In Order to Survive
“? Kenshi? What’s wrong?” While the others were poking fun at Atsumu, Rina had noticed Kenshi’s silent state and turned her head towards her left. “You don’t look well right now. Is something troubling you?”
The others stopped and gave their undivided attention to hear what Kenshi had to say.
Kenshi was staring down at the counter. His shoulders were slumped and he let out an exaggerated breath. His face began to fill will pinkish-red tints of color, giving him a mad blush. “I’m not exactly sure how to say this, but…” Then, he gulped. “I think… I’ve fallen in love with Sayuri.”
Hiro’s eyes widened with great shock. He could not believe his ears. “WHAT?!”
Unlike Hiro, however, everyone else inside Le Renard Noir was calm about the situation. They stared blankly and seriously at the firefighter.
“Kenshi,” Riki began with a stern expression, “Are you really sure you have any romantic feelings towards her? You might just be mistaking how you feel with a large admiration and respect for her appearance tonight.”
Rina sighed. “No, I’m positive he’s actually developed feelings for Sayuri. He was lost in thought just now, Riki. It was different than before, so I don’t think Kenshi’s gotten the wrong idea.”
Kenshi looked at Riki and gave a light nod with his head. Then, he looked down and the floor. “Yeah. The way she looked tonight was so beautiful, I was captivated by her entire being. Her wings were also glowing with a bright white light and they were elegant. It was like she sent feathers down to my when she was in the air. Her movements and agility were also astounding, I couldn’t believe she was really there. She looked so hot—“
Riki had closed his eyes and put his right hand out, right in front of Kenshi’s face. “Stop! That’s enough out of you for now.” He seemed distraught by Kenshi’s blabbering and felt as though his entire face was about to twitch any second now. A sigh came out from his mouth and he placed his hand on the top of his forehead. “I know you really like her, but you have got to let things go. All this talk about Sayuri is making me irritated, so don’t add on to how sexy you think she is.” He opened his eyes, displaying his frustration and annoyance. “It just sounds so wrong coming from you, Kenshi.”
“It was pretty disgusting to hear about near the end,” Takuto commented indifferently. “I thought I was going to puke.”
Hiro nodded with a sickening expression. His frown and eyes made him appear as if he was a puppy on the verge of tears and illness. “I have to agree with Takkun and Riki there, Kenny. My stomach doesn’t feel good when you say it like that.”
Kenshi’s eyes widened in surprise. He didn’t think everyone would act this way. “W-What? Am I really that repulsive when I put how I feel in words? I just thought it’d be fine to let you guys know how I was thinking, that’s all!”
“But tell me, Kenshi,” Atsumu urged, “Do you really feel that way about Sayuri? I mean, if your emotions and words are genuine, I believe it’s okay for you to like her for the time being. Although, I’m not sure how long that will be. If she doesn’t leave your mind, then I think you can continue loving her for the rest of your life, and perhaps even beyond. It’s up to you to decide how you really feel about her.”
Kenshi smiled warmly at Atsumu’s words. “Boss…”
Rina frowned with her arms folded across her chest. “But to think you’ve fallen for Sayuri, rather than a normal girl. It’s really worrying, Kenshi.”
“Huh?” Kenshi asked. “What do you mean, Rina?”
Rina turned her back towards the counter and took a seat next to Kenshi. She glanced at him and told her fellow thief and friend something for everyone else, along with him to hear, still having her arms against her perfectly rounded bust. “Kenshi, not only have you grown feelings for a magician, but you’ve also begun to harbor them for a magician of fate.”
“A magician of fate?” he inquired further.
“Sayuri is one of the magicians with a power that can draw others to her, hence she is one of the magicians of fate,” Rina elaborated. “In Neon, magicians are classified under three categories: intelligence, power, and fate. Those under the name of fate are the magicians who many are pulled towards. Sayuri’s beauty and wings have created a romantic effect on you, which in turn, has caused you to fall in love with her. Though it may sound like an illusion, it is not. Your feelings for her are indeed the real thing, so it’s no doubt you kept thinking about her after we came back. Anyone who is attracted to a magician like similar to Sayuri’s powers in a sexual direction is going to fall for them no matter what. It is inevitable, and there is a high chance you will never be able to fall in love with someone else even if you wanted to as a means of forgetting a magician of fate.”
“So, that means Kenny’s forever stuck with liking Sayuri that way?” Hiro asked. He was astonished once again since he heard Rina’s explanation. “Then, he’ll never get a girlfriend!” he exclaimed, realizing with zeal of Kenshi’s unfortunate circumstances. “Alright! Seeing as Kenny won’t be able to stand a chance against any guy who has Sayuri’s heart, he’ll be doomed from love forever. Yay~!”
Kenshi felt as though he was going to burst from the inside out. “Hiro, that’s pretty cruel of you to say right now! I’m in a giant buzz, you know!” He frowned uneasily, and asked, “Can’t I at least get some support from you guys on this? Boss is the only one who’s given his okay so far, and I’m really in a pinch when it comes to Sayuri.”
“Well, we’re only telling you our emotions and opinions,” Hiro stated. “Plus, even if you wanted to go out with her, everyone will instantly acknowledge the fact that you two would be the unfit pairing of all of us. I can’t say I’m fine with that thought myself. It just makes me sick to think of you and Sayuri together.”
Rina narrowed her eyes. “Sorry, Kenshi, but I can’t give you my approval for this, either. Sayuri is a magician, after all. You don’t seem to be suitable for someone out of your league. In fact, I have to be honest and tell you my outlook on your hopeless case. I think an ordinarily woman would be the best choice for you to date. Of course, it’s all up to you. However, I could never picture you and my best friend ending up together. I know it’s a bit harsh of me to say this, but considering what it’s like to be around you, maybe it’s better if you married a human girl instead.”
“See?” Hiro laughed. “Even Rina knows what’s right and wrong. You’re a good person and all, Kenny, but you’re more like the guy next door. You’re just an average person in the universe, and you can’t change that about yourself. It’s all about luck and having a set life. You should know that by now since you don’t really have anything that makes you an elite like Rikkun and Takkun, who tend to make more money with their careers.”
At that second, Kenshi could sense a raincloud over his head, letting all the bad things pour down as small droplets of rain. “…” He knew Hiro’s words were true, but he didn’t want to admit it. A conflicted expression overtook his face. Inside, it felt like he was dying, rotten to the core of his body—his heart and soul.
Riki breathed with a strained smile, letting himself relax while he looked at Kenshi. “In love with the enemy, huh? That’s something I never would have imagined in our group, but I guess it’s just like Kenshi to be the tragic one of all. Poor guy. It must be pretty rough to be in his shoes. He seems even more exhausted than before.”
Takuto was still as stoic as he usually was at times like these. “It can’t be helped in his case. He was born to be less than a star-crossed protagonist and we can’t do anything to adjust his life to how he wants. He’s going to have to deal with it, rather than sulk under a cloudy, gray sky.” Then, his playful grin came onto the scene. “But that’s what he gets for letting his guard down while we’re executing our missions. I bet he’s been up all night playing his horror RPG games again.”
Rina looked up and glanced at Takuto with a quizzical expression. “Like ‘The Beast’s House’?”
“I was thinking more of ‘The Twisted Man’ or ‘Death Demon’, but that works, too,” Takuto mentioned. “But maybe he’s more into ‘Mutilation Party’ even though it’s for one of those game consoles, instead of his PC.”
Rina frowned with a fearful (in a calm way, somewhat) look on her face. “That’s the one where a bunch of kids get transported into another dimension, right? I don’t like the amount of blood and carcasses in the game. They freak me out.”
“Don’t worry,” Takuto reassured his ex-girlfriend. “If Kenshi has you go over to his house to watch him play that game, call me and I’ll punch him right in the face for giving you a scare. I can land a powerful hit in no time.” Another grin formed on his face due to his enjoyment. “I should try beating him at his own hobby sometime. It’s been a while since I was over at his house, so it’ll be a good warm-up for me.”
Rina held her right hand near her face, and it was already curled into a fist-like structure as she giggled. “Think I should give you a massage when you decide to go there? I could also prepare some food for you two to eat while you’re in his room.”
“Mm…” Takuto was really into that notion. “Yeah, I’ll need one to shake off all the stress from work, so you can go ahead. In fact, I don’t mind if you gave me one now.” His nonchalant expression returned with a frown. “I’ve been tired lately, but I know I’m not the only one who’s been getting worn out. So, I won’t force you to do something like that for me if you don’t want to. Even if I’m a deadbeat, I can still try to make it on my own. I’m sure it must hurt to be held down by your own friend’s power, huh? Are you still unable to use most of your powers, Rina?”
Rina smiled at Takuto weakly. “If it didn’t, I wouldn’t be using only my physical strength. I was only able to lift Riki up and throw him into the air to retrieve the orb for Rie and Ken’s sake. Even if I wanted to use my other abilities right now, it would take a lot of damage from my body and…” She trailed off, gazing at the programmer sadly while still managing to smile. “Other than that, I can’t use my magic to do much.”
Takuto lowered his eyes. A guilty sensation flowed through his chest. “Why didn’t you use the orb for yourself? You could have gained you powers back if you did.”
Rina shook her head while looking down at her lap. “I couldn’t think of doing something for myself because my family needed it. They have to secure the shrine with it so they can survive there. I have to do what I can to help them build a location to live peacefully in this world, Takuto. They’re not as use to the area in Tokyo since they’ve just arrived here. Ikebukuro’s also a dangerous place, and it’s far worse than where we are. Since their powers are limited right now, they can’t use most of their abilities to harm the people in the city. Ken and Rie are trying to hold up on their own with raw strength, but it won’t always last long for them, and Ikebukuro’s amount of hazards isn’t allowing any of the orbs to appear, so they’re being sent in Ginza. Takuji’s also living in Roppongi at the moment but he’s been getting busy with the work they give him at an editorial department. He doesn’t have as much free time as any of us do and he’s also got a girlfriend who’s also a magician from Neon living with him.”
Hiro tilted his head to his left. “Hey, does that also mean Sayuri’s involved with helping out your comrades from Neon, Rina? She was also after the orbs and she got away with the other two. Is she using them for something right now?”
Rina glanced at Hiro and smiled. “She’s probably in Roppongi by now giving them to Takuji and helping his girlfriend out. She’s been getting weaker since they got here and her health has always been in pretty bad shape since she was born. She’s also a member of the royal family.”
“Wait,” Riki said with a stern expression. “I believe Mitsuki told me this before, but isn’t the surname of the royal family in your world Suzushiro?”
“Yes, that’s correct,” Rina confirmed. “The person Takuji is seeing is the middle child of the Suzushiro family and her name is Asuka. She’s a teacher who helps out at some of the local schools in Roppongi and is known to be an elegant beauty. Her personality is sort of like a Yamato Nadeshiko, so you can think of her as one in a magical form.”
“Elegant, young in appearance, and a princess all in one, huh,” Atsumu mused. He was becoming interested in the girl Rina had described while having his right hand gently placed on the side of his face. “She seems to be someone from a fairytale, don’t you think? Just my type of girl. A teacher, even. How marvelous. She must truly be a sight to see.”
Kenshi had a perplexed expression as he looked at Atsumu. “Boss, you’re still going on about the kind of girls you want to date? Are you already too old for that?”
“And switching between each and every one of them, too,” Hiro narrowed his eyes in annoyance. He showed his irritated state shortly after. “Just how many are there whom you’re into? You’re a widow, so you don’t need to make any comments about liking other girls.”
Riki smirked. “Looks like Hiro’s really pissed off tonight. I guess even our youngest member has to feel sexually frustrated about women sometimes.”
“How gross can you be, you perverted old geezer?” Takuto questioned with aggravation.
Atsumu waved both his hands in front of himself like they were a sword and shield. “Stop attacking me, guys!” he laughed fretfully and could feel himself becoming sweatier with each second that passed by. “I was only kidding about it!”
Rina sighed. “Why don’t we just concentrate on our missions more? We still have several orbs to collect and send out, so try thinking more about our situation right now. There isn’t enough magic to sustain the magicians residing in different cities here, you know.”
Riki nodded. “Rina’s right. It’s also putting a lot of effort on her part to participate in them, which implies that we need to find the rest before something happens. We don’t want the worse-case scenario, so let’s call it a day and take a good rest until tomorrow.”
“Then, I’ll walk you home tonight,” Takuto proclaimed. “Unless…” He had a devilish grin on his face. “…you want me to carry you there in my arms?”
Takuto’s preposition made Rina blushed furiously. “W-What are you saying at a time like this, Takuto?! I can walk home by myself or teleport there without any problems!”
“You don’t have to refuse, you know,” he continued with the same expression. “We used to date, so it shouldn’t be such a big deal to get carried home at night.”
Rina’s anger was flaring up. “No thanks! I don’t need my ex-lover to do anything like that for me, so you can just leave it and go home by yourself.”
“Ooh!” Hiro perked up. “Things are getting steamy in here!”
Riki started fanning himself with his hand. “Tell me about it. I can feel chili peppers coming from those two. Ugh… It’s getting to hot in here.”
Indeed. It was becoming uncomfortable to bear for the leader of the Black Foxes. Riki felt like his body was on fire, and Kenshi couldn’t agree more.
“Whew!” Kenshi exhaled. “Maybe I should get the fire department to make a special case for Rina and Takuto. I can see too many sparks flying between them. It’s getting too much to bear in here.”
Atsumu took out a fan and waved it towards the lit-on pair. “I wonder if things will be okay.” He was wearing his usual smile on his face and was getting into the situation. “I haven’t seen this happen between them before, so maybe I should try grilling some food near Takkun and Rina.”
“Don’t,” Riki panted. “The food you make will be burnt to crisps. Ah, geez! Will you knock it off, Takuto? You started the fire, so put it out.”
Takuto’s indifference returned when he heard Riki’s complaints. “Fine.” His shoulders dropped and he looked at Rina. “Suit yourself. Whether or not you decide to go home is fine with me.”
Rina frowned irately and disappeared in an instant. She had landed inside her apartment and the flames from before died down. It felt cool again inside Le Renard Noir and everything returned back to normal.
“Wow, Takkun,” Hiro said. “You really upset Rina. She was totally blazing just now!”
Riki started to catch his breath with some remaining pants. “Guess… something really happened while I was asleep a few days ago. Rina’s never this angry and we all know it.”
Kenshi sighed. “Yeah, I figured. Things weren’t looking too good when she got so flustered. Everyone could tell something was going on.” He glanced at Takuto and asked, “Takuto, did you do something to her a while back? Rina was pretty stoked there. It didn’t seem like anything you two would normally say to each other.”
Takuto frowned and averted his gaze towards the floor.
Atsumu put up with it and smiled lightly. “Takkun, be honest. If there’s something going on between you and Rina, you should at least say what’s on your mind. You know we’re all here for you, don’t you? We’re all ears for anything you want to relay to us.”
“That’s right,” Kenshi agreed. “We’re partners in crime, Takuto! A member of the Black Foxes is still part of the same team as the other members. We all think of you as a nonpareil friend and there’s no one who could ever beat you at your job. Each and every one of us has something the others can’t completely fulfill when we’re together or apart. Isn’t that what makes us a band of thieves at night, while having our own careers to do during the day?”
Riki grinned. “I hate to admit it, but Kenshi does deserve some credit for saying something commendable as that. It makes me want to knock him out myself.”
Kenshi’s shock got to him once more. “What? You’d hit me right here and now, Riki? I can’t believe you would consider doing something like that when we’re all together.”
“I’m playing around, you idiot,” Riki replied with his usual sedate expression implanted on his face. He placed his left hand on his waist and hip. “But are trying to suggest that I should put a punch on the side of your face when we’re alone together? Man, you can be pretty sickening sometimes, Kenshi.”
Hiro laughed. “Haha! Picking on Kenny is actually fun when you think about it. It makes all the serious stuff go away.”
“So, are we lumping him in with Beady over there?” Takuto asked. “I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but Kenshi’s on a whole different level than an old barf who’s got no sense of commitment to anything or anyone.”
Atsumu’s eyes popped opened a bit further. “Hey! I’ve always been committed to Shinobu and the bar this whole time. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now, would I?”
“Not like you’ve shown your worth,” Takuto bluntly countered. “Riki’s got better commitment than you. Just look how happy he is in love and work.”
Riki smiled contently with closed eyes. “What can I say? I try to make everything a success, so I guess it really does work out in the end for me.”
“Not like I was complimenting you or anything,” Takuto retorted dully. “I was just stating the facts.”
Riki glowered. “Tch. Should’ve known you were the one to ruin things whenever you wanted to break the ice, Takuto. But, anyway. It’s about time you tell us what happened between you and Rina. Why is she like this now? She’s usually so jovial and calm around everyone.”
Takuto looked at Riki with an apathetic expression on his face. “Riki, do I really have to? I don’t really have the energy to talk about it.”
“Yes, you do,” Riki answered in a composed manner. “And it’s not that you don’t have the will to speak about it; it’s because of your personality, Takuto. You refuse to talk about Rina much, and it kills the living hell out of us. Don’t you think it’d be a good thing to rely on us every time something bothers you to the point where it gnaws at your shoulder or the back of your mind?”
Takuto looked down at the floor and stared at it. “It’s not as easy as you think it is. There’s still too much to apologize for and I haven’t done anything to convey that feeling yet.”
Hiro’s eyes lowered with sorrow when he saw how much Takuto was suffering. It was as though a knife went straight through his heart. “Takkun…”
When I think about it, he did have a hard time deciding on whether or not he had to hurt others, especially Rina, Hiro thought. But it’s even more painful just to see his heart aching again. It really wounds a person who knows how he feels about everything.
Kenshi lowered his head. “I bet it really makes you feel guilty, doesn’t it? But there’s still something we need to know, Takuto.”
Atsumu smiled helplessly at the group of men. “But I can think of a certain day in particular.” His expression became serious as he looked at Takuto. “Takkun. It was right after you went after Rina, wasn’t it? I could sense you two had something connecting your bond with each other due to the amount of time you were gone. I’m positive you must have done something that affected Rina in a few ways. While you all weren’t here, she kept getting lost in thought for several minutes. Luckily, she didn’t get off track before a customer showed up, so it was only before we opened the bar. It was just as if something in her system was full of bugs.”
Riki grimaced at that last sentence. “Boss, she’s not a robot or computer. She’s a living girl who has extraordinary qualities.”
“I know what I’m talking about,” Atsumu responded casually. “Still, Rina wasn’t like her usual self. I wanted to ask her about it, but I figured it was best not to. There seemed to be a lot on her mind, so I left her alone to think for herself. I know you might not appreciate the thought of any of us meddling into your affairs, Takkun, but it could help mend things between you two.”
Takuto nodded. “I know, but… Is it really alright to discuss about this? I’ll only cause trouble for you and everyone else.”
“Of course it is!” Atsumu exclaimed with a broad grin. “You can always count on us, so don’t hold back now! How long do you think we’ve known each other, anyway?” He relaxed a little. “If you say that we don’t understand you at all, then you’re wrong. We’re basically family, remember?”
Hiro’s face brightened when he heard the word ‘family’. “That’s right, Takkun! We’re like brothers, so you don’t have to take in all the pain for yourself to handle. We’re always with you no matter what!”
“Don’t forget the good and bad times now, Takuto!” Kenshi smiled energetically. “We’ve gone through plenty of difficult times together, haven’t we? There’s no way we could abandon anyone in our team!”
“You really think we’d leave you alone?” Riki inquired with a sneaky grin. “C’mon, man! We’re always together even when we’re apart. Don’t you feel the same way, Takuto?”
The other fours’ words made Takuto realize how close they truly were to one another. “You guys…” He smiled back at them and allowed himself to speak the truth, which was a rarity not many knew about. The next thing he knew, he was looking back to what occurred not too long ago with unsettling emotions. “To be more precise, after we walked to Rina’s apartment, I…”
Rina gazed into Takuto’s eyes when she found out (unintentionally) about Takuto’s feelings. “Takuto, do you still love me?”
Takuto was unable to meet his past lover’s gaze, so he averted his eyes from Rina’s. A whirlpool of emotions overflowed within his body, and his appearance was resolute. “Yeah, I’m still in love with you, RIna. I’ve never stopped loving you, even after we broke up.”
I still love you, but I could never say that before, Takuto thought. It always hurt to see your sad expression, but I had my reasons for breaking up with you.
Several feelings from the last few years were sending themselves into Rina’s heart as she looked at Takuto with sad and uncertain eyes. “Takuto, I—“
She was soon cut off with a soft, warm sensation on her lips, which came from Takuto’s, and her overwhelming emotions became one big surprise when she realized what was happening. Takuto had kissed her—something he had not done since the day they broke up—and that hit her pretty hard. Once he pulled away, she looking down at the floor of her apartment and ground with disorientation.
“About that kiss just now…” she brought up. She was very flustered at that instant and could not look at Takuto at all. “I… Um…”
Takuto only nodded and said, “Those are my true feelings. Whether or not you believe me depends on what you decide in the end. Anyway, I’ll take my leave, so you don’t have to get me anything. I’ll be at the bar to get Beardface to reheat my pork noodles.” He held up his right hand in a wave and turned around, making his way towards Le Renard Noir. “Well, bye. I’ll see you later.”
Hiro’s eyes widened in shock and surprise at Takuto’s confession of the night that took place a few days ago. “You kissed Rina?!” It was still novel to him and the others what they had heard from Takuto’s mouth.
“Takuto, you—“ Riki started to say before stopping himself. He let out a sigh and understood the situation. “I see. So that’s what pulled her trigger.”
Takuto gave a light nod with his head. “Yeah. It’s not like I meant to set her off, but it just happened. I couldn’t help myself from kissing her, so I guess it must have come off as a huge shock to her when I did it.”
“Of course it did,” Hiro frowned. “Anyone would be surprised when someone they used to be with just kisses them out of nowhere, and without any warning, too. I can certainly tell you that it only makes a person more self-conscious when someone decides to plant a sucker on their lips.” He exhaled in a sigh. “I think Rina’s been going through too much because of it. She’s probably trying as hard as she can to concentrate on everything, including our missions.”
Kenshi placed his left hand on the back of his head. “I feel bad for Rina, but there’s just too much to think about right now.” He had an unyielding look on his face while observing the others. “We have to help out the other magicians who are here on Earth. They’re not going to last long without the help of those orbs, and we’re slipping away from our duties as members of the Black Foxes. Didn’t we learn anything at all tonight? If we don’t get the orbs and send them over to Ikebukuro, they won’t be able to live there without any conflict between themselves and the natives. We have to do this, or we’ll no longer be able to carry out another mission for the rest of our lives.”
“Kenshi’s right,” Riki declared. “We have to do something for their sakes, as well as Rina’s. I’m sure we all know this by now, but she’s also getting weaker by the day. Let’s do what we can to aid Rina and all the magicians living in this world.”
Atsumu nodded firmly. “Right. We can’t let them die out. The magic orbs are able to provide a means for their survival and we owe Rina a debt we can’t repay. I’ll see if I can locate them so we can take on a mission tomorrow night.”
“I’ll ask Seiko if she’s seen or heard anything about them,” Hiro offered. “There has to be something about it before then.”
“I’ll check out if anyone from work is into them,” Takuto announced nonchalantly. “I’m sure a few of them might have some valuable information on this. If not, we’ll just meet here and hurry to a location.”
Kenshi glance down. “Maybe the orbs won’t appear in front of anyone. They could be in a hidden place like the cave we were at a few hours ago.”
“So they could be at the top of a mountain?” Hiro asked. “But we won’t be able to run all the way there on foot!”
“We could use Rina’s teleportation to get to faraway areas if necessary,” Riki suggested. “As long as she’s not carrying any one of us, we’ll be fine. For now, we should get to bed. It’s already pretty late, so we’re practically wearing out our bodies.”
Atsumu yawned. “Perfect timing. I was just feeling sleepy, so I’m turning myself in to my room.”
Kenshi nodded tiredly. “I’m getting exhausted myself.” He stood up from his seat and gave a wave with his hand. “Good night, guys. See you all tomorrow.”
It was a matter of minutes before the entire group went to sleep for the night. Taking a place to stay in the bar, they permitted themselves to lay down on a bed and finally had some shut-eye.
The next night, the Black Foxes were gathered inside of Le Renard Noir. An explanation was about to be told by none other than Rina herself.
“I can’t believe this,” Rina breathed in exasperation. “To think an enormous amount of orbs suddenly appeared throughout the whole area.” She took a sigh. “I guess the survival of the magicians depends on them now that it’s come to this. By the way, I believe I have enough energy to teleport us to the mountain. Just take a sprint towards the door and let’s hurry!”
Everyone nodded and followed Rina’s instruction, preparing to run over to the entrance. Atsumu, however, was staying behind as usual. Once the other five began to dash, they were immediately teleported to the mountain summit they were supposed to arrive at. The members of the Black Foxes were on what appeared to be a battlefield, and the trembling sensation they felt added to it. They steadily walked further, just several feet away from being near the edge of the cliff.
“Is it just me, or does it feel like we’re on the death grounds of countless soldiers from decades ago?” Hiro asked, shaking at the thought of someone—perhaps an army or group of men—passing away right at the spot they were standing on.
Riki shook his head. “No, I don’t think it’s only you, Hiro. But something feels out of place about this location. It’s as if we’re going to encounter someone soon.”
“Uh, Riki,” Kenshi put forth, “I don’t want to burst your bubble, but I think it’d be better if you didn’t say something to jinx us. We’ve already had enough failures now, so we don’t want to have any more.”
“Sorry,” Riki apologized. “The air gives it that kind of feeling. It’s not like I can really help it, either, Kenshi.”
Takuto scanned the area. “My laptop’s telling me the orbs should be around here, but I don’t see them anywhere.”
“I can sense them and their presence is getting stronger the farther we go,” Rina informed. “Maybe we should walk a bit more.”
Hiro frowned once more. “You mean, go to the edge of the cliff? Are you sure about this, Rina?”
Rina’s shoulders dropped and her face clouded over with an indefinite expression. “Not entirely. I don’t really know if we’ll see something there, but it’s worth a try.”
“Hopefully we’ll be able to find something,” Riki remarked. “Black Foxes, let’s go. It’s show time.”
They all agreed and made their way towards the inner surroundings of the pinnacle. Hiro was anxious about it, but continued with the others who were by his side.
“Well?” Riki asked. “Find anything down there?”
“No,” Kenshi voiced his disdain. He had searched where he was standing and even looked down, but did not see any of the orbs. Only the sea and eroding rocks were visible. “There’s not much over on my side. What about you?”
Riki gave another shake of his head. “No, not here, either. Why aren’t they here? I thought the orbs were supposed to be somewhere on the mountain, but is the signal off?”
“There’s definitely an indication from this point,” Takuto affirmed after taking another look at his laptop. “It’s pretty high, so there’s no doubt about it.”
Hiro also stood in place. “I have a bad feeling about this. There’s no telling where the orbs are, so maybe we need to inspect the mountain some more.”
“There’s a vast pull coming from here,” Rina mentioned. “It’s like I’m being taken down.”
Hiro tilted his head to his right. “I don’t feel anything, though.”
“Oh, but you will,” a female voice said from behind.
The Black Foxes turned to see who it was, and as they alleged, Sayuri was right there in the air with her extravagant wings, floating in front of them from a distance.
“Sayuri!” Hiro shouted with surprise displaying in his eyes.
Riki placed his left hand on his hip again. “So, it’s you. Why are you here? Did you already take the orbs?”
“Who can say?” Sayuri questioned in a deliberate, toying manner. “All I can really articulate to you is that you’re no wrong about them being in this place. However, you’re not going to be able to find them if you just dilly-dally around all night.”
Hear those words made Riki smirk. “Well, aren’t you a mysterious lady? You know, you could be a great addition to our team. What do you say?”
A look of fury overcame Sayuri’s sophisticated expression in a matter of second and all hell broke loose. “Me? On the side of the renowned Black Foxes?! Who the heck do you think you’re speaking to?! I’m a magician who’s on the side of the law, not a troublemaking criminal like you! As if I would ever wish to join you band of thieves!”
Sayuri’s wrath was enough to blow the guys away, as she utilized her wings to create giant gusts of wind towards the men standing in front, not counting Rina as a thief. Riki and the others were about to be blown away by the time Sayuri flew off and were struggling to keep their feet on the ground.
“Ugh!” Riki yelled. He, Kenshi, Hiro, and Takuto weren’t going to be able to stay on land for long, and it was only getting worse on them.
At that moment, Rina started to glow with a blue light. “Riki! Everyone!”
A bizarre power was preventing the Black Fox members from nearing their falling deaths and held them back from the cliff’s brink. It was as though a miraculous force was upon them. Just as they were being saved, Rina’s body gradually slipped toward the cliff and her eyes began to close. Soon, she reached the border, and started to fall down into the sea.
Takuto, Hiro, Riki, and Kenshi’s eyes widened as they saw Rina’s unconscious body dropping.
“Rina!” Takuto shouted. He felt his heart sink as he and the others witnessed the scene, and a feeling of terror and trepidation quickly asphyxiated his entire body.