Part 74: Fierce Fight
06/23 (SAT), Night
I make my way over to the base we used to prevent Yu's attacks the week prior. The desolate view and dry wind almost feels nostalgic. But to be more accurate, it's Odette who brought me here after showing up at Lion House out of nowhere. It was my choice to come, so I can't quite say I got dragged out here.
What do you want?
Oh, haven't you heard? A little birdie told me that Scale's paparazzi friends have connections to you, too.
Odette told me very little on the way here.
I'm gonna get eliminated soon. Ain't no changing it, so I wanna settle things with you right now.
That's about all she told me. Alan remains silent, displaying as little emotion as ever.
That's right. We only got to fight the once at that old geezer's house, so I dunno which of us is stronger. Your role here is to observe the result, Rinka. The first one to throw in the towel loses. And it ain't gonna be me.
What makes you think I would agree to this? I only fought you back then out of necessity.
Who needs a reason? Technically, us lot can't spew that 'you only live once' adage, but hey, enjoy this immortality while you can. Besides, ain't no chance you'll be able to bounce back if you run with your tail between your legs now. This is my last chance, so dance with me, kid.
The cold tone through which Odette's words are delivered frightens me. I may know that she's easy to talk to now, but that cool-headed attitude of hers is still scary. Maybe this is the 'killing intent' that gets mentioned in books and films. There's one thing nagging at me, though.
You're going to be eliminated...?
Why's that a surprise?
Well, I mean... It's you, y'know?
There's no way I wouldn't be surprised. Miharu has told me plenty about both Federico and Scale, but I never thought they would be able to eliminate her. She may tread a thin line at all times, but I can't imagine her making a misstep. In fact, she's more likely to run full speed ahead, laughing all the while.
Yet again, you feel compassion. How very like you.
That's not quite it...
You're awfully kind toward her, yourself.
I honestly find it hard to believe that she's going to be eliminated next based on her composure. She brought it upon herself to say that this is her last chance, though. She must be fully prepared for what lies ahead.
Odette is going to die.
She's my enemy. I know that much, and yet... I can't help but remember how we stopped Yu together and brought Naomi back.
I... know Scale's regret.
Okay, so what?
You helped me once, so at the very least...!
You gonna make a point soon?
Odette glares at me. Her tone is dark. That alone prevents me from saying anything else.
I don't got no issue starting with you if you're gonna try and humiliate me.
That's not what I..!
I recommend you drop the soft-hearted attitude. Did you forget that I am here as well? Scale Jones' regret is information I seek. You're going to tell me it, whether it be by your own will or not.
Tch. You really are determined to have a reason first, huh?
I gradually come to understand what they are talking about. My own exclamation has served as the spark Alan requires. He said he had no reason to fight Odette, but now he does.
Guess I'll fight to protect you, brat.
I know no hesitation once my goal is clear.
Defeat Odette and get information regarding Numeral XI's regret out of me. That's the goal he has set his sights on.
I choose to observe their fight from outside the storehouse. They likely have guns on them, so it only makes sense to head outside before they start firing at each other. I might not die if I get caught in the crossfire, but I'd still get badly hurt. The walls should be thick enough to stop any stray bullets. I can't avert my eyes, though. I'm determined to see their fight through. It's their way of settling things.
Odette likely doesn't need a proper reason. She's considered Alan a worthy foe, and simply wants to beat him for her own satisfaction. I'd be lying if I said I understood that thought process. Regardless, I have to see this through. My reason is simple, too. This is a fight that encompasses the very life of Odette Malencon.
BGM: The Battle Begins
Thirty minutes later, the fight shows no signs of ending. Neither have been able to land any significant blows. So I assume they're trying to wear one another out. Their intent is made clear by their each and every action. I can't seem to take my eyes off them, not even for a second. I have no interest in martial arts and stuff, but I guess I understand the appeal of competitive fighting if it's as entrancing as this.
Not only have they both lost their guns now but they have also destroyed them. How they managed that, I'll never know. I've handled one myself now, so I know precisely how sturdy they are. Both have blades on them too, but even those have been broken. The weapons seem almost useless, though. Not a single bullet or knife wound has been inflicted on either of them. Both are sweating profusely, but they clearly have much more left in their tanks.
Another ten minutes pass. The exhaustion must have hit the both of them at the same time, judging by how the nature of the fight changes. They are now keeping their distance from one another, as opposed to constantly rushing in like before.
Odette is the first to step in and attempt to drag the fight out of the stalemate it has reached. She must have put all the meager energy she's recovered into her act. She launches a massive kick at him outside of his blocking range. He manages to avoid it, albeit barely. Following that, his fist connects with Odette's face- or so it seems.
She uses her forehead to take the brunt of his blow. His expression makes it clear that he's reeling from pain, which Odette takes advantage of by kneeing him straight in the solar plexus. She keeps up a relentless assault following this, not allowing the opportunity to go to waste. Each blow is ferocious enough that I'd be knocked out cold after one hit, but he's taking every single one of them.
He must have been biding his time while taking the hits, because he finds the right moment to claw at Odette's neck.
One can't build up muscle in their throat, so the resulting damage is clear. She comes to a complete halt for a brief second. And now Alan launches his own attack. While Odette's assault was akin to a wild beast's, Alan's is more serene. There's a rhythm to it, almost like a dance. His movements are completely different from before.
Not like Odette is simply allowing herself to be attacked, either. She isn't dodging or blocking the incoming blows. She's biting at them. The more blood that flows, the harder and deeper she bites.
Just as planned...
The fight is far from over.
BGM: Wi H g L n (Dark Side of Hers)
The streets begin to empty out around 10 p.m. Meanwhile, Naomi and Miharu are still waiting in front of Lion House for Rinka's return. It's far more humid at night during June than it is cold. There's no response from Rinka to any messages sent and phone calls are met with a response that her phone is off.
It's getting late, so you should probably go home. Of course, I'm too worried to do that now.
I-I'll make up a good excuse, so it'll be fine. Don't forget that I'm worried about her, as well.
Miharu silently nods in response.
Funny how I need to rely on Rinka after fervently persuading her that I could handle things on my own.
She won't mind. You know that.
Miharu says nothing in return. She doesn't need to. Her gentle smile is more than enough to reassure Naomi.