Chapter Fifteen | Interlude

"We have arrived," the pilot announced.

Asmodeus got out of his seat and peered out of the escape craft's window. Indeed, they were closing in on a tiny, barren island. As they got a small bit closer, part of the landmass started to open up, revealing an entry into the CEA complex. As the craft descended into the entryway, Asmodeus' eyes widened as they found themselves in a full-fledged city. The opening closed above them as their vehicle touched down in the center of the relatively enormous complex.

"Wow," Asmo heard himself say subconsciously. "It's like something out of Eva…"
The pilot laughed. "No, no, this is all constructed. Nothing natural here."
"It's still amazing. I wish my old organization would have something this cool."
"I suppose," Seraphim said, "that we're all just used to this place."
"Either way," the pilot said, "we're here now."

The door of the EVAC craft folded out, with the CEA operatives filing out ahead of Asmodeus, who followed Seraphim onto the landing bay, where a paramedic team was waiting.

"Agent Seraphim," a doctor said, "If you'll come with us, we'll see what we can do for you."
"Thanks," Seraphim said weakly as she walked over, the blood on her face and clothes dry. Asmodeus started to follow the group, but found he was being held back by a red-headed woman he hadn't met before.
"Well," he said, a smile coming to his face, "hello there."
"Come with me," she said, going off in the other direction. Asmodeus followed, stopping for a second to look over his shoulder at Seraphim, who was being loaded onto an ambulance.

"Are you coming, Asmodeus?"
"Uh," he took one final look at Seraphim, "yeah."

A few minutes later, after walking in silence for the entire journey, Asmodeus spoke up. "You certainly do move fast, don't you? I don't even know your name yet."

"Oh, that's right. I'm sorry - I'm CEA Director Ami Prest."
"Oh!" Asmodeus exclaimed as he stopped in his tracks.
"Yeah, I don't know what you were thinking. Sera was right about you – little sense, lots and lots of hormones."
"So, what DO you want with me?"
"Knowledge; what you know and why you know it."
"What are you talking about, babe?" he said, putting his hand on Ami's shoulder.

Asmodeus all of a sudden found himself in extreme pain as his arm was twisted by a stronger-than-expected Director Prest.

"Look," she said, "I'm not going to deal with your bullshit. One, you can call me Director, Ma'am, Ms. Prest, Ami…I don't care. But never call me babe, ever.
"Two," she continued, "you work for the Anti-Conscience Institution, our counterpart. They were heavily involved with Sony, who has now taken a strange interest in our activities as of late and nearly killed one of my operatives. I don't trust you or your organization, but you did save Sera and can help me. Savvy?"

"Fine," pulling his arm away and rubbing it, grimacing. "Jeez, what a bitch," he thought. "I feel sorry for the saps that work for her regularly."


<I wonder…what she wanted to tell me that she couldn't tell me at the train station…>

The bell rang, waking Yuki from the thoughts that had been occupying her all morning.

<All rise,> the class rep ordered. <Bow. Dismissed.>

Yuki practically bolted to the courtyard between the middle school and the high school, but to no avail – aside from a few junior high students already eating, there was no one there. No one from the high school was even around. The schoolgirl sat down at a bench and waited for a couple minutes, wondering what could be keeping Tohya-san.

Finally she spotted a group of students in the high school uniform. She was about to approach them to ask if they knew Tohya-san, when she heard a bit of their conversation.

<Seriously…all of them? ALL of them?>
<Well, one student is in the hospital wing, but that's it.>
<Oh, yeah, that creepy Goth girl. I bet she had something to do with it…>

<They're talking about Tohya-san!> Yuki realized. <She's in the hospital wing! I hope nothing happened to her...>

With that, Yuki dashed off towards the high school, filled with a desire to know what was going on.

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