It was an eerily quiet night in the city of Mahoukyo. As its name might suggest, it was renowned for its wonders in magic, crawling with untold stories and secrets waiting to be uncovered. Much of the population worldwide had magic, powered by mysterious energy simply known as ‘Soul’, but only a handful compared to that went on to become mages. Mahoukyo perhaps had the worlds most world-renowned and infamous mage families dwelling in it, the Rikimaru, Isamu and Akechi families.
The three had been silently working behind the scenes, fighting amongst themselves over territory, power, members, amongst many other things out of the public eye. Much like what was happening right now out of the public eye…
A man, eyes wide with terror, ran through one of the many back-alleys that made up the city. It was almost a maze at times, and he knew this. It was his intention to lose the person chasing him at this moment. Every now and then he would glance behind him, but the figure was still there...silently following after him without seeming to break a sweat no matter how hard he ran...still they walked after them and even seemed to be catching up without a hassle!
Gah! He knew he should’ve never gotten involved with that group….he knew they were nothing but trouble, why didn’t he listen to his gut?! He came to a sudden, skidding stop at that thought, barely saving himself from running headfirst into the glistening wires in front of him.
“Oh? You actually managed to see them? Impressive.” The man’s head shot upwards to look at the voice that spoke out to him...only to see a black cat with two mismatched eyes, one green the other yellow, looking down at him. That wasn’t the only strange thing about the cat, for the tip of its tail seemed to be on fire? He was obviously a familiar, this man knew that. For that was that mans familiar.
He went to open his mouth, only to let out a blood-curdling scream as he felt himself be grabbed by an unknown force and slammed into the ground. He could feel it digging into him now, like rope, his squirming just making them tighter around him. The small figure that had been following him had now caught up and placed a foot atop his back, pressing him into the ground. The man began to frantically try to think of something, anything, that would stop this monster!
“W-wait! I’m sorry! I won’t do it again, I promise!” The man was desperate as the smaller, cloaked figure gave no hint of a verbal response, simply raising their small, doll-like hand and slowly brought it into a half-fist, causing the tight feeling around him to intensify. Wounds, as if he was slowly being sliced through by string, started to form along his body as he howled in pain.
“Heh, you should’ve thought of that before trying to steal the artifact. No mercy for thieves and traitors Leo.” The cat spoke again, grooming itself slowly as it looked down upon his writhing form. The small figure seemed to look up at the cat now, pointing down at the man beneath them before making a slashing motion across their throat.
“Oh, of course you have to kill him. That’s kinda your job there Diligence.” The cat chuckled as the hooded figure nodded silently, the man speaking up once more.
“Wait! I can explain! I just-gah!” He was cut off as it felt like a rope had been wrapped around his entire body then tightened further and further, screaming as his arm was sliced clean off like a precise surgeon, blood gushing out of his wound and spraying all over the walls and the figures cloak. The figure stopped for a moment to reach up to their face and wipe a speck of blood off as the man writhed in agony.
Flames shot out from the man and wrapped around the figure, who seemed unperturbed as he started hurling abuse at them.
“You bitch! I’ll fucking kill you for that! Mark my words, we will-!” Having heard enough, the feminine hand finally clenched into a fist. Shortly after the man was sliced into fine little chunks with one last agonizing scream, the flames dying soon after.
“Heh, he should’ve tried fighting back to begin with. Would’ve ended better.” The cat remarked smugly, leaping down from its perch up above and seemed to float down onto the figures shoulder. After patting down a small fire on it, the cat wandered up to nuzzle against the figure's cheek. “You did well again Dilligence, though could you really stop with leaving so much blood everywhere? It’ll be a pain to clean up you know?”
The figure simply nodded at the cat’s words, leaning down as all the pieces of the man seemed to be dragged by an unseen force into a large pile. Luckily despite the cat’s complaints, they didn’t need to clean this mess up ...he was meant to be an example, so it was time to leave an impressionable one.
The click-clacking of heeled boots on tile echoed throughout the empty warehouse, a lone, slimly built woman being the source. Long, silvery-white hair flowed out over a dark, military-esque outfit with a red-collared top and red stripes along the sleeves over the top of a similar look skirt that ended above dark, thigh highs that ended with boots of yet again a similar design with a matching dark cloak over the top, her inquisitive, gentle eyes were a strange greyish-silver. In her hand, was a sheathed katana, which she seemed to be running against the darkened walls of the seemingly abandoned building.
Coming to a stop, she lets out a loud sigh before placing her hand on what looked to be just a wall. A soft glow radiated out from her glove, where a rather peculiar looking insignia resided. A moment later, a door glowing the same color seemed to materialize from thin air. Reaching down towards where the knob should be, she made a twisting motion with her hand. Responding to the ‘key’, the door slowly creaked open and the woman stepped inside.
Upon entering, she blinked a few times as she stepped out of the semi-darkness that enveloped the warehouse from before and was now basking in bright light. She wasn’t the first one here, the first two she saw being a man with silvery hair and cold topaz eyes wearing a blue coat, the other being a man wearing some comfortable, padded armor and was leaning against the wall, eyes closed though it was hard to tell through his dark fringe.
At her entrance, the two men, who seemed to be talking amongst themselves, stood at attention. The man leaning against the wall shot up, eyes open as he saluted, while the other man simply gave a brisk salute.
“I do apologize for my tardiness gentlemen, it really is hard to find your way here in the dark.” The woman chuckled. There didn’t seem to be many others here yet, so there wasn’t much need to say anything just yet.
The two men greeted her at about the same time, the dark-haired man lowering his salute as the other sauntered over to her.
“The rest of Dieter’s team will be here shortly Lady Maylis, though I really must once again voice my disapproval of you going into that...madness with them.” Mr. Bluecoat frowned as he spoke, standing tall over the woman. She wasn’t even all that short, standing at five foot eight with a slim build, however, this man was about six foot two or so so almost towered over her.
“It’s fine Alister.” Maylis sighed. “I wish to see this team first-hand, so no better way than to go in with them, no? See them with my own two eyes. My main task is to observe, and if need be, intervene. I thought I had you briefed already?”
Alister seemed to hesitate for a moment, a twitch of his eye as Maylis looked up smugly towards him. That’s right, he could complain and mother hen her all he wanted, but as family head, Maylis Isamu’s word was effectively law. If she wished to go into Zero Time to fight alongside them? Well, no one had the right to stop her.
"If I may, Mistress Maylis?” The other man, Dieter, spoke up now in a respectful tone, causing both Alister and Maylis to turn to look towards him.
Gesturing to him before Alister can say a word, she simply says one word.
“As comforting as your presence would be, I am with Mr Rose here. We cannot just allow you to keep going into Zero Time like this, least we risk another ....” With a nod, he began to speak, but soon enough he too was hesitating as he looked towards their leader.
“Another what?” She asked dryly, frowning at what he was implying here. Her hand came to rest on the hip that her sword dwelled, tantalizingly close to the handle. “Another incident like my fathers? Rest easy, I do not plan on fighting the other two...families.”
She seemed to spit the last word out like it left a foul and disgusting after-taste in her mouth. Bah, they hardly qualified as ‘families’. Especially with how the Akechi treated their own members...just thinking about it made her face go dark for a moment, but she soon recomposed herself. She didn’t want to scare the ones who would be arriving any moment now.
“Besides, it’s hardly fitting for a leader to expect one of her own to go into the thick of danger, yet not go in herself no?”
This argument was a pretty common occurrence between Maylis and the other higher-ranked Isamu, who seemed intent on not letting her into Zero Time. However, getting through to the Isamu head was sometimes impossible once she set her mind on something….
This arguing would continue for a while, even as the others filtered in. Maylis would offer a quick greeting before getting right back into the matter, the duo arguing with Maylis seeming to get more and more animated while Maylis continued to exude her usual mature and calm exterior.