Ryuji's supercharged gore cross had cleared the rest of the hoard in the immediate area. However, that last attack had left him in a vulnerable state as he was now passed out on the blood-soaked ground.
Meanwhile a SDF helicopter was on its way towards the elementary school.
"I'm sorry, but that's as close as I can take her. If I get any closer, I risk compromising our position." The pilot explained.
The helicopter was about twenty feet above the school.
"This is fine. I can make my own way from here." A very young looking woman responded before she jumped out of the helicopter. She made multiple flips through air like a seasoned acrobat as her speed accelerated. Just before she hit the ground, a pentacle of light appeared beneath her slowing her descent. As a result of this, she didn't make so much as a whisper when her feet finally touched the ground.
The helicopter remained stationary to make sure that the woman had indeed made it to the grounds of the school safely before returning to base.
The woman observed the remnants of the fight that happened only a few moments ago. The front of the school was littered with dismembered corpses; there was a giant gaping hole in the school where the front doors used to be; and to top it all off a building down the road was nothing more than a pile of rubble.
"That idiot…" The strangely dressed woman sighed.
Ryuji lied unconscious on the blood soaked ground of what once was a normal elementary private school for girls. Now it has become something out of a gory horror movie.
The woman made her way towards his unconscious body, her footsteps echoed throughout the hallway as she walked past the macabre of body parts. She knelt down and turned his body over so that he was lying on his back. She placed her index and middle fingers on his neck and lightly pressed down. "His pulse is weak, but he's still alive." She pulled out a vial of red liquid from her jacket. "This should do the trick." She brought the vial to his lips and poured the liquid down his throat.
Ryuji started coughing as he struggled to swallow the strange medicine. He slowly opened his eyes, his vision started to come back into focus. "Pink…?" Upon waking up he saw a woman standing over him. The first thing he noticed about her was that she had pink hair which was done in twin tails and that she wore glasses. "Princess…?" At first he thought it was Saya standing before him, but that was impossible. He kept looking at her and noticed something strange about the Saya lookalike. "Cat Ears…?" Upon noticing this feature, he recognized who she was. Ryuji cleared his throat before speaking. "Kokonoe-sensei…?"
Kokonoe looked almost exactly like Saya with her twin-tailed pink hair style and glasses, but there were three defining features which set these two apart. First; Kokonoe always wore lab coat, second; she had cat ears and twin cat tails which also happened to be pink, and third; she was half Saya's size.
Her steely cold gaze pierced Ryuji to his very core. "It's about time you woke up."
"What are you doing here?" He asked as he attempted to stand. However, he felt dizzy which made him lose his balance. Luckily he was able to catch himself before he hit the ground.
"You can thank your sister for that. She was worried, so she sent me to assist you." Kokonoe answered.
Ryuji was kneeling on the ground unable to move. His head was spinning and he was still exhausted from his fight with the undead.
She observed the sorry state he was in without the slightest hint of emotion. "If you're wondering why you're so exhausted, it's because you almost died from hypovolemia."
He looked at her with a confused look on his face. "Hypo… what?"
She crossed her arms and sighed. "In other words you almost died from severe blood loss."
"Blood loss? I don't understand. How's that possible?" He asked.
"There is one way…" She took a deep breath. "You're demon powers had manifested despite those chains suppressing your demon blood didn't they?"
He nodded in response. There was no way in hell he was going to fool Kokonoe-sensei. After all she was his personal doctor for over ten years.
"I thought so. It was only matter of time considering the situation." Kokonoe paced up and down getting lost in her own train of thought. "That would explain everything including why you were passed out on the ground, but there's one thing that's bothering me. For those chains to suddenly lose their effectiveness, some kind of catalyst is needed." She suddenly stopped walking. "Be honest Ryuji. Did they bite you?"
Ryuji was finally able to stand up after recovering some of his energy back. "Yeah, they did." He walked over to his zanbato which was lying next to him and picked it up. "However, it seems like this new virus didn't have an effect on me either." He swung it once knocking some of the excess blood off before sheathing it.
"You're wrong. I wouldn't know for sure exactly how the virus affected you without testing your blood first, but one thing is for sure." She turned around and pointed dramatically at him. "You awakened into a Berserker!"
Even after her explanation, he was still confused. "What does that have to do with how I lost so much blood?"
"You still don't get it? I would've thought at least that much would be obvious to you." Kokonoe adjusted her glasses as she continued to explain. "Did you notice the color of your attacks?"
"The color…?" Flashbacks of when he used his newfound power against 'them' played out in his mind. "Red…? Don't tell me…"
"Do you get it now? Those flashy red-colored attacks you kept recklessly using were being powered by your own life force. Use too many too fast and not even your instant regeneration is going to save you." She stated.
That's when it dawned on him that he really did almost kill himself. "So why did you come here? It couldn't just be because Sis asked you too?"
Kokonoe crossed her arms and sighed. "You know… I have better things that I could be doing than saving your sorry ass." She turned around and started walking towards the stairs. "You should count yourself lucky that your older sister is leading this entire operation because if it were up to me, I would've left you to rot."
Ryuji couldn't decide what was worse, the end of the world or Kokonoe herself. "Maybe I was better off lying unconscious."
"Would you get your ass in gear already or did you not get enough rest sleeping among the dead!?" She yelled.
He quickly heeded her warning and followed behind her as they walked up the stairs.
"Seeing as how the first floor is vacant, I assume the entire student body and school faculty are on the second floor correct?" She didn't wait for a confirmation as she continued her train of thought. "I need to talk with the school principal and get more info before we proceed any further."
The second floor was just as bad as the first. Corpses littered the floor and blood splatters painted the entire hallway.
"So they made it here as well. If you weren't here this school would've succumb by now. I guess I should say good work." She stated.
Ryuji couldn't believe what he just heard. "Sensei…? Did you actually praise me just now?"
Kokonoe ignored him and continued. "However, you really made quite a mess of this place." She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out what looked like three black marbles.
"What are you doing?" He asked with a confused look on his face.
"Just shut up and watch. I need to concentrate in order for this to work." She replied.
He did as ordered. No need to foolishly get on her bad side.
She tossed the marbles only for them to burst the moment they hit the ground. In their place, three floating orbs of what appeared to be pure darkness appeared.
As Ryuji stared at the objects wondering what they were, he failed to notice Kokonoe reaching for something else on her person. By the time he looked back at her, she had already pulled out what looked like a rod from a magical girl anime. However, the rod seemed somewhat familiar as it bore a resemblance to his sword.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before focusing her energy into her weapon. Her rod started to glow a brilliant blue color as she opened her eyes and waved it over the orbs of darkness. As soon as she completed the motion, the glow emanating from her rod died down. She breathed a sigh of relief indicating whatever it was she did worked.
Ryuji was more confused than ever. "Um…"
"Just give it a second."
The dark orbs descended to the ground and started to change shape. They melted into the ground creating a black puddle. Then, what appeared to be orange eyes and a mouth emerged from each puddle, forming faces. The newly formed faces lifted from the puddle sprouting upright like a plant. The dark plantlike creatures were supported by a stem which extended from their puddle-like base. If that wasn't strange enough, a small padlock on a chain was wrapped around each of them. The creatures approached the pair sliding their bodies along the ground.
"Clean up this mess." She commanded.
The three summoned creatures did as ordered sliding to the nearest decayed body parts and slowly absorbing them into their puddle-like forms.
"And when you're done with this floor, you guys can go clean up the rest of the place." She added.
"What are these things?" He asked.
She put away her rod and adjusted her glasses. "Shadow Elementals or more specifically Spirit Summon: Stalkers."
Even the pools of blood that painted the hallway disappeared one by one as the Stalkers slid their bodies over them cleansing the school of the undead.
Ryuji was in awe by the Stalkers efficiency that he didn't notice one of them was inching its way towards him until it latched onto his leg. "What the hell? I thought they were cleaning up."
"They are cleaning up." She responded.
"Then why is it latching onto me?"
"If you haven't noticed, you're covered in blood. There would be no point to this if I didn't clean you up as well."
"Ryuji, you're not planning on disobeying me are you?" She threatened.
"No." He stayed still and let the shadow elemental do its job.
"Don't worry it won't eat you… probably."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
She crossed her arms and closed her eyes. "I mean even if my stalker does eat you, you'll just heal right back."
"Just because I can heal doesn't mean it won't hurt!" He exclaimed.
Kokonoe was fed up with his protests and glared at him. "Oh cry me a river bitch!"
Amidst their argument, the stalker had already done its job cleansing Ryuji of all the blood that was on him including his zanbato. It jumped off him and resumed its original task.
"See? It didn't eat you. Now stop acting like a big baby and let's go." She started walking down the hallway letting her spirits finish the rest.
"I get it now. The reason you're going so far to clean the place is to protect their innocence. That's uncharacteristically kind of you Sensei." He smirked.
Kokonoe ignored the comment and kept on walking towards the principal's office. She placed her hand on the knob. The knob glowed for few seconds before she opened the door, walked in, and closed it behind her.
"That was definitely a yes. At any rate, I guess I should check on Chihiro. She must be worried." Ryuji walked towards the classroom she was in and knocked on the door. "It's me. They're gone. I cleared the place of 'them.'"
He heard the sound of desks and chairs moving before the door opened slightly. The teacher peeked through the door to see who it was.
"It's safe for now." He assured her.
She opened the door letting him inside before locking it again.
"Senpai…?" A familiar voice asked.
Ryuji noticed Chihiro sitting up against the wall. She was holding her little sister who seemed to have fallen asleep in her arms.
He walked towards her and leaned up against the wall beside her. "You seem to be holding up well considering the circumstances."
She looked back at her sister who was sound asleep in her lap. "I had to keep it together for her sake."
"I see… you're actually pretty strong." He complimented.
She blushed and immediately denied it. "That's not true at all. I wasn't able to do anything. I only sat here while you fought to protect us."
"Yeah, well… I did promise you I would."
"You're right." She returned his gaze and smiled. "Senpai… thank you."
For the first time today, the Demon Knight of Fujimi High blushed. "You're welcome."
An awkward silence fell on the pair.
"So Chihiro-chan… when are you going to introduce me to your cute boyfriend?"
"Boyfriend…!? It isn't like that all Sensei!" The young first year stammered.
"The way you two were I couldn't help, but tease you a little. I'm sorry for not introducing myself earlier. My name is Reimi Saionji." The teacher stated.
"It's nice to meet you Saionji-sensei." Ryuji replied.
"She used to be my teacher when I went to this school." Chihiro added.
"So that's why you two were so familiar with each other before." He stated.
Amidst their conversation, Ryuji felt a tug on his shirt.
He looked down to see two fifth grade students. "Is it true mister?"
"True…?" The third year asked.
"That you beat up all the monsters?" The other student specified.
"Now kids. It's rude to interrupt while the adults are talking." The teacher scolded.
"We're sorry, Sensei."
"I wouldn't call myself an adult though, but you should listen to her. She'll keep you safe." He reassured.
"Yes!" The two students answered in unison as they walked back towards the others.
"By the way Senpai, I heard yelling outside. Is someone else here with you?" Chihiro asked.
"Yeah…" Ryuji paused for a moment before continuing. "A friend of mine came to assist us."
Just then an announcement came on the PA. "Attention all students and faculty, due to the extreme circumstances that has befallen our school we will have to ask you to remain here overnight. I know that all of you are scared and that you want to see your parents, but right now it is way too dangerous. Don't worry though; help will be on the way. Tomorrow we will be evacuating the school and all of you will be reunited with your families again. Until then please bare it little while longer." The principal stated.
"I want to see my mommy."
"You heard the principal. We can't leave yet."
"I know, but I'm scared."
"Don't worry we will be right here with you."
It was a similar situation in the other classes as well. Rather than panic, thanks to the principal's very calm and well thought out announcement the students banded together and helped one another through the crisis.
Just then another voice came over the loudspeaker. "Ryuji, how long do you plan on keeping me waiting!?"
"Senpai…? Is that the friend you were talking about?" Chihiro asked.
A sweat drop formed on Ryuji's forehead. "Unfortunately, yes. I'll come back later."
"Take your time. We're fine here." She assured him.
Ryuji left the classroom closing the door behind him and headed towards the principal's office. When he opened the door and entered he saw Kokonoe standing with her arms crossed having a serious conversation with the principal who was sitting at her desk.
"About time you showed up. What were you doing? Spending quality time with your girlfriend?" Kokonoe asked.
"She's not my girlfriend! Wait a minute… how did you know I was traveling with a girl?" Ryuji asked with confused look.
"You think I'd come over here to save you without getting every single detail from your sister about what you've been doing for the past 24 hours?"
He placed his palm on his forehead. "Of course Sis would tell you everything."
"Anyway, we were just discussing how to safely evacuate the school." She stated.
"And…?" He asked looking for her to continue her explanation.
"And… nothing, I already finished explaining it to her." She turned her attention back to the principal. "Anyway, do you need me to clear anything up for you?"
"Yes, I do have one question on my mind." The principal smiled. "Why are you here? I must say I didn't expect to be graced by the presence of a world renowned scientist and researcher such as yourself."
Kokonoe pointed to Ryuji. "You can blame this idiot over here for not minding his own business."
"Well excuse me Princess." He sighed.
As soon as he said those words he realized his grievous error. Kokonoe and Saya look so similar to one another that for a brief moment he let his guard down. It was ok for him to say this kind of thing to Saya because the only thing she did was yell at him. However, Kokonoe on the other hand…
A dark aura formed around Kokonoe. "Ryuji, do you want to die?"
He immediately bowed and apologized. "I'm sorry."
Her dark aura disappeared as soon as it came. "If there's nothing else then I'll take my leave. I need to get started on the preparations." She walked out of the office.
"That was close. I nearly killed myself twice today." He internally sighed.
"Ryuji was it?" The Principal asked getting his attention. "I need to properly thank you for what you did. Your actions today saved us. On behalf of the school, thank you for all you've done."
"No thanks needed. It just turned out that saving the school coincided with keeping my promise to my kouhai. That's all there was to it. If you don't need anything else I'll take my leave as well."
She simply nodded in response.
He left the office closing the door behind him only to find Kokonoe was waiting. "If you're done we have work to do." She walked towards the stairs before stopping. "The next time you get the bright idea to call me 'princess.' I'll make sure you live to regret it." She resumed walking down to the first floor.
"Why me…?" Ryuji sighed.
AN: Chapter 4 is complete. For first time ever I didn't start a chapter off with "uhhhhhhhhhhhh…" or use "uhhhhhhhhhhhh…" anywhere in this chapter. Instead we start off with the sound effect *CRASH!*
I finally introduced a DFO character in this chapter. Specifically the mage class has been revealed, subclass Summoner. Her character is based off of Kokonoe from the Blazblue series. Anyway, the whole point of this chapter was to introduce her character to the story.
I had a difficult time trying to come up with how I wanted to progress the story. It seems the deeper I go into the story, the harder it becomes to write which brings me to what's in store for the future. Chapter 5 will feature a lot more DFO action, but at the same time it's probably going to be the most difficult chapter I ever write and as such I'm not sure how long it will take me to complete. The only thing set in stone plot wise is the destination. It is more a matter of how I go about getting the characters to that destination which will be the trick. On that note, there's only one thing left to say. It will be done when it's done.