Author's Note: This story is rated T for potentially violent battle scenes and low level coarse language (mild swearing from some characters).
Despite romance not being a main factor in this story, there will be moments between pairings that were shown in the series (Amuto, Tadamu, one-sided KairixAmu, various side pairings, etc). There is a small handful of confirmed pairings, which will be revealed throughout the story. I hope that this isn't an issue; please be assured that this is a story for anyone, no matter what your pairing preferences may be.
It's important to note that this story follows the storyline from the manga, but will reference the anime as well and will intertwine with it accordingly. It's set after the Death Rebel arc (Chapter 43 of the manga), and occurs approximately a year after said arc.
Reviews are appreciated and loved. If you leave one, then thank you.
I hope you enjoy reading the new and improved prologue (and the rest of the story, for that matter. I can't believe I'm back to write and finally finish this story off once and for all! The re-writes come first before anything else; it will be noted in the summary when a chapter is fixed). PM me if you have any questions.
P.S For any new readers: You may read the story if you want, but as it's currently being re-written, I don't recommend reading any chapters that have not been edited yet (there will be a note in bold font at the beginning of these chapters).
The chemical mixture smelt like burnt ramen. It reminded him of many a night's dinner, or the smell of the classroom if someone brought lunch to school and it had leaked out from their bag because the lid wasn't sealed on tight enough.
Ah, those were the days...
Resisting the urge to dry-retch, Yuu Nikaidou poured the chemicals into a small dish and placed it into a large beaker sitting on top of a tripod. He shoved a Bunsen burner underneath it, connected it to the nearest gas tap, and bent down to retrieve the test subject from his duffel bag: a hand-sized black egg with a white cross emblazoned on it. Much to his surprise, the X-Egg didn't protest. It was placed into the beaker next to the dish and sealed inside. He turned the gas tap on, struck a match, and watched the flame crackle to life.
The school day was over, but he had every right to walk the corridors at this late hour. The keys to the laboratory were still his until next Monday, when he was supposed to stop by Mr. Tabuchi's office first thing in the morning to hand in his final paperwork. It was unfortunate that he had been assigned the role of a science teacher; a homeroom teacher position would have been much more preferred. Despite being fired from his fairly new job in Seiyo Academy's middle school department due to his lack of extensive scientific knowledge and klutzy antics, he was determined to finish his little experiments in the school's science facilities before his departure.
He tapped the glass beaker three times in succession. Still no results.
His fiancée Yukari had been fast asleep when he had snuck out of the house. It wasn't too hard a task; the woman could sleep through an earthquake if she had enough beer with her dinner. He doubted that she would wake up, but if luck was not on his side tonight, he was bound to get an earful of her rage when he got home.
"Damnit…" The chemicals inside the beaker had reached a high enough temperature to become gas, but it had fogged up the glass entirely. So much for noting down his observations—
Finally, he got a reaction. He couldn't see what was going on inside the beaker, but he could hear the hissing getting louder and more vicious. The gas must be causing the X-Egg pain. Good, this is what he was hoping for. If this experiment played out according to his theory, then he would have the Embryo in his hands before dawn.
According to the Guardians, the Embryo didn't exist. The mythical wishing egg was nothing more than a normal Heart's Egg that had been seeking its lost owner. He had tried to make one during his Easter days and failed, but this time he had a new theory. Recently he had found a stack of old notes he had written a long time ago that hinted at something that Easter didn't consider: if guardian characters are born from eggs, then what was happening between the event of a child conceiving a guardian egg and the birth of said character? What was growing inside the egg during that time? Surely the character must be growing inside until it matures, a guardian egg can't be born with nothing inside it. But what was that form? What could it do?
The hissing stopped. Yuu turned on the air conditioning, grabbed a cloth and covered his nose and mouth with it. He slowly opened the lid off the beaker, and let the chemical smoke float out and up into the air vents. When he was sure the room was completely aired out, he looked at the egg. There was a strange black puddle of tar pooled around it. The egg itself looked crack free, except that its markings had melted off, rendering the eggshell the colour of concrete.
So far his theory was proving to be correct. Empty Heart's Eggs wouldn't have anything inside, that was true. But if one could force them to become empty, then there would still be untapped power from the unborn guardian character inside it. If an unborn character could be rendered back into an embryonic state, then that basic form of someone's dream might have enough power to lure out the Embryo.
"Yes!" Yuu celebrated by doing a little dance. He hopped over to his bag and fished out the other X-Eggs. On another bench was a row of beakers; he placed an X-Egg into each one and skipped along. He wasn't doing anything wrong as these X-Eggs were defunct leftovers he found in Easter's main building, so the Guardians wouldn't try to track him down or accuse him of being the bad guy again. Nobody knew of his intentions and he was going to get the Embryo soon; his experiment was going to be a complete success!
"Hm." He looked over his shoulder at his work. "Wait a minute." Yuu walked over to the bench and peered at the egg again. How sure was he that there was something special inside this egg? And if there was one, how was he going to get it out?
Yuu's smile dropped. His shoulders slumped. He groaned, and rested his face in his hands. It was no use trying to think of a way. If an egg was smashed, whatever was inside it –character, embryo, melted goo— would disappear along with it. There was no way of getting it out.
He took his glasses off and rubbed his eyes. "What am I going to do now?" He looked back at the grey egg and sighed. As he observed the egg, he casually tapped the beaker with his glasses. "What secrets do you hold inside of you?" he muttered. What a stupid question. He already knew what was inside an X-Egg, he had just hoped it was something more than someone's lost childhood dream, for once.
Yuu had had enough of this experiment. He snapped a latex glove on and grabbed the egg. He held it up to eye level. "Looks like I have no need for you anymore." He placed the grey egg on the ground and raised his foot above it.
The egg zoomed away.
Yuu whipped around, looking at the egg now floating in the air by the chalkboard. "Wha—? Come back here yo—!" He made a running leap towards it, but the egg dodged. He skidded along the floor, crashing into the corner and causing a life-sized model of the human body to wobble. Now beyond frustrated, he picked himself up and made another grab for the egg. It shot upwards out of reach, as if it were taunting him.
The human body model clattered when it collided against the ground. After slightly missing it, the egg darted around the room in a haphazard fashion. Where ever it flew it left behind a trail of chaos. Shards of glass were peppered amongst the metal clamps of various sizes. Stacks of blank paper were either flung around the floor or flapping against the air vents.
Yuu noticed one of the legs on the human body model had broken off. He grabbed it, but when he looked up, he noticed that the egg was gone. Damn thing must've flown out the window.
Great. This was just perfect.
"Damn egg! I hope it bursts into a million pieces!" Before he took his frustrations out on fixing himself up and cleaning the lab, Yuu used his newly-acquired fake leg to destroy the other X-Eggs before they got the same idea. The grey egg, which was hiding behind a stack of books, waited until he was looking the other way before it flew out the open window and into the night.