Author's Note: It's me again! Well, thanks to the International Labor's Day, I get 2 days off and I spend few moments typing this down. This one is just a random idea I got before I when to sleep on one day last month. The whole content of the story is already drafted on my note and I'm sure that if I'm not being bothered by the test, the story can be finished in 2 weeks. I will try to finish this one as well as all other BlazBlue fictions that are "In Progress". I hope you like this one. Enjoy my story! (Well, it seems that this phrase actually became my habitual, trademark one in this site since the day I start writing :)) I have it in nearly 100% of my chapters/story) Enough with my babbling. Just read the story.
The Italic part is Noel's thought
Words behind the Mask
Chapter 1: Unknown Hero
"How many more times do I have to tell you that I don't want to waste my time solving your worthless issue. Instead of sitting here spurting out nonsense, you better just go away and find your granddaughter." Jin slammed his palm against the wooden table. The old woman before him had begged him for half an hour without end, annoyed him to the very core of his brain.
"But you are my last hope, officer. Please! Help me find my girl. She is my only relative now!" She knelled down and bowed, tears kept oozing out from the wrinkled face. "I don't care! Get lost!" His voice was so high that it could even be heard from outside the headquarter. "You and you, get this noisy pile of trash out of my sight!" The poor female was pulled away by two soldiers. "Anyone, please help me! Huh….huh…" She struggled desperately in the grips of the men, yelled in hopelessness. She looked like going to die of broken heart soon. Some people looked at the scene, feeling sorry for the woman to have met such heartless major.
"Stop right there." A feminine voice came out and halted the two guards halfway. It was lieutenant Noel Vermillion, Jin's direct secretary. She had just returned to base after taking a mission. "What are you doing to her?" She looked at them solemnly.
"She has been harassing Major Jin Kisaragi for a while and he commanded us to get her out." The girl looked at the woman, who was crying and trembling in fear.
"As the Lieutenant of 4th Division, I order you to let go of her. I will be in charge of her case. You two are dismissed."
"I will take responsibility. You don't have to treat this woman like that." She gently removed their hold and released the elder and gave her a comforting hug.
"We know this is wrong but do you want to be tortured? Don't you remember the times when he punished you?"
"I still remember perfectly. But we cannot let him does anything he wants like that. We are the NOL. We fight for other people."
"We shall take our leave then. Take care of yourself" As the soldiers went away. The woman quickly kneeled in front of Noel and took out a small picture of a young child. "Please… help me! I'll do anything you want …Just help me find her! Please! She is my only reason to live in this world now…" The blonde lieutenant supported her stood up and took the picture, looked at it carefully.
"Don't worry, ma'am. We promise to find her. You should take a rest now. Your granddaughter will be returned to you soon. You can count on us!" The woman lit up a bit with slight hope.
"Thank you, thank you. I'm forever in your debt!" She kept murmured "thank you" and faced the sky as if she was expressing gratitude to God.
"God blesses you, girl!" She slowly walked away, mouth still whispered something.
Noel entered the major's office and saluted. "Lieutenant Vermillion reporting, sir. The mission is accomplished successfully. All bandits in Sector 5 of Hierarchical City of Kagutsuchi have been defeated and are currently imprisoned in the special jail of NOL. There was no serious damage to the deployed squad. Sergeant Thomas was wounded during the mission by the bandit lord but fortunately, the injury was minor. We have sent a supporting team to help the citizen rebuild the town after the raid. Reporting over." Jin continued his work as if he didn't listen to her at all. No word was said and they kept it like that for a while.
"Oh, and by the way, few minutes ago, I heard that you order two soldiers send an old woman away. I don't understand but why did you treat her like that? Isn't it our duty to work for the sake of the citizen's happiness?"
Putting down his paper, Jin stood up and walked to her place, going around her and stopped behind her. His eyes shot out a death stare that frightened everyone who looked at it. Bringing his face closer, Noel could even felt his cold breathe touched her skin and chilled every inch of it.
"So… you are judging my action, Huh…?"
"How brave you are unlike other days… sitting still without saying a word." His finger poked her forehead then trailed down to neck gently. "Hiek…"
"Shut… up." Noel gasped but being halted by the major's sudden grip.
"Ma..jor…" She tried to breathe out for air in vain as he tightened his palm. "Watch your mouth, Lieutenant. It is none of your business. Lucky for you, I'm in the mood to give you some punishment but say something like that again and there will be consequences. Now… Get. The. Hell. Out. Of. My. Room."
Then he threw her against the floor and returned to his desk and ignored her existence in the room.
She was speechless. Closing the door behind, she couldn't believe that he was that cruel toward people. He had changed so much since the Ikaruga War ended. He hated everyone, separated himself from the world. She used to remember him as a kind man who always did his best and help others without thinking much to himself. What on Earth could possibly turn him into what he was now?
She couldn't know…
Still felt the hand mark on her neck, she let out a sigh of sadness and decided to go help the woman on her own. She picked up the phone and called her friend
"Oh hi Noellee! What's the matter?"
"Makoto, I have an important job to finish so I may not go home tonight. Just eat the dinner without me."
"What mission is that?"
"Well, nothing too serious but I have to help a woman find her granddaughter."
"Oh, I see. Then good luck! Just call whenever you need me. I will be there for you."
"Thank you very much. I'm going now." She closed her phone.
"Well, where should I start?" The girl came to a nearby town and asked everyone about the child.
"Excuse me, sir. Do you know this girl?"
"No, I don't"
"Miss, have you ever seen this girl around?"
"Sorry but I don't know her."
"Excuse me …" The man she was going to asked just shook his head and moved on.
"Please … sir. Have you seen this girl anywhere?" Noel followed him.
"No, I don't know anyone like this. Just leave me alone."
After hours of asking, all she got was nothing but the disappointment. Everyone replied her with "No" answers. "I guess that I have to go to another place to ask about it."
"Riinnngg riiingg…." Her unexpectedly rang out loud.
"Huh? The HQ call me? Hello… This is Lieutenant Vermillion, awaiting orders."
"Report your whereabouts…"
"I'm currently at the Kagutsuchi Town Center for a mission. "
"Abandon your present task and return to base immediately. You are assigned for a new mission with major Kisaragi." The words surprised her. She had promised to help the woman but … under this circumstances, she couldn't disobey the order from NOL. On the way to the woman's house, the blonde lieutenant felt a big guilt crawled in her soul as she didn't know how to inform her the situation. Telling her that she couldn't find her granddaughter was like splashing a bucket of cold water to her soul. It wasn't something Noel would ever want to do. As she stood in front of the old house, her hand hesitated to knock against the door.
"Maybe I should say that another agent will be sent to help her."
The door opened, it was not the woman but a little girl that greeted her.
"Huh? Grandma! We have a guest here." The woman came out and welcomed her with a smile. "Oh hi, girl. How can I help you?"
"Errr… excuse me, gramps but … is this the granddaughter you look for…? I mean how did she return?"
"Thanks God, a man came here just about 1 hour ago and carried her here…"
"He is a good guy! He gave me some candy!" Added the little girl.
"Really? An agent of NOL, isn't he?"
"I'm not quite sure about that but he wore a blue mask and big, black cloak. He is … taller than you and … is a bit thin. He somehow was … mysterious."
"Oh, I see… Well, the important is your granddaughter is here with you now. I have to return to my base…"
"Why don't you stay here for a cup of tea then go?"
"Errr… thank you but I have to go now?"
"Then farewell, girl …. and thank you very much. I were kind to me."
"Goodbye, officer…" The two waved.
"See you …" Noel walked away, her mind was filled with thought. This was the first time, someone aside from the NOL actually solved their case. "Humm, weird. Blue mask, black coat… Who could that be?"
Later, at NOL Headquarter
"Here you are, thanks a lot, do you know I have been waiting for 10 minutes!" Jin scolded irritatingly.
"I'm so sorry… I…I've just returned from another mission. I promised that it won't happen again…"
The major threw the stack of paper to Noel… "Just shut up and go away. You'd better return before 10pm. I'm busy so … do it yourself. Now… get out of my sight".
The mission this time was to arrest a gang of thug that was wanted for illegal trade of drugs and weaponry. A navigator was sent along with her. On the way, Noel felt somewhat shocked and angry for the unacceptable manners of Jin. Even she really admired him for his strength, intelligence but she could hardly tolerate his behavior. It was hard to tell what he was thinking.
"Urrghhh! Why did he have to be like that? Yelling at me all the times and avoid all of his missions!" The girl pouted.
"Well, I think something is bothering him. Normally, he wouldn't say something like that." The navigator shared her sympathy to Noel.
"How could I know what bother him if he never say it out? Anyway, how could you be so sure that he wouldn't behave coldly?"
"I used to study a lot about Psychology. I believe that he is the type that wouldn't say much but instead, show his thought through actions."
"I… hope so. Thanks for comforting me. I feel a lot better. Anyway, I'm Noel Vermillion. Nice to meet you." Noel smiled.
"I'm Sally Elena. Nice to meet you too! Oh, are you the student who entered the Military Academy with highest record ever for the synchronization rate with your Armagus?"
"Uhm... Yes, my physical and academical level was a bit low but I guess I was an exception." She smiled
" It is a great honor to work along with you! Oh, we are here."
They stood in front of the thug's hideout. It was a disgusting place as bones, trashes of what they ate were dumped outside. Terrible smell of blood and wine mixed together in the air sickened them that made them wanted throwing up. The more they proceed, the more unsecured they felt as the path darkened and narrowed little by little.
"Noel… Somehow…I- I don't have a good feeling about this place. It's like someone is watching us from behind." Sally pulled the lieutenant's sleeve with shaky voice.
"Well, you have accomplished your work to guide me here. Please wait me outside. If I don't return in 20 minutes, just run away and report to the Headquarter about the situation."
"But … what if they kill you?" Noel turned her look to the pitch black path ahead and let out a sad smile.
"I don't know. It's my duty to fight for the society. Death have been waiting for me since the day I devoted my life for the soldier career."
"What about your family and perhaps, your boyfriend or anyone that love you?"
"Will he ever know about my feeling for him?" a sudden thought came across her mind. Taking a deep breath, she made her final decision.
"No matter what happen to me, don't worry about that. I was trained for this kind of task anyway. I will come back with you." Sally didn't know what to say. All she could do was stayed outside and had faith in her partner.
"Well then, good luck to you. I'll wait for you."
"Sure." Said so but as soon as Noel continued her walk to the hideout, a nervous sensation crept into her mind, overwhelmed all confidence inside her.
"You can do this, Noel. Everything will be fine." She encouraged herself and eventually got out of the tunnel. In front of her was two fierce looking guys guarding the door. Hiding herself behind the wall, she got her dual pistols readied and with a deep breath, she jumped out of the cover and shot both guns simultaneously , knocked them out before they could react. After a clang sound of the cartridges, she made infiltrated into the building and walked as silent as a cat.
"Hey, what is going on out there?" She heard a man said shouted out. It seemed that her shot indeed alerted them. As some thugs ran outside, she quickly sneaked into their room and found herself a roomy place to hide behind their container. She gasped out for air after a long, dangerous run.
A series of sounds came out while a bunch of men gathered, talking about her intrusion and all stopped by a heavy stomp of the thug's boss. He looked ugly with several deep scars on his face and weird tattoo on his chest as well as his arms. The room went silent as he lightened his cigarette.
"What… the hell is going on here?" He in dark tones and blew out a column of smoke into the air.
"There is an intruder broke into our place, boss. Ivan and Luigi was unconscious. We're …" The boss raised his hand, gestured him to stop talking.
"A rat dare to visit us. Hahaha, ok. Come out if you are here, little one!" He shouted loudly and breathed out more smokes. The room was filled with hideous smell of tobacco. In the shelter, Noel tried her best to not cough.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Go get me that piece of garbage. I will reward a …."
"Uh huuu huu…" eventually, the girl couldn't hold it and leaped out of her place, coughing non-stop.
"Ohhh … a hot chick. I wonder what business does she have with us."
The lieutenant pulled out her pistol and pointed at the boss' face. "On behalf of the NOL, you're all under arrest for your illegal trade of drugs and armaments as well as many crimes you had committed."
They all laughed maniacally and got their guns, knives directed at her. Their eyes inspected her from head to toe as if they wanted to eat her alive.
"You … want to put us to the jail? Hoahhahaha, then try it." The boss challenged her.
"Uh…. I'm saying seriously. Don't make me pull this trigger."
"All of you! Get her..! Her will be yours" The horde of men charged to her.
Like a squirrel, her ducked and swept her leg circularly, kicked them fell down. Then she jumped to dodge the punch of another guy and stroke him with the barrel of her pistol. Every movement of hers caused some guys severe damage and it was like no one could lay a hand on her even once. The boss looked at the scene, his eyes blazed a furious shot. He crushed the cigarette and chopped down his fist on the table, broke it into two.
"You useless maggots! Do something!"
"This is your end, criminal. This is the power of the NOL that you shall never forget!" Noel again raised her gun. Behind her was the stack of men injured, bleeding, crawled after the fight. The boss himself felt amazed and frightened but tried his best to remain his sarcastic expression.
"You're very good for a rat. Bravo!" He clapped.
"Now … surrender and the judge may have mercy for you…"
"You know, it's you who should surrender. Look behind you."
"What!" Noel turned her head. Her eyes widened as she saw an underling had caught Sally as hostage and place a sharp knife near her neck.
"You … you coward!" Noel yelled angrily. Meanwhile, the boss let out a nasty chuckle.
"What can you do, huh? This is our world, our law, our way. Just drop your weapon. Now!"
"Urrghh!" The girl threw her guns in defeat and unexpectedly, a man stroke the back of her head with a stick. Noel collapsed on her knees. Her mind felt numbed.
"Noel! Let me go!" Sally cried out and struggle to escape from the grip of the man.
"Just shut up you little …. You taste humiliation later." Noel laid there. Her vision was blurred no matter how much her tried to regain her consciousness.
"Come on Noel! Get yourself up." The boss walked toward her and grabbed her hair, pulled her up.
"Yahh!" The girl yelped in pain. Her eyes looked as dull as a dying person. All she could know next was Sally being muted by the sleeping gas.
"Let … her go" The lieutenant said weakly.
"Sorry, what did you say?, I Can't Hear You! hahahaha." A tear of desperation fell out of her emerald eyes. A dark future is ahead, it can be death or something worse than death itself…
….Being tortured. Being sold as a slave.
She felt like she failed her honor as a soldier… She wanted to punch the boss and eliminated them all then went home with her family, her Makoto…
Even though, he insulted her numerous times but … it was still better than being treated like this.
She wanted it but her strength just left her as she couldn't even move an inch of her arm.
"Is this my end?
I can't die here!
Someone please help me!"
"Hahaha, you are just a like a pathetic trash!..." And an unknown force sent the man away. Noel's body fell against the ground. Her sight got darker and darker. The only thing she knew before completely fainted was the noisy sound of men screaming and a big, black coat soared in the air.
Author's Note: How do you think about it? Please let me know your precious comments, advices in your review and remember this: "Inform me if you can find any kind of mistake in my work from minor to major. This not only help me improve my writing skill but it also is for your own benefits as you can read a much better chapters/ stories in the future. Just help me with it. I really appreciated if you can do.
Thanks for reading.