Akiko Matsushima found today's events quite unbelievable.
The day had started well enough, with her waking up early in the morning and finding an appropriate training spot deep in the forbidden forest. She hadn't thought anyone would be there so early in the morning, so she had started training a few forbidden Jutsus.
But, as her luck would have it, someone actually happened to arrive at that time, somehow without making any noise, as if gliding. By the time she heard his exclamation, he had already witnessed her practicing the Yin Affinity forbidden Jutsu.
Yin, also called the Darkness Affinity, is the best for creating Illusions and Genjutsu. Many of the ninjas train their yin affinity to learn Genjutsu, and most people at Mahoutokoro thought that she had done the same. But, in actuality, she already had the Yin Affinity. And it was very high. It was at a level where she could use actual darkness Jutsus rather than just Genjutsus. But, that fact has to remain concealed.
Because, excess of Yin affinity is quite frowned upon in Mahoutokoro since most of the Criminal Nins are known to use the forbidden Jutsus of this affinity. Of course, none of them actually had the Yin affinity. This affinity is so rare that only she has had it in a century. Those Criminals only used Yin Affinity Jutsus by forcefully increasing their Yin Affinity to a level higher than the recommended standards. Thus, Akiko has always kept her use of Yin affinity in public to simple Genjutsus.
And, this boy has seen her use the Yin Affinity Forbidden Jutsu! Akiko wanted to quickly perform the memory Jutsu on the boy. So, she tried to stop him from escaping.
But this is when the truly unbelievable part starts.
She had thrown a few Senbons his way to lock him in place, but... somehow, the boy actually dodged them all! He even caught one in his hands as if it was no big deal.
Akiko was shocked. Even the students of Mahoutokoro his age can't do that, let alone a wizard with no formal training. She hadn't even expected him to move, let alone dodge everything.
Thus, she didn't waste time and simply used her lightning Jutsu which lets her travel very fast in a straight line to quickly reach his position to deal with him at close quarters.
Though, somehow, the boy blocked her sword quite easily... and with a knife at that! Blocking a sword blow with a knife is quite difficult as compared to blocking with the sword, but somehow, the boy did it.
Not seeing any other way, she used Matsushima Kenjutsu.
(Kenjutsu = Sword Techniques)
Unbelievably, the boy was able to match her, with just a knife!
It has to be noted that the Matsushima Sword Style is one of the best in the world, and she is a certified genius who has been training in it since she was 5. So, her kenjutsu was at a level where she could even beat most of the senseis. Plus, she was using a sword while the other party only had a knife, which is quite a big disadvantage. And yet, somehow, the boy was able to stand his ground!
He was skilled, and his techniques were exquisite, but... there was a discrepancy that gave her the chills:
He had very little combat experience!
Swordplay is mostly about muscle memory and instincts. When an experienced ninja is using different high-speed sword techniques to attack you, you need a lot of combat experience and muscle to instinctively react to it. But, it was plain to see that the boy was doing it without any of that.
This only meant one thing: The reaction speed of this boy is insanely high.
Not only that, but he's somehow able to move his body to match that reaction speed. This means, his physical abilities are also insanely high. He's much faster than her, a lightning user, and the strikes which she delivered with all her strength and momentum didn't even cause his arms to shake. Oh yeah, and he was still doing all this with a knife.
Even as they fought, he was getting better. He no longer wasted his movements, his technique seemed to refine itself and, the grin forming on his face told her that he was actually enjoying this!
What is this? Akiko has never been in such a situation. And she thought she was the cheat existence here. She now knew how others felt when looking at her.
Having no choice, she infused Lightning in her sword to stun him. This will be a bit painful, but it was the best option against this monster.
Though, her next big surprise, he had lightning affinity! He was able to endure the shock of that attack without having to infuse any magic in his blade. Even if not as rare as the Darkness Affinity, the Lightning Affinity is also quite rare. This is the reason why all the students at Mahoutokoro were in awe of her. They don't know about her Darkness Affinity since it has been a closely guarded secret even before she became a student at Mahoutokoro. Thus, it was quite a surprise that he had it as well.
But then, it turns out that he can also actually infuse magic in his blade. He was just not using it.
'Has he been… holding back all this time?'
The realization made her stunned. To think he didn't even consider her a big enough threat to use all of his cards...
It was at this moment that she saw him counterattack for the first time. Suddenly, the knife in his right hand appeared in his left hand! Before she knew what was happening and backed away, it was already stabbed into her abdomen.
Akiko blanked out for a moment as she took her distance from him. She had been injured. She had actually been injured! It has been such a long time since this has happened.
She looked at the boy in a new light. This is no ordinary opponent. She had no choice but to take this opponent seriously. Maintaining the distance, she decided to use her second affinity.
She used a Powerful Genjutsu to distract him, turned herself invisible, and used a sneak attack on him. But, he actually saw through her technique!
Just as she was about to attack him, his eyes shifted away from the fake Lightning Dragon as they focused on her. There was a hint of ridicule in those faintly glowing amber eyes. Before she could react, a punch landed on her, smack dab in the middle of her cheek.
The impact was so strong that her Genjutsu dissipated into a puff of smoke as she was left standing stunned on the ground, barely able to keep her balance. It was such a powerful punch that she had to give him a second look to confirm that it was indeed thrown by him. The boy just stood there casually with a slight smirk playing on his lips. He wasn't even slightly winded, as if this was just a game to him. Seeing that smirk and feeling the disrespect, anger surged within her. No one had ever treated her like this!
'Lightning Release: Lightning God Mode.'
Without even thinking of the consequences, she used her strongest lightning technique, her Trump card which she hadn't shown anyone. Since she still hasn't mastered it yet, using this causes her body to be sore for days. But, it amplifies her speed and reaction speed by a huge factor.
The boy seemed to realize that he was in trouble since he tried to stop her. But, it was too late. In an instant, she felt pain all over her body, but, the world slowed down for her. She avoided his attempt to stop her.
'Not so fast now, are you?' She thought as she punched him with all her might. But in the next moment, her eyes widened when she saw his head already moving backward in the last moment, decreasing the impact of the blow.
Seriously, this guy was creeping her out now. She was so glad to see the fist connect. But, her triumph was short-lived as she felt her hand throbbing with pain. When she looked back at him, he had already disappeared and while she tried to search for him, she suddenly found her body unable to move as she fell to the ground.
As she lay there, the foremost thought that dominated her mind was: So, he was still... holding back.
Axel's day was starting out great as he discussed the terms with Akiko and finally, they both came to an agreement. For a year, she would try her best to teach Axel whatever he asked if she knew it and if she wasn't breaking any rules by teaching him. This was the first term. Akiko didn't think Axel would be able to learn much in a year.
The second term was: they won't reveal each other's secrets. Both of them were pretty tight-lipped and their mental defenses were strong, so they didn't worry about the second term.
"The heck is this?" Asked Axel, looking down at a piece of paper filled with densely packed kanji letters. He half expected it to explode.
"It's a Fuinjutsu Contract with the terms. You have to sign here with your blood," explained Akiko, biting her thumb and signing her name.
Axel gave her a scrutinizing look. She didn't seem to be deceiving him. 'System, tell me what's written. Is it the same?'
Only after confirming everything with the system did Axel sign the contract. It was pretty much what they'd agreed on. Since this method seemed quite useful, Axel had Akiko make a few more blank secrecy contracts in case some other unkillable people found out his secrets.
As Axel was signing the contract, Akiko looked at his name.
Axel nodded as he realized that he was yet to introduce himself. "That's me, and I already know your name," he was saying, but he saw Akiko begin to sway on her feet. "What's up with you?"
Akiko shook her head, trying to clear her head. She rubbed her cheek which was already bruising up due to Axel's punch.
'It's because of that?' It seems that the punch he had delivered earlier was still too strong.
"Hey, are you alright? I tried controlling my strength," said Axel. After healing, he can't properly control his strengths. So, accidents happen.
"That strength... was after holding back?" murmured Akiko, looking angrier than soothed for some reason.
Axel shrugged, " Yeah. Anyways, I'm going to the Hospital wing right now to get rid of this bruising. Are you coming?" he asked, inviting her along. Both of them had a bruised cheek and Akiko also had a small wound from the knife. They wouldn't be able to attend their classes without raising hundreds of questions.
Akiko shook her head, "I know a bit of healing Jutsu," she said as she began to perform hand seals. But as she did the hand seals, her legs gave out as she collapsed on the ground.
Seeing this, Axel frowned. This is not something that could happen just because of his attacks. But then it came to him, "That last Jutsu. It was too much for you, wasn't it?" He deduced.
Yep, he was right. It made sense now. That Jutsu was too much of a cheat! He was quite eager to have her teach him.
In the end, both of them ended up going to the Hospital wing. Halfway through, Axel had to carry her using her wand since the girl was struggling to walk on her shaky legs. On a side note, he also made a mental note to also learn some Healing magic.
"Anyways, why were you practicing that Forbidden Jutsu? You're already powerful enough as it is, asked Axel as he carried her. It would be understandable in his case since his opponent Voldemort is so OP that his current level is far from enough. But, why would she need to take such desperate measures? Does she also know that the world is going to be taken over by that madman? Or does she have some other enemy?
Akiko's eyes flashed with complicated emotions as her fists clenched. "That...is private," she said in the end.
"K." Axel didn't pursue the matter further. Though it would seem that she did have a strong driving force behind her strength. No one becomes that strong for no good reason, not even with extreme talent.
Take Martina for example. Her hunger for power isn't strong enough. So, despite her talent, which is actually better than Akiko, Akiko destroyed her quite easily in the duel yesterday.
They reached the Hospital wing in silence. With so many students, of course, Madam Pomfrey wasn't the only healer. There were others and there were also apprentices pursuing Healing as a carrier.
The healer lady doing the night shift wasn't pleased to be disturbed in her sleep, but she did patch up their wounds in minutes. After that, she diagnosed Akiko.
"Merlin's bladder, how did this happen?!" Asked the healer as soon as she was done with the diagnosis. Axel was disappointed to know that Akiko was strictly recommended a few days of rest along with the treatment. It would seem like they can't start the training today since the healer refused to let Akiko off.
Disappointed, Axel completed his exercise and attended the physical training class.
"What happened to your cheek?" Asked Daphne as soon as she saw him.
The bruise was almost gone, but not completely. "It's nothing. Just got punched from someone." Axel didn't know why, but he told her the truth.
Daphne began examining his body in worry, "Merlin! Are you alright? Are you hurt somewhere else?!"
Axel looked at her fussing over him with some perplexity. This situation is still a bit surreal to him. Not long ago, no one would have given a shit whether he died or not. At that time, he had never expected that he'll ever find someone who'd care so much for his well-being.
'This feeling... is not bad,' he affirmed once again. Though this time, he didn't take it too seriously. The last time he had this feeling, it was quite short-lived (Andromeda). Thus, he decided that he'll enjoy it while he still has it.
"Sigh, I'm fine. You're overreacting." he told the worried girl.
Daphne looked at him doubtfully, "Are you?"
"What do you think?"
Daphne seemed to give it some serious thought, "You don't pick fights you can't win. I think the other person is much worse off."
Axel smirked. "Smart."
"Though, who was the other person?"
"Can't say," he replied, making her pout.
Their banter ended when the Sensei came. This time, there were comparatively fewer students but still, there were plenty including the ones who were there just to watch. This time, Axel performed better than the last time, but still didn't try out the obstacle course.
After the class was over, as Axel sat at the breakfast table, some students came to stand in front of him, somewhat surrounding him. It was Damien Malcolm and his cronies. Axel looked around, sure enough, Martina and Patricia weren't here right now.
"What do you mean he had a bruise on his cheek? How did he get it?! And where were you while he got hurt?!" Demanded a furious Bellatrix.
Tonks sighed, "Relax aunty, it's just a small bruise. And no, I can't follow him all the time, so I don't know how he got it. It was there when he got to the morning class at 7."
Bellatrix banged the table in front of her, "Then find out and report it to me! And don't let him escape your eyes now. Follow him everywhere! Or you're better off just going back to your training."
"Alright, alright, I'll do it, aunty, please don't talk about sending me back to that boring place! And you have to give me some more details if you want me to understand the severity!" Yelled Tonks, but the phone went dead with an, "I'll think about it." Tonks sighed, "Looks like I need to take this seriously." She had been treating this trip to Hogwarts like a vacation, but it seems that she can no longer slack off. Whatever, she was quite curious about this boy anyways. Why are both the sisters so concerned about him?
On the other hand, Bellatrix had cut off the call because an important guest had arrived at her office. Right now, she sat face to face with an old man with a bald head and white beard wearing a Yukata. This was none other than Yamazaki Hiroshi, the Principal of Mahoutokoro.
"What is it that you wanted to talk about, minister?" Asked Hiroshi, his face expressionless and his eyes close. He wasn't smiling like he was in front of Dumbledore.
Bellatrix decided to come straight to the point, "I had a proposal."
"Well, let's see if it's worth my time."
Bellatrix frowned. This old foggy was looking down on her due to her young age. "The Kraken," She said, and at once, the old man's eyes opened. "I'll help you destroy it."
"I… don't know what you are talking about, minister."
Bellatrix scoffed, "Come on, you know exactly what I'm talking about, or at least, you hope I don't. I know all about the cooperation between Atlantis and Japan. I even know about the Kraken," she said, revealing her cards. This was the main reason why she chose Mahoutokoro. Because the ninjas have a relationship with Atlantis. The Atlantis hires the ninjas from time to time for various purposes.
But, there is one main mission that contracts the most number of Ninjas: Kraken. And no, we're not talking about the creature here.
Kraken is the name of an Organization. It is the name of THE organization.
Hiroshi frowned, his eyes turning sharp. He no longer pretended to be ignorant. "How do you know all this?"
'Not looking down on me now, are you? You old foggy,' thought Bellatrix as she put on a mysterious smile, "I have my sources everywhere."
(Poor and oblivious Gorski in the seller: "...")
The old man still wanted to check her knowledge, "Why would we be interested in destroying the Kraken?"
Bellatrix laughed, "Why? Where do I even begin? You want to test out how much I know? Fine.
"Let's just ignore the number of Ninjas you've already lost against them. It's a thing of the past. But, correct me if I'm wrong, but they're going to need your help once again due to the matter of succession. At that time, if you refuse, you'll be losing your very important client. And if you didn't, you'll be losing a lot of ninjas," saying so, Bellatrix leaned closer.
"If that's not reason enough, then maybe because you might be interested in avenging your daughter and your son-in-law, who died in a mission concerning the Kraken. After all, your genius granddaughter seems to want the revenge very badly. You wouldn't want her to go on that futile mission, would you?"
'Akiko...' At that, the old man's shoulders sagged, and Bellatrix knew she had him.
'Hook, line, and sinker.'