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Here's another installment of Nick of Time.  No nice pictures in this chapter.

Chapter 4: Time Hazard

  Escaping death once again.
  Waking up, Sousuke thought to sink into checking his flesh as always.

  For some reason all of his body was dripping wet.  Body aching here and there, and due to the AS Pilot Suit, at most there are bruises.  Only his right arm won't move as he wishes, this is probably due to a light sprain.

  There was the sound of water flowing.  And the faint sound of the wind.  But it was totally dark and nothing can be seen.  Where did his night vision goggle went to.  Sousuke searched his tactical vest for a Maglight.
  Alright, there is one.
  He has to switch on the light to the lowest necessary luminance.  What he saw first, was the naked bare rock.  Next was the foaming styrol in pieces and the entangled wire.  A Vinyl Waste basket, a wooden chair, a torn fence.  And a lot of junk.
  His surrounding space was like a round grotto.  Similar to the construction of a sewer.  Water flowing on the bottom---- probably knee deep---- filthy waters flowing at the different wreckage, were gathered here in mountains.
  Probably, carried by the rapids in season or a period of time.  Even large parts are rolling about.  When Sousuke lost consciousness during the fall, it seems like he was washed here.  With the flow of water stopping, the water level first seen seems to have subsided.  For the time being he was a garbage that flowed into the chamberpot.
  How long was he separated?  What time is it now?  Looking at the watch.  When he lost consciousness, it's most likely around 15 minutes.  Although he didn't know the distance he was carried, guessing from the silence, he might have separated from the crash sight.  He didn't even have his carbine gun.  It must have fallen somewhere.
  He was looking for Tessa.  She can't be found.
  He shouted with an unshoutable voice, turning at the junk in his surrounding.
  Among the junk is a dead skeleton.  A worn out work uniform and name plate.  Gender is indistinctable.  What happened here, he did not know how people died here.
  Tessa is not here afterall.
  Was she left in a safe place, or was she washed into another place.  He doesn't know whether she's alive or not----
  Of course the communications device would be useless.  Even if it were not destroyed by the impact and water, in a closed space at a depth like this the electromagnetic-waves would not reach.
  At any rate it's upstream.  He has to find her.
  Sousuke with a quick pace, turned against the flow of water and retraced his steps from the Grotto.  A little forward and there was a brick wall in the naked rock.  It's a sewer afterall.  A ruins that has not been inhabited by humans for a long time, rains and water collected flows to this place.
  He move forward for more than 300 meters.  He can see a large hole in the ceiling.  There was a slope of broken bricks and piles of steel frame.  Without any hardship he managed to climb the large hole, getting out of the layer of the sewer.
  There was a large shaft.  Narrower than the first elevator shaft that they descended, the height is about a 5 storey building.  Turning the light higher he illuminates above his head, going through the side of the shaft, there was a passage full of skeletons and pipes.  Somehow deteriorated and worn out, within a number of them hanging in the exterior of the shaft.  Concentrating his eyes, in the top most space of the cave, there was a squared passage, a large hole opening in the floor.
  Seems like he fell from there.
  It's good that he only suffered minor injuries.  Below the passage he fell through was a scaffold and steel frame, because of the colliding pipes and wires, the 5 story height would not be a headlong fall.
  However Tessa is another thing.  It would be hard if she fell.
  The light of the maglight weakening, Sousuke now at the base of the cave---- looks for an area where rubble and pipes are mortared and piled up.  Tessa was not there, he found the lost Carbine Gun.  Picking it up and verifying if it’s functional.  It seems that it was not broken, because it fell from that height, there is no guarantee that it will fire.
(She is up there....?)
  In that passage where he fell from, he might lose consciousness again.  If he did not find her here, will she answer if he shouts?
  No, it's dangerous.
  It's bad if he was heard.  30 minutes have already passed from the crash.  It would not be strange if the enemy reinforcements managed to come to this area.  Going up, he has to verify that passage.
(really, how unsettling)
  Thinking annoyingly that it was his misfortune for falling in the hole, he immediately rethinked.  Originally they would be crushed by that helicopter, and be flattened.  Besides if he were to fall with Tessa in this hole, how would she fare without the anti-impact of an AS pilot suit.
  Increasing the light, following the pipe and steel frame crawling along the walls of the shaft, he climbed up.  He managed to reach about 3 storeys, but there is no way to go further up.  To get out of this shaft, it seems he has to find another route.
  The nearest tunnel---- was formerly a passage and he jumps to the squared hole, with the shaft in his back and heads deeper into the hole.  If he can find a stairs going upwards, it should let him go the place where he left Tessa.  Maglight in the left hand, Glock 19 hand gun in his right hand.  Since there might be a possibility of the carbine gun failure, he would not use it to make the first shot.  At any rate, it was in a situation where he might meet enemies so he can't make any gunshot sounds.  It would be better to make a test shot when guns are fired.
  With caution he proceeds to the ruined passage, turning to a number of corners and crossroads.  There are a number of resident doors on both sides of the passage.  He looks inside.  Was it a staff room or lodging house.  A room with nothing in it.
  There was a stairs inside the passage.
  And then---- in front of that stairs, Leonard Testarossa stands.
  He put on a red coat on top of his AS pilot suit.  Wavy silver hair.  An ornamented Colt Peacemaker in his right hand.  His face can't be seen with the night vision goggles, but there is no mistake.  It's that man.
  There was no hesitation in his reply.  Sousuke immediately fires.
  In an instant the red coat moves, immediately stopping the bullets.  It's the aforementioned reactive bullet proof vest.  Not caring he continues to fire 5 shots.  All of them to no effect.
"The same greetings as usual----"
  Leonard moves.  The revolver blows a fire.  Sousuke hides in the door just in front of him, the enemy bullet going pass.  He barely managed to evade and the bullets hit the walls, with the concrete fragments scattering.  Protruding the gun he immediately returns fire.  Using up all the remaining bullet in the magazine.  There was a thunderous roar of the fierce gunfight, resounding.
  No response.  Did he evade all of it or was all of it stopped.
"----I'm amazed at your impatience"
  You also of your usual pretension, purposely missing the chance for a surprise attack---- though that's what he thought, he didn't say a word.  In the exchange of bullets he returned the Glock to his holster, and nimbly setup his carbine gun.
  He's so proud of his bullet proof clothes, but how about from a rifle bullet with a full metal jacket.
  Firing in semi-auto.  Out of place.
  As expected he knows that he can't defend from the rifle bullets.  Leonard flutters his body, and his figure disappears from the passage.  Anticipating the damage from the wall, Sousuke shoots.  No response.  Return fire comes.  Just goes over the head.
  The Carbine Gun's aim seems to be off to the right.  It must be because of the fall from 5 storeys, there are no other problems and it functions.  It’s impressively stubborn.  If he's given the opportunity, he would send a mail giving thanks to the maker.
  Sousuke fires, Leonard fires.  Sousuke moves, Leonard moves.
  This kind of reply continued a number of times, the two of them went out in the wide room.  In a room like a gymnasium, a large liquid tank and a Still, Compressor, countless pipes and valves were spread all over, complexly becoming complicated.
  Over there is a night vision equipment, while he is disadvantaged with only a maglight.  Aiming and moving with only the light of the maglight is completely visible.  He would have to infer prior to firing.
  That is not the only reason why he can't bring him down.  Leonard is strong.
  That reaction speed, the accuracy of that shot, it was a calm and decisive movement.  Like a thoughtlessness, but actually it was a logical positional gain. It was not a common technical skill.  Whether it was the gift of his natural talent, or from an extensive training is not known, but he can't be bewildered by his vagary weapons or speech.  From his preconception, he though of him as a [weak boy] relying on his hi-tech equipment for protection, he was mistaken.
"Can't be easily killed right?"
  Leonard laughing in the darkness.
"Good luck, since you're no match in an AS.  Now is your chance."
  Sousuke remembers the uncomfortable feeling from his provocation.  This is not the opponent he has faced a number of times, previously he had a more softer demeanor.  Was that an act?  Or did he changed into something?
"You seemed to be a little vulgar"
  Sousuke flatly said.  Minding himself, his maglight will reveal his current position.
"Is that so?  To get along better with you, I think this method would be better"
  Gunshots.  Leonards bullets immediately grazed beside him.  Using the waist high pipe as a shield, he gives pressure to his opponent by removing him off his position.
"We'll get along better with your corpse."
"Haha, you said it"
  Since the start of the gunfight, almost more than 3 minutes have passed.  It would be bad if he kept on dragging the time.  Leonard's subordinates will be arriving.  Although he is fixated in defeating him, to withdraw from this place, he had to decide about it soon----
  Before that decision, the expected enemy reinforcements arrived.  15 meters to the right of the tank Sousuke was hiding, in the stairs above, 4 men with submachine gun appeared.
"Mister Ag (Silver)!?"
  One of the man called.
"I told you not to come.  Go back"
"But, you're alone----"
"Go back"
"There he is, over there!"
  One of the men sensed Sousuke and fires.  Tearing up the tank he was hiding on, some kind of liquid dispersed.
  He returns fire.  One of them got hit in the chest from Sousuke's bullet.
  The remaining 3 deployed and added firing.  The scattering bullets hits the pipe and cable, scattering fierce sparks in the surrounding.
  A well trained enemy.  Not even agitated with injury, cover fire and shots with the objective to kill and wound were well cooperated.  But the attack and movement were monotonous.  The composition of the team was not long.
  In the expected place one of them came out.  Killed with one shot.  But that man looks like he's throwing a hand grenade this way.  From the hand of the fallen man, the pin of the hand grenade was pulled and fallen----
  Explosion.  It was an incendiary bomb.
  A white flash and conflagration.  It was a type of hand grenade that would burn the area with super high temperature, most effective indoors.
  There was no damage to Sousuke who was separated, but a much more serious matter occurred.
  Immediately beside the exploding incendiary bomb, there was a liquid tank.  With the splash of bullets the hole widened, and the liquid content flowed out of the tank.  Being left behind for more than 17 years, the unknown liquid with its combustibility mostly undeteriorated---- somehow that liquid caught fire from the grenade, and burned with a fierce heat.
  The flame went along the pipe and ran around the room, with explosions occurring when taking in the conflagration.  The floor split with the impact, steel frame of the ceiling falling towards Sousuke.  Barely evading he runs inward.  If he were in this room he would either be baked or suffocate.
  One of the enemy screams, falling to the lower floor from the dancing flame on the cracks of the floor.  Their underfoot was shaking.  This whole floor is waiting to collapse.  The alcove slab distorted, and was transfigured into a slope.  Turning, and falling.
  This is no longer a battlefield.  Sousuke crawled getting away from the conflagration and the cave-in.

"Another explosion...."
  The frequent sound of gunfires continued, with a large sound of explosion.  The ceiling of the rattling passage shook, with large dust falling over the heads of Kaname and the others.
"It's probably Sagara-san.  He encountered the enemy while searching for me...."
  Tessa said.
  Kaname had already heard from Tessa the details.  Being involved in the helicopter crash to straying from Sousuke, while searching for him alone she met Kaname.
  Sousuke will be here immediately.
  Hearing that, Kaname was unable to contain her feelings.  Without thinking, she tried desperately to restrain herself from running off from this place.
She keeps telling herself [If you get impatient here you will become lost], not being able to discern the logic from her emotions.
  She wants to see him immediately.  She can't stand even one more second.
  Also she won't get lost.  If she continues to call his name in a loud voice, it could somehow work.  She might be seen by the enemy?  That won't be, she'll definitely meet him first---- such irrational thinking, it keeps coming up no matter how much she erases it.
  And then the worry, about the sound of that explosion.
"Let's go find him!  I know the general direction"
"Eeh, but...."
  Tessa hesitated.
"But.  What?"
"It is certain that enemies are deployed in the direction of the explosion.  Mr. Lemon's leg is injured.... we can't run away from the encountered enemy before Sagara-san."
"We don't know that right?  Sousuke might be in a bad situation, I just can't leave him"
"That is why I'm hesitating.  For me, the safety of you and Mr. Lemon----"

"Such reason, whatever!  I want to see him!  If you'll get in my way then I'll go alone!"
  There was a number of Deja vu.  Her irritation reaching its critical point, Kaname spontaneously raised her voice.
"Please calm down.  I didn't----"
"There's no time to calm down right?  Finally....just when he's so close.  Why do you say such things?  If I were to meet him, is the circumstance that bad!?  Why----"
"Kaname-san, stop it"
  Lemon suddenly grabbed her arm.  With such strong power surprised her, and immediately returned to her own self, and noticed herself getting distracted.
"I know how you feel, but you have to be calm.  If you make rash behaviour here, everything will be a mess"
  It is as he said.  They have to be more prudent here.
"....sorry, Tessa"
"It's alright.  Becoming like this, was all my responsibility..."
  Looking at the frail Tessa mumbling, Kaname felt guilty.  Even though Tessa also likes Sousuke, she did not say any selfish insensibility.  Yet she was enduring it.  If she were in her standpoint, she would have flared up and talked back.
"Somehow....really sorry.  I, don't know what happened...."
"It can't be helped.  Because, you're finally going to see Sagara-san"
"If you're calm, let's move on"
  Lemon said.  With a serious voice.
"It's dangerous to be here.  He have to get as far away from the enemy as possible.  If it goes well, we might be able to find another exit.  We have to get to the surface somehow, I think it would be best to contact Testarossa-san's allies with the wireless radio."
"But Sousuke...."
"He would be alright.  He's not a burden like me, and it would be easier for him to move alone, and he would aim to get to the surface to contact the allies.  If we carelessly join him, there is a dangerously high probability of both parties falling."
  Even though it was unfamiliar, Lemon carries such experience in his body.  It would be wise to abide by his judgment in this kind of scene.
"I understand.  Let's do that"
  Killing off the lingering affection that remained---- the feelings that want to run off to the direction of Sousuke, Kaname nodded.
"Tessa do you know the way?"
"For the time being, just a rough construction.  We get down from here, going into the deepest research facility to the north there should be a ventilation duct in an ordinary stair case.  Although there is no guarantee that the enemy would not be there, it would be much safer than going to the south side...."
"Here.  Let's go"
  The three of them, intersect into a cross road.  Lemon walks being supported on both sides by Tessa and Kaname.

  In the middle of the darkness, Lemon revealed a faint smile.
"What's the matter?"
"No.... This is quite a benefit.  Having beautiful girls on both side, it would be the best if I didn't have an injury"
"....Tessa.  This person, shall we leave him behind?"
"That's right....  we should at least hear his last will and testament."

"Aah.  Sorry.  Sorry.  Don't abandon me."
  Carrying an earnestly apologizing Lemon, Kaname and the others staggeredly walked in the middle of darkness.

  Sealed in.
  Escaping from the flames, finally ending up inside an underground facility after a short walk, this was what Sousuke concluded.  No matter where he goes, collapsed ceiling and seal steel door blocks his way.  It would be nice to blow them up using C4 explosives, but there was the offensive smell of gas in the area, unskilfully using firearms would result in explosion.
  Going back with caution to the previous room where there was a battle, it would not be possible to get back there being plugged with a crumble steel frame and pipes.  The flames were temporary, now it's ending.  He was thankful that the oxygen was not completely taken, he couldn't remain in a place like this.
  He was also worried about Tessa.  If the enemy managed to get into this vicinity, she might have already been captured.  Since she is the sister of their commander, she might not be killed without argument, that is why he can't leave it to chance.
(Escaping at once, he has to join up with Kurz....)
  If he were to ride in that powerful <Laevatein> with the support fire of Kurz, it was not impossible to recover Tessa.  Although he still don't know if he would be able to win over Leonard's AS, at least, it was a more solid plan than facing many enemies alone with an out of order carbine gun.
  Then, what if Tessa was not yet caught?
  If that were so, then she would have surely joined up with Kurz and the others.  In order to carefully search for the allies in this maze, there is a need for him to eliminate all the enemy.  If he will he be able to do that, he himself could not estimate----
  In the corner of his path Leonard appears.  It seems that he had survived the explosion.  Furthermore sarcastically, not filthy.
  Sousuke and Leonard mutually noticed each others existence, mostly at the same time.  Both parties with gun aimed, with fingers in the trigger staying from firing.
  Leonard laughed.
"If you shoot an explosion  might occur.  It seems that you noticed."
  Piercing the nose some time ago, an irritating odor like rotten onions.  Isn't this a combustible LP gas?  Then guns would be bad.
"Possibly, it might not occur"
  Sousuke said suddenly pointing his gun at the opponents head.  He won't miss at this distance.  One shot would end it.  But that would also be the same for the other.
"Then want to try it?  Won't that be entertaining"

"What a charming idea"
"You say that, but you're considering of drawing that knife from your waist.  With that there is no worry about explosions.  Pressing on a weak me, cutting my throat with it"
  That is correct.  Sousuke had his left hand always in the position to reach the removal of his knife.  In the challenge of melee, there are plenty of chances for victory.
"Funny you should mention that.  I also have something like that"
  Taking out from under the coat of Leonard, and turning it towards Sousuke.  At one glance it is a simple thrusting knife that is not like a sword, there was a lever for the thumb attached to the root of the blade.  Looking at it Sousuke secretly smacked his lips.
"This is what you call a Spetsnaz Knife.  Looks like you know"
  That knife was a weapon developed for the Russian Special Forces.  There was a strong spring inside the grip, it was constructed that if the lever is pushed the blade would be detached.  Its construction looks like a simple toy, but its destructive power is dreadful.  If detached from 10 meters it has a deadly power that could easily penetrate a telephone directory.
  The condition has become disadvantageous.
  This AS pilot suit has anti blade function, but could not guard against that kind of piercing weapon.  He would die if hit, or would lose with a severe wound.  Furthermore a weapon that uses a simple spring power, would not be dangerous for an explosion.
  However, there is only one shot.  If he is protected from that shot, he could get close and bring him down.

"I know what you're thinking"
  He said seeing through what Sousuke was thinking.
"Kill with whatever method.  If there are no guns then kill with the knife.  If there is no knife then kill with a bare hands.  If both hands are cut off---- then bite on the windpipe.  Even if you die you sharpen your bones, you're the type of guy who waits to trample on the enemy.  I wonder if you would think about discussions...."
"Is there a need to discuss?"
"A method to get out of here.  It's a stupid conversation, but were both sealed in here"
"Propane has been leaking for a while now.  Right now it’s still fine, but after 2 more hours both of us would either suffocate of get poisoned"
"You mean there is no need to fight"
"Either way we'll die.  I've been going around, but there is a staircase over there that is plugged by rubbles.  If the both of us remove the rubbles, we could get out before we die."
"A short time truce, you mean to say"
"That's right.  If we fight now, whoever wins the wounded won't get out.  Even if one of us gets injured, I don't think it would get the work done.  For the mean time we should cooperate and get out of here, after that we can just kill each other.  That's my proposal."
  Leonards words were not lies.  The gas and escape route were also true.  If they don't have a truce both of them will surely die.
"Alright.  But in the end, it's for the sake of getting out of here"
  Not even an atom of forgiveness, he has to get along with Leonard's proposal.  Both of them put down their weapons at the same time.
"Fine.  Don't we get a handshake?"
  Sousuke put his carbine gun over his shoulder, and headed to the stairs with a quick pace.

  The Airborne troops of <Amalgam> which is under the command of Kalinin, has finished securing the majority of the ruins surface.  Although it is [secured], they can only confirm no signs of the enemy.
  He himself also got off to the surface, investigating the other helicopter that descended in the ruins.  He noticed that there are 2 people who walked to the research plant, in addition he managed to see through that these two people were Sagara Sousuke and Teletha Testarossa.
  Most probably, they were under that plant.
  Leonard might also have noticed that.  He's also independently moved into the plant, and no communications could be made.  After that a 4 man scout also went in, and after the last contact of [Gunshots have been heard] no further communications were made.  They have fought Sousuke, he could only think that the tables have turned.
  After a few minutes, reports from his subordinates confirmed his conjecture.
  The crashed helicopter exploded and caught fire in another area.  Again, guaranteeing survivors on the crash site, those evidence points to Chidori Kaname and the French man being alive.  And then Leonard's whereabouts are unknown, and the movements of Sousuke and the others are unknown.
  It seems there's a strange thing happening underground.  Having cut off from the majority of their force in the surface, he possibly can't let his forces get near the plant.
[Leave the surface to me]
  Casper said standing by on his AS.
[I'll take care of those who comes near]
"....understood.  I leave it to you"
  Kalinin saying such, brought along a few soldiers and began to head to the plant's underground descending the shaft.

  Because of Tessa's guidance going well, Kaname with the three of them has not encountered the enemy and continues to proceed the plant's underground.  But then, they are running away from the direction of the enemy so it was not unnatural.
  Going through the deepest part to get out of the opposite side---- this plan itself Kaname understood, but getting deeper into this maze was very unpromising.
"Is it really this way?"
  Kaname asked Tessa countless times.  Even she herself, did not know how many times it was asked.  It was because of the frequency of the deja vu.
"Eeh.  It should be but...."
  Tessa hesitated to say.  The route was another matter, and has the appearance of being puzzled.

"....if you head straight of this curve, you would go out of the opposite side.  From there if you look for a ladder in the stairs, you could get to the surface"
"Aside from that, what are you trying to say?"
  Tessa stood to a stop.
"....I guess I can't leave it alone.  I have to visit it.  You should proceed, please go on ahead."
  Kaname and Lemon were surprised at her words.
"What do you mean?  A place to visit...."
"The enemy will be here soon.  It's dangerous for you to be alone."
"Don't worry.  Besides, originally there is something I need here.  Coming this far, I just can't give up"
"What exactly do you need?  We'll also accompany you"
"It's not that far right?  Let's go"
  With the proposal from Kaname and Lemon, Tessa shook her head.
"No, you can't come.  Anyway it's something important....I will do it alone."
  It was a bad enunciation on Tessa's explanation.  Even though she knows something, she won't tell it to Kaname and the others.  No---- not Kaname, but Lemon.  Right now it was a proactive collaboration with Tessa, to begin with he is French Intelligence.  If there is a great secret in this plant, there is no guarantee that the contents would be transmitted to the organization.
  Lemon himself have noticed this.
"Could it be, that you can't tell me this?"
  Tessa fell silent.  In other words saying that is so.
"About this secret city, Wraith and I risked danger to investigate it.  Whatever was in here, without knowing the details, we silently did what you asked and went to Moscow.  And then I became like this, morever I don't know if Wraith is alive or not.  Even then, you can't tell me the circumstance.  It's that right?"
"I am very grateful to you.  But this is----"
"My allegiances?  If it's the DGSE, I'm sure I'm already fired.  I haven't been in contact with my superiors."
"You're mistaken.  Of course I'm also concerned about the information leaking to your organization, but that is not the only problem.  The secret here, is not about the national security of one nation.  If handled unskillfully---- the fate of the people of the world, might get triffled with"
"That exaggerated"
"No.  Even moderately, it is not exaggerated.  If you knew the secret the sleeps in here, most people would be charmed by the power and use it.  It's alright to tell Kaname-san.  Sagara-san would also be alright.  These two and me, were already triffled with this secret, speaking with the person concerned.  But, you Lemon-san---- being tempted by it, I do not have the confidence in it."
  He was embarrassed by her words, Kaname also understood.
"I really don't understand.  If I were to know about that secret, I should leave it to your monopoly?"
"That may not be unreasonable---- that at least is an important problem.  That is why, could you go ahead with Kaname-san?"
"That a hard request.... Then, how about this"
  After saying that, Lemon took out the automatic pistol out of his belt.
  Kaname's expression changed.  But turning on the safety device, he turned the gun and handed it over to Tessa.
"Take it.  If I started thinking strange, shoot me."
"Lemon-san, I----"
"Ahead of this, I'm not sure if I would be able to return alive.  Then I would like to know.  ....please"
  It seems that she is in deep worry.  As far as what can be seen, Lemon was a good person, she can't say whether this was an act or not.  After one minute he could suddenly change, exactly who should warn them?

  But in the end it was concluded as [unavoidable].  Tessa made a deep sigh, and carefully took the pistol that he handed.
"....I understand.  However, if you showed any signs of change then I will really shoot"
  Kaname asked, Tessa nodded.
"I'm serious.  I will shoot with all my power.  Though I don't know if it will hit or not...."
"I..is that so..."
"Kaname-san.  I thought about telling you this.  Even if I didn't, having brought you here, my brother would have told you.  possibly this...."
"Possibly, what?"
"No.  Anyway, since we've decided to go we must hurry.  This way"

  It was an unusual cooperative work, and continues in the darkness.
  Both of them pulling, and took them more than 5 minutes to move the unyielding steel frame.  Receding the concrete and rocks in the surroundings first, it was a hard struggle for 10 minutes.  Finally the aforementioned steel frame, could be move with just a kick.
  Sousuke and Leonard only making exchanges to the most minimal required, did not say anything more.  Only in a degree in something like [get that off] or [pull this].
  Of course they did not get their guard off.  Whenever the opponent would change his mind, he would immediately pull out his knife, and would not turn his back when ever necessary.
  No matter the situation the man is an enemy.  He did not forget this decision.
"Oh well...."
  Leonard rested his hands.  He did not seem tired.  Only bored of the simple work.
"Don't rest on your own"
  With the words of Sousuke, he shrugged his shoulders and returned to work.
  It was not a bad performance.  And not because he was powerless.  For someone who doesn't know much but wears a suit, it has a strange feeling looking at him working like this.
"Tessa must also have come here right?  Aren't you worried about her?"
  Not being able to stand the boring work, Leonard spoke.
  This matter of speaking from the enemy doesn't seem like pinpointing the location of Tessa.  It might be a bluff, but he thought that he might have guessed that Tessa would be in this ruins.  But there is no reason for him to offer such information, and feign innocence.
"I don't know what you're talking about"
"I don't think you'd come here alone.  She is the one who has a need here."
"I don't know, I also don't fell like answering."
"Aah, is that so"
  Leonard said with a searching voice, taking an armful of reinforced concrete, and putting it down below the stairs.
"What if I tell you that Chidori Kaname is here, well?"
  Sousuke gripping the fragments of the conduits with his hands, suddenly stopped.
"Did you bring her?  In this ruins?"
"Don't rest on your own.  Hey"
  It must be revenge for before.  Leonard made a smirk in the darkness.  Even with annoyance, he didn't say a word and continued to work.
"A helicopter came crashing down the large elevator shaft right?  She was riding in that"
"What was that?"
"Then later the helicopter exploded, and burned up.  Although we haven't confirmed the corpse, it was because of your attacks"
  For an instant his muscles grew cold, Sousuke immediately decided that [it must be a lie].  If Kaname were trully dead, he wouldn't be talking comfortably here like this.  Although he didn't know whose death this man would be saddened, at least he wouldn't laugh about it.
"You don't seem to believe me.  There is no mistake that what I've just said is the truth.  I was at the hanger of the helicopter in my AS, it was simple to escape.  She was in the front cabin.  Whatever happened to her, even I don't know."
"It's true.  Chidori Kaname was riding that helicopter."
"Then, why do you talk so optimistic?"
"That's right.  That's a good question.  ...well, it's time we start moving.  Let's try it"
"Let's go"
  Somehow the two of them grabbed on the unmoving steel frame, and pulled with full strength.  The base covered with rubble slowly began to give, and they finally pulled it free.
"Alright.  Well then....where were we.  That's right, her condition."

  Returning to manual labor, Leonard continued the topic.
"It is true that she was on the helicopter that crashed.  I didn't rescue her, the helicopter exploded and burned.  Even then she is alive, I am confident about it.  That's a point."
"What are you talking about?"
  Sousuke really does not know the meaning in Leonard's words.  For example if Kaname being in the helicopter was true, why does he have that confidence?  Additionally, why purposely say so?
"I've also tested it before.  Just before your struggle in Hong Kong.  She was targeted by an Assassin ordered by Gauron, and was attacked in the business district of Tokyo.  Under the rain.  I was in there hiding, did nothing and only watched."
"Think generally.  An assassin that was a protégé of Gauron, and a high school girl with good reflex.  No matter how you think it would be her end.  But she was saved."
"She has good luck"
"That's right, she has good luck----abnormally"
  There was a hidden enigma in Leonard's words.
"During the attack, that assassin used his first gun.  The first shot missed, and emptied the cartridge.  In such opportunity she managed to run away."
It was the first time that he heard of this.  Even from Kaname, he didn't hear the details about it.  Aside from the small AS called <Alastor>, and the meeting with Leonard and 2 to 3 conversations, he knew nothing more.
"It was not rare that the automatic pistol to malfunction"
"That's right.  But if you were going to kill someone with a gun, before that what do you do?"
  Confirming the function of the gun, and inspect that there is nothing wrong with the bullets.  Blundering at the start, no matter what kind of target it is it would be difficult if the target were to be absorbed to the killing rhythm.  That is why you have to make certain from the start, to be very careful in preparing to send the target to the other world.
  That assassin is also the same.
  Aside from the coincidence that the bullet missed, the gun also broke down.
"She has good luck, that girl.  It's a little unbelievable right"
"Is that why she is alive from the helicopter crash?  Something is wrong"
"Is that so?  You also have some knowledge of it.  how many times she had barely escape danger in a nick of time.  I think that the way she lives is strange."
  With his nose indicating a smile, Sousuke couldn't do it.  That’s correct.  When he met her, she was involved with countless dangers.  Among them, even some aspects that would  send chills to Sousuke who had experienced the scene of carnage.
  Was that also luck?  No, that shouldn't be.
"She never gives up and continues to move.  Judging what she can do in her circumstance, according to her will and beliefs.  The meaning in that, is that she is similar to an ordinary veteran soldier"
  Of course Sousuke could not deny what's called "luck".  He himself was also alive because of luck.  Being a soldier himself with enough abilities, he could also be killed with a single stray bullet.  But luck was a persistent element attached to it.  There is a saying [Man prosper, God disposes], luck surely must be [god's will].  Being bothered by luck, only then would action follow.
  If you remove the ability of a Whispered, Kaname Chidori is by no means a non-rare human.  More than an ordinary human, she is a little more stronger.  Actually this is a difficult matter, but this it not a rare disposition.
"I recognize her great will and activity.  But, Will you think about this?  She would happen to have this kind of ability herself, her luck"
"It's just a bending theory"
  Then the people who had filled their life expectancy, all of it would have to be luck.  A required environment to live the full life, would mean having the required ability.  There are already a hundred million people among the world.

"Well, that might be.  This is matter is just going around circles.  Also for not being dead, it was not luck but inevitability"
"She is the convergence point of cause and effect.  You can say that the world is strange because she is here, or you can say that she is here because the world is strange. From now she will be---- probably, even without any arrangement from me, she would be meeting with the dead of this [relic].  There she would unite with the power to put a full stop on history.  Becoming the [KANAME (Key Stone)] that would create a world without a past, future and present."
"I don't understand.  what are you saying?"
"About the [Omni Sphere] and the [Whispered].  The chaos of the world will start from this ground."