It happened so suddenly. Within the span of one second, their escape had been cut off. Black and Red filled the skies as heat brushed against their skin. In that moment of glory, fear had stuck his metal heart. Realization that they were stuck in Sayoko's nightmare forever.
"W-w-w-w-wh-wh-what did you s-s-s-s-sa-say?" Kirië muttered out. Her eyes were wide as dinner plates, her skin as pale as ash. No doubt, fear had gripped her heart, and it had shown. Ikkū considered lying to her, but disregarded that notion. If Kirië didn't here it now, and from him, then there would be no stopping her from killing herself. "D-d-d-d-di-did y-you say HE has b-b-be-been destroyed?"
It hurt seeing her this way. The usually calm and collected Kirië Sakurame was reduced to but a shallow imitation of herself within one, measly sentence. Stuttering, shaking, and with fearful eyes. It was not like her at all. Crouching, Ikkū placed his hands on Kirië and forced her too look into his eyes.
Even Tõta, the usually cheerful teen looked like he was about to bust a kidney. His skin turned slightly paler, but he was reining in his worry fairly well. Impressive.
"Kirië, I need you to calm down." Ikkū said, as he mimicked breathing. Being a robot had many advantages and drawbacks. One of the advantages were the need for oxygen. It came in handy when dealing with smoke or gas. While it did hinder his sense of smell, on the flip side he had an application to mirror surrounding smells. After a minute of Kirië trying to control her breathing, Kirië had seemed to calm down. Still, she remained fearful. "Yes, HQ has been destroyed. I'm not sure by what, but during the final seconds of HQ, my third body sensed a impact in the inns courtyard. If it was a bomb detonating or someone attacking, I'm not sure."
"Someone attacked HQ!?" Tõta yelled a little too loudly for his for his sensors, and for Kirië too it seemed. Her shaking seemed to intensify by Tõta's yell. Looks like he wasn't that impressive. "Is Yukihime alright!? What about Jinbei and that rude looking dude with the glasses!? Are the kids o-!?"
"Tõta!" Ikkū yelled, causing both Kirië and said boy to flinch heavily. "I need you to calm down! When the magical and electronic interference subside, we'll try getting in touch then, but for now I need you to calm down!"
"B-but I need to know how the others are doing! If we're stuck in this time, then we need to get everybody together!" Tõta loudly replied.
"Does it look like I don't know that, Tõta!?" Ikkū yelled back. It wasn't that Tõta was being a nuicance, but it was irritating that he was stating the obvious. "We can't do anything about that until the electronic interference is restored! Until then, it's our job t-"
"Hck! Kuff, ack!"
A sudden wheezing sound caught their attention. A sickly series of coughs followed suite. Ikkū and Tõta stopped their bickering to look in the direction of the odd sound.
As stated before, Kirië skin had turn an ashen gray when news of what happened to HQ rendered in her mind. For her, HQ was more than just a base of operations. HQ had been her home for a majority of her life. A place where she could find safety in no matter the situation. A shelter that she was happy to support. To hear that it had been destroyed was more of a shock to her system than it would have been to anyone else. Even the Queen of Darkness herself didn't have as much love for UQ than Kirië Sakurame.
So when she heard that it had been destroyed, her first emotion was disbelief. Kirië refused to believe the words of Ikkū Ameya, even though he had proven himself to be a reliable source of information time and again. The first thing she did was check the status of HQ's security feed. Being the main source of income for UQ, she had certain privileges other didn't. When nothing picked up, her worry increased. That was until she realized that Sayoko had jammed the magical and electronic waves, and it was still in affect. She calmed down a bit after that.
That was until she looked in the direction of her home.
Kirië, like any proud shut-in, knew by heart where her home was. She didn't need any fancy gadgets or magical items to tell her the direction and how to get to her home. It was sort of like a cat sense, to always know where your home lies.
And her home laid in a pile of fire and smoke.
Having her worst fears founded, (without any proof) was like a bomb for her. Not only that, but as it stood, if her home was gone, so was her save point. No longer was she able to go back and fix the mistakes of everyone around her. No longer was she able to revive all the dead. No longer will she be able to lay in her bed and check her stock price, the only thing that never betrayed her. No longer was her money of any use. No longer was she of any use.
So with the onset of this revelation came a price.
Suddenly, with her heart beating as fast as a bullet train, her breath choked. Her vision blurred and her legs buckled under her weight. Her ears rang and her body shook.
Kirië Sakurame dropped.
"Huh? Kirië!?" Tõta yelled in worry. The dark haired boy was fast enough the blonde teen. Kneeling down, he laid the shaking girl as gently as he could on the tower. "Hey! Hey! What's going on!? Are you alright Kirië!?"
"Hold on Tõta!" Ikkū said as he crouched over Kirië. Placing his hand on top of Kirië's head, he put on a look of concentration. With a sudden 'Tsk' he removed his hand and gave Tõta a stern look. "Tõta, I'm going to have to ask that you don't make any sudden movements. What I'm about to tell you might shock you, but please remain as calm as you can."
It took but a second for Tõta to close his lips as tightly as he could. Tõta was a predictable kid, so even though he was outwardly prepared, on the inside he was most likely a ticking time bomb. Ikkū didn't really have a choice but to tell Tõta though. Kirië needed treatment, especially in this situation.
"Kirië is having a panic attack right now." Ikkū said, fully prepared for Tõta's outburst. Surprisingly, all Tõta did was widen his eyes in surprise. Thank God for that. "Tõta, I need you to listen to me for a bit. Right now, we are in a serious situation. HQ has been demolished and as far as we know, we're the last of the numbers. Until we're given permission by Yukihime that we're finished, we still have a job to do." Ikkū looked at the black cloud then back to Kirië, who shook like a wet cat, then to Tõta. "We don't have time to sit around. That cloud is coming closer and Kirië is in no position to move around."
"W-what's wrong with the cloud? Is it dangerous?" Tõta asked, the size of it intimidating him.
"Possibly. I can't tell right now, but there is a chance that cloud is of a nuclear variety." Ikkū said. Over the many years since the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear warfare had become a thing of a distant memory. The deterrent that the world seem to have worked, and the only wars that seems to sprout were terrorism and proxy battles. Besides that, the world seemed to be at peace.
Even though that was the case, it didn't stop the nation's if the war from developing better and deadlier technology. With the revelation of magic, it seemed to kick that up into high gear. Bullets became deadlier, swords and other medieval weapons became a choice weapon for most die to their variety in styles and enchantments established by an existing magical company.
Of course, it didn't stop there. Weapons of a worldwide scale were established. These kinds of weapons were made specifically for the Mage of the Beginning, but it still was a threatening presence for the minority that knew.
Through all of that, nuclear weaponry was still a main threat that was kept. Not only was the explosive power powerful enough to bend the knees of Jack Rakan, the aftermath was a perfect way to wipe away a population.
In one way, the main reason why it was kept could be described in one word.
"N-Nuclear?" Tõta stuttered questioningly. Tõta, sadly, was not that much of a knowledge freak, so knowledge of a nuclear catastrophe would obviously be lost on him. Ikkū understood this though.
"Yes. Tõta, do you know what happens when a Nuke goes off?" Tõta shook his head no. "Ok. I will keep this short, so listen carefully. When a Nuke drops, not only is the area it was dropped destroyed, the surrounding area is also covered in a black cloud that burns any living thing." That was the simplified version of it.
"W-What!? That's horrible!" Tõta yelled. Ikkū glared at him. Tõta forced himself to be quieter. "W-Why would anyone do that!?"
"To wipe out a population." Ikkū said. "Most likely whoever dropped the bomb was thinking about the zombie problem, not how to keep everyone alive. It's a horrible thing to do, but a logical thing to do."
"B-but we stopped Sayoko! The zombies should be dead!" Tõta said.
"They probably dropped the bomb before we stopped her. Magical effects take awhile to diminish, so that may also be a cause." Ikkū said. Looking at Tõta, they needed to get back on track. "That being said, do you see why we need to hurry? We need to evacuate everyone before the radiation gets to us. We can't move though because of Kirië's state. I need you to do something so we can get moving."
Ikkū reached behind him, before taking out a price of paper. Grabbing it, Tõta took note that it was a picture of a map. A arrow pointed at what seemed to be the tower, with the words 'START' that connected to a line that ran a few good miles away, to a word with a giant circle with the words 'FINISH' drawn in bright red. On the back of the paper had a chibi version of Ikkū pointing to a few words-
Antidepressants- Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft.
Benzodiazepines- Ativan, Valium, or Xanax.
"I need you to go to a pharmacy and get any number of those. If possible, all of them and anymore in stock. Later, we might need to scavenge supplies. I'm sure nobody has yet, so it will be a good idea to grab as much as we can."
"Right!" And with that short answer, a look around the tower, and a kick of his feet, Tõta was off. Ikkū watched him for but a second before concentrating on the task at hand.
Kirië needed to calm down less her situation grows worse.
"Hey, Kirië." Ikkū whispered softly. Carefully, he moved as slowly as he could. Any sudden movements or loud noises could jeopardize the situation. "It's me, Ikkū, can you hear me?" By the way she seemed to be looking at him, he could take that as a yes. "I'm going to need you to do a favor for me, okay Kirië? I'm going to need to trust me here and listen to everything I say." Kirië's eyes seemed more fearful for some reason. Not good. "Okay, can you please lift your arm?"
No one could ever say Tõta Konoe was good with direction without lying their ass off. Hopping from rooftop to rooftop, Tõta kept trying and failing to run and follow the directions. Due to the speed he was going, it made it extremely difficult. He could have easily stopped and read the map, but chose against that. If Kirië was in a serious condition, he didn't have time to screw around.
"Shit!" Tõta screamed as he tumbled a little. Ever since Sayoko's power had diminished, corpses lined the streets of the once great Academy City. Even the rooftops weren't spared, as the Zombies had the ability to climb the massive buildings. Some students and teachers could still be seen comforting each other or doing something every now and then. Looking at them really did heart his heart a little. Knowing that if he had been even a little faster, or competent, then many more lives could have been saved.
'Now's not the time to be thinking like that! Kirië's in trouble and she needs my help!' Tõta shook his head as he flipped around the corner. The wall running ability came in handy when he wasn't able to make it to a certain building or just needed a quick turn.
Doing just that, he concentrated his feet like he would with flash stepping and ran. Unfortunately he wasn't that proficient in it, only having done it one other time, so whenever he touched the wall, it cracked just a little. Tõta vowed to practice with this more later.
"Hup!" Jumping off the wall to the adjacent building, he continued to run. 'I wonder how Kurõmaru and the others are doing?' Tõta thought to himself. When he had jumped after Kirië, he wasn't really thinking. He should have known she would be alright because of her ability, but his instincts had just taken over and the next thing he knew, he was preparing to throw Kirië back into the air. "Ah! I even left my sword on the blimp! Hopefully someone grabs it for me. And a new shirt or blazer to go with it!"
With another jump, he decided it was time again to check his surroundings. Stopping, he took a glance at his map, then the streets below him. 'From the looks if it, I'm almost there!' Tõta thought triumphantly. Running across some rooftops, he gave a mighty shout in excitement. It was weird, just a few months ago he was hiding out in the living room, ready to pounce on Yukihime. Now, he was dealing with an aftermath of a Zombie apocalypse that his team had failed to stop while jumping across rooftops. Heck! Just two days ago him, Ikkū and Kurõmaru were fighting a ghost on top of skyscrapers in the outskirts of the capital! If this wasn't an upgrade from his time with Yukihime, he didn't know what was.
It was so unreal.
"Huh? What was that?" Tõta thought out loud, landing on a rooftop. "It sounded like a scream! Where did it come from?"
Tõta didn't need to wait long before another scream was heard. A series of bangs, reminiscent of fighting, was also in the mix. Following the sound, he came across what could be described as a disturbing sight.
Down on the street below, in front of a chained shop, was 5 guys surrounding a girl and what looked like a teacher. The teacher was down, was down, his nose bleeding and the girl looked to be being… ugh, groped.
That did not fly well with Tõta.
"Hey!? What the hell are you doing!" Tõta yelled, grabbing the attention of everyone below him. The five man group stopped what they were doing to give Tõta a look, giving the girl a chance to break free and run to the downed teacher.
Thug 1 looked at Thug 2 and 3, who just gave a shrug. Thug 1 looked up at where Tõta was, cupping his mouth so he was loud enough.
"What do you mean!? We're just trying to help this poor girl get back home!" Thug 1 yelled. 4 and 5 gave a chuckle while 3 looked a little uncomfortable and 2 started to walk to the girl.
"They're lying! They tried to kill Mr.-" She was cut off by a punch from Thug 2. She was knocked a back a bit, her nose bleeding.
"Shut it bitch! You're makin-" Thug 2 never got a chance to finish that sentence.
Without warning, Tõta slammed a knee into Thug 2's face. Being proficient in combat, Tõta grabbed 2 by the head and spun himself on it. Using his head as an object, he forced himself to jump between 2 and 1. Kicking 1's face in, he crouched and gave 5 an uppercut. 4 tried to grab him from behind, but Tõta did a backflip over 4 and kicked him in the back. 3 stood there shaking, before running, leaving his friends behind.
None of the thugs moved, having been knocked our by Tõta. Tõta himself flexed his right arm and fingers. It was strange, usually he wasn't this good at fighting. Usually he would have been caught by a move like what 4 had pulled, but this time he did something that could be compared to Karin's way of fighting. Maybe the fight with Kurõmaru on the blimp did something to his fighting prowess.
"I still need to beat him up for holding back on me during training." Tõta muttered to himself. It still pissed him off that Kurõmaru had been holding back. They were guys! You don't hold back on Each other during a fight!
"U-uhm!" A voice interrupted his brooding. Blankly looking over, he noticed that it was the girl he just saved. "T-th-thank you f-for saving me!"
Tõta stared at her for a second, unsure how to process this. His mind was still on the topic of Kurõmaru or course, so why wouldn't he respond slower than usual. Jumping, he rubbed the back of his head sheepishly.
"Ah! It's no problem! I just can't stand guys like this-" Tõta motioned towards the downed guys. "-who take advantage of the situation to do anything they want. Makes me sick!"
"O-o-oh..." She stuttered out. He gave her a weird look before shaking his head. As much as he wanted to help out, he needed that medicine.
"Anyways, will you be alright? I sorta need to go." Tõta said guiltily. He felt bad for this but it needed to be done. Kirië could die without him. 'Wait? Wouldn't she just respawn? Why do I need to do this!'
"O-oh! Yes!" She hurriedly got up before bowing. "Thank you for all your help!"
"No problem!" Tõta said, running off. "Be careful!"
With that, he was off.
The girl gave a loud sigh. She wasn't good with boys, especially those loud assertive types like him. That's what drew her into her teacher, who was always soft spoken and docile. 'Ugh… I need to grow out of this f-'
"H-Hey…" A voice interrupted her thoughts. Looking up, it was the boy from just a second earlier. Scratching the back of his head, he sheepishly held out a piece of paper. "Do you know where this is? I'm a little lost…"
"While this form of griping is usually saved for Kirië, I must ask, can you hurry up?"
"I-I'm going a-as fast as I can! Y-You girls are just so heavy!"
"Are you calling two lovely ladies fat, Santa? That isn't very courteous of you."
"I-I'm not a girl!"
"Wait, Kurõmaru is a girl!?"
"No! I'm a boy!"
"Kurõmaru is just in denial. She is trying to hide her true feelings for Tõta."
"K-Karin! Stop telling these lies!"
"H-Hey, guys! Can you stop it! I don't want to drop you!"
With a grunt, Santa reaffirmed his grip on the two(one?) Girls.
After the impact of the explosion from… whatever that was, the three remaining immortals had taken it upon themselves to rightfully freak out over what happened to the other three. Well, all but one.
The Leader, Karin Yuuki, had reacted differently than the other two. Instead of freaking out over the disappearance of Tõta (Kurõmaru equally worried for Kirië and Ikkū, while Santa only really knew Tõta), Karin took the chance to dream of the insolent stones demise. Oh how lovely it would be if he had crushed every bone in his body, and was unable to move for the next day.
Ah. Such a lovely dream indeed.
But as much as she wanted to just wait until the blimp landed to do anything, she still had a job to do. Their job of neutralizing the threat, overall, was a failure. Sure, they succeeded in doing so, but at the cost of many lives. To remedy this, the least they could do was evacuate the citizens of Academy City.
With that, Karin had taken charge of the situation. Being a leader for most of the missions she was assigned, it wasn't that difficult to convince the two to fall in line. The first order of business was to get down from the blimp. Utilizing the Revenant abilities from abilities of Santa Sasaki, they were able to get down.
Well, it was more threatening than it sounded, seeing as Santa had the strength of a squirrel.
"For a spirit that has the power to take down four numbers at the same time, you're surprisingly weak." Karin noted, causing Santa's face to take a downcast look.
"I never exercised when I was alive and during the years I was dead. I spent most of my time playing games and hacking into UQ HOLDER and other shady businesses." Santa admitted, much to the surprise to Karin and Kurõmaru. Someone in a bedroom was able to hack a business that was an equivalent to the Yakuza without being noticed? That was impressive.
"You can hack into security like that, Santa?" Kurõmaru questioned, giving a smile to him. "That's really cool! Especially how you did it in your room!" Santa gave a heavy blush at the compliment.
"O-oh! It's nothing special! It's just one of my abilities as a Revenant." Santa said sheepishly.
"Oh? One of your abilities?" Karin questioned, giving him a blank look. In reality, she found this interesting.
"Y-Yeah! I call it 'Electronic Assimilation!' It allows me to hack into anything I want and control any kind of electronic device!" Santa said proudly. He never got to show it off to anyone, having detested anyone who lived. "That's how I found out your guys' abilities!"
"Hmm. This may become a useful skill in later operations." Karin noted, thinking of the possibilities. Many times in her line of work required her to hack into a building. Her skills being complete shit in the electronic field, it could definitely come in handy. Especially since Ikkū was the one who maintained cyber security for UQ.
"A-Ah! Actually, K-Karin, I have a-a question." Karin gave Santa a look that practically told him to continue. "W-Well, I might be looking too deep into this, b-but how old is Tõta?"
"Hmm? Why do you ask?" Karin asked, not answering the question. She honestly didn't care of that sack of flesh, but this question did intrigue her.
"W-well, when I was looking through UQ_HOLDER documents on you guys, something stood out. Knowing who Ikkū is now, I know he wouldn't allow a glitch to stand out."
"Yes? Your point?" Karin said impatiently. She might have asked why, but just a simple 'I'm curious' would have sufficed.
"W-well, when I looked at Tõta's profile, everything seemed to fit his real life description, Except his age." Santa said, causing Karin to sigh, and Kurõmaru a questioning look.
"What do you mean by that, Santa?" Kurõmaru asked.
"He obviously doesn't understand that Immortals don't age physically. Except for those who rebirth like a phoenix obviously." Karin answered, writing this topic off as needless chatter.
"But that wouldn't make sense, Karin. Tõta is 13 years old, and his appearance matches his body." Kurõmaru said, startling Santa. Karin gave him a 'So what?' look. "So why would Ikkū leave in such a obvious mistake? Surely he must have noticed something saying he was a hundred years old or something."
"Oh? Then maybe he had his memory erased of his life beforehand. From what I understand, two years ago Tõta lost his memory right?" Karin deduced, to which Kurõmaru nodded. They were nearing the ground now. "If that's the case, I do have to question why Yukihime went to live with him for two years."
"W-well, um, it didn't say that he was a hundred years old-" Santa interrupted, nearing the ground. Setting the two down, he continued to float as Karin dusted herself off and Kurõmaru shifted his hold on Tõta's blade, having picked it up before they disembarked on Santa. "-it said he was four years old."
"What!?" Kurõmaru blanched, while Karin's eyes widen to a ridiculous size. "What did you say?"
"U-Uhm! T-th-that his profile said he was four years old!?" Santa stammered out. He wasn't used to this kind of social interaction yet, so it was a bit strange.
Both Kurõmaru and Karin shared a look of disbelief. Kurõmaru took to asking more questions, like 'Are you sure' or 'Do you have any proof?' Karin on the other hand took to judging Santa, to see if he was lying. After but a minute, she had deduced he wasn't, or at least was just seeing things.
'It's very unlikely that Ikkū would make a mistake that simple, even with the mentality of a 13 year old.' Karin thought, adopting a thinking pose. 'It is also likely that Ikkū wasn't even the one to input that information. While Ikkū does monitor the security, he isn't the only one with access to the database. Most likely the one who did this was Yukihime herself, and knowing her and her tendencies, she would have double checked for any mistakes. So was his four years of age intentional?'
"Santa, Kurõmaru." Karin spoke up, catching the attention of the Revenant and Immortal. "I have to ask that you keep this a secret to yourself for the time being. Likely this source of information is from Yukihime herself, so in all likely hood, this was intentional."
"W-What!? Y-You believe this Karin!?" Kurõmaru spoke up, challenging her. "I'm sorry Santa, but I don't believe you. How can Tõta be 4 when he looks like he's almost 15? It doesn't make any sense!"
"Kurõmaru, didn't Tõta lose his memories two years ago?" Kurõmaru flinched. That was true. "As it happened, that was also around the same time Yukihime found Tõta. His parents also died by the hands of Fate Averruncus himself to which he admitted when we questioned him. So that brings up, why did he do that? Why would he hunt down some random civilians and murder them in cold blood? What reason would he have to do that?"
"I… He!... B-but… W-why?" Kurõmaru asked, angered that he couldn't find a reason for why Fate did what he did. Karin stared at him for a second before sighing. There was no point in this.
"It seems that our comrade has more to him than meets the eye. Ikkū possibly knows what Tõta's secret is, so we'll have to question him until the time comes. If he doesn't know, then Yukihime will."
"T-then let's go find him!" Santa said eagerly, this mystery eating him out. "W-We need to go find t-them anyways!"
"No." Karin objected. "As much as I want to find out, we have a job to do." She looked at Kurõmaru, "Well, us two do. We need to evacuate as many civilians as we can. Santa here doesn't need too, seeing how he isn't a number."
"Y-Yeah! While you guys h-help civilians, I can I-look for Big Bro and everyone else!" Santa said as he prepared to lift.
"Well, yes. I guess if you want more civilians to die because of you." Karin said. Santa suddenly stopped, a shocked look on his face. Kurõmaru looked at her with the same amount of Astonishment.
"W-What d-d-do you m-m-m-me-mean?" Santa stuttered, looking at Karin with a fearful gaze. Kurõmaru looked between Karin and Santa, a look of disbelief still upon his face.
'You better not-'
"Well, from what I can understand, weren't you the one who pushed Sayoko to do this. From what Ikkū told me, you even confessed that you wished for the world to end."
"Karin!" Kurõmaru yelled, interrupting her. This was not okay. "Santa couldn't control what Sayoko did! He had no idea that Sayoko was actually going to kill this many people!"
"That may be so, but he needs to be held accountable. Even if we can rewind time at a later date, it would mean nothing if Santa didn't learn from his mistakes."
"T-That's not fair!" Kurõmaru yelled. It wasn't right to place the blame on someone who didn't deserve it.
"I-I-I-I- D-d-didn't t-think she cou-could actually do it! I-I was just fed up w-w-with everyone picking on the weak! What's so wrong with that!?" Santa yelled through tear filled eyes.
"Nothing is wrong with that. I encourage the weak to stand up for themselves." Karin said with a frown. "But it that involves injuring bystanders, then it's my job to put an end to that."
"Enough, Karin!" Kurõmaru yelled in anger. "Santa understands what he did was wrong! Let's just find everyone else and just go back to the past!"
"I'm not so sure that's a good idea." Karin said, as she took a seat on the railing of the building. She looked around, as if trying to find an answer to all her problems, but no matter where she looked, only smoke filled the air.
"W-what do you mean?" Santa asked, his tears still running with guilt.
"Just a bunch, but I have a feeling that if we were to look for them, we wouldn't be able to find them."
"W-what makes you say that?" Santa asked
"Well, I'm just going on a guess here, but if Ikkū wanted to find us, he would have by now. There must be a reason for that." Karin theorized. Little did she know it was because of Kirië. Kurõmaru gave a grunt of displeasure while Santa looked down cast. "In the mean time, I think it would be a good idea to help civilians in the area. While they might not matter once we travel back, they are still human lives. Besides, we don't even know if we are actually resetting time."
This was a topic that not many in the group liked to talk about. When Kirië had held a meeting to discuss her ability after the battle with Fate, she had given a lecture to everyone in the group. Especially Ikkū who put the lives of many civilians in danger. When Ikkū tried to defend himself, Kirië had shut him up by explaining her theory that her ability might not save the people of that timeline, but just themselves.
That gave everyone a bad taste in their mouth.
"So I finally ask, will you help us, Santa Sasaki?" Karin asked reaching out a hand to Santa. He looked at it, tears still lining his cheeks. "While you can't revive the dead, the least you can do is help those who live now. To redeem yourself of the sins of your friend."
Santa seemed to stare at it for a bit, before he wiped his eyes. Landing on the ground, he glanced at the hand and back to Karin's faces. Biting his lip, he grabbed Karin's hand firmly, giving a weak smile.
"I'm glad." Karin smiled at him, causing him to blush. While he didn't feel comfortable with her yet, he had to admit she was very pretty. "Thank you, Santa." Letting go, she looked around. "Anyways, I think it would be a good idea to start immiedetly. We don't have the luxury of wasting time."
"A-actually!" Santa spoke up, grabbing the attention of the two. While Kurõmaru didn't completely agree with Karin on blaming Santa for Sayoko, he was glad Santa was helping. "I might know s-some people t-that might n-need help!"
It didn't take that long to make it to the bridge. If anything, Santa could have flown there faster than everyone else, but he wanted to lead Kurõmaru and Karin there. Besides, with the dead having been killed, there really was no rush to save them.
In total, it probably took five minutes to get there.
The reception he got when he arrived was more than he expected.
Cheers, whistles, and a chorus of 'Thank You' made its way to his ears. As soon as he landed, he was surrounded by multiple civilians, giving their thanks, promises that they would return the favor somehow.
In total, it took ten minutes for the crowd to calm down. In the meantime, Karin and Kurõmaru sat back and watched the show. Both of them thought he deserved it. Even Karin.
She didn't necessarily blame Tõta for what happened, but it was a fact that he had a hand to play in it. She just believed he needed to man up and take responsibility, and if a crowd of civilians cheered for him, so be it. There was no reason for them to know the truth.
After the crowd calmed and the civilians went back to their business, it just left team UQ and the mages who helped defend the civilians, minus the two sisters. They were still tending to the younger ones wound.
"Hey! Kid! Nice job out there!" One of the girls, a black haired teen, called out to him, slapping him on the back. "When you flew off saying you were going to put an end to this, I honestly didn't believe you! You did a good job!" She leaned into his face, making him uncomfortable. "You gotta tell me; how'd ya do it? What kind a magic spell did you use!?"
"I-I d-didn't use a magic spell! I-I just dealt with the one w- Mgh Mgh!" Santa said, but was stopped by Karin who covered his mouth.
"It was a wide spread incantation that put down the Zombies." Karin explained, grabbing the attention of the student mages.
"Ah! Hey! Your that girl with that one kid! The one who was doing illegal duels!" She yelled pointing at Karin, who shook her head. The girl then pointed to Kurõmaru. "And you're the other girl that's always following him around!"
"I'm not a girl!" Kurõmaru defended.
"Yes, and your point?" Karin said coldly, removing her hand off of Santa. "As it is now, I don't believe that I'll be able to serve detention with the state the school is in right now."
The raven haired girl couldn't help but flinch by the words that left Karin's mouth. Those words struck deep, and reasonably so too. Most likely, in the girls case, she was probably goofing off with her friends just hours prior. Now? They were all most likely dead.
"Hey! You don't have to be so rude about it!" A boy, with familiar spikey Gray hair called to Karin. She immiedetly recognized him as the 'First-Rater' who dueled Tõta. His lackey followed closely behind. He seemed to be upset, if his appearance was anything to go by. "She was just pointing you guys out, is that so wrong?"
"No, that is naturally fine. So is my comment about how I won't be able to serve detention for the time being." Karin said. "I'm just stating facts."
"True, but do you have to be such a uptight prick about it?" A short dark haired teen called out to her. Walking over, he gave her a tired glare. "I don't know what's your deal, but you need to calm down."
"He's right Karin." Kurõmaru spoke up, confronting her. "You've been acting weird ever since the we were separated from the others. You have reprimanded Santa on something he hasn't even done, now you're being rude to someone just because someone pointed out we were with Tõta." Kurõmaru said worriedly. Walking up to her, he placed a hand on her shoulder. "Is everything alright?"
"Of course. Everything is fine, Kurõmaru." Karin denied, removing his hand from her shoulder. "I am just in no mood to fool around. We need to get these civilians out of Academy City as soon as possible. Must I repeat our reasons for doing so?" Karin asked.
"No, I know why, but you don't need to be so rude about it." Kurõmaru said, motioning towards the civilians inspecting the large ship on the bridge. "Wouldn't it be more beneficial for us if we go about it in a kind manner? That way we gain their trust?"
"Yeah! What the chick said!" The black hair girl said, putting her arms around Kurõmaru, her cheer making a comeback, even with the situation they were in.
"I'm not a girl!" Kurõmaru yelled at the teen, to which she gave him a suspicious look.
"Are you sure?" The girl asked suspiciously.
Karin didn't respond, instead adopting her thinking pose. Maybe what Kurõmaru said rang an air of truth to it? Was she going about this all wrong? Looking over to the group that continued to harass Kurõmaru, she gave a small smile. Maybe he was right? This was her first time in a situation like this after all, and if she remembered correctly, Kurõmaru had done something similar in the past.
Sighing, she relented. Karin decided to follow Kurõmaru's lead on this one.
"Kyaaaaa!" A blood curdling scream caught everyone's attention. Off near the boat, the scream came. Almost all at once, the civilians ran, screaming in a distress cry that could frighten the studious of man.
"What's going on!?" Kurõmaru yelled, ignored by the masses. One even pushed him to the ground, to which he had to shield himself from being trampled on.
The same went for the others, except for a big bald guy, Karin, Santa and a few others. As they waited for the wave to pass, they were kept wondering, what was going on? What could possibly send fear in those who had just survived a zombie apocalypse?
As the crowd passed, they got their answer.
Held in hand, with the others blood running down their neck, was a woman. Clad in purple, her eyes bloodshot from strain, and teeth as sharp as a wolf, was an undead.
"Hey! Didn't you say you took care of that, Kid!?"