|エンジェルファイア：時間旅行者 AngelFIRE: The Time Traveller
Author: InTheNightlight PM
Framed for a murder, a teenager and his friends are on the run from the police, all the while planning to track down the real murderer, and end a tyrant's reign. A world with two sides, a power with three wielders, and a mysterious number await.Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Humor - Chapters: 19 - Words: 83,406 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 12-17-12 - Published: 06-09-12 - id: 3030266
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Episode 11: Fox
"Here's your drink, Bill!" Nick grinned, handing the regular customer his cup. Two months had passed since his secret had been revealed, and in time, the town had gotten used to the knowledge that a Shadow was in their midst. The adults with small children, although they kept their distance, trusted him more than they did in the past, and Arita and Daniel could walk around town without having to worry about trouble.
Arita had grown an inch or two taller, as had Daniel, and all three of them had been training. Also, Daniel and Arita had managed to maintain their hair's usual length, neither too long or short, but Nick's hair was still as long and unruly as ever.
Nick had continued to work at the Lion's Fist, having had experience from working at the Harpy's Claw. It took time, but he eventually knew and was friends with everyone in Jackson's gang. "'Ey, thanks, pipsqueak!" Bill grinned, taking the cup and ruffling the brunette's hair. "Yer alright, y'know?"
"Er, y-yeah..." Nick nodded a bit, reaching up and wiping the grease from Bill's hands out of his hair. As he walked back to the counter, he smiled. "He's still calling me pipsqueak, but, eh. It's a start, at least!"
"So, how's the Lirin investigation going?" Amanda, the waitress, asked.
Nick shuffled his feet. "Still no luck..." He sighed. "There's absolutely no evidence that he's with Dark. And I've tried everything! I've tried espionage, infiltration, pressing his guards for information, and still nothing..." He placed a hand to his chin. "He may be a jerk, but unless I can prove that he's with Dark..."
Cornelius Lirin, the man who had taken over Argenta, was indeed a jerk. The first week after Nick had begun working at the Lion's Fist, Lirin had come in, demanding a drink. After drinking the glass, he threw it to the ground, smashing it and refusing to pay. He also tried to kidnap Nick, thinking that he was a girl, after which, Amanda had to hold the brunette back from killing the tyrant.
He also was responsible for the destruction of multiple small farms, which he apparently felt were unnecessary. At the moment, he was in the process of signing a bill that gave him the rights to collect as much tax as he wanted. He may not have been the worst political leader ever, but he was still, as said earlier, a jerk.
"'Ey, kid!" A tall, slim man with slicked-back hair burst through the tavern doors. "Yer friends are back!"
The brunette beamed, sprinting out of the tavern and towards the docks. Indeed, the same ship from two months ago was now coming into port, David at the bow, hand raised to shield his eyes from the sun.
"Ed! David, Chad!" Nick called, waving. Eddie and Chad poked their heads from over the side of the railing, grinning and climbing down as the boat slowed.
As they drew closer, Nick noticed that they had changed a lot since their last meeting; All three had gained muscle mass, even Eddie! Chad had cut his hair shorter and slicked the front back, revealing a scar over his left eye. David, on the other hand, seemed to have let his hair grow longer, and he had braided it in a ponytail using a thick blue chord. Eddie, although still thin, no longer looked as frail as he used to, and his long-sleeved polo-shirt seemed to fit a little bit tighter than before.
Chad tied the boat to the docks, before following the other two to greet their friend.
"Yooooo! Kiddo!" Chad smirked. "Hah's it hahngin'?"
"We're doing alright, all things considered." Nick nodded. "Yeah, there's been a bit of political issues, but..." He shook his head. "Never mind that, for now! How have you guys been?"
"We've been doing just fine." David smirked. "And by just fine, I mean we've been dealing with my old, crazy martial arts teacher." He crossed his arms. "While I assume you've just been hanging around the tavern serving drinks."
It was Nick's turn to smirk, and the brunette raised a finger. "Thanks for the support, friend! Just like you three, I've been training as well." Suddenly, he spun around at a high speed, becoming little more than a blur, before stopping, now dressed in a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. He placed his hands on his hips, puffing out his chest in pride. "And that's just one of the things I've learned!"
"So, you finally figured out the Quick-Change." Eddie glanced at Chad, grinning his usual 'jokester' grin. "Looks like you won't be taking any more pictures of him doing a twirl, anymore."
"Maybe naht, but..." Chad grinned evilly, holding up his camera. "Aht least nah ah c'n gedda shaht uh him in boishohrts!"
The brunette immediately blushed like a hydrant, raising his hands to cover his face. "SHUT UP! THEY'RE NOT BOYSHORTS!"
Chad shrugged, quickly snapping a few pictures."'Ey, dey stop halfway dahn ya thighs. Ya can't tell me theh naht boishohrts an' expect me t' believe it. An' if dey ain't, then theh Daisy Dukes, which dey ahbviuhsly ain't since th' seam is smooth."
"They're neither of those!" Nick growled. "They're just bike-shorts!"
"Thaht jus' makes ya even more uvva trahp."
"'Ey, I went fuh two months withaht makin' funna ya trahpness. Aht least lemme explain thaht much."
"Hm." Eddie chuckled. "Another thing, my bitch, if you truly want us to be impressed, try showing us a planet-shattering boom."
"Oh, just you wait." Nick scowled. "The next time we're in a fight, you'll see the fruits of my training."
Suddenly, the brunette's ears pricked up, and he glanced back towards the tavern as a limousine pulled up to the doors. "And speak of the devil..."
A short, balding man dressed in a suit stepped out, mustache twirled on the ends and a body shaped like a squished hard-boiled egg, like some sort of caricature. He approached the door into the tavern, and cleared his throat, before the two body guards following him pushed them open.
"Who th' hell is thaht?" Chad raised an eyebrow.
"That's Cornelius Lirin..." Nick growled. "He's the mayor of the city that Argenta belongs to. He comes down here every week, just to insult the townsfolk. Not only that, but he's destroying farms left and right and demanding tax from the people who used to own it."
"So, basically, an even worse, less lecherous Duke Terror." Eddie deadpanned.
"Pretty much, yeah."
"So, that's the target?"
"Yes, that's him."
Unbeknown to the group, two figures were watching them from a nearby hotel roof. One of them was a tall, broad-shouldered man with long, wavy, unkempt hair, a soul-patch, and there were odd swirl-like patterns on his cheeks.
His partner was an even taller man with shock-white hair that spiked about like lightning. They both wore black bodysuits and chokers with metal plates on the fronts to protect their necks. The first one looked skeptically at the second, unable to believe what had just been said.
"You're kidding, right? That kid is the Shadow Creature? And he's a boy?"
The second man shook his head. "Otashi, I know a Shadow Creature when I see one. He's definitely one, no matter what he looks like."
"That's not his strongest form, though, is it?" Otashi raised an eyebrow. "All Shadow Creatures have some sort of true form, don't they, Jupiter?"
Jupiter scowled, crossing his arms. "No, it's not his strongest form. In fact, it appears that his human soul and his true form's soul have no idea that they coexist." He stared for a moment, before smirking. "I can guarantee, once the Nogitsune realizes that it's been sharing a body with another soul, it will do everything it can to get out." He glanced a little bit to the left, noticing David. "Hm..."
"That blond boy...the one with the glasses..."
Otashi looked down at David as well. "What about him?"
"Just like the Shadow...I'm sensing two different presences from his body as well..." Jupiter's brow furrowed, and he scowled. "The two souls seem to only be semi-aware of one another..."
"Can you tell whose souls they are?"
Jupiter shook his head. "There's too much noise in the way...too much Qi flow...But, from what I can sense, the second soul appears almost...feral...canine, in shape..."
Otashi gulped. "You don't think it's a second Nogitsune, do you?"
"No...this soul seems less...mischievous..." Jupiter stated. "It seems...bloodthirsty...Similar to the Okamioni..."
"So, lemme get this straight..." Chad growled, Nick having explained the town's current situation. "Ya mean t' tell me thaht this Lirin guy is shittin' things up heah an' nobody's doin' nothin'?"
"There's not much that we can do..." Nick sighed. "Argenta is small, and against Lirin's entire political party, there's virtually nothing to do but listen to him." He scowled. "And there's more...I was thinking how Duke Terror had been using Shadow Creatures to further his own goals...I've been trying to find proof that Lirin is doing the same, but..."
"But he's a complete idiot!" Nick growled. "I've infiltrated, searched, scoped, mapped, and magnified every inch of city hall, and there are absolutely no indications that he's been using Shadow Creatures! All I can find are comic books and movies! He can't even sign his own name, and I know! I've seen him sign shit, he has to look at an index card as reference!"
"Jeez, he's a bigger moron than Chad..." David raised an eyebrow.
"Well, then, looks like we arrived at just the right moment." Eddie smirked. "I've been itching to try out the techniques Hakuchō showed us..."
"No." Nick shook his head. "I'm sorry, but you guys can't draw attention to yourselves." He explained. "If Lirin finds out that you're here, he'll contact the Lithennulan police! Arita, Daniel, and I have been using aliases, but even then, I think Lirin's guards are beginning to catch on."
"So ya wan' us to jus' sit heah an' do nothin'?" Chad scowled. "We ain't jus' useless support, y'know!"
Nick held up his hands in defense. "I know that, but if the police come chasing after you, we're all gonna go to jail, and things will potentially get worse as far as Lirin goes."
"I understand..." David crossed his arms. "Come to think of it, it's dangerous for any of us to even be here, huh?"
Nick nodded. "The only reason Arita, Daniel, and I are still here in the first place is because of Lirin. Most of the townsfolk here aren't exactly fighters, and if Lirin decides that this town is insignificant enough to wipe off the map, nothing will be able to stop him." He explained. "With us three here, this place has a bit more protection, and since nobody other than the native townsfolk know us, Lirin won't be able to pick up on our identities."
"...Wow, you're stupid." Eddie smirked. "You honestly think that a five-year-old girl, a ninja-wannabe, and a trap could possibly stand up against him?"
"I'm not a freaking trap!" Nick growled. "It's not my fault I was born with girlish features!"
"You see, you just defined a trap in your defense." David pointed out.
"I will murder you guys, you know that?"
Suddenly, the door to the tavern burst open, and Lirin walked briskly back to the limousine, a smug grin on his face. The long black car sped off down the road, until it became a dot on the horizon.
"So, ya just gonna try an' get th' dirt ahn 'im b'fore he c'n do anythin' too destructive." Chad snickered. "I hate t' say it, but I think Ed's gaht a point ahn this."
"Look, I'm not the same defenseless kid I was two months ago." Nick scowled. "You guys can stay as long as you need to in order to get supplies, but just butt out of this town's affairs." His eyes narrowed. "I don't need your help."
The three stared at him a moment, before Eddie smirked, walking past him, towards the tavern. "We'll see how long you can hold up that word."
David sighed, looking back to the digital clock on the nightstand. Midnight, and he hadn't been able to get much sleep. Knowing that at any second, Lirin could attack without warning, coupled with the fact that Chrissy had been missing for two months, wasn't doing him much good at all. He had tried to contact the girl multiple times, but each time someone picked up, it was hung up shortly thereafter.
He sat up, crossing his legs and placing a hand to his chin. It was times like this that he would sit and think things out, which was something he had trouble doing when he was 'in the moment'. He closed his eyes, trying to think of a place where Chrissy could be.
Suddenly, his thoughts were interrupted as a shadow passed by his door, blocking the light coming from the crack under it for a split second before moving on, in the direction of the stairs. He removed the covers, slipping out of bed and reaching for the doorknob, noticing that the lights in the hallway were now extinguished.
He poked his head out, watching as a shadowy figure skulked around the corner, walking down the stairs. David tiptoed through the hall, making sure not to make the floorboards creak.
The blond let out a surprised gasp, trembling at the sudden voice. Eddie had appeared behind him, out of nowhere, eyebrow raised. "Goddammit, Ed..." David muttered. "Way to give me a heart attack."
"Were you just in the hallway?" Eddie asked, ignoring the fact that he'd nearly sent David to an early grave. "I saw a shadow pass by..."
"Me too..." David placed a hand to his chin. "Go get Nick. I'll wake Chad up."
"He's gone." Eddie scowled. "I already checked his room; if you weren't the one in the hall, then I'm afraid that Nick may be considering running away again."
"Why, though?" David raised an eyebrow. "That doesn't make sense..."
"Either way, we'd better follow that shadow." Eddie silently made his way to the stairs, a determined look on his face. He and his teammate made their way down the stairs, reaching the bottom just in time to see the shadow exit the tavern.
Suddenly, the door to their right opened, and Nick stepped out, rubbing his eyes. The three stared at one another, before Nick tilted his head. "What're you guys doing out of bed?"
"What're we doing?" David hissed. "What are you doing?"
"Restroom." Nick jerked a thumb over his shoulder. Suddenly, he twitched, before shaking his head and holding the slope of his nose. "Don't tell me you two were having a quiet-race to see who could get to the toilet first..."
"No!" David growled, keeping his voice low.
Eddie placed a hand to his chin. "But if you were in there...then who just left the tavern?"
"Jupiter, are you sure the kid'll come here?" Otashi gulped, hugging his knees to his chest as he sat atop the tree branch.
"Curiosity killed the cat, Otashi." Jupiter smirked. "He'll come, alright. And this time..." He clenched a fist. "Satisfaction won't be nearly enough to bring him back."
Otashi shivered. "Master Dark told us to bring him back alive. Remember, we can't kill him."
"I know." Jupiter's smirk widened. "My plan is simple; awaken the Nogitsune's soul. Once aware of what it has become, reduced to the body of a powerless child, the Nogitsune will do anything within it's power to break free." He snickered. "And the first step to escaping a fate doomed to weakness is a simple one; break down any and all obstacles in one's path."
Otashi stared for a moment, before scratching his head. "I...I'm afraid I don't follow..."
Jupiter sighed. "Otashi, if you found out that you were being held down by a weaker soul, what would you do?"
"I...would try to...break free of it?"
"Yes." Jupiter nodded. "The Nogitsune will attempt to break apart the boy's soul, and what better way to do it than to kill the ones most dear to him?"
"But...how would it do that?" Otashi asked, more confused. "The kid's soul is in primary control of the body, isn't it?"
"It is indeed, however..." Jupiter's eyes narrowed. "The boy's soul, though keeping the Nogitsune restrained, will be no match for the Nogitsune's anger, and once the demon fox is provoked enough, it will attempt to take over the boy's soul, and then break him by using the boy's own hands to kill his loved ones."
"I see..." Otashi smirked, crossing his arms. "Of course, there's the matter of telling him in such a way that both the kid and the Nogitsune will know of each of their fates."
Jupiter broke into a malicious grin, mimicking Otashi's actions. "Just leave everything to me..."
"So, ya sayin' Nick's gaht some kahnda demon in 'im, an' ya tryin'a free it?" The two spun around, coming face-to-face with Chad, who sat smirking on a nearby tree branch. "Ya really oughta make shuh theh's no one arahnd b'fore ya spill ya plans!"
"H-How did you slip past our Qi Sense ? !" Otashi stammered, stepping back.
Chad continued to smirk, leaping to the ground and stepping towards the two. "When ya train undahgrahnd with a total maniahc, ya learn a trick uh two."
"Hmm..." Jupiter returned his smirk. "Your Qi...It seems exceptionally high..."
"Damn straight." Chad crossed his arms. "If ya give up peacef'ly, I might naht beat ya dahn t' a pulp."
Jupiter sighed, rolling his eyes. "Here's a better idea. How about a magic trick. You can be my volunteer in making an eavesdropping asshole disappear."
"Go ahead an' try."
The two leapt for one another, fists raised to defend and attack at each given opportunity. Jupiter threw a punch for the blond's face, which Chad immediately countered, catching the fist and aiming a palm-thrust for the white-haired man's chest.
Jupiter gyrated, dodging the punch and flipping through the air, kicking towards Chad's arm and forcing him to release his fist. Chad copied his opponent, flipping backwards and landing on his feet down below.
Suddenly, a dark purple spear soared towards him, and Chad rolled forward, dodging it with ease. The dart hit the tree behind him, which began to wilt and bubble around the impact area. "Poison dahts...!" Chad growled.
Otashi, the one who had fired the dart, dashed forward, throwing a punch at the blond's face. Chad easily caught it, however, this gave the man the opportunity to attack Chad's lower body with a kick. Chad cried out in pain as his leg folded inward, and he threw Otashi away from himself, kneeling down and holding his thigh.
"Giving up already?" Jupiter snickered. "I expected more out of you! It looks like you were all bark and no bite!"
"You want bite...?" Chad smirked confidently, standing up, wobbly. "It's time to try out that new technique then..." He raised his hands up in front of his chest, forming a circular shape. "SUPER CUSTOM TECHNIQUE; HAGANE NO KYU!"
A core formed in between his hands, shining like steel, a bright white aura gathering around it. He thrust his hands forth, and the ball instantaneously soared through the air towards Jupiter. The man's eyes widened, and he swerved backwards, narrowly avoiding the attack.
"Whew..." Jupiter smirked, floating down. "I'll admit, that was close...Uh-!" Suddenly, he lost his footing, falling backwards and wobbling, trying to keep his balance.
Chad's eyes widened at the blood that dripped from the cut on Jupiter's face; the moonlight revealed it to be a shade of maroon, landing in thick, oval-shaped bubbles on the roof. "Y-Ya blood is..." Then, his look of surprise turned to one of confidence. "I see...ya and ya friend ain't human...are ya?"
Otashi snickered. "That's what you think of us Shadows?" He skulked around in the shadows behind Chad. "How tragic...what would the boy think of you if he knew?"
"By 'th' boi', ah'm guessin' ya mean my friend, Nick." Chad's lips pulled upward in a sneer. "While he might naht be th' same human he useta be, at least he's human enough t' know thaht what Dark's doin' is wrong!"
"Wrong, is it?" Jupiter snickered. "Who are you to decide what's right and what's wrong? All you are is an insignificant beetle that we will crush just like the rest."
Chad shrugged. "Ah like t' think uh myself ahs more uvva scorpion thahn a beetle, but, whatevuh." He glanced at Jupiter. "An' as fer right an' wrong..." He held up a fist. "My folks ahlways told me thaht murderin' innocents is th' pahth uvva cowuhd, th' pahth which a weak puhson takes jus' t' enshuh they won't be in danguh." His smirk widened. "An' ah'll only become a cowuhd when Hell freezes ovah!"
"Oh, really, now?" Jupiter glanced towards the tree. "Then I suppose using a Gensō doesn't count in your book as cowardice, then?"
Chad's eyes widened, and he followed Jupiter's gaze to where a second Chad stood, eyes wide as well, Qi gathering in his palm. Jupiter flew directly at the real one, cutting off his right arm with a spear of energy and stopping the Qi from gathering any further, expelling the Qi that had already built up.
The white-haired man continuously stabbed Chad, over and over, before kicking him in the chest off of the rooftop they were on. He smirked, looking down at the sidewalk, where the dead teenager lay...
Before it vanished in a puff of smoke.
Jupiter whirled around, eyes wide, only to let out a cry of pain and shock as Chad, the one he'd thought was a fake, landed a punch to his stomach, his fist coated in radiating white-red energy. The white-haired man flew backwards, slamming into the roof and rolling backwards continuously, before slamming back-first into a nearby wall.
"You...tricked me...!" Jupiter growled, standing up, wobbling a little bit.
"Ya point?" Chad smirked. "In a fight, ya cahn't afford to waste a chahnce, even if ya haveta pull out dirty tricks. Besides..." He crossed his arms. "If I don't stahp ya, who's t'say ya won't hurt my friends?"
Jupiter growled, before smirking one more. "I underestimated you, boy. You're no ordinary young man."
"No more ordinary th'n you two..." Chad replied. "In my trainin', I hadda combine the techniques I learned ahs a kid with completely new moves. In fact, why don' I show ya one?"
He raised an arm to his side, Qi gathering in his palm. The core continued to grow, larger and larger, until it was the size of a basketball. The Qi seemed to swirl around it, as if there were multiple invisible wind tunnels around the core. Even though it didn't radiate much of an aura, Otashi and Jupiter stared in surprise at the power being emitted.
Suddenly, the blond dashed forward, rearing back his hand and throwing the ball at Jupiter, shouting, "SLAM DUNK!"
Jupiter raised his arms up, blocking the attack and growling as he skidded backwards a few inches. Finally, he pushed outward, causing the energy sphere to rebound into the air, disappearing after a few seconds.
"My, my..." The Shadow Creature smirked, sweat beading on his temples. "If I hadn't blocked that, that could have ended horribly..."
"Jupiter, there are three more sources of Qi coming this way!" Otashi reported, looking in the direction of the inn. "I think one of them is the Nogitsune's host!"
"An' just think..." Chad snickered. "David must be with them, and his strongest attack is almost twice the strength of my last attack..."
Before Jupiter or Otashi could respond, David, Nick, and Eddie leapt onto the roof. "Chad, are you okay?" David called, making sure not to break eye contact with their opponents.
"Jus' fine!" Chad cracked his knuckles.
Eddie scowled. "Those two over there...They're not human, are they?"
"No..." Nick shook his head. "Jupiter and Otashi, they're both two of Dark's field agents." He clenched a fist, getting ready to draw his sword at any second. "Jupiter would be an officer, if it weren't for the fact that he's a Darkblood, like me."
"Yes, yes, true." Jupiter nodded, smirking. "There is an excess of Darkblood Shadow Creatures these days. Otashi and I, for example, have been around for nearly half a century already, and it appears that the Crimson-Bloods have decreased in number. Why, the last one in recorded history is your brother, isn't he? Such a waste; a potential military leader, gone off to play ninja with his foolish brother and sister."
David growled. "You guys, get ready to fight..." He glanced around. "I'm sensing three more Shadow Creatures, ready to attack..."
"Th-Three?" Nick clenched his teeth, getting ready to draw his weapon.
"Yeah..." David clenched a fist. "Two aren't as strong as Jupiter, but they're stronger than that Otashi guy..." He gulped. "The third one...is almost three times Jupiter's strength..."
"That's right..." Jupiter smirked. "Two officers, Ace and Cobalt, and one Neon-Blood."
Nick's eyes widened. "A...A Neon-Blood ? !"
"Yes, a Crimson-Neon to be exact." Jupiter nodded his head to a tree nearby. "I believe you know him, boy. Perhaps I ought to call him over, just to be sure..."
Nick's knees began to tremble, but he tried to hide it, growling and drawing his sword. "Why?" He snarled. "Why would Dark send him on a mission as paltry as—...come to think of it," He deadpanned, "What the hell is your mission?"
"Oh." Jupiter's malicious grin widened, revealing set of sharp canines. "I'm glad you asked, Nogitsune..."
"Nogitsune?" David raised an eyebrow. "Nick, what's he talking about?"
"I...have no idea..." Nick's brow furrowed. "Isn't a Nogitsune some kind of fox demon?"
"Yes, it is..." Otashi nodded, moonlight casting odd shadows across his face. "You see, Shadow Creatures all have some form of demon embedded alongside their own soul upon creation. Have you ever wondered why you have fox ears and a fox tail?"
Nick simply stared at the two, glancing at Chad, who had begun to sweat a bit. After a few seconds, he raised an eyebrow. "...What? Was something supposed to happen?"
Jupiter and Otashi exchanged glances, looking between the brunette and themselves. "...Jupiter, I think our plan backfired."
Far off in the background, the group could hear someone shout 'retreeeat!'. "Well, shit." Otashi deadpanned, leaping on all fours to a different tree, disappearing after a few leaps.
Jupiter looked between the group, to Otashi, then to the group again. "...Kaythanxbai."
"...Um..." Eddie's brow twitched slightly. "...The...f*ck."
Nick nodded slightly at his friend's comment. "...What is this I don't even..."
To be continued...