❯ Mystic Visions – MYSTIC ( Chapter 3 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

AN: (crows) At long last – the first sighting of actual plot! (preen, preen) Heh, can you tell I’m having fun? Also, Ichiro gets his introduction. We’ll be seeing a fair amount of him in the next few chapters. Fortunately for me, I have discovered that he is fun to write, grin. I suppose most of you should be able to figure out basically what’s going on at this point, but even if you do, I strongly recommend that you hold out for Wizard’s point of view in a couple chapters 😉
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Chapter Two: MYSTIC
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On Saturday, Oujiro floated through his morning classes in a hazy state to which he was beginning to become accustomed. Wizard’s weight in his book bag was strangely reassuring, but nevertheless he was disturbed to look down at his notebook after European History to discover a rough sketch of two figures dancing.

All in all, it was a relief to escape the mindless monotony after lunch and go visit his brother’s lab across town. Oujiro hummed random snatches of different songs as he keyed his way through various security checks to the innermost rooms where all the confidential research was carried out, feeling more awake already. Of course, if everything was proceeding as planned, MYSTIC wouldn’t be confidential for long…

MYSTIC. It stood for `mobility, sensory, and tactical intelligence circuit’, and it was his big brother’s new favorite project. Even Oujiro didn’t know all the details, but he had gotten the distinct impression that, if only it could be completed, it would border on artificial intelligence. Ichiro had already managed to make great progress on the responsiveness of the angels, but apparently he was no where near satisfied, and had been taking up scandalous amounts of Oujiro’s time for months now.

By this token, he now knew the inner and most secret corridors of the lab building quite well, but today this talent wasn’t really necessary – as he approached the main laboratory, he found that all he really had to do was follow the screams.

He keyed the final door open in a state of mild distress, and was met with a sight that, anywhere else, would have been very odd indeed. His brother was pinning a struggling Ogata to a control panel, holding his hands out of the way above his head and brandishing something long and black…

“Goodness – I thought you had a girlfriend, Ogata-san,” Oujiro remarked mildly, finding a convenient table to deposit his book bag on.

The assistant squawked miserably, but Ichiro instantly released him and whirled to face the younger man with a jubilant cry of, “Oh, Oujiro, finally!” He grinned and held out the eel as if that explained everything, and then tossed it carelessly over his shoulder. “What took you so long?” he demanded.

“I’m right on time,” Oujiro replied dryly. “Why the good mood – have you made progress?”

Ichiro nodded, rocking on his heels. “Could be, could be. I might need to keep you a little longer than planned to test it out properly…”

Oujiro frowned. “Well – as long as I can get to Piffle Princess by three. I promised Misaki-chan I’d practice with her.”

His brother arched an eyebrow at him. “Oh – didn’t you know? Misaki-chi has a fever today. Her aunt called to say that she might not be able to make her session tomorrow, which is why I might want extra time with you.”

“But – I just saw her yesterday…” Oujiro shook his head incredulously. Ichiro merely shrugged, however.

“Oh well. It’s not like I don’t have enough people working on this,” he said flippantly. Oujiro frowned at him, and his expression softened. “Maybe you should go see her afterwards, though.”

Oujiro smiled a little at that, and chuckled. “Yeah… How many Deuses do you have in on this now, anyway? All the best ones, it sounds like. At this rate, it’s hardly going to be a surprise when you unveil it during the tournament.”

“If,” Ichiro corrected darkly. “The thing is so complicated that I barely understand it, and there’s only one week left…”

Oujiro scoffed. “Oh, you’ll get it together, I’m sure.” He fished Wizard out of his bag; the angel fit comfortably into the crook of his arm. “Can I get started?”

As Ogata began doing something with the controls, Ichiro escorted Oujiro to the door of the observation layer’s room – and then, to the younger brother’s surprise, followed him right in. “Please try not to use your special technique,” Ichiro said by way of explanation, selecting an angel from a table and turning the layer on. “I’d like to see how this works under regular conditions first, if possible.”

“Sure.” Oujiro placed Wizard in the layer and pointedly ignored him as he donned his headset. Nothin’ to see here, folks.

“Right,” he heard Ichiro say, and looked up in time to see Ichiro’s angel lunging at Wizard. He gawped – thanks for the warning, brother! – but Wizard managed to dodge in time. He frowned thoughtfully at the field; yes, that had definitely felt a bit strange, but he couldn’t quite say how…

“The response is even faster, isn’t it?” Ichiro smirked mysteriously.

“I should certainly hope so…” While Oujiro was still puzzling over that, his brother launched a rapid volley of punches, and Oujiro was so confused by the increasingly strange feeling he was getting that he was certain that at least half of them must be hitting their mark – but when he looked at the damage counter, he was stunned to see that it hadn’t gone down a bit.

“What – nii-san, I think that thing is broken.”

Ichiro smirked wider. “Oh, I doubt it. I think it’s much more likely due to fact that I’ve never played with this angel before…”

“That shouldn’t make this much of a difference, though.” Ichiro just grinned, in a way that Oujiro found deeply frustrating – and his focus, he realized, really was terribly off today. Why, he couldn’t possibly imagine… But, whether or not he was taking any damage, he was basically letting Ichiro walk him through this battle. Taking the girl’s part again…? His eyes narrowed, and he dove forward for his first attack of the game – which Ichiro met with a counter-attack that dealt him his first damage of the game.

“Ah, ah – now you’re forcing it!” Ichiro crowed. At Oujiro’s hurt and confused expression, he leaned forward to whisper conspiratorially: “Tell me… how do you feel about Angelic Layer becoming a team sport?”

This naturally left Oujiro at his most distracted yet, and Ichiro’s angel lunged forward – and was promptly blown out of the layer.

“Now, didn’t I just ask you not to use that technique?” Ichiro scolded severely, but he was grinning.

“What – but – I didn’t-” Oujiro stared at his brother for a long, long moment, utterly floored.

“A.I.,” he eventually choked. “You did it. You actually – you…”

Ichiro waved a hand airily. “Oh, there are still some glitches – just now, for instance, you didn’t want to use the Shield, but Wizard went ahead and used it anyway because he knew it would win the game. Now that I’ve figured out how to let them think for themselves, the trick seems to be getting them to stop…”

Oujiro shook his head hopelessly, and suddenly glowered. “I thought you said you didn’t understand it…”

“I don’t,” he agreed. “That doesn’t mean I can’t make it work.”

“Ugh, you… you… You’re going to get a Noble for this, you know.” Ichiro smirked vainly. Oujiro shook his head again, still feeling more than a bit dazed, and removed his headset. “Kami-sama… I’m sorry, but is this enough for today?” He couldn’t help but smile. “I’d really like to go tell Misaki.”

Ichiro rolled his eyes. “Y’know she doesn’t have anything fatal, right? She’ll still be there when we’re done… Though I suppose it did go exceptionally well, barring the bit at the end…” He grinned lecherously. “Give her my love?”

Oujiro scowled, jumping to his feet and snatching Wizard out of the layer. “You,” he informed him, “are not a genius at all; you’re just crazy. They say there’s not much difference…” He kept smiling, though, even after he’d left the building.

X………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………..X

“Shouko-san,” Oujiro greeted, giving a formal bow. She smiled at him a little around her cigarette.

“Oujiro-kun,” she returned. “If you’re here to talk to Misaki, I’m afraid she’d sleeping. She’s been sick all day-”

“A fever; I heard,” Oujiro nodded. “How bad is it?”

Shouko looked at him oddly for a moment, then shrugged. “You must’ve heard that from Ichiro-san. I told him that for simplicity’s sake. It’s strange… She’s been asleep most of the time. She’s fine when she wakes up, but she can only stay that way for a few minutes… and she talks about her angel when she’s sleeping.” She spread her hands in a helpless gesture. “I’m gonna call a doctor… are you okay?”

Oujiro nodded hurriedly. “Just worried,” he assured her, smiling weakly. “Please, can I see her? I won’t wake her up.”

Shouko shrugged. “I wish you could. C’mon…”

Misaki’s bedroom light was turned off and the shades were drawn. Oujiro looked around with mild interest, and found it to be surprisingly neat and grown up, except for – he smiled – a decent-sized collection of stuffed animals. A chair was already pulled up to the head of the bed – Shouko had probably been watching over her – and he took a seat. She looked peaceful, he realized, and not at all feverish – in fact, she was smiling slightly. He couldn’t help but wonder if he looked like that when he dreamed of Wizard… and he immediately blushed, as he considered just what that would imply.

`Misaki isn’t that kind of girl! …But then, I didn’t think I was that kind of guy, either…’ He raked a hand through his hair, leaving it sticking up at odd angles. But it didn’t matter, he tried telling himself firmly. What even made him think their problems were related in the first place? So she seemed to be dreaming about her angel – his dreams certainly didn’t have this kind of effect on him. No, Misaki was sick, and he was just crazy. He cradled his forehead in his hands, looking the part of the concerned boyfriend very well, but in fact he was wishing fervently that his life would get a bit more normal again sometime soon.

TBC

Mystic Visions – Misaki
Mystic Visions – Hatoko