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Children of Izanami: Initialization is an article created by Achrones150. Use is allowed with the permission of the owner, with the exception of collaboration-created articles.

This article, Children of Izanami: Initialization is the property of Darkrai.
It may not be used by anyone but the author or the co-author's in question.

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To Search[]

"What is Paradise?"

"Paradise, as it is defined, is a place where existence is positive and harmonious. The after-life.... this afterlife... is supposed to represent that paradise, somewhere souls can finally find peace after their miserable lives are extinguished and their pain is cast aside. It is a place where everything is good, and the people hold no anguish or negativity against each other. It is a place without violence, hatred, or death. Everyone is safe.... and everyone is grateful as they enjoy the peace of being within the after-life."

Kenta Sonoda lay against the bird he was riding on as it flew through the skies, arms folded behind his head, and his eyes closed. However, he wasn't asleep. Obviously, the wind currents slapping against his body was enough to keep him awake, and fellow rider Rukia Kuchiki would pester him if he did. The bird knew where it was headed pre-, towards police headquarters. His hair whipped around him, yet he remained resistant to nature, resistant to the sound of the beast flapping its wings as it soared, but not resistant to whatever his companion was about to say.

"However, if that is the case, then why do we have a government? Why do we need someone to keep us in line? Why do we need these weapons, all of these guns, swords, and firearms? Even after death, souls will never give up their hatred for one another, and continue to attack each other in ways that they would in their previous life. We still compete. We still fight. We still kill... and, thanks to the existence of the Soul Societies, it will never cease to exist. It will be nothing but an endless cycle of murder, death, and life."

His eyes slowly opened, his pupils feasting themselves onto the clouds.

"What, then, is this world we live in? Surely, this cannot be paradise..."

"Not now...."

"Not ever..."

His eyes drifted towards Rukia, and his mouth moved to speak in a rather dry tone.

Talk With Friends[]

"If you ask me, that haircut makes you look terrible."

Rukia suppressed a chuckle. "You've been sitting there for half an hour staring into space, and that is the best way you decide to break the ice?"

"Can you blame me? I have a bad habit of being honest at the worst times." Slowly, Kenta allowed himself to get into a sitting position, hair blowing around him as he looked over off to the side in order to get a better view of the city below. The lighting in the afternoon made it all the more brilliant and more beautiful to see. "Can't believe we had to move the HQ someplace far away from the capital while the military bozos get to stay close to home. What a load of bull...." He muttered in irritation, scowling. He was inwardly relieved that they were close, as the bird started flying lower and lower.

"I don't get why you're complaining. It's not as if we spent the last three hours walking there." Rukia replied, looking over the side of the bird as well. The scenery was beautiful. She amused herself imagining Ahatake's frustration at having to cover her paperwork at the office.

"Oh...right." Immediately, Kenta pushed himself back into a sitting position, arms folded across his chest as the bird began its final descent. "You're not even that involved with the police or the military anymore. You wouldn't care much for the favoritism the king shows towards his troops rather than the law enforcement." He dangled his legs off the bird's side as it descended to the ground in a massively open area, where there were other birds within. What appeared to be a mixture of civilian workers and officers were tending to them, the ones giving instructions having the appearance of someone of high command. The doors to the HQ were just a short distance away.

Kenta was the first to hop off of the bird. A rather polite and what could be described as "classy" behavior was showing; once Rukia was close enough, he extended one of his hand, took hers, and helped her off.

"Thank you." Rukia replied. "And, favoritism, that's common anywhere I'm sure. It's something you'll probably have to bear with for the rest of your career." He was right, she hadn't been as involved with the police or military, but her new job was one she had been ordered to take. Not exactly her choice.

Stuffing his hands within his pockets, Kenta gave her a rather sardonic look and a sarcastic smile. "Thanks. That really bumps up the confidence level, you know?" He started his walk down the path, ignoring the bustle of sound chatting that was going on all around him.

As Rukia walked alongside him, she looked like she was taking in the scenery, but she was thinking to herself. Thinking about why they were here. The most she knew was that it was about the recent painting found on one of the buildings in the main city. She hadn't seen the painting itself, only the image Kenta had showed her, but she could tell nothing about it was friendly.

As the two made their way through the populated lobby, Kenta raised an eyebrow and kept his pace steady. "So.... how is being the ambassador working out for you?" He questioned.

Rukia thought for a moment. "Thanks for asking. It's working out fine. There's a new building set up, and I work with Ahatake now in the Office of Seireitei-Yūrei Ōkoku Relations."

Kenta's eyes widened in surprise. "You're working with him?" He repeated, clearly in disbelief.

Rukia mimicked his surprised look, but it was due to Kenta's tone. "Yes. Is there something wrong with that at all?"

"Well, no, it's just...." Kenta allowed his eyes to shift forward in the direction in which they were walking. They were approaching a door, with two officers standing guard. "Well... I've never thought of him to be the type to be easily partnered with someone so sophisticated."

Rukia stifled a laugh. "I can see where you're coming from, but Ahatake and I actually get along rather well. Like old friends. I suppose that's why we were partnered in the same department by the Boss."

Kenta would've answered, had they not approached the doors in order to meet the two guards head-on. He raised a hand out, his palm showing towards the two guards. There was a symbol that was seemingly engraved in the skin that took the appearance of an eyeball. One of the guards looked it over for a moment, before giving a nod and stepping aside, his partner following suit.

"Sergeant Sonoda, good to see you. The Captain has been expecting both you and the Kuchiki." He said gruffly.

"So I've noticed...." Kenta muttered, lowering his hand and putting it back into his pocket.

When the doors were opened, he and Rukia stepped inside. It was a rather dark place, with several chairs alligned across and facing towards what looked like a screen. In some of the chairs were police officers, those of high rank like Kenta himself was. There were two empty seats left - obviously reserved for the two that had just arrived.

Rukia silently took her seat, wondering about the mark she'd seen on Kenta's hand. It was seemed to be for the purposes of either identification or admission, but it intrigued her all the same.

At that given moment, Kenta snapped his attention towards someone walking their way, immediately straightening up. A young was walking down the alley that Kenta himself was sitting beside. She had long, orange hair that hung in two low ponytails hanging over her shoulders. She was wearing a black tank top with a green coat, as well as a matching-color skirt. She was white-skinned, her blue eyes looking with a calm gaze at the pair (particularly Kenta, of course). "Captain."

"Sergeant...." The police captain murmured, giving an appropriate nod. "It's good to see you could make it, as well as your associate." She gave a nod to Rukia as well, out of politeness. "The meeting'll begin in a few minutes once everyone's situated, so bear with us." Without another word, she turned and walked off again.

"Who was that?" Rukia asked out of curiosity.

"Captain Avaron Setsuko, one of the veterans of this ragtag bunch of law enforcement." Kenta explained, shifting one leg over the other. "She might as well be the boss of the police force when it comes to the capital, at least. Word is it that she has a father who personally served in the Civil War and taught her what she needed to know about this business hands-on, which is why she's at a rank at still a young age." He chuckled a little, shifting his gaze over towards the screen. "Funny, huh? I always would've thought the ones who lead were often old men and snobby old hags."

Rukia let out a chuckle, remembering the former Head Captain Yamamoto. Then she thought of the current Head Captain, Mikami Karasumori. "Age truly can't be used to measure one's qualifications." She said, smiling for a moment as she put her memories on hold.

Debriefing: A New Problem[]

Before Kenta to answer her, however...

"Attention!" Avaron's loud and sharp voice called over the chatter over the crowd. She was sitting back at what looked like a control panel for the screen, hands folded in front of her face and her elbows on the desk. "I appreciate the ones that were able to come to this meeting today. You should also find yourselves extremely lucky, for if you didn't come, I would've had a fresh f***load of paperwork right and waiting while my more competent workers got a vacation!"

There was an immediate chorus of laughter as a response, and Avaron allowed herself to smirk a little. "Now, onto the topic at hand." She lowered her hand to press a button, and the screen turned on to show footage of the crowd gathering around what looked like red graffiti on the side of a building. "These photos were taken at 4:35 in the morning by security patrols at Sector 3." The screen continued to flicker, showing close-ups of the designs and details. When zoomed in, they could clearly see eyeball like designs as well as what looked like artistic, thick lines curling over any spot that would've otherwise went empty.

"So what exactly is this?" A police commander asked gruffly from the front row. "It seems to me that someone just likes to use our buildings as canvas."

"That's just what it looks like on the outside." Avaron answered. "However, the few things I can point out concerning it don't exactly match up with normal circumstances. For one, the graffiti reaches all the way to the top of the building, and obviously, that would take too much work for it to just not be there in one day and then appear in the next. Not to mention, this side of the street is in broad daylight, and it would've been noticed before it was fully finished. Secondly, there were some drops of the material it was made of that fell off the building, and the stuff was still fresh as if it was painted right then and there. The compounds were analyzed, and...."

She paused, a tense silence filling the room.

"This isn't paint. This is blood. More specifically, the blood of multiple victims mixed in with each other."

"Blood?" Rukia thought, shocked. Even having been listening to this discussion since it started, this was the word that registered most with her. "This wasn't made on a whim, this could be.."

"This is just off the top of my head..." One of the attendants, looking younger than the rest, spoke up. All heads turned. "Perhaps it is a message of sorts. Victims blood, eyeball like designs. To me, it all says 'we're watching you'." He averted everyone's eyes as he spoke. It was obvious he wasn't used to speaking to groups, and possibly didn't even want to voice his opinion.

However, what he said caused a bustle of chatter to rise amongst the group in total. However, it was immediately silenced when Avaron spoke again, shutting off the screen and turning the lights back on. "That's one of the many possibilities this is even existing, and also one of the more obvious." She spoke, slowly stepping down the alley and eyeing the group as she went. "But we're going to have to look a lot deeper than that if we want to get a grasp on what's actually happening. As protocol demands, we also must keep this to a level as minimized as possible. This event, as supernatural as it is, will cause distress to spread throughout the public, and any provocation could give us some disastrous results." At this, she folded her hands behind her back, stopped in front of the screen, and turned around to face the entire crowd.

"I'll have to make sure I pass this onto Ahatake." Rukia thought to herself as she kept her attention on the discussion. "Maybe he and his family can be of some help."

"I entrust the sector commanders in order to keep a close watch on activity and inform me of any more events that could be possibly related to the scenario at hand." She put her hands out, placing the palms on her hips. "I also entrust them...." She added, her eyes narrowing at the crowd in general. "That the policy of minimization be carried out to the limit. I will be damned if I have to deal with those militant punks crawling up our ass. Understood?" There was an immediate retort of agreement amongst the masses.

"Very well. Thanks for your time, and I have faith in you to carry out your tasks as best as possible. You are dismissed." She turned her eagle-eye gaze towards Rukia and Kenta. "Sonoda and the ambassador, I would like a word with you." That immediately caused Kenta himself to straighten up out of shock that she had addressed the two of them so quickly.

Rukia was taken by surprise as much as Kenta, but she masked it better. She waited for everybody to file out, and decided to let the woman speak again.

As everyone filed out, the captain naturally turned her attention towards the only two left. She moved in front of them, eyes studying them for a moment before she allowed her mouth to speak. "It's a pleasure to see you again, Sarge." She said confidently, putting on a smirk to match. "I trust that you're treating our guest well?"

"W-well, yes, of course...." Kenta muttered, looking away for a moment out of slight embarrassment.

The captain switched eyes to Rukia. "And I take it that even with the recent problems, your ride on this trip has been smooth, correct?"

"Yes." Rukia nodded briefly. "I'm enjoying my stay here."

"Good." Avaron smirked. "Then you won't mind it if I borrow you for a little while. As of this particular moment, you're under my jurisdiction."

Rukia was surprised, but she nodded again. "O-of course."

The reaction was rather disappointing.

Avaron's smile faded, and she looked at Rukia with a slightly disapproving look. "Of course? For a Shinigami from the Seireitei, you certainly are a boring one...." She chided. "But enough about that: the reason I'm doing this is because involving issues like this, I'm going to need intel from one who has witnessed supernatural events such as this firsthand. As one of the most popular targets of gossip as well as politics, you're the prime candidate."

"I see. I'll be more than willing to help out in any way possible."

"Once again.... boring." That being said, Avaron abruptly turned on her heel and walked off. Her hands were in the pockets of her coat, and her gait was calm and steady. "I'll see you two whenever."

To Speak[]

A Question of Loyalty[]

"I didn't know I was supposed to act difficult." Rukia said to Kenta as they left the building. "We're generally taught to respect high ranking officers in the Soul Society. And then she thinks I'm boring for agreeing with what she says." She almost sounded like she was ranting, unusual for Rukia. "Is she always like that?"

Kenta gave a somewhat wry smile to her, cocking one of his eyebrows slightly. "The rather utopian air of the city can be uplifting to some, but it can be rather stale for others." He explained. "The Captain's one of those people who appreciates a challenge to her authority, and she's always looking for someone that's willing to do that. Unfortunately, everyone's pretty intimidated by her presence. Even Ginji won't touch her."

"I see." Rukia said as they reached the bird. "Most normal officers would consider that an accomplishment."

"Yes.... but whoever said she was normal?" This was followed by the subsequent climb onto the bird's back.

As Rukia climbed up and the bird took off, she looked over the city. "I know they said not to tell civilians, but I think Ahatake and his family should know. After we get back ti the main city, I'm going to let them know."

Kenta gave her what appeared to be a weary look, holding onto the bird for support. It was instinctive - he really didn't need to. "You're going to defy orders, just like that?" He questioned her.

"Some orders are meant to be disobeyed, if the reason is right, yes?" She said, looking at him. "Besides, Ahatake and his family can help if this turns out to be something terrible."

For some reason that even he couldn't fathom completely, this statement irked Kenta. He folded his arms across his chest, averting his eyes away from Rukia and back down to the city below. As the bird picked up speed, his hair began to billow around his head once more. However, he was good enough to keep his tone in check. "With all the issues that they've been required to participate in, one might as well should give a job relating to the problems that they deal with." He commented lightly, putting on a small smile.

"Ahatake would enjoy that." Rukia replied, taking the time to enjoy the scenery as well. "He's not fond of his current job, and, with the predicament I have left him in, is probably fuming at this moment."

"Hope he isn't too sore at you after this..."

"Even if he would be over the job, he won't be when I give him this news." She said. "He'll see that as an eventual chance to fight, and that will take his mind off of anything he wants to complain about."

That caused Kenta to go silent for a moment again, eyes half-lidded. "....what would make someone so interested in fighting....?" He asked quietly, tone sullen. "Violence brings blood and death. Why would someone be so interested in that?" He couldn't deny how he felt at that point - it was resentment, disappointment. The slaughter the V-14 had committed against his force had not left his mind, and it wasn't just because it gave the soldiers something to laugh at. It was because of the casualties that had been produced, the carnage left behind.... he honestly couldn't picture someone enjoying such a thing.

"I'm not sure, but I see what you mean." Rukia said, frowning slightly. "In the Seireitei, there is an entire division devoted to people who live to fight, with the Captain generally being the most bloodthirsty of all. Some people are just like that."

"Maybe that is the problem, then...." Kenta mused, closing his eyes for a moment. "I just can't get past that particular fault. People like that would prove to be the death of the spiritual world as we know it."

"Only if they were to turn on those they ally with." Rukia added. "People who enjoy fighting seem to ally themselves with whoever can give them the most thrilling battles and strongest opponents. Ahatake isn't like that, so if you're concerned about him becoming a threat, I don't think you need to worry too much."

Kenta allowed himself to lean back on the bird, arms folded behind his head once again. "And what's keeping us from disappointing that expectation?" He questioned her, finding sudden interest in the talk at hand. "What's keeping him, or his family, from changing his point of view? You speak of them as mercenaries-for-hire, and mercenaries can always change their loyalty just for their own benefit."

"There's honestly nothing I know of that's keeping Ahatake loyal to this region." Rukia admitted. "It's difficult to explain, but it's just how he is. It's rather difficult to explain actually. Perhaps it's his friendship with the King, or maybe he just likes living here. You'd have to actually ask him to learn why, but even he probably doesn't know."

This drew a silence from Kenta, as he had no words to say that. He lay motionless on the bird, his eyes closed and his state unresponsive.

The rest of the journey was rather quiet, and, as they flew into the main city, Rukia chose then to speak. "The Kurosaki Mansion is close to where we are, so I think I'll get off here Kenta."

A loud whistle came from Kenta's lips, and the bird dived down to descend. It took only seconds before they were at ground level, and Kenta managed to sit himself up in order to keep his position on the sitting animal. "If anything else comes as an update, I'll be sure to find you." He said to her, putting on a small grin. "See ya when I see ya, Kuchiki!" With that, he let out another whistle, and the bird instantly took off into the sky.

Rukia vanished on the spot, moving at a fast pace to reach the Kurosaki residence. There was no one in the yard, so she assumed they must be inside. She knocked.

For The Greater Good[]

At first, there was a moment of silence. On the other side, the sound of footsteps could be heard gently tapping against the gray stone flooring, coming closer and closer to the door. The pattern and rhythm they were moving in indicated a calm, steady gait, as if the one that was approaching already knew who was on the other side of the door. The footsteps stopped once both subjects were directly on either side of the barrier. The approacher reached the door knob, twisted it, and pulled it open so that the two subjects would be face to face with each other.

It was none other than Megami.

"Hi, Rukia!" She commented mirthfully, stooping over to give the shorter woman a gentle, but welcoming hug. It wasn't uncommon for Megami to greet people in such a manner - she relatively did it to anyone that didn't have the reflexes to do it to her first.

Rukia was unused to being greeted like this, but figured it would be rude to complete disregard it, giving Megami a brief hug in turn. "Good afternoon Megami." She said, breaking contact. "Mind if I come in?"

"Of course!" With that, Megami stepped aside for Rukia to enter.

She did, stepping into the cool air of the house. "Is Ahatake home yet?"

"He's still at work...." Megami answered readily, folding her hands behind her back and turning her own back away from Rukia. "But in the meantime, you can come inside, and please do shut the door behind you." With that, she stepped off into the living room, walking around to find a seat on the couch. However, in deciding a seat simply wasn't good enough, she hopped over the back and plopped herself down in a laying position, hands folded behind her head. A small grin decked her face at the thought.

Rukia took a seat in Ahatake's favorite chair. It was comfortable. "How have things been going since Ahatake regained his Shinigami powers?"

"You know...." Megami thought about it for a moment, bringing up one of her hands. Her middle and thumb fingers were rubbing against each other in a movement of idleness. Her eyes drifted towards them, finding entertainment within the action as she continued to speak. "I never really thought of that. To tell the truth, we haven't noticed much. After all, we have been through situations like this before, and it's not much different...."

"True." Then a thought that put a smile on her face came to mind. "But I would have expected Ahatake, as childish as he can be, to have destroyed half the city by now randomly testing his powers."

"Hey!" Megami was quick to complain, her head snapping towards her friend. A chiding expression had replaced the idle boredom from before for a moment. "Don't talk about my husband that way! He can act a little unorthodox at times, but he knows better than that." She lowered her hand, folding her arms across her chest and continuing to look over Rukia's direction.

Rukia was taken aback slightly. "I'm sorry Megami, it was just my attempt at a joke."

"It's fine...." As Megami extended her hand out to inspect her nails, she changed the subject and switched the topic of discussion with her next sentence. "So...." She started, a smile creeping on her face. "How's the progress going with Kenta, hm?" Normally, it would've been a simple question. However, the teasing tone in the red-haired woman's tone clearly stated otherwise.

The question took Rukia off guard, her face reddening if only slightly. "W-what do you mean? He and I are just business partners at the least, friends at best. There's no "progress" going on."

"Oh, I donno....." Megami answered in a sing-song voice, her smile growing a bit wider. Her eyes drifted towards Rukia, catching the red tint on the face. "You two seem to have gotten quite closer while in recent time, and I never could get it out of my head the glances you sneak towards each other..."

"G-glances?" Rukia repeated. This was beginning to bother her more and more. "What are you getting at Meg-"

Before she finished the sentence, flames erupted in the center of the room, forming quickly into a human shape, before solidifying to show Ahatake standing there.

"I'm hoooooooooooome!" He yelled, apparently unaware either of them were in the room.

....well, so much for having fun.

However, seeing Ahatake's form immediately caused her to jump up from the couch, walking over to him quickly. "Welcome home, dear!" She welcomed him, leaning over to give him a peck on the cheek. "How was work today?"

"Hell." Ahatake replied, kissing her back and turning to glare at Rukia. "I have you to blame for that, thank you very much."

Rukia couldn't help but chuckle. "When I asked for a favor, didn't you say you'd accept?"

"Yes, but I wasn't expecting extra work." He shot back. "And the Boss just went along with it."

"Of course she did, she hates you."

Ahatake couldn't think of anything to deny that, and sat down on the couch. "Damn woman..." He looked up at Rukia. "So why are you here anyway? I highly doubt this is a social visit."

"Oh, yes." Rukia cleared her throat. "It seems we're about to have another...problem on our hands."

Folding her hands across her chest, Megami gave Rukia a questioning stare. "Does it happen to concern the painting on the building on Road 701?" She asked. "Because I've been seeing that quite often on the news, and it's quite a spectacle amongst the city. I can't imagine why..."

"You're right on the mark." Rukia nodded. "We're under orders not to tell civilians, but you all barely qualify as that. So, listen carefully, and I'll provide visual aids." She pulled out a sketchbook. "As you pointed out, the object of our concern is the painting on Road 701." She gestured to a crude drawing of the painting itself. "According to my sources, this isn't paint. This is blood. More specifically, the blood of multiple victims mixed in with each other."

It was something that Megami had learned to accept through the years. No matter how much they tried, they simply could not get away from the violence. Rukia's words caused Megami to frown disdainfully, clearly expressing her distaste of the situation right away. She folded her arms across her chest, remaining silent.

"The only other notable aspect of the painting are the eyeball-like designs." She pointed to her drawing, gesturing to "cutesy" eyeball designs on top of her drawing of the painting. "We don't know the meaning of the eyes, but..." She turned a page in the sketchbook. "One of the theories is that it's a message from the original artist."

"A message saying?" Ahatake asked.

"We're watching you." She gestured to the drawing on the new page, which showed ghost teddy bears looming over a city full of bunny and teddy-bear inhabitants. "Any questions on what I've said?"

"Yes." Ahatake said, sighing. "Why do you feel the need to include the sucky drawings along with the explanations?"

The response was the sketchbook flying into his face.

WHAM!

Megami could only sigh heavily, eyes closed and head shook sagely. "One would've realized by now how touchy Rukia can get over comments like that towards her drawings...." She chided calmly, reaching over to grab and peel (almost literally, considering that Rukia had thrown it hard enough to make it stick to his face).

"Maybe she should just work on improving her art then." Ahatake muttered. He never learned. Out of nowhere, Rukia's leg came flying out, striking him in the jaw and sending him flying back as well as tipping the sofa over. After passing Ahatake an annoyed glare, Rukia turned her head and looked at Megami.

"Do you have any questions?"

"None that I could ask you."

However, Megami slapped her hands over her mouth, the dread of her statement being too rude having come to her brain. "U-uh, I mean, well, I don't mean that in a rude way...!!" She said , holding the sketchbook back out to Rukia. "But the questions I have would go to another source.... more particularly the archives. So...no. No questions from me."

Rukia took the notebook back, and she completely disregarded the earlier tone of Megami's voice. "Alright." She said, a slight smile on her face. "In that case, I'll be taking my leave now." She tucked the notebook under her arm. "If we need you, I'll be sure to be back." She looked over at Ahatake. "Then again, trouble usually finds you guys, doesn't it?"

Megami smiled weakly in response. "Yep. Misery just loves our company...."

Rukia exited as Ahatake got up from where he had collided. "Don't you just want to punch her?" He said, rubbing his cheek. "She's a demon."

Megami walked over towards him, her smile growing less sheepish and more mirthful. "Well, you play with fire, you get burned, dear...." She said playfully, raising up to give the guy a teasing punch to his jaw.

Ahatake chuckled. "So, this other source you mentioned to Rukia. Who is it, the little library girl?"

"That's the one!"

Ahatake laughed. "Well, she's helped us out before. And from what you've told us about her, she'll be simply delighted to see you." The thought gave him yet another laugh.

"Don't say it like that!" Megami complained, stepping away from him and off to the coat rack nearby. She grabbed her own personal jacket, slipping it on her shoulders. "Anyhow, I'll be back soon. Try not to get in too much trouble while I'm gone, kay?"

"Don't get in trouble?" Ahatake groaned. "How old do I look Megami?"

Questions and Answers[]

"And open." The librarian Aoi slung an "Open" onto the window so it was visible to everyone passing by. She went to sit up at her desk. Now all she had to do was wait for people to file in.

It took about a good amount of minutes, of course.

However, it wasn't long before there was a good amount of people in the library. Their appearances, of course, were brief, as they usually went off to grab their respective book and then head out. However, out of the people, there were two people that had remained for a good while - a hooded figure and a orange-haired, kimono-wearing woman. They were sitting beside each other in recliner chairs, each with their respective books in hand. Their chairs were facing each other, and they were busy talking to each other in what seemed like a rather interesting conversation.

It was not long before Megami herself stepped onto the scene. She stepped through the door, her usual smile on her face...

...and was promptly greeted by an enthusiastic Aoi. "Megami-san!" She said as loud as a whisper would allow. As soon as Megami had walked through the door, Aoi was standing in front of her, smiling upwards. "It's nice to see you again!" She was quickly getting over her shyness.

"Good to see you too, Aoi." Megami answered with her usual air of politeness, nodding her head slightly in a bow. "How are things going with you?"

"Quiet, like always." Aoi replied sadly. "Seeing as I run a library and all, when you're not around, I don't have anyone to talk to aside from the people who are asking for help about book related things." She chuckled . "Let's just say, you make life interesting Megami-san."

A faint blush spread across Megami's cheeks at the words, and she stared with a few blinks at Aoi for a moment. One corner of her mouth was tilted upwards. "Oh, you're just trying to soften me up!" She complained, though clearly out of humor and mirth.

Aoi waved her hand at her desk, and a sign appeared that said "Librarian preoccupied. No check-outs today." and then turned to Megami. "So, what brings you here Megami-san? Something I can help with?"

"As a matter of fact, there is...." Megami folded her hands behind her back, nodding towards the door she had entered through. "Do you happen to know about the strange drawings that appeared on the building at Road 701? It's been quite the attention lately."

Aoi's glasses flashed slightly at the question. "Yes. I don't get out much, but you'd be surprised the amount of I install everywhere." She started to walk. "Follow me Megami-san. I have an area beneath the library where I keep recordings of everything my see."

Curiosity overcame the red-haired woman, her eyes widening slightly. But she didn't hesitate to do as she was told, following right behind the girl. However, as she was following, the other two were getting up and had started to walk by her. At first, she paid them no mind to their presence. But when she passed by the orange-haired woman....

WHUMPF!

....one of the stranger female's feet had managed to catch Megami's. A surprised yelp left her lips, and as a reward for the surprise, she fell to the floor on her face. "Ow!!"

Aoi turned like lightning and was on her knees next to Megami. "Megami-san, are you ok?" Before even waiting for an answer, she turned up to look at the orange haired offender. "If you do that again, I'm going to have to ask you to leave."

However, when she turned to look up...

...it was as if the woman had not noticed anything at all. She was still busy explaining something to her hooded companion, speaking in a foreign language. "Que será onde vamos começar a próxima. Quem sabe? Talvez eu possa ter um pouco de diversão com os habitantes locais... (That will be where we'll start next. Who knows? Maybe I can have a little bit of fun with the locals...) The hooded figure had his arms folded across his chest, silently listening to what his partner was saying. It was clear he understood the language as Portugese - a language rarily spoken within the parts. No one here would be able to understand what she was saying, other than the one that accompanied her.

When Aoi addressed her, her ears perked up, and she turned away from him to look over at Aoi. "Oh, wait... were you talkin' to me?" She asked dryly, placing a hand on her hip and gave a somewhat uninterested expression. She was quick to shift her language back to what Aoi had understood.

"Yes." Aoi replied, a hint of ice in her tone now. Did she trip the girl on purpose, or was it by accident while talking with her friend? "You're going to have to watch where you put you feet. I can't have people tripping others in my library." She looked at the hooded man. Hadn't she seen him in here before?

Under the rather negative tone and the words, a slight smile formed on the woman's face. But her next words made it clear that she was not going to defend herself. As Megami slowly allowed herself to rise, the orange-haired female turned her body to face them completely. "So little miss red-head couldn't watch her footing on mine." She said coolly. "What exactly can you do about that?" The words were pointed straight at Aoi like a gun, clearly aiming to challenge authority. Behind her, the hooded figure slowly turned to face the two, arms still folded across his chest.

"This is a library, your foot shouldn't be anywhere but under the desk." Aoi replied snappishly. She was quite different from when Megami first met her. Such a dramatic change, refreshing nonetheless. "I'm going to ask you to leave now. He can stay." She pointed at the hooded man. "He hasn't done anything I'm aware of. You have to go."

The woman's smile grew more amused in nature, and she took a step forward...

...only to have a hand clasp her shoulder.

Her eyes swiveled to find the hooded figure just stopping her from doing whatever she was about to do, silently shaking his head. That caused a scowl to deck her face, and she fixed a slight glare on the man before turning back to Aoi. "Consider yourself real lucky. We have other business to tend to." She immediately turned on her heel, walking off with the hooded man in tow.

Aoi sighed heavily. "I wad right. He is the level headed one out of those two." She frowned. "I need to hire an assistant..."

"What was that about....?" Megami kept one eye closed, eyebrow raised and a hand on her head as she watched the two exit the library.

"The hooded one has been in here before." Aoi said. "Around the time you were asking about the Monitor. He came in, but vanished after walking into the aisle. Remember?" She frowned, as if remembering the taste of bad food. "I went looking but no one was there."

"Oh....."

Shaking her head of the thoughts, Megami turned back towards Aoi. "A-anyway, what were you saying about following you somewhere?" She asked, shifting the subject back to the task at hand.

"Oh that's right. This way." She said leading Megami to a back door. She opened it, and began to walk downstairs, grabbing a large lantern as she did so. "It's right down here." The walk was surprisingly long, and they came to another door. Aoi placed her palm on a scanner.

"Authentication verified. Aoi Taijiri, welcome." A computerized voice spoke, opening the door. Aoi led Megami, and they came face to face with several computer monitors. "Um...my mother, let's say she was extremely good with computers. She left me all of this, and I use it to watch everywhere in the region, thanks to she installed a long time ago."

"City surveillance...." Megami summarized, taking a few hesitant steps foward. It was certainly a surprise to her that Aoi, a simple librarian, managed to obtain this equipment. Had her mother taken part in a government/military position a while back? Her eyes searched around. "Does this reach beyond the capital area?"

"It spans over the whole region. My mother installed multiple hidden all around this region." Aoi replied. "I honestly don't know why she did it, or for what purpose, but if it can help you now, it's worth it, right?"

"Well, in that case....." Megami turned her head to look at Aoi, giving a small smile. "Would you be able to record back to the events of last night at Road 701? If we can do that, then we'll be able to find out who painted the graffiti."

"Of course." Aoi took a seat, literally drawing a chair up for Megami and began turned the system on. Her hands were moving across the keyboard with surprising speed, and she accessed a folder labeled "Security Monitor". Multiple files, possibly hundreds appeared in a long list. Aoi scrolled down before finding the one she was looking for. "This was from a few days ago, when the video was taken. You should find everything you need, here." She clicked.

As Megami sat down in the said chair, she peered at the screen, it showed the building. The view was gray, but the details were moderately sharp. There was somewhat of a grainy effect, causing everything within view to be somewhat blurry. As the red-haired woman squinted her eyes, she could clearly see a group of people huddled up against the front of the building and staring at something off-screen. Though she could not see the expressions, she could see that some of them were shaking and huddling up against each other. She could also hear some of them muttering in panicked voices, but she did not hear any responses to what sounded like whimpers and pleas.

"What in the...."

BLABLABLABLABLABLABLABLAM!

Her heart stopped as soon as she heard the sound of vicious gunfire. She almost slapped her hands over her ears as the screams of agony and death reached them. Yet, her eyes couldn't tear themselves away as the people dropped, all life extinguished from their systems. Their blood ran down the front of the building, staining the ground underneath their bodies.

Aoi, who had already scene this, had a reaction less severe. Her eyes merely narrowed as she watched it, and she seemed to be chewing her tongue. She could have told Megami all this, but she didn't have a memory that was sharp, and seeing it in visual...let's just say it would leave a much deeper impression than Aoi simply explaining it. Aoi thought she should try to put Megami at ease but...the footage was far from over.

Sure enough....

The video automatically skipped to a few hours later. The blood from the slaughter was still there. However, the bodies that was slung up against the wall had miraculously vanished! There was no bloody footsteps, no drag marks to signal that someone had picked them up and carried them away. It was as if they had never been there at all. Even the bullet holes that was supposed to be shown in the wall were not there anymore. Megami had a rather unnerved expression as she took in the details of it, fingers tightening slightly on the chair. "This is just...." She trailed off, her voice clearly shaking.

"I know..." Aoi sighed. "I'm sorry for showing you this. What's worse is, it's not over. Do you want to take a break?" She looked concerned, and held her hand over a button. "I can pause it until you're enough to continue."

"N-no....." Megami managed to press a hand over the other girl's hand, gently pushing it away. "I'm just...surprised at what I'm seeing." As she continued to stare at the screen, she continued to witness the supernatural events take place. The blood began climbing up the wall, spreading across the building and shifting into separate designs. The process was moderately quick, and soon the pattern that they had known was formed. At that exact moment, the video stopped, finished with its recording.

As Aoi turned to look at Megami, her glasses were illuminated slightly by the screen. "So, that's all there is to it." She noticed Megami looked slightly sick, and pressed her hand to her face. "Are you O.K.? It wasn't the most pleasant thing to witness, I'm sure."

Flinching slightly at the contact out of surprise, Megami managed to snap out of it. She gently grabbed the other girl's wrist to push it away. "No, it wasn't...." She agreed slowly. "But.... what I'm more concerned about is the way it happened. There are little details that would be insignificant in most other situations....but I noticed some things about the video that seem....too off...." She turned her head towards Aoi with a questioning gaze. "Did you see what happened when they were killed?"

She turned back to the computer, pressing a button in order to rewind it back to the footage set. "The wounds and blood effects seem to have come first, before the bullets even hit them. Anything that could explain it?"

Aoi looked closely. "Now that I look, you're right." She frowned. "Do you think it's possible they were attacked somewhere else, possibly beyond the range of this ?" It was the only suggestion she had anyway that made sense.

"No. This is the exact building. I recognize it myself...even if that were true, that wouldn't explain the delay effect the bullets had. Nor would it explain the fact that there are no bullet holes or corpses later on...."

"If that's the case, then I'm at a loss for suggestions." Aoi replied. She frowned. She didn't like not being able to give Megami aide.

Megami hung her head down. "In any case.... this is obviously more than simple graffiti." She muttered in slight disappointment, before turning back to Aoi. She got up from the chair. "Can you do an analysis on the graffiti itself, find out its origins and whether or not it's common?"

"Hmmm." She thought for a moment. It was a good idea. "Well, to do that, I'd require an actual sample." Aoi replied. "These aren't fitted with proper technology, but I do have the required materials here."

"Perfect!" That seemed to brighten up Megami's mood somewhat, and she smiled weakly. "We can go get it and find out what's going on. Unless...." Her expression turned somewhat questioning. "....you have a way of doing it without having to go to the actual source....?"

"You mean a machine that can go to the site undetected and scrape a sample for our personal use?" Aoi asked, rummaging through a cupboard to pull out a small, bug-like machine. "There's no possible way I could have that."

"But that would be.....?" Megami cocked an eyebrow at the machine, folding her arms across her chest.

"The machine I just said I couldn't possibly have." Aoi replied. "Just a really, really bad attempt at a joke." She held up the robot. "This little thing looks like a bug, so it won't attract any attention. It's claws can scrape the dried paint off of the wall, a sample anyway, and store it within it's body, which will come back to us and I can analyze it here." She looked at the robot. "Sometimes, I wonder exactly what my mother did for a living..."

"Well...." Megami said uncertainly, taking a step back and making a gesture towards the robot. "If you're ready, you can send it out anytime. No need to wait for me."

"Well, there's no exit here, being so far underground, so we're going to have to go back up." Aoi said, pressing a button on the bug, causing it's eyes to glow ominously. "It'll take awhile for it to come back anyway, so you can probably go home and rest during this time. Maybe tell your family what you've seen."

"All right...." With a brief, grateful nod, Megami turned around to head back towards the staircase they had been. However, after a few steps, she paused to turn her head and give Aoi a smile. "You've gotten a bit of bravery recently, Aoi.... anything happen recently?"

"I'm not sure." Aoi replied, thinking about it. "I guess it's because of you." She said, smiling. "When you come around, I always feel different, stronger I suppose. And being able to help you with the problems you need actually makes me feel like I'm useful. Before you, no one really talked to me unless it was a question about books, and my mother was busy with stuff she never talked to me about. My father...I've never seen him." She followed Megami up the stairs and continued talking. "I guess I have you to thank for the change in how I am."

"In that case, you're very welcome...." Megami commented, keeping a steady pace. "To be honest....I'm quite surprised. Stuff like this is usually more discreet amongst people. To hear it being said out loud is....well, rather refreshing, actually...."

"I could probably tell you anything Megami." Aoi said, quieting her volume as they reached the library. "You're my friend, and besides, I trust you."

"The same to you...."

That being said, Megami parted ways with Aoi, stopping at the door and placing her hand on it. "Take care...." She said over her shoulder, before she exited the library and disappeared out of sight.

Aoi held her hand up to the sky. "Go to Road 701 and gather samples of the painting there." She said to the machine. "Take long distance scans of it as well. " The machine floated in front of her, moving it's body as if agreeing. "Go."

The bug took off. It was moving at a brisk pace, but still slow. This would be a bit of a wait. The wheel of fate was beginning to turn. It was time to see exactly where it would stop.

END

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