Sorry for the long hiatus of this story but rest assured as I won't abandon this story... too much sweat and tears for it to be abandoned T_T
AT any rate... Second arc of Reunion of The Sky begin! As usual... my beta Alia helped me a lot and suggestion of what to develop in next chapter :)
Tsuna and Giotto were not happy campers and more often than not this was caused by their hyper intuition; and the best part? They had no idea why they were not happy or skittish. It felt like their childhood's monster under the bed all over again, unreasonable anxiety for an unexplainable cause. All they could do was just be prepared for the worst, and if they were lucky, they'd just had to cross their fingers and the anxiety would go away on its own. Their guardians knew that when their boss was like this it was best to leave them alone, they needed space to breathe, and relaxing herbs tea to calm their nerves which did not help a lot but was enough. Tsuna was in his office while Giotto was in his temporary bedroom.
At least they stopped pacing around their office and ruining the expensive Persian rug. The most expensive one known in the world, Reborn forced Tsuna to purchase it so all mafia bosses who entered his office knew of the Vongola's riches, which made it a completely useless purchase as far as Tsuna was concerned, considering that the size of the mansion was already pretty telling about their riches. The only good thing that came from it was that Lambo never dared to bring food to Tsuna's office and risk ruining the expensive historical rug thus incurring in Reborn's wrath. The hitman unexpectedly had a keen eye for antiques and loved collecting them.
Reborn's hobby and expensive rug aside, the two Vongola bosses were distressed. Hayato returned from the archive with the document Tsuna wanted, which of course was just for his eyes and not shared to Giotto. No one protested since, while they might have violated a dozen or so rules of time traveling (if they existed), they wouldn't risk it when it could be avoided. If Tsuna thought he had to share it with Giotto despite the risk, he would. However in his opinion the document about Talbot having never ever invented a time machine would be the least of their worries. He could think of three possibilities on the top of his head.
One, due to this event history changed and Talbot did invent the time machine, but that didn't add up to what was written in the document he read so it was probably out. Two, Talbot never reported the invention to Vongola, which was unlikely because Talbot trusted Primo with his life. Three... the worst possibility ever, so bad that he would rather have the first option and all of that time-paradox chaos it implied. Someone was sending his and the rest of Primo's guardians back and forth on purpose, and they used Talbot to get the job done. How did they use the inventor? They might have hypnotized him or they borrowed his appearance and so on. The first would be better since Talbot was alive, but for how long since the objective was accomplished was anyone's guess. The latter? Talbot would have been killed or at least incapacitated in the past.
He had Shouichi check on the old mechanic, and the news were not good. Talbot had collapsed due to a heart failure and while he was saved from immediate death he was currently in a coma. He knew Talbot was not in the best condition since yesterday but that had been the last nail on the coffin, and Talbot in both past and future was not safe. The problem of course would be the culprit's identity, what the culprit had done to Talbot and for what reason. But worst of all, whoever it was had access on the method of travelling in time and was orchestrating all of this mess.
The headache of the century plus the possibility of a second episode of Byakuran. With that in mind, Tsuna finished his sixth cup of herbal tea.
Giotto on the other hand had a completely different concern than Tsuna's. He and the rest of his guardians had left the past and his famiglia. They had done everything they could to keep their famiglia members safe and sound, but that was only a temporary measure. For how long would their rival famiglie not notice their absence? All things considered, they would be lucky if by the end of the week none of their allies were looking for them asking why he had not replied to their letters yet. There were many famiglie still considering the offer of alliance and they could come looking for Vongola at any given time. They also had enemies who were after the Vongola territories like starving hyenas, not one but many of them.
Vongola was the most active famiglia that kept looking for alliances among famiglie of mafia. They were active to the point that not a week passed without them meeting any of their allies or future allies. Just from one week of absence from their alliance activities, the mafia society was going to have a big question mark above their heads about it.
They had been here for two days but they had no idea how long had passed since they left their era. None whatsoever.
They couldn't afford going 'missing' for too long in their era. Vongola was the pillar of balance in the mafia society; once the pillar went missing, everything was going to come crashing down, it would be a mafia war for power on their doorstep. A war that wouldn't be stopped even if Vongola returned immediately after it began. The mafia society was not a society where a war could be blown out like fire on a candle once it began, rather it was like a wildfire in a forest. Once it spread, not even the strongest famiglia could snuff it out, even with all their power. A war being started meant blood being spilled very fast, territories all over Italy being invaded and so on. It could break out faster than you could blink but to stop it?
Giotto recalled that the Casiva famiglia was still pending on that offer of alliance and they could turn up on Vongola's doorstep in the past and wonder where the hell the owner of the house was. The Panthera famiglia was reported prowling around their territory in Southern Italy for who knows what. There was conflict between two allies of theirs for spice trades that could blow up any second and Vongola had to mediate in that. And etc. etc... lots of pending problems back home that could trigger a war.
Giotto gulped down his eighth cup of tea.
In this kind of situation, their hyper intuition was not helping other than to tell them, 'FUBAR is in the horizon and you gotta do something'. They had seen enough to tell this was probably going downhill but with their hyper intuition blaring alarms like this, it was obvious they would definitely be FUBAR soon and not probably anymore.
The problem was, they had no idea when and how all of these messes were going to blow up on their faces. Their hyper intuition couldn't tell them that.
"Don't tell me that." Gokudera voiced his annoyance through gritted teeth.
Ryohei and Shouichi glanced at each other before they turned to the annoyed storm guardian. "We've just extremely told you." Ryohei said with uncharacteristically calmness on his part. "I am as annoyed as you are about this Hayato." It was a credit to how severe the situation was that Ryohei found no extremeness in him to act anything but serious.
"It's like a bad prank in the early morning." Shouichi drawled, it was almost noon actually. "But seriously... what do you want me to say?" He wondered out loud, "I never wake up in the morning and find the black flamed monster that had been locked securely in my lab reduced to the charred corpse of human?"
Ryohei snorted, "And my subordinates and I who conducted the autopsy founding nothing other than the corpse has been burn crisply?" The sun guardian crossed his arms, "Like hell Hayato! I'm also extremely annoyed that the first thing in the morning I had to do was to examine a charred corpse just to find nothing."
Gokudera rubbed the bridge of his nose, "Nothing at all?"
Shouichi sighed "Other than the corpse was burned so thoroughly that when we tried to remove it from the tank... one of the corpse's limbs, or what used to be a limb crumbled to dust."
"The corpse was in such a bad condition?" Hayato asked incredulously.
Ryohei nodded, "We barely could preserve what was left." The sun guardian huffed, and then carefully chose a comparison to describe the corpse. "Back at home... that's what would be ready to be put on a vase and enshrined." He was referring to the cremation custom where a family kept the ash of their departed relatives. "Normally a sun flame user could try using their flames to prepare the corpse for autopsy but in that state I could do nothing." The boxer shook his head.
"So our lead to this unknown enemy is gone?" Hayato hissed.
"We have examined that crisply burned corpse." Ryohei informed him, "As thoroughly as we could but yeah... nothing other than it was burned so precisely you couldn't tell which part of the body burned first."
Hayato groaned, "This is not good, then how about the prisoners we caught?"
Shouichi took a deep breath, "You won't like what I found."
"Now what?" The right hand man almost snapped, "If the prisoners managed to get themselves killed please tell me we found at least a lead."
The scientist nodded, "Well... for starters, Ryohei's subordinates found a special type of toxin in our prisoners' body. The prisoners hid it in their body... right under the skin of their tight. A small amount of toxins that would leak into their system the moment they added pressure to the right place... "
Ryohei took a deep breath, "Of all the things... it was botulinum."
Hayato cringed. "What the heck? That's... "
"The deadliest toxin ever known to man..." Shouichi nodded sagely, "Not your average stuff for mafia to carry around to kill themselves with, that's for sure."
The grey haired man snorted, "That's a good lead actually. Botulinum... the deadliest toxin in the world... unless they chose this particular toxin for mere theatrics I can see a good lead we can follow."
Ryohei whistled, "We'll leave it to you Hayato, thanks to your sister... you're an expert in this and second only to her and Shamal when it comes to poison."
"I've been through first-hand experience for that unfortunately... " Hayato couldn't help but to cringe at the beautiful and poisonous childhood memories. "Botulinum is a double edged sword, while it's deadly... the other name it holds is... 'Elixir of Beauty' if used in the right dose."
Shouichi, who only had miniscule knowledge in poisons, raised an eyebrow, "Elixir of Beauty?" He blanched, "Don't tell me."
Hayato tapped his cheek with his forefinger, "Yeah, that's what women all over the world inject on their faces when they undergo plastic surgery. The diluted version of course..." He said in an almost amused voice, "And..." He would have said more but Shouichi interrupted making a gurgling noise as he held his stomach.
The mechanic was not amused by the trivia, "That's sick." He was never good in dealing with horror stuff, especially one involving the mad scientist's kind of horror. He shivered at the thought of girls like his sister doing that for beauty. He eerily remembered his sister asking if he knew a good plastic surgeon a few years back, thankfully his sister didn't go through with her idea. Something about making her nose more pointed or something. "Why would anyone willingly inject poison on their face?! Who cares if it's diluted?!"
Hayato looked amused by Shouichi's sudden loss of composure; normally he would ask the guy to snap out of it, but what he was going to answer next would be part of the clue. "They do... you would be surprised at how wilingly they take the risk. It's expensive to do it in clinics by the way... and so nowadays..." Ryohei and Shouichi had a feeling they wouldn't like what the storm guardian was going to say. "Do-it-yourself plastic surgery is quite popular, and botulinum is just one among many things that are sold in the black market for that purpose."
"... Are you telling me, mafia probably is the one who supplies that wretched thing to black market?" Shouichi asked incredulously. "And they're using it as a suicide poison just because they make a business out of it?"
Hayato shrugged, "Triads do but I think there's no mafia involved in this even though drug trade is a fair business in this society."
Shouichi sighed at that, "Okaaay... " He droned, no doubt he was craving herbal tea or any kind of caffeine beverage to shake him out of his stupor. "I will look up into this botulinum and plastic surgery supply business as soon as possible."
Hayato nodded, "And make sure to inform our men that... next time, we have to do X-rays for possible hidden poison or weapons in a prisoner's body." They had gotten careless but fortunately they could savage some clues.
East Wing Manor
Takeshi strolled through the corridor of the west wing where they had reserved some space for the first generation. It was a hasty decision on their part but Tsuna didn't want the first generation to wander around in disguise. The least Tsuna could do was to reserve part of the manor for them so they could breathe and come to terms with their situation. Daemon, Asari and G in particular needed plenty of rest for the wounds they had received from the last confrontation with their mysterious enemies.
Takeshi stopped in front of a mahogany door, a spare study room the first generation used for their discussions. The rain guardian knocked three times until he heard a firm voice giving him permission to enter. "Hello guys? I hope you're comfortable." He and Ryohei were the only guardians Tsuna trusted to visit the first generation on their own, Tsuna knew Hayato was not in the best terms with G. Lambo and Lampo were like bickering children whenever they met. Hibari and Mukuro were out of the equation since it would result in a bloodbath if either met their past counterpart.
Asari grinned, "Yes... we're very comfortable in our future home!"
G sighed at that, "Asari... yes we're fine and comfortable, Takeshi." The storm guardian added, "Is there anything we can help you with?"
Takeshi gave him a salute, "Yamamoto Takeshi is here to report our latest find!"
Asari just laughed at his counterpart's antics while the rest of the guardians sighed at the rain guardian. Alaude who stood in the corner of the room raised an eyebrow, "What did you find?"
Takeshi grinned, "You see... the black flame monster you called a ghoul, we had a bit mishap with them this morning and... "
5 minutes later
"So you tracked the possible culprit down by investigating famiglie who had business with illegal plastic surgery supplies?" G and Alaude were nodding; they had to admit their successors knew what they were doing.
Daemon smirked, "Interesting... "
Takeshi was answering G's question about how they would investigate a port town in Italy when Lampo suddenly yelled in horror, "Girls injecting what on their faces?!" It seemed the Lightning guardian just had his first taste of the horrors of the modern era.
"Checkerface-sama..." Wonomichi drawled the name of his master as he watched the bloody carnage before him.
He had come because of an emergency call he received from his master. A master he had not seen for the last five years, since the man had retired to an even more secluded life in a village that was deep in the rural area of Japan. Unlike the exuberant life in Namimori city, the village Checkerface resided on now was tranquil and humble. There was no electricity or any modern touch in the village as the villagers all lived in harmony with nature as if they had never been in contact with the outside world.
The last time Wonomichi saw this village, it was when Checkerface decided to spend the rest of his life there. It was a peaceful and welcoming village.
Now all he could see as far as his beady eyes would allow him was the epitome of a bloody tragedy. So many bodies laid on the ground, elderly, adult and children. If not for the handkerchief he used to cover his nose he would have choked because of the strong smell of blood threatening to flare his nostrils.
He had desperately hoped that whatever happened, his master would have been spared. But all he could find from his master's house was the charred remains on the plot of land. The wall, ceiling and tatami were painted the color of blood. Each stroke that grazed the surface looked like it had been applied with a giant brush. Looking around, Wonomichi easily found the offending brush, and old broom which tip was caked with blood. It was pure chaos and in midst of it Wonomichi could only find the ineligible strokes of blood. Right beside the charred remains of someone he hoped was not his master.
On the wall was a hastily written message.
THERE'S NO REDEMPTION FOR TRINISETTE AND IT'S OWNER.
Next to the charred remains laid a checkered mask and circle framed glasses, that had once belonged to Checkerface and Kawahira.
I am a sadist at heart, leaving a cliffie like this again AND AGAIN!
The latest chapter and end of previous arc pains me... -.- I am hoping Amano-sensei to end the arc in neater way but well... I just hope next arc we can get more serious business going. ColoneloXLal fans, congrats! They're getting married! How that could work with him being a baby is anyone's guess~ he he he
And another announcement for Parallel Axis, sorry but I am going to put it in temporary hiatus and focus on ROTS instead... simply because it's A MESS and I need to rearrange the plot instead of slap-dash everything like I have done since chapter 5 of POAST. I am open for critique but not for those who think they know better than me at how to make my story better. I am open for critique and suggestion NOT demand.