]
A metal sewage pipe the size of a bus comes storming through the tunnel as Kumagawa wields it to smash his way back in.
[It's Kumagawa 'El Bano' Misogi. It's a pleasure to fight with someone like you.]
"Y'know, I just thought of the same thing. Are we BFFs now?"
The blood forms even more complex symbols that shift and change, causing it all to glow crimson.
[Ah frick yeah, we are.]
They run to meet their new favorite enemies with as much carnage and as little care for themselves as they can manage.
Hello there, my dudes. I apologize for my tardiness but that's what happens when the 10-15 year old Depression you totally thought you had under control rears it's fuckugly head. Kinda removes the heart, mind, and body from any sort of motivation for things, among other negative effects. Just remember what good ol' Archie always says: Take care of yourself and watch your mental health yo. Jokes at my expense aside, I'm getting the help I need now so no need for wellwishing. It's appreciated, trust me, but it's not the type of thing I need to hear. Just let me know if y'all enjoyed this or not. I'll be happy either way to see some comments. Also, for real, take care of yourselves. The next afterward I'll do for the next chapter, nearly finished with it, should be more light-hearted and not about me but I felt that for whoever might actually return to this story after this long, y'all deserve to know why I haven't updated in so long.
Welp, back to work on chapter two for ACMSSFF NT!