One year later...
TIme is fast. That's what everyone would say, everyone but one certain ghost sweeper. Time is incredibly slow and excruciating and my master is a REAL pain in the ass. That's what Yokoshima would say. But what exactly the little sentence "my master is a REAL pain in the ass" is about, you would ask.
"Damn old geezer..." Thought Yokoshima.
And that's the answer. When Yokoshima choose to learn everything about alchemy, he had never expected to have to learn everything about martial arts, too. But what really bothered him was his master, the one and only Maria, the robot that would make the Terminator look as dangerous as Barney the Dino. To sum it up, Yokoshima was afraid that every day would be his last. And that's not a joke.
Chaos always said that learning martial arts ware essential in alchemy, only through these combat lessons he would achieve the necessary calm and focus needed in performing alchemy. Now Yokoshima thought that this was only a sadistic method to torture him, well the old man looked like he would always enjoy those lessons anyway. But he had to admit it, martial arts worked wonders for his body and spirit. He learned to put away his emotion in battle, he never felt this calm and relaxed when fighting, he truly became a fearsome fighter. During his training the Hand of Glory changed too, now it covered his entire forearm, making it a lot more fearsome and usefull too, since it could be used as a shield too now. Yokoshima didn't like to brag but he was sure that now he could kick Mikami's ass from here to Nirvana.
It was a beautiful Sunday morning, as usual Yokoshima was going to Chaos, on his way to him, he took out the alchemic book that he always bring with him. He opened the book on the resurrection chapter, and began to read. With a tiny grin he thought of when he couldn't understand one bit of what was written in the book, the latin didn't help anyway.
Yokoshima began to mentally summarize what he needed to resurrect his lover, the 'ingredients' of the human body and a fraction of soul of the resurrected. The book said that a drop of blood from a familiar was needed to reconstruct the genetic structure of the body, and with it the soul, but Yokoshima didn't need blood to resurrect Lucciola, in his body there still was part of Lucciola's soul, which she used to save him at the cost of her life.
Yokoshima knew that he was close to his objective, he couldn't help to think of what the future would reserve to him and his lover. He had his own plans though. After thinking deeply, he decided that he would leave the agency, he didn't want to expose him and his girlfriend to the danger of that work, not after the whole Ashtaroth ordeal. He thought of living again with his parents, in America, maybe going to a college, who knows.
"But before doing all these things, I have to actually resurrect Lucciola first..." said Yokoshima with a sigh.
With this in mind he made his way to Chaos, and in five minutes he was at destination. He ringed the doorbell, and waited for someone to greet him. In a short while the door opened with Maria to the other side who greeted him.
"Good morning Mr Yokoshima."
"Hi, is Chaos inside ?" Asked the GS. Maria fully opened the door, "Yes, he's in the bathroom. Please, come in." Said Maria in her robotic voice. Yokoshima followed the robot inside, which lead him in the living room where she told him to wait Chaos here.
"I'm going to call Dr Chaos, make yourself at home."
Yokoshima sat on a couch waiting for his master. This was actually his last day of training, Yokoshima was supposed to take some kind of test to complete his training. He frowned, quite worried about this thing. Hey it was Chaos after all, can anyone really blame him ?
He was getting tired of waiting the old man, he knew about the old man's incontinence, but damn, he sure was taking his sweet time.
"Damn old geezer.." As he said that, Yokoshima felt the pain of having his head hit by a fist, which meant his master arrived.
"Stupid brat, how many time do I have to tell you that you have to respect your teacher ?" Shouted the old man.
"What the hell, old man ? Can't you just greet a visitor as any other sane person would ?" Responded the student, which procured him another punch on the head.
"OWW, would u stop that already ?"
Chaos just humpfed then he sat down on the sofa in front of Yokoshima. He made himself comfortable then he called Maria.
"Maria bring that iron block i put in my bedroom here please."
"Yes, Dr. Chaos."
Watching as Maria went away, Yokoshima mentally wondered what was that about. He decided to express his thoughts to his master.
"Iron block ?" Asked Yokoshima.
"That's your first test."
Yokoshima just lifted an eyebrow in wonder.
Chaos remained silent. Just a few seconds later and Maria was back with an iron plate, long almost 5 feet and very thick.
Yokoshima just stared in wonder at the peace of iron.
"What am I supposed to do with this ?" Asked Yokoshima in wonder.
"Transmute it in a sword." Answered the teacher.
"A sword ?"
Chaos shrugged then he answered. "I have to evaluate you, don't I ? Try to make it with lots of details."
With that Yokoshima started to draw an alchemic circle on a paper put under the iron block. Finished his drawing he put his hands on the block, and started to focus. A bright light erupted from the paper and in an instant where there was a block of raw iron, now stood a beautiful persian scimitar, with the handle trimmed with gold and a sapphire set on the pommel. Golden lines interwove on the blade finishing with a single thread, the longest, on the half of the blade.
Chaos took the scimitar and examined it letting his finger slide on the flat of the blade and with a few swings. Satisfied he gently put the sword on the couch whispering about some collector that would pay him greatly for this piece of art.
"Is that it ? Is it already over ?" Asked the young pupil. Then he saw that. He saw what he learned over those 12 months to be a promise of great pain and despair. He saw Chaos smirk.
"Far from it, my dear pupil. Now comes the actual test."
Now Yokoshima was truly worried. "…What kind of test do you have in mind ?"
Chaos' smirk widened, Yokoshima started to sweat. "You'll see. Come."
Chaos leaved the the living room inviting his pupil to follow him. They ended up in chaos bedroom…which was now a 25x25 square room with no furniture and with alchemic circles drawn upon the center of each wall.
"Impressive uh ?" Chaos was clearly pleased with himself. Truly it was a fabulous work, Yokoshima of course understood what his master did, but to actually pull it off...
"You actually managed to change the law of physics in this room. With a lil of magic, alchemy and science you created a quantic sub-stratum in the space. It's like we're on a real scale hyper-cube. That's impressive old man, and here I though you were just a senile old man who enjoys torturing young people."
That comment of course procured him another punch on his head. "That was for being a disrespectful smart-ass. Anyway I'm pleased to know that you actually paid attention to those physics lessons."
"Anyway." Continued Chaos " Maria if you would stand on the center please."
Maria did as she was told and waited. Yokoshima from his part, could swore he was hearing his freaking' instinct to shout 'Get the hell out of here, you stupid mothafucka !'.
"Now brat, get ready, this is gonna be the fight of your life."
Yokoshima felt the single drop of cold sweat run through his face and fall to the ground. He didn't actually heard what he thought he had heard, right ?
Chaos on the other hand calmly stepped away from there and uttered a single order to his android. "Maria, attack."
"Oh shi-" Yokoshima didn't even have the time to finish uttering the swearing, that he had Maria's fist coming alarmingly fast to his face. He managed to activate his Hand of glory in time and protect himself with it, but the power behind the punch made him actually loose his footing and falling to the ground. He loosely evaded Maria's foot by rolling himself on the ground. He stared for a second at the hole that Maria created with her foot then he got up and elongated his claws. He hit Maria in her abdomen but the damage was practically nothing, just four scratches on Maria's clothes.
Muttered the young GS while Maria attacked him again. Again, Yokoshima managed to shield himself with the Hand but the power behind the punch was so great that he found himself flying across the room. He hit the wall and slumped to the ground. Yokoshima hissed in pain, he could feel a displaced vertebra and a dislocated shoulder. With his sane hand he materialized a monju and swallowed it. His shoulder and vertebra popped themselves in their right place. Feeling completely rejuvenated, Yokoshima swiftly stood up while Maria was slowing advancing in his direction.
'Damnit this is not good… If we keep going at this pace, she'll crush me !' Yokoshima was desperately thinking of a way to counter Maria's bone-crashing attacks when he actually realized where he stood. He was right next to the alchemic circle. Quickly putting his hand on the wall, with a flash of light he transmuted a double bladed sword spiritually charged. Small discharge of energy encircled the two blades. With the exotic sword at his side, Yokoshima charged toward his opponent.
"Let's see what's tougher, Maria. That super alloy of yours or my alchemy !"
The alchemist slashed at Maria's side, but the attack was easily evaded. Maria tried to counter attack, her punch was deflected by Yokoshima's blade who continued his attack making an upward slash with the other end of the sword. Maria bent backwards to evade the attack, but Yokoshima was not finished. Rotating his body he brought a powerful slash at the android's legs which Maria dodged with a backflip. Yokoshima was right on her face when she landed, and slashed at her head, Maria brought her hand up to protect herself. Metallic hand and blade clashed creating a shower of sparks. Yokoshima pressed on the blade, focusing and charging it with his spiritual energy, making it emit a light blue hue. The android's hand flew off, Yokoshima continued his slash, fully intent on cutting her head too. Maria lowered herself then she tried an upper cut which was swiftly sidestepped but her young opponent who made another slash toward her head. Maria tried to protect herself with her arm but this time there was no resistance by her super metallic alloy. The blade cleanly sliced her arm at her forearm, the droid tried to get some distant but Yokoshima stepping ahead with a foot, he spun himself and put the other end of the double blade on Maria's chin, finally ending the duel.
A light clapping resonated on the room. Yokoshima turned toward the Chaos and went toward him, trowing the sword on the ground.
"So, did I pass ?" Asked Yokoshima, slightly out of breath from the intense duel.
"Yes, brat. You did it, though…"
Again for the fourth time of the day Chaos' fist found his way on Tokoshima's head.
"OWW, WHAT THE HELL OLD MAN !"
"SHUT IT YOU STUPID BRAT ! DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA OF HOW MUCH TIME I'LL WASTE IN REPAIRING HER ?"
Yokoshima just grumbled under his breath, while Chaos went over to Maria to analyze the extent of the damage.
"Stupid snot nosed brat, you just had to cut her arm clean off now, didn't you ?" Mumbled Chaos.
"Well anyway, seems like you're a full fledged alchemist now. Congrats."
Yokoshima stopped mumbling when he heard those words. He was an alchemist, a real alchemist. For one long year he thought about this moment, the moment when he was recognized as an alchemist. Now he had all the pieces, now he could realize his dream, Lucciola would be alive again. It was then that Yokoshima found himself smiling. It was a long time since he genuinely smiled, it felt kind of strange actually.
"Anyway-" Started Chaos, effectively buying Yokoshima's attention again. "You need a nickname."
"Yes, it's kind of an alchemist thing, you know ? Everybody in the sector has one, I'm known as the Devil of Europe*." Answered Chaos.
"A nickname, uh…I can't really think of one right now, but I'll think of one later. Well I guess I'm done here right ? See ya."
With his hands in his pockets, Yokoshima made his way to the front door and went away. Chaos watched him go with a pensive look.
"Is something wrong, Doctor Chaos ?" Asked the robot.
Chaos sighed then answered. "I'm worried about him Maria. Something about that boy is…off."
"What do you mean, doctor ?"
"You see, I'm the best in this field, alchemy has no secrets for me."
"Of course, doctor."
"But to get at this level I had many, many years of experience. Literally centuries. But that brat… That brat menages to surpass me in only one year."
Maria tilted her head in confusion. "I don't understand. Doesn't human protocols impose you to be happy to see your pupil advance even farther then yourself ?"
"No Maria, you don't understand. What that boy accomplished is something that goes way beyond genius… That's just… Inhuman."
21.38 Yokoshima's apartment.
The small room was only mild illuminated. Lights went on and off, giving an ominous look at the room. The entrance door was half open, with part of it blown off. Everyone could've peaked inside if they wanted to, but the sight might just clean their guts. Blood was everywhere. On the walls, on the floor, some of it was even on the ceiling. But the scariest things were the two figures inside, one was a monster, no other way to describe it, it was inform and all in all revolting. The other was a boy, a boy with a missing arm and leg. The boy was shivering, for the blood loss or from the terror he was feeling no one could say. His breath was labored and was sweating a lot, his eyes wide open staring at the slowly advancing monster.
"It…was…not supposed…to be like this. You were…supposed to be with me…to live again…" The boy breathed out.
The monster was in agony, anyone could tell, it was now at few inches from the boy. The monster stopped, staring at the boy with its disproportioned bloodshot eyes, it was dying, they both knew it. It said just one thing before exhaling its last breath.
No one in the building managed to ever forget those screams for the rest of their life.
*In the italian version he is presented this way, i don't know if in the english version is the same so I apologize if i created some confusion ^_^