Star Force DxD
31st Contact: Water You Doing?
Cancer read through the information as it scrolled upward on the screen, his eyes scanning over the data with rapid precision. It was an encoded message that Gemini had sent him in regard to the supernatural world and the events that surrounded it. Part of the deal she worked out with him was that whatever interesting findings they could use she would send to him. Though she said she didn't have any interest in the mission she would still continue to spy on the population for any sources of negative energy that they would be able to harvest to recharge the Andromeda Key. And whatever they could use, they would take. They managed to gain some of the energy back thanks to the recent events, but it was still not enough.
"How are we supposed to recharge the Andromeda Key faster 'buku?" Cancer asked himself. Even with all the negative energy they had gathered to full it up, it was only a quarter full.
"What was it that Gemini sent?" Wolf asked, floating behind him to look over the data.
"You know that kid you and Crown were following? Seems that he was a part of some experiment that would've let him use some kind of weapon and there was nearly an uprising over it or something," Cancer explained, "Omega-Xis and those kids stopped it but it still gave us a bit more negative energy for the Andromeda Key, but it's still not enough to completely fill it up."
"So, what should we do to make it full?" Wolf questioned.
"It needs negative energy and we can only harvest that from negative human emotions. So that means making humans angry or afraid," Cancer explained.
"We already know that, dummy!" Wolf retorted, making Cancer flinch in reflex, "I meant how can we make the recharge more effective?"
"Well, do you have any ideas?" Cancer pointed at Wolf critically. "Anyway, where are the others anyway? If they're slacking off, we'll never get the Andromeda Key filled up."
It was at that minute when Libra beamed into the room. Currently, "he" was a "she" right now due to being in the fleshy form of Sona Sitri. "Crown is looking for more areas he believes to be abandoned so that he can lure people in to scare," L-Sona explained. "Personally, I think he should rather A: just go after the populace if he wants to scare them so much, or B: think up something more pragmatic," she said with an exasperated sigh. "Goodness, what is it with him and fear?"
"Probably has something to do with the dead body he used when he EM Wave Changed once he got here," Cancer shrugged.
"If he wants to scare people so much, he should walk around as his host," Wolf suggested. "What are those un-alive things called again... zombsomethingorother? My research on those things shows that his human form looks like one of them. What about Taurus?"
"The last time I checked he was going on a random ruckus before those policemen chased him off. He's got plenty of brawn, but he's a little short of something upstairs," L-Sona teased, poking at her head.
"Heh. You've got that right," Wolf snickered.
"But that brawn of his is what makes him so useful," another voice cut in. Walking forward towards the group, the familiar body of Ravel Phenex approached with a hand over her hip. "If pushed in the right direction, Taurus can be of great assistance. He might be lacking in brainpower, but he was put on this team for a reason."
"'Buku? You have some sort of plan in mind?" Cancer asked O-Ravel.
"Rather than just send him to go on a rampage somewhere as a diversion, I propose a more... focused hunt," O-Ravel said, a snake-smile forming on her face. "What I plan to do will get the humans to scurry around like the mice they are. Just wait and see..."
"Hey... Buchou... are you sure this is OK?"
"Don't be such a whiner. You've been in constant fights day after day with little rest. I can't have a burnt-out servant. Besides, I know you're loving this."
Netto was laying facedown on the couch of the clubroom and straddled on top of him was Rias, kneading her hands over his bareback. Her fingers and thumbs went over back with smooth precision like a surgeon, focusing pressure on certain spots of his back. After the recent battle against Kokabiel, Netto felt himself getting very stiff. Much to his embarrassment, Rias offered to give him a backrub. The offer turned into an order when he tried to back out of it, and he found himself unable to turn it down. If it was because she was his master or because of something else entirely he didn't know, but he felt himself feeling a lot more relaxed as she fiddled with his back.
"Just as I thought, there are a lot of knots on your back," Rias said, tracing her fingers down his spine, "You've been pushing yourself again, haven't you?"
"Maybe..." Netto muttered.
"As much as I appreciate your efforts you really should know when to quit," Rias chided, "If you overwork yourself it's gonna lead to serious consequences, you know."
"Uh huh..." Netto muttered, still lost in the back rub.
"You're still thinking about Gemini Spark, aren't you?" Rias asked him, almost as if she was reading her mind.
"How can I not, Buchou? We fought Kokabiel with everything we had and then she just waltzed in and curb-stomped him like he was nothing, without breaking a sweat. I need to become stronger in case we encounter her again."
"I understand but you'll just end up hurting yourself if you burn yourself out. And remember, you're not in this alone."
"I know. I'd hate to see what would happen if UNIT were to find out."
"Yes, given our relationship with them, it would do more harm than good," Rias answered thoughtfully, "Actually, we should avoid anything to do with UNIT as much as possible. Especially given that they are fully aware of the supernatural world and have several methods in countering us. Whoever their informants were, they must have close ties with the paranormal." Her eyes drifted into a thoughtful gaze, "I would say that it would have been the Red Dragon Emperor given the megacorp that he runs, but that might be shooting too far."
"Yeah, that Hakurkywhatsit said that they were rivals," Netto added. "It's like they have a huge history together."
"That they do," Rias answered, sitting upright, "I'm sure you're already familiar with the Great War that Kokabiel tried to reinstigate, right?"
Netto turned his head to look up at her, "Yeah, the one that devils, angels, and fallen angels, fought in that resulted in the loss of most of their people, including God and Satan."
"That's right." she said, getting off from his back to sit on the chair. Netto got off from his stomach to sit down next to her, "As you already know the Great War was very devastating, so much so that various other factions stepped in to take sides to lend their power. In fact, the only race that didn't care for the war at all were the dragons."
"It sounds like these dragons are pretty tough to not want anything to do with war," Netto responded.
"Precisely," Rias continued, "Dragons are the living embodiments of chaos and freedom. They are inherently proud and selfish; very difficult to appease. Some dragons joined devils while others followed the angels, but most of the other ones saw the war as none of their concern. Two certain dragons began a fight of their own during the war. These dragons were of the highest power class, stronger than even God or Satan. They were Ddraig the Welsh Dragon, and Albion the Vanishing Dragon. It's because of their strength that they were both known as the Heavenly Dragons."
"Albion... that's the name of the spirit that was living in that Hakurkywhatsit's wings," Netto remembered.
"Both Ddraig and Albion were completely indifferent to the war around them as they fought. Their battle created casualties on all sides. It looked as though they would extinguish all three factions first before the war reached its climax. The leaders of the three factions realized that there would be no survivors if the red and white dragons continued, and so they called for a temporary truce in order to deal with them. The Heavenly Dragons on their part were enraged over having their battle interrupted and lashed out against the factions. In the end, all three factions successfully defeated the Heavenly Dragons and locked their souls in the Sacred Gears. From then on, the Heavenly Dragons' souls would wander the earth until humans suitable to use as their medium were born, and would clash again to continue their never-ending battles."
"Wow, that really is an eternal rivalry," Netto remarked with a grimace. "Guess they never once tried to settle things peacefully."
"They were opposing forces, polar opposites," Rias told him, "Even their hosts were not spared from their rivalry. But their hosts did end up becoming legendary figures with their power. When they weren't battling each other, they would seek out strong opponents to fight."
"Really?" Netto blinked, "So they'll want to pick a fight with me then?"
"Well if I said no, it would be a lie. The Vanishing Dragon already made clear that he has an interest in you so it's likely that he'll want to see how your powers measure up to his. But if a pawn can checkmate a king, then an insect can bring down a mighty beast if the venom is stung in the right place."
"Huh? So I'm an 'insect'?" Netto asked, looking somewhat insulted.
"Of course you aren't, you're a Shooting Star. My Shooting Star," to the distress of his hormones, quite suddenly straddled his lap and looked down at him with her hands looped around his shoulders, "Even if the Vanishing Dragon challenges you, I know you can beat him."
"You sure sound confident," Netto snickered shyly, "If you say I can, who am I to disagree?"
Seeing how flustered her Pawn was, Rias could help but crack a wry smile. She dipped her head down and rested her lips softly on his. Netto blinked in shock, realizing that this was his second kiss with her. He could hear her purring slightly in the kiss, like she was enjoying it.
"So," Netto said in the middle of the kiss, feeling cheeky. "Do you kiss all your servants like this or am I just the special one?"
"Oh, what do you think?" Rias whispered back, dragging her lips down to his neck. She nipped down softly. Netto blushed and his breath hitched up as soon as he felt her bite down on the nip of his neck.
"He-hey, Buchou... that's my..." Netto began, stuttering slightly.
"Hm...?" was the only response she gave. She nipped again, causing his "rocket" to prepare for "launch". This didn't go unnoticed by her, causing her to spring up in surprise once she felt him rubbing against her. "Oh wow! Are you sensitive there?" she asked with a sly grin.
"Um... yeah, kinda?" he whispered nervously. Rias' grin turned more mischievous as she went back down to continue to nip on that sweet spot of his. Netto felt a pleasured shiver go up his spine, an involuntary shudder spreading throughout his body. Her sharp teeth pressed against his flesh, but it wasn't enough to break skin or draw blood. But the way she ground her fangs against him made him putty in her hands.
"Woah~! Ah-!" Netto flinched, shivering at her lovebites. "Damn, that's not fair..."
"Ufufufu... I can't help it, you're just too cute," Rias giggled, nuzzling her face against his.
As the two were too focused on each other, neither noticed the door open as Asia walked in on them.
"Netto-san, I need help studying... for..." Asia dropped her books as she gaped in shock at what she was seeing, a fierce blush coloring her face. "B-B-B-Buchou!"
"Hm? Oh, Asia," Rias smiled.
"A...Asia!?" Netto gasped.
Rias removed herself from Netto but still sat close to him. He quickly put his shirt back on and tried to calm down. It was not easy as he was still flustered.
"Did you need something, Asia?" Rias asked.
Asia's face quickly turned bright red, like a huge tomato. "I was... l-l-l-looking for Netto-san so that he could help me with s-s-s-studying for semester exams... B-b-but I didn't know that Netto-san and Buchou were already... I didn't mean to interrupt you!" Asia exclaimed before turning out the room and closing the door behind her. Netto looked completely dumbfounded over her reaction.
"I... think I should apologize..." Netto said dumbly.
Rias gave a small, awkward giggle, "Yes. I guess I'll have to do that too."
Meanwhile, in the new school building, one Ruruko Nimura was happily skipping away from the student council office with a bento box in hand. She had just finished her student council duties and it left her free to do whatever she wanted for the rest of the day. She was hoping to find the only male in her peerage to hopefully relax with him. Just an opportunity to get closer. She heard that Sona punished him for helping with something dangerous like searching for the Excaliburs, so she figured she could take the opportunity to cheer him up. And the fact that he went to help a friend even though it was with something like holy swords made her admiration for him a lot stronger.
Yeah, she knew a lot of girls were out for Yuuto. She also knew that there were a few others who were crushing on her fellow first-year Netto. Tomoe was very much one of those girls. Ruruko was a bit different. Rather than being madly crushing on either Yuuto or Netto, her attention went to Saji. In fact, as far as she knew, the only other girl who had a crush on him was Momo. That made her something of a rival out of her. Though she also knew that Saji was holding out for their master Sona, she hoped to change his mind. Not to mention that Sona was very picky with who she would give her hand to. The last poor soul who lost to her a chess game found that out the hard way.
"Ok, girl. Give it all you got. Can't be going about it half-assed," Ruruko whispered to psyche herself up. With this bento lunch box she made, she was sure to be one step closer to winning Saji's heart. After all, a way to a man's heart was through his stomach and she was pretty confident in her cooking skills. Stepping outside, her eyes caught sight of a familiar set of shaggy hair. "Hey, Gen-sempai!"
Saji blinked and looked around before seeing her running up to him. "You talking to me?" he asked, pointing to himself in confusion.
The girl ran up to him and presented over the bento, looking away with a blushing smile on her face, "Uh... I had free time so I thought you were hungry," she said bashfully.
"...Hm? Oh, ok. Thanks," the way Saji was saying this seemed very confused and bewildered. But he didn't seem to mind since he took the bento box.
"Enjoy!" Ruruko waved as she walked off, beaming while she inwardly cheered. Her first step was a success. Pretty soon, Saji would become interested in her and if she played her cards right then he might even ask her out.
If she had been paying attention, she would've noticed that Saji wasn't wearing his Transer.
T-Saji opened the bento box, and his eyes looked down in wonder at what he saw. There were some meat, dumplings, a few berries, and rice balls shaped like small pandas. Without thinking, he picked out one of the rice balls and popped it into his mouth. The moment he chewed, his eyes widened as he felt something very delightful hit his tongue. "...Yummy!" T-Saji exclaimed. He grabbed more of the constants in his hands, as much as he could, and stuffed them in his mouth. One side of his cheek puffed as he chewed greedily, swallowing down and then belching. "Never thought this is how Terrans eat! At least they're good for something; this is good!" he said to himself.
"And just what exactly is good?" a voice behind him asked.
"Eep!" T-Saji jumped, nearly dropping the bento box. He looked around behind him and found O-Ravel standing behind him with her arms crossed. "Ah, it's just you, Ophiuchus."
"Don't call me that around here," O-Ravel hissed quietly, "This is enemy territory. There could be surveillance sensors here. Speaking of the matter, what are you even doing here?"
"I was just trying to infiltrate the enemy stronghold to find their main base of operations," T-Saji explained frugally.
"Trying to use your brain rather than charging in with reckless abandon for once? I'm impressed," O-Ravel appraised sarcastically. "You made one miscalculation, however. Your former host is here too. If the two of you are found together when you're like that people will start asking questions."
"You realize you don't have to insult me!" T-Saji barked.
"Nevermind," O-Ravel sighed, waving him off, "We didn't come out here to visit this place. There's somewhere else that we need to go. Follow me."
To talk more privately about the plan, both T-Saji and O-Ravel went into a nearby restaurant. O-Ravel hacked some accounts to get the money to pay for the food. She didn't seem all that interested in eating, but T-Saji seemed very interested as he was already scarfing down a burger. What made the meeting location so convenient was the setting. No one would know or care what their true intentions were. To anyone else, they were just a teenage couple out on a date.
"Did you know that the beings of this world are mostly made of water?" O-Ravel questioned.
"Yeah, so? What does that have to do with anything?" T-Saji asked, still munching on his burger.
"Much like we EM Wave beings need a particular amount of energy to function, humans require water to survive," O-Ravel answered. "But they must be very careful about what they drink since some water contains chemicals that are harmful to them. That is where the water treatment plant comes in."
"Oh? And what's so special about the water treatment plant?"
O-Ravel rolled her eyes, pulling out her Wave Scanner as it beamed out a holographic image, "It should be just easier if I gave you a visual ad," she said, fiddling with the hologram. The 3D image twisted and turned, reacting to her motions, "The water treatment plant is where all the harmful stuff is removed from the water supply. Basically, this place maintains the safety levels of all this city's drinking water. But if we put in a virus into the plant's computer, we can alter the water molecules into something a bit more... interesting," O-Ravel finished as she changed the symbols for H2O into HCl. She looked up to T-Saji with a stern frown, "By the way, HCl doesn't spell 'hickel'."
"Of course, it doesn't!" T-Saji frowned, "It stands for hydrogen and chlorine molecules!"
"Ooo! Very good!" O-Ravel said, sounding like a proud teacher, "And what does that make?"
"Hydrochloric acid," T-Saji grinned as he started to see where she was going, "Deadly to carbon-based lifeforms. Wouldn't it be faster to simply flood the city though? That would cause plenty of despair."
"Too much time. And I wouldn't know where to begin. With this plan though, I only need several more hours before I can move forward with infecting the plant's systems. That's why I have you. I need you to handle the plant's computer systems to make sure the virus is doing its job."
"Huh, got it. And what if Mega Man and his demon groupies get wind of this?" T-Saji asked.
"Oh, there's no need to worry about that," O-Ravel replied a self-assured smirk, "In fact, let them come. I outfitted this virus with something that will put them out of commission for good."
As both of them continued talking and debating, someone was walking past the restaurant on the other side of the street. By total chance, the person caught a glimpse of them, gasping upon recognition. The person, shocked and surprised by the strange scene, quickly took out a cell phone and snapped a quick picture. She hurried along before she could get noticed.
After school let out for the day, Netto and the others went home. After finishing his homework, Netto went to Lala's lab whose entrance was in his closet. As the boy went inside, he saw some the floor littered with various inventions. No doubt creations that can be failures or something she made in her spare time.
Netto carefully walked avoiding to not step on that lest he either get shocked or accidentally activated them and cause who knows what kind of disastrous effects. He heard her humming and saw Lala typing on the large computer console in a hoverchair.
"Hey Lala," he greeted. The alien princess paused and turned her chair around. Lala was in her casual clothes which consisted of a tank top and shorts which were no doubt made by Peke based on the hair clip in her hair.
"Oh, Netto!" Lala said happily. "What are you doing here?"
"Well I got bored and I needed to take my mind off things after I was done with my homework. So I thought I should drop by." Netto answered.
"Oh that's nice. We can spend some time together here. In fact, I might need your help with something." She said.
Netto raised an eyebrow at that. "What is it?"
Lala typed and it showed schematics on a new type of battle armor. However, this armor had draconic features to it. On the side, screens showed the videos of the White Dragon Emperor who greeted them after he arrived to pick a charred Kokabiel.
"I'm working on this new combat armor that's based on that white dragon guy's but I'm still missing some stuff." She replied.
"Stuff? What stuff?" He asked.
Lala scratched her head for a bit, "Well a good power source and a new combat system. I'm trying to scour any resources in the Milky Way or Deviluke that can provide any answers and I'm trying to see if the combat system needs more features added to it."
Netto looked at the screen for a bit, "Wow, the schematics look really good. What kind of power source are you looking for?"
"Maybe a tachyon engine... or I was thinking antimatter would work," Lala muttered, her thinking face in full show and her finger tapping on her chin. "Something with a lot of power. If I wanna make this armor good it's gotta work really well. I've even learned about some of the dragons here. The first one I learned about was about a dragon name Nidhogg, who's supposed to smell really bad. But I'm not sure how that's going to work on my suit."
"The most I've heard about dragons are from fairy tales, but those aren't very useful research materials. But it sounds like you already have some gears and weaponry in mind," Netto commented.
"Yep! I've taken apart battleships, ya know!" Lala piped happily as she flexed her arm.
"Real battleships?" Netto repeated in surprise. "You took apart real battleships?"
"Biggest superpower in the galaxy, duh," Lala boasted. "My daddy owns a whole fleet of them!"
"I can see that but you can you take-" Netto quickly stopped himself when an image entered his head, an image of him getting the life crushed out of him by Lala's bearhugs, "You know what? I can believe that. So you mind me asking what sort of weapons you have in mind?"
"One weapon I was thinking of is called the photonic accelerator. I've never really built it before but I've seen it in action several times. They're beams of concentrated power that at full strength can annihilate a whole battleship battalion," she said.
"Laser beams that can sweep through battleships?" Netto asked in surprise. The scene of a particular anime appeared in his head, with scores of ships getting blown up by massive lasers. "That's awesome!"
"It is, right? Which is why I need something strong to keep up with that sort of firepower," Lala said.
"Well, unless you can find something like a Holtzman Drive I don't know what I can do to help, and I definitely can't use anything from AMAKEN," Netto said, "Not to mention that I've just started with the prototype of the Hunter-VG."
"Eh? Oh yeah, that Hunter-VG. You're working on that too," Lala remembered. "How's that coming along?"
"Honestly, I'm making great progress. I used some of the features that the Transers already offered and made a couple of improvements on them. I predict that the first working prototype would be ready within the next three months. I was thinking of sending my plans to SciLab Technologies."
"Sounds like you got your work cut out for you," Lala smiled. "Seems like we'll both be busy with our inventions."
"You know, you'd probably have seen way more advanced tech out there. Why does Earth technology fascinate you so much?"
"Think of it this way. Every civilization progresses at a different rate but their discoveries are so unique and significant. I mean, there's this one planet where the technology is completely technorganic."
"Technorganic?" Netto read books on the matter. Technoganic was a perfect fusion of nature and technology, right down to the cellular level, and it was considered to be nothing short of fantasy.
"Yep, and if you think the stuff the Deviluke made is advanced, then you have yet to meet the Galvans. They're like the smartest beings in the galaxy and their tech is powerful enough to compete with ours. The only other race that rivals them are the Cerebrocrustaceans," Lala told him. "So, technology is a variable wherever you go. Earth is really no different."
Netto had never thought of it like that, but it made sense. Science was something every civilization would uncover. It was basically the application of trying to solve a problem through intelligence means. Just like how humans first created the wheel, and then simple machines like levers as such, other alien species would start the same way and advance from there.
"Well, according to history, human's first discovered fire before they invented the wheel," Netto told Lala. "What about your people? What was their first discovery?"
"Ah, that would be the hyperspace," Lala said. "The discovery... went pretty badly."
"A hyperspace what?" Netto blinked. "Wait, your people discovered hyperspace? How badly did it go?"
"Imagine getting turned into a noodle, like your whole body gets pulled so hard that you stretch infinitely," Lala supplied.
"Oh, noodlefication," Netto understood. He had seen it in science fiction. It was basically what happened when something went through a black hole as their body was stretched like a noodle, hence the name. Well, hopefully, Lala's people figured out a solution to that problem.
Lala seemed to realize the morbid description seemed to make the mood unintentional grim. She decided to switch the conversation, one that seemed to make her slightly blush, "Ne, Netto. Can I ask you something?"
"Hm? Yeah, I guess I can," Netto nodded. "Go ahead."
Lala smiled shyly as she looked down at the ground, leaning back on her chair while she shuffled her feet. "Do you mind... that I'm engaged to you?" Netto looked surprised at the question she gave, "To be honest, I did force the engagement on you, you know. I was just trying to get away from all the suitors daddy kept throwing at me and I found you really interesting. And well... being here on this planet... it's made me really happy..." She twisted around in her chair as she gazed up at the ceiling. "Yeah, it was scary sometimes. That Kokabiel person was really scary. But I made lots of new friends here. And I got to learn lots of new things that I never knew about before. I guess I'm just really glad that I got to meet you." She looked at him while tilting her head, giving him an innocent smile, "So, you know, I honestly don't mind having you as a husband."
Netto couldn't help but blush (he was doing that a lot lately) from what seemed like a semi-confession. He did have to admit that Lala did force her way in to escape her family's guardsmen. He couldn't really fault her though since Lala felt like her life was being controlled by someone else. And he felt himself coming to like Lala too. She was smart, cute, and affectionately aggressive. The things he liked in a girl of his type. Being an alien princess was an added bonus. The wet dream of every geek and nerd.
"Hey, Lala-" he began. Lala had already stood up from her chair and silenced his voice with her lips. Netto blinked in surprise as she placed her hands on his cheeks, gently lapping over his mouth.
Lala released her lips from him, smiling, "You don't have to answer yet," she whispered, "It's just something I wanted to say, alright?"
Netto nodded slowly, "S-sure."
"Great!" Lala said, her playful side returning, "So, let's go figure out what else we can do for my dragon suit. I still haven't even found a name yet!"
"I... can think of a few," Netto said, his mind slowly returning, "How does 'Daenerys' sound?"
"Daenerys?" Lala repeated. "What's that?"
"That's the name of a certain dragon queen," Netto answered. "Nobody's using it right now. I just thought it'd be a fitting name, that's all."
"Ah, cool! I'll keep it in the back burner just in case," Lala said gratefully.
The day eventually went by and night came. All seemed peaceful as there did not appear to be any virus attacks. For the most part anyway. Not with something that was already brewing in secret. Ophiuchus was already busy getting her plans ready as she was already fiddling with the computer within their base, data and codes swirling within the screen before her. The codes shifted and changed, morphing into something more sinister with each passing moment. Ophiuchus was not just the hunter she prided herself to be. She was also very skilled at programming. And what she was good at programming were viruses. Several of the viruses that FM used were some of her creations, and they were put to very good use.
"You can't just use one of the viruses we already got?" Libra asked her as he watched her work.
"No, they aren't equipped for what I need to get done," Ophiuchus said, still typing on the panel. "This is a new type of virus that is made both for sabotage and combat. A prototype if you will. Call it a test run. Following the idea of flooding the water plant with hydrochloric acid, this virus contains very hazardous toxins and possesses the ability to morph into liquid energy. It should be able to counter their powers in that sense."
"And you really think this plan of yours is going to work?" Wolf asked.
"Of course it will, as they have always. Once my plan goes into motion, the human's negative energy will flow into the key. Depending on how deep the negativity is, it should give us a sufficient amount before we would need to change gears again," Ophiuchus explained.
"I hope no one's found you out," Cancer said, "It'll be trouble if we get caught now 'buku. Not to mention that we all know how Taurus is when he feels the need to vent 'buku."
"You needn't worry about that. No one's discovered us and I intend to keep it that way. As for Taurus, there's nothing we need to worry about. All he needs to do is as exactly as I tell him."
"Speaking of the matter, where is he?" Libra wondered, looking around the room.
When she heard that, Ophiuchus perked her head up, "Now that you mention it, he was supposed to come back from his rounds. I hope that bull didn't go and get himself caught now..."
"I'll contact his callband and see where he ended up," Wolf said as he went to the communication dashboard. "Come in, Taurus!"
The screen flickered in black and white before it shifted to the image of Taurus Fire on screen. "What is it?" the flame FMian asked. The area surrounding him looked to be suburbian.
"Taurus, what are you doing over there? You'll get caught!" Wolf demanded.
"It's not in my nature to do things in baby steps," Taurus Fire said. "If I can't find water, I'll just have to bring it out by force! Anger Punch!" With a loud roar, Taurus Fire smashed his fist into the road underneath him. Instead of fire and flames gushing out from his blow, water shot out from a broken pipe like a geyser and immediately began to flood the streets.
"That dolt! What does he think he's doing?!" Ophiuchus exclaimed.
"Anger Punch!" Taurus Fire drove another fist on the street, busting another pipe open to force out the water. He gave out a mad cackle as he watched the water flowing down onto the streets.
"Taurus, what the hell do you think you're doing?!" Ophiuchus demanded as she phased over him.
"Just what it looks like!" Taurus Fire boasted loudly, "I'm helping out with your plan!"
"Helping out? Just look around you!" Ophiuchus pointed out, gesturing out the wet and ruined streets. "Doing all of this would amount to nothing!"
"Oh... blast it!" Taurus Fire winced, seeing the result of his damage.
The sounds of blaster discharge exploded around them. Up in the sky, Mega Man was gliding through the air, his demon wings supporting him and his buster aimed at them. "What are you up to this time?!" he shouted.
"Let's get going before he finds out anything," Ophiuchus ordered.
"Got it!" Taurus Fire nodded. Both of them vanished in rainbow shimmers just as he landed on the ground. His wings retracted as he gawked at the damaged street.
"OK, now I'm confused here," Mega Man said, "What were they trying to pull here?"
"Making a pool?" Omega-Xis quipped.
"Oh, and they did a fantastic job of it," Mega Man said sarcastically. "Taurus running without putting up a fight though, that really doesn't seem like him."
"Well, whatever they were planning, we stopped them," Omega-Xis said before adding an uncertain, "I think. It's really hard to tell what they were doing."
"Still, the FMians being here means that they're up to something again. What convenient timing," Mega Man murmured thoughtfully. A ringing echoed into his earpieces as a message that read [INCOMING CALL FROM RIAS GREMORY] appeared at the top left corner of his visors. He pressed his index and middle fingers against the side of his earpiece, and the message changed to [VOICE ONLY], "Buchou, what's up?"
"Another FMian sighting, Net?" Rias asked him.
"Yeah, Taurus and Ophiuchus. But they ran as soon as they saw me. It feels a little off," Mega Man reported.
"If they weren't interested in fighting it must mean that they're doing something they don't want to be found out so suddenly," Rias appraised, "For now you can come back home before the police arrive. We'll try and figure out something tomorrow."
"Roger that," Mega Man nodded. The call ended while he took one last look at the giant puddles. With nothing left to do, he beamed out of the street.
After reviewing the debacle, Ophiucus realized that leaving Taurus to his own devices was not a good idea. He was too wild and impulsive to be left without supervision. However, his loud and boisterous display did provide a good diversion which prevented Mega Man from discovering her plan before she could implement it. Now, it would be her virus' turn to start the plan.
She looked forward to the screams of agony and negative energy that the humans will produce soon.
As soon as dawn started to break, a pair of red and purple beams descended onto the city's water treatment plant before morphing into a pair of youths upon touchdown. The plant was automated with several machines working and a few robots monitoring the premises, meaning that there weren't a lot of people around.
"This is the place, eh?" T-Saji asked.
"That's right," O-Ravel answered him. "There are layers of firewalls scattered throughout this place, meaning that they would immediately delete the virus once they detect it. I need you to locate each of the ports to disengage each of them so that my virus can freely infect the systems."
"Sounds simple enough," T-Saji nodded.
"And don't go on another rampage," she continued as she sent a critical look. "The kind of destruction I'm looking for is not mindless. We need to work like a scalpel, not a sledgehammer."
"Fine, sure," T-Saji snorted gruffly.
Both of them quickly split, running through the corridors of the plant. As if they knew the plant like the back of their hand, they swooped through the plant without missing a beat. This was thanks to the electromagnetic wavelengths pulsing from them. They are of course able to sense electric, magnetic, and electromagnetic phenomena. They can follow the electric and magnetic field lines using their sight. They can take this ability one step further by analyzing the reflections of the electromagnetic waves they generate which give them no blind spots. With the electromagnetic force they were giving off and bouncing around them, a full map of the area was formed in their heads. It worked just like a bat's echolocation. Putting that ability to its fullest potential was no difficulty for them whatsoever.
T-Saji had already shorted out all the cameras using his electromagnetic pulse waves and short-circuited the computers he came across without even needing to get close to them. He made sure not to short circuit everything as O-Ravel needed access to install her virus. T-Saji then turned into his FMian form and went in to get rid of the firewalls. Once they were all down, it was time for O-Ravel to get to work.
She beamed the inferred of her Wave Scanner into the central computer and smiled viciously, marring her pretty face with an evil grin.
"Now then, please do your best, Toxic Seahorse."
Some hours have passed since then and the day continued forward completely unaware. As the morning hours of school went by, Saji found himself caught up by Ruruko. "So, Saji-senpai. What did you think of the lunch I made you?" she asked him.
"Whaddya mean, Ruruko?" Saji asked, confused.
"I gave you a bento lunch box yesterday," she clarified.
"No, you didn't."
"Yes, I did! You stupid jerk!" the first year exclaimed, looking agitated, "If you didn't like it then just say so!"
"Hey, come on! I have no idea what you're talking about! I never got a bento lunch box!" he argued.
"Next you're going to tell me you weren't out on a date with Ravel Phenex!"
That remark almost made him trip over with a stunned look on his face, "Wait, Ravel Phenex? Riser's sister? That Ravel?"
"That's right! Momo-senpai saw you and her yesterday at a fast-food restaurant together AT THE SAME TABLE," she said evenly.
"That makes no sense at all! Why would I go on a date with her? I don't even know her!" Saji defended. "Are you sure she saw me over there?"
"I am sure!" Momo said, already standing in front of both of them. "I was walking past the restaurant that you two were in. I even have proof!" She pulled out her phone for both of them to see. To Saji's distress, the photo showed him in a restaurant at a table with a blond girl in a pink frilly dress.
"Really, what the hell?! This is... I don't remember going anywhere to see Ravel Phenex! That doesn't make any sense at all!" Saji shouted.
"I'm sure it doesn't," Momo said suspiciously as she put her phone away, "So we're hoping you could put light on it."
"Well sempai, what do you have to say for yourself?" Ruruko added.
What could Saji say to defend himself? Honestly, he was confused and had no idea what was going on? He never went on a date with Ravel Phenex. In fact, how would he even ask her out in the first place! He didn't have her number and it wasn't like he could just go to her place and ask her.
He needed to convince Momo and Ruruko that he had not gone on a date with Ravel. He needed an alibi and someone who could back up his story.
"When exactly did you see me go out on a date yesterday? What was the exact time?" Saji asked.
"Um, if I remember, it was around 5 pm," Momo answered.
"Then it couldn't be me. I was busy doing some work for Kaichou. You can go ahead and ask her yourself," Saji answered.
With that, both of the girls were taken aback but still remained somewhat suspicious, "Alright, that's funny. Kaichou wouldn't lie about anything like that, but I really did see you there," Momo insisted.
"Don't know what else to tell you, but there's only one Genshiro Saji that I can tell you," Saji said, thumbing at himself.
A blood-curdling scream was quick to cut off Ruruko's question short. The type that sounded like someone was in irrational pain. The integration was forgotten as the trio ran to the site of the scream, near the school's sports field where several of their fellow students were crowded around.
All of them quickly entered "student council mode", with Saji taking charge in front. "Everyone clear out!" he ordered, "What happened here?"
"We don't know what happened!" a female student exclaimed, a look of terrified confusion on her face as tears were already leaking from her eyes, "He was just at the water fountain, a-and then...!"
Momo quickly went over to the boy who was flip-flopping on his back and covering his face in agony with his hands muffling his screams. She knelt down to him just close enough to see his face. "What is it? What's wrong?" She let out a gasp when she saw what was wrong.
The entire bottom half of his face was gone. Not just gone, they were melted off!
"Don't just stand there!" she ordered, looking over her shoulder, "Someone call an ambulance! And make sure nobody goes near that fountain! Get Sona-kaichou over here now!"
"This is an emergency bulletin. Do not, and I repeat, do not use your tap water. Due to an inexplicable disaster at the Kodama Water Treatment Plant, some deadly acid has been pumped into the city's water system. The acid is highly corrosive and can eat through almost all solid material. Therefore, it is important to keep children and pets from all water sources like faucets and drinking fountains. Stay tuned for further developments."
As the emergency alert went offline, Omega-Xis blinked back into view onto Netto's Transer. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I didn't think the FMians would go and try something like this," Netto said, looking very unnerved.
After the first few cases, with many leading to severe injury and fatalities, the city's water supply needed to be turned off for everyone's safety. Even the swimming pools were drained. This was indeed a serious crisis. Once news spread, people went out to buy all the bottled water they could find from supermarkets, vending machines and convenience stores. They flooded the supermarkets, grabbing as many bottles of water they could find, resulting in fights breaking out. Emergency services like the fire department were unable to access any water to put out fires. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.
The emergency involving the drinking water caused all classes to be suspended till further notice as the faculty tried to see what to do about the situation. The bathrooms and changing rooms were locked down and the school's water system was closed off. There were water bottles passed around in case anyone got thirsty. As for the boy who had half his face melted off, he was quickly taken by the ambulance and taken to the hospital. He would have to get synthetic skin to replace the parts he lost but it would be hard to do with all the water corrupted. Not to mention that he would have to be living with a metal jaw for the rest of his life. Because the phenomenon was something that simply couldn't happen at random, the ORC quickly went to the clubroom to figure out what to do.
"You said that you saw Taurus and Ophiuchus last night trying to do something with the water there. It may have something to do with that," Rias said.
"It looked like they were just trying to flood the streets. I don't know what it had to do with what's going now," Netto replied. "This really seems way out of left field."
"That really does sound completely random," Asia mused.
The group's newest member, Xenovia, gave in her own input, "Hey, I did fight those two aliens the other day but I'm still somewhat new here. Why would they want to poison the town's water supply?"
"The answer is simple," Omega-Xis said, "They want to stow panic. FMians are fueled mainly by negative energy and so is the Andromeda Key. If what Wolf and Crown said about the key being repaired, then they must be trying to recharge the key by causing chaos and terror. It's pretty obvious that whatever they did to the water plant is their means of doing just that."
"In other words, they've already started on trying to revive Andromeda," Yuuto summarized seriously. "We know the motive, but the method is another story."
"I already figured out the problem," Lala said, looking through what appeared to be a mini-computer, "They've corrupted the water system and turned the water into hydrochloric acid. That explains why it's so dangerous!"
"A compromised system, huh?" Netto mused as he tapped his head, "It must be a type of computer worm that spreads through venereal ports of operating systems if a single virus is doing this. It's like the Sasser virus from 2004. It made satellite communication systems for air traffic crash." He pounded his fist into his hand, "Well, that settles it. I'm gonna go in there."
"What, all by yourself?" Xenovia asked, looking startled. While she was sure that he was stronger than he looked, she also knew that not even devils would go into enemy territory on their own. Even exorcists had to have a team of at least two before going on monster hunts.
"I need to agree. I can't let you go by yourself," Rias told him. "We may know that they're using a virus to infect the computer systems of the water plant, but we don't know what kind of virus they're using. Facing it alone is nothing short of suicide."
"But I'm the only here who can enter the Cyberspace," Netto reminded her.
"Did you forget that you can take other people with you by turning them into EM Waves?" Rias countered in a lecturing tone.
Netto paled sheepishly as an awkward smile appeared on his face, "...I didn't forget, I just didn't remember!"
"That's the same thing," Koneko deadpanned.
"But I don't if you can take all of you like last time," Netto continued, throwing a dry look at Koneko for the comment, "It was a spur of the moment thing."
"In that case, you can take two into the water plant network while the rest of us will teleport in to confront Taurus and Ophiuchus," Rias decided, looking at the rest of her peerage. "Any volunteers?"
"I'll go with him," Yuuto volunteered, "I still feel like I have much to repay him for helping me with my issues against Excalibur."
"Me too," Xenovia added, "I too have a debt that needs to be repaid."
"Great, so it looks like we'll be doing this Tron style," Netto summarised. "Let's get to it. Omega-Xis, ready?"
"Let's go bust some viruses!" his partner replied.
"EM Wave Change, On-Air!" With his hand raised over his head, green flames engulfed Netto. The flame was already moving as it took both Yuuto and Xenovia and vanished through the room's ceiling light, traveling through wires and networking cables throughout the city. And within just a brief moment they have arrived at their destination through a worm tunnel.
The water treatment plant's Cyberworld had an endless turquoise ceiling that seemed impossible to reach with a neon ground. Circuits scattered across all over the ground and data was trailing through the sky above. Techno pillars connected the ground to the impossible ceiling, data going up and down through it.
"So this is what it looks like inside a computer," the blond Knight said, looking around, "I never thought the internet would have a world of its own."
"Hard to believe that electronics would act as its own reality," Xenovia added, just as much in awe of the place.
"Same thing I thought when I first went through the computers myself. But if other realms exist across different planes of existence, the internet would count too," Mega Man said.
"The main computer server should be close by," Omega-Xis said as Mega Man began walking forward to lead, "It's most likely been infected to cause the water to go the way it did. Repairing that should make the safety levels return to normal."
"Stay frosty then. If the FMians did plant a virus to corrupt the system, it will defend itself," Yuuto cautioned, whipping out his sword. "If it's anything like a Stray Devil, it would have powers that we'd need to watch out for."
"If we can even find it first. My scans seem to be all over the place," Mega Man said, looking around. He was so focused on his scans that he didn't see the ground in front of him looking very gooey. By the time he did, he had already stepped on it and it instantly began to break apart. Just like that, the floor shattered and Mega Man let out a loud gasp as he dropped into the hole, which quickly grew into a large gaping maw. Both Yuuto and Xenovia managed to withdraw before the hole could take them with him.
"Netto-kun!" Yuuto shouted, looking into the hole. "Netto-kun, say something!"
"I'm still here!" Mega Man shouted back. He slowly stood up from his fall and gathered his surroundings. It was much like the upper level but in a darker blue filter. But farther away he could make out a large terminal computer with large tubes connected to it. The red, ominous glow it was giving was a giveaway.
"The main server," Mega Man identified.
"That was almost too easy," Omega-Xis frowned. "Act with caution, Netto."
"Netto, found anything?" Xenovia called from above the hole.
"It's the main server," Mega Man shouted back, "It's been corrupted really badly! Its core routines got reprogrammed into pumping chlorine into the water tanks!"
"Alright, we'll be right over," Yuuto replied.
[I don't think I can let you do that,] a voice suddenly echoed.
"Huh? That you, Ophiuchus?!" Mega Man shouted. Immediately after this, shackles suddenly shot out of nowhere and clamped on his legs and arms. His limbs were bound by the chains as he struggled to break out of them. "It's a trap?!" he shouted, looking at the chains. Mist blasted out from the ground below him, its toxic gas already beginning to invade his senses as he started to cough uncontrollably.
"What the...! This is acidic gas!" Omega-Xis realized. Being a life form of energy, Omega-Xis had no need for breathing. But Mega Man was still partly biological, meaning that while he could withstand environments like space, anything like toxic gas could still poison up his lungs.
[I was expecting you to try to purge the virus from the systems, and like mice you walked right into it,] Ophiuchus' voice spoke again, [Although... only three of you? Either your boss just sent you or she is looking for me. Well, I will deal with her when the time comes.]
"Netto! Hold on, we're coming down there!" Yuuto shouted.
"Think of something fast! I'm not sure how much longer I can take this gas!..." Mega Man shouted between his coughs.
The Knights prepared to look for a way to get around the toxic gas to break Mega Man free but noticed a growing shadow underneath them. Looking up, they saw Taurus Fire roaring loudly with both hands over his head. They jumped out of the way as soon as the ox alien crashed down with his fists smashing the ground, fire exploding all around him.
"I assume this is the one called Taurus Fire," Xenovia frowned as both she and Yuuto staggered back with both their weapons drawn.
"What was it that tipped you off?" Yuuto said rhetorically as he moved to a stance.
Taurus Fire snorted with flames blasting from his snout as he stomped forward before moving into a charge.
Meanwhile, in the real world, the rest of the ORC was already running through the hallways of the water plant. Lala was leading the group with heart-shaped goggles that allowed her to track EM Wave energy. It was a two-pronged attack; while Netto, Omega-Xis, Yuuto and Xenovia dealt with the crisis in Cyberspace, the rest of the ORC would fix the problem in the real world.
"Are we any closer, Lala?" Rias asked, keeping her voice just barely above a whisper.
"Just a few meters left," she whispered back. "The door is just up ahead. I don't see any of the viruses, but I can detect a single EM Wave signal. It's a strong one too. It's definitely an FMian signal!"
"Just one? That's strange," Akeno wondered. "Netto-kun said there were two of them."
"All the more reason to be vigilant," Rias said. "Everyone, take positions on either side of the door. We'll ambush the intruder. Akeno, get your EMP ready."
The girls moved to the door and quickly got on both sides of the door, Rias, Akeno, and Asia on the left, Koneko and Lala on the right. They all stayed quiet and Rias slowly counted down with her fingers. The moment her pointing finger sank into her hand, they moved forward and busted through the door.
"Don't move before you wanna get blown away with a face full of...!" Rias started as all five of them stood at the rim of the door away with their magic and powers ready to strike. Her voice left her as soon as she locked onto the perpetrator behind a large set of holographic monitors. A familiar girl with blond hair in a pink dress seemed to jolt slightly from their presence before looking over her shoulder. "Ravel Phenex?!"
"Humph!" "Ravel" shouted before twisting around and stretching out her palm. Still in shock, they watched as a black vortex portal opened and spat out hissing snakes at them.
"Gotcha!" Akeno countered with a blast of lightning that fried the flying serpents. The false Ravel didn't bother to stay as she sank through the floor like water. "I do not remember Ravel possessing the ability to summon snakes," Akeno said, her hands still lingering in lightning.
"Mm. The grilled chicken didn't do much fighting during the Rating Game," Koneko quipped.
"And even if she did, the Phenex Household surely isn't known for summoning magic. And the black hole portal she used was a dead ringer," Rias frowned. "If we can't find Taurus then we will just have to go after her."
"She's already moving through the lower levels. I already still have her locked," Lala said, looking through the data she was getting from her goggles.
Already, O-Ravel was matching swiftly through a hallway as she was silently cursing over her knee-jerk escape. Taurus must be beginning to rub off on her. Always acting first without thinking was very much like him. "Well, that was embarrassing," she muttered to herself. "Still, I wasn't expecting them to appear that quickly while their cronies got caught in my pit. Without a doubt, they are beginning to adapt."
A red flash of light blinded her. As soon as it dimmed, she saw Rias standing there as she blocked her path. O-Ravel backpedaled, and then spun and bolted for another exit at the corner of the hall. And then she felt a lightning infused palm slam into her chest, stumbling slightly from the blow. Looking down at herself, lightning lingered with rainbow static over her body before vanishing.
"Not again..." she muttered. Akeno stood before her as electricity arced between her palms with a self-satisfied smirk on her face. O-Ravel looked back at the path she came from, only to find Asia, Lala, and Koneko already catching up to them. All avenues of escape had been blocked off.
"This is as far as you go," Rias declared.
"You've really caused a lot of havoc, Ophiuchus," Akeno added with the smirk still on her face.
O-Ravel straightened up as she gave them a neutral look. And then she cast a snake-like smirk, "Oh, so you were able to tell?"
"I developed that palm strike to 'exorcise' you FMian's from your hosts," Akeno answered, "Since it only locked you out of your Frequency Change ability, the only logical conclusion is that you were able to somehow take her form."
"Ah, yes. And what a form it is," the disguised alien hummed as she flexed around her fingers and wrist with observation, "This girl may be weak, but she does have an interesting power. Regeneration is quite useful to get out of a pinch. It makes me rather glad that I had found the perfect host with abilities such as this."
"As much as this weirds me out, we have other pressing matters," Rias remarked, "You're going to return the water supply back to normal right now."
O-Ravel frowned as her eyes glowed deep purple, "Make me." Her Gorgon Eye blast fired forward. Rias quickly reacted and put up a barrier. The blast collided and reflected all around them, exploding all over the walls. Akeno brought a shield of her own before her while Koneko flipped the floor underneath her to defend herself, Asia and Lala. The combustive blasts exploded all around them, loud bangs ringing in their ears.
In the middle of the explosions, O-Ravel made her move to escape, happily stomping on Rias' head as she did, "Though I seem to be unable to EM Wave Change for the moment, this body seems to also have a good amount of agility! Sadly it appears I'll have to play the role of the mouse but I'll welcome the change!"
Rias rubbed her head and turned with a growl, "After her, quickly!"
Koneko was already on the move as she rushed forward and forced her hands into the ground, throwing the floor at the retreating O-Ravel. The tremor wave knocked her off her feet, but she quickly rebounded and landed on the adjacent wall, sticking to it. She whipped her arm out, and it shockingly morphed into a large, hissing snake. Akeno moved in with her iron whip sword, slicing the snake arm, leaving the alien with an amputated limb. She swung the whip sword again, now slashing at the wall O-Ravel was standing on. She jumped off just in time to avoid the sword as it carved slashes into the wall and landed onto the next wall.
"Ach, well that's a bitch," O-Ravel said, looking totally unfazed with having her arm cut off. "But as I said, this body has its perks." Purple flames burned out of her missing arm and dispersed as soon as it came, instantly replacing her arm good as new.
"Then let's see you get a load of this! Taste my Bang-Bang Shooter-kun!" Lala yelled, pulling out a white and pink minigun and started shooting rapid bullets of green energy. "And a bit of a heads up, the bullets are made of radio waves that have the same polarity as Netto's Mega Buster, so don't think you can just get away from this!"
O-Ravel rushed down from the wall, bobbing and weaving between the shots as she charged straight for the alien princess before delivering a punch that collided with her jaw, knocking Lala backward. Suddenly, O-Ravel was socked in the face by Koneko's foot and sent stumbling back, stunned by the blow.
"My nose!" O-Ravel yelled, holding her face. "You broke my nose, you bitch!"
"It's an improvement," Koneko snarked.
O-Ravel readjusted her nose and snarled as purple flames surrounded her hands. She swung them at Koneko and serpents made of purple fire shot out of her palms and landed on the floor. They hissed as they slithered, gliding toward the white-haired loli. Koneko lifted her foot and smashed it down, shooting the panels of the floor in front of her to act as a shield. And it worked, blocking the purple snake flames upon impact. Just as the flames did strike, O-Ravel suddenly dashed behind Koneko. Before the catgirl could react, O-Ravel's foot glowed in purple energy before she landed a kick on Koneko's side. Koneko gave out a pained shout from the blow of the cosmic-powered kick.
Rias retaliated with blasts from her Power of Destruction, pelting all over the floor, forcing the alien to jump around back and forth. She whipped her hand at Rias, throwing more fire snakes at the crimson-haired devil. Rias canceled them out easily by shooting more of her power at the snakes. "It's interesting how you all are picking a fight with me while you're golden boy is dealing with my Giga Virus," O-Ravel boasted.
"Giga?" Rias repeated, "As in stronger than a Mega Virus?"
"That's the idea, yes," O-Ravel replied. Her arms morphed once again into snakes before she shot them at her. Another whip of iron crossed in front of Rias and sliced the snakes before they could grab on to her. As the regeneration flames flared around O-Ravel again, she ducked and jumped away from Akeno as she lashed her whip out, "This new virus shares the capabilities of both the infiltrator and Mega Viruses, sabotage and combat. With it, I took over the water treatment plant. It was really easy."
"Are you so desperate to refill the Andromeda Key that you would harm innocents?" Akeno shouted, still swinging her whip.
"Really? Did you bump your head recently? That's the entire point! Panic, suffering, chaos, all negative emotions are necessary to power the Andromeda Key," O-Ravel shot back, shooting laser eyes at the Queen. Akeno jumped to a safety fence and kicked off to avoid the petrifying lights. "Speaking of which, where is that cute blond with the swords?" she asked with another smile. "I do need to personally thank him for assisting us in filling the key with a small bit of charge."
"Kiba-kun? What do you-" and then Akeno blinked as she realized what O-Ravel was talking about, "Excalibur."
"Yes, that's what they were called, weren't they?" O-Ravel replied as she threw another wave of fire snakes. Akeno encased herself around a barrier of lightning to block out the fire snakes, "I question why someone would have such hatred for a set of swords, even special ones, but it worked in our favor."
"You were spying on us?" Asia squeaked.
O-Ravel gave a knowing smirk as she strode sideways. "For the most part. The sorrow from those two girls and the anger from that fallen angel also gave the Andromeda Key quite the boost. But it wasn't enough. The acid we're filling this planet with is just the tip of the iceberg. It's almost a shame that the war the fallen angel tried to start fell through. The negative energy it could have given us would have been delicious!"
"Only someone like you would find senseless wars to be 'delicious'," Rias scowled.
"I personally find it bitter."
Koneko came charging in towards O-Ravel like a locomotive, another large metal slab held in her grasp like a shield. O-Ravel was taken by surprise and was caught by the impact with the catgirl showing no signs of slowing down. Looking back, O-Ravel saw a wall fast approaching behind her. She pressed her feet against the shield and bounced off, rebounding off the wall and over Koneko as she crushed into the wall and fell through it. As if her body moved on its own, she tilted sharply as a red bolt rushed past her and gave a loud explosion from behind.
"My patience is running thin, Ophiuchus!" Rias demanded, her hands glowing red, "Is Taurus poisoning the water in your stead? Where is he?!"
"Oh yes, where is Taurus indeed?" O-Ravel repeated cryptically.
Taurus Fire blasted his fire breath at the two Knights as they rushed around the flames, the temperature rising from his flames. Xenovia's Durandal sliced through the flames she came across, while Yuuto armed himself with his Flame Delete to freeze the fire. Despite their efforts, Taurus Fire continued to spread the fire even faster. In the meanwhile, Mega Man was still being poisoned by the toxic gas down below and the fire was keeping them from jumping down to help him.
"Sorry to break it to you, boy," Taurus Fire snarked, breathing more flames from his mouth, "But my flames have gotten much hotter since our last confrontation. Your ice sword isn't worth jack now!"
"It's getting really hard to breath with all this heat," Xenovia said, sweat running down her face, "Are all these aliens this powerful?"
"From what we gathered, they're always getting stronger through battle," Yuuto responded, his breath getting heavy. "Netto's still down there, but we can't break through those flames. We need to think of something quick!"
"I think I have something," Xenovia said, gesturing at her sword, "If we combine Durandal's cutting power and the freezing temperature of your Flame Delete, it should be enough to break through the flames fast enough for one of us to go through and help Netto. Can you do that?"
"You mean me?" Yuuto asked, looking at her, "Then you'll be fighting Taurus Fire on your own!"
"Heh, don't worry. I don't intend to get burned to a cinder," Xenovia reassured him with a smirk. "I was honestly looking forward to fighting an alien, and I was especially hoping to face this ox. I have something planned for him."
Yuuto looked ahead at the waiting Taurus Fire, "We're running out of time anyway, so let's make it fast!" Both at once, the Knights rose their swords up as they glowed in a combination of holy and frozen energy. They gave shouts as they swung their swords down to shoot twin arcs of gold and blue light which soon merged together, growing thicker as it flew. Taurus Fire looked ready to knock it out of the way with his fists, but once he was within reach the wave merely buffered against his fists for a short moment before knocking him away. As that happened, the flames were split apart. "I'm going in there!" Yuuto said before rushing through the opening. As soon as he jumped through, the fire reemerged and separated them.
"Heh," Taurus Fire snorted as he stood up. Xenovia looked over and turned to face him, "Not very bright of you to send your comrade to save the runt while you face me on our own."
"It's true. It isn't very smart. Fortunately, I came prepared," Xenovia said as she reached into her pocket.
"Hm? You got something?" Taurus Fire wondered in confusion as he stopped to watch her. To his astonishment, the blue-haired girl wiped out a red cape and held it out in front of her. "What in the world?"
"Come on! Toro, toro!" Xenovia beckoned, waving the cape out in front of her.
"What do you think you're doing?" Taurus Fire frowned in annoyance.
"Uh... this is supposed to work. Bulls are supposed to get angry whenever they see the color red, aren't they?" Xenovia wondered, giving her cape the once over.
"Anger Punch!" Taurus Fire rushed forward and smashed his fist down, forcing Xenovia to jump back to avoid the eruption of flames, "Idiot! Bulls are colorblind! They get mad if you wave anything in their face!" he roared. In his annoyance, he unknowingly gave her an opening to land on his back. With her hands moving at the speed of a pro chess player, she tied the back over his eyes tightly, "What the?! I can't see!" he shouted, trying to claw the cape off his eyes. Xenovia jumped off his back and at the same time landed a clean slash which was enough to knock him down.
"Ole!" she grinned triumphantly with a flamboyant pose.
At the same time, Yuuto had dropped down to the maw and summoned another sword into his hand. The moment he reached just millimeters to his captive comrade, his swords blurred and cut through the chains. He helped Mega Man onto his shoulders and jumped far away from the gas and directly to the terminal server.
"How are you doing?" Yuuto asked as Mega Man coughed the gas out of his system.
"I..." Mega Man coughed hard and rubbed his chest, "I'll be OK... I think."
The toxic gas stopped and the ground began to ooze with green liquid before it began to overflow. Then the liquid gushed out and started to enlarge and change shape into a more humanoid appearance. The body stayed in a gelatin-like state, with claws on the feet and hands, a long, curled up tail growing out from the behind, and a head of a seahorse with malevolent purple eyes. It towered over the pair with the acid dripping from its body, eating the ground.
"Netto, Omega-Xis, fix the server. I'll take care of this," Yuuto said as he strode forward to face Toxic Seahorse.
"Watch yourself, that thing looks like it can imitate all sorts of positions. Mind its body!" Omega-Xis warned as Mega Man rested his hand on the server to activate his technomancy.
Yuuto didn't have time to respond back as Toxic Seahorse already stretched its arm out against him. Yuuto jumped sideways, hopping around as the acidic arm dragged down after him, leaving a rotting trail behind it. He ducked into a roll to avoid another swing of acid and pulled out his Flame Delete.
"If your body is made of acid, I can't exactly hit you now can I?" Yuuto frowned as he looked up at the towering virus. "But lucky for me acid is still a liquid!" He plunged his sword into the ground and a wave a sharpened ice trailed towards the target, freezing it up to its legs. The frozen legs instantly shattered from the weight, causing the monster to collapse on itself, following on its hands as its body acid continued to eat the ground. It didn't stay that way when their lower body reformed back to its legs and it stood up again, looking positively pissed.
"Ugh, well that's not good," Yuuto remarked. The virus' body bubbled and spat out several globs at Yuuto. Instead of simply doging them, he pointed his Flame Delete and it fired a small blizzard from the blade. The blizzard was enough to freeze the globs before they shattered into harmless dust. Toxic Seahorse sank down into a puddle shape and launched a swarm of tendrils at him. Yuuto was forced back again, swinging out his blade to send icy waves to freeze the acid launchers. "This is really, really not good!" Yuuto growled, hopping back from the living acid puddle. "Slimes are one thing since they normally only eat clothing, but this thing is hazardous to the touch! There's not much I can do against it!"
He needed to think of a plan and fast. Sword Birth allowed him to produce all manner of demonic swords. Maybe, just maybe, he could create a blade to counter his acidic antagonist, something that could neutralize it.
Dodging another acidic tendril, Yuuto mentally reached into his infinite armory to forge a new sword. He focused, using his imagination to create a clear image of the sword. As the tentacles all shot at him to spear him, Yuuto's eyes flashed as a green burst of power flowed out of his hand, and he swung out the beam that not only severed the tentacles but neutralized their acidic properties to the point that they harmlessly splattered on the ground.
The beam slowly solidified into a new sword. The sword he made had a basket hilt that covered his entire hand while the rectangular blade was as white as a sheet of paper, like litmus paper.
"Acid Burst," Yuuto announced, granting the name to his new demonic sword, "The sword to neutralize all toxic properties." He took a stance as both swords spun in his hands. "This should be easier now."
With both swords in hand, Yuuto rushed forward as the virus morphed into a blob and started shooting streams and globs of acid at him. First, Yuuto slashed with his Flame Delete, freezing the globs in place. Then he slashed with his Acid Burst, sending a wave a green light, neutralizing the acid stream and rendering it useless as it dropped to the ground. The Giga Virus seemed to realize what was going on and quickly changed its shape again, morphing into a whirlpool and separated into several different globs, swarming around Yuuto before it gathered behind him and morphed back into its giant form.
"Oh crap!" Yuuto shouted, spinning around. "Netto, behind you!"
Toxic Seahorse rose its arms over its head and threw them down, going for a crushing smash. But, just in a moment, Mega Man quickly turned around and aimed with a blue shotgun mounted on his arm. The shotgun fired, spitting out a spread shot that instantly froze Toxic Seahorse.
"Just stand still for a while," Mega Man frowned, lowering his Shotgun Ice. He looked over at Yuuto with a nod, "You good?"
"Yeah..." Yuuto nodded, walking up to him, "You're finished?"
"All done," Mega Man confirmed. "The virus really messed up the programming, but I got the code to run properly again. The water safety levels should return to normal shortly." For Netto, it was a new experience. He was a skilled hacker but this was the first time he tried hacking within the computer instead of on his computer. Still, he could understand code and now he could manually manipulate it to make whatever he wanted. "Good thing the virus is susceptible to the cold," he added, looking at the frozen virus in question.
"I know. Lucky us," Yuuto agreed. And so, the School Prince reared his Acid Burst behind his back and tossed it at the virus like a throwing dagger. The sword was embedded into the head and instantly took effect. The acid under the ice quickly began to flash, rays of light beaming through. And from that, the ice that imprisoned the virus shattered instantly, scattering all over the floor.
With the virus gone, both boys breathed out a sigh of relief. "That should take care of him," Mega Man said, leaning on his hands. "Virus... deleted." A cough escaped from his mouth before it started to get more dry and harsh.
"Are you okay?" Yuuto asked, looking concerned.
"...The poison's still in the system, but I should be alright," Mega Man said as his coughs subsided. "Come on, let's go help Xenovia."
"Anger Rush!" Taurus Fire roared as he charged at Xenovia, his body covered in fire to enhance his attack as a flaming streak that trailed behind him. Xenovia had just enough time to use her sword as a shield before the wind knocked out of her as his shoulder collided with her sending her tumbling.
"Silly little runt! You thought you could stop me? I'm the strongest there is!" Taurus Fire boasted, flexing his arms as fire burst out of his nostrils.
Xenovia got back on her feet, supporting herself on Durandal. "The strongest, huh? Right about now I could go for some stake!" Xenovia taunted.
"Anger Punch!" Taurus Fire lunged at Xenovia to flatten her with his fist but she rolled out of the way before she darted forward and slashed him across his midsection. Cosmic rain flew as her blade ripped through his armor, causing him to grunt. She then spun on her heel, letting her training take over, and unleashed a flurry of furious slashes, forcing Taurus Fire on the defensive as he put his arms up.
Using her Knight speed, Xenovia got behind Taurus Fire and slashed him in the back, forcing him to spin around and blast her with his Fire Breath. She spun Durandal around, using it as a makeshift fan to blow the flames back in Taurus Fire's face. Flying through the flames, she went for his head but he managed to duck. Her blade severed his horns instead, much to his dismay.
"Arg, my horns!" Taurus Fire screamed, his hands grasping at his now non-existent horns. "You little Terran bitch, you're going to pay for that!"
"Really?" Xenovia questioned, a flat look entering her face, "Cash or credit?" She blasted forward into a stabbing charge. Taurus Fire moved his arm forward, blocking the blade with a flame powered punch. The impact of the blow knocked her back and sent her flying before she planted her feet to the ground, slowing herself before coming to a gradual stop, the soles of her sneakers squeaking loudly.
"You're a fast one," Taurus Fire snorted, flames flare from his nose, "Seems like I have to try a little more!" He crossed his arms in front of him as six black tendrils ripped out of his back, squirming as fire engulfed them. "I do owe it to the noodle arms though, analyzing his Sacred Gear while I was in him was quite the help."
A stunned emotion fell on Xenovia's face, "You copied a Sacred Gear's power?"
"Ha! Wouldn't you like to know? Rapid Burn!" the alien roared as the burning tendrils blurred at her into speedy thrusts. Xenovia was forced into the defencive, deflecting and parrying her sword against the attack. Lucky shots singed her uniform and bits of her skin, burning parts of her shirt and skirt. She broke apart from the attack and raced to get out of the way, but a blow from another burning tendril directly at her midsection knocked her down, letting her sword loose from her hands.
"Hehe, come on! What's wrong? Too hot for you?" Taurus Fire boasted, a fireball forming in his hands. In the middle of his gloating, a burst of ice suddenly froze his arm and turned it into a block of ice. "The hell?" he gawked.
"Hey, Taurus," Omega-Xis began. Mega Man was pointing at him with the intent to shoot and Yuuto standing with him with his Flame Delete in hand. "If you're still hungry for a fight, you can fight all three of us if you want."
"You two are here..." Taurus Fire frowned, his arm heating up to melt the ice, "So, you beat the Giga Virus. Ophiuchus isn't going to be happy about this. I'm out of here!" Taurus Fire snorted before turning into an orange being and flying out.
"Yeah, you better run! Next time I'm gonna turn you into burgers!" Xenovia shouted after the retreating beam.
"Well, you sure look like you had a hell of a time," Omega-Xis remarked in slight amusement.
"Hn, it's not everyday you face a fire-wielding minotaur from space," Xenovia said, taking Durandal from the ground before looking over at the two boys. "Speaking of which, he also said something very interesting. The last attack he used on me was a copy from a Sacred Gear."
Both Mega Man and Yuuto looked at each other in surprise before they looked back at Xenovia, "He managed to copy a Sacred Gear's power? Are you sure?" Yuuto asked in disbelief.
"Buchou did say that Ophiuchus copied the regenerative and flame powers of the Phenex family from Ravel. I never thought they'd be able to copy the Sacred Gears too," Mega Man said, a look of confusion on his face.
"That's what he said," Xenovia answered, holding her sword over her shoulder, "Did he possess anyone with a Gear that involved tendrils?"
"Yes," Yuuto confirmed, "Genshiro Saji. His Sacred Gear, Absorption Line, has a tendril with the ability to steal energy. That means that if Ophiuchus and Taurus copied the abilities of their hosts, then we can expect the other FMians to have copy the powers of their hosts as well."
A blinking siren echoed out of Mega Man's earpiece, and in response he pressed his fingers to his ear. To his surprise, his visors flashed and beamed out a transparent image, forming a holographic image of Lala in front of him. "Netto! Oh, thank goodness I managed to get through!" she smiled happily.
"Woah, Lala? How?" Mega Man asked her, Yuuto and Xenovia looking over his shoulder.
"I'm using the network to hack into your frequency to talk to you!" Lala explained. "But seriously, you need to hurry back. Taurus took Ophiuchus with him and ran!"
Yuuto, on his part, replied with a relaxed smile, "No sweat. I'll be right over."
Gradually, the acidic water began to vanish. It was noticeable, but precautions still had to be made. Just a few water systems were opened to see if it was all safe, and as the minutes passed more systems began to open. Still, the incident was akin to a terrorist attack. The incident being so close to the Andromeda Crisis also greatly frightened people. Already, the Satella Police were investigating, adding more workload to what they areadly had to deal with.
A beam of light shot out from the central computer system, forming back into Netto, Yuuto, and Xenovia. The rest of the ORC were already waiting for them there, with Rias looking relieved to see them all in one piece.
"Welcome back to reality, you three," Rias smiled, "Good work on the virus."
"Ah, Xenovia-san!" Asia exclaimed, noticing the burns on Xenovia's body, "You look in really bad shape!"
"Nothing to worry about," Xenovia said, rubbing the bruise on her stomach, "I've had worse."
"Well, I'll go ahead and fix you up," Asia said, walking up to her to use her Twilight Healing.
"So, that was how the FMians fight, eh?" Xenovia said, allowing herself to relax as Asia healed her. "Was it always like this for you?"
Omega-Xis snorted, "You should've seen what we had to deal with during the invasion. It was like Hell on Earth."
"Totally. It took about every single supernatural club in the school and a couple others to stop them," Netto sighed as he rubbed his shoulder, "It was wild."
"We can discuss that later. Right now, we have a lot to talk about," Rias said.
"Yes, in fact what we learned from Ophicus and the FMians can really complicate things. Especially what happened during the Kokabiel incident," Akeno frowned.
Yuuto looked at her in surprise, "Kokabiel? But aside from Crown Thunder and Wolf Woods the aliens didn't interfere then."
"No, they didn't. They were observing us, buying time," the Queen replied, "Because we defeated their doomsday weapon, they've decided to collect more information on us to use. And from what we've learned, it's already working."
"Working how...?" Netto asked hesitantly.
Rias frowned and looked around, "There's too much to talk about to stay here. We can discuss this back at the club room. It's strange we haven't seen UNIT or the Satella Police coming in here. They must've tracked down the source of the acidic water to here but none of them didn't showed up."
Netto blinked and nodded, "That's right. We'd better leave."
With that decided, Akeno rose her hand over her head to summon a teleportation circle underneath them, teleporting them all out of the room in a flash of light. After several passing seconds, a figure came running out through the doorway, a white gun drawn in his hands.
Akatsuki Shido scanned the room carefully, sniffing slightly as he rubbed his nose. "Yep," he spoke to himself, "I sense demonic magic here. Lots of it."
To be continued...
Tailsmo4ever: This chapter took longer than I was comfortable with to do. Still, I hope you guys enjoyed this. As always, leave a review. I'm always happy to talk. Also, I wanna say that this chapter was based on an episode from Superhuman Samurai Sybersquad. And also, more Capcom references! That's always fun.