Neon Genesis Evangelion Fan Fiction ❯ Evangelion: Inochi no Ki ❯ A New Mission ( Chapter 7 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
Chapter Seven: A New Mission

The landscape was one that no one would think Japanese. Rolling sand dunes; harsh, forbidding winds; air shimmering in the heat; these were not qualities one would think existed on any small island.

It was, in fact, the Nubian Desert, ten thousand kilometers away from Japan. An Angel had found a life in these sands, on very logical grounds. The Earth was an immense place, and there was no reason to limit herself to one simple island chain.

Now, of course, she was simply playing. A group of men, crossing the Sahara by camel for reasons she could not care less about. They were nearly dead, but they had almost reached a small oasis in the sands before she’d found them. A few hours of simply standing in one spot, seeming too real to be a mirage but always disappearing when they drew too close, and now they were beyond hope. And a mere two hills away from a bit of safe water.

She watched a few moments after they fell. The camels died around the same time the men did. She smiled to herself. Human cruelty. Pack enough water to be able to last as long as the camels do, and to ensure the camel’s deaths if you should fall.

She left, disappearing out of space and time and rematerializing further south. This was a troubled area, and she had no intents of ever letting the balance settle. She walked through the streets of some city, glancing shyly at a few men she passed. Ten minutes after they smiled back at her, they would go crazy. Some would simply stop responding to the world. Others would see nothing but madness. They would descend upon their neighbors, reigniting old conflicts, doing whatever it took to keep the world alight in wars.

She ducked down an alleyway, taking another step out of the world and arrived in another place, further south again. A battle was about to begin, so she worked quickly, unraveling minds quietly. The establishment, one actually trying to make the country a better place, would fall in a few hours, and the rebels, a few greedy warlords angry at the poverty they lived in, would take over and live in excess, breeding a whole new set of rebels.

It was amazing what little she had to do to unravel human society. Almost boring, really. In fact, she was quite grateful when she felt the little ringing in her head.

She took another step. This time she didn’t stay anywhere near Earth, or anywhere with a measurable distance from it.

The humans called it heaven. Every time the Angel heard that name she laughed. This wasn’t heaven. It hadn’t been when she’d lived here, and it wasn’t now, when she’d been bound bodily to Earth. Perhaps it had gotten worse. Once, the whole of the World Tree had been visible. Now most of the place was covered in fog, and only a tangled knot of branches could be seen.

Israfel was waiting for her. It smiled, brushing a few strands of long hair away. “Hello, Arael,” it said. Arael heard a melody in the Angel’s voice.

“Israfel…”

The other Angel sat on the ground (a simple brown plane), straightening its fuku idly for a moment before staring up at Arael. “Have you noticed that Sachiel is missing?” it finally asked.

Arael frowned. She had not paid any attention in several months. “So?”

“That means that they’ve finally picked replacement Guardians,” Israfel said. “We now number fourteen.”

“Is that really the only reason you called me here? Such discussion is pointless. I at least am well away of all human influence. They’ll never find me here.”

“That is not all. I noticed that Leliel and Bardiel had a secret meeting.” Israfel smiled. “I was wondering if you knew anything about it. But… if you’ve not been paying attention to these important matters…”

“Leliel and Bardiel? They barely get along. What would they do with each other?”

Israfel shifted for a moment. The uniform changed. The hair style changed. Masculine now, not feminine. The same sort of face, though. “So, that’s really all you know then?”

“I don’t lie Israfel. It’s a human concept.”

The male figure shrugged. “We all seem to have them now. Except Sandalphon.” They both laughed a minute. “Child-eating weirdo,” Israfel added after a moment.

Arael frowned. All of the Angels seemed to have picked up humanisms. Slang, music, poetry… They all seemed strangely drawn to it. She didn’t understand. For seven years, she hadn’t stuck around on Earth at all. She’d simply left, travelling from world to world across the universe before coming to one horrific conclusion: Human beings were the only intelligent life out there.

It would have made her cry if she’d been human.

So she’d come back to Earth. And she’d begun to wipe them out. Eight years of hell. They would have been mostly hellish anyways, but she’d made them worse. It was amazing how little you had to do to make people forget about things like “quarantine”, or to make a man feel compelled to not only to kill his enemies, but to rape their women as well. And if a little more Ebola and HIV spread around… well, those people were lucky. They might die before the world ended.

---

In Tokyo-3, Kei and Shinji both regarded Kaworu uncertainly. They knew he knew more than either of them, but so far their efforts to obtain any information had been useless. Like Kaji, his recommendations for specific angel-killing strategies had been enigmatic at best.

Concepts like “luck” and “planning ahead” were obvious. It was just that neither of them knew what to plan ahead for.

“Are you going to tell us anything at all?” Kei finally demanded.

“Sorry,” said Kaworu, “but no.”

“But, we have to kill them!” Shinji protested. “We need to know something! There’s still fourteen out there. We haven’t actually managed to kill any of them yet.”

“You just need practice.”

They both protested. “Practice isn’t good enough,” she said, and Shinji added, “The only way we can get practice is to risk dying.”

“I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Kaworu said. “This is my bus stop.” He nodded towards a corner. “Goodbye.” He walked away, joining the people at the stop.

Kei and Shinji exchanged glances. “What now?” she asked. “Should we try and find another Angel?”

“No. I have a different idea,” Shinji said. “I won’t be able to start until tomorrow though.”

“What should I do?”

Shinji shrugged his shoulders. “Hang out with friends, catch up with homework, I dunno.”

“Rei keeps pestering me. This morning she told me ‘forty-nine weeks, two days.’ I’m going to go completely crazy by May if she keeps this up.”

“It won’t take us that long,” Shinji said firmly. “I gotta go home now.” He smiled slightly. She smiled back. “See you tomorrow.”

“See you.”

They parted ways shortly after that, and Shinji took the subway home. When he got there, however, he didn’t get to return to his apartment straight away. Two women were waiting in the hall, one wearing the uniform for his parents’ organization, the other clad in a white dress. They both smiled.

“Ikari Shinji?” the uniformed one asked.

He nodded.

“Good. I’m Ooi Satsuki, and this is Miss Kuroe.” Ooi, the uniformed one, fumbled for a moment before producing ID. “Since your parents are so busy, you’ll need a place to go to get injuries treated. Miss Kuroe is an expert with medicine.”

“Hello,” she said softly.

Shinji smiled. “Hello,” he replied, bowing. Finally, his parent’s organization was showing some semblance of competence instead of just throwing children out into the wilderness.

Satsuki seemed rather impatient, Shinji realized. “Uh… Is there something else I should know about?” he asked.

“You seem to already be slightly injured,” she remarked, pointing to Shinji’s legs. He looked down. The pants had been torn, and although the cuts were sealed, something about them suggested that they’d reopened several times since the initial incision.

“It’s nothing. Just scratches.”

“Don’t be too sure,” Miss Kuroe said quickly. “When Malchediel nearly killed A-” she stopped and corrected herself. “-one of the older guardians, it took five weeks for the doctors to seal up the cuts. Look.”

Shinji looked down again. Fresh blood was slowly leaking out of the cuts. Somehow, though, it didn’t feel painful at all.

“Come inside, I’ll see what I can do.” Miss Kuroe took him by the arm and led him into a nearby apartment. It was decorated strangely, mostly sculptures and works of art that seemed more tribal than something easily obtained in Japan. “Sit at the table and put your feet up.”

Shinji followed instructions quickly. The chair, he noted, was quite comfortable. So nice that he shut his eyes and just relaxed. Miss Kuroe came back into the main room, her footsteps stopping for a moment as she fumbled with something. Soon, soothing music was playing.

“I think it’s best to have a healing atmosphere to do any real healing. Otherwise… well, your body might not respond as well as it could.”

Shinji knew she was smiling, somehow. Probably, he told himself, because she’d been smiling almost the whole time he’d been there

He barely even felt whatever it was she did, but he did know that when he opened his eyes and stood up, she had also stitched his pants back together. Pulling up the pants leg, he saw that the wound was completely gone, and the dried blood washed away.

“Wow,” he said.

“I try.” Miss Kuroe smiled again. She barely seemed to do anything else. “Do feel to drop in any time.”

Shinji nodded. “Right. Thanks.” He walked to the front door a little slowly, sad that he’d be leaving so quickly.

“Oh, Ikari-san?”

Shinji stopped and turned.

“I’m new in town, and I was wondering… Tomorrow, would you help me around town while I run my errands? If it’s not too much trouble, that is.”

Shinji sighed, thinking of Kaji. “Sorry,” he said. “I’ve already made plans. Uh… maybe Ooi-san can help you.”

Miss Kuroe didn’t stop smiling. “Of course, of course. Thank you. Good bye.”

Shinji left.

Chapter 6
Chapter 8
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