Halo Twenty-Four: Lucy:
Daichi and Osamu were setting up for the night shift.
“So have you thought about grad school yet?” Daichi asked his partner. Osamu rolled his eyes.
“Did the old man tell you to ask me?” he asked. Daichi shrugged.
“Just curious,” he said.
“I don’t know, okay?” Osamu asked. “I don’t think about that sort of thing, you know?”
“I understand,” the younger man said.
“I mean, I don’t have the time or money to go to a fancy grad school like all of you do.”
“Kitano-sensei can pay for you to go to grad school, you know?”
“That’s not the point.” Osamu set down his sears and turned his head. Daichi put up his hands.
“Okay, okay,” he said. “I’ll drop it.”
“Thank you,” the older man said. “And I still say blonde will be the next player in the game. We just need to kill the girlfriend first.” Daichi raised his eyebrow.
“You sure about that?” he asked.
“Yes,” Osamu said with a grin. “Once the girlfriend is gone, he will be a perfect addition to the game.”
“If you say so,” Daichi said under his breath. His older partner looked up at him out of the corner of his eye.
The whole time, their interns watched with blank looks on their faces. Osamu turned his head.
“You’re not getting paid to stand around and look pretty,” he said. “Get back to work.” The interns rushed back to work. Daichi and Osamu got back to work as well.
Six more days until the gate opened.
The nightcomer sat holed up in a motel room. For five days, she didn’t know what to do. Hecate didn’t even bother to soften the blow.
-Six Days Earlier-
Hecate and Lucy stood in front of Raira Academy. The younger sister whistled.
“That gate is massive,” she said.
“Uh-huh,” Hecate said. “The core is in the basement.” She turned to her sister.
“Wow,” Lucy said.
“However, we’re not strong enough to open it alone,” her sister said. The younger nightcomer had a confused look on her face.
“What do you mean?” she asked. Hecate gave her a cold smile.
“Hecate?” Lucy asked. Her sister put her arm around her shoulders.
“You see, this is a special gate,” Hecate said, fanning her hand out towards the empty academy. “It can’t simply be opened by magic.”
“Are you serious?” Lucy asked.
“Not even mother with all of us combine can open it with our problems,” the older sister said. The other nightcomer gave her an odd look.
“So… How do we open that gate?” Lucy asked. Hecate leaned in with a grin on her face.
“The blood of a nightcomer,” she said in a low voice. Her sister’s eyes widened.
“You can’t mean…” she said. Hecate smiled and patted her on the head. Lucy’s stomach dropped.
Lucy shut her eyes.
“I don’t want to die,” she whimpered. But what else could she do? Hecate was determined to sacrifice her to the gate. Allison was okay with this too.
“The end justifies the means, my dear daughter,” she told her. Allison wouldn’t hear anymore arguments.
“Why can’t it be you?” Lucy complained. Hecate spun around with a catlike smile on her face.
“Because, dear sister,” she said. She grabbed Lucy by her cheeks. “I am more valuable than you are.”
The younger nightcomer glared in the darkness. She clenched her fists in her lap. Lucy gritted her teeth.
“I refuse to die!” she hissed. “I can fight this.”
She would need the help to do it.
Lucy wasn’t the only one getting desperate.
Izaya checked one of his phones. More and more strange texts kept popping. They came to all three of his phones. How were these people getting his number? Izaya couldn’t understand how deep his situation had gotten. He had all of the power and information he wanted at his fingertips. But he couldn’t track down who was making his life a living hell. It was like they never existed. How could this even be possible? Izaya couldn’t even find them on the dark web.
Kitano denied being the one doing anything to him.
“You think that I would have time to deal with you?” the therapist asked.
“I wouldn’t put it past you,” Izaya said. Kitano rubbed his forehead and sighed.
“You’re starting to sound like Chirin now,” he said.
“I don’t blame him,” the information broker said under his breath. Kitano glanced at him.
“Look,” he said. “I am not the one doing this to you. We’ve been focused on the last gate, remember?” Kitano pulled out his phone.
“See?” he asked. “I haven’t been texting you. Anything else?” Izaya frowned as he looked at the phone. The answer was no. But what else could he do?
“Are we done here?” Kitano asked. Izaya sighed.
“No,” he said.
“Good, now get out,” the therapist said. “I have work to do.” Izaya dropped his shoulders and walked out. Like he even believed him. But he couldn’t figure out how Kitano was doing it. He had to have a second phone in his possession. That had to be it. Question was, who else was driving him crazy like this?
As much as he didn’t want to come to this, but Izaya knew that he was going to need some help with getting to the bottom of this. Lucky for him, he still had a certain programmer that he was sleeping with.
Being a gang leader had its perks. Harley found that she had really useful connections on her hands. She could order her boys to do what ever she wanted them to do. Harley could even call in for favors if she wanted.
Today, she was giving a favor.
Lucy sat across from her in the karaoke booth. Harley raised her eyebrow.
“You want me to do what now?” she asked. Lucy rested her hands in her lap.
“I need some protection from my family,” she said. Harley took a drag of her cigarette.
“They out to kill you?” she asked.
“Yes,” Lucy said. “I don’t want to die.” The demon woman narrowed her eyes.
“Are you the one who’s been freeing us?” she asked. The nightcomer tried not to look startled.
“Why would you say that?” she asked.
“Why else would you follow me back here?” Harley asked. “Don’t bother lying anymore either. Tell me the truth.” Lucy threw up her hands in the air.
“Fine, you got me,” she said. Harley began to smile.
“Much better,” she said.
“Aren’t going to keep me alive?” Lucy asked. Harley flicked out her cigarette.
“Let me ask you something,” she said. “Aren’t you part of the game?”
“So, why are you trying to sabotage it?”
Lucy frowned as folded her arms across her chest. “I don’t want to die.” She looked up at the demon woman. “Did you know that a nightcomer’s blood is the only way to open the gate?”
“Nightmare,” Harley said with a whisper. “If not you, then who? Don’t you want to further the game?”
“Well… yeah, but…” Lucy said. She clenched her fists in her lap. “I don’t want to die!” Harley patted her on the back.
“I understand,” she said in a low voice. “I will help you.” The nightcomer looked up at her.
“Really? You mean it?” she asked.
“Yes,” Harley said. “I can help you out.”
“Thank you so much,” the nightcomer said. Harley smiled to herself. She could use this to her advantage. It felt good to have the power.
Everything was just about ready. But problems can still arise. Kitano already knew two of them rearing their ugly heads.
First, the sacrifice had gone AWOL. This was brought to his attention through Hecate herself.
“Hello?” he asked when he answered the phone.
“Hey, it’s me,” a woman said on the other line. “We have a little problem.” The therapist raised his eyebrow.
“Ms. Mayfair?” he asked. “What’s the matter?”
“My sister has gone missing,” Hecate said. “And I think I know why.”
“Okay, what do you want me to do about it?” Kitano asked.
“I’m just letting you know,” she said.
“Okay then,” he said. “Find her and get back on track. You have five days.” Kitano hung up. He anticipated something like this coming. Such a pain.
Then there was the issue of Izaya. At least Kitano had a plan to deal with him.
Despite her plans to survive, the call of the gate rings in her ears. Lucy winced as she rubbed on her left ear. She shut her eyes.
You will not take me! I refuse to die for this game! I want to live in the new world.
Suddenly, her phone buzzed. Against her better judgement, Lucy picked up her phone. She received one text. When she opened it, Lucy was reminded how dire her situation was.
“You will not escape this. Surrender to your fate.”
Screaming filled the hotel room as her phone hit the wall.
Mikage stared at her phone. She had to play that voice message about five times. The martial artist frowned.
“What did you get yourself into now, you idiot?” she asked. Mikage whipped her head around when she heard disembodied whispering.
“Who’s there?!” the martial artist snapped. Once again, she got no answer. She clenched her fists and gritted her teeth. But then, her phone buzzed again. Mikage looked at the screen to see that she had a new text. She didn’t recognize the number. At first, she was tempted to delete the message altogether. But with one press of her thumb and Mikage was dragged into the Wasteland just like everyone else.
“They’re going to kill me. I am already dead.”