Anima

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Nymph, Jun 17, 2015.

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  1. Ikami stood outside of the skyscraper she was soon to call home. It was intimidating in an odd way; no other building seemed to compare to its presence, but it was far shorter than other structures around it. It had an eerie feeling of belonging as well. If one were to glance upon the city of Tokyo, their eye would melt this edifice into the others, and it would be as though it wasn't even there. Perhaps it was meant to be that way.

    Taking small steps and passing through the entrance, it was immediately clear that the exterior meant nothing compared to the interior. It looked very modern and expensive; paintings and potted plants rendezvoused in every corner, and a sleek-looking couch rested parallel to a desk that seemed to be for a receptionist. Ika made her way over, her bag loosely dangling by her side. She had just finished her last day at her former school; the program she was to be entered into would provide education, apparently.

    A stout woman soon made her way over and began writing in a notebook, asking questions as she scribbled away.

    "Name?" she inquired.

    "I-Ikami Endo," Ika nervously replied. "I'm here for the progra-"

    "I know what you're here for. Sit over there, we have to wait for your partner to arrive before initiating any sort of orientation. It's customary." She spat out sentences faster than a train, and everything she said was monotone and lifeless.

    Waiting meant more time to read, but Ika had no idea she was going to be assigned a partner. This changed everything, to be honest; would she have to share a room? Would she have to rely on them and their potentially unstable schedule? She honestly didn't know. She'd just have to wait to find out.
     
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  2. Suzumu exited the crowded metro station and stepped into the streets of downtown Tokyo. His backpack was heavy with essentials, and heart was heavy with worry. W-Would Mother be angry at him for just leaving her like that? He hadn't told her where he was going or why he had left. He knew doing that would have just made her angry... O-or sad. Or concerned. Or something. He didn't like any of those prospective scenarios.

    But maybe, just maybe... Mother would be relieved that he was gone?

    The walk from the bustling station to the uncanny skyscraper didn't take too long, but to Suzumu, it felt like forever before he finally made it to the building that seemed to basically bleed in and out of the background. He stood at the threshold between the outside and inside, unsure of what he would do. He could turn back now and just treat this incident as a crisis of faith, just another expression of filial doubt by a rebellious teen. He'd get in trouble for coming home late without permission, but that would be better than being gone for days or months or years. Suzumu nervously played with the side of his collar. But he'd called the people in this building, and they said they could help with his problems. It was like a series of small temptations before a great fall.

    ...But which option here was the fall? That was what scared Suzumu the most. Not the prospect of a reprimand, just the prospect of making the wrong choice. In the past, he'd always been told he'd made the wrong choice. Could he even trust himself to make such a significant decision? He took a deep breath and steeled his nerves. He was confident that this would be the right choice this time. Going back home meant facing the same problems, entering this program meant doing something about it.

    Suzumu didn't know how long he was standing at the door. Not too long, he hoped. He didn't want to come off as weird. The first thing he noticed when he entered the building were the paintings and plants placed along the perimeter of the place. It made the whole place's atmosphere seem calmer, but in the bureaucratic way that waiting in line at a government building evoked. Which was fitting, considering the building was actually a government building.

    In the room with him was a rose-haired young girl sitting on a couch across from a portly woman and her desk. He approached the elder of the two females and was quickly met with a similar spiel to the one that Ikami had gotten. It was almost robotic, and Suzumu had to restrain himself from the urge to fact-check that. After giving his name with a confused expression and a chipper voice, he was instructed to take a seat next to the pinknette on the couch.

    Suzumu hadn't expected a partner be required for this program, and to be frank, he was worried. What kind of person would his partner be? He was good with people, but he was never good with people. With every fiber of his being, he hoped that his partner would be a kind person, and that they wouldn't just be partners, but friends.
     
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  3. Ikami hadn't looked up from her novella when Suzumu had entered the building; too immersed in the story she was reading, he hadn't even caught her eye until he began speaking to the receptionist. Was this her partner? He clearly didn't look like he was an official, so this was the only conclusion Ika could draw was that he was another program initiate. When he began to turn towards her, Ika sunk her head quickly and began to pretend to read. Strangers didn't scare her in the slightest bit. What bothered her is that they were troublesome to deal with. Their opinion of you can very well be judged off of your first appearance alone, leaving you vulnerable to undervaluing. That's why she didn't speak to many people; you cannot be misjudged if you are never perceived. This boy had an aura that made you want to talk to him though. He seemed to be a shining, friendly light in a sea of lifeless corpses marching to and from work.

    Ikami hadn't quite decided whether or not she liked that.

    The receptionist slowly stood and began to walk over to the duo, sporting a clipboard and pen in hand. Ika's first thought told her they were soon going to be drowning in a sea of paperwork, but slowly, she realized they were going to be escorted. Throwing her novella back into its bag, she quickly grabbed the handles and stood up to follow the receptionist. The official turned into a hallway that was far more generic than the foyer of the building; it was only dimly lit by several wall lamps and decorated with considerably lower quality paintings. They had walked on for a while before the dwarf of a lady suddenly jerked right and opened a doorway that was marked 'General Discussion'.

    Inside were two couches parallel to each other, with a glass coffee table in between. A fireplace crackled loudly at the far left wall, and the potted plants returned. The official feeling she got from the entrance imposed itself back onto Ika. The executive wrote something down on her clipboard, turned to the twosome, and simply said the words:

    "Wait here until Mr. Furuse shows up. He will begin talking about your future experiences here and will lead you to the testing center to evaluate your current physical conditions. From then on, you will now be permanent residents of this establishment."

    After that monologue, she marched out. From the bits and pieces that Ika had collected from what this woman was saying, Mr. Furuse sounded like the figurehead of AOEO. Hoping dearly that he wasn't anything like Ms. Hobgoblin, she took a seat on one of the couches again.

    "So, I suppose you're going to be my partner, huh?"
     
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  4. It wasn't a long wait before the stocky receptionist got out of her seat and approached the two program participants seated on the couch. That was good, Suzumu wasn't sure if waiting would manage to shake his resolution to enter the program. Even though he'd made the decision and registered with the receptionist, he still doubted if this was the smart decision. It wouldn't have been hard for him to just get up and get out. His worries about his partner were somewhat allayed by the robot-like secretary. She indicated that she was to escort them to what he guessed would be a meeting room or a makeshift theatre, so they could commence their orientation into the AOEO program.

    The corridor the duo were led down was long and, quite frankly, increasingly depressing. The paintings became far less appealing, the plants disappeared, the lighting became dimmer, and it seemed like there was this ominous air hanging over the general genericness of the area. Soon enough though, they rounded a sudden corner to a room designated as 'General Discussion'. Was it a meeting room like he thought? The interior didn't much look like how he'd imagined a meeting room to be, though. There was less 'one big table with chairs on all sides', and more 'two couches on either side of a coffee table'. It was like a waiting room designed to be comforting and calming.

    Before he could take a seat, Suzumu turned his attention to the sudden sound from the languid receptionist. He listened intently to her words, noting the physical examination to follow their meeting with an official called as "Mr. Furuse". Honestly, Suzumu was more concerned about the physical test. Why was that necessary? He didn't think it would be something like a doctor's examination, if there was a designated training center. Suzumu shook such worries from his mind before they grew into something malicious. There was no turning back now.

    Suzumu took a seat across from Ikami, sitting straight-bodied with his hands in his lap. If he had to give his opinion on the girl sitting across from him, Suzumu would have to say that she appeared to be the bookish, introverted-type. It was most telling in the way she'd reacted to his approach earlier. Instead of interacting with him, the blue-eyed girl sunk her face deeper into that one book she had been reading when he entered, almost like a wall, protecting her from the outside. Typically, he wouldn't be one for conversing with people like that; they were 'odd', he was supposed to be 'normal'. But this was hardly a normal situation. Suzumu was sure that this whole experience could even render the most social of butterflies into an awkward mess. Besides, if this girl was treated any way similarly to how he was because of the ghostly visions, he could see why she would wish to separate herself from the concept. But even so, she had gone this far into dealing with her problem, and that made all the difference. No matter what kind of person she was, the girl before him, his program partner, was definitely a 'strong person', no doubt about it. It almost made him fell... well, jealous, but he couldn't tell why.

    Suzumu smiled at the girl. "Yeah, it looks that way," he nodded, "It's nice to meet you, ah..." He allowed his voice to trail into the silence, as he averted his eyes and sheepishly rubbed the back of his head with a goofy grin on his face. "Sorry! I never got your name," he laughed, turning his gaze back to the pastel-colored schoolgirl. He stood from his seat and bowed to his partner, "But I'm Suzumu, and I hope we can work well together!"
     
  5. "You don't have to bow."

    The words came out faster and more apathetic than she had intended. It was supposed to be friendly, but it left her mouth with a tinge of demand in it, resulting in something far more rude and out of place than what it originally was.

    "I'm Ikami. You can call me Ika, though. I won't talk much, so don't worry about me being a bother. ...You're able to see them too, correct?"

    It sounded like a redundant question at first, but as she thought about it more, it was quite legitimate. The title of partners did not exactly correlate to them having the same abilities. He could very well be someone who only knows of them; an applicant for some sidekick role. She over-analyzed his position in her head before spouting the next set of intimidating and somehow comforting words.

    "They're scary, but broken."

    Ika spoke with a tone that confused even her. It was poetic and wispy, but it had a sense of anger as well. Like she wanted to do something, but just couldn't. Which was exactly why she was here; she wants to help the shadowy, demonic colossi, but it's more likely she'll just be tested on. They offer permanent residence, amenities beyond anyone's comprehension, and what the officials get in return is test results. Is that what is going on here? The letter didn't provide much information at all, let alone how they knew she had the ability. All Ika knew was that she wanted to help them. And she was going to make that clear.
     
  6. Suzumu cringed.

    He screwed up. He did something wrong. He made a mistake. Absently, his hand moved up to play with the side of his collar. He averted his eyes for the briefest of moments, and his lips became a hard line, its edges slightly upcurled. It was like a smile, but at the same time, it didn't feel like one. He was like a normal boy, but at the same time, not. Would she be mad at him? Would she lash out and say spiteful words? He wouldn't be surprised if she did, and he certainly wouldn't hold it against her.

    Suzumu only allowed himself to calm down when the rose-like girl transitioned into her introduction. He rested his hand on his opposite shoulder. Though he had stilled his beating heart, he wasn't yet entirely comfortable. It was a good step in the right direction, though. He was relieved that she wasn't a volatile person, but this was just one, minor incident. How much would she tolerate?

    Best not to think of such things.

    A subject change would be good for his head, and the knowledge that his partner wouldn't be a bother was a nice tidbit. It made him just that much more optimistic about this uneasy situation. "I...ka...Ika...mi...Ikami...Ika...." he mumbled experimentally before nodding in approval, "That's a nice name, Ika-chan." He drew silent when the girl resumed, this time asking about his ability to see them. "Yeah," he answered, tone slightly more somber.

    "...I hate them." "They're scary, but broken."

    The simultaneous speech echoed in his head. Small mistakes before a great fall. Now he knew he was done. He made a big misstep, one that could make or break this partnership. There was nothing as conflicting as two opposing ideologies. His hand tugged at his collar. Even so, was he wrong for hating them? Their shadowy bodies cast even darker shadows in his life. Maybe if he had been a good boy like his Mother said, the visions would never have come to him...
     
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  7. "...You hate them? Odd. If anything, going into the program, I have one word of advice. Forget everything you know about them. They could know more than us, and at that point, our ideas will clash. Nothing is more unpleasant than discord."

    She blocked her face with her novel again, but soon, the doors to the room opened. A short, frail man seemed to stumble in, his mouth carved into a perfect smile; he'd practiced that stance. He sat down at the couch that Suzumu rested at, and began flipping through some report he'd had with him.

    "Ikami Endo," he said with a surprisingly deep, grounded voice. "Female, age fifteen. Invited to the program by our scouters. Reportedly introverted and stubborn." Pausing, he chuckled a bit before glancing up and staring straight at her. "I have a feeling you'll enjoy this, but feelings aren't always to be relied on."

    "...aren't always to be relied on."

    Those words echoed through her head, tying up her thoughts and suffocating them. She wasn't expecting something as elegiac as that from this elder. He seemed more the type to smile at everything and donate money to five thousand charities; clearly he'd been through something unpleasant, but she wasn't sure what.

    "Suzumu Haigara," he once again proclaimed for the duo. "...There isn't as much information for you. Fifteen, male... but that's about it. You must have applied; not many people take that course of action. You're brave. At least, as far as I can tell." He tilted his head back and let out a bellow of a laugh, echoing throughout the room. It was like he heard the best joke in his laugh, and was cutting loose.

    "I suppose I should explain more about the program, eh?"
     
  8. Suzumu remained silent. He was crestfallen, like a child who'd just received a scolding, but he refused to show his partner his despondency. His refusal didn't arise from a sense of indignation; he just didn't want her to see, to judge him more than he knew she was, even if she wouldn't show it either. After all, what else would she be thinking? She'd even called him odd and felt the need to educate him. The bluenet opened his mouth to say something before quickly backtracking on that action when he realized that the girl had once more walled him off with that book of hers. The conversation was over. There was nothing else to be said.

    Suzumu waited patiently for the arrival of Mr. Furuse. Unlike his companion, he hadn't brought anything to occupy himself with. He didn't have anything to occupy himself with in the first place. No cellphone, no library card, no portable gaming system, no nothing. Instead, Suzumu craned his head and stared into the flickering flames of the fireplace, leaving nothing but him and his own thoughts...

    The sound characteristic of shifting doorknobs brought Suzumu's attention back to the 'front' of the room. Standing in the doorframe was a man. Mr. Furuse, he presumed. He was something like an old grandfather: small and delicate, but world-weary in the subtlest of ways. He moved his attention to scrutinize the man's face. A smile greeted Suzumu's gaze. It was a smile like his own: practiced and perfected to an imperceptible degree. This man was surely hiding something, but what?

    The man took a seat next to Suzumu. The boy wasn't quite sure whether he was fine with that or not, but made no fuss. He knew he shouldn't cause a scene for something that slight, discomfort be damned. With a remarkably baritone voice, the man went straight to reading out excerpts from what records the program had on them. A pang of worry resounded in Suzumu's heart when he heard that his partner was, quote, "introverted and stubborn". Interacting with someone like that would be difficult. Any infelicity was liable to result in something irreparable, and the following reconciliation would be difficult.

    Then came his turn.

    Suzumu had to admit that he had a bit of an internal crisis when the prospect of his file being read aloud occurred to him. What did they know? Would what his partner learned make her think of him badly? It frightened him. So when it turned out there was nothing of note to be read aloud, he was able to breathe a sigh of relief. But more than that, something the man said struck deeply within the boy. He was... brave? No, not brave. He wasn't brave; he was scared. Scared of demons, scared of stigma, scared of...scared of Mother. He wasn't a brave person, he was a coward. All of this, coming here... It was just like running away. He was a lot of things, but he couldn't call himself brave.

    "Yes please," Suzumu answered simply, but cheerfully - though not too cheerfully. Humoring this man was the least he could do, and a run-down would be nice to get his mind off such grim things.
     
  9. The man took a deep breath and began his speech with a small stutter, like an old car starting up once more.

    "Those things you see... we call them 'phantasms'. From what we can gather, their presence inexplicably causes drops in... certain kinds of energy. People who have been exposed have committed homicide, tested positive for certain diseases, and have ended their own life, just to name a few. They're abominable. We need you to eradicate them."

    Every word that escaped Mr. Furuse's mouth made Ika cringe. Despicable? They weren't despicable in the slightest; they're very obviously doing those horrible things for a reason, and it's possible they're not even doing it willingly. Like she had said before, she was going to make her mission clear. And that, she did.

    "I will only participate in this program if you dedicate some of your time and resources to finding a way to cure them. Give them a peaceful death, so to speak," Ika had said, placing her book down as though it were a sword and she were a queen with absolute power. "Mercilessly eliminating them is nonsensical; for all we know, they could come back once more, continuing the cycle of huntsman and prey." She glanced over at Suzumu, trying to ground that theory into fact.

    Mr. Furuse's mouth dropped into a frown, his head lowering emulating the fact that he was disappointed. "Young lady, you need not be so rude." That old, wispy chuckle came once more, contradicting his expression and creating an awkward moment of silence. "...We will look into it. Right now, there is a shortage of seers. Less and less children are being blessed... or cursed, with the ability. That's exactly why you're sitting with another initiate; we need to pair you up to prevent any further decay. Hunting them is dangerous, and requires intense physical, mental, and emotional preparation. It's beneficial to require you to hunt together until the numbers rise again. Understood?"

    Ika nodded her head in agreement, her queen stance still present. She surely didn't think herself as such, but perhaps she could fool others into thinking so.
     
  10. Suzumu immediately regretted his decision to respond in the affirmative. The explanation chilled Suzumu down to his very core, shaking the very fibre of his being. Mother was right? Mother was always right, why would she have been wrong this time around? These demons or phantasms or whatever, they were the hellish entities he'd been told they were. He'd been exposed to things that could drive people to evil acts, what else could they be thought of other than demons? But he hadn't felt any particular urge to kill other people, even with his time exposed to them. Maybe he'd get himself a medical check up later. For the time being, he just remained silent with that happily empty expression on his face.

    Ika's sudden interruption turned his attention towards the girl. It hadn't surprised him though; she had told him earlier that she would make her point of view known with the forcefulness and authority of a monarch. She looked over to him, and he could tell she was angry, even without her decisive speech. He averted his eyes, but still kept the vestiges of a smile on his face. The kindled flame in her azure eyes was a testament to her passionate belief in her ideals. It wasn't all talk; she'd made her mind up and would stick to it. The phrase "introverted and stubborn" made its way back into the young man's mind. To voice her antithetical position before an authority figure. How audacious of her...

    But Suzumu didn't know if that was a good thing. Sure, her resolve was enviable. It was definitely something he lacked, but desperately needed. However, it wasn't necessarily a convenient quality for others. She was bold, brash, and wholly dedicated to her beliefs. Could their leader count on her to remain subordinate? Could Suzumu himself count on her to have his back against these phantasms, even if it meant going against her ideals? A pit of worry grew in the boy's stomach, but he set his feelings aside for the moment. There was more to be said by Mr. Furuse.

    "I understand," Suzumu nodded. But though he'd understood, he still didn't know if he was completely confident in his abilities or this program. This wasn't just dealing with the visions, but actively facing them down. Even despite his doubt, he was able to take a kind of sadistic comfort in the idea of getting revenge on his demons. But that was improper. It wasn't right, or at least it wasn't right with his partner. "So I guess this is the part where you test us on our abilities?"
     
  11. Like a broken record, his laugh played again. "Yes, it is. Though the phantasms are merely spirits, it seems physical weapons still have the ability to hurt them. Guns, swords, and much more will be available for you to try. I advise you to be careful when you enter the physical training area."

    Ika stood up, grabbing the handles of her bag and clenching them in a defensive fist. "I'm ready if Suzumu is. Having never handled a weapon, it'll be an interesting experience, but it's going to be something I'll be doing for a while, apparently." She had taken a few steps toward the door when Mr. Furuse stood up and began to accompany her.

    While they were walking towards the testing room, Ikami's mind raced with tension and looping thoughts. Though she was terrified, she refused to show it. She had to be composed in order to successfully acquire something she desired, and this was one such situation. Being required to choose her words and actions carefully, Ika ran everything she was going to say through her head thousands of times before saying them. Right now, however, what mattered more was her physical capabilities. She was going to handle real weapons with real consequences; if someone had gotten hurt at her hands, she'd never forgive herself. Promising to train until she perfected the various techniques, she turned towards Mr. Furuse once more.

    "Those... those 'amenities' you mentioned in my letter. What does that term include?" She asked, a slightly confused look on her face. "As far as I know, it's something someone can use when they want to hide limitations; you can pick and choose what it includes and what it doesn't."

    "...Ah, well... you're allowed to have anything you want... that is, electronics, decor-"

    "No. I mean, what is not included?"

    Mr. Furuse stopped for a minute, giving a look to them as though they shouldn't be discussing it right now, but she was forcing them to. "Well... anything personal. You're not allowed to bring anything you had previously owned, have anyone over, or anything of the sort... it's to emotionally condition you. But enough on that... we need to bring you to the testing center."
     
  12. Suzumu gulped, partially in worry and partially in anticipation. He'd never handled a weapon or anything like that before, and he wondered if he would be competent enough to use a weapon without hurting himself or someone he wouldn't want to, like Ika. Maybe he would choose something that wouldn't be immediately fatal if he missed his mark, or maybe something light and easy to master so he'd never miss in the first place. He'd just have to see what they had available when they got there. Hearing his name, he turned his attention to Ika and nodded in the affirmative. He was as ready for this as he'd ever be, and he didn't want to be the one to hold his partner back.

    The blue-haired boy slung his bag over his shoulder before following the pink-haired girl and strange old man out of the room, and into the dreary hallway they had been guided through before. He trudged through the somber corridor in silence, until his female companion broke the silence with her astute query. Admittedly, he hadn't thought much of it when he had heard the recruitment spiel; he had just considered the program a way to 'get out', so to speak.

    When he heard the complete explanation of the precise definition of 'amenity', Suzumu found himself feeling dreadful. His smile faltered, turning into a hard line. They wouldn't get to contact anything from their 'old' lives. That itself would be enough to make a normal person waver, but that wasn't what made him feel bad. No, it was the fact that he wasn't bothered by it at all. He would have to leave everything behind and... that was it. No happiness, no sadness. A reluctant acceptance grew in Suzumu's stomach, and his hand moved to his neck, rubbing the fabric of his shirt's shoulder between two fingers. Wasn't he supposed to feel horrible about leaving everything and everyone he knew behind? Would Mother be alright with never seeing him again?

    Ika was a normal person, so he was sure she wasn't taking it all too well. "I-I'm sure it'll be fine, Ika-chan," Suzumu said reassuringly, "It's not like it's for no reason, right?" Although he was speaking to Ika, it was almost as if that last statement was directed to Mr. Furuse himself. "And look on the brightside, we basically get anything we ask for!" Except for friends, family, and objects of sentimental significance.

    "Let's keep moving, yeah?"
     
  13. Around five minutes had lapsed between their short disruption outside of the General Discussion room and their arrival at the Training Facility. Two large doors, bordered by surprisingly large windows, were placed at the end of the hall they were currently in. Mr. Furuse had pushed the entrance open and guided the pair in. From Ika's position, she could see many weapon racks scattered around the room, accompanied by sections of padding on the floor and walls. Trampolines and a target range were present as well, meaning the area had to be segmented in some way; there was no way one could practice aerial combat in this part of the room. Craning her neck, Ika could see a clear, sliding glass door, bordered by many windows, marked 'Simulation Practice'.

    The interior smelled oddly fresh, as though it was just cleaned; it must have been for their arrival.

    "Welcome to Training Facility A1! The guns and weapons designed for range combat are over there, melee weapons are placed on the left side of the room, and hybrids are against the wall. I wish I could stay, but during this part of the entrance test, we need to give you as much space as possible. You will have fifteen minutes to test out different strategies or weapons, and then you will be guided into the Simulation Practice."

    Ikami glanced at Suzumu, giving a look of confusion. They had limited time to test out different weapons, and would be tested on their puissance with the said weapon. It seemed rather one-sided and "set-up," but it wasn't like she had a choice.

    "Let's just keep our weapons pointed away from each other, okay?"

    Running over to the right side of the room, Ika quickly made her way to the weapon rack labeled "Firearms." Atop it was a booklet that meant to teach you how to properly hold, fire, and reload the different weapons, but due to the time constraint, Ika didn't mess with it. Picking up the simplest of them all, the pistol, something was triggered, and a target was ejected from a slit in the flooring. This would be the first time she ever used a weapon, and she hoped it didn't backfire.

    Cringing, Ika held up the gun, and pulled the trigger.
     
  14. The rest of the group's travel was without incident. Suzumu assumed that that was a good thing, but couldn't help feel like there were things going on in his two companions' heads that weren't that simple. Ikami hadn't said a thing after that, and he wondered how she was taking it. Mr. Furuse was just 'off' for some reason, and kept triggering Suzumu's social radar. There was definitely something there, but he couldn't put his finger on it.

    Suzumu was stopped from extrapolating further on his gut feelings and generating any misunderstandings by the appearance of the double doors framed by gigantic windows. Even without stepping foot into the room, the boy could see the elaborate set up for this training facility. It was only when he had been guided into the room by the old man, that he truly experienced the size and content of the training facility. It was an awe-inspiring structure, that was for sure, and definitely an indicator of what this program's was able to do in regards to funding. Maybe that previous comment about getting anything they asked for wasn't as empty as it seemed.

    He turned his attention to Mr. Furuse, who began expositing about what was to occur. They were given a time limit before their examination was to begin. But wait, if it was an examination... Did that mean they were expected to have mastered something in fifteen minutes!? Suzumu began to worry. Would he be able to do something like choose a weapon and then quickly get good at it?

    Still, there was something in what Mr. Furuse had said. Suzumu was sure that'd said "Training Facility A1" if he had heard properly. Didn't that mean that there were more? Suzumu wondered if it was intentional that he and Ikami were both sent to the same facility, and that other trainees and their respective partners had been sent to other buildings for initiation. It sure made sense since there was that emotional training caveat from before.

    But enough of that, the clock was ticking and Ikami had already been taking a cursory look over the ranged weapons. Suzumu played with the collar of his shirt as he glanced around the veritable armory of weapons. The guns looked... complicated. The hybrids looked... complicated too... That meant his only real option was the melee ones. They looked to be pretty straightforward weapons, so that was good. After looking over all the weapons, he picked up a sword. It was heavy and cumbersome to use, but when he tried out the others, he found the same result. Admittedly, Suzumu knew he was a pretty weak person. There were knives and daggers, but he didn't feel at all comfortable with those.

    He picked up the sword and went to one of the targets. He lifted the weapon and sort of flailed wildly with it in his attempt at proper swordsmanship. The movements were unfamiliar to the adolescent, but he still had more time to choose other weapons. He put back the sword and looked over the weapons again...
     
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