"How are your plans coming along?"
"They are progressing excellently."
"Are you sure?"
"Is there a problem?"
"You need to keep better watch of your lackeys. It seems like some of them are still loyal to him."
"Yes, him. Apparently they took the chance to tip him off when we went public with our existence."
"Small matter. The goal was to break the truce. My ascension to level 9 was an open display of rebellion against the treaty. Even as we speak, previously unaligned players who hated the period of stagnation bought about by the Kings are flocking to our banner. Even if he's back, it isn't going to stop us from achieving our goal. It might be delayed, but the outcome is inevitable."
"Oh? And why's that?"
"Because knowing him, he will end up furthering our goal instead."
The room was shocked into momentary silence by the revelation.
Nega Nebulous had always knew that Vice didn't hold the most power in the ARG. After all, for there to be a vice-president, there had to be a president. They had always thought that this 'president' would be someone they had to fight one day in some climatic final showdown, the 'big bad' of the Acceleration Research Group.
Instead, here he was in the same room as they were, discussing an alliance face to face.
It was strange. Funny, even.
"Hold on. You said you left Brain Burst so you could pursue a normal life. What led you to return, then?"
This time, it was Haruyuki who broke the silence.
"A very good question. Around the time the Acceleration Research Group unmasked themselves and revealed their identity, a few of my previous lieutenants who were still loyal to me took the chance to tip me off. I blew my top when I found out what happened. It... It had been hell for them. Legion members who refused to comply with the experiments were threatened with Judgement Blow, and those whom Vice deemed disloyal were forced to be test subjects and experimented on relentlessly. If I.. If I ever get a hold of that bastard... I swear..."
Renji realised he was letting his anger get the better of him when he unconsciously smashed his right fist against the table. Even though Vice's atrocities were unforgivable, acting like this in front of strangers on their very first meeting was still unsightly.
"Sorry about that. Anyway, that's my reason. There are people there who still put their trust in me and I have no plans on disappointing them."
"I see. Okay, Ren, we'll help you in exchange for your assistance in getting our territory back. You haven't been to the Accelerated World in years, so I presume that you are not up to date with what has changed?" replied Kuroyukihime.
"Yes, as such, I will need all the information you can spare me."
"Very well. I have just sent to your inbox an email containing all the information we know of the Acceleration Research Group, along with what you need to know of the current situation in the Accelerated World. If you don't mind, could you accelerate to read it so that we may get discussing as soon as possible? We will need all the time we can muster."
"Yes. You mentioned Chrome Disaster. "
"What about it?"
"Can you tell me of its origins? If my theory is correct, it might be of help."
"Unforgivable... absolutely inhumane... That bastard..."
Renji had hypothesized that Chrome Falcon might have been connected to the Disaster, but he had not expected it in this way.
"As if it wasn't enough... as if taking my legion wasn't enough... he had to erase my friends too..."
Renji struggled to keep his voice from breaking but he eventually lost control, sobbing as tears of grief and frustration ran down his face. He had originally thought of paying Falcon and Blossom a visit after all this was done, to reminiscent of the old times and see how they were getting along, but it seems that it was impossible now.
Taking the moment to compose himself, Renji once again took hold of his emotions.
"*cough* Sorry about that again. Falcon had been one of my closest lieutenants. I had originally offered him control of the legion in my absence, but he had declined... He and Vice were not on good terms. He was afraid that giving him command would threaten the harmony the legion held. If only I saw Vice for what he was... If only I had insisted more strongly that Falcon take the position... Falcon might have...This is all my fault...
I wish I could meet him and Blossom again, to tell the both of them I am sorry I bought this upon them, but I know they are already gone."
"There might be a way."
Renji's eyes widened in surprise and anticipation.
"Really? Tell me!"
"We'll have to dive into the Unlimited Field for that. Tomorrow is Saturday. At 15:30, we'll dive and meet at the school."
Kuroyukihime understood Renji was no longer in the mood for a discussion, not after what he had just learned. She had felt the same way after she realised she had been tricked into killing Red Rider. Betrayed by someone you once thought you could trust. It was a horrible feeling.
"With that, meeting disbanded."