Chapter 11: Redemption Through Death
Hidden behind the door of an empty classroom, Yukiteru checked his Future Diary for updates.
[E:/Assassin's Diary/Personnel files/Takao Hiyama]
Member of the Assassin Order, charged with liquidating Templars under the guise of a serial killer. Body armor protects him even from assault weaponry and high-grade explosives.
Reading that update, Yukiteru had a nasty feeling he'd bitten off more than he could chew. If the entry in his Assassin's Diary was to be believed, none of the weapons he had right now would do much good. For obvious reasons, smoke bombs wouldn't be very useful beyond stalling his adversary. Also, Yukiteru questioned the wisdom of attempting to kill the traitor with the hidden blade, given the level of protection he had with that armor of his.
And besides, that machete of his could be a problem.
The only option currently available to the young would-be Assassin was to dispatch Hiyama at range. Unfortunately, he wasn't very well-armed in that regard either; his sisters had refused to upgrade his hidden blade with a hidden gun, and throwing knives were right out of the question as well. All he had right now were his poison darts - which, in this case, would require improbable aiming skills on his part to be of any use. Regardless, thought Yukiteru, he'd find some way to get the job done.
Because if I don't, I'm dead.
No sooner had he thought that than his Assassin instincts impelled him to leap away from the door, just as a blade stabbed through the very spot where his head had been.
And when his enemy kicked the door open, Yukiteru fired off a burst of poison darts at him, before tossing a smoke bomb to cover his escape as he leapt out the window.
Having been made a prisoner in his own body, Takao Hiyama was literally helpless to do anything as he watched his erstwhile student leap out of the window.
He was certain that that spirit - that thing - that had tormented him last night was the one pulling his strings right now, but there wasn't very much he could do about it. And ever since then, he'd been forced to watch himself commit all kinds of horrific deeds, all of them involving the murder of innocent people who had nothing to do with the war between the Assassins and the Templars.
In a twisted sense, he was actually glad that his current target was someone who could actually fight back, in addition to being a fellow member of their Order. The dying screams of his last victim - a terrified young woman who he'd butchered in the dead of night - had been etched into his memory, as were his futile attempts to stop himself from doing so. Her pleas for mercy would play ceaselessly in his mind for the remainder of his life, however long that happened to be.
Takao Hiyama had the feeling that at this point, only death could free him from the prison his body had become. But then, considering his current circumstances, death would actually be a blessing; whoever would end up killing him would really be doing him a favor.
Better redemption through death, than to live on forever as someone's slave.
Stepping out of the car, a young man clad in the uniform of a rookie policeman stared up at the main building of Sakurami High. Two identical, dark-haired women flanking him on either side, each waiting silently and patiently for their orders.
"Right, then. Ami, Tsuki, wait for me here. Don't let anyone else get in, this could get messy."
He didn't bother to wait for a reply before going on ahead; he didn't need to. Rookie cop though he was, his current rank had nothing to do with the skills he possessed and everything to do with his relatively recent entry into the police force. And in any case, he mused to himself, there was a very good chance he'd receive some sort of promotion after today.
Not that he needed it, either.
To begin with, it was on someone else's behest that he was even in the police force at all.
Itachi Yukishiro, 24 years old. One of the Assassin Order's most capable operatives, he was a prodigy who excelled at all sorts of things. From combat to reconnaissance to undercover work, there was practically nothing he couldn't handle. All the while, he'd even managed to come up with all sorts of weapons and gadgets for his comrades, most of which had gone on to become widely used by the Order.
It was his many talents that led him to Lorenzo Auditore, who wasted little time taking the rising star under his wing. Where Itachi shared some of his deadlier innovations with his mentor, Lorenzo had reciprocated not only by way of material and monetary rewards, but also by personally training him and allowing him to handle some of the Order's most dangerous and sensitive missions.
Indeed, thought Itachi as he briefly looked back at his two girls, he owed his master a very large debt of gratitude. And when Lorenzo had asked him to infiltrate the Sakurami Police Department, barely a month after the tragedy at Sakurami Stadium, he accepted without thinking.
Itachi's mission, as given to him by his master, was to work his way up the ranks of the police force, dispatching any Templars or otherwise crooked cops he might come across along the way. As both of them knew that the tragedy had been perpetrated by none other than Mayor John Bacchus himself, they also knew that a direct confrontation would be little less than suicidal on their part. If they were to put a bullet in him, they would have to erode his influence among the people.
And so it came to pass that when a call came in, reporting a sighting of the serial killer at Sakurami High, Itachi readily and insistently volunteered himself for the task. He had his own motives as well; he'd become fast friends with some of his fellow policemen, and while he wasn't overlooking their competence and bravery, there was little chance of them prevailing against an experienced Assassin like Takao Hiyama. This was something only he could do; that being the case, it fell to him to see it through.
Besides, I can't really stomach traitors running around scot-free.
"Are you alright?"
The voice, new and unfamiliar, was the first thing that greeted Yukiteru as he came to. He'd been knocked unconscious from his rough landing earlier, not that staying there and letting his erstwhile teacher stab him to death was a better option. If nothing else, the rose bush conveniently located under the abandoned classroom helped to minimize any injuries he may have sustained.
That said, it wasn't as if he didn't hurt all over. For one thing, his less than graceful landing cause him to land hard on his backside. And this guy's outfit-
At the very least, thought Yukiteru, he wasn't a Templar. The mere fact that he wasn't dead yet was proof of that.
Hell, if his hunch about the Mayor was correct, it was highly probable that the Templars knew of his heritage as well as his debut in the family business, as it were. In any case, anyone seeking to kill him would definitely have made at least a passing attempt at concealment. And unless a ninja outfit - complete with a flowing yellow scarf - passed for subtlety these days, this guy didn't fit that description in the slightest.
But apart from the newcomer's outfit being ridiculous enough to give him a headache, that still left one important question-
"Don't worry, I'm a friend," said the newcomer, raising his hands defensively as though he'd just read Yukiteru's thoughts. "I don't make a habit out of hurting children, and besides, the one I've been sent to kill happens to be the guy who's after you."
He visibly hesitated, before adding: "Shouichi Ogami, at your service. And you are...?"
[E:/Assassin's Diary/Personnel files/Shouichi Ogami]
Amnesiac, though possessing exceptional combat skills on par with either a Master Assassin or Templar. Currently serves as the enforcer of the Omekata cult as well as its leader's personal bodyguard. No further data available.
Yukiteru relaxed a little after reading the new entry in his Assassin's Diary.
On one hand, he still knew very little about this guy. Even his lack of affiliation with Abstergo or the Templar Order wasn't enough assurance, as he'd learned through Ezio's memories - through his battles against the Cult of Hermes, not to mention Savonarola and his cohorts - that the world wasn't split into good people and Templars. Shouichi Ogami might not have been a Templar, but there remained a very real possibility that he was an enemy nevertheless.
"...Yukiteru Amano," he finally replied.
It was true; Yukiteru knew that even his Future Diary was far from foolproof. But then, it was also true that they did have a common enemy at the moment, which meant that Shouichi Ogami could be trusted at least as far as Hiyama was concerned.
Having hastily taken her medicines before leaving home, Yuno Gasai rushed to Sakurami High School as though her life depended on it.
Yukki... I'm coming...
It was cold dread and grim determination that kept Yuno's illness at bay, and by the time the school buildings came into view, she barely even felt it at all. Ill though she may have felt all day, it was that last, most ominous entry that had appeared on her Future Diary that spurred Yuno to action. Whatever happened to her, whatever the price she might pay for overtaxing herself at a time like this, there was absolutely no way in hell she would allow that particular prediction to come true. That time, during the incident, it had been Yukiteru who had protected her, in the process losing his uncle and his innocence. And now, thought Yuno, it was her turn to protect him, and damned if she was going to be held back by her own body...
"I'm sorry, little girl, but the school is off-limits at this time."
...Much less by these two women.
"You're not from around here, are you?" Yuno said as her eyes darted between the two, ignoring their previous statement and making no effort to disguise her suspicion and hostility. "I've never seen either of you around here, come to think of it."
"There's someone inside who needs me right this minute, so I'd appreciate it if you two were to get out of my way."
Unfortunately, yet unsurprisingly, the twins held their ground. She'd already identified them as potential threats; indeed, Yuno found something in them that reminded her of Yukiteru's sisters, whose kind and gentle countenance did little to hint at just what they were capable of. Nevertheless, she refused to let that possibility intimidate her as she glared at them both, ready to attack in a heartbeat.
"There's a serial killer loose in there at the moment, and we've come to arrest him," said the one on the right. "I'm sorry, but we really can't allow you to pass. It's for your own good, you know-"
You must not hesitate.
Yuno's eyes widened at the words. While the voice was one she'd never heard before, it was also one that she found strangely familiar nonetheless. It was as if whoever it was held some sort of connection to her, but as to what that connection was, she had no idea.
He must live.
What Yuno did know, however, was that the voice was making perfect sense to her. Yukiteru was hers; she'd already told him as much, after all, and it really wouldn't do for her to allow him to be murdered by some lunatic. Anyone seeking to prevent her from being by his side at this moment would do so at their own peril.
And they must die.
"Well?" prompted the other twin with just a touch of irritation, recalling Yuno to her surroundings. "If I were you, I'd go home right now, young lady. This is no place for children like you-!"
That did it.
Rather than say anything more, Yuno let out an inarticulate scream of rage, right before charging at the dark-haired twins with butcher knife in hand.
Yes... Do what you must...
Atop one of the school buildings in the distance, the robed figure watched the rose-haired girl with grim satisfaction.
Never again will we be denied.