Rumiho didn't often go to ice cream parlors for just any reason as she didn't like to spoil herself with sweets. As a girl, she took pride in her health and appearance on a fundamentally daily level. But she couldn't help breaking this rule in order to spoil a little girl with brown hair and an ahoge sticking out from her head. She'd sought out the nearest parlor after searching through the first half of the day along with this child.
Last Order, the small girl who'd been mentioned, was searching for a girl described as the high school version of herself, which was strange enough as it was. Rumiho had decided not to question it too much or else it might spoil the wonderful time she was having.
Last Order stood with her arms folded and chest puffed out proudly as she glared down suspiciously at the figure before her. A little cat with white fur was sitting on the ground while grooming its paws casually, unfazed by the look Last Order was giving it.
"After a long moment of consideration," Last Order spoke aloud without a change of expression. "Misaka has decided that the detainee has no information of any particular use, Misaka says as Misaka sighs dejectedly."
Rumiho merely smiled in Last Order's direction. Rumiho was sitting at a table outside of the ice cream parlor, relaxing beneath a wide umbrella meant to shade those who sit underneath it. There was an electric pad roughly twice to size of Rumiho's hand, listing all of the ice cream flavors the parlor offered so she could choose and order them from where she was. It was one of the many conveniences that Academy City's technology offered.
Rumiho set down the pad to grin in Last Order's direction, relishing the childish youth the girl had. In truth, Rumiho was jealous. She had always dreamed of being able to act selfishly and do whatever she liked like the child did. But she'd always been pressured to be the perfect student by her family and entering a school of prestige such as Tokiwadai certainly hadn't helped. Even when Rumiho skipped school, she usually found little to do since everyone else was already in school. As such, she could only relax in the school garden and read or play card games until school was out. Still, she found it better than suffering through class each and every day.
"Perhaps you should attempt to interrogate someone more likely to have seen your quarry." Rumiho offered as the cat hopped away from Last Order and vanished into the nearest alleyway. "Although it is a dark day when an alley cat cannot give you the whereabouts of someone lost in these streets."
"Misaka is becoming increasingly concerned, Misaka says as Misaka acknowledges the wisdom in her own words. Maybe the lost child Misaka is looking for is purposely avoiding detection."
"Maybe. But if we keep searching, we'll eventually learn for sure."
"Eventually is too long! Misaka says as Misaka flails her arms around in frustration! How dare she try to make a fool of Misaka! When Misaka finds her, she will lecture her for five days straight until she passes out from sleep deprivation!"
"Come now, cheer up. Here; why not choose what you want on your ice cream?"
Last Order completely forgot her rage after that and hurried over to the table. She stood beside the table Rumiho was sitting on and craned her neck in order to see the screen. When she still had trouble seeing, Rumiho picked up Last Order and set the little girl on her lap, wrapped her arms around her small waist to prevent her from falling.
"Misaka will happily choose all of the flavors in order to evaluate which one of these is best suited for which part of the day, Misaka says as Misaka excitedly clicks the 'select all' button!"
"Choose whichever you like child; it's my treat."
Rumiho showed no signs of dismay to Last Order's unreasonable decision. Rather, she was thrilled at the girl's enthusiasm. Rumiho seriously doubted the efficiency of their method of searching, but at the same time she was doubting the very existence the person they were searching for. Rumiho considered the possibility of this 'lost child' being an imaginary friend of some sort, which was common for children of Last Orders age. But Rumiho couldn't convince herself of this as she remembered the albino boy with a walking cane who'd spoken to her before. Was he also searching for the same person Last Order was looking for, but didn't want to say it aloud? But in that case, why had this girl disappeared and where to?
Rumiho had asked herself these questions several times before but had been unable to come up with any answers. So she'd stopped bothering to ask herself such pointless things and decided to wait and see if anything revealed itself with time.
So for the time being, their searching turned out to be more of a playful day out.
"…I see you're enjoying your time skipping tutoring once more, senpai. Though I'm not really surprised to see you slacking off here."
Rumiho and Last Order both looked up to see who had spoken. Two girls wearing Tokiwadai uniforms just like Rumiho were standing beside the table, one looking skeptical while the other was frozen in a shocked position.
Last Order's face brightened up but before she could say anything, Rumiho rested her chin her on head and smirked slyly toward the shorter girl who had spoken.
"Why hello there, Shirai-san. Doing your patrols as usual, I see. How dutiful."
"Some of us prefer not to laze around when there is work to be done, you know. Even if your grades are stellar, you should try to work on that unmotivated nature of yours."
"Some of us require different sorts of motivation. For instance, you have always had yours whereas as I have recently found mine."
Rumiho tightened her embrace around Last Order briefly while her eyes flickered toward Kurokoi's companion briefly. Kuroko's eyes widened for a moment before she turned away and coughed audibly in her hand.
"How bold, Suigetsu. Just what are you implying?"
"I'm joking of course. We were just about to order some ice cream. Interested?"
"I'm afraid not. We still have the rest of our route to finish patrolling. Right, onee-sama?"
Shirai Kuroko looked up when she did not receive a reply and frowned as her companion remained frozen in her state of shock. Rumiho raised an eyebrow as Kuroko turned to face Misaka Mikoto. Kuroko cocked her head curiously.
"Hey there! Misaka says as Misaka extends her belated greetings!"
Mikoto jumped in shock as Last Order raised a hand as she spoke in her normal rapid illeism. The other two were completely unaware of the exact meaning behind the level 5's reaction, so they just looked on curiously as Mikoto continued to stutter.
"Y-You're a sister, right? Why on earth are you s-so small?!"
"How rude! Misaka is the control tower of the Misaka Network, Misaka says as Misaka is stunned by your poor lack of proper judgment. She's a level 3!"
Mikoto pinched the bridge of her nose in exasperation as she struggled to make sense of what was going on. She'd already known about the twenty-thousand sisters that already existed, but she'd been entirely unaware of the 'control tower' that hadn't been directly involved with the Level 6 Shift program that she'd risked her very life to put a stop to.
In the end, Shirai and Mikoto ended up sitting with the two to eat ice cream of their choice, for which Rumiho amiably agreed to pay for. As Last Order excitedly devoured the large vat of ice cream she ordered, Rumiho casually told Mikoto and Kuroko the story of how she ran into Last Order.
Kuroko regarded Rumiho with an exasperated glare.
"So you really were skipping on tutoring after all. What a sad waste of talent."
Mikoto, however, wasn't as skeptical of Rumiho's decision.
In fact, she wasn't paying much attention at all. She was staring at her ice cream cone in her hand, as if watching it melt slowly. Rumiho initially assumed that Mikoto had been bothered by seeing Last Order, who looked so much like her, but realized that it was likely a different reason. Kuroko observed the expression on Mikoto's face briefly before sighing haughtily.
"You're doing it again, Onee-sama."
Mikoto jumped slightly, raising a hand up to hide her instinctual surprised expression. She began to frantically try to explain why she had zoned out, but Kuroko spoke over her with a reprimanding tone.
"Really, Onee-sama. I don't understand why you are still so hung up over it. You've been out of it for days and have been talking in your sleep. I understand if you feel bad about what happened, but please try to be considerate to those who look up to the Railgun, the Ace of Tokiwadai."
"I-I know that, Kuroko! Of course I know that I have a reputation to uphold as a level 5! But…I mean, I had the chance. I was right there and yet failed anyways. What good am I if I can't even save a single person…?"
Kuroko roared furiously as she mercilessly tore at her own head with both of her hands, sending her pigtails flying. Kuroko proceeded to slamming her forehead against the table over and over again as she spoke a syllable with every slam.
"That accursed half-monkey! I despise seeing my lovely Onee-sama in so much pain, and yet I am unable to do anything about it! How dare that commoner leave her in such a state! I must blame myself for being so incompetent as to not even return a smile to the center of my life!"
Rumiho observed this exchange between the two roommates curiously, leaning forward with her elbows rested on the table as she cocked her head slightly.
"Who is this person and what did he do?"
Mikoto opened her mouth as if to answer this question but hesitated, apparently not able to find the words. She closed her mouth once more and gripped her skirt tightly, exposing the shorts underneath. Kuroko ceased slamming her head on the table as she rubbed her temples as if to lessen her stress through a less violent method.
"Be sure not to tell anyone, but a certain half-monkey disappeared in Russia not too long ago. Onee-sama had recklessly gone alone by plane during World War III when Academy City was sending its bombers in order to find him. She found him…but was not able to bring him back. It seems it's been bothering her ever since."
Rumiho looked toward Mikoto with a sympathetic expression on her face but instantly thought better of it when she saw a spark fly through the girl's bangs. The level 5 wasn't interested in hearing words of consolation or sympathy. She wanted to see that boy again.
"Did you ever find his body?" Rumiho ventured instead. She noticed that Kuroko never said for sure that he was dead.
Mikoto shook her head back and forth.
"He fell into the freezing cold sea, probably. Even if I had the equipment to salvage him, he would have frozen to death long before I managed to find him…"
The three fell silent for a long moment as Mikoto continued to glare at the table. But then Mikoto took a deep breath as if to calm her nerves before smiling dryly at Rumiho.
"Sorry. I didn't mean to turn the conversation toward me. More importantly, we should talk about the girl."
"Indeed." Kuroko agreed immediately. "You said she's looking for someone, yes? I can use my connections in Judgment to find her immediately—"
Kuroko cut off as she looked toward the spot where Last Order had been eating her ice cream not too long before. Both Mikoto and Rumiho turned to see that the spot was now vacant, leaving behind only an empty glass that had once been filled with every flavor the ice cream parlor had to offer. The girls' eyes widened as they glanced around quickly, searching for the girl.
"Where did she—?"
Mikoto blinked as she felt a strange sensation through the electrical field that surrounded her body, reacting similarly to when she had first passed by Last Order earlier—which led to them approaching Rumiho and the child out of curiosity. Mikoto looked around and saw two figures by an alleyway, disappearing from sight. Both Rumiho and Kuroko looked in the same direction as Mikoto shot to their feet and managed to catch a momentary glance of the two figures disappearing into the alleyway.
Rumiho's eyes widened as she felt a strange sensation grip her chest. She didn't hesitate for a second as she extended out her powers and manipulated electromagnetic forces to pick her body up off of the ground a few meters into the air, above the heads of the surrounding crowd. She then shot forward as if flying, heading straight toward the area where Last Order's kidnapper had gone with her, flying straight into the alley.
Rumiho had never felt such a deep sense of rage before in her life, and she could not entirely explain where it had come from. Though she'd only known Last Order for a short time, she had the strongest urge to protect the child at any cost. It was unsure of just how far Rumiho would have gone against the person who took her had she made direct contact within him during her moment of rage.
Rumiho was quickly brought to her senses as she felt a strange sensation in her shoulder and she stumbled in midflight as she entered the alleyway. Her eyes widened as she saw that there was a long, thin rod sticking from her shoulder, causing red blood to ooze out slowly. Rumiho ground her teeth as she looked down at the spider like figures on the ground—spherical pods with four spindly legs sticking out from four corners. There was roughly two dozen of them with a cylinder shaped object sticking out of the top of their 'bodies', similar to tiny gun barrels or cannons, in a way.
Rumiho descended immediately as they fired more of the thin rods from their cylinder guns and tossed the ice cream she was holding in her hand toward one of them, clogging up the cylinder so it couldn't fire. But even after being disabled like that, the many other spider-like robots continued to fire on her, forcing Rumiho to continue using her powers to 'fly' out of the way. Unable to dodge all of them, several scratches and direct hits let blood flow from her arms, causing her to wince in pain. But even so, she couldn't make herself retreat.
"Release me! Misaka says as Misaka screams for help!"
At the end of the alley was the screaming Last Order being held underneath the arm of a man in a black suit, sporting a long blonde ponytail under a fedora. The man was still running ahead, but not fast enough that Rumiho couldn't catch up by flying. But even if she did chase after him, the androids below her would shoot her in the back and might have hit a vital point. It frustrated Rumiho to no end that the man could have gotten away like that, escaping into the labyrinth of alleyways.
Rumiho was surprised by this sudden loud voice that filled the alleyway. She looked down to see Misaka Mikoto and Shirai Kuroko suddenly appear amid all of the spider-like androids through teleportation and Mikoto slammed one foot on the ground. Electricity sparked around her like a wave and smashed into several of the androids, splitting them apart. The attack also caused Rumiho to lose altitude slightly in the process, but she recovered quickly enough.
"Go after the little girl!" Kuroko ordered Rumiho as she touched her hands to the straps around her thin thighs. Thin silver rods similar to the ones that had been shot at Rumiho appeared in the air and Kuroko caught them between her knuckles as she pressed her back to Mikoto, who held one hand up to the electricity cracking at her bangs. "Leave these things to Onee-sama and me!"
Rumiho didn't even bother responding. She immediately shot down the alleyway, making the same turn the man she was chasing had. The androids attempted to shoot her down, but metal rods suddenly appeared in their way, deflecting their path and forcing them to miss. Rumiho heard a crack of what sounded like lightning as she continued shooting down the alleyway but paid it no mind. Her mind was entirely focused on the man before her, holding Last Order under his arm as he stopped running in order to turn and face Rumiho.
Rumiho landed gently on the ground as she gripped her hands tightly, her glare burning a hole into the man's head. The man showed little expression as he set Last Order down on the ground beside him. Last Order attempted to run over to Rumiho, but an android spider suddenly shot from behind one of the trash cans in the alley and grabbed onto her small body with its arms, locking her in place and knocking her to the ground with its weight.
Rumiho started forward, but the man in the suit raised one hand to indicate that she should stop, and then pointed upwards. Rumiho reluctantly looked and clicked her tongue.
Crawling along the walls of the alleyway were at least a half a dozen android spiders with their cylinder shaped weapons pointed down at Rumiho. Rumiho quickly guessed at their number before sizing up the man in the suit.
He didn't have too many distinguishing features aside from his fedora and the blonde hair tied in a ponytail. His facial features were average, as well as his body build. However, he did wear an eye patch on his left eye, which Rumiho noted. That left him a major blind spot.
"Congratulations." The man spoke simply as he clapped his hands together in a mocking fashion. "I had initially predicted that you would be defeated by that group I'd left back there. It's a good thing I prepared this trap just in case something happened—I didn't expect you to have help."
"…You've been watching us?" Rumiho asked after considering what the man's words meant. He nodded.
"Last Order is a valuable target that I felt I should acquire, but getting it without making a big show required patience. I had to wait until you let your guard down, or at least stopped cuddling Last Order every few seconds. In a way, the arrival of those two was both helpful and annoying."
"I see. Well, I hope you have prepared yourself."
"Hm? And why is that?"
"Because," Rumiho smirked as she shot forward, gliding a few inches through the air. At her speed, the androids would have problems shooting her without hitting the man as well. "I'm going to make you pay dearly for your impertinence!"
An ominous shadow casts over the small little control tower as she, once again, gets caught up in the middle of the selfish plans of others. Railgun becomes involved as well, which can hardly mean well for the antagonists.
Comments and so on are appreciated ^^