Chapter 9: Passive Aggressors
"Good news... I think we're pretty close to the factory by now." Zachary stated. "Maybe about fifteen minutes or a half-hour of walking, at most."
"Whew!" Ludicrine let out an exhausted breath. "It's about time."
"That thing is so big... we can see it even from here." Samuel gaped at the facility.
"It's Dr. Sand's base of operations, apparently... can't believe that no one ever decided to check out that big place, though."
"Well, the power plants in the nearby area had been destroyed at times, too. Probably for Sand to try and not draw attention to the area in particular." Zachary added. "We wouldn't really look anywhere in particular if we didn't have any leads on it, anyway."
"I mean... this big, abandoned factory, though? How exactly was Sand able to launch airships through the air without being spotted?" Lazro blinked. "Especially all the way to the other side of the continent, that time we were on his ship..."
"Good question!" A voice suddenly yelled out from nearby. "I'm guessing that's worth an explanation."
A figure suddenly darted in front of the gang. He was a gridmask man of average height, who appeared somewhat similar to Dr. Sand. However, there was a clear different in body shape, facial structure, and age. He seemed more shapely and bony than Sand. He was also wearing an odd greyish-green suit.
"What the...?" Lazro started.
"I have to say, I was hesitant about acting until you had come close enough to the facility for me to be sure that you knew that Jek was in there." The man said. "But now that you've flat out said you know about it, I'm fine to act without regret."
"What??" Samuel exclaimed. "How did you hear us??"
"Heheh... wouldn't you like to know?"
All of a sudden, other figures began to appear, seemingly coming up from out of the ground, and through the side of large rocks and trees. They were all gridmasks, it seemed, though they were a diverse group with a number of odd mutations.
"... what's going on??" Lazro demanded.
"Sigh... I suppose since this is pretty much the end for you fools anyway, I'll let you in on what's going on."
"Who are you?"
The man gave a big, sinister grin.
"I'm a chosen disciple of the gods, and my name is Amper. I'm the first cousin of the very man you're looking for."
"You're related to Dr. Sand?" Ludicrine asked.
"That's right. I'm one of the members of the proud clan Sand. And, a secret I'll let you all in on--I'm in on Jeky's goals!" Amper smiled. "Might even go as far to say I'm the reason he hasn't gotten caught yet."
Amper motioned over to the others around him.
"See, we've been using our powers to provide Sand with cover a lot of the time. He goes out and tries to defeat Zeronius, flies the ships, and temporarily petrifies whatever he needs to. All we do is make it impossible for him to be seen when he doesn't want to."
"Woah..." Ludicrine gazed at them.
"What are you talking about?" Zachary asked. "Dr. Sand is dead... and Revelian's starting a dark matter invasion!"
"What? Don't try and lie to me!" Amper spat. "I think I would know if this kind of stuff was going on!"
"... this is really happening! Please, we all want to have Revelian stopped... that's also what Sand wanted. You can join us! Help us defeat Revelian..." Zachary bargained.
"Don't start playing me for a fool, either. I know you bunch are Zeronius' allies." Amper hissed. "You're probably just saying all this to get us to lower our guard, and have your dark matter buddy attack Jekyll."
"He already has!" Zachary exclaimed. "There's a video that shows him doing it!"
Amper stared at him with a bit of surprise. "That... that's impossible... you... you're lying..."
"Wait a minute, Amper!" A voice suddenly shouted through the crowd. "They're not lying...!"
Amper looked back towards a figure with spiky blue hair. "Kwik..."
"Listen..." the man, apparently named Kwik, spoke, "as a follower of Alíscea, I can tell when people are lying... right now these people are here saying that they saw a recording of Jekyll dying. And they're telling the truth about it."
Amper's eyes widened. "N... no way...! It can't be... he's not..."
Kwik only nodded solemnly. The group was silent for a moment. Amper then looked back towards the gang, with a hopeless expression.
"What... what's going on here...?"
"... Please, we... we need you to let us go and see what's going on. Inside the factory... we'll know the answer."
"I... I..." Amper stammered. He looked around again. "I..."
Kwik continued to look down solemnly as Amper looked at him. "Are you... positive...?"
"I am... sorry..."
Amper looked at the gang again. "Jekyll... he... you think you'll know what happened to him?"
"We kind of need to know... there's an invasion going on, and he's sort of in the midst of it."
"... I... alright... y-you can go..."
The group cleared the way, and the four continued on their journey to the factory. As they passed by the crowed, they couldn't help but see the worried and sad faces that they held.
Chapter 10: Enemy of my Enemy
The factory was surrounded by a gate that went around all of the facility. It wasn't locked, or even very high, so it was easy for the gang to get access to it. The sun was a while before setting, but the sky still seemed dark. The snow seemed to be lighting the way well enough, though.
The gang walked up to the front door of the factory. The door itself loomed over them, and the factory itself was something of even greater proportions. It was made of a black stone structure, and seemed almost decrepit in nature, as if it had not been used in some time. It may very well have been but an intentional hoax to dissuade outsiders from attempting to visit the area, or to strike no points of attention to Dr. Sand's base of operations.
The inside of the factory was as dark as night. The opening hallway was a tiled floor and walls, with broken lights hanging from the ceiling. There were a number of doors on the sides, and the hallway went out into an area that was larger, but too dark to see.
The gang went through the first few doors, finding only offices that were littered with papers and supplies. Most of them looked like a tornado had come through them, or if they had been turned upside down and back. However, no life could be found inside of them.
They came across a break room of sorts that had broken tiles and open cabinets abound. The contents looked as if they had been thrown around, just like in the others rooms. Yet this one was still just as devoid of life as the others.
The end of the hallway was dim, though the four were able to illuminate the large room. Once they could see it, it became clear why the facility was known as a factory.
There was a sort of automated assembly line, made to produce several of some sort of contraption. As was evidenced through what was in the majority of the room, it was for the android henchmen of Dr. Sand.
However, the machines were all thoroughly decimated, and all the robots in sight had been destroyed, as well.
"What could've done all this...?" Ludicrine found himself inadvertently asking the question aloud.
"... just like how Revelian fought off the robots back on the Anubis..." Zachary commented.
The gang continued through the factory, looking for any sign of life, or anything that could be found. Eventually, after a long time of walking through the halls, they began to hear a disoriented moaning coming from somewhere in the building.
They were apprehensive and looked at one another for reassurance. Once it had been realized that the sound was real, the gang silently agreed that they would try and follow it, so as to find whatever they would find.
As the sound became less feint still, the four found themselves facing a door with large words printed on it, that said "OFFICE". The moaning was clearly coming from in there, they knew.
"... alright... let's go in."
Zachary slowly opened the door, though it seemed to open itself more quickly. Inside was a dim window that let in some light, though mostly darkness pervaded through the room, and obscured it enough so that the visibility of the figure of a large man before them was but a silhouette.
"H-hey! Who are you??" Zachary demanded, only to be met with more moaning.
"It's our common enemy, Dr. Jekyll Sand."
The gang looked over to the side, and saw a red circle staring back at them. A metallic voice had pierced the darkness, yet its familiarity rang true with the others.
"Why don't I shed some light on the situation? Heheh..."
The figure in the darkness seemed to pull a lever, which turned on light in the room. The figure itself showed with a foreign visor and greater size, though he still had the familiar shape and outfit of Revelian.
The gang then looked over to the figure that had previously been obscured by darkness. They then saw Dr. Sand's limp and lifeless figure, hanging by the noose over his neck attached to a light on the ceiling. There was a horrified look on his face, and his eyes were a pure black. The four looked on, terrified.
"Oh, sweet mother Ludus--what happened to him?!" Zachary managed to demand.
A rough, metallic laughter filled the room. "Hehehe... We did... "things..." to him..." Revelian's sharp teeth could be viewed poking at his red bandana, as his face twisted into a smile. "Changed him around, messed with his head... heheheheheh... Ahahahaha!!"
Revelian's cold laughter filled the rooms, and left a chill sifting through the others.
"We made him something worthy to be a high general in my army... the first of a line of experiments... the "Kappa" injection..."
"Lord Zeronius is dying... and soon enough, the worker dark matters will die with her. So, I have to make my own line of dark matter servants to help me conquer planets..."
"H... how could you?! Ludus is your planet... how can you betray your people like this?!"
"My people will serve me soon... it's an honor they don't even deserve, yet it is one that I will grant... soon..."
Revelian then held up his arm, showing the side of it with some sort of device, with a timer on it.
"This is the Medusa Generator, model two." Revelian informed. "It's a lot like the things you've seen before, used by our little friend here... only this one is a little bit different. Better..."
Once again, Revelian's teeth poked against his red bandana as his mouth moved into a smile.
"Instead of sand, this turns beings into stone... it can be reversed, like before... but why would I want to do that?! Oh, and it comes with another feature..." Revelian pointed at the timer. It seemed to be counting down, but the time it was counting down to was still several hours away from now. "When this timer runs out... everyone who's been turned to stone will receive a Kappa injection... and then they'll be freed, to do my bidding."
"Oh no..." Samuel muttered.
"The timer right now is only to allow enough subjects to be petrified in stone to overpower any pathetic little resistances... and to give you pigs the illusion that you have even the slightest chance of stopping me... Hahaha! It's set for midnight, tonight... on the first moment of our company's anniversary. Don't worry, just because LDZX will die along with everyone doesn't mean that its anniversary won't still be a day to celebrate! I'll keep celebrating the date as the very day of my victory over Ludus. Ahahahaha!"
"No way... Rev..."
"Do you honestly think we're going to let you get away with this?!" Zachary yelled, while holding up his sword and pointing it at the red eye before him. "I'll answer that for you, before you get a chance to start droning off again. Hell no we're not!" Zachary looked at the others. "Come on, guys! We've taken him down together before, and we can do it again now!"
The others quickly and ungracefully drew their weapons, so as to stand beside Zachary.
"Hahahaha... how pathetic. You think that your efforts will prove anything against me, let alone my entire army." Another smile visibly formed under his bandana. "Hahaha... you don't even deserve to fight against me... as if you even stand a chance against the fate of destruction... why don't I allow you a foe who you're almost worthy of standing against."
Revelian raised an arm towards Dr. Sand's corpse. Then, Sand's body, though clearly lifeless before, proceeded to shake violently, as if convulsing. All of a sudden, his right arm shot up. The gang was shocked to see that he was holding a glowing revolver that seemed to glow with feint beige light. Sand pulled the trigger quickly, and barely missed shooting Zachary, who jumped a moment before. The ground where Zachary was standing then grew a later of sand around it.
"Sh... shit...!" Zachary swore.
"Hehehehe... go ahead and have fun playing with my toy, now! I guess I'll leave you to it. Goodbye!"
Revelian then flew in front of the window, and rushed through it, shattering it, and letting in a bit more light than before. Revelian then flew upwards and out of sight.
"Wh... what in the Helc was wrong with Revelian??" Ludicrine demanded. "He... he's not himself at all!"
"We'll worry about that later!" Zachary commanded. "Right now we have to deal with Sand!"
Zachary quickly put his sword back in its sheath, and pulled his pistol out of its holster.
Chapter 11: Mister Hyde
Zachary fired a shot from his pistol, piercing Dr. Sand in the chest. The bullet left a clear hole in his suit, but the rest of its fate was not revealed, as beneath where it had pierced him there was only a jet black patch of skin, that almost appeared like blood.
"GAHAHAHAHAHA..." Dr. Sand let out a screeching, foreign laugh, though he barely moved his lips. He seemed to adjust his head, slightly, though, facing them directly with the noose still tight around his neck.
Zachary then shot Dr. Sand in the arm, in hopes of having him be unable to use his weapon. Once again, it seemed to only truly pierce his suit, and didn't halt his movement in the slightest. Zachary shot again, managing to hit Sand in the stomach. This time, the shot seemed to hit him with enough force to have him pushed back, resulting in him swinging slowly by the noose.
Ludicrine then ran forward to Sand, hitting Sand in the legs with his anchor. Sand once again began swinging back and forth, now with some tears in his pants.
Samuel also quickly jumped into action, punching Sand in the gut with a flaming fist. Samuel then reared back, holding his hand in pain.
Lazro merely stared at the swinging figure of Dr. Sand, as his form visibly began to change. From the waist down, his form was of an red, alien substance, which was not skin or muscle or any other actual gridmaskian body part. The legs were skinny and had less toes, which were sharp and shapely in appearance. They seemed to be separate from his crotch area, which was only a large, red organ, coming out of his waist. The organ glowed slightly and pulsated almost like a heart.
Zachary held his pistol up and shot several times at the odd organ, hoping it was a weak spot of some sort on Sand's form. Where Zachary shot, holes were left that shot out spurts of blood as if it were under pressure. Soon, it completely burst, and the lower half of Sand's torso was destroyed.
Blood continued to fall out of where Sand's legs were. Suddenly, a black shape formed from within the blood, causing it to seem to stop. It was a being with the sort of shape of Sand, only its head was to the ground. It seemed to mirror Dr. Sand's body from the split in his waist. However, it also had only a single eye, and oddly shaped greyish arms, which had sharp ends like large blades.
The sight of the monster that formed caused the gang to draw back. The monster sliced around Sand's neck, nearly decapitating him, though cutting the rope and releasing both of their bodies. The rope itself seemed to turn to stone after being cut. Then, the form held itself up by its sharp limbs and with Sand's arms, dropping the pistol that Sand had held before.
The monster then leaped forward with a surprising speed, and violently tore at Ludicrine. Ludicrine fell back, clutching his wound, before he then turned into stone.
"NO!" Zachary shouted, and then shot the monster with his pistol, to seemingly no effect.
Samuel then went and punched the monster with another flaming fist, only to again be left with a sore hand. As Samuel flinched, the monster then slashed at him, and he quickly was encased in stone.
Lazro stumbled forward and tried to attack the monster, though it quickly slashed at Lazro in its defense, and he was, as well, petrified in stone.
The monster then turned its head towards Zachary, its eye glowing with like the primal instinct of a predator facing its wounded prey.
Zachary acted quickly, grabbing the golden revolver that Sand had dropped. He aimed the gun at the monster's eye, as it then leapt towards him.
Zachary fired the golden revolver once, shooting an unseen bullet through the monster. The monster stopped inches before Zachary, as parts of it body became sand. The monster let out a horrifying and pained screech, as it hopelessly tore at the ground, trying to edge closer to Zachary, to no avail. Zachary held up his blade then, and stabbed the monster.
"NOOOOO!!" The monster cried, as it fully turned to sand. The sand then blew away with a sudden gust of wind caused by the swinging of Zachary's sword, disintegrating into nothingness. All that remained were the echoes of the final cry of the being, though even they trailed off to sound more and more like echoing laughter let out by it.
Zachary turned towards the others, who were petrified in stone. Zachary knew he had won this battle, but his victory felt hallow. He knew now that he was alone, and that Revelian truly was behind this. And so, that was how he had to face the enemy: alone.
Zachary slowly wandered out of the factory. He almost felt like a zombie, mindlessly moving without thought or motivation. It felt more like pure instinct rather than choice, or as if he were in a trance while doing it. His awareness of his surroundings had dimmed, and his thoughts were clouded.
Before he knew it, he was outside of the factory, and surrounded by legions of huddled, fearful gridmasks, and Sado soldiers.
"Hey, Zach!" A familiar voice suddenly snapped Zachary out of his trance, bringing him to attention. Before him, he saw the familiar small figure of Thomas, the Sado Commander.
"... hello..." Zachary weekly managed.
"What the hell happened here??" Thomas asked.
"... Dr. Sand's dead... But the war still isn't over." Zachary said. "My friends are petrified... so I have to do this alone..."
"Well... shit..." Thomas managed. "But... hey, right now we kind of have other problems to deal with. Sorry to shove you right back into battle after all that, but we could really use your help."
"What is it?"
"There's an airship that we're pretty sure Revelian is on. It's heading towards Universe City, and pretty damn fast. We have to hurry and try to stop it before people get hurt."
Chapter 12: Grim
Zachary looked out the window of Thomas' vehicle, staring out at the barren landscape.
"... hey, you alright there, Zach?" Thomas asked.
"Uh, yeah... I'm good, sorry." Zachary managed. "Just... still kind of shaken up, that's all."
"... you need a smoke?" Thomas asked.
"I only smoke on special occasions, sorry."
"The world's going to shit." Thomas remarked. "Seems special enough for me." Thomas chuckled.
"Tomorrow's the second anniversary of LDZX." Zachary said. "Almost as special as it gets for me..."
"And you're saying that you're going to live long enough to see the day?"
"Damn right I am..." Zachary said, "We all are."
Thomas gazed at him, before looking back at the road before him. "... heh... I get you. Us Ludusians... we're a pretty feisty bunch... if we're gonna go down, we're not going out with a whisper. Not even with a bang, but we're going down kicking and screaming the whole way down."
"That is, if we're going down at all." Zachary smiled. "I've seen all-out battles, win and lose... no matter what, we always fight just as hard."
"When we're fighting for our lives...? Heh, hell, I'd guess that any living creature would do the same. Griddy, dragonkin, monster... even dark matter, I guess."
"Maybe... but it sort of feels like some sort of tradition that we keep holding up, standing on our lasts legs and giving it all we got..."
"I don't know... maybe it's everyone, or just us, but I'm thinking that we know we can change our own fate for the better... so we give hell to anybody who's trying to bring it to make it happen."
"... I feel like I've been hearing a lot of that lately..." Zachary remarked. "... but it's true, isn't it?"
"As far as I know." Thomas smirked.
"Heheheh..." Thomas laughed, and then pulled out a cigarette. "Hey, I guess you don't smoke, but I do, and I don't feel like having to roll down the windows and get cold because of it. You mind?"
"... just roll it down a little bit." Zach said. "I don't want to be sitting in here with it just lingering around..."
"Fair enough." Thomas obliged.
"Oy, looks like we're here." Thomas spoke.
"Alright," Zachary started, "I'll try and help the best I can."
"Do what you do, friend."
"Our target is the capital building. Keep on flying, now..."
His sharp teeth poked against his red bandana as a smile formed across his lips. His target was in sight, and he was currently in full confidence that he would get there.
However, suddenly, an explosion could be heard from the shell of the ship. Every part of it began to shake noticeably from the impact. Suddenly, several other explosions rocked and vibrated the airship as well.
"Tch... enemy forces are attacking the Grim Reaper." He spat. "Return fire."
Engines were heard powering up and firing, as more explosions violently shook the airship.
"Damnit... critical damage... try to maintain altitude! We're destroying the capital building, even if we have to crash into the damn thing!" Revelian commanded.
The ship's course became erratically altered, but aimed to be as near to the base of the largest building of the city as it could.
The Grim Reaper's nose then pierced the wall of the capital building.
"Time to bail."
Revelian flew through the front window of the Grim Reaper, bursting through it and shattering it, and escaped quickly into the cosmos. He would escape the explosion of the airship and the destruction of the capital building of Universe City.
"Haha! Down you go!" Thomas yelled.
"Woah..." Zachary said, gawking. "That was a really lucky shot..."
"Heh! Luck doesn't have anything to do with it." Thomas said. "That's pure skill."
"H-hey... it's going to crash into the capital building..."
"What??" Thomas ducked, as the ships' explosion could be heard. "... shit... good thing that the city's deserted now... that could've been a real big problem."
Zachary looked at the Grim Reaper from afar, before noticing something.
"... hey... there's something..." Zachary started, "... something just flew out of the ship!"
"Huh?" Thomas asked. "... what do you think that's about?"
"... I don't know... but I have a bad feeling about it..."
"... alright... so, uh, what exactly should we-"
Suddenly, the sound of a loud aircraft came from nearby. Thomas looked up, and saw an aerodynamic aircraft above them.
"Hey!" Thomas exclaimed. "That's a Ludusian government aircraft...! What's this about?!"
The aircraft skillfully landed nearby them, and the engines slowly came to a stop. A moment or two passed in silence while waiting for something to happen. Then, the door to the aircraft opened up, and a number of stairs came down.
A familiar figure then exited the doorway of the aircraft. He was a gridmask man who appeared to be very old. He had no hair on his head, and a strong face, with an expression that conveyed both serenity and severity. He was a bit below average height, and though his build wasn't as large or fit, he clearly held a sense of strength about him. He wore thin-rimmed glasses, a large yellow jacket, a bronze shirt, and greyish-green army pants.
"... Hello..." He spoke, while glancing at the two.
"Commander Alden..." Zachary gave a smile.
"Alden." Thomas hissed, giving the man a glare.
"... Oh, hello there, mister Thomas." Alden blankly said. "I didn't expect to see you here today."
"Me neither," Thomas said, "or else I would've tried not to."
"Hm..." Alden stared at Thomas. "Still the commander of the Sado forces, are you?"
"Still the wingman of the big-shot who thinks he's in charge of the place?" Thomas asked.
"Still holding up old grudges you were never involved with?" Alden asked, with a hint of a sour tone.
"Hey, you left the Sado army to serve the government that did its best to force us out of our homelands. You insult the Sados, you insult me."
Alden sighed. "Oh, if only I could hope a pointless grudge would've died when I was supposed to."
"That can be arranged."
"Hey, now!" Zachary interrupted them. "Thomas, calm down... now's not really the time to be going at each other's necks."
"... tch... whatever."
"Ah, yes... time really is of the essence, in fact." Alden stated. "I would advise that we try to spend it wisely."
"... what are you here for, old man?"
"Well, I came here to get mister Isles." Alden informed. "As I said, time is of the essence... and I find that I need him for an important task."
"R-really?" Zachary asked. "What is it?"
"It will make sense very soon, Zachary. But, while I'm here... Thomas."
"I'd like to inform you that the forces of the Ludusian military are now at your command."
Thomas looked as if he were about to speak and retort something, but then his mouth was agape.
"Act wisely with them. I'll be trusting you. I'm going with the honor system, now." Alden winked at him. "Pretty important to you, I know."
"What?? What's this all about??"
"Oh, it's a bit of a secret, for now." Alden smiled, a bit tauntingly.
"... a secret?"
"Just until all the mayhem is cleared up." Alden said. "Now, Zachary, please come with me."
Alden stepped onto the aircraft, and motioned for Zachary to come with him. Thomas looked over at Zachary.
"... a... alright." Zachary responded. "Goodbye for now, Thomas..."
With that, he boarded the aircraft.
Bonus Chapter: First Time
The LDZX building, at the time, was nearly devoid of workers. Of course, many individuals were sitting panicked in their homes at the time; not only had the attacks undertaken by the terrorist Dr. Sand given the population of Ludus quite the scare, they were now dealing with the attacks from dark matters. Only the bravest of warriors now were taking action to protect their home and fortify the resources they had access to, and only the most foolish of residents dared to poke their heads anywhere they could be seen. That, and, of course, those so ambitiously dedicated to a cause that they would put their lives at risk in order to feed the ambition.
This is to say, the LDZX building was nearly devoid of workers at the time, but not totally. It was, at the time, inhabited by two people who may be considered either of the ambitious variety, or perhaps the foolish variety, or perhaps both.
Hankvi Guidza, of course, definitely acts in accordance to being very ambitious with focus on his work, though not in wanting to risk his life, but rather in fear that there may be a penalty that comes close to equaling that of his life if he fails in his dedication to the job.
Masa Le-Umas, however, was perhaps a case harder to distinguish. Though not foolish in most any sense, her dedication to the job seemed more like an inadvertent hobby which she professed in, though not as much as her troll co-worker, so ambition may be found questionable. Perhaps she simply did not fear for her life at the time, for some reason, which resulted in the force that brought her to continue staying in the place of her work.
And, through whatever event of happenstance, the two were brought within the same room, so as to deal with an excess of paperwork resulting from adoption papers, service papers, and a number of odd illegalities that were definitely best left to the incinerator. (However, Delinius had been on vacation at the time, so all papers were instead delivered to his office, to wait until the day when he would come back, open the door, and then be buried under a mass amount of documents, which would then be reduced to ashes after giving the man quite a few unfortunate and annoying papercuts.)
Masa ceased typing for a moment, and laid back in her chair. "Sigh..." Masa audibly said the word sigh, instead of sighing, so as to proclaim as openly and almost unsubtly as possible to her co-worker that she was bored at the moment.
Hankvi lifted up his head, his yellow eyes and black pupils giving off a gleam of almost childlike curiosity. ".... are you alright?"
"Oh, yes, I'm just... bored." Masa spun around in her chair. Usually the buildings was more populated; if not by the well-known permanent workers, at least by interns who she could call out to and demand a conversation with, before they eventually went off to their untimely demise. Hankvi, however, had seemed a bit too determined in his work to be pulled off from it for a moment to strike up a conversation.
"Huh...." Hankvi stared blankly for a moment. "Uh...." Hankvi avoided her gaze for a moment, not knowing exactly how he could be entertaining to his co-worker.
Masa pondered for a moment as to what sort of conversation she could hold that would be carried out by Hankvi as well. Masa wondered if she could also use this as a sort of opportunity to get to know more about Hankvi.
"... Hey, Hank..." Masa stood up for a moment, and then turned around, all while standing on her chair. She held onto the back of it and gazed over at Hankvi.
"Yeah?" Hankvi once again gleamed with curiosity.
"Are you dating anybody now?" Questioned Masa, as she tilted about in her chair.
Masa saw Hankvi stare at her for a moment, before his cheeks began to change from their greyish color into a more purplish shade. "I'm, uh, not dating anybody right now, no...."
"Who was the last person you dated?"
Hankvi scratched at his collar. "Uh, well.... no one, really."
Masa ceased her tilting for a moment, and gazed at Hankvi with a bit of hidden surprise, that was rendered unseen behind her goggles. "You've never had any datefriends before?"
"No. Not anything official, at least...."
"Really? Haven't even done anything with anybody?" Masa continued to tilt in her chair. "At least count that."
"I.... don't remember doing anything with anybody, at least." Hankvi answered. "I.... technically haven't kissed anybody, I think." Hankvi's response then had gone beyond answering Masa's questions and more making an observation out loud.
Masa's chair suddenly flew forward, ramming into Hankvi's desk, moving it an inch or two. Hankvi nearly jumped in surprise at Masa's sudden use of force to propel her chair forward. She was standing on her chair and leaning forward over Hankvi's desk now.
"You haven't kissed anybody yet?" Masa seemed fairly intrigued. Hankvi shook his head in response. "What??" Masa smiled a bit. "You're, like, how old??"
"I'm at least eight. Probably not more than nine...." Hankvi simply answered.
Masa stared blankly at him for a moment. "Y... you're... eight?"
"Wait, uh, how much is that in Ludus time, again?" Hankvi rubbed the side of his jaw for a moment. "Eighteen.... "years"?
"Oh, that sounds more--yeah." Masa blinked. "Anyway--and you've never kissed anybody yet?"
"Well...." Hankvi knew that Issus and his loss of memory were subjects that would best be left not elaborated to Masa. "No, I guess not. I mean, I guess I honestly don't even know how to kiss somebody...."
"You don't know h--what??" Masa leaned back a bit.
"I mean, I was never "taught" how to, or anything...." Hankvi rubbed the back of his neck.
"So..." Masa gave a bit of a curious expression. "How about I teach you?"
Hankvi blushed again, his cheeks turning a lavender shade. "Y-you, uh, want to teach me?
"Yeah. Well, don't you think you'll probably need to know how to kiss people?"
"I guess?" Hankvi responded with a bit of uncertainty. After thinking for a second, he then responded again, trying to sound a bit surer. "Er, yeah. I guess you're right"
"Well then! Let's give it a go." Masa leaned lower, so as to get closer to Hankvi, who was still blushing.
"Alright...." Hankvi managed.
"Well, first, if you know someone wants to kiss you," Masa began to instruct Hankvi. "You lean in close to their face, of course."
Hankvi made the slight of an effort to get closer to Masa's face.
"Then you close your eyes..."
Hankvi closed his eyes as tightly as he could.
"N-no, you don't need to close them that much..." Masa laughed a bit. "Quit messing around. Close your eyes the way you would to go to sleep."
Hankvi loosened his eyes.
"Then you purse your lips. Kind of like you're about to drink out of a straw, I guess."
Hankvi once again did as instructed.
"Then you put your lips against the other persons lips."
Masa then moved her face to Hankvi's, completing the action. The two kissed for a few seconds, and then Masa slowly moved her head back. Hankvi felt his heart fluttering wildly in his chest.
"And there you go." Masa said simply. "That's how you kiss someone."
Hankvi put his fingers to his lips for a second, seeming to feel them.
"Oh, don't worry, you don't have anything on your face. It's not lipstick, anyway, so it couldn't leave any cyan on there."
"It's not that...." Hankvi paused, and looked down for a moment. "That was my first kiss...."
"Mm." Masa looked at him for a second, before standing up and sitting back down in her seat. "The first of many to come, I'm guessing."
"Maybe." Hankvi shrugged. He sat still for a moment, before then quickly returning to the paperwork he had been attending to earlier.
Masa exhaled. She then spun her chair around, stood up, and slowly pushed it back towards her desk.
"Oh, and, thank you." Hankvi caught Masa by surprise for a moment. She smiled, and returned to her own paperwork.