Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Evangelion: Inochi no Ki ❯ Searching ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Six: Searching

On Saturday morning, a blue-haired girl and a dark-haired boy walked the busy streets of Tokyo-3, close together, looking at everyone they saw.

“How are we supposed to know if they’re Angels or not?” Kei asked after half an hour of searching. “There doesn’t seem to be any special way to tell.” Her hand was kept on her satchel, where a weapon she had recently obtained was kept.

Shinji considered the question for a few moments, looking left and right suspiciously. “I don’t know,” he admitted. “That first one just attacked Rei out of the blue…”

“And when she was all alone,” Kei responded coldly. “Meanwhile, we’re wandering the city in broad daylight where everyone can see us and anyone would try to help us if an adult started throwing us around the streets. Why would the Angels attack us here?”

“So you’re saying we should go to one of the empty districts?”

“Yes!” Kei grabbed Shinji quickly. “There’s one twenty blocks west of here. We can get there quickly and look around. If nothing else, we might see someone doing something suspicious and that’ll help!”

Shinji sighed and ran along with Kei, jerking his arm free angrily. “Don’t pull me around,” he said.

Kei looked at him for a moment as they ran, but returned her attention to the space in front of her when she almost ran into someone. It was only when they stopped dashing that she returned her attention to Shinji.

“Sorry,” she said. “I get a bit energetic sometimes.” She chuckled a little, but it was half-hearted. They both looked around for a few minutes. “This place is creepy,” she said while they walked. “I wonder why such large portions of the city are practically abandoned.”

Shinji seemed to be considering this for a few minutes, but he didn’t say anything.

“You’re talkative.”

He shrugged in response. Kei frowned but walked beside him in silence. This is awkward. I know he’s Rei’s boyfriend and all, but…

“Why are you going out with my sister?” she asked suddenly, surprising herself..

“Uh… well…. she asked…”

“So you’re not really all that attracted to her are you?” Kei muttered, almost as if talking to herself.

Shinji looked at her confused. “No,” he whispered. “No, that’s not it at all. I just mean, she asked, so I said yes because I do like her and maybe it could go somewhere.”

“That’s not the same thing as liking her,” Kei countered. “If it were, you’d probably like Soryu just as much.”

Shinji blushed. “She’s different,” he said. “She’s been my best friend since before I can remember.”

Kei opened her mouth a moment but stopped and pointed. Shinji looked in that direction and his jaw dropped. Something – something not quite human – stood next to an open manhole. With a rushing noise, the creature disappeared down it before either of them could react.

“What was that?” three people said simultaneously. Kei and Shinji swung around and stared.

“Nagisa!” Shinji exclaimed. “What are you doing here?”

“Ikari-kun!” The few traces of shock on Kaworu’s face vanished, and he was all smiles again. “Do you know what that thing was?”

“It’s…” Kei frowned. “If I understand it right it’s something from an alternate reality game. You know, where the game makers pretend it’s all real and put it all in the real world.”

Shinji was about to correct her, but Kaworu spoke over him quickly. “May I play?” he asked. “It sounds quite exciting.”

“It’s not a game,” Shinji said. “Who told yo-”

“Oh please, Shinji-kun,” Kei interrupted. “You don’t need to role-play.” She laughed a moment and then turned back to Kaworu. “Of course, you can come along. I doubt you have a weapon or anything like that, but I’m sure you’ll be able to watch.”

“Excellent,” Kaworu said. “Let me just call my parents, let them know where I am.”

Kei turned back to Shinji. “Shall we…” He glared at her. “Fine, fine, role play if you want,” she said dismissively. “I guess whatever floats your boat works. Now come on. I bet if we find that thing we’ll get a clue about how to defeat the Angels once and for all or something.”

While Kaworu tentatively pressed the buttons on his phone, the two approached the manhole cautiously. Shinji had already pulled his Eva out and was pointing it into the darkness.

“I brought a flashlight,” Kei said. “When I got invited to test this thing out, I stocked up on whatever I could fit.” She fumbled for a few minutes with her bag and then pulled the light out, flicking it on quickly.

The darkness seemed absolute.

“Shall we go down then?” Kaworu asked, having rejoined them. “Or do you think we need to turn around?”

“It’s really not safe, Nagisa-san,” Shinji said impatiently. “You should just go home.” Before giving Kei a chance to “correct” him again, he began climbing into the sewers. “It’ll be fine. Kei and I will tell you all about the ‘game’ later.”

“Nonsense. I’ll probably be the safest person in the group.” Kaworu began descending after Shinji.

Kei smiled to herself briefly then followed them down. When she reached the bottom and began shining the flashlight in every direction, she became aware of just how cramped the place really was. Nothing like the movies.

“So,” she said. “I guess we-”

“Hang on. Shine the light there again.” Shinji pointed far ahead of them. When the beam of light hit the spot, they could all see a human bone. They quickly darted to it and discovered that around the corner an entire path of bones had been arranged, leading deeper into the darkness.

“Now what?” Kei asked softly.

“I suppose we soak up the atmosphere that the developers placed,” Kaworu suggested.

Shinji glared. “They’re real,” he hissed. “Real people killed by that thing. This isn’t a game. Nagisa, you should really go home. This place isn’t safe at all.”

He shrugged the thought off. “I’ll go wherever you do, Ikari. You have a gun.”

I hate that kind of logic. Shinji sighed. “Fine, whatever. I’ll lead the way; Kaworu, you shine the flashlight; Kei, you watch our backs.” On the plus side, with this Angel dead, there’ll only be thirteen left.

They walked for at least an hour, following a trail of bones all over the sewer system. The place was as silent as the grave, and nothing moved except the children. Eventually, none of them were afraid of whatever might be lurking in the sewers. Fear only lasted as long as something triggered it.

Naturally, the moment they let their guard down it attacked. The Angel seemed half-solid, half-shadow. It was a beast of such strange proportions and limbs, bending this way and that as it approached, claws outstretched, mouth wide open. In that mouth were what seemed like thousands of teeth, but they were arranged such that it seemed impossible the beast could really chew on anything.

It leapt at them.

Shinji let out a yell of terror, Kaworu deftly sidestepped, and Kei charged in, reaching into her satchel and pulling out her personal Eva. In her hands sat a strange spear with two prongs, growing in length as she charged the Angel down.

The spear did dig its way into the beast, but only just. The Angel grabbed it and ripped it out of itself, throwing it and Kei aside. It turned to Shinji, approaching slowly.

“Where is the goddess?” it asked, almost incomprehensible.

“I…” Shinji shook his head in confusion. “I…” Finally, he remembered his gun and held it up, intending to end things quickly, but all the shots he fired bounced off of the creature’s skin.

“Wrong,” the Angel whispered. It leapt at Shinji, its claws ready to cut him open, but Shinji heard Kaworu shout something; and then a man with a sword stood between Shinji and the beast.

The sword shone with almost blinding light for a few seconds, and then the blade itself seemed to disappear, to become so sharp that it ripped light into shreds as the man wielded it, countering every attack with a parry. But he wasn’t fighting back.

Shinji realized, depressingly, that this was the second battle he’d needed to be saved from.

“Get back!” the man shouted. “Leave these three alone!” The blade reappeared again, swinging down to cut the beast in two, but it stopped a few millimeters away. The beast glared at Shinji coldly, then retreated into the sewers. “Smart,” the man said. He sighed and looked at the sword for a moment. “What’s your problem?” he whispered.

He then turned to the children. Kei rose, smiling. “Those special effects…” Shinji heard her whisper. She still thought this was fake! Kaworu simply stood in a corner, smiling. Shinji shook his head.

“Smart of you to call me, Nagisa,” the man said. “Sandalphon is getting worse every day.”

“What?” Shinji whispered. Nagisa knew? He’d called this man? The man… he had an Eva?

The man smiled at Shinji. “Kaji Ryoji,” he said. “That’s who I am.” He held up the sword. “This baby is Eva-03.” He nodded to Kaworu and tossed the sword to him. The boy caught it effortlessly. “Just as well it’s yours now… it almost didn’t listen to me back then.”

“Didn’t listen?” Kei asked.

“Right. The Evas… because they’re grown straight from the World Tree- the material the tree is made out of is the only thing that can kill an Angel- they have a life and a mind of their own. They only like to work for certain people, and it’s been taking me a lot of effort to use this one… That’s why we have to use you kids.”

“But… my mother…”

“Your mom was similar enough to you in DNA to get a one-time use out of that gun. It won’t be fooled again. I personally wouldn’t have thought it would have been strong enough to kill the Angel in her hands, but I guess I was wrong there.” Kaji sighed. “Look,” he said, “I really should get going… you guys should come, too. Sandalphon might come back soon.”

Shinji frowned as the man turned away. He had so many questions to ask. Finally, he blurted out, “How do you kill Angels?”

The man turned back mid-step. “Luck,” he answered. “That’s really the only weapon we’ve got. Now go on. You guys really shouldn’t be hanging around here.”

“How are we supposed to beat the Angels like this?” Kei asked. “Is that a lot stronger than most?”

Kaji laughed. “That’s the weakest one,” he replied. “Good luck.”

He disappeared into the darkness.

“Kaji-san is very nice,” Kaworu remarked.

Both children turned to him. They had both realized at the same time that Kaji was not the only source of information they had.