Note* Updates will be rather irregular from now on. Occasionally I may be able to post 2 chapters in one week, but usually you'll get one every other week. I've just been rather busy :(
Her eyes fluttered open slowly. Everything seemed to blur and haze around her. Lights of blue and green seemed to flash in front of her at irregular intervals. There was no sound except for a low humming and a very slight rush of air. As her vision began to clear, she could make out more details, but still couldn't make any judgments about where she was or why she was there. A vague memory of someone with green eyes flitted into her mind but was lost just as quickly. She couldn't think clearly. Her head was so foggy that it was impossible to focus on anything for more than a few seconds.
There was a scream to her right. Her eyes shot open wide and for a moment her thought became slightly clearer. Upon glancing to her right, she saw a young girl in a purple outfit with white sleeves and short blond hair. She almost recognized the girl, but her memory seemed to have a mind of its own and she soon lost interest. One thing she did notice, however, was that the girl was sealed inside a large glass vial. The air inside seemed to be colored a deep, brown color, and a rainbow stream seeped up from her body.
After a moment she realized that she, too, was sealed inside one of those vials, but rather then simply being unable to escape, she was restrained with multiple straps that were much stronger then they appeared.
A few uneventful seconds went by before a door on the opposite end of the room opened and four figures walked in. The first was rather ordinary looking with medium length red hair, a brown, rather utilitarian outfit, and cold, green eyes. The next was in a black jumpsuit, had shiny grey hair, and her eyes were a glowing, neon green. The two behind her she recognized almost instantly; one was wearing a deep red dress and a black cape. The other was dressed in a light blue maid's outfit and had lime green hair. Yumemi and Ruukoto both looked rather nervous.
"Yet again, we ask you to please trust in our achievements. There is nothing you have that we don't, while there are hundreds if not thousands more operations that can be performed here." The red head said.
It was faint, barely even audible, but she could have sworn she heard a faint, persistent rambling. Someone was speaking, pleading, begging somewhere that she could not see. She couldn't even make out the words, but whatever it was it almost seemed desperate.
Yumemi sighed. "I simply don't think that this is a good idea. You're operating under the sole assumption that this one program is flawless and cannot malfunction."
"It cannot." The one in black stated firmly.
"You need not worry." The red head spoke again. "Everything will be ready for you shortly."
"I certainly hope so." Yumemi replied. "Are you truly trying to eliminate all magic?"
"Magic is an abomination. It must be eradicated with no traces left behind." The one in black almost snapped.
The small, persistent voice grew louder. For the first time she noticed the expression on Ruukoto's face. Ruukoto was staring at the one in black this entire time with a look of absolute despair and fear. It was her voice. Somehow Ruukoto may have been broadcasting her thoughts. She was begging for something… no, to get out of something. She was desperate, yet powerless to do anything but beg.
Yumemi's expression grew pained. "Well, it's a shame that I won't get more data on magic and what it can truly do, but I suppose what you're offering is more valuable."
The red head spoke up as she walked onto a raised dais in the middle of the room. "You still will. We're gathering every possible data point we can, and if you cooperate, we'd be more than willing to share our information with you." She reached the center of the dais, and instantly, dozens of blue, semi-transparent rectangles flashed in front of her from all around. She seemed to be able to read everything in the short seconds it was displayed for.
Yumemi's face brightened at the thought. "Then it's settled. May we meet again, Ruukoto." She bowed and left the room, leaving Ruukoto with the one in black and the preoccupied red-head.
Ruukoto's persistent voice finally stopped and she closed her eyes. Tears slowly rolled down her cheek, and she looked as though she was recently cursed or sentenced to torture. The one in black smiled and looked away from her. "Come this way… Ruukoto was it?" Ruukoto nodded slowly. "It won't be for long. Follow me." Ruukoto hesitated, but followed sadly.
"Yu… Yukari?" It took her a minute to realize who was speaking. She looked to her right to see the girl in purple awake and sitting up. "When… when did you get here?" Her eyes were low cast, and she looked tired.
Yukari had to think for a moment before realizing that the girl was talking to her. Remembering her own name seemed to awaken a part of her mind that had apparently continued sleeping after she had woken up. She then realized what was missing: Suwako didn't have her hat.
"So you two are awake." The red-headed girl standing on the dais said without looking up. "Re-activate main chambers one and two." That statement was obviously not directed at either of them. A feeling of faintness swept over Yukari, and her vision slowly blackened as she felt her pulse quicken.