A day after the cafeteria incident:...’How leg?’…
Bella questioned, her distorted voice coming from a mangled bot sprawled out on her desk. Sitting on the ground the woman looked up from her makeshift work area at Zane as he walked in and headed towards his partner's bed. “...shoes off…”
“I can walk so that’s an improvement.” Zane said as he slipped his shoes off and laid back on his partner’s bed. “Apparently I ripped my calf completely in half when I didn’t give enough focus on reinforcing the growth.” The man pulled out his sunglasses and placed them over his eyes before continuing.
“...That’s good…” Bella said as she refocused on her bot.
“Is there a reason you sound like crap?” Zane asked as he lazily waved in the direction of the bot.
“...Still off?...calibrate good though…” Bella said as she transferred her voice back to her glasses.
“The pitch might be in tune but you sound like some sort of robot from a horror movie. Maybe Miss. Tutu can help you out later.” Zane said as he gave a yawn.
“...Speak of visit… who visit?...” Bella asked as she switched her tools.
“Before I came up here? I heard rumors that the prisoner never left the cell so I had to see for myself. He seemed to enjoy the cookies I dropped off” The two sat in silence as Bella worked and Zane thought over the recent incidents. “I’m going to see him again. “
“...What?” Bella asked as she put her bot down. Even with them talking through their link it was evident that she wasn’t happy with his response.
“He’s crazy strong and is treated too differently by the others to be a nobody.” Zane said as he fluffed his pillow. “He knows more than he shared with us and I want to find what it is.”
“... Kanon’s enemy?...”
“I’m guessing not. I’m guessing he came here apart from the dead zone and later found it rather than coming here for it but I’ll probably ask him which came first in a future visit to confirm. If the man wanted to do something with the dead zone what is stopping him? He’s powerful enough that could waltz right up and take what he wanted if he was hired by someone and not waste his time by telling us or pestering the guards.”
“...talk to Kanon?” Bella asked as she resumed her work.
“I’ll probably head over there after classes. Want to join me?” Zane asked as he gave a final stretch. Sure. Sleep well.
Bella said through their link before letting her partner rest.
~.~Three days after the cafeteria incident:’Do you really need to go back to the cell today?’
Bella asked as the duo exited the cafeteria and walked down the hall with each carrying their lunches in a takeout container. ’Why don’t we go eat outside and enjoy the sun.’’I made a promise.’
Zane said as he gave a slight wave to a group of students greeting them.’Yes, I know. But are you sure that is a good idea?’
Bella said as her concern trickled through their link. ’How come?’
Zane asked as he nodded towards an alcove. The two took a seat on the bench as he waited for Bella to formulate an answer. He knew that this has been something that has been lingering on her mind but opted to wait until his partner was ready to talk.
Bella stared out of the window in front of her as she shared. ’I'm trying to see the good in the prisoner but it’s hard to do so after everything that happened because of his doing. The cafeteria, the students and...’ And because of Elsa?
Zane asked and after seeing a slight nod reached his arm out and gave Bella a quick side hug. ’I’m sorry that I made that promise without making sure we are both in agreement. At the end of the day your safety and well-being is what is most important to me. I was able to keep you safe because of the prisoner’s involvement but in return I’ve also hindered your well-being. I’ve only promised the prisoner a week so I’ll do my best to be careful around him and avoid a similar incident. After the week I doubt we will see him after that.’
“...Stay safe…” Bella said using the voice command on her glasses.
“I hope that you weren’t waiting for me too long.” Zane said as he gave the guard and the prisoner a wave before he took a seat on the bench. “There might be a little mouse following me here but we will leave them be, right?” Zane said as he gave a nod towards Angel. If today was like the day before, it wouldn’t be long before Bella came down to the basement and lingered just out earshot at the bottom of the stairs in case an incident happened.
Opening up his lunch, Zane handed the guard the boxed dessert that came with his food. “As per the policy, check for any poisons, machetes, nuclear launch codes that I might try and smuggle to the prisoner.” Zane said as he took a bite of his food and in between chews continued. “If you can, try not to drop it this time.”
The guard scoffed at Zane, his attitude always seemed to worsen when the sass joined the condescending. He just shook his head, checked the lunch and passed it back to the Asylum before ushering him in the prisoner's cell. "I half hoped it was a nuke, be rid of you both and half this Island." He replied before shutting the metal, rune inscribed cage.
"Ah if it isn't the little fox" the prisoner jeered while tilting his head to meet Zane as the Asylum came in. "This saves me the trouble of leaving this place to get some decent food, though with all the chaos you all created at the cafeteria, more woe to me." The tall man mused, his metal coffin standing near a while beside him. "Where is the little mouse?"
“I promised a week so enjoy it while it lasts.” Zane said as he handed over the box. While doing so he reached out through his link towards his partner before responding to the prisoner’s question by pointing upwards with his fork. “Currently working through some mental gymnastics to determine if she should head downstairs. She won't be keen about coming out of her hole after our last incident.” Taking a bite of his food Zane continued the second part of his comment internally. ’But I’m guessing with your skills you already knew that’
“However I’m not here about the foxes, the mice, goats or the cows. I came to chat with you about the chickens.” Zane said as he tapped his chin as if he was thinking. “What really came first? The chicken or the egg? Your transgressions that brought you here or your fascination with the dead zone?”
Angel slowly ate his dessert as Zane chirped, the man was straightforward and that was quite refreshing especially seeing as how almost everyone was cautious to borderline paranoia.
"Neither, both were a product of evolution. So their precursor came first." The prisoner replied before setting his fork down and crossing his legs. Even sitting in a prison cell Angel managed to appear regal in his demeanor.
"It wasn't a transgression, it was a misunderstanding and political agenda I suppose." The prisoner continued while staring at Zane through his silver tinted spectacles. "And I am fascinated with the deadzone because I am not an utter imbecile. A deadzone is a theory, it is an impossibility. Alchemy is a foreign source of power, alien. It can never be completely negated." A smile slowly spread across the prisoner's face as he discussed alchemic knowledge with a child.
"The only time alchemic energy truly manifests itself is through an alchemist's drive. Now here is a question for you. We are both standing next to each other and we both activate our alchemic drives. I am far superior to you and so naturally I draw more. Will this affect you while you are in my vicinity?"
Before Zane could answer for just a few seconds Angel activated his alchemic drive and completely engulfed the cell. His power resonated with such viciousness that it disrupted the flow of alchemic energy all around him.
Feeling the foreign alchemic drive being activated, Zane reciprocated by activating his own but with far less success. Zane chuckled as he started to piece together what was shared. “You’ve made this imbecile very curious. Do you have a theory on what might be hidden there? Have you gone on a field trip to test if you can overpower it? Your concern has me curious on how strong whom or what might be there.” With his interest more focused on his food, the man closed up his lunch and sat it down besides him.
As Zane placed his food down, the man paused for a moment to think over what he wanted to share before giving a slight shrug. From what he has seen from the prisoner, Zane assumed that he would already know the details of what he would share and if not it would be something he would figure out anyways. “If you do visit I’d be cautious about startling the guard in charge. After last night’s chat he shouldn’t be after your head but if his paranoia is big enough to threaten shooting me again, it wouldn’t be hard for you to set him off.”
Angel nodded towards Zane, accepting the useful bit of information. "I have not ventured to that area, I try to avoid grunt work. But I do want you to understand something. I used a burst of my alchemic drive and that disrupted your capability to use alchemy for a few seconds. That takes exceptional skill. The deadzone is constant negation of any form of alchemy. Whatever is in there…." For a few seconds the prisoner was quiet, almost contemplative.
"Whatever is in there is drawing so much alchemic energy that it has rendered an entire field…..barren. A.M.R.O has something contained whose potential is beyond Chrono."
“The world would be in a precarious situation if anything were ever to happen.” Zane said solemnly before turning his head to the side as the sound of footsteps approached the cell.
“Your five minutes are up.” The guard said as he opened the cage.
Zane gave a dramatic sigh as he grabbed his lunch and walked out of the cell. As the guard locked the door Zane asked the prisoner one last question. “What is your name? I haven’t heard you be called anything other than Rouge and Prisoner since we’ve met but If I have another four days of visits I might as well call you by your name.”
“I go by many names.” The prisoner said before laying down on his bed and facing his back Zane.
“Very well then.” Zane said giving a shrug. “I’ll see you two tomorrow.” Zane said as he gave the guard a small wave as he walked out. As he walked up the stairs he met Bella who was waiting for him.
“...You okay?...” Bella asked with a worried expression written on her face. “...felt drive…”
“I’m good. Things are good.” Zane said as he rested a hand on Bella’s shoulder. “He was just giving a little demonstration but it’s fine. I’ve learned some important things though. Let’s go find the others.”