Chapter 3: The Wings of the Hawk
The scene was set as Ushio and Asano explained who they were and a knock came from the door right after they gave Masaru their mission brief, and the only thing that could make it more suspenseful and perhaps more cliché, was a sudden loss of power and their cell phones' reception getting taking away. None of the latter happened, but as another knock came from the door, it was apparent that it didn’t have to as they all stared at the white wood expecting it to open. While Masaru stared, he had missed a sight as something struck Ushio’s palm and brought as spear to form, while something struck Asano’s palm casted down a boomerang that she held with preparation to throw, as she rose from where she sat. Another knock came from the door, but seem to stop abruptly as they heard keys jingling through the silence, and faintly entering the keyhole. There was a click, and then a creek as the door slid open and Ushio and Asano stepped forward to confront the person who stood there. It was a girl who had to be around their age, with long black hair falling down to her shoulders. A smile was slowly fading away as she spotted them, and a bag fell from her gloved hands and crumpled on the floor. In that instance they saw a blur of cerulean and black as the girl shot across the room, and Ushio only had a second to swing his spear around before her fist came down onto his face. Asano lifted her boomerang and a bladed edge glinted as it reflected in the ceiling fan's light, and failed to come down as the girl delivered a kick to her chest.
Masaru was the only one who remained unmoving as he watched the trio battle and watch the girl thwart every attempt the Prospect agents made to put their weapons to use, and as he watched it, he wondered why. He wondered why they were so ready to fight, so ready to kill without question, and wondered as their weapons moved through the air, why there had been some remnant of doubt for their words after his fight with Hashiba. More than that though, he wondered about the girl as gauze fell from the bag she dropped at the door, wondering why the young woman who fought gracefully without compromising the cuteness her cerulean coat complemented, was fighting at all. It was a suspicious scene he could imagine, to walk into the place and see someone you know alone with two people who wielded weapons, but there wasn’t a moment of fear in her eyes or even petrifaction, just unhampered certainty that she had to change the situation around. As the battle heated she began slowing down, no longer capable of stopping their attacks but moving fast enough to dodge them, and Masaru watched her move and watched a clock tick down. In mere moments, it’d be over and he was still wondering; in mere moments, the girl would be slain by the agents and he was sure he’d still be wondering then. The thought was in his mind though, and fear was in there as well, that pushed him to stand between their battles with his hands held out.
“Stop!” He exclaimed and gulped hard as the blades stopped, the spear only inches away from piercing his eye and boomerang a moment away from cutting off his head.
“Masaru get out of the way!” Asano and the girl shrieked and again Masaru gulped hard as he chanced shaking his head.
“Rin-chan,” He said. “I can’t let you hurt these guys, they’re long time friends of mine.” He shuttered, and the girl pulled back.
“How long have you known each other?” She asked, obviously embarrassed by her sudden rashness.
“I don’t know.” Masaru pondered for a second. “Ushio, how long have I been out on that couch?” He asked.
“An hour thirty.” Ushio answered and Masaru’s eyes turned back to Rin.
“An hour and thirty minutes,” He answered her and felt a sharp sting as her hand struck his face.
“Masaru-san!” Asano shrieked.
“Stop… Rin is my girlfriend.” He said and the agents traded a look before putting their weapons down.
The room went quiet for a bit, as things were put back where they belong, and the door was closed. The TV was returned back to its stand, and Masaru was left lamenting as he stared at the spot on the floor where spilled tea amassed to make a brown pond. He stared hard till Rin returned with a cloth and dabbed up the tea, but even when it lost it thickness, he stared at where the stain would dry and could hear his wallet weeping. Taking a moment to pull himself away from the stain, he sat back up and looked at the trio. On one wall, the closest to the window, Ushio and Asano stood with their heads hung and on the other, the one closest to the door Rin stood with her gaze averted, still embarrassed by her actions.
“Can you two please explain to Rin-chan who you are?” He looked to them and watched Ushio’s ID get flicked across the room.
“We’re members of Prospect,” Ushio spoke as Rin picked it up. “We’re here to protect your boyfriend.” He said and Rin repeated a scene as she checked the ID for tell tale signs.
“Now Rin-chan, can you explain why you saw the need to attack those two?” Masaru’s gaze locked onto her.
“I can imagine we know.” Asano said as she got off the wall. “Tonight Ushio was supposed to meet someone. That person had spent the last couple of months collecting information and was going to give it to us to help with our job.” She explained. “It’s likely that it didn’t take two months for your life to be threatened, and Rin-san had been protecting you all the while.”
“She’s right. I just thought it was some people out for revenge since you took down one of their friends, but I have been watching your back while you went after bigger delinquents.” Rin shook her head and Masaru sighed.
“You could have told me.” He said.
“No I couldn’t have. You would have just tried to fight them all, probably by yourself!” She barked and Masaru shook his head. There was no denying that. “I didn’t think that they had something to do with an organization though.” Ushio’s ID went flying back toward him as Rin finished her inspection.
“I suppose you all can sit down then.” Masaru huffed and they left where they stood, the agents going to the dining table at the back of the room while Rin joined Masaru on the couch.
“The person after you is a woman called Tae Yui.” Ushio explained. “We don’t know why she’s after you but we do know that she has a number of people helping her, if Rin-san has been fighting them it’s likely they aren’t all negatives.” He said.
“Catching wind of Tae Yui’s movements, Prospect sent some investigators to Asabi and they discovered that you are her target, naturally they sent us here because we have prior experience with Tae Yui.” Asano explained.
“I’ll ignore things like ‘it’s likely that they aren’t negatives’ but I don’t see why you don’t just get the police to arrest her.” Rin spoke.
“I’m sorry. To put it simply, negatives are people with special powers who are invulnerable to conventional weapons. The only thing the police would possibly manage to do is knock one out, since it seems blunt object retain their effectiveness but Yui…” Ushio sighed.
“Yui’s a different case. Masaru-san, when we said that Prospect wasn’t the only thing to emerge from that history, we were referring to people like Tae Yui. Yui is in a negative of particularly high danger, and it doesn’t help that she is a member of a group with a similar mind. They view the negative effect as a test. Those unaffected pass the first test and get an invitation to their group.” Asano explained.
“The negative effect? Is that what caused that researcher to go mad?” Masaru raised his hand.
“Yes. The negative effect is different for each person but one thing remains the same, it takes something away.” Asano answered.
“So this Tae Yui person lost nothing?” Rin cued her to go on.
“And if in fact she did, it wasn’t something that hampered her.” Asano took the cue. “To go on, Yui is two kinds of dangerous. The first comes from the group she joined and the second comes from her powers.” She looked to Ushio as he pulled a cell phone out of his jacket's pocket.
“It has been deemed Cosmic Contract, and works in a particularly dubious way. It first works by presenting a clause, let’s say in this case, that you cannot arrest her; it then makes the action of any person the means of signing it. In other words, let’s say that Yui is confronted by the police of your town; upon resisting them they draw their gun and tell her to come along. If the clause is that they can’t arrest her and the signing is them drawing their weapon, then by drawing their weapons it become impossible for them to arrest her.” Ushio explained.
“If it’s that simple then why doesn’t she have me kill myself, or have Rin-chan kill me?”
“Because the Cosmic Contract cannot make someone harm themselves or another, it is also can’t make them do anything that they couldn’t possibly do like fly or breath underwater. It’s not like she’d need to though, when she could just make the clause that they are immobilized.”
“This Yui woman…” Rin sighed. “I can’t believe someone that dangerous exists.” She shuttered and Ushio hung his head.
“There are even people more dangerous than that.” He said and made her shutter.
“It doesn’t help that without our ally we don’t know what to expect, or even where to start looking to find her.” Asano said.
“It’s been pretty grim up to this point.” Masaru stood and smiled. “But I can at least help you with that. I’m guessing you two are about to leave now so meet me tomorrow afternoon, there’s someone I know who can help you out.” He said as he slid his hands into his pocket.
Ushio and Asano traded a looked then turned their attention to Masaru as if asking their question to him, before looking at each other again and rising from their seats. Their confusion was still apparent on their faces, but they accepted Masaru’s suggestion as they headed toward the door. Rin followed behind in preparation to lock it, and as they stepped into the hallways, she stepped out with them and closed the door to a small crack.
“I hope you two succeed in your mission.” She said. “Because I think Yui may be more dangerous than either of you really know.” She hung her head as she pushed and slid back into the room, leaving them with more confusion than even Masaru had managed…