Chapter 257 – Misdirected Emotions
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Everything happened so fast that by the time Yori started his build up Athene already dropped them.  The black energy half molded in his hand vanished to particles.  Immediately, his eyes shifted around the horizon, already forgetting Athene stood in front of him.  Her presence nearly disappeared.  A singular thought ran through Yori’s mind on repeat, like a skipping record.  All his mind’s eye could see was his sister.  Her name haunted everything, making him deaf to all.

Seconds ticked by like hours in his panic.  He couldn’t see the real one.  Even though her image popped up like a collage within him.  All the fakes didn’t count for a single thousandth of a point for the real one.  His real sister still faced the danger of that Atlantean she foolishly tried to face down without any powers.  ‘Where are you, Yumi?!  I don’t see you!’

He traced out the city’s wall to locate the fight.  Spread out flickers of shapes or shadows, maybe lights, nothing he wanted appeared.  ‘…Yumi…’  Finally, the broken sections of the wall came to focus, but he had to strain his eyes.

Needles shoved up against Yori’s neck, the full ten seconds Athene went ignored hit her limit.  “You’d best focus on me.”  The needles poked his skin, but didn’t draw up blood.

His sister remained missing in his eyes.  A nuisance popped up, but he just waved his hand.  “Back off.”

Not even touching her, a force gripped her across almost her entire body sending her flying.  However, it only took her a few moments to come to a sudden stop in midair.  “You’re not getting rid of me that easily!”

“I’ve no interest in you.”  A raised palm lifted her up further away from the ground.  The annoyance needed to remain still while he searched.  ‘Yumi, you’re out there.  I know you are.  I’ll find you!’

Chapter 257 – Misdirected Emotions

Athene tried to regain control over her body.  “Damn you!  I won’t--!”  Her arms suddenly started to stretch beyond their limits.  It felt like invisible hands tried to pop them right out of her joints.  The feeling swarmed over her whole body.  Everything from the center tried to move away.  “B-b-bas-tard…”

The pain began to become unbearable.  It threatened her concentration.  She coughed struggling with holding back all of the screaming her body proclaimed.  Each millimeter further on her bones brought them closer to snapping apart.  She was just a doll in his hands.  “Damn…”

Frantic, Yori strained his eyes as much as he could to find his sister.  As long as the battle for Yuki Hayashi continued, she remained in danger.  Without her powers, she stood no chance against them.  ‘There!  That must be her.’  Isolating everything else, they were the only things in the area.  Even if he couldn’t see her clearly, it had to be her.

Released from the hold, Athene dropped back to the ground.  Pain and soreness held her from making any action against Yori as he ran off.  “You’re…not going…anywhere,” she muttered, trying to get off the grass.

“Yumi, I’m coming!”  Yori continued his blind charge after his sister.  Interventions couldn’t stop him.  He would get back to her no matter what.  However, he suddenly hit a wall.  It knocked him on his butt, but didn’t keep him down for long.  Immediately a moment later, he was back on his feet pounding on the brick.  “This won’t stop me!”

Wasting no time further on the wall, he charged up black energy into his hands.  He sent the sphere of darkness at the simple red brick wall.  Exploding on impact, smoke covered the area around him.  Not waiting on the clearing, he charged back in only to be hit by the wall.  “The hell?!”  His hands slammed against the wall trying to find the weakness.

Nothing happened.

Searching around, he went off to look for the end of the wall.  He needed to get around it and return.  Time wasted in each second this delayed him.  “Where the hell is the end of this?!  Damn it!  Let me out!”

“There is no exit,” replied Athene, finally on her feet.

Turning towards Athene, Yori took in the whole surroundings for the first time.  It might have been a wall, but it would also be more accurately called a dome.  The outside completely disappeared.  Somehow a light still remained to keep the interior lit.  “Out of my way!”

“No!  You’re staying here!  I will not be satisfied until you’re dead!”  Her fists tightened up.  Images in her mind made it difficult to keep her body from shaking.  “It’s your fault for everything!”

Yori turned his hand back to Athene.  He heard enough from her.  “Be gone!”  When her body flew back it sent the wall moving with her knocking him forwards.  It dropped him on his face with a headache.  “Damn it!  I don’t have time for this!”

Standing slowly to his feet, his eyes went away from Athene towards where he assumed his sister to stand.  ‘This wall needs to come down.  I just need to take out the one keeping it up.’  His all white eyes focused back on the woman.  She stood in his way, finally fully realized in his sight.  “So I just have to take you out.”

Being grabbed by an invisible force became something of a familiar feeling to Athene at this point.  However, each time brought something different.  Each time was painful.  This time, it pulled her towards Yori.  ‘Not this time!’  Long needles materialized between her fingers.  Only her torso was under its control, once in range she would be able to attack.  She gripped the needles tightly.

Seemingly a similar thought in mind, Yori’s hand clutched onto a black blade prepared for her.  Once she was in range it would be all over.  ‘This ends now!  I’m coming soon, Yumi!’

‘I’ll avenge you, Simonides!’

Their weapons sped towards each other.  Only seconds remained.

‘…Yori…’

Frozen.  Time ceased.

Yori looked around the world, suddenly feeling apart from it.  It didn’t feel right.  ‘What’s happened to me?  Why can’t I move?’  An image of his sister ran through his view.  He turned to try to keep her in sight, but she already disappeared.  ‘Yumi?’  Something sat in the back of his mind, like a beacon going off repeatedly.  It signaled something.  It felt familiar.  He knew it well.  ‘Yumi!  Where are you?  You’re close by!’

‘…Yori…’

He flipped around knowing that she had to be near him.  It felt like she stood next to him.  She was there.  He just couldn’t see her, but his mind knew with certainty.  ‘Yumi, why can’t I find you?’

‘…I’m fine…’

‘Yumi?’  He tried running after her, feeling as if she started to drift away from him.  Yet he couldn’t reach her.  Something held him down.  ‘Yumi!’  She smiled at him, fading away.

“Yumi!”  Time returned.  His eyes returned to normal, restored to their light brown shading.  “Where am I?”  Ahead of him, he found Athene held just centimeters away with the tips of her needles just under his chin going for his neck.  His right arm also seemed positioned for a lethal blow just barely poking her chest, above her heart.

‘…Yori…’

His head flipped to the side upon hearing his sister’s voice.  ‘I can feel her…her presence.  Strange, but I know she’ll be fine.’  He pulled back his weapon hand, uncertain about the situation.  ‘Last thing I remember is being frustrated at my inability to help and now this…’

“I’m going to kill you, Yori Mizuno!” spat Athene, releasing her needles to fly the leftover distance.  Unfortunately, they hit a transparent square barrier, halting their strike.

Yori jumped back startled.  Then his eyes widened in surprise.  “You!  You’re that woman that went into my head!  What are you doing here?!”  He didn’t get a chance for another question as she lunged at him.  Acting defensively, he put up his arms to protect his body from her needles, but a barrier went up.

Baring her teeth at Yori, Athene’s more primal aspects bleed through in her face.  “Damn you!”

“Woah!  What did I do to you?!  Why do you want to kill me?”

“You’re the reason!  It’s your fault!  He’s dead because of you!”

“Who’s dead?  I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Athene slammed her needles against the barrier with greater frustration at being kept from her target.  Nothing happened with the barrier.  She wouldn’t take it being over.  Leaping up into the air, she landed on a circular pattern of light, but that was the least to be concerned over.  Back in view, hidden behind where she used to stand was a massive cannon comparable to those found on an Iowa-class battleship.

Barely enough time to yelp in surprise and wide-eyed, Yori dropped to the dirt just as he heard the earth shattering blast from the cannon.  Proximity to the ground upon firing was enough to tear away chunks of the earth.  Even from his position, he could feel the heat and blasting force against him.

All around him, black shards rained down from his barrier.  The grave atmosphere Athene placed on the whole area finally hit Yori.  ‘She wants to kill me!  I don’t even know what I did to piss her off so much!’  Looking for a place to go but realizing she already cut off all retreats, Yori tried to back up a little to give himself some room.  “I’ve been unconscious for the last few days!  Since you went playing around in my head!  I didn’t kill anyone!”  He wasn’t sure pointing blame back on her about something was a good idea in his situation.  However, she did already want to kill him, so he judged things couldn’t get much worse.

“Shut up!  I know it was you!”

“Huh?”  The tone in her voice made him lean back.  Her eyes alone were terrifying enough to see.  ‘She’s crazy!’  Yori looked around for anything.  He had been completely useless since entering Atlantis.  There was nothing to blame on him.  “If anyone’s got blame, it’s you for kidnapping me and your interrogation!  I can’t even remember what happened thanks to you!”

“Silence!”  The cannon seemed ready for another round as the barrel rotated a little to line up with Yori once more.

Staring down the sights of a giant cannon made Yori turn blue a little.  ‘I was lucky the last time.  I can’t do anything about that a second time!’  He glanced back at Athene.  The troubled woman directed all her fury upon him.  Yet he had no answers.  “Who’s dead?” he asked, looking to try to buy himself some time.  “Who did I kill?”  Any sort of extra time he had to come up with a plan would help, but he didn’t know what sort of plan could stop a shell from a cannon.

“You know who it was!”

He sighed to himself.  ‘This is not getting me anywhere.  She’s so off her rocker that she’s going in circular vague responses.’  Any second it seemed the cannon would fire.  “Dammit!  Just tell me their name!”

“Simonides!  The man trying to protect Atlantis from you intruders that ruined our peace!”

The name took him back for a moment.  He immediately recognized the name.  Then the rest of the pieces fell into place for him.  Recalling the man’s plan, it almost seemed obvious there would no doubt be those under his command looking for vengeance.  “Since it’s already out of the bag, he’s not dead.  He faked his death to help us settle all of the turmoil we’ve been causing here.  If you look back at our group, you’ll find him there.”

Yori’s response twisted Athene’s face to become even harsher than it had been before.  She looked to become something other than human.  “Lies!  Lies!”  A deep groan came from the cannon preceding its firing.  Fire blew out from the mouth of its barrel locked on Yori.

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