City Series:Volume4a Chapter 7

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Chapter 7: Trembling in Fear (Vs. Human Instructions)[edit]

Part 1[edit]

7:46 PM

Shoui and Saki ran down the stairs from the roof to the first floor.

“What the hell!?”

The first thing they saw were collapsed students filling the hallway that cut east to west across the student dorm’s first floor.

The hundred meter linoleum floor was covered in people wearing the gray uniform of Osaka Prefectural #2.

There were at least one hundred of them.

Most of them held weapons and wore armor and they lay unconscious on the floor with no noticeable injuries.

“What in the world happened?”

Shoui – Medical Tech – Take – Identity Injuries – Hit.

“They were kicked.”

“…? You can tell?”

“I saw this a lot when I used to do karate. You can tell they took a hit to the jaw from the angle of their neck. See?”

Saki – Medical Tech – Take – Identify Injuries – Miss.

“I can’t really tell. But the problem is that this was done by a single person.”

“It looks that way to you too, Saki-san? You think one person did all this?”

Shoui looked around the hallway.

“Come to think of it, what are the defenses like here? Even if it isn’t Nandaimon class, shouldn’t the automatic defenses react to an intruder?”

Saki looked to one corner of the ceiling.

There was a television camera there, but its power light was off.

“This isn’t good. That’s supposed to be connected to the Chancellor’s Officers HQ out back.”

Shoui nodded and looked to the collapsed students.

He recognized a few he had met over the past few days.

He had taken classes with them during the day.

He then looked to the doors lining the hallway.

They were all open, so everyone had come out to challenge the enemy.

“I can’t believe this. Should I revive them all?”

“Finding the enemy comes first. …Can anyone move!? Someone who knows where the enemy went!”

Someone responded to Saki’s shout.

“Your enemy hasn’t run away, idiot. He’s right here.”

It was a male voice and it came from the stairway on the left that Saki and Shoui had descended.

The two boys looked over in surprise and found the enemy there.

Part 2[edit]

7:48 PM

A boy in a red mountain hoodie stood high up on the stairway landing.

He brushed up his straight, short-cropped hair as he looked down at Shoui and Saki.

“So you had some forces left over, did you?”

The first to react was Shoui, not Saki.

He took a slow half-step forward. He did not put up his guard and remained in a natural stance.

“Um, excuse me. I’m a normal student, so can I just leave? …Gwoh! S-Saki-san!?”

Shoui shouted in protest at the kick from the side and Saki glared at him.

“Get outta here, moron! And…hey, you! Who the hell are you!? Answer me!”

“You really do love your boke and tsukkomi routine in Osaka, don’t you?”

“Answer the question I asked!”

“Shut up. You’re the one that needs to answer my question. Has Osaka’s Chancellor still not come back?”

Saki’s expression shifted from tense to grim when he heard that.

“Damn you…”

“Hey, you up there! I wouldn’t anger Saki-san if I were you. His special attack is to gang up on you with his friends.”

Shoui ducked to avoid the backhand punch Saki threw his way, so Saki glanced back at him.

“Why would you dodge that?”

“The rules of boke and tsukkomi have nothing to do with this. Oh, and pay attention.”

The enemy walked down one step.

Shoui – Mind Tech – Take – Detect Killer Intent – Hit.

The enemy gave off no killer intent.

That meant one of two things.

One: the enemy was not taking this seriously yet.

Two: the enemy was maintaining a natural stance.

Shoui chose the latter, so he gave a shout.

“Hold it!”

“…?”

Once the enemy reached the third step down, Shoui saw him stop.

Saki gave Shoui a puzzled look from the side, but he did not care.

He simply asked a question of the enemy who stood higher up from him.

“Are you here to pick a fight with Osaka’s Chancellor?”

“Of course. Besides, after going this far, the Chancellor’s really the only one left.”

Saki stepped forward when he heard that.

He pulled out two spears and held one at the ready in each hand.

“You mean you defeated all the guards!? You defeated Vice Chancellor Hirano and the Special Duty Officers!?”

“Yeah, they were quite brave. My officers grew defiant and refused to cross the Altered Line, so they could learn a thing from yours.”

“Cross the Altered Line?”

“Yes, I’m saying I crossed Nagoya’s ultra-dangerous desert region created when the word structure was destroyed by the nuclear syllable bomb dropped during the Kinki Riot thirteen years ago.”

“…”

“Do you understand what that means?”

“If that’s true, this is no joke!”

“Why would it be a joke?” The enemy sat down on the stairs. “Well, if Osaka’s Chancellor hasn’t shown up after all this, maybe he was already taken out.”

“What?”

“This place seems pretty shorthanded, but that’s because something happened in the city, isn’t it? …My companions picked a fight with Osaka’s and Nagoya’s Chancellors.”

“Is that true, Saki-san?”

Saki answered Shoui’s question without nodding.

“I was #2 for tonight, but I’d heard there was an Alert Level C commotion earlier.”

“Have you heard whether the Chancellors are okay?”

“The Souichirou I know would never lose to anyone with his Kusanagi. …What about you, Hizaka?”

“The boss I know would never lose to anyone with her breast size. …No, wait. I think Yuuki’s are bigger.”

“I really am going to kill you later.”

“That probably isn’t happening. After all, I’m going to knock both of you out right here,” calmly commented the enemy up the stairs. “I really don’t care either way when it comes to Osaka’s power. Ever since the Kinki Riot, we’ve researched techniques to defeat the Rhythms and Techs you primarily use here.”

Before he even finished, Saki silently lowered his body.

And a moment later…

Saki – Spear/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Throw Left and Right Spears – Hit!

He stretched upwards and his two spears flew in a straight line.

The twin lines tore through the wind on their way to the person sitting on the stairs.

With two solid sounds, the spears stabbed into the edge of the concrete stairs.

Their shafts vibrated, but they had not pierced anything.

The enemy had stood up at some point.

He was turned to the side on the steps and the spear shafts filled the space just barely past his chest and back.

“That was close.”

His voice contained no hint of panic, tension, or killer intent.

Shoui frowned.

That wasn’t trying to hit?

It had looked like Saki had thrown the spears as a threat to restrict the enemy’s movement.

Wondering why, he glanced over at Saki, but the slight smile on Saki’s face and the sweat on his brow told Shoui he had been wrong.

He tried to hit, but didn’t?

The enemy had dodged Saki’s spears.

And without using a Tech.

“I can’t believe this,” said the enemy. “And I haven’t even met my sister or her lover yet.”

Hearing a slight laugh, Shoui looked up at the enemy.

The boy was smiling as he stood between the two spears.

“Didn’t I tell you? No Rhythm or Tech will work on me.”

Without saying a word, Saki pulled out two more spears and held them at the ready.

Saki-san?

Just as Shoui was going to say something, Saki took action.

Saki – Spear/Gym/Draw Tech – Multi-Take – Throw Left and Right Spears – Hit!

His actions were perfectly flowing and swift.

If the previous spears marked the ends of a horizontal line, these two marked the ends of a vertical line.

They were aimed at the chest and waist of the boy standing between those other spears.

But…

“Don’t hold back. You need to aim for my face. C’mon, the face.”

With that comment, the enemy made his move.

Shoui watched as the boy avoided the supposedly unavoidable attack.

He stepped toward the tips of the spears flying his way.

He started down the stairs at a walking pace.

Just before the flying spears were going to hit him, he had moved outside the range of the spears on his left and right.

It was impossible.

The spears were flying faster than he was walking.

He couldn’t possibly have moved forward before he was skewered.

But he had done exactly that to dodge.

With two solid sounds, the spears stabbed into the edge of the concrete stairs.

The vibrating shafts of the four spears now marked the ends of a cross.

The enemy did not stop walking in front of that geometric diagram.

He continued down the stairs.

He showed no tension, hesitation, or killer intent.

Shoui instinctually took a step back and glanced over to Saki.

The tall spear-user watched his opponent with a smile still plastered on his face.

There was brightness to his expression, much like the surprise of suddenly waking up.

“Let me guess. That’s Zenon’s paradox of Achilles and the Tortoise, isn’t it?”

“So you figured it out?” confirmed the enemy without stopping his descent of the stairs.

Shoui gave Saki a confused look.

“…?”

“It’s a paradox from the heretical Zenon school of Western wordology. No matter how fast someone is, it still takes some time to arrive at a destination.”

The enemy picked up where Saki left off.

“Even movement on a microscopic scale requires some slight time. Using that theory, units of distance can be divided nearly infinitely, right? In other words, motion takes a nearly infinite amount of time.”

“He dodged using that paradox?”

“Of course he did! He’s from the Zenon City! …You’re from Tokyo, aren’t you!?” shouted Saki. “You’re Tokyo Chancellor Nakamura Hisahide, aren’t you!?”

“Correct.”

The enemy, Nakamura Hisahide, reached the bottom of the stairs as he spoke that word.

His gaze was three sizes lower than Saki’s and one higher than Shoui’s.

He pulled his hands from his pockets and let them dangle at his sides.

He gently raised his right hand and looked at the silver ring on his middle finger.

“Of course, the theory I’m using isn’t quite that well put together. It’s just the persuasion I need to activate my power. It’s something like what they call an Override in England.”

With that, his right toes spun like a top on the floor and his left leg raced out in a straight line.

Saki – Boxing/Dodge Tech – Multi-Take – Guard – Hit!

But for some reason, Hisahide’s toes stabbed into Saki’s side before he could guard.

“Saki-san!”

By the time Shoui shouted his name, Saki’s feet had already left the floor.

Part 3[edit]

7:59 PM

Shoui caught Saki’s airborne body.

“Are you okay!?”

“He was probably knocked out. I heard something cracking inside him,” lightly commented Hisahide as he pulled his leg back with a compact motion. “I just hope it wasn’t a bone.”

“How irresponsible can you be?”

Shoui supported the taller boy with his shoulder.

In that moment, he heard a quiet voice.

“Hisaka.”

It was Saki’s voice. He was using a Tech to speak remotely.

!?

“Don’t move. He’ll notice. He’s probably feeling pretty full of himself even though he only broke a spare spear.”

Saki’s hand tapped Shoui on the back.

“I know this is selfish, but buy me some time so I can escape.”

“…?”

“That was enough for me to know I can’t win this. I’ll run to the nearest guard station and get the security system back up and running.”

He took a breath.

“The cameras will at least capture him and the automatic defenses might even blow him away.”

As he listened to Saki, Shoui glanced over at Hisahide.

Shoui – Mind/Sight Tech – Multi-Take – Analyze Mind – Hit!

Doesn’t look like he’s noticed. So what should I do!?

The enemy gave him the answer he needed.

Hisahide took a step forward.

Shoui fled on reflex. As Hisahide charged in from straight ahead, he escaped to the side.

He ran into the dorm room to his right.

“You’re running!?”

Hisahide’s shout was cut off by the sound of the slamming door.

Shoui locked the door behind him and shoved Saki toward the window.

Saki looked back for just a moment.

“Hizaka!?”

“Get going!”

Saki did not reply or ask anything more.

His nod was all the answer he needed.

His tall form left the window and vanished into the darkness.

Shoui remained in the silent space.

He started breathing a sigh of relief at the fact that his split-second decision had worked and at the sudden change of scenery.

But then he slapped his cheeks.

The distinct sound woke him up, so he placed one foot out front and stood in front of the door.

How is he going to come in?

The enemy had no weapon, but he had the kicking technique that had sent Saki flying, a strange evasive method, and absolute confidence.

That thought brought unease to Shoui’s heart, but…

“I’m going to protect Yuuki, aren’t I?”

So he had to ask this boy who had come to attack Kansai whether he was prepared to defeat Koto Chancellor Yuuki Yuuki.

“…” He lowered his hips and held his right arm at waist height. His target was the wooden door.

Nakamura Hisahide had to be on the other side.

In the instant the boy started to open the door, Shoui would blow the door away to catch him off guard.

He would need to time this perfectly. He could not surprise his opponent without attacking just before the door opened.

Shoui thought about that opponent.

Because I don’t have Words of my own, I can sense my opponent’s will, huh?

“Old Lady Senga used to say that all the time.”

He closed his eyes, read his opponent’s presence, and then predicted that opponent’s actions.

Twenty-two seconds have passed since I shut this door.

That was a long time and his opponent had been waiting silently the entire time.

Shoui thought about how long he needed to hide here.

And…

“!”

He opened his eyes and he began to move.

Shoui – Boxing/Gym/Savate Tech – Multi-Take – Destroy Object – Hit!

A Rhythm would give away his presence, so he did not use one.

He simply stepped straight forward.

It was a quick movement.

He simultaneously stomped his foot and thrust out the heel of his right palm.

The sound of the stomp reverberated around him.

A blow struck the center of the wooden door.

The door bent as the sound of impact rang out.

In that instant, he mentally pictured what he needed to do next.

Whether Hisahide had dodged or was caught in the destruction of the door, Shoui would grab the collar of his mountain hoodie.

Once he grabbed it, the boy could no longer dodge.

His thoughts arrived there in an instant.

In a span of time so small it went out several digits past the decimal point, a strange recoil reached Shoui’s hand.

The bending of the wood vanished.

He pushed it back!?

His thought was cut off by a sound much like a crack of thunder.

The door had been split apart.

Instead of flying outward or breaking inward, the wooden door split in two and flew to either side.

“…!?”

City v04a 229.jpg

As Shoui wondered what had happened, something touched the heel his outstretched right hand’s palm.

It was a slightly heated flat surface that felt both hard and springy.

It was the sole of a shoe.

“Wha-…!?”

Nakamura Hisahide stood before him after throwing a forward kick.

The sole of his raised right foot was in the exact same position as the heel of Shoui’s palm.

They had apparently both been thinking the exact same thing.

“Interesting,” said Hisahide as he lowered his leg. “Your fist can negate my kick through a door, can it?”

Their gazes clashed with a slight height difference.

Shoui’s plans for the fight fragilely crumbled in his mind.

Part 4[edit]

8:02 PM

Hisahide moved swiftly after stepping inside the room.

First, he sent a right kick toward Shoui’s gut.

Shoui –Dodge Tech – Take – Dodge – Hit!

But he could not dodge it.

The blow audibly hit his solar plexus and brought him to the limits of his endurance.

His knees unexpectedly gave out.

“!”

As he tilted forward and nearly fell over, Nakamura’s kicking leg came into view.

The foot wore basketball shoes, but it was the opposite foot from the one that had kicked Shoui in the gut.

Just how fast can he kick!?

Before he could feel any surprise, Hisahide’s toes slammed into Shoui’s face from below.

Shoui no longer felt any pain. A strange floating sensation ruled his mind.

“!?”

Hisahide was not done attacking.

After swinging his left leg straight up, he swung it straight back down.

And that dropped his heel onto Shoui’s collapsing head.

“This might just cause the first death!”

Shoui’s foggy mind was more focused on his enemy’s raised leg than his shout. That leg brought on an odd sense of déjà vu.

His forehead started aching.

It was a heated pain as if from a slash.

What!?

With a great weight, the pain returned to his forehead.

The pain somewhat brought him back to his senses, so he desperately tried to avoid the danger.

Shoui –Dodge Tech – Take – Dodge – Hit!

But that technique did not work on Hisahide.

The boy swung down his leg and Shoui realized where the sense of déjà vu came from.

“Two years ago…”

On the night Yuuki had killed someone, he had received a similar attack and lost consciousness.

That nightmare was repeating itself.

He could not avoid it.

The powerful kick knocked Shoui to the floor.

The pain of the blow was joined by the sensation of blood spraying from his forehead.

“!”

Instead of a scream, a thought raced through his mind.

Am I going to lose and accomplish nothing yet again?

He could not even check to see whether Yuuki was in danger or not.

The word “powerless” came to mind as he lost consciousness.

He heard sirens, but they were so distant that he thought he was imagining them.


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