A/N : An here's chapter 2, I would have had it out faster but I've been mainlining New Testament for the last few days. Plus I had to try and find a translated map of Academy city and the details of what's in each District but without further ado...
Disclaimer : I don't own A Certain Magical Index or anything else that may cross
Chapter 2: A Further Conflict – Into_Darkness_STEP_1
Two weeks, that was how much time had passed since the unfortunate Touma Kamijou had met with the Board of Directors Member Shuusuke Kuroyama. In that two weeks Touma had undergone quiet a few regular tests, including a few times using a Testament with heavy monitoring of his neuro-activity. All of which resulted in the same thing. Touma was a Level 0, had no A.I.M Diffusion Field and his [Imagine Breaker] was not registering as an Ability. It was something Touma had thought would frustrate the Professor, but instead only seemed to make him more interested.
Of course, the tests weren't the only thing Touma had been doing. True to his word, Kazuki had been teaching him to fight. While also being monitored and asked to perform specific tasks, Kazuki had managed to get Touma's already decent street fighting abilities to a level where he could actual call himself a fighter. The unfortunate boy also found that he was pretty handy with a staff, Kazuki had given him one of his spares and Touma had surprisingly took to it pretty fast. Not that he had any great skill but Kazuki was confident enough that it'll only take Touma a year or so before he was proficient in the skill.
On the topic of the 'other' side of Kuroyama's work, Touma had sat down with the older man and discussed the issue at length. Shuusuke had assumed that Kazuki would have informed Touma about that side, especially when he offered the [Imagine Breaker] wielder to learn how to fight better, so when Touma came the next day and asked about it Kuroyama told him exactly what it was he did.
"It's not too different from what Kazuki explained," the Professor had said. "I try to keep the Dark Side of Academy City from effecting the light as best I can," he gave a light pause. "This grants me a small bit of leeway with the more darker denizens of the Darkness because I don't go too deep into the City's Darkness."
"So you're saying that there's worse things out there?" Touma had asked.
"Oh of course," Kuroyama's voice became baleful. "This City has a lot of dark and twisted things going on, but the powers that be prevent them from being stopped."
It was a conversation that left a sour taste in Touma's mouth but he had no choice but to accept it. Kuroyama does what he can without painting too large target on his back, and Touma felt that not even his position as one of the Board of Directors would protect him if one of the truly dark parts of the City came calling.
In lue of that, Touma was also introduced to another Esper that worked under Kuroyama. Setsuna Nagashi, she was a girl slightly older then Touma and Kazuki, already in her first year of middle school. She had black hair that was tied into a side ponytail that fanned off to her right of her head and pale skin, her dark, almost black eyes were narrow and she wore a typical female school sailor uniform, but a black skirt instead of blue.
She worked with Kazuki on missions, having been the senior member of the two, it also surprised Touma that she was a Level 4. Her Ability was was called [Wind Collect] and allowed her to manipulate wind pressure. Applying it to her hands created a blunt burst of wind that had a concussive effect.
Touma sighed as he stepped out of the Lab, attached to his hip was a holster for his staff, similar to the one Kazuki had. At first he wasn't really sure about carrying the staff around outside the Lab, but Kazuki and the Professor convinced him that it was better to have it on him, Kuroyama going as far as citing his bad luck as a good reason, one Touma couldn't refute. He continued walking for ten minutes before his commute home ended rather abruptly.
"Out of the way." It was just as he walked passed the mouth of an alleyway that a figure darted passed him, running across the street and into the adjacent alleyway, Touma only being able to register blonde hair before being shoved harshly to the ground by a second figure.
"Get the bitch." Touma registered the voice yelling as he saw three male figures running into the adjacent alleyway.
"Such misfortune," his baleful grumble belied his action as he sprung to his feet and gave chase.
Frenda Seivelun was not having a good day.
The mission her boss of so graciously bequeathed onto her was setting up a surveillance system on a warehouse, she cursed her rather extensive knowledge when it came to espionage as it almost always lead her to being thrown into the lions den first during missions, and she had only started working for them three months ago.
'Basically, I feel exploited.' her lament was really the only thing she could do as three thugs trailed behind.
Five, she had already killed (at least she was sure she did) five of them, but the other three took her by surprise. One of them had a rather annoying Ability which could raise the earth, making an effective shield and rendering her missiles useless.
'I can already hear Mugino chewing me out about carelessness and overconfidence,' she shivered at the thought.
She wasn't stupid, she knew she had faults in those areas but seriously? Who could blame her when the majority of the trash she had been sent up against so far were weak.
"And then I end up facing a Level freaking 4 bastard that controls the ground" despite running, she still managed a pout, taking a sharp left up an alleyway.
She took a look back.
'Yep, still there,' she lamented again. 'Basically, please give up.'
She was momentarily startled when someone stepped into the path of the alley.
"Out of the way." Without taking in the unfortunate schmuck that happened to walk by, she deftly brushed passed him, crossed the street and into another alley.
She had to get clear, or at least somewhere that earth bastard could see her so she could get a pot shot on him, a few more turns and maybe she'd be able to work with something.
...Or she could run into a dead end.
"Basically, fuck me," she cursed in annoyance as she heard the thugs arrive behind her.
"Heh, you're too young for my taste brat," the earth thug spoke with a grin, hearing her curse. "But that doesn't mean I'm not gonna torture you for information."
'You know, can't say I like either scenarios' Frenda desperately looked left and right for a way out.
"Heh, it's cute that you think you can still find a way out, but sorry to say, no ones gonna save your ass." the earth thug smirked.
Frenda didn't need to be told that, she lived in the Dark Side of Academy City since she was picked up at a School District 13 orphanage with her little sister, it was all she could do to keep herself alive and her sister out of the Darkness. She knew all too well that there wasn't such a thing as a Hero.
A dull thud filled the air suddenly, so much so it took a few moments for it, and a subsequent sound of something heavy collapsing to the ground for all denizens of the alley to register it and turn around accordingly.
One of the thugs, who was standing furthest back was now unconscious on the ground and a spiky haired boy stood over the body, a staff, a metre and a half in length gripped in his hands.
"You know, it's not polite to gang up on a girl," the boy spoke with a serious look.
"... Okay so a Hero did show up" a scowl appeared on the earth thugs face. "Get him."
The second thug ran forward at the boy.
Frenda, her back against the alley wall was having a hard time believing what she was seeing. It was surprising enough that someone actually decided to jump needlessly into trouble that had nothing to do with them but this guy... he kinda sucked.
Being used to a manner of close combat weapons she could easily tell that this guy wasn't exactly familiar with the staff. His blocks and parry's were amateur at best and was only holding up because the moron he was fighting wasn't a paragon of hand to hand either.
'Basically, this feels embarrassing,' she thought bitterly.
Touma felt stupid, very incredibly stupid. Of all the reactions to have when someone was being chased, why was his default to run after them. Surely calling the authorities would be a better choice but no matter how often this happened his first response is to jump head long into a fight. He got the first guy with what was for all intents and purposes a sucker punch and now he was barely staving off the second thug with his mediocre staff technique. Well he was until the guy managed to knock his staff out of his hands.
"No so tough now are ya," the thug smirked in victory.
"Didn't say I was, though you guys aren't setting up a precedence," Touma commented blandly.
"The hell you say?" the thug asked before pulling what looked to be a clay block out of his pocket. "I may not have a high Level, but I'll still put a hole in your punk ass." The clay seemed to shift before assuming the form of a knife.
He lunged forward quickly, Touma brought his right hand up and made contact with the knife and with the sound of shattering glass, the knife broke apart. It went largely unnoticed as the earth thug had his attention solely on Frenda who was the larger threat. Frenda on the other hand noticed immediately and quirked an eyebrow, wondering why the clay knife just fell apart.
'Did he loose control of his Ability?' she questioned as the boy drove his left fist into the thugs face with a sickening crack. 'Huh? Broke the bastards nose, maybe he's not so useless.'
She immediately cursed her lack of attention when her arms were suddenly cuffed to the wall by earth shackles that dug into the wall behind her.
"Basically, what the hell?" she asked in a screech.
"Heh, you like? I pre-made them for when I don't want people running away," the earth thug smirked. "Now stay right there while I deal with this idiot."
Touma turned his attention from the downed thug to the final thug, noticing the girl they were chasing was cuffed to a wall. She was wearing a black sailor top and a pleated skirt. She had a pair of pumps on her feet and dark-coloured pantihose. A dark-coloured beret sat over her blonde hair, she also looked to be around his age.
"Seriously, chaining a girl to a wall?" Touma rose an eyebrow at the thug.
"Can it brat, she's way more dangerous then you are, she already killed some of my guys," growled the thug.
That caught Touma's attention, but he decided to question that later.
"Any chance you'd let her go quietly?" Touma asked again, almost pleading.
"Seriously? You took down two of my guys and now you're pleading?" the thug let out a laugh. "Brat, you're not leaving this alley alive."
In that instant, Touma dove to the left as chunks of the ground exploded upwards, barely dodging them.
Frenda rose an eyebrow, the boy had some pretty decent dodging skills, the way he moved without that staff was far more skilful, most of it she could tell was instinctive more then any actual training. The weird thing was that training was there, just not a whole lot.
'Why did he start with the staff when he was better with his fists?' Frenda couldn't help letting out a small giggle at the frustrated yell the thug let loose because he couldn't hit the boy.
"Freaking god damn it, stay still," the thug raged as several chunks sailed forth.
Touma, who was running almost on empty, notice a point where there was a gap in the rocks. Bolting forward, he took one of the rocks to the left arm, winching as he felt a sharp pain in the shoulder he continued forward.
"God damn you, you brat." With a final roar, the thug unleashed a wave of earth, one that had Touma smirking.
"You know the bad thing about attacks like that." Frenda rose an eyebrow at how confidant he sounded. "They block your view."
With the sound of shattering glass, the wave of earth vanished quicker then a blink of an eye as the boy's outstretched right fist made contact with the thugs face with the force Frenda was sure even Mugino would be impressed with.
The thug was in a state of shock, one minute his wave of earth was going toward his opponent, the next it had completely vanished and the brat's fist was driving hard into his face, sending him flying backwards.
"Did... did my Ability mess up?" he mumbled as he passed out, back first on the ground.
Touma straightened himself up before wincing at the pain in his left shoulder. He may not have broken it but he felt he may have fractured it.
Turning his attention to the girl, he began walking over.
Frenda was in a state of shock, did that guy just... punch through a wall of earth. Those walls that bastard made were durable enough that her explosives were freaking useless against them, But this guy? With a single fist?
"Are you okay Miss?" Frenda 's momentary breakdown at the shear impossible nature of what she just witnessed was halted by the boy as he touched the earth shackles, both vaporising upon contact with his right hand and freeing her.
"Err, yeah... um" she mumbled out, before blushing red. "B...Basically I... I didn't need your help."
She couldn't accept that she just had her ass saved by this random guy with crappy fighting abilities.
Touma was silent a moment, before remembering the comment the thug made about her killing his men.
'They must both be from the Dark Side' Touma thought.
"Who the hell are you anyways?" Frenda glared at the boy in suspicion. "Basically, no one just jumps into a situation that hasn't got anything to do with them."
"Huh? Oh I kinda wasn't thinking," Touma chose to ignore the thug's comment for the time being. "When I saw you run pass, followed by those guys I just... followed as well."
Frenda couldn't believe it, she just honestly could not believe it. What sort of person just follows something like that? There isn't anyone in the world who would be a stupid as that. But taking in the sheepish grin on his face Frenda realised.
"Basically, you're telling the truth aren't you?" she let out a sound between a huff and a groan at the shear absurdity of the boy in front of her. "Do you even know the half of what you just walked into?"
"Well not the exact situation..." Touma paused, but decided that it was probably better to tell the truth. "The only thing I know right now is that you and them must be part of the Dark Side of Academy City."
This set Frenda on edge, but not for the same reasoning as it usually did. Normally it either meant she was face to face with another person from the Darkness or she was in front of an Anti-Skill Agent. He wasn't neither and that was what was making her even more edgy.
"If you're worried I'd turn you in don't worry" Touma continued, not realising the girl's inner turmoil. "You can get out of here and I'll make an anonymous tip to Anti-Skill to pick these guys up."
This made her thoughts pause, he was gonna let her go?
"Wait," she said, getting the boys attention. "Basically, you heard what that guy said, I killed people, yet your still letting me go?"
"Well, I suppose I shouldn't but... I don't know the your whole situation and I know enough about the Darkness not to ask," Touma shrugged. "And I'd rather not fight you considering I think you'd probably be able to kill me."
"Got that right," Frenda spoke imperiously. "Basically, you'd stand no chance... though I don't like how casually you admitted it."
With that said, she began to walk out of the alley. She had to beat down the urge to blow up the three thugs on the ground, but she knew the boy who helped her would try and stop her and while she knew she could take him out as well, she found she didn't want to.
She stopped at the alley intersection for a moment.
"Basically, thanks." She had no idea why she said it, it wasn't like her to be thankful but for some reason, the words just came out. She then took off running around the alley corner, trying to shake the redness on her cheeks.
Touma watched her go and sighed the moment she disappeared from sight. He was kind of surprised by the muttered 'thanks' the girl said before running off. Plus he was also glad she didn't try to kill the thugs. He knew himself well enough that he'd try and stop her, but he didn't really want to fight her, he didn't want to die that badly.
'Plus, I'd rather not fight a cute girl,' the errant thought brushed by his mind and he almost chocked. 'Seriously, not the time.'
As he took out his phone to call Anti-Skill, he stopped before going over to the earth using thug and emptying his pockets, finding a phone and a USB drive. He didn't know what made him think of doing it, normally he'd leave it to Anti-Skill but this time...
'I'll give them to the Doc.' Touma thought, leaving the alleyway and heading back towards the Lab, sending the anonymous tip to Anti-Skill via a nearby payphone.
The Dark Side of Academy City had many faces, associations and groups. Many of the groups carry out their own goal and agenda's heedless of the harm they do others while only a select few exist for the sake of maintaining balance, not for the sake of other's, but to make sure no one group within the Darkness gain too much power. A premier example of a group that falls into this category is ITEM, who's mandate is to prevent the upper classes, including the Board of Directors from getting out of hand with their power-plays against each other. It had only been established a few months prior and only consisted of two individuals. In one of the many Private Salon's in School District 3 was where the intrepid alleyway escapist Frenda Seivelun was sitting in a seiza position in front of an imposing, if beautiful girl older then her. She had soft tea coloured hair and was wearing what appeared to be a a black coloured sailor top with red accents and a black skirt, black leggings over her slender legs and brown boots that went up to her her mid calf.
"Basically, would it help to apologise?" Frenda asked hopefully.
Eye twitching, the girl let out a growl before turning heel and sitting heavily on the couch in the rather large sitting room.
"You're lucky that your stunt didn't reveal who you were," the girl spoke between clenched teeth.
It was a small mercy, but in all honest Frenda didn't screw up to big.
Shizuri Mugino let out a suffering sigh as she looked over a laptop, before Frenda dropped the ball and ended up getting chased around Academy City, she at least got the surveillance data. The leader of ITEM was more then content her intimidation act put the fear of god into the blonde idiot, what made it more annoying was the fact Mugino knew Frenda was better then that considering she saw to most of the girls training when they met a few years ago, but for some reason she always stuffed up due to complacency or underestimating a situation. Either way she at least managed to complete the mission and get out without her identity being found out.
"By the way..." Shizuri spoke again, almost smirking at how quickly Frenda's relieved face turned back to trepidation. "How did you manage to get away anyway?"
Mugino knew that while capable, Frenda was up against an opponent that essentially nullified all her advantages and if he had two others then she was curious on how the blonde escaped.
What surprised her was the myriad of emotions that spread across Frenda's face, anger, annoyance, relief... happiness before she settled on scowling a little.
"That's the thing..." and so the beret wearing girl told Shizuri of the whole fight between the mysterious boy and the three thugs.
"Basically, he sucked at fighting," she finished. "But then he just... punched through that earth bastards attack and it just vanished."
"Vanished" Mugino echoed, raising an eyebrow.
"Well I heard this... glass shattering sound and the wave of earth was just... cancelled out." Frenda was having a hard time believing what she saw. "Almost like he negated it."
This caused the tea haired girl's eyebrow to arch at the rather unbelievable tale.
"Basically... I didn't think to ask him about it, even though he told me he wouldn't hand me over to Anti-skill" Frenda winced admitting this. "I just wanted to get out of there so I never got his name either."
Whatever verbal or more likely physical reprimand she was expecting didn't come. While Shizuri smirked a little at Frenda's flinch she actually thought the blonde used her head in that situation, if only a little. Still, an Ability that allows one to negate Esper Power's, it was something she had never heard of, or even thought possible. She felt her interest stir at the thought of this boy and after getting the description of his from Frenda, made a mental note to keep an eye out for him.
That however, was for another day, right now she had research to do with the surveillance Frenda brought beck.
Kuroyama wasn't sure whether to be impressed with how bad Touma's luck was, or be worried. He wouldn't say that the situation wasn't entirely unexpected but the fact the boy actually brought back his adversary's phone and a USB stick wasn't what he had expected. The fact the boy did this with a near fractured arm was even more surprising. Luckily enough it wasn't actually fractured and a few days rest would be all he would need but Kuroyama couldn't help but wince at the thought of if the rock had struck his head.
Regardless, what the boy did was something Kuroyama had long since realised was just his instinctual reaction and part of the reason he was glad Kazuki was training him. Onto the topic of what Touma had brought him however, it was information pertaining to the group of Esper's they had dealt with two weeks ago. Meaning that the group was stilling carrying on their plans despite their leader being incarcerated.
"I'll take a few days to decide what our next move will be," Kuroyama spoke to Kazuki and Setsuna after he sent Touma home.
"You think Kamijou's gonna sit this out?" Kazuki questioned.
"Probably not, the boy would probably want to help, even though he hasn't given an answer to you," Kuroyama smiled.
"Will you accept his help though?" Setsuna asked. "I mean, his not like Kazuki and I, we've both had a few years of training under our belt."
"No, but he makes up for it in his reasons." The Professor and pony-tailed girl turned to the black haired boy with raised eyebrows. "That being he does what he does for no reason other then someone needs help."
Silence befell the room before Kuroyama let out a mirthful chuckle.
"So very true, makes the rest of us seem selfish by comparison," he replied.
Setsuna watched the two, not fully understanding what they meant because she hadn't had much interaction with the new boy so she felt like she was being left out of an inside joke.
It was a few days later that had Kazuki walk out of the Lab, ready to go through with the plan the Professor had come up with. There were two target in all, an abandoned apartment building and a warehouse, though it had an administration building that was apparently unattached, both of which were at opposite ends of School District 10. Kazuki had volunteered to take the warehouse and admin building while leaving the apartment complex to Setsuna because her Ability was more suited to closed space combat. They hadn't heard from Touma in a few days so Kazuki wasn't as surprised as he should have been to see the spiky haired boy waiting outside the Lab.
"So your going out today?" Touma asked needlessly.
"Yep, take it you wanna come with?" Kazuki smirked in return.
"I'd be lying if I said I want to jump headlong into danger..." Touma began. "But I was the one who brought that stuff to the Doc, and it won't feel right if only you guys get put in danger because of it." Touma took a deep breath. "I want to help."
"Alright, but you know the type of danger you're gonna be in right?" Kazuki asked.
"Probably a lot," shrugged Touma. "But you guys might need some help and I don't want to sit back and do nothing if I can do something."
"Heh, good answer." A car pulled up alongside them and Kazuki opened the door. "We're taking this car to an abandoned warehouse in School District 10, not far from here."
That was true, Touma figured, Kuroyama's lab was in School District 18 so it wouldn't take long to get there considering District 18 boarders District 10 to the south.
The ride over was silent for the most part, Touma noticed that the car seemed to have a partition between the front and back, a blacked out window preventing the view of the driver.
"Just because we're on he boarders of the Darkness doesn't mean we just outsource from the light," Kazuki answered Touma's unspoken question. "We use some of the more 'suspect' transportation methods because they don't ask questions and won't talk if something goes down."
It didn't sit well with Touma, but he was beginning to understand that you couldn't walk around the Dark Side of Academy City without precautions.
They arrived at their destination in short order, a chime sounded and Touma turned to Kazuki who took his phone out of his pocket and nodded.
"Nagashi's already at her position, anything you wanna ask before we go in?" Kazuki asked, stowing his phone.
"Two things actually," Touma spoke. "First is why are we doing this in the day? This strikes me more as something that should be done at night."
"That's a fair question," Kazuki nodded. "First and foremost is that we don't want to wait too long to act, that guy you took out the other night wouldn't have turned up so the other members of the group might get suspicious, as for the other reason, District 10 isn't exactly one of the most popular Districts, with the urban decline and several defunct Labs and facilities the place doesn't get much Anti-Skill or Judgement oversight either. The security is also lacking so most of the residents here are thugs and other ne'er-do-wells so anything shady pretty much gets overlooked."
"I can see that," Touma muttered, he already knew most of what was said about District 10 but he never had a cause for coming here. "Anyway, my second question is what exactly am I looking for?"
"Don't really know," Kazuki frowned. "Were were only able to get the locations from the phone. The USB was encrypted by some pretty serious hardware, the Professor's taking a while to crack it." Thinking about it for a few seconds, Kazuki turned to Touma. "I'll take the admin building, you take the warehouse, look for anything that might have some connection to those guys."
Giving an unsure nod, Touma set off in the direction of the warehouse while Kazuki went towards the administration building.
Deciding it would be better to go through an entrance rather then the warehouses front doors, Touma circled around and found a back entrance which wasn't locked. Cautiously entering he looked around.
He appeared to be in a small office area, a door going off toward the front he assumed lead to the warehouse proper while another door to the left lead to what looked like a metal staircase.
"Great, a second floor," Touma muttered to himself before opening the door to the warehouse proper.
The room was large, but most importantly mostly empty. There were a few machines about, all of which with white tarps draped over them, the smell of oil was prevalent. Walking over to a tarp covered bench he pulled the tarp back and was surprised by what he saw.
It looked like an unassuming collection of springs, screws and metal pieces, but he recognised some of the larger cylindrical pieces.
"Those are rifle barrels, then that means the rest are..." He never got a chance to finish his thought before he was struck in the side by a powerful force. 'Wind?'
His back slammed into one of the machines and he felt a blunt pain before scrambling to his feet.
"You know, I came here to finish grabbing the last of the shit we left here," a voice spoke from above Touma. "I honestly wasn't expecting a rat, Tsuchimi really dropped the ball the other night."
Standing on a platform that overlooked the first floor was a guy around eighteen. He had haphazard, windswept brown hair and hazel eyes, he was wearing a tattered black shirt and blue jeans that had holes on the knees. He jumped down and smirked.
"Don't know why you're here brat, but you not leaving alive," he grinned maliciously.
Touma barely had time to dodge to the side as a blade of wind sliced toward him, ripping the machine he was just in front of in two.
"Huh? Nimble little prick aren't you," the wind user scoffed. "Don't matter though, you won't be able to dodge my [Vacuum Slicer] for long."
Dodging several move blasts of air Touma groaned.
'He's right, any one of those attacks could take my head off.' He rolled out of the way of another slice only to notice the wind gather at the wind thugs feet before propelling him forward, a funnel of wind forming his his left hand as he raised his arm.
'A freaking wind sword?' Touma barely had enough time to raise his right hand and the blade of wind vanished with the sound of shattering glass.
"What the hell?" the thug barely managed to get out before being hit in the jaw with an uppercut, sending him into the air.
Normally that would be the end of it but Touma's left arm lacked a portion of strength owing to the injury the other night, so the thug, still concious, flipped around and blasted himself back up to his prior perch.
"What the fuck was that?" the thug asked, looking down at his hand. "That was a blade of wind made by a Level 4, it doesn't just stop working." He sent a death glare towards Touma. "What did you do brat? That wasn't normal."
Touma cursed lightly, most of his fights usually ended with him being able to capitalise on the shock his opponents have when he cancels their Ability, but this guy managed to weather his uppercut and placed himself in a position Touma couldn't reach. It was painfully obvious to the misfortunate boy that this wasn't an opponent that was going to be easily defeated.
The thugs mind was working a mile a minute, as a Level 4 one has to keep up with an advance level of calculative formulas in order to manipulate one's Personal Reality. The thing is, if someone works hard enough to reach Level 4 then a lot of the base level calculations are so ingrained they become second nature, making it easier to formulate the tougher equations. It was how he knew, despite the punch to the jaw, that he didn't stuff up on his calculations. His attack was stopped by an outside source.
"Tch, so you must have an Ability to manipulate wind and air currents as well." his tongue clicking in disgust, he glared down at Touma. "I hate fighting other's who have an Ability similar to mine, now I have to reform my calculations."
A deadly smirk spread across his face and Touma only had a split second to dodge as four strikes smashed into where he was standing.
"I fought air and wind manipulators before, so I realise my base calculations and theirs are mostly identical." This time six blasts carved up the ground tripping the spiky haired boy. "But the one thing I came to realise is that most can't control as many wind variables as I can." eight blasts this time, the boys back slamming hard against the far wall.
Two vacuums, like miniature tornado funnel's, formed either side of Touma, boxing him in.
"Tell me fellow wind user?" The thug grinned in a smug manner. "Can you control twenty wind vectors?"
It was a dumb question, because poor Touma Kamijou couldn't control twenty wind vectors, he couldn't control wind at all. This guy was under a severe misunderstanding that Touma might have found mildly amusing if it weren't for the fact he was about to be carved up into little pieces.
"Time to die brat!" However, before the thug had a chance to strike, a small explosion to the side knocked him off kilter.
"Damn it" a second later a female voice called out. "I should have taken the administrative building intsead..."
From out of the smoke that used to be a wall to an outside scaffold fire escape a girl walked. She had soft tea coloured hair that went passed her shoulders and a face that, while still blooming, already would put any other girl her age to shame. Wearing what seemed to be a rather fashionable beige coloured shirt-dress, white coloured leggings and designer loafers the girl was momentarily surprised, her eyes finding the thug, before she searched the room and saw the boy.
"Oh, so this is where the party is," she smirked, and while it did look bewitching, it also had a darkness behind it.
"What the fuck? I had enough of an annoyance with one brat, but another..." the thug trailed off looking the girl up and down. "Huh? At least you look better then the other brat, maybe you'll be more fun," he smirked lasciviously toward the girl. "Be a good little girl and wait while I kill this first brat, then I'll play with you all you want."
The girl rose an eyebrow at the words that came from the thugs mouth, before a smirk formed on her lips.
"Oh really? Well I'm sorry to say I don't like waiting, besides, I highly doubt your equipped to show any girl a fun time." The words had an instant effect and the thug glared at the girl.
"The fuck you say? You got a mouth on you don't you, guess I'll just take you out first." A burst of wind blasted around his feet, sending his up into the air, before firing another vortex straight at the girl.
As the thug made the first move, the girl smirk as five small balls of green light came to life around her head. As the thug fired the second vortex, these five balls sudden became beams, beams of pure energy the blasted apart the incoming vortex and struck the thug.
Touma watched the scene in a whirlwind of emotion. Shock when the girl had first appeared from an explosion of all things, disgust at what the thug said to the girl, amusement at the girls comeback, worried that the thug was incensed and attacked her, fascinated by the balls of energy the girl emitted, amazement at how they turned into beams that tore through the thugs wind vortex and then horror at what those beams did to the thug.
When Touma had decided to help Kazuki out with this job, he was expecting a fair bit of blood and injury, mostly his on account of his own shear lack of offensive power and general misfortune. But what he was not expecting, was the amount of gore that came from when those beams struck the thugs body.
No other word could describe the thugs body being separated in five pieces and some of those pieces imploding from what seemed to be a sudden increase of heat. Blood and meat chunks rained down over the warehouse and Touma was surprised by the fact none of the gore actually reached him. He also idly noticed the with funnels were gone on account of their owner now decorating a decent portion of the warehouse walls and floor.
The girl, seemingly happy with her job, then turned to the other presence in the room. Touma felt her eyes upon him and tore his eyes away from the carnage that was once a living person to meet her eyes with his own. She looked pensive for a moment before a looked of what seemed to be recognition lit up in her eyes which confused Touma on account of having never met the girl before. He was slightly taken aback by the smile that crossed her lips before he shivered as he noticed the look in her eyes. They were the look of a cat that had just found her favourite mouse.
"Only three days and I ended up running into you," she spoke in a voice oozing with sadism. "If you're here then that means you at least have something to do with our side."
Touma didn't need to question what she meant by 'our side.' the fact she was so calm after she had effective turned a person to almost blood mist was a clear indicator that he was dealing with a member of the Dark Side of Academy City.
"You saved a colleague of mine the other night." As she said this, the face of the cute blonde foreigner popped into his mind, he quickly realised this might be her boss. "As much as it was her fault she was in that situation and complete dumb luck you happened to show up at the right time, I suppose I should say thank you. Good help is hard to find and I've spent a good few years training her."
Touma was unsure where she was going with this, but soon got his answer.
"She said something that interested me." Touma gulped at the spark of interest in her eyes. "She said the thug you fought, you negated his attack?"
It wasn't a question, Touma knew that, she was only confirming what she knew so Touma just nodded.
"I see," the tea haired girl spoke in a conversational tone. "I must say, I've seen a lot of Esper power's over the years, but this is a first that negation has ever shown up on my radar. Tell me, what Level are you?"
For some reason, Touma knew his answer was going to cause trouble.
"I'm just a Level 0." He almost flinched at the girls sudden scowl.
"What the fuck?" She spat out. "Level 0? With an Ability like that? There's no way."
"It's true, my power can't be affected by the System Scans so I'm officially a Level 0," Touma hoped she wasn't going to try to kill him.
She seemed to think about the situation for a bit before smirking in a devilish manner.
"If that's so, how about a test?" she asked, leaning over the rail that was around the risen platform she was on.
"A... Test?" Touma muttered wearily.
"Yep," she smirked wider, before she smiled in an almost psychotic manner. "Try not to die."
The way she lightly said those words didn't match the fact that as she said them, a fist size ball of green appeared in front of her face and fired towards Touma.
His hand was already moving when he saw the ball, of course her test was to fire her freaking Ability at him, the same Ability that had only just reduced another human to a bunch of bloody chunks and fine blood smears. The green beam smashed into his right and and for a brief moment he could feel the heat it generated before it disappeared from existence with the sound of shattering glass.
The girl was amazed, the boy had taken her attack with full force and was still alive.
"She was right," a maniac grin spread across her lips. "What an interesting power you have."
"The hell was that, you could have killed me," Touma shouted incredulously, only causing the girl to smirk sadistically.
"But I didn't," she said simply. "And you should be proud because you just negated the highest output attack Academy City has to offer."
"Highest... Output?" Touma suddenly had a very bed feeling.
"Oh right, I haven't introduced myself," the girl leapt down from the scaffold and landed deafly on the ground floor before straightening up. "My name is Shizuri Mugino, and what you just so effortlessly negated was an Ability named Meltdowner." The name rung a bell, how could it not. "I am the Number 3 Level 5 of Academy City."
And so Touma could only mumble the one thing that summed up this entire situation.
-TO BE CONTINUED-
A/N : And there you have it, Touma's luck at it's finest. Saving poor Frenda from thugs only to then help out the professor and meet with Meltdowner herself. I was tossing and turning on who I wanted Touma to meet first, but I figured that because my story was going to feature him actually delving into the Dark Side of Academy City in order to help people it only made sense for it to be Shizuri. The hardest thing was trying to decide whether I needed to scale her back a bit considering she's only in middle school and has only been doing these jobs for a few years (ITEM only having not long started up.)
On account of her being Number 3, I figure that because this is three years previous to Canon then Mikoto, while still being a Level 5 was still in the area of testing what her full capabilities are. I considered Accelerator being lower as well but I figured that when he reached Level 5 he would have went directly to the first spot.
Also, I want to address a review from a guest who made the statement that three years prior to canon there wasn't 7 Level 5's. You may be right, but I couldn't find anything in regards to an order of who was Level 5 and when, so I just had all of them there. We know that Mikoto was at least Level 5 in her first year of Middle School along with Misaki but that was all I was really able to confirm. Sorry if anyone has a problem with this.
Anyways, I hope you all enjoyed the chapter (and thinking back, I think that's the most goriest scene I've written thus far.) As always, reviews and comments are welcome.