09/05/20XX, 15.03 local time
Ah Paris, capitol of France, the city of love—
"Hey, watch where you drive asshole!" and also home to some of the shittiest drivers I've ever seen. At the moment I'm sitting on the edge of the rooftop of the Arc de Triomphe. I already changed my uniform for a pair of black pants, a dark red shirt and a black hoodie made of a light fabric and with the zipper open, with the hood covering the upper part of my face. While I'm watching the French and tourists harmoniously name-calling each other , the BITS, Psycho and Superstes are searching Charlotte, Alexander or a clue about their whereabouts in a 5 click radius around my position. 1 click is 1000 meters or 0.6 miles, so they're searching in a 3 mile radius. You better remember this since I'll be using this and a lot more military terms from now on. Maybe we ca-
STOP BREAKING THE FOURTH WALL AND GET ON WITH THE STORY!
Okay, okay, calm down. Anyways, while they were searching G was going through the files we downloaded during the raid (Mister Benfari was kind enough to give us the second part of the algorithm when we passed Roma.) and already gave us quite some juicy information. And I mean first grade dripped Thanksgiving turkey juicy! We already have the names and addresses of several persons backing up this organization, locations of other research labs they have and even a contract that clearly states the price they paid from buying me from my father! And even the Ichinose seem to be a part of this organization! I can't believe the fucking nerve these guys have! First they sell me and when I get bailed out, they try to take me back into the family so that they can cover up everything and get a better public image! I'M GONNA KILL THOSE BASTARDS IN THE MOST EXCRUTIATING WAYS EVER RECORDED IN HUMAN HISTORY AFTER HUMILIATING AND UTTERLY DESTROYING THEM AND ALL THEY CHERISH! And when it's over, I'll dance on their graves with a lovely folk tune.
"I can see why your unconsciousness developed Psycho. But how about you chill the fuck out and focus on the main reason we came here?" G commented drily while she was working right next to me. Crap, I forgot they could read my mind.
"Don't worry about it mate, how about we download some classics and buy a bottle of Scotch for when we go dancing?" Psycho said in a light hearted tone. Hmmm, Scotch… what, it isn't my fault that Chi-chan can't hide her booze that well. And I'm naturally curious, so blame primal instincts and DNA. No offense Superstes.
"G, can we edit the parts of the Ichinose being involved with this organization into being involved with slave drivers and get a copy of the contract my dad lovingly set up for me?" I asked with a sugar sweet voice.
"Want me to send it to your mom, with a warning about the alterings?" she asked with a small grin.
"If you would be so kind."
"Give me two minutes."
"It's not like we have to be anywhere." I said lazily while letting my legs dangle from the edge. Some people were looking at me like I was crazy while others were worried that I would jump. If only they knew…
After watching another 10 minutes amused how retards tried to cross the insanely busy road while there is a perfectly good tunnel you could use and how people seemingly tried to drive their car into scrap metal, a screen showed up in front of me with a beep streaming live footage from one of the BITs. We have located Charlotte.
"…G, send these coordinates to the others and make sure that BIT 2 follows her in stealth mode." I ordered before standing up. Let's see, these coordinates are in the opposite directions and a lot of people are looking at me. Time for a magic trick! G paled a bit when she saw the plan in my head. And don't give me that look, I'm going through with it. I stood up and turned to face the people looking at me with a small grin. Should I tape this for you Psycho?
Nah, they're tourists with cameras, and this'll probably hit the local news so I'm good.
Aight, it's your choice. By now you're probably thinking 'What the fuck is he gonna do this time?', am I right? Well, kick back and enjoy the show. I made a courteous bow to the watching tourists before doing a backflip, effectively swan diving off the Arc. Activate booster pack, propulsion jets and activate the Veil as the Cloak together with the Stealth System. I hovered completely camouflaged 40 feet lower and waited there for a few seconds. After the usual shouting and surprised questions that always come when you see someone jumping of a freakishly tall building, I saw people looking surprised.
"T-there's no body!" a guy screamed surprised. Others started mumbling against each other and some others looked surprised.
"That kid got swallowed by shadows before disappearing!"
"It could be a ghost or something!"
"Get outta here, that's not possible!"
I chuckled softly at the ghost comments before flying toward the location of BIT 2. It's business time right now, you can screw around later… that sounded so wrong, especially now that I have a girlfriend.
Landing on a rooftop at the edge of the giant traffic cluster, I started running across the rooftops, the people on the streets being oblivious of my presence up here. I wonder why people never look up, the rooftops are the perfect spot for an ambush in waiting or for a sniper. 200 feet and closing in… 150…100…50! I should be able to spot her by now. C'mon, where are you?
"Oi oi, don't you bastards think it's kinda rude to bother a lady?" I heard a familiar voice from below me. Please don't let it be him, please don't let it be him! I carefully peeked down and saw Psycho being surrounded by six men with knives and a seventh one lying under his foot. A girl stood surprised behind him, but I couldn't see what she looked like. I facepalmed when I saw his happy smile. The bastard planned it all along! He looked up and his grin widened when he saw me. Don't you dare involving me in this as well! At least he's wearing clothes, even if they're all black.
"There you are Haru-chan, I've been looking all over the place for you!" he said in perfect French with an innocent voice. I'm going to kill you one of these days! The thugs looked surprised at me, but one decided to have a big mouth.
"What, your reinforcements is a wannabe superhero? Bwahaha, are you gu-" The idiot didn't get to finish his sentence as my foot was planted in his face. After pushing myself of into a backflip, and breaking his jaw in the process, I landed next to Psycho with my M-5 drawn.
"I ain't a wannabe hero, but Lieutenant of Special Task Forces so I suggest that you guys kindly fuck off." I told him with the kind of friendly smile that spells your doom. They all ran in fear while dragging their unconscious friends with them.
"You just had to jump from the rooftops didn't you? Not that I didn't enjoy the slow-motion action." Psycho asked me in an amused tone. I hit him on the head.
"Are you bloody retarded?! We come here to find two targets, check their status and to extract them if necessary, and you go pick a fight with some street thugs?! Have you never heard of subtlety?!" I asked him pissed off.
"Comes from the 'Ghost of the Arch'. You do realize that you're already on YouTube by now, right?" he yelled in my face.
"You want a fight, that it?" I asked angrily while pushing my head against his.
"Bitch please, I'll wipe the floor with ya skinny ass!" Psycho nearly yelled in my face. But sadly before we could find out who was stronger, G smacked the both of us in the floor. Literally.
"Both of you SHUT UP AND COOL DOWN!" she yelled angrily at us, killing intent flaring around. Psycho and I quickly got in a seiza position.
""We're sorry ma'am."" We said at the same time.
"Special Task Forces? What happened to traveling around the world?" I heard a familiar voice from behind me. I turned around and looked at her with an sincere, caring smile.
"Who says I can't combine work and play? Besides, you weren't at my side Charlotte. Didn't I promise that I would take you with me?" I said gently to her. Charlotte nodded with a smile while trying to hold back her tears. Yare yare, still trying to be a strong girl I see. I opened my arms and before I could say anything she tackled me into a hug and started quietly sobbing.
"It's alright, I'm here now. You can let it all out." I whispered in her ear. She put her head against my shoulder and kept murmuring the same two words over and over again.
Those two words held all of her emotions. Her fear, her loneliness, the joy of seeing me again. I held her tighter in response. Unbeknownst to the both of us, a single tear rolled down my cheek while I laughed softly.
"Of course I'm safe, what else did you expect?"
On the rooftops two persons were watching the touching scene in the alley underneath him. The girl had striking gold eyes and a head full of velvet red hair with a streak of blonde in it. Her partner standing next to her was a well-toned man with emerald green eyes and blonde hair that reached his waist. The girl looked happily at the scene while the boy seemed troubled.
"I'm glad that he finally found her. With a bit of luck he'll put everything behind him now." The fiery red head exclaimed happily.
"We both know that he won't." the guy next to her stated solemnly.
"Geez, don't be such a downer. Why would you think that?" she said annoyed at the man souring her good mood.
"Simple, he can try to move on, but a place like that doesn't forget you so long it exists. It follows you and haunts you until you either return to it or completely annihilate it. And even if he moves on, that Alexander kid will no doubt coax or guilt trip him into doing something about the Deus Project." The man stated his theory. "Life isn't a fairy tale where everything works out once you find the princess. The dragon will keep harassing you until you slay it. And when you succeed, the next one will take its place after a while. That's how life is, keep eating or be eaten. And the boy in the alley may be grasping that fact, but he doesn't fully understand it. No one does until they experience it firsthand."
"You know, I actually envy the ordinary persons on the streets out there, living their live in a fake and ignorant sense of security." He said ruefully, surprising his female companion. After her surprise, she smiled softly.
"Let's be honest, if you lived like them, you would still go and look for danger because life would be boring then." She said in a light hearted tone. The boy laughed at his own expense.
"Can you blame me, I'm a Psycho after all. Now, let's break up these love birds before he does something that Cecilia won't like." The Psycho said with a grin.
"Uhm, I think that we're a bit too late in that department." The girl said hesitantly while showing Psycho a dossier on a floating screen. For once in his short life, he was dumbfounded.
"Oi woman, are you sure this is genuine?" he asked carefully.
"100%, I checked it three times and all from different sources."
"… that bastard is SCREWED. I can't wait until we're back at the Academy to see everyone's reaction."
"Think we should tell him?"
"Would you tell a 5 year old that Santa isn't real?"
"My thoughts exactly… Wait a sec, where the fuck are they? "
Charlotte stopped crying after a few minutes but she held me tightly with her head against my shoulder, afraid to let me go and finding out that it wasn't real after all. I just held her close, giving her a reassuring squeeze that I'm still here. There is still a lot I have to do, but for now forget it. Lose yourself in the moment, who knows when another chance like this will come by? I don't know how long we stood there, but neither of us wanted this moment to end. While we were simply enjoying each others presence, Charlotte's cellphone started ringing. She answered the phone with a pout and a pink hue on her cheeks.
"Hello… I'm on my way at the moment… Yes, yes I know, I'll be there shortly…He's standing right next to me… right, bye." She hung up with a cheerful voice. I looked curiously at Charlotte. Judging by the conversation, she has to be somewhere important and has to do something with me. The only other person that could have known I would be here by now is Alexander. Quite expectable since I could talk to Charlotte thanks to his weird-ass hologram. Before I could ask her any questions regarding my deductions, she laced her arms around mine and started pulling me with her.
"Let's go, you need to meet a few people. But do you mind if we stop by the supermarket first? I still need to get some groceries to prepare dinner." She said excited and a bit nervous.
"Sure, why not? Gives us time to catch up a bit." I said with a gentle smile. Charlotte put her head against my shoulder with a serene smile and we walked towards the supermarket in that position. I should feel a bit guilty that I'm walking around like that with someone else besides Cecilia, but I think our relation and past together justify it… right? We walked for a few minutes in silence, she in sheer happiness, I while pondering on my (slight lack of) morals.
"Haruka, are you alright?" Charlotte asked me worried. Damn, am I that obvious?
"I'm fine Charl, I'm just thinking about what to do from here out." I said with a teasing smile. No need to talk about it yet. She just raised an eyebrow.
"Charl?" she asked me with a smile that looks like mine.
"Yeah, it's cute and short, just like you." I said cheekily.
"I'm not short, you're just freakishly tall."
"I can't help it that you only reach my shoulder Charl." Charl just held my arm a bit tighter than necessary and pouted.
"You're lot meaner than 2 years ago." She complained halfheartedly while we entered the supermarket.
"Am not, the stuff they injected me with kept me kinda toned down."
"Until the last month we shared that bed. Then you had much more energy."
"Not to mention the food tasted differently during that period…"
"…" We both looked silently at each other with the same thought in our minds.
"You don't think they-"
"Please don't go there, don't shatter the illusion that we at least had some privacy." She asked me with an embarrassed face. I just shrugged and inspected the meat in front of us. Well would you look at that, the venison is on discount today!
"Charl, for how many people do you need to cook?" I asked her innocently.
"Normally just for myself, but you and Alex are both coming over for dinner tonight. Why do you ask?" She looked at me with a slightly suspicious look.
"Well, the venison is on sale today, and since it can be prepared as a delicious fried steak if you use some pepper and salt and a bit of flour, I simply thought that I could help you prepare dinner." I said with a sweet smile. That and I'd like to prepare my own dinner ever since I found a hair in the cafeteria food.
"You can cook?" she asked me surprised, before she started thinking. After a few seconds she looked sternly at me in a quite a cute way.
"We're having salad and des frites (French fries) as side dishes." She ordered me around playfully.
"Could we have some red wine as well?" I asked with an over exaggerated pleading look. She just looked at me with a giggle Before whispering softly in my ear.
"Only if you behave."
Wow, there were just so many wrong signals in that action.
Or maybe the right ones, even though interpreted them as wrong.
Shut up Psycho, I don't feel like having a philosophical debate with myself right now.
We're gonna talk about it later, whether you like it or not.
Dismissing Psycho, I walked to the cashier with Charlotte, who was still clinging loosely to my arms with a content look on her face. When we exited the supermarket and started walking, I saw something shimmering around the height of her chest. Curiously, I grabbed it and studied it. When I recognized the silver wolfs head, I smiled melancholically while remembering the time when I was a little kid.
"You kept it all this time." I said with a happy, yet rueful tone.
"Of course I did, you gave it to me after all. I still need something to remember that I wasn't alone in the darkest period of my life." She said with a tear in her eye. I pulled her a bit closer in assurance. For whom, I honestly do not know. We kept walking like that, not feeling the need to break our peaceful silence. Soon we ended in front of the building Charl apparently stayed at… which happened to be one of the most expensive condos in the city, around twenty floors high. Seriously, how the hell can she afford this?!
"My father is currently paying for the condo. Still, a smaller apartment would've been just as good." She said with a small sweat drop.
Be careful Haru-dono, I sense someone in the building who can match you in combat.
Do you have any readings?
… He seems to have the same physical condition as you do.
Damn, that can only mean two things and I really hope it's the first one.
"Lemme guess, Alexander is already waiting for us at your place?" I asked Charl.
"Yes, how did you know?" she asked me surprised.
"I just had a feeling. By the way, which one is yours?" I asked nonchalantly while gesturing towards the facade of the building.
"Uhm, I live on the top floor. What're you up to Haruka?" she asked me suspiciously.
"Nothing, you go ahead. I just wanna see how good little Alex is." I said innocently. Charlotte looked surprised at me for a moment before she hung her head in defeat.
"Typical. Just try to minimize the damage since you'll be paying for it."
"Works for me." I yelled from the third floor before activating the Stealth System and continuing my climb to the top. I smoothly continued the climb to the top without being noticed thanks to the ever effective Stealth System. I silently jumped over the fence at the edge of the terrace and drew my pistol from my inner pocket. The giant glass sliding door is partially open, I can easily walk in.
A bit too easily. Oi doggie, where's the weird presence you felt earlier?
It's waiting behind the curtains right next to the opening. I advise extreme caution, he has an object in his hands with low temperatures. I cannot discern the purpose, but it seems to be pointy.
Right, move in quickly and silently, do not get hit by pointy thing and ascertain whether he's friendly or not. Got it. Can you give me that special sight we've been developing?
After everything went black for a second I regained my sight and immediately got a much better grasp on the situation. My new Recon Vision allows me to see the contours of things and, if they're alive, their heartbeat so long as the thing they're hiding behind isn't too thick, and then it depends on the mass of the object. For example, I can see easily through 5 inches thick paper, but one inch of steel is already a lot more difficult. The thickest I can see through is 2 inches thick concrete. The person, probably Alex, is holding something that looks like a knife and is standing in a tense position, ready for action. His heartbeat is strangely calm though, like he's used to situations like this. I better be careful, who knows how experienced he is. But how could I get the upper hand?
What is the best part of lying in ambush?
Well, that's an easy one, it's the cover that serves as hiding spot and protection… Psycho you're a freaking genius when it comes to battles!
What do you mean,' when it comes to battles'?
Ignoring Psycho, I crept towards the glass door and stopped in front of it. Stealth Systems are still activated, so I don't have to worry about being spotted. I grabbed the handle of the glass door and pulled it completely open, surprising Alex. Which should've been the plan that somehow didn't work, judging by the knife I had to jump away from quickly. Walking from behind the curtain came a smug looking Alexander and for the first time I could get a clear look at him. He is around five feet nine inches, give or take a half and seems a bit skinny. His hair is black with a streak of red in the middle of his bless. His brown eyes showed a harshness that betrayed his arduous past. His mouth was pulled into a smug grin while he looked where I stood.
"You can quit with the sneaking, I am able to pinpoint your exact location." He exclaimed. To prove his point he threw his knife at me. I slightly shifted my body to the right while running towards him, caught the knife in a reversed grip and slashed at his neck. The swing was stopped when I hit a patch of ice that appeared on his neck. In my surprise I didn't notice that the ice patch absorbed the knife and started covering my arm. I hastily pulled away, but my clenched hand and wrist were already covered in ice. How the fuck does he do that?!
"Are you surprised 047? I completely understand it if you start to become a bit nervous having to fight someone like me." he taunted me.
"Bitch please, if I became nervous having to fight a wannabe Aokiji, I wouldn't be cut out for my job at all. Now, are you ready to get your ass kicked?" I challenged him as I put my pistol away and went into a low stance. We looked at each other, preparing to fight.
"That's enough out of you two. Alex, get the ice of Haruka's arms so that he can cook the venison." Charl commanded. She set everything ready and put on a red apron while we were having our little warm up.
"No need Charl, I can get it off just fine." I said relaxed. Just as those words left my lips, the ice around my arms shattered and I walked in in with a smug smile.
"See, no problem at all." Charl just rolled her eyes and muttered something that sounded as 'showoff'. I just ruffled her hair and started cooking and ignoring Alex… for now at least, his loyalty is still a mystery that needs to be solved.
"Don't worry man, I'll keep my eyes on him." Psycho said in my head before materializing right in front of Alex and just stared at him. After a minute of trying to ignore him, he caved in.
"Can I help you with something?" Alex asked Psycho politely.
"I dunno Alice, can you huh, huh, HUH?" With that last huh, Psycho let his face float a few inches away from Alex.
"Alice?" Alice- I mean Alex asked him a bit annoyed.
"Yeah, cuz you look like a little emo-girl named Alice to me. The question is can you help me with my problem?"
"And your problem is?" Alex inquired with perfect restraint. Psycho just looked afraid at Alex for a few seconds until he whispered something hard enough for everyone to hear.
"… I see dead people."
And that was chapter 25! Also, though it's a bit late, happy holidays and why did we have to enter 2013 without any major catastrophe on December 21st?! I was actually looking forward to it!
Haruka: You were looking forward to the end of the world?
No, i was looking forward to the extermination of every single moron on this planet. The smart ones would've survived, which would've been a lot more pleasant.
Haruka: you're insane...
Anyways, onward to the reviews!
Lajoie21: Trust me, it's gonna be a bloody, bloody mess. I'll go prepare the tombstone in advance.
Haruka: What are you going to make me do?
Raidentensho : It's up to you to find which one i used. For those who can't or don't feel like it, it'll be explained next chapter.
Cor Strike FX : Because your guts know the common routes already. Still, i'll do my very best to not let it end like School Days.
Haruka: You wouldn't dare!
Is that a challenge i hear?
Haruka :N-no sir!
xbamsod : It's up to your judgement whether or not it was a good meeting.
Archangel Azrael: You do realize you just spoiled my surprise huh? Still, nobody will guess how it'll happen and what'll happen.
Those were the answers to the reviews! Now on a side-note, a few of the more deductive people may have noticed a few... irregularities. Don't worry they're not mistakes, but merely hints for a shocking revelation of the next chapter. Virtual cookies for however can guess correctly what the revelation will be. Here's a list of the people whom i already told and thus are not allowed to participate are:
and someone else who've I forgotten.
Anyways, see you next time!