Author's Notes: (peeks out from corner) H-Hello everyone. (sweats) Gee, so it's been a while since my last update, huh? I can't apologize enough for making you all wait so long. Worst thing is, I don't actually have a legitimate excuse...except for the fact that I had a writer's block for the longest time.
Well, I'm back now. Again, I'm so sorry for the prolonged wait. But please rest assured that no matter how long the wait, I will never abandon this story. Sometimes, I just need a gentle nudge or reminder by form of review or PM to get me moving (seriously, just message me and yell at me—gently—to get off my lazy ass and write xP). Now without further ado, here's the latest chapter of OGaC!
Disclaimer: All the lovely characters in Katekyo Hitman Reborn! belong to the amazing Akira Amano. I do not own or claim to own anything.
Chapter 26: Battle of Vongola Institute
Previously on OGaC:
Vittorio, one of the Bosses that Tsuna meets previously at the Vongola Allies meeting, reveals himself to be the Boss of the Disdetta Family. He and his Guardians, Alfonso (Rain), Lansa (Cloud), Rizzo and Ricci (Lightning and Storm), along with Ciro, who turns out to be the Disdetta Sun Guardian, cover the entire school with an unbreakable barrier in order to launch a siege against Vongola Institute.
Vittorio starts a race against time, challenging the Vongola to defeat him and his Guardians in order to take from them the six keys that can be used to stop the machine that is absorbing the flames of everyone in the school. Out of the six keys, only one of them is the true key that can be used to completely deactivate the machine.
This deadly game forces Tsuna to drop his Dame-Tsuna act and reveal his true identity as Vongola Decimo to the rest of the school as he Summons all his Guardians and rush into battle. Giotto and the rest of his Guardians from the CEDEF, as well as Xanxus and the Varia jump in to assist Tsuna.
The Disdetta Guardians split up into groups of two, with Xanxus and his Guardians chasing after Rizzo and Ricci, and Giotto and the CEDEF Guardians tailing after Alfonso and Ciro. Tsuna and his Guardians prepare to face off against Vittorio and Lansa, but Vittorio suddenly launches a devastating spell that strikes all of Tsuna's Guardians. Before Tsuna himself is hit, he is suddenly rescued by someone very familiar...
"Reborn?" Wide orange eyes stared up at his unexpected savior. "You are Reborn, right?"
"Chaos, Tsuna." A smooth, baritone voice greeted. The man smirked. "Who else would it be?"
Tsuna let his eyes wander up to examine his savior more closely. A sinfully handsome man dressed in a fitted black suit and a matching fedora stared back at him. Despite the obvious physical differences, Tsuna could still see signs of his infant tutor lingering in the stranger's body—from the familiar onyx black eyes to the curly sideburns, and finally to that unmistakable self-assured smirk.
"But how are you in this form?" Tsuna asked. "And why are you here in the first place?"
"If you don't recall, I've been recently contracted to you as one of your Guardians. So when you Summoned for all your Guardians, naturally I was called forth as well," Reborn said. "As for the reason why I am in this form, the only plausible conclusion I could come up with is that when you Summon a Guardian, they are to appear before you in their true form." He flashed a smirk. "That means the me from before I was cursed with my infant body."
"But this doesn't happen when Luce Summons you, or when Mammon gets Summoned..."
"As intriguing as all this theorizing is, Tsuna," Reborn remarked. "I do believe that there are other matters that seek our immediate attention."
Tsuna blinked. His shock at seeing Reborn in his adult form had nearly caused him to lose track of their current predicament. "You're right," Tsuna said, chagrined. "We can discuss all this later. Right now, we have a score to settle with the Disdetta. So you can, uh, put me down now, Reborn."
Reborn merely tightened his hold on Tsuna's body. "What? Does this position not please you?" The hitman was now sporting a full-blown smirk.
"Reborn! You're making me look bad!"
"You were doing that perfectly earlier without my help."
An exasperated sigh. "Reborn..."
Reborn chuckled lightly in response before placing him gently on the ground. "Forgive me. You know I don't have many chances to tease you, especially with this body."
"You tease me at every waking moment of the day," Tsuna muttered.
Reborn gave another small smirk before quickly sobering up. He gave the smiling Vittorio a quick once-over, evaluating him silently. "Tsuna, stay on guard. Despite the fact that we outnumber them, this will not be an easy battle."
"I know, Reborn." Tsuna took a deep breath and readied his stance, the flames on his gloves glowing steadily as he did. "Is everyone okay?"
"Of course, Juudaime!" Gokudera was the first to leap back to his feet. "It'll take more than just a pretty light show to knock us down!" Around him, the rest of Tsuna's Guardians gave varied confirmations.
Vittorio cocked his head, surveying the Guardians before him with a wide smile. "Well then, I hope that you can show me something worth seeing, Tsunayoshi-kun."
Tsuna narrowed his eyes. His flames began to flare up brightly, mirroring his anger. "Oh, believe me, Vittorio, I will!" With a strong burst of flames, he charged toward the Disdetta Boss.
Ricci giggled as she dodged another stray blast of Sky flames. "Is that the best you can do, Mr. Scar Face?"
Rizzo directed one of his tops to whirl towards the the Varia members, forcing Xanxus and his Guardians to dodge, before landing next to his twin. "Yeah, I thought it would be more fun than this."
"VOI! Stop jumping around, you damn brats!" Squalo snarled, slashing at the twins.
The two Disdetta Guardians hopped back, dodging with ease. "Make us!" Ricci gave a sadistic little smile as she made her tops speed towards the Rain Guardian. Squalo growled as he was forced to use his sword to defend.
"Calm down and stop rising up to their bait," Mammon intoned. "You're falling right into their trap." He covered the whole field with illusions of himself, but bit back a sound of frustration when the twins' tops whirled through and destroyed most of them a moment later.
"Ushishi~ getting riled up by a couple of brats," Bel snickered. "How inelegant."
"Shut up!" Squalo snapped. "I don't see you doing anything to help!"
"Mou~ we shouldn't be fighting amongst ourselves now!" Lussuria chided.
"Ushishi~ it seems like you really can't do anything without the prince." Bel flexed his fingers and pulled back. Not a moment after, there were twin exclamations of surprise when Ricci and Rizzo were almost sliced by the invisible wires.
During this time, Xanxus stood watching the battle from the sidelines. He scowled after seeing the latest failed attempt at landing a blow on the quick Disdetta twins. He finally strolled forward, crimson eyes ablaze with determination, and ordered, "Prepare the attack formation for Retribuzione Brucia."
Xanxus' order was met with surprise from his Guardians and curiosity from the Disdetta twins. "Boss?" Leviathan sounded incredulous.
Lussuria clapped his hands together, looking absolutely delighted. "Ah? So Boss wants to bring out the big guns, hmm?"
"We're going to use that here?" Mammon asked. "Now?"
"Oi, you do realize the consequences of using that, right?" Squalo said. "That formation uses up a lot of magic so afterwards, we're..."
"Did I ask you to fucking question me, shitty shark?" Xanxus growled. "We have to hurry up and get those damn keys back to Tsunayoshi. Blowing these brats apart is the fastest way."
Squalo looked slightly reluctant, but straightened up and barked out, "VOOII! You heard the Boss! Formation Retribuzione Brucia!"
At once, Mammon extended his hand out in front of him and cast a strong illusion at Ricci and Rizzo. Thick chains erupted from the ground and wrapped themselves around the now struggling twins, binding them down fully.
Squalo followed by pressing both his hands to the ground and calling forth a large wave of Rain flames. The flames quickly expanded, engulfing the entire battleground until tongues of his flames licked at the feet of the Disdetta twins.
"Don't even bother trying to escape," Squalo flashed a smile full of teeth. "Mammon's chains have rendered you helpless and my Rain flames have completely sealed your movements. You're trapped like rats, you brats."
"It's my turn~" To the twins' surprise, Lussuria aimed three blasts of Sun flames at the remaining Varia members. "Sun flames can be used as a means to strengthen and support, you know?" Lussuria said by way of explanation to the twins. "And my flames have just given them an added boost of strength to enhance their magic. Go, Bel-chan, Levi-chan, Boss~"
Bel brought both of hands across his body in a backwards slashing moment. The entire field immediately became covered in an intricate web of wires. "The prince is ready when you are Boss." Countless knifes whirled around him as Bel twirled his fingers, readying his knifes with all the grace and skill of an experienced puppeteer.
Xanxus looked toward Leviathan. "Levi."
"Yes, Boss!" Leviathan raised two of his parabolas into the air and charged them full of his Lightning flames. After pumping his parabolas up with as many flames as they could hold, he discharged the electricity toward Xanxus' guns with a mighty grunt.
With small bolts of green lightning now sparking off his X-guns, Xanxus raised his guns and began to pour his own flames into them, letting his Sky flames mix with Levi's Lightning flames and causing the accumulated power to grow greater and greater still.
Several moments later, Xanxus strolled forward with his fully charged guns. Alongside him was Bel with his knifes at the ready, wearing a most sadistic smile as he lifted his fingers.
Xanxus shot a bloodthirsty smirk at the Disdetta twins who were starting to express signs of concern for the first time. "Prepare yourself, brats. You're in for a world of hurt."
Alaude and Knuckle rushed forward to deflect Alfonso's spiked disks as they came whirling in their direction. Immediately after, G and Asari rushed forward to launch their own respective spells.
But before either spell could even come close to striking Alfonso, Ciro darted forward and absorbed all the attacks with his bow. The burnished gold bow seemed to glow brighter after taking in the other Guardians' flames. Ciro pulled back on the bow, causing a thin string of golden light to appear and an arrow of pure Sun Flames to materialize within it. He quickly released the bowstring and unleashed a spell of his own. "Solar Blast!"
G and Asari were forced to jump out of the way as the arrow struck the area they were just standing in.
"Oi, Vongola, you're not going to get any keys just by staying on the defensive," Alfonso drawled lazily.
"Tch," G scowled in frustration. "Our spells aren't working. That Ciro just keeps absorbing our flames and using it against us!"
"Their tag team of offensive and defensive is pretty extreme!" Knuckle agreed.
"Well, if you're not going to act then I guess it's still our turn to attack," Alfonso said. He summoned another mass of spike-tipped flying disks and sent them spinning toward his enemies. Ciro followed suit by releasing several consecutive arrows of light.
"Any minute now, Giotto." Alaude said curtly as he leapt out of the way of a stray arrow.
"Nufufu~ impatient now aren't we, Alaude?" Daemon remarked even as he used his scepter to slash apart an incoming disk.
"This can't honestly be all you've got," Alfonso said. "Vongola Decimo put up a much better fight than this."
"Wait, Alfonso," Ciro held out a hand to stop his fellow Guardian. "Doesn't it seem like it's getting harder to land a hit on them? It's...almost as if they're reading our movements or something."
Asari merely smiled. "Ah, it seems that you've finally figured it out."
"Took you long enough." G smirked.
"Good work buying time for me, everyone," Giotto finally spoke up. Bright orange flames burst forth from his gloves. "I have finished reading their attack formation. ADae in front. U2, the flanks. L79 with me," he ordered. "Let's go."
"This is the only time I'm working with you," Alaude hissed as he and Daemon suddenly darted forward with tremendous speed.
"Nufufu~ don't think for a moment that I like this arrangement any better than you do." Daemon replied. "But if this is what Giotto says is the best formation, then what other choice do we have but to comply?"
Alfonso and Ciro were unprepared for Alaude and Daemon's sudden and unexpected frontal assault and barely managed to block the physical attacks that were launched in their direction.
"W-What?" Ciro looked taken aback.
"How foolish for you to assume that we would stay on the defensive forever," Daemon drawled slowly as forced Ciro back with his scepter.
"We were just buying time for Giotto to analyze your spells," G said as he and Asari charged up their spells in the back. "Now that he has read through them, your attacks are nothing!"
"You shouldn't have underestimated the power of the Vongola Hyper Intuition." Giotto said as he charged forward with Knuckle and Lampo. "That was your mistake."
G's smirk was one that promised extreme retribution. "Get ready—our counterattack starts now!"
Lansa grunted as he tried to fend off Hibari's lethal strikes with his own spear. As Hibari struck at his head, Lansa quickly blocked, causing his spear and Hibari's tonfas to clash together with a loud, metallic clang.
Taking advantage of Lansa's stalled state, Mukuro swept in with his trident along Lansa's blind spot. When the Disdetta Cloud Guardian hastily twisted his body to dodge Mukuro's sudden strike, Chrome darted in and snatched the key off the string of his neck.
"I got it, Mukuro nii-sama!" Chrome called out. She held the small crystal key up triumphantly. When Lansa rushed at her in a desperate attempt to retrieve the key, Chrome quickly side-stepped and threw the key behind her where Tsuna caught it with a boost of his flames.
"Nice one, Chrome." Tsuna said, as he pocketed the key.
"A most excellent job done, my cute Chrome-chan," Mukuro purred approvingly.
"One down, one more to go," Tsuna trained his orange eyes on Vittorio.
"I apologize, Vittorio-sama." Lansa's grip tightened on his spear. He pushed his glasses up with an angry huff. "I let them get the better of me."
Vittorio hummed. "Oh, don't worry too much about it, Lansa. That's only one key they've retrieved so far."
"Oi damn brat, did you finish on your side yet?"
Tsuna whirled around to see a battle-worn but still very much alert Xanxus and Varia emerge from around the school building.
"Here, brat." Xanxus threw two crystal keys at Tsuna. "Just so you know, the other two brats won't be in any condition to move for a while."
For the first time, the barest hint of displeasure appeared in Vittorio's eyes. "And what exactly did you do to my dear Ricci and Rizzo?"
"Ushishi~" Bel snickered. "Blew them both sky high."
Vittorio was about to answer when a new voice spoke up. "Oh, it appears that the battle on your side was successful as well, Xanxus."
Everyone turned to see Giotto and his Guardians walking forward. Even from a distance, everyone could clearly see the two crystal keys dangling off from Giotto's fingers.
"Of course, trash." Xanxus growled. "Who do you think we are?"
"Here, Tsuna," Giotto held his two keys out for Tsuna to take. "And with this, it makes 5 out of 6 keys, right?"
At that moment, Ciro stumbled into the clearing, supporting an injured Alfonso on his shoulder. "I'm so sorry, Vittorio-sama. They took the keys from us as well."
Vittorio gave a half smile. "That's quite alright, Ciro. You and Alfonso fought hard. But...it appears that the twins need immediate medical attention."
"Val already went and retrieved them," Ciro reported dutifully. "She's treating them with her illusions as we speak."
"Excellent. Everything is going exactly as planned then."
"Your bluffs aren't fooling anyone, Vittorio," Tsuna said, stepping forward. "Give it up. You're the only one left."
"So it seems," Vittorio mused, not looking the least bit perturbed at being so outnumbered. He stretched his arms over his head, cracking his joints as he did. "Well, it appears to finally be my turn. Lansa, you know what to do."
"Still putting up a fight, herbivore?" Hibari readied his tonfas. "I'll bite you to death so thoroughly you won't even be able to stand."
But to everyone's surprise, Lansa darted past Hibari and sped towards Xanxus instead.
Xanxus ignored the others' exclamations of warning and remained completely composed even with an assailant rushing towards him. "Don't underestimate me, you piece of trash." He blocked Lansa's incoming spear with an arm before snapping his leg out a sharp side kick that sent Lansa sliding all the way back to Vittorio.
"What the hell was that?" Xanxus demanded. "That was supposed to be your attempt at attacking me? Pathetic."
"I've retrieved it, Vittorio-sama." Lansa said. Despite clutching his side in pain, he handed the card he managed to swipe from Xanxus during their brief confrontation.
"Excellent work, Lansa," Vittorio said as he examined the card. "My, and you picked the perfect one too."
Everyone gave a start of surprise when they realized exactly what it was that Vittorio now held in his hand.
"That's Xanxus' contract card!" Tsuna said, shock lacing his tone.
"What the fuck? Don't touch my cards, scum!" Xanxus growled.
"Xanxus, which card did he take?" Reborn said sharply.
Surprisingly enough, it was Vittorio who answered them. "Squalo Superbi, Rain Guardian, is it?" he said, reading off the card. He flashed a smile. "If I'm not mistaken, this is the contract card of your right-hand man, yes?"
"VOOOII! You let them fucking take my card?" Squalo yelled.
"Shut up, shitty shark! How the fuck should I have known that they were aiming for my cards?"
"Well, what kind of shitty Summoner are you to just let them take your contract card like that?"
"Calm down," Giotto cut in. "It's alright. We just have to get it back. It shouldn't matter too much that he has your card since you've already Summoned Squalo. Contract cards can't be destroyed after all."
"Contract cards can't be destroyed, you say?" Vittorio said, chuckling. "Well, I, for one, beg to differ..." Tsuna tensed up when Vittorio's magic circle appeared beneath him. He raised a hand in the air to summon forth his weapon and large black scythe slowly materialized above his head.
Vittorio reached up to grab the scythe before twirling it a few times between his fingers. "So contract cards can't be destroyed, yes? In that case, how would you explain this?" Large tongues of Sky flames suddenly erupted along the blade of the scythe. A sadistic smile broke out across Vittorio's face as he lifted his scythe and threw the contract card in the air.
Tsuna knew what was about to happen a moment before it did. "No!"
The sound of the scythe slashing through the air was as ominous as the drop of a guillotine. The sound of death echoed throughout the clearing as the scythe tore through the card like it was nothing. Everyone watched with horror-struck eyes as the small contract card burst into flames before disintegrating into tiny particles of ash.
Xanxus and Squalo fell to their knees and clutched their chests in pain as the bond that connected the both of them was suddenly and forcibly severed.
Tsuna and Giotto quickly rushed over to support their fallen Family members while the rest of the Vongola stood watching with varying states of shock and disbelief.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Vittorio said, the fanatical gleam not yet having left his eyes.
"What...what did you do them?" Tsuna whispered, horrified.
"What did I do? Surely, you could tell, Tsunayoshi-kun." Vittorio said, sadistic smile still present on his face. "Why, I merely dissolved their contract. You see, my scythe has the ability to completely tear apart your so-called indestructible contract cards." His smile widened. "As if the contract was never formed in the first place."
"That's...not possible." For once, even Reborn was incredulous.
"Say what you will, but you all witnessed firsthand just what my scythe is capable of doing," Vittorio said. "Also, before I forget to mention...any contract that I destroy with my scythe can never be reformed." His eyes glittered with sadistic amusement. "In other words, Squalo Superbi can never become Xanxus' Guardian ever again."
"Don't fuck with me!" Xanxus roared. "Get up, shitty shark! I, Xanxus, call upon my powers as the Sky to establish a binding contract!" Everyone waited with bated breath, but no familiar magic circle appeared beneath Xanxus.
There was a touch of panic in Xanxus' eyes now, but he hid it behind a mask of anger. "I said I, Xanxus, call upon my powers as the Sky to establish a binding contract!" He pounded at the ground when his magic circle still failed to appear. "Establish the contract! I said to establish the fucking contract!"
When it became clear that there was no way to reform the contract with his Summoner, Squalo slumped to the ground, the fight completely drained out of him.
"No..." Tsuna whispered, horror-struck, as he watched Xanxus' continuous attempts to reestablish the contract with Squalo fail each time.
"This can't be happening," Giotto said, completely appalled. "Such a thing can't be possible!"
"Like I said, their contract is now null and void." The Disdetta Boss looked absolutely delighted to have so thoroughly shocked his opponents.
Vittorio stalked forward, twirling his ominous scythe all the while. "So tell me, Tsunayoshi-kun, what do you have to say about this?"
Author's Notes: Just a quick explanation as to why Tsuna and the others were so shocked and horrified when Vittorio revealed that he could destroy their contracts: In their world, it's an established fact that contract cards can't be destroyed. The cards aren't just scraps of paper, they are tangible proof of the magical bond that connects the Guardian to their Summoner. Taking away one's contract card can prevent the Summoner from Summoning their Guardian (like what happened with Tsuna back in Chp 19), but there aren't any lasting consequences as long as you retrieve your card back.
Suddenly finding out that yes, Vittorio does actually have the ability to destroy a contract card, and with it, the bond between the Guardian and their respective Summoner, can be likened to finding out that the earth is actually flat rather than round after numerous tests and established theories that prove otherwise. So in other words, they would naturally react with mass disbelief, shock, etc. Hope this clarifies a bit.
Anyways, how did you all like the chapter? In all honesty, battle scenes aren't my forte at all, so I hope I did it justice. Now that the Vongola has witnessed firsthand just how easily Vittorio can destroy their contract cards, how will Tsuna react? Please leave me with your thoughts, comments, and/or questions! Thanks!
-Bird of Dreams