JudgeDevil and BlackSavior- Thank you for saying that. Now I understand the ending much better now.
Murder Media- Yes, I know that technically she is his sister, but I can't stop myself from shipping them. This is probably the only exception though.
Noel groaned to herself as she looked at her stomach wound. The Kakas did what they could to heal her, but it wasn't the same as going to a real medical professional. Still, it was enough that she could fight without any trouble. After getting up and placing her uniform, which was taken off in order to check her wound, much to her embarrassment, back on, she left the hut that she was in, so she can find Ragna. Fortunately, she managed to spot him when she saw him sparing with the girl that called her…lacking lady. After wincing from the memory of that name, she walked over to the fight and was pretty amazed with Ragna's fighting skills. Though somewhat unrefined and inelegant, he still seemed to perform them all flawlessly as they could be and didn't leave an openings for the cat lady to take advantage off. Plus, there seemed to be some sort of formal training in his moves, indicating that he was trained by someone, one that apparently didn't mind him making his own style. After performing on of his signatures moves on the cat, Ragna began to chuckle.
"Not bad, Tao." Said Ragna. "Feels good fighting someone that isn't after your bounty, arresting, or trying to kill you."
"Meow!" Said Tao after recovering. "Yeah, feels good not fighting someone that's not squiggly. Especially you, good guy!" A bit shocked at the nickname that Ragna received from this Tao person, Noel walked to the two as the two continued to converse.
"Ragna." Said Noel as she entered ear range of the two.
"Meow!" Said Tao with excitement as she saw lacking lady. "You're up, lacking lady. Good to see you again." Though frowning at the nickname, Noel still felt some relief that Tao was friendly.
"So, you okay?" Asked Ragna, back to his impassive face, though his tone held a degree of worry in it.
"Yeah, I'm fine." Said Noel, a bit shocked at the care in his voice. "Nirvana didn't do too much damage."
"Glad to hear." Said Ragna, he then looked back at Tao. "So, wanna start that question game you wanted to do before that brat interrupted us."
"Of course, but can you not refer to him as a brat." Said Noel. "He was a classmate of mine back in the academy."
"Really?" Asked Ragna with some surprise. "Well, no wonder he looked so shocked at seeing fi that's the reason. Still, he's kind of a brat for trying to hurt you. Why would he do that, by the way?"
"No idea." Said Noel with worry. Wondering why her friend was so keen in attacking her if it meant going after Ragna. They meet before and they were forced to fight, all over Noel having knowledge on Ragna. "I'm worried for him. He was such a nice boy back at the academy. Shy, but so kind."
"Well, this world can change people." Said Ragna as he led Noel to the hilltop, while also shooing Tao away. "Usually for worse."
"You speak with experience." Said Noel as she laid on the grass.
"I do." Said Ragna as he looked at Noel, noticing the resemblance she had with his sister. Too uncanny if you ask him. "Look, I won't tell you yet. It's…personal."
"I understand." Said Noel as she looked at Ragna. "But you could still answer me why you attack NOL branches without discretion."
"That I can." Said Ragna, not caring who knew the real reason why he attacks the NOL. "Well, it's actually a bunch of reasons. For starters, the NOL are tyrants, taking what they want from people and not caring what they think."
"That seems…a bit extreme." Said Noel with some hesitation. "I know that the NOL did some bad things, but they're not that bad."
"Trust me, they are." Said Ragna. He then pointed to the village below them. "The Kakas are a good example. NOL just built Kagutsuchi over their village. Didn't even ask, they just did it. And now the Kakas are doomed to vanish without anyone knowing of their existence aside from me and probably a few others. Heck, the chief worries about that all day."
"Really?" Asked Noel in shock. "I never knew they'd did that."
"Well, that's obvious." Said Ragna. "Well, hope this helps you see the real thing. Anyway, there's another reason. Remember the place where we'd meet?" Upon seeing her nod, he continued. "Place has something called a cauldron. Things are used to create something called a Murakumo unit, an artificial being that capable of surviving in the boundary. The NOL are using them to…look for something in the boundary."
"That's…hard to swallow." Said Noel, not believing him. Seeing her unconvinced of the truth, Ragna just shrugged.
"It's true." Said Ragna. "Don't believe, then you can ask Jubei. He knows more than me."
"Jubei?!" Asked Noel, surprised. "The Jubei? One of the six heroes?"
"Yeah." Said Ragna. "He's the one that trained me." Noel then stared at him, shocked that one of the most, bravest heroes had trained the SS-class criminal. If Jubei trained him…then perhaps Ragna isn't as bad as the reports said he was.
"So, Jubei is fine with your…methods?" Asked Noel.
"Well I wouldn't say that." Said Ragna. "He's not okay with killing, but he also hates the NOL for all the stuff they did in the past. Heck, he said Kagutsuchi is an example of all the things wrong with the NOL and the world. But I place money that he'd won't approve killing every single NOL soldier that comes across me. Probably fine if they attack first though."
"Oh." Said Noel, a bit uncomfortable with the topic. "That aside, do you regret some of your murders?"
"Well…I guess." Said Ragna. "I mean some of the people I killed were just people trying to support their families, right?"
"Yeah." Said Noel, remembering her reason for joining the military academy, to help bring her family from the dirt.
"Well, moving on, anything else?" Asked Ragna.
"Just two." Said Noel. "Why did you change your mind about me staying?"
"Well, guess I can say it." Said Ragna. "It's because you look like my sister. Way too much if you ask me."
"Really?" Asked Noel, surprised. "You had a sister?"
"Yeah." Said Ragan. "We lived together in a church along with my brother and a nun. It was all good until tragedy happened, which I said I'll tell you later when I'm comfortable with telling it." Seeing her nod, he continued. "Well, what was your last question?"
"Well, what are you planning on doing now?" Asked Noel. "Go to another branch and do what you've been doing to the others?"
"Actually, I'm planning on sticking around for awhile." Said Ragna. "Something about this branch is off. Like off. When I entered the place, it was abandoned. No one was there. Not even the janitors."
"Really?" Asked Noel in shock. "Come to think of it, the only NOL officials here are major Katguacgi and captain Hazama."
"Terumi." Spat out Ragna before looking at Noel. "And that's the only ones?"
"Yes. No one that were originally posted here." Said Noel, making Ragna hum in thought. He was about to reply when his stomach growled, which soon followed with Noel's.
"*Chuckles* Whoa. That came out of nowhere." Said Ragna as Noel blushed in embarrassment. "Hey, how about we go get a bite to eat. Can't do anything on an empty stomach."
"Well…I am pretty hungry." Said Noel with a small smile, still embarrassed. "Alright. But only if it's quick. I rather not get arrested for eating with you."
"Hey, that's your fault, not mine." Said Ragna as the two walked out of the Kaka village for somewhere to eat.
"God dammit, not again." Said Ragna as he and Noel stared at a young boy in a ragged cloak, eating his twelfth bowl. "Just how much can he eat?"
"No idea." Said Noel as she stared. "Do you need me to pay?"
"You got enough?" Asked Ragna as the kid began to another bowl.
"…No." Said Noel.
"Sorry…*Slurps*…it's just that I've hadn't eaten such good food in a long time." Said the boy as he finished his last bowl.
"Yeah…so that stick of yours a Nox Nyctores?" Asked Ragna as he looked at the wrapped up stick.
"Yup." Said the boy. "Names Sena, by the way."
"And you said there's another in that body of yours?" Asked Noel, still wrapping her head in what Sena had told them while he was eating.
"Yup." Said Sena before going silent. Few seconds later, a tomboyish, female voice came out. Loudly.
"Thanks for the meals, suckers!" Yelled the female voice as she ate another bowl. "Luna would say thanks if you both weren't so stupid!"
"And I immediately want the other one back." Said Ragna as Noel recoiled at the rude girl.
"Shut up loser!" Yelled Luna. "You're just jealous that Luna wrecked your date with this boy here!"
"What the hell!?" Yelled Ragna, flustered. "You got a death wish for something!?"
"B-boy…" Whined Noel as she instantly went into a depression, mumbling that she was still developing.
"Death wish!? You're the one with a death wish if you think you can beat Luna!" Yelled Luna as she starred at Ragna, defiantly. "Luna was trained by master Jubei himself. And, unlike you, Luna was fully trained by him."
"Yeah…I doubt that." Said Ragna, though he was shocked a bit that this brat was trained by Jubei.
"What did you say, you pedophile, flat-loving, pervert!" Yelled Luna.
"Luna!" Yelled Sena as he looked over to Noel, who was even more depressed.
"Okay, that's it." Said Ragna, finally losing his temper. "I have no intention of taking any more of this bullshit. So, I'm going to count to five and if you both are still here, I'm going to kill both of you."
"Uh…that's unpleasant." Said Sena, taking over. "I'll just be going now." The boy then ran away as Luna spat out insults to both Noel and Ragna. Sighing to himself, Ragna went over to the waitress for the bill as Noel tried to recover from her depression. Just as she was passing him the bill, the woman squinted at him.
"Sir, aren't you that criminal, Ragna the Bloodedge?" Asked the waitress.
"Uhh…no, you got me confused with someone else." Said Ragna with a nervous chuckle.
"No…I remember you from somewhere. Wait! Yes! Your wanted for dine and dashing!" Said the woman as she glared at the grim reaper.
"What!?" Yelled Ragna. "No, I'm not! Actually…that kind of sounds cool."
"Not only that, but I also heard you're the patron saint of poverty!" Said the woman
"I only feed two people! Besides, it's "Grim Reaper." Said Ragan annoyed by the woman.
"And you're also known for lusting over your own brother." Said the woman.
"What the hell!?" Yelled Ragna. "Whose spreading these rumors!? Besides, I'm into young gir… Wait that's even more wrong."
"Run! It's a pervert!" Yelled the woman to the remaining customers.
"C'mon!" Yelled Ragna as he clenched his hair. "My reputation is bad enough without being labeled as a pervert. He then walked to Noel, who had just recovered from her depression. He was about to tell her that they need to leave when suddenly the lights flickered off.
"What the…" Said Noel as room turned dark.
"Aww…crap." Said Ragna as he got ready for a fight. Suddenly, a black ball of energy appeared out of nowhere in mid-air and out came a young girl wearing a black body suit with armor. The armor, visor, and the floating swords behind her, all reminded Noel and Ragna of a certain someone.
"A Murakumo unit?" Said Ragna as he withdrew his sword. Noel just looked shocked at seeing a girl that resembled the one that tried to kill her back in the cauldron. As the girl rambled on about pointless chatter, suddenly Ragna began hearing a voice in his heard, one that he knew.
"What the hell, Kokonoe?" Asked Ragna as he heard Kokonoe ramble on about data or something. "Why are you bugging me? Looking to get my Grimoire?" Kokonoe just laughed when she heard this.
"Your Grimoire? Hah!" Said Kokonoe. "I couldn't care less about that worthless thing. Nah, something went wrong with the teleportation equipment. Still, it's a good stroke of luck, because I found the true successor of the Azure here."
"The true successor? What, you mean Noel?" Asked Ragna as Noel was getting confused with what's going on.
"Not important, right now." Said Kokonoe. "But yeah, I mean Noel. Look, I don't have time to explain this to you Bloodedge. Just give Noel to me and we'll leave you alone."
"No way in hell!" Said Ragna, getting ready for a fight. "She's not going anywhere until you tell me what you want with her."
"Hmm. Gonna be like that, huh?" Said Kokonoe, a bit annoyed. Her expression then turned thoughtful. "Still this could be a good opportunity to test her out…ah well, might as well do this the hard way. Lambda, capture Noel Vermillion and take out Ragna."
"Affirmative. Engaging combat mode." Said the now named Lambda before charging at Ragna, who sidestepped and swung. The Murakumo dodged the attack before counterattacking with her floating swords, which forced Ragan to jump back to avoid.
"Hey, Noel! Care to help!" Yelled Ragna as he fought against the Murakumo. Noel, who was still confused at what transpired between Ragna and Kokonoe, shook her head to snap out of her trance.
"Got it!" Said Noel before summoning Bolverk. She then opened fire at Lambda, scoring perfect hits, forcing her to prioritize Noel. Lambda sent several of her swords at Noel, who was forced to take cover in order to avoid the blades. Fortunately, Ragna used this opportunity to grab Lambda with his right arm, which was covered in dark energy in the form of a massive clawed hand. Multiple tendrils then launched at her from the ground along with the clawed hand. Seeing that the Murakumo was being overwhelmed, Kokonoe had her teleported away, not wanting her ace in the hole to be damaged beyond repair.
"Hmm…seems I'm going to have to make adjustments in regard to fighting multiple opponents." Said Kokonoe with a sigh. "Alright, you win Ragna, this time. But I am going to take Noel."
"And I'm betting your going to use Tager on us, huh?" Said Ragna, sarcastically.
"You know me too well." Said Kokonoe. "Alright, before I go, let me give you a piece of advice. Don't try and fight Terumi. You can't beat him. Also, make sure that Noel is safe and sound. He wants her too."
"What?" Why the hell would he want Noel? And what do you mean I can't beat him?" Asked Ragna, both angry and confused at what Kokonoe was saying.
"*Sighs in irritation* Terumi has an ace in the hole against you. He has the ability to…" Before she could say it, the transmission suddenly got static. "What the hell? Something jamming us! Listen, just keep Noel safe. She's the key to Terumi's pl…" The transmission then suddenly ended.
"Hey! What do you mean by that! *Sighs* Well, this certainly complicates thing." Said Ragna. He then turned Noel, who looked worried and confused at what had just been revealed.
"Why does Terumi want me?" Asked Noel, confused. "And who is this true successor of the Azure?"
"Well, looks like it's you, you idiot." Said Ragna, making Noel frown at the insult. "And I don't know why Terumi wants you, though you can't be good. Let's get out of here. Find somewhere quiet and safe to talk more." He then took Noel's arm and took off. Unfortunately, the waitress spotted this.
"You're dine and dashing again!" Yelled the waitress. Not having this, Ragna then tossed Noel over his shoulder and ran out to gods knows where. As he ran, Noel was squealing and hitting his shoulder, telling him to put her down.
Rōnin district of Kagutsuchi
"Damn, can't believe that we managed to get a room in this district." Said Ragna as he watched Noel finding with her hands. "You okay?"
"Yeah, just thinking what girl said. Kokonoe, right?" Said Noel. Seeing him nod, she continued. "You think that Terumi will do anything to capture me? And Kokonoe too?"
"Probably. Terumi, most definitely. And I seriously doubt that Kokonoe wants to rely on anyone to do her job." Said Ragna. "If you want the reassurance, then I promise you. That I'll protect you and keep you safe." Hearing this, Noel let out a charming smile, something that Ragna found cute.
"Thanks." Said Noel. "How about I cook for you as a thank you?"
"Why not?" Said Ragna. Wondering if she was a competent cook.
"I shouldn't have trusted you." Said Ragna, barely able to say the words. Noel, while looking apologetic, was tending to Ragna while he was recovering the stew that she made. As he was recovering from the disaster of dinner, Ragna swore to never eat her cooking ever again.