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[Atsuko_love’s Fanfic] The Ultimatum – Chapter 14

Chapter 14 : The History Of Team Taka – The Mysterious Black Button

Yuki let out a loud breath as she stood there motionless with a blindfold over her eyes. Slowly, she reached for her Judgement and activated a scythe. “Ready.”

Soon after, a loud bang was heard as a sniper bullet pierced through the air heading straight towards her face. Hearing the gunshot, Yuki immediately knew the direction that the bullet came from. She tilted her whole body gracefully, dodging the bullet before swinging her scythe. The tip of the scythe blade glided accurately on the bullet, slowing it down and manage to direct it to the ground. Already knowing the direction the bullet came from, Yuki dashed towards it. The sniper released a few more shots but the young lady still managed to deflect them successfully despite having a blindfold on. The next second, she had the tip of the scythe touching the sniper’s neck. She let out a smile and greeted the sniper. “I found you~”

Yuki just managed to locate a sniper who was few hundred meters away and deflected every single bullet while having a blindfold on. Immediately, Takamina came from the top and swung down her sword at her. Without even removing her blindfold, Yuki lifted her scythe up to defend against the slash. The strength used was monstrous as it made Yuki got down on one knee. She then defleceted it away and Takamina hopped back. “Not bad, kid.”

“Thanks, sensei.” Yuki removed her blindfold and smiled back at her teacher.

Yuki is already 18 years old this year. Her senses and reflexes had reached the point where it was way beyond any normal human being. There were a lot of rumours going around Legion right now that Yuki is already much stronger than a lot of Reapers already. Despite being a student in the Legion Academy for a total of 11 years already, Yuki still had not get the chance to gradute, not because she was bad in the combat exams. Truthfully, Yuki had been getting rank 1 in combat exam for some time now. The only reason she hasn’t graduated yet was because she was forced to skip the combat exams. In the span of 11 years, Yuki was sent to the hospital for a total of 31 times.

Altogether, Yuki had broken almost 100 bones inside her body but it was all worth it. Yuki got stronger than she had ever imagined. At the age of 18, she was known as little Takahashi Minami because her fighting abilities was said to be on par with the legendary Reaper. Yuki on the other hand knew that fact wasn’t true. She wasn’t as strong as her teacher yet but she’s slowly getting there.

As they both walked out of the training room, Yuki shot a look at Takamina. “I will get first all the way and make you proud all the way to the end, sensei.” Yuki shot a sweet smile.

Takamina tilted her head up to look at Yuki all grown up. The last time she remembered, she still needed to tilt her head down to look at Yuki. Now it’s the other way round. Yuki had grown so much since the day she came in. “Don’t get cocky with me, kid. You’re merely halfway there.. Getting first is nothing. You need to go more. Pack up your equipments, we’re moving onto your next training.” Takamina said as she made her way out of the scene.

Yuki then went back to her room to pack up some stuff. As she made her way through the main lobby of Legion, her name got called out. “Yuki! Yuki!!!”

Yuki turned her head to the right and saw Rena inside a cage gripping onto the bars. “Rena senpai?”

“You’re a good girl, Yuki. Let me out of this cage.” Rena shook the bars.

Yuki walked over and whispered to Rena. “You know I can’t do that, senpai.. Takamina sensei would kill me…”

“I’ll give you my melon pan. How about that, huh? My cakes too. You can have all of them. Just let me out, Yuki. I know you have the keys.. I saw Minami nee-chan passing the keys to you.”

“Yeah, but I promised not to let you out! How am I gonna explain to her when she found out you went missing?”

“Just blame it on the cage’s faultiness.” Rena shrugged.

“You’re not making any sense, senpai. So, see ya.” Yuki turned around.

Rena grabbed onto Yuki’s leg before she could leave. “Yuki. Yuki. Please. You’re not gonna leave your senpai here, are you?”

“Senpai please…”

Rena started rolling around inside the cage. “Help me. I can’t breathe. There’s no oxygen here. Help me!! *cough cough*”

Yuki shot an unamused look at Rena. “That is fake as hell, senpai..”

“YUKI! PLEASE! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! LET ME OUT! MET ME OUT!” Rena shook the cage harder and harder.

“Okay! Okay! Just wait!” Yuki, being too frustrated by Rena’s screams reached for the keys inside her pocket and tossed it at her.

Without a moment of hesitation, Rena unlocked the cage and hopped out of it. She then screamed at the top of her lungs. “I’M FREEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

“……” Yuki was suddenly silenced by the sight of Takamina standing just few feet away, looking at them.

“……” Rena blinked her eyes at Takamina.

“……” Yuki too blinked her eyes silently.

“Buhbye!” Rena immediately ran away as fast as possible.

Takamina’s eyes were then shifted onto Yuki. “……”

“I’m really sorry.” Yuki immediately apologized.

Takamina merely let out a scoff and turned away. “Follow me, Yuki.”

“Phew..” Yuki let out a huge breath since Takamina didn’t seem to care much about it anymore. She folowed Takamina to the Legion’s hangar.

Takamina then stood beside her private plane. “Up.”

“Cool!” Yuki smiled widely and hopped inside the plane as this was the first time she had ever went up a plane.

“So where are we gonna go?”

“You’ll know soon.” Takamina started the engine and they took off.

They are now about 40000 feet in the air. Takamina switched it to autopilot and waled towards Yuki. “Are you ready?”

“Hmm?” Yuki tilted her head. “Ready for what?”

Takamina slammed onto the big red button as the plane door opened. The air current was so strong that it seemed to be sucking them out. Yuki had to hold onto something so that she will not be sucked out of the plane.

“Erm….” Yuki was still confused as to why Takamina opened the plane door suddenly.

“It’s time for your next training, Yuki.” Takamina said with a blank face. “Now unstrap yourself and stand up. Have you got all your equipments?”

“Yup.” Yuki nodded. “But I still have to get my parac-”

“Good.” Takamina didn’t even bother to let Yuki finish her sentence and that gave Yuki a weird feeling.

“Erm…” Yuki unstrapped herself from her seat and stood up just as Takamina ordered. She poked her head out of the door a little and took a peek down at the earth. “So the training is waiting for me down there? I’m just gonna parachute my way down, right?”

Takamina raised an eyebrow. “No. You’re gonna pray.”

“Wha-?”

Without uttering another word, Takamina kicked Yuki hard, and that sent her flying out of the plane. Yuki wasn’t sure if Takamina knew that she had no parachute with her all along. But then again, Takamina might most probably know of that fact already.

“A-AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Yuki spinned round and round in the sky from the force of the strong air current.

“This is to train you to think quick despite being in a mind-boggling situation like this. It’s either you think of a strategy quick or you will die.. But I trust you can think of something, kid.”

“WOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!” Yuki’s whole body was spinning and spinning uncontrollably. Her mind was flaoting. She couldn’t think of anything at all. She has fast reactions and is very well trained by Takamina, so what? Those are completely useless when you’re falling from 40000 feet in the air without any parachute. This is to train Yuki to think of a strategy while being in a difficult situation. But throwing her off a plane from 40000 feet in the air is a little….scary.

“SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT! SHIT!” Yuki was still flailing her arms up and down, left to right. For the first time in few years, she was panicking like mad. Now, she actually prefered to get beat up by Takamina than falling from the sky like this. She knew that if she doesn’t think of an idea to land, she will die for real. But of course Takamina’s trainings were all meant for real life and death situations.

“Alright alright. Yuki, girl.. You can do this.. Just calm down…” Despite still falling from the sky, Yuki tried to calm herself down but the fact that she got thrown off a plane so suddenly was still a little traumatizing for her. She spread her arms and legs wide to slow down her falling speed. She then let oout a breath and closed her eyes. “Think think think think think think think think…….”

“I got it!” Yuki immediately tapped her Judgement as her Judgement started glowing in red. “I can stop my fall by aiming the laser to the ground. The force will be strong enough.. I just need to slow down my fall for 30 seconds..”

After 30 seconds, her Judgement laser was completely charged up. She unclipped it from her belt and aimed it to the ground. Right before she fired the laser, she blinked as she realized something. “When is the right time to fire the laser??? If I fire it too soon, the force will push me up once again and I will fall to my death. If I fire it too late, the force will not be enough to push me up and I will still fall to my death.. SHIT!!!”

Yuki continued falling faster and faster. She started panicking again. She didn’t know the timing to shoot the laser, so she might as well give it a shot. As she felt her body was getting a little close to the forest below, she clicked on the Judgement and fired the laser. The laser shot downwards to the ground and created a huge crater. The force was definitely slowing Yuki down by a lot. Yuki felt it. She was definitely going to survive this fall. Her body got closer to the trees at the bottom, she could feel herself slowing down and that put a smile on her face. That time, her laser time ended. Perhaps Yuki fired the laser a little too early because she panicked. The laser finished but she was still about 60 meters off the ground.

“AAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!” Yuki fell onto a tree, scraping her whole body through the thick and thin branches and finally landed on the ground with a loud thud. Everything around her immediately went silent.

“……”

“……”

“……”

Yuki was then awoken by a conversation. She weakly rolled her eyes around and noticed that she was in the hospital ward. She then rolled her eyes to the side and saw Atsuko and Takamina facing each other.

“Again, MInami..” Atsuko shook her head. “This is the thirty second time Yuki ended up in the hospital.”

“She was clumsy.”

“She was clumsy?? You tossed her out of a freaking plane, Minami.”

Yuki groaned and then used a little more energy to adjust herself up to a sitting position. “Sensei..”

“Ah Yuki, you’re awake..” Atsuko attended to Yuki immediately.

Yuki then rubbed her head a little. “Oh my god, I think I have a trauma now…” Yuki rubbed her head a little and groaned.

Atsuko side eyed Takamina. “And whose fault is that?”

“I would have landed perfectly.” Takamina stated.

“Yeah, of course you can.” Atsuko nodded sarcastically. “You should remember that you’re not normal.”

“Atsuko sensei, please.. Takamina sensei was trying to train me to think fast in difficult situations.. So I understand. It’s ok.” Yuki smiled.

“See? She understands it.”

“…” Atsuko felt simply too tired to reply Takamina anymore, so she just kept quiet.

“You broke your right arm and leg. So you’ll be skipping this month’s combat exam as well.” Takamina said.

“What!? I still need to rank in top ten 1 last time in combat exam to graduate! I was supposed to graduate by end of this month!” Yuk was completely frustrated.

“Yeah, that’s not gonna happen. Rest for this month.” Takamina said.

“Okay…” Yuki sighed. It’s not like this was the first time she was delayed.

Takamina then realized that someone was missing. “Where’s Rena?”

“I think she went out for shopping.” Atsuko answered.

“Shopping again?” Takamina frowned. It was definitely weird for Takamina. Rena had been missing a lot lately and now, Takamina was starting to suspect something was going on with Rena. “Which shopping complex has she gone to?”

“I don’t know.. AKB shopping center i guess?” Atsuko answered once again. She knew very well where Rena had gone to, but of course she can never let Takamina know of the fact that Rena had been meeting a Spectre lately.

“She’s been missing a lot lately, Atsuko. Are you sure she had been shopping all these time?”

“Rena is already an adult. Just let her go whereever she pleases, can you?” Atsuko said.

“…..” Takamina remained silent, but this fact continued to bother her a lot. From this point on, she had decided to keep a close eye on Rena’s movements.

The next month had passed and Yuki managed to score the 1st rank in combat once again. Having ranked within the top ten for 40 times in both exams, Yuki was finally able to graduate as a Reaper that she had always dreamt of.

“CONGRATULATIONS, YUKI!!!” Rena came jumping out of nowhere and hugged Yuki tightly, congratulating her kouhai after she had recieved her very first Judgement and Legion cloak.

Atsuko came over and gave her a hug too. “Congratulations, Yuki. I’m sooo proud of you.”

“Bark! Bark!” Romeo too came and congratulated Yuki.

Takamina stood by one side and smiled a little at her. “Good job kid.”

Ohori tapped on her mic a little and gained the attention of everyone once again. “Before this graduation ceremony ends, I would like to make an anouncement.”

Rena nudged Yuki’s shoulder. “She’s gonna retire. Wanna bet?”

“I’m not gonna say anything about this.” Yuki answered.

“From today on, I will be retiring as the Marshal of Legion.” Ohori announced as the whole hall started chattering about. Ohori then continued. “Following me will be the second and third rank, Noro Kayo and Sato Yukari.”

Rena nudged Yuki once again. “Told ya. You owe me $10000 and 200 melon pans.”

Yuki rolled her eyes. “Senpai… I didn’t say anything..”

Rena continued. “She’s gonna find replacement for the first 3 ranks of Legion. Two of them are gonna be Atsu nee-chan and Minami nee-chan. Wanna bet? 5000 melon pans.”

Ohori continued. “Hence, the three of us had picked the new generation of the top 3 ranks in Legion. The one who will lead Legion from now on will be Shinoda Mariko. Second rank will be taken by Katayama Haruka and third rank will be Ikoma Rina.”

Yuki nudged Rena this time. “You owe me 5000 melon pans, senpai.”

“What are you talking about? I didn’t bet anything with you, Yuki.” Rena replied with her skin as thick as concrete. “Aww man.. I thought they will both at least get the spot.. I wonder why..” Rena said. Then she raised her voice at Ohori. “Why isn’t Atsu nee-chan and Minami nee-chan chosen!?”

“You think we did not consider them? Here, read this file out loud, kid.” Ohori threw a file at Rena.

Rena opened it and the first paper showed Atsuko’s photo and her details. “Maeda Atsuko. Age 29. Too easy going. Too forgiving. No sense of intimidation within her. Legion will be filled with undisciplined kids with her leadership. Incompetant as a leader.”

“Agreed.” Atsuko nodded.

Rena then flipped to the next page and revealed Takamina. “Takahashi Minami. Age 29. Hot headed. Act according to her own free will. Too strict and violent. Legion will turn into a graveyard with her leadership. Incompetant as a leader.”

“Thanks for the compliment.” Takamina said.

“Hey, is my name in here too!??” Rena asked.

“Every Reaper with more than 5 years experience is in there.” Ohori said.

“Cool!!!” Rena immediately flipped the pages and found her name. “Matsui Rena. Age 24. One of the biggest joker in Legion. Too childish. Too hyperactive. Too positive minded. Legion will turn into a circus with her leadership. Highly incompetant as a leader.”

“I like how the word ‘highly’ is added in there.” Rena nodded in agreement. “Hmm.. Pretty good reason.”

“The graduation ceremony ends now.” Ohori then ended the ceremony and slowly, everyone started leaving the hall.

As soon as Rena and Atsuko removed themselves from Yuki’s hug, she walked over towards Takamina and gave her a tight hug. “Thank you, sensei..”

Takamina was a little stunned with Yuki’s action, but it somehow made her happy. She replied the hug with a pat on Yuki’s back. “I’m proud of you.”

“Hey, why don’t I get that kind of praise when I graduated?” Rena puffed her cheeks. She then looked at her watch. “Oh shit, I’m late.”

“Late for what?” Yuki tilted her head a little.

“Uhm… Shopping.” Rena shot a wide smile and waved at them. “Bye!!”

Before Rena could leave, Takamina called her. “Rena. Come here a second.”

“Hmm?” Rena walked closer towards Takamina.

Takamina patted Rena’s back. “Be careful out there.”

Noticing Takamina’s action, Rena shot a strange look at her. “Are you on drugs today?”

“Go.” Takamina gestured.

“Hmm..” Rena merely shrugged and made her way out of Legion.

Takaminathen then removed her fingerless gloves from her hand and passed it to Yuki. “Here’s a gift to you.”

“Really?” Without hesitation, Yuki took the gloves and strapped it on and stretched her fingers. “It fits perfectly.. But pretty comfortable…”

“Keep that safe, will you?” Takamina said.

“I will!” Yuki nodded and smiled.

Takamina then continued. “I have nothing else to teach you. You’ve grown way stronger than I have ever imagined you to be. With those gloves I just gave you, we will have no more ties from this point on. You’ll be on your own. So if you face any problems or anything, don’t come and find me anymore. Got it?”

“Wha-?” Yuki felt very weird that Takamina is saying these things to her. “Sensei, what do you mean don’t come and find you anymore?”

“You’re already a Reaper. No longer my student. I don’t want to get attached to you. You’re free to go whereever you want and do whatever you please. You’re not part of my team, so I don’t think I need to waste any more of my time entertaining you.”

“I don’t understand..” Yuki said with a worried tone.

“Don’t understand then. Just keep a distance from me from now on. I don’t owe you anything.” Takamina said. She found out that over the past 11 years training Yuki, she had grown so attached to Yuki that she was actually starting to see Yuki as Minako. Takamina didn’t want that to continue. As of now, Takamina already have Rena and Atsuko to care about. If she allowed Yuki into her life as well, she will have another person to worry about and she didn’t want that. Training her to become a strong Reaper will be the extent of Takamina’s relationship with Yuki.

“But I do! I owe you everything!” Yuki still seemed very confused with Takamina’s words.

“Minami…” Atsuko called.

“Think whatever you want. I don’t want to get attached to you anymore. That’s all I’m going to say. Goodbye.” Takamina turned and walked away, leaving Yuki confused and depressed inside.

“…..” Yuki could only look at Takamina’s back, disappointed at how she was treated.

Atsuko then placed her hands on Yuki’s shoulders. “Yuki, I know you’re confused right now but please understand that Minami has a reason for everything she does. Okay?”

Yuki nodded and sighed. “Okay… But I really hope she don’t mean what she said..”

By the hillside

“Hello!!!!!” Rena waved and smiled widely at Jurina standing below the cherry blossom tree. This place had been their meeting place for a few years now. Rena will always meet Jurina here twice a week, or sometimes even three times a week.

“Not so loud, Rena! I don’t want anybody to hear this!” Jurina called out.

“Not so loud?” Rena tilted her head before she started screaming at the top of her lungs. “ROOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAARRRRRR!!!!! WOOOOOOO!!! WOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!! ROOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!”

“Quiet!” Jurina called once again.

“Jeez… Nobody will hear us here, Jurina. Why are you so afraid?” Rena said as she walked closer to Jurina holding onto a small box.

“Your little girlfriend is here again, it seems… How adorable..” Mayu voiced out from the small drone sitting on Jurina’s shoulder.

“I swear I will beat you up real good when I get back there, Mayu.” Jurina warned.

“Hey! Don’t you dare hurt Mayu, Jurina!” Rena raised her voice. “Or I will not talk to you ever!”

“She’s annoying.” Jurina said.

“I don’t care, Jurina.” Rena poked Jurina’s nose. “If you dare hurt Mayu, I will not forgive you.”

“You heard that, barbie princess. No hurting me.” Mayu let out a smirk over the drone.

Jurina merely rolled her eyes since she couldn’t defy Rena for some reason. “So, I saw you brought something.”

“Cake!!” Rena smiled.

“Chocolate?” Jurina asked.

“Why? You prefer other flavors?” Rena tilted her head a little.

“I’m already used to eating chocolate cakes after eating it so many times. So I’m good.” Jurina shrugged.

“Here, sit down!” Rena pulled Jurina down and sat under the sakura tree. Rena opened the box she was holding and revealed a slice of chocolate cake. “Chocolate cake fiesta!!”

“Well, thanks..” Jurina smiled a little and took the box and started eating the cake.

Rena simply hugged her knees and stared silently at Jurina eating her cake “….”

“…..” Jurina quietly munched on her cake.

“…..” A sweet smile slowly crawled up Rena’s face.

Jurina felt a little uncomfortable, so she sounded out. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

“What’s wrong with looking at you like that?” Rena smiled while laying her face on her knees.

“Can’t you look somewhere else?”

“I can’t~”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re here~” Rena said with a mellow tone and that almost got to Jurina. Almost.

Jurina decided to look away from Rena’s addictive gaze and continued eating her cake silently. “….”

“….” Rena started giggling to herself while looking at Jurina eating.

“….” Jurina still didn’t want to make an eye contact with Rena.

Rena then noticed a small stain on Jurina’s lips and finally opened her mouth. Rena then wiped the stain off Jurina’s lips and sucked the chocolate off her finger. “Your mouth was dirty..”

“Learn to eat properly, little princess.” Mayu voiced out.

Jurina shot a glare at the drone. “You should learn to shut up.”

“Calm down there, fireball. Just eat your girlfriend’s cake.” Mayu answered.

“….” Jurina silently continued eating her cake and ignored Mayu since she knew that Rena would not like her arguing with Mayu.

Then a small scar on Jurina’s collarbone attracted Rena’s eyes. “Jurina?”

“Yeah?”

Rena traced the small scar on her collarbone. “Did your Alpha hit you again?”

“…….” Jurina didn’t want to answer.

“……” Rena knew Jurina didn’t want to talk about it so she decided to just keep quiet.

Finally, Jurina finished it and disposed of the box.

Deciding to enlighten to mood a little, Rena asked a question completely out of the blue. “Have you ever kissed anyone?”

Jurina choked on her own saliva suddenly, hearing the words from Rena’s mouth. “W-What?”

“This is getting uncomfortable.” Mayu voiced out.

“Have you ever kissed anyone?” Rena repeated her question once again, this time, pulling herself closer to Jurina. So close that their shoulders are touching each other’s. Rena was definitely bold with her words.

After letting out a few more coughs to ease her choke, Jurina answered. “No.”

“Then…… Would you kiss me if I allow you to?” Rena tilted her head and gazed into Jurina’s red orbs.

“Uhm..” Jurina went blank. She didn’t know what to answer.

“Why are you thinking, Jurina?” Rena shifted her face closer to Jurina’s and started whispering in a soft tone. “You actually want one?”

Jurina then turned her head away. “I’m sorry but no.. Now’s not the right time.”

“Awww….. You don’t want a kiss from me?”

“Apparently, I don’t.” Jurina answered.

“Hmph!!” Rena turned her head away in anger.

Without another word, Jurina shifted her face closer and pecked Rena’s cheek. “The kiss should be from me. Not from you.”

Rena wanted to smile like mad but she merely tucks her hair behind her ear and held in a shy smile. “Very well~ Apology accepted.”

“Wait.. My drone detected a very weak electromagnetic field coming from you, Rena.” Mayu voiced out from the drone.

“Hmm?? An electromagnetic field on me? I don’t get it..” Rena was confused.

“Turn around.” Mayu said.

Rena turned around and had her back facing them. To their surprise, there was a tiny metal thing stuck on her back. Jurina plucked it out from Rena’s back and took a closer look at it. “What the hell is this..”

“Let me see it.” Rena took the tiny metal thing from Jurina.

Mayu zoomed in onto the metal object. “It’s a tracker! How can you be so clumsy!? Get rid of it immediately!” Mayu shouted over her drone.

“What!? But who placed the tracker here!?” Rena threw the tracker away with all her strength.

To her horror, the tracker came into a complete stop as someone caught it mid air and shot a blank face at them. Rena was shocked that the person was none other than Takamina staring back at her. “Shopping, huh?”

“M-Minami nee-chan!!” Rena trembled in fear suddenly. “Y-You were the one who placed a tracker on me!?”

Suddenly, something that happened earlier today came into her mind.

Takamina patted Rena’s back. “Be careful out there.”

Noticing Takamina’s action, Rena shot a strange look at her. “Are you on drugs today?”

“No way..” Only now, Rena realized the reason for the pat on her back.

Without a moment of hesitation, Takamina glared back at Jurina and activated her Judgement sword. Noticing this, Rena hugged Takamina tightly, not allowing her to hurt Jurina. “What are you doing, Rena!?”

“Please don’t hurt Jurina, Minami nee-chan!” Rena begged as she hugged Takamina tightly.

“Get out of there now, Jurina!” Mayu warned. “She’s Takahashi Minami!”

“Why should I run from a mere human?” Jurina remained standing there staring back at Takamina.

“Jurina, just run!!!!” Rena shouted while hugging onto Takamina tightly. “You can’t defeat her!”

“Stop this, Rena!” Takamina placed her arm on Rena’s to pry her off.

Slowly, Rena felt her grip loosening from Takamina’s waist. Definitely, Rena was not as strong as Takamina was. “Please let her go, Minami nee-chan!!”

“No!” Takamina finally managed to pry Rena off her and immediately leaped towards Jurina for a slash.

Jurina extended all six of her blades and blocked her attack. “Argh!!” The force of Takamina’s slash was really strong as Jurina felt herself being pushed back. It was inhumanely strong.

“I knew something was off with you disappearing every now and then Rena, but hanging out with a filthy Spectre?” Takamina scoffed. “You must be out of your damn mind!”

“Not all of us are as filthy as you speak!” Jurina replied with a loud voice while still defending against Takamina’s attack.

“You’re all the same!!” Takamina hopped and landed with an even stronger slash this time.

“Argh!!” The impact was so powerful that it made Jurina got on one knee. “S-Shit….”

Rena got in between them once again and tried prying Takamina off Jurina. “Nee-chan please!! Jurina is good!”

Nothing was entering Takamina’s ears at this point, she just shoved Rena away violently and caused her to fall onto the ground. Takamina then thrusted her knee in and landed a successful knee kick on Jurina’s jaw, sending her crashing onto the tree behind. Jurina felt a little dizzy from the strong knee kick. Any human would have been knocked out cold with that amount of strength on the jaw. “Ugh…”

“I told you to run, Jurina! You can’t die here!” Mayu raised her voice out of desperation.

Takamina scoffed as she walked closer to the downed Jurina. “I never knew a Beta was this weak…”

That time, Takamina unclipped another Judgement and activated another sword. This literally meant trouble. Double blade Takamina will always go for the kill no matter what. Rena stood in front of the injured Jurina and held out her hands, not wanting Takamina to get any closer. “Minami nee-chan, please stop!”

“Out of the way!” Takamina grabbed onto Rena’s collar and lifted her up. She then used her full strength to toss Rena onto the ground. This was the first time Takamina had ever inflicted any damage to Rena like that.

That action angered Jurina badly. “ARRRRRRGGGGGHH!!!!!!” She stood up and shot a series of fireballs at Takamina.

Takamina isn’t known as the legendary Reaper for no reason. She managed to dodge every single one of the fireballs successfully and got in front of Jurina. Takamina used her left sword to deflect all Jurina’s blades away and the right one, stabbed right through Jurina’s chest.

“NO!!!” Rena screamed and again, she went in and pulled Takamina away from Jurina.

“Ugh…” Jurina got downed again by Takamina with a stab on her chest. Luckily the chest wasn’t Spectre’s weak spot.

Takamina shoved Rena away once again and went in for one final slash. As Takamina swung her sword down, it was blocked by two pink Judgment swords. That made Takamina shot a glare at the wielder. “Atsuko…. Why are you in this as well!?”

“Jurina, run.” Atsuko called out.

“I don’t think so!” Takamina deflected Atsuko’s sword away and tried to attack Jurina once again but to no avail as Atsuko managed to block it once again.

Once again, Atsuko raised her voice. “Run or die, Jurina! Make your pick!”

“Run, Jurina. There’s no way you can survive. Don’t be ignorant with me now. Take this chance and escape.” Mayu desperately called out.

Jurina shot one last look at the resentful Rena and finally managed to escape from the scene successfully.

Angered, Takamina pulled Atsuko by the collar. “Why did you let her go!?”

“Jurina and Mayu are my friends. I can’t let you kill them.” Atsuko answered straight to the point.

“Friends?” Takamina raised her brow. “You’re out of your mind too, Atsuko..”

Rena fell on her knees and covered her ears. “This can’t be happening…”

Takamina then walked towards Rena. “How could you hide this from me, Rena?”

“We hid it because we knew you would end up like that!” Atsuko answered in Rena’s behalf.

“Bet you’re right! She’s a Spectre, Rena! She’s using you! Why can’t you see it!?” Takamina scolded.

“She’s not!” Rena retorted.

Takamina shook her head. “You’re naive beyond my wildest dreams, Rena.. How long has this been going on?”

“Quite some time ago..” Atsuko answered without looking into Takamina’s eyes.

“So it’s been quite some time….” Takamina shook her head once again in a disappointed manner. “So, what do you have to say about this?”

“I have nothing to say about this.”

“Of course you have nothing to say about this. You were the one who dragged Rena into this mess.”

“Jurina and Mayu are not that bad! You’re the one who’s being stubborn and don’t understand!” Atsuko raised her voice.

“What I understand is that they are murderers!”

“Not Jurina!” Rena said.

“Don’t you remember what happened years ago, Rena!? How we lost our families!? It was because of these filthy creatures!! And now you’re hanging out with them?”

“She’s good! Why are you always controlling me!? You donut!!” Rena shouted and ran away from the scene.

“Tch.. She still doesn’t realize just how naive she is…” Takamina shook her head. “You too, Atsuko. I’m gonna hold you responsible for whatever happens to Rena, Atsuko.”

“Cool with me. I know Jurina will never hurt Rena.” Atsuko answered with confidence and they headed back to Legion.

Atsuko went straight to Rena’s room to see how she’s doing. She knocked on Rena’s door and entered. Rena was just laying on the bed, staring at the ceiling. “Rena? You okay?”

“I think I’m not the one who you should be asking..” Rena answered and turned her head to look at Atsuko. “Jurina will be ok, right?”

“Of course she will be ok. She’s a Beta Spectre. A stab like that won’t be enough to take her down.”

“That’s not what I’m asking…” Rena said in a sad tone. “What I meant is that will Jurina still be ok with meeting me?”

Atsuko comforted Rena and sat by her bedside. “Why wouldn’t she? You’re everything to her.”

“She got hurt by Minami nee-chan because of me…” Rena sighed. “Did Minami nee-chan say anothing about not letting me meet Jurina anymore?”

“Hmm.. Well, she didn’t really say anything about that, but she told me to keep an eye on you just in case anything happens.”

“You know Jurina is not going to hurt me, right?”

“Well, you know Minami. She isn’t really convinced at all.”

“So, I can still meet up with Jurina as usual right?” Rena brightened up a little.

“Of course you can..” Atsuko smiled back and twitched her nose. “Get some rest for today and try meeting up with her tomorrow.”

“Okay!” Rena smiled.

The next day itself, Rena immediately went to the usual place where she always meets up with Jurina. Rena walked up the hill and saw that Jurina was sitting on top of the tree, staring at the sunset as usual. Rena was really glad that Jurina still came here despite what happened yesterday. As Rena stood under the tree, she called out. “Jurina.”

“Oh, you’re here.. Let me come down.” Jurina said.

“No, it’s alright. I’ll come up.” Rena started climbing the tree with ease and sat on the thick branch beside Jurina. “Where’s Mayu?”

“She said she had some things to settle so she isn’t here today.”

“I see…” Rena nodded. “So… Are you okay?”

“Yeah.” Jurina answered.

“I’m sorry for what happened yesterday..”

“It wasn’t your fault. Some people just need to broaden their mind and not be so close minded..”

Rena let out a cough and changed the topic. “Mayu’s not here today~ So we can be more intimate~”

“Define intimate.”

“Give me a kiss.” Rena showed Jurina her playful kissy face.

“I’m not used to these kind of things so no.”

“Give me a kiss or else I will jump off this cliff.” Rena pouted.

“You’re a Reaper. As if anything will happen.” Jurina answered.

“Hmph!” Without uttering another word, Rena lunged herself from the tree and straight off the cliff.

“What the hell are you doing!?” Jurina immediately extended her blade and caught Rena. “Idiot!”

“Woooooo~!!! Bungee jump!!” Rena was still laughing at this point.

“Tch-” Jurina pulled Rena up and sat her down. Jurina’s eyes were filled with worry.

Rena stared right into Jurina’s eyes and immediately saw that. “CUTEE!!!!!” Rena hug squeezed Jurina tightly.

As Rena was a little too rough, the force tilted Jurina’s whole body and they fell off the tree, landing on the grass below with a thud with Jurina landing directly on Rena. “Ugh…”

As Jurina pushed herself up a little, she saw Rena staring back at her from a very close proximity. Their bodies were still touching one another’s. “….”

The longer Jurina stared, the more captivating Rena’s lips were. Rena could feel her heart started beating faster and faster. That was when Jurina slowly moved her face down once again, getting closer to Rena’s face. So close that Rena could literally feel Jurina’s breath on her face. At this point, Jurina’s nose was touching Rena’s. “….”

Rena then got back to her senses and pushed Jurina away and stood herself up. She placed her hands on her face. It was completely red in color. She was totally embarassed about what happened a few seconds ago. Jurina was actually going to kiss her on the lips. “W-What are you doing!?”

Noticing this, Jurina stood up and smirked a little. She knew that Rena showed her the kissy face to tease her, knowing that she would not kiss Rena. So now it was her turn to tease Rena back. “Hmm.. I thought you were the one who wanted a kiss earlier.”

“Q-Quiet! It’s not supposed to be like that!” Rena started complaining like a kid while still covering her red face in embarassment. “W-Why did you close in!? You’re not supposed to close in like that! You’re supposed to stand up right away! Why did you look deep into my eyes!? You’re trying to suck my soul out or something!?”

“But I..”

“No no no no no! No!! Not another word from you, Jurina! I don’t wanna hear anything from you!”

“Your face is completely red like a tomato.” Jurina let out a smirk.

“I said quiet!” Rena hopped onto Jurina and pinned her down on the ground. “No more! Stop embarassing me like that!”

“Why are you pinning me down like this? You’re gonna kiss me or something?” Jurina let out a smirk once again.

“No! I have a better plan.” Rena then grabbed something from the ground. “Eat this!” She then splatted a piece of mud on Jurina’s face. “What’s what you get for making me embarassed~”

“I’m gonna get you!” Jurina stood up with a smile and started chasing Rena around.

Rena then jumped on Jurina’s back and hugged her tightly, not allowing her to move. “Gotcha!”

“Alright, this is getting ridiculous..” Jurina smiled.

Rena then paused and looked into Jurina’s eyes before smiling. “I love seeing you smile like that.. These are the times where I don’t see the emptiness in your eyes..”

“You were the reason for my smile.”

As soon as Rena heard that, she bit the bottom of her lip to contain her smile. She had to hit Jurina’s shoulder to contain the cheesiness. “You cheese monster..”

“Kinda ironic because I don’t like cheese..”

Rena then gave it a thought. “Hmm….. How do you think the other Spectres will react if they knew we had been meeting up with each other like that? Will they understand?” Rena asked.

“Probably not the best idea for them to know..” A voice suddenly sounded from beside.

A chill went up their spine as they felt an unpleasent cold air brushing through their hair along with the voice they just heard. “Who said that?”

Jurina turned her head to the right and saw someone leaning on the tree. She stood there without either of them noticing. Jurina’s heart beat increased rapidly with the dark presence before their very eyes. “Annin…”

“Who’s this, Jurina?” Rena asked.

Jurina gulped. “An Alpha.. This is bad..”

“Alpha??” Rena then hopped off Jurina’s back and got on guard immediately.

“…” Annin gave them the side eye before looking front once again. “Save your energy.”

“Huh?” Both Jurina and Rena were surprised with Annin’s sentence. Eventhough Jurina had been seeing Annin so often back in the Spectre HQ, she still wasn’t quite sure about her personality. She always seemed very mysterious and passive in everything she does.

“I’m just here to confirm my beliefs..” Annin said.

“Your beliefs? What do you mean?” Jurina and Rena was confused as to what Annin was trying to say.

“Do you like this human girl, Jurina?” Annin asked suddenly.

Before Jurina could answer, Rena immediately clung on Jurina’s arm and laid her head on her shoulder. “Of course she does.”

“Hmm…” Annin then started walking away without another word.

Rena called out. “You’re leaving just like that?”

“I already got the answer for my question.. Stay obscured.” Annin then walked away, without saying anything else.

“Stay obscured?” Rena and Jurina looked at each other. “Do you think she meant….”

It was a little obvious to them at this point. Annin actually does allow them to hang out together most likely because she too believes that humans and Spectres can live in harmony. They were actually quite pleased to know that someone else shared the same idea.

From that time, Rena had been meeting Jurina only once a week rather than 3 times a week. Of course Takamina still discouraged Rena to meet up with Jurina but we all know just how stubborn Rena could be sometimes. There were also quite a number of times where Takamina had to go out there and drag Rena back home because it was too late, and also because it was dangerous to be alone with a Spectre at night.

In a blink of an eye, another three years had passed by.

Year 2046, 2 weeks before the disappearance of Team Taka

A knock was heard on Minegishi’s laboratory door.

“Come in.” Minegishi called out.

The door opened to reveal Mariko. As she closed the door, she walked towards Minegishi standing behind her table. “Why did you call me here, Minegishi?”

Minegishi crossed her legs and pushed up her huge glasses before shooting a smug look at the leader of Legion. “I did it, Mariko.”

Still slightly doubting what Minegishi was talking about, Mariko continued. “Did what?”

“You know… The thing we’ve been discussing for the past few years.. I’ve completed it..” Minegishi said with a smug look on her face. She then took out a Judgement and shifted her thumb onto the mysterious black button that was understood to be of no use at all. As she clicked on it, six very thick needle-like items protruded from the end of the Judgement. “The black button.. The Spectre serum is complete..”

Mariko nodded. “Have you done experiments to support your data?”

“It will be too much for a mere animal to be tested on.. It needs to be used on a human.” Minegishi explained.

“It’s risky to do human testing, Minegishi.”

“I’m a scientist. Risks are something that I take. But I know it’s definitely complete. The calculations and the data were all completely spot on. But there’s a slight condition to use this.” Minegishi pushed her huge glasses up. “Not every human can adapt to the serum. You see, every human has different DNAs. The Spectre DNA in this serum can only bond with certain DNAs.”

“So who is compatible and who is not?” Mariko asked.

“I have data of everyone in Legion. Their blood type, DNA shape and everything. There was one person’s DNA who has a 93% compatibility with the Spectre serum.. And we definitely need her to test this serum out.” Minegishi explained with a smug look.

“And who might that be?”

“Matsui Rena.”

Mariko was surprised. “That clown?”

“Exactly. She’s the best person to test this serum.” Minegishi answered.

“Have you told her team about this?”

“The three of them are already on their way here..”

Just then, a knock was heard. The door opened to reveal Rena, Atsuko and Takamina. “You called us here?”

“Yes I did. Lock the door and have a seat.” Minegishi gestured.

“So what’s this about?” Atsuko asked first.

Without a single word, Minegishi placed a huge glass container on the table. There were three Judgements arranged properly inside the container. She then took one out and placed it on the table. Her fingers interlocked as she shot a smug look at the three of them. Nobody could ever tell what’s running through her mind. After a few seconds, she finally opened her mouth. “It’s time to let the cat out of the box.. I’m quite sure the three of you know the existance of the black button, right?” Minegishi asked.

“Yes, but it does nothing.” Atsuko said.

“This is top secret so the three of you need to make a death vow not to reveal this to anybody.” Minegishi pushed her glasses up. “It does, actually. It’s just that the function of the button was completely locked out during the processing of the Judgements. It was still incomplete.. But now, I’ve finally completed it.”

“Okay? So what so special about this black button?” Takamina asked.

“This black button is unlike the other weapons found inside the Judgement.. This black button is a permanent weapon. It’s what I’d like to call the Spectre Serum.”

“Spectre Serum? A permanent weapon? I don’t get it.” Atsuko said.

“It’s a weapon that permanently transforms the user into a Spectre.” Minegishi answered.

The three of them had their eyes pryed open in shock. “Turns a human into a Spectre?”

Minegishi continued. “Mariko and I thought about this for the past few years.. Just imagine…. A Reaper with extraordinary Spectre senses and the ability to heal quickly… You won’t even need to be afraid of dying anymore.. The number of casualties among the Reapers will decrease.”

“That actually sounds very tempting..” Rena said.

“So why tell us three about it? Why not announce it in Legion?” Atsuko asked.

“You see… I still need to do a final test on a human… Not all humans are compatible to this serum, so I need to test this on the one with the highest compatibility.” Minegishi looked at Rena. “Which is you, Rena. You have the highest compatibility with the Spectre Serum compared to everyone else in Legion. A compatibility of 93%.”

“So, you wanted to turn Rena into a Spectre?” Takamina raised her brow.

“Cool!!” Rena started hopping around excitedly.

Takamina took a step closer towards Minegishi and stood right in front of her, staring into her eyes. “You want me to see the one I care most turn into the very thing I hated most?”

Mariko who noticed this came in between them and pushed Takamina away a little. “It was just a suggestion. It doesn’t have to be Rena.”

“I don’t mind though.” Rena shrugged. “It’s gonna be fun.”

“You think this is funny, Rena?” Takamina answered in a serious tone.

“….” Rena could only keep quiet from Takamina’s serious aura.

“What about me? How’s my compatibility?” Atsuko suddenly asked.

“Oh? You seem interested.” Minegishi smirked. “I’ve checked. Your DNA has about 68% compatiility.”

“Let me volunteer in Rena’s place.” Atsuko offered.

“Not you too, Atsuko!? What’s gotten into you!?” Takamina raised her voice.

Atsuko then looked back at Takamina with a blank face. “I want to be the living proof for you that not all Spectres are bad. So you’ll have to live with the fact that I’ll be a Spectre from now on.”

“All that just to prove this fact to me? Are you crazy!?” Takamina grabbed Atsuko by her collar.

“Maybe I am.. But I feel I just wanted to take this chance to try understanding people from a Spectre’s perspective, you know? I have made my decision. Kill me or whatever, you’re not gonna change my mind about this, Minami.” Atsuko stood strong with her ideas. “I want to continue living as a Spectre.”

Takamina couldn’t continue arguing with Atsuko about this matter. She finally released Atsuko and looked away. “Do what you want.”

Atsuko then placed her hand on Takamina’s face. “Minami.. I want you to know this. I’m not doing this to anger you.. I just want to show you that being a Spectre does not necessarily mean it’s a bad thing.. So please understand.”

“…” Takamina merely kept silent.

“Atsu nee-chan, are you sure you want to do this?” Rena asked.

“Yes Rena. Don’t worry. It’ll all be okay.” Atsuko smiled a little and looked at Minegishi. “So what should I do now?”

“Just lay on this table.” Minegishi ordered. Atsuko laid on the table and Minegishi locked her limbs with thick iron cuffs. Minegishi turned the Judgement knob and clicked on the black button. Six needles protruded out from the end of the Judgement. “Breathe deep. You’ll feel excrutiating pain at first.”

“So there’s a 68% chance that I will transform into a Spectre, right? What happens if the other 32% occurs?” Atsuko asked.

Minegishi explained. “You have to know, the Spectre cells are far more superior and vicious compared to human cells. If the Spectre cells are not compatible to your cells, they will slowly consume you from the inside until you suffocate and die.”

Atsuko inhaled as hard as possible and exhaled everything out. “I’m ready.”

Minegishi shot a look at Takamina. “You.. No interfering with this experiment.”

“Tch-” Takamina merely scoffed.

“Here I come.” Minegishi clicked on the black button again and the six needles lighted up in red. Slowly, Minegishi pierced the needles into Atsuko’s neck. With another click of the black button, something seemed to be injected right into Atsuko’s neck. Minegishi then pulled it out.

“AAAAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!!!” Atsuko started screamed in agony and pain as she started wrenching the iron cuffs binding both her wrists.

“Minami nee-chan….” Rena grabbed Takamina’s hand tightly.

“….” Takamina just stood there praying hard that nothing bad happens to Atsuko.

“AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!” Atsuko was literally losing her mind. The pain was really unbearable. The black of her eye was gone. It was all white now. The vein on her temple grew larger and it was throbbing from the immense blood pressure running inside her head. The expression on her face was horrifying.

A small smile crawled up Minegishi’s face. “It’s working….”

“AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” Atsuko’s mouth was opened wide as her teeth was seen changing in shape. They slowly became sharper than before. Her heart rate in the machine kept on increasing. It was at a 200 beats per second now.

“Stop it.” Takamina couldn’t bear this anymore.

“What?”

“STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!” Takamina pulled Minegishi up by her collar.

Mariko wrenched Takamina away from Minegishi. “There is no way to stop this halfway, Takamina. It can’t be stopped halfway. This is all purely up to Atsuko now!”

“SHIT!” Takamina punched the table in frustration.

“ARRRRGGGGG-” Atsuko had stopped screaming and stopped moving suddenly. Her heart rate came from a high 200 to a flat line.

Seeing this, Takamina immediately shoved Mariko and Minegishi and attended to Atsuko right away. “Atsuko! Atsuko!” Takamina placed her hand on Atsuko’s cheek and nudged her. She then shot a glare angrily at Minegishi and Mariko. “YOU BOTH BETTER FUCKING PRAY HARD THAT NOTHING HAPPENS TO HER OR I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL TURN YOU BOTH INTO MINCED MEAT!”

“Atsu nee-chan!!” Rena called out.

“Beep…..” A sound was then heard from the heart rate machine. “Beep…… Beep…… Beep….”

Hearing this, it only meant one thing. Atsuko survived. She groaned again and again. “Ugh……”

“Hey, Atsuko. How do you feel? Answer me.” Takmina kept on asking to make sure that Atsuko was fine.

Slowly, Atsuko opened her eyes and glanced around the room and came in contact with Takamina staring right into her eyes with a slightly horrified look. “………….”

Takamina carefully placed her hand on Atsuko’s face. “Atsuko? Do you recognize me?”

Atsuko answered in a weak tone. “………….Mi……nami?”

“It…….worked….” Minegishi placed her palm on her forehead in shock and looked at her computer. “Heart rate is normal.. Skin toughened by 300%.. It really worked…”

Rena came closer to the table to take a closer look at Atsuko. She gasped as soon as she saw Atsuko’s eyes. “Atsu nee-chan! Your eyes!”

Minegishi removed the cuffs and Takamina adjusted Atsuko to a seating position. Atsuko then looked back at Rena. “What’s wrong with my eyes?”

“Take a look for yourself.” Minegishi placed a mirror right in front of Atsuko’s face.

Atsuko saw a pair of blood red eyes staring back at her. Still finding it hard to believe the fact, she traced her finger along the bottom of her eye. “Red eyes…. So it worked… I’m a Spectre now?”

Minegishi nodded. “It seems so.. How are you feeling?”

“I feel……different..” Atsuko tilted her head as she looked at her long red claws on her fingers. She then retracted her sharp claws back into her fingers and started wriggling her shoulders around as if something is bothering her. “I feel something moving around inside of me… It’s very uncomfortable..”

“Ah… That has to be the Spectre blades.” Minegishi said. “Try extending the blades out from your back. I need some data about this.”

“But…how?” Atsuko asked.

“It’s part of you now. Just like moving your arms around with your own free will, now you should able to move your blades too.” Minegishi explained.

“Let me try.” Atsuko concentrated and after a few seconds, her back started bulging out. “Ugh…. It hurts a little.”

“You’re still new to this so you might not be used to it yet.” Mariko said.

Slowly, two thick blades extended out from her back. They were still slimy as this was the first time Atsuko extended blades from her body. “Ouch ouch ouch ouch…..”

“Wow…. Atsu nee-chan looks so cool as a Spectre…” Rena smiled.

“Ah… Two thick blades. 4 inches in diameter.. Interesting…” Minegishi smirked. “You have the power comparable to an Alpha.. Spectre cells can detect the amount of fighting capability within you and will adjust itself based on it. If your fighting abilities are comparable to an Alpha Spectre, then the blades within you will reconstruct itself accordingly.”

“I see…” Atsuko then retracted her blades back into her body and stood up.

“Congratulations, Atsuko. You suceeded.” Minegishi said.

“Are these the only ones completed?” Takamina pointed at the remaining two Judgements in the container.

“Yes, they are.” Minegishi answered.

“I’m gonna keep one of these.” Takamina popped one of the Judgement out of its container.

“I hope you’re joking, Takamina.” Minegishi told until Takamina gripped onto her collar.

“And I hope you’re not having any problems about me taking one of these after the amount of stress you placed on Atsuko.” Takamina then shoved Minegishi onto the ground, angering Mariko.

As Takamina turned around and had her back facing Mariko, Mariko released a punch at Takamina. Without even looking back, Takamina tilted her head, causing it to miss and caught the punch in her palm. She then turned her head back a little, just enough to give Mariko the side eye. “Attacking while I’m not looking, are you? This is just so you, Mariko. You should know better, these kind of lowly punches will never be successful against me. Why don’t you save it for the weak instead.” Takamina swung Mariko’s hand away.

“….” Mariko could only return a glare to Takamina.

“It’s alright, Mariko. Let her have it. Doesn’t affect anything.. And Atsuko.” Minegishi called out and passed a pair of sunglasses to Atsuko. “Until Mariko make any official announcement regarding this matter, wear this at all times. We don’t want anybody to know about this for now. Just the five of us here.”

“Sure.” Atsuko wore the sunglasses and twitched her nose.

“Do I get a pair of sunglasses too?” Rena asked.

“Would you like to be a Spectre too?” Minegishi asked with a smug look on her face.

“No.” Takamina answered in Rena’s behalf and dragged her away.

As the three of them made their way back to their room, Atsuko looked at Takamina. “Well? I’m a Spectre now. Are you gonna say anything about this?”

“…..” Takamina merely kept silent.

“Right, of course you would have nothing to say.” Atsuko adjusted her shades.

The three of them then bumped into Yuki in the hallway. The first person she looked at was Takamina. “…”

“I’m going back to my room first.” Takamina said and immediately walked past Yuki, leaving the scene.

“….” Yuki sighed. It’s been 3 years, yet Yuki was still hanging onto the hope that Takamina will one day not give her the cold shoulder anymore. The next person who caught her attention was Atsuko. Yuki blinked as she looked upon Atsuko with a pair of sunglasses on.

“Oh, hi Yuki.” Atsuko shot a bright smile.

Yuki couldn’t help but to frown at Atsuko. “Uhm… Atsuko sensei? Why are you wearing shades indoors?”

“Because it looks cool, don’t you think so?” Atsuko gave an easy answer. “Kinda want to change my style a little..”

“Uhm….” Yuki wasn’t too sure about Atsuko’s statement. It was very random coming from someone as wise as Atsuko.

“Oh look at the time! Time to go on a mission! See ya Yuki!” Finishing off the topic quick, Rena dragged Atsuko away from the scene as quickly as possible.

“…..” Yuki was still confused about everything. “What the hell just happened?”

For a few days, Atsuko’s transformation into a Spectre was kept a secret from the whole of Legion. Atsuko had been trying to keep a minimum contact with everyone else other than those who knew about this already. There were a few times where her shades got knocked off in public. Luckily Rena was always there with a paper bag. She would cover Atsuko’s head with the paper bag for a short moment until Atsuko wore her shades once again. It was definitely a very funny sight. A lady placing a paper bag over another lady’s head. How can anybody not laugh at the randomness? But of course, it was all to hide the fact that Atsuko has red eyes now. Team Taka was on the way back from a mission one afternoon.

“It’s so sunny… Ugh…” Rena kept on complaining again and again as it was a really sunny day.

“Hmm.. Good thing I have my sunglasses on.” Atsuko smiled and twitched her nose.

“Let me wear them!” Rena tried to snatch Atsuko’s sunglasses away but to no avail.

“This is mine. You should have bought one for yourself..”

“Atsu nee-chan you meanie!” Rena pouted.

Takamina stopped in her tracks suddenly. “…..”

Atsuko too, stopped. “….”

“Well, no need to say.. You both heard the sound too.” Rena said.

All of a sudden, a Spectre came out of nowhere and swung a blade at them. Given their fast reactions, they managed to leap away except for Takamina who already had a sword blocking the attack. “You have to try harder than to ambush me.”

“Very good.” The Spectre grinned before spinning her body mid air and swung her blade at Takamina again and again. The blows were very powerful and quick as well.

Takamina immediately knew this wasn’t a common Spectre. Takamina manged to push her away to keep a distance but that did not last long as she jumped towards Rena and Atsuko almost immedaitely. This is one aggresive Spectre. Atsuko too activated her sword and defended against the attack. Atsuko could literally feel the powerful blow despite being a Spectre now. “What the hell!?”

“Get away from Atsu nee-chan!” Rena kicked a rock that successfully hit the Spectre on the head.

“Ugh!” The force of Rena’s kick was so powerful that even the Spectre felt pain and flinched back a little.

“Eat this! And this! And this! And this!” For every word that came out from Rena’s mouth, she kicked a rock at the Spectre with full force.

“Not bad..” With a swipe of one blade, she smacked all the rocks away and smirked. “It seems I have underestimated you three a little.”

That was when Rena noticed someone else standing at a distance behind the Spectre. To ease her curiosity, Rena tilted her head to take a good look at the one standing behind. She was shocked when the one standing behind was someone very familiar. “Jurina!?”

“……” Jurina merely turned her head away, not wanting to face her.

The Spectre then pointed at Atsuko. “I came here for you, Maeda Atsuko..”

Atsuko was definitely surprised that the Spectre was looking for her. “You’re looking for me!?”

“To bring you to where you truly belong.. By the Omega. It doesn’t matter if you were once a human or not. The fact is that you’re a Spectre now and all Spectres belong rightfully to the Omega…”

“How the hell did you find out about Atsuko?” Takamina said.

“Did you actually think that the Omega was that dense?” The Spectre smirked. “Maeda Atsuko belongs to the Omega now..”

Takamina raised her brow. “You’ll have to go through me to get to her.”

The Spectre let out a small laugh. “You think I’m afraid of you just because you’re Takahashi Minami? I’m not afraid of you.. I’m an Alpha Spectre after all.. The name’s Akari.”

Atsuko’s eyes widened in shock. “Another Alpha..”

“Alpha or not, it doesn’t bother me. It’s not like I’ve never faced one before.” Takamina said loudly.

“Ah, yes.. Yuko’s rival.. I heard a lot about you. Too bad I’m not interested in you. It’s Maeda Atsuko that I want.”

“You can try.” Takamina pointed her Judgement at Akari.

“Let’s kick it up a notch to make things more exciting, shall we? How about we have a little war game. You bring your army and I’ll bring mine. If I win, I get to bring Maeda Atsuko with me. If you win, then feel free to do whatever you want.”

Takamina raised her brow. “Who are you to make negotiations with me?”

“What’s the matter? You’re not gonna run away from this like a coward, are you?” Akari smirked.

The word coward ticked Takamina off a little as she replied with a glare. “I have no intentions of running away from anyone.”

“Alright then. How about we meet here again tomorrow? You can bring whoever you want. But of course you can choose not to appear at all and act like a total coward after everything you just said.”

“Don’t do this..” Jurina voiced out suddenly.

Akari slowly turned her head back and shot a glare at Jurina. With a whip of her blade, Akari sent Jurina crashing onto a large rock. “Learn your place, Jurina.. You’re my Beta. Do not speak when I’m speaking.”

“….” Rena merely glaced at Jurina blankly for a moment before looking back at Akari.

“So I believe we have a deal?” Akari shot a smirk.

Takamina was never the type to back down from a fight so she agreed. “Fine. I can test my capabilities too.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow here then. I shall be expecting something exciting..” Akari said as she started walking away. As she made her way towards Jurina, she released a kick on her stomach. “Get up, you useless piece of shit.”

“Ugh..” Jurina groaned and slowly stood up. She shot a look at Rena. Her eyes were pleading for help. She then turned away and followed Akari from behind.

“….” Rena remained silent again as she looked upon Jurina’s back.

First they headed back to Legion with Akari’s words in their mind. They were actually going on a war with Akari and her army. Atsuko had a bad feeling about tomorrow’s battle. She had never worried so much like this before. She just felt that she wanted to do something she had not done in a long long time with the thought that she might not survive tomorrow’s battle. But of course, she kept all these to herself. Rena was nowhere to be seen, so Atsuko invited Takamina out for a walk along the seaside for some time alone.

“I’m glad you agreed to come to the beach with me, Minami..” Atsuko smiled and twitched her nose.

“Why beach of all places?”

“Because the sunset here is beautiful..” Atsuko smiled.

“Where did Rena go?” Takamina asked.

“She has something to discuss with Jurina after what happened earlier..” Atsuko said.

“Tch.. Meeting that Jurina this late again..” Takamina let out a scoff.

“Let’s leave her for today, okay?”

“Fine..”

Atsuko then looked at the vastness of the sea and let out a loud breath. “Are you sure you’re not going to call for any reinforcements?”

“I never needed any.”

“Not even Yuki?”

Takamina then looked at Atsuko in a serious manner. “Atsuko. Stop it. She cannot be a part of this . This is also related to the fact that you are a Spectre. Yuki shouldn’t know. The lesser people knowing this matter, the better.”

“I know. I was just asking.” Atsuko shrugged and stretched her body. “It’s calm here, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, it is.. The sunset is beautiful just like you said.” Takamina said before looking at Atsuko. “You brought me here to admire the sunset and yet, you’re wearing sunglasses.. How are you going to appreciate the sunset wearing those?”

“Oh? But-”

“Nobody is here. You should remove your shades..” Takamina proceeded to remove Atsuko’s sunglasses gently by herself, revealing her red eyes. For some reason, Atsuko looked far more attractive and seductive with those beautiful red eyes. Takamina seemed to be stunned to stare at them from such a close proximity.

“Why are you staring at me like this?” Atsuko tucked her hair behind her ear. Tucking the hair behind her ear had always been how Atsuko convey her shyness and Takamina knew that.

“Nothing.” Takamina decided to look away before she got sucked into Atsuko’s eyes.

Atsuko then noticed two long sticks laying on the sand. “Let’s do something interesting.”

“Like what?” Takamina raised her brow.

Atsuko proceeded to grab the long stick she found on the sand and showed it to Takamina. “Let’s leave messages for each other on the sand.”

“You’re not being serious, are you?”

Atsuko shoved a stick to Takamina. “Take it and write. No peeking till the message is done.”

“….” Takamina grabbed onto the long stick and looked upon Atsuko writing her message on the ground. After shrugging, she too wrote something on the ground.
After about 30 seconds, Atsuko was done. “Alright, I’m done. Come take a look.”

“Minami~ Thank you for always taking care of me~ :heart:

“So what did you write~??” Atsuko then took a look at the message Takamina left. Her smile disappeared right away. There was only one word.

‘Hello…..’

“……” This made Atsuko gave Takamina the side eye. She couldn’t believe Takamina was this dense.

“What?” Takamina shrugged.

“Is that all you wrote? A hello?”

“Continue looking.” Takamina said.

“Hmm?” Only now, Atsuko realized that ‘Hello’ wasn’t the only thing Takamina wrote. A few feet away, there were another 3 words.

‘You look beautiful’

Atsuko literally felt blood rushing up into her face. It became very warm. She then let out a fake cough and tucked her hair behind her ear. “T-Thanks, Minami.”

“…..” Takamina then scratched her head. She didn’t even know these words actually existed in her dictionary.

“Come and dance with me, Minami.” Atsuko shot a wide smile at Takamina being cheered up a lot with her message.

“I don’t want to.”

“Come on~ How often do we get to do this at the beach?”

“….”

“Come on~” Atsuko held both Takamina’s hands and dragged her closer.

“There’s not even any music.”

“Who said there has to be music? The birds chirping and wave sounds can be out music.” Atsuko gripped both Takamina’s tightly and began swinging her hands playfully as a smile slowly crawl up her face.

“You know you look very ridiculous doing this, right?” Takamina asked.

“You do like it, don’t you?” Atsuko said in a playful tone.

For some reason Takamina let out a smile. Slowly, the playful dancce transitioned from a playful dance into a romantic one. Atsuko had her hands over Takamina’s neck as Takamina gently placed her hands on Atsuko’s waist. They were not moving much, just a sway back and forth in a circular motion. No words could be heard from both parties. Just the lovely sounds of the birds chirping and the waves. This is definitely bad. They never held each other like this for so long before. They just stared into each others’ eyes and swayed to nature’s music. Takamina felt she was slowly getting sucked in towards Atsuko’s seductive red eyes. After what it seemed like forever, Atsuko finally opened her mouth and said softly. “Minami.. We’ll be ok tomorrow, right?”

Takamina too replied in a gentle and whispering tone. “Of course.”

“……” Words couldn’t escape Atsuko’s mouth suddenly. Her eyes kept on shifting towards Takamina’s lips for some reason.

Atsuko slowly moved her face closer towards Takamina’s face. As their nose touched each other’s, Atsuko came back to her senses and pulled away from Takamina. “I’m sorry.”

“….”

Atsuko’s face was really warm. There was a tingling sensation all over her body and her heart was beating quickly. This was the second time Atsuko tried to kiss Takamina but both times, she couldn’t. She still wasn’t too sure why she acted this way. Atsuko had only been viewing Takamina as a very protective friend or even a sister. Or does she? Even she didn’t know herself.

Atsuko then wore her shades once again and let out a fake cough. “We should go home now.”

“We should..”

Jurina walked up to the cherry blossom tree on the top of the hill. There Rena stood silently, gazing upon the sunset. She slowly made her way towards the silent girl. “Rena?” Jurina called out.

“Hey, Jurina.” Rena replied in a plain manner without even turning her head back at her.

Jurina immediately knew something is off about Rena since she’s being unusually quiet. Rena would usually be hyperactive and greet her with a hug but this time, she just stood there silently. But of course, Jurina knew why Rena was acting like this. “Rena.. I know what’s going through your mind right now..”

“Are you gonna fight tomorrow?” Rena asked once again with her eyes fixated to the sunset.

Jurina was having a really hard time answering Rena’s question. “I…..don’t know.”

“Whose side are you on?” Rena continued.

“……..” Jurina couldn’t answer at all.

“Just as I thought.” Rena nodded a little.

“Huh?” Jurina tilted her head.

“Jurina?” Only now, Rena looked into Jurina’s eyes. There was no smile on her face. Just a serious and straight face. “I don’t want to see you present in the fight tomorrow.”

“What!? I can’t just stay away from something big like this!” Jurina grabbed Rena’s shoulders. “I’m gonna help you.”

“STOP SCREWING WITH ME!!” Rena shoved Jurina’s hand away violently. Jurina was completely shocked with what Rena just did. This was the first time ever Rena had lost her temper this badly.

“Rena…”

“Understand this, Jurina. Unless you’re 100% sure about this, I will not ask you to help us fight, Jurina. It’s too unfair for you… And if you’re on their side, make sure you do not hesitate facing Team Taka. It’s them or us.”

“You know very well I can never bring myself to fight against you!” Jurina explained and sighed. “But.. I…”

“You’ll be killed if you betray them and at the same time you don’t want to fight me. If you can’t decide then promise me that you will stay away from this war, Jurina. I don’t want to see you hesitate in a battle nor do I want to see you doing things that you don’t want to.”

“……” Jurina was merely silent.

“Promise me, Jurina..” Rena cupped Jurina’s face softly and gently. “Stay away from this… This is our fight. It has nothing to do with you from the very beginning. You’re just a poor and innocent Beta being dragged along by your Alpha.”“I….” Jurina didn’t know what to say.“Don’t think anymore..” Rena repeated once again. “Just promise me that you will not appear tomorrow.”Jurina finally nodded. “I will….”

“Good.” Rena then let out a smile and continued.  “In case I do not return from the war tomorrow, I want you to do me a favor.”

Jurina interrupted immediately and grabbed Rena’s hands. “Don’t say things like that!”

“Take my body and bury it here. That’s all I want.” Rena let out a slight bitter smile. “This place has a beautiful sunset and also the place where I first met you. I want this place to be where my body rest peacefully for all eternity.”

“Nothing’s gonna happen, Rena.”

“I said in case.” Rena then closed her eyes and breathe in deep. As soon as she let it all out, she opened her eyes and shot her usual cute smile at Jurina. “Well, that was a deep topic, isn’t it? Forgive me.”

“…”

“Oh.. I forgot to bring cake today. Oops..” Rena showed her tongue playfully.

“It’s alright..”

“Jurina?” Rena called out.

“Yeah?”

“Could you…..close your eyes for a bit?”

“Why?”

“JUST CLOSE EM!” Rena squinted her eyes at Jurina.

Rena took a step closer to Jurina and pecked Jurina on her lips. It wasn’t a hard on kiss. Just a cute peck on her lips. That gesture made Jurina flinched a little, but she did like it a lot. She then traced her finger on her own lips. “That was….unexpected.”

Rena then shot the widest smile at Jurina and licked her own lips a little. “I tasted chocolate cake for some reason. Or was it strawberry?”

“Care to find out again?”

“Hmm….” Rena was giving it a thought. “Maybe not.”

Jurina then placed her right hand over Rena’s waist and pulled her in before whispering in a soft and gentle tone. “What if I insist?”

“Uhmmmm…..” Rena was definitely shocked at Jurina’s action.

Before Rena could utter another word, Jurina pulled Rena in for a passionate kiss.

As soon as Rena pulled out from the kiss, her face was completely red. This was the first time she had a kiss like that. She started stuttering. “I…….. You……… ” Rena had to slap her own face to get rid of all the weird thoughts that came into her head. “Stop thinking nonsense, me!”

Jurina smiled a little. “What were you thinking?”

“Something that is not your concern! You just stole my kiss!”

“You stole mine first.” Jurina replied.

“Y-You idiot! Mine was a peck! Yours was…… Ughh….. It’s not supposed to be like that!” Rena’s face got redder than before.

“Think of that kiss as a good luck charm.” Jurina smiled.

Remembering what she had to face tomorrow, Rena nodded shyly. “It’s getting late.. I have to go now. I have to get as much rest tonight as possible.. So… Hopefully I’ll see you again?” Rena let out a bitter smile.

“Of course you will.” Jurina nodded and hugged Rena tightly.

“But not tomorrow, okay?” Rena replied to hug as well.

“I promised you. Stay safe..”

It was late at night. Takamina tiptoed out into the dimly lit hallways, not wanting to wake anoybody up. She probably had planned to fight Akari alone, leaving even Atsuko and Rena out of this. As she made her way towards the dark main lobby, she was halted by a voice. She turned back and saw Atsuko standing a few feet away from her.

“I knew you would try to go alone..” Atsuko said as she pushed her sunglasses up. “Which was why I was ready for this the whole time.”

“Totally~” A voice was heard from above them suddenly.

Takamina looked up and saw Rena hanging upside down from the chandelier above. “Rena?”

Rena swung her body and did a beautiful flip before landing in front of them. “You are not going anywhere without me and Atsu nee-chan.”

“It’s best if I go alone.” Takamina said.

“Bla bla bla bla bla… Heard that so many times before. Tell me something new.” Rena yawned.

“When Team Taka was formed, we made a vow that we’ll stick together through all the hardships till the end, remember? We’ll go through this together too. Even if it’s a one way trip, then let the three of us go together..”

“What about Romeo?” Takamina asked.

“We have Yuki here to take care of Romeo for the time being.” Rena answered with a smile.

“Alright then.” Takamina nodded.

“Where are you three going?” A familiar voice echoed in the hallway. Speak of the devil.

“…..” The three of them turned back as they heard the voice from behind. “Yuki..”

Yuki glanced over each of their utility belt. All three of them were equipped with at least 10 Judgements. That was a very rare occasion for Team Taka. Usually they never needed more than 3. So, Yuki immediately knew that the three of them were going on a mission that is most probably a one way trip. “You’re going on a death mission?”

“This is solely Team Taka’s business, kid. Stay away.” Takamina told.

“Let me come along! I want to help!”

“Stay out of it, I said.” Takamina repeated. “I don’t need an extra baggage with me.”

“Why are you pushing me away like this!?”

“This isn’t your average mission you’ve been taking these past few years, kid.” Takamina answered. “And this has nothing to do with you!”

“STOP IT!” Yuki shouted all of a sudden, alerting the three of them. “You think I don’t know what you’re trying to do? You’re trying to keep me away from danger.. I know why… You see me as Minako, don’t you? You always have.”

Takamina clenched her fists silently, hearing those words. “….”

Yuki then continued. “GUESS WHAT!? I’M NOT YOUR SISTER! I’M NOT MINAKO!! SO STOP PUSHING ME AWAY JUST TO KEEP ME SAFE!”

“Yuki!” Atsuko and Rena were shocked with the words coming out from her mouth.

That sentence literally sent Takamina way past the boiling point. In an instant, Takamina leaped in and swung her fist right on Yuki’s face being angered so much. And as expected, Takamina’s fist was met with Yuki’s palm. Yuki was fast enough to react to Takamina’s punches. Takamina returned a glare. “You don’t even understand the situation.. How dare you utter those words to me..”

Keeping her composure, Yuki continued. “Stop trying to keep me away from danger, sensei.. I’m a brave warrior like you three too. I can help. Like you said, I’m already a Reaper now. So I am free to go whereever I want to. So I choose to come with you.”

“This is Team Taka’s business! Don’t butt in!” Takamina raised her voice.

“Team Taka or not, I can’t let y-” As Yuki was concentrating on Takamina, she accidentally let her guard down behind her. Atsuko suddenly appeared behind Yuki and chopped the back of her brain accurately. That single strike immediately cut off the contact between the nerves to the brain for a short moment and took the tall girl down immediately. Even as an elite Reaper, Yuki was still human. She was definitely vulnerable to a strike on the back of her brain. It was only that specific tiny spot at the back of one’s head that could take the person down immediately and Atsuko got it perfectly accurate. She wasn’t the smartest one for no reason. She knew the exact position of it.

Atsuko sighed. “I agree with you, Minami.. This is Team Taka’s business. We can’t pull her into this mess. Besides, Yuki is still too young for this. She has a long way to go.”

“Glad you understood, Atsuko.” Takamina nodded a little.

“……” Yuki laid on the ground unconcsious from Atsuko’s strike.

“She’ll be down for at least 2 hours. We should get going now before she wakes up.” Takamina said.

“…..” Rena could only look away with guilt. She then placed a packet of melon pan beside Yuki’s face.

Letting out a huge breath, the three of them made their way out of Legion and headed towards the biggest battle of their lives. As they made their way closer to the place where they were supposed to meet up, they began hearing weird noises and screeches coming from the darkness of the forest. There were at least a few hundred Spectres lurking around the area. On the ground and up in the trees. Akari was just sitting on a fallen tree trunk, staring back at them. The first thing Rena searched for was Jurina. It was a good thing that Jurina listened to Rena and stood this one out. This made Rena smile a little at the fact.

“That damned Jurina.. Where the hell did she go at a time like this…” Akari let out a scoff. “No matter.. I don’t need her to win..”

“Let’s get started already.” Takamina voiced out.

Akari then looked at the three of them. “Just the three of you? Where’s your army?”

Takamina looked right at Atsuko and then left at Rena before staring straight back at Akari. “We are the army.”

Chapter 14 : The History Of Team Taka – The Mysterious Black Button
END

NOTE : Next chapter is the final chapter for Team Taka’s history. Lots of drama will be happening in the next chap. The remaining puzzle pieces will be filled in the next chap entitled as The History Of Team Taka – Despair

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~ by atsuko_love on September 3, 2015.

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