DISCLAIMER: I do not own Black Rock Shooter nor any concepts related to Black Rock Shooter. All rights, permissions, and characters are reserved and owned by Huke, Ryo and Ordet.

In a world of black and white, a hero is born...

Let us return to the beginning! These are the chronicles of Black Rock Shooter!

Black Rock Shooter Chronicles, Act Twenty: Nihilism

Gray soared through the air, her hair flailing about wildly, as she made her way towards the only remaining scene of battle. Rain pelted her face like tiny bullets. Somewhere ahead, Mato was engaged in battle with a formidable enemy, and Gray hazarded a guess as to who it was.

Gray clenched her fists in agony, as she recalled what had transpired between Yomi and herself mere hours ago…

"Damn it."

Gray's mouth gaped in horror as Yomi fell before her. Droplets of blood splattered against her face, and before she knew what was happening, Yomi was already in her arms. A deep gash ran across Yomi's body from shoulder to hip.

The fake Dead Master's usually proud and sadistic demeanour had vanished. Instead, it had been replaced by a look of horror at what she had done. Gray glared at their enemy with a look of pure hatred, and without warning, a blade of black and orange materialized from the puddle of blood that had begun to pool around Yomi's body. Gray grasped the weapon and gave it a swing. Lacerations appeared in the cold, stone floor.

"You… Monster…" Snarled Gray from behind gritted teeth.

The fake Dead Master sensed Gray's sudden surge of killing intent, and began to back away. The monster made no sound, or rather, she could not. Gray looked from the fake Dead Master to Yomi. Yomi's lips were caked with blood, and her breathing was ragged and faint. Gray knew that she had to finish the fake Dead Master before Yomi breathed her last, otherwise they would all die together.

"Don't worry Yomi… I'll end this…" Gray whispered tenderly. She then got up to put an end to this façade.

Yomi, however, held on to her and refused to let go. Gray's eyes widened.

"Let go of me, Yomi! We don't have time to lose!" Gray exclaimed, her voice throbbing with urgency. She tried to prise herself from Yomi's grip, but to no avail. Yomi's grip refused to slacken.

"Yomi!" Pleaded Gray. Why? Why was Yomi stopping her from killing the fake Dead Master? If she finished this, they could both be saved!

Yomi's mouth then curled into a small smile, and Gray felt her anxiety ebb away. No…

"She's also a part of me… Gray. I just… Realized… That we can't run away"

Gray was incredulous. Yomi opened her eyes a little, and placed a bloodstained hand gently on Gray's cheek.

"Gray… You… Need to accept her too. I understand now. The true test… We were not supposed to fight. Black Rock Shooter… Understood this too."

Gray looked at the fake Dead Master, and she realized that an emotion she had never expected to feel had begun to eat her from the inside.

It was pity.

The fake Dead Master and she were just two parts of Yomi. They were different, yet part of the same whole. Neither could really kill the other… And Gray realized that Yomi was right.

"Gray… Listen. The reason why I have never managed to stand next to Mato… The reason why I lost sight of you… Was because I was always fighting against myself… But… I realize now. Before I can hope to fight alongside Mato… I must first defeat the enemy within. I must accept that I cannot be the same beacon of light that Mato is. I… must accept my darkness"

Gray's hands were shaking, but her eyes did not waver. All this time, perhaps she already knew it. Perhaps she was just afraid. Afraid that she would be lost again. Perhaps that was why she fought so hard against the fake Dead Master. Perhaps that was why the fake Dead Master had overpowered her in the first place. It had been fear.

Now, the tables were turned, and as Gray felt Yomi's life force dwindling by the second, she knew that she had to make the decision here and now.

No more running away.

Gray lowered Yomi to the ground gently, and kissed her forehead tenderly.

"We'll always be together Yomi. I promise."

Gray then took slow deliberate steps towards the fake Dead Master, who backed away in fear. However, she soon came up against a wall, and there was nowhere to run.

The fake Dead Master swung her scythe wildly, but though the blade touched Gray, it left not so much as a scratch. The fake Dead Master continued with her futile attempt to stop Gray, but to no avail. Gray had won.

The fake Dead Master's scythe fell to the ground with a loud clatter, and she crumbled to the ground in a pathetic heap. Green eyes met yellow, and Gray stretched her hand out for the taking.

"If we both want to survive, then we'll have to do it… Together."

The fake Dead Master's face contorted hideously and it appeared that a massive internal conflict was happening within her consciousness. She clasped her claws over her face and appeared to be screaming, though no sound escaped her lips. Gray waited.

Then, with a tremendous effort, the fake Dead Master reached her clawed hand out, and reluctantly placed it in Gray's. Gray took it, and suddenly, a surreal expression came over the fake Dead Master, and it seemed as if all her hatred had left her.

Gray looked on in silence as the fake Dead Master, for the first time in her existence, smiled in contentment, and a single tear crept from her eye…

Then, she was gone. The monster was no more.

Gray blinked twice, and realized that the chapel they had been in too, was gone. She now stood ankle deep in what appeared to be snow, and the landscape stretched forever in all directions. A cold wind blew endlessly, and the sky was gray. The sky was gray…

Gray walked back to where Yomi was, half-buried in snow now, and knelt down. She placed her hand where Yomi's heart was, and felt its dying beat.

"I did it… Yomi. Now, let's go together…"

And then, Gray had awoken, and Yomi had become one with her…

… But she knew that Takanashi Yomi would never be able to step upon the face of reality ever again…

… And tears began to fall as the rain did.

The fiercest battle was upon Machinami Cho, and it threatened to tear the town asunder. Like two wild beasts, Strength and Insane Black Rock Shooter tore at each other with only the intent to kill.

Nothing but dust remained with every blow they exchanged. The impact from their collisions sent shockwaves powerful enough to split the ground. The rain fell in torrents now, and lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating whatever was left of the town.

Nobody could tell the difference between the thunder and their roars, as both monsters lunged at each other tirelessly.

… But soon, the longest day would come to an end.

Suzuka's eyes crept open, and a rectangular light emanating a soft glow greeted her. She felt weak. So weak that she could not move her fingers. Even blinking seemed to take all the effort in the world. She allowed her eyes to wander, taking in the features of the unfamiliar room she was in.

She realized that she was in a ward of sorts, though the walls and ceiling were made of cold steel. She was upon a soft bed, and she could feel vaguely that she wasn't wearing any clothes. There were no windows, and the air reeked of disinfectant. That distinct smell you always had in hospitals…

Then she remembered everything.

"Mato!" She exclaimed, sitting bolt upright in bed. The sudden movement cost her, and Suzuka gripped her side in agony as searing pain ripped through it.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you." Echoed a voice from somewhere to her left.

Suzuka instinctively grabbed the sheets to cover her nudity, and traced the source of the sound simultaneously. She felt her blood turn to ice.

Standing in the corner was a pale skinned girl, decked in military garb. Her long, messy hair was a shade of light green, and the left side of her face was covered entirely by a black strip of cloth decorated by three white stripes. A green beret sat snugly on her head and her olive eyes glowed eerily in the dark.

Suzuka shuddered in fear. It was another of them. Was she an enemy, or..?

"It'd be a pain for you to die on me, you know?" Resounded the monotonous voice. Suzuka made no response. The girl left her place in the corner and made her way towards her. Suzuka pulled the sheets tightly over herself, as if hoping that it would protect her in some way or other.

What did she want with her..?

"May I..?" The girl asked in the same deadpan voice, and Suzuka noticed that she was gesturing to a small plastic chair at the side of her bed. Suzuka nodded, reluctantly and albeit a little confused. The girl then took her seat, though she looked rather uncomfortable as her uniform got in the way of her movement. The girl then directed her attention back to Suzuka.

"Your name is Suzuka, is it not? Is it ok for me to address you as such?"

The girl's tone was unmistakably regimental. The way soldiers spoke when addressing civilians.

Suzuka nodded.

"Good. I am codename Valkyrie. My real name does not matter, nor do I care to recall. I have been assigned to your protection, Miss Suzuka."

Suzuka was taken aback. Protection..?

"You are currently within the headquarters of the Japanese Branch of the UEF-PSS, also known as the United Earth Force – Primary Support Service. I cannot give you the exact location, for that would be a breach of national security. However, I can tell you that you are safe for now."

Suzuka opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. There were just too many questions spinning about in her head now. Why had she been taken here? What had happened after she lost consciousness? Where was Mato?

Where was Black Death Cutter..?

Suddenly, the girl (known now as Valkyrie) placed a gentle hand on Suzuka's shoulder, snapping her back to reality. Her hand was ice cold, yet Suzuka felt comfort in her touch. She did not feel any evil in the girl before her.

"I understand that there is much you want to know now. However, this is not the time nor the place. Major Yamada will answer all your questions at a later date. My orders as of now are simple: to ensure that nothing befalls you until your full recovery. I do not intend to aggravate your condition any longer by speaking more than necessary. Thus, I implore you to rest, Miss Suzuka."

Suzuka stared into space for a few seconds, before nodding her head. She was tired, after all. It hurt to think now… There was really no harm in waiting.

Suzuka lay upon the bed, and drifted off into dreamless sleep…

She felt like she had all the time in the world anyway.

"What do we do with this one, sir?" Resounded the cold voice of a girl with blood red hair.

Though the room was dark, the girl wore a pair of shades to shield her pale, gray eyes. She wore a high collared military vest that had it's zipper pulled down to her navel and a gray, sleeveless shirt within, along with a matching pair of shorts and boots.

The girl was referring to an illuminated screen that showed security camera footage of what appeared to be an interrogation room. It was empty, save for a single girl whom had confined herself to the corner, huddled up in a fetal position.

Major Yamada too, was watching the screen, and he appeared to be in deep thought. It was just as he had expected...

Just half an hour ago, two reconnaissance teams had returned, and they had discovered four young girls in their search for clues. All four girls had been found at sites of conflict both within and on the outskirts of Machinami Cho. One of the four was dead.

That had confirmed it for Yamada. The enemy was most definitely "them".

Major Yamada knew a lot more than he appeared to about the "other world" and "their kind". Perhaps he knew even more than anyone else in the UEF-PSS. After all, he was the commander of an entire unit comprising "their kind". The girl with the blood red hair at his side was a prime example. She was his personal secretary too.

Yamada did not pretend to know everything about the "other world". Heck, he found it hard to believe that such beings existed within each and every one of their subconsciousness, like it or not. What he did understand however, was that in the "other world", just like any other, there existed those who were good and those who were bad. No two ways about it.

It was his job to weed out the bad then.

The girl in the interrogation room on the screen happened to be one of the bad ones. He had been informed by his secretary that she was known by the name of "Dragon Slayer" in their world, and that she was one of the Fifteen Apostles.

The title "Apostle" had become an everyday word in his department by now. Since ten years ago when his unit had been founded, his girls had warned him that the Apostles would come to claim their "inheritance" one fine day. What the "inheritance" was, nobody knew. What everybody did know, however, was that earth's destruction was the way towards obtaining it.

That event twenty years back in America was just the beginning of a huge war…

Yamada didn't like that one bit, and it seemed that the time had finally come. He was damn glad that they were prepared for it…

His attention returned to the screen before him. "Dragon Slayer" had apparently been killed in battle, but by whom was anyone's guess. The girl in the interrogation room was but a shell now, and had apparently not spoken a word since being brought to them.

He had just sent some of his girls out into the field, and none of them had reported anything back yet, so they could not have been the ones responsible…

… Which led Yamada to only one conclusion: There were others out there. Others of "their kind" fighting for the same cause as he was… And if they were strong enough to take out an Apostle, he wanted them on his side.

How many of the Fifteen Apostles remained now..?

"Joan!" Yamada barked at the girl beside him. She came to attention.

"Sir!" The girl with the blood red hair replied, awaiting orders. Yamada smiled grimly. If there was one thing he was glad for, it was that "they" did not have much emotion.

He had long realized that emotions led soldiers astray.

"Get this message out into the field ASAP. The order to destroy all hostiles still stands. However, there might be some friendlies of your "kind" out there, and I want them brought back here!"

"Yes Sir!"

Now all there was left to do was wait.

Yomi and Gray become one, stronger than ever, but at a terrible cost. The battle between Insane Black Rock Shooter and Strength begins… And the UEF-PSS set their own plans into motion to combat the Apostles.

The longest day draws to a close…

Please review this FanFic! Arigato!

(P.S. OMG! 100 reviews! It's been such a long time coming. I'm really glad this fic has been so well received thus far. Thanks to those who have taken the effort to read it! We'll be going into the next arc in a few more chapters so let's close this arc with a bang! Please 'like' my fanpage on facebook! Visit my page to get the address!)