Chapter 6: Armed Negotiations
“As a matter of fact, I want both Nietono no Shana and Azur, Friagnes ring currently in the possession of that torch boy.
Their spell insignia's are unique, and I want to copy them.”
The hybrid leans back against the wall in an utterly relaxed manner, as if he just asked her what weather she thinks it will be tomorrow.
Shana’s eyes widen for a moment before they return to their normal cautious expression.
There is only one way to respond to such a ridiculous demand.
“That won’t happen! The Nietono no Shana is my weapon and it can't be copied in any way!
As for Azur, it is something that is protecting Yuji from Denizens and others that want the treasure inside him! You are asking for the impossible” she concludes.
“After all...the life of a Denizen is much longer than a human life...and the proper circle would be...birth, life, death...That's normal. A Life of immortality is not made for normally mortal people.” Alastor says while trying to talk some sense into him.
“You are right in the sense it is your weapon, but wrong in the sense it cannot be copied.
Nietono no Shana is fine craftmanship, but still created by a mere mystes.
Only items crafted by the God of Creation are of such a complexity they cannot be replicated, since their base material is made of wishes, which cannot be forged to begin with.
I am not asking you to give up your blade flame-haze, I just wish to..borrow it.
Same goes for Azur.
If you force me to give up my immortality I want something of equal value.
Be glad I did not ask for whatever is inside the torch.” Malachite concludes threateningly.
That sentence almost brings Shana to her boiling point.
Nobody threatens Yuji and gets away with it!
She feels how her hair is still black, but Alastor’s flame is clearly visible in her eyes as the red-hot-eyes-hunter glares at Malachite in a way he should consider as a serious warning not to cross the fine line he is now balancing at.
“It is the weapon I use to carry out my missions! I am afraid that's impossible to give! Also I'm not forcing you to give up your immortality! I gave you a choice! My protection for your promise! If you don't want to accept that, that is your right! But it's a fair warning to tell you that if you become a threat you must be hunted down!”
“Hmpf, you are not the only one who can voice threats!” she thinks.
The change is subtle, but Shana notices how Malachite braces himself as he narrows his eyes and raises his guard.
When he speaks, it is at the same slow tone he uses when she grabbed his coat earlier.
She now recognizes it as a voice used by someone who is prepared for the worst.
“Do not be foolish enough to threaten me in my own home flame-haze.
The last time someone did that, humans thought a nearby vulcano erupted.
There are enough hougu's in this place to blow everything and everyone to pieces.
Take that into consideration.
You are also interpreting my wish in a wrong way.
I am not asking you to give up on either your saladfork nor that torch his ring.
All I wish is to study its insignia, so I can copy it.
You can stay in the same room while I perform the required tasks if you must.
But either grant me this, or the things I know about what will come will stay with me.
Immortality means a great deal to me.
Thus I ask something of equal value in return.
An opportunity to study and copy one of the most complex insignia's seen since the great war.
It is a process that won't take long.
What are you afraid of little one?
That I might break it?”
“If you want to pick a fight that bad I won’t disappoint you!” Shana thinks as she clenches her teeth.
“I can't let go of it for even a mere second! That's what I mean! And don't brag like that! If you try anything like that then you'll probably just waste your life for no reason!”
“That is enough Shana! Stop it!”
Shana looks at Alastor, feeling a bit ashamed about the fact that he corrects her like a child.
“It is pointless to kill each other here and now! As for your immortality.. if that's indeed is the only thing with meaning for you...you can have it in a way like the corpse collector does! There are many fading Torches out there whose Existance goes to waste. You can collect that last Existance from them!”
Malachite does not lower his guard for even a split-second, and he looks like he is on the verge of casting a fuzetsu.
*Is still on the verge of casting a fuzetsu*
“You would not understand Alastor” he says.
“I have my own reasons to do what I do.
Immortality is still easily lost for an entity like me, who does not have any noteworthy defense against flamehazes or denizens.
Counter really only works when used as a surprise.
The insignia on Azur blocks flames, and is unique in that sense.
It has no offensive talent, but its defensive potential is amazing in the fact that most flame-haze attacks are fire based.
It would be my -get-out-of-here-alive-card.
Nietono no Shana is unique in the way the sword interacts with its owner, creating something beyond any form of known insignia.
It would mean a breakthrough in hougu-creation.
That it would up my survival chances is a nice side-effect.
Perhaps we can settle for a temporary trade.”
With a sudden move, Malachite removes the bracelet hougu from his arm and offers it to Shana.
“Without this I am largely unable to do anything beyond what a normal human can.
I will probably even freeze in a fuzetsu, and I almost cannot control any power of existance without it.
But I do not need those powers to get what I want out of Azur and Nietono no Shana.
It will leave you in control, since I will be defenseless.
The bracelet, for the blade.
And afterwards, we swap again.
Is that.. acceptable?” he asks with that irritating arrogant tone of his.
“Kh!” she would love to simply hit him on the head for this!
Didn’t he hear she said no already?!
“You look desperate but believe me that you can manage!
I said I will offer you protection! Why isn't that enough for you?”
For a second Malachite drops his mask of arrogance, and Shana can see conflict flashing over his face, combined with pain, a very deep pain.
“…cannot tell you.
You would have to trust me that I would not use anything not harm you or dismantle the blade.
The same would go for Azur.”
“That face..” Shana thinks.
“There is more to this then what he is revealing..something personal” she figures.
“There must be a reason! You ask for my trust but still you are hiding this important detail from me!”
“It is none of your business!”
Malachite shakes his head aggressively as he raises his voice for the first time since Shana has met him.
What is your problem?
Do you die if you let go of that needle for a second?
You don't trust me.
That's fine, but if you want to live, if you want everyone in this city to live, you will have to.
I cannot manipulate anything without my hougu,
You will still be a flamehaze.
You could freeze me in a fuzetsu, or even kill me with your bare hands before I could even do as much as think of attacking you.
Do you think I like the idea of being defenseless in the presence of a flame-haze of your level?
Maybe I ask for your trust.
But I also trade it for the only thing that gives me an edge.
Ask yourself: Who is being exposed to the highest risk here!
Or is your hatred and mistrust that big that you cannot see?” he adds in an attempt to shame her.
“Now you have done it! This was one time to much!” Shana thinks as she feels her anger reaching the boiling point.
She frowns angrily and draws the Nietono no Shana, as her hair and eyes take their characteristic fiery red color.
“How dare you! How dare you speaking to me this way! I could have split you in two any second!”
Once again Malachite establishes a fuzetsu. At the same time he has one of the hougu guns Shana saw earlier in his hand. But from the look of this one,she is sure it is fully operational. Clearly maintaining the fuzetsu taxes the hybrid, but at the same time she notices a certain resolve in his eyes. Shana blinks as he points the hougu at her chest, a finger on the trigger. At this point it is hard to say what would be faster. his bullet, or her blade.
“I have something you need.
You have something I want.
Clearly Alastor never learnt you how to negotiate.”
“What do you have that I possibly need?...” she asks while clenching Nietono no Shana firmly.
Malachite sighs in an overly dramatic manner.
“That is the problem with information, hunter.
Once you tell what it is, you lose your leverage.
Perhaps I am bluffing.
But do you want to risk everyone in this city for that?
Or should I say, risk that someone?
We can fight now,with all sorts of unpleasant consequences,
Or you can simply use the few braincells not scorched by those flames of yours, and opt for my more..civilised proposal.
Don't do something foolish flame haze.
You might be superior in battle, but I can still shoot faster then you can swing that sword.
Don't tempt me to demonstrate it.”
Shana slightly alters her grip on her longsword as she prepares herself to pounce upon him.
“Damn you! What is this you say I need?! What could you possibly have that I need?!”
“Do you promise to lend me Nietono no Shana and at some point Azur if I tell you?” he ripostes.
“Don't play games with me!” Shana shouts frustrated.
“In games, flame-hazes don't die hunter.
When being targeted with a hougu created for destruction however, they do.”
Malachite looks dead serious.
His hougu gun makes a small click sound, and starts to radiate a small green glow.
Apparently it is ready to be fired whenever he wishes.
Shana prepares for battle as she focuses on her opponent, ready to react to his every move.
“It seems like we cannot come to an agreement thanks to your mistrust hunter.
That means we have nothing left to discuss.
I suggest you walk away now.