AN: I'm so sorry for not updating earlier, I got stuck with real life and its corresponding problems. So here it is. I've also made it a point that this story will not focus on Kaneki and Raki alone. It will give an in-depth story telling of many characters like Arima. But, having said that, the earlier chapters will focus more on Kaneki and Raki.
I never met her. She left when I was barely able to walk. Since then, my father was the one who raised me. He often joked that mom could punch through walls when she was angry…I never took it seriously though.
I only ever heard about her appearance and persona from my father. He always told me that she had the most beautiful pale-blonde hair, which reached her thighs, and she had silver eyes. There were no clear pictures of her in any album, not even during their wedding. Her face was always shrouded by something. Her own hair, or some cloth that was just placed there at the right moment to cover her face, yet her eyes always came into view.
Beautiful silver eyes.
At first I thought she simply abandoned us, but my father always said that she loved us with all her being, it was just that she simply couldn't stay for long. I never understood, even now I still don't understand why she left, but I moved on.
My father always taught me to forget the past and move on towards the future. But I do not deny that I long to see my mother. Each and every day, whenever I see a woman with pale-blonde hair, I would imagine her walking up to me and saying: "Hello son".
I realized long ago that such thoughts were simply childish, but the heart has a way of being more truthful than the mind.
Her name? I don't really remember….
Arima Kishou, the white reaper of the CCG and arguably the greatest ghoul hunter of all time, sat alone in his office. His face was one of melancholy as he gazed out the window of his office. Sighing, he stood up, checked the nearby clock, and proceeded to the meeting room of Special Class Investigators. All the while the melancholy on his face never left, and he himself never noticed the lone tear that fell from his right eye.
"So you've been invited to join the CCG because of that stunt you pulled in Paris?" It was Isley who spoke with mild annoyance aimed at Raki, who was still trying to figure out why he didn't see that camera. Really though, that was probably the biggest mistake he'd ever made when they came to this place. One of the most important things to do before engaging in battle was to scout out the battlefield, and that was exactly what he didn't do. "That was very clumsy of you Raki"
"Yeah, but this could actually work to our advantage" Raki answered as he stood up and looked out the window. "According to our sources, Japan houses the highest Ghoul population per square mile. It definitely doesn't have the highest overall Ghoul population in the world, mind you, but there would be plenty here for you and Priscilla to hunt without getting noticed. Heck, I could even cover your tracks properly now if I'm working with the doves, or the CCG."
Isley thought about it for a moment, then turned his attention to Priscilla who just sat on the couch playing video games and eating junk food. If he joined the CCG, they would have to stay here in Japan permanently. Now that, in itself, wasn't a problem with all the gold they had, and they, being him and Priscilla, would have a stable amount of food since they don't really eat that much to begin with. The problem, therein, lies with the advantage. If they do get caught here, escaping would be a problem….not really a problem for someone like Priscilla who would probably decide to kill everything that isn't him or Raki during that time, but he didn't want this world finding out about them. But if they DID find out…then what?
'Alright….let's see where this goes' Isley thought with a slight shrug as he turned back to Raki. "Sure…why not? Just make sure to be discreet."
"Now I'm excited"
Priscilla turned her attention towards Raki for a few milliseconds before switching her focus back to her game again.
'It smells like…..mom's cooking…' Kaneki Ken, the human teen who was recently turned into a ghoul, thought when he picked up the scent of bleeding human flesh off the alleys. It was just earlier during the day when he found out that he was a ghoul. All the food he previously loved now tasted like garbage, even his favorite hamburger was inedible now. It was when he turned to look at the television that he realized, with all the cruelty in the world, that he was now a ghoul, a monster who feasted on the flesh on innocent humans. Now he ran towards the source of that sweet smell, without any clue as to what it truly was.
Before he was able to enter the alley, he bumped into someone, causing him to fall to the ground like a trash heap.
"You have eyes for a reason, use them properly or don't use them at all." The person he had bumped earlier simply said before walking away. Kaneki turned to his direction for a few seconds, but was only able to see spiky brunette hair, before running back to his intended destination. His hunger was so great that he had immediately forgotten about the person in just a few seconds.
"Damn…" Raki muttered as he wiped off the dirt from his right sleeve. Dirt that shouldn't have been there if no one had ran straight at him, fell down and splashed dirt all over. Well, the past is the past and a thing as minor as this didn't merit any emotion from him. 'Now where is that CCG building anyway?'
"Excuse me sir, do you have some business here?" A worker for the CCG, as Raki assumed, suddenly asked him right after he entered the building, passing through the RC scanners. Of course, since he'd just passed through the RC scanners, this question was probably more on the curiosity side rather than on the suspicious side. "Are you here to report a ghoul activity?"
"No…..err..uhm…..hmmm…..I'm looking for Kishou Arima" The worker's eyes widened momentarily as a response, before gesturing for Raki to follow him towards the elevator. As they walked, Raki couldn't help but notice several new investigators, who were all gathered together in front of a senior investigator. No doubt they were all trainees, and, as with all trainees, were being 'showed the ropes', so to speak. As they neared the elevator, the worker decided to break the short silence that had befallen. "You must be Raki Abend, I've heard a lot about you"
"I saw that video-feed myself, and let me tell you: That was some high-class Ghoul Extermination skills if I do say so myself"
"Hah! Don't mention it" The worker said, right before pressing a button to open the elevator doors. "The name's Kojiro, Sasaki Kojiro, Rank 1 Ghoul Investigator at your service"
'Ok what the fuck'
"Uhm hi?" Were the only words the left Raki's mouth, and also the only words he could think of as a form of response to that weird introduction.
"So who trained you?"
"…and that's when I learned how to use a dagger that way…" Raki said with a slight shrug as they exited the elevator. "…Oh and I even got this scar from that training too"
"So you were trained in Israel, and by the commandos? That's some heavy shit right there" Kojiro said, in slight awe of Raki's supposed training. "…And I thought I was special for having some military training before joining the CCG"
Now that their conversation had sort of stopped, Raki was able to take a good look of the floor he was in. There were a lot of cubicles, with a lot of people working inside each of them. Some were reading some paperwork, some were making some paperwork and others were busy chatting amongst themselves about paperwork. Across the room was a lone wooden door with ornate decorations.
"Anyway, that's Arima's office right there" Kojiro said, pointing towards the previously mentioned ornately decorated door at the other side of the room. "Let's talk again sometime"
With that, Kojiro walked back into the elevator, leaving Raki alone. With a shrug, the teen started walking towards Arima's office, ignoring the stares he kept on receiving as he walked to the other side. He could hear the whispers, he could hear some of them openly cheering him for some reason, and then he noticed a monitor in one of the cubicles playing the vid that Arima has shown him back in the hospital.
"I'm not a monster like you!"
*Cue girl shoving a piece of meat down someone's throat*
"So, have you made your decision?" Arima didn't even bother to look at Raki, when he entered, not even a glance. It was as if he knew that the only person who would enter his office was him and him alone.
"So I'm expected eh?" Raki said nonchalantly as he walked towards the chair that was right in front of the table where Arima was working on. "I can't say I'm surprised though"
"You're the only person, besides Director Washu himself, to come directly to my office at this time of night" Arima answered, setting down an entire load of paperwork unto his desk. "So….on to business. Will you join the CCG?"
"Hah! How could I say no to such an offer? But I think both if us already knew my answer even in the hospital right?" Raki answered, to which Arima could only give a very small smirk in response. "Seriously though, why would anyone turn down such an offer?"
"I guess so? Anyway, on to business then, if that's why you're here" Arima said with a slight shrug as he took out some sort of sheet from below his desk. "Just fill out this form first, and then you'll officially be my "apprentice", so to speak; since your skills would probably put you in as a Special Class Investigator. But we both know that's not possible since you technically don't have a reputation yet, so you'll just have to start as an apprentice. Report back here tomorrow at 10:00 am, bring those forms with you"
"You saw Isley here?" A woman asked as she sat on the chair in the terrace of her house, her long blonde hair dancing with the wind as she sat. "I wonder how he got here? Did he get here the same way we did? I truly wonder"
"Priscilla and Raki were with him too" This time, it was Rigaldo who answered as he came out of the large wooden door of their house. Well, Dr. Rigaldo as he is known now. "The three of them came together. I saw Priscilla and Isley when they visited Raki after the train incident"
"Ah yes, that incident with the ghoul terrorists" The girl said dismissively. "Your food does not concern me at all dear. What's interesting is that a regular human is here with them; that kid Raki. He's just an ordinary human who was trained by Isley"
"Actually, based on the blood samples I took from him, he's anything but ordinary" Rigaldo answered, taking a seat behind the girl. "His blood samples indicate that there's Yoki present in his body, particularly centered in his heart. I don't know how he came to have that, but I'll wager it's the constant exposure to large amounts of Yoki from Priscilla and Isley. One thing's for sure though, this Yoki has made him a great deal faster and stronger than even the fastest and strongest humans. I'd even say he's stronger than most Ghouls"
"Meh" Was the girl's reaction, earning her a deadpan look from Rigaldo, who sat behind her. "And we still haven't found Claire?"
"Oh her" Rigaldo uttered with a sigh. "I've heard rumors, but never anything conclusive. Heck I even heard that she had a son and that her child had a genetic disease. But rumors are just rumors. We'll find her eventually"
"I miss her….I miss my little Claire"
"Don't worry, she's strong and smart. I'm sure she's okay…wherever she is in the world"
SOMEWHERE IN THE SIBERIAN WILDERNESS:
"This is Bravo Leader to Zulu leader, this area is clear. She's not here"
"This is Zulu Leader; we just finished searching this area. She's not here either. We're going back to base, it's getting too cold out here"
"Over and out"
Just as the communications device was turned off, a scream was heard, prompting the entire Zulu squad to turn to the direction of where the sound originated. All guns were turned to that direction; all 50 members of Zulu squad all had their guns ready.
"Check it out corporal" Their squad leader said, earning him a nod from the corporal. "We'll cover you, and take your group with you"
10 men left the group, and the rest followed closely behind, covering all possible locations.
"It might be her" Zulu leader muttered under the cold winter air. "Alert all squads near this location; tell them to build a perimeter around this location. That girl does not escape"
"Roger, squad leader"
Just as the message was relayed, another scream ripped through the air. The entire Zulu Squad was now in complete guard, all openings in their formation were instantly closed, and the corporal's group was recalled. Something was terribly wrong here. This was supposed to be a simple search and capture mission, and their target was just a girl, who was alone in the woods. They were told that the reason for her capture was that she had uncovered some classified documents that needed to be retrieved. Now they weren't so sure anymore.
"What the hell's going on? Corporal what did you see out there?"
"I don't know sir, but it was fast. I mean…..really fast, we couldn't even see the whole thing. Oh, and I believe it's using some sort of melee weapon"
"Do you think it might be a ghoul?"
"Unlikely, but possible, and if it is a ghoul, then we are very ill-equipped to fight it"
"I am no ghoul" A feminine voice said from behind them. The soldiers all turned around and aimed their weapons at the direction where the voice supposedly originated, only to find that they were aiming at nothing but air. Cold, empty air.
Then it all went to hell.
JAPAN: A day later
"This place is the training room" Arima began, gesturing for Raki to take a look around the large room with white walls...and tiles on the floor. Seriously though, this place looked a lot more like a hospital more than a training room. That stuff didn't really matter to him though, what mattered was the reason as to why Arima brought him here, which he had a gut feeling on what it was. "To get straight to the point: I brought you here to gauge your fighting skills. I mean no offence, but that video of you fighting ghouls was a tad inconclusive...to me at least"
"Very well" Was Raki's reply. The next thing Arima did was to walk towards the weapon rack, and taking out two wooden straight swords, which were the basic forms of most quinqes. Arima threw one sword towards Raki, who did a backflip for no apparent reason before catching it in mid-air. All of a sudden, the halls outside the training room were now filled with CCG investigators, who were all excited to see the spar between the White Reaper Arima, and the new kid who showed some impressive fighting skills on cam.
"This is gonna be good" said an investigator as he struggled to stay in place with all the people trying to get a good view of the spar through the glass windows.
In the Sparring Room:
"What are the rules of this spar?" Raki asked, almost bored, which caused the investigators outside to start cheering.
"Simple, the first one to be disarmed loses" Arima responded, immediately assuming a fighting pose. "So let's do our best okay?"
"Wait" Raki said, right before he walked towards the weapon rack and grabbed a smaller katana to be wielded simultaneously with the longer one. He then walked back to the place he was a few seconds ago, and grinned widely at Arima, who nodded in response. Raki exhaled, and entered into his own fighting stance; one that he himself had developed when fighting against 'them'. "Shall we?"
Arima nodded and, without warning, lunged at Raki, who was more than ready to evade the vertical-downward slash and delivered his own strike, which was parried by Arima. His next move was to use the smaller blade to slash at Arima's face, but this failed immediately when the White Reaper simply decided to jump back a few meters away.
'Damn he's fast' Raki thought as he entered another stance, one that was focused more on aggressive attacks. Without warning, Raki lunged at Arima, with the intention of using a horizontal attack. The beauty behind this attack was that the first strike was actually just a bluff; mid-swing, he would change his hand position to change the direction of the attack. That was all good in theory, but reality was quite different.
Arima entered a defensive position at the last second, and was able to defend against his attack. But Raki was relentless, he continued by spinning his whole body in mid-air and throwing a left roundhouse-kick towards Arima's face. Arima blocked the kick with his right arm, but was unable to foresee Raki's next attack, which came in the form of a risky, almost suicidal, move, which involved him spinning again to deliver a kick from his left leg.
It connected with Arima's abdomen, causing him to take a few steps back. But, Raki's reckless move had its own drawbacks, since Raki fell to the floor due to both of his legs being used to kick. He fell on the floor, and wasn't given anytime to stand-up as Arima seized the opportunity to kick him on the stomach.
'Shit that hurt' Raki thought as he was flung to the far side of the room and crashed against the wall. But he remained undaunted as he immediately stood up off the floor and entered into a combat stance once again.
Outside the training room seemed just as intense. The investigators, now numbering in the hundreds, watched in anticipation. Almost all of them had seen the footage of Raki manhandling those ghouls in France, and all of them agreed that that stunt required a lot of skill and guts; Raki had both.
Inside the room, the intensity was….intense! Both Raki and Arima were now currently engaged in a series of strikes and parries that seemed impossibly acrobatic to anyone who wasn't them. Raki cartwheeled to the left whilst simultaneously performing a dual thrust attack with both his blades, which was somehow blocked by Arima, who did a frontal flip with a matching vertical-downward slash that was aimed at Raki's head. Of course, Raki saw this and was able to react accordingly by parrying Arima's blade to the side and delivering his own counterattack using the smaller blade. It had almost connected, but Arima was able to jump back at the last moment and was able to avoid the attack.
"You truly have the skills of a special class investigator" Arima said under heavy breaths as he readied himself for another bout, which was coming in about 3…, .2…..1
Raki performed an acrobatic overhead kick using his left leg, which was then followed by a spinning strike using his left hand, which held the smaller blade. As usual, Arima was able to react accordingly, and dodged the kick and parried the strike before delivering a counterattack of his own. Arima delivered a heavy vertical slash towards Raki, who dodged it but was unable to dodge the front kick that came immediately after. As a result, he was sent backwards a few meters.
'Damn this guy's probably stronger than some Claymore's' Raki thought as he prepared for another assault. But before he continued, a thought came to mind. This had gone on for quite some time now; him attacking relentlessly and Arima blocking and counterattacking most of the time, though he did note that Arima sometimes initiated the fight. No, this straightforward strategy was definitely not going to work. A change of style would be most effective at this point in time.
Without wasting any time, Raki rushed towards Arima, who was more than ready to continue to fight. But in a strange switch of strategy, which caught Arima off-guard. Raki, before reaching Arima, threw his smaller sword towards Arima's face at such an angle that it momentarily blocked his vision. Of course, the sword in itself was no threat, but it was the temporary distraction that gave Raki the chance to dash to Arima's right side and delivering a crushing a left roundhouse kick, which struck Arima's abdomen, causing him to be flung towards the wall.
The Investigators outside now had their mouths agape in shock as they continued to watch the exchange.
Raki wasted no time in his assault. He leaped towards the downed form of Arima and performed a downward slash, but not all things always go according to plan. With a burst of speed, Arima was able to parry Raki's katana and counterattacked with an extremely fast horizontal slash towards Raki's neck. Raki saw this and immediately regained his footing and attacked with an attack that was identical to Arima's own attack.
The result? Both of them now had wooden katanas aimed at their necks.
"I guess this is a tie then?" Raki said with a dry chuckle that showed his exhaustion. Both of them immediately dropped their wooden swords to the floor. 'I haven't fought like that since…..that time. In fairness, there were several moments where he could've struck, but didn't. So this isn't exactly a tie.'
"I guess so" Was Arima's only reply. "Just rest for now, tomorrow I'll give you your Quinque"
Outside the room, all investigators who were watching simply couldn't believe their eyes. This new kid was somehow able to stalemate Arima, the White Reaper himself. No one, in the history of the CCG, had even lasted 2 minutes in a sparring match against Arima, then this kid comes along. Many now viewed Raki with great admiration for the skills and quick mindedness he had used. Word would soon spread to other CCG offices that someone was actually able to match Arima in battle.
To Raki though, it was another story. He was currently resting in the infirmary after that duel against Arima. But he knew that the man wasn't really trying to win; more like gauging Raki's skills as a fighter. If the man wanted to, then he could've overwhelmed Raki with his speed. Instead, he chose to be on the defensive…most of the time.
With a sigh, Raki decided to lie back against the pillow. He was definitely getting rusty now that it's been so very long that he had faced against strong opponents. Those Claymore trainees didn't count.
Still, his battle with Arima had gained him the fame and reputation he needed within the CCG. He didn't want anyone to think that he was just an amateur, who didn't know how to wield a weapon just because he didn't graduate form the CCG academy.
"Hello" Raki heard a soft female voice from his right and turned immediately to that direction. Beside him, he saw a person with white hair, pale skin, a slender physique and red stitches all over. 'What the shit?'
"Hello to you as well" Was Raki's polite answer. Strangely, he had the feeling that he'd seen this person before, but he wasn't so sure.
"My name's Juzou"
"Oh" Raki muttered absentmindedly. That's right, this person was the one he'd rescued in the train back then.