Everyone, the hiatus is over, so... welcome back! The Nia arc is coming to an end, and we're also about to see how Kurumi's been planning with the news she got with Nia, which will relate to how she'll be in the Mukuro arc in this story. Also, since Volume 18 came out during the hiatus, there are a few things I need to talk about for this story in relation to the reveals. Because of this...
WARNING! MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR VOLUME 18, AND SOME OF THIS STORY, ARE LOCATED BELOW, READ THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK! WARNING!
How will this change where my story's planning to go at the moment? Luckily, no changes there, and it actually helped me figure out a good way to deal with Kurumi's arc when we finally get to it. Although, since the Mio in this story has realized how horrible she was, how things go from there will be fairly different, especially with Mio's powers, which are such game breakers that even Westcott was powerless.
The other change? We now know that Tohka was never Human, and is the same as Rinne and Mayuri are. This story will keep that, but unlike those two, I'm having this story consider she's different because she came from Mio, where they did not. This also doubles as an explanation for how Mio was able to revive the two, because she just had to compare them with Tohka's case.
WARNING! MASSIVE SPOILERS FOR VOLUME 18, AND SOME OF THIS STORY, ARE LOCATED ABOVE, READ THEM AT YOUR OWN RISK! WARNING!
And that's it, the only other thing for me to say is that for this story, Volume 18 is officially the last volume this story will adapt canon to due to how it ended.
Now to reply to a guest review.
"To me, any fanfic could be considered a rehash of canon from another perspective, because you're already telling a story in a new way. However, if you're saying that you feel the story will just be Rinne and Mayuri added to 8-9 volumes worth of events, then let me remove that worry right now. While they will be there, I have more differences than just these, as I feel we can't view the altered timeline as a carbon copy."
"For one, due to the reason behind the timeline change, Origami has very few scenes, and Kotori's arc ends on a very different note, so those are both major changes, like Natsumi's arc happening before Miku's. I've also got some ideas for how Shido and Tohka's relationship should progress since they're already a couple here, and to flesh out this story's version of Mio, because she and Kurumi are the only ones aware the past was changed."
"Basically, this prequel story will actually explore how the past may have changed when Shido saved Origami's parents."
Now, let's get this chapter started.
«» - Spirit's Code Name
‹› - Important Term, Phrase, or Detail
【】 - Voice made by an Announcement, or through an Announcer
『』 - Electrical Voice or Machine Speaking
「」 - Insert Song Beginning, or Ending
Bold Italic Underline - Major Battle Beginning, or its Result
Chapter 11, Nia Arc - The Second Awakening
The group was hitting a wall with ideas, and then...
"I've got it!" Tohka exclaimed.
Everyone nearly fell to the floor in surprise, making Tohka blush in embarrassment.
"I think my heart just got stuck in my throat..." Mana said softly, followed by a deep breath.
"Sorry." Tohka apologized.
The purple-haired Spirit cleared her throat, soon getting everyone's attention.
"Well... what if we made a book based on everything Shido did to save us? She writes a manga, so wouldn't that mean it's the form of 2D she's closest to?" Tohka suggested.
Hearing that, Kotori's eyes widened, wondering how no one had thought of that before now.
"Tohka, you're a genius!" Kotori exclaimed.
"Wow, that's... a first." Tohka blushed bashfully.
"Does any of us know how to draw though?" Origami questioned.
Kotori tapped her chin at that, and in response, Reine put out the materials to draw a picture.
"Here's the best way to test it out, and the one who does it best can be the main artist behind this." Reine stated.
"Well... guess this is the best way prove it." Kotori shrugged.
At that moment, everyone picked up their pencils, and began sketching their weapon to win Nia over. The first one to finish ended up being Yoshino, who held hers up.
"How's this?" She asked.
Everyone looked at it, and while the drawing itself wasn't bad? It was definitely the kind of drawing you'd realize a child would make.
"That's not going to cut it against Nia, but good try." Kotori shot down.
Yoshino lowered her head a bit, prompting Yoshinon to pet her head.
At the same time, Tohka was sweating a bit, constantly switching between an eraser and pencil as she failed to get her drawing the way she wanted it. She eventually screamed as she fell back.
"I fold!" Tohka shouted.
"Uh..." Origami sweated.
She looked at hers, soon turning it over herself.
"Yeah... me too." She blushed in embarrassment.
Kotori's eye twitched at that, and decided to look at their sketches. Tohka's wasn't bad, but it seemed her issue was she had to erase too often, and with her strength... as for Origami's, she was surprised to see that she didn't have her former drawing skills.
"I guess you lost a few things because the you of this timeline's not a stalker for Shido." Kotori remarked.
"Kotori!" Origami blushed in horror.
A few more minutes in, Kotori put out hers.
"Mine's ready." She alerted everyone.
Reine took a look at Kotori's, which definitely fit a teenager's level of skill.
"Seems like the best one so far." Reine replied.
The Yamai twins soon put their pencils down.
"Ku, ku, ku... it is time for us to show our artistic hands!" Kaguya smirked.
"Completion. Shall you judge our finished work now?" Yuzuru inquired.
Kotori looked at their works, and her eyes widened.
"Wow." She simply said.
She showed everyone their work, which was easily able to be considered manga quality. Kaguya's work was fitting for a Shonen work, fitting her hot-headed personality, while Yuzuru's art style favored a Shojo work.
"Guess we know what one of your 49 draws was." Yoshino giggled.
"Looks like these two are our most likely runners as the moment." Reine mentioned.
"I think me and Mayuri are beaten then." Rinne sighed in defeat.
Both showed theirs, showing it was more on the level of Kotori and Miku's work. Shido soon inched towards Tohka, rubbing her back as everyone saw his, which was also an eraser filled mess.
"Alright, you're up next, Natsumi." Kotori said as she looked at her.
Natsumi got nervous, hiding the picture behind her back.
"Uh... no, it's alright... this isn't a good picture anyways. We should just go with the twins, or maybe see Reine's..." Natsumi whimpered, her negativity coming to the surface.
"Alright, then how about a kiss for trying so hard?" Miku replied.
Natsumi freaked out, showing her image.
"Look at the picture, please!" Natsumi screamed in terror.
Miku pouted as Natsumi hid under Yoshino's spot in the table, right as her paper flew into Kotori's hands. At that moment, Kotori gasped, making the Yamai twins look at it, and give the same reaction.
"Natsumi, teach me your ways!" Kaguya begged, shedding some tears.
The green-haired Spirit peaked her head out.
"Eh?" Natsumi blinked.
Kotori showed Kotori's artwork, which actually matched the work shown in Silver Bullet, by professional illustration skills at least.
"Natsumi, this is some of the best work I've ever seen! How'd you learn how to draw this way?" Tohka asked.
"Uh... no, it's not that. I just mimicked a manga artist back when I was interested..." Natsumi said with a blush.
"That's still pretty amazing, Natsumi." Yoshino praised, smiling at her.
Natsumi's face suddenly blushed, looking at the blue-haired Spirit.
"My goddess... will you marry me?" Natsumi said quietly.
"Hmm?" Yoshino blinked.
Natsumi realized what she said, and quickly felt her face heat up, making her faint onto Yoshino's lap.
"Ooh! I think she was thinking something naughty!" Yoshinon chuckled, putting a hand to her mouth.
Clearing her throat, Reine slid hers into view.
"Oh, right." Kotori chuckled.
Looking at hers, Kotori's eyes widened briefly, only to quickly sigh.
"I... honestly should have seen this coming." Kotori realized.
Everyone soon saw Reine's artwork was... well, let's just say if she and Nia were having a contest, Reine would have likely won.
"What the!?" Origami shouted in shock.
"Whoa..." Tohka said with awe.
"Divinity. Her skill, it's... so blinding, that I feel like an ant to her giant." Yuzuru praised.
Shido blinked, looking at Kotori.
"How did this not surprise you?" Shido asked.
"Reine is an enigma in ways I've never understood. To elaborate, on one of her days off, I found out she can play the violin at a professional level, act as a foreign translator, land a royal aircraft, and even conduct medical treatment better than the official medical officer for Fraxinus... which she implied wasn't everything." Kotori answered.
Shido's eyes widened, looking at Reine, followed by the others.
"How are you not something like a Prime Minister?" Miku questioned.
"Maybe it's the spots under her eyes." Mayuri suggested.
Reine just stared, not caring much about the conversation, which quickly left the others feeling uncomfortable.
"Well... anyways, we'll have Reine as our main artist, while Natsumi and the Yamai twins will be her support." Kotori decided.
"If you'd like, I'd be good with the script and summary." Origami offered.
"That seems like a good idea." Kotori agreed.
"Why not have my manager use some contacts of his? Nia most likely will be at the Comic Colosseum, meaning it's the perfect place to show it to her." Miku suggested.
"Hmm... we do only have 2 days, and perhaps we'll be more likely to impress her if we have a doujin stand selling all of these." Kotori realized.
With that, everyone set up their date plan.
Kurumi was seen on top of a rooftop, with all of the clones that had a bit more of an identity than the rest standing with her.
"Listen up everyone, like before, we still have the intent to change the events of 30 Years ago. However, now that I'm aware of what I need to do, we need to push a bit further back then I was intending, and for that to work... we need something more." Kurumi stated, smirking a bit.
"What would that be?" Asked a clone that looked the same as Kurumi from the Tenguu Fire.
Kurumi giggled, pointing a finger up at the sky, confusing everyone.
"A little someone that's still hiding from Shido and the DEM, way up in the stars." Kurumi revealed.
Her clones showed surprise at that, realizing what she meant.
Somehow, within the depths of what was considered outer space, there was a Spirit wandering around.
"Now, let's get her attention, shall we?" Kurumi suggested.
Before any of the clones were ready, the real Kurumi flew into the skies, and quickly forced them all to follow her. It wasn't very long before a DEM drone noticed them all, and kept an eye on Nightmare's strange movements.
Back inside the Spirit Mansion, everyone was doing their part to help their story be completed. While that was happening, Reine felt something off, briefly making her pause.
"Is something wrong?" Rinne asked, noticing she stopped.
"No, it's nothing. I just thought I heard something." Reine replied.
Briefly wiggling her left pinkie under the table, a slight mosaic formed before it vanished, appearing outside as the form of a clone disguising themselves as Phantom flew off.
Deep in space, the Phantom clone looked around for the sight of something... only to see a giant burst of Reiryoku go off, with multiple clones of Kurumi being flung her way. Just like with her fight against Kotori, the clones vanished shortly after flying past her.
『"Kurumi, you didn't..."』
A giant wormhole appeared, right before the real Kurumi was seen being swallowed inside of it, and only a speck of blonde hair showing the culprit before they disappeared as well. Needing more info, the clone flew over to the area of remnant Reiryoku.
The DEM probe focused its lens at the data it received, and soon headed back to Westcott's current location.
『"Well, it looks like you won't be causing us any trouble for a while... not when you're stuck in the Spirit Dimension."』
As Phantom began heading back herself, the area where the wormhole had formed... suddenly had a crack form from it, showing a mist of shadows witch erratic movements.
Finally, after a large struggle to get all of the work for their manga done, and make multiple copies of it... everyone was seen sleeping across various spots of the room, having used most of the last few days.
The only one currently awake was Reine, who had been known for her inability to fall asleep, or at least her claim to it as part of her guise.
"Looks like we've gotten everything ready, now all that's left is the challenge of impressing Nia." Reine quietly remarked.
A tap was heard on the window, getting Reine's attention as she walked over to it. The Phantom Clone waved as it motioned her to open the door. After a few moments, she did just that, and the clone flew into her to share the information it gained.
"Did she really try to face Michael's wielder without knowing anything?" She asked herself in disbelief.
Right as she was about to say more, Tohka suddenly groaned a bit as she woke up a bit.
"Reine? What are you doing?" Tohka asked groggily, rubbing her eyes.
"Nothing much, just felt I could use some fresh air." Reine answered.
Tohka tiredly walked out with her, getting her attention as she looked at the moon.
"Is there something wrong, Tohka?" Reine asked.
"No, just had a dream, and now... I'm starting to wonder about my past, just why I accepted becoming a Spirit." Tohka replied.
She gave a saddened look, getting the First Sprit's attention.
"I don't know why, but... that dream I just had? I'm wondering if it was really a memory?" She admitted.
Reine's body flinched slightly in surprise, though Tohka didn't notice due to facing away from her.
"That dream, I saw someone too blurry to make out, but... I get the feeling she might have been my mother. What's stranger? I feel that somehow, I've already met them." Tohka explained.
"Are you sure of that?" Reine inquired.
"Yeah, or maybe... someone I know just reminds me enough about them. To be honest, the time you calmed us down when we became kids seems like such an instance. Which, now that I think about it, felt wrong." She admitted.
Reine blinked a few times, not understanding her words.
"Sorry, I meant that when I was younger... it didn't feel like I had ever been in that form, even though we're fairly sure all of us used to be Human. Why is that?" Tohka explained.
"Uh..." Reine looked away, unsure how to answer that.
Tohka would have asked something about that, but quickly felt herself conk out again, landing onto Reine's chest as she slept once again.
"Tohka... you don't know how much I want to answer those questions, but I can't tell you... not right now." Reine quietly said.
Tears flowed down her eyes as she helped lay Tohka back in the spot she had been sleeping in, handing her bread pillow to hear. It wasn't long before she looked at everyone else, recalling how much she had forced them into.
"And there's a chance when you do, none of you will forgive me... even you." She said with closed eyes.
While they were closed, she recalled a certain set of memories she kept from the old timeline.
While in her disguise as Phantom, Mio looked from a distance as she watched Shido and Kotori. Both of them were currently in the hospital, having their health checked as a result of being in the Tenguu Fire. As she did, she let her thoughts drift to the events with Origami.
"I've let someone dangerous threaten him years from now... all because I wanted to keep Shin safe until the right time came." Mio said to herself, a guilty look on her face.
Looking at him, a brief image of Shido looking older, wearing a uniform he had never worn before... which immediately brought a tear to her eye.
"No, who am I kidding? I might call him Shin all I want, but... he's not my Shinji, he's Shido." She finally admitted, covering her eyes as she cried.
"Why didn't I just take care of Westcott when I had the chance? Why didn't I just try to rescue Mana? Why... why did I do everything I have!?" Mio demanded to herself, finally being crushed by the weight of her wrongs.
She had erased the memory of so many, put targets on them for the DEM, and she was fairly sure the Yamai twins were fighting over the thought they were once a single being.
The only one she could blame for everything that happened to them was herself.
"How do I make things right? Wait... am I even allowed to do that? Can I still say that after all I've done? I... I wish I knew, how do I avoid being wrong again? How do I not cause another mistake again? Please, how can I protect the Shin that lives here and now?" Mio begged for an answer.
Right at that moment, she suddenly saw a purple flash from her form, making her pull out the Sandalphon Crystal.
"What is this?" She questioned.
Right as she asked this, the energy of the Sephira Crystal suddenly began pouring out, making her see a memory of herself and Shinji within it.
The next moment, she gasped as the sound of crying was heard.
"No way, the Sandalphon Crystal..." Mio gasped.
In her arms was no longer a sphere-like gem of a purple color, but a baby girl with long purple hair, wearing a simple dress of light.
The girl that Shido named... Tohka.
"Shinji, did I just... with only your..." Mio questioned as she held her.
Tears flowed out of her eyes, and she gasped.
"I think I get it now... what I need to do. Even if he can never be you, what I can do... is give him someone he can depend on, someone who can be what I was for you, Shin... if I can protect you, then that will be enough. This child, our daughter, will one day be his guide." She decided.
"I promise you this, Shido... I will never let die again. I will never be wrong again. Because, I'll be leaving someone to protect you... soon."
Sighing a bit, she rubbed her daughter's head gently, and just let herself stare the ceiling until the rest of the night ended.
While Tohka was sleeping, the sudden touch felt odd to her, and then...
"Mom...?" She asked in a quiet whisper.
At that moment, Rinne peaked an eye open without Reine's notice, and gave a sad look in response, turning right as Reine shifted her finger.
'What's she talking about?' Rinne wondered, unsure if she should even tell the others.
Nia was seen shading the last panel for a page of Silver Bullet's newest chapter, sighing a bit over her experience with Kurumi from a few days ago.
"I thought sharing that information wouldn't do any harm, but... was I wrong?" Nia questioned.
Forming Raziel in her hands, she opened her mouth to ask about Kurumi... only for them to widen, realizing what would happen if she did, and closed it.
"No, even if it's her, if I let myself open this book for a question like that, I'll just be making myself do what I fear most." She reminded herself, holding her hand.
『"I see, so that's why you can only love the world of the second dimension."』
Nia panicked at the sight, and turned to see Phantom looking at her, who quickly held her hands up in a defensive manner.
『"Relax, I'm not here to do any harm, I assure you... I'm not Kurumi."』
Nia sweated a bit, still glaring at the disguised First Spirit.
『"You hate me, don't you? Well... I don't blame you. Such a feeling is deserved, and exactly why I made the mistake of destroying the sweet girl that Kurumi once was."』
"Huh?" Nia blinked in surprise, not expecting her to admit her own guilt as she just did.
Phantom got closer to her.
『"Your worry comes from the book, but what if I told you what you want to know? True, I may not tell you everything, but at least you'll know something without betraying your principles."』
The Second Spirit sweated a bit, soon relenting to the Spirit that would likely destroy her if she wanted to.
"Fine, I'm listening... albeit reluctantly."
Phantom sat herself in the air, and began her tale.
『"Long ago, there was a girl, one who was innocent, but truly kind. She was wealthy, but not stuck up. She was high-class, but treated others as equals. The kind of girl that had a single wish... help the people of the world who were suffering. However, one a certain day when heading home, she found herself face to face by a monstrous humanoid of shadows."』
『"Just as she expected her death, a single person wearing a dress of light, and calling herself an ally of justice, came to her rescue. Seeing something in her, she offered her a black crystal with powers like her own. That girl accepted, unaware of the truth until one day, when she attacked a fiery monster, and then... after decided to invite her sullen ally to her friend's home, found a horrible truth."』
『"That friend in question? She would never draw breath again, because she was the monster she had just slain... that girl was named Kurumi Tokisaki,"』
Nia's eyes widened, and Phantom sighed.
『"And that so-called ally of Justice was in actuality the very First Spirit, the one she'd later meet as Phantom."』
"You... made Kurumi that way? And now she's out for revenge, something I just let her have." Nia realized.
The gray-haired Spirit grabbed Phantom, who didn't resist as she pushed her against her wall.
"Why did you let something like that happen!? You let a single person become a threat because she wants to take you down, which will likely fail, and kill tons of people just accomplish her goal to change the world for the better!" Nia roared.
Phantom didn't react, making Nia push her against the wall more.
"Tell me, why didn't you do anything? Why did you let her roam freely to do as she did!? Come on, why don't you answer-" Nia demanded.
『"I MADE A MISTAKE!"』
Nia suddenly backed away in surprise, and Phantom didn't move from where she was.
『"I made a mistake, and I kept making it... but what do people expect from me!? Maybe I have powers that people could compare to that of a God... but I'm not one, I'm just a girl that refused to say goodbye to the one she loved!"』
"What... do you mean?" Nia questioned.
『"I think you already know... you're the one who read how I came into this world."』
Nia went silent, then sighed a bit.
"Yeah, guess you're right... you were ripped away from your world so Westcott, I don't think it's too big of a stretch to say that killed someone you cared for in the process." Nia reluctantly agreed.
Phantom gave a forced laugh, catching her attention.
『"It seems Raziel's being naughty, and not telling you everything, so-called Second Spirit. If it had... you would know there was no Spirit Dimension until 30 years ago."』
"Wait, what?" Nia questioned.
The one known as Phantom wagged her finger, soon phasing through the wall.
『"Sorry, but if I promised Shido he won't know until every Spirit is sealed, then I can't spoil you either. The only thing I'll let you pass on to him?"』
She fades through the wall, causing Raziel to open as it left a single message.
‹The final Spirit resides among the stars›
"Wait... what!?" She exclaimed in confusion.
As the sunlight finally arrived, but the others still slept, Phantom went into an alleyway, and then quickly took her appearance as Reine.
"Alright, let's see if this lead of mine works." Reine breathed.
She left the alleyway, and then walked over to the nearest apartment area. The First Spirit stopped by a certain door, and knocked on it, causing a woman to open the door.
"Are you the manga artist, Takajou Hiroki?" Reine inquired.
"Uh... depends, why?" She asked.
"I'm a relative of Nia Honjou, and I'd like to ask you something... if you'll allow me." Reine answered.
The woman's eyes widened, opening the door more.
"Come right in." She offered.
Back inside the Spirit Dimension, around an hour later, Reine saw her clone return as she made coffee, and opened the door, letting it fly in her to give her the memories it collected.
"Hmm..." She mused.
Using her fingers, she whistled loudly, forcing everyone to wake up like an alarm clock.
"Ah! No, I didn't commit a burglary, this is my house!" Natsumi panicked, holding Yoshino tightly.
"Reine, did you really have to do that?" Mayuri groaned, rubbing her ears.
The Ratatoskr analyst simply sipped her coffee, pointing at the time listed on the cable box, which got everyone's attention.
"It was necessary!" Mayuri realized.
"Quick, get everything ready, we gotta make it over there, and fast!" Shido alerted everyone.
Moments after saying that, everyone gathered the manga they had drawn, while Rinne dialed up Miku, alerting them to get their ride ready. As that chaos was being thrown around, Shido walked up to Shido and Kotori.
"I have something you two might want to hear about." Reine mentioned.
"What is it?" Kotori asked, putting on her black ribbons.
"Since I was already awake, I went to someone who knew Nia, and got some interesting information." Reine answered.
The two listened closer as Reine leaned by their ears.
"Around 8 or 9 years ago, she met another manga artist named Takajou Hiroki during a publisher's party, and they became friends. However, one day, she became keeping her distance out of nowhere. She honestly believes that she unknowingly did something rude to her." Reine whispered.
Both of them widened their eyes, shocked by that.
"Wait, but then... why'd Nia say what she did?" Shido questioned.
"Yeah, it doesn't make... Raziel!" Kotori realized.
"Raziel?" Shido repeated.
"That Angel can get any information, can't it? So, if you had that power, wouldn't you want to investigate others with it?" Kotori inquired.
Shido gasped in realization, and now he was starting to figure it out.
"My thoughts exactly, Shin. I think once that fact came to her mind, she either used it and ended up hating what she saw, or found herself unable trust anyone. To her, opening that book might tell her something she doesn't want to see." Reine theorized.
"But the world of 2D characters are limited by their programming, or how they're designed. They can't have hidden motives that aren't given to them." Shido pieced together, realizing why she told him what he did.
The two siblings soon widened their eyes, pointing at each other.
"She wants us to make you be someone she can trust enough to open the book on!" They exclaimed.
Reine shrugged her shoulders in agreement, sipping her coffee.
"Oh man, we have quite the big hurdle to overcome, don't we?" Shido groaned worriedly.
"Says the boy that walked through an entire, just to rescue his yet to be girlfriend at the time." Reine remarked.
Shido blinked a few times before giving an embarrassed blush.
"OK, not that big of a hurdle." He admitted.
It wasn't long before Miku came to pick the group up in a limo, and drove to Tenguu Square for the Comico Colosseum event. Opening the door, Miku held a bag full of outfits she set for their booth, along with the registry slip.
"Alright, is everyone ready?" Kotori checked.
"Not... me..." Natsumi groaned.
Rather than a groan showing her usual negative thinking, Mana was seen carrying a tired Natsumi, who looked like she was going to pass out at any moment.
"Natsumi, how many times did you sleep while we made this manga?" Rinne asked worriedly.
The green-haired Spirit didn't answer, sweating a bit.
"It was once." Reine revealed.
"Reine!" Natsumi shouted.
"Oh dear..." Rinne thought aloud.
Yoshino rubbed Natsumi's head, making the green-haired Spirit seem more at ease.
"Uh... is it just me, or do those two look like a young couple?" Mayuri questioned.
"After that one comment yesterday, I'm thinking they might actually be one without realizing it." Origami agreed.
Suddenly tapping the resident Spirit hunter on the back, Shido yelped as he turned around, seeing Nia snickering at him. It wasn't long before everyone quickly realized who she was based on the situation.
"What an unexpected meeting boy. I'd never guess that we would meet again in a place like this. Oh, I see that everyone's here too. Nice to meet you all, I guess?" She greeted.
"Uh... I guess you're Nia?" Tohka greeted in an awkward manner.
"And you must be boy's gal, am I right?" Nia teased.
Tohka blushed at that, hitting her hand against her arm, making the Second Spirit wince.
"OK, you must be his strong gal..." Nia whimpered.
Kotori cleared her throat, sliding near her side.
"We came because this is how Shido chose to accept your challenge." She explained, holding up their manga.
Nia gave a flat stare, needing a moment to register the clearly quality artwork on the cover.
"You... made this." Nia asked.
"Yes." Kotori replied.
"In the days between when I met boy and now?"
"Together, for a large crowd to purchase them?"
"And you're-" Nia paled as Kotori rushed to her face.
"Enough with the questions already!" Kotori screamed her lungs off.
Nia rose her hands up, backing off a bit.
"I fold, I fold." Nia pushed her hands out.
Clearing her throat, Kotori looked at the ash-haired Spirit before her.
"We felt it was the only way to prove our effort. Making a single book that isn't at a quality for people to buy would mean just show we're being lazy... wouldn't you agree?" She replied.
"Interesting logic there, I guess I'll make a payment in advance then, since you put the effort into this." Nia chuckled, her glasses shining as she briefly adjusted them.
Mayuri flinched at that, handing her a copy as she took some of Nia's money.
"I thought that wasn't possible in real life!" Mayuri whispered to her sister.
"Apparently it is." Rinne whispered back.
Before they could say anymore, Miku dragged the two away, confusing Shido and Nia.
"What is she doing?" Nia questioned,
"Because it's Nia... I have no idea, which is worrisome." Shido answered with a nervous sweat.
Nia gave him a confused looked, making him whisper it in his ear?
"She's a lesbian? Wow, that's actually kind of kinky!" Nia snickered.
Shido face palmed at the looks that aimed their way, with Nia just sticking her tongue out at their little crowd.
As Shido got ready at his circle area, he tapped his fingers on the desk.
"They're sure taking their time getting ready, I just hope it's something for all ages." Shido sighed.
"Shido!" Tohka's voice sang.
Hearing his name being called by his girlfriend, he turned to look... right as he got a slight nosebleed, but not for the reason he worried about.
All of the girls were dressed in bunny girl outfits, all with vests resemblance that of a showman's. For the older and bustier girls, they had their bows and bunny ears match the color of their skin suits, while showing the amount of cleavage that was allowed by the event.
The younger members had their ears and bows in black, which were on their vests instead, having a black skirt with white frills at the end.
"What do you think, darling?" Miku giggled.
Shaking his senses back into his head, he gave his answer.
"That those look good on you... and that I feel I'm missing the point of them." Shido answered.
"Miku mentioned it was for drawing advertisement to our relatively unknown circle." Reine mentioned.
"This feels weird..." Mana admitted, blushing in embarrassment.
Origami nodded her head, and just when she felt it wasn't going to get any worse.
"Hey, isn't that Origami!?" A familiar voice shouted.
Origami paled at that, making her accidentally elbow her arm into Miku's chest... to the latter's strange joy.
"S-sorry!" Origami apologized.
"Why?" Miku said happily.
Ignoring how she seemed to enjoy said reaction, Origami waved nervously as she saw her friends from the AST walk over to her.
"H-hey everyone..." She greeted nervously.
Mikie gave a sad, begging look of sorts.
"Origami, please come back, I'm so lonely..." She whimpered.
"I told you before Mikie, I just can't do this line of work, so I'm not coming back." Origami sighed, how much that reply broke Mikie's heart.
As Mildred rubbed the teary-eyed Wizard's back, she noticed Origami's ribbon.
"Ooh! Ditched the old hair clips, it fits you!" Mildred gave a thumb's up in approval.
The Spirit of Light blushed a bit, right as Ryouko noticed most of the Spirits up close, making Origami sweat a bit.
"Hmm... I swear I've seen you girls before." Ryouko mentioned, squinting her eyes.
"You're imagining it." Origami waved.
"You think so? Because-"
"You're imagining it."
"I insist, Captain... you ARE imagining it."
Channeling some of her old timeline self, Ryouko released a sweat drop before deciding to drop it.
"Uh... right, well... when you have free time, feel free to come visit us." Ryouko relented.
"Will do." Origami promised.
Right as they were walking away, Origami realized something she should ask, and tapped Mikie's shoulder.
"Hmm?" She blinked.
"Mikie, do you know how Artemisia's doing?" She asked.
Hearing that, she raised an eyebrow, making Origami a bit worried.
"How do you know about her?" Miki questioned.
Origami flinched, forgetting she couldn't have been involved in this timeline. Thinking quick, she made up a half-lie.
"W-well, you remember I got into the AST through my Aunt, right? I heard something a few months back about her being involved with something, and I thought I heard you were involved." She quickly replied.
Mikie blinked, which made her blush a bit.
"Uh... y-yeah, I guess was. Anyways, how it ended was... well, she and her friends all left the SSS, and that was pretty much it." Mikie answered.
Hearing that surprised Origami, as she was sure her involvement would have rendered the outcome as very different. Still, she and Mana would both agree that it was better she didn't stay in the DEM's clutches.
"Well, anyways... it was nice seeing you, and please rejoin the AST." Mikie begged.
Mildred instantly came back to grab her, making Origami look at her friends, giving an odd laugh as they left. Turning to the others, she rubbed her head.
"Uh... sorry about that." She apologized.
"I'm just glad she answered what she did, Artemisia's one of the last wizards we'd want on the DEM's side." Mana sighed in relief.
"Why?" Shido asked.
"Because if she joined... then I'd have instantly been demoted to Adeptus 3. That girl's around the same level as Ellen, if not stronger due to her unique territory." Mana explained.
That made Tohka sweat, remembering how she did against Ellen while she was weakened from hunger. Facing a second Ellen, even at full strength, by herself?
She didn't have that same amount of confidence.
Once she had the free time for it, Nia began reading the manga that the group had made, which she found was a based on Shido and the Spirits if their adventures were all in the form of school life.
She had to admit, it was a nice choice to express the emotions without raising eyebrows to the savvier people among the shoppers.
"Hmm..." Nia mused as she looked at it.
Eventually, the manga ended with everyone getting Shido and Tohka together, which was the most logical conclusion they could give the story.
"Well... it was good quality, and it's a plausible story, although... I can't tell if they're showing that boy realistically, or if it's an exaggeration." Nia admitted, finding trouble in how she should view him.
Blinking a bit, she darted her eyes around, and then formed Raziel without anyone noticing.
Opening the pages, she instantly whispered about what she wanted to hear, and when she did... the first thing she heard caught her entirely off-guard.
"I want to show Nia... that friendship is a beautiful thing."
That was Natsumi's voice, that rang through her head.
"Natsumi... what was her story again?" Nia wondered.
Looking at her story, she saw how the most negative minded Spirit managed to find something through Shido's efforts, which were just... they just like the heroes of a manga, but real.
She quickly saw the other stories one by one, and before she knew it... she was shedding years.
"What? No way, am I... crying?" Nia questioned.
"Damn it, looks like that boy's achievements are the real deal. I guess if it's him-" She chuckled, wiping her eyes.
Her eyes suddenly widened, clutching her heart was as she felt something strange rush from her head, to the entirety of her body. As she held her hand, some Reiryoku began to spark off her body.
As everyone in Shido's group was doing their thing, Tohka suddenly froze up, sensing something was wrong.
"Tohka?" Shido blinked in confusion.
"Strange... something doesn't feel right." Tohka remarked, a slight bead of sweat on her face.
Wondering what was wrong, Origami suddenly felt the same feeling.
"I think she's right, I'm getting a bad feeling as well." Origami replied, sweating a bit.
At that moment, an all too familiar sound went off.
【"WARNING! YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE, THIS IS NOT A DRILL! THERE HAVE BEEN PRECURSORY SIGNS OF AN IMPENDING SPACEQUAKE IN THE CITY! PLEASE EVACUATE TO YOUR NEAREST SHELTER! I REPEAT!"】
Everyone gasped at that, looking at each other.
"Unless there's another Spirit, or Kurumi here... there's only two reasons we should be hearing the alarm right now." Shido realized.
Tohka gasped, shaking her head.
"No, it's a third thing, I think I get why I got a bad feeling out of nowhere..." Tohka realized.
"Oh no, please don't say that-" Mayuri groaned.
"Nia's undergoing an awakening!" Tohka shouted.
The Spirit of Lightning groaned, slamming her head on the desk as Tohka said what she hoped she wouldn't say.
"Quick, where did she go!?" Mana panicked, wishing she had her CR-Unit.
"That way!" Tohka shouted, rushing towards it as she manifested her Astral Dress.
Origami did the same, but took flight.
"W-wait up, Tohka!" Origami shouted in a panic.
As that was going on, Nia's Astral Dress took its awakened form, right as a familiar wizard marked an X pattern through the roof of Tenguu Square, just as she had when she kidnapped Tohka. The main difference was this time, she had Westcott tagging along through her territory, which acted like a transport vessel.
"There's nowhere to run, Sister." Ellen warned.
Nia, who lacked any sense of control at the moment, turned her head to the strongest DEM wizard. Right as she rushed at her, a bunch of shadowy apparitions suddenly rose up, grappling onto her form to her surprise.
"What is this!?"
The shadow creatures lunged at Ellen, who instantly slashed them apart before flying back.
"Didn't think a weaker Spirit like yourself would be able to achieve such a feat, but I'm afraid you'll still be dying today!" Ellen declared.
Rushing forward at Nia, the awakened Second Spirit prepared to attack...
However, that attack never came as Tohka's Sandalphon collided with Caledfwlch, making Adeptus 1 grunt in anger.
"Princess, I should have known you'd get in my way." Ellen scowled.
"The feeling's mutual!" Tohka grunted.
As both sides tried to push back at each other, Nia's eyes motioned to Tohka, making her growl as she pointed at the purple-haired Spirit.
The Nibelcol all jumped at her, making Tohka gasp as she sensed it.
Beams of light swirl around to purge the shadowy monsters, before black pillars crash into Ellen, knocking her off Tohka.
"Thanks for the save, Origami." Tohka smiled.
"With my long-range and your short-range skills, we make a good team when we fight together." Origami replied with her own smile.
Ellen showed surprise, as the DEM hadn't kept a major eye on Origami as of lately.
"It seems that even Angel had sided with you, how annoying." Ellen glared.
'Wow, she really doesn't remember me.' Origami thought.
Shido and the others soon ran into the room, getting Westcott's attention as he gave a chuckle.
"Well, it looks like you've all gathered. I can't believe you've even brought Angel into your fold without me knowing about it." Westcott remarked.
"Westcott... you're behind this, you have to be!" Shido growled.
Hearing his reply, the director of DEM clapped
"It seems you've wasted no time connecting the dots, and you did so correctly. I had a little something left in Sister before she got away from us. I just needed her emotions to be in the right state, and I used it to disrupt the seal within her Sephira Crystal." Westcott admitted.
Tohka readied Sandalphon in response to that.
"For a genius, you sure were an idiot to bring only one wizard, especially when I beat her in a weakened state." Tohka replied.
"Who said he was alone?" A female voice inquired.
Origami gasped at that, looking up as a familiar dark-skinned wizard with a scar over her eye dropped into view, and wearing the Mordred she once owned. Minerva Liddell stood there, giving a creepy smile.
"Oh god, not her..." Origami breathed.
"Who is that?" Tohka asked nervously.
"Someone who me and Mana have more reason to fear than who we expected Westcott might add to his forces." Origami answered, implying she didn't want to talk about it right now.
Minerva readied her sword, and swung it down.
A powerful blast struck the two, but Origami managed to use her shield against it... only for both of them to suddenly be restricted by a strange territory.
"Tohka! Origami" Shido.
"You have bigger things to worry about." Ellen stated.
Looking overhead, Shido saw Ellen fly towards him, forcing him to manifest Sandalphon in an instant. As he tried to pour more power into the Angel, Ellen didn't look worried in the slightest, only smirking at his efforts.
"How unfortunate, it seems you can't use the same amount of power that Princess can." She mocked.
She swung her blade hard, knocking him to the side.
"Watch out!" Kotori warned.
Everyone summoned their Angels, with Kotori swinging Camael with all the power she could afford to use. Zadkiel quickly followed as it released a blast of ice. However, only moments after the ice hit...
The beam blast through, knocking Kotori aside, but outright blasting Yoshino through the walls. Miku prepared to use her voice, and the Yamai twins their combined Angel, only for the beam to split horizontally, and knock them all through the walls.
"Yoshino!" Natsumi screamed, rushing after her.
"W-wait, don't run away!" Mayuri panicked.
Ellen appeared before Nia, who readied to attack her as she formed a sphere form Raziel's pages.
"Your is ours now!" Ellen declared.
Before she could do anything, both Spirit and Wizard felt themselves being struck by electricity, with Mayuri screaming as she let out all the voltage she could muster in an instant. Ellen tried to escape, only for pink vines to grab her.
"What is this!?" Ellen demanded.
"Guess your knowledge of Spirits is severely lacking!" Mayuri smirked.
"Mayuri, maybe it's not a good idea to taunt her?" Rinne suggested, sweating a bit.
The vines surround her fully, but after a few more seconds... Mayuri's eyes finally spin, indicating she exceeded her voltage level. Rinne gasped before her vines suddenly exploded apart, sending her flying against the wall, and instantly knocking her out.
"You Spirits can keep popping up like weeds for all we care, because based on how weak you two are, it won't do a thing to stop our dream." Ellen stated, walking past the dazed Mayuri.
Nia unleashed the sphere she had at her, prepared to trap her with it. However, before she could even use it? Ellen rushed past the attack in an instant, slashed it in two... then stabbed Caledfwlch into Nia's body, making her shake.
"W-what's... on?" Nia mumbled, partially regaining her senses.
"Now, time to take your power." Ellen declared.
She began chanting something, making Nia start screaming in pain as the battered Spirits could only watch.
"Nia... n-no!" Shido grunted, trying to get up.
In the room where Yoshino crashed, the sight of Natsumi rushing up to her was seen, quickly shaking the young Spirit's body.
"Yoshino! Wake up, please wake up!" Natsumi cried.
But it wasn't working, Yoshino wasn't responding to her at all, making her start to cry.
"Come on, please... don't leave me Yoshino." She begged, taking her hand.
The green-haired Spirit looked as the hand with Yoshinon rose up, the puppet looking at her.
"Why... are you... crying?"
Natsumi sniffled, looking at the puppet as she shed more tears.
"I... don't want to lose Yoshino, she's... not just a friend to me. She's the Tohka to my Shido!" Natsumi screamed.
Yoshinon stared at her, and then... levitated off of Yoshino's hand, surprising the copying Spirit.
"Yoshinon? What are you-" Natsumi questioned.
"Natsumi, take care of her. She's always had me or Shido as her hero, but this time, she'll be your hero."
Yoshino's body dissolved apart into Reiryoku, which flowed inside of Yoshino's body... which made her hand shake as her Astral Dress began to change, as did Zadkiel's body. Natsumi stared with wide eyes as the machine got on its feet.
"Yoshino?" Natsumi said, slightly confused.
Ellen pulled back on her blade, showing the Sephira Crystal trying to resist being taken out, which had already made Raziel vanish from the instability of the struggle. Nia felt her eyes blur, as if the life was slowly being sucked out of her.
"H-help... me..." Nia begged.
"Stop your struggle, you're suffering will end when your crystal's removed, and your body can no longer sustain itself." Ellen replied.
Shido struggled to get up, knowing he had to save Nia, but to no avail.
Just as the DEM trio looked like they were about to succeed, a sudden blast of blue fire struck Ellen, but it didn't burn her at all... it froze her! Her sword instantly cracked, making Nia fall back as her Sephira Crystal instantly returned to her body.
"What!?" Ellen demanded.
Before she could react, a black mechanical rabbit charged in, knocking her through the territory holding Tohka and Origami back, and freeing the duo.
"Wait, is that... Zadkiel?" Shido questioned as he saw it.
Zadkiel had gained a more fearsome look alongside its black coloring, and now seemed to be emitting a fiery cyan mist from its body, which was now glowing from within. Sitting on it was Yoshino, who's Astral Dress had changed like her fellow Awakened Spirits, and taken the appearance of a two-piece swimsuit with fingerless gloves, boots, a cave, and a single sleeve on her left arm.
Another notable difference was Yoshinon was now missing (evidence by the rabbit puppet that lacked a face), Yoshino's right eye being covered by an eye patch, finishing with her hood having a stitch and button design for eyes below the ears. Natsumi soon peaked from behind, waving at the others.
"Yoshino? Is... that you?" Shido asked, hoping she was in control?
"Yeah, is everyone OK?" Yoshino replied, seeing everyone on the ground.
Shido sighed in relief, realizing that like Tohka, Yoshino had managed to keep control of her Awakened form.
"Yoshino, how did you have an awakening?" Origami asked.
"I'm... not sure, but... I think I can feel Yoshinon inside me. She's... giving me her strength, to be brave right now." Yoshino replied, not completely sure how she did it.
Ellen growled, preparing to fire her weapon... only to see it fizzle from the ice damage. Minerva roared loudly, smashing her sword which also stopped working, attempting to smash the ice off in order to fix it.
"Oh dear, it seems things turned against our favor today, yet we managed to make Hermit undergo an awakening without intending to. With that result, I believe we can retreat for today." Westcott sighed, accepting their loss.
"You were lucky today. Next time we fight, I'll show you why no one can ever defeat me." Ellen warned.
The three vanished in an instant, leaving everyone there to stare... right as Shido remembered Nia's condition, and looked at her. She was holding herself in pain, still feeling the effects of nearly having her Sephira Crystal ripped out.
"Nia, are you OK?" He asked.
She weakly looked at him, still holding her chest in pain.
"S-seal my... powers, I think that's... the only way to... stop this!" She grunted, barely managing the pain.
While unsure if it would work, he still decided he had to try, with Origami covering Tohka's eyes as he did the deed. Luckily, it seems their manga had moved her enough, and the sealing worked.
"Thank... you..." She smiled, soon blacking out.
And that's a wrap for the Nia Arc, which ends with a surprise twist of not just Nia, but Yoshino undergoing an Awakening! I think some of you might remember this season's opening, and I'll reveal now that was a hint that not only was she close to achieving it, but that she'd do so without going crazy like Tohka, since it seems like she could control it due to representing the Sephira of Mercy.
For those wondering if the failure to steal Nia's crystal affects anything? It does, because despite it wasn't stolen, Ellen had been very close. As such, to limit her like in canon, I'll consider that near success has damaged her crystal for the time being, and Raziel can't be used like it normally can. With that, no using Raziel for answers anytime soon.
Not to mention, there goes one of our biggest twists in the story... Tohka is Mio's daughter. Despite what I said in the start notes above, this was actually my original plan for why Mio was willing to help Tohka so easily, though I'll admit how I planned it has had some details changed. How this will affect things isn't going to be evident until later, but I can tell you that when she finds out, that's when you'll know this story's cut-off point from canon is.
If anyone's worried from this chapter over how Mayuri and Rinne seem a bit weak, that's a justified thing. Until the events of Origami arc, neither Mayuri or Rinne could remember they were Spirits, and they don't have their original powers (because if they did... goodbye DEM Industries), meaning they have to get used to abilities they just started using. After they do some training, they'll get used to their new powers.
Last thing I'll mention before ending today's chapter? Counting this one, as it might be messy in a few places I won't notice until finishing up the rest, I'll be revising the previous chapters, something I'm doing with most of my older stories right now. See, I've noticed a few inconsistencies, and these inconsistencies feel like they're the result of my old writing style, one that's making me feel like I hit a wall, and likely caused the recent hiatus.
So, to prevent it from happening again, I feel I need to clean up every chapter up, including this one. After I finally do this, then we'll finally begin the Mukuro arc with Chapter 12. I guess the best way to define it, if my chapters are like a colored painting, these revisions will be like giving those colors the proper shading they need to look better.
Until next time everyone, and stay awesome! ^^