AlterOne Chapter 1
NOTE: NOT FANFIC
Akko could hear their voices as the Veldt came ever closer. With his mana* nearly depleted, if they found him, which he knew they would, he'd be fighting on essex** alone. As he falls back onto the wall and slides to the floor, his eyes go to the mirror across the dark room, illuminated by the light of the full moon. His appearance much changed from years past; gone is the young man he once was, the face looking back at him now was that of saddened eyes, matted hair, and a ruffled prematurely graying beard. He looked down, the blood seeping through his fingers as he holds his stomach in an effort to slow the bleeding, the gash ever flowing. He raises his head and leans it back against the wall, looking out of the window and into the night sky. His thoughts turn to years past, the friends, the family he's lost as a loneliness he has never felt before washes over him. Near the edge of death, the question arises.
"How did it come to this?"
"Akko ducks the Water Whip. He comes back up with a hard Flaming Uppercut sending the his opponent off the platform and out of the tournament!" the announcer says
"Akko advances to the semi-finals" states the referee, pointing the green flag at Akko
He waves to the cheering crowd in the stadium as he exits the arena, making way for the next set of combatants. As he leaves the dark tunnel from the arena, Akko turns onto the hall of his dressing room and is met by a mob of screaming girls and flashing cameras.
"There he is, it's Akko!" a girl screams
Before they masses can surround Akko, he holds up his hands.
"Stop." he says, "I don't know how you all got back here but I'm a little tired right now, I can't~~"
"Give me your autograph!"
"Come on Akko, smile for the camera!"
Too tired to bother at the moment, Akko jumps into the crowd, fighting his way through, finally managing to half fall into his room, falling back against it as the women continue to bang at it on the other side. He immediately slumps into the chair in front of his mirror, putting his head on the table and letting out an exasperated sigh.
"Well aren't you quite the celebrity."
Akko brings his head up and turns around in the direction of the voice. Behind him, sitting cross legged on the couch, was a flaming red haired woman, perhaps Akko's age, but her look was a more refined maturity about it, the briefcase at her side adding to the aura.
"How'd you get in here?" he asks, the door had been locked
The woman ignores his question, "I've come with a proposition."
"What kind of proposition?"
"I've come on behalf of my boss," she states, "He sees you as a potentially great addition to our group."
She gets to her feet, picking up the case and walking forward, placing it on the table in the middle of the room and opening it slowly. Akko looks on as she reveals the briefcase to be filled with marks. She turns back to him.
"My boss really wants you," she continues, "he'll pay you more for one day of work than you can make fighting in some tournament. Think of this as incentive."
Akko nods his head and puts his hand to his chin as if considering, "H'm so what I've got here is some unknown boss sending one of his employees to bribe me with the lure of an easy life. From my perspective, your boss assumes I'm going to see a briefcase full of money and a beautiful woman and hop on whatever job he's offering just like any other sensible person out there right?"
The woman remains thin lipped, so Akko continues "What your boss doesn't understand is that I don't do this because I have to—well no yes I kind of do otherwise I'm broke, but I enjoy what I do, I love it. And for your boss to even think I would dream of leaving this he must be quite a fool to—
"Don't you dare disrespect him!" small wisps of fire twirl around her hands, "Our Organization is bigger than some damned pro fighting!"
Akko's eyes turn to slits, "So that's what this is about then."
She lets out a sigh, "Yes, the Aduri Syndicate. We want you in our Org."
Akko gets to his feet, walking to the door and pulling it open, "I think you need to leave ma'am."
She takes the briefcase and walks through the door, but as she does, Akko tugs at the case.
"Hold on," he says, "This was incentive to help me make my decision right? I said I loved what I did; I never said I would turn down free money."
She moves to hand over the money, "Hopefully your decision can be—
"I'm kidding, like I would accept your dirty money; get the hell out."
The woman, now highly annoyed, throws the briefcase at Akko who ducks; the briefcase hitting the opposite wall and sending the money flying around the room. He turns back to the door, but the woman is gone. Just as he goes to lie on the couch, the door opens once more.
"Hey who was that red he-holy hell—your room is full of money," Ulrich walks into the room, "My mind is running a million different explanations for this money and that woman, and none of them are proper. Tell me one of those million is correct?"
"Your dirty mind wouldn't know the half of what just happened," Akko says as he stretches, "I need to get some sleep. You ready to head home?"
The brothers depart the arena; upon exiting they hear a commotion around the corner and notice some ways off that a large crowd is at the front holding signs and yelling things that the two couldn't reasonably hear from their distance.
"Looks like a strike," Ulrich notes
"The cleaning crew was bound to get fed up at some point," Akko says
He turns back to the car, catching a glimpse of red from a passing car.
As they get into their own car, Ulrich asks "But seriously what happened?"
The following day at the arena, Akko runs into a familiar janitor cleaning the floor.
"Good luck on that strike?" he says friendlily as he passes
The janitor is left confused as Akko continues on. Turning onto a side corridor to his room, he runs into Pietro and Zephyr coming back from sparring. Both men sweaty and bare chested, but not too worried about either to not stop and talk. Pietro pulls against the towel hanging around his neck.
"Akko, heard about the riots last night?"
"Riots? No, what happened?"
Zephyr speaks, "There were a few here and there, not too far from each other for the most part. The thing that's interesting is that at each scene, the next morning they found either dead or dying visarts."
"Was probably some big Org battle with the riot as a cover," Pietro adds, "They've done things like this before."
"There you are."
Akko turns around as Ulrich comes around the corner and extends a letter to his brother, "Found this in my room, but it was addressed to you, didn't read it though."
Akko opens the letter, finding the words "First Him, then You" scrawled on it.
"What is it?" Zephyr asks
Akko shakes his head and starts to put it in his pocket, but Pietro quickly swipes it away and reads it, looking back at Akko with that of suspicion.
"What is this?"
Akko shrugs, "I dunno, just some crazy hate mail."
Zephyr glances at the note in Pietro's hand and shakes his head, "No, this isn't some hate mail; it's too direct. It's more of a threat."
"From who," Ulrich asks
"I saw your movement," Pietro says of Akko, "the slight movement in your eyes. Don't think me a fool. You know who this came from, all I want to know is why so secretive about it?"
Akko sighs, "I was visited by an Aduri yesterday," at the outcry, "Look; I turned them down."
"So now they sent you a message: They'll kill him, then you." Zephyr notes solemnly, referring to Ulrich
"They'd be pretty dumb to try and take on two of the best fighters in the country" Ulrich says
Akko smirks "Don't overhype yourself there Ulrich, you've still got to win your first tournament-speaking of which, don't you three have matches today."
"Trying and failing to change the subject," Zephyr says
Akko, "No, I just am not too keen on standing here much longer with the fruits of your training in the air."
"Fair enough," Zephyr, "But we'll discuss this later."
"I'll catch up in a sec," Pietro says
Ulrich and Zephyr depart, leaving Akko and Pietro in the hallway. Pietro looks Akko over, the two stand in silence.
"What you did at first, where you were about to tuck the paper away." Pietro says finally, a grin palying on his face "What were you thinking of doing after that; walk right up to the Aduri and demand they leave you be, or else?"
Akko does not smile, "That's my plan exactly."
Mana: [mon-na], this is the main energy source of all life
Life Essence: usually shortened to Essex [s-sex], it means core energy, spirit energy, increases power far more than normal mana energy, but the use of this is the use of your very life. Deplete your life essence and you die
Visart: [vis-sert], element wielding beings with combat ability
Organizations: Orgs; the grouping of different Family Houses of the same element base to form a co-op group, normally for the purpose of criminal activities
The Aduri Syndicate [Fire]: the Aduri have always been a coherent unit, being the only Elementist clan to never have the ever constant internal wars for power, has left them the only stable force. The only thing the Syndicate is concerned about is controlling the city, and doing whatever it takes to achieve that.