Due to it being a Saturday Touta and Kuroumaru had the whole day free to explore the hidden caverns underneath the school and hopefully discovering whatever secrets they held. They found it easy enough to sneak onto the deserted school grounds and began to make their way down below.
Once they arrived Kuroumaru couldn't help but be amused that even with everything Touta has seen since joining UQ Holder he still held a child like glee when finding things he deemed "awesome". He loved watching him rushing around the cavern in his adorkable way, taking all the sights in.
"This place is huge... and these walls are so cool looking. Oh hey, are these are your friend's instruments," Touta commented as he approached the band's equipment. "So awesome!"
He circled behind Holly's keyboard and looked at it curiously.
"What's all this stuff hooked up to the keyboard?"
"It's Holly's synthesizer. She's able to use it to make all kinds of neat sounds... And I know that look Touta-kun. Don't touch. It is not yours."
"I'm not going to mess it up. I just want to see what it can do," he said as he moved the button to the 'on' position. He went to play a few notes but was stopped suddenly by Kuroumaru grabbing his wrist and twisting it upwards painfully.
"I said don't touch," Kuroumaru said as he quickly turned the instrument back off. "It's a part of my job to keep the instruments safe. It's a lame job but it's mine. So hands off."
"Okay okay," Touta yelped as Kuroumaru released his arm. "Geez, you can be so violent," he said teasingly. "Wow, look at that pond. It looks nice."
Kuroumaru followed Touta as he bee lined over to the pool of water. Reika had ran an extension cord over and used a string of cherry blossom shaped lights around a good section of it for illumination and decoration after school one day. The lighting was dim but you could still make everything out clearly. Touta got right to the edged and dipped his hands in.
"This water is really cold," he commented as he swished his hands around. "Dude, we should go swimming!"
Kuroumaru laughed. "Sorry, but I didn't bring my swimsuit."
"That's okay. We don't need a swimsuit. It could be just like the bathhouse."
A small blush dusted Kuroumaru's cheeks at the implication as he cleared his throat, "Aren't we supposed to be working?"
"That's right... Later then," he said as he stood up and with a fiendish smile flung the residual water off his hands at Kuroumaru.
"Hey! You jerk," Kuroumaru laughed as he held up an arm in front of himself for defense.
"Well, come one slacker," Touta playfully said as he walked past Kuroumaru toward the passage that lead deeper into the cavern. "We're supposed to be working, aren't we?"
"Coming," Kuroumaru said as he quickly joined pace by Touta's side.
They walked in silence for a few moments before Touta broke silence.
"So you came down here with Doki-chan from class," Touta asked as they headed down the corridor. Though he already knew the answer.
"She's really quiet. I tried talking to her a couple a days ago before class and getting her to say even a few words was like pulling teeth."
"She's just shy. She'll talk more when she warms up to you. That's all. She doesn't even really talk to me during class. Only during club time really."
"Heh, she must really like you though."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well," Touta paused as he tried to find the right words. "I don't think she would have gone with you if she didn't really like you."
"She was just worried about me going down alone... Besides she likes someone else in class."
"I don't know. She didn't say. Hey, hold up a second," Kuroumaru suddenly said as he stopped at a cross section between multiple tunnels. "This is where the chute is."
Walking over Kuroumaru picked up the end of his rope that fell with him and Doki and handed it over to Touta. Touta examined the rope and looked at Kuroumaru questioning.
"Doesn't this look weird to you?"
Touta looked over the end. "Not really, but what am I looking for?"
"The end... it looks pretty clean cut. If it was worn down by something until it broke the edges would be more frayed."
"Oh yeah, I can see that."
"I also sensed something just before we fell. It was only for a second and then it was gone. But I think someone was in the chute with us."
"So someone cut the rope? Why would anyone do that?"
Kuroumaru sighed and shrugged. "No clue. And why would they be crawling around inside the walls in the first place?"
"Mmhmm. But will figure all that out later. I want to see where these tunnels go."
"Which way should we go first," Touta questioned as he looked between all the options.
"I know of a method that could help us decide," Kuroumaru replied- helpful as always.
"Really dude? That's awesome. Let's see it."
"Okay," Kuroumaru replied with a small smile and walked to the center of the intersection.
Resting the hilt of his sword on the ground Kuroumaru rested his hands on the top of grip and let out a slow breath. Touta stood back and watched in a curious silence. He found it cool that Kuroumaru was so versatile and knew so many techniques. Something he lacked entirely. He wondered what Kuroumaru could be doing as he stood there silently. Could he be using ki to heighten his senses to hear or to sense what was further down each passage? Whenever he was finished doing whatever it was that he was doing he would have to ask. If this was a useful technique maybe Kuroumaru could teach it to him. After a few seconds Kuroumaru released the grip of his sword and it fell forward, bouncing and rolling a couple of times before coming to a stop. Kuroumaru pointed down the far left passage the grip was mostly facing.
"Let's try that way."
Touta almost fell to the ground in exasperation.
"That's it!? We might as well played 'eeni mini miny mo!'" Kuroumaru giggled sheepishly at Touta's overreaction.
"I never said it was a complex method. Some of the best techniques are simple ones."
"Well... We have a decision now at least," Touta said with a pout. He wasn't sure what he was expecting but that was definitely a letdown.
The tunnel they walked down wasn't anything spectacular. It seemed like a bunch of nothing was to be found in this direction. They came across another cross section that Touta just took the lead in turning down a random path. It was almost to the point that they were going to call it quits and try a different path until their progress was stopped by an unexpected door.
The iron door was larger than normal with ornate gothic decor that seem to have a sense of forewarning etched into the imagery of skulls and bones. The two boys stared silently at the their find quizzically. Kuroumaru shook his head in opposition.
"Nooope," Kuroumaru said as he turned on his heels and began to head back down the hall. "I chose poorly. This is definitely a bad direction to go down."
"Oh, come on," Touta laughed as he grabbed his friend's hand to keep him from backtracking. "Isn't this what we're down here for?"
"I have seen enough in my life to know a 'certain death lies beyond yond passage' warning."
"Good thing we're immortal than, right?"
"Hah hah," he said sarcastically. "I'm getting very bad vibes from behind that door."
"Stop being such a scardy cat Kuroumaru."
Kuroumaru huffed in annoyance as he yanked his hand back. "I'm not scared."
"Look, I'll even go first," Touta said bravely as he approached the door. He reached for the door handle but paused momentarily. He didn't have near the senses that Kuroumaru had but even he could feel the presence of something lying behind this door. The fact that even he could sense it gave him pause.
"Well?" Kuroumaru prodded behind him.
Touta pulled hard on the iron door and with a loud combination of creaking and metal sliding across floor the door opened. Beyond was just a wall of white webbing that obscured the room completely from sight.
"Uh..." Touta said as he pushed his hand into the webbing curiously.
"I wouldn't do that Touta-kun," Kuroumaru warned as he stood ready with his sword.
Touta tried to pull his back but found that the webbing was impossibly strong and that it held him in place.
"A~nd I'm stuck," he sighed.
"What, seriously," Kuroumaru frowned as he stepped closer to assist.
Faster than either boy could fathom a monstrous spider-like leg burst through the webbing and skewered Touta through the chest, causing blood to fountain out behind him. With a quick motion the leg retreated back though the door way with the lower half of Touta stuck on the backward spikes of the leg.
"T-touta-kun," Kuroumaru shouted in shock as he immediately leaped into action to help his friend. 2 1/2 Hours of Epic Fighting Later
"I can feel its guts all over... My arm has to be around here somewhere," Touta explained as he and Kuroumaru dug through the entrails of the arachnid monstrosity they were battling moments ago.
"This is so gross," Kuroumaru complained as he tossed some miscellaneous organ to the side.
Kuroumaru and Touta were covered in the creature's blood and their own from top to bottom. Their clothes were worn down to tatters and were barely being held together. During the fight both had been ripped apart multiple times but due to them being able to regenerate, unlike the spiderlike creature, they were eventually able to wear it down to where Touta could finally deal the finishing blow with his Sidekick.
"Found it," Touta said as he pulled his arm out of a gooey pile and attempted to shake it to where it was somewhat clean.
Kuroumaru stood up and tried to wipe the thick layer of gunk off on his pants with very little success.
"I think I'm done for the day," Kuroumaru sighed. "I'm ready to take a long and very hot shower. We can finish exploring some other time."
"I agree," Touta said as he reattached his arm. "I still have that stupid project to do for science class..."
"You mean you haven't started," Kuroumaru questioned. "You've had two weeks to work on it and it's due Monday..."
"Yeah yeah. Mind helping out? I've seriously procrastinated on this thing."
Kuroumaru started towards the exit and sighed. "Yes..."
"Man, can you believe that that thing was underneath this school the whole time?"
"I know, right?"
They backtracked to the main room and Touta immediately started stripping as he approached the natural spring. Kuroumaru blushed and quickly averted his gaze and turned his attention to the instruments so he could focus on something else.
"What are you doing?"
"We can't just go running around covered in guts. We need to clean up. Come on," he ordered excitedly as he tossed his clothes to the side. "Swim and bath time," he sung happily.
Touta quickly waded in and once deep enough started to swim around a bit.
"It's actually pretty deep," Touta commented before shivering. "And cold. Very very cold."
Kuroumaru was about to start unbuttoning his shirt but paused when something strange caught his eye. Walking up to Holly's keyboard he noted that the power was on. He played back the memory of him and Touta messing with it before but he was almost certain that he turned it off, hadn't he? He clicked it over to the off position and looked around the empty room suspiciously. He couldn't sense anyone but him and Touta but he always had the strangest feeling of being watched while he was down here. But looking around the room they were the only ones here. Was he being paranoid?
"He~ey Kuroumaru," Touta whined when he noticed his friend wasn't getting in with him. "Come on."
"Coming," Kuroumaru said as he turned back to the spring and continued to unbutton his shirt.
He stopped dead in his tracks after glancing up and seeing that Touta was watching him intently as he treaded water. His face heated up and he felt his pulse begin to quicken.
"Do you mind!?"
"Huh, seriously," Touta questioned innocently.
"Of course seriously. You can't watch me undress you pervert! Turn around!"
"Fine fine," he said as he obliged and turned to the far wall. For some reason he seemed annoyed by the request.
Once Kuroumaru felt it was safe to finish undressing he removed his clothes and placed them neatly on top of one other. Even though Touta was still facing the other direction Kuroumaru did his best to cover his chest and private area as he began to wade into the water, blushing all the way.
"Hold your horses I'm almost in."
Once deep enough Kuroumaru took out his hair band and ducked his head under the water to get his long hair wet, getting a portion of the dried up gunk out. He then swam to Touta and tapped him on the shoulder to signal that he was done. Touta turned and gave him a broad smile that Kuroumaru returned.
"About time," he laughed and began to swim in slow circles around Kuroumaru playfully.
"What are you? A shark or something," Kuroumaru questioned playfully.
"Yup," he agreed. "I'm stalking my prey."
"Yeah well you'll find that I do not make the easiest prey," he laughed as he splashed Touta.
"Hey," Touta yelled as he splashed back full force.
Kuroumaru yelped and covered his face from the ongoing onslaught. It didn't take long for him to take the offensive and both boys were splashing wildly at each other while laughing. Touta shouted as he leaped toward a surprised Kuroumaru and wrapped his arms around him.
"T-t-touta-kun!? What are you doing," Kuroumaru shouted as he tried to pull away. Fully aware of their bodies close proximity.
Touta lifted Kuroumaru out of the water and ignored his shouts to stop as he fell backwards into the water, taking Kuroumaru with him. Kuroumaru struggled against Touta's grasp before finally able to push away and resurface. He coughed and few times as he caught his breath. Once Touta surfaced as well Kuroumaru smacked him on the shoulder roughly.
"Jerk, why did you do that?"
"I thought it would be funny," he admitted as he rubbed his shoulder, trying to figure out why Kuroumaru was getting so angry. He did things like this with his friends back home all the time.
"Well it wasn't," Kuroumaru said softly as he blushed and lowered his head into the water right below his brown almond shaped eyes. His raven hair floated around him like a wreath as he glared at Touta in annoyance.
Touta couldn't help but smile about how admittedly cute Kuroumaru was looking right now but he apparently went too far and made him angry. Touta swam closer to Kuroumaru and lowered his face into the water so he was eye level. A blurble of water came out of Touta's mouth as he uttered that he was sorry. Though it was barely audible from being said under water. Touta could see the change in Kuroumaru's eyes and that he was now smiling. Thankfully it was easy enough to gain his friend's forgiveness.
Touta was about to say more but was caught off guard by Kuroumaru suddenly squirting water in his face. Kuroumaru covered his mouth and giggled at Touta's shocked expression like he committed the most cleaver prank ever. A thought popped in Touta's head and he leaned in close to his still giggling friend and gave him a serious look.
"Gut water," was all he said before pulling away with a lop sided grin.
This observation caused Kuroumaru's smile to fade as he suddenly stuck on his tongue and made a sour face.
"Ugh, you're right."
The two teenagers both burst into a fit of laughter that filled the large cavern.
"Want to grab some hamburgers on our way to the dorms?"
"Sounds good to me. Then play some video games!"
"No Touta. School work."
"Damn, I'd hope you'd forgotten."
"Heh, nope. Now turn around so I can get out."
Touta groaned dramatically but did as he was told and after they had both redressed with clothes Kuroumaru had in his pocket dimension they headed back to their dorms where they spent the rest of the day in each other's company. Late During the Night
A dark hazy figure slinked through the bedroom where Santa, Touta, and Kuroumaru slept. It looked through the room curiously as it studied the layout. Like a shadow it circled the bed where the boys was sleeping and watched over them silently for a few minutes.
It went to where Santa was sleeping soundly and gave the small boy a quick glance over before climbing over the bed and crawled over him and to Touta. He was sprawled out across his two friends and lying vertically across the bed with his legs thrown over Santa and using Kuroumaru's stomach as a pillow. Touta snored peacefully as the figure examined him and crawled across the bed, not causing a single creak in the mattress.
It crawled over Kuroumaru and brought its darkened face over the lovely teen to examine it closely. Kuroumaru breathed in and out in a soft rhythm as he slept, completely unaware of the hovering presence. When Kuroumaru turned his head to the side the figure matched his movement to keep a straight gaze. The figure stayed motionless for many minutes as he watched. Kuroumaru took a deep breath and began to look frustrated.
"Get off me," Kuroumaru tiredly mumbled and moved his hand down.
The figure moved his body just enough for Kuroumaru's hand to move past him and push on Touta's head uselessly. He the sighed and turned to his side. Touta moaned in protest as his pillow slid away from him. He rolled over to his stomach and threw an arm over Kuroumaru's side. The uninvited guest silently crawled off the bed and left the room like he was never there to begin with.