Halo Fourteen: Nagisa:
Mikado and Masaomi walked back to Mikado’s apartment with Chiharu in tow. Masaomi looked at the unconscious angel in his friend’s arm.
“Are you okay with carrying her like that?” he asked.
“Uh-huh,” Mikado said. Chiharu hadn’t stirred once. It was a good thing that the streets were virtually empty in the morning. Masaomi looked around.
“Now what?” he asked. The tadpole boy shrugged his shoulders. Mikado didn’t have an answer for that. First, they had to keep her away from the police. The question was how. They could only keep her sedated for so long. She still needed to eat. Boy that was going to be a problem. How many people had she killed in three days? Tens? Hundreds? She would still need to eat more. Therein lies another problem. They couldn’t turn to murder, could they?
This would not do.
“We’ll have to go Shinra and Celty for that answer,” Mikado said at last. Masaomi had a grim look on his friend. His friend reached into his pocket and unlocked the door.
“Where are we keeping her for now?” Masaomi asked. Mikado didn’t answer as he opened the door. Chiharu’s limbs swayed back and forth as he walked inside with her. The Yellow Scarves shogun followed behind.
The nurse sat back, laughing. She clapped her hands.
“Beautiful! Beautiful!” Junko said. She turned to her interns. Yui and Kawaguchi had small smiles on her face. Hey, their boss was happy today. Who were they to complain?
“We did it!” the nurse said. “F is back!” She threw back her head and laughed.
“Now what?” Yui asked. Junko looked her straight in the eye.
“What else?” she asked. “We have so much to do!” The nurse rose to her feet.
“F needs to evolve,” she said. “We need more angels.” Her interns looked confused.
“More of them?” Kawaguchi asked.
“Why yes!” Junko said. “We can’t make them yet. But I have had plenty of Biddy Early made for us to do.” She had a drunk cat smile on her face.
“Have any people in mind that you want to turn?” she asked. The interns stared at her with no answer to give. Their boss waved them off.
“Don’t answer right away,” she said. “We will have time. Yui, have you contacted them yet?”
“Yes,” the intern said. “I let Mayfair-san know that we found the gate.”
“Good, good,” Junko said. She didn’t take her gaze off the intern. Yui looked a little confused.
“Is… something the matter?” she asked. Junko frowned.
“Takase Yui,” she said. “You wouldn’t be thinking about leaving us, would you?” Kawaguchi turned to his coworker with a stunned look on his face.
“Of course not!” the intern said. The nurse didn’t speak at first. She frowned as she narrowed her eyes. On the surface, Yui looked calm. None of the normals spoke. Junko slammed her hand down on the binder.
“Keep this in mind,” she said. “Your loyalties lie here with us. If leave, you will not be allowed back. In some cases, we can’t trust you not to talk. When that happens…” Junko ran her finger over her throat. Yui and Kawaguchi stared at her with big eyes. The nurse broke into a little smile.
“We don’t want to do that,” she said. “You all are very valuable to us. Plus, it would be a pain with the paperwork. Understood?” Yui and Kawaguchi nodded. Junko smiled.
“Good,” she said. “Think of people you want to turn into angels. We’re going to need more test subjects.” The nurse turned back to her computer. Her interns stood, looking pale.
“Why are you just staying there?” Junko asked. “You have work to do! Get on it!” The interns leapt up and started on working. The nurse smirked to herself.
Mikado had to keep Chiharu locked in his bathroom.
“Are you that’s a good idea?” Masaomi asked last night. Mikado blocked the door with furniture.
“It will have to do for now,” the tadpole said. “I will talk to Shinra in the morning.” He turned to his friend. “I will keep watch over her tonight.” Masaomi didn’t say anything. Something told him that this wouldn’t really be a good idea. Mikado didn’t need to hear his friend’s thoughts to understand the sentiment.
By sunrise, Masaomi headed out to get breakfast. Chiharu didn’t make that much noise for the rest of the early morning.
“You think she’s still alive in there?” Masaomi whispered.
“Yeah,” Mikado said. “A stun gun isn’t going to take her out too easily. Plus, she’s been feeding for the past three days. I think she’s going to be fine.” It wasn’t going to be much but that would have to do for now. Mikado looked up at his friend.
“Don’t go out,” he said. Masaomi eyed the tadpole boy.
“It’s just going to be a short trip,” he said. “I will be right back. I promise.” The founder of the Dollars knew that he couldn’t convince him otherwise. Masaomi just needed a break from all of this. Saki,
“Please be careful,” Mikado told him.
“Okay,” Masaomi said. “I’m off now.” He turned and walked out the door. Mikado gave him a small wave. He turned back to the bathroom. Chances were, Chiharu was in the same boat he was. They were going to be stuck like this forever. He a godlike being and her a savage beast. That brought about thought into Mikado’s mind. Why didn’t Chiharu try to attack him when he walked up to her? She looked scared of him in fact. But why? They were the same as they had always been. Well, not counting the experiments done on their bodies of course. Maybe Shinra and his father could answer that.
Mikado became distracted by the sound of wings flapping. The tadpole turned his head and his jaw dropped. A small red-crowned crane sat on his futon. The bird shook its head and flapped its wings. At first, Mikado looked confused.
“What the…?” he asked. The crane looked up at him. They stared at each for five minutes. Mikado took slow steps backwards.
“How did you get in here?!” he asked. “What is a crane doing in my room?!” He sensed something off about this bird. What was a red-crowned crane doing in Tokyo? Every fiber in his being shouted at him to run. The crane tilted its head. It opened its beak and squawked. Mikado turned and raced out of his apartment. Just outside, Masaomi had bags of food in his arms. The tadpole boy stood at the top of the stairs, panting.
“Mikado?” Masaomi asked. “What’s wrong? What are you doing out here?” Mikado trembled as he pointed at his door.
“Crane… Crane!” he shouted. “There’s a crane! There’s a crane!” Masaomi gave him a strange look.
“What are you talking about?” he asked. Mikado found himself calmer to talk again.
“There is a crane sitting on my futon,” he said.
“What?” his friend asked. Masaomi walked up the stairs and went inside.
“Wait!” Mikado shouted, running after him. Both boys made it back inside. When Masaomi looked, he froze in his tracks.
“Mikado, who is this?” he asked.
“Huh?” the tadpole boy asked. When he looked in his room, a girl with long red hair sat in place of the crane. She looked to be about twenty-one years old. A black satin scarf tied back her hair. She had on a black shirt that showed off her shoulders and white shorts. Her white star earrings looked so cute. Both boys looked confused.
“Uh… Who are you?” Masaomi asked. The woman looked up.
“I do apologize for breaking in like this,” she said, bowing her head. “I didn’t mean to startle you.” The boys looked at each other for a moment before this turned back to the woman.
“Who are you?” Mikado asked. “What are you doing here? How did you find my apartment?”
“Oh yeah,” the woman said. “I almost forgot. My name is Nagisa. Pleased to meet you.” The woman bowed her head. Mikado only had one question for her.
“Were you that crane I saw earlier?” he asked.
“Yes,” Nagisa admitted. “I am a familiar. I found your apartment because you gave me the address.” The tadpole boy had a confused look on his face.
“No, I didn’t,” he said.
“You did, but you don’t remember now,” she said. “I came because the seventh gate has been located.” Mikado froze.
“What do you mean?” he asked. “What gate?” The crane familiar’s face grew grim.
“The Gate to the Apocalypse,” she said. The color drained from the boys’ faces. Her words struck up a hint of a distant memory from an earlier time.
“Where is your master now?” Mikado asked.
“Back at home,” Nagisa said. “I got here while he was still asleep in bed.”
“We have to go to your place now!” the tadpole boy said.
“What about Chiharu?” Masaomi asked.
“Oh right!” Mikado said. “Shinra and Celty’s place first and then to Nagisa-san’s.” He took a breath.
“Right,” he said. “We have to get going. I’ll grab Chiharu.”
“Got it,” Masaomi said. Nagisa watched as the boys walked over to the blocked bathroom door.
His wife was the one who made the discovery. Shingen sat back at his computer screen. He had two patient files side by side. The man couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
“How is this even possible?” he asked. Shingen looked up when he heard the door open. Shinra stood in the doorway.
“Oh, it’s you,” his father said.
“Did you need something?” Shinra asked. The older doctor took a moment to think.
“Yeah,” he said. “Come look at this.” Curious, Shinra walked over to the computer desk and looked at the screen.
“What am I looking at?” he asked.
“Tell me what you see,” his dad said. Shinra read through each file.
“Patient files?” he asked.
“Yes, but what’s in them?” Shingen asked. His son took another look. He scrolled through both files. He raised his eyebrow.
“Wait… are these tadpole patient files?” he asked.
“Sort of,” his father said. “One of them is.”
“Which one?” Shinra asked. His father walked over to his side. He pointed to the file on the right.
“This is an angel,” the older doctor said. His son gave him a strange look.
“What do you mean?” he asked. Shingen pointed left and right to the files.
“Tadpole, angel,” he said. Shinra narrowed his eyes.
“I don’t get it,” he said. “They look the same.”
“Exactly,” his father said. “But look.” He scrolled down on the files. Shinra watched and read each line on both. His widened in shock.
“What the… What… What is this?” he asked. “How is this even possible?” Shingen turned to his son.
“It’s time to call back the tadpoles,” he said. As if on cue, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it,” Shinra said. He walked over to the front door.
“Who is it?” the doctor asked, looking out the peek hole. Mikado, Nagisa, and Masaomi stood outside. Shinra opened the door.
“Mikado, Masaomi, hello,” he said. “It’s good to see you.” The doctor looked at Chiharu under Mikado’s arm and Nagisa.
“What happened to her?” he asked. “And who is this?”
“Nice to meet you again,” Nagisa said. “My name is Nagisa.”
“Never mind that,” Mikado said. “We need help with her.” He held up Chiharu the best that he could. It was at the moment, Shingen poked his head out.
“Ah, Ryugamine,” he said. “Just the person I needed to see.” Mikado stood with a sinking feeling in his stomach.
“No, no, no!” Michiko wailed. She grabbed her hair and began pacing around the room.
“Calm down,” Tiresias said as she sat on the bed. “They haven’t been able to open it yet.” Michiko whipped around to her.
“That’s not the point!” she wailed. “How did they even find the gate?” The girl bit on her nails. “This is not good. Not good. Not good!” Michiko sank down to the floor and started whimpering.
“Oh no!” she said, burying her head in hands. The girl felt a hand on her back. Michiko paused.
“We still have time,” Tiresias whispered. “They haven’t figured out how to fully open it yet.”
“They haven’t?” Michiko asked.
“No,” the blind woman said. “I have six of the Heaven Gates pinned. I just need to find the last one.”
“But will we find it in time?” Michiko asked.
“Hm?” Tiresias asked. The girl looked up at her. Tears started to form in her eyes.
“We’re running out of time!” she said. “Once that last gate is open, it’s over. We’ll have to turn to measures that I don’t wish to cross.”
“And you won’t have to,” Tiresias insisted.
“I can’t do this alone,” Michiko said.
“You aren’t,” the older woman said. “You have enough help to stop this madness.” She could tell that her own words were starting to lose their strength behind them. But Michiko was right. They were running out of time.
“Excellent,” Hecate said over the phone. “We’ll be there in ten days tops. Goodbye.” The nightcomer hung up her phone. Lucy stood in the doorway, waiting.
“Well?” she asked.
“They found the gate,” Hecate said. “That little brat had it well-hidden with some powerful magic.”
“Bitch,” Lucy said. Hecate held up her hand.
“However, there is a little bit of a caveat,” she said. Her younger sister raised her eyebrow.
“Caveat?” she asked. Hecate twirled about with a smirk on her face.
“Everyone dances with the grim reaper,” she said.