"Are you sure about this, kid?" Jun asked for about the umpteenth time.
"Of course I am!" I retorted, shoving supplies in a messenger bag. "Those scientists...I bet Reinbo-Ink is behind all of this. You saw what they did to us...to you."
Jun reached over and put his hand on my shaking arm. "You don't have to do this just for me though. Boo doesn't want us to go. I'm fine, I really am."
I scoffed. "Boo's only moody because that little Haruhi girl's been taunting her."
"I'm sure that's not it."
I tried to push down the anger that was threatening to wake something deeper. "If Boo was just in the right state of mind-"
"What if Boo knows something about the labs? Something that even she's afraid of?"
My boiling rage was replaced by a chilling fear. Jun looked straight at me, his grey eyes swimming with sadness. "Are you sure you want to do this?"
For the first time, I hesitated. Then Jun broke into a fit of coughing, and as I rubbed his back, I knew I had already made up my mind. "We're going."
Some time later, we had reached the labs and bid farewell to our chauffer. We had come early, while the others were still preparing for the trip. They would just get in our way.
Beside me, Jun was informally leaning on his rapier as he had another coughing fit. He wouldn't tell me what happened, but every once in a while, he would randomly shudder or have nightmares. There was no outward effect to his body, but inside, he was weak and drained of energy.
"Do you remember where we were?" I questioned, looking around the impossibly large building.
"If I remember correctly, you had gotten us lost," Jun stated with a grin.
"Eh, don't remind me," I whined, blushing.
He stepped in front of me and punched out a window, a small smile playing on his lips. He sure did like breaking things.
The clean break allowed us to enter unscathed and unseen. The familiar smell of sweet poisons and strong chemicals immediately wafted around us.
"Nothing in here looks familiar," Jun declared, calmly looking around.
Something thumped somewhere near us and he jumped, quickly going on guard. He pushed his way in front of me and led me out of the room carefully.
Despite the rubbish everywhere, the labs were still up and running. A rusty machine spat out cryptic combinations of letters and numbers. Shelves were lined with mysterious drugs and poisons, most of which I wouldn't even be able to live through ingesting. A man in a white lab coat was in the back, typing away at a keyboard. Surrounding him were tubes, similar to the one I was trapped in. All of them looked full.
Jun downed a pack of medicine; then silently made his way over to the man. His rapier entered the back of the man's throat and came out the other side. He never had a chance to scream.
Once Jun gave me the okay, I came over to look at the tubes. I wish I hadn't. There were children and adolescents in various stages of decay floating in glowing liquid. I quickly looked away, feeling nauseous.
"Hey, kid, look at this."
"Ugh, no, I saw. Those poor kids."
"No, really, look."
I slowly turned my head in the direction Jun was pointing to. In one of the tubes, a dead teenage boy was floating around in a yellow liquid. Jun moved his hand around on the top of the tube, and sparks of electricity followed his fingers.
"Oh, god, Jun, don't...play with them like that," I moaned, looking away again.
"No, you're missing the point! The machines are draining the bodies of their color energy. And it's not just Grey-Scale members, there's Reinbo-Ink ones as well."
"So then who is doing all of this?"
"Let's find out." Jun took the hilt of his rapier and smashed it against one of the tubes.
"What are you doing?" I screamed, shocked.
"This one," he replied, slamming the hilt down again, "is still alive."
Jun wiped a strange, black liquid from his rapier and leaned on his sword, sweat dripping off his face. He took another bag of medicine and poured it into his mouth before getting up and pulling the body out of the tube. He carefully placed the drenched girl on the ground.
She coughed up some black sludge that ate away at the flooring and then shakily sat up. Her black hair clung in strips, and she was wearing a silver and black metal uniform. If I didn't know any better, I would have thought it was Hyalina.
"A-are you okay?" I questioned, watching as the girl struggled. She slowly turned her head towards me, her completely black eyes searching my face.
"The end is near," she declared in a raspy voice. "Be wary. They're watching. Everywhere." She spat sludge on the floor. "They know who you are. They want you."
"Who is 'they'?" Jun asked calmly.
She turned to him; then turned back to me. "One of us," she mumbled, rushing up to me. "You're one of us!"
"Hey, get off of her!" Jun shouted, swinging his rapier level with her throat. The girl ignored it, pushing her neck into the blade as she wrapped her arms around me. Dark crimson blood welled from her throat and poured out onto the floor. "One of us, you're one of us," she repeated over and over, threading her fingers in my hair. I tried to escape her grasp, but I couldn't. Jun tried to pull her off as well, but to no avail.
She looked up at me suddenly, her black eyes even darker. "Save us, please. You know this more than anyone else..." Her grip finally relaxed, sending Jun flying backwards.
"Ow, what happened?" Jun inquired between coughs.
I checked her eyes; then her pulse. "She's dead." Jun sat up, seeing that I was correct.
I felt a sense of dread wash over me. "Jun, what did she mean by, 'You're one of us'?"
He looked puzzled, his eyes searching an unseen area. "I don't kn-" His eyes flashed suddenly and he averted his head. "Let's get out of this room."
"Master Jun, do you know something about this?" I asked, frozen in anticipation.
Our eyes crossed for a second, his hard stare penetrating my being. Then he quickly turned away and walked towards the door. "Let's get out of here," he repeated.
"Jun? Jun? Tell me, do you know something?"
There was no reply. I walked out of the room, searching for him, but he was gone.
"Hey, kid, watch out!" A body came flying across the room and landed on me, throwing me to the ground. I struggled for a moment before realizing that the person on top of me was Jun. We both reddened as we realized how we looked, and Jun got up as quickly as he could. His face was dripping with sweat, and he pulled me to the side, behind a divider.
The spot where we had just been looked as if it were boiling and the floorboards were warping. I looked across the room, trying to find out who was attacking us. Jun's face was still red as he pulled me into his grasp and pushed my face into his chest. "D-don't look at it." he commanded, his voice shaking.
Against proper judgment, I fought to see what it was. Jun grabbed my head and forced it forward. "It's that thing. I looked at it, and then I woke up to Yami caring for me."
I froze. This thing...this is what hurt Master Jun. Jun pulled me away again as the thing found our hiding spot. I could feel my rage building at this unseen monster.
I got away from Jun's grasp and looked straight at the creature. I was shocked. It was a human, or at least looked like one. It was dressed in the same armor as the one Hyalina wore, but instead of silver, it was red. In my anger, I shot a burst of poison at it, but there was no affect. The thing merely turned its head towards me and glared at me. His eyes were covered by his headpiece, which left a reflection of his right eye. He trained that eye on me and I started to burn. Jun dragged my frozen body away from the man and threw me on his back as he ran. That eye...I could see why Jun was so frightened by it.
"That thing looks like Hyalina, doesn't it?" Jun stated out of nervousness.
I coughed, trying to get cold air back into my lungs. "It seems...they finally were able to...get color energy in their androids."
"If so, then I should be able to fight it. Not even Hyalina can be immortal." Jun carefully placed me on the ground as he downed his last bag of medicine and, after a moment's hesitation, grabbed his rapier from its sheath. He ran towards the android, trying to stay moving. As he passed the man, he expertly struck through his armor. A clang sounded, and the rapier bounced off the android. It was to no effect. The man turned towards Jun and trained his eye on him with a sly smile. It was built to be a weapon, and existed for the sole purpose of killing. Jun pushed his rapier into the ground and propelled himself out of harm's way. The medicine was wearing off quickly, and it was showing. He reached to wipe sweat off his forehead, and was barely able to dodge a burst of fire.
"Hey, kid, I need you to do something for me," Jun stated, panting.
"What can I do for you, Master Jun?" I replied, lapsing into maid speech out of fatigue.
"Give me your energy," he demanded, dodging another blast.
"But Jun, it'll poison you! And I thought you said-"
I jumped at the sound of my name, and knew that he was serious. I pulled a sleeping Moe out of my bag and used her to slash through my radial artery. The smell of blood woke her up and she transformed to drink it, filling up on my energy. When I became light-headed, I healed my wound and sent Moe to Jun. She greeted him with a bite and then released a poison laced with my energy into his veins. He cried out in the pain, his body shaking in rejection to the foreign substance. I wanted to do something for him, but my body was too weak to move. Jun turned towards me for a precious second, giving me a sad smile. His eyes had turned blue, the same shade they were before he had given up his color.
Jun threw his rapier to the side and stood up straighter, bursting with energy. He flicked his hand and the water in the air around him instantly froze. He sent it towards the android, where it clung to it. However, the android merely burnt it off and continued shooting blasts at Jun.
My master growled in frustration, pulling more ice out of the air. The android slowed down as ice lodged itself in its armor, but easily freed itself with a flame.
Jun knew what he had to do, and it was almost impossible. When he was younger, he used to be able to control rain and rivers freely, but once he lost his color, water would freeze if he tried to manipulate it. He swore that he would never use energy again and simply devote himself to the blade, but in this situation, there was no other option. There was nothing I could do to stop it. We needed a blast of water, and he was the only person available who had a chance of produced a strong enough stream.
Try as he might, the water vapor only froze. The air was getting dry, and the poison was setting in. Jun was exhausting his energy, and the android still looked as if it had just been powered on.
I finally stood up, hoping I could do something to help. The android saw me move and headed straight for me. My energy was completely gone; I couldn't send out a mist or even move one step. The android charged up a blast and locked onto me.
"KIRIMI!"Jun screamed, rushing over. But he was too late. The blast hit me with full force, covering my entire body.
But...wait. The blast was cold. And wet. And I
wasn't burnt to a crisp.
Next to me, the android had shorted out. It was completely waterlogged. Jun was staring at his hands as if he could somehow see heaven through them.
"Y-you did it."
He trained his grey eyes on me; then averted his glance. "Never again," he mumbled.
I nearly shoved my entire bag of antidote down Jun's throat. The poison had been taking affect, and I didn't want him to be injured or die from it. After a coughing spell, he gave me smile in thanks and ruffled my hair.
We heard a spark behind us and ran out of the room before the android could reboot, using each other as support. Jun mercilessly used his rapier against any scientist who crossed our path until we were able to find a room to crash in.
We were both drained. Jun was out of medicine, so he had to deal with his coughing.
After a while (I wasn't sure if I had fallen asleep or not), I saw a figure in black appear in the shadows. My heart leaped as I saw the familiar face, or really, the familiar mask. I started to walk towards him, with Jun following behind. "Yami-dono, I'm so glad you're here! Boo was right, this was a stupid idea. It was worth it though. Jun and I got revenge and we found out info-" I broke off as Yami stepped backwards into the shadows and reappeared on the other side of the room.
"I didn't know Yami had a sense of humor," Jun remarked in disbelief.
"Okay, very funny, now really, we'd like to go home now. Please take us back."
Yami gave no response; he only teleported across the room once more.
Every time we got close to Yami, he would transport to a different part of the room. We were getting more frustrated and exhausted by the minute.
Suddenly, my cell phone went off. We both looked around carefully, in case anyone had heard it. Then I pulled it out of my bag. "How could I make such a stupid mistake, forgetting to turn off the ringer - Yes, hello?"
"Where are you guys? I thought we were supposed to be doing this together!" Aimi screamed through the phone. Jun grinned; she was so loud, he could hear her.
"I'm sorry," I replied, embarrassed. It was just like me, rushing into something without thinking. "We've been here for a while now. I wanted to do some things by myself."
"Well, you should have waited! We all wanted to help you! We wouldn't have gone against Boo otherwise!"
"I'm sorry," I repeated. I wasn't embarrassed anymore; in fact, I was happy that everyone cared so much.
"Anyway," Aimi stated, changing the topic and lowering her voice a few decibels, "did you hear that Yami got shot?"
"No way!" I couldn't believe a bullet was fast enough to hit him.
"Yeah, but he's okay. His mask is cracked, but otherwise, he's perfectly fine."
His mask is cracked... I looked up where Yami was currently standing. His mask was intact, not a crack in sight.
"Aimi, when did this happen? Did Yami get a new mask yet?"
"Hmm, about twenty minutes ago. And no, he's still wearing the cracked one. But don't get your hopes up; you still can't see his face." She gave a dejected sigh.
"Aimi, I have to go," I said slowly, lowering the phone.
"What? Why?" Aimi's muted voice flowed through the phone as I closed it.
"Jun, if that's not Yami, then who is it?"
He shrugged, seeming too weak for words. He was able to pull me closer to him, and he held me protectively. His grip got stronger as three other Yamis stepped out from the shadows and joined the visible one. They walked slowly towards us, surrounding us on all sides.
"Jun, you're not creating that water, are you?" I questioned, my voice quavering in fear as I pointed to a large wave.
"And I don't think Yami can make doppelgangers...or fireballs."
"So then it must be-"
I saw him nod once before I passed out in his arms.