Lightly breathing, Wendy was up in the room she shared with Jason and the other haremettes. Curled up into a ball, she looked strangely small without Jason sleeping at her side. Jason himself however, was walking into the room, and wrapped his arms around her, picking her up. At this contact, she immediately woke up, but still looked groggy. She turned her head to look at Jason.
"J-Jason..." She yawned. "You're back? That's good...sleeping alone was lonely..."
Jason smiled. "Yes, I'm back. Sadly, my return isn't pleasant." He began to descend the stairs, and they entered a room where Gaikou was sitting on a couch, looking like she was in pain. Alaskiel's bandages only did so much. Wendy gasped.
Gaikou gave Wendy a glance of acknowledgement. "...Oh, a kid...? Didn't know you liked kids like that...hehe..." she coughed up more blood. "...Anyway, that bastard...I'll get him next time, I swear...!"
Iris merely buzzed around like a bee, grabbing things to help Gaikou with. "...You should've been more careful...I was worried about you the whole time..."
Alaskiel looked up at Wendy. "Heya 'lil Wen'." He grinned, and Wendy inched closer to Jason's chest. "Still scared of me, 'eh?"
Jason sighed. "Alaskiel, just let Wendy be." He set the girl down. "Wendy, can you heal Gaikou please?"
Wendy nodded, pumping her arms a bit. "Of course." She moved over to Gaikou, and summoned air imbued with magic onto her hands. She began to move her hands over Gaikou's body, the bandages tearing away from her body as the magic seeped in.
Gaikou blinked. "...That's...better? Now get the hell out of my way, I need to kill this bastard...!" She rudely shoved Wendy out of the way, preparing to leave.
Iris was deeply concerned by now. "…Gaikou, you can't just flare up at people like that…"
Gaikou snarled, "Shut the hell up! This has nothing to do with you—!"
Iris softly whispered, "…It does. I want you to be happy. We're friends, don't ever forget it."
Gaikou screamed at that squirrel demon, "Nobody asked you to help me—to you, I'm just somebody who will fade into memories once this mission is over…!!"
Iris insisted desperately while attempting to hug Gaikou, "You aren't nothing, I—"
Gaikou released a blast of pure concussive force from her palms at Iris, howling, "Don't you DARE touch me!"
However, Iris refused to let up—she held Gaikou tightly despite the burns on her arms, tearfully declaring, "See, Gaikou. Right now, you're full of unhappy feelings, and thoughts of unforgivable things. I certainly wouldn't be able to understand all of it. But I want to try and understand at least a little. I think we can share some of our unhappiness. I was the same as you, Gaikou. Told I was unneeded by the people I loved. Told I was a failure. It was painful, and lonely. I felt like dying. But, unhappiness doesn't last forever. Fun things, happy things, if you look, you will certainly find them. I'll help you search. So please, don't hurt others in your sadness."
Gaikou couldn't say a word. She was too overcome by emotion to even think straight; she became weak at the knees and merely muttered, "…I'm sorry. Please stay like this. Please... Please be my friend…" She really was on the verge of tears.
Iris merely smiled and replied simply, "We're friends, Gaikou. We'll be friends for life."
Jason took a seat in a chair, looking over at Gaikou through his brown eyes. "So...with that little outburst, what do you say? Care to join the Akatsuki?" He didn't have anything against the girl anymore, and being with people like them would probably tame her a bit. "We'd be happy to have you."
Wendy applied more magic to the wounds, and it seemed to burn for a second. She wasn't aware of this. Unconscious jealousy?
Gaikou took a few minutes of brief silence, weighing up the pros and cons of joining them. Of course, Iris had a way with words. "...I'll join you. But don't think I'll be joining you for family hugs and picnics and all that shit-"
Gaikou's oxygen was quickly cut off by Iris hugging her so damn hard. "...Oi, you...! Damn squirrel, lemme go...!!"
Wendy stood up, stretching. She smiled. "You should be completely fine now, Gaikou. Your wounds have been healed!" She then ran over to Jason, and stood unnaturally close, eyeing Gaikou. Whether the child was aware of her transparent jealousy was anyone's guess.
Gaikou nodded; trying to smile naturally was too much for her to bear. Instead, she forced it; giving out a grin that showed no emotions, but teeth. "...T-thank you..."
Iris inched back slightly, "E-Erm, Gaikou...that smile, it looks like something a serial killer would give off...It's scary...."
"She's not used to things like that." Alaskiel replied, chuckling. "A grimace that makes her look like she wants to kill you is much more Gaikou's style."
Gaikou elbowed him in the stomach. "Shaddup! I try to smile, I shouldn't get such negative comments..."
Iris actually couldn't stop laughing at Gaikou. "Pahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaahhaaaaa! That's...awfully nutty of you..." Gaikou had a faint blush on her cheeks as she stuttered something incoherent.
"I'm pleased to see you all are having a good time..." Jason didn't sound happy at all. "However, we have a problem. The killer got away." His eyes narrowed. He wasn't pleased, obviously. He should have released more of his power.
Gaikou's eyes sharpened; she cursed silently. "...Damn it all! Now, what are we gonna do...?" She banged her fist on the wall in annoyance.
"We plan." Jason replied simply. "Gaikou, calm yourself. I was the one fighting him, and I am not reacting like you are. Please, calm yourself. We'll figure this out." His eyes began to glow blue. "I'm going to ensure I kill him."
Wendy made a noise of admiration. Jason was cool when he was like this.
Gaikou was finding it incredibly difficult to actually calm herself. "...He's my kill. Interfere and I'll probably..." she sighed; realizing that she couldn't do anything. "...I'll probably get mad at you."
Chelia approached her and slapped her rear. "Calm thine mammary glands. We'll sort something out. Meanwhile, you need to just relax for a few days. You seem to have a stick permanently up your butt." Gaikou smacked her in the back of the head lightly. "Ouchie...!"
"I'm not pleased, Gaikou." Jason replied, his eyes conveying the emotion of a man torn up, his face conveying the emotions of a man in thought. "You were nearly killed under my charge. We'll see who kills him first."
Gaikou gritted her teeth. "...Right. You're on then! I'll kill the bastard before you can even find him!"
Iris just applied her palm to her forehead at Gaikou's words. "...He's saying that he's worried about you; he's not interested in any petty little competition Gaikou..."
"Then let's get down to business."
"To defeat the Huns." Iris added smugly and very sing-songy.
"You're thinking of something else." Jason replied.
Putting The Puzzle Together
Len was sitting in the middle of an empty room that seemed to have been added onto the Akatsuki building purely for something as convenient as this. He was surrounded by glowing screens and was reading a massive amount of data at once. Jason opened the door, followed by Gaikou, Alaskiel, Wendy, Chelia, and Iris. Olivia decided returning to the bar was best for her.
"Master! You're here." Len was enthusiastic.
"Of course." Jason replied and he sat on the floor, motioning the girls and Alaskiel to do the same. Alaskiel sat next to Gaikou, who was pleased with this naturally and didn't seem intent on letting him get too far away. Wendy sat as close to Jason and Chelia as possible, and Iris took her seat near Jason.
Gaikou sighed. "...That reminds me, where's that white-haired fool?"
Iris's eyes widened as she exclaimed, "O-Oh right! We completely forgot about Vivian..."
Chelia kicked back. "..Ah well, nevermind. She's not missing out on anything particularly important to her."
"No, Vivian is out on a job." Len replied airily. "She wanted to try an independent task on her own, I helped her fit a job best suited to her skills, downloaded a map of the area she needed into her head, and she was off. Is that acceptable Master?"
Jason nodded. "Of course. She'll come back fine, I have that much faith in her abilities. Now...what brings us to this conveniently located room is we have to figure out how to find the killer. Len, did you...?"
"Of course." Len smiled widely, and turned a screen to face them. There was a bleeping red dot on the screen. "From the transmitter I gave you, I during your brief skirmish, I activated a program which launched a tracker into the man's body. It doubles as a scanner, scanning the inner workings of his magics as well. With this, we'll be much more prepared for when we have to find him again."
"Crazy..." Wendy murmured, shocked at this level of forethought.
Gaikou's eyes sharpened. "Excellent. Now we can track the bastard down RIGHT NOW and end his life in an instant."
Iris muttered, "It's not that easy...he's strong, as we know..."
Gaikou calmed herself. "...So, there's strength in numbers. The rest of you guys can attack him while I finish him off."
"Gaikou, we're not distractions purely so your kill can be convenient." Jason said sharply. "Whoever kills him is whoever kills him. You will have no complaints, that is my final word on the matter."
Gaikou crossed her arms and restrained herself from kicking him in the shins. "Fine then." She barely didn't storm off- Jason just got to her, for some reason.
Len's eyes were aglow with the light of his screens. "He's a fairly standard guy actually. Scanning his body, the only magic he's really capable of is Explosion Magic. I can't analyze his spells, naturally."
"Don't knock Explosion Magic." Alaskiel replied, grinning. "You'd be surprised what that stuff can do in the right situation." He chuckled, as he clearly remembered a time when Explosion Magic gave him a large wound on his back.
Gaikou growled, "...So what. I can cut through explosions. It should be no problem."
Iris sighed. "...Gaikou, don't you REMEMBER last time? The decoy schooled you."
Gaikou scratched her head. "...Tch! But I have an ace up my sleeve..."
"You're too full of yourself." Len replied, looking at a different screen. "Explosion Magic can't be "cut", it's not something that can be touched with a sword. Even if you manage to nullify most of an explosion, there's something we call a shockwave. You're not invincible Gaikou, learn that now."
Jason agreed with this assessment.
Gaikou clicked her tongue in exasperation. "...Yeah, yeah. Whatever, whatever." She was so damn full of herself.
Iris remarked, "Gaikou, you need to stop thinking that you're a god or something."
Gaikou's eyes immediately sharpened. "...Oh, no. I don't think I'm a god..." a haunting orchestra began to play as her voice echoed dramatically, "I AM a god!" She paused and chuckled slightly. "Hehe, sorry. I always wanted to say that."
The group let out a collective groan, but Alaskiel merely flicked Gaikou's forehead in a teasing gesture. Len was typing quickly, searching through his Archive databases. "Explosion Magic is potentially powerful. When used the right way, it can even destroy you from the cellular level."
Wendy gasped and shrunk towards Jason. "And you can't tell if he can do that?" Jason asked seriously.
"It's impossible, but it's always a possibility." Len replied grimly.
Gaikou merely looked away. "...Anyway, that's enough exposition for now. Let's go take 'im down." She stood to her feet, ready to leave, when...
Iris grabbed Gaikou's arm from a fair distance away. It was magic. "...Not on my watch. We still need to formulate a strategy and all that fuzz."
"That's right." Len swelled with confidence. "Rely on me, I'll close any loophole."
"I'm going!" Wendy spoke firmly and at the top of her lungs to Jason. "I'm going to help this time!!"
Jason gritted his teeth. "Wendy, I can't let you go. This man is dangerous."
"I'm a mage of Akatsuki!" Wendy looked like she would cry from frustration. "I want to fight alongside you Jason, not with you! I can do it! Or don't you believe in me!?"
Jason flinched. She hit him in the target. He was making her unhappy, and thinking she didn't think she was competent was Wendy's button. he sighed. "Fine Wendy. You can come with us."
Iris's face contorted into that of a ':3' expression. "Now that's done, let's get the show on the road~!" She told Wendy, "If anything bad happens, then I'll look after you~"
"I'm holding you to that." Jason told Iris quietly. "I trust you."
Iris's ears perked up happily. "...You can count on me, Master~"
Gaikou stomped her foot. "Alright, alright. What are we still waiting for here?"
"Me." Alaskiel replied, stepping down from the steps, his hand on his hat, pulling down by the brim. "Let's get killin'."