“Yeah. That kid is cool.”
Nel was too excited to tell me what happened during the meeting of the four tribes. I couldn’t remember when the last time was this kind of thing happened but seeing how representatives from each tribe meet and discuss the future was, indeed, a momentous time for our race.
They were descending the mountains and Nel seemed to forget her exhaustion because she couldn’t stop talking about what happened during their talk. She said she liked the other tribes’ representatives. When he mentioned Hiro, I asked her what she thinks of him.
“That guy?” she paused. “He seems responsible enough. Oh, and despite his cold demeanor, the way he stares at people was intense. Actually, he reminds me of you.”
“Is that so?”
“Why are you interested in him?”
I shrugged. “Not really.”
The three of them gave curious looks but before they could ask anything, I told her to continue her story. After several minutes, I learned about the current status of each tribe. Honestly, I didn’t expect it to be successful because of the Shinigami tribe. I still don’t trust them but maybe, that Darwin, could make the changes necessary for the Shinigami tribe to be accepted by the other three.
“By the way, where are you?” Cliff asked.
I smirked. “Had to take a detour.”
“Where?” added Jett.
“That’s a secret. Oh well, talk to you guys later.”
I ended the call and their faces twitch for a few seconds and finally faded. A new holograph appeared, only it was a note about my next mission, along with a voice mail.
“Agent, obliterate Nox’s base in Romania,” the voice ordered.
The three of them were still in Romania and they would probably be surprised when they see me here. Commander Priam gave me a new order: to assist the three of them in eliminating the Nox’s base in Romania. An agent was waiting for me in the airport in Japan and he flew me to Romania using our own plane. In no time, I arrived in the country’s capital—Bucharest.
Neo-classical buildings, museums and monuments were scattered all over the city. It felt like I was pulled back in the medieval period because of the architecture and arts around me. According to the data, this was also where the base was, and it would be quite hard, because it was the most populated city.
From the south, I saw a building that looked like a palace—two rook-shaped towers on each side, with pillars adorning the front. I checked my device and confirmed the location. The palace glinted under the sunlight while tourists took pictures and lined at the restaurant in the terrace.
I parked my car on a nearby lot and observed every person around it. According to our sources, this became the base of Nox since nobody uses the building as the terrace was the only place open to the public. The officers and staffs maintaining the palace must be Nox members since they were the only ones who could come in and out of there.
I caught a glimpse of a guy wearing a suit. His hazel eyes gleamed with caution as he looked around, but I didn’t see any changes. That meant he wasn’t wearing any contact lenses. He was a humdrum. He went inside the building and vanished from my sight.
It was already 8:30 P.M. and the sun was about to set. Those three were on their way here but they might arrive later than I expected. I crept around the palace, waiting for the right time to sneak in without getting any attention.
When darkness loomed over the city, I moved toward the tower at the right and prowled inside to investigate.
I almost gasped when I got inside. The hall was lined with gold-plated pillars and the ceiling were decked with extravagant chandeliers. Every step I took echoed through the room. When I arrived at the central hall, I almost got decapitated.
“Who are you?” a seven-foot tall man demanded as he swung his sword.
I pulled mine from my sheath but before I could think of a way to sort it out, several more men in suits rushed into the room.
“A Chrome,” one of them hissed in disgust.
They all lunged at me, their weapons ranging from blades to blunt to guns. My skin tingled. I wanted to do it the Keeper way but my instincts took over. My mind was suddenly filled with angry and agonizing voices, as if I was back in Shima.
My hands moved on their own. I imagined myself in the middle of the Blood Chamber, along with heinous captives. Rage and thirst filled my head. The next thing I knew, the polished floor was already flooded with blood.
Within a minute, the only one left was the first guy who discovered me. His hands were trembling as he pointed his sword at my direction. I smiled at him as I shook off the blood from my sword. Before he could take a step backward, my sword had already pierced his throat.
About twenty bodies lay lifeless on the bloodied floor. I took a deep breath and continued walking. I was just on my third step when more Nox members came dashing to the commotion.
“Hi,” I greeted.
They didn’t greet me back. Instead, they seethed in rage as they saw the scarlet floor where their lifeless comrades were. I thought they would come at me but they stood from a distance as they continued glaring at my direction.
I was about to make the first move but I halted when I saw people coming behind them. My blood ran cold when I saw two children, a girl and a boy and maybe about seven to ten years old, stood in front of them, their eyes vacant of feelings. The girl had purple eyes while the boy had yellow.
Young Huntres and Custos children turned into Navis, I thought.
I drew a deep breath trying to calm myself but seeing those two made it difficult. A wave of fury stirred in my chest as they commanded the children to attack me.
The girl drew a stick from her back and in grew into a three-meter bamboo. She thrust it at my direction with unbelievable strength and speed, and if I was a second slower, the might already be a hole on my chest. On the other hand, the boy held his palm at my direction and my sword rattled. I had to grip it tight as it felt like something was pulling it toward him. Before I could understand his animus, the girl came to me with wooden spikes.
It took me a lot of effort not to kill them. Just like the other Navis, they weren’t in their right minds, and controlled by the zuersts. Most of the swords used by the first group who attacked me rattled on the floor and went flying toward the boy’s direction. Before they pierced him, the swords flipped over and pointed at me.
“These two weren’t like those defects,” one of the guys commented as he watched the children with an amused expression.
My heart tightened as both of them lurched at me.
Three seconds, I thought. Three seconds is all I need.
Just when I thought the mission was already doomed, something whizzed past my head. When I looked at the two kids, they crumbled down on their knees and collapsed.
Hearing Jett’s voice cleared my confusion and before the Nox members could understand what was going on, I lunged at their direction.
I let my rage control me. The ruthlessness I was suppressing for quite some time stirred after spending nights in Shima. With my sword bathed in blood, I slashed everyone at every direction, cursing them inside my head after what they did to those children.
It took me a few seconds to calm down. When I looked around, a shiver went down my spine.
“N-Naia . . .”
I turned around and saw the three of them walking toward my direction. Nel looked horrified as he stared at the bloodbath but her expression softened when he saw the two kids lying unconscious on the floor.
“Y-you . . .” Cliff faltered while Jett stared curiously at me.
My hair was dyed in red; splatters of blood stained my clothes and face. The place was reeking with the smell of iron. I heaved a sigh as lifeless bodies in a pool of blood surrounded me.
A Keeper was supposed to be hiding, observing the situation and making sure his or her team would stay alive as they do the mission. Yet here I was, soaked in our enemy’s blood, just like how an Executioner would act.
I smiled at them. “Sorry, I can’t be a good Keeper.”
With my remaining strength, I walked at their direction. Finally, we were together again.