A small boy of about seven years stood on the roof of a high building. It was early morning, and the sun was just rising. The boy had spiky, unruly yellow hair and golden eyes. He had lines on his face, two for each side, starting at the bottom of each eye and running down his cheeks. He had a calm, serious expression on his face. His body was covered with a plain brown cloak, which had a large pocket where the hood would be; inside this pocket was a large, yellow, hardcover book.
The boy stood on the rooftop for a moment, looking out over the city, as if thinking about something; then he leaped off, onto another one, and started moving again.
Nat Anamura sighed heavily. With his bookcase slung over his shoulder, his shoulders hunched, and the depressing aura surrounding him, it didn't take a genius to see that this kid was having a bad day. He was a boy of about fourteen, above average height but not tall for his age, with spiky, dark brown hair, and had a lean muscular build. He was wearing his school uniform: a white shirt, a dark blue tie and pair of trousers, and a sleeveless grey sweater with the school symbol on it: a red and blue checkered badge with an eagle in the middle.
He had been jeered at, given withering looks, insulted and avoided the entire day – but that was pretty normal, he was used to that. No, the reason why he was so depressed was because he'd managed to screw up yet again. He had tried to help a young girl in danger – she had somehow fallen off the bridge just in front of the school. He'd saved her, but she'd pulled her hand out of his, screamed, "Ew! Get away from me!" and had promptly run off.
Even when I don't screw up, I screw up.
To be honest, he hadn't done anything wrong. But it was always this way: anytime he helped someone, he got nothing but grief. The people of New Tokyo hated and feared him, and seemingly without reason. His only crime was being alive.
That was the problem, though. Nat wasn't exactly a normal human being.
For one thing, he wasn't supposed to be alive.
This, coupled with his unnatural ability, had him firmly labelled as a freak, an abomination, even. People tended to fear things that they didn't understand. Nat didn't blame anyone, though. He was a child that should never have been born.
A small boy stood on a low building, beside a man who was holding a hardcover, turquoise-coloured book. The boy was about ten years old, with pink hair and cold, piercing red eyes. He might have looked relatively normal but for the two lines on his face, one for each side, starting at the bottom of each eye and running down his cheeks. He was wearing a red jacket over a white shirt and blue denim jeans, and white trainers. The man was about nineteen, and wore a brown shirt over a vest and camouflage cargo pants. He had dark hair with bangs covering his forehead, and on his head was a brown beanie hat. Both of them were looking at Nat as he walked down the street.
"So that's our target," the man said, referring to Nat. "You said you sensed a strange power from him, right, Raijo?"
The boy, Raijo, nodded. "Yeah. It may just be me, but, if my hunch is right, he could become very troublesome if he found a mamodo partner. That's why we have to take him out." He put out his hand. "Read the spell, Uri."
Uri grinned. "Gotcha." He opened the book, and it started to glow brightly as he read the first spell.
A blue laser beam shot out of the outstretched mamodo's hand, headed straight for Nat.
Suddenly Nat froze. He sensed danger, big danger. It was coming from right behind him –
He quickly sidestepped, narrowly dodging the laser beam, which smashed into the ground in front of him, creating a small crater.
"What the –"
"Damn, I missed," a voice said, coming from behind him. He turned and saw a boy and a young man standing on a low building. The boy had his palm open, and a tiny bit of smoke was coming from it, and the older guy was holding out a strange book.
Was that…from them? He thought.
"No problem," the older guy said, raising the book, which started shining brightly. "We'll just fire again."
What? Fire again? Nat thought. He wouldn't do that when there are so many people here… Would he…?
Apparently so, Nat thought, dodging the laser beam again, this time with ease. The people in the street had been quiet until now, shocked into silence, but now they began to panic. The crowd descended into chaos.
These people might get hit by one of those beams! I have to lead those guys away! Nat thought. Ignoring the leers he was getting, he turned and ran.
"Crap, he's getting away!" Raijo yelled, jumping off the building and going after him. Uri followed suit. They started pushing people out of the way to get through and catch up to him.
"Biraitsu!" Again, Nat dodged the laser beam, without stopping or turning back to look. He just kept running. He had to get away from them; his life was in danger.
Aw, great, he thought sarcastically, as Raijo fired another beam, this is just what I needed now!
Uri kept reading the spell as he and Raijo chased Nat, following him into a deserted area of the city. Nat kept dodging every one of the beams without stopping, without turning back. Suddenly, he snatched the lid of a garbage can as Raijo fired a beam at him. He turned and held the lid up by the handle, like a shield, reflecting the beam right back at his pursuers.
"What the -" Uri exclaimed, barely getting out of the reflected beam's way, which Raijo had ducked to avoid. Raijo wasn't very surprised; Biraitsu had a quality that was both a strength and a weakness – the beam could be reflected a number of times. It hadn't worked on the concrete ground because the beam was too strong, but it could easily be reflected off metal.
Raijo was more concerned with how the human had figured out this special quality. And as the boy had turned around, Raijo had caught a glimpse at his eyes and had gotten a nasty shock, though it wasn't a shock really. After all, he had sensed power from the human. His hunch was, unfortunately, correct.
The boy's eyes had a concentric ring pattern in them.
Nat ran as fast as he could, dodging the laser beams, the garbage can lid grasped tightly in his right hand. He just had to outrun these guys, or, failing that, he could wait until they ran out of energy; they couldn't keep this up forever.
And he was right. Although Uri still had plenty of heart energy left, Raijo had a feeling that it would be gone very quickly at the rate they were firing.
We better finish this up quickly, he thought.
Suddenly Nat saw a brick wall up ahead. It was a dead end. He kept running and, just as he was about to run into it, planted a foot on the wall and ran a quarter of the way up, quick as lightning. At his limit, he back flipped off of the wall, landing right behind Uri and Raijo, and took off in the opposite direction.
"DAMMIT!" Uri yelled, as they both turned and ran after him. The acrobatic manoeuvre had put some distance between him and them.
We'll never catch up at this rate! Raijo thought.
"Raijo! Aim at the ground!" Uri yelled. Raijo obeyed, aiming at the ground below Nat's feet.
The beam destroyed the ground under Nat's feet, causing him to stumble and fall. He got up and started running again, but nearly stopped. There was a sharp pain in his left leg. He had twisted his ankle falling down.
"He sure can limp fast!" Raijo noticed, as Nat kept the distance between him and his pursuers. But he ran into another dead end, and this time, he couldn't run up the wall. He was cornered.
As Uri cast the spell, Raijo grinned. "Gotcha!" Nat held up the garbage can lid and deflected the beam, but they just kept firing. He managed to deflect five more beams before the lid was knocked out of his hand.
"Ow," he muttered, nursing his hand. Raijo grinned as the spellbook started to glow even more brightly.
"Looks like your time's run out," he said, a wide grin on his face. "You lose."
He put out his hand.
A powerful laser beam, stronger than any of the others they had fired up till now, was shot from Raijo's hand.
Suddenly, a small five-pointed star zoomed in out of nowhere and deflected it right back. It smashed into the ground in front of Uri, almost touching his book.
A boy covered in a brown cloak dropped down a few feet in front of Nat. He had spiky, unruly yellow hair. A large yellow book dropped to the ground right in front of Nat. Other than its colour, it was identical to the one Uri was holding, and on its cover was the same symbol: two triangles meeting at the point, one upside down on top of the other, and five circles, one each at the free corners of the two triangles and one at the center, where the triangles met.
"Hey," the boy said, "try reading that book." He turned his head to speak to Nat, and from this Nat could see that he had golden eyes, and that there were four lines on his face, two for each side, starting at the bottom of each eye and running down his cheeks.
Nat picked up the book and looked at it.
It looks exactly the same as the book that guy's holding, he thought, except this one's yellow. I wonder…
He opened the book and looked in it, but he couldn't read it. Except for the lines in colour on the first page…
"The first spell…" he read. The book started to glow as the boy took aim.
A yellow beam of light shot out of the star from earlier, coming straight for Raijo and Uri.
"Whoa!" Raijo yelled, narrowly avoiding it. Uri just barely dodged it as well. It smashed into the ground behind them, leaving a good-size crater, certainly bigger than the one that Biraitsu had made.
That beam is FAST! Raijo thought. And powerful! Crap, this is bad. That guy's a book owner after all!
Nat stared at the hole in the ground, speechless.
"So you're my partner, huh…" the boy mused.
"P…partner..?" Nat stammered. His senses were still shell-shocked from what had just happened.
"Yup," the boy answered. "You're the only human in the world that can read that book. And the reason why you can read it is because you are its owner. That means that you're the only person who can help me to use my spells. So that makes you my partner."
What the hell… Raijo thought. He didn't care how powerful this kid was, he wasn't going to let the battle be pushed aside like it wasn't important.
"Damn it…" he muttered. Uri picked up on his feelings and held the book out to read.
"DON'T IGNORE ME!" Raijo yelled, aiming at the other kid. The book in Uri's hand started to glow again.
The laser beam was even stronger this time, fuelled by Raijo's anger, but the boy just sighed and waved his hand. The star moved in and deflected the beam into the ground.
"I don't want to do this," the boy said, with heavy reluctance in his voice. He took a battle-ready stance.
"But," he added, his tone now determined, "I can't let these guys hurt you anymore."
Raijo and Uri quickly got up and stood in a way that showed they were ready to fight.
"My name is Dante," the boy said, speaking to Nat. "Please help me to defeat these guys!"