The Evil Organization’s Recruitment Ad - Chapter 62
Where are you going?
Neito was surprised at Ikeno's speed .
The latest version of the [Armour Thruster] which Ikeno was using exceeded what humans could achieve . The acceleration speed was beyond what he expected .
If he hadn't transformed beforehand, he would've been defeated instantly, much less react to Ikeno's attack .
But he knew beforehand that Ikeno would never attack him in his untransformed state . Ikeno was both a strong and a smart foe .
It wasn't because of pure strength, but rather Ikeno knew where and when to take advantage of his foes in order to put himself on an advantageous position . Ikeno would never underestimate his foe, he would defeat them using his pure wits . That was Ikeno's true nature .
That was certainly a formidable way to fight . Neito on the other hand was the complete opposite . That's why he knew Ikeno would never pull off some unfair tactics .
He immediately flew three meters up in the air and immediately slammed down . Even an opponent from the Rocks Organization would feel the force of his attack .
A dull sound of metal vibrated .
Neito used his right hand and gathered a black mass of energy . He then used that energy to parry Ikeno's attack .
Neito had already been to countless battlefields facing the Rocks Organization . It was not a jest to say that he was very experienced in fighting .
[Break - Gunblade] itself was a bladed weapon that could cut boulders with ease, but with Metallica's technology, it could transform into a gun, making it a versatile weapon . That was what Ikeno wielded, but the one he had was a new model and thus, wasn't refined yet .
Still, it was not a strike Neito could take head-on even when he had [Evil - Silhouette] .
The [Silhouette] series were modifications to the human body to enhance the [Spiritual] personification of that individual, using that energy to strengthen the body through transformations .
The man called Komori Neito refined himself as each battle was fought .
He only barely manage to make it in time to parry Ikeno's attack . The weight pressed between then was tremendous and excruciating, but both of them couldn't just simply pull out .
[... Not so sly now huh? You bastard]
[Looks like you know how to at least fight, pretty boy]
They each was provoking each other as they were in a deadlock .
Ikeno switched hands for the blade, curled up his fist to send out a punch . He activated his thrusters on his wrist and used his knuckle guards to send out the blow . It wasn't a fatal wound, but Neito lost vision for a second .
What's surprising was Ikeno was keeping up with Neito (who was transformed) . Ikeno had the brain power to control between using his thrusters and exerting power attacks . He had the reaction to switch out his blade to his other hand and sending a punch to Neito .
Neito didn't receive that much damage . As he was being punched, he used his claws to tear out Ikeno's shoulder armor
A moment of attacks, as they settled down, a distance was created between them .
[What's the matter? Weren't you going to defeat me?]
Ikeno shifted from [Blade] mode to [Gun] mode, and fired multiple shots at Neito .
Metallica's Super Reinforced Steel Bullets packed a huge punch, straining the user's elbow if hand fired without any support . Ikeno was not holding back . It was only possible for Ikeno since he specifically trained his body to wield this weapon .
[Yeah, I'll defeat you]
Neito used the wings on his back, folding them to block against the bullets . It was just for a moment, but Ikeno was taken aback .
He knew the reason . Neito's [Evil - Silhouette] wasn't able to do this before . But it was different now . His expanded great red wings were now flexible and much more reinforced .
His mastery over them grew as he trained, and finally that battle in New York . In other words, after the events and Mr . Big's burial, his transformation increased in power .
[What's the matter? Getting cold sweats now?]
Neito slashed with his claws, releasing a wave of impact . Five waves travelled through the training hall and headed off to Ikeno .
[Cold sweat? Don't make me laugh]
Utilizing his thrusters, Ikeno avoided all blasts .
They both exchanged attacks, shooting bullets and sending waves of impact, all the while blocking incoming attacks .
This ranged engagement lasted for a while .
Neito was now thinking on his current situation .
He already knew that Ikeno wouldn't just get on board his idea . In that case, he decided to bring him over through a match .
Everything was going according to plan .
But Ikeno was stronger than he expected .
They still were holding back, observing each other's movements as they sent out attacks .
From Neito's perspective, he was observing whether Ikeno had anything else stored within his sleeves . After all, his abilities were still unknown to him .
From Ikeno's perspective, he was observing Neito, on guard and trying to figure out what sly methods he had planned beforehand .
But Neito was fighting at 60% of his power . How about Ikeno?
In the first place, it was not guaranteed that Ikeno would win . He also didn't plan on settling their differences here .
Indeed, he didn't need to defeat Ikeno here . That's why he didn't come with a devious plan beforehand .
But will he be able to do it? Will he be able to convert this man unto his side?
There was only a single moment of doubt . His worries then dissipated away .
There was no need to win . There was also no need for him to lose . He only needed Ikeno to feel that he won .
[’’Ikeno Reiji defeats Komori Neito’’ huh?]
He only needed a little bit . If he could make him feel that way, he could achieve his goal . It's because this man... this man called Ikeno was...
Ikeno engaged his thrusters to full power, accelerating rapidly and closing the distance . As he got closer, he changed direction, flanking Neito from behind and slashed his blade sideways .
Neito couldn't dodge it anymore .
He was fast, but not as fast as [Sonic Youth] .
The blow was heavy, but not as heavy as [Justice - Hammer]
That's why, with this amount,
Neito took the blow head on, meanwhile using his palm to hit Ikeno's chest armor . This sent Ikeno flying across the room . If he was prepared to score a hit, this much sacrifice was expected .
Neito bit his tongue and held out against his wounds . His left arm was bleeding .
Ikeno was a few meters away from him, knocked into the locker room's reinforced glass . He stood up on one knee .
They both suffered equal amounts of damage .
Neito's transformation wore off due to the damage inflicted .
[... You bastard...]
Ikeno wasn't able to move . His [Armored - Thrusters] were heavily damaged and was out of commission . It would take a while for it to be functional again .
[’’You already predicted that the president, Toujiro Blackmoa was already dead’’ was what you said right...?]
Suppressing the wound on his left shoulder with his right hand, Neito started talking .
[Yeah... You're an idiot for not seeing that much...]
[Then, do you want me to know what that means? The executives hid this and continued to operate Metallica in the will of their deceased president... How far are you willing to go Komori?]
There was no way he wouldn't understand . With the king's seat open, only his aides are moving the organization . This man surely must understand .
The path to the top was blocked .
[... Yeah, I bet that's the case . ]
Ikeno already had a grasp of it . With the death of their ruler, ministers wouldn't simply take on a new rule with ease . As long as it stands, there was never going to be another ruler .
And now, Neito's path have come to a dead end .
Normal methods wouldn't grant him the top seat in Metallica . Not unless they acknowledge his powers .
In order for that to happen, Ikeno was an essential piece . It was because this man...
[Well then, elite and handsome Ikeno-kun...]
Neito expressed a cynical expression and continued .
[You couldn't defeat me after all]
Neito didn't fully think so . There was no guarantee that he could win just by power alone .
Even know, his shoulder's pain was bad, but he laughed it off .
Ikeno couldn't see what's happening inside the locker room due to its reinforced and tinted glass pane, but Neito perfectly knew what was happening inside .
It was the perfect timing .
[I'll be killing you here]
Receiving Neito's words, Ikeno stood up . His [Armor - Thruster] Thruster] had finally rebooted back online .
[Didn't I call it out before? You can't do it]
Neito transformed again, and the two of them bouted again .
They both were executives and were engaged in a black and white struggle . Some might say it's stupid, but they each had something at stake .
Ikeno expanded his thrusters, accelerating forward . Neito gathered energy and slammed the floor with his foot, moving in high speed .
The two shadows were fighting on a speed close to the speed of sound .
Ikeno was the one who raised an unexpected cry .
Neito already predicted that this was going to happen . No, he expected this to happen since he already set it up beforehand, so there was no need to act surprised .
A shutter of reinforced shock absorbent bulletproof glass quickly descended on the mid-section of the room in between Neito and Ikeno .
[... . !]
Both Ikeno and Neito put on their brakes, stopping just before the shutters .
Of course, they could break the glass, but doing so would give an opening to the other side . The most sensible decision here was to stop .
Neito knew that Ikeno was a reasonable man, so he also stopped .
[... What does this mean? Komori!]
[I didn't do it . Someone from the outside did this]
A reinforced bulletproof glass that was shock absorbent .
This was something all Metallica training and research facilities had .
It would only be activated in case of a fire, or in case of a rampant modified human, so there was no way it was activated automatically .
Then why did it come down?
The would come soon
They could hear a voice from the locker room's speakers . Since they were adjacent to the locker room, they could see who was in .
Ikeno saw a human figure inside the room .
Well, to be honest, he didn't need to do that, it was that obvious... The tone, the intonation... it was clear who that voice belonged to .
[... Maki? Why are you here...]
Mayuzumi Maki . Ikeno and Neito co-interview taker, and now head of the research room .
[... Beats me... maybe your secretary called her over]
Neito lashed out on Ikeno's question .
It was feint, but he could hear a small sound coming from Ikeno on the other side of the glass .
That itself was the truth .
There was no other person that requested the secretary to call Maki other than Neito .
After the incident of [Purgatory Island], she already returned to the main office . Calling her here shouldn't take much time .
If she were to see the scene before her, she would definitely stop it .
Neito believed she would do that .
Maki's tearful voice rang out . It wouldn't work on the hot-blooded Ikeno, but now Neito felt that Ikeno was calming down .
Seeing Ikeno acting that way, Neito tapped the glass in front of him and called out to Ikeno
[... Tch, oh well . Good for you huh Ikeno . You don't have to be defeated by me . ]
Neito let out some cynical words . He felt sorry to Maki, but he needed to ignore her right now .
[... That also applies to you...]
Ikeno knew that much . He already got a grasp of Neito's strength . It wouldn't be a coincidence if one of them died .
But that was enough for him .
It didn't feel like 'He won' right?
[This is just getting started . Come at me . ]
Ikeno wanted to continue on, but Neito was different .
[It's a bother, but I'm busy too you know? I don't have time to hand around and mess with you anymore]
Neito put off his transformation and continued .
[This is the end for you and me . I need to go meet up with Tsurugi and the vanguard to take out [Anthrax] . Then we'll raise the foundation of the company [Slayer] from the ground]
An organization that's a cult at heart, [Anthrax] summoned (magical) beasts to do their bidding . They were 'allied' to Metallica, but the status quo between both companies were in the grey .
They neither confirmed that they were working together nor against each other . That was about to change when he would secure victory against them . He would crush the few executives they had .
[What are you saying...?]
Ikeno purged the power from his armor and approached the glass . They stared each other down with the transparent glass in between them between them .
[I mean what I say . From today onwards, I'm going to create a new path . As you said, I may die, but that'll happen when the time comes]
[Are you serious...?]
[Of course . Didn't I say it beforehand? I can't climb to the top if things stay as it is . My goal is the top . Not to become just an executive]
He glared into Ikeno's stare . He knew what he was thinking . And Neito also knew what Ikeno was after .
[Aah, that's right . If I'm gone, no doubt you'll take my place . Congratulations! You made it to the top! All you need to do now is sit on your executive chair and play around in the main office . If I fail to gather the other companies, all you need to do is wait for General Raz and the other executives to retire... You'll be just like a kid, waiting for Santa to bring your present]
Neito against spoke in a cynical and sarcastic way .
He already planned beforehand that their conversation would take this route . That was why he didn't need to go all out in their fight .
There two points in his plan .
Ikeno mustn't lose . And to show that there was no time for them to continue fighting .
Ikeno Reiji was a strong man, and he himself believed so . He would no doubt want to continue the fight .
He always found a way to win . That's the type of man he is .
This man wasn't just going to get Neito get away . He would never settle for a draw against the man he named as his nemesis .
That was why he even went out of his way to provoke him .
If he remained in Metallica, he could never prove to himself that he was better than Neito .
If Neito died in the battlefield, he would never know who would stand on top .
Was he relying on the report 'I defeated Komori Neito' to the main office to prove himself?
Some may say that, but Ikeno says otherwise .
If Ikeno wanted to prove himself, he had to accompany Neito on his trip to establish [Slayer] and see it through the end .
That was why Neito established that Ikeno was needed in his plan .
This man would surely respond .
That's because this man, the man called Ikeno Reiji was
- A man who had never lost since he was born -
[... Tch, you're an irritating bastard...]
Ikeno spited him .
He probably knew that Neito, knowing his personality, already planned for this to happen . But there was still the issue if Ikeno would get on board despite knowing Neito's scheme .
[You already knew beforehand right? That I'm a scum]
Neito showed off a careless smile .
[[Slayer]... huh? Fine . But don't forget . The match today isn't...]
[Yeah . After everyone has been crushed, I'll accompany you for a while . You should be grateful, someone like has agreed to fight you on equal grounds . I'd never do that you know?]
After they dealt with everything, they'll settle the score between them . Whoever wins that fight would stand at the pinnacle of villainy .
Even without saying those words, they both understood what it implied . It was a form of contract for both of them .
[... When does Tsurugi F Gardner start the operation?]
[In about four hours from now . Since we're after the top executives, an infiltration would suit us best, taking them all down in one swoop . Are you coming?]
[Of course . Don't lump me up with commoners]
There was no need for more petty words .
There was no need to be economical for this reason . A huge bang to act as a distraction will be the starting signal .
Ikeno started up his [Break - Blade], meanwhile Neito transformed his left hand .
They both let out an attack, breaking the reinforced glass separating them .
Maki was confused . She didn't know what just happened . After being called by Ikeno's secretary who was requested by Neito to call her over, she saw Neito transformed, fighting Ikeno .
[Evil - Silhouette] has since improved, changing specs and form, while Ikeno was fully masterful of his armor, battling each other in high level engagement .
Was this training? It didn't look like it since they both looked like they were fighting to kill each other .
If they were to they were to continue like this, one of them is going to come out seriously injured .
Maki had special feelings for Neito, and Ikeno was an important co-worker which she respected .
No matter much she would call out, her voice wouldn't reach them .
Searching through the control room's panels, she managed to bring the shutters down to stop both of them .
She didn't know what was going on, and she was on the verge of tears . She called out to both of them .
They both had a serious expression and were talking with each other . She couldn't hear them from here .
She knew they both disliked each other, but they were adults . They wouldn't kill each other for no reason .
Confused, she wanted to know what was happening . Maki went out to the Training Room, opening the Locker Room's door .
As she stepped out, the sound of reinforced glass breaking into pieces echoed throughout the room .
They both sent out an attack, destroying the wall between them .
But they looked like they weren't going to fight . They both had their backs against each other, while the sparkling light of glass gleamed around them .
[... Neito... kun... . Ikeno... san...]
That scene captivated her, she was standing still with her hand on her chest .
They both started walking towards her, towards the training room's exit . The distance between them shortened .
She had no regrets stopping them, but she felt she interrupted something important .
[Maki-san, thank you . I'm glad you came]
Neito smiled as he looked at Maki .
[Maki, take this]
She never saw Ikeno that much since he was always in his office, but he removed the company ring he had on his ring finger and threw it towards her .
[Eh...? Ah, this is...]
She cached the ring in a hurry as it was in the air .
A ring with silver wings, it was the pride and symbol of Metallica . Does he want it delivered to somebody?
[Then, me too]
Neito reached out to his breast pocket and took out a pin of the same design, putting it in Maki's hands .
A pin with silver wings, Metallica's symbol . They both removed it .
They were leaving Metallica? That's what it implied .
For someone their status to do something like this, it must be very important to do so . Death was definitely involved in their path .
For someone so distant from them, someone who only is in her lab, she knew that much was going to happen .
[... Why... Why...?]
Maki was holding back her tears, she asked in a trembling voice .
[Can you keep this for us? I'm will return . Didn't I tell you before? I'm going to change the world . I'll never forget... That's why I'm definitely going to return . Wait for me]
Neito didn't answer her question, but those words were enough for her .
[Don't be stupid . You're never coming back . I'm the one who's going to win . ]
Ikeno looked straight into her .
They both turned their backs against her, heading for the exit .
Their backs were telling her something .
They both were going far away from her .
The words 'We'll come back' both relieved her and tightened her heart .
[... Where are you going...?]
Maki asked, seeking answers .
She wanted to go with them .
But they... no they surely had a reason for not bringing her along . They would never go against what they decided upon .
[To the wilderness]
Looking back for a bit, Ikeno answered her question in a short response .
[Wilderness... huh? As expected of the pretty boy, quite a poet I see]
Neito was sarcastic of Ikeno's answer . There was no end to their rivalry after all .
[Yeah, it may be a wilderness after all things had been considered... Then Maki-san, I'm off]
Neito was back to himself again . Not a depressing farewell, but a farewell like someone going off into an errand . It was a soft and calm goodbye .
[We're off to conquer the world in a bit]
It was like he was joking around . But those words of his were the things he worked towards to achieve all this time .
Maki gripped the two emblems on her chest, wiping her tears, she manage to form a smile .
Yes, Take care then . I'll be waiting .
She sent them both off with their backs towards her .