Whew. Finished the 2nd chapter. Sorry for the delay. My computer crashed about two weeks ago and really destroyed the momentum. I'm also having difficulty because the newly repaired PC had distractions in the form of games – WORKING, FAST GAMES – unlike when it was still junk. Anyways, hope you like it. Oh yeah, before I forget. I would like to thank Ms. Peacecraft for the copy reading. Don't worry, I'll pay you off… somehow… And people, once you read, SUBMIT A REVIEW! It'll be tons of help.
I haven't read the GK1985 novel yet. Which means, this is totally fictional – in terms of the GK storyline. So, if it seems that I'm distorting some facts in the real storyline, it's not intended and is purely an accident. Happy reading!
o O o
Chapter 2: Rendezvous
Are you the one we're looking for?
Maybe… I got lost looking for someone for too long…
Are you a gatekeeper, like us?
I don't know… But I'm certain I'm not of them…
What's your name?
Knowing it is not important… I am a void wandering in the abyss…
Wait! Don't go yet.
I need to… I need to follow the river's flow…
Will we see you again?
The rain will give you the answer…
o O o
As classes ended the following day, an unusual announcement was broadcasted over the school. The Young Librarians Association was requesting all of its members to assemble inside the principal's office for a very important meeting. Most of the students ignore such announcements, especially when it has something to do with the principal. They would rather go home and slack the whole day off. Minami could only look on with envy as the students exited the school gates, wishing that she too would be lying on her bed, watching television with a box of her favorite chocolates on her bedside table. Every time such a broadcast plays, she and Ran must immediately rush to the rooftop area. Taicho is calling them for a meeting.
As Minami looks on to the students behind a wire fence that borders the whole rooftop, she and Ran were discussing about the events that happened yesterday.
"Is that what he really said?" Minami asked Ran. Ran answered with a nod. Why be so cryptic? Is he hiding something? Tch. Such a bother…
An awkward silence filled the place. Ran was not her usual jolly self. It was evident that she too was deep in thought about yesterday's proceedings. It was the first time she felt such strong fear and uncertainty within her. She knew from the start that by accepting this job, she'd be always near death's side. But she was confident that her powers would save her. Too confident, mostly because of her mother's stories on how she was once like her. She told her daughter everything about her past. This fueled Ran's passion to realize her dream: to be able to prove that someone like her has worth and significance. Being the only daughter and the youngest among her siblings, she has always felt that she was the weak and inferior one. Her brothers always made fun of her, and her classmates and friends would criticize her because of her passive attitude, so she always gets left behind. This made her think that she's useless and insignificant. Her child-like attitude and aura only made things worst because she always gets too much attention. After she found out about the existence of her powers, her self-worth was renewed. She found an opportunity to put her dream into reality.
What she did not realize is that for her dream to come true, she must not depend too much on her powers. What she is doing is still a form of inferiority. But no one can blame her. Only three months have passed since she joined Minami. She still has many things to learn and experience. It never crossed her mind that no matter how great one's power is, it still depends on how the wielder uses it. After the Invader ambush yesterday, she started to have second thoughts on whether all of this is worth doing for the realization of her dream.
"Don't worry too much about it, Ran-chan," Minami was quick to answer. "It was an unexpected event. We had no control over it."
Minami knew Ran would ask her sooner or later about what happened to her yesterday. She knew it couldn't be helped. She was the one closest to Ran. It is during these circumstances that Minami, an academic topnotcher and considered by all as a genius, does not know what to say or do. She is not your typical sociable kind of person. She hates it when someone airs their problems to her. She believes that we are given the ability to reason for us to be able to worry about our own dilemmas and not depend on others for answers. And usually, most of us only give false hopes when we try to answer their grievances, in turn troubling the already troubled. Another thing she hates is seeing the people close to her sad and depressed. On such occasions, she just shifts the topic of their conversation to something else or she just ends it. It might be a cold reception, but for her, it deals less pain.
"We all have questions and I'm sure taicho will have all the answers. He always has." Minami assured Ran.
"The answers to what?" a familiar voice replied.
Both girls suddenly stood in attention and faced the doorway. Standing there was a man clad in a chemist's robe and under it, the school's prescribed teacher's uniform. He had long silver hair, down to his shoulders, with bangs swaying with the breeze. It was bound by a black cloth, apparently a handkerchief, at the back to keep it from getting messed up. He was wearing glasses, adding to his scholarly and academic look. He was holding a clipboard on his left hand.
"Please… I know it's AEGIS Directive but calling me by that title makes me feel I'm old already," he uttered. Ran let out a giggle while Minami just put on a sarcastic smile. "Just call me by my first name, okay?"
"Yes, Tetsuya-senpai," Minami replied.
"That's better!" he exclaimed, with a smirk on his face.
Yukigane Tetsuya is Minami and Ran's commanding officer. At twenty-four, he is the youngest AEGIS Commander in history. Known as "The Mastermind", what brought his early success was his study of Gate Phenology and Genealogy. His efforts resulted in the classification of all known gate powers and abilities and how one specific gate power evolves as it is passed down from generation to generation. He alternately works as a chemistry teacher in the same school as the girls. He is admired not only in the organization but also in the campus because of his devilishly good looks and being one hardworking and dependable person. Still, other people dislike his sensitivity concerning his physical appearance. If there is one thing that will ruin his day, it would be a blemish on his face or a very bad hair day.
"How are you Ran-chan?" asked Tetsuya.
"Good! Tired because of yesterday," she cheerfully replied. She doesn't want Tetsuya to see her distressed. It only makes her feel worse.
"Glad to hear that. Why don't you go straight home and rest after Minami has handed out the new instructions. I believe your last day of training back at HQ is tomorrow."
She nods her head. "I will Tetsuya-senpai."
Aside from Minami, Tetsuya also treats Ran as if she was her younger sister. She reminds him of his own sister, who is almost the same age as her. Although only Minami and Tetsuya discuss during reports since she is still in training, she stays and waits for Minami since she stays at Minami's place. Ran's house is far from the city and she needed a place to stay if she's going to undergo training. It was Tetsuya who suggested that she'd stay and live with Minami. Being an only child, Minami was open to have such company.
"How was the mission, Minami?" asked Tetsuya.
"We found the target, but we were ambushed by the enemy at the site, sir. He helped us during the battle. Afterwards, we tried to make contact but he declined."
"Oh… Well, at least we have already ID'd his signal. Once he uses his gate, we'll be able to track him down. And did you know he just used a fifteen percent output during your battle yesterday?"
"Really? He made huge pillars of water appear and that's only fifteen percent?"
"Pillars of water? So he has the water elemental gate."
"I believe so, Tetsuya-senpai."
"Anything else?" he asked.
"About the ambush yesterday… How come there was no alien frequency detected before they appeared?"
"Yes, we were also surprised that Invaders suddenly appeared out of nowhere. As if they were teleported…"
"I'm not sure."
"They were after Ran. She was their target."
Tetsuya was surprised with what Minami just said. Could it be? Are they already starting their plan?
"Tetsuya-senpai?" she asked. He suddenly became silent and it was evident that something was troubling him.
"Oh… Ah… I… I was just dumbfounded because it didn't rain today," a startled Tetsuya uttered.
Minami looked at the sky. It was partly cloudy and it has no sign of raining. The rain will give you the answer. What is the answer then?
"Before I forget, I was ordered to bring you to the meeting tomorrow. I believe you should come with me. You must tell the committee the events that happened yesterday."
"Yes, Tai- I mean, Tetsuya-senpai."
"I have some good news too! You'll be having a new member."
After hearing those words, Minami remembered the first time Ran joined her. Oh no, not again…
He called Ran's attention and he went back inside the doorway. When he returned, someone was with him. He looks a lot like Tetsuya, only with shorter, light brown hair. He was also wearing Tetsuya's trademark smile. Minami just shook her head, thinking of the worst.
"So, introduce yourself to these pretty ladies," Tetsuya commanded his companion.
"Good day everyone, my name's Takeshi. Nice to see you!" He bows as he ends his greeting.
Tokaze Takeshi is in the same year as Minami and Ran, even in the same section. Tetsuya set it up so that it would be easy to assemble them and for them to easily bond. He is one guy who always smiling, carefree and cool-headed. He rarely shows his emotions to others. He is also a very respectful person. Respect and suppressing emotion was the only thing he learned and remembered after years of living with his cruel foster parents. He never knew what happened to his real parents. All he knows is that they abandoned him when he was still young because he had unexplainable supernatural powers. They did not want any demons in their family. Even though all they gave him was pain, he still wanted to see them again.
"Takeshi is a new graduate of the training corps at HQ. He just finished the program last week and the committee decided to add him to our roster. They said that we need more support." Tetsuya explained.
"So, what's his gate power?" Minami asked.
"Show 'em TK."
Takeshi extended his right arm sideways. "GATE OPEN!" A crystal clear gate projected in front of him. He then retracted his outstretched arm and covered his eyes. The gate projection disappears as he takes off his hand. He opened his eyes. It was all white and it looked very disturbing. Ran suddenly held Minami's arm tightly.
"Then…?" an impatient Minami asked.
"There." Tetsuya replied.
"What there? His eyes just changed color. What are you talk-"
Minami was cut short with what she saw. Her pen was suddenly levitating in mid-air. She saw it and immediately grabbed it.
"His gate is also known as the Ghost Gate. The Gate of Levitation." Tetsuya explained. "It is a hybrid version of the Barrier Gate. He surrounds the target with a barrier and is then able to manipulate the target in any direction he wants. Unlike most Barrier-type gates, it cannot defend the target from an extreme force, such as explosions. It can only avert it from such a force."
Minami nodded her head as Tetsuya finished his lecture, while Ran is still looking at Takeshi's eyes.
"Uh… Tetsuya-senpai. Can he still see while using his ability?" asked the ever-curious Ran.
"Of course. It's just a manifestation of his gate ability." Tetsuya answered.
Tetsuya's phone started to ring. He then gave Minami the clipboard he was holding.
"Take his data sheet and the mission briefing, Minami. I have to go. I still have work to do back at the lab."
"Follow everything that's written on the briefing. Everything clear?"
Everyone nods their heads. "Roger. AEGIS!"
Just a few moments after Tetsuya left, their watches suddenly rang in alarm.
"Alien frequency detected at sector 27, area 370," said Takeshi as he was looking at his watch.
"That's the train station near the harbor," Ran added. She then faced Minami. "You think he's going to be there?"
"Maybe. If that's where the river's flow ends."
o O o
Somewhere inside an abandoned office building in the outskirts of town, silhouettes of three people can be seen inside. It seems that one of them was holding their source of light on his hand. This person was sitting on a makeshift chair, in front of two other people.
"We have found the two targets," one of the two people said. This person had a soft, light voice and seems to be female.
"Very good," the one sitting on the chair said. "Everything is going according to plan." He had a brash voice, indicating the person is a he.
"What if they find out before we acquire the targets?" the other person inquired. Having a low voice, it was distinctively a man.
"Then we have to prevent them from knowing it," the person on the chair answered.
"How are we going to do that?" asked the female.
"Brute force. Us three are going to do that. We have magnificent powers, haven't we?" replied the one on the chair.
"Are you sure of this? We need to be sure and ready," the one with the low voice, said. "If we fail, we are sure to be killed when master returns."
"WE WILL NOT FAIL!" the one on the chair exclaimed. The light surrounding them suddenly brightened at that instant. He stood up and walked around the area. "They will never find out about our plans. How could they, when they are reduced to ashes?"
An evil laughter filled the dark halls of the abandoned building, just as cold gusts of wind blew inside the broken windows, and as clouds covered the moon that illuminated the area.