Arc 0 : Prologue
St. Fountain was a desolate place. Despite the scattered articles and vacation brochures the 3rd Schicksal Investigation Team had found, the city itself was more akin to hell on earth. The sun did not rise, leaving the concrete city in a perpetual state of night. Yet, the sky was always tinted with a dull red glow from the mysterious object floating near the city. Furthermore, the air was thick with ash and other particulates choking the team as they explored. Any of these by themselves would be worrying enough, but the most unnerving was the lack of people. For the two weeks they had been stationed here, they had yet to meet a citizen of the town. All that filled the street were unidentified monsters.
Their mission was supposed to be a simple one. Find Welt Yang and leave. And to this degree they had been successful. Welt and his son Joyce had safely been found and evacuated from the city. However they couldn't just quit halfway, they needed to uncover the mystery of what had turned St. Fountain into this living hell in the first place. They had been making progress until...
The World, that mechanical four legged monstrosity that had systematically tore their team apart. Its heavy armor had prevented Mei and Adam from doing any real damage and it had shrugged off Carole's blows like they were nothing. After a herculean amount of effort they had finally downed the beast. Then Otto (was it really him?), had chained up Mei and…
Adam, the special squad member, watched with wide eyes while his captain was slowly killed before him. She was held before Carole and himself, slowly bleeding out as the monster sucked her dry. Terror, disbelief and rage bubbled in his stomach, but he forced himself to act. Without warning he charged, Carole screaming at him to come back.
His sword, the Labor of Olympus, came up, smashing into the barrier surrounding the mechanical demon before him. The first hit proved to be futile along with the second and third. The barrier pulsed and Adam was thrown back with a shout. He landed on his back, a painful exhale forcing its way past his lips. He rolled into a crouch, breathing hard. His eyes flickered rapidly about, trying to find a weakness.
"You've lost," Otto laughed. "Nothing short of a Herrscher can break that barrier. But by all means try again, it is amusing at the very least." Despite the provocation, Adam complied. Dashing forward with sword blazing, he was determined beyond reason to save his captain. But despite his wild assault, the barrier refused to fold. He was tossed back again, pain and exhaustion sapping the remainder of his strength. He shakily rose again, blurred vision showing the same picture. Raiden Mei, limp in the outstretched hand of the giant.
"I know you have an incredible sense of duty." Mei's voice echoed in his mind. "But please, you must keep your limits in mind. If you push too hard you will burn yourself from within." He had promised her that he wouldn't. That if he felt the situation was too much he would flee. But he refused to leave her.
"Forgive me Captain, but I don't think I can keep my promise." He needed to save her. It didn't matter how or at what cost, all Adam knew was that he needed to save her.
"Labor of Olympus, fully remove Honkai energy seal." At his command, the sword glowed red and Adam grit his teeth as the toxic Honkai energy poured into him. He could feel his veins burn, as if molten snakes were slowly worming their way underneath his skin. The pain was unimaginable, but he grit his teeth keeping his eyes focused. He had one job to do and he refused to fail. With a pained grunt Adam rose to his feet, his sword a swarm of hungry fire.
A battle cry tore itself from his throat and he rushed the beast. The monster gave a shriek as the flaming blade sliced through the barrier with ease. He dashed forward cutting deep into the abomination's legs. It screeched as he attacked again, his blade leaving a trail of molten metal where the creature's leg had been. With a final roar, Adam sliced the giant's arm, detaching it in a single swing. Free of her prison, Mei fell and he leapt up to catch her. While the motion had been smooth he still landed hard, cradling the woman so as not to further her injuries.
"Senpai!" Carole's voice seemed so far away, but to his surprise she swam into focus inches away. "Senpai please hold on!" Adam wanted to assure her he was fine, that he just needed rest. But he could feel himself slipping. Each laborious breath he drew into his lungs was always too little, his vision slowly closing into darkness. He felt like he was treading water above some deep dark abyss… and he knew didn't have the strength to continue. Not for long.
It was the creaking and groaning of the monster that grabbed their attention. The hulking colossus shuttered before beginning to glow. It began as a dull orange but to Adam's horror it was quickly growing brighter. It didn't take a genius to figure out what was happening. It was going to explode and take them out with it.
"Carole," Adam managed to choke out. "Take Mei and run." Although Carole responded, lifting their captain from his arms, she stalled holding out her other hand for his. He pushed it away, shaking his head as he did so. "Go Carole," he tried again.
"I'm not leaving you," Carol declared, tears shimmering in her eyes. "I can carry you both." She couldn't and he knew that. She probably did too, but her emotions were clouding her reason. Regardless of how strong she was, two dead weights would slow their escape to a crawl. If he took Carole's hand, all three of them would die.
"I'll be right behind you," In a show of bravado, he shakily stood. His muscles screamed at the action, but he managed to maintain his balance. "I have to destroy that thing first." It was bullshit, even forming words took an herculean amount of effort. But he held out and put on a brave face and prayed to whatever gods there were that Carole believed him. For a second it looked like she might call his bluff, but the unconscious Mei groaned, snapping her attention elsewhere. Without another word Carole ran, leaving Adam to his fate.
He watched as Carole navigated the terrain away from the battlefield, the captain in her arms. Were they going to make it? The monstrosity had absorbed quite a lot of Honkai energy from Mei. The explosion might be as big as the island they were on… perhaps the entire city. A determined scowl found its way to Adam's lips. Well if he was going to die anyway, might as well give it his all. He turned back to the machine, now shining like a sun before going nova. His sword felt like lead in his hand, and his legs were ready to give way. He only had one shot.
As a child he had always wanted to be a hero. Just like the knights of old. To arrive in shining armor and save the princess from the monster. To have his happily ever after. But reality was not so kind. He was going to die here, and no amount of story book fantasy would save him. He took in one last breath and leaped at the 'World.'
"Mei, Carole… I'll see you on the other side."
With that final thought, the Labor of Olympus cut deep into the monster's core just as the light became unbearably bright. After that he knew nothing more.
Awareness came to Adam with a jolt.
One moment he felt nothing, heard nothing. Then all his senses ignited, a barrage of sounds and sensations assaulting him simultaneously. He bit down on the instinctual panic, forcing himself to remain calm. Panic led to hasty decisions, and hasty decisions led to death. Miss Raiden had taught him better than that.
Before opening his eyes, he began a quick self-diagnostic. No injuries, internal or otherwise, but by the way his muscles throbbed, he knew they were sore. He had a slight headache pulsing in his head coupled with an acrid taste of blood in his mouth. The sickening feeling of nausea rolled in the pit of his stomach, though whether it is from nerves or what Carole 'cooked' for dinner last night went unaddressed. The familiar weight of his weapon, Labor of Olympus, was in his hand. For that Adam was incredibly thankful. Tesla would have his hide if he lost it.
His self-examination complete, Adam decided it was safe to get up. He rose slowly, trying to gauge his surroundings. He was at the bottom of a sloped riverbank, a canal winding past him before disappearing beneath the nearby bridge. The surrounding buildings were made from concrete and stone but they weren't numerous. The ground beneath him was grass which was a refreshing change. Adam's eyes narrowed at the thought, dissecting it. A refreshing change from what?
Realization hit as his eyes widened. His mission had been to investigate St. Fountain and locate Welt Yang. This was no longer the concrete jungle of St. Fountain. The stream beside him ran clear and the sun shone for the first time in weeks. Adam shook his head to clear it, trying to mentally retrace his steps. He remembered the fight and Carole leaving with Miss Raiden. Then he attacked the beast just before it exploded. Adam's stomach dropped, eyes widening in horror as the memory washed over him. Immediately Adam looked at himself. He had released the seal on his blade. That alone had been asking for death. As Adam took off his glove he expected to see the purplish lines of Honkai infection marring his skin. And yet despite all logic his skin remained unblemished.
So what had happened? He lacked an infection he should clearly have. And what had happened to his team? His hand instinctively moved to his ear, and felt relief as he found the every present ear-piece still there. He mentally chided himself for not thinking of this sooner. Switching the device on, he began speaking.
"This is Adam, Miss Raiden, Carole, can you hear me?" He waited a few moments as static filtered through before trying again. "Captain, Carole, please respond." Again static was his only answer. Cursing he switched channels, broadcasting to Schicksal HQ. "Command center, this is Adam. I have been separated from my team. I need my coordinates immediately." His patience wore thin as the silence continued. He tried hailing them three more times before calling it quits. Great...he was stuck in an unknown city with a broken communicator and his weapon. Adam winced, perhaps he should check if his weapon was broken too.
He drew his weapon giving it a once over. The blade seemed to be intact, and the edge was still sharp enough to kill any of the monsters in St. Fountain. Next he moved to the readout for his weapon. He frowned at the readings. The blade's Honkai energy reserves had apparently been filled to capacity. That was impossible. Ever since the final impact years ago ninety-nine percent of all Honkai energy had been sealed on the moon. Sure there were traces left that his sword could absorb, but the reserves had never broken more than ten percent. Perhaps the explosion from the 'world' had filled the reserves?
"Freeze!" A voice from behind had Adam whirling around, hand already raising his weapon. A man in a police uniform stood atop the hill, pistol drawn. Adam froze at the sight of it, however it wasn't the weapon that shocked him. The fact that there is another human being in the area was more surprising. "Hands where I can see them!" The officer continued, ignoring Adam's shocked expression.
With a sigh Adam complied, placing the sword on his back and raising his hands above his head. Being shot wouldn't hurt... much, his clothing was tailored to survive Honkai beasts. A bullet would sting but not break through. Still he would rather not be labeled a criminal for resisting. Seeing his raised hands the officer slowly descended the hill, weapon at the ready.
"We got several calls about a suspicious man with a sword near the river." The officer declared withdrawing a pair of handcuffs. "I'm gonna need to bring you in." Adam frowned, taken aback by the quick arrest.
"I'm a Valkyrja," he pointed out. "I am required to have my weapon on me in case of attack." Technically he wasn't a Valkyrja, as he had yet to graduate. Still he was sure that the captain would forgive him for his white lie. To his annoyance the officer simply snorted.
"Everyone knows Valkyrja can only be women." He declared confidently, "You're gonna need a better lie to pull a fast one over me. Show me your hands." Adam frowned. Male valkyrja were simply rare, but not some impossibility, Welt Yang and several other men had proven such. Still he held his tongue. Getting in a verbal argument with law enforcement was never a great idea. Might as well wait it out and sort this mess out later.
"I'm so sorry," Adam almost felt bad for the police chief who was hunched over in a deep bow. The man was a little plump, with a mop of brown hair with a matching beard. "He's a new officer, please don't be too hard on the boy."
"It's fine, mistakes like this happen." When the handcuffed Adam had been dragged into the police station, the chief had come over to see what the fuss was about. When Adam explained the situation the man had taken matters into his own hands and quickly resolved the situation.
"He'll be scrubbing the latrines for a week." the chief assured. "The newbie's heart is in the right place, but he needs to get his head on straight before he makes any more mistakes." The senior officer sighed. "Still, now that he dragged you here, can I be of any assistance? I'd rather not kick out without paying you back for the inconvenience we caused you." It was a generous offer, one that Adam readily took.
"Can you tell me where I am?" He asked. "I was supposed to be deployed for a mission but I think I am a little off course." He knew a few of the surrounding cities, so hopefully he could make his way back to St. Fountain.
"You're in Masdar Aldhahab," the man replied with a smile. Adam's brow furrowed. He had never heard of the city. Not only was he separated from his team with busted communication equipment but he had no idea where he was. Carole was going to hold this over him for weeks.
"It seems I am off my target," Adam confessed with a sigh. "Can I use your phone? My equipment seems to be on the fritz. I need to call back to Saint Freya Academy and make a request for evac."
"Of course," the chief replied. "Allow me a moment, I think I left it in my office." Adam didn't even notice their departure. His focus had been stolen by a nearby newspaper title. "President of Massive Electric Corp Charged with Fraud!" He quickly crossed the room picking it up. Adam had never read the article of course, but he knew the contents. Mei had spoken with him about when her father had been accused. But why would the police have such an old article?
"So you've seen the news," Adam looked back up as the chief returned. The chief gestured at the paper in Adam's hand, shaking his head. "I always thought that President Ryoma was a good man, always donating money to those in need. Such a shame he was just another two-bit crook." Adam frowned, the event had happened years ago. Why was he speaking about such things as if they had happened yesterday?
"I didn't catch your name," The officer said, interrupting his thoughts.
"Adam... Fountaine," It wasn't his actual name of course. It was coded shorthand. It would alert those he contacted of both his name and mission. In this case someone in HQ would decipher it as 'the Valkyrja named Adam' and his mission of 'Going to St. Fountain.' It hadn't been necessary to lie to the man but he had always had a dislike for his last name. It was why he went by a code name for a majority of the mission.
"Oh, that's a coincidence," the chief laughed. "You almost shared your name with the city." That caused Adam to pause.
"I thought you said this was Masdar Aldhahab?" He replied evenly.
"Oh did I?" The man gave a flustered laugh. "I'm sorry I must have made a mistake. This town is called Masdar Aldhahab but only the locals call it that." the chief replied jovially. "On any map this place would be known as St. Fountain. In fact-" Adam didn't hear the rest of the words as he practically sprinted out of the station, paper clutched in hand.. As he entered the street, Adam looked around, eyes taking in everything. It was only then he began to notice the similarities.
The small clothing store on the corner of the street. The gravel pathways that would eventually be paved, as well as the lamp posts' with their unique design. He was in St. Fountain but it was shockingly different, jarringly so. With trembling hands he lifted the paper and read the date. The year 2013 innocently looked back. The blocks finally fell into place. He was in the past, more than a decade if the paper was fresh. It was no wonder his sword was filled with Honkai energy. The final impact has yet to occur, and the world still held ample amounts.
Adam didn't know whether to cry or laugh. He was stuck years in the past with no one who knew him and with little to no resources to his name. No identification, a pocket's worth of cash, some broken communication equipment and his sword. It was like being stranded in a desert, except he had no way out. On the other hand, he had to count the positives. With the stunt he pulled, he should've been dead.
Still the year was an important one, a pivotal one. He was still before the 2014 houkai outbreak in Nagazora which would happen early next year. He was also before the battle of Schicksal, and the awakening of the Herrscher of the Void. If he interfered he could save millions of lives, perhaps even stop the events from happening.
But should he? The butterfly effect or whatever fanciful name it was called was always a possibility. By trying to change things for the better, he might unintentionally make things worse. Perhaps he should just dig himself a hole and hide, allowing time to pass as it had. With a grimace, he dismissed the thought. It would only lead him back to Otto and St. Fountain all over again. No he had to make a stand, he had to change what he could.
"Mr. Fountaine what's wrong!?" The police chief ran out of the station to his side. "Why did you leave the station, are we under attack?" The man asked, searching wildly for the reason for Adam's abrupt departure.
"Sorry for the disturbance," Adam apologized. "It seems I was mistaken. I am right where I need to be." The chief nodded, albeit still rather confused.
"Oh… of course." He stumbled over his words. "Did you still need me to contact the academy?"
"No, that won't be necessary," Adam responded, shaking his head. "But I do need to get going, I have a lot of work to do."
Yes, a lot of work to do indeed.
Files from the future:
Bios of special member: Team assignment pending
Name : Adam [Redacted]
Eye color: Pale Gold
Subject is the first male to attend St. Freya Academy. Valedictorian of his year and one of the top fighters in his class. Traits include high intelligence as well as a drive well beyond his peers for achievement. High potential for a leadership position. See page three for more details.
Personality is analytical but withdrawn, often shying away or keeping his distance from his peers. This is most likely due to the [Redacted] Incident as well as outside forces fighting against his enrollment at the academy. For more detail of the incident and psych evaluations see page seven.
Subject's body is unique when it comes to Honaki energy. While he holds a high tolerance like most Valkyrja, he benefits from Honkai energy easier than others. At 10HW (Houkai Welt), most Valkyrja will experience a 1% increase in their physical abilities. Subject has been recorded to have a 5%-7% increase. It is unknown if this increase is linear or exponential as there is not enough data for a conclusive analysis. What is known is that the subject is affected more heavily by Honkai energy than other Valkyrja. Full details outlined on page ten.
Custom weapon, Labor of Olympus, created by Schicksal R&D. Has the ability to store and unleash Honkai energy from the environment. Primarily used to enhance his stigma.
WARNING: At high HW levels, stigma is extremely volatile and dangerous. This was the deciding factor that led to the [Redacted] Incident. For further details see page eleven.
Recommendation: Despite interest from 2nd Schicksal Investigation Team, we recommend the 3rd Schicksal Investigation Team instead. Raiden Mei's caring nature as well as having gone through similar experiences will be beneficial for special member.
-for Overseer Theresa only
Shorter chapter than I would have liked but dragging out a prologue is never a great idea.
Greetings, I hope you liked the chapter. I have been planning this story for a month and I can't wait to continue writing it. The Honkai universe is expansive on its own and I've enjoyed seeing what it has to offer.
As a side note, for those who do not know. Adam is the protagonist of the open world mode called "A Post Honaki Odyssey" or APHO for short. In the game mode you can name him anything you want, but the canonical name for the protagonist is Adam. Now for the bigger question.
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