City Series:Volume3b Chapter 4

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Act 4: Everyone’s Beginning Occurs in the Five Elements (4:21)[edit]

Part 1[edit]

A clear morning sky covered Hong Kong.

It was such a deep blue that not even the white outlines of the clouds could blend into it.

Hong Kong’s sky had not been this way before. This was a pure sky, unpolluted by shimmering heat or smoke.

A single Nein Engel looked up into that sky.

It was Akira.

She slowly walked through the nearly abandoned streets.

Her feet took her from Kowloon’s administrative district to the Yard’s base.

She had not been into work for nine days, but she had not told anyone she would be starting today.

“I can’t believe this…”

She lowered her gaze, but her view was unobstructed because most of the buildings had been destroyed and shortened. She could see the previously hidden mountains at the center of the Kowloon Peninsula.

The green of vegetation did not cover the mountains.

Their dry earthen color contrasted with the blue sky above.

They had experienced landslides from the earthquake during the Sixth Divine Punishment War nine days before.

“…”

Akira remained silent and touched the collapsible Device hanging from her waist.

The metal blade felt cold.

“An Octave of 280,000, hm?”

That was the highest Octave she had managed to control that morning.

I’ve gotten even worse than last night.

“Do I have a cold?”

Her carefree tone was belied by her expression.

Her face was stiff around the eyebrows.

When she noticed, she placed a finger between her eyebrows and sighed.

She shook her head lightly and moved her hand up to her forehead.

“Do I have a fever? I did go to sleep covered in water last night.”

She sounded like she was trying to convince someone.

“This isn’t good. If I do have a cold…”

She stopped walking and looked up into the sky with her hand still on her forehead.

“If I do have a cold…”

She repeated herself and moved her hand slightly to cover her eyes.

She then fell silent.

She stood in the empty street while covering her skyward gaze and not speaking a word. She did not say a thing as if waiting for time to pass before her eyes.

She took several breaths as silence filled her surroundings.

That silence was first broken by the quiet sound of someone clearing their throat.

Movement soon followed.

Her hand moved before her mouth. She lowered the hand covering her eyes.

However, those eyes were closed.

She was not looking at anything.

She still did not open her eyes, but she kept her head lowered and rather roughly turned around as if shaking something off of her.

“I’m so stupid.”

She took a breath.

“If I want the day off, I can use a vacation day.”

She began to walk once more, but in the opposite direction from before.

She continued talking to herself, but she only seemed to complaint about her workplace, such as improvements needed in the Yard’s labor policies or the drop in quality at the Chinese restaurant. She complained the longest about the pay.

Each time she spoke, her pace picked up.

“I really am stupid.”

She was more running than walking now, but she did not use her wings.

Her Tuning power had weakened, so she could no longer read the Lives of the wind and she could not fly. If she misread those Lives even slightly, she would move her wings wrong and lose all of her speed.

She ran through the empty streets like a normal human and the Device hanging from her waist made a sound each time she moved.

It was a metallic sound.

“…”

She stopped talking, but she did not stop her legs. She held the Device in her hand to keep it from making so much noise.

The metallic sound vanished.

This created a world of silence only broken by footsteps and breathing.

Her running feet leaped from the ground.

Her heavy breathing sounded loudly.

For a brief moment, she looked back.

As if to prove the silence of the city, she could only see the broken buildings and blue sky.

There was no one there.

Only then did she finally slow her pace. She slowly faced forward again and brought her racing feet down to a walk.

The only change from before was the hand holding her Device.

“I can’t believe this.”

She looked forward and saw her apartment building.

She had already arrived at the bottom of the old black metal stairs.

She took a few heavy breaths before saying more.

“This isn’t a cold, is it?”

She was speaking to herself.

A few seconds later, she nodded as if deciding on something.

With that as her signal, she slowly ascended the stairs one step at a time.

“…?”

She stopped halfway up.

“Someone’s…there?”

She sensed someone on the second story corridor.

She cleared her ears and saw a slight yellow Live.

Who is it?

She moved her legs to climb the rest of the stairs.

Her eyes were directed straight forward and her gaze stabbed down the corridor and in front of her room.

She saw a single figure there.

“Gunmal?”

When the person turned toward her voice, it turned out to be someone else.

“Akira. …Yeah, sorry about this, but it’s only me.”

It was Kouga.

Just like always, he wore his blond hair in a pompadour and wore a Hawaiian shirt, but she did see some slight exhaustion on his face.

Akira asked this unexpected visitor a question.

“Wh-what is it? …A-and more importantly, you were okay?”

“Yeah, I was just fine. I don’t die even when you kill me, after all.”

“That’s true, but…”

“What are your plans for today, Akira?”

“Eh?”

“Are you heading to the Yard? You are wearing your uniform.”

She hesitated to answer that, but she soon did so with a smile.

“Yes. I figure there are a lot of jobs for a Tuner after what happened to Hong Kong. Everyone’s going to be in trouble if I don’t get back to work soon, right?”

Kouga answered her smile with a serious expression.

“The Yard was almost entirely wiped out.”

“…”

“There are a lot of jobs for you.”

“Eh?”

She tilted her head and he crossed his arms.

“It’s pretty bad. The injuries and destroyed houses are no joke. We need you to get started healing all the destruction that hasn’t settled into place yet.”

“Oh, that’s what you meant.”

“Eh?”

“I thought we were going to start fighting again so soon.”

“Of course not.” Kouga smiled bitterly. “Didn’t I tell you? The Yard was almost entirely wiped out. We couldn’t put up a fight even if we wanted to.”

“…I see.”

“During that thing everyone’s calling the Sixth Divine Punishment War, most of the Yard made an attack on Hong Kong Cave.”

“But the Nein Engels weren’t there. I know that much.”

“Most of them were caught on the way back to the base.”

“Eh?”

Kouga sounded disinterested as he answered.

“You can only get to Hong Kong Island through the undersea tunnel or by ferry, right? Well, an earthquake split that undersea tunnel apart.”

“…”

“Pretty much everyone but the unit that took the ferry was wiped out.”

“Wiped out?”

“It’s best not to think about it.”

“Wait! Wh-what about the General!?”

“He was one of the lucky survivors. …Huh? Hadn’t you heard? He was the one that arranged for your hospitalization.”

Come to think of it, I did hear that when I was released, she thought.

She was panicking a bit, so she sighed to help calm herself.

“Then what is the Yard doing now?”

“All police-related stations have been automatically locked down. We’re still on Stage 2 Alert.”

“Then you’re on the civil team?”

“Because I’m no use in a fight.”

“That’s not something to laugh about.”

“Sorry.”

“Well, whatever. …So where’s Rin?”

“Oh, about that. That’s why I’m here.” He looked up. “Can you heal her? It’s on the General’s orders.”

She answered with a question of her own.

“Can’t Rin…heal herself?”

“Eh?”

“What do you mean ‘eh’?”

“Oh, well, I just didn’t expect to hear you say that.”

“Wh-what do you mean? I was just asking. So has she not woken up yet?”

“She has. She did yesterday.”

“But she can’t heal herself?”

“It’s a pretty serious injury and the Live has settled in pretty bad, so you’ll have to find a slight disturbance to start with…”

“That’s not easy, you know?”

“That’s why we’re asking you.”

“…I suppose so.”

She nodded and felt her heart begin to race.

This isn’t good.

In her Tune training that morning, she had only been able to control an Octave of about 280,000.

Rin could control up to 320,000.

If Rin could not do it, there was no way Akira could now. Not to mention that Akira’s power was vanishing as time passed.

“I wonder why.”

“Why what?”

“Oh, just talking to myself.”

Why is it going down? If it’s because it isn’t fun…

“Maybe there isn’t enough tension.”

“For the boss? I seriously doubt that.”

“No, not that. I just can’t hold a conversation today…”

She started to say something more and nodded.

You usually escape this kind of decline by getting desperate enough.

She was tasked with healing a serious injury.

She briefly recalled when she had seen J-Gun die.

“…”

Am I losing my confidence? Then I just have to get it back, right?

That’s pretty cheap reasoning, but it has to be right, she added.

“Okay. Then let’s get to the hospital.”

“Eh? Really?”

“What’s that look for?”

“Well, you sounded like you didn’t want to go.”

“What good is a Tuner that can’t Tune? You have your motorcycle, right?”

With that, she lightly tapped the Device at her waist.

It no longer made the metallic sound that had been hurting her ears before.

Part 2[edit]

The hospital was the same one Akira had been hospitalized at.

However, they went to a different building.

“Building 2’s power supply is on the fritz, so she’s in Building 3 despite her serious injury. You were in a special room in Building 1.”

“Well, I am a Nein Engel. I can’t use a normal bed. …Oh, using the main entrance would be the long way around, so let’s head directly in over there.”

Akira avoided the main entrance and walked to Building 3’s courtyard-side entrance.

“It sounds like the boss has some kind of idea. I was hoping you could ask her what it is.”

“Just between us girls, you mean?”

“Sorry.”

Akira nodded and circled the entire hospital from the courtyard.

There was no one on the grassy courtyard.

The buildings surrounded the courtyard with Building 1 on the left, Building 2 straight ahead, and Building 3 to the right.

They were all giant white-walled buildings.

However, all of the windows in Building 2 were dark.

As Kouga had said, it seemed to have stopped functioning.

The hospital’s power supply is out?

Building 2 was used for seriously injured patients.

“…”

“What’s that worried look for?”

“Oh, just feeling a little down.”

“Yeah, I can’t stand the smell of disinfectant either.”

“Because you’re a vampire?” asked Akira. “Oh, sorry,” she quickly added.

However, Kouga only smiled bitterly without getting angry.

“Maybe that is why. Now that you mention it.”

“Come to think of it, I didn’t ask about your family.”

“My mother’s a vampire and my father’s human. It’s the same arrangement as your family.”

“No, not that. Have they left Hong Kong?”

“They went to London for a six-month trip,” he answered. “They’ll come back eventually. This is the only place where people like us can live and enjoy ourselves. I doubt my old man’s thinking of completely ditching this place.”

“I see.”

“I wish I could strike back at the enemy like you can. The civil team will probably be stuck taking everyone left in Hong Kong to the New Territories.”

“That’s an important job, isn’t it?”

“The General said the same thing.”

“Well, he and I can be a lot alike.”

They arrived at Building 3’s entrance as they spoke. Akira hesitated a little, but she walked ahead of Kouga and pushed the glass door.

The door silently opened and she stepped inside. The smell of disinfectant grew stronger and she was surprised to find it was brighter than outside.

The brightness of the lights confused her and Kouga ran into her when she flinched back.

She began walking again.

“Which room is she in?”

“404. …Oh, I was told not to use the elevator.”

“That’s fine since I don’t like elevators, but I need to Tune heal her as quickly as I can.”

“You sound motivated now.”

“Yeah. I need to take this seriously, so I’m psyching myself up.”

With that, she turned toward the emergency staircase.

She climbed the stairs.

As they moved their feet, Kouga spoke to break the silence.

“Speaking of families, the boss’s came by. They apparently have some connections on the mainland.”

“Will Rin…be moving there?”

“In liberated Broad City – Shanghai, apparently. But that was the first time I learned her Wild Name.”

“She’s from the Feng family, right? And your family name is Yamashiro, isn’t it? I know everyone’s since I’m with Cleared.”

“The Feng family is famous. That must be why her family wants to get moving so soon.”

“Probably. …What do you think the General will do? Will he move to the mainland, too?”

“Who knows. No one knows much about his family.”

“He apparently has a wife. He’s always talking about her. Have you ever seen her?”

“Nope.”

“Maybe she’s imaginary.”

With that offhand comment, Akira came to a stop.

She took a breath and heard Kouga speak behind her.

“What is it?”

“I was just thinking the fourth floor is so high up.”

As she climbed the stairs, she found herself out of breath and her pulse racing.

Maybe because I always use my wings to fly.

She smiled bitterly and Kouga gave her a serious look.

“Are you still not feeling well?”

“Eh? Why do you ask?”

“Well…”

He pointed at the number on the landing. They were only on the second floor.

It was true this was too early to be exhausted.

“Maybe it was too early to ask you here…”

Kouga sounded worried and Akira frantically spoke up.

“I’m fine, I’m fine. I was just kidding.”

Akira herself knew best of all that was a lie. Her breathing and pulse were far from “fine”.

Kouga’s right…but what does it mean?

She started up the stairs again to hide her confusion. She forcefully stepped forward to continue the climb.

She consciously restrained her breathing. That quieted her breaths, but they were even more disturbed than before. And that disturbance sent her pulse racing even faster.

She started sweating.

It was a cold sweat.

This was not the warm sweat of exhaustion.

What is going on?

The answer became clear once she reached the fourth floor.

“…”

She could no longer walk properly.

“Eh?”

She looked down and found her legs shaking on the fourth floor landing.

No, it was not just her legs that were trembling. Her arms and body were also shaking. It was a weak tremor, different from the tension of exertion.

A chill? No, this is different.

She had seen the Lives of people trembling like this.

Their Live would have a cold purple Word Color and a Tempo like a racing metallic pulse that was too high-pitched to hear.

“Why am I afraid?”

She suddenly looked up.

“I get it now…”

She realized she had made a serious misunderstanding.

At the same time, she received the answer to all of her questions.

It was not her exhaustion or the lack of practice that was keeping her from Tuning.

I’m afraid of Tuning.

Her body briefly recalled the ensemble of screaming Lives she had heard on the night of the flying dragons.

“!”

Her pulse grew stronger, the purple Word Color surrounding her turned black, and the Tempo briefly stopped.

Her chill grew worse and her arms moved on their own to hold her body.

Kouga passed by her without noticing how she was acting.

“404’s right in front of you.”

Rin’s hospital room was straight ahead from the landing.

“Right here. They weren’t allowing visitors until yesterday.”

She spoke without turning around and she did not respond.

Akira watched him reach for the doorknob and she removed the Device at her waist.

She then hid it from Kouga by placing it behind the railing of the next flight of stairs up.

Her pulse calmed a little.

She looked back just in time to see Kouga opening the hospital room door.

A chill of surprise raced through her body like an icicle had stabbed down her spine.

Once that door opened, she would have to Tune.

“Kouga!”

She just about shouted for him to stop, but the sunlight on the other side of the door stopped her.

The hospital room was bright.

It was pure white.

The bed was best described as sterile, but…

“It’s empty,” weakly muttered Kouga.

Akira also saw the empty space.

Rin had vanished from the hospital room.

“…”

She also found she had stopped trembling.

Part 3[edit]

The afternoon had arrived, but the blue sky still retained its color.

Below it, a tank was stopped in the center of the destroyed Nathan Road.

That Grant from the Yard belonged to the General.

The brightly decorated vehicle was not even idling as it sat there watching a young man facing away from it.

That young man, Gunmal, held Nein König in his flesh-and-blood left hand.

“The weather sure is nice today. You can see the sky perfectly.”

He gave a triumphant snort.

“If the coast wasn’t so badly damaged, I’d invite Akira to the beach. …Right?”

He looked back and a bit up.

The General sat on the Grant’s turret.

The old man frowned and rested his head on his hand.

“In five days and a bit, Hong Kong will be returned to China. You need to worry about gettin’ a visa before worryin’ about the beach.”

“I don’t really care. If I have to choose between being treated like an illegal immigrant and the beach, I’ll choose the beach.”

“How ‘bout you look around you before sayin’ that?”

Gunmal did as he was told.

This part of Nathan Road was near where he and Akira had fought Fei and J-Gun. It had also been hit by the earthquake and tsunami caused by the destruction.

Most of the buildings were much shorter than before.

There was no one on the road, so his vision was clear.

Once he saw all that, he nodded.

“This place was destroyed pretty good, wasn’t it?”

“That isn’t all.”

The General sighed.

In addition to the city’s damage, the ground itself was torn up for about two hundred meters in front of Gunmal.

Shimmering heat rose from the damaged earth.

This destruction was new.

“Just because you run across a monster is no reason for goin’ that far.”

“Don’t blame me, old man. It’s my first day on the job.”

Gunmal showed off his armband. The green plastic armband said “Cleared” in white.

“The four Earth Burns really disturbed the ley lines around here, so without Akira…”

“Askin’ for your help might’ve been the biggest mistake of my life.”

“Stop flattering me.”

“Is that so?”

The General sounded annoyed and he looked down to his pocket.

Gunmal noticed the motion.

“Are you worried about the call from that guy?”

“More or less.”

“So Rin left the hospital and Akira’s emotionally unstable, hm?”

“The two of them are searchin’ around the city, but knowin’ Rin, they won’t find her.”

“You sound like you know where she is.”

“Of course. I know where all the young girls go.”

“Then where’s Rin, you dirty old man?”

“Well… Probably in somethin’ of a secret base of hers. Injured animals tend to go into hidin’ until they can make a comeback.”

Gunmal nodded at the old man’s answer.

“She’s going to heal herself between now and Hong Kong’s return to China?” He looked to his own right hand. “Customizing her body would be the only way, but can she complete a surgery that major in time?”

“I don’t know. From Hong Kong, she’d probably have to get a complete rearrangement of her Live in Shanghai or Detroit’s virtual network. The question would be how well equipped her secret base is and whether it’s still up and runnin’.”

“Rewriting the data in the human genome, huh? At best, it would take three days hooked up to the network. Although she might be able to shorten that by routing through London to more easily convert her body’s Live into text data.”

“Either way, that isn’t a surgery a normal woman should go through.”

One of the tank’s crew shouted from inside it.

“General! We have a reading to five o’clock!”

Based on the direction the tank was facing, five o’clock was south-southwest, or looking down Nathan Road toward the sea.

The General and Gunmal looked in that direction.

The eight lane road had four lanes in each direction and most of the buildings on either side had collapsed, but the walls where still quite large compared to a human.

Something even larger than those walls was moving.

A white mountain could be glimpsed behind one of the collapsed buildings.

“A white tiger, huh?” said Gunmal without really checking. “Comparing it to that building, it must be around twenty meters tall.”

The General’s eyebrows moved in response.

“A tiger? That’ll be the biggest one today.”

“I hate these Live disturbances that grow as they devour the city.”

“Is this any time to complain? Oh, that thing’s got an Octave of 1,600,000.”

“So it’s two buildings’ worth of disturbed Lives?”

Gunmal thought for a moment.

“Compare that to the amount of destruction on the overhead map. We’ll probably be done here once I defeat this one.”

“You make it sound easy. Hurry up and finish it off before it comes runnin’ this way.”

“Sure thing.”

Gunmal swung Nein König without looking that way.

“Ah.”

He placed that simple Live reverberation inside Nein König.

It was an impressive Live.

It had a low Tempo that moved like a wave and rumbled in one’s gut.

Its Word Color was the gray of metal.

He amplified it within Nein König and sent it racing out.

“!”

The quiet Live of his voice burst out as a roar too great to read.

The Word Color of the light made it look like a giant line of steel.

Its destination was a building looking down on the white form.

The metallic Live pierced through the building and destroyed it.

That was only the beginning.

The light burst from within the building that still had its first four floors.

A bestial cry shook the air from beyond the building, but Gunmal’s Live consumed even the beast’s roar.

It pierced through everything.

The rumbling sound resembled a giant piece of ice falling into the ocean.

The steel-colored light devoured both the building and the beast behind it.

However, it did not end there.

Three buildings of the same height were destroyed behind the tiger.

They were annihilated.

Not even their Lives remained.

There was only rubble and shimmering heat.

“That should do it.”

“Y’know…”

“I held back. Honest.”

Gunmal’s tone was light and the General looked away from him.

He looked to the earth torn up in a different direction.

“Bustin’ sure has gone a long way in Europe.”

“But Tuning hasn’t. And it looks like it hasn’t here either, maybe due to the Divine Punishment Wars. Most of the material about it has been lost, hasn’t it? Not as much as in my homeland, though.”

The General smiled bitterly.

“If more of it were left…I could’ve been a better teacher than I am.”

“Hm? For Rin and Akira, you mean?”

“Yeah.”

“…”

“Gunmal. Didn’t you stop by Akira’s place?”

“Yes… But I might as well not have.”

“Why didn’t you actually meet her?”

“It didn’t seem like the right time. The ocean still hasn’t calmed down, after all. If I’m gonna ask her to the beach, we’ve at least gotta be able to swim.”

“Pervert.”

“You’re one to talk when you always bring up Akira in every conversation. Are you into younger women or something?”

“I’m not about to get turned on by a girl who could be my granddaughter. It’s just that my wife keeps insistin’ I look after Akira.”

“Your wife? Does she know Akira?”

“No.”

“Then what are you talking about, old man? Was there some glitch in your brain?”

“Don’t blame me. That’s just how women are.”

The General nodded and sighed.

The old man rubbed the scar on his cheek and looked back to the young man.

“It’s not time to meet her yet? …You’re soundin’ like a prophet.”

“A prophet? I’m not a Tuner.”

“True. There’re the Lives of Yin, Yang, and space-time above normal Bustin’ and Tunin’.”

“It sure would be convenient to draw out the Live of time and read the future.”

“It wouldn’t be that easy for Hong Kong at the moment.”

“Are all of the commands and books left by the emperor really gone?”

“All of that stuff was lost durin’ the Fifth Divine Punishment War.”

“The Fifth Divine Punishment War, huh?”

“A lot happened then.”

Gunmal nodded and looked up at the General.

“A lot, huh?”

His eyes turned to the scar on the General’s cheek.

He then stopped moving.

“I’ve been wondering.”

He fell silent.

“…”

His expression was unusually stiff.

He paused to breathe and then he spoke quietly.

“I’ve been wondering about something.”

“About what?”

“The official story is the original version of that giant Tune Emblem was made for local destruction.”

“Yes.”

“But what was it really made for?”

Gunmal’s eyes turned to the tank the General sat on.

He frowned and sighed.

“I guess that isn’t something to talk about in public.”

“I can tell you a little bit.”

“?”

“This has been repeated again and again and even this age has been overwritten countless times.”

“Is that supposed to be a hint?”

“You just have to worry about the present.”

“So I’m not supposed to worry about the past? There’s no way a young guy can do that.”

“It’s your loss. …A real shame after the last Hu went a little overboard and destroyed our old system. That produced a new system.”

Gunmal stuck out his tongue.

“System? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Some people fight because they don’t understand.”

Gunmal tilted his head and the General twisted his mouth into a slight smile.

He then peered inside the tank and gave the crew some instructions.

The tank started up immediately.

Its engine roared to life and it began to idle.

“Hey, at least tell me one thing!” shouted Gunmal.

“What is it?”

“If my previous prediction is correct, then you’re actually Akira’s father, aren’t you?”

“…?”

The General frowned for once and looked to Gunmal.

“Why would you think that?”

“Because of that scar on your cheek…and because you’re the only person in Hong Kong whose Live I can’t read.”

“And the rest is your prediction? Didn’t you see Akira’s family grave?”

“Oh, that’s right. …Come to think of it, she saw her father die. I guess I was wrong.”

Gunmal scratched his head.

“It was a good guess, though.”

With that comment and a bitter smile on his lips, the General turned around.

In that instant, someone descended onto the idling Grant’s secondary weapon, a 70mm machinegun.

The wind blew through.

Part 4[edit]

A four-winged female Cherub stood on the tank’s gun with a refreshing wind surrounding her.

“It’s been a while.”

Genius looked to Gunmal.

She was not holding her light-summoning sword, so she had no intention of fighting.

Noting that, Gunmal lowered Nein König.

“Hey.”

As he left his combat stance, the General called out to him.

“Who’s this girl?”

“My brother’s wife.”

“I see.”

The General looked to Genius and sighed.

“Young people these days don’t know how to introduce themselves.”

“Will ‘nice to meet you’ suffice, General of the Yard?”

Genius smiled bitterly and showed no hostility.

“Oh?” The General nodded. “So what do you want? Keep it short. It’s well known that I don’t like Nein Engels.”

“I’d be careful if I were you,” interjected Gunmal. “This old man seems to only like younger female Nein Engels.”

“Shut up.”

“I thought you wanted to keep this short?”

Gunmal and the General exchanged a glance at Genius’s unfazed tone of voice.

“See, old man? She’s scolding you.”

“That was your fault and you know it. …Now, then. What brought you here?”

“I have a warning.”

“A warning?”

Genius nodded and looked back to Gunmal.

“Leave this city immediately and never return.”

“What? Why would I-…?”

“You don’t have time, so listen to me. Either Double Lee or Fei are going to come kill you. …They saw you have enough power to perhaps destroy a dragon.”

“That’s definitely a problem… I have no intention of being killed by a guy.”

“I’m not joking.”

The General nodded toward her.

“This idiot ain’t jokin’ either.”

Genius looked to the old man and spoke while he gave her a harsh look.

“You should leave the city, too. You know that no one can stop the Earth Serpent that will be activated next, don’t you? Not even by Gunmal here.”

“Cause of the power of Yang?”

She nodded at the General’s question.

“Gunmal, you saw it, didn’t you? When you cut the dragon, it recovered and grew even stronger.”

“Yeah, I saw it. I tried to blow it away a second time, but I couldn’t.”

“That wasn’t made with the normal Tuning or Busting that you all use. Thanks to the power of Yang, it is obligated to rise to heaven.”

“It’s true I could cut it but not destroy it using my Busting.”

“You can’t win, can you? To oppose the power of Yang, you need the opposite power of Yin.”

“So it’s like the sun and moon?” asked the General.

Genius nodded.

“It is because the power of Yang is born from sunlight that the dragon belongs to heaven. …If you do want to destroy the dragon and return it to Hong Kong…”

“We have to hit it with a Yin dragon made from moonlight?”

“Yes. But is there a Tuner in Hong Kong that can do that?”

“There is.”

“Double Lee’s sister?”

Gunmal remained silent and Genius sighed quietly.

“It’s too bad. Even I can tell she doesn’t have as much talent as Double Lee.”

“Talent, huh?” Gunmal gave a thin smile. “Then we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’ve still got a lot I have to do here, so I won’t be leaving for a while.”

“You’ll die. Even J-Gun was killed.”

“I’m good at running away.”

With that, he raised Nein König. Genius stopped moving.

“What are you doing?”

“So either Akira’s brother or Rin’s lover is coming to kill me?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Then what’s the other one going to be doing?”

“…” “Based on what you were saying, both of them could have come for me.”

Genius kept her silence, but…

“I can read your Live, Genius.”

“!”

“The power of Yang you were talking about came from Huang Daquan’s blood, didn’t it? Do you still have any of that left? Do you have the fresh blood needed for the final ceremony?”

“Well…”

“How about I answer for you? The other one is after Akira, aren’t they? They’re after her blood!”

As soon as he said that, a rumbling reached his ears.

“An explosion!?”

It was nearby.

It was only a few blocks north from this district.

Gunmal’s head shot up.

“They’ve already started!?”

“Yes, it’s best to get this kind of thing done quickly.”

A new voice reached him from the left.

“!?”

He saw wings on Nathan Road. It was a six-winged Seraph.

“Are you Double Lee!?”

“You must be Gunmal.”

Double Lee walked forward and Genius jumped backwards. She hopped from the gun barrel to the ground.

But Double Lee ignored her movement. He simply walked straight to the midpoint between the tank and Gunmal.

A slight wind blew through.

Gunmal and Double Lee were not even three meters apart.

Gunmal still held Nein König at the ready, but Double Lee was empty-handed with his sword Device at his waist.

Gunmal gave a light whistle at his opponent’s attitude.

“You sure are confident. We’ve got a tank on our side, you know?”

“I am sure you would try to let the rest of your ‘side’ escape. I suggest we make this one-on-one.”

“Hm. Then what if I try taking that woman hostage?”

“It was her decision to come here. She can take responsibility for her own actions. Also, that would not stop me. But…”

It was the General and not Gunmal who urged Double Lee on.

He did so while instructing the tank crew not to move.

“But what?”

“I have a question. …Why are you panicking?”

“…”

“Are you afraid of losing Akira?”

“What about you?”

“Would you believe me if I told you?”

“Yes. Based on your actions, I’d say you’re a lot like me.”

“You are overestimating me,” said Double Lee with a slight smile. “I am only doing what is necessary. It is all to find the answer.”

Gunmal’s expression changed at that point.

“I…can’t read your Live either.”

The usual smile had vanished from his face.

“Old man.”

“What is it?”

“You should leave.”

He did not tell him to run away.

“Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve been moved to emotion like this.”

“Oh? Are you gonna stick with us to the end?”

“It’s not you I’m sticking with.”

“Then who?”

“Akira.”

That was all Gunmal had to say.

He raised Nein König in his left hand.


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