Hey Everyone, UCCMaster here!
So I said that I was going to finish the arc this chapter...well I got carried away and will need another chapter to finish it, which feels more appropriate seeing that I have a lot of reunions to make happen. Anyways, my style of writing is all about the connections and conspiracies. I will do anything in my writing and reasoning power to make connections between two normally never meeting characters. Ex: Saten and Itsuwa, Accelerator, and Gunha. Anyways time to answer reviews from chapter 5!
1 – Welcome Darkbetrayer! I'm a huge fan of your fic and love where you're taking it! Now all I need is for MrQuestionMark to review my fic and I'll have both of the bigwig writers in the fandom reading my fic lol. Anyways, to answer your comment, yes you are right! That's all I can say. I agree wholeheartedly with your reasoning and Saten being a Level Zero is her charm. So what happens when you take that away? I'm going to find out in this story. Note that because she's now a Level Five, she will slowly deviate away from her normally cheerful personality as the stress and pains of being one get to her. Also I'm not shipping her with Touma, as much as they're my favorite ship next to Othinus Touma Pairing (OTP).
2 – Guest, do me a favor and make yourself a account so I can properly cite you. Just kidding. Yeah, I get what you mean and I apologize. I was in a bad mood irl when I read your comments previously and I sorta took it the wrong way. Anyways, if I have spare time, I'll go back and take a look at some small grammatical fixes and inconsistencies in the previous chapters. Yeah, you weren't flaming. Don't worry man (I think), you good.
Again I do not own TMNI
Eight Years Ago
The laboratory was dimly lit when the boy walked in. A series of machines lined one wall while a large screen of glass covered the opposite wall, giving the viewers a complete view of the room. It was chilly, but to the boy's surprise, a breeze resonated throughout the room.
The boy sighed as he took a seat on the floor next to the door, resigning himself to simply laying his head back in an attempt to get some shut eye. He was oddest nine year old boy in the world, having white hair, pale skin, and a bored face. Closing his eyes, the boy reached out his finger to feel the breeze. A moment later, he reversed the vector of the moving air current, sending back to where it originated from. To his surprise, someone gasped. Reopening his eyes, he stood up, searching for the origin of the noise, his vector shields up and ready to counterattack.
"Oh there you are! I thought I sensed someone playing with my currents."
The boy squinted in the dim light towards the back of the room. "Who's there?"
From the darkness of the room, the boy could detect faint footsteps. He braced himself for the coming attack, ready to deflect. However, no attack came, rather a small child emerged from the darkness. She looked no older than five, yet she walked as though she had experienced much. The girl had shoulder length black hair the ended in two gravity defying pigtails. She wore a plain sea green hospital gown and was barefoot. But what stood out to the boy were her clear blue eyes and soft smile. "Hi there!" She grinned, "You must be new!"
"Who are you?" The boy responded flatly, still considering her a threat.
The girl frowned. "Oh, well...I don't really know."
"What do you mean you don't know?" The boy asked skeptically.
"Well," the girl tapped her chin with her finger, "I don't really remember my name. Nobody gave me one. The scientists here just call me 'First'."
The girl smirked. "It's a secret!"
Annoyed, the boy frowned and sat down to resume his nap. The girl watched him before asking. "You're lonely aren't you?"
"Hmm...?" The boy responded gruffly. "What are you talking about?"
"You look sad." She observed before snapping her fingers. "I know just the thing to make you feel better!"
Cautiously, the boy gave her a stink her. "Oh really? And what's that?"
Grinning from ear to ear, the girl grabbed the boy's arm. "Let me show you!" She said, dragging him to the observation window.
The boy now could make out a large number of researchers and scientists wearing their white lab coats and uniforms. They seemed not to notice the two, their eyes glued to their screens and notes. The girl smirked mischievously. "Watch this."
With that, she snapped her fingers. To the boy's surprise, a moment later, a strong breeze flew into the adjacent room, blowing past the researchers' legs, and henceforth, several skirts. The boy's eyes widened as he suddenly was treated to the view of several varieties of female underwear. He stumbled back in shock. The girl giggled as the female scientists freaked out, trying to pull down their skirts whilst berating their male colleagues for peeking. "Isn't that hilarious?" She asked amidst her pearls of laughter, rolling on the ground.
The boy glared at the girl. The girl noticed his glare and before his very eyes began to tear up. Before he knew it, she had broken into a full out sobbing session. "Waa! You don't think I'm funny!"
"Ah...ah..." The boy stammered, trying to get her stop her annoying sobs. "Stop that...ok...it sorta was funny."
"Really?" Before he could turn his head, he found himself staring into the teary eyes of the girl. How could he resist?
He nodded. "I guess it was a little funny." The girl giggled but he continued, "But do you have no shame? And how did you do that?"
"Oh," the girl explained off-handedly, "I just used my esper power."
"Oh..." The boy nodded...until it hit him." Wait, you have esper powers?"
She nodded. "Yeah duh! I'm a Level Five Aeromaster!"
"Wah!" The boy screamed in surprise, instinctively activating his shields. "That's impossible! I'm only a Level Three! How can a little girl like you be a Level Five?"
"Oh, you're an esper too?" The girl's eyes lit up, "That's so cool! Mr. Crowley told me that I was getting a labmate so I guess you're him huh."
"Mr. Crowley?" The boy quipped his head in curiousity.
The girl nodded. "Yeah, he's the guy in charge of the experiment. He's really nice and funny. He likes to be upside down which is totally funny. I like him."
"Ahh...ok," the boy continued, "So...umm...who are you anyways?"
The girl sighed. "I thought I told you dummy! I'm 'First', the first Level Five esper in Academy City." She grinned before extending her hand. The boy stared at her blankly.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"You're supposed to shake it! When you shake someone's hand, you become their friend."
"Why would I want to be your friend?"
"Wah, you're so mean, meanie!"
The boy sighed before taking the girl's hand. "Fine. It's nice to meet you 'First'."
"It's great to meet you too...umm...what's your name?"
District Seven: Higuchi Pharmacology Laboratory 7
"Saten," Misaka cracked, trying to maintain eye contact, "I think you're a Level Five. You're Storm Rider; Saten-san, you are Number Six!"
Ruiko stared at her friend in shock before laughing. "What? You're kidding me right? Me, a Level Five? That's a laugh. I'm just a Level Zero...just plain old me..."
Misaka shook her head. "I wish I was Saten-san, but too many things add up. First Gunha-sempai recognizes you as 'First', which was the title given to Number Six, the 'First' Level Five esper in Academy City. Then Accelerator, the First Ranked esper, tells me that Number Six would have been a girl your age around now. Finally, Dr. Kiyama recognized you after I mentioned your abilities. There's too much evidence: Saten, you've got to be Number Six."
"B-but how?" The girl stammers, "I'm only a Level Zero. I've barely got an ability and you suspect me of having being a Level Five? That's complete mastery of an ability! And plus, didn't you say that Number Six was dead?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out." Misaka explained, "But all the evidence say that you're Number Six; but I just don't know why."
"Stop!" Ruiko yelled, "Just stop ok? This doesn't make any sense! Why would I be I by a Level Five? All this time I've been searching for my ability, doing anything possible to get it and now I am told that I've had it all along?
"You know, I've just come to terms with being a Level Zero. There were plenty of amazing Level Zeros out there, I realized. There's Arisia, who's a popstar. I thought maybe I could find some other passion to pursue, you know? You know, I could help people and not need an ability. That there was more to life than just ability development. And now you come out of the blue and tell me that I've an ability, and just any ability, but the power of a Level Five?"
She ran over to her bag and pulled out a red tag with a black stripe down the middle. The words Resist and Ward were clearly inscribed on the black stripe. She stared at it momentarily before throwing on the ground. "You know, I used to think that this would bring me good luck. Mom and Dad gave this to me to protect me." She slammed her foot on the tag. "Well a whole lot of luck and protection it's brought me!" She screamed, tears rolling down her face. "Damn this city! Damn it all!"
"Ruiko-chan." Itsuwa held her younger sister, only to pushed back.
"You too Onee-san! You're hiding things from me! You knew didn't you? What's really going on?" She screamed. "I'm tired of being treated like some sort of thing people can just use and keep secrets from."
"Saten-san calm down." Misaka clamped her hand down on the girl's shoulder. "You need to get a hang of yourself. You're out of control and you're just having a big temper tantrum. Now are you going to calm down, or do I need to shock you?"
Ruiko froze, before nodding slowly. Misaka smiled. "Good, now let's try to approach this like civilized people."
"Ha," Touma muttered, "Civilized indeed."
"Shut up!" Misaka unleashed a bolt of electricity at the idiot. "Ok, let's calm down and figure out what to do next. Freaking out and blaming each other is not going to help here. First, we need to realize that if you're a Level Five, then where did your power go? It's not like your AIM diffusion field just vanished."
"Ehh?" Touma and Itsuwa asked curiously. Misaka facepalmed. "It means that her power couldn't have just vanished into thin air. It needs to have gone somewhere. Her personal reality would have to have been confused or lost for her to lose levels."
"But that doesn't make any sense. I think I'm understanding my Personal Reality just fine now." Ruiko protested.
"But a Level Five's personal reality is different than that of a Level Zero's." Misaka explained, "The fact that the Level Upper worked on you means that you have the potential for a level, but it doesn't prove that you have the potential of a Level Five."
"Maybe it was suppressed by this omen." Index offered.
The group turned around to find the silver haired nun examining the 'good luck' charm. "This charm is disguised to look like an unsuspicious protection ward but actually the black stripe is emitting a large amount of mana, which is probably how Saten-san tracked it. But for you to have such horrible luck means that this charm is either void or it has a different purpose." She explained, pulling off the black strip of tape to reveal two black characters making the word "suppress". "This is no good luck charm, but a curse intentionally meant to suppress one's supernatural power, similar to Touma's right hand in function. Although the spell needed to suppress this much power must have been immensely difficult and painful."
The group gasped. "Hold on a second," Ruiko asked, "Are you saying that the only reason I can't use my ability is because that charm is preventing me from doing so?"
The nun smirked. "I believe so! All it would take is for Touma to break the curse and you should be able to access your ability, so I think. I'm not too good when it comes to the Science side." She mumbled, completely unaware of the gaping jaws of Touma, Ruiko, and Misaka.
"So if I touch this charm with my right hand, Saten-san will get her powers back?" Touma asked in shock, "Wow, that's quite simple."
"I really can be a Level Five," The girl muttered, realization of all the power held in the charm coming to her. "Misaka isn't this great?"
Misaka stared at her friend. She still had trouble getting her mind around the idea that her friend had been the elusive Number Six the entire time. When that monster had told her about Number Six, she had felt the slightest amount of sympathy for him, for Gunha. They had lost their best friend to an experiment. She thought about all the Sisters she had lost to the Level Six Shift experiment. Why did she feel so angry about this all? Shouldn't Saten be able to have her chance to become a Level Five? She too had suffered so much. But yet she was hesitant. Being a Level Five was a great responsibility. Not only was it a big advantage on the battlefield, but also a great headache when it came to publicity. She constantly had to deal with people wanting to use her, fight her, or take advantage of her. Did she really want Saten to bear the burden of being a Level Five? She needed to say something.
"Saten, Listen" She managed, still conflicted, "I'm not sure this is the best idea."
The look on the girl's face crumbled. "What do you mean?"
"I'm trying to say that being a Level Five is a big deal. It's more than just an ability; it's publicity and having to deal with the hardships that come with being a Level Five." Misaka tried to explain, "Look, I'm just asking you to reconsider becoming a Level Five right off the bat."
"In other words, you're jealous." Misaka froze. Ruiko's face had contorted, her eyebrows scrunched in frustration and eyes glaring at her. "You're jealous that I've been a Level Five and might be even more powerful than you."
"Hold on a second!" Misaka protested, "That's not what I meant at all. I'm just saying we shouldn't rush things."
"Ruiko-chan, you should listen to Misaka-san." Itsuwa chimed in, holding her hand close to her chest.
Ruiko stared at her older sister, "You're not off the hook either Onee-san. I'm betting you knew this all along. Mom gave me this charm, saying it would protect me, but all it's done is prevent me from gaining my powers."
"It was meant to protect you from Academy City." Her sister protested, "Your powers were out of control and the Amakusa wanted to keep you safe."
"Listen Onee-san, I don't know what this Amakusa is. But I do know when I'm being played. I'm sorry Misaka, but this is my chance to find out the truth. This is my chance to achieve what I've been after this entire time. I'll deal with the other issues as they come." She held the charm out to Touma. "I hear that you can give me back my powers. I don't know how, but please...help me!"
Touma gazed at the charm before him. Misaka didn't know if he was deciding on whether to do it or not or if he was just mesmerized by the charm. Finally he nodded, "If you're sure about this."
Ruiko didn't smile, rather she kept a straight face. "Yes, I'm sure."
The boy nodded, taking the charm in his right hand. A shrill whistle resounded across the room, similar to the sound of glass breaking. To the group's shock, the charm fell from the boy's hand in shreds. The group watched the shreds drop to the ground. Silence ensured.
"Is something supposed to happen?" Misaka asked the nun.
Index shrugged, "Don't ask me Short Hair, I'm not the expert on Science-"
"Hey don't call me Short Hair, Silver Nun!"
"You just called me a name too!"
"Argh! Do you wanna feel my wrath!"
"Bring it on Short Hair! I dare you to attack me. I'll have you know that I'm wearing a Walking Church, which protects me from all harm!" Index proudly gestures to her habit.
"Hah, that little thing? Those robes look like they've been pieced together by safety pins, which for your information can conduct electricity."
"GUYS!" Touma shouted at the bickering pair. The two turn to him. "What?" They shout back.
"The storm?" Touma gestures to where the remains of the charm once lay. Now a small vortex had begun forming, causing the remains to wisp around as the tornado grew larger.
The pair gasped before Index noticed Touma nearing the vortex. "Don't touch it Touma! You might cancel the spell!"
Touma stopped only to lose his footing as the winds blew him back. Ruiko stared in shock as the storm made its towards her. "Help me!" She screamed only to be overcome as the winds began engulfing her.
"Everyone get back!" Touma shouted before blacking out.
A few minutes later
Ruiko woke up, groaning. She had the weirdest dream. For some odd reason she had been kidnapped because she was supposed to be Number Six. Then there was some sort of freak storm and then she had lost consciousness. Hold on a second, wasn't her bed supposed to be more comfortable. Slowly opening her eyes, she realized that she wasn't in her bed…in fact she wasn't in her room. She slowly pulled herself up then groaned in pain. Her stomach for some reason wasn't feeling well and her lungs hurt.
She looked around and realized she was in a white room with lab equipment scattered around the room. She noticed the prone forms of…was that Misaka? And Itsuwa? And that spiky haired boy that Misaka was in love with? And was that a nun? Then the memories came to back to her. "Argh!" She gasped as she remembered the kidnapping, and then being rescued, and...Number Six.
"Everyone alright?" The spiky haired boy called out.
"I'm good!" "Me too!" "You should be more careful with your powers Touma!" Were the general replies.
"I'm alright," Ruiko replied, trying to pull herself off the ground, "Got a massive headache and my stomach is killing me."
"Oh my, are you alright Ruiko-chan!" In the blink of an eye, her sister was at her side, a worried look on her face. "How can I help?"
Ruiko shook her head. "I said I'm alright. Just give me a hand here." She held out her hand. With some help, Itsuwa got her sister on her feet. "Wow, that feels better, though a bit dusty...like I sorta want to...eh...eh...AHHHHH-CHOOOO!"
To the shock of the group, the younger sister flew back from the sheer force of the sneeze. It felt as if the girl had just shotgunned a wind cannon of some sort.
The girl scratched her head as she tried to process how she ended up flat against a wall on the opposite end of the room. "Such Misfortune" she muttered.
"Hey that's my line!" The spiky haired boy interjected. "This Kamijou prides himself for having officially licensed that line."
Misaka turned to the idiot. "Why would want to license that? Is this some sort of TV show or something?"
"Nah, it'd probably be some sort of shonen anime." The boy answered dismissively.
"Are you alright?" The older sister ran up to Ruiko.
"I think so," the girl replied, scratching her head. "Was that my esper power?"
"Sure looks like it to me." The group turned around to see a tall albino teenager hobbling towards them. His face remained monotone as he looked over the young girl with a careful eye. Ruiko gasped, she felt like she had met this boy before, but where? But for some odd reason, she went with the first thing that came to her mind.
The teen froze at the name, then closed his eyes and smiled. "Welcome back, First."
There you go! Accelerator's back! Note that I'm using the 'name' given to him by Touma when he first imagined Accelerator as a girl in his class, just for kicks.
Anyways, leave your comments and thoughts below and I'll be sure to answer you in the next chapter!
Coming up next! The end of the beginning, Enter Storm Rider!
May the Force of the Lord God Almighty be with you Always!