I've been having a bit of a hard time with my muses lately. Whenever I want to concentrate on this, they lead me astray.
Other than that, I've been busy with university, work, publishing some of my original works, and supporting my friends whom have gone through a nervous breakdown or a severe back injury respectively.
I'd also like to give a shout out to Phen0m20 for recommending me in one of his recent fics and I suggest you check his stuff out as well, especially Tell Me, which will please more than a few of you Tsukiumi fans out there, and the more recent A Veil of Passion.
Anyway, you guys have read enough excuses from me to fill a lifetime. Enjoy the chapter.
Decimating the population of the world had not been enough for the Master. Nothing it seemed could sate his lust for power and appeals to his positively enormous ego. Minaka knew well of this, as did every slave labourer living in slums that now spanned continents.
The world meekly accepted the Master's rule, cowed it seemed, by his titanic charisma and force of personality… but Minaka knew the truth. He'd spent months trying to find out why some trudged the Earth, all but worshipping the Master while other's like the infamous Martha Jones seemed utterly unaffected and defiant.
The answer had been Archangel. The Archangel Satellite network had been launched in the old days, long before the Master, then Harold Saxon, had vaulted himself to power. The fifteen satellites were transmitting a vast telepathic field, binding the human race together in mutual fear and awe.
While the nascent corporation Minaka had been building had been stripped almost entirely for the Master's grand war effort against the universe, Minaka still had a few cards up his sleeves in the form of his Sekirei and the recovered alien technology he had at his disposal… kept secret for all this time… and he'd used them in a gambit to free the world.
That gambit had just failed. Matsu had only managed to disable two of the satellites before the Toclafane made her position and butchered her, Mutsu, and Kazehana ruthlessly. That failure, however, had freed the islands of Japan. They now saw everything that the Master was and would never again submit to him, even if the telepathic field were restored. Minaka had hoped to disable the entire field simultaneously in the hopes of sparking a world wide revolt.
Japan had enjoyed its chaotic, riotous freedom from the Master for twenty four hours before he retaliated. The result of that retaliation even now rained down on Kamikura Island, the last place in the Japanese islands where life still yet resided. The ash was already choking off access the bunkers, not that it would do him much good in the end.
Minaka rubbed his chin thoughtlessly as he watched the monitors with dead eyes. Using as many Sekirei as he could to evacuate people off the mainland and hiding them in neighbouring countries had been a good idea… at the very least it had been an idea. The Master would isolate and destroy all his Sekirei soon enough. The few thousand Japanese refugees they'd saved would most likely be reported and turned over to the Master by his lackeys in short order. The only three people he could think that had a good chance of surviving were Seo and his Sekirei, Hikari and Hibiki. The last he'd checked they'd escaped to Africa.
I wish I could have saved more. I wish I could have saved so many more. Lamented Minaka as he turned to Yume for support.
Yume laid a hand on his shoulder and squeezed gently. She would protect him as best she could when the end would come. He had no doubt she would do her part, and he had no doubt that she would fail under the weight of millions of Toclafane, just as he had no doubt Miya and Karasuba above would also fail in defending the island. While the Sekirei were superb fighters, their enormous quality could never hope to compete with the sheer number of Toclafane the Master would throw at them.
There was no point in fighting now. There was nobody left to save. The rest of the world would slave on, ever more fearful now for having witnessed the Master's Wrath. The two satellites that Matsu had disabled would be repaired in short order… all Minaka had done was get over a hundred million people killed pointlessly.
I failed. I failed. I failed. Oh god, I failed. I failed. I failed. I have failed. I failed. I have failed so much. I have failed so many. I failed myself. I failed Takami. I failed Takehito. I failed Seo. I failed the world. I have failed. I failed. I failed. I failed.
The thoughts wound in his mind over and over and over as he gently rocked back and forth.
I hate this. Thought Karasuba.
Ash was raining from the sky. Death was in the air. None of it had been her doing, bringing her back to her original thought.
I should have been the one to do this, she thought savagely, I should have been the one to destroy this waste of a species! Not the Master! That idiot does this only for fear and conquest! There is no purity in his actions! No beauty! That idiot!
But as much as she could bring herself to hate the Master, she had to admire him for what he'd brought out of Miya. The death of Takehito, sliced up by the Toclafane, had hardened her for some reason she couldn't fathom. More than that though, the sight of all the destruction that Japan had endured had seemed to set off a glint in her eye. It was as though she'd seen it all before and was simply watching a rerun. That had been fascinating.
"So," Karasuba said, tiring of silence, "Yume will outlive me after all,"
Miya cast a furtive glare.
"You speak in my presence?" said Miya acidly.
"Still angry?" teased Karasuba, unafraid in the certainty of death.
"Furious," admitted Miya.
"Good. Focus that fury on the enemy. I am your ally after all," said Karasuba.
"Were it not for the imminent arrival of our enemy I would cut you down in a heartbeat. What you said was unforgivable," glowered Miya.
"And yet you allow me to live," stated Karasuba.
"Only because I hate our enemy more, and I can use you against them,"
"You are beautiful when you're like this, Miya. Hate, rage, the desire to completely and totally destroy… only now at the end do you understand as I do!" exclaimed Karasuba with light in her eyes.
"You understand nothing. I do what I do for love. I love Takehito, and so I take the path of vengeance on his behalf, just as I love our people and took the cowards path for their sake," said Miya.
"I don't understand what you're talking about," said Karasuba in a measured tone.
"And you never will," said Miya as she unsheathed her sword, "The enemy approaches. Prepare yourself."
They advanced in uniform waves from all directions, riding the air with a grace that even birds would envy. Their ungainly spherical forms marred only by spikes. Millions of Toclafane descended to snuff out the last lives left in Japan.
With a breath Miya raised her sword. No longer did she have to be wary of leaving evidence behind. No longer would she need to be care with her power, lest she kill the innocent or the uninvolved. The only target she wished to kill beyond the numberless Toclafane stood at her back, ready to mop up any stragglers that might make it through. She no longer needed to reign in her enormous power.
She brought her sword down in an angled strike, aimed carefully to track the widest arc across the thickest formation of Toclafane. The Earth rumbled gently and the air above it rippled with heat. As the grounds trembling ceased, millions of Toclafane exploded. Beneath them, the ground melted and the sea not far off began to boil as slagged wreckage rained down.
She raised her sword and struck once more to similar effect with raw burning hatred in her eyes. Behind her, Karasuba went to work, doing the hard work of keeping the Toclafane that had managed to get close off of Miya.
Despite the tens of thousands of Toclafane that were trying to breach Karasuba's defence of Miya, she couldn't help but turn a brief but appreciative eye to the destruction that her compatriot had wrought.
They were right, she mused, Miya is on an entirely different level. She's a weapon of mass destruction…
Despite the massive gaping holes Miya opened in the Toclafane ranks, more always flooded in to fill in and reinforce. For every million Toclafane she utterly annihilated from existence, two million more rushed in.
Her attack patterns were calmly analysed by the networked hive mind that humanity would become by the year 100 trillion and countermeasures to reduce her effectiveness were already put into effect. For the Toclafane, fighting Miya was almost as much fun as butchering the helpless humans that were their distant ancestors. It made no difference if they lost a million, a hundred million or a billion of their number fighting her. Death meant nothing to them.
Karasuba came to realise that as she skewered thousands more upon her blade. Everything she was was being tested on this battlefield. She had never felt more alive, more invigorated. She knew she was fighting harder and faster than ever before even as her blade ran slick with the black fluid that served as Toclafane blood.
Our two lives, set against the billions of Toclafane the Master will beset us with, she thought, The Quality of the Sekirei, the Quantity of the Toclafane. That little man with the mustache was right. Quantity is a Quality all its own…
As Miya brought yet more Toclafane to an untimely demise she knew her situation was growing desperate. The Toclafane had analysed her attack and were swarming their position with greater and greater effectiveness. There was no option for retreat, nor was surrender a consideration in her mind. She was drawing upon reserves of strength and power she never knew she'd had.
How fitting it should end like this, she thought, knowing that this great battle would be her last, Did the Gods feel like this when the end came?
A barely suppressed grunt signalled to her that Karasuba had grown overconfident in fending off the Toclafane. Miya didn't even need to look behind her to know that her… comrade had fallen. She knew her back was open. In moments the Toclafane would overwhelm and swarm her before butchering her like they had so many others.
With the serene calm that came with the certainty of death on the battlefield, Miya turned her blade upon herself.
Minaka's underground bunker rocked violently enough to throw Yume off her feet and Minaka out of his constant mantra of despair.
"W-what was that?" he gaped, shocked that a bunker that had been designed to withstand even the worst earthquakes had shook so violently.
"Miya," whispered Yume softly.
Minaka understood instantly. With whatever Sekirei in hiding about to be hunted down and eliminated by the Master and his lackeys, and the few Sekirei here about to be eliminated, Miya had made the ultimate sacrifice to destroy as many of her hated enemy as she could in a final blaze of glory.
Though Minaka felt that Miya would not rest in peace knowing that billions more Toclafane existed, he felt that she might take some small solace in knowing that she'd personally avenged the deaths of all Japanese citizens several times over.
"Director," said Yume, pulling Minaka out of his soul searching, "It's time you made your way to the vault."
"The vault will be of no use," he replied, apathetically, "It will only slow them momentarily,"
"Sir, I must insist…"
"No buts. There's no point anymore. The Master has won. The only question is how I choose to face my end."
Yume sighed more in defeat than in exasperation. Minaka had a point. The man had a right to choose where he died… the office within his private bunker or the reinforced vault below that bunker… the location of his death had little bearing anymore on how long he'd live even with her protection.
"You want to fight them, don't you?" asked Minaka.
"I am here to protect you, Director, that is what I will do," responded Yume.
"Like I said," sighed Minaka, "There's no point anymore. Run along. Fight them on your own terms."
"Director!" exclaimed Yume.
"I said go!" snapped Minaka, "Let me have my last moments in peace!"
Yume hesitated a moment before she took the hint. She clenched her fist and readied herself for the last fight of her life. Without a word, she left Minaka to his own company.
As soon as Yume had left his sight, Minaka pulled out a box and withdrew one of many long, thick cigars. He'd received them as a gift from a business associate in the old days and had long since been looking for an excuse to smoke them.
Happily lighting up, he watched as monitor after monitor started to broadcast static in place of security feeds. The slight rumble he felt from time to time was no doubt Yume, fighting the Toclafane on her own terms just as he'd instructed her. Eventually, the bunker became deathly quiet and the wall of monitors he'd been viewing filled entirely with static.
Sighing tiredly, the dishevelled Minaka swivelled his chair around to see that several Toclafane had infiltrated his office. They floated there serenely as he completed his one hundred and eighty degree turn and for a surreal moment they floated while he smoked, both sides staring each other down.
Eventually the 'lead' Toclafane as evidenced by floating closer and higher to Minaka than the rest spoke up.
"So. Much. FUN!" it exclaimed before it rushed him.
Minaka fell out of his chair.
Not that damned nightmare again! Thought Minaka bitterly as he tried to dignify himself.
Ever since 2008 the nightmare had plagued him. The nightmare of the world he had lived through, a world that had somehow undone itself.
Minaka wasn't a fool. He heeded warnings when he saw them. The moment he had become aware of the terrible future that awaited them he'd done all he could to avert it, reinvested certain MBI holdings, subtly used his corporate connections to manoeuvre his counterparts into funding the campaign financing of a certain prospective leaders over others, he'd even moved his base of operations to the mainland from Kamikura.
2008 had come and gone without incident. As had the year after that and the year after that all the way to the present day. He hoped that his actions had somehow averted the Master's rise to power. Yes, Harold Saxon was considered dead, yet they had never found his body and that made Minaka very uneasy.
The Toclafane was another front he was terribly concerned with. Who or what they were was something he'd never found out. Why had they invaded Earth? Where had they come from?
As long as Minaka was unsure that the Master was well and truly dead and could never connect the cause of the Toclafane's brutal invasion, he could never be certain that the coming years would be safe. He intended that never again should humanity ever have to suffer a future as horrible as the one he'd borne witness to.
There was however one person that might be the key to ensuring that would never happen. He'd only heard of that person in whispers, a message passed on and on through the huddled masses from the legendary Martha Jones…
He is the key, mused Minaka, He's dangerous to me and everything I'm trying to do… but he may well be the only person capable of ensuring that future never happens.
With determination in his heart, Minaka pulled out his cell phone and called Natsuo.
It was time for the discipline squad to hunt down the Doctor.
"And I will need your computer to do it!" exclaimed the Doctor with glee.
"Eh?" asked Matsu with a mix of surprise and concern.
"Your computer. May I borrow it?" asked the Doctor innocently.
"Well, um… of course! It's just that-"
"Thanks!" said the Doctor and leapt at the computer.
"No!" shrieked Matsu with panic.
"Matsu," said the Doctor in his official warning tone, "What is this?"
"Ehehehe…" giggled Matsu nervously.
"I'm not laughing," said the Doctor sharply
"What's what?" asked Minato as he tried to get a look at what had set the Doctor on edge.
"It's… it's a manga I was working on earlier…" said Matsu sheepishly.
The Doctor frowned. He couldn't make heads or tails out of what he was looking at on the monitor.
"I don't get it…" the Doctor tilted his head, "Oh. Oh!"
"I don't get it either," said Minato.
The Doctor grabbed Minato and tilted his head at the same angle.
"All I see is…" started Minato before trailing off into an intense crimson blush, "Is that…?"
"Yes, it is," confirmed the Doctor.
"And are we?" asked Minato.
"Yes. With a pogo stick."
"A pogo stick!?" yelped Minato incredulously.
The Doctor tilted his head ever so slightly further.
"A… a pogo stick!"
"How does that even work?" queried the Doctor.
"Ah! Well, you see-" started Matsu.
"Don't tell us!" harmonised the Doctor and Minato.
The two looked at each other before looking away uncomfortably.
"She got the positioning of my mole correct," muttered the Doctor.
"And my birthmark," mentioned Minato.
"Ehehehe, just let me save and close my work and you can get to using the computer, Doctor-san," said Matsu as she moved towards the keyboard.
"I've got a better solution! DELETED!" exclaimed the Doctor.
"Nooooooooooooooooooooo!" wailed Matsu.
"Let us never speak of this again," proposed the Doctor to Minato.
"Speak of what? I have no idea what you're talking about. Weren't you going to use the computer for your plan?" said Minato.
"Good man. Yes. Let's get started…"
Bad news all.
Ah! Sensei Sama! x Onii Chan! Ai!
Chapter 11 has been unforeseeably delayed.
I apologise for this most regrettable occurrence.
"Arrrrghhhh!" yelled Yukari in agony.
"Yukari-san!" yelped Shiina, worried for his ashikabi, "W-what's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I-… I'll be fine…" lied Yukari unconvincingly, "Wait, no, I won't be. Shiina! This is horrible!"
Yukari thrust her phone into her Sekirei's face to show him the message she'd just received.
"Ah, Yukari-san?" he asked, not quite understanding the message without context.
"It's about my favourite boy's love manga," she whimpered.
"Ah, well…" stumbled Shiina, trying to alleviate his ashikabi's suffering, "D-don't worry, I'm here for you," he said, going for sympathy and comfort.
Yukari gripped his arm tightly and looked intently into Shiina's eyes. The rare male Sekirei gulped, unsure of whether this stare constituted killing intent or the desire to do unspeakable things in dark places to him.
"Shiina," she started, "Are you sure there aren't any other Sekirei about that are guys?" she asked as a trail of blood trickled down her lip.
Shiina gulped in relief, suddenly glad that male Sekirei were a distinct minority.
"How the hell are we supposed to find one guy in a city this large?" yelled Benitsubasa as she leapt from building to building.
"Smell," said Haihane with her characteristic monotone.
"Don't shit me! The Director's got a bug up his ass about some lanky goofball and he's sending us on a wild goose chase!" she snapped.
"Hehe… maybe the Director swings the same way as Natsuo… hehehehe," chuckled Blue Sekirei.
Her laughter was short lived as the claw using Haihane soon found herself caught by the scruff of her outfit by Benitsubasa and lifted off the ground.
"He's not gay! Natsuo loves me!" she snapped, "All he needs is someone to show him the way! That's all! I'll just entice him with my feminine charms!"
"Feminine?" asked Haihane incredulously.
Benitsubasa growled at the perceived assault on her lack of femininity.
"I am very feminine!" she roared, "And I will beat the crap out of you if you disagree!"
"And just what is happening here, Beni-chan?" asked a sweet sounding Karasuba.
"Geh!" yelped Benitsubasa, dropping Haihane in surprise, "Kuroi! W-when did you get here?" she asked, referring to her by nickname.
"Just now," she said, "Why exactly are you wasting your time dawdling? Hmmm?"
"Well, you see…" stammered Benitsubasa.
Normally Benitsubasa was casual and easygoing around Karasuba. This time however she was behaving very oddly… even for Karasuba. She seemed… happy. That set her immediately on edge. Karasuba was only ever content, occasionally amused, but never happy.
"CCTV footage places the Doctor somewhere in the North," said Karasuba, "How troublesome,"
"Eh? The north?" muttered Haihane, "Isn't that where a vicious Hannya lives?"
"Eeeeh!? I've heard stories about the Hannya of the north!" said Benitsubasa.
"Ho? What kind of stories?" asked Karasuba, suddenly interested.
"Well… uh… nothing really…" Benitsubasa tried to dodge.
"Nothing? But you just said you heard stories. You wouldn't be lying to me, wouldn't you, Beni-chan?"
"Well…" started Benitsubasa before pausing to gain some courage, "Just that the Hannya almost terminated you once and that you've been out for revenge ever since…"
"Mmm. Mhmhmmh. Mfmfmfmmf. FUAHAHAHAHAHA!~" laughed Karasuba, trying and failing to suppress her laughter.
"Eh?!" harmonised Haihane and Benitsubasa.
Though the two junior members of the third generation discipline squad had known Karasuba since their induction, they had not once known her to laugh in such an unrestrained manner.
"It's true!" cried out Karasuba between bouts of laughter, "It's all true!" she confirmed, before becoming serious once again, "But there's someone I want even more revenge on."
Karasuba marched up and grabbed both junior members of the discipline squad by the scruffs of their outfits as Benitsubasa had done to Haihane before.
"Now listen to me both of you. I want to catch the Doctor. I want to kill him slowly, painfully, beautifully. If either of you kills him first or lets him get away from me, I will not forgive you. Is that understood?" she said with such enthusiastic hate and lust for violence that her fellow Sekirei, known for their penchance for violence and bloodlust, were immediately cowed.
"Yes!" harmonised Haihane and Benitsubasa enthusiastically.
"Good," said Karasuba, satisfied that neither of them would disobey her.
"But, Kuroi, what if the Hannya is helping him?" asked Benitsubasa.
"The Hannya doesn't care about the Sekirei Plan," said Karasuba nonchalantly, "If the Doctor is hiding under her skirt, it'll only be a matter of time before he has to come out, and when he does…"
Karasuba leapt from the building, leaving her sentence to dangle with her juniors.
"Yo, Haihane," said Benitsubasa, "Is it me or does Kuroi seem a bit more motivated lately?"
"This is your plan?" asked Matsu incredulously.
"Absolutely," said the Doctor.
"You can't possibly expect to stop MBI with torrents!" snapped Matsu.
"Not just torrents!" said the Doctor.
"Are those some kind of special files then? I've never seen the .flac extension before…" asked Minato.
"Why… why would you need lossless audio?"
"Good sound quality is its own reward, Matsu," said the Doctor evasively.
"I give up!" flailed Matsu, throwing her hands up in the air, "His powerlevel is too high! Saged! Reported! Called the cops!"
"Matsu-san!" exclaimed Minato as Matsu thrust her face into the nearest pillow.
"Just make sure you have a peer guardian program in place. I don't want my internet to be cut off. I'd want to die then," said Matsu with dispassionate resignation.
"Don't say that Matsu," said Minato, trying to comfort her.
"The only thing that would keep me sane would be constant sexual intercourse with Minato-kun, fufufufufufu! Experiments! Experiments!"
The Doctor facepalmed at the latest sexual shenanigans the Information Sekirei had unleashed on her mostly innocent ashikabi with a sigh.
At that moment the doorbell rang with a furious insistence.
"Oh! I'll get it!" exclaimed the Doctor, eager to leave the room.
"W-wait! I'll come with you!" shouted Minato, hoping to escape the clutches of the most perverted Sekirei in Izumo House.
Akitsu awoke in a closet.
How did I get here? She pondered.
Her memory was fuzzy. She was doing… something… she couldn't quite recall what. Something about dishes? Everything fuzzed over… no matter how hard she tried to recall the memories that were otherwise almost eidetic refused to surface.
This wasn't the first time she had found herself in an odd location with no proper recollection of how she'd gotten there. Every so often she would become aware of other, smaller gaps in her memory. She thought herself forgetful in the extreme… to the point where she embarrassingly forgot certain basics. It was now so much a part of her life that Akitsu barely gave it a thought anymore.
She shook herself awake, brushing aside a small dusting of frost that she had apparently summoned in her sleep. As she moved, a small child seemed to stir. The dusting of frost had covered her too. The small girl shivered in its cold embrace.
Kusano, number 108, her mind automatically supplied, Why is she here with me?
Akitsu was well aware as the Sekirei of Ice that she was also mostly immune to her own power's effects. She also knew that others were most decidedly not and quickly brushed the frost from her small form. Gently, she carried the child to a nearby futon and wrapped her up; hoping the warmth it would provide would prevent her from developing a cold.
The faint chiming of a doorbell arrested her attention.
Who could be here? Pondered Akitsu as she made for the front door.
Kazehana nursed her growing hangover with a sense of dread. The night's journey had been somewhat convoluted thanks to her less than sober navigation skills and the wind, her usual go-to option, had been rather flighty in steering her towards Izumo House.
Even so, she'd finally made it. Miya would almost certainly have some quality sake hidden about to shoo away her hangover.
"Come on, Miya, open up! Let your good friend Kazehana come in for a visit!" she shouted playfully while hammering the doorbell with as much restraint as a six year old.
The door finally opened, revealing not Miya, but a man.
A very familiar man.
"Oh, hello! I'm the Doctor! Pleased to meet you!" he said cheerfully, "I'm afraid Miya's not in right now so if you coul-"
Kazehana slapped the Doctor with the force of a dozen pimp hands.
"What?!" exclaimed the Doctor.
"That!" yelled Kazehana, pushing him back with accusing pokes, "Was for breaking my heart!"
She drew her hand back, ready make the other side of his face even.
"You…" she growled, voice trembling with uncharitable rage, "You left me. You broke my heart. Doctor-kun…"
Her entire body was trembling now.
"D-Doctor-kun you idiot!" she yelled, pulling him into a fierce hug and all but burying his face in her more than ample bosom.
"Oh my!" exclaimed Matsu, "A soap opera! It's a soap opera! Fufufufu!"
"D-Doctor-san! Are you alright?" asked Minato.
"MMmmfff!" struggled the Doctor.
"Never leave me again Doctor-kun!" exclaimed Kazehana, "We'll go on that cruise you always talked about!"
"Fmffmmfmf!" protested the Doctor, which only prompted Kazehana to squeeze him more tightly to her body.
"D-Doctor-sama?" asked a new voice.
All eyes turned to the newcomer, a shocked Akitsu bearing witness to the person she perceived as her Ashikabi in the arms of another.
Her face quickly gained steely determination.
"My Doctor. In another's arms. Unacceptable," she said.
Minato and Matsu exchanged glances. For Akitsu, that had practically been an hour long speech.
"Oh? Your Doctor?" teased Kazehana, "I think he belongs to me!"
"Mine," said Akitsu as she almost casually tore the Doctor out of Kazehana's grip.
The Doctor had only a moment to gasp for some much needed air before he found himself forcibly embraced by Akitsu, his face once again planted in the centre of a gorgeous Sekirei's impressive cleavage.
"My, oh my!" enthused Kazehana as she eagerly embraced both Akitsu and the Doctor, "Couldn't he be our Doctor?"
Akitsu looked from where the Doctor was being suffocated and back to Kazehana, thoughtfully considering the proposal. Before she could reply however…
A wave of killing intent swept the innocent members of Izumo House away to relative safety. Only the three individuals who were the target of the killing intent stayed in place, too paralysed by fear or too suffocated to notice to even attempt to preserve their lives.
"Oh dear," said Miya, shopping dropped at either side as she brandished a radish with deadly intent, "I never expected such clear violations of my rules. Please be prepared to take responsibility."