It was a peaceful summer's day in the Mugen sphere. The old fashioned city resting peacefully on the mountain with lush trees, the smell of street vendors making various savoury dishes filling the air while several kids continued to walk down, buying something quickly to have a fast breakfast on their way to school. After all, future guardians had to learn to be punctual.
Creeping through the dusty air vents of the town museum, a young girl, about sixteen in her age, continued to scan the small openings along her route, brushing her long red hair with her pale white hands to get a better look. It was a good thing she was dressed in a scruffy brown coat and shorts, using only a bandana to cover her nose and mouth. Anything else would have gotten ruined from the dust. After several minutes of searching, she saw her target, a old, thick metallic amulet, looking like something out of the industrial age, just perched on a red pillow on a pedestal, guarded by two large but old security robots, each the size of a small car with tazer cannons the size of a large computer. Thinking carefully, the girl took out a single silver coin and aimed it through the grates of the vent, taking a deep breath before tossing it towards the entrance of the exhibit, making that distinct sound of a small metal object coming into contact of a polished marble floor.
"What was that?" The robot on the left asked with a monotone voice rolling through it's speakers while its head turned a few degrees towards the sound.
"It could be Jimmy playing jokes again."
"That little annoying shrimp. I will show him the error of his ways."
"Remember. We cannot send him to the morg-...Error.. Rewriting....Cannot Send him to the hospital." The second robot reminded its partner as the two metallic guards rolled on their four wheels towards the noise.
"Heh.... Suckers." The girl chuckled faintly to herself as she silently opened the grate, leaping down quietly and letting her noise dampening shoes reduce the sound of her landing, tip toeing quietly until the glass case of the artifact was within her grasp. She then carefully used a glass-cutter knife to make a large circle hole in the case, placing the glass gently on the ground before slowly reaching in and picking up the amulet. Museums like this always had motion sensors hidden in the exhibits. The trick was to always move as slowly as you could risk.
Unfortunately for the little girl, the museum had upped the sensitivity of the weight detection to offset using outdated robots. As soon as she moved the Amulet, deafening alarms started blaring all around her, pounding against her ears.
"The amulet alarm has been triggered."
"Will show intruder error of their ways."
"Oh god..." Ducking underneath the taser shots, the girl quickly hid behind the pedestal to catch her breath, placing the amulet around her arm while she tried in vain to block out the roars of the alarms by covering her ears with her hands.
As she looked around to try to find an exit, a fast blur of black swooped across the outside windows, somehow melting the iron bars and making the windows shatter. The girl at first froze in shock before the taser fire from the bots reminded her that she had to leave. Taking a gamble, she dashed toward the window leaping out of it for a eight meter drop before one of the taser shots struck her in her right elbow.
She managed to land headfirst into a large bush before crawling out in discomfort while brushing the leaves out of her tail as the Robots looked out of the window and watched as she lept over the fence and began to make her escape down the street.
"Thief has escaped."
"Hello, this is Tommy's Pizzeria. How can I take your order?"
"Mugen police force. How can we be of service?"
The girl continued to rush down the streets of the town, swerving past the random students walking down the road before darting down a narrow alleyway as she heard an approaching police car.
" Come on! Gotta find somewhere to hide!"
The cops pursued the young thief, blocking off both exits of the alleyway with their long hoverbikes. Having got a good description, they were quickly able to locate her. Plus, she really wasn't that good at covering her tracks.
"Hana, we have you surrounded! You know the drill. Hands on your he-"
As the cops were speaking, a large jet black shadow appeared next to the fox girl, forming a hand before it reached out, the cold chilling fingers wrapping all around her before pulling the screaming girl into its form. As the cops stared in shock, the strange shadow began to scale the wall in a split second before actually leaping across the rooftops.
"...... Not again. 'Dayshadow' has appeared again."
"I’ll call this in to dispatch." The second officer replied to his superior while the other cops headed back to try to pursue 'Dayshadow'.
".... Poor kid. Street urchins don't deserve that kind of death..."
A few blocks away from the search, the shadow like being referred to as 'Dayshadow', slowly moved behind an old bakery, halting for a second as it expanded from the size of a cup, to the size of a door. As it remained in its current size, it slowly released Hana from her dark prison, leaving her on the floor taking deep breaths.
Hana began to get up as fast as she could, goosebumps all over while she looked back, only to see that the shadow had vanished.
"I.... I gotta get out of here." Hana muttered in a deep mixture of panic and confusion as she scrambled to her feet, searching now for a safe and secure place to hide. She didn't know what was going on, but she wasn't about to stop and ask questions.
The rooftops were yet still a strange place to Hana. Having climbed a few, she mostly worked on the sides of buildings and ground work. A lot of them looked the same, but there was one that stood out, right in the middle.
".... A technomancer academy...." The girl muttered between each panting breath, her eyes widening as she saw a possible chance to get away from this madness. The students were enrolling today, a process that normally would take a few hours. If she could blend in through the crowd of students, she could hide out there and lay low until the heat died down.
The bustle of students coming in and out of the old academy gates filled the air, the sun shining on the large buildings that were almost like a modern take on the old shaolin temples. Booths line all over the campus for various clubs and such. A happy principal watching these future minds coming to be happily molded into productive members of society from the comfort of his open office window.
"Looks like another crap... I mean crop of young minds." A old grumpy looking man in a battle-worn combat robe muttered as he walked over to the side of the Principal with his hands in his pockets.
"Oh yes, look at all those eager young minds! Wanting to enter this wonderful institute of learning. Really though Slyde. You should enjoy your job more." The jolly principal replied as he lightly ran his fingers through his stylish medium length hair while leaning back on his chair, looking down at all of the hopeful faces.
"You know my position sir. I will teach these minds what I know. Doesn't mean I have to like it though."
"The principal is right. After all, students prefer more cheerful teachers." A man with a poorly shaven beard and messy brown hair called out to his much older workmate, polishing his glasses as he looks down from the window with a wide smile.
"I mean, look at all these students. They look veeeeeeeeery promising indeed. Yes sir, today looks like the beginning of a very good semester."
Slyde smeared a little as he reaches into his pocket where one normally keeps his cigarettes. Instead he pulls out a bluish stick and lites it in his mouth.
“Really Slyde? You're taking your medicine now?”
“You know my position sir. Being a former smoker and being antisocial, means you need some special medicine. Besides, none of these kids can get these. They don't know, or will know the formula.” Slyde replied to the principle as he smoked the blue stick, a mixture of depression medicine and nicotine, carefully mixed.
“Remember Slyde, teaching is a passion. Keep it in mind.”
“Yea yea...teaching during the school year, keeping my company alive the rest…”
Several minutes later, everyone has arrived in the outdoors assembly hall. The teachers sitting in the back as the Principal is giving his entrance speech to the young crowd of students, each one looking more excited to begin than the last, except for Hana.
She was busy trying to avoid eye contact with everyone and everything, always trying to look out for the strange creature that took her.
"Alright everyone. We will now begin with the training exam. How fun. Your goal is to inflict 200 points of damage to one of our test dummies. Anyone who inflicts less, will be subject to review and possible expulsion. We don't let any idiot with a gun in here." Slyde instructed the students as several staff members began to place several training dummies on stace. The grumpy teacher then headed over to one of the dummies to demonstrate. He took a deep breath as six orbs appeared around him All bearing the Yin/Yang symbol on them. They rotated furiously before launching themselves at the dummy all hitting it in a split second simultaneously, the number 6000 appearing above the dummy on a holographic display.
"If you're smart enough to get in through the gate, you're smart enough to figure out the rest. Test reviewers, start your job. I’m bored."
"Erm... Sir? What about that girl over there? She claims to not need any magic tech." One of the reviewers asked Slyde curiously as he pointed towards Hana's direction, making the girl tense up slightly before another student with long dark, almost pure black hair that looked like a mix between a very strong shade of black with a dark red tint near the ends of hair with a black hoodie over her head took a few steps forward, her cool purple gaze staring at the teachers as she heard them talking about her.
Hana looked at this girl carefully. An ordinary human with skin that was almost pure white, but judging from the quality of the two large guns she was carrying around her waist, she was pretty good with firearms.
Slyde sighs as he headed over towards the girl, glancing at Hana as he walked by, muttering something under his breath in annoyance before standing in front of the techless girl.
"Look miss...Don't care. I’m bored and you're holding up the line. If you don't need tech, either you don't belong here or you're full of baloney. Either way, prove it or get lost." Slyde barked at the girl, making the other examiners look at him with annoyance and disgust before resuming their duties.
"With pleasure." The girl replied before she used a hard hitting palm strike to Slyde's chest with one split second movement, knocking the wind out of him before placing her hand on his neck and slamming him back, hard into the ground before walking over to the dummies, not even looking as she took out one of her guns and fired a single shot at each of the dummy heads, making the number 100 appear on each of their screens.
"Try not to underestimate me old man."
"Well performed young miss. Though, I will have to deduct points for attacking one of our teachers." The teacher with messy hair called out to the strange aggressive girl as he clapped his hands slowly. His body then suddenly began to reek with power, making her take a step back.
"We may not be so forgiving in the future."
Slyde looked on in frustration as the girl found the 6 orbs back around her neck. Each with a giant needle ready to impale her neck and drain her blood at the slightest movement.
"I'd advise you never do that again. Talent is one thing, overconfidence will get you killed." Slyde taunted as he got up and dusted himself off before lighting another bluestick in his mouth. He cracked his knuckles as he resumed watching the other kids, his orbs sticking around the girl's neck.
"Funny." The girl replied before quickly shooting down the orbs with just a quick flick of her hands and a second long twirl of both of her guns.
"You should really follow your own advice."
"Alright you two lovebirds. Time to give the other students some fun." The scruffy teacher teased while directing the girl inside the building before walking back to watch the others train.
"See Slyde? You're already making new friends."
The girl grit her teeth as she felt herself getting impaled in the neck. The orbs reforming almost at an insane speed. she dropped to the ground after about two minutes of struggling to keep her footing while the Orbs return to Slyde.
"You're just lucky my YingYorbs were set to tranquilizer."
"You idiot! You could've killed her!" A female teacher yelled as she smacked Slyde across the head with enough force for the sound to make a small echo.
"If she was smart, she would've known. We weed out the idiots here remember? Besides. It's only a mild sedative."
Hana continued to watch Slyde in disbelief at his actions as he calmly returned to his chair while the other teachers placed the girl on a stretcher.
Slyde then slowly turned his head towards the fox girl, his unfeeling eyes staring into hers.
"Perform or leave."
"Now now Slyde, fighting against students unless in emergencies is frowned upon. You wouldn't like the same fate as 'Lucky' would you?" The messy teacher warned Slyde with an ominous chuckle as he watched the girl on the stretcher start to slowly get up, fighting hard against the tranquilizer before the doors closed behind her.
Hana took a deep breath as she pondered her options. Her fox ears were still picking up police sirens nearby, she had to stay hidden for a bit longer. Sighing deeply, she placed the amulet she stole around her neck and began to rub it slightly, secretly looking for some sort of button or activation switch, she then felt the small crystal on the amulet begin to heat up, making a bright glow before a large dark red orb appeared around her. Gritting her teeth, she felt the amulet start to morph around her, forming a large piece of battle armor that started to grow around her upper body, covering it with a black bean colored samurai armor with wires leading to a newly formed pair of jet like wings on her back. Her footwear was replaced with long jet boosters, almost ninja like in appearance with armor on her lower legs that also has small boosters. The rags she once wore for clothing were transforming on her, forming armored fingerless gloves with a long sleek rifle with silver oriental engravings on it. Hana gasped in surprise at the transformation, only to find that a black mask was now over her mouth. Her attention then turned to the whispering voices in the crowd.
"Why does she looked surprised?"
"Think it's her first time?
".... I like the outfit."
She had to react quickly before the crowd could grow even more suspicious of her. She quickly took aim with the rifle and fired a lone bullet with a rune on it. The bullet then transformed into a crow made out of a black and purple fire. it quickly grabbed a hold of the dummy with its talons, making sure it had a firm grip before exploding. A hologram then appeared on its charred remains. 5000 points.
Slyde's gaze kept on her as he saw the damage his eyebrow raising a little.
"... Mix of Dark and Fire. Basic combo, but effective none the less. Mediocre, but not as boring."
The examiners marked Hana as ‘Passed’ before instructing the surprised fox to head to the female dorms for orientation. She was just happy to have Slyde's gaze off her. While she left, Slyde pulled one of the examiners aside by the arm.
"I want that one in my class. Also, the airhead idiot that attacked me." He instructed, looking at the examiner as he nodded apprehensively and returned to his post.
"A good CEO can see talent a mile away." Slyde commented as he sat back next to his messy colleague and watched as a young man fired a bolt of lightning from a lance weapon, keeping a sharp eye on the damage score.
"Oh that was boring, only 300?”
"Perhaps, though I think I can make something worthwhile out of him. Place that boy in my class." The messy teacher called out casually to the examiners as they gave the boy a pass, raising his spirits quite a bit.
"Hmm... Always working with the rejects aren't you Atlas? I don't envy your job, though I do admire your bravery." Slyde complimented as he waited for the next entry to try out their skills on the dummies. He didn't really prefer Atlas to his other colleagues, but he did respect him in his own way. Atlas had a way of taking even the most boring student and making them presentable and decent. Nothing Ivy league, but decent nonetheless. Though that wasn't gonna stop Slyde from busting Atlas's chops here and there.
The evening came quickly for Hana. She sat quietly in her small dorm, staring at her amulet through the mirror's reflection. It was strange. Its shape changed and began to fit her perfectly since she left her magical form. There were so many questions pounding in her mind.
The old fashioned intercom chimed in a few seconds later with the Principal giving a special announcement.
"Attention all new students. I know you're exhausted from the day's event. Which is why dinner will be served in 30 minutes. After that, a demonstration by our teachers! Dinner AND a show! Don't miss it!"
"Also, could Surīpī Hana come to the principal's office?" Atlas's voice chimed in, making the fox girl moan in frustration before she began to try to look for an escape route. If they knew her name, they knew of her unsavoury history.
At the doorway, was Slyde. He was staring at a projection screen. On it were some numbers and reports, turning it off when Hana came near.
"Hmph, now they got me escorting students. What a pain in the ass. Come on, don't wanna keep the jolly old man waiting." Slyde grumbled as he lit up another Bluestick as they started heading for the principal's office.
Hana continued to walk in front of Slyde, noting how he was making sure that he was watching her every move. If she moved now, he'd be able to stop her in her tracks with those orbs.
"For the record, I don't give a crap. About anyone, there past, where they're from. That's all annoying boring work." Slyde said, breaking the silence as he continued to escort Hana, a look of annoyance on his face. They finally arrive at the principal's office, slowly opening the door to the room.
"Hana! Glad you could join us. I have some exciting news." Atlas called out to the now confused fox girl as he was aiding the principal in sorting out a number of documents with a few holographic monitors as touch screens.
"Erm... What news sir?" Hana asked with a raised eyebrow, slowly reaching for the button on the amulet.
"My my, you really are a fox kin aren't you? Heh, I didn't notice during orientation. I must be losing my touch." The principal said with a smile as he walked around Hana smiling as he walked calmly to his desk and pulled up a news article entitles "Dayshadow kills another." on one of the monitors.
"Not only a fox kin, but a 'ghost fox kin' as well! How wonderful! So, Miss Hana. We have a little situation here. See, on the one hand, you are... Sorry, 'were' wanted by the police for thievery. On the other hand, that amulet is very interesting in how you were reported being able to use it. So, here is the deal. We want you to stay here as a student. Provide info on that amulet, train here and learn. If you graduate, we part ways, no lingering problems. Not a bad deal wouldn't you say?"
The few times Hana had seen the principal, he seemed like a jolly man. But the last few minutes showed a man who was well versed in making deals and very professional ones at that. Though he still kept some of his jolly demeanor.
"Wait, what?.... You want me to become a technomancer?..... But, I'm a thief! I stole this!" Hana admitted to the principal in her disbelief, seeing that there wasn't now really much to hide from the teachers. The fact that everyone thought that she was dead already was enough of a surprise, but they were talking about training her personally.