"We waited long enough, it's time to go in," Akina told Kei.
It had been a full hour since the last group of Senji's had entered the gate to Neo Alcatraz. The two had been preparing for their own trip inside but the process took much longer thanks to Kei. His constant polishing of his belongings took far much more time than predicted. Akina would have left him behind if it weren't for the fact that she wasn't strong enough to fight the Fears inside the prison. From what she's seen ever since she started going into hiding with Kei, she figured out that despite his weird hobbies and personality, he had to be as strong as Senji himself.
She, however, simply couldn't stand the man any longer.
"Senji and the others are waiting for us, Kei," Akina said. "It's time to put your toys away."
Kei chuckled as he wiped with a rag the polished door of a massive refrigerator in front of him. He stared at his smiling reflection in the polished steel of the door and ignored Akina while he continued to stare at the reflection.
"My precious Constant Temp is looking great today, don't you think, Akina?" Kei said still staring at his reflection. "This surface is absolutely amazing with this polish. It's so clear that it's just like looking into a real mirror…"
Akina struck Kei's head with her fist. "Stop ogling the inanimate object and let's go!" she yelled in his ear.
Akina grabbed his ear and pulled, making the man yell out in pain while she forcibly dragged him to the prison's entrance.
"That's not how you treat the man who hides you from the Fears…"
Akina stopped immediately upon hearing the unexpected visitor's voice. She released her grip on Kei's ears and spun around. She saw two unexpected visitors and while she didn't recognize the smaller and leaner visitor wearing a tight leather suit with a mask over his face, the sight of the other made her tremble.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Akina whispered.
The unexpected visitor grinned after hearing her question.
Atsuko swung her fist at Ethan again but just like her other attacks, her fist only managed to hit the air right next to his side. She swung her legs at him but they missed too. Every attack she threw at him missed by inches. His Free had to be the reason why she couldn't hit him. It took a while but she could feel her fists being forced to move aside the moment they got within a certain distance from Ethan's body.
"Come on! You have to be stronger than this! " Ethan laughed grabbing Atsuko's wrist.
Shuko appeared behind Atsuko, aiming to hit her head with the briefcase she held. Before she could hit Atsuko, however, Rei pointed at the woman and threw her across the hallway. Shuko wanted to run back into Atsuko and Ethan's fight but Rei and Terui blocked her path.
" Look at those two thinking they have a chance against my beloved Shuko, " Ethan cackled making another one of Atsuko's swing miss him. He kicked Atsuko in the side and continued. "Shuko has the same amount of skill as a Fear of Life, just like that personal assistant of the last Fear of life before me."
Atsuko winced as a sharp pain came out of the spot where he had kicked her. The force he kicked her with shouldn't have been enough to injure her. Every one of his attacks had the strange effect of hurting more than it should. It had to be the effect of his Free but Atsuko still couldn't find out what his Free was.
"Having trouble finding out my Free?" Ethan laughed.
Atsuko swung her fist at Ethan but the young man jumped out of her reach. The angry woman gritted her teeth and changed the direction of her punch towards the floor, creating a powerful shockwave the moment her fist came into contact with the concrete. The shockwave struck Ethan but to her surprise, he wasn't moved at all. Ethan simply remained where he stood even when the shockwave blasted Shuko and Terui off their feet.
"This is really starting to piss me off!" Atsuko yelled sending several sharp kicks in rapid succession at the young man.
"Would you like a hint? My Free's power is really simple so a hint might help you figure it out," Ethan said while Atsuko's kicks missed him by mere inches.
"I don't need a hint!" she replied dodging Ethan's weak swing at her body.
Ethan spun around, forcing Atsuko's attacks to miss his body by inches, and gave the young woman a wry smile.
His smile, however, disappeared the moment Terui punched the young man in the side. Taken by surprise, Ethan released a loud yell of pain as electricity coursed through his body until Shuko struck the cyborg away with her suitcase.
"Are you alright?" Shuko said in a hurry while she checked her boyfriend's body for any wounds.
"I'm fine," Ethan told his girlfriend.
"Take this painkillers," Shuko said taking out a couple of pills and a bottle of water from her briefcase. "To be on safe side."
Ethan chuckled as he swallowed the pills. "What would I do without you?" he laughed as he got back on his feet.
Shuko blushed a dark shade of red, giggling while she clutched her briefcase tighter.
"Wow, watching you two makes me want to vomit," Atsuko said.
Both Ethan and Shuko turned their attention back to Atsuko, who was sticking out her tongue at the couple.
"Watching this much fake love just makes me want to throw up," Atsuko said sticking her index finger into her mouth and making a vomiting sound.
"What did you say?" Ethan said through his teeth.
"I said what you two have isn't love," Atsuko told them grinning. "It's just infatuation with each other. Real love isn't anything like that."
"Atsuko, what are you doing?" Rei said wondering why Atsuko was insulting them.
Atsuko's insults greatly affected both Shuko and Ethan. The couple looked ready to jump at Atsuko.
"When they come at me, you two run," Atsuko whispered to Rei and Terui.
"You don't stand a chance against them alone," Terui pointed out.
"Don't worry," Atsuko whispered back. "I finally got an idea about how his Free works. All I got to watch out for is his girlfriend."
The two looked at each other and then back to Atsuko.
"Let's kill them," Ethan said to Shuko.
"Gladly," Shuko responded.
The two jumped towards the three, Shuko unlatching her briefcase and Ethan readying to swing his hands at the young woman. Both Rei and Terui turned around and ran away, trusting Atsuko to finish the fight. The couple noticed the other two fleeing but their anger made them focus their attention to Atsuko.
"Time to test out my idea," Atsuko whispered to herself.
The young woman took in a deep breath until her lungs were full. Then, using her Free to increase the power, Atsuko let out a shattering scream that cracked the walls around them. Shuko had to cover her ears but was still sent flying by the shockwave caused by Atsuko's scream. Ethan, however, didn't even bother to cover his ears as he continued on his way towards Atsuko, not even affected physically by her scream.
Atsuko smiled as she found out what Ethan's Free was.
Ian and Lin continued to run down the spiral staircase, keeping the insect man Haga and the super-fast girl off their backs and evading the dozens of traps that sprung up every now and then. It had already been over half an hour since they started running down the staircase and . Both of the men wondered just how much longer the staircase went until they were shocked to suddenly reach the bottom. Ian and Lin both tripped and fell forward.
"What the hell is with this place?" Lin coughed. "There's no way a hallway can suddenly appear like this."
"This is what Neo Alcatraz is like," Ian told him. "New hallways and such can be created in less than a second."
"Then how does anyone get any work done here if the whole prison's layout changes so much?" Lin asked annoyed.
"I think the Warden has something that lets the guards travel around safely," Ian answered.
"We haven't seen a single guard since we came here," Lin pointed out. "Just a bunch of Fears and freed prisoners."
Ian scratched his head. "You're right," he said noticing something strange. "Why haven't we seen any guards? We should have at least seen one fighting."
"Maybe they died fighting the Fears," Lin said getting back on his feet.
Ian got back up on his feet. "That's the most likely explanation," he responded. "But the guards at this prison are all very powerful Free users. They couldn't be killed that easily..."
"I'm afraid they were killed that easily," a man's voice said.
Both Ian and Lin turned around to see a prisoner calmly walk down the staircase behind them and onto the floor of the hallway they stood in. The prisoner wore the same outfit as the other prisoners except his black hair was tied into a ponytail and he had a sheathed katana strapped to his waist. The man had two scars that looked like vertical lines going through his milky-white eyes.
"It is strange how one can suddenly appear at another place in this prison," the blind man said. "Even stranger is how nobody noticed me walking down these stairs. I swear I remember the voices of Haga and Mutsumi somewhere around these stairs."
The blind man turned his head to the two men. "Are you two guards?" he asked.
Ian and Lin tried to be silent but the blind man knew they were there by the sound of their breathing and the smell of their sweat.
"Going by your silent, I'd say you two aren't guards or one of the other Fears," the blind man said grasping the hilt of his katana. "Killing two more guards would have given me an even twenty..."
The blind man took out his katana, revealing it to still be dripping blood from the last person it killed.
"Hopefully you two can give me a better fight than those guards," he said swinging his katana, spraying blood drops on the wall next to him.
"Shall we fight?"
Author's Note: I am so very sorry about not updating for six months. Hopefully I got over my writer's block.