Please read the note at the end of the chapter but other than that enjoy :)
Akira Ishigami let out a tired sigh as he snuck his way through the docks. Hiding his body behind a bright yellow shipping container, the teacher peeked around his cover to see a pair of guards making their rounds around the docks.
His brown eyes then glowed a bright blue as he scanned both soldiers from head to toe, mentally listing off what they had.
Anti-Entropy manufactured body armor, Schicksal developed firearms, electronics designed by Massive Electric.
This was no ordinary mercenary organization. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch for an organization to possess equipment from at least one of the big military organizations. As much as they tried to keep a tight lid on their products, the black market still existed for a reason.
Including the fact that corruption existed, the arms that the organizations created would more often than not find themselves on the shelves of the black market. As long as you had the money or connections you could grab the most advanced weapons on the planet.
And for a mercenary group to have equipment made by the top military organizations, they had both the connections and money to supply their troops.
"Soldiers with equipment to match the Nagazora garrison's firepower," His pupils regained their normal color as he looked upward to see another pair of soldiers on top of a crane. "And maybe the numbers as well."
Looking around him to see if any patrols were nearby, Ishigami decided to move towards one of the warehouses on the outskirts of this part of the docks. A buildup of such forces here was concerning, especially when he had an inkling why they were here in the first place.
"Damn you Siegfried," He cursed under his breath as jumped up onto a container to avoid an incoming patrol. As silently as he could, he began to run across the rows of containers. "Why couldn't you be a good father and take your daughter with you?"
Ever since the runaway Kaslana had cashed in his favor, the lab coat wearing teacher had kept his eyes open for any potential threats when his daughter got enrolled into the academy. Kaslanas seemed to possess this innate ability to just invite danger wherever they went.
And he couldn't have been more right when those strange mechanical owls began to fly throughout the city. To the untrained eye they would've been normal owls just minding their own business.
But to him an imperfection, no matter how small, would not be able to hide from him.
His most recent success was when he happened to catch the mere utterance of Otto Apocalypse, which had him instantly on the trail of the women who had said it. It was by mere chance that the teacher had been at that place at that exact moment. He had totally forgotten why he had been there in the first place.
But any plans he had for that day had gone out the window as he followed the trail of the undercover Valkyrie. She wasn't a Valkyrie that he knew by memory, which wasn't much as he didn't commit to memory every Valkyrie that Schicksal had.
His senses however were telling him that she was strong.
She must've known that she was being followed as the moment they had reached the docks she had given him the slip. Not like it mattered as he had a more pressing matter to investigate now.
Waiting for a soldier to turn the corner, Ishigami jumped from the container that he was on over to the roof of the warehouse. Landing with a slight huff, he used his new elevated position to overlook the docks.
"Enough soldiers here to overtake the garrison potentially," He noted before continuing his observation of what was taking place. For starters the number of soldiers congregating around a certain warehouse that was quite the distance away from his position suggested that was their main base of operations.
Another warehouse not too far from that first one also had its own decently sized contingent of soldiers to guard it. Perhaps that was where their equipment was being stashed.
The third warehouse was a bit further out and only had a small handful of guards to defend it. Other than the main base and their supply stash, the teacher didn't know the value of defending another warehouse.
He briefly considered they had set up a prison of some sorts but quickly dismissed that idea. There had been no reports of kidnapping and he was sure that they were here to take only Kiana captive. Any other prisoners were a liability to their secrecy.
Doing some more recon was his next idea but he knew that the risk of him being found out by a patrolling guard was too high to indulge his curiosity.
With the most basic of reconnaissance intel the teacher now laid his options out on how he could proceed. His first thought was to simply handle it himself. However he was sure that his current condition would prevent him from going all the way.
Not to mention that there might be an ace that these people had that he hadn't been able to discover yet.
His next option was to notify Ryoma of his findings and let Anti-Entropy's forces finish the job.
"Please no! Please no more!"
He took in a deep breath to stop the slight tremors going through his body from that...unpleasant memory of Anti-Entropy. "Heh I really can't get over it huh?" He chuckled as he closed his eyes in an attempt to stop himself from going down memory lane yet found himself doing so anyway.
That cold laboratory where no warmth existed.
The apathetic scientists who ignored his calls for mercy.
The ungodly amount of needles he had to endure.
The faces of-!
"Hands where I can see them!" The distinct sound of a rifle's safety switch getting unlocked interrupted his reminiscing. With a calm attitude, Ishigami turned around to see a lone soldier who had managed to sneak up on him.
"I said where hands where I can see them!" The soldier repeated as he leveled the barrel of the gun at him. Judging by how his hands weren't shaking, he was no novice mercenary. He would follow through with his threats if he didn't comply with them.
"Alright, alright." The teacher complied as he lifted his hands up into the air. "I'm sure we can work something out, though…" Red lightning began to arc through his hands.
"Do you know that if a human remotely even enters a star's gravity field, their body will be instantly crushed?"
The soldier tilted his head in confusion at that strange comment. "What are you talking abo-URK!" He couldn't finish his sentence when he suddenly found himself face down on the concrete surface, a mysterious force was preventing the soldier from standing up.
As if gravity itself was attacking him.
"You seem like a nice guy, be glad that I'm in a merciful mood right now." Ishigami walked up to the downed soldier, a pulsating orb of dark red energy in his hand. Letting the energy dissipate, the teacher kneeled beside the now unconscious man.
"You might wake up with a migraine that will last a while, though that is much preferable than the alternative." Rummaging through the soldier's equipment, Ishigami found what he was looking for as he held the man's radio.
"I hope that this experience has made you reconsider your chances of survival if you continue down this path." With that final remark Ishigami walked away from the fallen man.
There went the plan of trying to be silent. Even if he had swiftly taken out the soldier his actions would soon be discovered when someone tried to contact him only for them to realize that he would not be answering back. Not to forget that when he woke up the fallen soldier would simply report the attack.
He was sure that his actions would either have them act more discreetly or accelerate their plans even faster, further endangering Kiana.
At least with this radio in hand he would have a slight edge in whatever they planned to do next.
Bringing up the radio, the teacher was about to scan the entire device so that he could check if it was rigged with some sort of tracker but also to memorize the frequency that it was currently set to.
Only for a bright red feather to fall in front of him.
As much as he wanted to marvel at how majestic it looked, his senses were screaming in warning. Acting quickly Ishigami ignited his hand with red energy, unfortunately crushing the radio into scarp, and shot a wave of it to where he sensed the attack coming from. His face morphed into confusion when his attack crushed the area he directed it at, making a small crater as a result.
But to see no-one there.
His thoughts were rudely interrupted when he felt a sudden punch on his torso. "How the hell?!" Ishimagi wondered where the hell the punch had even come from. There was no one near him yet the punch he received felt as if they were just standing right in front of him.
Another feather crossed his vision as he reeled from the force of the first punch. "So that's what it is!" He did not know what he was under the influence of but the feather must've been related somehow to it. Another punch soon landed on him, this time a direct hit to his gut.
Before his body could suffer any more hits from his hidden enemy, the teacher charged up another attack, but this time instead of trying to hit a single spot with the red energy.
He would apply it in an area of effect.
His fruits bore success when he could hear his opponent feeling the effects of gravity. Whatever tricks his mind was under the influence vanished for just that instant as his opponent was revealed.
The Valkyrie that he had followed to the docks was standing despite being under the influence of gravity. What might've toppled fully grown men to the ground was being shouldered by the gray bluish haired women.
A bead of sweat rolled down Fu Hua's face as she resisted gravity's toll on her. It wasn't a pleasant experience, far from it, but she would not be so easily done in. Her blue eyes flashed a hue of red as she activated her feathers once more.
Unfortunately for her Ishigami had been waiting for her to do so again. "A Divine Key?" He looked on in surprise when he traced the composition of the feather. It wasn't everyday you saw a Divine Key that was not some giant cross or spear.
And neither did you see one that was practically unaccounted for in the Schicksal Archives. The organization had their fair share of Divine Keys under their possession but he knew that they didn't have any that had the abilities to target one's mind.
Well at least from the ones that didn't hide that much from prying eyes. It seems that he had to give credit to Otto for at least keeping one ace up his sleeve.
With his hand the teacher pointed a red orb of gravity energy at the Valkyrie, all it would take was one simple flick of the wrist and his opponent would become a bloody smear on the ground.
The Divine Key that she possessed was quite powerful indeed, even now he could feel the effects of it once again as his senses were telling him that his opponent was no longer in his gravity field.
His eyes saw an empty space where the Valkyrie should've been, his ears heard an attack coming from his side, his nose and touch told him he was in the middle of a voracious fire and that he should focus on trying to put it out.
Any regular combatant would've trusted their senses and released their hold on her, unknowingly falling for the mind trick.
But when you held the powers of the Herrscher of Reason, in which your mind was your greatest weapon, these mind tricks were rather ineffective once you got your mind around them.
"The next logical move would be to kill you and leave no trace of your body for anyone to find," The gravity field suddenly lessened just a tiny bit. Just enough for Fu Hua to get a breather but not enough so that if she tried something then she would find herself back under the oppressive aura in no time.
"However I believe we both share a common goal, a goal that would be in danger should we continue this any longer." Ishigami gave a wary look to the Valkyrie as he could see understanding beginning to dawn in her eyes.
They could continue this further and have a single person walk away out of this alive and the other dead. That course of action would endanger their respective missions and make it harder to continue it.
Or they could stop right now and find a shared understanding.
"Do I have your word that you will not attack me the moment I release my hold over you." Watching the blue gray haired Valkyrie slowly nod her head in agreement, the teacher could feel the effects of whatever Divine Key beginning to fade. With her confirmation he lowered the gravity field back to normal.
Fu Hua panted as the oppressive field of gravity was finally lifted off her body. Taking a moment to catch her breath, she looked at her brown haired assailant with recognition. "You're that teacher from Chiba Academy? Akira Ishigami?"
"It seems my reputation precedes me then," The teacher chuckled as he slipped his hands into the pockets of his lab coat. "To think that even a Schicksal Valkyrie would know my name, I don't know if I should be honored or not."
"It's only natural to learn more about any targets of interest." Fu Hua patted her outfit to clear out any wrinkles on it before she recited what was on his dossier. "A teacher of remarkable knowledge, a Chess Grandmaster of renown skill, the bane of every student." At the last one the teacher chuckled at it.
"But yet…" She gave him a critical look and in response Ishigami's eyes narrowed from the look she was giving him.
"Your past is practically non-existent, nothing stands out. A normal upbringing where you grew up in Nagazora and graduated from Chiba Academy only to become a teacher when you received your teaching credentials..."
"Why it almost seems forged."
"Oh?" Ishigami's tone quickly shifted to that of barely contained anger. " Please do enlighten me on what you meant by that," His dangerous tone was clear that his past was a touchy subject and should she continue then the little peace that they were having would be quickly thrown out the window.
Fu Hua held her hands in peace as she got the message. "Regardless of what your past entails it's clear that you are no ordinary teacher and you know how to fight on even ground with a Valkyrie."
"So that begs the question what you are doing here in the first place?"
"I could ask you the same thing couldn't I," Ishigami shot back as the they found themselves at an impasse, neither willing to give up their reasons for being there. They knew no matter how many times either of them tried to get the other to reveal their hand, it would end in failure.
The sounds of a groaning guard tore both of their thoughts away as they looked to see the unconscious guard slowly regain his senses. They approximately had a minute before the guard woke up and radioed in his incident.
And with it their only advantage of staying undetected.
"...That Divine Key of yours," Ishigami spoke first. "Does it have the power to alter someone's memory?"
"You just read my mind," Fu Hua gave him a small grin to which the teacher reciprocated with one of his own.
By the time the guard woke up the pair was long gone. The surroundings around him suggested something had happened but the guard's memory already told him that the damage had already been there when he walked up onto the roof.
His memory also told him that he had decided to take a nap up there and slept past the time that he had to check in. Paling in realization the guard shot up from his position and made his way down the stairs and ran back to the base, mentally preparing himself for the biggest dressing down he was about to receive.
In an alleyway not too far away from the docks two opponents now found themselves as temporary allies. It was still a wary agreement as either of them could stab the other in the back when they weren't looking.
But they both shared a common enemy.
An enemy that they were willing to work together against.
"Now this is a work of art," I marveled as I opened the gift that Ishigami-sensei had left us. Beside me Kuro gave her own sound of awe as the two stared at the masterpiece of a gift that was given to me.
A chess set that seemed to be carved out from the best artisans in the world. Not only did it look to be carved out of the finest wood, there was also the fact that it seemed to be personalized as it was not your average looking set.
"Dear Haruto," The note that was attached to the side of the container read.
"If you are reading this then you already know that I'm not present to give this to you. Something has come up that requires my full attention and as such the club will have to be put on hold until the situation has been resolved. I wished to have given this to you in person but alas fate has other plans for us. This set and the one I gave to Keji have been gathering dust and I know that both of you will take great care of these sets."
After reading the note, I folded the paper up as I thought back to what had happened earlier today. It felt like any regular school day and you could feel the class ready themselves for the feared teacher to walk through the door.
Only for a substitute to walk through instead.
From trepidation to that of utter shock, the class listened tentatively as the substitute explained that the Science teacher had taken a leave of absence and they were unsure when the teacher might return.
The class, most notably Kiana, jumped in joy after the explanation. It was as if someone had delivered them a gift from the heavens and from the way that they were shouting in joy it most certainly was approved of.
Yet while everyone else celebrated, a pit had begun to form in my stomach. This would be the first time that I had him as a teacher that he had called in sick. Was my intuition right? Was something coming around the corner? Was something-!
"No," I shook my head to stop myself from going down that train of thought. Think of happy places Haruto, think of happy places. "His relatives could be sick for all we know," I tried rationalizing.
Yes that could be it! There might've been a family emergency that required him to be present and it most definitely wasn't the fact that another major event was happening soon!
I sighed tiredly as my paranoia reached an all new high. It was definitely being reflected in my day to day behavior. Kiana didn't know too much about the grocery attack so she was oblivious to my paranoia. Mei and Keji on the other hand looked at me worryingly when they would catch me looking behind my back more often than not.
Even now Kuro looked at me with worry as she noticed the dejected atmosphere that surrounded me. "Oh sorry Kuro," I smiled apologetically. "Got lost in my thoughts a bit, why don't we check this set out now?" Eager to change subjects, I sat down and focused my attention to the heavily detailed chess set laid out before me.
This was certainly a work of art, even the pawns were meticulously carved. Even if they were the normal shape that all pawns were infamous for, just the sheer detail of every carving just spoke volumes of how passionate the artisan was.
The Rooks for example were no longer the castle-like pieces. In this set the Rooks were that of Tower Knights, massive knights that held a shield that was as tall as them.
The King was carved into that of a dragon. Curled around a tower that looked almost like a regular King piece was a dragon baring its fangs at any who challenged it.
The Queen was that in the visage of some sort of angel. Hands clasped together in prayer, the kneeling figure had her eyes closed as two wings curled around her.
The Knight was some kind of knightly figure on the back of a horse. I would've just written it off as a Calvary Knight if it wasn't for the fact that the legs of said knight were nowhere to be seen as the knight was connected to the horse by their torso.
Was it supposed to be some sort of centaur?
"Actually it's a Nuckelavee," Hyperion suddenly chimed in. "You can tell by its demonic visage and the length of the rider's arms being longer than that of a normal human being."
"A Nuckelavee?" I questioned as I brought the piece closer to my eyes. True to the entity's words the demonic face on the rider was more than enough to tell me that this was not a centaur and that it was whatever a Nuckelavee was.
"Also why are you here right now?" I asked them, perplexed. It was a far cry from how Apollo operated. He would normally show up when something major was about to happen or when I was about to die.
With Hyperion it felt like they would pop in whenever he got bored or something caught his attention.
"I'm bored," They replied, confirming my suspicions.
"Well not much is happening right now so you won't find much entertainment anytime soon," I told them as I directed my attention to the final piece of the set.
The Bishop was modeled in that of a Phoenix. The majestic bird was mid-flight as flames surrounded the base of the piece.
"Ugh Phoenixes," Hyperion groaned, as if recalling a bad memory. "You will never meet a more arrogant being than that of a Phoenix."
"Why is that?" I curiously asked. Any opportunity to learn more about any of the entities living inside my brain was much appreciated. I was also curious on how a mythical creature like that of a phoenix lived.
Though a small part of my mind was wondering if Hyperion had actually met a phoenix before.
"What is it that everyone fears, the one thing that humans, gods, dragons, and even demons fear?" They asked me. "I'll give you a hint, you've already experienced it before."
I thought a bit about it before responding as it wasn't hard to think of something unique that I had faced before. "Death?"
"Bingo! Right on the dot!" They announced as if they were some sort of game show host. "Now you take that fear and apply it to the Phoenix, a bird who can literally revive itself in a big show of fire. They like to take the opportunity to rub in their abilities as much as possible."
Hearing of how Hyperion described how phoenixes apparently acted, my mind couldn't help but drift to someone who was considered a Phoenix in this universe. "Fu Hua is nothing like that, in fact I dare say she's the opposite."
Fu Hua, Class Monitor, Celestial Phoenix, a MANTIS, one of the thirteen MOTHs. The blue gray haired immortal was anything but arrogant. She never gloated about the fact that she was someone who had lived far longer than some civilizations, showing the wisdom that she had gained throughout the years.
In fact it looked at times she even considered it a curse.
"Humans like to hide their true selves behind masks," Hyperion dismissed as if he had personally met Fu Hua herself. "Who is to say not a tiny part of her revels in the fact that she is immortal? After all, she did hide the fact that she was Otto's spy from Kiana and her team."
I raised myself to argue in the Valkyrie's defense but stopped as they were technically right. Fu Hua, even if she had bonded with the team and valued each one of them greatly, had hidden the fact that she was only there to spy on Kiana and keep Otto updated on her condition.
She even delivered the girl to the Overseer when it became clear that Sirin was surfacing within the girl's mind.
"But in the end she chose to stand with them," I mentally argued as my hand unconsciously got closer to the phoenix styled piece. "She stood against an opponent that she had no chance of winning against and even spat in the face of Otto as he had her at gunpoint."
For there was no better evidence that Fu Hua had severed all ties with the Apocalypse Heir than by attacking the core of his twisted desires while staring down the barrel of the mimicry of the Judgement of Shamash without fear.
"Say what you may but I know what I am talking about, I've seen it in every single human that I-" Whatever Hyperion was going to say was left unfinished as he paused suddenly. "Oi you're doing that again."
I raised my eyebrow in confusion. "Doing what?"
"That," Even if they couldn't point to what they were referring to, Hyperion and Apollo had a knack for being able to show me what had their attention.
And what had Hyperion's attention was directed to my left hand that was unconsciously tracing an image onto the table surface. "Is there a problem with my hand right now?"
"You've been doing that for a while, I'm surprised that you haven't noticed but it piqued my interest after you've traced the same image for the tenth time."
"Wait tenth?!" I asked with shock.
"Well your mind has been preoccupied with certain things as of late," At Hyperion's words, I thought back to the embarrassingly amount of times that I let my mind drift due to being on edge for the past week or so. "I'll be surprised if you even caught yourself doing it even once."
Putting aside the fact that I hadn't been thinking as clearly as I usually did, I was now even more curious to what I had been tracing with my hands. "Well let me get a piece of paper and a pen and let's find out what I'm exactly drawing." I was so strangely excited with what I might discover that I was already out of my chair to find said items.
I was never really a good artist in my old life and that wasn't changing anytime soon in this life so the fact that I could subconsciously draw something was definitely intriguing.
"Do you really think that it's going to work now that you are focused on it?" Hyperion drawled out. "How are you so sure that whatever you might end up drawing will even be right?"
"Wait, I thought you knew what I was drawing?!"
"I just noticed your hands kept moving the same way whenever you fell into this little trance of yours." I could just imagine an amused grin on Hyperion's smug face wherever he was, probably enjoying the amusement he was getting from me right now. "I never paid much attention to what it was you were actually drawing."
A tick mark appeared on my forehead. "Then why the hell are you bringing it up now?!"
"Maybe I was bored and wanted to see your reaction," They replied nonchalantly. "Or maybe I wanted to see if you were even aware of what you were doing, or perhaps I wanted to find a way to show you that you've been getting worked up for absolutely nothing!"
"H-Huh?" Was the only that I could say with what I just heard.
"It's perfectly fine for you to worry but it quickly becomes a problem when it consumes your every waking thought!" Hyperion complained. "Do you know how aggravating it is to be inside your mind and be annoyed by such thoughts? I can barely catch a nap with how you've even grown afraid of your own shadow!"
"S-Sorry?" I winced, not knowing my worrying was affecting Hyperion in such a way. Though surprisingly… "But I'm glad that you care about me so-"
"Care?!" They sounded so offended by that word, as if they could never conceive of ever acting like that. "What makes you think that I care about you?!"
"But you just said-," I tried pointing out only for Hyperion to huff loudly.
"Whatever it seems that you've gotten better so I'm off to take a nap, I advise you to do the same lest the next time we talk and I be in a bad mood." With those final words I felt the entity's presence slowly slip away and before long I could no longer feel Hyperion within my mind.
I smiled to myself as I made my way to my bedroom to take Hyperion's advice. "I'll take your advice Hyperion...and thanks for caring about me."
And as I slipped into the covers of my bed into a restful sleep, I could finally feel the worry that I had built up just fade away.
As Haruto slept soundlessly in his bed, Hyperion had not exactly followed up on what he said he was going to do.
In fact he was doing the exact thing he had told Haruto not to do any more.
The hooded apparition sat alone in his plane of existence, a hand cupping his chin as he was lost in thought. The plane of existence that he called his own was most definitely the opposite of Apollo's realm.
For if Apollo's realm signified that of calm and peace, Hyperion's represented that of chaos and anarchy.
Instead of a crystal-like water surface to walk upon it was that of thick blood.
Instead of a clear blue sky to appease your worries, it was that of dark skies that seemed to suffocate your entire being.
Instead of an ornate wooden chair that the host would sit in, it was a crudely constructed throne of bones. There was no guiding theme of how the throne should be constructed, and in a sense it fit the theme of this realm with how demonic it made the whole realm feel.
And sitting on his throne, Hyperion opened his red blood eyes as he looked up to the thick smoke sky.
"Is this the reason why you left Apollo?" He wondered out loud as he thought back to what he had seen Haruto drawing on his kitchen table. "Neither you or I have a direct connection with it, and neither does Haruto."
When he had first seen the red headed human draw it with his hands on his table's surface, Hyperion merely chalked it up as just a random instance of life. He had seen miracles performed on accident multiple times, so how could this be any different.
Then Haruto drew it again, and again, and soon enough Hyperion was left wondering how exactly the human whose mind he was currently stuck in could somehow manage to draw that of all things.
He closed his eyes as he sighed tiredly as his mind drifted back to when he first laid eyes on that object. He almost resisted the urge to chuckle.
It had been so long ago.
It blinded him, so much so that he had to shield his eyes from what he was looking at. It shined so brilliantly that it cut through the darkness that had once devoured even the most incandescent of lights.
For it shined with the hope of humanity.
Hyperion closed his eyes with a small frown on his face. If he didn't know how this had happened then neither did Apollo. Even if the two had gotten on the wrong foot the 'kind' spirit told him all that he knew about the situation that they were in.
And he had left nothing out in explanation.
So either they had missed something…
Or there was much more happening than they originally believed.
"You better have some answers when you come back, oh neighbor of mine." Before he slipped into a deep slumber, he had one last thought.
"Because I would like to know how Haruto can now seemingly trace the sheath of Avalon so perfectly without having ever seen it in person."
It was eerily quiet in Kiana's Apartment. There were no sounds of the loud girl, no heavy music playing in the background, not even the sounds of a video game system could be heard.
In her living room one of the windows was silently opened.
Before multiple grenades were thrown inside, clattering on the ground before heavy smoke began to emit from them and cover the entire apartment.
Through the windows, a pair of soldiers rappeled in. Landing on the floor with a soft thud, their visors lit up to allow them to see the entire apartment unobstructed by the smoke.
"Remember you have a small window to pull this off," Owl spoke through their communicators in their ears. "Find the Kaslana quickly and leave." He ordered.
"Yes sir," The pair intoned as they readied their rifles and began to sweep through the apartment. The rounds that they were using were a special type of bullets that worked similarly like a tranquilizer. It wasn't going to kill you.
But it wasn't exactly going to tickle you either.
Alongside their special ammunition the pair of soldiers also had the smoke to help them as well. The thick and dense smoke would knock out anyone who inhaled its fumes.
So in reality all these soldiers really needed to do was find the comatose body of their target and leave the scene without anyone noticing. They didn't have to worry about anyone accidentally catching them scaling the side of the building with the Kaslana's body in tow.
The side that held the Kaslana's apartment complex was overlooking an alleyway. The building across that side of the apartment complex was fairly the same height as the complex but it was up for lease meaning that no one was inside the building.
Coupling that with the fact that they weren't near to the commercial district meant that the chance of a random pedestrian catching them in the act were very slim.
One of the soldiers got the attention of his partner. "I'll go check the kitchen, you go check the bedroom."
His partner nodded in confirmation as they went their separate paths. While the first soldier would just have to keep walking straight to get to the kitchen, the other soldier would have to first turn left and go down a hallway to get to the bedroom.
Quickly checking the hallway for any signs of the Kaslana, the lone soldier slowly approached the bedroom door. Considering the fact that his partner had yet to radio in if he had found the target, then the target would most definitely be inside her bedroom.
Getting halfway through the hallway, the soldier readied his rifle as the bedroom door got closer and closer. His fingers were already on the tip of the trigger as he calmed his breathing to get ready for the confrontation ahead.
Only for a door to his right to suddenly slam open with a mighty kick. Caught off guard, the soldier tried his best to react properly only for his visor to catch a glimpse of a frying pan coming his way before he blacked out.
The force behind the frying pan was so strong that not only did it knock the soldier out in one fell swoop, it also smashed his mask and visor all together. And judging by the small blood smear that was dripping from the frying pan then it was safe to assume that Kiana had also broken the man's nose.
"You didn't think I was defenseless now did you?!" Kiana berated the downed soldier as she held a towel to her nose with her free hand. She may not have the same military grade helmets that could filter out the gas's effects from the air, but she was clever with what she had.
But she could begin to feel the effects of the gas taking its toll on her now. Even with the towel as a makeshift mask, the corners of her vision were starting to get blurry.
But she was Kiana Kaslana! She was not going down without a fight!
"Hands in the air!" The first soldier rounded the hallway corner, rifle already leveled at the white haired girl who had taken out his partner. "Surrender now and-!"
"Like hell I'm doing that!" Kiana cut him off before throwing the frying pan in her hands at the soldier. Normally throwing a metal frying pan was scary enough, but one thrown by a Kaslana was something far worse.
Trusting what his gut was telling him, the soldier ducked out of the way before the frying pan could hit him. Looking back to where he had just been standing, the metal frying pan had lodged itself deeply into the wall.
If he hadn't moved his head would've been chopped off!
But he wasn't given a moment's rest as Kiana let out a war cry and rushed the soldier. Reacting, the soldier tried to unload his rifle's ammunition into the girl to knock her out. With inhuman skills Kiana leapt over the first initial bullets and began to weave through them as she descended unto the soldier.
To his credit the soldier realized that he wasn't going to be hitting her with his weapon and threw it away as he assumed a normal boxer's stance. If he couldn't knock her out with their specialized equipment then he was going to do it the old fashioned way.
Acting first the soldier threw a right hand punch Kiana's way. He expected for his fist to hit the girl head on and have her crumble like a house of cards.
What he wasn't expecting was Kiana to swerve out of the punch's trajectory, grab his extended arm and proceed to judo flip him onto his back. Landing harshly onto the wooden floor, the soldier gave a pained cry as he felt something crack in his body.
It was most probably some of his ribs.
"I have...to," Kiana's body began to sway as she tried to run out of her apartment. Her drowsy blue eyes turned into a glare when she found two additional soldiers were blocking her way out. Taking a running start the Kaslana rushed the two soldiers, uncaring about the fact that they had their rifles pointed at her.
She made a few feet of progress before her eyes rolled up to the back of her head and she collapsed onto her apartment's floor, her body no longer able to handle the effects of the gas.
"Commander Owl," One of the additional soldiers called as he went to check the girl's condition while his partner went to check the downed soldier. A quick scan told him that the girl was out cold. "We've secured the target."
"Good," Back at the docks Owl was watching the team's progress through their body cameras. While it was most certainly a surprise to see the first two soldiers get taken down so quickly, he was glad that it did not take more than four soldiers to apprehend the Kaslana.
If it wasn't for the gas helping out he was sure that it would take triple the amount of soldiers present to subdue her alongside exponentially increasing the time it would take to complete all of that.
"How is the bait doing?" Owl moved his gaze from the main screen and to a soldier standing near him. He had ordered them to complete a little task for him. "Have they fallen for it?"
"Yes sir, the two individuals that you wanted to catch have fallen for the bait." The soldier informed him as he handed him a tablet that was displaying the view of one of his bird familiars as it followed Fu Hua and Ishigami chase after a truck.
A truck which had been used as bait to divert the two's attention away from the real task that was happening right now.
He was unsure of what trick they had done to wipe out that particular guard's memory, and they could now distinguish between that of a real owl and that of his owl familiars.
It was too unfortunate for them that he also had other avian familiars to act as his eyes and ears. All it had taken was one of his rarely used pigeon familiars to get curious and have it watch the two individuals create an alliance between them.
The two of them were remarkably powerful and any confrontation against them would prove to be fatal. But by the time they figured out that they had been duped, Owl and his soldiers would have long left Nagazora behind.
"I'll get him," The injured soldier carefully hoisted his unconscious partner's arm around his shoulder. Slowly but surely they began to follow the soldier who was carrying the comatose body of Kiana. "Make sure you cover us." The soldier told the last member who had no-one to carry.
The last soldier nodded as he followed behind the rest of the squad. While he may have had his rifle at the ready, he was in no worry that someone else might ruin their plans. Owl had done extensive reconnaissance on the area and had the most problematic variables already taken care of.
The smoke that had once been permeated through the entire apartment had already begun to dissipate. With the windows open in the main living room, it would take about two minutes before it was completely gone.
The first soldier made sure that the target was properly secured before he began to rappel back up the building. Before long the rappelling hook came back down and the two injured soldiers took the next trip back up.
Taking one last look around the apartment to make sure that it was secure, the final soldier was just about to clip the rappelling hook to his belt when a knock on the door stopped him in his tracks.
"Kiana! Are you awake?" An unmistakable male voice spoke on the other side of the door. "Sorry I'm a bit late to our study session, I took a nap and accidentally forgot to set an alarm!" The person knocked on the door a few more times when it became apparent that no one was answering him.
"Kiana! Are you there?"
That complicated things. "Commander, what do I do?" The soldier spoke to his communicator about how to proceed.
Owl sighed as he knew who exactly was on the other side of that door. Out of all the scenarios that the officer had made contingencies for, the simple situation of two students working together on assignments had apparently crossed his mind.
He was tempted to tell the soldier to simply leave the apartment before Haruto entered but he knew it would only be a matter of time before the redhead knew something was up when he would not be able to find Kiana.
And that would mean he would contact the authorities which would then in turn alert Raiden Ryoma of the kidnapping. If Gray Serpent's intuition was correct and the CEO was indeed responsible for Kiana's enrollment to Chiba Academy…
Then he could have the city on lockdown with a snap of his fingers, making an escape virtually impossible.
...Gray Serpent would be displeased with what he had to do next but he needed to do what was done for this mission to succeed.
He could worry about the consequences later.
"Oh the door's unlocked," The door hinges began to creak as Haruto Nakamura slowly opened the door to enter. "I hope you don't mind Kiana!"
The intelligence officer soon made up his mind and gave his orders to the soldier, an order of only two words.
Uh-oh Kiana's been kidnapped, Ishigami and Fu Hua have temporarily teamed up, Haruto's having some strange stuff happening to him that Hyperion doesn't know about, and the action begins once more.
And would you believe me if I said that this was only the tip of the iceberg?
Chapter updates are slow once more, school is an unforgiving mistress. Fortunately writing has helped take my stress off so it's not all bad.
Most of my time was dedicated to making sure that the Haruto and Hyperion section went smoothly. This is the introduction of an idea that's been in my head for awhile and I really wanted to try and implement it. There was a different version to how that section went but there was so much new stuff that I was putting in there that I decided ultimately against it.
What did you guys think about my little surprise? The sheath of Avalon is something of a little twist I'm adding to Haruto's character, alongside some other surprises as well.
And a cookie to anyone who knows where I got the idea of what Hyperion's domain looked like.
If you leave a comment or review please don't be offended if I don't reply as I get really busy so I don't have the time to respond to you guys!
ALSO I BOTH GOT EI AND HER WEAPON!
Support has been crazy and I want you to know that I deeply appreciate all of you.
Welp that's all for this chapter. If you enjoyed it, drop a fav/follow/kudos as they really help me out with creating great chapters. Reviews are deeply appreciated and if you have a question or a really interesting theory I am more than happy to reply. Please be patient if I don't respond to you super fast. Even if I don't respond to your comment for whatever reason, know that I read each and every one of them!