[O] Week 85: Wake Up

Several Zombies

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Word Count: 1201

The roar of gunfire echoed long into the night as Masato, Takeshi and the rest of the Orpheus squad mopped up the remnants of the white-coated agents that were still lurking around the storage facility. After Loki's untimely disappearance, courtesy of Takashi, the remaining forces fell into disarray and were slowly picked off by Orpheus agents. After a long and arduous battle, the group slowly filtered back into the makeshift base. Masato's first stop was the infirmary. The pale agent from the previous day was being patched up. Sliding through the open door of the medical office, Masato caught eyes with the man and smiled. He was bandaged from head to toe. Slumping down on a nearby chair, the young agent spoke casually to his injured comrade.

"So, you're looking, uh...well..." Masato snickered sarcastically.

The man shook his head. "Yeah yeah. The doc says I'm in pretty bad shape, but I'll live."

Masato grinned. "Well, we've mopped up the last of the whitecoats around the base; injuries were minimal."

The man nodded. "You did good, but I'd like to know the details."

With that, Masato recounted all the events of the previous night, including the information about Loki. The pale man seemed amused at best.

"That's quite a tall tale."

Masato nodded, scratching his head. "I know it's a lot to digest, but that's what happened."

The man sighed softly, as if coming to terms with the information Masato had provided.

"I figure you'll be on your way then?" the man said dryly.

"Yeah. I've got...business to attend to."

Laughing half-heartedly, the agent extended a hand towards Masato. "You're welcome here any time."

Masato nodded and shook the man's hand. There was nothing more he could do here, and there were more pressing matters at hand now. Hisoka Wantanabe...Loki had to be stopped. He wasn't sure if it was his sense of justice, his thirst for knowledge of these whitecoats, or his selfish lust to get back at that cruel man that drove him onward, but he knew that if Loki was working with the enemy, that was more than enough reason to hunt him down. Takeshi was waiting for him as he left the infirmary.

"So where are you headed now?"

"I don't know..."

The old man could see right through him.

"Going after Hisoka is a bad idea. He's on a completely different level than you. You'll be dead before you know it."

Masato gritted his teeth. "If that's the case, why aren't I dead? He's had plenty of chances."

Takeshi shook his head, squeezing the bridge of his nose with one hand.

"He's toying with you. He hated your father for what happened, and since Archer is dead, you're the next best thing!"

Masato went to speak, but checked the motion. There was no point arguing back. Takeshi on the other hand seemed intent on continuing.

"You're acting like a child! Don't go throwing your life away."

"I'm acting like a child for wanting to get back at Loki?"

"Why are you so thirsty for revenge?!"

Masato paused for a moment, pondering the question. It was a legitimate thing to ask, but the answer was more elusive than he imagined. Finally, he whispered to Takeshi in a voice so faint one would have to strain to hear it.

"...It's because he gave me hope."

Takeshi looked completely taken-aback.

"I don't understand..."

Masato laughed quietly to himself. Of course Takeshi wouldn't understand. How could he?

"He made me believe that my father was still alive. Even worse, he made be believe that Archer was a traitor..."

He glared at Takeshi who averted his eyes.

"If you won't help me, so be it. I'll go by myself" he scoffed.

The old man kept his gaze focused on the floor. He knew there was no convincing Masato to abandon his vendetta; not by talking anyways. A fiery look burned through to the surface of Takeshi's features. Now was the time for discipline.

"Well Masato, if you're so intent on getting yourself killed, show me what you've got!"

Masato stared at the old man in disbelief.

"You can't be serious, Takeshi-san..."

The elderly fellow locked eyes with Masato, a look of rage and determination on his face.

"Try me..."

A burst of fierce and powerful reiatsu made Masato gasp as is whipped around him. Takeshi smiled a slight grin.

"I'm not some fragile old man, Masato."

He grabbed the youth by the scruff of his coat and practically dragged him outside. He reached into his pocket and retrieved what looked like a small, round wafer. Masato had seen it before. It was used to lure in Demons. Crushing it between his fingers, he smirked at Masato.

"Don't let a single one escape."

Within moments, the guttural hiss of Demons reached Masato's ears. The sinister reiatsu surrounded them as several of the beasts emerged from the darkness. He drew his revolvers and fired wildly at the advancing horde.

"What are you doing Takeshi!?"

The man laughed. "If you can't handle this, how do you plan to take on Hisoka?"

Through gritted teeth, Masato continued to dispatch the various Demons that lunged towards him. No matter how many he killed, more seemed to pop up.

Suddenly, a group Masato was firing at disappeared in a burst of blood and gore before disintegrating. An unfamiliar reiatsu filled the air. Staring through the cloud of dissolving Demon entrails, he saw it. A tall, stoic-looking Grim floated a few feet off the ground, with its sword drawn.

"Perfect." Takeshi hissed, raising his rifle.

A gunshot sounded over the roar of Demons as Takeshi fired on the Grim. The single round ricocheted of the flat of the man's blade.


"Oh..." the man whispered to himself, as if he had just been jolted out of a dream. "Humans?"

A second round passed by the Grim's head.

"Hmph. Trash."

He raised his sword and sped towards Takeshi. Without a second thought, Masato rushed to intercept him. He fired madly at the Grim, but none of the rounds seemed to hit. They arrived at Takeshi's position almost simultaneously, but Masato was quicker on the draw. He pushed the barrel of his Peacemaker into the Grim's shoulder and fired. A round passed smoothly through the tender meat of the man's forearm, and he stumbled backwards.

"Stay back!" Masato yelled. "I don't want any trouble!"

Clearly by this point the Grim wasn't listening. Raising his sword, he dashed at Masato. Rolling to the side, Masato fired a volley of rounds, but none hit their mark. The Grim was fast. He slid to a stop and quickly slammed a new clip into his weapon. He raised his gun to fire again, but the Grim was nowhere to be seen. A sudden boot to his ribs made the man's position painfully obvious. He rolled and tumbled along the asphalt. His Peacemakers slid along the ground, out of reach. The Grim advanced slowly. He raised his blade above his head as he reached Masato. Shutting his eyes tight, Masato braced himself for the coming attack. This was it.

There was a dull clunk as the blade struck Masato's forearm. The Grim stared at him in disbelief. Opening his eyes, he looked at his own arm with awe. Covering it from the shoulder down was a thick, stone-like material. It had stopped the blade in its tracks. Jumping backwards, Masato continued to stare at the strange anomaly.

"What the hell is this?!"
 

Several Zombies

Zombie Overlord
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Word Count: 1083


A gunshot echoed through the night and both the Grim and Masato's gaze darted to Takeshi. His rifle was raised and a wispy trail of smoke rose from the barrel.

"That's enough."

The Grimm paused for a moment, looking confused. Another shot sounded as a round passed within millimeters of the man's head.

"I said that's enough." Takeshi said, his voice full of malice. He beckoned for Masato.

The young agent rose shakily to his feet and stumbled over to Takeshi. His gaze was still fixed on his arm. Slowly, the gray, rock-like matter receded and disappeared. The pair sprinted away from the scene and left the Grim to take care of the rest of the Demons.

After a while, the two managed to find their way back to Tokyo proper. The glare of neon lights again greeted Masato as they approached the street from a back alleyway. Masato slumped against the wall and slid down to the muck-covered ground. His eyes were still locked on his own hand.

"Takeshi...What was that?"

Takeshi grinned slightly. "That, my friend, is your power."

Masato was still confused. What did Takeshi mean 'power'? He pulled the glove off his hand and flexed.

"H-How is this possible."

"It's like I said. Advents can reach another tier of power. Loki can do it..." he paused for a moment, as if searching for the right words. "Archer could do it. And now you can, too."

The gravity of Takeshi's words were lost on Masato. He continued to stare blankly into the ether.

"Takeshi...How do I control it?"

The old man sighed and slung his rifle over one shoulder. "You'll have to figure that one out yourself, kid. I'll contact you again soon."

With that, Takeshi strode off into the densely populated streets of Tokyo and disappeared from sight.

~*~​

Masato sat in the fading sunlight under a large oak tree. A cool breeze swept by, rustling the leafs and sweeping through the grassy nook. Clenching his hand into a fist, he focused his reiatsu. Nothing. Taking a deep breath, he sighed to himself.

"How do these powers work?"

He went back to that moment. Complete and utter dispair. The guarentee that one's life was about to end. The fear. Was that it? He tried focusing his mind on that feeling, but still, his powers remained dormant. What had he been thinking about? He strained to remember his thoughts during his fight with the Grim. During that moment of hopelessness. Perhaps it wasn't the fear that drove him, but his desire to protect. Whether it be himself or another, his desire to protect people was the thing that had driven him so far. He focused on that overwhelming feeling and held his breath.

The stony, gray material crept down from his shoulders to touch his fingertips, and inward towards his chest, slowly advancing up his neck. He gasped with amazement, losing his focus. The rock-like barrier slowly receded and finally disappeared.

He tried desperately to regain his composure, but to no avail. Mastering these powers would be harder than he thought. Still, with the whitecoats, and Loki bearing down on him, he would have to learn to control them.

A buzzing knocked him out of his day dream. He reached into his pocket and retrieved his cellphone, sliding it open. A text message. It was from Takeshi's number.

"Meet me at the Asakusa-Kannon Temple. Midnight"

Masato cocked an eye at the strange message. Why would Takeshi want to meet him at some dusty old temple? He dismissed his doubts. Takeshi had an odd way of doing things, and he didn't want to make the old man angry. Rising lazily to his feet and stretching, he made his way to the temple.

Soon, the amber sun was replaced by the cold glow of the moon. He made his way up the cracked stone steps of the temple and quietly leapt over the low stone wall sheiding the ancient building from sight. Sprinting stealthily along the ground, he made his way to the inner-most area of the temple grounds. It was there that he saw Takeshi, standing alone on an arched, stone bridge over a small river. The moonlight reflected off of the calm waters and into Takeshi's small, oval glasses. He pushed them further up the bridge of his nose and beckoned for Masato to come nearer.

Stepping onto the bridge, the click of a pistol being readied echoed through the quiet grounds. The old man raised a gun and pointed it at Masato. It was then that Masato noticed it. Takeshi's normally calm, brown eyes were instead a piercing green color. This was not Takeshi. The man spoke to him softly.

"You people are so easy to fool."

His facial features warped and distorted, revealing a completely different visage.
A youthful man with a darker completion now stared back at Masato. Wisps of pale blond hair fell elegantly over the man's face, but could not hide those same, sharp green eyes.

Masato laughed halfheartedly. "Is that you're true form, Loki?"

"Ah, the nostalgia. That's a name I haven't heard in a while." the man snickered in a sardonic tone. "We are well informed, aren't we?"

Quickly, Masato drew his own weapon and fired whilst rolling to the side. Loki mirrored his action. Leaning up against the side of the bridge, Masato peered out from behind his cover, looking for any sign of movement.

A voice sounded from the other side of the bridge.

"Do you think it's wise to be fighting me? What about poor Takeshi?"

"What have you done with him!" Masato yelled.

The man answered with a cruel and callous laugh.

"Oh, you'll find out soon enough."

Masato cringed through gritted teeth.

"If you've done anything to hurt him, I swear..."

Loki laughed even harder; he was in absolute hysterics.

"You're quite entertaining, my friend!"

Reaching his hand out over his cover, Masato fired blindly at Hisoka. The rounds hit nothing but air.

"Masato!" called a familiar voice. "What are you doing on the ground?"

He glanced up the hill to see Takeshi jogging towards him.

"I got your message and---"

"Takeshi wait!"

A gunshot sounded from the opposite end of the bridge and a round passed through Takeshi's shoulder. He fell to the ground and tumbled down the hill, landing bloodied at Masato's feet.

His jaw practically dropped. Loki's laughter intensified. Jumping out of cover, Masato fired furiously at him until both guns clicked on empty. He continued his advance, unsheathing his combat knife.

"You bastard!"

Slowly, the gray stone crept over Masato's form. His bright amber eyes were bathed in red as the material washed over his face.

"I'll kill you!"
 

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